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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Right and Wrong Doesn’t Come in 50 Shades of Any Color

Many of my Facebook friends are boycotting a certain movie that’s coming out this weekend (and, presumably, the book that inspired it). They are, in turn, encouraging all of their Facebook friends to do the same thing. They don’t want to promote and support sexual assault/abuse, they say, and that is what they claim the story is all about. That’s why they have a problem with it.

I have also been boycotting the same book/movie, and will continue to do so. In fact, I have been boycotting it so much that I wasn’t even going to acknowledge its existence. But the things I’ve been seeing and hearing lately on the subject prompted me to address it.

Just as some of my friends plan not to, I of course will also not be supporting this book/movie. But my perception is slightly different from theirs. I’m not boycotting it because of whatever the story is all about. I’m not even entering that debate. My line of thinking didn’t even go that far when I was presented with the book/movie material. My line of thinking stopped immediately upon the realization that this work of fiction is nothing short of pornography. From what I can tell, the entire story line revolves around the intimate and explicit details of a couple’s physical relations – an unmarried couple, at that.

What a mark of where our society is. A book/movie is built entirely on lewd content and people don’t have a problem with that.

Wait, what? When did this type of material and behavior become okay – even welcomed in polite society?

What we see, hear, think about has an effect on us, one way or another. The more we give in to pornographic material, the more we compromise our character. We lessen the value of (real!) relationships, we entertain sinful thoughts which can lead very easily to sinful actions, we contemplate things that we should never be dwelling on, we accept certain behavior that should not be accepted. It’s disrespectful to ourselves and every human being around us. Why are relationships are in such sad shape and falling apart? Because if this is the kind of trash we consume, then we are not going to appreciate the true worth of something valuable when we are presented with it.

Christians, I’m speaking directly to you now – God has graciously provided instruction on what love is, how relationships should work, how to respect one another, how to bring glory to God. Too much of what we seek and too much of the way we live is exactly the opposite of this, and is harmful to us.

So forgive me, but I will not boycott this book-about-to-be-released-as-a-movie because of whatever assault or abuse you think is contained in it.

I will boycott it because it flies in the face of everything I should stand for as a Christian, because of the rank pornography and sinful lifestyle it promotes, because THAT is the real issue here, not my opinion of one fictional character’s intentions toward another fictional character.

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>

Experience the Protestant Reformation with Karen Dees (Book Review)

A woman during the Protestant Reformation must decide where her loyalties – and her heart – lie.

Title: The Ruby Ring
The Ruby Ring
By Karen Rees
ISBN: 978-1-936746-46-0

My rating: 4 stars

Jane Horne is living in England during the time of the Protestant Reformation. She envisions a future with one man who is loyal to William Tyndale’s efforts to produce and share an English Testament. This dream is ripped away when Owen Alton must leave the country. Jane struggles to find where her loyalties lie in this conflict, while facing turmoil in her personal life when she discovers secrets about her past. In the end she must decide whether to make God’s Word or her own desires the priority.

Rees presents another side of the Reformation not taught in the history books – the personal side. While the heroine was not seeking to be caught up in the drama of the Reformation, she is confronted with it and must decide who is in the right. She watches others suffer the consequences of their desire to learn from God’s Word for themselves, even including death. The struggle Jane Horne faces is applicable to the reader today as each of us must decide who we will follow – God or ourselves.

After reading the back cover and the description on the front it might sound as though the book focuses more on the historical facts surrounding William Tyndale’s pursuit of an English Testament. However, the story is more personal than that, delving into the lives of Jane Horne and Owen Alton as they try to do what they think is the right thing even if it isn’t always easy. This is an excellent story for anyone who enjoys history and likes to imagine what individuals’ personal lives were like.

Available from Crosslink Publishing and on Amazon.com

The Ruby Ring

The Ruby Ring

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Disclosure of Material: I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The BookCrash.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 CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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.

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.”