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.
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Bethany House Book Review: “Risen” by Angela Hunt

 

(READERS: DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE “MIRIAM SCAVENGER HUNT” IN THE POST BEFORE THIS ONE :) )

Risen: The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture

(Image via goodreads.com and description of book take from Amazon.com)

“Risen” by Angela Hunt, The Novelization of the major motion picture.

Based on the story by Paul Aiello and Screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello

Review copy source: Bethany House

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

 

Epic in scope, yet deeply personal, this novelization offers a unique perspective on the story of the resurrection. Roman Tribune Clavius is assigned by Pilate to keep the radical followers of the recently executed Yeshua from stealing the body and inciting revolution. When the body goes missing despite his precautions, Clavius must hunt it down.

His investigation leads him from the halls of Herod Antipas to the Garden of Gethsemane and brings him in touch with believer and doubter alike. But as the body still remains missing, Clavius commits to a quest for the truth–and answers that will not only shake his life but echo throughout all of history.

My Thoughts:

I’m giving this two stars to give it the benefit of the doubt, otherwise I might give it less. I did not finish it because I was very disappointed in the immorality displayed by the 7th chapter already. It was inappropriate and should not be in Christian fiction, let alone Biblical Fiction. Various ages read Biblical fiction and having “sex-scenes” is beyond not okay. I did finish Angela Hunt’s previous book (“Bathsheba”), so I know firsthand the sex-scenes that she has written into that book, which lends to my decision not to finish this book. In other words, I know from reading previous content by the author that this would undoubtedly prove to continue the same way. When I requested this book for review, I was first unaware that it was by this author, and when I realised it was by her, I had hoped that since it has been an acclaimed movie, that it would be a bit cleaner.
The rest of the book may have been good, but I cannot condone such things in what is supposed to be a Godly book. I want a clean read, and so that is what I will spend my time on.
It bothers me that there are so many such scenes in Christian fiction, because it is numbing the minds of the reader to make it seem ‘okay’ to have sex out of wedlock. Nothing is Holy anymore, and that is very grievous to me.

I’ve heard that the movie doesn’t contain the immoral element, so I may watch that at some point, but I won’t be finishing the book, and cannot rightly recommend it either.

 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Uncategorized

Bethany House Book Review: “With This Ring?” by Various Authors

 

“With This Ring?” By Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Melissa Jagears

A Novella collection of Proposals gone awry.

Review copy source: Bethany House Book Program

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Sometimes Love is Found in the Most Unexpected Places!

Love isn’t always a fairy tale, and it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

“The Husband Maneuver”
When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

“Her Dearly Unintended”
Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

“Runaway Bride”
Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

“Engaging the Competition”
Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.

My Thoughts:

1st Novella “The Husband Maneuver”:
This was pretty cute and entertaining. It started off with a piece of a dime novel which was endearing to the story, and the whole tale just felt very much like a dime-novel western and was fun. As I said, I think this was a cute story, though there was an awful lot of physical contact – just hugging and kissing, but it got pretty ‘heated’ at times.
There was also no faith-strand, just so you’re aware.  It was entirely a fluffy romance, which isn’t necessarily bad, but if you’re expecting more than that, this novella doesn’t contain it.
2nd Novella “Her Dearly Unintended”:
Another endearing story! I quite liked Josiah and found him a very strong and enjoyable character. Katie Ellen sometimes got on my nerves with her extreme stubborness, but she was still a good character, and their story was a fun one.
The danger and adventure presented in this story was rather exciting too. :)
3rd Novella “Runaway Bride”:
This was probably my favourite thus far. I was truthfully unsure what I’d think about it, having never known much about the author, but it was such a good story! I loved the characters so very much and the entire tale was lovely and exciting and fun. I would’ve enjoyed for it to have been a full-length novel! :)
4th Novella “Engaging the Competition”:
Another favourite! I really like Mrs. Jagears and so I figured I would like this novella and I was most certainly correct! The characters were well-rounded, the dialog realistic, and the plot full and complete.  This one probably had the most depth of each of the four novella’s, which I definitely appreciated.
Harrison was splendid and despite her sometimes stubborness, I liked Charlie (Charlotte) quite a lot – she had a story.
All in all, these tales were very like-able and I’m so glad to have read them! Being romances, there was a great deal of kissing going on in each of them, but they were still sweet, and I enjoyed each story. :)
I received a complimentary copy from the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, Chuck Black, Heather Day Gilbert, Litfuse, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, Tessa Afshar, Tyndale House, update

Another year past/2015

Hello! Today is the last day of 2015. I hope it was a good year for all of you! And I hope 2016 brings lots of blessings and lessons from our Lord too. :)

I am going to do my yearly post of books I read over the past year…so, here we go! I’m showing them from the latest I read to the first I read back in January of 2015. Each image should bring you to their GoodReads page and my review if applicable. :)

 

The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #2) 
 
 
 
 
 
Meant to be Mine (Porter Family, #2) A Dream Not Imagined: A Cinderella StoryThe Art of Losing YourselfFive Glass SlippersThe Choosing (Seer, #1)
The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace, #1) The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Thornbeck, #1)Esther: The Story of a Woman Who Saved a NationSide by SideTrial by Twelve (A Murder in the Mountains, #2)
Beauty (Folktales, #1) The Salt CovenantsJoseph of Arimathea: A Tale of the ResurrectionFinding MeRise of the Fallen (Wars of the Realm, #2)
For the Joy Set Before Us: Insights into the Missionary Journey Brothers and BetrayalLove by the Letter (Unexpected Brides, #0.5)The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (The Living Water, #3)Remember the Lilies
Stay in the Castle Adventures and AdversitiesHow to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding, #3)An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)
The Vow (An Uncertain Choice, #0.5) The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks (The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury, #1) The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #1) Paper Hearts Journey to the Well
Both of Me Waltz into the Waves: A Cinderella StoryTiger LilyDeliver Me from Evil (Freedom #1)  Beyond All Dreams
 Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm, #1)
Most of them were very good, and some were so-so, and other’s weren’t a favourite. But ultimately, I had a very good reading year! Top ten favourites? Hard choice! But here are SOME, in no order:
“Resistance” and “Half-Blood” by Jaye L. Knight
“Not Abandoned” by MacKenzie Morganthal
“Brothers-in-Arms” by Jack Lewis Baillot (not published yet)
“The Fragrance of Geraniums” and “All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri
“The Tomb” by Stephanie Landsem
“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” and “Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
“Better than Peanut Butter Ice Cream” by Kristen Krueger
“Through Waters Deep” by Sarah Sundin
“Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black
“Dauntless” and “Chivalrous” by Dina L. Sleiman
Okay, so I realise I cheated a little and did more than ten, but there are only ten lines, so… :D
Some Honourable Mentions:
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Waltz into the Waves by Sarah Holman
A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu
The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald
Side by Side by Jana Kelley
For the Joy Set Before Us by Erica Fye
Annnnnd there were more I enjoyed. :) But I will end here. What books were your favourites of the year? Could you pick just a few? :D
Here’s to more reading in 2016!