Book Review: My Soul To Give

review-cover-my soul to giveTitle: My Soul To Give [A Demon’s Love 1]

Author: Magali A. Frechette

Genre: Dark Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.

His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto’s charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’ll admit it. I have a thing about demons in my romance fiction—I love the danger of the forbidden relationship they represent, and the tension in trying to figure out if they can truly be trusted at their word… so it should be no surprise that I enjoyed My Soul To Give by Magali A. Frechette. There was certainly an aspect of danger and the forbidden to its characters and plotline, even crossing over the line a little too far at times. This was definitely not your conventional romance.

The characters were interesting, complex, and compelling. Their romance was steamy, a bit taboo, and sweet at the same time. The mystery and aspects of the murder plotline kept the story jaunting along, and I couldn’t help but get sucked into the narrative.

I don’t think this story is going to work for everyone though. There are definitely a lot of questionable aspects of the characters and plot that aren’t going to sit well with some readers, especially those who are firmly religious. If you’re one of those people, this book is not going to be for you—and it’s not meant to be.

If you’re into dark fantasy, I highly recommend you pick this one up. It was certainly a captivating read, and the ending was one I didn’t see coming!

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Book Review: The Tempted Soul

cover-thetemptedsoulTitle: The Tempted Soul [An Amish Quilt Novel 3]

Author: Adina Senft

Genre: Religious (Amish), Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: Carrie Miller longs for children, but after ten years of marriage, that blessing eludes her. So she fills her days with caring for her home, making artistic gifts and fancy cakes, and caring for her flock of chickens, every one of whom has a name and who under no circumstances will go in the soup pot. Carrie also finds support in the friendship she shares with her two best friends Amelia and Emma, and relishes the weekly afternoons they share working on their quilts.

Carrie and her husband Melvin love each other, and together have survived many lean years. If not for the kindness of their church community, they would have had to miss more than one meal a day. But now, Melvin has found work that finally provides a good living. Carrie hopes that having more to eat will finally allow them to start a family. Yet month after month, they remain childless. So when Carrie overhears two English women talking in the fabric store one day about medical options available to non-Amish women in her situation, she takes it as a sign from God. Melvin and the bishop see it differently, however. Is it really God’s will that she pursue this, or is her longing to be a mother tempting her to stray from her Amish beliefs?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book was one of those books that I  really picked up on a whim. I don’t generally read religious fiction, and I’d certainly never read an Amish novel. I’m not religious. However, I’ve always liked to learn about new ideas and about different cultures, so when I was given the chance to try something new, I jumped at it… and was pleasantly surprised. The Tempted Soul is a book about Carrie Miller. She’s a young, good, Amish woman that’s struggled for years to try and get pregnant. Alas, it was not to be, and despite all their struggles and many attempts, Carrie and her husband find themselves childless.  This book is really about Carrie’s struggles to understand God’s plan for her to be childless, and dealing with the views of her Amish community while trying to balance her own need to have children. She doesn’t want to give up on the idea, and when presented with news of a life-altering procedure called IVF, her world cascades into an uncertain view of what is morally right and wrong in the pursuit of having children.

This book was fascinating to me. Not being a religious person by any stretch of the word, it was a good experience to see the world from a different viewpoint (Carrie’s) and get to try and understand how her religious beliefs altered her perception of the world, and her actions. This wasn’t one of those books that actively tried to shove scripture and beliefs at the reader, instead it set it out on display and said “it is what is. this is what she believes, and this is how she struggles to understand it.” It was a very open way of explaining the Amish faith and the ideals behind their actions.

It was interesting to see not one, but all of the characters really struggle with this governing set of “laws” of behavior.  Before I read this book, it was easy to assume that anyone in such a strict religious setting was going to be fanatical… but what I found instead was a very real group of individuals with faults and individual beliefs that worked every day to try and understand their own religion. Some days they struggled. Hard. Some days their faith was a comfort. It wasn’t easy… they were human, and often made mistakes. I think it was good to see a different take on a religious belief I would normally have steered clear of, and it helped to open my eyes to how people of other beliefs may view the world. Carrie was certainly a lot less cynical than I.

As for the romance; it was more of a struggle for me in this book. At the beginning of the story, Carrie is happily married to her husband Melvin–who she loves dearly. Unfortunately, Melvin was often busy (man those Amish work hard! I have to hand it to them… and it’s something I wish the rest of society mimicked) and in his place, he sends Joshua to help Carrie out while he’s away. Joshua is sort of a relative/friend who’s got a bad rap. There are rumors flying about that Joshua had gotten a girl pregnant out of wedlock, and in his day, he’d been known to flirt around with a lot of girls. Despite the rumors, Carrie does her best to not judge Joshua by everyone else’s opinions of him… but he doesn’t make that easy. He’s constantly antagonizing Carrie. He seems to come over all the time, and constantly put himself in her way. He teases her, and offers to do women’s chores with her… he even flirts a little. As a non-Amish reader, I was desperately hoping Carrie would break Amish laws and run away with him… because despite the rumors, Joshua seemed to be a really nice guy–just a bit of a bad boy. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Melvin. Sure, he was a good guy… He obviously loved Carrie and treated her with respect… until she introduces the idea of IVF and he  starts telling her he fears for her soul. Ouch Melvin. Ouch. Not to mention, he’s kind of off and away most of the book… so I really couldn’t seem to like him. (I luff you Joshua!)

There are some more twists and turns to this story: Rumors, Adoption, Teen Pregnancy, ETC, but I don’t want to spoil too much. The point is, I really loved this book. I’m glad I read it, and I think you should too. Ms. Senft did a spectacular job creating a real sense of depth to her characters and the world they lived in. It was not only a good story, but I learned things… and I can’t ask for more than that.

 

 

In The Mail #8

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YAY! New book! Today in the mail I received my copy of The Tempted Soul by Adina Senft that I won in a goodreads giveaway back in early February.  It’s different than my normal book picks, but I’m all about trying new things here and there. I have to mix it up sometimes!

Description/Synopsis: Carrie Miller longs for children, but after ten years of marriage, that blessing eludes her. So she fills her days with caring for her home, making artistic gifts and fancy cakes, and caring for her flock of chickens, every one of whom has a name and who under no circumstances will go in the soup pot. Carrie also finds support in the friendship she shares with her two best friends Amelia and Emma, and relishes the weekly afternoons they share working on their quilts.

Carrie and her husband Melvin love each other, and together have survived many lean years. If not for the kindness of their church community, they would have had to miss more than one meal a day. But now, Melvin has found work that finally provides a good living. Carrie hopes that having more to eat will finally allow them to start a family. Yet month after month, they remain childless. So when Carrie overhears two English women talking in the fabric store one day about medical options available to non-Amish women in her situation, she takes it as a sign from God. Melvin and the bishop see it differently, however. Is it really God’s will that she pursue this, or is her longing to be a mother tempting her to stray from her Amish beliefs?

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have a lot of reading to do this weekend! (and some very long art videos to upload to youtube..) I hope everyone’s having a great weekend!