Monday, August 13, 2018

Engraved on the Heart - Book Review


3/5 stars.

This gripping novel transports you into the life of a shy Southern young lady who is thought too weak to do much. Her epilespy causes shame even to her own family. But there is a young doctor who has been a friend since childhood, standing up for her against bullies. Soon, with his influence, our heroine, Keziah, is drawn into the heart-wrenching life of severely abused slaves.

Keziah determines to do something about it, despite her upbringing, her family's wishes, her social circle, and her fainting spells. She trusts that the Lord will keep her. I admired her bravery, but wondered if she was right to keep it a secret from her parents. In essense, she feels the need to live a double life to save the lives of others. In such a case, it may be necessary.

More trouble heads her way, as her parents desire her to wed someone she dislikes. She goes along with it for their sake, but secretly harbors feelings for someone else. This is where I have the most qualms. There are too many romantic feelings spelled out, especially in one passage.

I like the Underground Railroad aspect, even if the Civil War wasn't so much about slavery as people may think. I do believe God used the Underground Railroad to save lives.

Overall it is an interesting, twisting tale that you will likely enjoy if you are into this period of history.

Thank you, Tyndale House Blog Network, for the chance to read this book! 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Quest for Leviathan Blog Tour - Review


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.



My Review
This is a well-written, gripping short story. I prefer longer stories in which you feel entirely submersed, but this does a good job of pulling you in, and it only gets better as it goes on. 

The characters speak with an old-fashioned feel, yet not so much that they are hard to understand. Miss Tero brings the Bible's description of Leviathan into her's, but winds a believable tale around it. You may be left wanting more, but there is also a satisfying conclusion.

I love the names, I love the details, and I love that God is pointed to so clearly.

Thank you for this story, Miss Tero! I was given a free copy in exchange for my honest review.


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



Giveaway!
Amanda is giving away TWO print copies of "Quest for Leviathan" to one winner -- one for you, and one for your friend!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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. 

Connect with Amanda
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/



Saturday, February 17, 2018

With Love, Wherever You Are - Book Review





What would you do if you just met a man and he persisted in asking you to marry him? What would you do if your parents thought you were crazy to think of accepting--and you had to agree? What would you do if you had to separate shortly after marrying, with a war separating you?

Written with all the verve of a novel, this story is more poignant because it is based on true people (the author's parents) and includes actual letters from the author's parents. Their service was amazing among the horrors, fear, and the longing for their spouses or sweethearts. Though the book is long--460 pages--they go by quickly as the dialogue and characters pop with the tenor of the 1940s.

I find it interesting to see so many words blocked out by sensors in the letters. And the code used by the main characters is too fun!

The main characters fall in love almost from the beginning, at least on the man's side. This may seem unrealistic, but it apparently happened. I knocked off a star for a bit of shallowness in the romance, but overall it's a fascinating look at wartime romance, nursing, and more! You may also feel a touch of conviction over the kind treatment of "enemies"--both of the German variety and of the coworker variety. The characters are Christian and pray occasionally, but it is not a preachy book.

The end of the book tells the story behind the story, and how the author came up with it all.

I received this book from Tyndale.

Friday, February 16, 2018

They Say We Are Infidels - Book Review



It took me a while to get through this book, partly because I lost it, and partly because it is not as riveting as I was hoping for. With a subtitle like "On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East," how can one not find it interesting?  I did find parts of it interesting, but the author herself was not really on the run. The stories of many of the people were so quick and news-like that I could not enter into their lives. Statistics and numbers are good sometimes, but I prefer a deeper look into people's lives, like a biography or autobiography, and with more quotations. We get that with a few of the people, and I did feel the horror and sadness oft-times for their troubles . . . but it was simply not enough to keep me reading non-stop. Maybe it's just me and my over-stimulated mind.

However, I do believe it is a worth-while book to read--sad, informative, inspiring. We should be praying for our brothers and sisters in other countries, who are often being persecuted, run out of their homes, and more, simply for being Christians, or non-Muslim. Even some Muslims are persecuted for not adhering to ISIS principles.

There is a mixture of Catholic, Othodox, Baptist, etc., and while they can be mentioned and provide useful examples, I would not be so careless as to put them all under a Christian banner, as the author does on occasion. They may in some way all believe in Christ, but Catholics usually mix faith and works for a different gospel.

I did not know of what to make of the politics, but I believe the author mostly lays the facts out without giving too many of her own opinions, and that can be a good thing.

I was given this book in exchange for a fair review. Thank you, Tyndale House!

Friday, February 9, 2018

White Wolf and the Ash Princess - Book Review



{My apologies for posting a day late!}

Where to start?

Izzy, the main character, leaps off the page with her quirks, insecurities, and inner voice. I can relate to her insecurities, her feeling weak and helpless. She grows considerably over the course of the book, however--maybe a bit unbelievable at times, but inspiring.

Miss Margaret is straight-laced but kind, and hides a different side. She is a mother-figure to Izzy, who does not remember her birth mother.

Jonathan is a sweetheart; though a bit over-protective and secretive, he loves and gives time after time. He has a temper, as does Izzy, and that's where it threw me a bit. *slight spoiler ahead*  I don't quite understand Izzy's sudden anger and distrust of him--it seems incongruous with the deep friendship they have, even though she learns seemingly negative things about him.

Tubs is also a fun and sweet character: chatty, sunny, and adventurous. . . . He pulls her into the mystery surrounding Jonathan, but he has no evil motives. 

I love the old castle and all that it contains! I wish this section went on longer. The inventions of Jonathan are fascinating.

The story shifts gears midway and American Indians are introduced, as well as people from Jonathan's past. Izzy journeys because it is required of her and to find belonging. There are wild animals, cold waters, snow, legends . . . and the power of forgiveness and God's Word bundled into the story.  

The writing itself is first-person present tense and a sometimes wordy and confusing, but also often lyrical and delightful, such as comparing a man's sideburns to two bushy squirrel tails.  The first setting in England seems slightly out of its time period, and occasionally the present tense awkwardly shifts to past tense, but for a first novel, it's well-done, and truly a moving story of complexity and character.



Link to Author Central:
Link to White Wolf on Amazon:


Author Bio

Tammy lives in Lower Michigan with her husband and her three children. Izzy's
home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Munising) is where she and her family
enjoy exploring. Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering, "hunting"
for birch bark and hopes to someday find a porcupine quill. White Wolf and
the Ash Princess is her first novel. She is published in Keys for Kids and has
been in children's ministry for over twenty years.


Book Description for White Wolf and the Ash Princess

Eighteen year old Izzy's limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes
her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a
thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library
shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore..."Who am I?"
Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when
she was injured in a fire. Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued
her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before they took
her in?

Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the
Gudwyne's young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property's rock
wall to a world that promises possible answers, but also great danger. A scorched
castle in the woods and a mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a
path to the New World, where she will not only have to face her own terror
but face the people responsible for her scars.

It is here, in the untamed wilds of the seventeenth century that she finds love
and a home in the most unexpected of places.