In the Bookcase

4.25.2016

Book Review: The Sound of Emeralds

The Sound of Emeralds by Rachelle Rea (5 star review)



The Sound of Emeralds

written by Rachelle Rea

250 pages // published in 2016 // Christian fiction // Reformation era




My Review...

5 Star Rating


I'm a little teary-eyed in my heart while writing this review -- for the final installment of the best historical romance series on the market. To recap (in my own words), "Diamonds" (book 1) was the treacherous adventure. "Silver" (book 2) brimmed over with true hope and sincerity. "Emeralds" (book 3) is... the unthinkable.

From "blazing hatred" to "lasting love" is exactly how Gwyn and Dirk's relationship has twisted and then sprouted. But even for them, it's still a rocky road to maintain a marriage filled with steadfast love.

"He was mine, and I was his. We were one. Forever." (Chapter 1, The Sound of Emeralds)

Set in England during the mid-1500s, this series breaks ground on my own bookshelf, for sure; honestly, I just haven't read much fiction that takes place in this time period. For me, it created an all-new reader experience which I enjoyed being in. Many authentic features are drawn into these books, such as the religious issues (Catholicism and Protestantism), social statuses, crime and punishment of the time, and much more.

"Emeralds" goes deeper and into a much darker place than what I had yet seen in Rea's previous two books... and it was thrilling! How did she hold out this long on us readers before bringing in these unfathomable emotions... and heartbreak? I don't want to give away the plot, as I want you to be as taken by surprise as I was... but "Emeralds" will definitely be an emotional read for anyone.

What a marvelous and inspirational trilogy this is. If you, or anyone you know, enjoys Christian historical fiction... you should read The Steadfast Love series. (Recommended for older teens and adults.)

"How could one heart beat inside two separate souls?" (Chapter 9, The Sound of Emeralds)

P.S. I simply cannot wait to hear about Rachelle Rea's next publication, whatever it may be. And so I commence waiting with bated breath.

The Sound of Emeralds is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.






P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


4.15.2016

The Sound of Emeralds // RELEASE DAY!

It's release day!

The final installment of one of my favorite series is being released TODAY, April 15th! Rachelle Rea's third novel The Sound of Emeralds is now available to buy & read!

I love these books, being Christian-inspired historical fiction, with some sweet romance. If you haven't seen my reviews of the Steadfast Love series yet, please glance over my (5-star!) review of The Sound of Diamonds and The Sound of Silver!

The Steadfast Love Series is set in 16th-century Europe, where the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, a half-Dutch Catholic, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

Book #3, The Sound of Emeralds, is available as a paperback and ebook!

Why don't you add it to your Goodreads reading list? (or online wishlist!)

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Release day for The Sound of Emeralds

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What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together...

As the date of Dirk's trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth's parents' murders or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?


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Rachelle Rea, debut author Author Bio // Times gone by snatch Rachelle close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. During college, Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck.

Find out more about Rachelle at Inspiring Daring.

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The Sound of Emeralds is now available!

What can you do?

ADD THE BOOK to your Goodreads TBR list
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ORDER THE BOOK on Amazon.com
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Find Rachelle Rea online!

RachelleRea.com // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram //
Goodreads // Amazon




Grab your copy of The Sound of Emeralds NOW!




3.29.2016

Book Review, Excerpt & GIVEAWAY! The Solid Rock // BLOG TOUR

TSR Release Banner FB and Blog

The Solid Rock Joy by Faith Blum (5 star review)


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Joshua woke with a quiet groan. As his senses woke up one at a time, he cracked his eyelids open. Sure enough, there was a silhouetted form standing at the foot of the bed. From the smell, the person was either from the brothel down the street or had recently left one. He forced himself to breathe evenly and reached for the knife in his thigh holster. With as tough and evil a voice as he could imitate, he spoke, "State your intentions."

Pinkerton detective, Joshua Brookings, is sent on a job that seems simple on the surface. His fellow detective has been kidnapped and his boss, William Pinkerton senses foul play. Joshua is sent to investigate Edward's case in hopes of finding the kidnapped detective and helping solve the case that has taken over ten years to investigate.

Arriving in Cheyenne, Joshua finds much more than a simple kidnapping. Yet again, he must go undercover, something he made his boss promise never to make him do again. The only Christian in the outlaw group, Joshua falters and almost loses faith in God’s providence. Will he stand on the solid Rock or drown in the sinking sand?


buy-button-amazon You can also preorder a paperback copy here for $14.00 plus shipping.

The Solid Rock
Hymns of the West series

written by Faith Blum

418 pages // published in 2016 // Christian fiction



My Review...

5 Star Rating


It reads like a genuine western novel! The Solid Rock is a thrilling adventure, complete with outlaws, galloping horses, telegraphs (dreamy sigh!) and the saving grace of God.

Joshua Brookings is a devout Christian in the Wild West. He prays all the time (and they are not simple prayers either); this man really pours out his heart to God. Here's the next bit I liked: he's a Pinkerton detective (this really got me hooked!). As he undergoes an undercover mission, his faith is of the utmost importance to Joshua, because he's surrounded by crooks and outlaws. Without his Bible handy, his only company is foul language and crude men. Joshua desires to get out of the business, but he can't do it until the mission is done.

Coincidentally, this is the fifth and final installment in the Hymns of the West series, yet it is the first of them I've read. I was greatly surprised by the author's way with words -- she does well! A lot of times when you take a chance with independent authors, the writing is nowhere near the caliber of author who get published through a company (mostly because they have a team of editors behind them). However, I didn't feel like The Solid Rock was inferior -- I like how it turned out for me, and look forward to reading more by Faith Blum.

There's a lot of character backstories and entangling plot-lines that all meet up with each other. As for me, not having read the previous books, I may not have always known what the characters were referring to -- but that just makes me excited to start from the beginning and find out the whole story, which I look forward to. This was still an enjoyable read though, not to discredit that this can be perceived as a standalone novel!

The Solid Rock touches on some mature topics. There is much romance hinted at throughout, and the plot leans heavily towards a woman from a saloon.

Overall? This is a great inspirational adventure story. Recommended for older teens and adults.

Thanks to the author for the free review copy & for the opportunity to express my honest opinions.





P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Excerpt

Quotable #5



Joshua pushed the door open and breathed deeply. “There’s nothing like the distinct odor of men slaving away in a confined place mixed with rotting coffee grounds and ink.”
“You always make it sound so pleasant,” Paul Greene said, an amused smile on his face. “Mr. Pinkerton will be with you in a moment.”
A tall man stepped out of the door behind the secretary. “Actually, he’ll be with him right now. Come with me, Joshua.”
Joshua nodded to the secretary and followed William Pinkerton into his office.
“I have a case for you. I believe it will fit with your moral objections as well as your skill set.”
Joshua raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“We have an agent in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who has been investigating some strange events for more than ten years now. He is close to the end and has been kidnapped.”
“Kidnapped by whom?”
“That’s one of the things you need to find out.”
Joshua leaned forward. “How long ago?”
“He was kidnapped yesterday. His daughter sent us a telegram.”
“Why me?”
William smiled. This was one reason he loved working with Joshua. “You know the area better than most agents, and you have been quite successful tracking down criminals on fairly cold trails. You read fast and think well on your feet. I can also trust you not to flirt with Mr. Harris’s daughter. I hear she’s young, unmarried, and quite lovely.”
Joshua’s head jerked up from his examination of the Oriental rug. “Harris? Would the daughter’s name be Elizabeth?”
William shuffled a few papers on his desk and skimmed one. “Yes, it is. How did you know?”
“We met about three years ago when I was the sheriff in Castle City, although then it was known as Cartersville. Is there anything else?”
William skimmed the papers in front of him. “That’s all I know. Knowing Edward Harris, he’ll have kept notes of his investigation and hidden them well.”
Joshua nodded with a smile. “I can see him doing that.”
William stood up and Joshua followed suit. They shook hands. “Good luck to you and Godspeed.”
“Thank you,” Joshua replied.

Faith Blum, The Solid Rock


Giveaway

TSR Release Giveaway Meme

Faith is giving away a full set of paperback books! Fill out this form to earn entries to the giveaway. Each entry gives you one point, plus there are opportunities for bonus entries.



AMF Availability

If you haven't read any of my books and would like to try one for free, I am working on getting A Mighty Fortress available for free on all formats. It is currently free on Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

If you also wouldn't mind helping me get it free on Amazon, I would appreciate that. To help, all you have to do is grab 1, 2, or 3 of the links where it is free and go to AMF's Amazon page, click on "tell us about a lower price" and submit a link or three. Thank you!

Facebook Party

TSR Release Party Banner FB

To celebrate her release, Faith is holding a Facebook party on March 31st from 2-4 Central time. You can join her and 3 other authors here. There will be fun, games, giveaways, excerpts, and more. Some of the giveaways will stay open through Friday evening, April 1st. Fun fact: the other three authors are all homeschool moms.


About the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 croppedFaith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she's grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn't stop her from trying.

When she isn't writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, writing, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Blum/e/B00GSPBHW6
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HymnsoftheWest
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Faith_Blum
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/FaithBlumAuthor
Website: http://www.FaithBlum.com
Blog: http://www.FaithBlum.wordpress.com

Tour Schedule

March 26
Writing Dreams-Excerpt and Spotlight
Frances Hoelsma-Excerpt, Spotlight, Interview
Tee Garner-Excerpt, Spotlight, Interview

March 28
George's Shorts-Spotlight, Review, Interview
Karan Eleni-Excerpt, Spotlight, Review
Blonde RJ-Excerpt
Zerina Blossom's Books-Excerpt, Spotlight

March 29
In the Bookcase-Excerpt, Review
Kelsey's Notebook-Review, Interview
With a Joyful Noise-Excerpt, Spotlight
Melanie D. Snitker, Author-Excerpt, Spotlight
Wildflower Acres-Spotlight

March 30
Jaye L. Knight-Excerpt, Spotlight
Stories by Firefly-Excerpt, Spotlight, Interview
Chess Desalls-Excerpt
Kendra’s Thoughts-Excerpt, Interview

March 31
David Todd-Interview
Reading in June-Excerpt, Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt, Spotlight
Trust and Obey-Guest Post, Spotlight

April 1
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Tour Wrap-up, giveaway announcement


The Solid Rock is available on Amazon in paperback format!
*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


3.22.2016

Book Review & GIVEAWAY! Journey to Love // BLOG TOUR



Journey to Love by Amanda Tero (5 star review)



Journey to Love: Marie's Journey, 1901
Orphan Journeys

written by Amanda Tero

140 pages // published in 2016 // tween fiction




My Review...

5 Star Rating


BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Now orphaned, Marie is swept miles away from the only life she knew to be sheltered by unknown guardians. Caught in the challenges of a new life, she cannot prevent changes from happening, but she can keep the Bowles and their friends at arm's length. Or can she?

While things appear to transition smoothly on the outside, Marie struggles against the turmoil she faces on the inside. She sees something in the Bowles and her new friends that she had never experienced before...but should she trust what the preacher is teaching when it goes against everything she had accepted as truth? Is God really a God of love? If He is, then is Marie willing to accept it?

Follow Marie as she begins the journey to love.


For fans of Christian fiction, Journey to Love is a brand new story that you'll want to read. Written especially for kids, teens, and families to enjoy.

Ever since middle school when I read a few books on the topic, I've held a particular interest for the Orphan Trains that traversed America a century ago. These charity-funded train programs gave hope of providing orphans (or abandoned or homeless children) with better opportunities in life and finding families to call their own. Journey to Love takes place in 1901 (during one of my favorite historical time periods!). All this is to say that I was super excited to read a new fictional book on the topic... And my interest in the book doubled with it being written by an author that I've heard much about in my online circles! Amanda Tero certainly met my expectations with her new publication (this being the first I've read of her books). She is an excellent writer and I am personally inspired by her desire to share faith-based tales, so young in life.

"'But the fruit of the Spirit is love...' It makes sense that the first is love, because God is love. The second is joy. Once we have God's love in our hearts, then He gives us joy. And because God loves us, He gives us peace. So the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. And after that, the rest of the verse just came."
-Amanda Tero, Journey to Love
I like the message of faith and hope that shines through. In the story, twelve-year-old Marie experiences Jesus' love and grace like no other time in her life; it's an eye-opening experience for Marie, and hopefully for the reader as well. It shows that what most of the children on Orphan Trains went through wasn't just a geographical journey, but a spiritual one as well. The overall story is a quaint and sweet one, reflecting the simplicity of life of the Midwest farmers at the turn of the 20th century. Marie learns a great deal about people who may be different than her and how God can change her life, if she lets Him in.

I would recommend this as being perfect for your 9 to 13-year-olds to read, or it would make a great read-aloud story as a family.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Miss Tero's Orphan Journeys series!


Journey to Love is available on Amazon in e-book format.

About the Orphan Journeys Series

Imagine yourself as an orphan, struggling for survival on the filthy New York streets, where disease and crime run rampant. Journey from these wretched streets to a temporary lodging in an overcrowded orphanage and then to the train station. After riding the train for hours, picture yourself lining up with other children, waiting as adults look you over. Would you be chosen—or would you have to hold onto the hope that maybe, at the next station, someone would want to bring you home?

  Minister Charles Loring Brace had a vision for New York orphans that brought them through this journey from streets to homes. He began his orphan work in 1853, then in 1854, because of lack of orphanage space, Brace sent the first orphans by train to Dowagiac, Michigan, where the children could be sheltered by local families. The "orphan train" continued until 1929, bringing at least 150,000 children to new homes where they were fostered and, occasionally, adopted.

  Brace desired to place children in good, Protestant homes. Many orphans experienced Brace's desire, but some orphans had different stories: siblings were separated, and some couples took orphans to use for cheap labor. Though many orphans ended up as successful men and women, not all of them turned out to be trustworthy citizens.

Orphan Journeys is a fictional novella series based off of the American Orphan Train saga, following orphans not only as they adjust to a new life, but also as they embark upon a spiritual journey.

Win the book!

Enter to win one of 3 paperback copies of "Journey to Love"!!
Printed book giveaway open to U.S. residents. 
Worldwide winners will receive e-book.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda TeroAbout the Author
Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda!
Website: http://amandatero.com/ 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaterobooks 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/ 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/truthpicsart/ 
Blog: www.withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmandaTero 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/amandatero

Purchase Link

 


P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


3.08.2016

Book Review: Count It All Joy

Count It All Joy by David Jeremiah (5 star review)



Count It All Joy

written by David Jeremiah

320 pages // published in 2016 // Christian non-fiction




My Review...

5 Star Rating


David Jeremiah returns with a powerful study on the book of Philippians.
And it's all about JOY!

Essentially, he dissects Philippians into small segments, groups of a few verses, and brings out the central theme of that passage. (This is the same setup he used on the book of James in 'What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do', which I thoroughly enjoyed as well!)

The 12 chapter topics of Count It All Joy include:

The Joy of Community
The Joy of Adversity
The Joy of Integrity
The Joy of Unity
The Joy of Responsibility
The Joy of Ministry
The Joy of Humility
The Joy of Victory
The Joy of Maturity
The Joy of Harmony
The Joy of Security
The Joy of Serenity


So much of Paul's letter to the people of Philippi stresses on points that we as Christians should be paying attention to with our whole hearts. It becomes clear that the theme of his writing is indeed "joy". It doesn't matter how bad Paul had tortured up to that point, how he suffered, and was confined in a jail cell. He still felt joy in Christ and could happily spread the good word through his writing. His life is truly amazing.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:4-7

Dr. Jeremiah offers real-life stories to illustrate impacting thoughts. I liked how he brought in a variety of people's story like this -- whether the person is someone famous we know today, or someone from the history books. It was interesting how he brought into focus obscure stories and created a spiritual analogy out of it.

A lot of Dr. Jeremiah's writing is complemented with the work of other religious leaders, and I like the steadfast effect this creates. He doesn't just rely on his own answers, but the life-long discoveries and truths that other leaders like him have succeeded in finding.

*Also included in the back are chapter questions for personal application or group study.

This is a great Bible study on Philippians!

"Paul saw life and death as equally desirable. If he continued to live, he would come to know and love and serve the Lord more fully. If he died, he would completely and finally and perfectly know Him." -David Jeremiah, Count It All Joy


Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the free review copy & for the opportunity to express my honest opinions.


Count It All Joy is available on Amazon in hardcover, audio, and e-book format.




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!