Fiction Review: Patrick W. Carr’s “The End of the Magi”

This book was very interesting! Taking a few different historical facts and spinning a “what if” tale is always a fine line to walk – but when done right, creates some of the most enjoyable books I’ve read.

In “Magi”, Mr. Carr pulls the reader in with his trademark rich prose and sweeping narratives, and spins a story that I have continued to think and talk to others about, ever since I closed the final page. That’s the great part of ‘historical fiction’ type works – taking a subject from impersonal arms-length, and giving you a pair of shoes, even if imaginary ones, in which to walk around and become a part of the story.

The character of Myrad, his travels through the towns and deserts, the events brewing around the region all around him – these pieces were artfully designed, combining into the greater whole of what is seriously a fantastic work. 

I would highly recommend this book, especially with Easter right around the corner, as it is a perfect read to whet your appetite to dig deeper into the the Scriptures about Christ and his life.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

Non-Fiction Review: Martin G. Long and Chris Lamb’s “Jackie Robinson – A Spiritual Biography”

It’s so easy to assume.
We passively absorb facts about prominent figures of history – be they concise, curated, textbook biographies; an hour-long history channel special; or, if we’re lucky, the feature-length “based on a true story” Hollywood rendition.
And we dust our hands, assume we’ve obtained the measure of the man, and move on to our next interest.

Can a life be summed up so easily?
Of course not.
And authors Long and Lamb do readers the courtesy of not pretending they’re even going to try. The subtitle to their excellent work is “A Spiritual Biography”, and they deliver! This is no fast recap of the highlights of what Jackie Robinson did, this is a deep look at who Jackie Robinson was.  Where he drew his identity from, and how that touched everyone in his life.

This book is meaty, well-researched, and detailed. I learned so many new things about Mr. Robinson, and came away with a completely new perspective on the man he was, not just the ballplayer we learn about. It was a captivating read.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Foul Play in Vouvray”

Foul Play in Vouvray (The Winemaker Detective Book 14)

2019 is starting off right – another new Winemaker Detective release! Ah, Cooker and Co., how I’ve missed you.

“Foul Play” is a perfect combination of the quick-paced, puzzle-solving plots that we saw more of at the beginning of the series, and the detailed delving of the characters from the more recent books.  I might even dare to say this is my favorite book in the series so far, just from a pure reading standpoint! I couldn’t put it down!

This time Benjamin and Virgile are caught up neck-deep in the mystery, in addition to all the other people and wines demanding their attention. We get to see several different sides of Benjamin, as well as more of his internal thoughts and processes. I LOVED the banter between the two men in this book. Benjamin is really pushing Virgile to step out from the title of ‘assistant’ and become the “indispensable right-hand man” (his words!), Benjamin knows he can be. I’m very excited to see where the next books take Virgile. 

I often wonder if the authors are purposefully tantalizing their readers with all the beautiful, decadent food they describe, page after page. I know I am ALWAYS hungry after finishing one of these lovely titles. Perhaps, as social media plays such a big part to the plot of “Foul Play”, we readers should start posting “Post-Book Meal” pictures on Instagram, to let the authors know they’ve won, once again. 

This was a delightful read, and I can’t wait for more!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

 

2018 – 4th Quarter Roundup

Final quarter of 2018! Here’s what I read over the past 3 months.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor A Perfect Storm by Jodi Taylor Christmas Past by Jodi Taylor An Argumentation of Historians by Jodi Taylor

Blood of Kings Trilogy
By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson

Mandie Series
Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm by Lois Gladys Leppard Mandie and the Graduation Mystery by Lois Gladys Leppard New Horizons by Lois Gladys Leppard

Future Shock Series
Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs Future Lost by Elizabeth Briggs

Dragon Born Trilogy
Magic-Born Dragon by K.N. Lee Queen of the Dragons by K.N. Lee

Dr. Seuss
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss

The Kinsman Chronicles
King's War by Jill Williamson
Check out my review here!

Blood and Gold Series
Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

The Uncommon Life Study
Achieving Your Potential by Tony Dungy

IQ Series
Wrecked by Joe Ide

Lady Sherlock Series
The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

The Darkwater Saga
The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

Recruits Series
Recruits by Thomas Locke
Check out my review here!

Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series
Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray

The Guardians
Jack Frost by William Joyce

DC Icons
Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas

Claus Series
Claus by Tony Bertauski

The Ravenwood Saga
Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse
Check out my review here!

Stand-alone works:

Relic by Alan Dean Foster

Arena by Karen Hancock

Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck

My total for 2018: 114 books! Woo!

What was your favorite read in 2018?

Fiction Review: Morgan L. Busse’s “Mark of the Raven”

Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)

This book was superb! The world-building, the lore-crafting, the character creation were all expertly executed, topped by a great plot. The large cast of characters and shifting points of view transitioned seamlessly throughout the story, never losing or breaking the reader’s attention.

And now I’m hooked. There are so many unanswered questions, so many narratives crossing each other – I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series. I feel like the author brought us to the edge of this sweeping lake, and next book is going to push us off to plunge into everything this tale wants to tell.

This was pure enjoyment to read. You should definitely get a copy!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Thomas Locke’s “Recruits”

Recruits

This was a fantastic read. I greatly enjoy the fact that while Mr. Locke’s plots move at a brisk pace, his ability to world-build, and make scenes come alive, never wavers or suffers. The reader is pulled deep within the story, and resurfaces at the end of the book asking for more.

I have read different takes on “twins” in stories. Often, those stories suffer for emphasizing either their sameness, or stark individuality, respectively. This was one of the first books where I’ve seen twins on the page that reflected my experience of twins in life. I became invested in Sean and Dillon’s relationship with each other and with those around them. It all felt real, and progression we see between them, natural. It was a highlight of the book for me.

I am so eager to dive back into this world and see what new adventures and mysteries await. I highly recommend you do as well!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.

Fiction Review: Jill Williamson’s “King’s War”

To put it simply – this is a darn good book.

I received this book for review, but it turned into a read of pure enjoyment. Getting to finish the adventure we started with Trevn, Hinck, Grayson and everyone else two books ago was a high point of my reading list this summer. 

This book is hefty, I had to read it several times to catch everything. But this is one of those works you WANT to re-read and re-read, and will get satisfaction from every time. Great stories are like that. And Ms. Williamson does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged moment by moment. She does not overly telegraph what will come next, and even when you have an inkling, she delivers in ways you don’t see coming. 

I love books with an allegorical bent to them, and the allegories Ms. Williamson weaves were rich, layered, and well-written. In all, this book is an excellent read and I can’t wait to experience more from this author!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley