Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Painter’s Daughter involves a girl and two brothers, it could have been fairly predictable, but Julie Klassen has written a beautiful story of forgiveness, loyalty and love.

            Stephen is noble and trustworthy, like Nathaniel, but with the added distinction of being a war hero. There's an edge-of-your-seat combat scene it really brings home what these British soldiers who fought Napoleon's troops were up against. Because of Stephen’s responsibilities he comes across as gruff at times. He's thoughtful and courteous along with it, and there's always a sense that his softer, romantic side might be just about to bloom.

            As for Wesley, he was more than just another shallow and despicable brother, but is shown to have some scruples. A good portion of the story is told from his point of view, making it easier to understand how things appeared from his perspective.

            The secondary characters and sub-plots add to the story’s charm.  The little mysteries kept the pages turning. How did Stephen get his facial scar? Who was Jenny? What grudge does the mysterious Miss Angela Blake from next door carry?  How about the old, retired nurse, Winnie, who lives on the top floor? Does she really possess second sight? What lies in store for the boys' younger sister, Kate?

            When Sophie agrees to marry Stephen, she doesn’t know him, but since the father of her child has left her, he seems to be her only hope to give her child a name and family and save her from scandal. A few short weeks are spent together at Overtree Hall before Stephen must return to his regiment to fight against the French. There’s a big chance that he will not return and leave Sophie a widow. 
            Lots of tension and twists and turns and the drama of Sofie and the Overtree brothers’ makes this book an   “I can’t put it down story”.  A lovely story and I highly recommend the Painter’s Daughter. Also great for a book club read and a great gift for someone who loves historical fiction.

I received a copy of book from Bethany House Publisher through Net Galley for my review. 

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Monday, January 11, 2016

The Third Target by Joel C Rosenberg

In The Third Target, the action starts immediately. At the beginning it’s actually a flashback. The Associated Press reporter, A.B. Collins, is suddenly granted an interview with His Royal Highness, the King of Jordan, who will meet him at the Dome of the Rock; the meeting with the King, however, does not go according to plan. The plot is executed with well-paced precision, includes a mysterious Israeli love interest named Yael, and has more than enough to satisfy those who love over-the-top action.
Rosenberg spins a vivid tale of politics, intrigue, deception, and betrayal in this edge of your seat thriller. The story follows the terrifying and bloody trail left by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Woven into this heart pounding tale is an underlying thread of modern Middle Eastern history told from the perspective of a talented author and Washington insider. A chilling picture of what the Middle East might look like if current trends continue. Told from a Biblical Christian world view this novel offers a unique take on current events that will leave you thinking long after you've finished the last page.

Rosenberg's well-earned reputation for compelling, action-packed prophetical fiction thrillers like The Twelfth Imam, The Tehran Initiative, and Damascus Countdown continues.   The Third Target is an adrenaline-laced tale of international intrigue, religious fanaticism, and End-Time prophecies and impossible to put down. The well-developed cast of likeable characters, the subtle sprinkles of romance, family entanglements, and edge-of-your-seat suspense demands to be read cover to cover.  Does The Third Target foreshadow future events? Only time will tell. In the meantime I recommend this award winning read. I received copy of book from publisher for my review.
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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee

   Judas Iscariot of Kerioth is one of the most reviled men of all times; hated for his betrayal and cursed in death. But what if we aren't so different from him? Given his background, his hopes, aspirations, disappointments, grief, and internal suffering would we have done the same thing? Tosca Lee asks this question in her novel, Iscariot.
           So far I love every book I have read by this author.  Lee has a way of spinning a story and making it feel as if you are experiencing the story as it unfolds. I was concerned at first about making Judas a sympathetic character. This man that the church has condemned for years was about to take center stage in a book and the author was planning to make him likable? That's risky. After all, the story depends upon the reader and their willingness to consider an alternative perspective. I was concerned that the story would make you believe the bible was wrong to paint him as a villain. This story of fiction was expertly written on what life might have been like for this apostle chosen by Jesus.  Iscariot was going to be brilliant or a bust.  I think it is brilliant!
             Lee takes one of the most infamous men in history and does what no one has done before, made him human.  In this story it is a fictional account of Judas, but a true account of Jesus. It takes what Christians know, but presents it in a new and inspiring way. It asks us to examine ourselves and decide how different we are from Judas.  A story about Judas, it reminds the reader of Jesus--the paradox that he was and is. "How he shocked us with his compassion. With his unwillingness to restore a nation, preferring to restore individuals instead. They called him a madman. They called him a liar. As had I, but now I know him as the face of God. Who does not save us from the Romans. But saves us from ourselves."-Iscariot
             Lee is very successful in telling this story. There is much to take away from Iscariot, not the least of which is a greater appreciation for Jesus' purpose and goals while on earth. Gaining a better grasp of the time in which Jesus lived, the anticipation of the Jewish people for the Messiah, and the oppressive governing of the Romans.  Seeing through the eyes of Judas, the backdrop of Jesus' unconventional nature, the reaction of the crowds, leaders, and disciples are given new life and truly leave an impact on the reader.

            I wholly recommend this book and others that Tosca Lee has written. I couldn't put the book down. From the very beginning I was drawn into the tragic story of Judas' life as Lee portrayed it, my heart breaking with his and my mind wondering perhaps he really didn't mean to betray Jesus like he did, as we think he meant to. Masterful story telling that keeps you pondering long after the end.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards

Hollie Douglas has always dreamed of a white Christmas: carolers, pudding, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. In her dreams, she shared that fire's hearth with a husband However, two months before her big day, her fiancé broke her heart and left.
Now, determined to go ahead with her honeymoon anyway, Hollie's plans are going off-center. It's the day before Christmas Eve and she is stuck in the middle of a snowstorm in rural Canada. Thankfully, luck is on her side.
When Jim Bell braved a snowstorm to search for one of his orphaned animals, he didn't expect he'd be rescuing a stranded Australian tourist too. A widower, Jim has been dreading another Christmas without his wife and he wonders if offering the stranded Hollie shelter is something he can bear.
Jim quickly realizes Hollie is carrying as much emotional baggage as him. But as he helps Hollie fulfill her dream of a white Christmas, the winter wonderland and spirit of Christmas may yet work their healing magic on both of them.
            If you can suspend belief in this brief Christmas novella, you will find this story to be a quick read and a sweet Christmas romance.

I received digital copy of book from Momentum Books through NetGalley for my review.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Falling For Christmas by Kate Hewitt

Falling For Christmas is the introductory story for the new series, Falling For The Freeman's, which debuts in 2016. We are introduced to a truly tiny town of Creighton Falls, New York that has been on the downswing over the last years. The main and largest building in town is the hotel, which the Freeman family owns and basically abandoned. There are a very few business still operating and some are on their very last legs. It is in this tiny, dying town that our heroine finds herself in a blinding blizzard.

Hannah Ford is New York City born and bred but she’s just walked out of a Christmas party and driven over three hundred miles into a blizzard just to escape. She really doesn’t know where she is, where she’s going, or what she’s going to do. It’s nearly Christmas and not only that but, her car’s going nowhere, stuck in the snow.
If you like cheesy novellas and you suspend belief for the brief read you may enjoy this chance Christmas romance. It’s incredibly similar to other new Christmas novellas. It seems to have been written by a software program that has a romance template.
I received a digital copy of book from Tule Publishing through NetGalley for my review.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Cravings by Emma Hamilton

How could everything that seemed so right suddenly have gone so wrong for Mia? Snow is on the ground and Christmas lights twinkle in the German Christmas market. The warm, spiced wine is just right, but there's still one key ingredient missing from her romantic dream. Will Mia's Christmas turn out to be sugar and spice and all things nice, or a deflated soufflĂ© of loneliness and regret? 

Mia and her friend Lizzie are in Germany visiting a Christmas market but Mia's hearts just not in it; she's missing Tom and wondering where it all went wrong. I didn't like the writing style or that the some of the characters came across as immature, shallow teenagers. This is the first book I've read by this author and I love Christmas romances and love finding new stories to read. I didn’t find this interesting enough to recommend.

There wasn't anything special in this story. The first part of the story is mostly flashbacks to tell us a little about the couple and why they're not speaking at the moment. I didn't feel any connection to the characters and thought that the plot felt like poor fan fiction. The idea that this is a Christmas story didn't feel genuine. This story literally could have taken place at any other time of the year or during any other holiday and the outcome would have been the same, both for the characters and the reader.  I would have liked to read a little more about the German Christmas Market trip, and to see Christmas take more of importance to the story. 
I received a digital copy of book from Bastei Entertainment through NetGalley for my review.

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