Book Review: King by RJ Larson

King by RJ Larson was a fantastic 3rd book in the Books of the Infinite Trilogy.

The third book follows the decisions that the king or Akabe is making.  Akabe is frustrated because the Infinite is silent and so instead of waiting in patience, Akabe starts making decisions based on what he thinks the Infinite wants…not on what the Infinite actually wants.  Akabe flounders and makes tons of mistakes.  There’s a lot of espionage afoot, assassination attempts and general unrest in may different areas of his life and Akabe feels alone.

We can see the direct parallels between Akabe and how the Kings of the Bible must have felt and their trials and tribulations.  Rebuilding when everything has been destroyed with enemies at all sides, it’s no wonder they sometimes made huge blunders!  I sometimes have a hard time deciding what we are going to have for supper…so I cannot imagine the magnitude of pressure these great men must have gone through.  Whole nations rested on their shoulders.

RJ Larson introduces us to a new character, Akabes Queen, who at times I feel equal parts pity and anger.  She irritates me because she is steadfast in her ignorance.  But then after reading about her life with her family, her mistrust is understandable.  I don’t actually get to like her until the very end.

The plot is fast-moving and I would say the only challenge a reader would have is that if they did not read either Prophet (Book 1) or Judge (Book 2) they might get a little lost.  A lot of the book comes from prior knowledge of what happened in the first two books.  I don’t think it would be necessary to read the first two books, though I highly recommend it, to be able to get the gist of the story, but if you were to pick up this book without prior knowledge, I think the reader would get a little lost.

Ella and Kein are perfect in their own way.  Kein has matured so much and would be a person I would like to call friend.  He exemplifies meekness and humility while Ella is the picture of pure obedience, even though she doesn’t want to she does.  I can totally commiserate with Ella.  And even in fear, she rests in the Creator, the Infinite to get her through.

All in all, King was a well written end to an amazing trilogy.  It was fast paced, action packed and exciting.  There are things that made me happy (FINALLY!!! but I won’t tell you Gentle Reader what happens) and there are things that made me irritated with the wilfulness of the characters.

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I am not required to give a favorable review, but I liked it, so I did.

Book Review: A Place to Belong by Lorraine Snelling

I was really excited to read this book when I received it from Bethany House Publishers to review.  I mean, I loved the second book in this series (Wild West Wind) about Cassie Lockwood and her merry band of misfits.  There was romance and adventure in the air…who could resist that?

The conclusion of this series, A Place to Belong, really left me wanting more…and not in a good way.

I couldn’t really get into this book.  It was slow and plodding, and at times tedious.  I understand that Cassie had to recover a lot after she was shot but…Oh.My.Word…could this book be any more boring?  A lot of it has to do with Cassie, Lucas and just everyday life.  And while normally, I would love to read about everyday life…I kind of live everyday life…so when I read, I want a little bit of escapism…not more drudgery.  And if my kids are reading this…I don’t mean you. 😉

So, my other issue with this book is the relationship or lack there of between the male protagonist, Ransom Engstrom and Cassie.  We are just supposed to believe that after all the NOT talking she and Ransom are going to declare their love for one another?  Um…yeah, right.  Seriously, I don’t think they have any meaningful conversation until the very end.  I mean, maybe things happened like that in the old days.  Maybe…but I don’t think so.

What I enjoyed about this book was the descriptions of life in South Dakota for the time period.  It’s a hard land…heck, I live in Minnesota and the winters are brutal, so I can totally commiserate.  Especially when they had snowfall in May.  Yup.  Been there, done that.

All in all, the writing is exceptional.  The story itself though…leaves much to be desired.

 

Book Review: The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

In Julia Quinn’s The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After is her latest novel about the Bridgertons, the prolific family from eight of her novels.  Starting with:

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And there are two other novels involving a character named Mrs. Whistledown… she makes wonderfully acerbic remarks about everyone… but no one knows who she is!

This 2nd Epilogue was designed to put and ending to some of the many questions that many readers had about the lives of their favorite characters.  And Gentle Reader, they are good.  How can you resist such sweet little gems that include trickery, tom-foolery, love, romance, laughter, tears and life?

Kate and Anthony have a 2nd and it is AMAZING.  I love it when I can fall right back into a story as if I have never left.  And it is witty!  Who can resist a game of Pall Mall and the “Mallet of Death”!?

Daphne and Simon are involved in a story that intertwines with Colin and Penelope.  It is both lovely and heart wrenching.  If you are parent, you will know what I mean.

We learn what happens to Ms. Posy Reiling after her defection from her mother, Araminta.

We get to find out what happened between Eloise and Penelope and the HUGE secret between them…this story had my laughing because of one particular scene.

An interesting twist was the first person narration for Eloise’s step daughter and how she falls in love.

Francesca and Michael have a wonderful tale of heartbreak and love.  And it is lovely to see it end so well.  (I mean that in a good way)

Hyacinth and Gareth are amusing as always.  And Isabella is definitely a chip off the old block!

Gregory and Lucy had the MOST heart wrenching 2nd of the series.  It had me in tears.

There were a few surprises and I am still questioning who the man was that Violet (Violet, the mother FINALLY gets a small story…and she is rather fierce throughout the stories, so she definitely deserves to have her own story.) was dancing with.  I would have loved to have seen a story with her…but her love story is sweetly tragic!  We finally learn how she and Edmund met.

I would suggest reading all these stories (Kate and Benedict’s story is my favorite) before you delve into the 2nd Epilogues.

Happy reading, Gentle Reader!

I pulled the book covers off of Julia Quinn’s website.

 

Book Review: With This Kiss-Part Three by Eloisa James

Oh My!, gentle reader.

The ending of this novella is fabulous.  I absolutely loved it!  There is not much more than I can say, other than…I wished it were a full length novel.

Now, I am going to share with you some fun!

Eloise James has a Facebook page where you can connect with other readers.  The group I joined was specifically for With This Kiss.  And we had so much fun, not only discussing and dissecting this novella, but other Eloisa James books.

The other nice thing about her FB page is that she posted “in-between” the chapters specifically for this novella so we could read what was happening between key characters.  That made it so much more interesting.  AND Eloisa actually pops in and visits, answers questions and gets involved.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!  (Insert little girl squeal!)  🙂

I cannot wait to read more stories based on characters from this novella including a much maligned twin sister; a broken-hearted betrothed, and children with wicked senses of humor!  Does that not sound fabulous?

Happy reading, Gentle Reader!

Book Review: With This Kiss: Part One by Eloisa James

I am a HUGE Eloisa James fan.  She is one of my guilty pleasures…a good old fashioned historical romance writer.

With This Kiss: Part One is the story of two children from two previous stories.  Grace is the daughter of the Duke of Ashbourne (The Ugly Duchess).  She is oh so proper, unlike her younger sister, Lily.

Colin is the adopted son of Sir Griffin Barry (Seduced by a Pirate) and has always been amused by Lily.  In fact, he mistakes Grace for Lily…though, let me be clear, there should be no mistake.

Colin gets older and joins the navy.  Grace (and Lily) stay home and grow up.  Grace becomes even more talented at reading people and painting portraits, while Lily becomes a more audacious flirt.

What ensues next is a series of letters, portraits, unrequited love and tragedy.

I actually felt real sorrow when I was reading some of Colin’s innermost thoughts which doesn’t happen often.

This was a short read…and took me no more than 1/2 an hour to read.  It is a serial part of a novella.  Sigh…and it is good.  The next part will be released March 19th, 2013.

YAY!  But I totally hate waiting a week to read more.  I am NOT a patient person! 😉

Happy reading, gentle readers.

Book Review: The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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I was not sure what to expect when I selected The Tutor’s Daughter from my monthly list of books that I am able to review from Bethany House.  I have never read any Julie Klassen books before and I am sometimes leery of reading an author I know nothing about.  The description of the book was engaging and held my interest versus any of the other books.  I am also very choosey when it comes to period pieces since I am a traditional historical romance novel nut…and this foray into Christian Historical romance can sometimes be interesting.  That is not to say that I do not enjoy the writing, because I do…but definitely not what I am used to.  And I mean that in a very good way, gentle reader.  Don’t get me wrong, I can say I am happy with my choice.

The Tutor’s Daughter is a story about Emma Smallwood and her father.  They run a small, but slightly prestigious boys academy in the Devonshire, England.  Emma’s mother passes away and her father seems to lose interest in life and his surroundings, leaving an unfair burden on Emma.  Emma shoulders the responsibility but there is a longing in her that the reader can feel long before she even expresses the words herself.  Emma is a very dutiful daughter and since this is a period piece, it is nice that the author stuck with what would typically happen in this time frame.

The last student is leaving their establishment and Emma’s father has no inclination to get any more students.  Emma is left trying to figure out what they are going to do.  She makes a rash decision and decides to write to a former patron of the school to see if his other son’s would like to come.  She receives a letter back and it seems to be the answer to her and her father’s prayers…or is it?

Emma has a past with the older two sons of the their former patron.  The eldest son,  Henry, is a thorn in her side while he is at their school.  The reader is taken to the past as Emma recalls the incidents between her and Henry.  He is rude, sarcastic and sullen.  He plays tricks on Emma and steals her things.  He does not seem like a very likable person.  On the other hand, the younger son, Phillip seems to be everything that Henry is not.  Likable, amiable and nice.  How will Emma fit into their lives, now seven years later?

Emma and her father embark on a short journey but enter into a household in upheaval.  They are not wanted by the Mistress of the house and the Master seems to be floating through life without knowing what is going on under his own roof.

The story in engaging and leaves the reader wanting more.  There is plenty of suspense, love, heartache and redemption.  There is a sweet story of finding God in unexpected places and you start to root for Henry and Emma.  But which brother will she end up choosing, if she chooses one at all?

You will have to read The Tutor’s Daughter to find out.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I was very happy to have received it from Bethany House for review.  I look forward to reading more of Julie Klassen’s works in the future.

Review: “Prophet” by R.J. Larson

I received my second book Prophet by R.J. Larson from Bethany House Publishers, and I was not sure that I would totally like it.  In fact, I thought at first that this book was not going to grab me.

I WAS TOTALLY WRONG!!!

Prophet is about a young woman named Ela Roeh.  Ela has an incredible image about a village that is being destroyed.  She finds out that the “Infinite” or her area’s God has decided that she is going to be His next prophet.  She is very concerned because her village, Parne, has never had a prophet who lived into old age.

Ela embarks on a journey with her younger sister, Tzana.  They manage to make very few friends but many enemies as Ela follows the Infinite’s guidance.  Ela meets a man in prison named Kien and through a period of time they become friends and eventually they fall in love with one another. 

Ela faces many trials, condemnation and hardship.  She is outcast, beat up, attacked, censored and ignored.  Being a prophet does not pay.  She is tasked with spreading the Word of the Infinite as well as trying to help countries who have given over their way of life to worshipping idols made of sand and stone.  (Sounds somewhat familiar, right?)  If she can convince them to turn back to the Infinite, their Creator, they will be saved.  But the Infinite warns her that her task will be futile, but He will save them to their last breath.  The Infinite speaks to Ela, but not all the time, and He gives her visions to let her know what is going to happen if the people do not repent, turn from their blasphemous ways and acknowledge Him as their one true God.

This book held me in thrall.  I loved how the R. J. Larson took stories from the Old Testament of the Bible and reworked them into a futuristic story set in another world.  The Infinite is a God I can relate to since He is fashioned after mine.  The writing makes it easy to discuss the prophet themes from the Bible as well as look at how false Gods, however they may be brought up, can easily destroy civilizations.  I enjoyed how well rounded the characters are and the pace of the story is very good.

My favorite character has to be the warhorse or “destroyer” named “Pet”.  It’s funny how the horse has become an integral part of the story, but he adds comic relief when the theme and tone get heavy.

I cannot wait for the second book to come out and I look forward to sharing this book with my 12-year-old daughter.  This book was written for young adult, sci-fi readers…but I also think people like me (30 somethings who love a good story) will like it too.  It definitely gives you something to think about and the parallels as to what is going on in our society today, as well as what has happened in the past, cannot be ignored.  It will bring up good discussions in the near future!  Prophet by R.J. Larson is a great read!