Review: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Goodreads summary:

Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate? Continue reading

Review: The Up-Side Down Bible by Symon Hill

Goodreads summary:

Attempts to read Jesus’ teachings with an open mind can be hampered by years of being told the ‘right’ interpretation in church. Christians familiar with the texts can gain fresh insights by listening to people coming to it for the first time, who may find the traditional readings far from obvious.

Symon Hill has led many Bible study groups with largely non-Christian groups and has discovered surprising and helpful insights that are less likely to be found among Christians used to reading the Bible. For example, these readers will often relate to different characters and find meanings that may surprise us.

In The Upside-down Bible, Hill presents alternative readings of some of Jesus’ best-known parables – focusing on topical themes of money, power, sex and violence – which will help us to consider the teaching of the Bible with a fresh perspective and gain a deeper spiritual and cultural understanding of the Bible texts. Each chapter includes questions, prompts and reflection points making it useful for group and individual Bible study. Continue reading

Review: Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

Goodreads summary: 

Margerit Sovitre did not expect to inherit the Baron Saveze’s fortunes—and even less his bodyguard. The formidable Barbara, of unknown parentage and tied to the barony for secretive reasons, is a feared duelist, capable of defending her charges with efficient, deadly force.

Equally perplexing is that while she is now a highly eligible heiress, Margerit did not also inherit the Saveze title, and the new baron eyes the fortunes he lost with open envy. Barbara, bitter that her servitude is to continue, may be the only force that stands between Margerit and the new Baron’s greed—and the ever deeper layers of intrigue that surround the ill-health of Alpennia’s prince and the divine power from rituals known only as The Mysteries of the Saints.

At first Margerit protests the need for Barbara’s services, but soon she cannot imagine sending Barbara away—for reasons of state and reasons of the heart.

Heather Rose Jones debuts with a sweeping story rich in intrigue and the clash of loyalties and love. Continue reading