Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

‘Thief of Glory’ Book Review March 16, 2015

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Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

My Rating: 5/5

I was sitting at a quiet table in the back of the restaurant’s dining room. My friend was sitting across from me, but I hardly noticed he was there. There had been several minutes of silence, when I suddenly shouted out “WHAT?!”, drawing strange glances from customers and coworkers alike. My break ended only a couple minutes later, leaving my mind spinning with the plot twist I had just read. The remainder of my shift, my thoughts kept turning towards my book, eager to clock off and discover what happened next.
It is very rare that a book can engage and capture you in such a way. This one can, and does. I was quite surprised at how well-written, intriguing,  and engaging this book is. My curiosity was piqued by the cover, and WWII theme, yet my expectation went no further.
Within the pages of this book, however, you find quite a gem.  It contains mystery and suspense, action and adventure, romance (without being overpowering or sappy) as well as sacrifice. Young Jeremiah tells the story of his family and friends during their wartime imprisonment in the Dutch East Indies. Seeing the world from his 10 – year-old point of view, and then later seeing the impact it has in his adult years tells a beautiful tale of love, healing, and ultimately redemption.
My one word of warning would be that this book does contain some mature content (drugs and forced prostitution are mentioned in passing). While the story is beautiful, I would caution younger readers.
I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a novel that entertains, intrigues, teaches, and touches you.
I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

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‘A Cast Of Stones’ Book Review February 19, 2014

downloadTitle: A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword book 1)

Author: Patrick W. Carr

My Rating: 5/5

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book to read it. What I found was a delightful surprise. With an entirely  unique spin to the typical story of kings, adventure, sword fights, and quests, this book grabbed my attention and had me hooked to the very end.

Errol Stone has no idea of the amazing talent and potential that he possesses. He sees himself as almost anyone else does. As  a drunk. However, when someone offers to pay him for delivering a message, he quickly accepts, thinking that the money would help him to purchase more ale. What follows this seemingly simple task is an unforgettable, and unpredictable adventure that will change his heart, and his destiny.

I absolutely loved the setting of this book. Carr did an excellent job at painting a vivid picture of Errol’s surroundings that helped me to become much more engaged in the plot. The time and culture in which this story occurs drew me in quickly and easily. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the way in which Errol’s character matures, changes and learns throughout the book. This made him seem so much more real and believable. I soon became very attached to his character, and found myself rejoicing in his victories and grieving over his trials.

My only negative remark in regards to this otherwise wonderful masterpiece would be that at times I felt that particular characters entered and left the story far too quickly, leaving little time for them to truly become developed or contribute much to the plot. I found myself waiting for them to somehow be worked back into the story, thinking that they had left far too abruptly, but they never did. However, this is only the first book in the series, so perhaps Carr plans to reunite the characters in a later book.

Over all, I would say that this creative, engaging and wonderfully written book is one that I would most definitely recommend, and greatly enjoyed!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Book Review September 6, 2013

9780310730538Title: Alone Yet Not Alone: Their Faith Became Their Freedom

Author: Tracy Leininger Craven

Date I Finished Reading: August 26,2013

My Rating: 5/5

The following description is from Zondervan.com:

The Leininger family settled deep within America’s new frontier in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. A sudden Indian raid changed their lives forever. This story retells the heroic and daring escape of Barbara Leininger, and the touching reunion with her sister, Regina, after nine years. It also gives us an endearing portrayal of the love between family members and the strength of childhood memories. Father and Mother Leininger’s commitment to ‘hide’ God’s Word in the hearts of their children.

I remember reading this book several years ago. At the time I found the story to be admirable and inspiring. As I recently have reread the book, in anticipation for the upcoming release of the movie, things are no different. I still find the story within its pages to be touching.

Based on a true story, this book offers young readers (as well as older readers) a glimpse of what life was like for many people in America’s past. As young girls having moved to America, Barbara and Regina Leininger were raised by their parents to have a deep love for and faith in God. They cherished and memorized God’s words, hiding them not only in their heads, but also in their hearts. However, like all of us, their faith was tested. As the girls and their family experience tragedy, loss and separation, Barbara and Regina promise one another that no matter what, they will have faith in God, and they will not lose the song in their hearts.  As they are separated, years go by, yet each sister find her comfort and hope in the Word Of God, and in the lyrics of an old hymn.

This is a wonderful book of faith, hope and trust that will truly inspire you. I would definitely recommend it, especially to younger readers. It reminds us of how blessed we truly are to serve our great God, as well as how powerful His Word is in ourCravenT hearts and our lives.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

About the Author:

.Tracy Leininger Craven loves history and retelling real-life stories in her historical fiction books. She also loves spending her free time in the great outdoors with her husband David and their three children.

 

‘Josiah’s Treasure’ Book Review June 18, 2013

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Title: Josiah’s Treasure

Author: Nancy Herriman

Date I Finished Reading: June 18,2013

My Rating: 5/5

The following is a portion of the description located on the back cover of the book:

In 1882, Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah’s son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house, place Sarah’s life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man’s heart-and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.
Some romance novels become so cliché that they are predictable and boring. They follow the same theme and plot as several others that you have read before, and quickly lose your interest. This is not the case with Josiah’s Treasure.  Instead, I found a story that was original and creative, keeping me engaged and hooked until the very end. The credit goes entirely to Mrs. Herriman and her excellent writing ability. She writes in a manner that is descriptive, allowing you to envision the happenings in your head, yet she is not too drawn-out or wordy. She does a wonderful job of keeping you engaged and interested throughout the plot.  Another aspect of her writing style that I especially enjoyed was how well-developed the characters were. Some authors fail to create characters that are imaginable or relatable, instead becoming very vague. However, the characters involved in the story, especially Sarah and Daniel, were written in a manner that made them feel real, contributing much to the story.
Overall I would say that this was a wonderful, well-written story that I would most definitely recommend to you!
Note: I received this book free from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for my honest review, however, my opinions are my own.
 

‘Past Darkness’ Book Review May 3, 2013

pdTitle: Past Darkness

Author: Laurel Woiwode

Date I Finished Reading: May 5,2013

My Rating: 2/5

The following is a description from Amazon.com

An uplifting story about the importance of family, the power of music, and the ever-present mercy of God.

“I could hear my heart­beat in spite of the commotion and noise. I’d never seen anything so horrible…What’s wrong with me? I thought. I knew everything had gone black and silent, but I couldn’t remember why. I could hear now, but was still surrounded by darkness.”

Gabrielle Larson is a fifteen-year-old living in Chicago with reasonable plans for her life: to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a Christian musician. But when tragedy strikes, Gabrielle finds herself forced to relocate to North Dakota, where she must learn to live with the difficult reality of her past in a strange and unfamiliar place.

Years pass as Gabrielle not only fights to accept the aftermath of what’s happened, but also to survive on a farm full of horses, cows, Uncle Will, and Aunt Bea. Enduring nature’s windstorms and the loneliness of grief, she struggles to heal, and even finds herself face-to-face with the possibility of love in the most unexpected place. But the darkness is real and her heartache profound—will she ever emerge from the noisy past to catch the redemptive tune of the present?

Have you ever been extremely excited about something, only for it to not reach your expectations? That is how this book was for me. I was anxious to read it, expecting to find a touching story about a teenage girl and a horse. However, that is not what I found. Although the description hints at this type of plot, it is somewhat misleading. The story mostly takes place when Gabrielle is an adult, and the involvement of horses in the plot is minimal.

There were some aspects of the book that I did not like. For example, the writing style that is used is choppy, even childish. Woiwode uses few descriptions, the characters are not very well drawn-out and the scenes are short and vague. These characteristics combined together to create a plot that was unengaging and hard to be drawn into. Also, it seems like all of the character’s problems were solved in a flash, which is very unrealistic.

Overall I would say that this story had potential, but was poorly executed. The plot could have been touching and sweet, but due to the author’s style was instead boring and difficult to enjoy. I would most likely not recommend this book as an enjoyable read for you.

I received this book free from Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, however my opinions are my own.

To Read Chapter One of This book go here: http://static.crossway.org/excerpt/past-darkness/past-darkness-download.pdf

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Past-Darkness-Laurel-Woiwode/dp/1433535181/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

‘Take A Chance On Me’ Book Review April 7, 2013

images (3)Title: Take  A Chance On Me (A Christiansen  Family Novel)

Author: Susan May Warren

Date I Finished Reading: March 22,2013

My Rating: 5/5

Bitterness. It is like an evil that grows within us slowly and quietly. Often we don’t even realize that it is consuming us. Ruling us. Eating us alive. We fail to see that our own unforgiveness and anger is destroying us. This is exactly the scenario that Darek Christiansen is in. For far too long — nearly three years —  he had harbored anger, bitterness, and hatred against Jensen Atwood, the man who used to be his best friend. Then comes Ivy Madison, whose painful, unstable past has caused her to become lonely, maybe even bitter towards God. Both of these people struggle to forgive someone. They struggle to move on. Is it possible for them to forgive, accept, and love again? And can God truly work ALL things out for good?

This is one of those “I cannot put this down! What is gonna happen next?!” Type of books. I fooled myself into thinking I could read a few pages and come back to it later. However a few pages turned into a chapter, a chapter into a few more and two days later? A finished book.  You KNOW a book is good when it does this to you. It became quite obvious as I read that Susan May Warren is a very talented author to whom much credit is due. She works suspense, romance, family, faith, and healing together in a comical, engaging, addicting read. One that is very hard to put down.

There were several aspects of this book I liked. One in particular would be the characters. Warren does a phenomenal job  at creating real, down-to-earth characters who capture your heart and attention. Each one is well thought-out, contributing to the story. Another aspect I enjoyed would be the originality of the plot. Some books (especially in the christian romance genre) can follow a cliché story line. You know what I mean. Many books follow such a common theme that you find them predictable and unengaging. This is very much not the case here. The plot was original with unexpected twists and turns, as well as real struggles that are easy to relate to. These are two things that I was rather impressed with as I read the book.

However, the one thing that I loved was the moral to Warren’s story. This was not a book that I finished and said “aw! What a cute love story!” No. This was a book that had me saying “Wow! Susan Warren is a talented woman. And I can definitely see this book touching and ministering to many hurt people.” The plot, characters, theme, everything tied together to paint a picture of love, forgiveness, and trust. It shows us that none of us are more innocent than another before God, and that we, even though it may be difficult, should come to a place where we forgive others in the same way that God has forgiven us.

Overall, I would say without a doubt that I would recommend this book to you (although, due to more mature topics, I would caution a younger audience). I truly believe that this story will touch your heart, and perhaps even show you the blessing of and call to forgiveness.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

Check out the links below for more on this book and Susan May Warren:

You can find a copy of this book here: ‘Take a Chance On Me’ on Amazon

 

‘the Heiress of Winterwood’ Book Review March 28, 2013

thTitle: the Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On the Moors Book 1)

Author: Sarah Ladd

Date I Finished Reading: March 27, 2013

My Rating: 5/5

The following is the plot description from the back of this book:

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

 

This is a difficult book to review, not wanting to give too much of the plot away. However, I can say this. The Heiress of Winterwood, Sarah Ladd’s debut novel, is phenomenal!  I was quickly drawn into the plot and found my thoughts constantly drifting back to the story whenever I was not reading it!

There were a few qualities of this book that I especially liked. For example. I loved the setting and time era. The story is set in London in the early 1800’s. This proved to be  a very interesting, and refreshing change from many historical romance novel. This, along with the originality of the plot, kept the story from becoming cliché

Another aspect of the book that I liked was Sarah Ladd’s writing style. She writes in a manner where you feel as though you are in the room, watching what is unfolding. She uses, colorful, descriptive vocabulary that give you an idea of the scene without becoming too wordy or drawn out, which was a huge bonus in my opinion! Also, her writing style portrayed her characters excellently! Her characters did not seem unrealistic or vague, but were very relatable and clear.

Overall, I can definitely say that I would recommend this book to you! I found it engaging, interesting, and addicting, as well as a beautiful story of faith and love. It is by far one of the best books I have read in a while!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, however, my opinions are my own.

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Heiress-Winterwood-Whispers-Moors/dp/1401688357/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364485747&sr=8-1&keywords=heiress+of+winterwood