Sunday, February 28, 2016

Henna House by Nomi Eve

<3 <3 <3 <3

Henna House by Nomi Eve

Summary: This vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920. Adela Damari’s parents’ health is failing as they desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter, who is in danger of becoming adopted by the local Muslim community if she is orphaned. With no likely marriage prospects, Adela’s situation looks dire—until she meets two cousins from faraway cities: a boy with whom she shares her most treasured secret, and a girl who introduces her to the powerful rituals of henna. Ultimately, Adela’s life journey brings her old and new loves, her true calling, and a new life as she is transported to Israel as part of Operation On Wings of Eagles.

Rich, evocative, and enthralling, Henna House is an intimate family portrait interwoven with the traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the history of the Holocaust and Israel. This sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness—and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart—will captivate readers until the very last page.

Review: Henna House tells the life story of Adela Damari; beginning with her childhood growing up in a Jewish Community of Yemen.  It follows her as she tries to escape the clutches of the local Imam whose job it is to confiscate Jewish orphans and give them to Muslim families to be raised. Her parents engage her to a cousin to protect her but she will not see how life with Asaf will end until  many years later when she is a teenager and is betrayed by one of those she loves the most. The book goes from her childhood in Yemen to a town called Aden where all the Jews flees as pogroms against them are erupting all over their province.

Eventually Adela and her family will leave Aden and go to Israel where she meets her one lost love and has a life that she is happy with.  The language used in this book was beautiful from the descriptions of the different henna patterns to the age old stories and adages that the characters used and believed in. You can tell that the author did a lot of thorough research to write this book and it shines through in every chapter; the characters seem to come alive as you delve into their lives; and see what life was like for people living in this time period; especially the devastation that the Jews faced as they had to move to a new land to escape persecution.

This is one of my new favorite books and I would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction and would like to learn more about these people and their traditions and the way they lived. The author breathed life into the characters for me and I really enjoyed the book.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Love Comes Softly

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke (Love Comes Softly Book Series book #1)

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Love Comes Softly introduced the characters of Marty and Clark Davis, whose tragic circumstances brought them to a "marriage of convenience" on the frontier prairies during the mid 1800s. The story of how Clark's patient, caring love mirrored that of the heavenly Father, drawing Marty to faith and to love, has captured the hearts and imaginations of over one million readers.

Review: Love Comes Softly tells the story of young Marty a young woman who on her way to the frontier prairies loses her husband in an accident. Before she can even bury her husband she gets a marriage proposal from Clark Davis who needs a Mother for his little girl; Marty accepts having nowhere else to go and thus begins the journey of how Clark and Marty work through the grief that they have both experienced from losing their first spouses; and the love that will grow gradually for each other in both of their hearts; and how maybe just maybe God did this to show them His love can get a person through hard times; as well as Marty and Clark realizing that maybe this is part of His plan for their lives and only He knows the end from the beginning.

This is the first in a four book series; I have them all in one volume but will be posting each book with its own review.  Love Comes Softly had characters that you just wanted to hold when they cried or laugh with when something joyful happened.  Its one of my favorite Christian fiction series that I've read in quite a long time. I would recommend it to anyone who loves Christian fiction or just Fiction with good morals in general.  

ps The only think I disagree with in the book is how easy it was to get Missie the toddler in the story to obey and just play quietly; I think more detail could've been added about her or at least more realistic scenes where she behaved like a normal toddler.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

<3 <3 <3

Summary: Mia Saunders needs money. A lot of money. She has one year to pay off the loan shark who has threatened her father’s life and is coming after his unpaid gambling debts. One million dollars to be exact. 

Her mission is simple—serve as a high-priced escort for her aunt’s Los Angeles-based company and pay monthly against the debt. Spend a month with a rich man whom she doesn’t have to sleep with if she doesn’t want to? Easy money. 

Unlucky in love with a spirit that never gives up, this curvy motorcycle-riding vixen plans to get in, make her money, and get out. Part of that goal is keeping her heart locked up tight and her eye on the prize. 

At least that’s the way it’s supposed to go…

Review: Calendar Girl volume one tells the story of Mia; a young girl who has a big problem. Twenty-five year old Mia must find a way to pay off her Father's gambling debts. So she agrees to a job at her aunt's high end escort service. Through the next  few months Mia meets many wonderful men each unique in their own way. However one in particular catches her eye and is someone she won't forget easily.

As she lives in this new and exciting time in her life Mia must figure out who she is and what she wants to accomplish in her life.  This book was ok in my opinion not my favorite not my least favorite either however. It is definitely rated R and should not be read by young readers; there are a lot of sexual scenes throughout the book.  I thought there could be more character development and less sex every three seconds; if you like romance it is alright in that area not the best I've read though.

If you want a short quick read I would recommend it but only if you don't mind the raunchier scenes. I will finish the series because I started it and if you like romances I'd recommend it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

And Again by Jessica Chiarella

And Again by Jessica Chiarella

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

Review: This is one of the most original novels I've read in quite awhile.  It tells the story from four different viewpoints those of Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda. The plot is each character had a type of life threatening problem that was killing them; they are each given a second chance when a program becomes available where they are given new bodies; clones of themselves and their expected to live better lives in these new bodies with the second chance they've been given.

Each character must find his or her own way in their new 'selves' sometimes making decisions that are selfish and hurtful to others. Learning to live a new life and find themselves in their new realities made for a great read.  I've never read a book that was written quite the way this novel was; the characters seem like someone you could have coffee with or talk to on any normal day. Not unreachable like some characters.  The book follows their up and downs, highs and lows, and touches on the fact that everyone is human and will make mistakes even if they have a perfect new body to do it in.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the possibilities that a story like this can offer. It kept me tightly woven into the stories the entire time I was reading the book; its definitely one you won't want to put down.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll

The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: From Brittany’s misty shores to the decadent splendor of Paris’s royal court, one woman must fulfill her destiny–while facing the treacherous designs of Catherine de Medici, the dark queen.

She is Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, one of the Cheney sisters, renowned for their mystical skills and for keeping the isle secure and prosperous. But this is a time when women of ability are deemed sorceresses, when Renaissance France is torn by ruthless political intrigues, and all are held in thrall to the sinister ambitions of Queen Catherine de Medici. Then a wounded stranger arrives on Faire Isle, bearing a secret the Dark Queen will do everything in her power to possess. The only person Ariane can turn to is the comte de Renard, a nobleman with fiery determination and a past as mysterious as his own unusual gifts.

Riveting, vibrant, and breathtaking, The Dark Queen follows Ariane and Renard as they risk everything to prevent the fulfillment of a dreadful prophecy–even if they must tempt fate and their own passions.

My Review: The Dark Queen written by Susan Carroll tells the story of the Cheney sisters who live on the Island of Faire Isle.  In this the first book of the series is Ariane who has recently inherited the title of the Lady of Faire Isle; she is expected to pass down the ways of the wise women who live on this island and to protect her family and those in her domain with the arts passed down to her by her Mother who recently died and left the title of Lady of Faire Isle to her daughter.  These arts by some would be considered magic; Ariane considers them to be scientific. Ariane has the gift of healing; her younger sister Gabrielle the gift of painting and the youngest Cheney sister little Miri has the gift of talking to animals and sensing when their in danger.

Ariane must deal with the comte de Renard who has decided that she WILL be his bride; as well as other plots that she gets tangled up in involving the Dark Queen Catherine de Medici. And her Father has disappeared leaving the girls with bills they cannot pay. The book was very well written and kept the reader coming back for more; I read it in two days and will continue reading this series; as it pulls me into 
the beautiful world of the Cheney sisters.  

For anyone who loves a little magic and science fiction in their love stories I would very much recommend this book; you come to love the characters and really care about what happens to them. Susan Carroll is one of my new favorite authors.