Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Review - The Mirror of N'DE and Giveaway!

The Mirror of N’DE
BY: L.K. Malone
PUBLISHED BY: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8524-2667-4
Pages: 328

The Mirror of N’de is a fantasy of adventure about a young girl named Hadlay Mivana who is from the poor Ramash people whom are servants to the high class Oresed overlords. Hadlay’s life is changed when she along with a few friends are chosen to work in the Tower of the Emperor. After a few twists and turns, she befriends the Emperor’s son. Just like every other Ramash child, Hadlay has heard the great tale about the trickster Lelyeh and the Mystical mirror which caused the Ramash ancestors removal from the city of N’de. Hadlay always believed that this tale was just a simple bedtime story for kids, but then she begins to have strange dreams about an unknown Being.

While reading this novel I kept thinking about the Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter books. The Mirror N’De is a new intriguing novel in the fantasy world that both children and adults will enjoy reading. The main character, Hadlay, can be a bit whiny at times, but overall she is an enjoyable character. She is a good role model for younger readers as she is only thirteen years old and takes on many challenges throughout the book by herself. The author did a wonderful job by creating a new mysterious world, but there were a few moments towards the end that I thought was a little too preachy. Despite this, I loved reading the book and I look forward to future works by L.K. Malone.

About the Author: 

L. K. Malone is an insatiable reader who devours nearly a book a day when she isn’t writing. Favorite genres include political thrillers, historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. Some of her favorite reads include the Hunger Games series and the Harry Potter books, which inspired her to try her hand at fantasy with a Judeo-Christian twist. Malone is a Colorado native with a large extended family, which includes two lovely young women who graciously let her mentor them through the Denver Kids program, and a handsome menagerie of pets. 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Review: A Whisper of Peace

A Whisper of Peace
BY: Kim Vogel Sawyer
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0785-3
Pages: 352

A Whisper of Peace is set near Fort Yukon, Alaska in the year 1898, and follows twenty-one year old Lizzie Dawson who lives alone in a cabin after her mother’s death. Her father was a trapper and married her mother who was from a tribe. The tribe didn’t see eye to eye with their marriage and her mother was banned from the tribe. Lizzie wants to reconcile with her maternal family before she heads to San Francisco to reunite with her father. She soon befriends Vivian Selby who teaches her how to survive in a big city. Vivian along with her brother, Clay, are missionaries and their goal is to help the local tribes.

I have enjoyed reading other novels by Kim Vogel Sawyer, but I had trouble reading A Whisper of Peace. The picture of the woman on the book cover doesn’t represent Lizzie from the book as she is suppose to be mixed race. I wished the book focused more on Lizzie than on Clay and Vivian, as I liked her character more. I didn’t care for Clay at all. I thought the character was shallow and could have been written better. I did like the Alaskan setting and the conflict between Lizzie and her family. If you are a fan of Alaska romance novels, then you might enjoy A Whisper of Peace. The book is alright, but I was a little disappointed in it.

* I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review.

About the Author:
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of more than twenty novels, including many CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Carol Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in Central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren. To learn more about upcoming books, visit her website at www.kimvogelsawyer.com.

Review - Out of Control

Out of Control
BY: Mary Connealy
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0911-6
Pages: 329

Book one in the Kincaid Brides series is set during the Colorado Territory in 1866, where Rafe Kincaid stumbles upon an injured Julia Gilliland in a cave. Someone had cut her rope ladder and left her stranded until Rafe rescued her, breaking his personal vow never to go back into the cave again. Julia is glad to be rescued, but is even more happy to have found a fossil in the cave, in which she plans on going back. She is fascinated in geology and wants to explore the mysterious cave, while Rafe must face his past. This is a love story, so naturally the two characters fall for each other.

I have read several novels by Mary Connealy and I would have to say Out of Control is one of her best, filled with an interesting plot and characters that you’ll actually care about. The cavern is big part of the mystery and part of Rafe’s deadly past. The story is fast paced, as I read the novel quickly. I highly recommend Out of Control to all romance readers.
*I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review. 

About the Author:

Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner and a Rita Award Finalist. An author, journalists, and teacher, she lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters - Jose, married to Matt; Wendy; Shelly, married to Aaron; and Katy - and two spectacular grandchildren, Elle and Isaac.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Review - His Steadfast Love

His Steadfast Love
BY: Golden Keyes Parsons
PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59554-629-6
Pages: 331

Set on the Gulf Coast of Texas in 1861, Amanda plans of keeping the promise she kept to her dying mother - to never get married, to never get hurt. Her plans change when she meets the handsome Captain Kent Littlefield, and he is instantly attracted to her as well. Situations become rocky when Texas leaves the Union and Amanda’s brother, Daniel, joins the Confederate States. Her love, Kent, is a union solider, and now Amanda is torn between the two men that she loves greatly.

With the dazzling cover setting the mood for this Civil War novel, I was intrigue to be beginning reading His Steadfast Love, which is a well-written and wonderfully plotted romantic novel, reminding of the North and South trilogy. I recommend the book to fans of romance and historical novels. It’s a great read. 

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy to review. 

About the Author:

Golden Keyes Parsons is the author of the highly acclaimed Darkness to Light series. She's been nominated for several awards, including the ACFW Book of the Year. She and her family live in Texas.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What Do Readers Want? by Nancy Brophy

What Do Readers Want? 

by Nancy Brophy

Comma’s are the bane of my existence. No matter whether I’m putting them in or leaving them out, I’m wrong. I’ve come to accept this when my friends ask, “Have you considered buying a book on punctuation?”

Comments abound on writer’s loops about the horror of Indie-pubbed authors not putting out perfect books. Even if you, like I, have someone edit for errors they still turn up. Frankly, formatting was invented by the devil. But the question isn’t about the formatting of the book. No one writing a critique praises perfect punctuation.

The real question is what do readers want?

They don’t want to trip over grammatical and punctuation errors. We all know that. No one is striving to write poorly. But readers for the most part aren’t reading to critique, they are reading because they want a good story.

More than anything else a reader wants to feel emotion. The stories we carry with us are the ones where the character resonated with us. Maybe it wasn’t the greatest story ever written, but we read it at exactly the right moment in our life. I read Little Women probably around the time I was nine or ten. For a long time, the story was my favorite going so far as to motivate me to become a writer. But I reread Little Women as an adult. What a preachy, self-serving novel. How could I have liked so much as a child? Because I loved Jo.

Our goal as writers is to evoke emotion in the reader. When we think of Scarlett O’Hara, Frodo Baggins, or Harry Potter we think of people we’ve helped overcome obstacles. Through identification with the characters, their fight is also our fight.

We, as writers, have to make their quest the best possible challenge. Your character has to face insurmountable odds and be willing to give everything. If the character holds back, the reader’s participation will skid to a halt.

In Titanic, the heroine leapt from the lifeboat onto the sinking ship to save the hero. This resonated with young girls. The heroine gave her all. Older women in the audience, many of whom could author a book, called, “What I Did for Love” may have thought the heroine was a fool, but we weren’t the ones who saw the movie fifteen times.

The reader must connect with the characters on page one. And this is craft - the heart of a good story. Because evoking emotion is not through angst, but though technique. Give your characters a quest they can’t refuse with a ticking time bomb in the background. Show me the story, don’t tell it to me. Make your setting work. Who can’t picture Tara, or Mordor or Hogswart? Utilize the five senses to draw me in.

I am reader as well as a writer. I, too, want a good story. In Hell On The Heart, Czigany Romney is perfectly happy. Yes, she’d have liked to have graduated high school, perhaps even attended college and become a CSI rather than working for her father and Uncle as an asthmatic sidekick. But leaving Armadillo Creek would be impossible. A gypsy without family would be like a ship without a rudder - directionless, unable to function.

Agent John Stillwater's scarred face reflects the life of man dedicated to protecting his country. Currently his team is dealing with a nationwide white slavery ring, but lack evidence to prove it. An unusual set of circumstances in a nowhere town in Texas leads John to investigate. Can a petite gypsy woman bring down a man the FBI can't find?

I would love to hear your comments.