Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Book Review

I hate that this is being posted so late!!! I loved this book so much – it will definitely be included in my favorites of 2019 – and so I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to post my review. But at long last, here it is! <3

 

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“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Two in the Haven Manor Series

Review copy from the publisher/author as apart of the Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together? 

My Thoughts:

This was fantastic. Truly. I love this series. :) Going into this one, I wasn’t sure if I’d relate to main character Daphne, just because in the previous book, Kit had been my favorite. It was so silly of me to wonder this, because I not only related to Daphne, I bonded with her. I share so many of her struggles, and to be perfectly honest, there were so many times during the reading of this that I almost had to remind myself she wasn’t actually real because I was tempted to write her a letter saying I relate XD The struggles with fantasizing and daydreaming that she dealt with was so relatable to me. And how when things actually happened in real life, it was harder – and scarier – to deal with than the “harmless” imaginings. But oh how many troubles the fantasizing gets us into. I still need to continue to remind myself to live right here in the present, just as life is.
The truths she discovered, and the journey she took was inspiring and realistic, and so beautiful. I just really, really loved Daphne.
And William. Of course we cannot forget William! He was great as well. Snobbish at first (oh William), but his character grew so much and he was a sweetheart. I absolutely love these two!!
Really, all of the characters deserve their own paragraphs of gushing over them, but I don’t know that we have space or time for that. ;) Jess….Benedict…Sarah…Eugenia…Reuban…I think you get the gist. Such three dimensional characters that you cannot help but adore.
And the story itself was so well done! I loved every minute of it. And waiting for the next book is going to be so hard. :P
Excellent writing, amazing characters, superb plot, and an ending that leaves you wanting more! definitely recommend this series :)
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Quotes:

 

“Daphne didn’t handle strangers very well most of the time, and she certainly wasn’t managing this one.” 
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“You know,” Jess finally said, “it’s okay to not be good at something. It’s okay to ask for help.” 
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“‘Be strong and of good courage,'” Daphne said from memory as she looked around at the three upturned faces. “‘Fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'” 
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“Mrs. Brightmoor sank further into the woodwork. She actually managed to blend her faded orange printed muslin partially into the glaringly red wallpaper. It was a rather amazing feat.” 
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“I like people. Well, I like helping them. They make me nervous unless I have a particular task to do.” 
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“Daphne frowned again. What good was escaping into one’s imagination if the world’s problems came along for the ride?” 
ARoD library (5)

 

Posted in Books, Product Revews, Reviews

Virtuous Spindle Book Sleeve Review

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I am so excited to share about an Etsy shop today, and in particular, a book sleeve from this shop! I was very blessed to receive the NeverLand print book sleeve for review from The Virteous Spindle Etsy shop, and I am thrilled to share my review with you here!

The shop has some adorable items, including book sleeves, mug-rugs, cup-cozies, and more! I definitely suggest checking the shop out. The owner was very pleasant to work with, and I love the quality of her book sleeve!

Read on for my official review. :)

 

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The Virtuous Spindle

 

Oh my goodness is this print darling! Peter Pan has always held a dear spot in my heart, so when I saw this Neverland print, I was smitten. And the soft pink color is perfect.
This sleeve is padded beautifully, and size is perfect for softcovers and hardcovers alike.
I like how the inside is lined with a soft purple fabric that compliments the outer print very well, and is gentle on the books it will keep safe!
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It looks and feels very durable, and it has been sewn very well. I definitely feel that I can trust this sleeve to protect my books and keep them snug while on the go! Not to mention, keep them looking even more fashionable. ;)
I really am extremely pleased with this book sleeve, and the Etsy shop itself! Beautiful, well-made items that I can recommend.

 

I have already  used it to protect my current read and love how it fits safely into my purse without bending the book. Book sleeves are a must have, in my opinion!

 

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And again, the print is absolutely darling. A great pair with the Peter Pan story. :)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books

“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

Happy Release Day to this book!! Mesu Andrews writes some great Biblical fiction – I am happy and honored to be on her team! <3

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“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews

Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers as apart of Mesu’s BFF launch team

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Of Fire and Lions

About the book:

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone? 
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

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My Thoughts:

 

This is an exquisitely told tale of…so much. To say it was only about one character, or one theme would be an error because so much was ensconced in this novel.

The story is told through the eyes of Abigail – or Belili as she is most often referred to – and Daniel, and spans across their lives from when they first met, when they felt lost to each other, and when they were reunited, and beyond.

It took me a bit to adjust to the time-jumping, but it was handled smoothly, and expressed the novel so well.

Belili had to endure a lot of heartache. As we learn her story, we are endeared to her and understand her pain, and her decisions. Time after time God gently reveals Himself to her, and that was a beautiful part of this story.

Daniel’s faith was spectacular, of course. And inspiring. To be faced with death for following Yahweh, and still remaining true to Him – it is encouraging to say the least. I thank God that we can still worship and pray to Him freely.

“Of Fire and Lions” really is such a full book that it almost seems impossible to cover everything and do the book justice. It was more than a pleasurable read, and I absolutely loved the faith shown throughout. Seeing the transformations at the end was just wonderful, and seeing God work – always amazing!

A beautiful Biblical Fiction piece from Mesu Andrews – I always look forward to more of her novels!

 

 

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Posted in 1940's, Books, Revell Reads

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2)

 

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Sunrise At Normandy series//WWII fiction

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.
Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

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My Thoughts:

 

Ah, you just cannot go wrong with a Sarah Sundin novel! She writes some of the best and most satisfying WWII that I have ever read. <3 “The Sky Above Us” was no exception! Beautifully written with fantastic messages and amazing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is so much depth and reality to this story, and the characters are so beautifully flawed that this easily becomes a five star read for me.  “The Sky Above Us” provided a true read with real struggles and still left me with such a happy feeling.
I loved the characters, as always. They are each so unique and just so…believable. I am continually amazed at each new release of Sarah Sundin’s. And waiting for the third book is going to be so hard! I love the Paxton brothers so much, and the heroines are amazing!!
I thought the journey Violet and Adler both were on spiritually was portrayed so well. The faith message was truly marvelous and deeply touching.
Also might I add that I really want a novella or something of Adler and Violet’s life after the last page?! That would be amazing <3
All in all, a fantastic read and I highly recommend this series!
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Books

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski ~ Book Review

 

Songbird and the Spy

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski

WWII fiction

I received an ecopy from the author for the purpose of this review

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy. 

Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his 
attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives, hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire. 

As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

Written for the General Market (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain content of an inspirational nature.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful and exciting tale this book turned out to be! Not once was there a dull moment, and the characters shined throughout it all. Danger abounded, as it most often does in the case of WWII novels – especially when behind enemy lines – and the plotline was definitely a captivating one!
I fell for each of the characters, and they made such an excellent fit. So sweet and endearing! And it ended so well too! I was getting a wee bit nervous there for just a second, but oh! It was reminiscent of one of the Anne of Green Gables movies, and just smashing.
As I mentioned, “The Songbird and the Spy” is an exciting novel. There is so much intrigue and thwarted plans happening that the reader is guaranteed a rather thrilling ride.
Clair is an American on her way to a music school in France, but of course plans change. Michael is a spy for the British nation, undercover as a German Captain. And he plays the role quite convincingly, I must say! His character really is marvelous though. Quite the hero – you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with him too. ;)
The writing itself was great – everything read so smoothly and tied together. As it is War, there was *some* graphic scenes but nothing that I found shocking at all. In fact, there was one particular instance where, while it was horrible, I was glad it happened because it was realistic. But I won’t give anything away.
This is a clean read, though not Christian, so there isn’t a spiritual thread or specific Christian content. And of course, me being me, I would’ve absolutely loved if this book had that element, but since it is not marketed as Christian Fiction, I am reviewing it as such. :)
Posted in Book reviews, Books

“Through a Glass Darkly” by Jack Lewis Baillot ~ Book Review

Before I jump into my review I want to say that I loved this book so much. Yes, I will say that again in my review, but I really mean it – it has stuck with me and I want to read it again already. ^.^  I had the privilege of reading a pre-released copy, meaning it is not yet published. But I very much hope that it will become published this year, as it is one I can’t wait to recommend to others!
As it isn’t published yet, there isn’t a proper cover for it. So with the author’s permission, I am using a MOCK cover I created for posting my review. It is not the final version or even one of the versions possible. Just some fun I had after reading. :) Anyway, on to the review!

 

 

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“Through a Glass Darkly” by Jack Lewis Baillot

Not yet published

Add it on GoodReads

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the book:
Adam Clark has just returned from the war in Iraq. He has come home to a family which has rejected him and wants nothing to do with him. He feels all he has left is the house his grandpa left him and the God he put his trust in. Dealing with PTSD because of what he experienced in the war, Adam sometimes wonders how he will get through each day.

India Lee struggles with PTSD for different reasons. Suffering trauma from her past, India is often scared to leave her house. Depressed and lonely, her only companion is her older brother Jared and her only occupation her little flower garden. She doesn’t trust her new neighbor anymore than she trusts anyone.

Then comes the day when Adam steps outside his own shell to help India. A small act of kindness changes their lives and sets them on a path which could bring them healing if only they are willing to open up and face their broken pasts and their present pain. Their battles are long and frightening, but both believe God can bring them through the darkness until they see the light face to face

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My thoughts:
How does one even begin to write a review for a book that is filled with so much heart, and emotion, and struggles. I won’t lie: it was a hard book to read. And yet, so much easier to devour than to set down. I read it every spare minute I had. And my heart broke for these characters, and for the story it tells of real life people too.
I loved this story. Not because it was happy and fluffy but because it is real, and beautiful, and hopeful. And it hurts. But I found it beautifully healing as well.
Characters India and Adam immediately became relatable for me. I instantly cared about their journey, their lives, and really everything about them. I wanted to hug them and possibly not let go (they wouldn’t like that, but….).
And I was so proud of them at many turns! They complimented each other so well. They were not perfect, but no one is, and I think that is one of the things that drew me to them so much. Because they were more than believable, they were entirely realistic. And I loved them for it.
India was amazing to me – with all she dealt with, she was still so brave. Same goes for Adam. Their courage, especially when facing their past was inspiring.
I really do have all the love for this book, and I hope it will be published with utmost haste. It made me tear up, feel everything they felt, and cheer them on.
I wasn’t ready for it to end – I thought I had a few more pages left, so that was sad. XD But it was an excellent ending, and so full of hope.
The struggles in this novel are so real, and I absolutely applaud the author for writing this with so much honesty, truth, bravery, and gentleness. It was so well written, and I was blessed by reading it. <3 One of my favorites for 2018!
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*Because of the heavy topics touched on in this novel, I would recommend for ages 16+, but that is just my personal age recommendation, and obviously also depends on where a person is at themselves.
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Posted in Books, lists, Random babblings, reading, update

It’s that time of the year //2018//

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Another year has somehow sped behind us! As I’m quite sure everyone with agree with and say themselves, it feels like we just welcomed 2018, but here we are at the close of it, 2019 on its heals.

As every year, 2018 has been full, with highs and lows, adventures and troubles, blessings and trials. And it has all grown us.  I praise God for all He’s taught me this year, even though it meant a lot of rough patches.

Life preceded over blogging this year…I had some good several months there where I did author interviews and character spotlights each month which was really loads of fun and I enjoyed it so much. But as the rest of the year continued, time slipped away and I wasn’t able to organize blog posts as well. Computer problems never help with blogging either, and we had our fair share of that this past year too.

 

Of the author interviews, there were 7 total:

 

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AI AM Heath

 

 

 

And 8 character introduction posts:

Willa Forsythe Haley HamptonWyatt Paxton Moriyah CILindsayH Megan Jacobs CI CI LettieLibby S CI CI Liz Cooke

 

 

 

 

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Books! What would a yearly wrap-up be without books? At least coming from me ;) At the beginning of 2018 I had hoped I’d be able to read 80 books, but knew that was probably a bit unrealistic, so I lowered it to 75. Then half the year went by and I realized I might not be able to make that goal either, so down to 70 it went. I didn’t want the goal to become a stresser, because reading is a very pleasurable thing, not a drag. I made that goal, and ended up making my previous goal too. I read a total of 77 books in 2018, equaling 20,293 pages, approximately. Goodreads kept track of it all for me, in addition to my book-notebook that I keep. If you wanted a more in-depth look at the books I read, you can check my goodreads wrap up here. :)

And as I always attempt to do, I have selected some of my favorite reads of 2018! That was a mighty hard task though, let me tell you. I love all de books. <3

And as last year, I have chosen my Top Twelve instead of ten or less, because that is just not realistic for me. ;) So without further ado…. My Top Twelve.

 

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Twelve beautiful books – And yes, I realize that there are only eleven in the picture. That would be because the 12th is an ebook :)  You can click on the titles below and they will lead you to my reviews of each one.

 

“The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers

“Thief of Corinth” by Tessa Afshar

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano

“Storm Front” by Susan May Warren

“The Heart Between Us” by Lindsay Harrel

“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan McPhearson

“If Only It Were Yesterday” by A.M. Heath

“Through a Glass Darkly” by Jack Lewis Baillot

 

 

Annnnd because I am who I am, I have made an Honorable Mentions List. AND a very short list for my favorite short stories of the year :)

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

“A Sparkle of Silver” by Liz Johnson

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White

“A Promise to Break” by Kathlyn Spurgeon

“Picking Daisy” by Valerie Howard

“Escape and Endurance” by Sarah Holman

“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette

“The Writing Desk” by Rachel Hauck

“The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright

 

 

Novella’s:

 

“Finding The Magic” by Jack Lewis Baillot

“Shot at Love” by Sarah Loudin Thomas

“A Heart So Tender” by Debra E. Marvin

 

 

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And that wraps up the year! Well, it wraps up this blog post. ;)  Happy New Year, readers!! And THANK YOU for being a follower of my blog. It really does bless my heart, and even though I’m rather bad at posting frequently, I do appreciate each and every one of you! <3