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Archive for June, 2012

Hello, readers! I have a special treat for you today. (And no, for once, it has nothing to do with fear.) The blog I normally use for book reviews hasn’t been working of late, so I decided to share one here!

Please read on to see what I thought of Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper.

Title: The Secret Keeper

Author: Sandra Byrd

Publisher: Howard Books

Pages: 352

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First there was To Die For: A novel of Anne Boleyn. Now Sandra Byrd returns to regale us with The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.

As King Henry VIII’s last wife, Kateryn Parr enters a world of opposition and intrigue when she steps into his court. The story is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John-a young maiden who has come along to attend Kateryn.

The court may be full of trickery and deceit, but it is Juliana who may hold the biggest secret.

Not only does Juliana have the gift of prophecy, but in one of her visions she has also seen a prominent family friend shredding the dress of a very high-born woman.

Now Juliana is left to wonder: was she brought to the court for such a time as this? Will she have the courage to intervene when the time comes? And will she ever find true love of her own?

Once again, I couldn’t put this book down. I was transported to the very courts of King Henry himself. There was also a huge twist in the middle that completely surprised me.

Before reading The Secret Keeper I knew little of Kateryn Parr, so it was both fun and enlightening to get to know her through Byrd’s adaptation. She was a fascinating woman, and played a large role in the upbringing of Queen Elizabeth I.

Likewise, Juliana also played a strong female character. I especially loved how Byrd gave her the gift of prophecy. That’s something I’d never seen before in fiction, and I felt she made it both relevant and interesting.

The one and only reason I shaved off a star for The Secret Keeper was because I felt as if it was a little too similar to the first book, To Die For. Each book is set in King Henry VIII’s court, each has a queen with strong protestant leanings, and each has a lady’s maid who cannot have the love of her life because of social reasons. Because of the similarity between plots, it came down to a “Favorites” game: which was my personal favorite? For me, it was To Die For. So I feel as though I may be a little biased.

However, I’m confident those who haven’t read To Die For will find nothing to criticize in The Secret Keeper, and there are several variants to keep it interesting and worth reading for those who have.

There is one scene that depicts a rape, so please be advised.

But overall, I thought The Secret Keeper was fabulous. It’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, and I eagerly look forward to Byrd’s future installment: Roses Have Thorns: A novel of Elizabeth I.

Based on these first two books, I have a feeling this will be a strong series that readers won’t soon forget!

(Thanks to the author and Howard Books for giving me this book to review.)

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Recently, I talked about the fear of being still. (If you missed that post, you can read it here:https://thefearlist.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/be-still/ ) If you’re constantly busy, feeling depressed and overwhelmed with the to-do list you can never get to the end of, and wanting to go deeper in your spiritual walk, then I’d highly recommend checking out Grace Fox’s book Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women.

To learn more and to find out why, read my review below.  

Review:

Title: Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women 

Author: Grace Fox

Publisher: Harvest House

Pages: 286

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all you have to get done? Felt as if you’d never reach the end of your to-do list? Struggled to catch your breath? Then I can relate.

I received Grace Fox’s book Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women at a time when I felt unbearably busy. There was schoolwork to be done, friends to call and wish a “Happy Birthday” to, blog posts to write, family business to attend to, and oh, yeah, I should probably read my Bible too.

So I drank in the title of her book and eagerly began reading, hoping against all hope that the book itself would deliver on what the title had promised.

To my great delight, it delivered on all that and more!

I literally began each day by reading Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day and it truly became one of the few restful moments of my day. I felt so refreshed and inspired after reading, it quickly became something I looked forward to every morning.

Each devotion was long enough so as to deliver something of value, but short enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed at the prospect of reading it. Every devotion included an “Upward Gaze” (a prayer to pray), an “Inward Glimpse” (questions to reflect on), an “Outward Glance” (a pre-written prayer to pray for someone else), and “One More Peek” (one final Scripture related to the topic to meditate on).

The devotions were full of personal stories and easy to read. I especially liked the “Outward Glance” sections of the book. At times, it can be difficult to know how or what to pray for our loved ones, and often the “Outward Glance” portion for the day would be exactly what I needed and couldn’t seem to find the words to say.

I’d only recommend this book to two types of people, and they are these: If you are A) busy, or B) a woman.

If either of those things describe you, pick up this book, ladies! You won’t regret it.

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Hello everyone! First off, I just want to offer my sincere apologies for being away so long, and let you know that I miss you all terribly! It’s killing me to not be as able to blog as often, and I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things soon!

School has heated up for me in work load, and I’m finding myself in the process of beginning to write a book, which I’m very excited about! But that also makes me one very busy lady.

I’ll be posting as often as I can in the next few months, however! Prayers would be greatly appreciated if you happen to think of me. 🙂

The lovely Jennifer Slattery recently had me on her blog to talk about my fear of praying out loud and of reaching out to someone in her Reach Out to Live Out Campaign, so I thought I’d share that with you all here! I originally posted this story on October 21, 2010, but in case you missed it, you can read it at Jennifer’s blog here: http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/2012/06/04/when-god-says-stay/#comments.

Thank you, and I’ll hope to talk to you again soon!

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