Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unwilling Warrior Review

Book: Unwilling Warrior                      
Author: Andrea Boeshaar
Publisher:  Strang Book Group
ISBN: 978-1-59979-985-8
Genre: Historical Christian Romance                                          

I recently received Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Boeshaar in the mail. It is a historical romance (yes, I get a lot of those) set in the mid 1800's during the civil war. I read this book in one sitting, it was an easy read and interesting enough to keep me up late to finish it-which is always a good sign. The story is well written and the plot has a number of interesting twists to it. My first impression after reading it was that it is interesting albeit forgettable. Historical Romance is a tough genre as there is a LOT of competition out there. It takes something pretty bold to make a particular book stand out in your mind, and this is not one of those books.

The storyline: Valerie Fontaine is a 19 year old young woman whose mother has recently died. She comes home from finishing school to live with her father and finds her welcome slightly less than she was anticipating. She meets a young, handsome photographer, Benjamin McCabe, who is on a quest to find his younger brother and yes... it is "love at first sight". Insert jealous suitor and arranged marriage; add a little conspiracy and political treachery and you have yourself a story that goes above and beyond the typical romance novel.

What I liked about this book: I really enjoyed the development on the main character, Valerie Fontaine. She was almost believable and quite likeable. I also enjoyed the general storyline and plot. Andrea Boeshaar's flowing writing style made the Unwilling Warrior very easy to read and get into.

What I didn't like about this book: You guessed it... "love at first sight", jealous suitors, and all the things that make a story cliche and unrealistic. Give me a messy, tough, gut-wrenching romance that brings in the elements of true love and I will be a happy woman. I found the title did not match the story at all. There is one mention of the "unwilling warrior" in the novel and it really has nothing to do with the main storyline between Valerie and Benjamin.

Who this book is good for: This is a great book for a rainy day, a good book for anyone who enjoys romance, and most likely a good book for a teenager (this is the type of book I would have enjoyed when I was younger).

For more information on the book, Unwilling Warrior, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge from Glass Road Public Relations

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfectly Dateless Review

Hmmmm, I hardly know what to say about this book. Perfectly Dateless, by Kristin Billerbeck, is a teenage fiction novel about a young girl, Daisy, who is looking for the perfect date for prom. The problem is that she comes from a strong Christian family who won't let her date and she is determined to change their minds.

I did not like this book. Understandable as I am not a teenage heart-throb out looking for the next man meat to devour. However, I think I would have found it melodramatic even as a teenager. I was never this boy crazy. The book is written half story, half journal entries (which I found boring) and definitely not my kind of book.

Who this book is good for: This book might possibly be good for a very young teenager. Any highschool student would most likely scoff at the naiive absurdity of it all. However, a preteen 12-14 year old would probably swoon at the prospect of prom and prom dates.

**I received this book free of charge through Baker Publishing House

Heartless review

Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a story of love and adventure. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and princesses and kings and magic. It is the story of 18 year old Una and how she finds her path to true love. This book was nothing I was expecting it to be. When you see the beautiful cover and read the back, you assume it will be a sleeping beauty type story. Handsome hero fights the evil dragon and claims beautiful heroin as his own. The plot however, was a far cry from the expected. Una is of marriageable age and the suitors begin to come calling. She scorns anyone who does not meet her expectations for romance and adventure and soon finds that true love is more than simple excitement. The twists and turns in this book will take you for a wild ride and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy, or just a good read.

What I liked about this book: My favorite aspect of this book is the metaphorical. This book could be taken from the Bible. One of the characters, Una's main suitor Prince Aethelbald, is undeniably representing Jesus. And the dragon represents satan. I have read representations of the gospel before, and nothing compared to this. It is essentially a love story between Jesus and you. The theology is bang on too. For example, the dragon (or satan) could not take Una until she had given up all hope and gave in to him. To me, this was one of the most monumental truths in the book. That satan cannot have us as the rightful bride of Christ, unless we lose faith and hope in God and give ourselves to him.

What I didn't like about this book: Una is naiive, her view of love and life is a bit cliche. As a married sceptic of the wonder and joy and perfection and romance that young people think love is sickens me. Love is work, love is so much deeper than the thrill of his hand touching yours or the butterflies in your stomach. That is not love at all. So, to say the least, Una's perspective drives me nuts in the beginning. It isn't until life gives her a good knock on the head that I find her more tolerable as a person.

Who this book is good for: This book is pretty much the perfect gift for a teenage girl. They are naiive enough to be sucked into the romance and love story, and the metaphor of Jesus will give you something to discuss afterwards. They will be able to relate to Jesus in a whole new way as they see him as a suitor instead of a sacrificial lamb that is hard to picture and understand.

All in all, although there were things that drove me nuts, Heartless is a great book for anyone to read. I would strongly suggest reading it yourself before giving it to your daughter, or niece, or whoever as it will give you time to think about the many similarities in the book and the Bible. I highly enjoyed this book, it is one of the best I have read in a long time, despite my scepticism!

For more information on the book, Heartless, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: The Seeker

The Seeker by Ann H Gabhart is a book about Charlotte Vance, a strong willed young woman set in Kentucky in the 1860's. Charlotte has her whole life planned out for her. Who she will marry, the land she will inherit, the path she will go. Until her father brings home a new wife and her life begins to fall apart at the seems. In a desperate attempt to escape her "step-mother's" clutches and win back her beau, Charlotte joins the local Shaker community. Although this is a historical fiction, Ann Gabhart lives just 30 miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky and therefore brings a lot of truth and an edge of history to the novel.

What I loved about this book: The Seeker was fascinating to me because I had never heard of the Shakers. To be honest, when I saw the white cap on the front image, I was sure it was an Amish story. The Shaker's fascinated me. I found this story incredibly believable. The characters were believable. Charlotte is believable. It is not a perfect story, it is a hard story that I believe depicts life in a more natural life. Love is not portrayed as easy or taken for granted. It is a realistic, interesting, and very satisfying read. I loved the ending. This book is not predictable.

What I didn't love about this book: It is hard to come up with any criticism for this book as I enjoyed it so much. You definitely have to be a fan of historical christian romance to enjoy this book. This book is no epic that will change your life, but it is an enjoyable and interesting read.

Overall, I would recommend The Seeker if you like the category. It is a great book for a rainy day or to give as a gift.

For more information about the book The Seeker or to purchase your own favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge by Baker Publishing Group

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Courting Morrow Little

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz is a historical fiction set in the late 1700's. Morrow is a pastor's daughter in Kentucky who is haunted by memories of her past and her inability to forgive. Trying to find her way during impending war towards love, security and happiness, Morrow is determined to stand on her own. But when her father's health threatens to leave her alone and at the mercy of the men who will do nearly anything to have her, can she put aside her bitterness to find true love with her enemy? A story of love, forgiveness, and war, this book took me back in time and stranded me there. I couldn't put it down.

What I loved about this book: I loved the length of this book. There were a number of places that the author could have ended the story however she chose to give it more depth and went on. It never lost my interest and the story flowed nearly effortlessly as it was woven. I loved the sense of reality this book held. It was very believable and it was obvious that Laura did her research on writing this book.

What I didn't like about this book: Morrow Little is depicted as a subdued, almost breakable little woman. I thought her character itself could have been more believable. Although it held the ring of authenticity as women were dependant on the male's in their lives, she just sits back as her life is decided for her. I think it would have been more believable if she had at least shown some anger or persuasion. Also, the love story between Morrow and "Red Shirt" is a little bit cliche. I think it could have been developed more effectively.

I would recommend Courting Morrow Little to anyone interested in historical fiction or romance in particular. It is a great book for a gift or just to read on a rainy day.

For more information on the book, Courting Morrow Little, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge from Baker Publishing Group 

Review: the Heart Mender

I recently read The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews and was overall very impressed by what I read. The Heart Mender is a story of love, war, friendship, and forgiveness. Helen Mason is a young widow during WWII. Helen is alone with no family and bitter and angry at the Nazi's for taking her husband's life. She works as a waitress during the day and feeds her bitterness at night, allowing her anger to shadow who she is. The story then takes us to the other side of the world where we meet German U-boat officer Lt. Josef Landerman. Overcome with grief over his family's death, he is betrayed by his own country and left for dead where he washes up on Helen's doorstep.

Although I found this story a little hard to get into, I was intrigued by the details of war that I had never heard of before. Andy Andrews gives you an inner look to the life of early America as well as the inner war between the Nazi's and the "true Germans". The story is based on true history as well as true characters whose names were changed to protect their privacy and anonymity. This gives it a ring of truth and reality that make it impossible to put down. For a Christian Fiction novel, there was very little talk about God. Although I appreciate the fact that this makes the book more applicable to the average person, I was also a little bit disappointed and felt that it made it lacking somehow. If this book were to have a 'moral of the story' it would definitely be about forgiveness and the healing power of love. At the end, Andy adds a "Where are they now?" portion as well as a readers guide that gives the reader further insight into the character's true lives.

I would most definitely recommend The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances to my readers. If you like romance, war, or historical fiction, you will love this book.

For more information on the book, The Heart Mender, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson