Saturday, July 30, 2016

Book review: Sarai (Wives of the Patriarchs #1)

Sarai, the last child of her aged father, is beautiful, spoiled, and used to getting her own way. Even as a young girl, she is aware of the way men look at her, including her half brother Abram. When Abram finally requests Sarai's hand, she asks one thing--that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even her father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if Sarai makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees. 
But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain--lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last? 
Jill Eileen Smith thrilled readers with The Wives of King David series. Now she brings to life the strong and celebrated wives of the patriarchs, beginning with the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai.

I've seen a couple reviews that complain about the plot, but as a maybe not-so-devoted wife to a very-devoted husband, I related to this book So. Much.
Now, I hadn't actually read the bible passages pertaining to this story since I was maybe 8 years old. But I remembered enough of the story and had helpful bible passages at the beginning of each chapter to guide me.
If you don't relate to the story itself as much as I did, you can still enjoy this book for its characters. Hagar is willful and interesting. The portrayal of emotions and interest in the writing are enough to make me really want to read the rest of the series. 
Because of the accuracy to scripture and justice done to the Heart of the Message, I very much recommend this book to those who want to get more into the bible, but get caught up in the thous and thees and what ifs. Smith does a great job in both entertaining those who know the Book well and those who have honestly never read the Bible and know all that they know from Veggie Tales.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Review: Frightfully ever after

"Do you know what the difference is between a fairy godmother and a witch?"


"Not a goddamn thing."

Fairies and dragons are real, and live alongside giants, goblins and trolls. Fairy godmothers exist. The woodsman, that one from the story books? Yeah, he’s real too. They’re all out there, living in the world, right under your nose.

But they’re not alone. There’s another side to the coin. Witches are real. Monsters are real. Things that slither through shadows and bite at your skin are real. 

My Review:

This is a very good First Book. It's a good read if you aren't squeamish, and has important undertones on good vs. evil, and the temptation of the darkness. For reasons I won't go into here, I totally related to the themes of this book. But the action scenes, while proving a point of the story, seemed to be forced a majority of the time. DeWolf seems to do very well with the action scenes when seen through the eyes of a character, but when describing a scene on its own falls a little flat. 
Highlight to see the Spoiler: "For example, the Final battle seen through Anastasia's eyes was a lot better than the hospital fight scene."
Overall, I feel like some more character development was in order. Anastasia was well rounded, but I think Gayle and Mary honestly had the potential to be the greatest love story of all time, if we only knew more about them together. I liked their personal origin stories, but all we got as far as their relationship was that they attended weddings together when they helped a royal out.
Even Sabre and Mr Woods got more development than they did!
In short, not for the squeamish or the modest, but I'm interested to see how this author develops.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

ebook review: The Star-touched Queen

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...
But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

I got this book through Netgalley, which I've been neglecting like crazy due to life stuff. ><
First, this book is awesome if you like Middle eastern/south Asian settings and like tales of djinn, fairies, etc. I got this book because I crave South Asian Settings and strong female characters like a baby craves milk. 
Maya did not disappoint. I read some reviews where readers were put off by Akaran's "lack of world building" but honestly, that was the point of Maya trying to figure out this strange new land that previously was a myth. Keeping the character perspective in mind, not a lot of world building is needed because it's presented, through Maya's eyes, as a land with no rules.
I was SO frustrated with Amar, like, how can you have a successful marriage without communication? The introduction to the action packed ending felt a little sudden as to how we meet the Villain, but it also kind of made sense. Maybe a little more foreshadowing would have worked out instead of everything coming to light at once. 
Overall there's action, magic, and some steamy pg-13 descriptions in here, but this is not a relationship to envy. It does make for an intriguing read. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Coloring book Review: Restore My Soul

Grab your colored pencils and get ready to refresh your spirit with this coloring book devotional journey! For lovers of the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest coloring books, Restore My Soul is a beautiful, interactive devotional designed to celebrate our unique creativity and connect us with the ultimate Creator. Find refreshment in short reflections on Scripture and be inspired as you color accompanying intricate illustrations created for meditation and prayer. Both contemplative and imaginative, Restore My Soul is the perfect space for the artist in us all.


My Review:

This book has beautiful pictures that are good enough to hang, and handles gel pens and markers beautifully without making crayons or coloring pencils too hard to use. I love the Devotions that go with it, but I do wish the devotionals were on the back of the picture you're coloring to make sharing pages easier.

Real talk, I was going through a tough time recently and this book helped me through it. My only complaint is that the teeny tiny lines were almost too much for my patience. If I had finer markers I may not have given up on using my pens.

Recommended? Definitely. Buy for yourself or the best friend in your life who likes to color. Maybe not younger kids, though, because of the fine lines.