The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen (Book Review)

A girl will go to any lengths to help her tutor father, but she might fight more mystery and drama than she had bargained for when they move to a cliff-top home of a baronet and his sons.

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Title: The Tutor’s Daughter
By: Julie Klassen

ISBN: 9780764210693 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261090 (E-book)

You can watch a video trailer or read an excerpt.

My Review: Four Stars
After leaving the boarding school and their only family behind for a live-in tutoring position, Emma and her father are dismayed at their less-than-warm welcome in their new cliff-top home. The Westons have their share of secrets and Emma still can’t bring herself to trust the oldest son Henry after his cruel pranks when he attended the boarding school. Still, she is glad to find a friend in Mrs. Weston’s ward, Lizzie. Philip Weston seems to be happy to resume their friendship where it left off when he left the boarding school years ago. But who mysteriously plays the piano and enters Emma’s room at night? Who is responsible for the theft of her journal and threatening picture left in her room? Why are members of the community and some of the Weston family not interested in Henry’s project to make it easier to save lives during shipwrecks? And how is it that Emma finds herself letting her guard down in Henry’s presence?

The Tutor’s Daughter has a distinct traditional gothic novel feel, with mystery and suspense woven through each chapter. It’s easy to empathize with Emma as she copes with the turn her life has taken and learns that God does indeed answer prayers – just not always in the way we might want or expect. Even when her circumstances are frightening and she doesn’t know what will happen, God is still in control and she needs to trust in Him. In the people around her she can see the dire consequences of not following God. While she is learning these important lessons, she is able to find love and happiness along the way in a place she didn’t expect to find it.

Julie Klassen’s stories are written in the spirit of Jane Austen. The issues are real, the characters are believable, and the settings are vividly described. She is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend all her books for anyone who enjoys historical romance and drama.

Visit JulieKlassen.com for more information. The book is available from Bethany House, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Be on the lookout for her new novel releasing July 2015, Lady Maybe.

 

Cover of The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Cover of The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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Visit Carnelia with Cheryl Koevoet (Book Review)

A young woman is swept right into the middle of political turmoil in another dimension.

Title: The Carnelian Legacy
By: Cheryl Koevoet
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8089-0 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8090-6 (hc)
ISBN: 978-1-4497-8088-3 (e)

My review: Four Stars

Marisa is still reeling from her father’s death when she is sucked into another dimension and flung into the political turmoil of the land. Her new friends are trying to preserve an ancient law commanding that whoever holds the crown be of a pure bloodline, and in doing so prevent the kingdom from descending into war. The young man who is challenging them and attempting to claim the throne takes a fancy to Marisa as soon as he meets her. His interest complicates the situation, and soon it is up to Marisa to decide the fate of the kingdom. She wants to do what’s best for everyone…but can she do that and still be happy? More importantly, can she learn to trust in the Creator to guide her?

The Carnelian Legacy contains monsters, swordfights, flowers, beautiful landscapes, a ring, good guys, bad guys, a handsome prince, and tough decisions. The excitement doesn’t stop. The reader feels the struggle along with Marisa as she tries to find her place in this new world and cast her cares on the Author of the universe. Geared toward young adults, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered what another dimension might be like. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Visit TheCarnelianLegacy.com for more information and to buy the book. Also available from WestBow Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The Carnelian Legacy

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Disclosure of Material: I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The <a href=”http://booklookbloggers.com/” target=”_new”>Book Look Bloggers</a> book review bloggers program was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the book to review. Because the government thinks it has to control everything, I am disclosing this in accordance with the <a href=”http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html” target=”_new”>Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”</a>

Angie Brashear – Christian fantasy

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful cover of Never Let Go by Angie Brashear!

Never Let Go

Never Let Go

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In celebration of this cover reveal and in anticipation of the release of the novel on June 3, Angie is posting today with a little more information about the story, the reason she writes fantasy, and (of course!) how we can get our hands on our very own copies.

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Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So, in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.

But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writesChristian fantasy. Writers who are Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world.

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher readThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves.And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

And Never Let Go was born.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.

Back Cover Blurb:

Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the RendowClan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

Pre-order Never Let Go here.

Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear

Author Bio:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.

Coming tomorrow – cover reveal!

Through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) I have had, and continue to have, the opportunity to meet and connect with other writers. Everyone is in a different stage of their writing career, and it’s always exciting to hear how people have gotten where they are and where they plan to go next. One of my favorite things to talk to people about is their ideas – where they got the ideas they have already written and what ideas they have for future projects.

One author I have had the privilege of speaking with is Angie Brashear. She writes Christian fantasy (right up my alley!) and her debut novel Never Let Go is making it’s appearance in June. I’ve heard a little about her novel and I am already excited to read it!

I’m also excited to tell you that tomorrow is the cover reveal date! Wrong or right, I readily admit that I judge books by their covers, and the cover of Never Let Go is beautiful. Can’t wait for you to see it. It would entice me to pick the book up, even if I knew nothing about it.

The cover will be here on my blog tomorrow, February 18th, along with a guest post from Angie herself so you can get to know her a little more and get some more information about her new book. Please check back tomorrow!

And if you are like me and have a hard time being patient, you can browse her web site while you wait.

Escape from Pompeii with Tracy Higley (Book Review)

Book: City on Fire by Tracy Higley
My rating: 4 stars

A young slave woman escapes, disguises herself as a boy, and fights with the gladiators, all the while longing to be free. A politician moves to the city and seeks justice in a place where the people live in fear of what will happen if they do not remain loyal to those already in power. A powerful idolater wants nothing to do with God, practicing his pagan religion in the heart of the city. Their lives crash together in Pompeii. Some people learn true freedom and justice can only be found in the Lord. Others remain hardhearted and turn their back on Him. All will have to face the destruction of the city and try to survive the disaster to come.

As someone who has always been fascinated by the account of Pompeii, I was not disappointed. Higley did her research and describes the city in such a way that made me feel as if I were there and that the characters’ struggles were my own. The unlikely romance that develops between Ariella, the woman gladiator, and Cato, the young politician, left me wondering what would happen next – and my knowledge of the city’s impending doom lent even more suspense. It is a good reminder that even in a society as depraved as the Roman Empire, God is still in control and still working in the lives of His people.

An excellent read for adults. The utter depravity of the Roman Empire is necessary to the story and is incorporated tastefully and not explicitly, for which I commend the author. However, I would still recommend an adult previewing the book before allowing a young person to read it.

Available on Amazon: City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

I would love to hear your thoughts about the book, as well!

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Disclosure of Material Connection:

I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the book to review. Because the government thinks it has to control everything, I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author recommendation: Melanie Dickerson

In keeping with the topic of fairy tales, I have an author to recommend to you – Melanie Dickerson.

I discovered her books in the bookstore at the 2012 ACFW conference. I was browsing around in between workshops and not looking for anything in particular when a couple of books caught my eye. They had pretty covers and intriguing description and they had the tantalizing hint of happily-ever-afters. Plus they were a good deal since it was at the conference. So I bought them. And fell in love with them.

We’ve already established how much I love fairy tales, and you all know I write fantasy. Melanie Dickerson’s books combine both of those things. The two I’ve read so far incorporate a fairy tale theme in a Christian-based fantasy taking place in a historical type of setting with people that could be real. And don’t forget the romance! The characters are distinct and have their individual struggles and I was enthralled from the first page of both.


The Healer’s Apprentice
– Rose has been given the change to act as healer’s apprentice, despite her queasiness at the sight of blood. She’s determined to succeed in this opportunity. Her only other option is to marry a (in my opinion, disgusting) merchant who is much older than she is. Because she is in this place, she is the one who tends the future duke when he is injured. There is no way she can allow herself to fall in love with him – the young lord is betrothed already. His betrothed has been in hiding most of her life because of a threat made against her long ago.

The Merchant’s Daughter – When Annabel’s family finds themselves no longer wealthy, she ends up an indentured servant to a reclusive lord. All the rumors she’s heard of him make him out to be a frightening person. His bailiff certainly is horrible, and does nothing to hide his interest in Annabel. His advances cause more discomfort for Annabel. Over time, she comes to enjoy her time spent with Lord le Wyse, but she gets wrapped up in circumstances that could severely endanger him.

 

These are the kinds of stories I think of when I say “historical fantasy.” With the fairy tale aspect they are right up my alley. These books will appeal to readers who enjoy reading fantasy, and readers who enjoy reading historical fiction. You don’t have to like both to enjoy the stories woven in these settings. The covers are gorgeously done, too!

I have ordered Melanie Dickerson’s other books and eagerly await their arrival. Let me know what you think if you have read her stories, and if you have anything similar to recommend, do share.

Pieces of ACFW magic

Judging from my writer friends’ blog posts, I am not the only one who had an incredibly magical time at the ACFW conference this year. Some got to meet Frank Peretti, ride in a limo, muffins, The Wizard of Oz, The Handle Bar, and more. Check out their blogs to see their stories.

  • Rajdeep Paulus barely made it onto her plane in time, but she did make it! Her time at the conference included an opportunity to meet Tosca Lee, ride in a limo, and eat two pumpkin muffins.
  • Lorraine Beatty tried to steal a chair from agent Chip MacGregor, and met writers of many ages from all over the world.
  • Allison Garcia had a chance to see the sights of Indianapolis, including the “Handle Bar.”

What kind of exciting, magical adventures have you had recently? Hey, even pumpkin muffins can be an adventure! It’s all in how you look at it. Haven’t had an adventure lately? Go make your own.