Sunday, March 30, 2014

Remnants: Season of Wonder (Remnants #1) by Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Remnants: Season of Wonder (Remnants #1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Pages: 567 (Advanced Reader Copy)
Year: 2014
Publisher: Blink
Note: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

     WOW! This is a fantastic epic adventure of good versus evil!

     Back in the beginning of January I saw an opportunity to be a part of Lisa T. Bergren’s Street Team for her new book. I quickly responded to the initial post about it. I was thrilled to get an email from her less than an hour after sending her an email about it. She had accepted me as a part of her team. Then began the wait for the book to come in the mail. It was definitely worth the wait!

     The instructions that I was given were to write a 3 to 5 sentence review and not include the summary about the storyline. I understand that these instructions make perfect sense for posting on websites that sell the book. This book was so good that it was killing me to have to stick to those guidelines. I’m so glad that I have this blog going so that I can let loose and tell you more about it.

     Their coming was foretold for years.

     Andriana is a Remnant, one of several gifted teens born on the seventh day of the seventh month and destined since birth to act as humanity’s last hope against the horrors that now plague everyday life.

     After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected homes is more dangerous than they imagined.

     The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing any individuals sympathetic to the Remnant’s cause. As the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, their enemies close in on them, placing all of humanity in peril. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri’s feelings for Ronan – the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings or risk compromising everything.

     This is the first book by Lisa T. Bergren that I have actually ever read. I just have to go on record that the people that told me how good of a writer she is were definitely NOT exaggerating. I have got to get everything else she has already written and read them all. You will be seeing her name again on this blog.

    Let me start by saying that her character development is exceptional. I was able to quickly understand and relate to each of her main characters. I’m counting a number of others in this group besides Andriana and Ronan. They include Raniero, Vidar, Bellona, Tressa, and Killian. She has included at the back of the book a list of their names along with a guide for how she pronounces them along with their meaning.

     Now I’ll go on and talk about the storyline. It is a phenomenal blend of heart-pounding action scenes and detailed plot progression. She has beautifully entwined these two in a gorgeous balance.

     In one sense I was able to see a similarity between this book and the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are both adventures of epic proportion with the good guys trying to face down the evil that rules the land where they live.

     At the same time they are very different from each other. The land where they live as well as the people themselves are vastly different.

     It was a marvelous book to lose myself in. I will definitely be re-reading this story again just before the next one in the series comes out. The hardest part is going to be waiting for Lisa to write the next one.

     The standard seems to be 5 stars as the top rating. This book deserves so much more than that though. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

It is available at these websites:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wishing on Buttercups (Love Blossoms in Oregon #2) by Miralee Ferrell

Title: Wishing on Buttercups (Love Blossoms in Oregon #2)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Pages: 416
Year: 2014
Publisher: David C. Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is an incredible Christian Historical Romance

     Travel back to the 1880’s to visit Baker City, Oregon. In book 1 of this series Katherine Galloway (now Jacobs) has opened a boarding house. In this book we return to that house and get a very detailed look at Beth Roberts, her Aunt Wilma, and Jeffrey Tucker. All three of these people have been staying at the boarding house for an extended period. Other than the fact that this book in set in the same boarding house and a number of the characters from book 1 make an appearance this story stands alone and can be read and enjoyed without having read the first book in the series. Though I do believe that the enjoyment can be enhanced by having read the first book and knowing a little more about these additional characters and how they interact with each other.

     Beth has been keeping secrets both from her past and from the present hidden from everyone except for her aunt. She believes that no one would ever understand because no one ever has in the past. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what-and who-her illustrations reveal.

     Jeffrey has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have the right to pry into Beth’s affairs but he finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her.

     I loved the characters of both Beth and Jeffrey very much. They were wonderfully developed and presented. I had a very heavy heart while I waited to see Beth move past the wounds she had suffered at the hands of others as a child. I really enjoyed the fact that Beth held on to God and even encouraged Jeffrey to draw closer to God himself.

     Miralee does an excellent job of exploring the truth that many people who have been horribly wounded in the past hold on to those wounds and can even be consumed by them. It seems to be a part of human nature to exaggerate the wounds that we’ve suffered and let them control our present and future.

     I loved this story very much and give it 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dark Tide (The Justice Agency #5) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Dark Tide (The Justice Agency #5)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 224
Year: 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in order to write an honest review.

     Another fantastic Christian suspense novel!

     Mission: Protect Baby

     Gina Evans knows her brother was murdered – even if the police won’t believe her. After catching a quick glimpse of the evidence her brother had gathered, the same criminals are after her and her baby niece. And Gina’s only hope is the man she left behind. Despite the painful memories, private investigator Derrick Justice won’t fail Gina and her baby. Yet now, the woman he never stopped loving and the baby he’s come to adore are in a killer’s crosshairs. But can Derrick trap the cold-blooded murderer before he strikes again?

     Once again Susan Sleeman has done a great job of developing wonderful characters that are carrying very heavy emotional baggage from their pasts. They are very likeable and easy to connect with. I found myself encouraging them (sometimes audibly) to just let go of the past and move on. Both Derrick and Gina had to travel down their own path to work out their stuff while at the same trying to catch the killer before anyone else lost their life. The plot for the mystery was great. I love the way there is a great balance between adrenaline rush inducing action/danger sections and incredible character building times.

     I highly recommend this book and give it 5-stars.

     You can find out more about Susan Sleeman’s books, The Justice Agency Series, at her website:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anna's Fight for Hope: The Great Depression by JoAnn A. Grote

Title: Anna’s Fight for Hope: The Great Depression (1931) (Sisters in Time #20)
Author: JoAnn A. Grote
Pages: 144
Year: 2004
Publisher: Barbour Books

     When I was in school I never enjoyed history class. I found the textbooks to be very boring. Therefore I grew up with a very poor understanding of our history. As an adult I’ve become more interested in it and yet I find that I have a very hard time getting myself to sit down and read about it unless it is in novel format. I have found that if I start with a book written for 8-12 year olds I can become so caught up in a time period that I will then want to go on and read more things geared for adults about the same period. This is one of those wonderful children's books.

     Times are tough for Anna Harrington. But times are even tougher for some of her friends, who’ve been devastated by the Great Depression. Dot’s family is hungry and may lose their home, while Chet, riding the rails as a hobo in search of work, is in trouble with the law. Twelve-year-old Anna and her cousin, Fred, watch in sorrow as others suffer, wondering what they can do to show God’s love to their friends.

     The characters were very well developed and likable. I was drawn into the story and actually learned quite a bit about the Great Depression that I had never known before. I’ve checked some of the facts that were new to me and found them to be accurately portrayed.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this story and give it 5 stars. It’s a great history lesson for both adults and middle-grade students. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thread of Suspicion (The Justice Agency #4) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Thread of Suspicion (The Justice Agency #4)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 217
Year: 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a giveaway held by the author.

     Another incredible Christian suspense with plenty of twists.

     When someone sabotages former navy SEAL Luke Baldwin’s “unhackable” software, there’s more than his reputation at stake. Faced with treason charges, Luke turns to Dani Justice, a computer expert and skilled investigator. She’s eager to dive into the challenging case…until she uncovers a devastating connection. The hacker framing Luke has a personal, deadly history with Dani. Luke’s code of honor and his growing feelings make him resolved to protect the sweet, strong woman he knows is more vulnerable than she’d admit. But what good is his training or determination against an enemy who can hack into any system and find them wherever they hide?

     Once again Susan Sleeman has done a marvelous job of character development. While developing strong lead characters for this novel she has kept all of the characters from the previous books in this series straight and true to their personalities from the books they starred in. It was nice to see how Cole connected with Luke. I enjoyed the fact that both Dani and Luke were struggling to understand the timing of their meeting. Yet in the midst of their struggles they were open to seeing if it was God putting them together. They did need to have some prodding from their siblings but that’s what family is for right.

     I also liked the story development as I got a look at what type of things a hacker can do to mess with people. It was very entertaining and sucked me in as I was pulling for Dani and Luke to figure out who was behind it and bring the culprit to justice.

     As with each of the previous books in this series I have to give this one 5 stars. It is another job well done by Susan Sleeman. I highly recommend it.