Book Review: God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us Love

Title: God Gave Us Love

Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren

Illustrator: Laura J. Bryant

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: Board Book

Release Date: 2011 (the copyright date inside the book says 2009)

Number of Pages: 22

Target Age Group: 2-5 years old

Summary:  Little Cub is irritated by the noisy otters. Grampa calms her down by explaining how God wants us to love others. Little Cub is confused because there are different kinds of love. Grampa explains what God expects of her and she asks God to help her show His love to others… even the otters.

Review: This is the first children’s book I have read for review. The illustrations are well done, the characters are cute and lovable. The message is a good one for everyone to hear, since it reminds us that even when people do things we don’t like we should still endeavor to love them the way God does. Unconditionally.

As far as board books go, it seemed like it had a lot more words than a two to five year old would typically sit through, but it did explain love on a level children can understand.

Recommendation: God Gave Us Love is a book to read together with young children, though it may stretch beyond the attention span of the age group. The message is important and can stand to be repeated. I give this book three quills:

Three Quills

I received this book from WaterBrook Press for my honest review.

More info about the author

More info about the book

Author’s Bio

Review: The Hidden Heiress by Juliet Moore

The Hidden Heiress

Title: The Hidden Heiress

Author: Juliet Moore

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services?

Format: Kindle ($.99 on Amazon)

Pages: ? (It says 70,000 words, but it is actually a lot shorter – novella length)

Release Date: October/November 2011

Genre: Romance – Victorian/Historical

Available at: Amazon

Summary: When Isabel Darton finds herself on the business end of a murder plot, she goes into hiding as a governess for a wealthy family in London until she can determine who is trying to assassinate her.

Her new employers have a difficult daughter who has run off all the previous governesses. As a servant of the family, Isabel soon finds that a life of servitude isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her employers see only her lower station, even though they are forced to include her in some of their social events to avoid unlucky numbers.

Marshall Templeton is a second son, the brother of Isabel’s employer, with a promising political career. As a member of Parliament, his interest in a governess as anything other than a passing fancy is frowned upon in his social circles. The problem is Marshall just can’t get Isabel out of his mind.

Review: I enjoyed this book, though I did like Punish Me with Roses better. The characters were well-developed  and there was a very intriguing conflict. I would have liked to see more of the mystery-solving in this one. Isabel does do a little digging, but for the most part she waited for the answers to fall into her lap. Though to be fair, she did have her hands full with the troubled girl as well as two men who couldn’t seem to take no for an answer.

Recommendation: I like Juliet Moore’s story lines. She does a good job drawing the reader into her character’s lives. This wasn’t my favorite of the two books I’ve read, but I do think it’s worth recommending to others. It gets your heart racing in several places. And there are parts you’ll want to re-read. The love story was complete, but there were a few holes in the mystery. For this reason, I give three quills to The Hidden Heiress:

Three Quills

Review: Minna and the Valentine by S.G. Rogers

Minna & the Valentine by S.G. Rogers

Title: Minna & the Valentine

Author: S.G. Rogers

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($1.99)

Pages: 64 pages

Release Date: January 31, 2012

Genre: Romance – Fantasy

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press

Summary: Minna’s father hates wizards, so Minna has had to keep her secret powers hidden from him. When the head of the wizard school and his protege show up on her doorstep asking for help to seal a rift in the fabric dividing alternate realities, Minna is forced to choose between saving the world and guarding her secret.

Minna and the wizard’s protege set off on their quest to retrieve the magic letter opener and repair the rift, but they get much more than they bargain for when they realize their destinies are connected inextricably on both sides of the rift.

Review: This a short read with a straightforward plot. It was light-hearted and clean, and fun to read. Since I hadn’t read anything from this author before, it gave me a small taste of what to expect from her longer works. As a short story or novella goes, it was well done. It focused on two main conflicts: the rift had to be fixed and the two main characters had to realize they were meant for each other.

If the author wanted to make this into a longer novel, it could easily be done. I definitely would read the longer version as well. It would give more time to develop both conflicts and build suspense. As it is, the characters and setting are well written and offer an enjoyable story, including some surprising twists along the way.

Recommendation: I haven’t read a whole lot of magic/fantasy. The genre makes me a little nervous, but S.G. Rogers did an excellent job with this story. I believe the primary age group is young adult here, but adults who enjoy fantasy will like this as well. A great book to read when you want something light, quick and fun. I give Minna & the Valentine four quills.

four quills

Review: Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Title: Eye of the Sword (Book 2 of the Angelaeon Circle Series)

Author: Karyn Henley

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: ebook or paperback ($9.99 available for pre-order)

Pages: 256 pages

Release Date: March 13, 2012

Genre: Romance – Contemporary

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, WaterBrook Press

Summary: The land blight is spreading and the Camrithian comains, the kingdom’s protectors, have disappeared. If the three kyparis harps are not united by the time the stars align, they will have to wait another two hundred years to restore the Wisdom Tree. By then the blight will have destroyed the earth.

The king of Camrithia charges his newly appointed comain, Trevin, to make a journey to the north to consult the Oracle, find the missing comains, and return the two missing harps to the princess. But he’s working against the clock. If he is not back within the month, the princess will marry the evil prince Varic of the Dregmoors.

Varic would like nothing more to kill Trevin and end his quest before it starts. And Trevin has his own demons of guilt haunting him as well. With so much riding on his completion of the quest, Trevin has to discover who he truly is, and fast. What better place to find the answers than the Eye of the Sword.

Review: The plot is seamless and engages the reader from the very beginning with an immediate life or death scene. I felt like the world the author created was well-developed, though since it is the second book in a series, and I didn’t read the first book, I think it took me a little longer to figure out all the nuances of the setting.

The writing style has a very Anne McCaffrey flavor, with angels and winged horses woven into the story line. The hero proves himself on a quest, finding out who he is in the process. The story wraps up nicely at the end, and although there is more to come in a third book for a complete resolution, I was satisfied with the ending. Well done, Karyn Henley!

Recommendation: I loved this book. It’s been awhile since I’ve read something with a medieval-like setting, with quests and oracles and sword-fights. I do recommend reading Breath of Angel, the first book in the Angelaeon Circle series, and then read through all the books in order. However, I read this book first and was not lost at all. But I would have liked to have a more in-depth understanding of the history of the characters. Honestly, I enjoyed this book so much, I intend to go back and read the first one and any others that follow in the series. I award Eye of the Sword my highest rating:

Five Quills

I received this book for free fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. More information about this author and book can be found at the following sites:

Karyn Henley’s author page        More Info about the Book       Sneak Peek at Chapter One        Author Bio