Quest For Leviathan – Spotlight & Review

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Are sea monsters a real thing? What about fire-breathing dragons? According to the Bible, there is a fire-breathing sea creature who really existed: the leviathan. Amanda Tero brings this dragon to life in her newest short story, “Quest for Leviathan.” Join Anath and his crew of ninety-nine rowers as they face the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the power of Leviathan.

About the Story

Leviathan took the life of his father.

Anath has spent three years preparing for the voyage that will end the threat of Leviathan. Yet as the Valor launches into the depths of the Mediterranean, an inward quest also begins, taking Anath to depths he is not willing to face.

Purchase an e-copy on Amazon or order a paperback.Add to your Goodreads shelf.

My Review
Though little is known about this time period, I greatly enjoyed the immersive and accurate historical feel of this Biblical fiction story. I could see the ship, feel the waves, and understand the characters’ motivations.

For such a short story, the backstory was well-developed and thoroughly presented. The reader fully understands Anath’s thought processes and feelings before the action begins. The action sequences were then portrayed well, and Anath’s spiritual struggle was gripping: I was on edge to know what he would decide. However, because of the complete backstory, I felt that the story ended a bit too soon – because Anath’s entire life purpose up to that point had been “quest for Leviathan,” I wanted to know what became of him – what did he do for the rest of his life and how did he handle any lingering negative feelings after the climax.

The Biblically accurate way in which Leviathan was portrayed was refreshing. The wise counsel and spiritual truth shared in the story was excellent. It did seem like Leviathan was too easily found when it was convenient, but perhaps that’s not inaccurate. Also, I loved the illustrations that set apart each individual section of the story.

Overall, this is an excellent short story I’d highly recommend.

Giveaway!

Amanda is giving away TWO print copies of “Quest for Leviathan” to one winner — one for you, and one for your friend!
About the Author
Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Connect with Amanda
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com
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London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn – Book Review

Check out London In The Dark by Victoria Lynn

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32832281

Plot: very good! I enjoyed the emphasis on personal interactions, character growth, and relationships – internal conflict and growth as well as the outer conflict with the “mystery.” Because villain POV snippets were interspersed in the story from the beginning, I figured out most of the plot twists and what was going on well ahead of time – so there wasn’t the suspense aspect present in some mysteries – but this didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book. It felt fresh and interesting.

Writing quality and style: I felt that this detracted just a bit from the story for me, as there were some grammatical errors, some instances of showing where telling could have been better as well as instances where I felt the narration was too detached from the characters. Still, I’ve read a later work by this author where none of these issues were present – so I’m definitely hoping that was unique to this book.

Characters: I loved the everyday mannerisms that set apart the characters – all but Olivia’s habit of touching her neck. I’m sure it’s just me, but it seemed cliche. I loved how the details of daily life were described – the little happy things especially. For most of the book, I felt the characters weren’t deep enough – I didn’t relate to or sympathize with them. In the first several pages, Cyril was a shrewd detective, but then he seemed to lose all distinct personality and become a grump who kept acting and reacting the same way, over and over, throughout most of the rest of the book – I found myself wishing for more variation in his character rather than the same basic scene repeated in every circumstance. (If you must be a grump, be an interesting one!) The same with Dudley: he was so sweet and lovable, but almost too predictably so for the first portion of the book – but then there was just enough variation and depth to make him refreshingly interesting. Olivia took a bit to understand: she seemed quite relatable at first, then uncharacteristically emotionally demonstrative at the drop of a hat (I get she had good reason; it just didn’t seem in line with her previous character to me) – and finally, naive. It was the naive stage that garnered my sympathy again, though – it seemed much more understandable and natural that the previous emotional outbursts. In retrospect, however, I don’t believe she was as demonstrative as I had the impression she was while reading; she was still at least ladylike about it.

The message: amazing! I loved how God and faith appeared naturally in the characters and their lifestyles. So well done, relatable, natural, and touching.

The ending: I loved the epilogue! So sweet. It did, however, confuse me a bit because it occurs AFTER the events in book 2 of this series – so since it’s a series, I may not have wanted to know these events this soon. 🙂 Still, it was so wonderful and wrapped up the characters.

Content: some violence, not described

Overall – if you enjoy mystery, England, or the 1910s era, read this book! Highly recommended. 🙂

There Was Always Laughter in Our House

There Was Always Laughter In Our HouseThere Was Always Laughter In Our House by Sarah Holman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Relatable, fun, mildly humorous throughout, packed with nuggets of wisdom and truth, and overflowing with the enjoyable and meaningful experiences of twenty-some years of growing up in a large homeschooled family, easy to read and difficult to put down – this book was a treat. I read large portions of it aloud in order to share the enjoyment – chuckling over the one-liners and discussing the deeper sentences with my family contributed to some memory-making of our own.

I enjoyed:

– The introduction with the backstory behind how the book came to be

– The humorous anecdotes about the little things in life – the funny mistakes that could be embarrassing but Sarah Holman and her family choose to laugh about instead – and the way they turn into inside jokes, memories to be shared and chuckled over repeatedly throughout a lifetime

– The homeschooling Q&A chapter and the “why do you have so many siblings” chapter – both how Sarah shares the humorous answers she wishes she could give to common questions, and how she also shares the kind, gentle, and wise answers she does give. So many times I’ve thought of a few of those same answers! Even though Sarah’s perspective wasn’t new to me, I appreciated having her beliefs on these issues laid out in a logical form – the simple yet clear format resonated with me and enabled me to more clearly articulate my own beliefs.

– The chapters about each of the Holman children – I enjoyed getting a little glimpse into each varied personality and the little tidbits that make each sibling unique. Sarah did an excellent job of presenting their quirks and yet entirely honoring each one as a beloved person and friend. Her relationship with each one shone through the pages and it was uplifting.

– The chapters describing unit studies – Sarah’s mother was a very creative teacher, and Sarah’s vivid and fun descriptions of some of their schooling adventures inspired me for possibilities in teaching my own children

– The reminder to challenge the know-it-all. I was one of those, and being challenged both by myself and by others around me was excellent in forming my character. This is something I need to remember and practice even now to combat boredom – there’s so much to learn that we haven’t even touched on yet!

– Sarah’s analysis of and response to homeschooling trends. What’s perfect for one family may not be the right fit for another, and she explains why and how in such clear, yet gracious, terms.

– The skirt chapter – when Sarah creates a t-shirt answering the skirt questions, I want one. Read the book to see what’s included on that shirt. 🙂 I related to every word in this chapter, and I’ll be referring back to it in future. Sarah has a gentle yet profound way of expressing exactly my own thoughts on this issue in an even clearer way than I can express them.

– Country kids and city parents – so relatable and hilarious, especially the city life elements Sarah points out that are new to her. I can relate. Country life is wonderful!

– The way the Holman parents dealt with and related to their children. So much love, gentleness, understanding, compassion, and graciousness shines through the pages of this book. Sarah’s parents truly sought to understand and empathize with each of their children, never downplaying any feeling or emotion, and treating the petty concerns of a child as real issues (because they are truly real issues to the child). This manner of child rearing is one of my own personal goals.

– The modesty chapter – again, I was reading my own thoughts transcribed in a clear and logical manner. The emphasis on the message stuck out to me. The tone is so light, so kind, so matter-of-fact, so utterly free of any traces of judgment upon others or on differing personal choices, so abhorrent of the idea of shaming anyone for any reason, and so filled with beautiful truth.

– The Rubber Duck War – the importance of communication in relationships can’t be over-emphasized, and I was happy to see this topic included and covered in such a memorable way.

– A Christmas Tree in March – reading the Holmans’ Easter traditions inspired me to begin similar traditions in our own family. Truly the resurrection is the pinnacle of our faith, and I love how Sarah’s parents chose to emphasize that by their celebrations.

– Sarah’s journey towards learning the Biblical response to tough issues and not just her political or social answer. I had a similar journey of learning how Christ in me responds to people and to issues instead of simply giving the logical answer, and it’s so encouraging to read the journeys of others in this area. Yes, a “debate-perfect” answer has its place, but the Person and Kingdom of Christ must motivate all we do and say. That’s most important.

– The matching outfit stories! I too love matching outfits and found Sarah’s stories hilarious!

– The Holman quirks mentioned in the chapter on I Know How to Play the Radio.

– The writing chapter. It inspired and encouraged me in my own writing career, as well as offered practical insight into how Sarah manages to publish three books each year. I loved her beautiful analysis of why she is a writer. Amen!

– The chapter detailing what the siblings do when the parents are gone! Read it; it’s hilarious and sounds like so much fun. 🙂

– The “Twenty Years from Now” chapter – another sweet and funny glimpse into the siblings’ interactions and personalities and an excellent way to wrap up the book.

I highly recommend this book for truth, laughs, and refreshing insight into the lives of a large homeschooled country family with quirks and a multitude of happy personalities.

View all my reviews

Christmas Comes Early! Blog Tour – Book Reviews

Christmas tour

In our house, the Christmas season gears up right around this time of year. Since it’s our favorite holiday, we enjoy extending the preparations throughout the month and a half before Christmas Day – and in this part of the country it also helps transition between the vibrant colors of fall through the gray November days before Christmas arrives. So today, we’re celebrating the release of not one, but eight new Christmas books, all written by Rebekah A. Morris. I’ll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

About the Books

Christmas Lodge Cover At the Christmas Lodge

When Desirae Richey agrees to go home with some college friends for Christmas, she expects a small family gathering. Instead she is taken to the Christmas Lodge in the snowy mountains of Canada to a noisy, fun loving, adventurous group of family and friends who welcome her as one of their own. Everything seems to be going as planned until an unexpected snowfall occurs.

My Review: At the Christmas Lodge is a whimsical story of a Christmas adventure – snow, fun and games, laughter and new friends, dangers and excitement, and perhaps even a hint of romance. I enjoyed the vivid personalities, the lively games invented by the young people during the Christmas celebration, and the deep, realistic emotions portrayed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light Christmas read. Four of five stars.

The Christmas She WantedThe Christmas She Wanted Cover

Christmas had lost its charm and wonder. Mrs. Rush hated the feeling but was powerless to fix things. Traveling to visit relatives for the holidays, the Rush children pass the time with their eyes glued to the screens of their devices. That is, until the flashing lights of a State Highway Patrol car bring their trip to a sudden and unplanned-for stop.

My Review: The Christmas She Wanted was a satisfying tale of learning to enjoy a special Christmas complete with the simplest things of life. In a world often overwhelmed with busyness, gadgets, and distractions, where are the things that matter – family, friends, love, joy, fellowship, relationship, memories, laughter, and above all, a focus on our Savior Jesus Christ? This book shows how circumstances bring this sort of Christmas to the Rush family. I found the story satisfying and inspiring – the book could be written about me – thoughts I had, feelings I’ve felt. I highly recommend this story to anyone who cares about the things that truly matter. Five of five stars.

About the Author

Author PictureRebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

 

Excerpts

Christmas Collage

Des plunged into the glittering white mass and laughed with pure joy. This was snow! ~ At the Christmas Lodge

She gave a sigh. “You know, I wish we could have a real Christmas for a change. ~ The Christmas She Wanted

Tour Schedule

November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia’s Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Once Upon an Ordinary – Review
Stephany’s BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel’s Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey’s Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Ordinary Girl Extraordinary Father – Review
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

Deliver Book Review

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This is Book Four in The Blades of Acktar, and it’s now available.

Can something broken ever heal?

Martyn is broken. After torturing his best friend, he doesn’t belong anywhere in Acktar. No matter how far he runs, he can’t lose his guilt.

Leith is broken. While healing from the torture he received at Nalgar Castle, he struggles to find his new role. But can a Blade ever outrun his past?

The country is broken. Bitterness divides town against town, neighbor against neighbor. What will it take to deliver Acktar from itself?

They face their hardest battle yet.
Peace.

Deliver was a beautiful ending to the series. After the climax and resolution in Defy, the storyline in Deliver was refreshing and satisfying. I enjoy reading about characters after the “big battle,” so an entire novel was wonderful. Furthermore, Martyn needed this book. I loved Martyn in Dare and vaulted between profound sadness and slight frustration with his choices in Deny and Defy. In Deliver, Martyn has the time, space, and circumstances to face life’s questions – not just dodge them. His self-proclaimed detestation for all things heroic stands in comic contrast to his continual heroic actions.

But Deliver isn’t just Martyn’s story. It’s Leith’s and Renna’s and Brandi’s as well – which I also appreciated. Since these books aren’t standalones, I was glad to find that the main characters from the previous books still retained the spotlight in this book, even though the spotlight was shared with Martyn.

Leith is recovering, and he has many struggles to face as he adjusts to his new life. Still hampered by his past, can he ever leave it behind and move forward in his new standing? Even though the amount of physical activity he attempted while still too injured to do anything but rest wasn’t believable to me, the portrayal of his gritty perseverance and loyalty was gripping.  Glimpsing the struggles that follow victory is invaluable – so often we focus on the victory in stories while struggling with post-victory depression or temptation in our own lives.

Renna’s also recovering from the events of Defy. Her emotional struggles after all she went through with Respen add realism to her character that’s so relatable. Her guilt and efforts to forgive herself and leave the past behind color her experiences, but she’s firm and heroic in her role as Lady Faythe.

Furthermore, a new character that I loved is introduced in this book. She’s sprightly, determined, practical, persevering, moral, matter-of-fact, hardworking – and plagued with rejection and fears. Learning her story and seeing it intertwine with the plot was a joy – she’s an invaluable addition to the series and an integral part of the plot. Her conversation and responses often made me smile.

The question of the rest of the Blades and Lords was answered well. Seeing firsthand glimpses of what they were doing added to the story. Overall, this was a satisfying ending to the series.

survive-without-a-fight

 

Buy Deliver on Amazon!

And check out my Book Spotlight of Deliver for more information on the book!

 

Christ Arose! Book Review

Empty tomb

Faith Blum has a new book! She wrote, edited, and published a short story in just three short days and you can now get it for free! Read on to learn more about it.

My Review

Christ Arose: A Tomb’s Tale is a unique look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Writing from the perspective of an inanimate object can be a challenge, but Faith Blum has risen to the challenge masterfully, creating a quick read that provides a new perspective on an old and dear story.

I particularly appreciate the use of Scripture throughout this tale, as well as the fitting incorporation of the hymn Christ Arose. Reading this story reminds me of Jesus’ words – “if these should hold their peace, the rocks should cry out.” In this book, the tomb indeed bears witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I highly recommend this story to all audiences, and it’s free, so keep reading to find out how you can secure your own copy

About the Book

3D ChristArose

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

No longer could I say I was lonely. But oh, how I wish I could! Who could have done such a thing to the Creator of the world? Who had so much hatred for Him?

Available for free on all eBook vendor:

http://books2read.com/christ-arose

About the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped

Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family. She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm where they raise goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and have 2 dogs and a varying number of cats.

Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ. If you enjoyed this book, go to her website to sign up for her Monthly Newsletter so you can get an email with fun facts, giveaways, and so much more every month. You will also find links to her other Social Media sites on her website. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her.

Giveaway

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Faith is offering a really neat giveaway for this tour. The ParLaGrace etsy seller has an April special right now for a really beautifully made block that says He Lives. Isn’t it pretty? You can enter the giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

April 22
Bookish Orchestrations-Intro Post
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima-Book Spotlight
Written Rest-Book Spotlight and Review

April 24
Leila Tualla-Book Spotlight
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Book Spotlight

April 25
With a Joyful Noise-Book Spotlight and Review
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Book Spotlight

April 26
Frances Hoelsma-Book Spotlight
Perpetual Indie Perspective-Book Spotlight and Review

April 27
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner

Excerpt

I am empty. Bereft. No one visits, no one comes near. The garden is a comfort in some ways. The beauty of the flowers, the trees, and the sky above. But I am lonely. Not like my brothers and sisters nearby. They have been used. They are filled with the bodies of their masters’ loved ones.
Yes, I am a tomb. The rock I am made from was created by God the Creator long ago. Sometime later, Joseph of Arimathea bought me and had men work on me until a beautiful place became hollowed out for my master’s body and for his loved ones when they went to be forever with their Creator.

 

Crannig Castle Book Review

crannig

Crannig Castle is here, and it’s time to celebrate with a Blog Tour! For all the fun, visit Morgan Huneke’s blog.

Today, I’m reviewing the book.

Crannig Castle is Book 3 in the Time Captives series. In this book, we find out one of the reasons so many Time Captives are needed: it’s time to find allies, and the Time Captives and their friends split up to convince them to join them. Meanwhile, Adriel is having struggles of his own.

I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two in the series. Fans of the previous books will not be disappointed by this thrilling conclusion. Even though the Time Captives and their friends plan their moves thoroughly, they can’t predict the unexpected twists and turns that the story takes. One twist, in particular, led to an event which startled me very much.  The author did a great job of weaving the plot and the missions together. The characters were relatable.

While the writing may be in a slightly simplistic style, the thrilling complexity of the plot and the characters was superb. I enjoyed the many flashbacks to the lives of the older Time Captives. The ending wrapped up the plot excellently; no one’s stories are left hanging. Personally I found the ending quite creative and perhaps the most memorable part of the entire series. Also, the development of each character throughout the series portrays a realistic and intriguing insight into their personalities. Overall, characters are a strength of this series.

If you enjoy realistic portal fantasy, pick up the Time Captives trilogy today! Books 1 and 2 are free until Friday, so be sure to grab them from the links below.

About the Book

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God, please look after Adriel. Keep him safe and keep him from acting foolish. And please help him to be able to find me.
Rae knew she could trust God to look after both of them. It was all she had now.

The Time Captives have been reunited. The rightful king has been freed. Now all that remains is to defeat the strytes who still hold a tyrannical rule over the people of Calhortz. But with their lack of soldiers, it’s a task that is easier said than done. They need allies, but are they worth it when it requires facing ghosts from their pasts?

Returning to his home country only brings the loss of Adriel’s family to the forefront of his mind. His determination to find Rae has never ceased, but now that determination could potentially destroy all that he and the Time Captives have been working towards. And his new-found faith may not be able to withstand the challenge.

Will they be able to set aside their personal struggles for the sake of the freedom of all or will they allow their pasts to consume them? Will they manage to win back Crannig Castle from the rule of the strytes? The fate of Calhortz hangs in the balance.

Crannig Castle is the final book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Buy Now!

Kindle ~ Paperback ~ Signed Copy ~ Add to Goodreads

Creighton Hill and The Crossways are free on Kindle until Friday!

Creighton Hill: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XV5R5XG

The Crossways: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015OTSCJ2

About the Author

morgan.jpgMorgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

Giveaway

Join in the excitement of Crannig Castle and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive signed copies of the entire Time Captives trilogy. The second prize winner will receive a signed copy of Crannig Castle. The third prize winner will receive an eCopy of Crannig Castle in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. 

Enter Here!