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The Fir Tree ~ Review

The Fir Tree
By Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrated by Sanna Annukka

This is a tale of Hans Christian Andersen's of which I had never before heard of. The Fir Tree is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches a valuable lesson about appreciating what you have.  Unfortunately the fir tree is a very foolish tree who dreams of something better than what life has given it. Always desiring what others have the fir squanders its life until it is too late. And even then it still looks to a better future.

The illustrations are geometrical and elegant in a subtle blend of color that shifts with the mood and the setting of the story. Young readers will appreciate the visual representations as the story unfolds. The story is 44 pages with most pages alternating text with illustrations.

For those who like their books to look nice on their book cases this book will fill this criteria. The cover is a cloth-bound hardcover in a green that that is a little darker than a Grass Green crayon with gold embellishments. The ISBN price label on the back can be easily removed perfect for gift giving.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through Blogging for Books with no expectation of a positive review - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Gorgeously packaged with intricate illustrations from Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annukka, this new edition of Hans Christian Andersen's well-loved fairy tale, The Fir Tree, is the perfect holiday gift for adults and children alike.

Hans Christian Andersen's tragic tale of naive greed and dissatisfaction is retold through the striking and contemporary illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in rich forest green, with gold foil embellishments, The Fir Tree is elevated from a children's book to a unique work of art and makes an ideal gift for people of all ages.

A Lady Unrivaled ~ Review

A Lady Unrivaled
Ladies of the Manor #3
By Roseanna M. White

Lady Ella Myerston is not to be denied and unfortunately for her family she's determined to protect them from the cursed Fire Eyes that have been sought for years. But unraveling the rumors and whispers she's heard from the truth about the cursed Fire Eyes is more difficult than she realized it would be. First up in her plan a visit to Brook and Justin and their library at the Cotwolds to gain as much information as she possibly can. Unfortunately Ella has placed herself in the greatest danger possible by unknowingly bringing the highly sought after gems with her.

But when Lord Crispin Rushworth returns from France with his sister Lady Catherine Pratt the web of intrigue and danger draws tighter. And Lord Cayton is approached by Rushworth to aid him in his quest to claim the Fire Eyes. But Cayton is not the man he was before, the loss of his wife changed him. His young daughter is now his life and he'll do anything to keep her safe and to be the father she deserves. And he is determined to keep Lady Ella safe in spite of her efforts to put herself in the direct path of danger.

When Cayton and Ella determine to work together to stop Rushworth they come up with a plan to hide the truth about their time spent together. Unfortunately their plan could bring Brook's wrath down on them and get Ella sent home to her brother. Could the deception of courtship become truth?

The mystery surrounding the Fire Eyes comes to a climax with A Lady Unrivaled the third and final novel in the Ladies of the Manor series.  Mystery and romance are to be expected but there is an added dose of foreign intrigue with a Russian interest in the gems,  Everything is coming to an exciting conclusion with the lives of all those involved in danger. Greed is an imposing master and those who fall to its power must decide to leave it behind or risk losing everything.

This book is perhaps the best in the series in my opinion but that could be because I so enjoyed Ella and her independence and kindness. If you've read the previous books you'll understand when I say Kitty is a pitiable character who plays a role throughout and is still in mourning over her husband and son. Kitty is a character one is never exactly sure of and this book finally answers some questions about her.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a review positive or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, 
the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds 

Could Threaten Them All

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won't wait for peril to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those intent on destroying them all?


The Silent Songbird ~ Review

The Silent Songbird
Hagenheim #7
By Melanie Dickerson

Evangeline is a political pawn - the hidden away daughter of the late Duke of Clarence, the granddaughter of a king and cousin of King Richard II. As such her life is not her own and she has caught the eye (or ear) of Lord Shiveley with her musical gift of voice. But marriage with Lord Shiveley is one thing Evangeline refuses to submit to.

Slipping away Evangeline joins a group of servants returning to their small village of Glynval after a trading trip. Hiding her voice is imperative to her escape so she takes on the role of a young mute servant. With no skills to prove useful as a servant Evangeline fears she will soon be turned out. But the le Wyse family is kind and offers her the chance to learn as she takes on the role of a servant.

But when Evangeline's secret is revealed her future and her heart hang in the balance. Can she trust those who have discovered the truth to not expose her or will she find herself again about to be wed to a man who she fears and despises?  When an even greater threat is discovered Evangeline must decide if she will surrender her heart and her future to save those dear to her and the kingdom?

This is yet another delightful book from Melanie Dickerson. Evangeline's attempts at being a servant are at times almost humorous if so much was not at stake. I can say having attempted to use a scythe myself at one time I'm positive I would be as handy with it as Evangeline - it is not easy to use and very dangerous in my hands.

I would highly recommend this book and series for those looking for clean fiction that is uplifting. The setting of this book is 14th century England - not Germany for those wondering. This book can stand alone if you have not previously read Melanie's previous books. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this book.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectation of a positive review - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal—until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?
Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.
Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.
More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?


Fuse of Armageddon ~ Review

Fuse of Armageddon
By Sigmund Brouwer
     and Hank Hanegraaff

Negotiating the release of hostages is Mulvaney Quinn's life and he'll risk his own life to keep anyone else from having to suffer the loss he suffered 5 years ago. But someone has targeted CCTI and specifically Quinn. The only question is why and who framed him for the brutal murders?

Unfortunately for Quinn the lead detective on the case Kate Penner has tracked him down in the ACCO (Israel) and she's determined to see him charged with the with the hate crime she thinks he committed. And Quinn is returning to the United States in handcuffs.

But when a terrorist takes 30 tourists hostage Quinn is the requested negotiator. What Quinn and Kate don't know is that the have been caught up in an international incident that could bring the world into a religious war unlike anything the world has ever known. But who is pulling the threads that will bring the world to its knees? Determining the answer to this question is the difference between war or peace.

As Quinn struggles to keep his past and the emotions that come with it from effecting him, he sees a picture that no one expected him to see. Someone is attempting to force Armageddon upon the world and they'll stop at nothing to get the results they desire. But there are several factors in play and the those involved have reaches into the highest levels of power. Trust is at a premium and betrayal is around every corner.

Everything hinges on one question who does God love and care for? This book may give you a new perspective on Israel and those who call the region home.

About the Book:
Hostage negotiator Mulvaney Quinn is unaware that global catastrophe is hours away. 
He is equally unaware of how his past is about to betray him. When he is sent into a hostage situation in the Gaza Strip with a woman cop who hunted him for a hate crime he didn't commit, they become unlikely allies fleeing for survival. Only the two of them can stop an unholy trinity prepared to trigger a final battle of civilizations... and prevent the coming Armageddon.


Scarlet Moon ~ Review

Scarlet Moon
Children of the Blood Moon #1
By S.D. Grimm

Someone is targeting the children who were born on the night of the Blood Moon and the fate of a world is in the balance. The Children of the Blood Moon all have an identifying birthmark and skills that have gifted them. But with people intent on capturing them no one is safe - not their families, their friends, or their villages.

With villages destroyed and evidence pointing to the Feravolk as the guilty party Queen Idla provides the comfort and encouragement the people seek. But evil is at work and not all is as it seems to be. And caught up in this onslaught of evil is Jayden, a young woman whose very family is destroyed by those seeking the gifted. But Jayden is more than just one of the Children of the Moon - she maybe one of the four Deliverers who were prophesied.

But surviving long enough to find out what exactly a Deliverer is suppose to be and do may take all of Jayden's skills along with those of her new allies and friends.  Time is short and the danger is great. Bonds will be forged, sacrifices made, and lives will be lost.  Loyalties will be questioned and evil will have its day. But who will win this battle and gain an advantage in the war that seems sure to be coming.

Scarlet Moon is one book you'll have trouble putting down if you like books that hint at something greater is yet to come. Fans of Jill Williamson's Kinsman Chronicles and Nadine Brandes's Out of Time series will love this debut. My only complaint is I now have to wait for the second book  to come out.  I highly recommend this book for fans of Speculative Fiction. I totally love the cover - it so portrays the danger and all its facets wonderfully!

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Destiny can pick someone else. Evil is slipping through the cracks of its prison, and all Soleden trembles in its wake. Yet some would harness that evil to their own ends, and first among them is Idla, the sorceress queen bent on distorting the world. 

Only one can stand in her way: Jayden. Upon realizing her mark as the prophesied Deliverer, Jayden conceals herself from her enemies and her Feravolk countrymen. But after the harm the Feravolk caused to her family, she s loath to rescue the not-so-innocent.

Hiding her mark was never easy, but now that Jayden knows both Queen Idla and the Feravolk are after her, hiding her gift of the Blood Moon will be impossible.

Candle Day by Day Bible ~ Review

Candle Day by Day Bible in a Year
By Juliet David 
  Illustrations by Jane Heyes

Children's Bible Stories
for Every Day

This Candle Day by Day Bible is a way for children to read a condensed version of the Bible over a year. This Bible is formatted so that it is like a perpetual flip calendar, but there are no dates on it. The days are numbered 1 to 365 with the change over from Old Testament to New Testament at days 244 / 245.  Each day is illustrated with a corresponding picture - Day 1 is In the beginning has a picture of space with a dark sphere (presumably the earth).  Day 29 is Dove and leaf with a picture of the dove returning to Noah and the ark with a green leaf. Day 251 is A baby is born has a picture of the Nativity scene with Mary and Joseph and the animals surrounding Baby Jesus in the manger. Day 346 is Two sad friends which depicts the road to Emmaus story.

Each story is short and with the easel styled stand the story can be displayed all day so that it can be read by anyone as they pass it. Children will anticipate the flip of the page as they learn about the Bible. This is not a complete Bible as it only touches on the more familiar stories. This is an introduction to the Bible and should viewed as such. This will not take up much space when displayed.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a review positive or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
The award-winning Candle Day by Day Bible is now available in a spiral-bound desk calendar format. All of a child's favorite stories and illustrations are easily accessible and on view all day long. One story per day.


Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus ~ Review

Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus
By Juliet David 
   Illustrated by Jane Heyes

Read the story of Jesus in 40 Days

This is a delightful book that tells the story of Jesus from the announcement to Mary that she was to be the mother of a special baby through His Ascension. The story is broken into 40 days with illustrations that will help children visualize what is being shared.

The stories are short so as to hold the attention of even the smallest span. This would be an excellent nightly devotional for the family to share together. The Christmas story takes place over 7 days and would be a timely week before Christmas reminder of the true reason for the season.

This hardcover book is small so even the smallest lap sitter could hold this during the reading. There are a total of 48 pages with 40 of them for the textual portions of the story. The illustrations are colorful with a few pages dedicated solely to illustrations. This would be a delightful gift to a young or expecting family. 

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
This beautiful gift book makes a wonderful addition to the award-winning Candle Day by Day collection. The story of Jesus's life is told over forty days, and presented in the elegant day-by-day styling with page borders and richly colored pictures. Includes an introductory note to suggest how the book could be used.