Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

BookLook Review: “The Noble Servant” by Melanie Dickerson

“The Noble Servant” by Melanie Dickerson

Part of the Medieval FairyTale Series

Review copy from BookLook

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant.

But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . . if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

 

My Thoughts:

A continuation to Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval FairyTale Series, “The Noble Servant” tells us the tale of Lady Magdalen whom we met in “The Beautiful Pretender”. While reading TBP, I was looking forward to reading Lady Magdalen’s tale, and so as soon as this came available for review, I grabbed a copy. :)
I found the middle and end of the book the most engaging, though perhaps a little predictable. Still, I enjoyed the book and am sure fans of Melanie Dickerson will enjoy it as well.
I did have some…concerns with this one, but for the most part I enjoyed it. It could be a little slow/long at times, but Lady Magdalen was a sweet character, and Stephen was a good one too.
The author does a good job with the setting and making you feel like you’re in the time period, and I do really like that.
There was a bit of violent description in this one, a case right in the first chapter that I didn’t care for and wouldn’t advise my 14 year sister to read. I’m not one for scenes of violence described so…thoroughly. I understand the circumstances and necessity of the scene, just don’t think it needs to be so gruesomely described in YA books.
Also, there is a strong Catholic theme throughout the book, which I know some love and some don’t, so I want to make sure that I mention that.  It isn’t just a “Christian” world view that every religion or belief system can relate to, it is strongly Catholic with penance and working for salvation.
Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

BookLook Review: “Written in Love” by Kathleen Fuller

 

Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller

An Amish Letters Novel.

BookLook Review Copy

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.

 

My Thoughts:

The idea of a book about letters immediately caught my attention – I love letter-writing. :)
This was an incredibly sweet story. And actually my first Amish fiction. The genre isn’t really my taste, but this book surprised me. It was really good – the story was really good.
I just loved how it started out with letters written between the two characters. There were pages of them, and I so loved that! And even when it melted into third-person telling, it was still captivating. I wanted to know what was going to happen between the two characters and their backstories.
It was a sweet love-story. And not without trials, either! There were several bumps and misunderstandings, making it real.
Even though I wasn’t extremely like the main character, I could still connect with her, and that made the reading all the more enjoyable.
All in all, it was a very sweet romance story. Clean, yet with realistic problems and lessons, some Faith-filled hope, and great characters. :)
I’m hoping to read the next book in this series when it comes out. :)

 

Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

BookLook Review: “A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund

A Daring Sacrifice (An Uncertain Choice, #2)

“A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund

Book Two in the “Uncertain Choice” series

YA medieval fiction

Source: BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.

For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.

Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Well, I have to be honest and say I did not – could not – finish this one. I made it over halfway through before giving up, though I did read the last chapter and skimmed bits and pieces of the end.
I was nervous to start it because I had concerns from “An Uncertain Choice” but I wanted to carry through with the series and find out more about the other two knights introduced in An Uncertain Choice. Unfortunately, I found it very disappointing and cannot recommend it, especially for the age-group it’s targeted for. I read through over half way of the book before setting it aside, and even then I had numerous marks of spots that were just…terrible and so inappropriate. YA readers should not be reading this kind of books, especially in Christian YA. Truly, I was…am…disgusted with the content of this book. The cover is gorgeous, but the concept is one overly used, and the writing was even a bit choppy. But what was the worst was the highly inappropriate romance, and extremely graphic torture descriptions. Like, nasty. I can give examples if need be, but I won’t include them here for not wanting to disturb my readers.
There were just a LOT of mentions of “rippling muscles” and other gross innuendos that were so not necessary. This book hit me more as one of those embarrassing adult romances rather than what was supposed to be an innocent and adventurous YA Christian fiction.
There was no godly theme, and it just was not a book I could recommend. I can’t really express my sadness and disappointment over this book justly, because it really does grieve my heart. I am not trying to attack the book, and certainly not the author, but we should be providing good, wholesome, and still exciting books for our YA readers. For all readers. We can have exciting without inappropriateness and graphicness of any sort. But this book was unfortunately those as well as other unnecessary things.

(A side note: I had left my copy of the book out, sticky-marked and all, and my cousin was over and he picked up the book, and looked at the marks, then told me “This is a very creepy book”. Made me laugh, but it’s true – by the marked spots, it is … disturbing.)

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

 

Do you agree with my review? Do you want to vote it up on Amazon? You can do so HERE.

Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, Chuck Black, Heather Day Gilbert, Litfuse, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, Tessa Afshar, Tyndale House, update

Another year past/2015

Hello! Today is the last day of 2015. I hope it was a good year for all of you! And I hope 2016 brings lots of blessings and lessons from our Lord too. :)

I am going to do my yearly post of books I read over the past year…so, here we go! I’m showing them from the latest I read to the first I read back in January of 2015. Each image should bring you to their GoodReads page and my review if applicable. :)

 

The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #2) 
 
 
 
 
 
Meant to be Mine (Porter Family, #2) A Dream Not Imagined: A Cinderella StoryThe Art of Losing YourselfFive Glass SlippersThe Choosing (Seer, #1)
The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace, #1) The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Thornbeck, #1)Esther: The Story of a Woman Who Saved a NationSide by SideTrial by Twelve (A Murder in the Mountains, #2)
Beauty (Folktales, #1) The Salt CovenantsJoseph of Arimathea: A Tale of the ResurrectionFinding MeRise of the Fallen (Wars of the Realm, #2)
For the Joy Set Before Us: Insights into the Missionary Journey Brothers and BetrayalLove by the Letter (Unexpected Brides, #0.5)The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (The Living Water, #3)Remember the Lilies
Stay in the Castle Adventures and AdversitiesHow to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding, #3)An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)
The Vow (An Uncertain Choice, #0.5) The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks (The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury, #1) The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #1) Paper Hearts Journey to the Well
Both of Me Waltz into the Waves: A Cinderella StoryTiger LilyDeliver Me from Evil (Freedom #1)  Beyond All Dreams
 Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm, #1)
Most of them were very good, and some were so-so, and other’s weren’t a favourite. But ultimately, I had a very good reading year! Top ten favourites? Hard choice! But here are SOME, in no order:
“Resistance” and “Half-Blood” by Jaye L. Knight
“Not Abandoned” by MacKenzie Morganthal
“Brothers-in-Arms” by Jack Lewis Baillot (not published yet)
“The Fragrance of Geraniums” and “All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri
“The Tomb” by Stephanie Landsem
“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” and “Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
“Better than Peanut Butter Ice Cream” by Kristen Krueger
“Through Waters Deep” by Sarah Sundin
“Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black
“Dauntless” and “Chivalrous” by Dina L. Sleiman
Okay, so I realise I cheated a little and did more than ten, but there are only ten lines, so… :D
Some Honourable Mentions:
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Waltz into the Waves by Sarah Holman
A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu
The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald
Side by Side by Jana Kelley
For the Joy Set Before Us by Erica Fye
Annnnnd there were more I enjoyed. :) But I will end here. What books were your favourites of the year? Could you pick just a few? :D
Here’s to more reading in 2016!
Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review, Spiritual beliefs

BookLook Book Review: “The Good, the Bad and the Grace of God” by Jep and Jessica Robertson

 

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God - Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened.

 

“The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God” by Jep and Jessica Robertson with Susy Flory

Non-fiction

Review copy Source: BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the book:

A Moving Story of Redemption and Second Chances
 

Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened. Jep describes being molested as a child and his reluctance to tell anyone until only a few years ago, his downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, and the eventual intervention of his family. Jessica shares about the difficult failure of her first marriage while still a teenager and the hurt that came along with it, much of it from the church. Her insecurities spun out of control as she wondered whether she would ever be good enough or pretty enough. This book is their love story but, more importantly, their love story for God.

“We are desperate to let people know that no matter what you’ve done; no matter what you’ve lived through, you can come out of it.  You can be washed clean.  You are redeemed.”

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book – more than I thought I would, actually. Being that my family and myself are Duck Dynasty fans, I was interested when I saw this book up for review – and knowing that my parents would want to read it as much as I would, I didn’t hesitate to request it.

It was so interesting to get a glimpse into the trials Jep and Jessica faced through out their lives – together and apart. Their faith in God, and their dedication to each other is inspiring.

There are times where we get frustrated with some of the aspects of the show, because whether it is their choosing, or the producers of the show choosing, they don’t always portray what Christians should, but I thought that the book was quite different from the T.V. show and they gave all the glory to God. I personally found it much easier to understand and relate to at least Jep and Jessica knowing what they’ve been through and how they feel about their faith. It’s encouraging for sure.

This is an easy read – I normally don’t choose to read non-fiction/biography type books, but this one I just sailed through with great interest. I would recommend for older teens and up, to read this book because of some of the subject matter.

I must say, I was saying several ‘awws’ when reading about Jep and Jessica’s love story. It truly is a sweet one. :)

It’s inspiring, because they talked a lot about redemption. You can have a horrible past, but when you come to Christ, He redeems you and you are cleansed as white as snow – forever. And, as they talk about, sometimes the church will make judgments, which of course they shouldn’t but Jep and Jessica didn’t accept and take on those judgments as their own – they saw it for what it was: broken people making bad decisions. They knew that God’s opinion mattered more than man’s opinion and I like that.

 

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

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

BookLook Review: “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” by Melanie Dickerson

 

 

“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” A Medieval Fairy Tale by Melanie Dickerson

Releases May 12th, 2015

Review copy source: BookLook

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor. A handsome forester on a mission to catch her. Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and Odette Menkels spends her nights poaching his deer to feed the hungry orphans of Thornbeck. By day, Odette is a simple maiden who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.

For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.

When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.

The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

My Thoughts:

Spectacular. That’s what I think of this book. It knocked the socks off me ;) But truly, I was very impressed with this book and fell in love with it immediately. It was … ahhh!! So good, so sweet. The characters were just marvelous and the setting superb and the plot was magnificent, all working together to create a lovely fairy-tale read! I was a bit worried that it would have the typical tension where all things go wrong and you’re frustrated with the characters, but thankfully that wasn’t the case at all! Bad things happened, and there were some tense type moments, but they weren’t overdone, or annoying. It was perfect. And I can’t tell you how much that relieved me!

Main character, Odette Menkels, was such an amazing female role. She was lady-like, and elegant, and yet can shoot her bow like nobody’s business. She was a very strong, gentle (yes those two words definitely go together and describe Odette!) character, and so loveable. I ‘bonded’ with her right away. She was so realistic and I appreciated that so much. She was just…so real! And Jorgen – aaaah swooooonnnn!!! Perfect leading male character in my opinion. Yep, he was amazing. I also fell in love with him (*cough* I really did. I love him) right away. He was upstanding, loyal, strong, humble, and gentle as well. So kind too. And his mother was an amazing woman too.

The plot was so engaging, and once you got to the end it was non-stop and I couldn’t put it down (okay, so I couldn’t put it down through the whole thing…); I had to find out what happened. And what a lovely ending it had, too! I just LOVE happy endings, truly I do. And this one was beautiful, and God-centered.

That being said, the faith thread was really good. I really really appreciated and enjoyed that. It was very real to it, and the characters, and it was great how Odette cherished the Bible – what she could get of it. 

I just love reading books that I adore. :)  I definitely recommend this book. It is a delightful tale of The Swan Princess/Robin Hood (and the part that connects her to being a swan was so fun!), a very fairy-tale like read without the magic, and an inspiring story. It’s going on my favourites list. =)

I received a complimentary copy from the publishers through BookLook in exchange for my honest review which I have given.