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8.17.2017

The Soldier who Killed a King ~ Review

The Soldier Who Killed a King
By David Kitz

A true retelling of the Passion

Marcus Longinus has lived for years in the Judean region doing his duty for Rome. But this year the Passover celebration in Jerusalem is unlike any he has before experienced. The city and the people seem to be on the verge of an uprising. A most unlikely man is being heralded as if he were a conquering king - a man who has a most disconcerting ability of appearing to see into the very core of a person.

But the favor this man has found among the people is not shared with those who rule the spiritual and commercial aspects of the Jewish people. And this lack of favor is about to drag all who rule into its net. The week that follows is one that will make Marcus question what he has always believed.

The Soldier Who Killed a King is a look at the week leading up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus seen through the eyes of the man who is charged with seeing the will of Pilate carried out. This is an emotional journey that takes the reader on the journey of Christ's final Passover, one that would change the world forever.

I have to say this is an emotionally moving work. The pain that Jesus must have suffered in His sacrifice is portrayed in such a way that I can say I felt sick at just what He suffered. David Kitz has truly brought this week to life. His portrayal of Herod, Pilate, and Caiaphas and the actions of each man to try to work and manipulate the outcome of events is remarkable.

I recommend this book - it is graphic and horrific,  but to truly appreciate a sacrifice one must to be able to comprehend the cost and The Soldier Who Killed a King can bring this home.

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

About the Book:
A stunning story of Holy Week through the eyes of a Roman centurion

Watch the triumphal entry of the donkey-riding king through the eyes of Marcus Longinus, the centurion charged with keeping the streets from erupting into open rebellion.

Look behind the scenes at the political plotting of King Herod, known as the scheming Fox for his ruthless shrewdness.

Get a front-row seat to the confrontation between the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

Understand as never before the horror of the decision to save a brutal terrorist in order to condemn the peaceful Jew to death.
If you've heard the story of Passion Week so often it's become stale, now is the time to rediscover the terrible events leading from Jesus's humble ride into the city to his crucifixion. The Soldier Who Killed a King will stun you afresh with how completely Christ's resurrection changed history, one life at a time.  

8.15.2017

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law ~ Review

Historical and Theological
Foundations of Law 
By John Eidsmoe

If you are looking for something to read that has some depth and educational values I highly recommend this book. Well, books is a more accurate description as this is a 3 volume set.  Volume 1 covers Ancient Wisdom, Volume 2 Classical and Medieval, and Volume 3 Reformation and Colonial.

This set covers law in such a way that the reader is taken on a journey of world history with law being the thread that is followed from the earliest recorded moments of humanity up to the modern legal structures upon which America was founded (yes, I realize that to some the 18th Century is not considered modern) The rise and fall of nations is contrasted with what we know of their legal system and their commonly held beliefs in God or in gods.

Homeschoolers, if you are looking for a suggestion in regards to a textbook or a supplement to an existing course on world history and government I personally believe this would be an excellent choice. This would be a great addition to any home, school or church library. Believe me when I say this is one set you'll want to re-read and take notes.

I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher through TBCN with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOKS (1417 pages):

The Law! What is it, and where does it get its authority? Because someone with a crown and scepter has commanded it? Because a council has adopted it? Because a judge has upheld it? Or is law "law" because a Higher Authority has ordained it so? The Laws of Nature? And of Nature's God? Do "echoes of Eden" remain, faintly reminding us of an Original Plan? What is the Common Law? When did it begin? Is it relevant or binding today? And what of the Laws of the ancient Hebrews-an irrelevant footnote, or the cornerstone of all true Law?

With unparalleled scope and minute detail, Historical &Theological Foundations of Law studies the legal systems of ancient societies all across the earth, explores their common threads and differences, and traces their development through history, and notes common trends that should cause hope or alarm today. Embark with us on a journey to discover the earliest origins of Law.
Volume I - Ancient Wisdom

Volume II - Classical and Medieval

Volume III - Reformation and Colonial


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
John Eidsmoe brings to this study the combined disciplines of the soldier, jurist, theologian, and historian. A retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and a Colonel in the Alabama State Defense Force, Eidsmoe is an Adjunct Professor for the Oak Brook College of Law & Government Policy, for the Handong International Law School in South Korea, and for the Institute of Lutheran Theology.

The Memory of You ~ Review

The Memory of You
By Catherine West

For 13 years Natalie Mitchell has been living with the memory of her sister's death and trying to be what Nicole would have been. But Natalie isn't Nicole, she knows she can never become close to being the outgoing people person her twin sister was. And worse Natalie knows that she is a disappointment to her parents. On the brink of another breakdown, Natalie agrees to go to California, to her grandfather's home in the heart of Sonoma's wine country.

Her father has demanded that Natalie start proceedings to shut down Maoilios, the winery that her grandparents started. But returning to Maoilios may be the escape Natalie needs to recover and face her past.

But Tanner Collins is determined to send Natalie back to New York as soon as possible. He knows she's there at her father's bidding to shut down Maoilios and destroy everything he has worked for. But Hal Mitchell has faith in his granddaughter and knows that if Natalie is given the chance that she'll fight for Maoilios and her family's legacy if only he can convince Tanner to trust Natalie.

Tanner has his own issues revolving around his family and his guilt and as a result, he is an all around grump who is anything but helpful to Natalie's already fragile mental state. But when Natalie finds herself in need of help Tanner is the only one to whom she can turn.

Can working together help Tanner and Natalie heal from the wounds of the past that have left a mark on their hearts?  

The Memory of You is a moving and touching story that explores the value of family and the power of secrets and guilt upon the heart and mind. I really liked Natalie from the first chapter. Tanner really needed a good shake with his major attitude - it might have knocked the chip he was carrying around on his shoulder off. It was interesting to see how each character reacted differently to a situation and how it shaped them and their future responses.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the Fiction Guild with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
 

About the Book:
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. He knows Natalie intends to close the gates, and he's determined to convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it. For both of them.

8.14.2017

Beneath Copper Falls ~ Review

Beneath Copper Falls
A Rock Harbor Novel #6
By Colleen Coble

Dana Newell is returning to Rock Harbor, leaving behind an abusive and domineering fiance behind (at least that's the plan). Thankfully her brother Chris has offered to let her share his new home and she has a job waiting for her as a 911 dispatcher.

But the peace that Dana was seeking in Rock Harbor is all too soon shattered when a friend from her past makes a desperate plea for help to 911. Has Dana brought the danger with her or is there something more sinister at work in this town that she has called home since her parents' deaths?

Beneath Copper Falls is an intense page turning book that will keep the reader guessing as to the identity of who the perpetrator truly is. Colleen Coble truly keeps the reader guessing as to who did what to whom. This book might literally keep the reader up well past the last page if read before bed. Can I just say creepy....WOW! Now I need to go back and read the previous Rock Harbor books.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book through the Fiction Guild with no expectations of a review positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . 
but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

Chasing Secrets ~ Review

Chasing Secrets
Elite Guardians #4
By Lynette Eason

Haley Callaghan's early life in Ireland wasn't easy but she has no idea just what she lost years ago and the truth is about to come out. And someone is determined to keep her from learning the truth that has been hidden for over 25 years.

Living in South Carolina, Haley has no idea that her past is about to find her and place her and those around her in the crosshairs of danger. And her job with Elite Guardians places her in enough danger as it is and Haley has just taken on a case that has made her an enemy that has a way of escaping justice. With more than one target on her back, Haley has caught the attention of Detective Steven Rothwell is determined to help her stay safe.

Now Haley just has to survive long enough to discover who wants her dead and rescue those who've been put in danger because she cares. With Steven determined to not lose another person under his protection and the rest of the Elite Guardians backing her up, Haley has a fighting chance to see tomorrow. And Haley has a whole reason to see tomorrow - one she never expected to have.

This is the concluding book in the Elite Guardians series and fans of the series should not be disappointed though it would have been interesting to learn the back story on some of the later additions to the group. Haley's story is interesting and the various potential suspects and the overlapping of personal and professional just adds another layer to the suspense. I can honestly say I was left guessing up to the big reveal.

For readers who haven't previously read any or all of the books in this series don't worry you won't get lost as each book focuses on a different character or characters. Each story builds on the previous one much like one's own life - time passes and new acquaintances enter while others leave. The old and new in your life don't have to meet in order to enjoy (or not) spending time with you. So take the time to get to know Haley as she uncovers secrets from her past.


About the Book:

Intensity. 
Skill. 
Tenacity.

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan's life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.



The Return ~ Review

The Return
An Amish Beginnings Novel #3
By Suzanne Fisher Woods

The Return continues the story of the early days of Stoney Ridge and this chapter is set, for the majority of the story, in 1763. For those who enjoyed the story of Anna Konig and Bairn Bauer and the journey that brought them together aboard the Charming Nancy and to the New World, this is the third book in their story. Time has passed and not only have they married, they have a daughter Tessa, who is on the threshold of womanhood and all the anguish that that entails. Tessa Bauer has a decided personality that once set on a particular path is hard to detour to a better one. Fortunately or not she speaks her mind and often to the dismay of her mother and those around her

Tessa Bauer has long sought the attentions of Hams Johann Bauer to no avail. Hans' heart has been captured by Betsy Zook, a new arrival to the New World and Pennsylvania. Tessa has an admirer whom as a child offended her and unfortunately for him, Tessa's good opinion (much like Mr. Darcy's) once lost is likely to be forever lost. But Martin Gingerich is not easily dissuaded to Tessa's annoyance.

But when an Indian raid occurs, many who lived outside of the Stoney Ridge settlement are slaughtered or captured. And Betsy Zook is among those who are taken. Those of Stoney Ridge are shocked and saddened by the news and to Hans disgust are unwilling to take action against those who perpetrated this savage attack.

The Return is a story told from two vastly different viewpoint - that of those in Stoney Ridge (particularly Tessa) and that of Betsy as she lives among a people who are much more than savages. But hatred is a two edged sword that thrusts both ways with tragic consequences often for those who are innocent. This was a world in turmoil as the old and new tried to establish a balance and protect what they believed was theirs.

I really believe that this series Amish Beginnings is one that anyone who has a love of historical fiction would enjoy (even someone who is not into Amish fiction). There is a depth to this story that will make one stop and think. Hate and the thirst for vengeance is examined along with its tragic and costly ending - a timely book no matter what year it is.

Of note - if you have not read the previous books in the series that is not a problem as one can quite easily read this book on its own without the backstory. Either way, this is an excellent book that should not be missed.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Revell with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
In a wild country, the true 
cost of love may be 
more than they can bear

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances. 

Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far? 

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of pre-revolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.


8.13.2017

To Wager Her Heart ~ Review

To Wager Her Heart
A Belle Meade Plantation Novel #3
By Tamera Alexander

1871, Tennesse is not an easy place to live. The War between the States has left many with a bitterness in their hearts and a distrust of those without Southern roots. And it is to this world that Sylas Rutledge finds himself trying to build his railroad future. But Sylas has one big problem in getting investors - he's from Colorado. His other problem doesn't understand Southern society and the convoluted manners that go with securing business success.

Sylas needs help and he thinks Miss Alexandra Jamison may be the perfect person to teach him the manners he needs. But Alexandra has problems of her own - she has determined that she needs to make her own way and to make a difference. And her determination has led her to Fisk University - a school for freedmen. Alexandra's choice is one most frowned upon - no proper Southern lady of a good name would ever teach former slaves. But with her father determined to see her married to a man that she wants nothing to do with Alexandra sees little choice in the matter.

Can two more unlikely people forge a partnership that could change their world as they know it? With help from unexpected sources, they both may find what they have been seeking - love, honor and the truth.

I'll be honest this is the first book by Tamera Alexander that I have ever read, but the cover caught my attention and then description intrigued me.  The idea of a freedman's university in the South shortly after the Civil War was something I had never heard of and I wanted to learn more about this pertinent information that was somehow lacking in my history books.

Well, I was not disappointed in this book and the author's notes following the story explaining the historical aspects of the story were greatly appreciated.  Learning about Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers was such an added bonus, one that will touch the heart. 

Though it is the third book in the Belle Meade Plantation series I found this book easy to follow and was not at a loss from not reading the previous books in the series (though after reading this book I would like to read the first 2 books).  I highly recommend this book regardless of your previous experience with this author - it is well worth your time.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through the BookLook blogger program with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Can a railroad man and a Southern Belle turned teacher find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?

Sylas Rutledge, former gambler and new owner of the East Line Railway, invests everything he has into this venture, partly to see if he can do it—but mostly to avenge his father. One man holds the key to the railway’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sylas Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver in high society, and when he meets Alexandra Donelson, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor.

Spurning her family’s wishes that she marry, Alexandra Donelson is pursuing her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family does not approve, and ultimately, her father expels her from the family home and cuts her off completely.

Through her friendship with Mary Harding, Alexandra is thrown together with both General Harding and Sylas Rutledge. And she soon finds herself falling in love with a man whose roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility.

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win the hand of the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about a nation mending after war, the struggle to move a country forward, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves for who they truly are—and can be—with each other.