Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

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“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette

Biblical Fiction// Cities of Refuge book Two.

Review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

What fun to be able to read little Eitan’s story from when we first met him in “A Light on the Hill”. Except…little Eitan is no longer little in “Shelter of the Most High”! What happened?! ;) He grew up. Into a very strong, Yahweh-following, handsome young man.
This story is also shared with heroine, Sofea. The foreign speaking spitfire with the utmost concern for her cousin, Prezi. Both of these young woman are strong characters and immediately endearing. Kidnapped from their Island and families that were murdered, the girls manage to escape off the ship on which they were imprisoned, making it to shore but nearly dying in the process. They are rescued by a group of Hebrews who bring them back to the city of refuge, Kedesh.
Not only would the ordeal be terrifying, but not speaking their language or understanding at all would be remarkably hard. It was lovely to see the girls adapt, even through continued hardships.
Some of the tension that occurred towards the middle/end was a bit predictable, though there was one event that I hadn’t suspected that was interesting for sure.
I know the relationship tension is something done in almost every novel and it works for the stories, but I have to admit that I get a little tired of it. I certainly don’t mind realistic relationship problems because relationships are hard, but when it just seems to be a part of the plot it isn’t my favorite.
However, I loved how it was resolved, and the ending was very, very good! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but after the tension event occurred, I was completely riveted, wanting to know how a certain plot was going to be unwound.
I also loved the small hints we got for Prezi’s relationship status, though I know we probably won’t get a book for her story. I loved Prezi, Sofea’s cousin, and fell in love with her sweet character!
This is Biblical Fiction, so of course mentions of Yahweh are woven throughout. Its message wasn’t as strong as I was expecting, so I think that’s why it wasn’t my favorite compared to the first book in this series, but it was still very good, and as I said, I loved the ending – that is where we received some very lovely truths that were healing to the characters. I would’ve liked to see Sofea develop more in her faith in Yahweh, though. I feel like that wasn’t touched upon very deeply.
Eitan’s story was very good in this aspect though.
*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 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England, #3)

 

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White

Book Three in the Shadows Over England Series

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

 

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Barclay. Barclay. And did I mention Barclay? Because yes. I want to reiterate how much I adored his character! His whole story. But okay. I suppose I should attempt to say more about this novel, right? Because it was all amazing! Barclay just greatly helped that factor. ;)

What a conclusion to the Shadows Over England series! But I am also so sad that it is over. Because these characters have become so real and the family so…familiar that is sad to say goodbye! I am very glad to know that the next series will still give us glimpses of these beloved characters, because I really am not ready to say goodbye. Each family member could have their own book and I would be very happy. ;)

The plot for this one was so well done, so well executed, and just perfect. I loved every piece of it. It held the right amount of intrigue, and mystery, while still not being too overwhelming. The only thing that frustrated me was a reaction of Evelina’s towards the end – understandable, but still I wanted her to do the opposite of what she did! XD Ah if we could only advise characters, right?

The setting was very good, and interwoven into the story so well that it was just part of it. I really enjoyed the clock making aspect of the book, and how the characters would relate it to God. Barclay’s faith was so real and very nicely portrayed, and encouraging. It wasn’t “perfect” because our faith does sometimes falter and we do sometimes question, but it is still strong.

And the relationships between Barclay’s makeshift family was darling to see.

I know I keep coming back to the characters but to me, a book is only as good as its characters and these really were so marvelous!! I loved them all so very, very much.

I just really loved this book. Its character, its setting, its lessons. A superb story for Barclay and Evelina <3

Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, blog tour, Books, Give-aways

“An Hour Unspent” Release Day and Giveaway!

Happy Release day to “An Hour Unspent”! I am currently reading this beauty and thoroughly enjoying it!! I hope you will enjoy this post from the author as well as the giveaway!

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When Big Ben Joined the Skyline

When the design for A Name Unknown, book 1 in the Shadows Over England Series, was shown to me and I saw the spine for the first time, I was so excited to see the series logo they’d come up with. Big Ben’s clock tower.

shaouraav-shreshtha-428492-unsplashBig Ben says London. Which is what the designers were no doubt trying to invoke, as my family of thieves are firmly Londoners. But for me, it was more than that. Because in the third book of the series, An Hour Unspent, that iconic clock actually plays a role in the story.

For starters, a bit of naming. Most of us think of “Big Ben” as the clock, but it’s technically not. Big Ben is actually the bell. The clock is the Great Westminster Clock, though over the years the name Big Ben has come to be associated with the entire structure. So now that we’ve got that straight… 😉

The clock tower was designed by Augustus Pugin and completed in 1859. Pugin was an architect, one who is most remembered for redesigning the interior of Westminster Palace and the tower in question, which has become one of the most iconic symbols of England. Though he also designed the face of the clock, the mechanics of the thing he wisely handed over to someone else.

palace-of-westminster-1659289_1920But interestingly, the movement–the gears and weights that make a clock work, and in this case, work with amazing reliability–was actually designed by two amateurs to the field. Edmund Denison, a lawyer, and mathematician George Airy. The construction was the only part undertaken by an actual clockmaker, Edward Dent.

The Great Clock’s inner workings are so precise that a penny sitting on the pendulum is all it takes to make slight alterations to the time. That one little coin will make an adjustment of nearly half a second a day. That doesn’t sound like much, but it allows for small incremental adjustments to keep the clock accurate year after year. The pendulum still has a stack of old coins on it, and the clock is still hand-wound three times a week.

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In my story, I gave the job of upkeep of the Great Clock to my heroine’s father, a clock maker. This part is purely fictional, of course, but it would have been considered a great honor to be tasked with such a responsibility, and in my story that’s the proof of Cecil Manning’s proficiency in his trade, even though he’s by no means made himself rich.

That honor goes to another historical figure that my fictional Manning claims as a friend, who revolutionized the timekeeping world. But you’ll have to check out An Hour Unspent: Companion Guide to learn more about that…

An Hour UnspentAbout the Book

With Danger Creeping Ever Closer,
Do Their Dreams Still Matter?

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

Series: Shadows Over England (Book 3)
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 4, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0764219283

About the Author

Roseanna 2018

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Giveaways & Contest

Roseanna has several giveaways and a special CONTEST for her readers! Click on the images below to learn more about each Giveaway. Or visit Roseanna’s blog.

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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter – Book Review

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, #1)

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Haven Manor Book #1

Review copy through publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was such a good book! On one hand, I’m sad it took me so long to read (due to life…), but on the other hand, that meant I was able to stay in its pages that much longer! And while I knew I had to eventually move on to another book, I was reluctant to leave the story.
The plotline was superb, and the characters just full of depth and charm and yes, I loved them. I loved how complex they were, and how we got to see their motives and thought process behind things.
At first I thought it was going to be a good read with Christian hints and mentions, but towards the end – wow! I was so pleasantly surprised because it was so much more. There was such a powerful message given, and I was thoroughly impressed. And convicted ride alongside one of the characters as I had felt what she was feeling and probably would’ve done the same thing and justified as she did.
So the godly message was beautiful and meaningful and oh so poignant.
The children in this book were so endearing, as well as each character really! I loved them all. The way they handled life was lovely, and yes, this was just such a good book! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to read the next books as they come out. I’m certainly not ready to leave Haven Manor!
Quotes:
I had actually marked quite a few quotes in this book but haven’t had time to make any graphics of them, sadly. But I will still share the quotes here, for they are good ones!
“There was something cathartic about throwing knife after knife into a tree.”
“What else had he missed in life because he was too focused on where he was going?”
“Good. Every child should grow up with books.”
“Perhaps if she let life follow its course, tried to enjoy the little moments along the way, it would be better.”
“Favorite book?”  Her bark of laughter chased the shadows away and made him feel like a conquering hero. “You can’t ask a book lover such a question. It’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is.”
He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Who’s your favorite child?”
“Grace doesn’t work like that, Kit. I know my life’s been pretty easy, and my list of sins wouldn’t make anyone blush, but I’m not perfect and I’ve read the Bible enough to know that grace doesn’t come because of anything you can do. Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you could crucify yourself with guilt.”
“But recently someone pointed out to me that God doesn’t always work in ways we can foresee. That’s why He asks us to trust.”
“The past would always be there, its scars a part of her, but at this moment, with this man, she felt beautiful and knew that God could bring something beautiful from her pain.”
“The most precious gems are forged from pressure. God brings beauty from adversity, when you let Him.”
**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 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 Bethany House, Book reviews

“All for Love” Collection ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“All for Love” 3-Novella collection by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano

 Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.

 

Review copy: 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.

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

“The Boden Birthright” by Mary Connealy// 3 stars

I’m not generally a huge fan of the “old west” type of fiction, but I had read one of Mary Connealy’s stories before and enjoyed it, so I started this one with little trepidation. And while it was a fine story, I felt that it was heavy on the descriptions instead of the characters and their lives, and it was very much an insta-love situation. Which, I know, kind of has to be the case for a novella, but it was like a switch had gone off with their romance, since Chance had been mourning his wife only a couple pages previously.

It just was a bit rushed, and not my favourite story. But that’s not saying it won’t be your favourite. :)

“A Lady of Esteem” by Kristi Ann Hunter//  4.5 Stars

This is the story for which I received the review copy. :) I absolutely loved Kristi Ann Hunter’s book, “An Inconvenient Beauty” and have been eager to go back and start this series from the very start. So receiving this novella collection with The Hawthorne House’s prequel in print – I was quite pleased. ^.^

And it was a joy to read “A Lady of Esteem”! I loved main character, Amelia – she had just a sweet and caring heart, and she was oh-so patient throughout each trial she faced. And all the servants – I loved them too, and their love and devotion to Amelia; even if they didn’t work under her themselves. And hero, Anthony was a great character of a changed man. The two main characters complimented each other so well!

The faith message was definitely present, which I of course appreciated.

The whole story was brought together very nicely, and a fantastic prequel to the series!

 

 

 “At Your Request” by Jen Turano// 4.5 stars

 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this novella. I hadn’t previously read anything by Jen Turano, and since I was almost done with this collection, I admit I was a bit hesitant about the last one, concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the one before. But goodness, I shouldn’t have worried! This story was darling, and pleasantly surprised me at more than one turn. Every time I thought I knew what would happen or what one of the characters would say, assuming it would be the typical in most romance fiction, it would be the opposite – which delighted me because that is what I wanted to find but rarely do in stories.

I also loved that Wilhelmina wasn’t your typical ‘perfect stunning trim’ character. One scene had me giggling out loud, and I was just very impressed with this story. I would definitely like to read more by this author. :)

I do wish there would have been a faith message; that was sadly not present.

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars// Very lovely collection with enjoyable reads!

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling ~ Book Review

A Breath of Hope (Under Northern Skies #2)

 

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling

Book 2 in the Under Northern Skies series

Review copy through publisher

My rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Nilda Carlson has been trying to save enough money to go to America for months, so when a letter arrives, with an offer to pay her passage, she jumps at the chance. Her younger brother Ivar accompanies her, and they are thrilled to join older brother Rune and his family in the northern forests of Minnesota.

But America is not everything Nilda imagined. A terrifying experience in a lumber camp shakes Nilda’s confidence and trust in men, but a job helping a young widow raise her children and run her farm gives her a chance to build her own life. When she meets Fritz, the children’s schoolteacher, she is initially unimpressed and uninterested. His kindness and passion for learning begin to win her over, but how can she sacrifice her dreams for the future for a man she’s still not sure of?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Book Two in the “Under Northern Skies” series, “A Breath of Hope” continues Signe and Rune’s story in America as well as Rune’s siblings, Nilda and Ivar, joining them from Norway.
I was expecting this book to be more of Nilda’s story than anyone else’ but I was still quite pelased to find that we got to see more from Signe and Rune, and experience the story through their POV’s too.
What I like about this series is that it portrays life as it was in that time period, and the trials and experiences they went through with a realistic view.
And the names are always fantastic – I love the Norwegian background. It was fun that in this one, we get to see a little more of Norway in the beginning as Nilda and Ivar are saving to make their trip to America.
This book was a little…lacking in a main plot line. It’s more of a continuation of every-day life from the first book, with not much climax. So, it could be a bit of a slow read, but I still enjoyed it. The characters were well-built up just like the first one, and the setting/descriptions were strong.
There were a couple of “inconsistencies” where they would skip over something just mentioned, or didn’t revisit a “plot line” I thought they would. There was also a fair build up to something happening, but when it was revealed at the very end it wasn’t very monumental, if that makes sense.
But all in all, I still enjoyed reading it, and am curious to see what the next book will hold. I don’t feel like we really got to hear much of Nilda’s story, so I would like to see hers especially continue. :)
 
*This doesn’t really pertain to the review or the book’s contents at all, but I must admit I was a little bummed when the review copy came and it was hardcopy, because the first was paperback, and I want a series to match. Am I the only one? XD
Quote:
“Never is a long time. Somehow we will find a way.”
*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.