Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Courageous (Valiant Hearts #3)


Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764213144
MSRP: $13.99

Jacket Summary:

Will They Trust God's Call Even When It Leads to the Most Unexpected Places?
Inspired by the vision of the young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She'll gladly give herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and feels she no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church but has always dreamt of protecting the innocent as a Templar knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of adolescents. When faced with political intrigue and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.


I must confess I have not read the other two books in this series.  This is the first time I met the character Roslind and her feudal mistress Lady Gwendolyn, but the story stands on its own quite well.

Courageous is a Christian tale set in the times of the Crusades, not long after the the Childrens' Crusade, or, about 1219 AD.

The history of the Crusades was new to me.  Dina did some great research on the area, the people, and the customs of the period.  There is also quite a lot of information on the Muslims, which are given a fair and reasonable portrayal.

The characters are very well-developed, as is the realism around them.  This includes how some historical figures like Brother Francis give the story an almost real-life feeling.

As far as the storyline, this book is a pretty typical romance novel.  If you are familiar with pattern of the Regency Romance novels, then the ending is already obvious by about chapter 4.

In spite of the genre-related predictability, there are a few attempts at confusing the reader to make the inevitable ending of the story more surprising when it happens.


1) Abortion is talked about and in this story.  Not glorified in any way, just described in vivid detail how it felt.  This is a very graphic heart-breaking scene.

2) There are also several instances of men and women trying to find a warm body to fill their bed just to release their boredom.

3) This story is set in the Medieval world and contains plenty of killing, poisoning, and other violence.


If you enjoy Historicals and don't mind predictable romances, this might be a fun read to spend a lazy afternoon.  Of course, stay away from this if you are sensitive to strong thematic elements and sexuality.

In all honesty, I don't know if this was a good choice for me.  Not knowing any better, I chose it for the promise of an exciting Medieval story and a cool-looking cover.  I mainly want this review to serve as an aid to anybody considering this book, so that they know what they'll be getting.

Live YOUR adventure!
  -E.L. Fletcher

Disclaimer:  The preceding review was done on materials sent to me for free from the publisher.  If you would like your own book reviewed, please use the contact information here on my blog (www.EdmundLloydFletcher.com) or message me through social media.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Juggernaught: Chapter 3 - The Transition

The Bible Study had historically called it The Transition, often speaking of it in awed terms.

How the event played out, was fairly simple to describe.

After a particularly harrowing mission, the existing members of the group decided that they wanted out.  The nature of the lifestyle was way too hot for some of them, while others began to feel their age.

Of the original group, only the youngest two members remained: Michael and his wife.

That meant that if the group was to carry on, they would have to begin recruiting the next generation of perilous individuals.  In a heartbeat, the Moasts would grow from being the youngest of the team to become the eldest -- from the rookies to the leaders.

Likewise, a change swept over the mansion as well.
The few that witnessed the sudden transformation, likened it to one of those nature shows on TV.  One moment Death Valley would be a desert, bleak as the surface of the moon, but once a rare rainstorm began to fall, the place would be suddenly transformed into a hive of life.

Just like delicate blossoms that appear from the parched ground, trainers, specialists, and equipment began to spring up all around the Moast mansion.  (For such it was now called.)  Likewise, no order was spoken for any of this, but rather like nature knew the cycle and wordlessly took up what must be done.

Rooms that the Moasts had only seen once before were now re-opened.

Empty spaces were now filled with advanced flight simulators.

Storage areas were cleaned out and obstacle courses installed.

The mansion's many bedrooms were converted to... well... bedrooms, actually.  The big change here was that they would soon be occupied by hopeful students, laboring late into the night to learn all that the clandestine group would teach them.

While professionals of all kinds transformed the mansion from palatial estate to proving ground, others began scouring the country, indeed, even the globe to bring together a new class of students.

This was a ticklish task that had to be handled discreetly.  The new recruits would have to be screened carefully both for their safety and the safety of the group.

Their backgrounds were thoroughly checked and their qualifications doubly checked.  There could be no mistakes.

Into one end of the pipe were stuffed literally thousands of names.  Out of the other end, only one came out every now and then.  The process was painfully tedious to the eager young couple.

It became even more difficult when the actual interviews started.  Just because somebody met the proper profile, had the skills, and passed security muster, didn't mean that they'd actually want to join. 

After all, each person in this world gets to choose what direction they want to take their life.  The sort of future the Bible Study offered was one of hardship and danger with no physical reward to show for it in the end.  Nobody could blame the majority of the candidates, who looked it over and said, "No thank you."

Still, week by week, the list of names grew.

Soon there were enough to justify flipping the switch and moving ahead with the training.

The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the email list so you never miss a thing!

Juggernaught: Chapter 5 - Moving Day

The transformation of the mansion into a training ground was something that had only happened before on the rarest of occasions.  The act of turning the master suite from Carl's style to Melinda Moasts was an all new kind of transformation.

Carpenters and movers swarmed all over the place, adding their own mayhem to the general chaos of the mansion.

To those moving Carl's things out, and the Moast things in, they assumed that everything going on in the rest of the house was other moving teams at work.  The scheduling worked out perfectly such that any outside observer would view all the trucks outside as mere movers, and certainly not delivers of sophisticated training equipment.  If asked, the few actual movers at work in the Moast wing would think nothing of corroborating the story.

Melinda watched as a pair gently lowered the massive tiger head ("Shere Khan", as the Bible Study had dubbed him) from over the fireplace. 

Below, a contractor lie on his back, shining a pen light up into the chimney.  "Looks doable, miss.  'Course the big thing is gonna be fishin' a gas line through the sub-floor."

"And how much is...  Hold on."  Though her attention was already divided between removal of the beast and the new fireplace, she had enough left to snap at a mover walking past behind her.  "You there.  Where do you think you're going?"

"Taking a load a' dishes to the truck."

"Uh, uh.  Those are mine.  Put them back."

"Yes ma'am."  He sounded almost disappointed.

She heard a cry and sudden silence.  She spun around to see Shere Khan lying on the contractor's stomach.  He was winded from the impact and wide-eyed at the sudden fanged face staring back at him.

The movers rushed to pull the head off and then placed it on top Melinda's box of dishes, (which had been returned, only with the "This End Up" label pointing down.)

She frowned.  Though moving day was nothing like being targeted for extermination by international cartel kingpins.  She was surprised to learn that the stress was actually worse.

"What... is this place?"  wheezed the carpenter.

If you only knew... thought Melinda.  This mansion held all kinds of secrets, left behind by untold generations of Bible Study adventurers.

As she was thinking these things, another of the movers tapped Melinda on the shoulder.  "Ma'am, where do you want the bookcase?"

"Which?"  she asked.

The man led her to a mahogany case with his partner standing next to it.  Carl had said he didn't want any of the furniture, so...

"How 'bout over there?"   She pointed.

The man nodded.  On "three", he and his partner lifted and started walking.

Behind the bookcase was no wall, but a cobweb-filled niche.  In the niche was a hook.  On the hook was an ancient suit Samurai armor. 

In the armor was the ancient Samurai.

Color drained from Melinda's face.  "Uuuuuuuh...!"  she stammered through her revulsion.

The mover looked up at her, a question on is face.

"Put it back!  Put it back!"  she said quickly, and waving.

They did so, never suspecting that the urgency in her voice came from a surprise face-to-face encounter with a decaying skeleton.

One mover rolled his eyes and gave the other a,  "Women, sheesh!" look.

The other smiled and nodded knowingly.

The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the email list so you never miss a thing!