Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keepers of The Covenant, Book 2 in The Restoration Chronicles By Lynn Austin

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.
When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple–but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges…this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

My Thoughts:

Keepers of The Covenant is the second book in Lynn Austin's latest series, The Restoration Chronicles and it is fantastic. I had the honor of reading and the reviewing the first book, Return to Me and when given the opportunity to read the next one I jumped at it. A Biblical Fiction story that brings to life the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, telling the story of the Jewish that were exiled to Babylon, and the others around them. The Babylonian Jews received a decree from the King in Susa, it declares the annihilation of every Jewish person throughout the empire on the Thirteenth day of Adar, which is less than one year from that point. Ezra is a Jewish scholar and teacher, leads a quiet life of studying and interpreting the Word of God. All at once this decree changes all of that and finds Ezra called to lead his community into this fight. Ezra must find out why this has happened and how God wants them to handle it. Soon another decree come down that gives the Jewish peoples the right to defend themselves on the Thirteenth of Adar, and Ezra is now the leader of this battle.  The Jewish ban together all over the territory and fight for their lives and win but not without some major losses. Ezra loses his brother Jude, who died defending the honor of his wife and children. As Ezra seeks answers why, he discovers it is law that he marries his brother's widow and provide a male heir. Ezra and Devorah honor this law and when Devorah becomes pregnant, life for Ezra changes dramatically. He finds himself asking God to make a way for the Jewish to return to Jerusalem for good to be able to follow all of God's Laws. His prayers find him successful in receiving permission from the King to return and bring back worship at the Temple Jerusalem. As they make their way to Jerusalem Ezra and the others find they are still at battle but this battle in within themselves.

Keepers of The Covenant is the latest book in The Restoration Chronicles by Lynn Austin.  As a fan of Biblical Fiction and Lynn Austin I could not wait to read this book. Return to Me, the first book was a wonderful read and I knew I had to know what happens next. Though this is Biblical Fiction there is a lot of fact and history that went in to this series and I love that. I love learning more about the Old Testament times and the history of the time and place.  Lynn Austin writes with authority on the Books of the Old Testament, the time in history, the places, the government and laws, and the people that shaped this history.  I found myself completely taken in to this book from the beginning and I could not put it down. I learned so much about these books of the Old Testament and how God's Law was interpreted. I loved the characters in this book who are new characters to the series but it was a pleasant surprise to learn of what happened to Hodaya (From Return To Me) and the family that adopted her.  I really enjoyed the storyline of Ezra and Devorah life after The Thirteenth of Adar and seeing how their faithfulness to God's law was rewarded. This story is a wonderful addition to this series and I cannot wait to read the next one. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction and/or Historical Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed.
I give this book 5 STARS.

Lynn Austin is back with the next book in The Restoration Chronicles series, Keepers of the Covenant. Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

Lynn is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and a live author chat webcast on October 21st.
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 21st. Winner will be announced at the Keepers of the Covenant LIVE webcast event on October 21st. Connect with Lynn for a fascinating evening centered around God's unwavering love for His people. She'll be hosting a Biblical fiction book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in The Restoration Chronicles, and much more!

So grab your copy of Keepers of the Covenant and join Lynn and friends on the evening of October 21st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

The Sea House By Elisabeth Gifford

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed  here are my own.

Book Description:

In 1860, Alexander Ferguson, a newly ordained vicar and amateur evolutionary scientist, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the remote Scottish island of Harris. He hopes to uncover the truth behind the legend of the selkies—mermaids or seal people who have been sighted off the north of Scotland for centuries. He has a more personal motive, too; family legend states that Alexander is descended from seal men. As he struggles to be the good pastor he was called to be, his maid Moira faces the terrible eviction of her family by Lord Marstone, whose family owns the island. Their time on the island will irrevocably change the course of both their lives, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after they are gone.

It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child's fragile legs are fused together—a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? To heal her own demons, Ruth feels she must discover the secrets of her new home—but the answers to her questions may lie in her own traumatic past. The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford is a sweeping tale of hope and redemption and a study of how we heal ourselves by discovering our histories.

My Thoughts:

The Sea House is Elisabeth Gifford's debut book from the UK and its a wonderful debut. As my followers know I have such a heart for author's debut books and I love Historical Fiction, well I knew I had to read this.  This story takes place in 1860 and 1992 about the same house in the remote island of Harris in Scotland. The story tells of a vicar/evolutionary scientist looking to uncover The Selkies legend. The Selkies are mermaids or seal people who have been seen in the North of Scotland for centuries. Alexander has his own  personal stake since his family legend tells of Selkies in it.
The Sea House that Alexander Ferguson finds himself part of has many secrets that stay hidden until 1992. In 1992, Ruth and Michael but The Sea House, which is a beautiful but rundown place that they want to restore and turn into a Bed and Breakfast. As Michael restores this home, under the floorboards they make a shocking discovery, baby bones that show the legs fused together, a Selkie. Ruth feels drawn to find out who this baby was and the other secrets The Sea House holds. Ruth doesn't know how close to home this history will hit.

I love debut novels and enjoy being able to read and discover new authors. Elisabeth Gifford has written a great debut novel that takes her readers to two separate times in history and brings them together. Elisabeth Gifford writes with authority about Harris, Scotland, past and present, The Selkies Legend, Pastoring, and Evolutionary Science.  I had a hard time getting into the book in the beginning, but once I got past the second chapter I was swept up into The Sea House. I enjoyed the characters and their journeys to what they were looking for. I also find myself learning so much about Scotland and The Selkies legend, something I had only heard mentioned a few times in my life. Elisabeth Gifford finds the right balance of fact and fiction to keep her readers engaged until the end. I enjoyed this book and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction. I look forward to reading more by Elisabeth Gifford. I give this book 4 STARS.

Don't miss The Sea House, a stunning fiction debut from the UK. Set in a house on the windswept coast of the Outer Hebrides, Elisabeth Gifford's haunting tale effortlessly bridges a gap of more than a century. Adeptly interweaving two tales involving residents of the titular house, Gifford sets up an absorbing mystery revolving around local lore and myths about mermaids, selkies, and sealmen. Stretching seamlessly back and forth through time, layers upon layers of secrets are slowly and effectively peeled away in this evocative debut (Booklist).

Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!
E.Gifford, The Sea House Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at Elisabeth's Blog.

Watch the trailer:

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Mason Jar By James Russell Lingerfelt

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description: 

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex. In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante from Colorado, named Savannah. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions. Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar. A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her and a reunion they never imagined. Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again, and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall. Note: In September 2014, a new version of The Mason Jar (distinguishable by the blue title box on the front cover) was released with a redemptive ending.

My Thoughts: 

The Mason Jar is James Russell Lingerfelt's debut book and it is a fantastic debut.  I have learned that I have a heart for debut authors and their books. I love reading these first books and finding new authors to read from their start.  When I read the book description and that it was a debut book I knew I had to request it and I am so glad I did.  The Mason Jar is like a book within a book. The story begins about a man, Clayton Fincannon, or Finn as his friends know him, who wrote a book about his time in college focusing on his time with "Savannah" (the fictional name given to Eden). Eden gets a call telling her about this book.  From there, as the reader, we get to read Finn's book.  The story goes into Finn's life from losing his parents young, his time in Africa helping street kids, to his current life. Finn and Eden find each other for a short time and one day she leaves without warning and Finn doesn't know why. He struggles through many years wondering why it happened and what happened to her. 

The Mason Jar is a fantastic debut book. James Russell Lingerfelt writes 2 beautiful stories in one that spans many years to give us the story of Finn and Eden. I found myself completely immersed in this book, unable to put it down. From the start this story took a hold of me and held on until the end. James Russell Lingerfelt writes with authority about Tennessee, Pepperdine University, California, Africa, volunteering and missionary work overseas, and Micro lending and how it works. I learned about a few things in this book especially about the missions work in Africa and how Micro lending works and how it has helped people all over the world. I loved all of the characters in this story but it is a tie between Finn and his Grandpa. These two men were so similar yet many years apart. They were also best friends and their connection to one another gave this story so much more. I loved the tradition of  the letters in the Mason jars and the use of the jars for their drinks.  I truly enjoyed this book and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it.  James Russell Lingerfelt is a very talented writer who writes with such heart, you can see it in the pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait for James Russell Lingerfelt's next book to come out. I give this book 5 STARS.

Make sure to check out the information below about this book and the giveaways being offered! 

James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.


The Egyptian Princess: A Story of Hagar By KD Homberg

I received this audiobook for no charge from the author and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review of this audiobook...