New Read: Choose Love

Choose Love

I am a relatively new Christian having come to faith in my late teens. Now in my twenties I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and to hear what other Christians have to say. I like always having a piece of faith non-fiction on the go so after I finished reading A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada I was keen to pick something else. I picked up Choose Love by Stormie Omartian because I have enjoyed other books by this author earlier in the year.

Omartian in Choose Love reaches out to men and women who believe in God and his son Jesus Christ to consider three choices that could transform your life, the lives of those around you, and your relationship with God. The first choice is for you to receive God’s love for you whole heartedly which includes chapters on how God sees you, mercy, grace and what God can do in our lives. The second choice is for you to express your love for God which includes chapters on worship, trusting, and God’s will and presence. The third choice is for you to love others in a way God would be pleased with which includes chapters on patience, kindness, hope and forgiveness. I was again impressed with how much Omartian managed to cover in a Christian’s life and how much of it were things I could relate to in this book.

Stormie Omartian was a new author for me at the beginning of this year but this is now the third work of her’s I have read. I thought Choose Love was well written with good references from Omartian’s own life experience and Biblical text to back-up and give more depth to each chapter. I again liked how Omartian broke each chapter down into three sections. The first section describing an element of love, the second section a prayer example for that element and the third section showing God’s promises to us as found in the Bible. 21 chapters may seem a little daunting but I found myself engaging well with all the chapters and I heavily highlighted several chapters that spoke to me the most. I was really well supplied with new Christian non-fiction in 2013 and it appears that this is continuing this year too. I look forward to reading more by Omartian.

Choose Love is a detailed and thought-provoking look into how choosing to love can change our lives and our relationship with God. I recommend to Christians interested in enhancing their faith. Good read.

Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read Omartian? Any recommendations for other faith literature?

The Classics Club: Survey 2014

The Classics Club #1

Hello fellow bookworms I spotted this fun 50 Question Survey over at The Classics Club website. I was daunted by 50 questions though so I picked 10 questions I liked and suited me the most. Here are my questions and answers:

1) When did you join The Classics Club?

19th March 2012

2) How many classics have you read off your list so far?

26

3) What are you currently reading?

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

4) What did you finish last?

His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle

5) What would you like to read next?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

6) Best classics you’ve read off your list so far?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

7) Author you’ve read the most by off your list?

Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens

8) Longest classic you’ve read off your list?

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Grimm’s Fairy Tales

9) Oldest classic you’ve read off your list?

Aesop’s Fables

10) List fellow clubbers whose blogs you visit regularly:

Gudrun’s Tights
LindyLit
Lynn’s Book Blog
My Book Strings
She Reads Novels

What classics have you been reading?

New Books: November 2014

New Books - November 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s what goodies I have managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle recently:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (complete) by L Frank Baum

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Red Rose, White Rose by Joanna Hickson

The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

Four new fictions for me this month. I received review copies of historical fictions Red Rose, White Rose and The King’s Sister from Netgalley both I which I am excited to read. I have loved everything I have read by Daphne du Maurier so when I saw Jamaica Inn in my favourite charity book shop I had to pick it up. While I picked up a free copy of fantasy classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz set from Amazon UK.

Clean Food Diet by Jonathan Vine

The Praying Woman’s Devotional by Stormie Omartian

Only two new non-fictions for me this month.  I received a review copy of faith non-fiction The Praying Woman’s Devotional from Netgalley. I read several of Omartian’s work this year and enjoyed them all. Looking forward to reading more. While I picked up a free copy of Clean Food Diet from Amazon UK.

I am pleased I managed to keep my new acquisitions down to a small amount. I am not sure where I’ll start first because I am excited to read all of them.

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

New Read: Queen of Hearts, Volume 2

Queen of Hearts 2

Earlier this year I read The Crown volume 1 of Colleen Oakes’ Wonderland reimagining Queen of Hearts. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as volume 2 The Wonder was available for request I snapped it up!

This is the second volume of this trilogy. This post will contain spoilers for the previous volume.

In the Queen of Hearts 2 we re-join Dinah, the princess of Wonderland, as she weaves her way through the Twisted Wood her only companion is the monstrous stead Morte. Dinah has been forced into this position after the brutal murder of her beloved brother Charles which she was then also framed for. With her gone from the palace the King of Hearts has crowned Dinah’s half-sister Vittiore in her place. Dinah is not left bereft with all her hopes and dreams in tatters. I really felt for Dinah however this is not the end of her troubles. The cruel king now pursues Dinah merciless with his Cards baying for her head. Forcing Dinah to flee deeper into the dangerous and unknown parts of the kingdom. This dark path is to lead Dinah to some unlikely allies. I simply had to keep on reading this to find out what would happen to poor Dinah next.

Our protagonist Dinah began in this trilogy as a young, head strong and rebellious girl. Dinah is still strong and rebellious but through her trials and tribulations she is growing into a woman. While Dinah has escaped the palace she hasn’t escaped all the expectations on her shoulders. The expectations have just changed. Her new allies now look to her to be a strong, wise and victorious Queen. I continued to pity Dinah in this book. Dinah is a strong but imperfect character. While I like her bravery and strength there are still times when I cringed at how far she took her actions and opinions. If only she could hear me shouting stop!

I again really enjoyed Oakes’s reimagining of Wonderland in the Queen of Hearts 2. I like her clever use of classic elements such as the cards, jam tarts and magical food with a new twist and her reimagined classic and new characters which I felt are much better fleshed out than in the original Lewis Carol stories. I thought the Queen of Hearts 2 was well written, detailed and well described. I really could imagine the Twisted Wood, the Yurkei Mountains, and all of Dinah’s trials and tribulations. If you know the original stories you will know how Dinah turns out as the Queen of Hearts. Even so I felt Oakes continued to build Dinah’s character and story gradually, with rising tension and anticipation.

I think the Queen of Hearts 2 is a clever and refreshing reimagining of Wonderland through the eyes of Dinah the future Queen of Hearts. I highly recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and would like to see Wonderland in a new way. Great read.

Thank you to SparkPress (a BookSparks imprint) for providing a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Can you recommend any other reimaginings?

The Classics Club: Spin #8 Result

The Classics Club #1

A quick update for you fellow bookworms the result for The Classics Club Spin is in!

The number randomly selected is: 13

Which means I will be reading: Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

If I’m honest I’m a little daunted by this choice. I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë not long after I joined The Classics Club. Sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations which has left me thinking will I like her other work? I know little to nothing about Shirley though so I suppose no expectations to live up too?

What has the spin chosen for you?

New Read: The Lost Duchess

The Lost Duchess

September and October were months full of mystery and horror as I took part in  The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event hosted by  Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings. All through October though I had my eye upon historical fiction The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden which had been calling to me from my to-be-read pile. After finishing two reads for the R.I.P event I thought I deserved to read it at the end of the month.

The Lost Duchess takes us into the life of Emme Fifield; a favoured lady-in-waiting in the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. We meet Emme as she is fooled and poorly used by Lord Hertford. A scene I found quite hard to read. The scandal that will surely follow threatens to engulf and ruin Emme’s life. Emme can see no other way out of it; she must find a way to leave court. Then the court comes alive with the arrival of the adventurers Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh who come boasting of the wonders of the new world and appealing to the Queen to mount a new expedition to found the City of Raleigh. The lure of the exotic but dangerous new world is intoxicating but it could also be the perfect opportunity for Emme to escape and a start anew. I must admit I found myself wanting to go too.

I found I liked the protagonist of The Lost Duchess Emme almost instantly. Emme is young, beautiful, kind but naïve. Unlike many of the other courtiers Emme only comes from a moderately well born family. She has only reached the heights of a favoured lady-in-waiting to the Queen due to her father’s hard work and the influence of the powerful but dangerous Secretary Walsingham. I felt this is what gave Emme the imagination and the actual ability to go on this adventure into the unknown. If Barden had chosen a character with a more straight forward entrance into the court I don’t think I could have believed it. Not to say that Emme’s transition from comfortable court life to the hard and trying life of a settler is an easy one. Emme makes many mistakes and has some hard lessons to learn. By the end of it though Emme is a strong woman who I liked even more.

The Lost Duchess is the first novel I have read by Jenny Barden. I enjoy historical fiction and I love a good adventure, and this is what drew me to The Lost Duchess. I wasn’t to be disappointed either. I thought The Lost Duchess was a well written novel with a lovely flow and good detail. I found Barden’s comfortable writing style helped me feel at home and swept me quickly away into the tale; and that was before the true adventure even began. Once away from court Emme and her fellow settlers have storms, starvation, poisonous food, lost souls, attacks, intrigue and relationships to deal with. What I didn’t expect was the level of romance this novel would contain; mainly centred around Emme and mariner Kit Doonan. While the romance is sweet and not thrown in your face I personally could have done with less of the will they won’t they. Emme and Kit are fictional characters but there were real settlers who went out on this expedition to found the City of Raleigh.  Barden has obviously filled in some historical gaps and fictionalised events but I thought she did this well which helped me to imagine what it might really have been like for those brave settlers. At the end of the novel Barden’s author’s notes references the real historical characters, events and facts she took inspiration from.

I thought The Lost Duchess was a lovely, romantic adventure from Elizabethan England across the sea to the dangerous and beautiful new world. I would recommend to those interested in historical romance. Good read.

Thank you to the author for providing a free copy of The Lost Duchess in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Can you recommend any other adventures across the sea?

Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX Wrap Up

RIP IX

(Art used for banners is the property of Abigail Larson)

Autumn doesn’t have long left now here in the UK and Winter is creeping up on us which sadly means its time to say goodbye to The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event hosted by  Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings . This is an event where participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural. Perfect genres for the season.

I signed up for Peril the Third level which means I was aiming to read at least one book for the event. Here’s what I managed to read:

1) His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle
2) The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
3) Just After Sunset by Stephen King
4) The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

I usually sign up for the Peril the Third level which means I only need to read one because even though I usually end up reading more I like the flexibility this level offers. I am really pleased to have finished four books for this event and I liked all of them, although I think my last read was weaker than the previous three. (Click on the links in the titles above to view my full thoughts on each read). During the event I also watched the new fantasy, horror TV series Penny Dreadful (2014) which was inspired by characters from classic horror novels.

I will now have to wait till next year for the return of Carl V’s Once Upon a Time and The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril events.

Did you take part in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX? What did you read?