Review: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Waterfall (River of Time #1)

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Publisher: David C. Cook

Format: ebook ($.7.39) Paperback ($9.99)

Length:  384 pages

Release Date: February 1, 2011

Genre: young adult historical romance, time travel

Available at: AmazonBarnes & NobleDavid C. Cook

Summary: Gabi and Lia Betarrini are used to traveling the world with their archaeologist parents. They’ve spent summers in Italy ever since they can remember, but since their father’s death, their mother has thrown herself even more into her work. Her latest discovery brings them to ancient Etruscan tombs. Even though they know it’s off-limits, the two girls sneak into one of the tombs while their mother is pre-occupied. Inside they find handprints painted on the cold stone wall, but the handprints are warm to their touch, and when both girls touch the prints at the same time they are sent careening back through time into the 14th century, where they find themselves in the middle of a medieval skirmish for territory.

The problem is they land in that time a few days apart, so they have to find each other again. With two warring families fighting over that territory, it becomes a difficult prospect. Add to that an incredibly good-looking medieval lord with a jealous fiancee’, an evil rival lord who would love nothing more than to take over their castle, some well-played strategies, and two vicious she-wolves. They’ll be lucky if they can make it back to their own time in one piece!

Review: It keeps you fully occupied from start to finish. So action-packed! It’s written in first person, so you get an in-depth view of the main character and all the challenges she goes through that help her grow into her role as the savior of Siena. The plot keeps moving, never a moment for Gabi to rest. There were a few places I would have liked more description, a few places there was more telling than showing, but then again, the story was moving at a steady pace and the extra description might have interrupted the rhythm.

Recommendation: It is a great book for any age group if you like adventure. A little romance, but nothing you wouldn’t want your eleven year old to see. Good clean fiction. Loved it! Gotta give it five quills:

Five Quills

 

This is the first of three novels in the series, plus there are two companion novellas. I’ve purchased all the others and have them waiting on my Kindle! Good stuff!

Summer Lovin’ Giveaway Hop

Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop

For this Summer Lovin’ Giveaway, a fun, light beach read:

Every Girl Does It by Rachel Van DykenEvery Girl Does It by Rachel Van Dyken

COVER BLURB:

Amanda turned down Preston’s prom invitation in front of her entire high school, but that was eight years ago.

Somehow, her past mistakes always have a way of catching up with her, and making her pay. Amanda’s sarcastic wit mixed with Preston’s insufferable ego make sparks fly in more than one way.

Preston, against his better judgment can’t fight the desire to get under Amanda’s skin and mercilessly tease her, but when that teasing becomes flirting, and flirting becomes something dangerously more, neither of them are prepared for the adventure that follows.

(This is classified as Christian romance)

~OR~

You might prefer the contemporary Regency-styled romance,

Compromising Kessen also by Rachel Van Dyken

COVER BLURB:

Compromising KessenThe last thing career-driven Kessen Newberry wants is to leave her home in Colorado to spend a Season in London, far away from her job, her friends and the memories of her mother. However, her father, the Earl of Newberry, threatens to disinherit her unless she gets in touch with her British roots. She complies, but has no intention of enjoying the experience.

That is until she meets Christian Vandenbrook, the arrogant and irritatingly handsome future Duke of Albany and her father’s business partner. Unfortunately, Christian hates Americans. And coffee. And apparently, Kessen.

A hatred this passionate can only lead to one thing… marriage.

Caught in the middle of a Regency-inspired nightmare, Kessen and Christian are forced to marry in only one week’s time. Resigned to their fate, the two resolve to give the relationship a chance—which would be much easier if everyone would stop interrupting them every time they found a moment alone.

The winner of this giveaway will receive her or his choice between these two ebooks. All you have to do to enter is FOLLOW my blog (upper left corner in the dashboard line) and then leave your following name and email in the comments. One winner will be chosen at random, notified and posted on July 18th.

THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING! Back to the linky list.

Review: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Wildflowers from Winter

Title: Wildflowers from Winter

Author: Katie Ganshert

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: Paperback (ARC) $9.99

Length: 314 pages

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Genre: Christian romance, Inspirational

Available at: Amazon, Christianbooks, WaterBrook, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Bethany Quinn finally has the life she always wanted. A relationship with a successful lawyer which seemed to be moving forward. A good job with a prestigious architectural firm in Chicago, nice car, expensive clothes, fabulous apartment. A far cry from the broken down trailer and second-hand clothes she knew as a girl. Far away from the small town life she hated. Far away from the memories of her childhood tragedy. Everything is perfect. Just the way she always wanted it to be.

Then everything starts to fall apart, and the small town she was certain she had left behind for good starts to reel her back in, kicking and screaming.

Evan Price knows Bethany’s grandfather better than she does, so when she shows up to care for him after the heart attack, he is understandably resistant to the intrusion. After all, she hadn’t been to visit the man in the entire five years Evan had lived and worked with him. Now she waltzes in with her designer clothes and fancy car, thinking she can make up for years of silence. He is certain she has no concern for anyone but herself. Anyone who can leave her family and best friends without so much as a word has to be a horrible person. So why does he find himself mysteriously drawn to her?

Review: I love the way the author wove this story from start to finish, including powerful and inspirational themes that carry a message of freedom and renewal. Even though it seemed like tragedy was following tragedy for each of the three main characters, the way every one of those tragedies came together to draw each of the characters to where God wanted them to be demonstrated how God can work everything out for his perfect purpose. What was awesome was that it didn’t seem overly preachy, but more as a natural proof of how He draws us to himself, even in the midst of pain we think will never end. Like the way abundant wildflowers follow the harshest winter. Love that.

The characters were true-to-life in the way they reacted and handled themselves when faced with all their personal trials, which made the development of the relationships among them progress in a way that made perfect sense. Bethany’s buried anger and bitterness over her father’s death and the way her mother handled it, Evan’s loss of his brother and the impending loss of his dream life as a farmer, and the sudden death of Robin Price’s husband, leaving her to deal with life and a new pregnancy all alone.

Recommendation: This is a clean and inspirational story that deals with death, grief, faith, renewal, and love. It’s a well developed plot with real conflicts that deal with the human condition. If you’re in the mood for a light read, this wouldn’t be a good choice for you. But if you are looking for something meaningful and moving, Wildflowers from Winter is definitely worthy of a good look. In fact, it’s worthy of five quills in my book.

Five Quills

I was given a free advanced reading copy of this book for my honest review by Blogging for Books.

For more information about the author, the book, or to read an excerpt check out the links below:
Author’s Bio                   More Info @ Book               Read an excerpt                 Author’s Site 

Review: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Author: Cindy Woodsmall

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: hardcover

Pages: 191

Release Date: February 21, 2012

Genre: Christian Amish Romance

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WaterBrook Multnomah, CBD

Summary: Annie Martin is an Old Order Mennonite. After some irreconcilable difference between her and her mother arise, she is sent to live with her grandfather, Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

There she meets back up with a childhood friend whose family needs an extra pair of hands in their restaurant. Annie volunteers to help out. But the family is Old Order Amish, and while the two sects tolerate each other, they do not allow interaction between men and women of the two groups.

Unfortunately, Annie has been fighting her feelings for Aden Zook since she was a teenager. And spending so much time with him only fans the flame. When her Daadi discovers them walking together in the cherry orchard, he threatens to destroy the Zook’s family business unless they end their secret courtship.

Review: There is lots of vivid description of the scenery, particularly the cherry orchard. And the grandfather’s love story was very endearing, especially since he seems to be a bit of a stern and crusty old man, very set in his ways and not wanting to listen to anyone else’s opinions. Seeing his soft side made him likable.

The character development was pretty good. I like the main characters of Aden and Annie, but I didn’t like any of the others much. The family’s on both sides frustrated me with their hypocrisy (even though, they eventually came around). I realize that was the point and the conflict wouldn’t have been believable or fully developed without family members as antagonists.

While I enjoyed the story, I found the ending to be too quick and a bit unsatisfying. And by that, I mean I read the last sentence and turned the page fully expecting the story to continue. But it didn’t.

Recommendation: This is the first time I’ve read Amish romance. It was interesting to read about the differences between the Mennonites and the Amish. The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is an enjoyable, quick and straightforward story. I read it in just a few hours. I give the book three quills:

Three Quills

I was given this book as a free review copy through Blogging for Books. For more information about the author and the book, please visit the links below.

 Author’s Site                  More info                   Chapter One                       Author Bio

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