Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“A Portrait of Loyalty” by Roseanna M White ~ Review

@vikinglady10

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M White

Book Three in the Codebreakers Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers, until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee after speaking out against Lenin and separated from his brother along the way, he arrives in England driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera–and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and recreating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily. He sees patterns in what she deems chaos; she sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share. When her photographs reveal that someone has been following Zivon, his loyalties are called into question–and his enemies are discovered to be far closer than he’d feared. 

My Thoughts:

What a phenomenal conclusion to the Codebreaker series! I have loved each of these books so much,  and I daresay that the hero of A Portrait of Loyalty might just be my favorite. All the characters really are so marvelous though. This author has such a way at weaving historical details into an immensely enriching story with excellent plot and strong characters. I loved this novel,  and it was fascinating to get more of a glimpse into the unrest that was occurring within Russia at the time of WWI. I loved getting to see both Zivon’s and Lily’s roles as part of the Codebreakers – Lily’s skills at photography and aiding in the alteration of photos was so interesting.”A Portrait of Loyalty” held a bit of a plot twist that I wasn’t expecting, but it happened so smoothly, and while it had me rather teary-eyed, it did have purpose in the story.Also can’t neglect to mention how impressive it is that the characters who we are not rooting for got their own POV sections so we were able to really get to know them and see why they believed what they did. Just exceptionally handled, the whole thing.Truly, I loved this book and found it excellent and moving! Brilliantly beautiful, and I highly recommend this entire series!!

@vikinglady10


I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of the launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Until I Met You” by Tari Faris ~ Book Review

Until I Met You (Restoring Heritage, #2)

“Until I Met You” by Tari faris

Book Two in Restoring Heritage Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

When she hears that the small town of Heritage, Michigan, is looking for a new librarian, Libby Kingsley jumps at the opportunity. Little did she know the library is barely more than a storage closet stuffed with dusty, outdated books. What the community really needs is a new building. But the only funds available are those being channeled into the new town square, and the landscape architect in charge of the project wants nothing to do with her plans.

All Austin Williams wants to do is get the town square project finished so he can do right by the family business and then extricate himself from the town that reveres the brother who cost him so much. But the local media and the town’s new librarian seem to be conspiring against him at every turn. Will the determined bookworm find her way into his blueprints–and possibly even his heart?

My Thoughts:

I love discovering new authors! This was my first book to read by Tari Faris, though it is the second in the series. I seem to have a habit for doing that…but I do plan on catching up on the first book soon as I can. :) “Until I Met You” tells the story of Libby and Austin, as well as Austin’s brother Nathan, and Libby’s roommate Olivia. I really enjoyed how the novel played out, displaying each character’s story with care and attention. It all read very smoothly, and I enjoyed my visit to their little town of Heritage. ^.^ 

While primarily a light hearted read, Until I Met You also contains a great message of the importance of God’s grace. That was lovely. I think this book stood well on its own, but I think reading them in order would be the best way to enjoy it, as there are return-characters. I like when books interconnect, even if I haven’t had the pleasure of catching up on the first book(s) XD

I liked all the characters, though I’ll admit Austin could frustrate me. I understood his struggle with forgiveness, and appreciated his journey to arrive at that point, but I just had a bit of a hard time with his anger sometimes. But again, we get to see him grow so that was nice.

All in all, a fun, sweet story. :)

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Secret Place of Thunder” by Alicia G. Ruggieri ~ Blog Tour/Review And Giveaway

About the Series:

The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.

Other books in the Librarians of Willow Hollow series:

A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero

I Love to Tell the Story by Faith Blum

Hearts on Lonely Mountain by A.M. Heath

Come along as four packhorse librarians find adventures outside the books they carry!

The Secret Place of Thunder (Librarians of Willow Hollow, #4)

The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Librarians of Willow Hollow #4

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

The mountains have imprisoned her long enough…

Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.

When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.

But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.

My Thoughts:

It’s been too long since I picked up a story by this author (entirely my fault!), and so returning to her writing was a true delight.

The Secret Place of Thunder is the fourth novella in the HorsebackLibrarians of Willow Hollow series, but I confess I read it first, and am now planning on catching up on the others. ;)

Edna Sue’s story is one of rawness and struggle, but also full of poignant truth. Dear Edna Sue is a bit rough – and in this story we get to understand why. I felt for her. And enjoyed seeing her journey unfold, and her inner battle find completion.

Cecil was an excellent character as well, and I really liked how he complimented Edna Sue and didn’t give up on her.I loved Mr. Ravenhill too! He was such a great character.I really enjoyed this story as a whole, and think this collection is a wonderful idea. :)

Purchase the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BFBF93T — Available in e-book and softcover

Author’s Website: http://www.aliciagruggieri.com

Author’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri

Author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliciagruggieriFind The Secret Place of Thunder on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54151965-the-secret-place-of-thunder

About the Author:

Alicia G. Ruggieri grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England. She now writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from her home in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and sweet second-hand mutt. She loves old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.

!!GIVEAWAY!!

To celebrate this release, Alicia is giving away an Appalachian music CD, a mini Appalachian Breakfast soy candle, and a set of whimsical bronze bookmarks! (Due to shipping costs, the giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.) You can enter by clicking on the giveaway image or ENTER HERE!

Blog Tour:

9/15 Welcome to the Tour at A Brighter Destiny – http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny

Amanda @ https://amandatero.com/blog

Raechel @ https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com

9/16 Kaitlyn @ www.maidensformodesty.com

J.E. Grace @ http://bizwingsblog.blogspot.com

9/17 Rebekah @ www.readytobeoffered.com

9/18 Jane @ www.janemouttet.wordpress.com

9/19 Connie @ https://connie-oldersmarter.blogspot.com

9/20 Abigail @ http://readreviewrejoice.com

9/21 Tara @ www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com

Ryana @ www.lifeofheritage.com

9/22 Wrap-up & giveaway winner announced @ http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny

Posted in Uncategorized

“The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus” by Jaime Jo Wright – book review

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

A Split-time Novel

Review copy from the publishers as apart of the Launch Team

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In 1928, Bonaventure Circus outcast Pippa Ripley must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of a killer preying on the troupe. Decades later, while determining if an old circus train depot will be torn down or preserved, Chandler Faulk is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than she imagined.

My Thoughts:

While not matte like the previous books by this author, the cover for The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus certainly is gorgeous! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this novel since the author began letting out pieces of information about it. :)

I loved Pippa’s story. Her part of this split-time story is set in 1928, and I became enthralled immediately. Pippa was such a tender-hearted, dear character. Insecure, and struggling to find her worth, but also strong and growing in her strength. It might be needless to say that her portion of the story was definitely my favorite ;) I loved the elephant aspect of it as well. 

The contemporary portion held its own great characters and I appreciated Chandler having health complications that were very real and shown with care. I don’t have Lyme, but I am familiar with energy-loss and health problems, so it was nice to see such things represented in fiction.

It’s hard for me to find the words for this review because I really liked the book, but there were a couple aspects that I had a bit of a hard time with.I feel like the topic of ghosts was a lot stronger in this book than the others, and was never really resolved in the end. I expect some talk of ghosts in these books, but in the past, it always resulted in being concrete evidence of the occurrences and not encouraged to be dealing with ghosts. This book wasn’t really that way. That was one of the reasons I didn’t like the contemporary thread quite as much, because it was very heavily influenced by “the other side” and there was a character who was connected to that realm, and while the character even said that ‘whether its ghosts or demons, they’re still not to be trifled with’, the characters definitely trifled with them. I know views on ghosts and all are very different but I believe that the spiritual realm does exist, in demonic ways, and by playing around with them, it is opening a door, so it’s a serious thing. The characters didn’t take it seriously, and if it was just that one character I could let it go because yes, in life there are all sorts of people and representation of them is realistic, but the whole message of “maybe it was a ghost for real”  at the end was disconcerting to me. I’m only pointing this out for readers who share my same beliefs and would want to know this content as well. I’m in no way attacking the author or how it is written – just stating my opinion of it so others can be aware too.

The mystery of both stories was very well done, and kept you intrigued and curious till the very end. The Watchman was eerie and the deaths sad, but it was all tied together in such a compelling manner.

As I said, I really liked Pippa’s story, and I loved Jake. He and Pippa were my favorite characters for certain! And Lily the elephant <3 Pippa struggled to ever feel like she was enough, so while it was mainly just from a human perspective, I’m glad she was able to find some reassurance on that in the end! The message of God being our true worth was there as a sweet undertone. I think it could’ve been shown with more power, but it was still nicely done.

All in all, I did really enjoy this novel, and think it was written beautifully as usual.

I also had the pleasure of dressing up “as Pippa” for an Instagram challenge prompt. Below is one such picture, but you can check out my instagram: @vikinglady10 to see more. :)

*I received a copy of the book from the publishers.

Posted in Book reviews

“Hearts on Lonely Mountain” by A.M. Heath ~ Book Review

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“Hearts on Lonely Mountain” by A.M. Heath

Third Novella in the Librarians of Willow Hollow Collection

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Can two lonely people find more than a fleeting friendship or will a prejudiced town keep them apart?
When Ivory Bledsoe left the city to minister to the people of the rural mountain town of Willow Hollow, she never expected to be shunned rather than welcomed. Seeing the town as a lost cause, she’s eager to return home, but when the bridge leading out of town is washed away during a flood, she finds herself stranded in the last place she wants to be.
Ben Thrasher was content with his quiet life until he met the new librarian. He can’t help but be drawn to the friendly and lively Ivory Bledsoe, despite her being at the center of the town’s latest superstition. It’s only a matter of time until she captures his heart, turning his world upside down in the process.
Has Ivory gotten God’s plan for her all wrong or is there still a way she can serve these people? And can Ben ask her to stay in a place where so few are willing to embrace her?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I started this Story Collection of the Librarians of Willow Hollow backward, which meant I was first introduced to Ivory Bledsoe through Edna Sue’s story in The Secret Place of Thunder. Edna Sue was not overly keen on Ivory at first, and that made me all the more curious to read Ivory’s own story. They are very different characters, but both have such individualistic stories and backgrounds!

I loved getting to know Ivory. She is such a bubbly, happy character, and very eager to help the town of Willow Hollow. However, her efforts are thwarted as the people aren’t the most welcoming of her…Her first real friend is little Gerrit – just a child, but oh so precious! I fell in love with him completely through this story.^.^ Such a cutie. And so open-hearted towards Ivory which is exactly what she needed.

And Gerrit’s uncle, Ben Thrasher. A very worthy hero, I must say. He is complex, and well…very grumpy XD But he has such depth and I loved getting to see from his perspective. And see how vastly different Ivory viewed him, as he kept so much internal! This was a fun story to watch unfold, and I was reluctant to ever put it down.I loved the message, and the ending was super sweet. <3

 

Hearts on Lonely Mountain1

Hearts on Lonely Mountain2

Hearts on Lonely Mountain3

Hearts on Lonely Mountain4

 

Posted in Book reviews

“A Life Once Dreamed” by Rachel Fordham ~ Book Review

A Life Once Dreamed

 

“A Life Once Dreamed” by Rachel Fordham

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.
When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is the one person who can never know.
In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
Fan-favorite Rachel Fordham brings to life the dusty streets of an 1880s frontier town in this story that affirms where you come from matters far less than where you’re going.

 

 

My Thoughts:

What a sweet and touching story! This was my first book to read by Rachel Fordham but I’ve loved following her on social media, and seeing her heart for children pour over into her work is so touching.

A Life Once Dreamed is beautifully written, and the characters so beloved. I loved getting to know each one of them. Agnes and James’ history played out through the pages at a great pace, and I really enjoyed seeing the whole story unfold. When I was in my teens, I read a book called “Hattie Big Sky” about 4 or 5 times. A Life Once Dreamed gave me feelings of that book, which honestly bonded me to it all the more. While they’re not super similar stories, they reminded me of each other, and since HBS has always been such a beloved book in my younger years, finding this one felt like such a treat.

There were a couple parts that had me tearing up. It was just all so well-done, and beautiful. I loved Sam! Like, wow. What an amazing character. I definitely hope he is getting his own story! :)

All in all, a very lovely book, and I am now even more eager to catch up on the author’s previous works!

 
  This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Gentleman Spy” by Erica Vetsch -a Read with Audra Tour with Giveaway

“The Gentleman Spy” by Erica Vetsch

Book Two in the Serendipity and Secrets Series

Review copy from the publishers through Read with Audra Tours

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

I have been eagerly anticipating this book ever since finishing the last pages of the first book in this series, The Lost Lieutenant. And oh my did it not disappoint! I vastly enjoyed this novel, and found myself absorbed into its pages immediately.Marcus and Charlotte are so marvelous, on their own and together. They just really came to life, and I enjoyed seeing their stories play out and intertwine.I really do love the trope of marriage-of-convenience, and discovering how the characters fall in love afterwards. They’re so sweet.The mystery thread in The Gentleman Spy was well done, and the pace of it all moved along splendidly. I loved Charlotte’s heart for the downtrodden, and Marcus’ full-support. Really, this was a great story, and I once again eagerly await the next book in the series. :)

 

 

Giveaway!

To enter this lovely giveaway, either click the image above, or go HERE!

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“An Appalachian Summer” by Ann H Gabehart ~ Book Review

An Appalachian Summer
“An Appalachian Summer” by Ann H Gabehart
Review copy from the Revell Reads
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.
My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this story, set during the 1930’s in the Appalachian mountains. Piper was a likeable character right away, as was Jamie. I loved their relationship throughout, even in the ups and downs that it took to get them to the end. Very sweet.
Piper undertakes quite an adventure as she forgoes her debutante season for a summer spent in the Appalachian Mountains, volunteering with the Frontier Nurse Service as a courier.
I loved being able to follow along this adventure, and experience this world alongside her. The story kept an even pace, and gave wonderful glimpses into the mountain life.
I also really like how Piper’s aunt Truda had a bit of her own story – that was really sweet, and added a great touch to this novel.
An Appalachian Summer was a truly sweet and delightful novel that I would definitely recommend!
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers. I was not required to give a positive review.
Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Window Fellow” by Faith Potts

Faith Potts has released a new short story, and I’m pleased to be joining in the celebration, and sharing my review of this sweet story! :)

 

 

 

 

Window Fellow by Faith Potts

Short Story

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

What can you hide through a window? 
 Annalyse never expected to make a friend through a window, but her talks with the guy who lives next to the bus stop have become a favorite part of her day. But when a sudden schedule change reveals a secret he hadn’t meant to share, is there anything she can do to make things right? Or is their window friendship broken beyond repair?

My Thoughts:

 

This was a very sweet story! It was only about 13 pages long, so very easy to read in one sitting, yet it is not so short that there isn’t a story you can be fond of. The two main characters were both very endearing, and I loved their little exchanges. I would’ve loved to see how their story continued ;) Very well written, and well-developed especially for its length!

 

 

You can add it on Goodreads Here.

Posted in Book reviews

Two Reviews: Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkard, and The Foolish Things by Rebekah Tyne McKamie

I’m going to be posting two reviews in one post today just because I can. ^.^

 

Miss Tavistock's Mistake (The Brides of Mayfair #1)

Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkard

Regency romance fiction

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Young Miss Tavistock is promised in marriage to Captain Rempeare by the wish of her dearly departed papa. But the captain’s been at sea for a decade. When she finally meets him, tempestuous sparks fly, and she impulsively adopts a daring false identity. Going by “Lady X,” she vows never to marry such an infuriating man.
Captain Gabriel Rempeare is prepared to fulfill his duty and marry Miss Tavistock—if only he can clap eyes on her. One circumstance or another keeps them apart, though he cannot seem to avoid the beautiful, maddening, Lady X. When fate throws them together in London, Miss Tavistock discovers the real nature of the captain, and regrets her subterfuge. But can such a noble man forgive deceit? Or has her mistake already cost her everything?

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book takes place primarily in London, England 1811, and tells the story and mishaps of  a Miss Feodora Margaret Tavistock. The beginning was a bit slow, but the pace did pick up a bit more towards the middle. The ruse Miss Tavistock goes through to disguise herself from Captain Rempeare was amusing at first, though I admit that I found the lie to continue much too long. There were entertaining parts of the story, and the setting/time felt realistic, but Miss Tavistock was definitely very immature in my opinion, and sometimes her desire to continue the lie, and her behavior as a whole wore on me.I liked the Captain very well – he was very kind and understanding. Miss Tavistock’s companion, Mrs. Filbert was also a very good character.Just because I couldn’t really connect to Miss Tavistock and her story doesn’t mean that others won’t. This book might become a favorite of many, especially those who like light-hearted, sometimes silly, regency stories. I am glad to have had the chance to try it. :)

This book was provided courtesy of the author/publisher, through Interviews & Reviews.

 

 

 

The Foolish Things

“The Foolish Things” by Rebekah Tyne McKamie

Contemporary fiction

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Sharon Mehlmann’s obesity, emotional weakness, and pessimism have caused her close-knit family to rearrange their lives to encourage her. But with Self-Doubt relentlessly persecuting them all, Sharon and her family may ultimately succumb to their weaknesses – leaving plenty of opportunity for God’s glory.

“…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10

 

My Thoughts:

No matter how much I do or  don’t enjoy a book, I always love trying new authors. I deeply appreciate the work, heart, and effort they put into their novels.
I personally had a hard time getting into this book and feeling any depth of attachment to it.  While the blurb given on the back of the book doesn’t disclose much at all, the story itself seemed like it was a strong concept. And perhaps if it was told a different way, I might have been more engaged. But it is told through the perspective of Self-Doubt, which states itself as being neither a demon or a spirit but a tool. I understand that we need to be weak so that God can be strong, but how the story was told felt kind of creepy, more like from a demon’s perspective and that really threw me off, to be honest. There would be a couple times where I’d forget it was written this way, but then it would end a sentence in something like “And that’s where I came in.” etc. I just don’t think that the story’s concept was best displayed through this vehicle of perspective.
By the back cover blurb, I also assumed it would be primarily about Sharon. However, the story gravitates more so towards her friend, LD/Georgie and her brother Sean, who had an odd start to a relationship but got where they needed to be in the end. Sharon’s story came more towards the end, and I liked parts of it, but I struggled with how much it was stressed that she was SO overweight and morbidly obese, and then they name a number  – in my opinion, when talking about weight problems, numbers shouldn’t be mentioned because every body type is different and the number on a scale can read the same for two people but show totally different. We understood from words alone how she struggled with her weight, but to name a number felt overdone. As someone who has struggled with weight myself, I’ve had to realize that the scale tells a different story for each person and what may be overweight for someone might be considered healthy on another body type.
In conclusion, it was an interesting read, just not personally a hit for me.
  This book was provided courtesy of the author/publisher  through Interviews & Reviews.