Posted in Book Reviews

Blood and Stars by Jaime Lee Mann

Blood and Stars (Legend of Rhyme, Book #5)

Blood and Stars by Jaime Lee Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is the fifth book in a series, Legend of Rhyme. As it is aimed at readers between 12 and 16, I had one of our middle school students read this and provide his thoughts. He did not read the first four books, although one of his fellow peers has read them. He felt a bit confused with some of the happenings which I contribute to having not read the previous installments. The writing is good, with only a few typos, and age appropriate and the characters seem realistic and relatable. He did find it confusing where the characters stood since it seemed they switched opinions frequently but this may make sense for someone who has followed them along from the start. He mentioned the poem giving some information about what has happened in previous installments being somewhat helpful. Overall, we agree that this series would make a good addition to a school or home library. Since he enjoyed the read, finished the book, and asked for the entire series, I feel it is deserving of four stars: “really liked it”
We received a temporary digital copy in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. This in no way influenced his opinion, which belongs solely to him. No other means of compensation were provided.



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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Foundryside is a very well written novel with elements of fantasy that at first feels familiar but then takes the reader on a complex, rich, intriguing adventure. Every element Bennett incorporates elevates the plot and characters. The characters are very well devised and fleshed out. His world-building skills are fantastic and perfectly unique. From the very first page, readers are drawn in to a layered and detailed adventure that maintains its quality through the final pages. I admit I was surprised at just how enjoyable this read was. For anyone who enjoys, dabbles in, or is curious about fantasy stories, I highly recommend taking a chance with Foundryside. I received a temporary digital copy in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. This review is solely my opinion and belongs to me.



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Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Burden of Proof starts out with plenty of establishing the setting and main plot thread. This can feel a bit overwhelming or read slowly. Given a chance, the reader becomes drawn in and is taken on quite a journey. Bunn manages this without injecting anything suggestive that would offend sensitive readers and without profanity or impropriety. Even with the fast pace, readers are given enough details to understand the characters and picture the scenes. Overall, the theme is positive and one we could all take to heart. The writing is well-crafted and easy to read. I would not dismiss it too quickly just because it has science fiction elements. You may just miss out on a solid and enjoyable read. I wavered between three and four stars. Three stars (on Goodreads) is “liked it” while four stars is “really liked it” and while I liked it, I feel it should receive four stars as it was well-written and more readers should try something a little different. We received this novel through Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced opinions or encouraged a higher rating. This review is solely my opinion and belongs to me. No other means of compensation were provided.



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The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

The Love Note

Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The Love Note is a blend of positives and less intriguing areas. The overall plot is interesting with elements of mystery and romance set in Victorian England. There are several shifts in the plot as the characters search for information about the letter. This allows the reader to learn more about them through both 1st person and 3rd person points of view. This can be an annoyance for some readers. I found a lack of depth and details as well as feeling pulled out of the setting due to the modern way the characters expressed their relationship with God. I also felt there was a lack of authenticity relating to the era. Add in a plethora of over describing everything and overly infusing descriptions of the characters emotions. This works for some readers but I found it way over the top, flowery to the most extreme. The romance aspect between the main characters is nice, although a bit predictable. Overall, setting aside the minor annoyances, this is a fun easy read although, I would not classify it as historical. We received this novel through Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this influence my opinion, which is solely my own. No other means of compensation were provided.



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Softly Blows the Bugle by Jan Drexler

Softly Blows the Bugle (The Amish of Weaver's Creek, #3)

Softly Blows the Bugle by Jan Drexler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Drexler has a way with words as she crafts a story that feels authentic with characters so well fleshed out you feel they were real people and could walk right out of the pages. There are a few surprises along with tender moments and heartfelt healing. A few times I felt the plot was a little disjointed or predictable but it was not significant enough to ruin the read. Even though this is the third novel in the series, The Amish of Weaver’s Creak, it is written well enough to stand alone. I would still suggest reading the first two. Overall, the story has a good pace with well-developed characters and places and a solid intertwining of faith. This novel was provided as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own personal opinion and belongs solely to me. No other types of compensation were provided.



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The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

The Key to Love

The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


We have heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” and yet I am forced to admit that the cover to this novel drew me in. The synopsis and cover present an endearing love story promise. Once the read begins, there is a laundry list of issues that cumulatively take what could have been a great read and turns it into an eye-rolling, sighing, disappointing ride. Some of the language was a bit sharp, distasteful, for a Christian Fiction novel. The overall plot was decent and most of the characters were well fleshed out, although not your typical sweet romantic story. Overall, it is a decent story if you enjoy odd matches and do not mind certain word choices or situations where women are disrespected. This novel was provided by Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. No other types of compensation were provided. This review is my opinion and belongs to me.



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Nine by Rachelle Dekker

Nine

by Rachelle Dekker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Initially, the idea of discovering who Lucy, is and following along with Zoe to unravel the mysteries was intriguing. The plot started out good but felt as though a few strings were forgotten or not clear enough to follow and the ending was not a complete wrap-up. This could be due to additional information coming in another installment of a series. From here, this novel felt as though it were yet another rewrite of a tried and true story with nothing surprising or inventive. Although this is a Christian Fiction novel, a word of warning: there are very detailed and graphic descriptions of violence and torture in significant volumes. At one point, I had to put it down and read something else, it is that detailed. If you are sensitive to this type of content, find something else to read. If it does not bother you, feel free to dive in and enjoy a well-written novel with uniquely developed characters on a thrill ride. This novel was provided in exchange for an honest review through Revell Publishing. No other type of compensation was provided. This review is my own personal opinion and belongs only to me.



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The Escape by Lisa Harris

The Escape (US Marshals, #1)

Escape by Lisa Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Lisa Harris is a name that means a well-written novel with excitement and believable characters. The Escape provided just that and more. The read was suspenseful and certainly leaves the reader wanting to continue the story in the next book of this series, US Marshals. As with all of Harris’ novels and Revell Publishing, there are no unpleasant surprises with language or fade-to-black type scenes. The plane crash and subsequent days are the type that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat. It is believable, authentic, and chock full of details without dragging on at any point. This novel, and likely the subsequent novels in the series, come with a high recommendation from us. This novel was provided by Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. No other type of compensation or agreement was involved. This opinion is entirely my own and belongs to me.



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The Conqueror by Bryan M. Litfin

The Conqueror (Constantine's Empire, #1)

The Conqueror by Bryan M. Litfin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Litfin is able to craft an authentic story, remaining true to our understanding of life in Rome around 312 AD. Each scene provides a vivid portrayal of the goings on, especially when it comes to combat, and characters that feel authentic for the era and location. The tension was palpable and the historical content well-researched with a wealth of information for the reader before the story begins. That said, there is also a considerable amount of information throughout the story that pulls the reader away from the characters. I did find the use of modern phrases blended with Roman to be off-putting and making for a frustrating read. Another note, for those who are sensitive to sexual content: there is a considerable amount of sexual content, very young women portrayed in a sexualized manner, immorality, and using sexualized descriptions unnecessarily. I received a complimentary copy of this novel through Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is my own opinion and belongs solely to me. No other means of compensation have been provided.



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I blame 2020

As this year begins to approach its end, I pause to reflect on everything that has occurred in the space of 11 months. Even with the craziness that is 2020, I am thankful for the blessings in my life and the love that is family. I hope and pray those in need of some positivity will find enough to soldier on and that 2021 will not be anything like 2020. We are still healthy, although, to say we are busy is an understatement. Stay healthy, stay safe, and remember: Do your best and leave the rest; it’ll all come right some day or night.