Blades of Valor: Book Four in the Merlin’s Immortals series by Sigmund Brouwer

Thomas finds himself in the Holy Land with a long-lost ally, Sir William. Through his journey Thomas encounters many who are not as they seem–prisoners who are secret bandits, his supposed friends align themselves with the very assassins hunting for our hero, and a stranger claims to be Thomas’ father. The question still remains, “Who may be trusted?” Meanwhile, back in England the Druids are close to claiming the greatest power in the land.  Who will prevail? 

“Blades of Valor” is the exciting and fast-paced conclusion to the conflict between the Immortals and the Druids.  Finally, all the secrets are revealed and the questions answered.  This much anticipated finale of Merlin’s Immortals series was everything desired–action, danger, intrigue, and answers, with a touch of romance for good measure.  I, for one, would love to see this series come to life in movie form!

Some additional information can be found at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=236069. Also, “Blades of Valor” can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/Blades-Valor-Book-Merlins-Immortals-ebook/dp/B00EGMV2CI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394638465&sr=1-1&keywords=blades+of+valor. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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“Martyr’s Fire” by Sigmund Brouwer

“Martyr’s Fire” is book three in the series of “Merlin’s Immortals”. An action-packed, suspenseful page-turner, Martyr’s Fire follows Thomas as his short rule of Magnus is stolen from him.  He barely escapes with his life, and aside from a homeless puppy feels more alone then ever.  He embarks on a seemingly hopeless journey to take back his kingdom from the ominous druids and to still figure out the truth and the mystery surrounding him at every turn.  Will he find a friend or foe in Katherine?  Can he truly trust this mysterious woman?

I have anxiously and excitedly followed this series by Sigmund Brouwer hoping that this third book would reveal all the secrets and mysteries surrounding Thomas and his little but important kingdom of Magnus.  Although, an exciting plot and a main character you are rooting for–I feel that I have no more answers or closure even at the end of book three.  So now I wait for book four.  I do enjoy Brouwer’s work, but I have to admit that the plot–filled with lots of potential–is sometimes filled with holes and gaps, leaving me to wonder how did the characters arrived at the next scene.  Plus, some of the characters that you grew attached to are dead-at least for now.  I feel that you need to read the book to continue on to book four (if there is a book four), but so much time needed to happen in the duration of this book, that it felt rushed and incomplete.  However, I do enjoy all the surprise twists and turns the plot takes. I could not put the book  down. I just have lots of questions still waiting to be answered. Although slightly disappointed, I am willing to wait to read the next book.

“Martyr’s Fire” can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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“The Governess of Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky

When Julia Foster’s father falls seriously ill, her family must give up their mission work in India to return to England. Now the sole provider for her family, Julia must find work.  The job opportunity is a humbling one working as the new governess for Sir William Ramsey’s family. Recently widowed and discovering the vast debt surrounding his newly acquired inheritance, William is preoccupied to say the least.  Miss Foster dives into the work to tame the youngest children and win the confidence of the older girls.  Julia’s faith, prayers and determined spirit help transform the household.  However, Julia and William are both grieving in their own way with hidden wounds and bittersweet memories, and they are separated by the rigid confines of the early 1900’s English class system.  Will they be able to move on from the past and look forward to the future–together?
 
Carrie Turansky’s new novel is well written.  She allowed me to step into the shoes of the main character–Julia Foster.  I found myself rooting for the new governess when taking on new challenges with kids or other servants, crying with her over the heartache of leaving those she served and loved in India, and groaning over the words left unsaid between her and William. Tuarnsky has a good balance of conversation and narration to keep the pages turning.  I enjoyed the historical context woven into the novel, especially in regards to the strict class system, arranged marriages, coming of age into society, and the visiting American. Turansky writes an enjoyable and endearing novel, even if it is a little predictable.
 
An excerpt of the book can be found at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601424969 and “The Governess of Highland Hall” can be purchased at http://www.christianbook.com/the-governess-highland-hall-edwardian-brides/carrie-turansky/9781601424969/pd/424969. I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah for my review.
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“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers

“Redeeming Love” is extreme heartache, pain and cruelty of sin intertwined beautifully with the patient faithfulness, full forgiveness, unchanging hope and endurance of love. We first meet Angel as a little girl. Then her name is Sarah.  The reader follows Sarah through unspeakable heartache, horrors and hell on earth. Hated and unwanted by her birth father, Sarah’s mother is forced to choose: her lover (a married man) or her child.  That torment drove Sarah’s Mom to depression and death. Orphaned at a young age, Sarah is given to “a better life”–a man looking for a beautiful little girl to take care of.  Emotional, physical and sexual abuse turn little Sarah into Angel, a desirable yet emotionally hardened young woman, bought at the highest price.  In an attempt to flee her vile abuser she finds herself penniless and starving in America and eventually ends up in a California gold mining camp.  There we meet Micheal, a humble farmer with a firm faith in the Heavenly Father.  In town to sell his crops, Micheal first catches a glimpse of the rare blonde beauty that every gold miner is trying to buy some time with–Angel.  Commanded by God to seek Angel as his wife, Micheal faithfully pursues her hand and heart.
Based on the Book of Hosea in the Bible, Francine Rivers gives us a more current version of the Prophet Hosea and God’s command to marry a prostitute.  Furthermore, when his wife returns to prostitution, how Hosea is commanded to go back and retrieve his wife.  “Redeeming Love” is a haunting yet beautiful page turner.  I could not put it down.  I wept for the little Sarah and later the passionless and broken Angel. I cheered for Micheal and cried over his hurt and betrayal. I was even forced to examined myself and how I judge others’ actions; it is so easy to feel “better then thou”.  I was humbled by God’s never ending love and pursuit of Sarah, and Micheal’s quiet and faithful love and forgiveness–only made possible because of Christ and His grace.  I strongly recommend this book, but have a box of tissue close at hand.
“Redeeming Love” can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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“Though My Heart is Torn” by Joanne Bischof

“Though My Heart is Torn” picks up where Be Still My Soul (book 1) left us–Lonnie’s and Gideon’s marriage is growing stronger each day, along with their young son, Jacob.  Gideon is finally making the changes necessary to be fully devoted to his gentle and faithful wife and son. But Gideon’s previous actions are quickly closing in on them.  Plans are put into place to coerce them to return to their childhood homes and face the allegations of a previous marriage.  Will Lonnie be forced to give up the only man she has ever loved?  Will Gideon prove faithful, or that he really has not changed from his roaming ways?  
 
 
“Though My Heart is Torn” is the second book in The Cadence of Grace series. Joanne Bischof has skillfully woven a tale that tears at your heart as you read the anguish of Lonnie, Gideon, and even Cassie–Gideon’s alleged first wife.   I found myself not able to put the book down desperately searching for some sort of happiness for Lonnie.  Although I felt as if her pain was actually tangible and right in from of me, I found it difficult to read the endless amounts of seemingly unfair suffering she underwent in this book.  Still, her faith in God did not wavier.  In fact she clung to Him even more for strength.  I am anxious to read the third and final book of The Cadence of Grace series, “My Hope Is Found.”
 
 
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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“Fortress of Mist” by Sigmund Brouwer

In “Fortress of Mist,” Thomas has just secured the kingdom of Magnus.  But the mystery and intrigue are just beginning. Two imposing forces are fighting for Thomas’ secret–but not just the one that he knows about.  Thomas faces murder, secrets, strange happenings, dead coming back to life, invading armies, all while trying to rule his kingdom fairly and make them prosper. Lord Thomas does not know who to trust or how to find the answers he seeks.  
“Fortress of Mist” is the second book in the new series of Merlin’s Immortals and ends leaving the reader with many more questions and in high suspense while waiting for book three to be published.  Well written and very entertaining, I could not put Fortress of Mist down. It’s pages were filled with danger suspense and intrigue. The plot twists and turn even cause the reader to not know who Thomas should trust or why.  Bring on the rest of the Merlin’s Immortals series!
 

“Fortress of Mist” can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400071550/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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“The Captain’s Bride” by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Elsa and her new husband, Captain Peder Ramsted, set out from Norway to America, in order to grow his own shipping company. They leave behind their close families, but travel with some of their longtime friends.  Along the way, they face sickness, birth, death, a stowaway, and a scandal–and that is just on the first voyage.  Elsa struggles with filling the role as a Captain’s wife in the traditional way of staying on land waiting for her husband to return.  The young bride fights to convince her husband to allow her to accompany him on his dangerous and harrowing journeys.  Lisa Tawn Bergren does an excellent job keeping the pages turning.  She entwines families, friends and strangers through intricate twists and turns in her plot.  The Captain’s Bride is an exciting, easy read. It is book one in the Northern Lights Series.  I can not wait to read the rest of the series! 
 
 
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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