Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: A Daring Sacrifice

What an outstanding opening line, "Time to chop off your thumbs."! It definitely caught my attention and pulled me into the medieval world. Jody Hedlund's second medieval teen novel, A Daring Sacrifice, was action packed from beginning to end.

A Daring Sacrifice reviewed on Miss Pippi Reads

A Daring Sacrifice follows An Uncertain Choice which came out in 2015. The books are linked together by the knights who grew up in the household of the Duke of Rivenshire, the Noblest Knight. Eack book can be read on its own which I really enjoyed. It was nice to have a little background from the previous title, but feel free to leap in and read!

Juliana is on the run from her uncle who is hunting her and wants to put an end to her just like he disposed of her father. She wants to live and protect the people who saved her and continue to guard her life. She's become a bandit to help support her people who live secretly in the forest. When she steals from Collin Goodrich, she is unmasked! Collin is curious about this female bandit that goes around wearing tattered male garments. Since leaving the last challenge from the Noblest Knight and his friends, he is up to the test of keeping track of Juliana and coming to her rescue.

Jody Hedlund has crafted together some very heartfelt ideas. It is questions of changing yourself, who you are, who you pretend to be, and what is a sacrifice. Anyone who is growing up asks these questions and since we all continue to grow, sometimes these questions are before us time and time again. The book focuses on sacrifices and some of them were stunning to read and reflect on. (I'm not giving any away, so there are no spoilers!) Every one sacrifices something, and Collin shared a revelation well, "My chest swelled with strange satisfaction." It's about putting others before you and caring for someone's needs before your own. It's beautiful to witness love and caring in action.

The story is shared between two voices - Juliana and Collin. The fonts change so it is easy to distinguish who is leading the story. The story wraps up in this novel, but Hedlund does share an epilogue that shares a new storyline. Come soon, book three! I cannot wait to read it!

Time Period: Medieval, 1390
Location: Forests of Wessex and Goodrich Castle

Reviewed from an advanced reader copy. Thank you, Zondervan and Jody Hedlund!

Title: A Daring Sacrifice
Author: Jody Hedlund
Series: Book 02, An Uncertain Choice
ISBN: 9780310749370

Monday, February 08, 2016

Review: A Worthy Heart

A Worthy Heart is the second book in Susan Ann Mason's series, Courage to Dream. I greatly enjoyed book one, Irish Meadows. When A Worthy Heart arrived in the mail, I went in search of my copy of Irish Meadows. A re-read of the first book was needed.

I'm so glad I could jump into Mason's Courage to Dream world again. Irish Meadows was great and Mason does not disappoint in A Worthy Heart. It's worth a read, friends! Not only does the story delve into the life of mystery brother, Adam O'Leary, but two Montgomery siblings arrive from Ireland. Don't worry about missing out on the characters you read about in Irish Meadows, they are present and very much a part of this book. Every one grows through faith, conflicts, illness, and love. For under 400 pages, Mason writes a wonderfully complex storyline. I liked Maggie Montgomery's story, but Adam's life was beautifully heart-wrenching. He'd fallen to the bottom of his pit and was picking himself up. It's amazing how faith and friends can help raise someone up who is struggling. I especially loved Mason's honesty about Adam O'Leary in her Author's Note: she didn't like him in book one, but the more she got to know him, the more she loved him.

I hope more Courage to Dream books are coming! I feel connected to the O'Leary/Montgomery family and I want more. Thanks for an excellent series, Ms. Mason!

Time Period: Turn of the Century, 1914
Location: Long Island and New York City, New York, USA

Reviewed from a complimentary copy. Thank you, Susan Ann Mason and Bethany House!

Title: A Worthy Heart
Author: Susan Anne Mason
Series: Book 02, Courage to Dream
ISBN: 9780764217258

Friday, February 05, 2016

Review: The 4x4 Diet Book

When The 4 x 4 Diet book arrived in the mail, I paged through it quickly then sat down to read a couple pages. I ended up reading the entire book in one evening!

Erin Oprea wrote in a friendly and down-to-earth style. It read more like a friend talking with you than just an informational text or a lecture. She was encouraging and wanted her readers to see the diet as making a healthy lifestyle choice rather than a quick diet. She wants everyone to live a better and longer life. Her 4 x 4 diet takes 4 weeks to implement. It's not a jump into the deep end decision, which I appreciate. Each week you start to do something a little different with your food decisions. It feels like a plan everyone can follow with easy to know numbers and baby steps to better living.

The workout portion reminded me of burst training that my chiropractor talked about last year. Erin Opera talks about the tabata method which you push hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds in 8 rounds. She shares an array of movements through photographs in the book. (She also shares some short videos on her Twitter, too!) She encourages readers to find tabatas that they enjoy and find their own routine of 8 movements. Readers can follow her routines in the book or get into your groove with her suggestions.

The 4 x 4 makes me feel confident to try some new exercises. I've been pondering burst training (or tabata) and I feel I have some great information to get me started. Thanks, Erin!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.
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