Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Barefoot Queen ~ A Novel

::From the back of the book::
Spain, 1748. Caridad is a recently freed Cuban slave wandering the streets of Seville. Her master is dead and she has nowhere to go. When, by chance, she meets Milagros Carmona—a spellbinding, rebellious gypsy—the two women become inseparable. Caridad is swept into an exotic fringe society full of romance and art, passion and dancing. 

But their way of life changes instantly when gypsies are declared outlaws by royal mandate and their world as a free people becomes perilous. The community is split up—some are imprisoned, some forced into hiding, all fearing for their lives. After a dangerous separation, Caridad and Milagros are reunited and join in the gypsies’ struggle for sovereignty against the widespread oppression. It’s a treacherous battle that cannot, and will not, be easily won. 

From the bustle of Seville to the theatres of Madrid, The Barefoot Queen is an unforgettable historical fresco filled with characters that live, suffer, and fight for the lives of those they love, and for the freedom they can’t live without. 

::My Thoughts::
I must say I have mixed feelings about this book. While I liked it I also found it to be heartbreaking. There is so much tragedy mixed in here. It is an excellent work of historical facts mixed with fiction that brings those days more to life than we could have imagined. At the same time this is not a read for the faint of heart. There is a lot of tragedy, murder, rape, misfortune, etc. There is also strength, characters overcome obstacles with a will power you wouldn't believe, and there will be times when you find yourself on the edge of your seat. Of course during the time frame this book is set in that shouldn't be a surprise as slavery was big back then and unfairness to African Americans and Gypsies was no secret sadly. It's much different reading about it with a story that makes it come more to life than you could imagine.
I found myself frustrated by a lot of the characters, however. Especially Milagros, a young gypsy girl who despite what her family warns her against decides to take matters of her love life into her own hand. This of course leads to misfortune on her part as you soon find out. I won't go into details as I don't want to spoil anything, but if you give this book a try you will see what I mean. I felt a lack of emotion on the characters parts. I was frustrated that most of them just seemed to take their lot and accept it regardless and there was little felt by them. It was hard for me to continue reading this book. At times I was drawn in by characters or circumstances, and at other times I was disgusted and couldn't read on. I felt there was little passion from the characters when there needed to be during certain scenes which made it harder to visualize. But I do recommend giving this book a try if your interested in history. There are some interesting facts in this book mixed up in the fiction, and it's definitely worth a try. I did not completely dislike the book, I just seen a lot of places for improvement. The last section of the book is where it really got good so I'm glad I stuck with it. I am glad I read it even if it was harder for me to get in to.

::Product Details::
  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (November 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804139482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804139489

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a Blogging for Books member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change - Little Fox and Little Seed Series

::From the back of the book::
In the end, it will be okay because God is always with us.
Whether we like it or not, growing up brings change. For many children, this conjures fears that are sometimes real and sometimes imagined. How can kids learn that even when they face new and unfamiliar situations, they don't have to be afraid?
Little Seed and Little Fox are facing changes and brand new circumstances-and they don't like it one bit! Through this unlikely friendship, children will discover that no matter how new or fearful their circumstances, God is always with them. The whimsical art by Natalia Moore will put a smile on kids' faces and put their minds at ease. Just as Little Seed and Little Fox learn to trust that the Farmer is good and kind, children will also learn to trust God.
Written by New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst, It Will Be Okay will help kids discover that the end, it really will be okay because we have a God who is good and kind and always with us.

::My Thoughts::
We all go through change whether we want to or not, whether we are ready or not, it just happens. And for kids this can mean a variety of things: moving to a new home, getting a new sibling, starting a new school, beginning a new grade, making new friends, trying something new, etc. The list is never-ending. It's nice to see books that show that when change comes about we have to trust God and do our best to be brave. Being scared is an inevitable feeling, but even if we are scared we can be brave. This book shows just that. Little Seed is afraid to be planted but he just shoulders through and before he knows it he is a great plant! Little Fox is scared to be without his friend, but gets him back in a whole new way. And through it all the two characters see how well the Farmer cares for them through it all. Even when they don't see the Farmer or what he does to care for them they both slowly begin to realize that he waters them, plants food for them, makes shelter for them, etc.
I did think the book had a bit too much going on and could have went into a bit more detail about the Farmer or included the Farmer a bit more, but all in all I was happy with this book. Both my children ages 7 and 3 understood it. We took time to talk about each page after reading it, I asked them questions, and not only did they answer but they understood! That is a huge plus for any book we read to our children that they understand the meaning behind it or take something positive away from it.
The illustrations were also very well done, colorful, and captivating. I would recommend this book. It's great for any age really, and I am eager to check into more Little Fox and Little Seed stories.

::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Series: Little Seed & Little Fox
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140032419X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400324194

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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