Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Hostile Land by Willowy Whisper {Book Review}

Hi everyone! *waves* Long time no see, eh? It's been, uh, two weeks since I posted here. Horrible, I know, but hopefully that's going to change. :D 

Today I have a review for you! A short story by the young Willowy Whisper. This is the third of her works I've had the privilege of reading (I've also reviewed and The Innocent and The Letter. Links lead to my reviews) and, let me tell you, this girl is super talented! 

Book Description 
“It's here, Dan, and we've got to face it. We can't run from it—not like your Pa. We've got to stick things out, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much they take.” Reese leaned forward, moving his calloused hands over the boy's. “For your Ma's sake, if for nothing else.”

Reese Davern finds himself back in Wyoming, summoned by a desperate letter from his sister. But when the enemy strikes out and leaves Dan motherless, Reese has more to protect than just the sheep. Can a fourteen-year-old boy and one man survive the cruelties of this hostile land? Or are they fools to even try? 

My Rating
5 of 5 stars 

My Review

Miss Willowy's stories never fail to amaze me and cause my heart to race! This Hostile Land was no exception. It was, quite literally, the perfect western short-story.

Not that I consider myself an expert on westerns, but this is superb. Gunfights, nasty villains, danger, thrill, and excitement! All written in such a vivid, depictive style. Ahhh, I loved this story. <3 

Reese was my favorite (of course). He's somewhat like the typical hero-cowboy, but he doesn't drink, cuss, and carouse. Instead he prays, seeks God's help, and does his best to protect those he loves. 

Dan was a great character as well, and I enjoyed reading his relationship with his Uncle Reese. :) 

My only hold back to handing this story to anyone would be the detailed violence that plays a main part in this book. In my personal opinion, that's what makes it such a realistic western. (And if you've saw any western movies aside from The Apple Dumpling Gang, there's not much difference there.) But for that I couldn't recommend it to a young audience. 

That said, I have only one request... A sequel!! I need a sequel short-story of what happens with everyone next! :D 


"Not hardly. ... That was just a battle cry." 

"You live by the cattle or you die by the cattleman." 

This was cattle country. This was hostile land.

**I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sisters in Christ ~ Bethany R. ~ August 2016

Hello, everyone! And welcome to the August installment of Sisters in Christ! :D A week late, I know. I was out of town last week and didn't have time/internet access to prepare the post. 

Our chat this month is with Bethany R. from A Great God and Good Cocoa and Two God Crazy GalsWelcome, Bethany! Go ahead a introduce yourself in case someone here doesn't know you. :) 

I am a homeschooled pastor's daughter living in rural Central California with my parents and younger sister. I've been homeschooled since third grade and now I'm in high school. I enjoy writing, reading, and blogging. Photography and interacting with horses are some of my other hobbies. And of course, given the title of this post, I am proud to be a Bible-believing, God-loving Christian who is far from perfect.

Let's talk about blogging, shall we? What inspired you to start a blog?
My dad started a blog many years ago and the idea of sharing my life with people intrigued me. I started a blog . . . but never posted. XD Then a few years later I got my act together and jumped in the pool that changed my life. As I blogged, A Great God and Good Cocoa became more than just sharing my life, but rather my creative outlet. I now share writing, my photography, prayer requests, some significant events in my life, and things that have spiritually impacted me.

Did you read other blogs before starting your own, or was starting a blog what thrust you into this amazing world we call The Blogosphere? ;)
I certainly didn't read many other blogs before starting my own, but I was following a few. Namely, Andi's Blog. Isn't The Blogosphere wonderful?

Absolutely! ^_^ How did you find my blog(s)?
I don't remember exactly but I think I met you on Andi's Blog and we went from there. :)

That sounds right. ;) Let's move on to chatting about our Lord... What's your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and book? Why?
While I don't have any specific favorites, I'll share one of each that I do really enjoy. Verse: Probably 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV) or simply Psalm 19:1. 

The first is a reminder to me that no matter my age, I can still be a light for God in all circumstances despite what others might say. 

The second is another constant reminder that God is all powerful, and He can handle everything. Chapter: Possibly Ephesians 6 or 2 Timothy 2. I love the clarity of the instructions within them. Book: Probably Matthew, Corinthians, or Revelation. The end times scare me to death (pardon the pun) but also fascinate me.
What Bible verse(s) have really helped you through some rough times?

One would be Matthew 10:29-31. I have struggled with fear, and also feeling like I want to take control, but I have to keep reminding myself that God loves us all and will take care of us. The hairs of my head are all numbered? I have no idea how many hairs I have! He cares that much about me. Wow.

What is one event in your life that really strengthened your Christian walk?
I don't think that I have had any of those major “events” that all of a sudden made me stronger. For me, it has just been a slow up and down process, sometimes gaining ground but sometimes losing it. However, each time I go to a Christian camp, youth group, church, see God's handiwork, or discuss God with those around me whom I would call my mentors, I am strengthened in my walk with Him.

And lastly, Any Bible reading tips?
None that I'm super good at yet. :) But I would encourage you to not only read the Old Testament, but also study the New Testament. Especially the Gospels and letters of instruction by Paul such as Corinthians, Timothy, or Ephesians. Also, I recently learned of a new Bible-study tactic called “PRO-APT.” It stands for Pray, Read, Observe, Apply, Pray, Tell. I actually plan on doing a blog post about that soon. :)

Now, just for fun, let's talk about reading, writing, and all that cool stuff. :P On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most), how much of a reader would you consider yourself?
What about a writer?

Reader: 9.5
Writer: 7.5

Where's your favorite place to read and/or write?
Anywhere. :) Inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs, at my desk, in my room, in the car, at my grandparents. XD I'm pretty flexible.

I think you're the only person I know who also writes in the car. ;P 

What's your favorite author(s)? Favorite books by them?
Uh oh. I was dreading this one. It's a good thing that you made this plural. Top two favorite authors: Tricia Mingerink and her Blades of Acktar series. Jaye L. Knight (aka Molly Evangeline) and all of her books. Also, Susan Marlow and her Circle C Adventures series as well as Heartbreak Trail. I have enjoyed anything I've read by Jerry B. Jenkins, Lauraine Snelling, Walter Farley, Jesseca Dawn, C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Rebekah Eddy. I recently found Connilyn Cossette and enjoyed her first book, Counted With the Stars. Other recent finds include Rachel Starr Thomson and Lois Walfrid Johnson. I could go on and on but I think this is enough. :P

What are some books that really impacted your young life? 
I'm going to start by saying the stories by Bill Peet. He both authored and illustrated several sweet childrens' stories. Another book was The Kissing Hand. I read that with my mom and it became very special to us.

A few random questions before we have to part ways... If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Spontaneous? Humorous? Different? I'm not sure. :) I guess “unusual” does a pretty good job of summing me up. XP
Any pet peeves?
Authors who are inconsistent or kill off my favorite characters. Textbooks telling me how to write an essay that are poorly written themselves.

Hahaha, I love it. XD 

Favorite songs?
“Guilty” by the Newsboys. Actually, any song by the Newsboys, Casting Crowns, For All Seasons, The Afters, Buddy Davis, or Chris Tomlin. As far as specific songs, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me and “Mediator.” I'm not sure who the artist is.

Oooo, all good ones. :) 
Anything else to add? Goals for this year?
Goals? Well, I don't have too many major ones, but I do want to read 120 books this year, get close to finishing writing my story, begin to learn American Sign Language, start taking Driver's Ed., and start to take college classes.

I'm taking ASL this year too!! :) 

Thank you so much, Faith, for including me in this link-up. I had so much fun and I really appreciate your patience with me. ;) You are a super great friend and encourager. I can't thank you enough!

Thank you for taking part, Bethany! Awww, you're too kind, my friend. :) 


I hope you enjoyed the chat! :) Be sure to leave a comment and let us know how we did. :) 

God bless,

Saturday, August 6, 2016

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden {Book Review}

~ Book Description 

Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society. 
Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board. 
Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 
This being my first book by Elizabeth Camden, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, let me just say I will be reading more by her. A lot more I hope. Her writing style is SO BEAUTIFUL. 

The murder mystery made my skin crawl and my heart pound. Though I hadn't read one in quite some time, I love a good mystery when I read one and this one was AHHMAZING. 

The romance was sweet and fun for the most part. And then the side story with Evelyn and Clyde was utterly darling and I love them so much. *huggles characters*

The characters were SUPERB. Without discussing each of them separately as I'm going to do I would surely miss something (though I will anyway). 

Romulus is an intricately crafted character, full of details uncommon for the usual hero/love interest in these type of stories. The magazine, Scientific World, is his pride and joy. Unfortunately, that goes too far and we find Romulus measuring his self-worth against the popularity and success of the magazine he co-owns with his cousin, Evelyn. In the beginning there's plenty of room for developing Romulus's character, and the change in him through the course of the book was well-paced, realistic, and wonderful to watch. Um...read. ;) 

Stella is an enchantingly beautiful artist with, as Romulus often reminds her, an extremely large ego. He's good for her and keeps her from allowing her fame and talent to go to her head. The character growth in her was much quicker than the change in Romulus and not so realistic. Much more sudden and spot-on. I enjoyed all the talk of dresses, accessories, and fashion in the parts from her POV too. It added so much historical detail. :) 

Evelyn, Romulus's cousin and business partner, and Clyde, Evelyn's husband, were both intriguing characters. Having gotten a legal separation years ago (it wasn't called a divorce, and they were still technically married), they have lived their own lives, each of them trying to ignore the still-present feeling for their spouse. When Clyde ends up back in Boston on business...he's bold enough to face Evelyn and persistent enough to try and win her heart back. 

Although Evelyn and Clyde weren't the main focus of the book, they were...my favorite. Odd, I know, I should like Stella and Romulus. And I do, but I honestly enjoyed Evelyn and Clyde's story more. I enjoyed watching their story progress SO-O much! 

*spoilers ahead* With everything that happened over Clyde's injury...I CRIED, people.  I loved them...I need a story, a chapter even, of them somewhere...together...with their adopted daughter, Lily...*dreamy sigh* *end of spoilers* 

I can't wait to read Summer of Dreams and get their complete back-story! :)

All of that said and fangirling over, I grappled over what to rate this book for awhile. For the writing style, the thrilling mystery, and believable characters, I would heartily give the book five stars. Unfortunately there were a couple things I didn't agree with, so I'm knocking off a star. 

The kissing between two certain people about 60% through the book was a little over the top in my opinion. One knows that the other has no interest in a lasting relationship, yet they instigate the kiss...and continue to kiss...a lot... Just, yuck. 

My last 'complaint' would be the lack of Christianity. The characters pray a couple times, God is mentioned, and Stella realizes in the end that she wants to be the tru Christian that her sister was. If you're just going to write a clean, historical fiction, that's great. I'll still enjoy it. But don't add a couple of prayers and then call it Christian. Please? 

All together, I enjoyed this book immensely. The time period wasn't one I typically read,  so it was neat to be different. ;) I would recommend this book to those who enjoy accurate historical fiction, vividly detailed descriptions, and clean mysteries. 

Favorite Quote. 

"I'm convinced the joy from a single ounce of chocolate does the body and spirit more good than a whole cartload of turnips." 

**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.**