Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Why Not?” By Debra E. Marvin

Why Not (A Valentine Matchmaker novella)

 

“Why Not?” by Debra E. Marvin

Part of the Novella Collection: “Valentine MatchMakers”

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

Love Puts These Two On the Edge!

Grand Canyon, 1914

Society girl Amber Wynott’s wintry escape to the Grand Canyon provides a chance to pursue her dream and prove she has what it takes to be a successful architect. It doesn’t take long to realize the incredible scenery can’t hide the simmering anger between ‘railroad money’ and the struggling locals.

Which side is master builder Stone Morrison on?

Amber has met her match in the handsome, hard-headed man. He’s been directed to keep an eye on her, but when iron meets iron—oh the sparks! As their unlikely old matchmaker tells them, pride goes before a fall, and this is a bad place to fall. Will danger finally knock some sense into the pair?

 

 

My thoughts:

 

A very cute little romance story – perfect for a Valentines Day read, as the collection promotes!
Amber and Stone both had very strong personalities, but blended really well together without diminishing the other one – that was pretty impressive. Usually when I read about a strong female lead, the man becomes less of a…well, a man, and backs down, losing his strong personality, but even though Amber was independent, she still came to rely upon him, and he didn’t back down, but also didn’t demean her either. It was a good match.
There was also a bit of mystery involved – always a fun thread to keep up with.
I think it would’ve been fun to have a bit more backstory – because it was a novella, it at times was a tiny bit rushed and I would’ve liked to get to know the characters more, but it was still a good read and well put-together. The romance was sweet, and you were rooting for the characters from the start. :)
The setting was fascinating, too – the Grand Canyon in 1914. And the unrest at the time – all very interesting! I enjoyed the touches this brought to the story.
So yes, a quick but enjoyable read. :)
I received a complimentary ecopy from the author. All thoughts are my own.
Posted in Book reviews, Uncategorized

BookLook Review: “The Silent Songbird”

Eeek, I’ve been silent on my blog for quite a while! I should’ve posted this review sooner, but between life and memory, it didn’t occur…I apologize! 

 

 

The Silent SongBird by Melanie Dickerson

Review copy from BookLookBloggers.com

About the Book:

“Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?

Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.

Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.

More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy.Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?”

 

My Thoughts:

I really love the cover of this book. As usual for a Dickerson book, the cover is very beautiful and captivating, and represents the story inside very well.
This was a retelling of The Little Mermaid – what I love best about Melanie Dickerson’s books is that they are Christian Fairy-Tale Retellings *without* magic. That’s so great. And they have a historical feel with the setting, which is neat too.
This was a fun story to read. I enjoyed seeing the similarities to The Little Mermaid a great deal, and yet also reading new twists to the story.
There were only a couple slight concerns I had for this book towards the end. I don’t want to give too much away so I will try to keep it brief, but I wasn’t very pleased with an act of disobedience that was shown in a good light, and later condoned because it was “courageous”. The goal for this act could’ve been accomplished in a way that was not glorifying stubbornness and disobedience. That disappointed me, though I see it in stories a lot –  a strong female character doing what they want because they know they *can*, even when they’re requested not to out of care from the other person, and then later the other character saying she was right in going against his wishes. It just could’ve been handled in a better way, in my opinion, and still reached the desired ending.
The other thing was the romance bit, where they fall in love without knowing each other – even when a father warns against it because “the heart is deceitful”. They never really truly got to know each other better before kissing happened.
But otherwise, it was a great story, and a sweet romance for the most part. Strong characters, great plot, and a well-done retelling. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “The Flaming Sword” by Heather FitzGerald

The Flaming Sword: An Inspirational Fantasy for Everyone (The Tethered World Chronicles Book 2) by [FitzGerald, Heather L. L.]

“The Flaming Sword” by Heather FitzGerald  Book Two in The Tethered World Series. Just released! 

Sadie Larcen and her family are slowly recovering from their life-altering trek to the Tethered World. That is until their aunt arrives clutching a mysterious letter and sporting a black eye. The letter that Aunt Jules shares with the family writhes with sinister implications. A new and menacing enemy has slunk from the shadows and is conspiring to seize the most powerful piece of weaponry in the land: The Flaming Sword of Cherubythe. The sword must—at all costs—be kept from the enemies who lust for its power.

The threat extends to Sadie’s autistic brother Brock. As High King in training, he now resides in the Tethered World, within close proximity to the sword. It’s apparent that drastic measures will be required by all in order to protect what’s most important. Can Sadie once again confront her disabling fear, stare evil in the face, and walk away whole—let alone alive? How can one teenage girl and her family save a sword with the potential to start a world war? Will lines be crossed even as Sadie’s faith is tested? Sadie knows it’s going to take a lot more than strength, grit, and courage to survive.

 

My Review:

Heather FitzGerald writes such good adventure fantasy! You will be truly captured and brought into The Tethered world when you read this series.
Like the first book, this was filled with great action, great plot, and the same beloved characters. Including Xander, one of my personal favourites. ;)
I really do think that this series tops that of Lord of the Rings, and is right there beside The Chronicles of Narnia. They have a very similar feel to them, and they’re easy to follow, while still being utterly captivating.
I touched on this in my review of the first book (here), but for me, magic is something I generally stay away from. But there are no spells or really even use of magic in these books, it’s more like ‘this is their world’ and it’s fantasy.
The faith aspect was good, and I loved this quote in particular:
“M’dear, if it wasn’t for the bad things…good things like meetin’ each other never would’ve happened. The good Lord has a way of turnin’ all the bad stuff on its head and redeeming it in some way.” – Joanie from chapter 11 page 78/79
And how true is that? God really does redeem us and every bad thing.
I know I mentioned this but “The Flaming Sword” really was FULL of action. Indeed, it was an action-packed book, and so very hard to put down without wondering what was going to happen next! Be ready for a great ride!

 

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Dawn at Emberwilde” by Sarah E. Ladd

“Dawn at Emberwilde” by Sarah E. Ladd

Book Two in The Treasures of Surrey Series

Source: Litfuse

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.

For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

 

My Thoughts:

I was expecting to love this book. I’ve read two of Miss Ladd’s previous books (the first two books of the Whispers on the Moors Series), and enjoyed them both, so I figured it would be likewise with this one. And while I didn’t hate this book, I didn’t fully enjoy it either, unfortunately.
The setting was good, and the writing well-done, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and it was very predictable.
But what disappointed me the most was the lack of faith in this book. I remember reading Ladd’s first book and the faith-strand was great; the second book had it too though not as strongly, but this book was almost completely void of it. There were many, many places where it could have been accomplished in a beautiful manner, but there was only one or two mentions of God. That really saddened me. This story really could’ve used God’s hope and truth. It kind of just fell flat for me without it.
The love-triangle was a bit much too…I don’t really care for those types of things. It was the typical “I don’t know which man to choose”, yet it’s overly obvious to the reader who is the “hero” of the book. It was just frustrating to me.
But yes, I liked the England setting, and I enjoyed the character Lizzie quite well, and Colin on occasion. But sometimes the characters did things that just didn’t make sense.
They put a pretty heavy point on physical appearance too, as well as not wanting to have to rely on anyone else – that we are sufficient by our own strength. I don’t agree with this – we should be sufficient by God’s power alone. It was just really lacking in God’s glory and that really reflects in a book, I think.
It wasn’t a terrible book (it was clean, and I have no doubt that many will enjoy it – I myself enjoyed aspects of it, just not all), but it  wasn’t really a hit for me.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Litfuse/the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

 

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

I’m not really sure what happened…I am almost positive I had this post scheduled, but it’s no where to be found…but anyway, here is my review!

The Beautiful Pretender

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

A Medieval Romance

My rating: 4.5 Stars

About the Book:

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Another super sweet fairy-tale-feeling book from Melanie Dickerson!
The plot was so intriguing, and exciting, and I became engaged immediately. The hints of Beauty and the Beast, and The Princess and the Pea, were absolutely delightful. Having ten noble ladies come to the Margrave’s home as “possible brides” was entertaining, if not unconventional. ^.^ Again, I say: Delightful.
As usual for Mrs.Dickerson’s books, each character was written extremely well, and I clicked right away with Avelina (what a pretty name too!). And then I found out she likes to write stories – yep, I loved her even more then! Avelina did surprise me in some ways, but in good ways.
Reinhart was gruff, very much a “beast” kind of character, but true to tale, he had a gentleness about him and yes, he was very likeable. And very handsome, I hear. ;)
And Lady Magdalen was seriously one of the most kindest and sweetest friend-characters I have ever read about! Such genuine beauty, and I don’t just mean in appearance. She made me smile so often by her gentleness and kind heart.
There was only one scene that leaned towards the more graphic side, but it wasn’t really horrible as some books are. And then there were two other things that gave me a bit of concern – one of those was that Avelina did what she wanted, even when instructed to do otherwise. It wasn’t shown in an extremely blatant way, but it was shown in more of an accepting way at the same time which I wasn’t too sure about. For example, towards the end, Lord Thornbeck told her to stay put several times because he didn’t want her to get hurt, and while I understand that she wanted to be with him, I don’t really agree that he always gave in – “He knew her well enough to know he could not stop her”. It just seemed…disobedient at times.
The other thing was about a character being mentioned that was sleeping with a servant – it was only hinted at as ‘wrong’ one or two times, and not in the way I was expecting – that is, it wasn’t necessarily shown as morally wrong.
But other than that, I did really enjoy “The Beautiful Pretender”.
 There was just such…enchantment to this book. You really relish it as you read. And what a tremendous cover! Striking. :)
A very sweet, endearing story, one that is full of exciting and well-crafted plot lines.
I recommend it for ages 16+
“A woman wishes to be swept up by a man’s fervent feelings for her, by love and longing and depth of feeling. She does not wish to be married for her father’s coin or her noble birth or because she is a sensible choice. She wants to be wooed, even after she is married, to be cherished and loved for her very self, not just because she has a beautiful face, long after she has passed the age of freshness and youth.” Chapter 5 pg47
“I’m just curious. Do you think a God who sent His Son to be born in a lowly stable to poor people, announced to shepherds in a field, could care about gold and ivory and jewels? Perhaps God cares about our hearts, not our wealth.” Chapter 6 pg 62
“But it was the thought of him wanting to know about her stories that made her stomach tumble inside her.” Chapter 11 pg 101
“She’d never been in love before. She’d tried to save herself this pain, but all her pretending and hiding the truth from herself had not saved her at all. And even though this love was painful, it was worth it to remember how the sight of him and the sound of his voice had made her heart beat faster, that feeling of wanting what was best for someone else, even if it broke her own heart.” Chapter 23 pg. 220
“She no longer had to dream about love. God had given her a love all her own, one that the troubadours would sing about for years to come.” Chapter30 pg307

The Beautiful Pretender Melanie Dickerson

I received a complimentary copy from the publishers/Litfuse in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
Posted in Book reviews, Uncategorized, update

3 Day Quotes Tag: 1/3

Good day, and happy June!

I am busy trying to get caught up on things…tags, last few reviews, blog posts, etc. It seems to be taking me a while! :P I think this is the last tag I have to complete, but I have a few more book reviews coming. Yes, as I said in this post, I am taking a break from reviewing – I am not breaking that rule as some may think. ^.^ I just am trying to finish up the books I’ve already received before I came to this decision. I am very close, though, to finishing this up. Only a few more review-books, and then I’m “free” to take my Sabbatical and enjoy it fully! :)

Anyway, shall I post what I’m actually here for? ^.^

Faith P. tagged me for this one – it’s a Quotes Tag! Thanks, Faith!

I don’t know if you people know, but I loooove quotes, so choosing only three is going to be hard!!! But I shall do my best. I am only going to take ones off my Pinterest account. I will refrain from listing favourite movie/book quotes, or else we’d be here for a while…as it is, narrowing down the Pinterest ones is going to be near impossible! But…here we go!

 

The Rules. 

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers everyday
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days

 

First Quote:

 

 :

Amen. This is so true. I’m coming to learn and rely on this truth (well, rely on God through this truth). Doesn’t matter what I’m feeling…only matters that God is working – always for the good, too!

 

I’m actually going to break the rules too (hehe) and share more than one in each post, because obviously one is just to little!

 

Ah, Mike, how true. And what a beautiful truth it is that we are Christs and He is ours…and that’s enough. <3

 

Grace

Yes, this is a Bible verse, but it’s beautiful and one of my favourites. Therefore would I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me! Amen!

 

And here I am going to break the rules again. (But hey…”it’s my blog, I can do what I want” ;))

I am not going to tag anyone because I don’t think my brain is going to cooperate and be able to list 9 people that haven’t already done this one. ^.^ But if YOU decide to do this tag, let me know – I absolutely love discovering more quotes!!

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Litfuse, Revell Reads

Book Review: “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

 

“Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Waves of Freedom Series

WWII Historical Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse/Revell

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance–and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War Ii means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War Ii to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

 

 

My Thoughts:

Sarah Sundin never disappoints. :) “Anchor in the Storm” was another fantastic book, with a great plot and fantastic characters. There was also a bit of mystery in it which was fun to follow along with!
Lillian Avery was a really well-rounded character; unique too, and still relatable. And Arch was charming as well, and with his own flaws – I do really appreciate flawed characters. :)
The faith strand was good, and consistent, which was lovely – Christ is our Anchor!
The struggles and trials they went through were very real, and the background pain was believable and came across well.
“Jesus is you anchor, your hope in any storm, you sure refuge.” (Page 28)
And I must admit, I loved the romance – it was sweet and I really wanted the two together. Arch was the perfect gentlemen – seriously, he was just so thoughtful and sweet.
“Yet she was worth the effort” (Page 144)
There was a grandmotherly character in this book who had a great influence on Lillian, and helped her to open her heart, which was so nice – we all need someone to remind us! Because it is hard, and it does sometimes hurt, but God desires an open heart.
“Oh, sweet girl. You may be able to hide your feelings from people, but you can never hide them from the Lord.” (Page 67)
“Now you’ve experienced great love. Now you’ve suffered great loss. Now your heart is truly open” Lillian pressed her free hand to her chest. Why did an open heart have to hurt so much?” (Page 346)
There were just a couple of instances of their romance that I didn’t care for fully – it wasn’t horrible, but sometimes it seemed a little rushed (or rather, happened quickly once it did happen), and there were a lot of kisses, and

*** SPOILER***  I was a little bummed when there had to be the typical turmoil stretch in their relationship. I know that they don’t want it to seem too perfect all of the time, but it just seemed…too much in the ‘norm’. ***END OF SPOILER***

But yes, I enjoyed this book very well, and look forward to the next! Sarah Sundin’s writing is spectacular, with much talent, and always so captivating!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers (Revell) and Litfuse in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor in the storm - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

anchor in the storm - banner