Passionate about Books!

I love to read and I read a lot! My favorite genres are Christian fiction, historical fiction, especially anything set in Ancient Rome or Egypt, horror and thrillers.

Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire by Leslie Peirce

Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire - Leslie Peirce

I became fascinated with this woman of history after I read a fictional account of her in a book titled, "Harem" by Colin Falconer. Then I discovered a Turkish tv series called Magnificent Century and I have been hooked. I've done little reading since then.

 

This is the story of Hurrem Sultan, (Roxelena), and how she became one of the most powerful woman in the world when she became wife of Sultan Suleiman, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. I just find it amazing how a person who was taken and sold as a slave, rose to such power by sheer will and determination. Although much is not known, due to the secrecy behind palace walls and especially of the harem, it was still fascinating to read about what is known. The love that Suleiman had for this woman must have been very special for him to break tradition and marry his concubine, which was unheard of, and not repeated after they died.

 

Recommended for historical fans. The TV series is quite addicting also, although so far only the first season and a little of the second is subtitled. Season 1 is available on Netflix instant play, season 2 on Youtube.  Not sure about season 3 or 4, but this show has been out for awhile. Anyway, I wish I knew Turkish.

Harem by Colin Falconer

Harem - Colin Falconer

I don't know much about this time period, or the Ottoman empire, but this book certainly pulled me in from the beginning!

 

 This is the story of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his harem, specifically about 1 of his slave girls from his harem, (Hurrem Sultan), and how she rose to have so much power. I'm sure no one knows exactly what she was like in real life, but in this book she was vile! Just a really vindictive and mean person, but I think that's why I couldn't stop reading this book...because I just had to know what this woman was going to do next!

 

 

 

There was another side story going on the book that was just as interesting, at least to me, because it involved the chief eunuch in the harem, and that one was a bit sad.

 

I hadn't read a Falconer book in a long time...since his Cleopatra book many years ago, (which I also enjoyed). But I have a few of them sitting in my kindle and I am definitely going to be moving them up the queue.

 

Recommended for historical fiction fans.
4/5 stars

Born Evil by Julia Derek

Born Evil - Julia Derek

You can probably guess what the twist and even the outcome of this book from other reviews, but I'm not giving anything away in mine.

 

I guessed the massive twist, but it was still entertaining and the very end was still a bit shocking. Wouldn't mind seeing a sequel just to see the accused get some revenge. It had some minor plot holes and some little inconsistencies, but it still kept me engaged enough to read it all to see how it ended.

 

The book was a freebie and I thought it worth the read. 3 stars

Excellent storytelling!

The Keeper's Crown - Nathan D. Maki

The story of the biblical, Paul of Tarsus, particularly his final years as a prisoner of Rome waiting to be seen by Nero and the fictional account of the soldier who guarded him, in this case a Roman called Quintus whose family has fallen from favor due to a childhood incident involving a younger Nero and Quintus.

 

 

I totally loved this book! It was very well written and engaging. The author certainly did his homework. It's funny too, because I just watched the movie, "Paul, the Apostle of Christ", so it was easy to picture what was going on.

 


Wonderful story of redemption, courage, and faith in a time when being a Christian was a death sentence. Highly recommended! Keeping this author in my "must read" list.

 

5 stars and a favorite

Ancient: Rise of Noah by Celdon Daniel

— feeling bad egg
Ancient: Rise of Noah - Celdon Daniel

This seemed to be more of the story of the people caught outside of the ark during the flood, but it was strangely written and at times hard to follow. I could not get into it. DNF'd at 42%. (I thought the cover of the book was kinda cool though)

Lol...love this! Don't blame me when the boss calls.
Lol...love this! Don't blame me when the boss calls.

The Listener by Robert McCammon

The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

Everything good that can be said about this book, has already been said in all the great reviews. The 5 star ratings are well deserved. You won't be disappointed.

 

The Divide by Jeremy Robinson

The Divide - Jeremy Robinson

First, I want to say that I love almost all of the books this author has written, but this one didn't do it for me. Unlike a lot of others, I am not a fan of the Kaiju theme, so I didn't dive right into this one like a many of his other books. It took me longer to finish than usual. I did appreciate the reference at the end to characters from his other novels that I love though.

 

If you like Kaiju themed books, I would give it a go. His Kaiju thrillers are very popular.

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

The Masterpiece - Francine Rivers

This was a beautiful story about mercy and forgiveness, love and redemption, and God's saving grace. I love everything Francine Rivers writes, and this one did not disappoint.

 

Highly recommended for Christian fiction fans

10:37 by Jaqueline Druga

10:37 - Jacqueline Druga

It started out well until it fizzled, and the ending was anti-climatic. There weren't enough explanation of things like the Trancers and Dawson's special gifts. This story could have been so much more, but just ended up being ok. Good thing I read it thru the kindle unlimited program. This was my first time reading this author's work even though I have gotten several freebies over the years, they have just been sitting in my tablet. I'm still willing to give some of her other books a try.

Tales From Greystone Bay by Robert McCammon

Tales from Greystone Bay - Robert McCammon

I got this one from the library, because as much as I love this author's writing, the price of the hardback was just a bit too much for me, especially because 2 of the stories contained in this one, Doom City and Red House, can be found in his Blue World collection. The third story, Beauty, was a sad and poignant piece. That is all I will say about it for fear of giving anything away. My favorite of the 3 though, was Doom City. I like apocalyptic pieces and this one was creepy.

 

Recommended!

Prize of War by Carole Towriss

— feeling big smile
Prize of War - Carole Towriss

This is based on the biblical account of Acsah, the daughter of Caleb, who was offered as a prize to the one who could conquer the city of Kiriath-Sepher by getting rid of the Anakim (the giants who dwelt there). Although it was mostly a love story and I usually don't read "romance" books, this one was good and I enjoyed it. The lesson of depending on God who is always there for you, was nicely shown throughout.

Recommended for fans of Christian fiction.

The Crier's Club by Kimberly A. Bettes

— feeling sad
The Criers Club - Kimberly A. Bettes

A beautiful, poignant story about a group of people who come together when they learn they have a terminal illness, and how they support each other and learn that even in the midst of a death sentence, they can learn to truly live. This one made me cry...I loved all of the characters!

It's sad, and oftentimes depressing, but definitely worth a read.

HOMINID by Graeme Goldsmith

HOMINID - Graeme Goldsmith

I liked the idea of the story, but the execution not so much. There was just too much going on. Some scenarios and character reactions were just not believable. I also didn't feel any kinship with any of the characters, not even Bo, who we didn't really get to know much about. In the end, I just wanted it to be over.
2 stars- just ok.

My Top 10 Reads of 2017!

Theophilus: A Tale of Ancient Rome - Lewis Ben Smith Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King Regarding Tiberius: An Epic Tragedy of Mass Murder, Sworn Vengeance, Forbidden Love, Greek Ambition, Persian Honor, & Roman Might in the Ancient Near East - Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, Bartholomew Boge, Raelenne Boge, Rosani Akhtar-Moore Infinite - Jeremy Robinson Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar Eternal Darkness - Tom Deady, Pete Kahle, Richard Chizmar The Last Child - John Hart Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Connilyn Cossette Puzzle Master - J.T. McKenna Mysterious Kemet - Book I: Intrigue and Drama in Ancient Egypt - S.R. Anand

These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!

 

Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.

 

A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself. 

 

Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.

 

Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.

This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!

 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.

 

Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.

 

The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!

 

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.

The whole 3 book series was excellent!

 

Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.

 

Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.

I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!

 

My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!

 

  

 

So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!

A River of Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

— feeling horror
A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea - Masaji Ishikawa, Risa Kobayashi, Martin Brown A compelling journey that was both horrifying and heart-breaking! This one was hard to put down; I read it in one sitting. An eyewitness look into the North Korea behind the façade that it likes to portray.