Monday, 14 June 2021

B Book Reviews

November 2013 Book Reviews

Prince of Light by Tasarla Romaney

Reviewed by Deena Petersen


Note to self: when reading high fantasy, don't jump in at the end of the series.  While I was able to grasp some of the story arc from the final book, I have to admit I felt lost for many chapters.
"The Prince of Light" is true high fantasy.  Tasarla has crafted a self-contained world of imagination with crisp word choices and sentence structure that lends itself to reading aloud for full effect.
Her characters are lively and I enjoyed reading about each one.  For me, not having read the first two books, the story was a little confusing.  "The Prince of Light" cannot be read as a stand-alone book: you will have to determine if that is a strength or a weakness.
In this reviewer's opinion, the need for series continuity is a strength.  Just as you miss a major amount of the tale with "The Lord of the Rings" if you only read the final novel, a huge amount of story would be lost with Tasarla's series as well.
And that is true high fantasy.  Such a statement gives fresh life into a series such as this one; after all, don't people miss out on a great deal when they haven't known you for your entire life?
So, while I did enjoy my journey through "The Prince of Light" alongside Sancha, Jalie and company, I'm only giving this one 3 and 1/2 stars.  I have confidence that, had I read the entire epic series, that rating would rise.

Hear no Evil by Mary Hamilton

Review by Samantha Coville

Brady is ready for a summer at camp, but it doesn't start off as planned when his mom breaks down and tells him that he'll be going to live with his estranged dad after camp. She leaves, crying, telling him she doesn't want him around anymore. What sort of summer will this be? He'll meet new friends, one blind, and he'll meet a God he hadn't really thought about since his parents' divorce. A touching story through the eyes of a kid.
What instantly grabbed me was the camp. It transported me back to the summer camps I've visited. I could almost smell the outdoors, hear the birds singing and feel the water splash around me in the lake. You can tell the author has a great childhood memory of camp because you can't just make those feelings up. They were honest and pure.
And how can you not fall in love with these characters? Steven instantly grabbed my heart from the very beginning. He may be blind but he doesn't let that stop him...ever. He also doesn't let his disability bring him down. He stands strong due to his inner strength and the strength God gives him. He's a little angel that I will forever adore.
Everything in this book equals a hit. It's fun for the whole family and has lessons of family, God, love and friendship that can be learned by readers of all ages. Four and a half canoes out of five and a glowing recommendation from this bookworm.

Infernal Gates by Michael J. Webb

Reviewed by Kim Ford

“There is always a price to pay,” she continued, “for walking in the authority and power of the Lord.”  (Tabitha to the group of warriors gathered in her home)

Michael J Webb’s latest book, Infernal Gates, has been the most unusual reading experience I’ve had it quite some time.  I found myself alternately mesmerized and frustrated.  Let me explain. The premise of the book reflects an almost obsessive fascination with spiritual warfare.  The elements of this warfare have been meticulously researched as reflected by the intricate details drawn from a myriad of cultures and belief systems.  While I don’t deny the powerful war that wages in the spiritual realm, I don’t believe for a moment that the enemy and his demonic legions have the slightest possibility of coming close to usurping God’s plan for humanity.  I suppose it makes for a good fictional plot, but for me, it came dangerously close to crossing the boundaries of spiritual truth, and I'd be highly uncomfortable recommending this book to a non-believer.

That said, the nuggets of spiritual truth embedded within the story were both powerful and challenging for a believer. Many will identify with the struggles faced by both Ethan and Sam as they must face and overcome the tragic life-circumstances brought to bear on their lives. The roles they play in the spiritual battle they are called to face in this story are both classic and epic!

I will have to state plainly that this book requires serious leaps into suspended disbelief!  Infernal Gates must be read with a very open mind or you will never make to the final pages.  This is a fantastical tale that is heavy on details and long on internal mental rambling.  I prefer a little tighter read, but that’s just my personal preference.  There will be many who find this story both titillating and very exciting!  I feel compelled to give folks a spiritual “head-up”  - as it were – because this is a potentially off-putting book to share with non-believers. For those who lack faith, the heavy historical data is almost counteractive to spiritual truth – hence my frustration.

Highly entertaining read! Proceed with caution.

Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull

Reviewed by Deborah Piccurelli

This story was very creepy. I mean that in a good way. If you’re going to read suspense, you want to be creeped out. Add historical to the suspense, and you have a sort of gothic setting. This is a combination I really enjoy. Even the title, Gatehaven, implies something of a macabre nature, and the fact that the occult is involved.

Our heroine, Shannon Aimee, a young Scottish woman, has been proposed to by Edward Wellesley, The Earl of Northon. She has only known him for several months, but he wants her to travel from her home in Scotland to England with him to meet his family before announcing their engagement. Her mother is dead-set against it, but her father allows it. Secretly, they plan for Shannon’s older brother, Peter, to follow her there to make sure she is safe. Also, Shannon’s lifelong best friend, Ian Colquhoun, is concerned, as he does not trust the earl. It is arranged through Edward for Ian to travel with them under the guise of learning from the vicar at Gatehaven for him to become a man of the cloth. But he mostly agrees to go as a favor to his pastor in order to find out about the murder of the minister’s cousin some years before.

When they all finally arrive in England, along with a chaperone for Shannon, she does not receive the welcome she imagined. The earl’s mother and grandmother immediately take a disliking to her, and put her up in the servant’s quarters. But that isn’t the worst of it. Shannon spots two mysterious women at the window of an upper room, but told by Edward she is seeing things; she is cajoled into palm readings by her chaperone, Miss Foster, who always speaks of the spirit world, and sees a group of men walking around above-stairs wearing long hooded robes.

There is a lot that goes on and too much to explain here, but a man shows up named Etienne Gabeau, who seems kind. Unbeknownst to Shannon, he’s had ties to her family in the past. Shannon is eventually kept a prisoner at Gatehaven, and Ian and Peter must find clues as to what is going on, and how to get Shannon safely back to Scotland before it’s too late.

This small synopsis does no justice to the story in its 99,000 word entirety. You just need to read it. If you like any type of suspense novels, you will thoroughly enjoy Gatehaven. Trust me.


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