Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Tyndale House

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke ~ Book review

 

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke

A WWII novel

Review copy from Tyndale Review Program

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing―spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends―has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was an interesting book. There were parts that I liked, and parts that I didn’t care so much for.
I couldn’t connect with main character Claire Stewart for most of the book. I disliked her quite a bit for the first half. Her selfishness was just blinding, and not an attractive trait. I found that very aggravating. Once we got to know her background a little bit more towards the second half of the book, it was easier to understand her a little, but I still didn’t really connect with her. But it was a helpful reminder to be patient with kiddos and treat them with love. “Be patient with all men”, as the Bible says.
I liked her aunt, Miranda. Though sometimes she showed a touch of self-centeredness too. Not a whole lot, it was just sometimes alluded to in her younger days.
 I did feel for Miranda in her own struggles, and was glad to see her motherly attitude towards the children.
 Claire’s inward-focus wasn’t really resolved at the end. It was just shown as how she was, end of story, which was kind of disappointing. I did appreciate her journey to accepting God’s love for her, though. It is easy to know that God loves this person or that person, but sometimes it’s harder to believe it for oneself. So that aspect was good.
The ‘hero’ of this book, David, was a strong character and very beneficial for the children especially, but he wasn’t in the majority of the book.
“Until We Find Home” is told through various points-of-view, including Claire, Miranda, their housekeeper Mrs. Newsome, Little Aimee, Gaston, and Josef, so it wasn’t just focused on one or two characters, but it worked pretty well for this story.
The refugee children were all just darling. I loved Gaston particularly, and little Aimee was such a doll.
And I really liked how they helped the children continue to celebrate their Jewish roots, knowing it was important to them. David was the instigator for that. He really was the children’s advocate, gentle and strong as he was.
There were several plotlines that, to me, have been overdone and I didn’t find it very believable in all points. I skimmed some of it just because it was overly predictable.
The little glimpses we got to see into Beatrix Potter’s and C.S.Lewis’s lives were very interesting, though not at strong as I was originally expecting. Still, it was good.
Because of disliking Claire, and not caring for some of the plotline, I didn’t love this book, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, reading, Reviews

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

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“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette

Book One in the Cities of Refuge Series

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful treat to be able to read Moriyah’s story, whom we were introduced to in “Wings of the Wind” (part of the Out of Egypt Series, while this book is book one of the Cities of Refuge Series)!
I loved this book; it was excellent. I love how the author weaves a story that is at once so captivating and so meaningful and ripe with the Lord’s beauty.
And I loved the characters – of course, Moriyah, but also Ora, and Eitan (SO adorable!!), and the hero Derek – all such excellent characters, well-constructed and portrayed.
I was impressed that most of the book was one of the characters being on the move – they weren’t in one location for very long, and that made the setting very unique! And adventurous. Though the reason behind it was a sad one, the descriptions of the sights they saw were a pleasure to read.
Moriyah’s heart-journey was even more enjoyable, seeing her struggles from page one and how she found healing from Yahweh. Her finding her worth was beautiful. <3
She was so kind to those around her, and so strong even when she felt herself weak. I also loved how she could hear Yahweh’s Voice – so precious. Moriyah was such an easy character to bond with. I felt like I shared in her sorrows and also her joys. I wanted to see her triumph, but most of all I loved how she committed – and surrendered – her life to Yahweh. Such a humbling and good reminder, one I love to read about in fiction.
I was a little surprised by the amount of kissing involved…I am not a Biblical/Historical expert at all, but I wouldn’t think that a Hebrew maiden would give away so many kisses before commitment, let alone before marriage. And if it was a matter of getting caught up in the moment (understandable; the flesh is weak), I think because of their upbringing, she would have felt a bit of remorse afterwards, if that makes sense.
But otherwise, I very much adored this book.
Each piece of this book was well-written and engaging, and I can hardly wait for the next one (yay for getting to see an older Eitan in the next one!!)!!
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Quotes:

 

Moriyah

Moriyah 2

Moriyah 3

Moriyah 4

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“Hear, O Israel. The Lord your God, the Lord is One. And you should love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength…these words which I command you today shall be on your heart.” If I loved Yahweh, I would obey, no matter the cost.

 

Posted in Book reviews, BookCrash

“The Miracle Maker and the Misfits” by Dixie Koch ~ Book Review

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The Miracle Maker and the Misfits: Two Supernatural Kingdoms and the Clashing of Swords  by Dixie Koch

 

Review copy from publishers through BookCrash review program

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

“Abby.” She felt his hand gently touching her shoulder. “Mom was murdered.”

“Charley!” Abby screamed, shooting off her chair. “Charley, what are you saying?” Her lips were spread thin in panic.

“Abby, I can tell you no more now, except that my father is a very dangerous man. For now we could all be in danger.”

After years of separation, Julie had found peace and was excited to come home and be reunited with her crazed son, Charley, and her now grown sister, Abby. But Julie never made it home. When the shocking news of Julie’s death forced Abby to her sister’s burial, all of Abby’s dreams laid in that pine box along side of Julie. Their childhood days remained locked up inside of Abby and in the journals Julie had left behind. But Abby doesn’t have much time to grieve, because when the Miracle Maker comes to the rural backwoods of Perjure County, he sets the young Charley free from legions of demons and ushers in a battle between light and darkness. Abby, a writer for the Edge Water Times, is assigned to follow this story, but she has no idea what this story will cost her. Heart-shocking suspense follows Abby as she uncovers the truth of Julie’s death. As a sinister plot develops and controversy explodes, John, an old mysterious hero of yesteryears, steps back into Abby’s life. He and his friends are big believers in the Miracle Maker. But, who is powerful enough to unlock Abby’s heart and help her to believe for a miracle? Who cares enough to rewrite hope into the script of her miserable life? Find out in The Miracle Maker and the Misfits.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book confused me, to be honest.
There was some truth in this book, but the way it was portrayed seemed…odd to me, almost as un-truth yet that’s not what it was going for, I don’t think.
I get that the author was wanting to show that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that miracles still happen, but this book, to me, felt shrouded in a mist that made the truth hard to discern.
I do definitely believe in spiritual warfare, demons and angels, and that God still heals today, but how it was all portrayed in this book just didn’t completely sit right to me. Made me a little uncomfortable, and it also made some of the actual truth come across as unbelievable.
*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 Book reviews

Mulligan College Series by Ann Naedele – Review

I will be reviewing the three books/novella’s in one review:

  

 

Mulligan College Series by Ann Naedele
Review copies provided by the author for the purpose of this review.
My rating overall: 3 Stars (1st book:3.5 stars, 2nd book: 2stars, 3rd book: 3 stars)
About Milligan Mayhem: College days in East Tennessee were different during the 1960s, especially at a Christian college like Milligan. Two young roommates are confused when a beloved professor dies suddenly, leaving the entire campus grieving. Outside forces penetrate the quiet school adding more mayhem! The reader will enjoy the practices concerning dating during this time, as well as the descriptive experiences of the author who attended the college for four years. A little mystery, a little romance, a wedding, and a visit from the Letterman round out this short tale. It’s a fast read aimed at youthful readers, but will even satisfy the nostalgic, older reader.
About Ghost Quest: The main character meets up with a ghost in her college dorm. She then sets out to find out why ghosts want to stay on Earth. She calls alumni from as far back as 1911 and finds out interesting details of ghosts of the past. Ann then puts all this information together for the campus newspaper. Join her in her quest for the campus ghosts!
About Pop Tops and Smiley Faces: Do you know a lot about the 1960’s? Some of it you will read about in American history classes, but many of your grandparents and great grandparents lived through that volatile period. This book is the last in a series of three about campus life in the hills of Tennessee during this time. You will enjoy the book’s mystery while learning about real events; even though this is a fictional account, you will learn what was happening through the eyes of a student. The customs were very different from today’s and might even surprise you. Could you have handled these major events in history? …their customs? How did your relatives fare? Did they share any stories with you? Go back in time with Ann as she leads fellow classmates and even some professors toward danger. Will they solve the mystery? This is a fast-paced read for those of you who are pressed with deadlines, jobs, school, and families.
My Thoughts:
 
These books read very much as if the author is sharing her memories only in mostly first-person. Through these books we get a small glimpse into life during the 1960’s, specifically in the landscape of the Christian College of Mulligan. Each novella has a small mystery thread that is easy to follow along with.
Sometimes the storyline is a bit choppy, like when a scene changes, but they are easy and quick reads.
It was fun seeing little things that are familiar, like mention of the Beatles, or the first ‘pop-tab’ drinks, and the start of the popular smiley-face.
Of the three novella’s, I enjoyed the first the most. The second one (Ghost Quest) was not a favourite because of the topic and the trivial manner in how the “ghosts” were refered to as if light and fun, when in reality, ghosts are just demons – not fun at all.
The third book focused on a bit more serious a subject, mentioning the turmoils that were very real in the 60’s.
They each read quickly, and contained interesting and good aspects.
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

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“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book One in Sunrise at Normandy series

Review copy through Revell Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars <3

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About the Book:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a marvelous book. *Happy sigh*. A new book by Sarah Sundin is always highly anticipated, and this one did not let me down in the least. It was so excellent!
Wyatt Paxton and Dorothy Fairfax were amazing characters – so real, and they both had such depth. Each of the characters did.
The plot-line was superb, and drew you in from the beginning. There’s a ton of history in these books and still they read so smoothly.
Sometimes I think books you adore are harder to review. There was just so much about this book that I loved, that it is hard to find adequate words to describe it.
Wyatt was the perfect hero. Oh goodness – he had me from page one, truly. He is such an admirable man, with quiet strength and such a sense of what’s right and godly. And yet, so real – his struggles were hard, and he was so rough on himself. But wow – his whole journey was remarkable.
The same goes for Dorothy. I really liked her as well, and felt sad for her trials too. She felt like no one had ever really loved the real her – can you say heartbreaking? And while it was frustrating, her liking a certain other man who was not worthy of her, it was understandable – she yearned for something, anything.
I am just in awe at how Sarah Sundin can create a story that explores so much, endures so much, and yet comes out finished and completed at the end. No loose ends, everything ties up, and so emotionally investing!
And the plot-twist I wasn’t expecting – ufda. It just ties you in even more to the characters, all. Their struggle, their pains, and their resolution and healing. So beautiful!
WWII fiction at its finest indeed!!
And again, loooooved Wyatt. Can’t say that enough! New favourite hero…. ;)
Definitely recommend this book!!!!! Loved it so much <3
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Quotes:

I marked down several other quotes, but haven’t had the chance to turn them into quote graphics yet – but still hope to! Check back in April when I have a fun post planned relating to “The Sea Before Us”! :)

 

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

“Across the Blue” by Carrie Turansky ~ Book Review

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“Across the Blue” by Carrie Turansky

Review copy from publishers through Blogging for Books

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This book is set in 1909, when aviation was up and coming – the history aspect was interesting. (Although I noticed the characters all used the modern word ‘airplane’ and I’m pretty sure that historically they would have only used ‘aeroplane’). When I was younger, I loved Amelia Earhart and learning about aviation, the first aeroplanes, and whatnot. Journalism and Newspaper-ism was also a major fascination of mine (never really outgrew it, to be honest!), and so when I saw that this book held both of these ingredients, I was eager to try it.
Isabella is a determined young woman who has a passion to become a published journalist. James Drake is a pilot with the desire to be the first to cross the English Channel.
They are attracted to each other almost right away, but with James not certain of his parental heritage, Bella’s family would never dream of allowing a match to become of the two. However, they continue their friendship as it grows, and Bella has a hard time keeping her promise to her family that she would encourage other wealthy young men.
For me personally, this book fell a little flat  – I just couldn’t really get into the book and connect well with the characters themselves. Bella, while understandable that she wants to be a journalist, pursues that at the cost of headstrongness and disobedience. I just didn’t connect.
But that doesn’t mean other readers won’t – I think for many this book will be excellent. It was just a miss for me – could be because of mood, the time I read it, or what have you, but not necessarily a reflection of the book itself.
So while it wasn’t the book for me, I wouldn’t toss it aside, because it could be your favourite book!
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 blog tour, Book reviews, Litfuse

“Keturah” by Lisa T. Bergren ~ Book Review & Giveaway!

“Keturah” by Lisa T. Bergren

Book One in The Sugar Barren’s Daughters Series

Review copy from the publishers through Litfuse

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined-and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

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My Thoughts:

I love the cover of this book – it is definitely one that draws you in. The story setting was quite a unique one, which I enjoyed!

It was adventurous, three sisters deciding to set out on their own to an unknown place. I admired how the sisters banded together; their bond was very sweet.
This book focused primarily on Keturah – the title of the book indeed. :)  We learn from the beginning that her first marriage was not a good one. That was sad, and all too true for many. I liked the message that God does desire for everyone to be loved well, as He cherishes us.
Because of her previous abuse, her actions were very understandable. Her determinedness to never be ruled by a man made sense due to her background pain. I hurt for her when her painful memories resurfaced.

However, I guess personally, I was a little concerned with how ‘glorified’ it was to put yourself above men – to the point where she reveled in donning men’s clothing at one point. And granted, the act was reasonable in itself for what was needing to be done at that point, but I think during that time period especially, it would have felt very odd and not been so…glorified. I know most people just adore the ‘strong female lead who doesn’t need any man’, but I guess they’re just not my favourite. Yes, woman are capable – not denying that at all – but I don’t think that means we need to constantly be rising above the men.

This is not to say I didn’t have compassion on Keturah’s suffering and what made her feel this way – I did get that. I was just hoping for some more healing portrayed. Learning that yes, we are whole in Jesus (hallelujah!), but also that God created men and women alike, and we don’t have to be so independent. God created us to be wholly dependent on Him and to need each other, as Paul tells us constantly in God’s word.

The setting of this book, Nevis Island, was very well portrayed. Beauty and danger wrapped into one.

I also liked the reoccurring theme spoken between the characters, of “One limb at a time” – meaning that we can only take each day as it comes. A very wise – and Biblical – thing. :)

I’m guessing, from the title of the book and series and way this book was, that each book  will focus individually on each sister. I must say, I am very much looking forward to Verity’s book – I really loved her character, and would love to see more of her. And Captain McKintrick. :D

So yes, in conclusion, I enjoyed this book though personally struggled with the one aspect, but I do look forward to the next. :)

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 Quotes:

 

“But this is a harsh world, full of harsh realities. We cannot expect to shield ourselves from all harm, forever. You cannot assume you can do that for us. We shall, as you say, use our good minds. Look for God’s lead and do our best to follow. But we cannot live in fear of hurt. It will keep us from venturing into new things, welcoming new people.” – Selah

“All God asks of us is to do our best, from morning until night. He doesn’t expect us to do things that only He can accomplish – only what we’ve been given to do and to trust Him with the rest.” – Gray

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Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She’s the author of the Christy Award-winning “Waterfall,” RITA®-finalist “Firestorm,” bestselling “God Gave Us You,” and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She’s also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.
Find out more about Lisa at http://lisatawnbergren.com.

Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!

 

*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.