Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Lady Layne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

od's Peculiar Treasure Rae Reviews

 

“Lady Jayne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

 

Review copy from publishers through the author’s Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5  Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is one of the most beautifully crafted novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. It was such a masterpiece of writing.
A story within a story, with twists and turns, and curiosities that leave you wondering but keep you oh-so absorbed in its pages.
Upon closing the final page, I had to sit back in a bit of awe. The author has a way with words, just as the main character Aurelie has. May I also say how much I love that name – Aurelie. So beautiful.
The characters were marvelous. I love real feeling characters, and these definitely filled that.  Aurelie: a most beautiful and unique heroine, Silas Rotherham: the perfect hero. And each of the side characters were brilliantly crafted as well.
Every scene was depicted so well, with so much feeling – you were definitely present in the novel. And the bit of mystery – goodness! I was entirely surprised by the culprit behind the murder. What murder you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out!
Truly, this was a lovely novel. The faith aspect was beautiful and poignant. The struggles felt by the characters were most real and relatable.
I wish I could give a review that would justly describe this book, but I am afraid I’m at a bit of a loss for words. I thoroughly enjoyed “Lady Jayne Disappears” and was very reluctant to leave its pages!
This stunning tale just sweeps you away with its beauty and richness. I definitely recommend, especially for fans of Charles Dickens (think Little Dorrit and Bleak House), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) and just excellent English/Gothic fiction that is inspiring and full of faith.

Below are graphics I made for this lovely book:

e Disappears
-A good book will enable you to both lose yourself and find yourself.- - Nathaniel Droll, Lady Jayne Disappears.
-I admit I'm an escapist when it comes to books. I become drunk on story, on words, as a buffer against reality.- If only she knew how often. If books were alcohol, he'd be the worst dru
Lady Jayne
It's always a choice, Aura Rose. Happiness is always a choice
-And the maiden found her escape into books, the worlds created by the pen of some stranger who would creep into her mind and rearrange the furniture.-
-Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.-
-The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I'd never had to depend so fully on the Lord before this, and it seemed now He was all I had.-
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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Book review: “Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

Toothless Books (8)

“Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

A Memphis Cold Case Novel

Review copy from the publishers through the Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing–and looking over their shoulders.

My Thoughts:

 

“Justice Buried” is apparently the second book in a series, but I found that it was pretty easy to read as a stand-alone. There were a couple instances where you knew they were referring to the first book, but not in a way that was confusing or made you think you had to read the first one first. :) I’m sure it’s probably best enjoyed to be read that way, but since I didn’t know, I don’t feel like I was unable to still enjoy the story as it was.
Full of mystery and suspense, you were wondering who the murderer was right till the end.
It was an enjoyable book, and kept me interested to find out what happened to the characters. I like Kelsey and Brad, but I think their relationship development could’ve been strengthened a bit, and the ending seemed a tiny bit rushed. But this book does fit in with its genre of Romantic Suspense, and yet it was quite clean which I appreciated a great deal.
That being said, this book I would classify more as a clean book than a Christian book. There were a couple mentions of characters attending church and a random verse thrown out once, but that was it, and the whole thread of faith was not present – very buried if it was there. That disappointed me, but I do still appreciate that it was at least clean.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts presented in this review are my own.
Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “The Pretender” by Ta’Mara Hanscom

Toothless Books (3)

The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise  by Ta’Mara Hanscom

Caselli Family Series Book One

Review copy from the publishers through Litfuse Publicity group for review purposes. All thoughts stated in my review are purely my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the book:

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.
Frankie Valli sang “My Eyes Adored You,” and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea. 
From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart—and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

 

 

My Thoughts:

Hmmm, I don’t know where to start with this review. You see, this book has me a little torn. More than a little, I suppose.
I liked it, but I didn’t. Somehow, I got extremely emotionally invested into it, but the ending wasn’t what I was hoping for, and it was a cliffhanger on top of that.
The focus of the book confused me. The first half of the book was so focused on a story plot, that it seemed to only have been concluded in the expected way, but then the latter half was totally different, and almost as if that first half never happened. It was weird. I was fully rooting for the first half to be brought to a satisfying conclusion, but it wasn’t to be so. If it had, I think this could’ve become a favourite book. The cover is beautiful too. But instead, it left me…discontent for the story.
I loved Noah, pretty much from the beginning. His parts of the story were my favourite, and seeing his redemption play out was good, though maybe a little fast. I liked Tillie a lot too. But I questioned her character towards the second half, and how she reacted to a certain occurence.
 I admire Noah’s choice for one of his decisions, and reluctantly came to terms with that. He was a great character, but the book wasn’t what the reader hopes for, and therefore you find yourself feeling disappointed. At least that is how it was for me.
So, like I said, it’s almost as if the first half never happened in regards to how the second half continued.
And I know that life doesn’t always end “happily ever after” but this ending, I felt, was kind of uncalled for as far as unhappy endings go.
Another thing that was a pretty big caution to me was how the parents were sure to say that nothing can thwart God’s will (and that’s only true when we fully submit to His will since we can definitely thwart His will when we let our own will get in the way), but then later on at the end, and in the description for the second book, it was a contradiction –  the parents clearly regret their decision, as if admitting that they indeed sought their own will, not God’s And yes, we can certainly mess up and not follow God’s will mistakenly, but the fact that they were so adamant that this decision was God’s will and then later said perhaps they were wrong as if to say God’s will was wrong, when in actuality they just didn’t seek or heed His true will – this  just didn’t sit well with me.
So  yes, very conflicted. The story definitely grabs your attention – and emotions – but there were several things that I just wasn’t too happy with.

 

 

 

About the author:

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God’s plan for marriage

Find out more about Ta’Mara at https://www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

 

 

 

Despite just meeting each other, Tillie and Noah’s lives have been mysteriously intertwined for many years in Ta’Mara Hanscom’s The Pretender. From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart-and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

Join Ta’Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

 

The Pretender Ta'Mara Hanscom

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

Book Review: “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

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“The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

Releases October 3rd, 2017 (today!!)

Review copy from the author/publishers; launch team copy.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book was adorable. The writing style was truly so great, and I was just drawn right in by the first chapter. It was so…readable. :) The style felt so unique and yet still so familiar to my own. And the story – oh my goodness, I had so many giggles throughout it. This was a book where I literally laughed out loud. Which then caused my family to question my sanity a tiny bit, but more so they wanted to know what I was laughing at. So yes, I had to read some parts out loud, and they giggled right alongside me! Sarah was hysterical in so many ways. From her crazy “What if??” scenarios, to her panicked reaction to things. And very relatable in those instances. Her character really was a gem to read.
Piper! Oh Piper, I loved her so much. Will she get her own story, Bethany? Please? She was like *the best* friend. So grounded, so joyful, and so loyal. Yep, loved her.
Ben. Um, yeah he was kinda perfect. Not like unrealistically perfect. But Bible-Nerd cute perfect. You can see why she fell for him right away.
The characters were all so well-written, and like-able (except Patrick…and one or two others that are supposed to be unlikeable. :D). This book was just a lot of fun to read.
So, the only “downside” to this book for me, what made this a 4.5 instead of 5 for me was Sarah’s obsession with sex. Yes, I expected a bit of that, seeing the plot of the story. And for the most part, it was handled really well and tastefully (going from a “steamy romance” novelist to a Christian…tricky transition that would be! But like I said, it was handled well!). And there wasn’t the “shame” that often comes when Christians have to deal with anything sex-related. However, that seemed to be Sarah’s driving point – when could she be together sexually with Ben? It couldn’t be soon enough for her, and sometimes that seemed like the only reason she wanted to be with him. No, I know that’s not true – she was in love with him for more reasons than that, but that was definitely a focal point that got stronger towards the end. There was nothing really inappropriate, but it was…edgy? That’s why I would recommend only for mature readers, because well, there’s a fair amount of sex talk. And for me personally, I don’t think it was all totally necessary. No, sex is not a shameful thing, and like I said, I was impressed that the author didn’t make it so, but I also don’t think it needs to be the focal point of a book, if that makes sense. And I know everyone’s preference on this one is different. I’m just stating this for others who feel as I do. :)
But that aside, it was a really adorable book, and I dearly loved it, enjoying it so very much. Author Bethany Turner writes with such wit, you can’t help but smile and laugh along, and it still deals with tougher aspects of life.
Oh, and the cover…!!! I can’t end my review without saying something about that. The cover for “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” is superb. Spot on. Brilliant. Amazing. Basically, I’m in love with it. As soon as I received my copy, held it in my hands, I was practically drooling over it. So beautiful! <3

 

(I created the first two – flower pot, and pink background – and the other graphic is from the author herself. :))

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

{Note}Book Review: “A Record of My Vinyl: A Collectors Catalog”

 

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(Review is of the notebook alone; I added the record in back for display purposes)

 

“A Record of My Vinyl: A Collectors Catalog”

By Potter Style

Review copy from Blogging for Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About:

Whether you’re a casual collector or vinyl store junkie, this essential journal–with a high-quality cover that looks and feels like a record–includes: 
-Space for cataloguing details and “liner notes” or memories about your vinyl
-Tips for cleaning discs and maintaining a serious collection
-Information on evaluating vinyl for resale from Goldmine’s vetted rating system
-Perforated wish lists to tear out and take with you

A catalog, journal, and guide all in one, A Record of My Vinyl is the ultimate autobiographical companion to your analog collection.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I do not make an effort to hide my love for notebooks or records. So a notebook dedicated to keeping track and caring for vinyl records? Yes please! I was so excited to see this option presented on the Blogging for Books site, and requested it immediately. When I received it in the mail, I squealed with delight – the journal is truly stunning with a lovely cover showcasing a vinyl record.

I am new to the Vinyl world, but am quickly falling in love. So while I am not perhaps the “hard-core” vinyl collectors out there that some of the info in the notebook hinted at, I am vastly enjoying it, and cannot wait to transcribe my own personal collection of records into this journal. The style is easy to use, clearly presented, and the information in the back quite helpful. Definitely a gem for any Vinyl enthusiast – new or old!

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

Book Review: “The Promise of a Letter” by Kathleen Fuller

 

“The Promise of a Letter” by Kathleen Fuller

“An Amish Letter” Novel, Book two

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

A letter brings him back to his Amish family. It will take someone truly extraordinary to make him stay.

Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish ways. Feeling confined by the strict rules, he longs to do something more with his life. But when things don’t go as planned, Roman’s prospects outside of the community dwindle. Upon learning that his beloved grandmother has died and left a letter urging him to reconcile with his brother in Birch Creek, Roman decides to return home. But he doesn’t plan to stay for long.

Leanna Chupp has always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional—strange, even—Leanna is happy. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, which Leanna doesn’t mind. She is content being single.

But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Though neither fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, their differences could be the very thing to help them form a deeper connection to their community and to each other. The question remains: will this strengthening bond be enough to make Roman stay for good?

 

My Thoughts:

 
Surprisingly to me, I am enjoying this Amish series. Personally I am not a huge fan of Amish fiction, but the first two books of this newer series have been interesting reads that keep me occupied. I enjoy the characters, and the plots have been sweet.
In “The Promise of a Letter”, we get to see more of Leanna’s character that was introduced in the first book. I really liked Leanna – she was a very spunky, fun character. And Roman was an equally good character in different ways.
I appreciated the faith aspect, and Roman’s grandmother’s influence even though she wasn’t present in the novel.
The sibling dynamics between brothers Roman and Daniel was realistic in their struggle for reconciliation – and stubbornness against it happening. It was frustrating at times, but not unbelievable, which I think is good.
I really did enjoy Leanna and Roman’s relationship – they were pretty cute. And headstrong, both. ^.^
I don’t know how accurate to the Amish way these books are – some things in the books seem a little far-fetched, but I guess I really can’t say one way or another.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Tyndale House

Book Review: “Freedom’s Ring” by Heidi Chiavaroli

Toothless Books (10)

“Freedom’s Ring” by Heidi Chiavaroli

Historical/Contemporary Fiction

Review copy through Tyndale Blogger Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated―plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

 

My Thoughts:

 

The cover is lovely, and the story, too. What kind of threw me off, to be honest, was the switching back from one time period to the next with each chapter – I found myself having a hard time switching gears, getting into one character’s story and then having to switch to the other, etc. I must confess that I “cheated” and just read the story of Liberty’s first, switching off about halfway through to catch up on Anaya’s, and then slowly eased my way into reading it “normally” towards the end where it made most sense to do so. By reading it in this unconventional way, I was able to enjoy it more, personally.
Liberty’s story was a little heart-rending, the struggles and pain she had to go through. She had a hard life.
I felt for Annie (Anaya), and her own trials she had to deal with.
Really, both of these characters dealt with struggles and trials that shaped their lives. They were not free from pain, but they learned to live through it and eventually, find God’s Grace, Mercy, and Salvation.
The historical side of this book was actually my favourite, and where I connected the most. Though **SPOILER** I wanted her to marry Alexander in the first place. Redcoat or not. END OF SPOILER***
But yes, it was a good book, one I’m sure many will enjoy.