Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Said Yes by Emily Maynard Johnson

Goodreads Summary

When her high-profile search for romance led Emily Maynard to dead end after dead end, real love finally found her.

Millions know Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.

Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone. Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God.

In I Said Yes, Emily tells the story of her life before and after reality TV fame, describing the profound new reality she discovered when she forsook fame in favor of the Lord. At the end of a long, fruitless search for a man, this courageous young woman found the truest love of all waiting right in front of her. To that love, Emily said yes.

My Thoughts

I watched The Bachelor and The Bachelorette when Emily was on and I remember her being my favorite.  I was pulling for her and hoping she would find love both times and was sad when things didn’t work out for her.  So, when I saw this book I was so excited to read and review it!

I wasn’t disappointed at all!  I really enjoyed reading about her life and experiences.  I like reading books that are inspiring and full of faith and you definitely get both in this book.

Since I watched both of her seasons I guess I kind of felt like I knew her.  It made reading this book even more entertaining.  I found myself feeling so happy for her in the end.  I definitely recommend reading I Said Yes, especially if you watched her seasons.  I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

By the Hands of Men Books 1 and 2 by Roy M. Griffis

Goodreads Summary

By the Hands of Men
Book One: The Old World

“With elements reminiscent of Hemmingway’s “A Farewell to Arms,” in the midst of World War I, a relationship develops between an English lieutenant and a young Russian nurse – a surprising tenderness against the backdrop of war…with likeable characters, spending more time in the “Old War” is an appealing prospect.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A truly remarkable historical novel – so finely rendered in period detail – that the reader becomes one with the plot and characters.  Mr. Griffis has a superb talent for capturing the small details that make up the whole – from the horrors of war to the very intricate procedures involved with early 20th Century Wartime medicine.  Charlotte Braninov is a very complex character, one who is beautifully drawn by the pen of Mr. Griffis.  Her conflicting feelings on war and her intense emotions sparked by her time treating Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald left me breathless – they were so emotionally powerful.  This is a novel that will not only entertain and inform, but pull at your emotions as well – a truly beautiful novel set during a horrific time in history.”

With the Great War raging around them, wounded Lt. Robert Fitzgerald falls in love with Russian nurse Charlotte Braninov.  Torn apart by illness and betrayal, they pursue separate quests that take them across a world on the verge of change.  From Shanghai to revolutionary Russia, they learn that hands of men can create a hell on earth – or, through the redemptive power of love, a heaven in which to truly live.

By the Hands of Men
Book Two: Into the Flames

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family.  Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another.  Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus.  In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai.  Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

My Thoughts

That is the best word I can find to describe these books.  Wow!  So Good!

Roy Griffis contacted me and asked if I would like to read and review the first two books in his By the Hands of Men series and, of course, I said yes.  I was honored and, to be completely honest, a little nervous.  I haven’t read many historical novels and I have never read any about war.  I wasn’t sure if I would like them and I really, really hate writing negative reviews!  Mr. Griffis sent me the novels and I was so excited when I checked the mail and they were there!  I love getting new books and was thrilled to see that he signed them for me too!  I was ready to dive in!  I was already in the middle of another book so I made sure I set enough time in my day to get through it so I could jump into my new, beautiful books.

I’m not sure why, but I felt intimidated when I first started reading book one, The Old World.  War…it made me nervous.  Please like it, please like it!  Well, as I read I quickly realized that I was nervous for no reason at all!  It was so good!  I couldn’t put it down!  Before I knew it, I looked at the clock and it was after 1 o’clock in the morning!  I had to make myself put it down so that I wouldn’t be a zombie at work the next morning.  As soon as I got home from work I picked it back up and devoured the rest of the book.

Right after I finished the first book, I picked up book two, Into the Flames.  Once again, I was sucked right back into this beautifully written novel.  Oh my word!  It was possibly even better than the first book!  I didn’t want it to end!  So Good!

I highly recommend reading both of these wonderfully written books and I can’t wait to read the third as soon as it becomes available!  Thank you so much, Roy Griffis, for sending these beautiful books to me!  These are definitely books that I will read over and over!

*Note: I received copies of these books from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ex-Isle by Peter Clines

Goodreads Summary

It's been years since the tidal wave of ex-humans washed over the world.  Since then, thanks to St George and his fellow heroes, the community known as the Mount has been the last known outpost of safety, sanity, and freedom left to humanity.

But even for the Mount, survival still balances on a razor's edge - and after a disaster decimates the town's food supply, the heroes must make a risky gamble to keep its citizens from starving.

And then the news arrives of a strange, man-made island in the middle of the Pacific.  An island populated not just by survivors, but by people who seem to be farming, raising children, living - people who, like the heroes, have somehow managed to keep the spark of civilization alive.

Paying this place a visit should be a simple goodwill mission, but as the island reveals itself to be a sinister mirror-image of what the heroes have built at the Mount, the cost of their good intentions becomes dangerously high.

My Thoughts

Ex-Isle by Peter Clines is actually the fifth (I believe) book in the Ex-Heroes series.  I think that because of this, I was a bit lost.  I really struggled with this book... a lot.

First of all, like I already said,  this was book five.  Second, maybe this isn't my genre.  I wanted to like this book so much!  I would much rather like every book I read!  Unfortunately,  I just didn't like this one much at all.

After I finished this book I went to Amazon to see what other people thought.  I learned that it does have several positive reviews.  I think that the key is to read all of the books in the series in order to be able to enjoy this one.  In my opinion, it just definitely is not a stand alone book.