Dagger’s Sleep

Title: Dagger’s Sleep (Beyond the Tale, Volume One)

Author: Tricia Mingerink

Publisher: Cross & Sword Publishing

Pages: 366


Summary:

A prince cursed to sleep.

A princess destined to wake him.

A kingdom determined to stop them.

High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.

A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?

One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest king himself, their quests will demand sacrifices neither of them could imagine.


Positive Elements:

Rosanna’s family and guards are determined to protect one another. Jadon is loyal to Alex (not the easiest person to be around). Rosanna and her family care about and do all they can to keep their kingdom safe.


Cons:

None


Violence:

People get smacked around by a quarterstaff during fights; one character gets shot multiple times with arrows (semi-descriptive); someone gets bashed on the head with a scepter; other characters are injured by arrows; a character is injured when a bridge collapses; a character is poisoned. The aftereffects of war (dead bodies, blood, etc.) are mentioned (not descriptive); it is mentioned that a character’s throat was slit.


Spiritual Content:

The Lord of the Fae, also called the Highest King, represents God, and the Prince of All Princes represents Christ. The Prince of All Princes remarks that Alex was able to petition the Highest King because of His worthiness.

There are also Fae (which I assume are fairies). They are able to either place curses on individuals or bless them.


Language:

None


Rating:

4.5 Stars


Other:

Alex and Mirabelle kiss, as do Daemyn and Rosanna.


Conclusion:

Normally I roll my eyes and ignore the majority of fairy tale retellings I come across. Dagger’s Sleep was not one of those. Tricia Mingerink cleverly puts an almost Native American spin on Sleeping Beauty, which in turn created a fun, emotional, engaging read. My only wish is that the reader would have been treated to Daemyn’s POV. For those who like fairy tales, Dagger’s Sleep is a must-read.

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In Russian Wonderland

Title: In Russian Wonderland: An American’s Odyssey in Soviet Russia

Author: Charles Cole

Pages: 184

*Sold by Amazon


 

Summary:

Although we routinely hear about Russia, few Americans know much about it. The author travels back in time and provides a bird’s eye view of daily life in the Soviet Union – the society that produced today’s Russian leaders and made indelible imprints on Russia’s history and culture.
  
In Russian Wonderland shines a light on life in a society run by a large, omnipotent government. Some advocate such a system here in America. Perhaps we should pause and carefully examine what such a society looks like in reality, as well as analyze Russia’s current policies and actions in light of their Soviet roots.

 

 


Rating:

5 Stars


 

In Russian Wonderland is an informative narrative of the author’s 6 month adventure in Russia. It is chilling to read this book, then reflect on the same, dangerous, destructive path America could easily take. In Russian Wonderland is an eye-opener, not to mention chock-full of facts about how life was in Soviet Russia. Reading this book will make you appreciate all the more the freedoms we have in the U.S.

15 Books for Your Summer Reading List, Part 1

15 paart 1

From historical, regency, and contemporary romance, to fantasy and nonfiction, here are 15 great books to add to your summer reading list:

 

– Historical Romance –

 

Summer of Promise (Westward Winds Series, Book One) by Amanda Cabot

 

Summer of Promise, Westward Winds Series #1   -     By: Amanda Cabot Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont with her sweetheart, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte’s letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads West to Wyoming. The endless prairie seems monotonous, but when her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

When circumstances–and perhaps a bit of matchmaking–put Abigail and Ethan together, there’s certainly attraction. But Abigail is planning to marry another man and return to life in Vermont as soon as she is finished attending to her sister. And Ethan loves his life in the Army and the wilds of Wyoming. When summer ends, will Abigail go back East? Or will she fall in love with this rugged land herself?

 


 

 

The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch

 

Anything he can do, I can do better. At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

 

 

 

 


 

When Love Calls (The Gregory Sisters Series) by Lorna Seilstad

 

Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn’t include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy. “Hello Girls” must conduct themselves according to strict–and often bewildering–rules. No talking to the other girls. No chatting with callers. No blowing your nose without first raising your hand. And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank’s eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parents’ home. He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home. But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity.

When one of Hannah’s friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help. Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law? And could she be falling in love?

 


 

The Underground Railroad Brides Collection

 

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

underground railroad pictureNine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

– Emma Underground by Barbara Tifft Blakey
– Follow the Christmas Star by Ramona K. Cecil
– Under the Sails of Love by Lynn A. Coleman
– The Bakery Bride by Cecelia Dowdy
– Place of Refuge by Patty Smith Hall
– Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes
– The Winter Quilt by Debby Lee
– The Song of Hearts Set Free by Darlene Panzera
– Freedom’s Flight by Penny Zeller

There is hope for the future when people come together to fight evil, and when men and women find love in the midst of great challenges. And through it all, faith is the key to victory in these stories from nine inspiring Christian authors.

Book trailer:

 


 

Heart of Gold (Women of Faith Series) by Robin Lee Hatcher

 

The truest treasure is found deep in the heart.

Back in her beloved Virginia, Shannon Adair loved nursing injured soldiers back to health. But in Grand Coeur, Idaho-the rough-and-tumble place where her father has been called to lead the church-she’s not sure where she fits in. Then a critically ill woman arrives, and Shannon knows her place at last: to care for this dear woman and ease her pain.

Matthew Dubois is the fastest and most reliable stagecoach driver on Wells Fargo’s payroll. But his widowed sister is dying and he’s about to inherit his young nephew. So he takes a job at the Wells Fargo express office in Grand Coeur until he can find the one thing he needs to get back to driving: a wife to care for the boy.

What neither of them knows is that God is at work behind the scenes-and is lovingly bringing them together to discover the true desires of their hearts.

 


 

 -Nonfiction –

 

In Russian Wonderland: An American’s Odyssey in Soviet Russia by Charles Cole

 

charles coleIt seems every day we hear about Russia. But how much do we really know about that far off place? Travel back in time with the author and get a bird’s eye view of life in the old Soviet Union – the society that spawned today’s Russia and made indelible imprints on her history and culture. For over thirty years during the Cold War, the former United States Information Agency (USIA) sent cultural exchange exhibits to the Soviet Union and other Iron Curtain countries. This book describes in detail what it was like to serve as a Russian-speaking “guide” at the various cities in which the exhibit Research and Development in the USA was shown in 1972 and contains examples depicting the lives of average Soviet citizens of the time. This is what it’s like to live in a society run by a large, omnipotent government. There can be no better time than now to look back at this history. Had the Soviet Union survived as a country, 2017 would have marked the 100-th anniversary of its founding. As we strive to understand Russia’s current policies and actions, we need to look at her Soviet roots to fully understand them.

 


 

-Fantasy-

 

Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm Series, Book One) by Chuck Black

 

Drew is caught in a world of light – just inches away from the darkCloak of the Light

What if…there was a world beyond our vision, a world just fingertips beyond our reach? What if…our world wasn’t beyond their influence?

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn, but college offers Drew a chance to start over—until an accident during a physics experiment leaves him blind and his genius friend, Benjamin Berg, missing.

As his sight miraculously returns, Drew discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to observe fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist?

With help from Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl who offers encouragement through her faith, Drew searches for his missing friend, Ben, who seems to hold the key to unlocking this mystery. As the dark invaders close in, will he find the truth in time?

Book trailer #1:

Book trailer #2:

 


 

Dare (The Blades of Acktar, Book One) by Tricia Mingerink

 

Dare (The Blades of Acktar Book 1) by [Mingerink, Tricia]Courage could cost him everything.

Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time.

Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.

                                        Someone will die.

 


 

Daughter of Light (Follower of the Word Series, Book One) by Morgan Busse

Daughter of Light

 

What if with one touch you could see inside the soul?

Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banished from her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather glove and seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, a terrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the human heart . . .

But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.

 

Book trailer:

 


 

Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles, Book One) by Jaye L. Knight

 

Resistance “Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

 


Orphan’s Song (The Songkeeper Chronicles, Book One) by Gillian Bronte Adams

 

Her solo is a death sentence.

Deep within the world of Leira flows a melody that was sung at the beginning of time by Emhran, the Master Singer. Now it is broken, buried, forgotten. But in each generation, a Songkeeper arises to uphold the memory of the Song against those who want it silenced forever.

When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her own mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced to flee for her life, she must decide whom to trust–a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or a mysterious creature who claims to know her past.

With enemies at her heels and war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie soon discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on one orphan’s Song.

 


 

Prophet (Books of the Infinite, Book One) by R.J. Larson

 

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

 


 

-Contemporary Romance –

 

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K Paul

 

Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?

 


 

-Regency Romance –

 

A Spy’s Devotion (The Regency Spies of London, Book One) by Melanie Dickerson

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

 


 

The Elusive Miss Ellison (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace) by Carolyn Miller

 

elusive miss ellisonHandsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.

That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

 


 

 

Numb

Title: Numb

Author: John W. Otte

Publisher: Marcher Lord Press (now Enclave Publishing)

Length: 395 pages


 

Summary:

Save the girl… or his soul?

Crusader is numb. He feels neither emotion nor pain, a divine gift that allows him to be the Ministrix’s best assassin. Whether it’s heretics from within or heathen from without, Crusader is the sword in the True Church’s hand. And if he remains obedient to his superiors, he will be able to let go of his guilt.

But then he’s ordered to kill Isolda Westin. It shouldn’t be a problem. A target is a target. When Crusader sees Isolda’s image, though, something strange happens. He experiences a moment of panic, a wave of emotions, the first he’s felt in as long as he can remember.

In that moment, he realizes he can’t fulfill his mission. He can’t kill Isolda Westin, even if it means he’ll be condemned as an enemy of the Ministrix.

Soon Crusader and Isolda are on the run. Will they be able to learn why the Ministrix wants Isolda dead? Or will they both face the harsh justice of the “True Church”?


Positive Elements:

Isolda is determined to keep secret the location of a hidden base, thereby keeping safe her friends. Crusader chooses to protect rather than carry out his orders. A secondary character speaks briefly about a choice he had to make: destroy innocent colonists or defy orders (he chose the latter).


Spiritual Content:

A faction called the Ministrix sees itself as the “True Church”, and hunts down those who disagree or believe otherwise; it also has twisted Scripture (which is pointed out in the book), and refers to God as wrathful. Isolda and a secondary character explain that works do not secure salvation. Isolda is mentioned as the daughter of the King (God); she is also seen praying.


Violence:

Crusader shoots several people, and is shot and shot at himself. He also uses his knife to carry out assassination orders. Isolda shoots at Crusader, as does a secondary character. There are battles, a fistfight or two, and reflection on how an innocent colony of people were destroyed by the Ministrix. Another minor character is also knifed in the back. As far as actual blood spilled, it is minor, and none of the injuries noted are detailed upon.


Language:

One usage of he**. There are a few usages of “moron(s)”.


Other negative elements:

It is mentioned briefly that Isolda’s mother and one of the Ministrix officials had an affair (that resulted in Isolda).


Other:

Crusader and Isolda kiss.


Rating:

5 Stars


Conclusion:

Numb, despite being science fiction, opens your eyes to the sad reality that some still think works can get them to Heaven. With it’s interesting plot and complex characters, Numb is a must-read.

The Great Battle

Book Title: The Great Battle (Guardians of Allon, Book One)

Author: Shawn Lamb

Starting Age: Thirteen

 

Principalities and Powers

The vast splendor of the Almighty’s compound graced the Region of Sanctuary. With Great Battlewisdom, compassion, and justice, Jor’el utilized his immortal Guardians as administrators of the kingdom.

For centuries, the mortals lived in peace and prosperity under divine guidance. They went about content with life – or so they though.

Guardians interacted with mortals on a daiy basis. They offered protection and order. They were content in their role – or so they thought.

When one Guardian upsets the balance, the consequences are devastating. For the first time ever, Guardians will face each other in war. Can the kingdom survive a battle of immortals?

 

Language: None

Violence: Nothing explicit

Sex: None

Half Blood

Book Title: Half Blood (Ilyon Chronicles, Prequel Novella)

Author: Jaye L. Knight

Genre: Fantasy

Starting age:  Thirteen

Summary:

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears–dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood–one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. Yet, when his Half Bloodvolatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . .

Other:

Language: None

Violence: Some, as the main character is a gladiator, but there is no in-depth description.

Sexuality: None

 

 

Dream Treaders

Book title: Dream Treaders

Author: Wayne Thomas Batson

Summary:

One of the three Dreamtreaders in all the world, Archer Keaton is determined to do his job – and do it well.

But when his two fellow Dreamtreaders go missing and mysterious reports of a trespasser in the Dream reach Archer, his job becomes harder and increasingly dangerousDreamtreaders

But it is not just the Dream that is is turmoil. Continue reading “Dream Treaders”