Friday, January 18, 2019

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander


Utterly Captivating!

Tamera Alexander's retelling of the events of the Battle of Franklin and its effects on the residents of Carnton had me completely immersed and rooting for these characters based upon the actual residents and soldiers who participated in the unfolding of Franklin and the final days of the war.

Now, as a Canadian, I only have a basic knowledge of the U.S. civil war which is why I was thrilled to find Alexander has done her research, even using actual correspondence from those in and around Carnton. Her attention to detail, even in regards to battle, surgery, and recovery helped me as a reader with no connection to the events catch glimpses of the turmoil of the time (although fair warning readers who enjoy happy endings don't go researching the characters after Alexander pens the end).

Obviously using actual places, events, and correspondence from the primary characters adds a  level of depth that is natural but I also appreciate how Alexander respects the people while fleshing out the story of Lizzie, Roland, and even Tempy. She respects their flaws, pain, and their quirks which may have been easier to smooth out, instead allowing them to further richen the narrative. The debates between Lizzie and Roland regarding slavery, the questions of moral men, the trauma of the children and helpers all gave further insight into the era.

With This Pledge  was my first foray into Alexander's work but I shall definitely be checking her out again. I highly recommend this book for any fans of historical fiction, romance, civil war era novels.

5 out of 5 stars.

losure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L.Busse

Image result for Mark of the Raven by Morgan L.Busse

Based on Mark of the Raven, The Ravenwood Saga has the potential to be my favourite Christian fantasy series in years.

Right from the start, Busse is invested in taking  the time to world build. As a result, the book is filled with rich family and world history, interesting geography, and, of course, the division of the great houses gifts. Busse obviously has put a lot of thought and heart to the creation of her characters home and it brings the story a depth and immersion I've found lacking in other reads in this genre of late.

The concept of the gifts is what lands this novel firmly in its fantasy genre. I really enjoyed the slow reveal of the gifts as well as the way readers are introduced to the concept of a gift that has been twisted or warped from it's original purpose. Between the contrast of the houses of the Light and the houses of the Dark Lady, Busse has set up the possibility of introducing themes of faith and redemption without being overly cliche or preachy. I really appreciate how naturally she works her elements into her plots allowing them to feel natural to the characters, especially with Lady Selene and Lord Damien.

These two really caught my attention (aside from Renata and little Opheliana who I sincerely hope make reappearances in the future).  Both characters were strong enough to hold their own plotlines with notable weakness that made them more interesting as they seek to best  lead their people and honour the gifts they've inherited. While I guessed the eventual outcome of these two meeting, Busse definitely throws a twist into the plot in the  last 75 pages and I was on the edge of my seat for how the ceremony would unfold. 

I'm always leery of reviewing the first in a Christian fantasy as so often a fantasy series needs to viewed as a whole to see how an author will use the history and plots established. However, Mark of the Raven is well worth the risk. Also is it April yet? I need to know what happens next!

4 out of 5 stars.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."