Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Book Review: “The Promise of Dawn” by Lauraine Snelling

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“The Promise of Dawn” by Lauraine Snelling

Book One in Under Northern Skies series

 

Review copy through Bethany House Publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book: When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.

Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn’t an easy life, it wasn’t as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This was actually my first book that I’ve read by Lauraine Snelling.
The setting was what really drew me in – I love all things Norwegian, and living in MN myself, it seemed quite perfect for me! :) And indeed, I enjoyed the setting very much.
The names! They were probably my favourite thing about the book – I just loved them. So…Norwegian, and much like the viking names I love. “Signe, Rune, Bjorn, Knute, Leif…” etc. Just brilliant.
The beginning of the book was a bit hard for me to get into at first, but once I reached about the middle of it, it picked up and really held my attention.
Some parts seemed repetitive, more like a filler, but otherwise it was a well written story.
I thought it was impressive how you can go through a good chunk of the book just really disliking one character, but by the end you really actually started to truly love that character. That was great. :)
I was fond of this book, and am interested in reading the rest of the series as they come out. :)
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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Captain’s Daughter” by Jennifer Delamere ~ Book review

(Click on image to go to its amazon page)

 

“The Captain’s Daughter” by Jennifer Delamere

Book one in London Beginnings

Review copy from Bethany House Publishers

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

 

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

 

My Thoughts:

 

“We can not keep dwelling on the past. We must look ahead. Remember Mr. Muller’s admonition that God will always meet our needs.” -TCD
When I requested this book for review, I didn’t actually know it would have mention of George Muller’s orphanage, but finding that was a nice surprise. Rosalyn and her sisters were orphaned and spent their growing up years in the GM orphanage. When I found that out, I expected this story to have more of that included, with relying on God really being Rosalyn’s foundation. However, it seemed that the main focus of this story was on Rosalyn’s life in London; to be more specific, in the theater. It was a very interesting read, and also very easy to get into and continue reading without getting bored or hung up on things. It flowed smoothly, and was entertaining. I would’ve just liked to have seen more emphasis on trusting God – that the faith aspect would’ve been the central theme. It was included of course, but more as an undertone to the story. The plot and Rosalyn & Nate were the driving force of this novel.
Rosalyn and Nate were good characters. Rosalyn could be quite…naiive, but she was still a likeable character. I just got frustrated with her relationship with Tony – I did not like Tony at all.
Nate was a solid character, and I enjoyed his and Rosalyn’s relationship. Though it would’ve been nice to have them finally get together and work out things sooner rather than it all just happening in the end chapter. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but I do hope we will get to see glimpses of their story in the next book about Rosalyn’s sister, Julia. I’m looking forward to reading that one – Julia seems like quite an interesting character.
The theater aspect was indeed interesting. I did like following that story.
And the cover is lovely, though I should note that, while she is technically a daughter of a captain, I suppose, the title is slightly misleading, as her father isn’t in this story, nor much about the sea.
Overall, I liked “The Captain’s Daughter”, and will continue with the series. There were just a few things that frustrated me, but I still enjoyed the book.

 

“God is the supplier of need,” Mrs. Moran said. “We are simply blessed to be His agents sometimes.” – Page 166
“Perhaps not. But then, absolution doesn’t come through what we can do, does it? It comes from another source. One greter than ourselves.” – Page 325
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Book Review: “Wings of the Wind” by Connilyn Cosette

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Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette (Purchase HERE)

Book Three in the Out of Egypt Series

Review copy from Bethany House Program

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage–for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was such a beautiful book! Truly. I wasn’t sure if I’d completely bond with the main character, Alanah, because from the backcover blurb, she didn’t sound like a typical character I’d love, but I was wrong, and this book was marvelous and I enjoyed it ever so much!
It stunned me in its plotline. And the characters. This series has been so good, and I’m sad to see it end, but excited for the next series by this author!
Alanah was a fiery character to be sure, but relatable. And Tobiah! Oh. Wow. His sacrificial and continuing love for her was just heart-melting. A great mirror to Christ’s love for us. It really impacted me, and helped remind me of our Heavenly Father’s persistence in pursuing us in the most loving way. He doesn’t push, but He pursues.
A midwife was introduced in the beginning of the book, as a healer (read it to find out why!), and the whole time I was doing this: “Is that…? That has to be…? Is it? It’s got to be Shira! Please let it be Shira!” – because I don’t know about you, but I love having characters from past books in the series show up in the next one even if it’s not directly about them.  And I loved Shira. :)
The midwife’s character was so perfect for this story. Her gentleness but firmness with Alanah was great.
The characters really were marvelous. I loved Nita from the beginning. <3 And the sand cats. That was an amazing touch that I loved ever so much. I love cats. ^.^
The storyline was captivating.
And the sometimes-painful-journeys we go on with Alanah, and what she had to endure! So sad. But I absolutely loved to see how it was all wrapped up and how God had a purpose in ALL of it. That is so true in our own lives – there are times where we go through horrible things that we can’t see any point of – all we see is the pain. That’s probably all Alanah saw too. But God had a plan, just as He does for us! He’ll bring us out of our own Jericho’s, He’ll bring us Healing, in His time. Nothing goes unnoticed by Him – He’s got us in the palm of His hand, even in seemingly hopeless situations.
The lessons learned by each character were fantastic, and Tobiah’s reminder that “you are not God” – that was brilliant and hits home. We can’t protect everyone all the time, despite our good intentions – we are not God. But HE is, and He is more than capable. Beautiful.
So yes, as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. God used it to touch my heart, and that always guarantees a book to be a winner in my eyes! :)
Have you read the series? Which if of the books was your favourite, if so? Counted with the Stars, Shadow of the Storm, or Wings of the Wind? They’re all so good, not sure I could pick a favourite. Shadow of the Storm has a special place for me, but now so does WOTW, and Counted with the Stars was utterly lovely too. So, I don’t know. ^.^
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Bethany House Review: “Treasured Grace” by Tracie Peterson

 

“Treasured Grace” by Tracie Peterson

Book One in the Heart of the Frontier Series

Bethany House Review Program Review Copy

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I was looking forward to reading this book, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, actually. On the review-email it gave the description that the main characters were a midwife and a trapper  – and to me, that sounds very good, so I requested it. And while Alex was indeed a trapper, Grace wasn’t a midwife – she was a healer, which maybe they would’ve been called midwives back then, but there was nothing that even mentioned her being called a midwife or any midwifery duties…
But anyway, after I figured that out, I tried to get into the book, and it was a fine read. For me it was just that – a good read, not terrible, but not fantastic either. Pretty light.
Personally, I didn’t feel I could really connect with any of the characters much, and there wasn’t huge depth to the story. It was also a case of instant affection between characters, but not fully carried out till the end.
There was the incident in the middle that was fairly intense and a tiny bit gruesome, and while it was awful, it did help you connect a little bit with two of the side characters.
This book, I felt, was more of ‘tell rather than show’ – you didn’t get to really be involved in the characters or relate to them. You just read what happened to them.
Now, as I say this, I also want to repeat that it wasn’t an awful book – it was clean, and there was a slight sharing of the message of Salvation, albeit not a strong one. For me personally, I wouldn’t mark it as a favourite, but many may love it.

 

Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Bethany House Book Review: “Counted with the Stars” by Connilyn Cossette

Counted With the Stars (Out from Egypt, #1)

“Counted with the Stars” by Connilyn Cossette

Biblical Fiction

Source: Bethany House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

A beautiful piece of Biblical fiction. :)
Because I’d read a couple Biblical fiction books this year that I just couldn’t connect to, I was a little bit apprehensive to begin this book and was afraid it might follow suit. But not at all! What a blessing that was. :) I easily got into this story,and it was so eloquently told, so real in its telling. I really like the first-person perspective for this one. It helped bring it alive, and to really understand Kiya. Who, by the way, was a good character. She was flawed, and real, and likeable. I didn’t actually hold major caring for Eben at first…but towards the end, his relationship with Kiya was adorable and super sweet. I loved Shira and am looking forward to reading her story next. And Jumo – he was a fantastic character as well.
I’ve read my share of retellings of the Biblical account of the Exodus out of Egypt, but this was unique – it impressed me! It wasn’t exactly what I’ve read before, and I enjoyed that.
There were only two things that set any ‘flags’ up for me, and so I shall share those:
I don’t think I care for the thought that when God parted the sea through Moses, that the sea turned into ice because of a cold wind. Yes, the book said that God sent the cold wind, but I don’t personally think that it would be something that could be explained as ‘natural causes’ for that one. The rushing water being parted would be more spectacular, and God’s miracles didn’t need to be ‘explained away’. They couldn’t be.
The other thing was, it wasn’t entirely clear that all of Egypt’s gods weren’t actually real and powerful. There was this underlying theme that made it seem like Egypt’s gods, though helpless, were real, and that Yahweh was just the most powerful of them.  Like God is just another of the gods. But there are no other gods besides Yahweh.  People may ‘see’ them as other gods and choose to believe they are real, but they, like the Egyptian’s gods, were idols after Satan. And I get that Kiya wouldn’t understand this at first, but I was expecting one of the Hebrews to explain it in the end with clarity, and that didn’t happen.
But otherwise, I did really like this book and was quite satisfied with it.
I was rather sad to leave it. Once I finished it, I would think to sit down and read but then realised I had finished it already…kinda bummed! But that is a good thing in a book, in my opinion. And I’m looking forward to the other books in this series. :)
 I marked several quotes, and will share those too. :)
“But I know there is a reason for everything He does, and even if my human mind can’t wrap itself around His plan, I will follow. All I know is what my father told me from the time I was a tiny girl. Elohim will rescue us, and as we suffer under the hand of Pharaoh, He is building, preparing us for something.” 
“For what?”
“For something we cannot even imagine.” her strange green-gray eyes searched mine for a long moment. “Perhaps He is preparing you, too.”
 – Chapter 8 pg 81
“Yahweh does things in His own time. He is preparing us.” – Chapter 10 pg 96
“Our only hope is the wheat and spelt.” “They weren’t ruined by the storm?” “No, they aren’t quite ready for harvest, and their stalks are still flexible. They were bent by the storm, but not broken.” – Chapter 13 pg 121 – This just reminded me of the verse that says God will not bruise a broken reed. :)
“Sometimes it seems to me like Yahweh chooses to work through the most unlikely of people.”  – Chapter 24 pg 193
“But I am not one of His people, why would He protect me?” The man turned to me, his eyes burning with passion. “He created you…He knows you…and will…make Himself known to you.”  – Chapter 31 pg 235
“He placed a large hand on my shoulder. “Ask Him to reveal Himself.” – Chapter 31 pg 235
“But unlike my father, unlike Shefu, this Father [God] had not turned His back on me – instead He liberated me.”
 “Here I was in bondage again, yet somehow I felt free.”  – both from Chapter 38 pg 301
“Shira had questioned, all those months ago, whether Yahweh was preparing me for something. Now I could see that it was true. Yahweh had brought me here into the wilderness to free me, to show me how to leave my idols behind, and to meet the man I would spend my life with. Yahweh cared enough to bring me out of slavery and ignorance, protect me in the desert, and to reveal Himself to me in a tent during the middle of a battle. The God who parted the sea could surely mend the rift in my heart.”  – Chapter 40 pg 323
So yes, a very enjoyable book!
**I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review which I have given.**

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, God's Lessons, Reviews

Release day! Book Review: “Like Never Before” by Melissa Tagg

Today is the release day for the lovely book “Like Never Before” by Melissa Tagg! And I’m so pleased to be able to share my review with you. Being on Melissa’s launch team has been amazingly fun and a great experience! So, without further ado, here is my review:

 

5 Stars//Review copy from author and publisher//Contemporary Romance fiction//Book 2 in The Walker Family series//One Word: Adorable

“A dying newspaper. An intriguing mystery. And a love they didn’t see coming.

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she knew who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.”

My Review:
This has been the first book I’ve had the pleasure of reading by the lovely Melissa Tagg, but it most certainly will not be my last!
“Like Never Before” is truly one of the most adorable-est books I’ve ever read. And what helps make it so fabulous is Melissa – yes indeed. She is one of the most refreshing and happy people I’ve ever met, and her excitement is contagious!! Being on her “TaggTeam” has been an amazingly fun experience. And truth be told, I was so eager to join her team because of her. Every post I’d read on her facebook and her blog was inspiring, and exciting, and encouraging. She is truly an uplifting person. Okay, I’ll move on from gushing about the author to gushing about the book itself now. :)
So. Like Never Before is written so amazingly well, and captured me right from the start. It begins so cleverly, and the characters are utterly love-able. I really loved Amelia and Logan and little Charlie!! So sweet. Another added thing that guaranteed my love for this book is that Amelia has a love for “The News” – she’s the editor of the town’s newspaper. And some might already know this, but I’ve been in love with the idea of reporter/newspaper since I was little. :) And the Amelia Earhart thread!!! That made me happy instantly. Another one of my childhood obsessions. I always loved AE and chose her for homeschool reports, etc. :)
Logan is a fantastic character, and yes, he’s as love-able as Melissa has been saying he is!
And the plot is oh-so good, and the faith-thread is great. There were definitely parts that really hit me. One of my favourite verses was quoted frequently (“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19) and reading it came at a great time – I very much needed to hear that and  know that it is hope.
“Maybe her wasteland wasn’t a place, and her river wasn’t a job or a person or a plan. But simply a hope.”
Really beautiful. All of this. This book is beautiful. I don’t read a ton of books that are labeled “contemporary romance” but this…yes, I will read this over and over again. The romance was sweet, and cleaner than some romance I’ve read in Biblical fiction even. So very sweet.
It was a refreshing book, and I highly recommend it! You won’t be disappointed!!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.