Book Review: Dana’s Valley by Janette Oke

Even though this is not a new book, or a book by an indie author, this story made such an impact on me I want to share it. (And it’s a great thing to add to your Christmas list!!! :) )

 

Dana’s Valley is my second favorite book of Janette Oke’s beside the Love Comes Softly series.  This is the only book I have read that made me cry pretty much all the way through.  It really gave me a glimpse into  what life is like when a loved one has cancer.

 

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From the back cover:

Erin Walsh thinks her family is as close to perfect as it can be. When one grim diagnosis is all it takes to shake her family to the core, she wonders if they can ever go back to they way they were. Erin’s attempts to go about life as usual feel empty and as each member of her family seems to struggle alone, she is about ready to give up on God. However, Erin has yet to learn that God will never give up on her.

 

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I was more than happy to receive it as a gift. You can’t go wrong with this amazing story! But have a box of tissues nearby!

Courage and Corruption Blog Tour

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About the Book

Catherine is going with her mother and younger siblings to the mountains to hide from the coming war. While she fears what might happen she is looking forward to some time away from her twin brother, with whom she often fights. One foolish act changes all their plans, and one story caused not only confusion, but more fighting.

Christopher does not believe his father’s story that they are descended from royalty. He is sure the story his father tells cannot be true. However, he is forced to go to the mountain castle of Coraway along with his mother and siblings. Will his father ever see him as a man? Will he and his twin ever be able to stop fighting?

Little do Catherine and Christopher realize that they hold the key to Taelis’ future in their hands. While they discover the truth before it is too late?

 

Find it on Goodreads

 

 

About the Author

111-author-closerSarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

You can find her at her website: www.thedestinyofone.com

 

 

My Review:

4 of 5 stars

 

Courage and Corruption was a sweet, romance-free story of two siblings and their struggle to get along. It wasn’t your typical cutesy sibling rivalry story, as the twins were 15. Their constant bickering was becoming a huge problem and lack of maturity was keeping them from doing things that other children their age did. I think any reader who has siblings can relate to the desire to argue. This story shows what can happen when bickering is allowed to get out of hand.

 

There was one plot twist I wasn’t at all expecting, which is always fun! I’m looking forward to reading forthcoming books in this series!

 

Follow the Tour

November 15

Faith Blum

Lakeside Publications

Claire Banschbach

 

November 16

Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father

 

November 17

Learning Resource Directory

Into the Bookcase

 

November 19

Gods Peculiar Treasure

A Pinch of Faith

 

Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight Release

 

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Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Samara’s Peril, has been released! Samara’s Peril is the third book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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About the Book
When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.
Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

And now, for my interview with Jaye.

 

Welcome, Jaye! I’m so happy to have you here on my blog!

 

Thank you so much for having me! :)

 

  1. What is something that writing has taught you?

 

Patience. :P It definitely takes a lot of patience. And dedication. It would be really easy to give up if I didn’t love it so much.

 

  1. Has writing brought you closer to the Lord? If so, how?

 

Yes, I believe it has. Life is so crazy, and sometimes you just can’t imagine what is going in. When I write, I can see how everything works together for the best. It’s a constant reminder that, just like the stories I write, there is an Author who sees how it all works together.

 

  1. How do you get through the ‘low points’ in writing?

 

I have had a tendency toward bad writer’s block. I have found that the best way to get past it is to just write, no matter how terrible it might be. You can always fix it later. Then there’s the times when you just feel like you’re not a good writer at all. No matter how many books I write and publish, I always have times, usually right before I publish, that I wonder if the book is really any good. I think every writer feels that at times. At that point, you have to remember that if you love it, that’s the most important. We writers write because we have to. We’d go a little crazy if we couldn’t.

 

  1. What was the hardest thing about writing Samara’s Peril?

 

Well, this book has a Savior figure in it, and that is never easy to write. For one, I never feel qualified to try to portray Christ in fiction. It involves a lot of second-guessing and wondering if you’re doing it well enough. Then, you start to wonder how others will react. That was definitely the hardest part of this book.

 

  1. What is your advice to aspiring authors?

 

Read, research, and study. Read lots of books. This really helps you develop your style. Also do a lot of research about writing and publishing in general. The more you know about the process, the better. And, of course, study the craft. Learn the “rules.” It doesn’t mean you have to always follow them (I don’t), but you need to know them anyway. Then it’s just a lot of practice and learning from experience.


My review of Samara’s Peril:

Ooooohhhhhhh, Samara’s Peril.  The much awaited sequel to The King’s Scrolls. This book was absolutely incredible. So many things about it were just… *squeals giddily*

 

Plot/Storyline: 5/5

Absolutely fantastic. I thought nothing could be better than Resistance, but obviously I was wrong.

 

Characters: 5/5

The character development was so well played out. I wanted to jump into the story and wring a few character’s necks (and others needed some hugs).

 

Writing: 5/5

Stayed true to Jaye L. Knight style. I loved it.

 

Dialogue: 5/5

Better than the last two books. If such a thing is even possible.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

I actually had to practice some self control when reading this book, as I sadly had to work it into my “young adult” duties. Even so, I read it in just a couple of days. It was absolutely impossible to put down.

This book was so good that I actually locked my keys in the car. How you ask? I was in the chapter 14-15 area (those who have read it know what an intense spot that is). I arrived about fifteen minutes early for my class, so I whipped out the Kindle and frantically read. When it came time to go inside, my brain was still far away in Ilyon, so I tucked the Kindle in my purse, locked the car with the on-the-driver’s-door button, and sprinted indoors.

Four hours later, I dig in my purse for the keys so we can get home. They have vanished. I dumped out the contents of my purse. There were keys for the other 3 cars my family owns, but no keys for the car I drove here.

* sigh *

My mind flitted back to the ONE TIME I locked the keys in the car (last year). But no, surely I’m not that clumsy. (Well…yes I am, but I had come up with a pretty good system and it hadn’t happened since that first time.) Then again, I’m not really in my right mind (half of my brain is still in Ilyon). Hanging my head, I make my way into the parking lot. My brother managed to open the car with the fancy little keypad unlocker. I climb into the driver’s seat, trying very hard not to panic. How in the world should I tell my mom that I’ve lost the car keys and she needs to come pick us up? (Note we’re an hour away from home.)

Lo and behold, there, dangling from the ignition, are the keys.

End of story.


About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Schedule

Friday, May 13

 

 

Saturday, May 14

 

 

Sunday, May 15

 

 

Monday, May 16

 

 

Tuesday, May 17

 

 

Wednesday, May 18

 

 

Thursday, May 19

 

 

Friday, May 20

 

 

Saturday, May 21

 

Book Review~Dare by Tricia Mingerink

I really hadn’t heard much about this book before I downloaded it. I don’t remember exactly what made me want to read it in the first place, but I probably saw it on someone’s blog (it seems that I find a lot of books in that way). Boy, was I in for a surprise.

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Plot/Storyline: 5/5

How many ways can I say awesome? Amazing. Stupendous. Astonishing. Phenomenal. Need I go on?

Note to you non-fantasy people: Even though this book is listed as fantasy, there was absolutely no magic or prophecies or anything of that sort. The feel of the book was that of medieval historical fiction.

 

Characters: 5/5

Tricia Mingerink has an amazing gift for creating 3 dimensional characters. There are only a handful of books I’ve ever read where I remember feeling so connected to the characters.

 

Writing: 5/5

Her style is so different and refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Dialogue: 5/5

Absolutely killer dialogue. It was like I was hearing every word, seeing every raised eyebrow, and watching every finger twitch.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

More like 10/5. I loved this book. Way more than I ever expected to. I mean…knife-wielding knights dressed in black, who creep about the countryside spying on nobles? How much cooler does it get?

Book Review: Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

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I had seen a lot of posts about Resistance on many of the blogs I read. After about a year of seeing post after post about how awesome Resistance was, I decided to give it a try for myself.

I am so glad I did.

This book has been put on my list of favorites. That is a high honor for any fantasy book in my mind (I don’t typically care for fantasy).

At first, I read this book on my iPhone with the kindle app (and went cross-eyed). Then I ordered the paperback. When it finally arrived, I may or may not have been clutching the book to my chest and jumping up and down, squealing like a piglet for several minutes. The sheer beauty and massiveness of a 500 page book struck me silly. I am very happy that no one pulled out the video camera for that moment.

Okay…enough gabbing…here’s the review!

Plot/Storyline: 4/5

It was slow to start, and I feel that some parts in the beginning could have been condensed. Once the story started rolling though, it didn’t stop. (And I mean buckle-up-tight-didn’t-stop.)

 

Characters: 5/5

The characters were AMAZING. Jaye was able to develop them all in so many ways…I felt like I knew each one of them.

A few minor things that bugged me; there were a lot of male characters with one-syllable names that began with T.  It got confusing at times. Also, most of the characters had blue eyes. More variance in that department would have been nice.

 

Writing: 5/5

Outstanding! I love the deep point of view. If you don’t know what I mean, read the story and you’ll be able to tell a difference.

 

Dialogue: 4/5

Could have been better, but was far from deplorable.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

After the first hundred pages, I could not set this book down. Seriously. My family had to whack me on the head if they wanted to get my attention.

 

This book is not one that can be taken lightly…it packs a punch.  (A good punch!) Don’t try to read this book and the next in the series consecutively. I, for one, would be crying for days if I did that. :)

Book Review: Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good

Counted Worthy is a book I had been wanting to read for a LONG time. I was so excited to finally read it…and to add another book to my list of favorites.

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Plot/Storyline: 5/5

Well executed and well structured. Not to mention realistic and extremely enjoyable.

 

Characters: 5/5

I loved the characters. Heather confused me a little at first, but as the book went on I felt like I got to know her much better and she wasn’t so mysterious.

 

Writing: 5/5

Not only was the writing spectacular, the pacing of the story was one of the best I have seen. Had the book been any longer, it would have felt dragged out. Had it been shorter, it would have felt too fast.

 

Dialogue: 5/5

Perfect!

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

Talk about impossible to put down. Each chapter left me on the edge of my seat and I had to keep reading! (I may or may not have postponed math one day in order to finish it.) The sequel to this book CANNOT come soon enough!!

 

Have you read Counted Worthy? What did you think of it?

Book Review: Becoming Nikki by Ashley Elliot

9781492877349_p0_v1_s192x300I had been wanting to read Becoming Nikki for a long time…ever since I saw the author’s interview on Homeschooled Authors. The plot intrigued me, as did the fact that the book was about sibling relationships.

But wow.

This book totally took me by surprise.  

 

Plot/Storyline: 5/5

I was completely riveted by this book from the first page. The entire plot was so well executed and realistic.

 

Characters: 4/5

I loved the characters…well, except for the ones I didn’t like. But I’m pretty sure those ones were supposed to be disliked.

My only gripe is that I wish Nikki and Alec’s dad had been a more significant part of the story.

 

Writing: 5/5

It was amazing. Absolutely unheard of for a debut novel.

 

Dialogue: 4/5

Sometimes, it was hard to understand what the characters were trying to say. Elliot used real-life lingo/slang, which made it sometimes hard to comprehend. But, it is how most people talk these days, I had just never seen it written on paper.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

Absolutely couldn’t put it down, it was so good. I had a day off and read the book in about six hours. I wish it had been longer.

 

Book Review: Resist by Emily Ann Putzke

Being part of the advanced reader’s team for Resist was an absolute privilege. Thank you, Emily, for letting me read your amazing book!

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Emily took the lives of Hans and Sophie Scholl and brought them to life in a beautiful, realistic manner that pulls the reader into their terrifying world of Nazi Germany. This is not at all a light read; be prepared to cry. :)

 

Plot/Storyline: 4/5

Since Resist is about real people’s lives, there wasn’t much of a “normal” plot for the book. However, it wasn’t needed, as the lives of the Scholl’s and their friends was exciting enough without a typical fiction plot.

 

Characters: 4/5

I felt like the characters were a bit vague and could have been built upon. It was far from horrible, though. :)

 

Writing: 5/5

Emily’s writing is always amazing, and this book was no exception.

 

Dialogue: 5/5

Beautifully done.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 4/5

Around the middle, the book got a little slow. This book couldn’t be described as a thrilling adventure, but is was very good. I learned a lot about WWII.

 

Warnings: Some frightening scenes of warfare and ghettos that might not be appropriate for younger readers. Also, mild language was present.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Emily is an extremely talented writer and I can’t wait to see how her writing continues to grow with each book!

 

authorpictureAbout the Author:

Emily Ann Putzke is a young novelist, historical reenactor, and history lover. You can learn more about Emily and her books on her blog, Goodreads, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to enter Emily’s generous giveaway!

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Writing Book Reviews

(Yeah, that’s a terrible title. Sorry. It’s late, and I’m tired.)

I’m certainly don’t claim to be an expert in the area of book reviews, but I enjoy reading and writing book reviews and have learned a few things along the way.

Book reviews are touchy things…not only can they benefit the author, but they can gratefully influence prospective readers as well. A review can be the difference between someone buying or not buying a book. Here are a few key areas that I look for when reading and writing book reviews.

1. The Storyline.
How did you like the story?  What particular aspects of the plot did you enjoy/appreciate? Was the plot predictable or full of twists? Did it keep you reading or were you having to make yourself read?

2. The Writing.
Was the writing style engaging or just so-so? Were there so many little misspellings, incorrect punctuation, and grammar mistakes that it drove you crazy?

3. The Characters.
How personable were the characters? Were they real? Did you feel like you knew them by the end of the book?

 

When I am reading reviews, I try to look for the aspects of the review that has these key items in them, as those are generally the most helpful. I want to know why somebody liked the book and what they liked about it…not just that it was absolutely amazing. :)

What about you? Do you like reading reviews? Writing them? I want to know!

 

Book Review: The Unexpected Request by Rebekah Morris

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The Unexpected Request has been my favorite book of Rebekah’s yet. I loved the western adventure atmosphere, strong sibling relationships, and general edge-of-my-seat feeling! :)

 

Plot/Storyline: 5/5

I kept thinking that I knew exactly what was coming next, and how the book would end, but wow…around ever corner was a new surprise I hadn’t anticipated!

 

Characters: 5/5

Likeable characters that markedly grow and mature throughout the book. In my opinion, character development in this book is Rebekah’s best work.

 

Writing: 5/5

Very good. Few typos (I can’t remember any, actually), strong prose, and natural to read.

 

Dialogue: 5/5

Typical Rebekah Morris. She always does a good job with dialogue.

 

Want-to-read-ability: 5/5

I had a hard time concentrating on anything until I finished this book. All the unexpected twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. This was a book where my family had to tap me on the head to get my attention. :)