Book Review: Anna of Byzantium

Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett
Anna of Byzantium
by Tracy Barrett 

4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads


This historical novel tells the story of Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexius I, Princess of the Byzantine Empire in 1083 AD. Anna is in line to inherit the throne and someday rule the entire empire, until her grandmother plots against her to undermine Anna’s right to rule and establish Anna’s little brother, John, as the next emperor.

Anna is incredibly intelligent and well-educated, spending hours pouring over history books in the palace library and learning from the scholars there. She also becomes very good at seeing to the heart of people’s character, using her emotional intelligence to understand their hidden motives.

There are so many manipulative people in the palace, using their words to influence Anna and secure their own futures. Since she is surrounded by lies, Anna becomes obsessed with cherishing the truth, seeking truth in religion and philosophy, and also finding truth in her books and manuscripts. Because others use words as their weapons, Anna learns to play a strategic game with her words, using her speech as a way to protect herself and assert her dominance and power in the political games. Continue reading

Book Review: Under the Red Spotlight

Under the Red Spotlight by Shawn King
Under the Red Spotlight 
by Shawn King

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Tamryn is a slave in a circus, along with her aerialist partners, Torin and Patrick. They are beaten and starved, forced to perform for the cheering crowds, until one day Tamryn’s situation becomes desperate and Torin risks everything to help her escape. Separated from the only family she knows, Tamryn struggles to find a balance between survival and following her true heart. Torin vows to find a way to escape and be reunited with Tamryn, but the circus owner is ruthless and cruel. Escape seems impossible. In the middle of it all, Patrick seeks for comfort in the arms of Jessica, Tamryn’s replacement in their aerial act. Four young people searching for freedom, and they will only find it through knowing Christ.

I loved this book!!! I don’t know if it was the writing, the characters, or the dramatic plot… but this story pulled me in. There is so much action and running around and drama! Usually I don’t even like circus stories, but this one definitely captured my attention.
Continue reading

Novella Review: Among the Nameless Stars

Among the Nameless Stars
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this prequel showing how Kai managed to run away from the North Estate, and his disappointment that Elliot didn’t join him. All while I was reading For Darkness Shows the Stars, I kept wondering, How did Kai make his fortune? What was he doing all those years out on the ocean? How did he meet the Innovation family and become such a brilliant mechanic/inventor? And this little story answers most of those questions.

For a novella, there is a really good story-arc, with some depth and complexity, but I wish there were more seafaring in the story. I’ve always loves Kai’s character, and seeing these experiences that made him so serious-minded helped me understand him better.

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Book Review: A Servant Like Jesus

A Servant Like Jesus
A Servant Like Jesus by Lee Ann Mancini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charlie is a little crab at his first day of Fish School, and he’s too shy to join the other children in class. But when a schoolmate gets injured, it’s up to Charlie to pray for the courage to jump in and help.

The illustrations are so cute! I love the bright colors and adorable little fish friends. The best part is the hidden Bible symbol on each page. I love searching for hidden objects in pictures, and this will keep children engaged and interested through multiple readings.

This would be the perfect book for any children who are shy or feel overwhelmed by fear in new situations, because it teaches that if we pray for courage, and focus on helping others rather than focusing on our own fears or discomfort, Christ will give us the bravery to do good and serve others for His glory! Continue reading

Series Review: Pottermore Presents 1-3

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minerva McGonagall is my favorite of all the teachers at Hogwarts, and I loved reading about her backstory, her quiet heroism, and her moral fortitude. Even after having read most of it on Pottermore.com, I enjoyed reading it a second time!

Remus Lupin is my second favorite character Continue reading

Book Review: Nooks & Crannies

Nooks & Crannies
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Tabitha receives a mysterious invitation to visit the reclusive Countess of Windermere, Tabitha leaves her life of isolation behind, and hopes to find new friends among the other five children who have also been summoned. Since her only friend is her pet mouse, Pemberley, Tabitha has difficulty at first keeping up a conversation with other children, but learns to relax and trust her companions as they begin to unravel the mystery of the Countess and her intentions.

Drawing on her literary experiences reading mystery novels, Tabitha leads the children’s investigation into the rumors of ghosts at Windermere, the ailing maid who has suffered a stroke, and the odd Countess herself who has many secrets. When things don’t add up, Tabitha is the one who discovers the truth that will change all their lives forever.

An exciting plot, wonderful writing style, and a whole cast of interesting characters! I love the humor and little aside comments in the writing. So funny! Continue reading

Book Review: The Anybodies

The Anybodies
The Anybodies by N.E. Bode

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fern is a magical girl with a secret parentage, and when she meets her true father, The Bone, and leaves her extremely dull adoptive parents, she is swept into adventure and danger. The Bone’s archnemesis, The Miser, is lurking in the shadows and plotting evil, and it’s up to Fern to discover the secrets of her parents’ murky past in order to puzzle through the future and find her true identity. Continue reading