Twiceborn by JP Robinson

Twiceborn by JP Robinson is the first book in the “Secrets of Versailles” trilogy. It was released on September 5, 2017 and is available on Amazon.com.

Twiceborn is filled with history, explosive action, evil, good, romance, and politics (of historical France).

A woman gives birth to twins, Antoine and Hugo, fathered by two different men. Throughout their lives, there is rivalry between them but when they fall in love with the same woman, their rivalry reaches the breaking point.

As in all lives, the lives of Antoine and Hugo intertwine with the lives of other characters in the book and the rivalry between them leads to struggles for others who know, love and trust them. Some of the characters find that their trust in either of these men is misplaced.

JP Robinson has created strong characters who captured my interest from the beginning of the first page, and he weaves a tale that kept me turning pages, sometimes well into the night, until the very end. There were many times that I was on the edge of my seat; times where I gasped in surprise and shock; and times I cried for the characters I loved, and sometimes I rejoiced with them. The characters in Twiceborn will live in my memory for a long time.

Twiceborn is rich in scriptural allegory as well and I recognized familiar Bible stories woven throughout. Twiceborn is an epic drama of love, redemption and the power of God.

I look forward to seeing what JP Robinson has in store for me in Book 2 of the “Secrets of Versailles” series.

The Story of With by Allen Arnold

The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create by [Arnold, Allen]

Back Cover Blurb:

You are not alone.

“Whether you’re a free spirit, an office exec, a writer, musician, college student, or tired parent–your soul, like mine, knows life is meant to go beyond rat races and rare applause. This book speaks to that belief. And if you’re not careful, you may find tears warming your eyes as you read because finally someone is naming your weariness, your striving, your questions of why you just can’t quite make it, or the emptiness that hit because maybe you did. It is into those places The Story of With reaches–fusing allegory with application–to offer fresh perspective, restored hope, and a rebirth of creativity.”

–From the Foreword by Mary Weber,                                                                                                          Christy & Carol Award-Winning, Scholastic                                                                                                           Pick Author of the Storm Siren Trilogy

This book combines good storytelling and teaching. It’s a story that will touch you deep within. It will speak to you, wherever you are in life, right now. The teaching enriches the story and the message.

Do you know who you are? Are you aware that what you do does not define who you are? This book includes the story of Mia’s journey, and, at the same time, takes the reader on a journey to discover who he/she really is.

When I first saw this book, I thought, “what kind of title is the story of WITH”? As I read it, I soon discovered just how important the title of the book is, and it couldn’t have a better-fitting title. This book will challenge you. It will make you examine your life, your choices. It might inspire you to make some changes.

This book held me captive and left a very deep impression upon me. It resonates with me, and it challenged me to make a few changes in my life. This book fanned a spark that was already in me and created a flame. I am sure I will read this book again. I have much of it highlighted in green. I, who revere books, even dog-eared a page that I want immediate access to–and I have NEVER dog-eared the page of a book before.

This book CHANGED MY LIFE, and I challenge you to read it and let it change yours.

 

 

 

The Politician’s Pawn by Jeannette DiLouie

The Politician's Pawn (Dirty Politics Book 1) by [DiLouie, Jeannette]

This is the first Political Thriller I have read and I was pleasantly surprised.

Kayla is kidnapped to swing a vote. However, Kayla is the wrong woman. Things go from bad to worse until an unlikely knight steps in.

Jeannette DiLouie did such a good job of writing Kayla’s emotions through the entire ordeal that I wondered if Ms. DiLouie interviewed a kidnap survivor. Kayla’s emotional reactions to all of the trauma throughout the story came across as very realistic.

Not only were Kayla’s emotional reactions realistic, but the redemptive qualities of a couple of the other characters were impressive as well, to the point that I felt they had earned forgiveness.

Ms. DiLouie did a great job of creating the characters in this story. Even the arrogance and criminal thinking of the politician came across as realistic, albeit maybe a bit eccentric or over the top.

My favorite books always include well developed characters who draw me in and make me feel what they’re feeling, and Ms. DiLouie did that with several of the characters in this book. Then she added a plot line that contained enough tension and strange circumstances to keep me turning pages.

This was definitely another hit by Ms. DiLouie and there is a second book that connects to this one, which I now HAVE to read!

 

Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie

Not So Human (Faerietales Book 1) by [DiLouie, Jeannette]

Sabrina is an average young American woman who struggles in the relationship department. However, her life becomes more than average in a matter of seconds when four men in black suits and sunglasses follow her home.

She’s really a faerie princess with a royal family in Scotland, but that doesn’t mean her life is suddenly a real life faerie tale. On the contrary, her life is suddenly in danger and if she isn’t battling the bad guys, she’s running for her life and finding possible romance that might not get the chance to blossom.

This is another book by Jeannette DiLouie, who seems to have a talent for multiple genres. Not So Human puts a new spin on faerie stories with the Human Preservation and Advancement Committee out to get Princess Sabrina and all of faeriedom. The story had me on the edge of my seat when the HPAC followed her home and her best friend, Deanda, tells her they have to pack and leave their apartment. That’s when the run for her life begins. The faerie characters are endearing, the HPAC, not so much.

This story is full of action, suspense, a little bit of humor and a touch of romance. Who could ask for anything more?

Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie is the first of a four book series of “Faerietales”. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series to find out what happens to Princess Sabrina and a certain male faerie I’ve come to love.

 

Do We Have a Responsibility in Regard to Our Entertainment?

Entertainment surrounds us — social media, movies, music, books, DVDs. It invades our sight, our hearing, our minds, and our hearts. Therefore, don’t we have a responsibility to be careful about what entertainment we allow to invade us?

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is a book of wisdom and in that book it says, “Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  (Proverbs 4:20-27)

Also, in the book of Philippians we read, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, it is my understanding that we are responsible for whatever we fill our senses, our minds and our hearts with.

So, why am I talking about this? Because of a brief conversation I had with some friends recently. These friends are also believers, and we were talking about writing and one mentioned the writings of Diana Gabaldon, especially her “Outlander” series, to which I commented, “that’s garbage”. Two of my friends responded with, “No, it’s not. Her writing is fantastic.”

Now, I will admit that I have not actually read any of Diana Gabaldon’s works. So maybe she is a very skilled writer. However, I do know that her Outlander series has a lot of explicit sex in it, and a lot of it is rape, which she romanticizes.

In my opinion, that is wrong, and it certainly isn’t something I want to read and invade my mind and heart with.

Whenever I’ve made these comments about Ms. Gabaldon’s writing, I’ve heard the same thing from both Christian and non-Christian women who read these books, “That was the way it was in that place and time period.”

To which I must say, “I’m sure that NOT EVERY male/female relationship in that place and time period involved rape, just as I’m sure that EVERY woman who has ever been raped has experienced a violent, invasive, traumatic event and would not find it in the least bit romantic. Therefore, I find it irresponsible that a writer would have women romanticizing and fantasizing about their rapist(s) and the act of rape.

I find it disappointing and disheartening that Christian women are reading such things and finding them great entertainment. I refuse to read that type of so-called entertainment.

I am also very careful with what I write because I do not want to be responsible for leading someone down a crooked path. I don’t write preachy stories or stories that will have a strictly “Christian” label, but I do write with the same responsibility with which I read, and though my characters face temptation and sometimes yield to it just as any human, they will also grow and learn and find redemption.

 

 

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I received a free copy of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen in exchange for my honest review for BookLook Blogger.

Jonah has a heart of gold and he would like to be the guy who gets the girl, but Jonah has a physical deformity and suffers from debilitating epileptic seizures, while Stormi is beautiful and seems perfect, although there is something quite unusual about her as well — she seems to know things and many of the adults in Gullery are a bit intimidated by her.

Even though Jonah feels that he can never win Stormi’s love, Stormi prefers Jonah’s company over most other people’s. They seem to understand each other and are able to sympathize with each other.

Jonah has a job taking care of the one prisoner in the town jail but doesn’t know why the prisoner is in jail, and Stormi won’t go anywhere near the jail.

As the story moves along, Jonah and Stormi experience an adventure that reveals a secret that’s been kept for years in Gullery, a secret that could change everything.

You will care about Jonah and Stormi and find yourself routing for them for several different reasons.

Unfolding will keep you turning pages as you travel on the adventure with Jonah and Stormi, experiencing strange occurrences and finding the truth. You will want to turn pages to see if Jonah really can get the girl in the end.

Unfolding is a strange ride, and I did feel that the ending was a bit lacking, but all-in-all Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen is a good read.

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s theme as per The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Books I Wish Had More/Less X in Them”. However, I couldn’t think of anything for this topic, so I looked at past Top Ten Tuesday Themes and decided to do one that I don’t think I’ve done in the past.

Therefore, my theme for today is “Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry”.

  1. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
  2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  3. Unblemished by Sara Ella
  4. Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund
  5. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  7. Fire and Water by Betsy Graziana Fasbinder
  8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  9. This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury
  10. The Promise by Danielle Steel

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a FREEBIE as determined by The Broke and Bookish.

Therefore, since I could choose WHATEVER I wanted to create a list of, AND because I am a writer, I decided to do “Top Ten Books on the Writing Craft That I Hope to Read This Year”.

  1. & 2. Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by [Cron, Lisa] & Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by [Cron, Lisa]

I finally ordered and just received “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron. I have heard so many good things about this book from other writers. I can’t wait to finally dig into it! Then there’s Lisa’s newest release from 2016, “Story Genius”. I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this one too.

3. 

Okay, confession: I have already started reading this one. But, I’ve only completed chapter one. I ran into an issue in my WIP (work in progress) and thought this might help, and I’ve already discovered and corrected my biggest issue, after just reading one chapter, so I can’t wait to see what the rest of this book has for me!

4. Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by [James, Steven]

This one has been recommended to me several times by other writer friends, so it still lingers on my TBR list. I did just order it and should receive it into my hot little hands by February 1st.

5. 

This one sounds like a book every writer needs. I read about it, as it came recommended by K.M. Weiland, who has great writing advice.

6. 

I don’t intend to write a screenplay, but I’ve heard this book recommended for book authors as well.

7. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by [Truby, John]

This, too, comes highly recommended to me by other writer friends.

8. 

My son recommended this book to me a long time ago, but also informed me that Robert McKee tends to use some profane language in it, so I have steered clear of it so far. Then a Christian writer friend recommended it to me and I asked her about the language, and she didn’t remember there being any. So, I guess I’ll take a chance. I can always do like my son said a friend of his did and cross out the inappropriate words with a black sharpie. (The only problem with that is I have to see the words to cross them out.)

9. & 10.  & Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict and Suspense by [Bell, James Scott]

Yes, I am a James Scott Bell fan. He gives writing advice and tips using some great examples that I am familiar with. He includes some writing exercises to help you apply what he’s teaching. I have read two of his books, and like I mentioned above, I am currently reading another one of his books on writing.

What type of books did you share about on your TTT today?

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

The week’s theme for the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems That I Have Read Recently. Therefore, the following picks are books I read in 2016 that I really enjoyed but didn’t hear/read anyone else really talking about. So, if you haven’t read any of these, I suggest you may want to check them out.

A great story about the complicated relationships within families, as well as a really sweet romance between two unlikely people.

2. 

This is probably my favorite book of 2016 and I can’t believe that more of you fantasy lovers haven’t been talking this one up. If you like fantasy, you’ve got to check this book out!

3. 

This is a book about one man’s struggles with life, love and relationships. I had never heard of Charles Martin before reading this book, but I enjoyed this book enough that I will be checking out more books by Charles Martin, who has written quite a few.

4. 

If you like good YA fiction with strong female characters, you’ll enjoy Dauntless, but don’t stop with that one. Read the other two books in the serious as well: Chivalrous and Courageous.

5. 

I don’t see a lot of hype ever talked up about these formulaic romance stories, and I am not a big fan of them either. However, Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton is a great romance story with lots of good characters.

6. 

This is the first steampunk book I have ever read and I really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Do any of the rest of you read any steampunk? I haven’t seen any on any of the blogs I’ve visited.

7. 

Not my usual genre, and I’m not a big fan of books with violence and profanity, but this book was written in such a personable way about the life of a Marine in Vietnam, that I really did enjoy it. I had difficulty putting down until I reached the end.

I know we’re supposed to do ten, but I cannot honestly think of any more books that I read in 2016 that haven’t received a lot of attention and hype.