Book Review: Enclave by Thomas Locke

enclave thomas locke book review

Synopsis:

It's been 50 years since the Great Crash and what was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed on the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern states, is relatively stable and maintains a successful business of trade with nearby enclaves, including the one at Charlotte Township. But when a new vein of gold is found beneath the feet of those in Catawba, it's only a matter of time before trouble finds them.

Now the future of Catawba may be in the hands of an untried 21-year-old trader named Caleb. And Caleb knows that if his secret were ever to come out, he would never see another dawn.

  • Genre: Christian Sci-Fi/Suspense

  • Publisher: Revell

  • Published: 11/2018

  • Pages: 288

  • Goodreads Rating: 3.79 Stars

enclave thomas locke book review
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
— Mark 13:32

Why I Chose This Book

I have been wanting to read a dystopian novel for a little while. Something different for a change. When Thomas Locke came out with a new dystopian series I thought I would give it a go.

First Initial Thoughts

Nearly a hundred years after the Great Crash, America is no longer America. It is a bunch of “enclaves”. Each enclave has a specific role/industry. I found it to be similar to Hunger Games in that aspect minus the games part. What I did like is that Thomas didn’t really explain what the Great Crash was - just enough to know that it devastated the country enough that America crumbled. It leaves it up the readers imagination and interpretation to what happened.

Catawba is one of the largest Enclaves and the people are starting to hear of a group of people who have abilities. These people have abilities like reading minds, healing others, etc. Which I could find similar to certain stories from the Bible.

Caleb is a young man who lives in Catawba. One day when there is a dispute among families he finds out that he has an ability to tell whether something bad is going to happen - and others find out. So he must flee the enclave.

Kevin is a sherif deputy. Secretly he and his mother are brining refugees across to other Enclaves through the Underground railroad. However, he is caught by the government and given a choice. Either his family and himself get executed or he captures those that have special abilities and brings them back to the government.

Setting

Dystopian novels always have a eery feeling. Some can seem a little far fetched but others like Enclave sound realistic. And that is what is freighting about it. The plot line of the story is something that could actually happen. Thomas creates a world that is desperate, devastated, and hopeless. They never knew the world as it once was - only rumors. I found this aspect to be quite depressing.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
— Romans 8:18-19

Final Thoughts

One thing I noted about Enclave, is that it read slow. Slow throughout the entire book. Sometimes a book can pick up after page 100 or so but this one just kept dragging on in my opinion. However, if this is a new series, I could see that maybe Thomas was setting things up for a next book, and maybe the next book will be more action packed.

I also noticed that whenever action did occur it was kind of hard to follow. A lot of it just suddenly happened and there wasn’t enough transition to understand completely what was going on. I also noticed as I was reading this book I was lost most of the time. I kind of felt like I was reading the second book in a series and was missing important details.

What I found interesting is that God was not mentioned at all throughout this novel. Religion was somewhat mentioned - and I could read themes of it throughout the story. However, it seemed like no one was practicing Christianity or any other religion. If this is a series, I hope that Thomas explores this further in the series because it was kind of confusing.

Despite its shortcomings, I did enjoy the story and the characters. I liked Zeke the most. His ability was being a skilled warrior. I admired that he struggled with his ability to be warrior. He felt guilty for the actions he made but also did them to help those he loved.

Would I Recommend?

Yes and no. While I didn’t enjoy this book fully, some may like it!

You can purchase the book .—-> HERE

Are you a fan of dystopian books? If so, which books/series are your favorites?

the caffeinated bibliophile
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Favorite Books of Last Half of 2018

favorite books fall winter 2018

It’s officially 2019 and I can’t believe it! Who else is excited for the new year?!

With that being said, It’s that time of the year to reveal my favorite books from the last half of the year. I have already written a post on my favorite books from the beginning of last year, HERE.

This was very hard everyone and it was difficult to narrow down to just these few!

Without further ado, here are my favorites from the last half of 2018:

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

There is a reason why I included this book in my Christmas giveaway. I was blown away by Delia’s debut novel. Yes, this was her debut novel. I couldn’t believe that it was her debut because it felt like she had been writing for years. This book kept me thinking way beyond finishing the book. It’s a book that holds you and inspires you. I would recommend that anyone gives this book a chance!

You can read my review —-> HERE

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

I always adore Lynn’s novels. She is such a talented story teller. Legacy of Mercy was no exception. What I love about Lynn’s novels is that she really has a talent in creating a scene. You are always transported back to a time when things were different and it was a challenge to survive if you were not wealthy. And if you were wealthy you were expected to uphold certain qualities and lifestyle.

You can read my review —-> HERE

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

This is one book I was surprised to like very much. For some reason I was kind of dreading to read this book. However, after just a few pages I was immediately hooked. I think I read this book in just two days time. It was that good! I also loved that she included a woman with Epilepsy - who not only had a mind of her own but had her own reservations and challenges. It made the story more relatable.

Read my full review —-> HERE

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

This book was just plan fun. I always enjoy Tessa’s stories. She creates such a beautiful and inspiring story. Especially a story that we all can relate to on some level. I also really found it neat that Tessa wrote this story for everyone to read - not just Christians. I could definitely see this when reading the book. I think anyone - religious or not would really enjoy and learn from this fun and enlightening story.

You can read my review —> HERE

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

I have always wanted to visit Yosemite National Park. Karen brought me there just by reading this book. The mystery was intriguing and the love story sweet. I really loved Clark and Olivia’s dynamic and relationship. Though Olivia annoyed me at first, she grew on me and I liked her character by the end. That’s what I liked about Karen’s books - is that her characters were well developed - and she also made me yearn to visit Yosemite!

You can read my review —-> HERE

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Connilyn knows how to write a story. Her second book in the Cities of Refuge series did not disappoint and I flew through this book over just a couple days. Her books are always richly described, characters well developed, and plot well thought out. If you love a good Biblical fiction story you need to check this one out!

You can read my review —-> HERE

Voice In the Wind by Francine Rivers

Ok I meant to put this book in the picture but as I was preparing this post I finally remembered what I was forgetting when taking pictures. I had already put down the props so it was too late to re do the picture. A face palm for sure!

This book - whew it is one of those books I think I will never forget. Francine has a way of grabbing the reader and engrossing them in a story that they will never forget. This story was richly developed, the characters were so well done that I actually felt for some of them. Even though the story was slightly violent at times, I appreciated how real and raw Francine wrote how cruel the Romans actually were. It’s also a story I could see well translated on screen.

You can read my review —-> HERE

What were your favorite books of 2018? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile
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Book Review: The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings

the lieutenant's bargain regina jennings  book review

Synopsis:

Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she's too terrified to recognize them as friendly.

Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home--and plead his case once more.

He's stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart--but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril--and tests Jack's resolve to remain single.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Romance

  • Pages: 321

  • Published: 12/4/18

  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishing

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.56 Stars

the lieutenant's bargain by regina jennings book review
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
— Ephesians 4:2-3

Why I Chose This Book

I was offered to be part of Regina Jenning’s launch team for this book. I absolutely love her books and the humor that she add in her stories. And I was excited to read the second book in the Fort Reno Series since I absolutely enjoyed the first one.

First Initial Thoughts

Hattie is a young woman that sets off to paint the Rocky Mountains and to hopefully sell the paintings to a gallery. This is her last chance of independence as her parents wanted her to get married rather than pursue a career of painting. As with the times this was very normal so it was interesting to see this story unfold. However, things turn south and her stagecoach is robbed and the agents on the stagecoach are killed. She is left there in the middle of the prairie- and not to mention in the dead of winter. Luckily, the Arapaho find her and rescue her.

Jack is a lieutenant at Fort Reno and is assigned to go assist a young woman in distress at the Arapaho camp. There he comes across Hattie, his childhood crush. I mean not just any crush. He thought about her even when they got older and wrote her letters. I thought it was kind of sweet in a way. Jack still holding out a torch for her. Hattie has to be released from the Arapaho so he agrees to a “ceremony” that releases her to him. However, there is a mix up and they accidentally get married by the Arapaho. Yep, married.

When they both found out I found it so funny that they didn’t know what was going on the entire time. Even, if they couldn’t understand the language or traditions wouldn’t they have somewhat guessed what was going on? Hattie was furious and wanted to leave ASAP. However Major Adams (which we are introduced to in the first book in the series), warns Jack that they must keep appearances to keep peace between the tribe and Fort.

While Major Adams is away on his honeymoon, Jack and Hattie are left to pretend to be married. When he gets back Jack will be reassigned, Hattie can go to Denver and all will be normal again. Or at least they think it will…

Setting

The Lieutenant’s Bargain takes place in the same place as the previous book in the series. So we get reintroduced to the same setting but with different characters. I actually kind of liked this because we get a different perspective of the Fort. This time it felt like it was more isolated and also included more of a diverse set of characters. Which I always appreciate to see!

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
— Arapaho Wedding Blessing

Final Thoughts

Though this is the second book in the Fort Reno series, you do not need to read the first one I believe. The characters from the first book (Holding The Fort) in the series are included in this story but they are reintroduced. So I don’t think there would be any confusion.

In this story we are reminded of what those first few weeks are like when first married. Especially if the couple never lived together prior. It’s awkward, challenging, frustrating at times, but also so worth it in the end. Hattie could have handled it a little better in my opinion. At times, she was very rude to Jack and didn’t give him the time of day. And poor Jack, he was just trying to win her affection the whole time even when they bickered. However, I could see Hattie’s reasoning. I mean, imagine waking up one day and finding out you are married to a person you barely knew!

I also liked the diverse characters in this book. In the previous book in the series, the Arapaho seem defensive and dangerous. However, in The Lieutenant’s Bargain we get a closer look at the Fort’s relationship with the Arapaho. We read the struggles the Arapaho had with enrolling their children in a Christian school. They didn’t understand why it was necessary. I was kind of torn on this issue in this book. We all know the history of the Native Americans and what happened. So at the same time, while I believe that it was good that we introduced the Native Americans to Christ, I also agree that they shouldn’t have forced them into almost loosing their culture and traditions.

I found it interesting that Regina did include real characters and schools in the book, such as the Darlington Indian Boarding School. While the school no longer exists you can still see it’s ruins near the Fort. And you can also still see and tour Fort Reno today!

This story was rather cute and I really liked that there was just more than the issue of marriage at hand. There was still the Stagecoach mystery - and another that is introduced in the middle of the story (no spoilers here!). It was an enjoyable prairie romance and I absolutely enjoyed the humor that Regina always puts in her stories!

Would I Recommend?

Yes, most definitely! Regina creates stories that anyone would just about love and enjoy!




Connect with Reginna Jennings:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


You can read my review of the first book in the series —-> HERE

You can purchase The Lieutenant’s Bargain —-> HERE

You can purchase Holding The Fort —-> HERE

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I am a part of the Regina Jennings launch team for this book. I was sent a copy to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Christian Books To Read For The New Year

Christian Books To Read For The New Year

This coming Tuesday is the 1st of January. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by.

With that, it’s the most popular time of the year for people to set resolutions. There are so many amazing books out there that will help you with achieving your goals. Such as creating a simpler life, living a minimalist life, making time for yourself, etc.

Here are 10 books I recommend to help achieve your new years goals!:

Restoration Year by John Eldredge

This 365-day devotional is comprised of short readings that guide you on a year-long journey of restoration. Each devotion features a Bible verse, a devotion, and a closing prayer or inspiring challenge that will equip you to pursue lasting transformation in your life and relationships.

Packaged to appeal to both men and women, the devotional will cover a variety of topics, including relating to God, understanding who God really is, sustaining friendships, deepening relationships with family members, understanding the future God has planned for us, and more.

All Things New by John Eldredge

This revolutionary book about our future is based on the simple idea that, according to the Bible, heaven is not our eternal home--the New Earth is. As Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew, the next chapter of our story begins with "the renewal of all things," by which he means the earth we love in all its beauty, our own selves, and the things that make for a rich life: music, art, food, laughter and all that we hold dear. Everything shall be renewed "when the world is made new."

More than anything else, how you envision your future shapes your current experience. If you knew that God was going to restore your life and everything you love any day; if you believed a great and glorious goodness was coming to you--not in a vague heaven but right here on this earth--you would have a hope to see you through anything, an anchor for your soul, "an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God" (Hebrews 6:19).

Most Christians (most people for that matter) fail to look forward to their future because their view of heaven is vague, religious, and frankly boring. Hope begins when we understand that for the believer nothing is lost. Heaven is not a life in the clouds; it is not endless harp-strumming or worship-singing. Rather, the life we long for, the paradise Adam and Eve knew, is precisely the life that is coming to us. And that life is coming soon.

Meet The New You by Elisa Pulliam

As women, we are constantly evaluating ourselves. Am I enough? Why can’t I change this certain thing about myself? Should I be doing more? 
 
We long for real, deep, lasting change—but we don’t know how to begin. In Meet the New You, Elisa Pulliam empowers women to take charge of their own life transformation by engaging in a meaningful relationship with God and His Word. Each chapter gives practical and interactive ways to address some of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of permanent change. Through stories, biblical application, personality assessments, thought-provoking questions, and life-coaching principles, Meet the New You helps women:
·         understand who they are
·         cultivate a vision for who they want to become
·         recognize what holds them back
·         determine the steps necessary to  put new, practical habits into action
 
It’s time to discover who you really are and how you can live life differently. It’s time to meet the new you!

Cultivate by Lara Casey

Women often feel like they have to have it all together in order to live a meaningful life. Instead they feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and exhausted as they to figure out how to do it all. Author, business owner, and mom to three Lara Casey offers sound and grace-filled advice: “We can’t do it all, and do it well. But, we can choose to cultivate what matters.”

Welcome to the journey of getting messy in the rich soil of possibility—embracing imperfect, grace-filled progress to grow a life of joy.

Written as part encouragement anthem and part practical guide, Cultivate offers wisdom from God’s Word alongside lessons Lara has learned in her garden. Woven throughout is her personal story that helps release readers from the pressure to achieve and gives them freedom to move from planning to planting a meaningful legacy. “It’s in the imperfect—the mess of the dirt--that good things grow,” Casey reminds readers. “Peonies grow through the dirt, and so do we.” Readers will learn to embrace the season they’re in, finding balance as they interact in fresh ways with their current life scenarios, with God, and in the communities where they are planted.

Special features include

  • Actionable Cultivate It prompts throughout the book

  • A ten-week Cultivate Together discussion guide with questions for small groups

  • “Grace from the Garden” vignettes provide encouragement and inspiration

Find the joy and the freedom that comes in cultivating what matters, little by little, with God’s transforming grace.

Hello Mornings by Kat Lee

Don't worry; you don’t have to be a morning person to start each new day well. Join Kat Lee and thousands of women from countries around the world who have learned to maximize their mornings. In Hello Mornings, Kat introduces a simple yet powerful three-minute morning routine that integrates Bible study, planning, and fitness into a foundational morning habit that fits into every schedule. She then helps you build each of these core habits for life-long growth.

Everyone can find three minutes. And instead of adding one more thing to the list, Hello Mornings lifts the weight off women by revealing a grace-filled way to establish a powerful morning routine that offers

  • a simple way to incorporate the most-sought-after daily habits into a simple morning routine: God. Plan. Move.

  • the latest research on habit formation and development

  • practical tools to help readers develop and grow their own personalized, adaptable plan for mornings

  • stories of transformed mornings from women in every season and stage of life

Hello Mornings helps readers renovate their mornings to establish and grow a powerful daily routine—a long-term, Jesus-centered habit to anchor them in every season. Each morning can then become a launch pad into God’s amazing plan for their lives.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

More Style, Less Stuff

Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style YOU LOVE with the fewest possible items.

You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don't have to?

In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You'll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you're proud of in a way that honors your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! 

In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you

  • Realize your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices

  • Finally know what to focus on, and what not to worry about when it comes to your home

  • Discover the real secret to finding your unique style—it has nothing to do with those style quizzes

  • Understand how to find a sofa you won't hate tomorrow

  • Deconstruct each room and then re-create it step by step with a fail proof process

  • Create a pretty home with more style and less stuff—resulting in backwards decluttering!

  • Finish your home and have it looking the way you've always hoped so you can use it the way you've always dreamed 

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

Do you long to simplify the demands on your time, energy, and resources? Have complicated responsibilities, overwhelming to-do lists, and endless clutter left you feeling overwhelmed?

Busy wife, mom, entrepreneur, and bestselling author Emily Ley knows how you feel. With a growing family, increased work demands, and more, she understands the struggle it is to keep the plates spinning.

In A Simplified Life, you’ll find Emily’s strategies, systems, and methods for permanently clearing the clutter, organizing your priorities, and living intentionally in 10 key areas—from your home and meal planning, to style and finances, parenting, faith life, and more. Emily will show you how to truly make the most of your days with realistic, achievable, and tactical tools.

Walk alongside Emily through each page of the book, working through her simple strategies toward your own goals as you simplify and make space for what matters most.

Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith

How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In SACRED REST, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. SACRED REST combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, SACRED REST gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.

Finding Selah by Kristen Kill

The Psalms call it selah—the pause, rest, or interlude between the notes in a song. More than merely an empty space, selah is a chance to stop and resync with the story and song of God. For all the ways life keeps you running, this word and practice offers a way to re-center yourself on the One who holds all things together and makes all things beautiful.

Stretched beyond her capacity in caring for a large family in the middle of Manhattan, Kristen Kill was exhausted, depressed, and desperate for a change. Then something sparked within her when she read the Psalms, and found that often all that stood between the psalmist’s cries for help and celebrations of praise was this simple word, selah.

Join Kristen in Finding Selah for a journey that will transform the way you think about work, rest, and the little spaces in between that make all the difference. This book will show you how to tune your ear to the song God is singing over you, embrace the “selah moments” able to transform your daily rhythms, and most of all, encounter the ultimate Selah in Christ, who stands in the gap between heaven and your most hectic of days. There is hope for the dissonance you feel. Finding Selah will show you not only how to sing a new song, but to live a new way.

Habits of the Heart by Katherine Butler

Are you “out of shape” spiritually? Do you long for a life that is fully and deeply engaged with the Creator? Does your heart ache to be transformed by God? Real change happens only when we train ourselves to be in the habit of exercising our hearts in the practice of godliness. The Bible says that training the body is of some value, but the most important thing we can do is to train our spirit. Habits of the Heart will help you develop practices that draw you into a deeper and lasting relationship with God. Each day of the year, this simple guide will help you focus on one essential aspect of your walk with God and show you how to make it a habit.

Yay, you made it through! I hope this has helped you find some new books to help you with your new years resolutions.

What are your new years resolutions or do you not do them? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile

P.S. TODAY is the LAST DAY to enter my Christmas giveaway! All details and giveaway form are —-> HERE

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