I have loved books for as long as I can remember.  Getting lost in another world is one of my favorite pastimes.  Through books I can travel across the world and through time to places that I could never visit otherwise. I tend to be a quick reader.  Jason actually asked me this week if I even read all the words in a book and I told him that I guess that I probably don’t.  But despite my speed-reading I get so much out of books and love to read them.

The thing with books is that…well…they can get expensive quickly.  Especially if you’re running through three or four in a week.  In college, way before the invention of eReaders, I justified my frequent trips to the bookstore to my parents by telling them that at least I wasn’t having them buy alcohol, just books.  I’m not sure that they found this that reassuring since their bank balance was decreasing nonetheless but it made me feel better!

Nowadays, the books come out of my bank balance which makes me ever so thankful for the invention of eReaders and free eBooks.  While I do pay for eBooks occasionally, and actual books on even rarer occasions, most of my reading is done from free books that are offered on Amazon.  I’ve found good resources to find these books is my daily BookBub email, eReaderGirl on face book, and occasionally perusing the Top 100 Free lists on Amazon (though shield your eyes because a lot of the books listed have very racy covers).

Lots of the free books are historical fiction which can get tiring after a while, but in the past few weeks I’ve found some that I really enjoyed (and one that I didn’t) and thought that I’d pass along my opinions in case you’re looking for new books to read.  Most of these probably won’t be free any longer but might come up for free again sometime soon.  And if you look at this list and the settings and think that I’m fairly schizophrenic in my reading choices you would be right but reading for free sometimes forces you in to this!

(For more book reviews and recommendations, check out my Booklist page from a few years ago.)

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Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn
Setting: Present day Iraq
Genre: Christian Fiction – Thriller
Quick summary: Marc Royce is called back into the intelligence service to find one of his best friends who has been captured along with two other American’s.  As he enters Iraq and begins his search he finds new friends and learns a great deal about the Christian organizations in the country.
Rating: A+; Great thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat but didn’t bring any action too close for comfort.  It was extraordinarily interesting reading more about the history of Iraq and one writer’s portrayal of the politics and happenings in the country.  If you like Tom Clancy you should give this a try, I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed.

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Love in Disguise by Carol Cox
Setting: 1880’s Arizona
Genre: Christian Fiction – Historical, Mystery
Quick summary: Ellie Moore is out of work and desperate to stay alive and convinces the Pinkerton Detective Agency that she can handle an investigation in Arizona.  She encounters problems on her trip out west, but endeavors to do her best to uncover the mystery.
Rating: A-; Interesting mystery with good character development and plot, I didn’t figure out the perpetrators until the characters did which kept me interested until the very last page.

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Blood of Adam by Rachel S. Neal
Setting: Ancient times surrounding the building of Noah’s ark
Genre: Christian Fiction – Historical
Quick summary: Japeth (Noah’s son) takes a wife, Denah.  She is torn between her family and their hedonistic ways and the God fearing ways of Noah’s family.
Rating: A; Especially interesting with the upcoming release of the Noah movie, this book drew me in to the ancient times that I knew next to nothing about.  The descriptions of the people’s worship of gods and idols was riveting and appalling as was the portrayal of Noah’s certainty of God’s request of him.

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Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar
Setting: Ancient Persia during Artaxerxes reign
Genre: Christian Fiction – Historical
Quick summary: Sarah is the cousin of the King’s cupbearer and gets an opportunity to work for the Queen.  Her life changes dramatically when she is rewarded for her excellent service with a surprising honor.  Sarah must learn how to adjust her desires of her life and find a relationship with the God of her childhood in order to succeed.
Rating: A; Beautiful storytelling with compelling characters; the story doesn’t take you where you would expect it to and introduces you to the world of Ancient Persia which is fascinating in its own right.

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Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
Setting: Canaan/Israel in the time of Joshua
Genre: Christian Fiction – Historical
Quick summary:  The fictionalized story of Rahab who hid two Israelite spies as they researched Jericho before the Israelites marched around the city and God brought the walls down.  Rahab and her family are saved by her faithfulness to God’s people and they must adjust to living and worshiping as the Israelites do.
Rating: A+; For a story that I’ve read so many times and know so much about, this novel brought me right into Jericho and the Israelite camp when Joshua was leading them; Superbly written with amazing detail and character development this book is amazing and will have you digging deeper into the stories of the Bible.

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Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell
Setting: 1813 England (Napoleon’s reign in France)
Genre: Christian Fiction – Historical, Mystery
Quick Summary: Lady Wexham is a widower in England but with French ties she begins to spy for the French.  A British Foreign Officer is placed undercover in her house to try and discover if she is spying for the enemy or not.  Neither is prepared for what happens when truth is concealed and allegiances are tested.
Review: B+; An interesting book with likable characters but it wasn’t one that I couldn’t put down until I finished.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 9.38.00 AMWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Setting: New York City and surrounding areas throughout the last 150ish years
Genre: Science Fiction
Quick summary: Peter Lake is a burglar in a time when burglary and crime were a little more respectable.  He enters a home that he thinks is abandoned to rob it only to find the sick daughter of the homeowner is home.  There begins a fantastical journey through time and love.
Review: F; Y’all, this book was horrible.  Full of overabundant prose that is not needed and contributes nothing to the story line.  It is very hard to follow the characters and the time throughout the book.  I purchased it because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie which looks good in the previews, but I had to struggle very hard to finish it.  I only finished it because I paid good money for it.  This is science fiction in its worst form.

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The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
Setting: 2013 San Antonio, Texas
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Quick Summary: A compilation of stories about life and love and marriage between two people who are seeking to serve God with their lives.
Review: A+; Hilarious and joyful account of the ups and downs of marriage written by one of my favorite authors.  Just as funny as Sparkly Green Earrings and just as personal.  Definitely a must read!

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Messages by John Michael Hileman
Setting: Present Day Boston
Genre: Christian Fiction – Thriller
Quick Summary: David Chance suddenly receives a gift — the ability to see messages that predict the future.  When he receives a message saying that the President will be killed, he must decide how far he wants to get into the danger and intrigue of international politics and terror.
Review: A-; Very compelling book that keeps you on your toes — you’ll never guess the culprits.  The subject matter can be intense as it occurs on US soil and involves bombs and terrorism.  But, overall, a wonderful thriller that will keep you glued to the book until the very last page.

*Affiliate links are used in this post.  Check out my Link/Review Disclosures for more information.

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