Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

Title: Like a Flower in Bloom
Author: Siri Mitchell
Pages: 368
Year: 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     He stole the work she loved. Will she let him steal her heart as well?

     It’s all her uncle’s fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she’s reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte’s future – the only proper future for a woman – is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.

     Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he’ll soon change his mind…and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society – a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.

     Things aren’t perfectly smooth between Trimble and her father, so Charlotte hatches a last gasp plan. She’ll pretend such an interest in marriage that the thought of losing her will make her father welcome her back. Only thing go quickly awry, and she realizes that the one man who recognizes her intelligence is also the person she’s most angry with: Edward Trimble, her supposed rival. Suddenly juggling more suitors than she knows what to do with, Charlotte is caught in a trap of her own making. Will she have no choice but to leave her beloved flowers behind?

My review:

     A delightful “fish out of water” novel!

     I absolutely love the characters that Siri has created for this novel. When she introduces Charlotte it is very easy to understand who she is and what her focus for her life is. Then we are introduced to her uncle and her whole existence is turned upside down. The journey she embarks on to try and learn all that she feels is now expected of her is a joy to go on with her. There are multiple times throughout the book that I found myself laughing outright.

     The other characters are equally well developed and a lot of fun to get to know and try to understand. After meeting most of the characters it is a wonderful surprise to realize who is able to give her the best advice as she tries to transition to her new role.

     I personally don’t know what most flowers are, or the different parts of them, so I really can’t speak to the accuracy of the botanical terms used. I am sure that the research Siri did to write clearly about this very detailed subject was intense. I must applaud her attention to research and presenting the topic so thoroughly.

     I really enjoyed this book and I’m giving it 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Soft Breath of Wind by Roseanna M. White

Title: A Soft Breath of Wind (Stand alone sequel to A Stray Drop of Blood)
Author: Roseanna M. White
Pages: 353
Year: 2014
Publisher: White Fire Publishing
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A gift that has branded her for life.

     Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set.

     Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ?

     Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child – the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin’s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work.

     When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all.

     Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars… with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.

My review:

     This novel is absolutely amazing!

     There are a lot of wonderful characters that are incredibly well developed. The way that they interact with each other whether they are a part of the family of land owners or their slaves is a joy to read. They all work together for the good of them all. When conflict arises it is clearly shown who is on which side and yet they are still able to work together in spite of the conflict.

     I really love the way the story progresses. I didn’t really notice any filler material in the novel. Everything works together to move the story forward or to help to define one of the characters and what makes that individual “tick”. The climax of the story is very well presented. Yet at the same time there is an opening left for another novel to be written with some of these fantastic characters.

     I have to give this wonderful book, looking at the 1st century church in Rome, 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall

Title: Tears of the Sea
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Pages: 260
Year: 2014
Publisher: Ransom Press
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Doomed by the evil warlock Forwin to wander the ancient seas as a mermaid for all eternity, Perdita longs for the release death would bring. Every ten years she has a chance to break the curse when she emerges from the sea fully human for one month. The catch? She must find a man willing to die for her. After 200 years, her failures have left her heartbroken and alone.

     Savion Ryne wants nothing to do with beautiful women. It was one such woman whose betrayal sent him far away to battle Natas’ rebellion. He longs to return to his father’s kingdom in Nevaeh but must first complete an unknown mission.

     After Savion falls off his ship during a storm, he wakes on the shores of an island with visions of a dark haired mermaid tending his wounds. When a woman similar in appearance begs for his protection, he is suspicious.

     Perdita has never met anyone as honorable as Savion. Even though he shuns her every advance, she falls for him. But as the end of her time on land approaches, she faces the hardest decision of all, save Savion and remain cursed for all eternity or break the curse and watch the man she loves die.

My review:

     WOW! It sucked me in!

     If you want a wonderful romantic novel to take you away, this book is perfect.

     If you want a book that will draw you in and give you a deeper meaning to search for while reading it, this book is perfect.

     When I started reading this book I was feeling like I needed to read it quickly and just be amused by it. What I found instead was a very deep story that I found I needed to take my time with it and just absorb all the nuances that it contains. There are many points that can just be taken at face value as an entertaining read. But they can just as well be applied to mankind today and how we live our lives and treat other people.

     The characters are so well written that the attitude each one has towards other people is very clearly presented. There are greedy, money hungry people. There are power hungry people. There are those who are only wanting their needs met. Then there are some who are just looking for how they can help others. Just like all the different types of people that we all run into in our own lives.

     The way the romance develops and grows is fantastic. As the romance builds the question is will the characters grow in emotional maturity and become better people because of it. I couldn’t put the book down until I found the answer to this very important question.

     The one additional thing that really captured my interest was in trying to identify different situations and draw the parallel to a time period or situation in the bible. This is a difficult thing to present in a novel and yet MaryLu has done a fantastic job of it.

     I absolutely LOVE this book. Standard rating systems have 5 stars as the maximum but here on my own blog I’m going to take the liberty of doubling it for this book because it is just THAT WONDERFUL! I’m giving it 10 stars and I don’t care whose mind that messes with. I cannot stress my recommendation of this book enough! Get a copy! Read it once, twice, or a dozen times! I know I will be reading it again!