Category: book review

The Tyrant’s Daughter #Review

The Tyrant’s Daughter written by J.C. Carleson, a former CIA officer, follows the account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs.

The Story

When 15 year old, Laila’s father is killed she flees from the war torn middle east to a life of anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she begins to adjust to a new school, friends and culture but while she focuses on her new life her mother is focused on the past. Her mother is conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne her family lost. Laila feels torn as an international crisis begins to shape around her but is conflicted on what one girl can do to stop a conflict.

My Thoughts

The Tyrant’s Daughter was an incredibly powerful and moving novel. It allowed us to see inside the world of a young girl who is on the verge of womanhood and trying to discover her own place in the world. She is torn from the only life she has ever known and placed into the safety of unfamiliar neighbourhood. She slowly begins to see her family and the people she knew back home in a different light as she is allowed to use the Internet for the first time – is her Father the man she thought he was or the one portrayed on the Internet?. Being immersed in a new culture so different than her own allows her to understand herself better and at times embrace her own beliefs stronger. Everything from gender interactions to food to clothes is so different then anything she has ever experienced before.

The novel gave such a different perspective of politics and the effect it has on the families of those involved. How the decisions their loved ones makes effects them and so much more.

Rating: 5/5

A definite must read! The book is meant for young adults but I found it perfect for my own age group as well.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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It Had to Be You by Susan Warren #Review

It Had to Be You written by Susan Warren follows the story of Eden Christiansen. She was a young, passionate but quiet young woman trying to make her place in the world. She places herself in the role of her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader and babysitter. Looking after her reckless younger brother and his NHL career leaves little time for Eden. She has dreams and hopes to become a famous reporter but is currently stuck writing obits and she beats herself down thinking she will only ever write obits. She looks for help from someone on her brother’s hockey team to mentor him but she never expected bad boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen to step up and help. Jace has built his career on his infamous aggressive behavior both on and off the ice.

Like Eden, Jace finds himself at a crossroad in his career and his future in hockey. Everything changes when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break in the reporting field. Jace and Eden are thrown together on this story and they begin to develop feelings for each other.

It Had To Be You was a fun and entertaining story from start to finish. The characters were love able and real both in their faults and in their emotions. Watching the relationship develop between Eden and Jace was fantastic. It truly showed that you can not always judge a book by it’s cover! Jace has so many layers to him and it was exciting watching Eden open herself up to learning more about him. He truly shows his true nature above the media bad boy hype. It also had a great side story intertwined in it with Jace’s good friend and his young daughter that left you craving for more about their own story.

It Had To Be You was a fun read and I really hope there is a second part to this book! I would love to see how both Jace and Eden’s lives end up. You can find more reviews on It Had To Be You here. To purchase a copy of this book you can do so here.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sinners’ Garden by William Sirls #review

Hope, love and forgiveness. Finding God in all the quiet and small places. This powerful novel, The Sinners’ Garden has it all.

The Sinners’ Garden is set in the small township of Benning. Andy Kemp is one of the main characters of this novel. His life has been centered around the scars that mar his face. His face had been disfigured by an abusive father and he now hides his pain behinds books and anger. His Uncle Rip returns from prison a different and more religious man. He becomes a mentor for his nephew, trying all he can do to help ease Andy’s pain. When Andy begins to hear strange music through his iPod and making near prophetic announcements to those around him, Rip is convinced that Andy is hearing the voice of God.

Local police officer, Heather Gerisch, responds to a late night break in and enter in a poorer area of town. The masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in grocery gift cards! The bizarre break ins continue and is dubbed the “Summer Santa”. Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well kept garden of wildflowers that seem to have grown overnight. They speculate on whom the gardener could be and soon a spree of miracles transforms the small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

This novel was so moving and touched me deeply. It touched on so many difficulty topics of abuse, poverty, pain, forgiveness and healing. It forced me to open my eyes and remember that God is all around us. Sometimes life can become so busy that we forget that God is there listening to us and guiding us. We just need to slow down and listen to Him.

It can be so difficult to forgive those that have hurt us. This novel makes you realize how important the healing process is and if we don’t forgive we will continue to hurt. I loved how real the characters were. They were normal people, they were imperfect and their lives did not end in a happy fairy tale ending just because they were in a novel. This is a definite must read.

If you would like to find out more on this novel and read other reviews, please check out the Litfuse Blog Tour. To purchase a copy of the book please visit here.

Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book for the purpose to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Friend Me: Thrilling First Novel By John Faubion

Friend Me is a suspenseful thriller that will have you turning the pages right through the night unable to put it down! A troubled marriage, an online virtual friend company and an unstable employee in that virtual friend company produces a thrilling book that gave me the goosebumps and had me up late at night reading.
Friend Me is the first novel by John Faubion. It is centered around the troubled marriage of lonely housewife, Rachel, and her frustrated husband , Scott. Scott wants his wife to understand his high pressured financial job and maybe even have her be a bit more like his own mother. Rachel wants Scott to see how lonely she is. She has given up so much for Scott and given him a family and she wants her husband and friend back. 
They both turn to a virtual friend company. Rachel creates a “copy” of a dear friend of hers who has passed away. While Scott creates his ideal cyber girlfriend. The twist comes when the employee behind these creations, Melissa, decides that Scott is her ideal match. Melissa is determined to have all of him – not only him but his family and Rachel’s life. 
Melissa begins to grow bold and tries to transition their virtual world into the real world. It is only then that Scott and Rachel realize they have fallen for something that has begun to feel like a trap. They have to fight against time to save all that is important to them.
In the opening of the novel I had a hard time following the idea behind this virtual friend idea but the more it was discussed the more you can see this becoming something real in our own present life. Technology is advancing daily and people are connecting to each other in ways that were never possible before. Online “friendships” begin and can be disastrous to marriages and trust. 
Through out the novel you wanted to beg and plead with Rachel and Scott to just talk to each other. So many marriages can quickly fall down this road and it is so important to be open and honest with our spouses. Friend Me opens up a real concern that is present in society today about online and virtual relationships and how these affect marriages. 
I have not read a thriller like this in a while and it is definitely a book I will be re-reading again! I am definitely looking forward to reading more of John Faubion’s books! To find more reviews on Friend Me check out the Litfuse Blog Tour here. Want to purchase your own copy? You can do so here.

Rating: 4.75/5
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own. 
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Step By Step Bread #DKCanada #Review

This year I have set severals goals for myself in the areas of cooking and baking. I am determined to eat healthier and purchase less processed foods. One of my goals is to provide my family with more home baked pastries and breads (I want to be able to control what goes in my food and choose healthier options). I have tried on several occasions to make bread loafs and have failed each time (sigh!).
I jumped at the chance to review Step By Step Bread as part of DK Canada’s Start Something New promotion. I was determined to finally make THE perfect bread loaf!
Step By Step Bread has over 125 recipes to suit any bread lover needs as well as for any occasion. Recipes range from classic breads, artisan breads, flat breads, crisps, quick breads to sweet breads (the complete set of recipes!). It was hard to even know where to start! The author Caroline Bretherton has worked in the food industry for the last fifteen years. She then opened up her own catering company and now owns and operates her own eatery in the USA.
One of the best features of this book has to be the photographs. Each recipe has a page or two dedicated to itself with large and clear photographs. She breaks each recipe down step by step making it much harder to make a mistake (especially for this newbie in the world of baking bread!). The ingredients were simple and included items that I always have stocked in my pantry. Caroline covers every possible question that I could possibly have had in this book! Not to mention the fantastic variety of recipes that were included. It covers such a large variety of recipes which eliminates the need to have multiple recipe books laying around the house.
For my first trial, I made a simple ciabatta bread. This is a family favourite in our home and we have it with dinner quite frequently and is delicious when topped with cheese. I have attempted to google recipes on four separate occasions and each time my loaf either did not rise, was rock hard or uncooked on the inside. The instructions for this recipe were simple and easy to follow. I was actually able to start this recipe while getting the boys ready to head out for school/daycare and continue it while working from home. Which is the perfect fit for me!
The final verdict from my family? They loved my ciabatta loaf! This was the first loaf that I have ever made that came out perfect – have to admit I was quite proud of myself.
I love this book and it has made the perfect addition to my recipe book collection. It is incredibly easy to follow, a great variety of recipes as well as a variety of easy and harder skill level baking. A definite must have for families! I am excited to be starting my new year providing great home baked breads for my family!
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