Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging For Books Book Review: “A Refuge at Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky

Happy 2016 readers! I’m sorry I haven’t written an official post to welcome the new year – it’s been quite busy, and now I am trying to catch up on some reading and reviewing! So yes, 2016 should definitely hold more book reviews from this blog! Hopefully some “normal” posts too. :) I hope your year is blessed!

 

“A Refuge at Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky

Book Three in The Edwardian Brides series

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In this third and final book in the Edwardian Brides Series, you’ll be swept away to England and France in 1915 as the Ramsey family and their staff and friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One, yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God to carry them through. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers caring for them is more difficult than she’d expected. She writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot, who chases German zeppelins across the sky over the Front Line in France, and longs for the day she will see him again. You’ll be delighted by two pure and heartwarming romances: Penny and Alex, and Lydia Chambers and Marius Ritter, a lady’s maid and a prisoner of war. But most of all I hope you’ll be inspired by the characters’ examples of trusting God through the trials they face.
Fans of “Downton Abbey” will find many of the same elements in this series: A wealthy, aristocratic family living on a large English country estate with romance, conflicts, and family drama; and loyal servants with troubles and heartaches of their own.

My Thoughts:

This was a very light, good, clean read. Very much like Downton Abbey, only without the scenes you have to skip so that’s nice! The Christian theme through this book was good and pretty strong. If you like English, Downton Abbey-like books or WWI books, you should definitely give this series a try. :)
Penny and Alex’s story was my favourite. I know I haven’t read the first book of this trilogy, but out of each of the characters shown, Penny and Alex were most positively my favourite. I could easily relate to Penny, and Alex…well he was dashing. :) This story took place during WWI and it was very fascinating.
I did not care for Lydia’s story pretty much at all…I didn’t care for hers in the 2nd book either, and was a little dismayed to find it was continued in this book too. That’s not to say that nobody else will like it – I’m sure it is a favourite among many. It just wasn’t for me.
It was for that fact and the fact that Kate got on my nerves that I am giving this book a lower rating. I will be honest: I was really hoping and expecting for this book to be solely about Penny and Alex, but it was not – the other stories seemed almost more strong, and so that made it hard for me to really love this book.
But for the side of the story I did like, it was excellent Penny and Alex are great characters, and I loved watching their story unfold! They were an exceptionally sweet and strong couple, and I would’ve loved to have seen more of their story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books 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!
Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging for Books Book Review: “It’s Good to be Queen” by Liz Curtis Higgs

“It’s Good to be Queen” by Liz Curtis Higgs

Nonfiction

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the book:

Sheba Journeyed Across the Desert with a Caravan of Riches,
 Only to Find the Greatest Treasure of Them All.  So Can You.

When it comes to famous queens of the Bible, we know the good one, Queen Esther, and the bad one, Queen Jezebel. Now meet the wise one, the queen of Sheba, who traveled to Jerusalem to test the mind and heart of a king.
 
Her quest for wisdom will surprise you, challenge you, inspire you, change you. This wealthy royal from antiquity will show you how to live boldly, seek after truth, ask the right questions, encourage others, receive graciously, and honor the Lord above all.
 
Shedding new light on this ancient biblical role model, Liz Curtis Higgs unveils timeless wisdom for all who aspire to please the king of Kings.

My Thoughts:

For some reason, non-fictions can sometimes be a trifle bit hard for me to get through. I adore reading, but non-fiction takes me much, much longer than the regular fiction piece would. I don’t know why. :)

But even so, when I saw this nonfiction book come up for review, I thought I would give it a chance, as I had been wanting to read one of Liz Curtis Higgs’ books for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

The premise was interesting – there are so few verses about The Queen of Sheba in the Bible, but it was impressive that Mrs. Higgs could write a whole book on those verses. I hadn’t before given much thought to the Queen of Sheba, so it was definitely interesting.

There were some things I didn’t agree with – there was quite a bit of focus on make-up and looking nice in the beginning, even when the author said we wouldn’t focus on it since the Bible didn’t. Looking nice on the outside definitely isn’t the goal in life – it’s looking good on the inside for our Heavenly Father. Also, something else that bothered me was the vast use of Bible translations to get the point across. I just didn’t agree with that. It was making it seem like there was more to the actual few verses than there really were, and many of the translations were far off course from the actual verses. But I know there is much controversy on that subject, and I don’t wish to get into an argument. I just disagreed with it.

All in all, it was an interesting book, but not really a book for me. It didn’t really minister to me as much as I was hoping – it was good, and there were some good parts that I will keep in my memory, but overall, it just wasn’t a favourite. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a favourite for you, though. :)

 

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. :)

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging for Books Review: “The Art of Losing Yourself” by Katie Ganshert

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Losing-Yourself-Novel/dp/1601425929

 

“The Art of Losing Yourself” by Katie Ganshert

 

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together.  But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.
 
Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

My Thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed Mrs. Ganshert’s book, “A Broken Kind of Beautiful”, I was glad for a chance to also read this newest book of hers. And while I enjoyed ABKOB more, I still found this a pleasant read.

My favourite and most engaging parts of the story to me were those from Gracie’s point of view. I felt for Carmen and her struggle, but it was easier for me to “bond” with Gracie, perhaps because she was closer to my age. And Elias was a remarkable character – I would like to know where Gracie’s and his story goes next.

There were some things in this book that I was not “sold” on. One particularly being about a magic eight ball and the brief story behind why Gracie and her friend at the time , couldn’t play with one. The friend’s mom had taken it away because she didn’t want her daughter playing with things that promoted/were associated with fortune-telling/magic. I fully agree with this mom, but in this story, it was told as if she was an angry, overbearing mom who was being mean and unfair – as if she was wrong. And then the magic ball became a “cute thing” in the book – I like when a there is an item that signifies something in a relationship, but not something related to magic and fortune-telling. (And if Elias was the strong Christian he was portrayed to be, I don’t think he would’ve “approved”). I guess most people don’t take it literally that the Bible tells us not to mix light with darkness. And any form of magic, fortune-telling, etc. is dabbling in the occult. I know people don’t like to hear that, but the Bible is very clear on it.

One other thing that sort of confused me is the maturity level of this book. Half the story would suggest it can be read by teens (Gracie’s story) but the other half, the more primary one (Carmen’s) had many intement details between husband and wife that shouldn’t necessarily be read by teens but rather a married person. I personally think that there shouldn’t be any kind of ‘sex-scene’ no matter the detail in any age book – even if I was married, I wouldn’t care to read such things. And while this book didn’t contain graphic details, it was still unnecessary in my opinion. A sweet, godly relationship can be portrayed without mentioning the sacredness between man and wife.  God had showed me recently about the verse “Whatever is pure, whatever is noble…think on these things” and how it pertains to everything in our lives – books, movies, tv. Everything – we are to put only God-honouring, pure, uplifting things before our eyes. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget that – I know I do. But I guess what I am saying, is that a lot of people think that there has to be “sex-scenes” to make the book worth reading, but I don’t think it is necessary. ‘Think on these things…’

I like Katie Ganshert’s writing style – I think it is very good, smooth, and well working, if that makes sense. :)

I find myself still often thinking about Gracie and her side of the story – it was one I enjoyed and with there was more of. :)

 

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

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, Books, Chuck Black, Spiritual beliefs

Blogging for Books Review: “Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Fallen-Wars-Realm-Book/dp/160142504X/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1427991647&sr=8-1&keywords=Rise+of+the+Fallen+by+Chuck+black

 

“Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black

#2 in the Wars of the Realm series

Review copy source: Blogging For Books

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity’s fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator’s most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man.

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.
As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity’s survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?

 

My Thoughts:

I really don’t know where to start. I mean…wow…wow…wow! This book was crazy in a magnificent way. Chuck Black has a way of making me feel totally “aaaaahhhh!!!!” after finishing one of his books, and this is no exception.

This is the second book in his “Wars of the Realm” series, and while it was different from what I expected, it was still excellent. I was expecting it to be a direct continual of the first book, from Drew Carter’s point of view, but this was from the angel, Validus’ point of view. And so that was really neat. I grew to love the angels (Persimus was one of my very, very favourites) and the look into Spiritual Warfare was mind-boggling.

This book definitely is not a ‘fluffy’ one. Oh no. It is deep, and heavy. I had to put it down a couple of times because of how war-y it was. But it was necessary, and really eye-opening. I know there is Spiritual warfare going on (“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Eph. 6:12), but you don’t really give it a ton of thought, and that’s what this book provokes you to do.

I am really glad I read it, and cannot wait for the next book in this fantastic series! I would definitely recommend that older readers read it – I would suggest an age limit of perhaps 15 or so, but of course, use your own discretion. It is a great book, and important, but as I said, it’s not exactly a light read.

I really enjoyed this book, and the “Reader’s Guide” at the end of the book was really good too – I would suggest reading each one with the chapter, so it’s fresh in your memory. I waited to read them till the end, and while they were still superb, I think I should’ve read them with each chapter to add more depth/understanding/enhancement to it. :)

All in all, I loved it. Love this series, love this book, love this author.

 

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

Posted in 1940's, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, Books

Blogging For Books Review” “Where Treetops Glisten” – A Christmas Collection

Title: Where Treetops Glisten

Authors: Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

Source: Blogging for Books

Type: Christian fiction, WWII, Christmas

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Description:

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Three siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In White Christmas by Cara Putman, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?

 

My Review:

I was so excited to get to read and review this book, because, well, it sounded so good! And I know I love Sarah Sundin’s works, so I was pretty sold on the idea of it all. I’ve read one thing of Cara Putman’s before, and have been curious to read something of Tricia Goyer’s, so this was the perfect time to start! I was not disappointed with any of the three stories. They were brilliantly put together, and so…fun. Despite the war going on, there was still joy and healing through each of the books, and I really liked that.

I can’t really pick a favourite, because they were each good in their own special way. The first one, “White Christmas” by Cara Putman got me totally hooked, and I really loved the characters. Abigail and Jackson were just lovely. In “I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Sarah Sundin, I LOVED the writing. And the center message of God’s healing – it was so complete, and so well done. Mrs. Sundin ties things together so nicely. In “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Tricia Goyer, I really liked being over in the war – it really added to the collection of having two stories on the homefront, and one on the battlefront as a nurse. And being the first time reading Mrs. Goyer’s books, I did enjoy her writing, and now know to read more from her. Oh and I must say, I loved her character’s name, Merry. =)

As I said, they were each soo good, and I love how they tied into the Christmas songs they were titled after. Very neat. I also liked how you got something different out of each one, making the end result perfect. “White Christmas” gave the perfect, innocent, sweet romance that I like, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” gave the perfect godly message that I so appreciated, and “Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas” gave the realistically of the war on the front lines, for the nurses.

The only “bad” thing is, they were too short! :D Each should’ve been a full novel on their own. ;) Of course, they were all done so well in the short amount of pages.

An excellent read, all the way around!

 

I received a free  copy of “Where Treetops Glisten” from the publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All thoughts given are my own.

 

Posted in Blogging For Books, Books

Blogging For Books Review: “Thief of Glory” by Sigmund Brouwer

Title: Thief of Glory

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Source: Blogging for Books

Type: Fiction, WWII

Suggested Age Range:  At least 16 years old at the youngest for mature content.

My rating: 3.5 stars our of 5 Stars

 

Description:

A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

 

My Review:

Well, I had mixed feelings going into this, as I actually did coming out of it as well.
I’ve read one other book by this author and wasn’t impressed with it, but seeing good reviews of “Thief of Glory”, and it being WWII fiction (which I am a fan of), I was excited to give it a try. And I am glad I was able to read it, even though it didn’t become a favourite.
It was engaging, and fairly easy to read, though I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under the age of at least 16 for some rather violent etc. themes.
For the book itself, I felt like it was kind of lacking in plot and ‘purpose’ – it acted like it was building up to something, but in the ending it didn’t “pop” like I was expecting.
Most of the book made sense, though some of it was a little confusing. It was well-researched, which is always appreciated. I just don’t think it was quite my type or style of book.
I will say that it gave a realistic glimpse into the harsh reality of life in concentration camps of that era. Most of it was very heart-wrenching, and very serious.
I don’t think the description accurately portrays this book – it suggest that it is mainly about romance and is very faith-filled, when I did not feel like it covered either of those topics much at all. I am fine without romance in books, but I was at least expecting it to be more about Jeremiah and Laura, which is primarily wasn’t. And I was expecting to find more Christianity in it than I did, so that was very disappointing. It mentioned the Bible and such, but never went into detail, and it most certainly was not the main or even side theme to this book.
Overall, this book wasn’t a favourite, but as I said, I was glad for the opportunity to read it.

Thank you Blogging for Books for sending me the complimentary book to read and review. All thoughts and opinions I have given are completely my own.