Tag Archives: Adventure

Rescue Me

rescue-me-book-cover-final-smlBook Review: Rescue Me

Author: Susan May Warren

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell’s website of Rescue Me:

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding-heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job of her dreams. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

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            If I thought the first book of the Montana Rescue series was good, then this one is great. It’s hard to believe that Rescue Me only spans a week or two, but so much is packed into that time frame that it feels way longer.

Rescue Me is full of action and adventure. If it’s not a bear mauling—which, hello people? Stop going into the woods! Bears! *Ahem* Anyways. If it’s not a bear mauling, it’s a youth group that’s in serious trouble. I could NOT stop reading because each page brought a new challenge to the PEAK team and to Willow and Sam.

Per usual, Susan creates a great plot, with fantastic characters. Willow and Sam are not perfect by any means, which made me identify so well with them. Their struggles looked a lot like some that I’ve gone through, some questions that I’m asking myself right now. And how they learned about redemption and knowing more about God really taught me a lesson too. This novel dug down deep in my heart and planted truths there that I so appreciate. It’s rare, even in Christian fiction, that I read a book that actually changes me, but this one did.

The romance between the characters was spot-on, typical Susan May Warren writing. And the secondary characters, Jess and Pete, I loved, but I am still frustrated by them! C’mon guys, get your act together!

All in all, I really loved this book. With Susan’s writing, it goes beyond entertainment, down to the heart of a person, and that’s why I love her novels, and I love Rescue Me.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Without Warning

imgresBook Review: Without Warning

Author: Lynette Eason

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell Publisher’s website for Without Warning:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.

Daniel might be concerned, but he’s not convinced that a bodyguard–and a female one at that–is necessary. A new attack and his niece’s urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who’s behind the intimidation and threats–before a would-be killer strikes again.

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            I’ve heard a lot of good things about Lynette Eason’s books, but never felt compelled to try one out for myself. However, I’ve been on a murder mystery kick lately (I’ve been reading a lot of Agatha Christie’s novels), so I thought I’d give Without Warning a try. I was so out of the loop, that I didn’t even realize until halfway through the book that I was reading the second book in the series. Oops. It worked out, though, because this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, though I’m sure reading the books in the series in order would enhance the experience.

I must say, my expectations were high. Did I mention I was reading from the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie? This book blew me away, though (for those of you who’ve read it, there’s a pun for you. Cheesy, I know.). This novel was action-packed, with suspense riding high. I found myself reading it any chance I got, just to try to figure out who-dun-it, and what they would do next! At one point, I was reading in my room and someone knocked on my door, and I had to take a few seconds to keep from grabbing the nearest pillow to use as a defense against the ‘intruder’. I really was gripped by this story!

I liked the idea of a body guard service made up of a group of women, a different take from what’s been done before by most authors (one of the exceptions being Becky Wade’s Her One and Only). The different viewpoints in the story, particularly Riley’s, were enjoyable to read. This book also tackles the issue of PTSD. Lynette treats it realistically, giving Without Warning more depth. The romance in this book was fun too, but wasn’t really the focus. Trust was a real issue in this book, trusting the people around them, and also trusting God, even when He allows things that don’t make sense.

So this book wasn’t quite Agatha Christie, but I did get sucked in by the adventure. I’ll definitely be taking another look at Lynette’s novels, but not when I’m home alone. At night. With creepy night noises. 😉

About the Author

Biography from Revell Publisher’s website: Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching and Without Warning in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of an ACFW Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

I was given a review copy of Without Warning from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

A Daring Sacrifice

A-Daring-SacrificeBook Review: A Daring Sacrifice

Author: Jody Hedlund

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Goodread’s description of A Daring Sacrifice:

The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.

For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.

Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.

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            In contrast to the heroine of An Uncertain Choice, Juliana is a fiery young woman with a lot of anger to deal with. She made for a very interesting main character, and one that I really enjoyed reading about, especially for this time period. At times I got a little frustrated with her, but I liked the different angle that Jody took with this character. Lord Collin wasn’t a perfect character by any means either, and I really liked how he grew throughout the book and realized what was truly important in life and to Juliana.

This book is aimed at teens, so it was a little shorter than what I usually find myself reading, but the pace made up for it. The ending—I couldn’t put it down. The book’s title made a whole lot of sense, A Daring Sacrifice, when the Jody hit the climax with both Juliana and Collin sacrificing for those they loved and for what they believed in. The villain was odious, as he should be. 😉 Overall, it was a quick read, but one I enjoyed. I admire Jody’s desire to write quality teen fiction, aimed at teen girls in particular. In An Uncertain Choice and now A Daring Sacrifice (which are connected) she is able to weave in Christian themes along with adventure, danger, real-life emotions, and a sweet romance. I would recommend both books in this series to pre-teen and teen girls who enjoy medieval fiction that contains romance, strong characters, and adventure, all written from a Christian world view. This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved to read as a teen.

About the Author

Biography from Jody’s website: Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading. Find out more on her website: http://jodyhedlund.com/

I was given a review copy of A Daring Sacrifice from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Golden Braid

_225_350_Book.1770.coverBook Review: The Golden Braid

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Book Look Bloggers’ website description of The Golden Braid:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

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I have been a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson and her books since I first read The Healer’s Apprentice when I was a teenager. I have always loved fairytales, and Melanie has a way of taking well-known stories and twisting them into a new, beautiful tale.

The Golden Braid was so much fun to read, from the somewhat arrogant Sir Gerek, to the overbearing and slightly insane Mother Gothel, to Rapunzel herself, in all her misconceptions and quiet strength. The characters in this book were just as interesting and infuriating as in Melanie’s other books. And, as always, the setting is crafted in such a way that it shines through as almost a character unto itself. I enjoyed how the plot touched on those from previous books, allowing us to see beloved characters from another angle.

As usual, I loved Melanie’s latest book, and I eagerly anticipate her next release. She has one more book in the same medieval fairytale vein as The Golden Braid, but she has a new book releasing in February that is a Regency novel, which I am beyond excited to read! What I love about Melanie’s books, is that they are perfect for a teen reader, but they are also well-suited and interesting for an older reader as well. If you’ve never read anything by Melanie, but enjoy books that retell old stories, with romance, adventure, and mystery, then you have got to pick up one of her books!

About the Author

Biography from Book Look Bloggers’ website: Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on line at melaniedickerson.com, Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks, and Twitter @melanieauthor.

I was given a review copy of The Golden Braid from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Summer By Summer

_240_360_Book.1561.coverBook Review: Summer By Summer

Author: Heather Burch

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Book Look Bloggers’ website description of Summer By Summer:

When Summer took a job as a nanny for a couple vacationing in Belize, she imagined it would be a fresh start before starting college in the fall. And while she adores her charge, Josh, she can’t say the same for her employers’ oldest son, Bray. He’s cocky, inconsiderate, and makes her feel she’s a chore he has to put up with. In short, he’s everything she dislikes in a guy.

Bray had a plan for the summer: party, hang out with friends, and forget all the responsibilities waiting for him back home. But every time he’s forced to be around Summer, her dour, serious mood sets him off. Not to mention she has a habit of picking up on what he already knows is wrong with him.

Then the two find themselves on a dive trip gone wrong, stranded on a remote island. As they focus on survival, their differences melt away, and they find being together may be what both needed all along.

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Summer by Summer is the first book I’ve read from Heather Burch, and I fell in love with this author’s writing style, the characters, and the setting. This novel is a YA adventure/romance. Heather did a magnificent job of pulling off both adventure and romance, keeping my attention throughout the entire book. I read it in two days, folks. Two. Days. It would have been shorter, but you know, work and stuff. Here’s why I loved it:

The style. There was never a lull in Summer By Summer, never a dull moment. There wasn’t one time where I yawned and set the book aside. I was engaged and pulled in by Summer and Bray’s uniquely written perspectives, which leads me to…

The characters. Bray and Summer were both flawed, in big ways. Yet at the same time, they had good things about them that made me cheer for them. This book is in the first person point of view, which I really enjoyed, since it included Bray’s perspective. I identified with Summer in several ways, which made the book all the better. Being on the island is a time for each of finding out who they truly are and who they want to be. This is a story about working through your pain and knowing you’re not alone, almost a coming-of-age. Summer also works through her anger toward God and finding that she really does need him. Bray…well his relationship with God wasn’t really explored, which I would have liked. He seemed more along for the ride on that one.

The setting. It’s super cool, guys. I mean, c’mon, Belize? Then the fact that they’re shipwrecked intrigued me. I’ve read shipwreck stories in Historical Fiction, but not in Contemporary, so that was fascinating.

The extras. The mystery in this book that made things even worse on the island was well done, I enjoyed that.

Summer by Summer is a well-written novel, and a good read for an older teen. The ages of the characters and what they’re struggling with will be a great fit for a teen or just-into-college reader. Or if you’re just looking for a great, relaxing story, then you might just want to get yourself a copy of Summer by Summer.

About the Author

Biography from Book Look Bloggers’ website: Heather Burch, the author of the popular Halflings series, spent the last seven years in Southern Florida but recently returned to her hometown in the Ozark Mountains. Her books have garnered praise from USA Today, Romantic Times, and Booklist magazine. When not working on her latest novel, she can be found hiking in the hills or planning a trip to the beach with her husband, John, who is her hero in every way.

I was given a review copy of Summer By Summer from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Goddess Tithe Cover Reveal~Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I’ve really enjoyed participating in the various cover reveals, giveaways, and blog tours that Anne Elisabeth has been putting on lately. I am super excited to read Shadow Hand, due to release in February. If you’d care to see my review of Dragonwitch, her latest release, click here.

Now for the cover reveal!

GoddessTitheThe Vengeful Goddess

Demands Her Tithe

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya‘s only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown’s garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

Excited yet? For those who have read some of The Tales of Goldstone Wood before, there may be some characters in here that you’re familiar with.

And guess what? There are illustrations in the novella too! Here’s a sample photo and what Anne Elisabeth has to say about them:

Illustration1 (1)

There are eight full-page illustrations in Goddess Tithe featuring various characters and events from the story. This is the first one in the book. I decided to share it with all of you since it depicts my young hero, Munny the cabin boy, under the watchful eye of his mentor, the old sailor Tu Pich. Munny is on his first voyage, and he is determined to learn all there is to know about a life at sea as quickly as possible. Thus we see him utterly intent upon the knot he is learning to tie. Tu Pich is old enough to know that no sailor will ever learn all there is to know about the sea. Thus he looks on, grave, caring, and perhaps a little sad. He might be looking upon his own younger self of many years ago, fumbling through the hundreds of difficult knots his fingers must learn to tie with unconscious ease.

I enjoyed creating all the illustrations for Goddess Tithe, but this one was my favorite. I love the contrasts of light and dark, the contrasts of young and old . . . youthful intensity versus the perspective of age.

For those of you who don’t know Anne Elisabeth…

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Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.

But we ain’t finished yet, folks! Anne Elisabeth is also putting on a giveaway of two proof copies of Goddess Tithe!

*U.S. and Canada only.

Click on the link to the Rafflecopter link below to enter in the giveaway.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGNkNTI0NzYyMGZiNjAwZjNmMTRhNTUxOTQ2MTQyOjE2/

To learn more about Goddess Tithe, click on the blog button below. The first chapter is available there for your reading pleasure.

GoddessTitheBlogButton (1)

Dragonwitch

DRAGONWITCH%20completeBook Review: Dragonwitch

Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Review by Grace Olson

The school season has started up again, but never fear, the book reviews will continue. After all, when you need some time to unwind, what better way to relax than within the comfortable pages of a good book? Who needs sleep when you can go on an adventure through the ocean’s deep on the Nautilus, chance the dangers of the Fire Swamp, or simply listen to the elves sing at Rivendell? Today, I’m going to fill you in about my latest read, Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s novel, Dragonwitch, that released in July of this year. You may recognize that title from an earlier post here, and you would be right! In July I participated in a blog tour for Dragonwitch’s release and hosted an interview and a giveaway here on Onto Her Bookshelf. Now—at last!—I have gotten around to reading Stengl’s riveting new release. Be prepared for adventure as we explore the fifth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood.

The Story

Taken from Bethany House Publisher’s website synopsis of Dragonwitch:

Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?

Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future King of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.

But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the entire nation.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the hero who can wield it.

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I love Stengl’s writing style. Lyrical, with beautiful, vibrant descriptions, and characters that are lifelike and diverse, Dragonwitch was a delight to read. I might also add that Stengl is one of my “role models” so to speak in my own writing journey. Oh, to be able to weave (seemingly effortlessly) such powerful stories that live with the reader long after ‘The End’. Sigh. Ahem. Anyway, back to the book.

There are several different points of view that Stengl writes from throughout the book, as well as multiple stories that at first seem unrelated, then she somehow brings it all together in the end. I have no idea how I would pick only one favorite character, so I’ll give you my top two. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Sir Eanrin and Lady Leta. I was unsure about Leta at the beginning, but I grew to really like her as she was stretched and grew throughout the book. And Eanrin…I love his sarcastic remarks. Knight of the Farthestshore and Chief Poet of King Iubdan Tynan, Eanrin has the unique ability to change from the body of a man into that of a cat and vice versa. This cat-man embodies my idea of a cat’s personality, and is a character I won’t soon forget!

I really appreciated how Stengl incorporates some romance in Dragonwitch, but it is not the main theme. The individual love stories don’t really even show up on the book’s radar until near the end, but what romance Dragonwitch did contain I liked.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House Publisher’s website: Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Moonblood have each been honored with a Christy Award. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/

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I’ve said in the past that I like to read fantasy, but I should add that I’m also very picky about what books I’ll read in this genre. I like fantasy with a Christian theme (see my review of Prophet by R.J. Larson), and while Stengl’s books might have more subtle messages of faith, she has become one of my go-tos when I’m looking for a good fantasy read. So far I haven’t been disappointed. As for Dragonwitch, there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like in this book, and I have high hopes for Shadow Hand, Stengl’s next Tales of Goldstone Wood novel set to release this spring!

I was given a review copy of Dragonwitch from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Dragonwitch is available for check out, download, or paper copy.