Posted in Book reviews

“Dangerous to Know” by Megan Whitson Lee

I was supposed to post this quite a while ago – thought for sure I had, but apparently not! Here it is now though. :P

 

“Dangerous to Know” by Megan Whitson Lee

Review copy through Audra Jennings PR 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

About the Book:

“Don’t look at him, dear. He’s dangerous.”

Isabella Bankmill seeks a husband whose character matches her list of requirements. The man must share her faith, but he must also possess a certain je ne sais quoi. The enigmatical Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby—London’s newest literary sensation—certainly possesses the latter. Despite a deformed foot and alarming views on politics and religion, he attracts the ladies in droves.
Haunted by his past and overwhelmed by his newfound celebrity status, Lord 

Bromby’s obsession with his own doom leads to reckless behavior. When he is stalked by an obsessive aristocrat seeking an elopement, Bromby’s friends urge him to marry a suitable lady as soon as possible. Intrigued by Isabella’s convictions, and hoping to avoid further scandal, Bromby proposes to Isabella.
Isabella also receives an offer of marriage from kind-hearted philanthropist, David Beringer—a man equally devoted to his faith—but she only has eyes for Lord Bromby. Blinded by his talent and good looks, Isabella convinces herself that he’s not as dangerous as everyone claims. But when Bromby’s world violently collides with hers, Isabella must decide once and for all who is lord of her life. God or Bromby?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a fascinating novel, based upon the life of Lord Byron. The names were altered, but recognizable.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to review this one. It wasn’t an entirely happy sort of book; it held more of a solemn tone. But it worked, and it was needed.  I cannot really decide between a 3.5 rating and a full 4 – it absolutely intrigued me, and kept me turning the pages. However, it is not a light happy book that I could readily recommend to younger readers, due to some of the content. It wasn’t graphic, but it was realistic, and it was a bit on the heavy side. Lord Bromby was very much a tortured soul, and certainly a rake.
Isabella is faced with the decision to follow after her emotions/heart or adhere to the wisdom in her spirit and that given by her family and friends.
It is all too easy to be led by our emotions. I can understand why she made the choice she did, but I cringed for her. I at once wanted her to choose differently and yet got caught up in her emotions and rooted for who she chose. Except I didn’t. It’s hard to explain. :P
I appreciate the lesson this book got across – our decisions we make in life are so very important, and there are consequences. Nothing should rise above our devotion and love of God.
I liked the redemption message too.
The end was a bit open-ended, but it was…hopeful. I feel like that is a word best described for it.
The writing was well done, easy to read. The formatting sometimes tripped me up, as nothing was ever in a slanted format so it would switch from its third-person form to first person as the main character felt an emotion, or had a thought, etc. I think it would have been helpful to have some distinction between the third to first person style.
But yes, this was definitely a novel that stuck with me even after I closed the last page. I’d be very interested to read the author’s other book, and any future ones. :)  But would not recommend it to younger readers.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Posted in Book reviews, Books, Pictures, reading, Up North, update, Writing

July ’18 Recap

Ah, a rather boring title, but logical. ;)

 

 

I find it both crazy and a tad bit thrilling to see July pass by. It actually went quite fast, which brings us one more step closer to fall! ;) And the latter half of this month has actually been manageable weather-wise. The first half was ridiculously hot and humid and yeah. But lately we’ve had some cooler days, which is surprising for July, but I’m not complaining! In fact, one day last week was 65 degrees. Sweatshirt weather. The mornings have been chilly as well. I know August is still to come, and with that more hot hot hot weather, but I’m enjoying this respite for now. ;)

 

 

In life updates….

 

 

We had to clean the tubs of the butcher chickens and transfer a few over to a new, less crowded one. And let me tell you, the smell was nasty. Like, horrible. Sometimes I think  still can smell it…And then another week later they were all transferred again to the larger pen, which is more spacious and nicer, and easier to feed them in. Whenever you step in there though, your feet are swarmed and pecked at because that’s how they are. XD I used to wear jean shorts to do chores in the hot weather, but now it’s long jeans only because eww. XD
And we also added 8 new layer chickens to our flock (except one disappeared and became some predator’s dinner, very sadly).
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my favourite mail carrier might just be done delivering our mail and I need to adjust to our new one. Yes, mail is a bit of a big deal to me. Our old MC was very orderly and always placed the mail in a nice stack, with any letters that might be addressed to me sitting on top. Packages arrived in a careful manner. ‘Twas nice.
But now…So sad. I do actually quite like our current mail carrier; she’s very nice. But maybe not as OCD me when it comes to mail ;)
In July our town has a bit of a celebration thing with various events. We went to the kiddie parade (for my nephews of course ^.^), the book sale, and the regular parade. It was all quite a bit of fun!
Also in July, we made a day trip up north and it was fabulous. an almost 4 hour car ride both ways, but so good to get up there and see my grandparents if only for a few hours.

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I’m sure other stuff happened this month (in fact I know it did), but I’m moving onto the book section of things because I like books. ;)

 

 

These are the ones I read this month:

 

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers  Midnight Comes by S.J. Blasko  Picking Daisy by Valerie   Howard  Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan  The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright  A Search for Refuge by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

By clicking on their covers you will be brought to my reviews of the books. :)

 

 

And these are the books I acquired:

 

july books (4)

 

 

And let us not forget my new book cozy!

 

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Other posts of this month include….

 

 

35846526_925809414257834_6631829091601350656_nCI Lettie53b0f-bookchFrom Now OnBook Review

 

 

 

 

How was your  July? Have you read any of the books I read or received this month? Any recommendations? :)

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright ~ Book Review

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“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright

Review copy from the publisher/author as part of launch team.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

Gossamer Grove is a town of lots of secrets – past and present. Goodness! I knew that by picking up this book I would be in for a suspenseful ride, and I was right! From reading the author’s debut novel, “The House on Foster Hill”, I expected this to be a bit on the creepy side (like a not-read-at-night sort of novel!), but TRAGP actually wasn’t quite as creepy as the first. ;) Oh there were a couple of moments that had your eyes huge, wondering how it was going to end. And the suspense and mystery are so present! And so well done. All the secrets were woven through the story at a perfect pace, revealing themselves slowly and at the perfect time. Very impressive. :)
I don’t usually care for duel-time line stories, but I make an exception for Jaime Jo Wright’s novels – I am always so captivated, and always love both past and present stories pretty equally, which is a feat in itself! Switching back and forth can be a bit hard for my brain to adjust, but these stories…well, golly! I have to keep reading. ^.^
In 1907 and present day, our heroines Libby and Annalise both strive to uncover the mysteries that surround their lives. It’s very gripping, and the characters are so realistic, it’s almost hard to remember that I’m reading a fiction novel. :)
Also woven through this book is the very important message of grace and forgiveness. I like that it was also presented with the message of the importance of repentance too.
I very much enjoyed this one, and am so looking forward to the next book by Jaime Jo Wright!
Quotes:
“No amount of mystery in one’s soul can escape the ever-watchful eye of God. One may carry guilt and shame with them for years, only to discover that while they attempted to doge God’s judgement, they instead cheated themselves of His forgiveness.”  
“There is a balance to be struck between justice and grace. I say justice rather than judgement, although sometimes one comes hand in hand with the other. We cannot cheapen God’s righteousness by familiarizing Him to such a degree that His grace becomes a ticket to wanton freedom. Yet we cannot discount His forgiveness under the assumption He creates only to destroy.” 
“The consequence of sin is death, but the grace of God brings us life. One must fear God for what He can do, while loving Him for what He doesn’t do. A contrite heart results in the withholding discipline in exchange for mercy – and love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons

From Now On

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“From now on…These eyes will not be blinded by the lights”
These are some lyrics from the song “From Now On” of the movie “The Greatest Showman”.
First off, I love this song, and it gets very upbeat towards the end and just makes you want to dance along. But the lyrics are awfully meaningful too.
You know how God will bring something to us at just the right time? This movie has actually been that a few different times. And these lyrics specifically have become so relevant to me lately.
Because my eyes do get blinded by the lights. It’s so easy sometimes.
“For years and years, I chased their cheers, a crazy speed of always needing more”
I’ve gotten this way with books, reading, supporting authors. Wishing, hoping, yearning for their accolades, their acknowledgement. To be honest, it stings to admit it. But it’s an ugly truth for me. I wanted their ‘cheers’, to be noticed for my countless years of book reviewing etc. And it wouldn’t really matter when I received it, because as the song says…it becomes a crazy speed of always needing more. And then I’ll look around and see others getting acknowledged for what they do, and see how they really are supporting these authors and doing more than I am doing, and I get jealous. Because I want that to be me.
And as I said, I get so caught up in it, to the point where I’m blinded by these ‘lights’. And the ‘lights’ can be any number of things – whatever we think our hearts desire is, and we get so blinded by it that it takes our focus away from what really matters.
“…but when I stop, and see You here, I remember who all this was for”
As I sat one evening pouring out my emotions into my journal, I had the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman playing in my mp3 player, and this song hit me so much stronger than before. The words all became clear to my situation, to what I was feeling, and where God wants me to be. So yes, I capitalized the ‘y’ on “You” in the above lyrics, because this is how God related it to me.  So often we get caught up in the whirring and busyness of life, and caught up in what we want to be doing. But we need to just stop. Set our eyes on the One stable thing in our lives, and remember Who we live for. And sometimes we will be forced to stop…

“‘Cause from that rubble,
what remains
Can only be what’s true
If all was lost
Its more I gain
‘Cause it led me back
To You”
This pain of chasing something that was unattainable made me stop – it was the rubble. It was a sort of ‘crash and burn’ situation. You can only run on searching for the lights for so long before the rubble becomes clear. But when the rubble is there,  the One thing that does remain is Him. In all this, He is clear, and if we lose the lights we strive for, we’ve gained more than what we ever thought we could’ve had from the lights. Because a great many times, it’s the pain and the rubble that brings us back to Him. It still makes me tear up as I sit here typing this.
He reminds me that whatever I do, I do for Him. It doesn’t make it easy all of the time, no. It’s hard but also it makes me thankful that He does woo us and bring us back to Him.  Because He is there when it stings. And He is always there to call us back Home. If only we will listen.
“And we will come back home
And we will come back home
Home, again!”
He is our Home. And oh how He rejoices when we return to this point!! When we stand in the rubble and refocus on what – and Who – is true. When we lay down the lights and the cheers, stop chasing after the things of this world, and come back to Him – we come back Home.
So it is my prayer that… “from now on, these eyes will not be blinded by the lights.” From now on, may my heart always find its place secure in the Home of Jesus.  I pray this for you too, reader. That whatever lights you find yourself temporarily blinded by, you will heed His call to come back Home. To what remains.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him.” Philippians 3:8-9
Posted in Books, Product Revews, reading, Reviews

My very first booksleeve from The Cozy Life ~ Review

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(So, somehow, in the pictures I took, I managed to put the cozy backwards each time, failing to showcase “The Cozy Life” fabric tag….oops! I’m still learning on picture-taking. ;))

 

My Book Cozy! My first from The Cozy Life. I have seen the cozies from this etsy shop all over, was very familiar with the name, and drooled over the cozies in the shop frequently.

And then I got to receive one for the purpose of this review. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!!

The owner is so kind, and super quick in mailing the cozy out – I received it right away. And when I took it out of the package, I found it wrapped so perfectly.

 

 

 

Perfect little package tied up in string – so cute and special!

Now, for the quality…Um, it’s beautiful. Need I say more? I mean, that word encompasses the whole thing! It’s durable, and thick, and soft, and sturdy, and I adore it. I was surprised by its thickness and softness upon receiving it – it’s almost like a pillow! You can tell it is extremely well made, and I love knowing it protects my books so well. Because if you know me, you know that I do my best to keep my books in like-new condition, but I still have to have my current read accompany me wherever I go, so this book cozy is perfect for that.

It’s just the right size for my paperbacks, and they fit snugly inside.

 

 

 

 

If you couldn’t tell already, let me tell you that I am utterly thrilled with my cozy from The Cozy Life, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her shop!

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews

“Midnight Comes” by S. J. Blasko ~ Book Review

My devotional post will be up next Monday. For today, please enjoy this post about “Midnight Comes”!

 

 

Midnight Comes (Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1)

 

“Midnight Comes” by S.J. Blasko

Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1

review copy from the author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

Once upon a time…
There was a sorceress, who cursed a prince to become as beastly as his pride
There was a daughter, who watched from her window and ached to see the world
There was a mermaid, who traded her voice in the hope of a soul
There was a stepmother, who saw beauty only in others, never in herself
And there was a boy, who forgot the warmth of love.

In five narrative poems exploring the darker, more human side of these classic fairytales, rediscover the characters as they are given a voice of their own.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is a creative collection. After reading novel after novel, I enjoyed reading this book of poem-like retellings. They are unique in the telling of familiar fairy tales.
My favourite of this collection would certainly be “Mermaid’s Soul” – it flowed beautifully, and had a bittersweet tone of reality.
I’m a lover of words and seeing them in this format makes for an enjoyable read. It was a short collection, so perfect to read in one sitting.
I look forward to Miss Blasko’s future writings. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan

A Van Buren and Deluca Mystery

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’ve got a lot of cover-love for this one. Not to mention the clever title. :)
I liked the story itself alright, but to be honest it wasn’t my most favourite.I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, and sometimes it felt choppy and jumped around a bit to where I wasn’t sure I knew what was going on and would need to read the same thing several times before I would get what was going on.
There were several things that were repeated and sometimes felt a little more like filling rather than integral to the book.
I liked Hamish quite a bit, and loved his love for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – that was extremely endearing to me. How he carried his well-loved copy with him and knew parts of it by heart; yep, loved that! And I also appreciated his struggles with anxiety. No, I don’t like anxiety, but it is nice to see real characters with real struggles. And while I don’t suffer from panic attacks or anxiety at the severe level he does, I could understand. I applaud the author for writing this into his character and making him come to see himself as strong through it all.
I liked Reggie and enjoyed their relationship, until the latter half of the book. Reggie was very fickle in her romance and it was very aggravating. Literally, in one chapter she was kissing one of the two men she goes between, and is having a marvelous time with him, and then in the very next chapter she is said as feeling wildly attracted to the other man, trying to keep her gaze from tracing his lips. That just irked me. I understand that “the heart is deceitful, who can know it?” but it was like there was no conflict of her conscience either.
The mystery plot was pretty well done. It kept you wondering till the end. As I mentioned above, there were definitely parts where I felt lost in the explaining of it, but that might just be me.
I was also disappointed by the utter lack of faith included. It was ‘clean’, but I wouldn’t classify it as Christian.
I didn’t hate this book. I just didn’t love it like I had hoped.There were definitely aspects I enjoyed, like the time period, and the nightclub, and the dancing. And I would be curious to see how the series continues.
I think it will be one that many people love. And I wish I could’ve said the same for me. It was just a bit of a miss for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. :)

 

 

 

 

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*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.