29 January 2015

Emissary by Thomas Locke, Book review

  • Series: Legends of the Realm (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 6, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723859
Also available in KINDLE format


Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam's extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light--and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path--which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers. 

With lyrical prose that unveils a richly imaginative world, Thomas Locke takes readers on a journey into the Realm. There he invites them to awaken their sense of wonder. This cracking adventure moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.

(Map source: Author's notes)

My thoughts:

In the world of fantasy it is easy to imagine realms such as the one Thomas Locke has created in EMISSARY, Legends of the Realm, Book 1. There is no doubt this author is skillful at genre transience as proven in his latest storytelling and that such tales are immensely popular with a wide variety of people. 

A page turner action packed with just the right amount of adventure, love incentive and even a few lessons about good and evil, EMISSARY offers a good plot, enticing characters and such fantastical descriptions any reader will feel the need to plunge into the narrative until all is revealed. It held my curiosity despite the fact I usually shy away from this particular genre.

Albeit at times predictable, it none the less earned 4 stars for style and imagination!

Meet the Author:

An award winning novelist with millions of worldwide sales, Thomas Locke divides his time betwixt England and Florida. His passions encompasses science fiction, techno thrillers and of course epic fantasies.
Fans of his will rejoice to know a screenplay adaption of Emissary is in the works! 

For more visit his website (HERE)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book courtesy of BLOGGING BISTRO LLC as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

26 January 2015

Musings On Life

The pages of yesterday cannot be revised,
but the pages of tomorrow are blank
and you hold the pen.
Make it an inspiring story!

25 January 2015

The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson, Book review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 24, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062279668
  • Also available in KINDLE format


    Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas—rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere—from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern.
    The Sea Garden
    On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden’s owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian. . . .
    The Lavender Field
    Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.
    A Shadow Life
    Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?
    Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war—and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

    My thoughts:

    I have traveled a lot these last few weeks and had ample opportunities to read during those long lay overs. Unfortunately not all I chose to read gave me much satisfaction therefore it was with some relief I found this title awaiting my return, a definite improvement!

    As a journalist Deborah Lawrenson is no newcomer to the world of writing and in THE SEA GARDEN delivers a pleasant 3 part novellas which as you will find are tied to one of the most beautiful places in this world, Provence. 
    I cannot say I have ever met anyone who has not enjoyed the wonderful array of colours, the unforgettable scenery and the truly unique scents of Provence. Such is my own memory of it that I can hear the cicadas, feel the heat of the sun whilst my palate remembers only too well the rich sharpness of the food. 

    Lawrenson shares her home betwixt Kent and yes, you guess it, Provence and has learned to listen to the locals and their remembrance of times gone by, when men and women pledged to fight for their freedom whatever the cost.
    Resistance was strong in the south of Provence and this story is set against Partisans' activities in The Calanques
    Don't miss the author's notes to learn more about the region's historical background and her many sources, they are excellent.

    From The Sea Garden to The Lavender Field on to A Shadow Life, Lawrenson paints a bittersweet story of love and loss as often lived in wartime, and brings just what these long winter evenings demands, entertainment. 
    I can also tell you that if the first installment seemed stilled, the second engaged my attention and I found the third to be most gratifying.

    Copacetic, well manicured (perhaps a tad too much) I found the three novellas satisfying if not stimulating.

    4 Stars!

    (Porquerolles island - photo source Google)

    Meet the Author:

    Deborah Lawrenson,author

    1. Deborah Lawrenson is a British novelist and journalist. She was educated at Blackheath High School, The British School of Brussels and Eastbourne College, and read English at Trinity College, Cambridge.
    2. For more information visit her website (HERE)

    Note: This was a library loan and any opinion reflected is entirely my own!

    21 January 2015

    The Psalms, Poetry On Fire translated by Dr. Brian Simmons

    First Slide

    • Series: Passion Translation
    • Paperback: 288 pages
    • Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC (October 1, 2014)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1424549368

    Also available in KINDLE format


    Psalm 5:3 says, ³At each and every sunrise you will hear my voice as I prepare my sacrifice of prayer to you. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart. 

    Every emotion of our hearts is reflected in the Psalms with words that express our deepest and strongest feelings. Sighing is turned to singing and trouble into triumph. The Psalms provide comfort and joy, leading us to the place where worship flows. When discouraged or downcast, we can take new strength from reading them. They charge our batteries and fill our sails. Their thunder stirs us, and sweet melodies move us into the sacred emotions of a heart on fire. 

    Dark rain clouds of grief turn to bright rainbows of hope as we meditate on Davids soul subduing songs. The Psalms are clearly poetic. They are praises placed inside poetry that spill out of a fiery passionate heart. 

    The Psalms free us to become emotional, passionate, sincere worshipers. These 150 poetic masterpieces give us an expression of faith and worship. They become a mirror to the heart of God's people in our quest to experience His presence.

    My thoughts:

    I cannot foresee anyone untouched by the above synopsis. As human beings we are constantly challenged in our daily lives and feel the need to be reassured, to know we are loved and cared for. What better way therefore to redirect our thoughts than to read these 150 expressions of His Love for us?

    Divided into five books the Psalms, Poetry On Fire reminds us of the five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and offer a deep reflection of Christ, the God-Man. To understand Him, you must unlock the secrets behind the songs and discover through the Psalms' amazing poetry, His wisdom. 

    Thanks to Dr. Brian Simmons and his modern translation of the Hebrew text, we can uncover the poetry of David as he himself wrote these words. 
    Most of us remembers 23rd Psalm in difficult times but this particular translation speaks to our heart providing even more hope and comfort than ever before.

    "You know every step I will take, 
    Before my journey even begins."

    Easily understood even by young listeners, it makes an ideal addition to any family or church library. I found it most appropriate for teen study groups in these days and age as it reaches out and makes you listen.

    5 Stars!

    Meet the Author:

    (Shown here with his wife Candice)

    Dr. Brian Simmons is known as a passionate lover of God. After a dramatic conversion to Christ, Brian knew that God was calling him to go to the unreached people of the world and present the Gospel of God's grace to all who would listen. 

    He and his wife, Candice, and their three children spent nearly eight years in the tropical rain forest of the Darien Province of Panama as a church planter, translator, and consultant. Brian was involved in the Paya-Kuna New Testament translation project. He studied linguistics and Bible translation principles with New Tribes Mission. 

    After their ministry in the jungle, Brian was instrumental in planting a thriving church in New England (U.S.), and now travels full time as a conference speaker and Bible teacher.

    Have a question for Dr. Simmons: contact him at brian@passiontranslation.com.

    For more information visit the PASSION TRANSLATION site (HERE).

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book courtesy of ICON MEDIA GROUP as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.