Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“Finding the Magic” by Jack Lewis Baillot ~ Book Review

Finding the Magic

 

“Finding the Magic” by Jack Lewis Baillot

A Novella Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

Belle’s father has always taught her to see the magic in the world around her, but when war comes it suddenly becomes harder to find. During the bombings of London, Belle is sent to live with Adam Prince, a bitter gentleman who has lost much and has therefore locked himself away in his mansion. When Belle meets Mr. Prince she decides she will show him the magic her dad told her not to forget, but it isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
Aided by her new friend, Belle begins to break down Mr. Prince’s wall. But, just as she is helping him find laughter again sorrow strikes too close to home and Belle herself begins to lose hope.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

This was super sweet and super good! The writing alone was excellent, and the story-line was positively adorable. It was just a short novella sort of story, but it held great meaning, and was a superb Beauty and the Beast retelling. I love how it started out with an excerpt of the original tale.
It has a beautiful and gentle faith-strand that glitters sweetly.
And the fact that it was set in Winter, with the snow and all the happy feelings that creates… <3
I definitely have a soft-spot for Beauty and the Beast stories, and this one was extra delightful! I love the author’s writing talent, and look forward to more of her penned creations!
*I received a complimentary ecopy 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 Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore ~ Book Review

 

“Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

 

Meet Denver, raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana until he escaped the “Man” – in the 1960’s – by hopping a train. Non-trusting, uneducated, and violent, he spent another 18 years on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Meet Ron Hall, a self-made millionaire in the world of high priced art deals — concerned with fast cars, beautiful women, and fancy clothes.

And the woman who changed their lives — Miss Debbie: “The skinniest, nosiest, pushiest, woman I ever met, black or white.” She helped the homeless and gave of herself to all of “God’s People,” and had a way of knowing how to listen and helping others talk and be found – until cancer strikes.

Same Kind of Different as Me is a tale told in two unique voices – Ron Hall & Denver Moore – weaving two completely different life experiences into one common journey where both men learn “whether we is rich or poor or something in between this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin’ our way toward home.”

The story takes a devastating twist when Deborah discovers she has cancer. Will Deborah live or die? Will Denver learn to trust a white man? Will Ron embrace his dying wife’s vision to rescue Denver? Or will Denver be the one rescuing Ron? There’s pain and laughter, doubt and tears, and in the end a triumphal story that readers will never forget.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This biography/autobiography is written in first person and reads slightly like a fiction title. Each chapter alternates between each man, Ron Hall and Denver Moore, as they tell their stories and how their life-paths entwined to form a strong bond of friendship. In the beginning, they are about as opposite as opposite can be, but over their life-experiences, they realize they have more in common than originally thought, and it is Ron’s wife, Deborah that urged them together.

It was an interesting book. I liked a lot of the spiritual lessons Denver spoke about – had I sticky notes with me when I read, I would’ve marked a few down. He spoke it how it was, and experienced some profound truths.

Deborah left an amazing legacy. Her devotion to help those in need was inspiring, and she followed God’s path for her life tirelessly.

This book has some heart-breaking moments, and some beautiful memorable passages as well.

The changing chapters with the different perspectives was hard to adjust to at first because there wasn’t anything to differentiate from the other and in the beginning you obviously don’t know their individual voices yet. But once I got a few chapters in, I was able to differentiate with ease.

 

 

  • 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

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

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“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White

Book Two in the Shadows Over England series

Review copy from the author/publishers as apart of the Launch Team.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I–to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales. 

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

This book was beautiful. I wasn’t sure how the next book in this series would stand next to the first, “A Name Unknown” (because I loooved that one), but wow! It exceeded my expectations. Utterly delightful, and vivid and strong. I love how it wasn’t ‘heavy’, but it was deep. It was so easy to get caught up into, and so refreshing. This is definitely one of those books that you don’t just read – you live in its pages. You feel like you know the characters personally – not like you’re just reading about them. Spectacular!
And the settings were rich – London. Wales. Belgium.
“A Song Unheard” really does pull you in effortlessly.
There was so much to it, that I’m not even sure how to capture it all in my review! The music aspect was glorious. I’m not really a musician, but wow! Stunning. And the strength of family – maybe not by-blood-family, but still family. That was touching. And the faith-element – absolutely fantastic, and heartwarming. It was real, and not just ‘fluff’.
The characters were all spot-on.
Willa Forsythe…oh Willa. What a character she was! So developed, so complex, so broken, but so lovely. And strong. And willa-ful. ;) I loved her! What else can I say than that she was amazing? Her struggles, and trials – the walls she put up, and the ending conclusion – ahh, so good!
Lukas De Wilde being a playboy – I was curious to see how his character would go. But wow, I loved him too! His flirtation towards Willa was extremely amusing, and his devotion endearing. He had great depth too, and I loved “getting to know” him and seeing his transformation in the book.
Parts of this story shared the POV of Lukas’ sister, Margot. She was positively delightful! Her math-brain – goodness, I wish I had that! ;) And her loyalty to the Lord, and her faith – inspiring. I believe I heard that we’ll get to see more of her character in another series possibly? I sure hope so!
“A Song Unheard” is full of so much beauty, and depth, as I said, it’s impossible to cover all of it within one review, but I definitely recommend it! Music, intrigue, danger, hard-won-romance, a family of thieves, a world-renowned violinist – this book is enticing to say the least! It’s lovely to have a series set during the start of WWI – and a series so well written at that!
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Quotes:

 

“We are in God’s hands, and God’s alone. War is knocking on our door, and it is bigger than any of us. But the Lord is bigger than war. He will take care of us, if it is His will. And if it is not, then it will be to His glory. Rest in Him.” – words from Lukas’ mother’s letter.

 

_Our faith is the rock we stand on, Willa - but we don't demand anyone else stand here with us. Though if you ever wanted to, there is plenty of room.__God is real, my friend. And I dare

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

_Music is like a person, oui_ You must make friends. Court it. Listen to it speak, let it find its voice._

_I don't want fame. Or awards or...I just want to play. That's all. To have the music._

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

It felt, just now, impossible. But impossible was all he had to hope in.png

 

 

*Read an interview with the author, Roseanna M. White HERE. And stay tuned for this next Monday, where Willa Forsythe will get her own post. :) Also….pop in on Valentine’s Day to see a special cover reveal!! Lots of fun!

 

 

I received a 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, Books

“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

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“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

A Novel of Prophets and Kings

Review copy from the author/publishers as apart of Mesu Andrews’ Launch Team

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars!

 

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About the Book:

 

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bibleminiseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Wow, what an absolutely beautiful and captivating story! I was just utterly engaged the moment I started it right until the very end page. It was so very good.
Ishma and Hezi’s relationship from the very beginning was just the most endearing thing ever. It was so sweet how they bonded and grew so close.
The characters were all really amazing, and so believable, so three-dimensional. You didn’t just read about their trials and joys, you felt them with the characters. The heartbreak, the pain, and the beautiful healing.
I absolutely loved how Ishma’s name changed to Hephzibah, and that whole theme throughout the book with her new name meaning ‘God’s delight’. What a beautiful reminder for all of us!! We are the Lord’s delight. I love that. Her journey was so poignant – so touching.
“Isaiah’s Daughter” is a remarkable look into the prophesies of Isaiah, and how they might have interpreted them in their own time.
Author Mesu Andrews can take what might be normally seen as ‘heavy history’ and weave it into a compelling tale that is not only very understandable, but completely enjoyable and enlightening. This is one reason why I love Biblical Fiction so much. It really gives depth to the Bible accounts that are familiar, but sometimes less understood.
This book is so full that trying to write a review that would give it justice seems rather impossible. But I definitely recommend this beautiful story, and look forward to losing myself in its pages again!

I thought “Miriam” was my favourite book by Mesu Andrews, but now I’m thinking “Isaiah’s Daughter” tops the list!

 

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Quotes:

I actually highlighted a TON of quotes, and made several graphics. Below are a few of them, but you can go to my Pinterest Page here to see more graphics with ID quotes. :)

 

 

 

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BLOG TOUR:

1/15 – Lena Nelson Dooley

1/15 – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!

1/15 – More Than Poetic Musings

1/16 – Seriously Write

1/16 – Lighthouse Academy

1/17 – Jill Eileen Smith

1/18 – Kristie Moments

1/19 – Coffee Cups & Camisoles

1/19 – Montana Made

1/20 – Fiction Aficionado

1/21 – Angie Arndt

1/21 – Christian Chicks Thoughts

1/22 – Carole Towriss

1/22 – Backing Books

1/23 – God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

1/24 – Faithfully Bookish

1/24 – Mommynificent

1/25 – Just Commonly

1/25 – Bibliophile Reviews

1/26 – Reading is my Superpower

1/26 – The Mary Reader

 

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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse ~ Book Review

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Review copy from Publishers

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

 

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My Thoughts:

Set in the south, “Missing Isaac” gave a very interesting look into life during the 1960’s, in a town where both rich and poor, black and white, consisted. What first drew me to this debut novel was the time period – I don’t see a lot of Christian fiction set during the 1960’s, so that immediately caught my attention along with the fact that I’ve been looking for more CF set during this time. :) However, this was primarily a southern 1960’s view and what they had to go through, not so much the 1960’s that first comes to mind.
The story follows Pete, who starts out as a young boy who just lost his father in a tragic accident. One of his father’s workers, Isaac, becomes the father-figure Pete looks up to and learns from, deepening their bond of friendship, but then Isaac goes missing, leaving Pete to grieve again.
The title of the book is a little deceiving in the way that the story doesn’t focus entirely on the title’s name. It’s included, but I didn’t feel like it was the main focal point.
There was a thread of mystery as we waited to find out what happened to Isaac, and it was good to see it concluded in the end, but overall the storyline was about Pete McLean. Having said that, the storyline of Pete was good and interesting. I enjoyed it.
I loved the character Dovey, and especially Pete and Dovey’s relationship throughout the book – that was absolutely touching and endearing.
I also liked that it was realistic. And that Pete’s family were honest that life is hard, but we learn from our trials, and honor God through them.
It was a good and enjoyable debut book. :)
Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner ~Book Review

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“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner

A Pearl Spence Novel

Review copy from Kregal Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the book:

 

Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed! 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

“A Song of Home” was an excellent read. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’d heard good things about the author’s writing which is why I requested this book for review, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect from the story. However, this book delightfully surprised me, and felt so comfortable.
It is the third book in the Pearl Spence novels, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it. In fact, it left me craving to go back and read the first two – I must get my hands on copies of those!!
The writing talent alone is enough to draw you in – boy, was I impressed. It read flawlessly, and I realized that I hadn’t looked at the chapter number once until the very end, making sure I had another left. And while that may not seem important to some, I was dazzled to be so captivated that I didn’t realize where I was at in the book. ^.^
ASOH is a quiet tale, a gentle story, full of life and trials, beauty and pain. All told through the eyes of eleven year old Pearlie Spence.
I loved her friendship with Ray. I’m hoping there’s another book to come that continues their friendship as they both grow?? :)
All of the characters really were special, and so well-written. Each one seeming so realistic and so alive. Everything about this book was that way.
Oh, her Daddy was so sweet – their relationship was precious. I wasn’t as fond of her mama – at first. The more I got to see of her, the more that was explained – well, I grew to understand her better.
And the ending was very sweet. It was such a good book; I definitely want to read more. :)
 
 

Quotes:

“Hard times had the power to change people. I knew that. They could change them for the good or bad. Thing was, nobody could tell somebody which way to go. Folks had to figure it out on their own.” 
“Was she lost to him?’ I asked. ‘Ah, but one can never be too lost to be found by true love.'” 
 
“The work it must’ve taken for Daddy to be kind to her was more than I had patience for. But he was a kind man, Daddy was. If there was anything I’d learned from him it was that gentleness wasn’t a show of weakness. Sometimes it took more strength to be gentle than Samson possessed even on his very best day.” 
“They behave badly indeed. But there’s always a reason for people to do the things they do.” 
“Do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you. That’s in the Good Book, you know. How you wanna be treated is how you best do to everybody else. Even if they gone and hurt you. You still gotta do it. Praise Jesus.”

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering ~ Book Review

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“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering

Book Six in the Drew Farthing Mysteries Series

Review copy provided by the publishers

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

The Fartherings’ Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn 
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

I found this book uniquely written, and very… British-mystery-esque! Really, it was liking stepping into a BBC Mystery show. ^.^
The setting and era were very nice, and worked well with the story.I was most intrigued to find out the culprit in the end, though I did suspect the person earlier than Drew figured it out…! ^.^ But then, I have watched a lot of British Mysteries ;)
The characters were endearing, though because this is part of a series, you don’t really get to know them completely in one book. That is the one thing that probably makes this a lower rating for me, but not due to the book’s fault at all. This is just the kind of series that should be read in order. And I did not do that. ^.^ There were lots of references to past happenings in the previous books, so I wished I had had the chance to read them in order, but alas. I’m still glad I got the chance to read a Drew Farthing mystery, even if it is the 6th book. :) I’d like to start over at the first book at some point, and go through them, because, judging off this one book, they seem good and entertaining. :)
That being said, “Death at Thornburn Hall” could be read as a standalone (as I did), but I think I would recommend reading them in order to get a better grasp on the characters and their background! :)

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Quotes:

“That could be. Or maybe He has something else in mind. Some other way for you to find out what you want to know. A better way. Or maybe it just isn’t time yet and His answer isn’t no, but ‘not now’.”
“People generally think sheep are stupid, you know, but he says they’re not. It’s only when they’re afraid that they make bad decisions.”
“It wouldn’t be faith if we could see everything ahead of time.”
“You know how it is. When there’s a tragedy, people are so helpful at first. But after a while they go back to their regular routines, and the bereaved one is left quite alone with nothing to go back to.”
“At some point we have to trust God with our lives, don’t we? Otherwise we spend our days huddles in a corner afraid to take a step outside. But what a waste that is when there’s so much we;re meant to do with the time He’s given us.”