Book Reviews

The Alamo Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #7) by Kathleen Y’Barbo

the alamo brideTitle: The Alamo Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #7)
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Rating: ★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Series for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?
Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)

This reminded me of Pearl Harbor because you had a girl who was a healer and a guy who was in the military (insert googly eyes here). This is probably one of my favorites in the series so far. Ellis was very humble and kind. Clay was very protective. But, probably my favorite character in both protagonists is that they were fiercely loyal. My dream was to marry a Southern gentleman adorned in a military uniform, so this was exactly the kind of book I wanted.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust

-Psalm 91:4

Having never read a novel set during the Alamo (which I previously had no interest in), this historical story caught my attention. The novel was well-written, descriptive, and intriguing.

Book Reviews

AA-1025: Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration Into The Church by Marie Carre

AA 1025Title: AA-1025: Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration Into The Church
Author: Marie Carre
Rating: ★★★★★

Absorbing and compelling reading from beginning to end, AA -1025 Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration Into the Church is a must read for every Catholic today and for all who would understand just what has happened to the Catholic Church since the 1960 s.

In the 1960’s, a French nurse, Marie Carre, attended an auto-crash victim who was brought into her hospital in a city she purposely does not name. The man lingered there near death for a few hours and then died. He had no identification on him, but he had a briefcase in which there was a set of quasi-autobiographical notes. She kept these notes and read them, and because of their extraordinary content, decided to publish them.

The result is this little book, AA-1025 Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration Into the Church, a strange and fascinating account of a Communist who purposely entered the Catholic priesthood along with many others, with the intent to subvert and destroy the Church from within. His strange yet fascinating and illuminating set of biographical notes, tells of his commission to enter the priesthood, his experiences in the seminary, and the means and methods he used and promoted to help effect from within the auto-dissolution of the Catholic Church.

This book was introduced to me by someone who was really close to me. And by the cover, it looks to be a little boring. However, this started off just how I never imagined it would.

A french nurse was attending to a victim and found some notes on him after he died. What was in the letters was amazing. This man was a Russian whose occupation was to be a spy for the Communist party. And he was to do this by becoming a priest. I know I shouldn’t laugh, but it did make me chuckle reading that this man purposely would go to Confession with the intention of telling the priests his mastermind plan! The funny part was that he thought they would be surprised and they didn’t really blink an eye at him because they were so believing of God.

Trying to destroy the meaning of the Eucharist, he talks of his plan of action. What is even crazier, is that some of these “changes” he talks about making have already happened. One of his plans did kind of backfire…”Raven Hair”, his muse, ended up doing something he did not expect. I wonder if she ever read this memoir? 

This was a very interesting read that opened my eyes to evil we may not always think about and how some people literally try to destroy good things. A definite read for anyone Catholic or interested in history!

Book Reviews

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Outrun the Wind

Title: Outrun the Wind
Author: Elizabeth Tammi
Rating: ★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

Robin Hood meets Wonder Woman. The story starts out with a bang. Artemis is mad and sends one of her monsters to destroy a kingdom, however, when one of her own huntresses gets in the way, new hope arises out of a country almost forgotten. Atalanta is your typical teenager in some ways: a little cocky, ignorant to her own faults, and insecure at the same time. But, also a monster butt-kicking legend…at least to those who don’t know the truth.

The trees tremble, and it is not from the wind.

I clench my fists so my fingers don’t follow the trees’ example, and reach behind my back, pulling out an arrow and nocking it in a motion so practiced that I don’t need to take my eyes off of the treeline. Sunlight glimmers like a jewel through the shifting leaves.

“It’s here,” Meleager says, his voice solid and unafraid.

As we all know, fame can blind us. People who once were nothing to us suddenly gain interest. And in the limelight of being accepted by those we have always wished, we don’t always see the truth behind the sudden attention. This is exactly what happens to Atalanta.

The story came in hot, but then the middle took a complete 180. All of the action I was relishing turned into love. And while love it nice to have around, it is also nice to have action during the same time, and that didn’t happen for me. There was some disconnect. Almost like an aside from the action. Not only that, but, like always, the author always makes the characters pick the person I don’t want them to. Why can’t they ever pick the super nice ones (Wahh!)?!

crying

If not for the little love aside, I really enjoyed the novel. The action scenes were great and there is so much potential for either a series or other novels based in the same universe.

It’s impossible for us both, I realize. She can’t outrace the world. I can’t stay, and I can’t bear to leave her. We can’t outrun the wind.

Book Reviews

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

The Great Divorce

Title: The Great Divorce
Author: C.S. Lewis
Rating: ★★★★

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.

C.S. Lewis: the man behind the glorious Chronicles of Narnia. Our narrator arrives in Hell and is waiting in line to board the bus. While waiting, he hears multiple conversations between people. Summarizing that the “divorce” between good and evil is up to each and every person, he explains this through the imagery of taking a bus from Hell to the edge of Heaven. People are preventing their own way to Heaven by keeping the distant things from the past present in their minds. Pretty much each chapter tells the story of a different person in Hell and their excuses, grudges, and vices keeping them from reaching their eternal happiness.

I doubt if he knew clearly what he meant. But you and I must be clear. There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels. It’s not out of bad mice or bad fleas you make demons, but out of bad archangels. The false religion of lust is baser than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art: but lust is less likely to be made into a religion.

I absolutely love that a Christian lesson is taught through a fantasy tale. This makes for an easy read, and it is relatable to everyone, not just Christians. Human flaw is depicted through many struggles we all face. But in the light of reality, we must remove the negative aspects of our life in order to obtain true happiness.

“The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven”

Book Reviews

Consumed (Firefighters, #1) by J.R. Ward

ConsumedTitle: Consumed (Firefighters, #1)
Author: J.R. Ward
Rating: ★★★★★

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm . . .

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story comes in hot! I was literally thinking, “Dang! All of this action and I’m not even a quarter of the way through yet!” I was a little skeptical because I thought the story may be a little cliche, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.

What I loved about this novel was that the relationships were realistic…it didn’t have the fairytale ending where there isn’t a fight and things turn out happily ever after. There were real issues and real people going through the struggles that both you and I go through in our normal lives. 

What surprised me probably the most was that I didn’t expect the ending! And it leads us to anticipate the next installment of the series. 

Despite the characters’ imperfections, I loved them and found them interesting. But most importantly, wanting to know more. Considering one of our main characters is female, this surprised me. 

I’m more than ready for the next novel in this series! Let me at it!

Book Reviews

Men and Women Are From Eden by Mary Healy

Men and Women Are From Eden

Title: Men and Women Are From Eden: A Study Guide to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body
Author: Mary Healy
Rating: ★★★★

Maybe you’ve heard of Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body and wondered, vaguely, what it’s all about. Maybe you’ve never heard of it until now and are asking, theology of the what? Maybe you’re already familiar with the basics and are ready to incorporate this teaching on sex, love and marriage into your own life.

Whatever your level of understanding, you’re probably ready for some good news about sex in a culture littered with the bad news of divorce, adultery, sexually transmitted disease, heartache and loneliness.

This guide is designed to help you appropriate the Pope’s astonishing message: True, lasting love—that which humanity enjoyed in the beginning, before the Fall—is possible here and now. In nine straightforward lessons, Men and Women Are from Eden introduces the reader to the pope’s warm, deeply biblical understanding of God’s original plan for men and women, a plan that brings with it healing of mind in regard to sexuality and the body.

This next quote from the novel gave me a great epiphany and I’m surprised I never even noticed this prior from both the books and the movies. I never even realized that the “bad” side didn’t have any family or love. It was just full of individuals and selfish means. It’s just crazy to me that a series most people adore has some Christian meaning behind it without anyone even realizing it. I love it!

In The Lord of the Rings we see forces gathering for a battle of cosmic significance. Two cultures are pitted against each other. On one side is the Shire, a land steeped in the joys of home, kinship, friendship, and ancestral ties – a world shaped by marriage and family. On the other side is Mordor, a land devoid of love, marriage, family and any personal commitments, a world whose goal is to demolish the Shire and everything it represents.

At the center of the war is a ring. This ring is not one that binds through covenant love but one that enslaves through lust, deceit and ambition. It is in fact the antithesis of a wedding ring. You could call it the “anti-marriage ring”.

Overall, I did enjoy this study guide. It provided a lot of fact and examples. It’s crazy how fast things can change from how they used to be to how they are now. And that things can become accepted so fast and on such a large scale. Love is great and it does still exist!

Book Reviews, Food

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

The Wicked King

Title: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air, #2)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★

The Cruel Prince: ★★★★
The Wicked King: ★★★★

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

This was not a boring, fluffer second book!

Image result for yay gif

I love Jude! Although, I think she gives people the benefit of the doubt WAY too often. She is a realistic heroine and what is nice is that she does have flaws. Always looking to do the best for the ones she loves, she is selfless and clever in her actions. 

Dang, Cardan! Oh how much he grew in this novel. I’m destined to love him as a character knowing all of his flaws and treachery. Playing into the foolish king role, he took everyone for a spin. 

Like before, Taryn and Locke are annoying. Vivi, too (she is so immature).

I remember what it was to hate him with the whole of my heart, but I’ve remembered too late.

Everyone is really surprised by the ending, but I wasn’t. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Human nature of the characters point directly to that, so I wasn’t really surprised by the action. I was, however, completely surprised by one of the betrayals. This is why you can’t trust anyone. 

Does anyone else get emotionally drained from all of the lies, deceit, and betrayals in this series?! Why can’t anything good just happen?! haha

This is how I imagine Holly Black being to everyone who read The Wicked King (queue Wicked Witch laugh):

Image result for funny gif

The Wicked King gives readers the debauchery and treachery similar to that of George R.R. Martin’s works. The character development is phenomenal. I am pleasantly surprised by this second novel not being a fluffer and actually having a plot line. The last third of the book is sure to give readers a ride and leave them wanting more.

What more destruction can Holly Black cause readers next?!