Posted in Bethany House, Blades, Book reviews, reading, Reviews, Tomahawks

A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Book Review

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A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter

Haven Manor Book 3

Review copy from the publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Pursuit of Home (Haven Manor, #3)

About the book:

In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.
Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.
As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’m feeling very inadequate to write this review. I just can’t believe this series is over, and that this particular story is over. I didn’t want it to end! Still don’t, but I suppose I must come to terms with that fact at some point.Readers of the Haven Manor series have been anticipating Jess’ story for quite some time. And oh goodness did it satisfy!! Right from page one of “A Pursuit of Home”, I was drawn into the story, and became even more entwined withe the characters. It was so nice (and sad too) to finally understand Jess and her past. Her snarky character really is marvelous, by the way. Every hardship only made her stronger and more resilient, and I just love her sarcasm. And Derek! Oh my word, was he fantastic too. The banter held between these two was beyond exemplary. I laughed numerous times, and I just loved their chemistry. A sentence that had me grinning:
“Unless you’ve an axe for me to use, I can’t go any farther,” Derek whispered. “And I feel I should warn you, before you produce an axe from some random corner of your person, I haven’t the ability to chop wood silently.”
At first, Derek irritated Jess, and that made for some very humorous situations. Jess was used to being hardened, and the thought of actually caring terrified her. And sometimes I could understand this. “This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying”  – I get that. ^.^ Truly, I was just very impressed with the characters as a whole. Beautifully done!The plot was exciting, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded. The mystery, the journeys, the danger, and the growth in each character – it was all just marvelous and I felt right at home within the pages. I also loved the knife-throwing aspect. That was extremely fun as knife-throwing is one of my hobbies  – and I was just flabbergasted to read the acknowledgements and find my name listed there. THANK YOU Kristi Ann Hunter! Being able to share info about knife-throwing was a delight and having my name in the acknowledgements an extreme honor. I’ve been squealing over it for days! :)But yes, in conclusion, this book is amazing, it never disappointed, and I adore these characters. I loved this book so much and am truly sad to see it end. But what an ending it was. I highly recommend this fabulous series! <3

 

 

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Quotes:

 

“The problem with inevitability was that no matter how much effort one put into avoiding them, they still happened.”

 

“Derek loved the scent of books. Paper, ink, leather, and dust created an aroma that always made him feel at home.”

 

“Interesting thing about opinions. They tend to vary from person to person. If they didn’t, they would be facts.”

“This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying” — I feel ya Jess.

 

“God had given the sacrifice she needed, not the one she’d asked for. That was the sacrifice love demanded. It wasn’t sacrificing to make someone else happy; it was sacrificing to provide what they needed.”

 

 

 

**I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.  

Posted in Bethany House, blog tour, Book reviews

“Until The Mountains Fall” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

 

“Until the Mountains Fall” by Connilyn Cossette

Cities of Refuge series #3//Biblical Fiction

Review copy through the publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

My Thoughts:

 

I have loved every one of this author’s novels, and this one was no exception!
“Until the Mountains Fall” is a beautiful story representing the parable of the Prodigal Son.
I will be honest, I didn’t like main character Rivkah in the beginning. She was selfish and rough, and rude. I was worried her character would alter little, and she’d still be one of those “so strong woman who doesn’t need any man at all ever. end of story.” But her story…her character arc was amazing. Truly, she grew and changed so much, it was beautiful and humbling. And happened so naturally. I’m not saying her character needed to change, but her attitude did, and wow. The result was well done.
Malakhi – he was amazing. A bit gruff for a while there but he did have reason to be. His personal journey was fantastic too, and how this whole story wove together was lovely. The redemption…the sacrifice…the love. Rivkah’s father was one of my favorite characters of this story. His devotion to his daughter was just astounding, and there was a scene at the end that had me crying. It was a truly beautiful representation of Jesus welcoming us back, accepting us, forgiving us, loving us.
The faith wasn’t so much spoken as it was shown in the undertones ~ the allegorical message to it was the heart of it.
This book spanned over several years and covered a lot. It was all done so well. And my heart was so involved. Another captivating read by the author!
“Our family was built atop the ruins of tragedy, Rivkah, each brick fashioned from mercy. You will find no stones in their palms.”
“There is nothing you have done or will do that will ever erase the love I have for you. It is enough that you have returned to me.”
Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White ~ Book Review

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“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White

Book #1 of The Codebreakers // Historical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Another amazing book by Roseanna M White to add to my favorites list! Everytime I think I can name my favorite book by this author, I read her newest and change my mind. ^.^ They are all so very good! And “The Number of Love” is no exception. What a marvelous story! I was captivated from page one, and immediately fell in love with the characters. They were so very vivid in this book. And seeing a couple other characters whom I recognized from previous White books – what a fun treat. :)
Margot is such a fascinating character. I loved her so much, and Drake too! Another major favorite was Drake’s sister Dot. I could relate to her in many ways, and wish she had her own full-length novel! :D She was lovely.
One of my favorite things about this book (and there were many!) was Margot’s relationship with God. Throughout the book, faith wasn’t just a religion interwoven through the pages – it was relationship displayed through the characters hearts. And Margot’s relationship with God was so real, and present, and personable, right down to the very struggles that she thought hindered that relationship at times. It was just remarkably well-written, and so beautifully real. I really appreciated that.
One thought at the end that I had…I would have liked to have seen Margot also realize that sometimes God does ask us to sacrifice our own dreams – but that He gives us new ones that are so much better. I think this was touched on a bit, and I am still very happy with the ending how it was (it was very sweet and beautiful!), but this was just an added thought I had, knowing that God does often ask this of us.:)
The whole book was beautifully written, truly. The plot was amazing and detailed, and so interesting, and the characters, as stated, absolutely marvelous. I loved “The Number of Love” so very much – it definitely is a favorite of mine already!
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**I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 
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“He always spoke. Always. And she listened, because God was smarter than she was – the only being about whom she could say that with certainty. She didn’t always understand His ways, but she’d learned to trust them.” 
“It doesn’t heal. We’re never restored fully, whole again, after we lose someone. We must learn to go on with the pieces missing.” 
“Sometimes running away does speak to courage instead of fear. To wisdom. Sometimes running away is necessary. Though I certainly hope not in this case.”
“Sometimes God let people die. Let His children break. And then pieced them back together into something new. Something that He could use for His glory instead of theirs.” 
Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes ~ Review

Raes books (6)

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes

Review copy from publishers/author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

 

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My Thoughts:

This book is one that should be savored. It is not a book to rush through. Just as I felt when reading the prequel novella (“Up From the Sea”), while traversing the pages of “Whose Waves These Are”, it was almost like I was holding my breath in anticipation. To see how it would all play out, to watch the characters live their lives – but it was also so much more.
I loved the little Harbor town, Ansel-by-the-Sea – it sounds so charming, and I wish it were a place that I could visit!
The writing style is very unique – and I’ll admit that at first, it took me a while to really get into it because I’m not used to reading a book written in this manner. However, once I got acclimated to the waters, so-to-speak, it was so pleasurable, and I felt so drawn in.
The characters each lept off the page. As did the story itself. It is a winding tale through several decades, but every piece is so well woven together that the completed work is rather stunning indeed.
This story evokes emotion – I wept at more than one part, and the messages impressed throughout the novel were beautiful and touching.
“Whose Waves These Are” took me a while to read, but I wish I had time to linger in it longer, for as I said – it is a story not to be devoured, but to be slowly inhaled.
I loved Bob, and Annie, and Fletch, and Bess, and Ed, and so many other characters, and I am quite certain you will too.
“He said he loves you, that it’ll be all right, that life is big…and God is bigger.”
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Quotes:
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.  

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Artful Match” by Jennifer Delamere ~ Book Review

The Artful Match (London Beginnings, #3)

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere

Book Three in the Long Beginnings Series

Review copy from the author/publisher

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Cara Bernay has never fit in. At loose ends in 1881 London after a near tragedy costs her a job, she befriends a rising young artist. With his help, she begins planning a new life and developing her own artistic talent. But soon Cara finds herself at odds with the artist’s brother—a handsome but serious-minded earl who wants to force his brother back to a “respectable” life.

Henry Burke, the Earl of Morestowe, feels the weight of growing financial burdens. His profligate and emotionally unstable brother is making matters worse, and Henry needs him back home. Despite misgivings about Cara’s mysterious background, Henry sees she’s a positive influence on his brother and on Henry’s unruly young ward, and he strikes a deal with her to return with them to their estate.

But the family has their own secrets, and when Cara, drawn ever closer to Henry, stumbles onto the truth, she must choose between following her heart and pursuing a bold plan that could bring disaster.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, but ended up missing the second when it came out. I wanted to know what was happening to these sisters, so I gladly accepted the opportunity to read this third one. In the beginning few chapters, I felt like I was missing something from the second book, but I don’t think it made it too hard to understand on its own, and I think this book can be read as a stand-alone if need be. Of course, as with many series, it is best read in order, but they are not so intricately woven together that you are lost when missing one. :)
“The Artful Match” is a sweet story of Cara finding her own way in life. Having the misfortune of losing her job, she moves to London, nearly destitute. But then she meets a man who shares her love of art. As she gets to know him, he helps her get on her feet. She is feeling confident in her new adventure until she meets the man’s brother, and eventually, his ward. Life seems to be changing once again, but in good ways that she learns to grow along with.
At times I found this book to be rather slow going, and so it took me a while to get through it. The story was good, and I enjoyed it, but the pace was slow and sometimes typical. I did get frustrated toward the end when the usual misunderstanding/drama happened that occurs in every book, but I’ve come to expect that in most novels.
The characters were well-written, and I especially loved Amelia – she was a spirited little girl who, yes, needed instruction and guidance, but had a sweet heart and loving attitude once given room to bloom.
Overall, it was an enjoyable story, and a good conclusion to the series!
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Once it’s all done, the setbacks you’ve had along the way won’t seem so bad. Sometimes what we make of bad situations leaves us better off than we ever expected.”

 

 

 

 

*I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own.

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Book Review

I hate that this is being posted so late!!! I loved this book so much – it will definitely be included in my favorites of 2019 – and so I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to post my review. But at long last, here it is! <3

 

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“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Two in the Haven Manor Series

Review copy from the publisher/author as apart of the Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together? 

My Thoughts:

This was fantastic. Truly. I love this series. :) Going into this one, I wasn’t sure if I’d relate to main character Daphne, just because in the previous book, Kit had been my favorite. It was so silly of me to wonder this, because I not only related to Daphne, I bonded with her. I share so many of her struggles, and to be perfectly honest, there were so many times during the reading of this that I almost had to remind myself she wasn’t actually real because I was tempted to write her a letter saying I relate XD The struggles with fantasizing and daydreaming that she dealt with was so relatable to me. And how when things actually happened in real life, it was harder – and scarier – to deal with than the “harmless” imaginings. But oh how many troubles the fantasizing gets us into. I still need to continue to remind myself to live right here in the present, just as life is.
The truths she discovered, and the journey she took was inspiring and realistic, and so beautiful. I just really, really loved Daphne.
And William. Of course we cannot forget William! He was great as well. Snobbish at first (oh William), but his character grew so much and he was a sweetheart. I absolutely love these two!!
Really, all of the characters deserve their own paragraphs of gushing over them, but I don’t know that we have space or time for that. ;) Jess….Benedict…Sarah…Eugenia…Reuban…I think you get the gist. Such three dimensional characters that you cannot help but adore.
And the story itself was so well done! I loved every minute of it. And waiting for the next book is going to be so hard. :P
Excellent writing, amazing characters, superb plot, and an ending that leaves you wanting more! definitely recommend this series :)
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Quotes:

 

“Daphne didn’t handle strangers very well most of the time, and she certainly wasn’t managing this one.” 
*
“You know,” Jess finally said, “it’s okay to not be good at something. It’s okay to ask for help.” 
*
“‘Be strong and of good courage,'” Daphne said from memory as she looked around at the three upturned faces. “‘Fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'” 
*
“Mrs. Brightmoor sank further into the woodwork. She actually managed to blend her faded orange printed muslin partially into the glaringly red wallpaper. It was a rather amazing feat.” 
*
“I like people. Well, I like helping them. They make me nervous unless I have a particular task to do.” 
*
“Daphne frowned again. What good was escaping into one’s imagination if the world’s problems came along for the ride?” 
ARoD library (5)

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Between Two Shores” by Jocelyn Green ~ Book Review

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Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Historical Fiction

Review copy from the author/publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

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My Thoughts:

 

I was very eager going into “Between Two Shores”, as it was my first time reading a book by Jocelyn Green. The cover is beautiful, evoking a sense of what story lies within its pages.
Our heroine, Catherine Stands-Apart has faced many trials and hardships, had her heart-broken, and her trust betrayed. But she is strong – through all she has weathered, she refused to be broken, and she continued on.
This novel set during the 7 year war gave a fascinating glimpse into its history. I didn’t know much about this time period, but I was enlightened through this book and I am glad for it.
The author depicts the history with respect and grace, her writing flowing perfectly to fit.
It was a little slow at first, and I admit I had a hard time connecting until a certain even happened. Until then, I was involved but not entrenched, if that makes sense.
There was a occurance that shocked me and I felt the betrayal Catherine felt, although I feel like she moved past it pretty quickly. And maybe that is realistic for many people, but I would have liked to have seen her grapple with it a little while longer. I’m not saying to withhold forgiveness but matters of the heart aren’t always solved in a matter of hours.
Following Catherine’s journey was special, and I enjoyed it!
I really loved Catherine’s sister, Bright Star. She was rough around the edges to be sure, but her character was intriguing and full of depth. Joseph Many Feathers, their brother, was also a favorite.
This isn’t your typical light-everything-is-awesome kind of story, but it is beautiful nonetheless. There is heartache, and there are many, many trials, but the ending was perfect, and very poignant.