Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse, reading, Reviews

Litfuse Book Review: “The Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson

“The Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
Part of the Fairy Tale Romance Series
Review copy source: Litfuse
My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

My Thoughts:
Such a lovely book!! It was a great retelling of the fairy tale, Rapunzel. I really really love how Mrs. Dickerson doesn’t have any magic or anything in her books.
This book was excellent, and I loved every page of it. It was exciting, and fun, and the scenery was delightful! It’s related closely to “The Princess Spy”, and sometimes that got a little confusing for me, because I hadn’t read that one in quite a while – but even so, it didn’t cause problems with this book. You can easily read “The Golden Braid” as a stand-alone. There are just ties to “The Princess Spy” – characters, setting, and such. I like when authors do that; it adds some fun!
Rapunzel was a fantastic character, and the whole story was just portrayed perfectly! Gothel was really well written. And I loved Sir Gerek. Who couldn’t? :)
The faith strand was pretty good, too. I really loved that Sir Gerek received instruction from the Lord. It gave me goosebumps. :)
Oh and I really adored what Lady Rose said about how only God can truly fulfil our every desire – not a man. And yet she said it with the conviction of still needing a man – yeah, it was really good!
Even though I know the story of Rapunzel, scenes in this book came as a delightful surprise! I really loved it. And her being able to knife-throw was quite nice. :D It wasn’t as prominent to the story as I thought it might be, but it was still good.
All in all, I loved “The Golden Braid” and am looking forward to reading more from the author!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “A Respectable Actress” by Dorothy Love

“A Respectable Actress” by Dorothy Love

Historical Mystery Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

 

My Thoughts:

I was pretty pleasantly surprised with this book. It would’ve gotten a big higher rating had it had a fantastic faith-strand, but that was sadly missing. However, the mystery and suspense of this book was gripping. It wasn’t creepy, or dark at all, and the feel of it was lovely, truly. I really liked the character India and Philip, as well as Amelia, and a several others.  The historical aspect was rich and yet it didn’t bog the book down at all, which I really appreciate. It really was a rather beautiful book.

The setting was intriguing, and well described so that I could picture it well. There were some interesting twists, and this book kept my attention quite well!

This quote made me happy:

“Anybody who collects books can’t be all bad” – Phillip Sinclair, A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

So true. :D

The romance was a little too fast, and as usual, the kissing was too soon, and before marriage. That was a shame.

To be honest, I’m not sure what else to say about this book. I enjoyed it, and would have enjoyed it a great deal more if God had been involved. That was really the only disappointing fact. I think with a great godly-theme, this book would be amazing!

I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Irish Meadows” by Susan Anne Mason

 

 

 

(Click image above to go to its Amazon page)

“Irish Meadows” by Susan Anne Mason

Book One in the Courage to Dream series

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 2.5 stars

 

About the book:

1911, Long Island, New York

Faced With an Uncertain Future, Sometimes
All You Have Left Is the Courage to Dream

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm,Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.

As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

 

My thoughts:

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the tale, on the other hand, there were quite a few things that filled me with concern.

One of those such issues was the amount of kissing. Seriously, there was a vast amount and it really, really disappointed and rather disturbed me. It  gives the impression that kisses are no big deal – everyone kisses, so why not? But this is so wrong! A kiss is so special, sacred – something to save and cherish for our husbands -or wives in guys’ case. (I also want to make note that I’m not condemning those who have already given away their first kiss. But I do encourage you to dedicate any more of your kisses for your future husband/wife. God can create something beautiful if only we let Him!)

Another point of issue was how Brianna yearned for approval for her father for so long – and in the end, received it. The first part is believable – many children yearn for their father’s approval and love. But not all get it. Even so, I was hoping that, with this particular matter, it would be brought to light how important it is that we know we never need to seek God’s approval because He loves us unconditionally. No matter what. So I was hoping for that contrast, that lesson. It’s of course great that her father softened in the end, but it seemed as though her father’s approval was enough. And not everyone has that situation and it’s so critical to know that God is there even when our earthly father’s are not. We need to know that no matter what, God’s love is enough. In all circumstances.

The faith in this book was, in short, concerning. I felt like there were little moments of truth, but then they would be overshadowed by inconsistencies and untruth. I was troubled by the fact that in the book the characters sought absolution and forgiveness only from the priests – they didn’t go straight to God. My belief is we can go directly to God for forgiveness of our sins, or at least do both because I fear that otherwise God is left out of it all.  Many people say we don’t hear from God anymore or that how do we know we are forgiven unless a person tells us, but if we have a repentant heart, ask for forgiveness in true humbleness, God does forgive us, plain and simple. And I know for a fact that He still speaks to us today!  We need only listen with an open heart.   I was also uncomfortable with the fact that often the priest was compared to God. There was an instance where one of the characters was confessing to the priest, and the priest said “You’ve confessed to God and asked for His forgiveness, now accept His forgiveness” – but the character never actually prayed that to God. He only talked to the priest. I wanted to see more of the interactive relationship between character and our Lord. Another unsettling point was the fact that the girls, Colleen and Brianna, compared God to their father at one point, trying to say that God was in control. He is, I whole-heartedly believe that. But they compared it to their father, who at that stage, was very angry, demeaning and controlling, while God is loving and gentle all the time.  I know everyone has their own belief system and I am not trying to get into a debate with anyone! If you don’t agree, that is fine – we are all on our own journey and where we are at. (I am who I am by the grace of God.  1Cor)

I did like the romance story between Colleen and her beau and Brianna and hers, besides the kissing. I loved seeing Colleen’s character really grow and mature more. And the orphanage bits were really sweet too. As I said, there were things I enjoyed and things I didn’t care for. I liked the story and the writing style, I just wish there could’ve been some…alterations to the book. Brianna and Gilbert’s character was really strong in the beginning, which was nice. How they handled their relationship towards the end didn’t particularly sit well with me, but I won’t go into that.

My favourite character at first was Brianna, but it slowly changed to Colleen and Rylan, and also sweet little Delia. Their stories were sweet and I really like how they came together and ended. :)

 

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

 

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Books, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

 

(Click image to go directly to book on Amazon)

 

Through Waters Deep” by Sarah Sundin

#1 in Waves of Freedom Series

WWII Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book – so excited! :D After reading “A Distant Melody” by Sarah Sundin, I was quite hooked on her writing. And “Through Waters Deep” didn’t disappoint. While it didn’t top “A Distant Melody” for me (not much can! Hehe), it was still very satisfactory.

I loved the main characters, Mary and Jim. I related to Mary in her quiet, calm manner, and felt deeply for her in her struggles. And Jim was a dashing hero. ;) He had his own struggles too, and I appreciate that he and Mary shared their struggles and burdens with each-other, each growing in the Lord as well.

There were some great side characters – I’m really looking forward to the next book involving Arch and Lillian! Yay! Mary and Jim will remain my favourites, but I know they will run a close second. However, I did not care for Quintessa at all. She bugged me and I felt like Mary saw herself too indebted to her – it wasn’t an even-sided friendship, if that makes sense. Though, I am expecting Quintessa to have a more favourable story in the third book of this series. :)

The plot was engaging and the mystery gripping! I must say, I was pleased to find out the one I suspected was the culprit in the end! =D Following mystery stories are fun, and I was relieved that this was a ‘clean’ one, without murders, etc. as many mysteries are.

There were several ‘happy’ parts in this book that just made me melt with happiness. :D So many sweet parts and feelings. That being said, I think there were more ‘turmoil’ parts than necessary…I know many like the riveting, edge-of-your-seat plots, and while this was that in a good way definitely, it also had some frustrating parts that I could’ve done without. ^.^ But at least it all ends happily and how we want!! I do like having that guarantee in stories.

The faith strand was there, and I was glad for that. I loved the theme of Nehemiah to it, and how Jim and Mary relied on God for their strength! Very cool. I loved that they each prayed beforehand about things instead of charging forward. A good reminder for all of us, myself definitely included!

I was impressed with how thorough Sarah Sundin’s research was and how lovely it was displayed in this book. Very authentic and still easy-to-read. I appreciate that! I also appreciate that there weren’t too many ‘battle intensive’ parts – it was handled with great care, and I liked that. I get very emotionally invested in books, and so it’s nice not to get pulled too far down when the scenes get overwhelming; thankfully, as I said, this book wasn’t that way. It was perfect in that aspect.

There is so much I could say about this book – the setting, the themes, the interactions. But I’m afraid my review would be quite lengthy! :)

All in all, I enjoyed this read for sure! Looking forward to more. :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse and the Publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

 

Sarah Sundin through waters deep image

 

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Side by Side” by Jana Kelley

http://www.amazon.com/Side-Jana-Kelley/dp/1596694300/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1430227207&sr=1-1

 

“Side by Side” by Jana Kelley

Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About:

About the book:
Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1DPUKiO

 

My thoughts:

I was very impressed by this book. I love missionary fiction type books, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one – it was all excellent though! So deep and inspiring, and heart-tugging all at the same time.

Jana Kelley writes beautifully, talentedly, and very realistically. As the cover says: “inspired by real-life events” – Mrs. Kelley shares about the truths of it all. Life, especially as a follower of Christ, is hard in Sudan – in many places really. This book gives a real-life glimpse into such trials. But oh how encouraging it is! Real people really living for the Real Jesus.

I loved all the characters. The struggles Mia (the American) faced were very realistic. Getting to see even a tiny glimpse into the life and customs of those in Sudan was interesting.  And seeing the sacrifices one of the main characters made for Jesus was so inspiring and awing.

To be honest, this book is a hard one to review, but only because it was so good and so full. It’s one of those books. I highly recommend it to others. =)

I really loved “Side by Side”, and it really impacted me. I know it won’t be one I will soon forget!

 

About the author:

Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find Jana online:website, Facebook, Twitter

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

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “How to Catch a Prince” by Rachel Hauck

http://www.amazon.com/How-Catch-Prince-Royal-Wedding/dp/0310315549/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424569418&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+catch+a+prince+rachel+hauck

 

“How to Catch a Prince” by Rachel Hauck, #3 in The Royal Wedding Series

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

Behind him, beside him, before him, the synchronized cathedral bells began to ring out.

One, two, three . . .

Then she said it first. The words his heart burst to share. “I love you, Stephen. You are my true prince.”

An American heiress and a crown prince seem destined to be together. Will the devastation of war keep them apart forever?

American heiress Corina Del Rey caught her prince once. But the tragedy of war kept her too long in a fog of grief. Now she’s shifting her life forward, reigniting her career as a journalist. Still, nothing can relieve her of the secret and the love she carries in her soul.

Prince Stephen of Brighton is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors and a star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life. His days in Afghanistan with the Royal Air Command will mark him forever. And he can’t shake their dark shadow.

But when his brother, King Nathaniel, confronts him with a document the prince thought long buried and forgotten, Stephen is forced to face the pain of his past and the love he left behind.

With a little heavenly help, Prince Stephen and Corina embark on a journey of truth. But when the secrets are revealed, can they overcome, move forward, and find love again? 

My Review:

What a cute modern fairy-tale. Truly, I enjoyed it. At first I was expecting it to be much like most contemporary romances which isn’t necessarily bad, but this one was so unique and very special! Oftentimes, I felt like I was actually there. And I’d go to talk about the characters as if they’re real…that’s always fun to find in a book. :)

This was my first book of Rachel Hauck’s to read (despite the fact that it is the third in a series), and it won’t be my last. I really liked and appreciated her writing style. And oh, how she wove God into it, and His plan in our lives was magnificent! It was done really well, and many parts had me moved to tears, especially the end. To surrender means to gain all. How beautiful is that!

There were one or two things that I didn’t care for – nothing too horrendous, just that there were a couple of ‘marriage comments’ that made it a little uncomfortable to me, but other than that, I have no complaints for this book!

I, of course, loved main characters Corina and Prince Stephan, but I also loved Adelaide and Brill, as well as King Nathaniel and his wife, and Prince Stephen’s “guard”, Thomas. All enjoyable characters. :)

There was so much depth and growth in it too. Everything I like to see in a book. :)

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, from the publishers through Litfuse.

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Beyond all Dreams” by Elizabeth Camden

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764211757/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

 

“Beyond All Dreams” by Elizabeth Camden

Historical Christian Romance

Review copy from Litfuse

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.

 

About the book:

Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. It was such an enjoyable read, one that wasn’t quick to leave your mind. To me, it seemed like such a comfortable book – you know, one you just love visiting in. It brought warmth, and was well-written, the characters love-able. I instantly loved the main character, Anna. And that she was quiet, reserved and worked in a map library! What’s not to like? For me, at least. =) I could relate to her very well, and Luke was a strong character as well. He had his broken-ness, but we all do, and that showed well through this book. I think a bit more God could’ve been involved in this book, but otherwise it was good. One quote I liked:

“He (Luke) loathed telephones, which he saw as annoying and soulless machines. Talking to someone you couldn’t see was awkward and impersonal, whereas letters gave him the luxury of choosing the perfect phrase to communicate exactly how he felt.” (Chapter 2, page 29) – my sentiments shared, Luke. XD

It was my first book to read of Elizabeth Camden’s but now I do wish to read more of hers, as I really like her writing style. The plot was handled very well, and so engaging too, with somewhat of a mystery. I loved that.

One of the very few things I wasn’t fond of was a weird reference to bonfires being pagan (which I understand – that’s not what bothered me), and the fact that Luke was against it at first because it was pagan (and the whole scene indeed felt very pagan-like). But then he didn’t say anything about it and actually enjoyed it…that was the weird part. I was expecting him to stand up against it, for his beliefs, but it didn’t go that way. So then I wondered why it was even brought up – if the author knew something was pagan, why make it to be okay and even enjoyed? That just confused me.

Other than that though, I don’t think there were many things I didn’t like.

One other quote I liked and wrote done was this one:

“Mr. Callahan, you must learn to accept who you are. You’re both a saint and a sinner. Beautiful, but broken. Aren’t we all?” (Chapter 8, pg. 124)

When I think about this book, I think of the brokenness of us all, and how sometimes that is really okay, because it means God can work on us. And we all need that – we all need His healing, Him.

All in all, I found “Beyond all Dreams” to be such a pleasant read, one worth revisiting. :)

 

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity group in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Chuck Black, Litfuse, Pictures, Reviews, update

Book I read during 2014

Another year is coming to a close. Seems so soon, doesn’t it?

This past year I’ve been able to read quite a few lovely books! In fact, I’ve read over 50 this year, which is a new record for me. :) I thought I would share what books I read this year, and which ones absolutely touched me and remain on my ‘favourite’ list!

 

The Headmistress of Rosemere (Whispers on the Moors, #2) Shadowed by Grace (Story of Monuments Men #1) God's Daughter (Vikings of the New World Saga, #1) Solomon's Song The Quilted Heart Omnibus (Quilted Hearts #1-3) The Thief (The Living Water Series, #2) The Well (The Living Water Series, #1) October Baby The Queen's Handmaid Visible Threat (Critical Pursuit, #2) Mary Magdalene A Sensible Arrangement (Lone Star Brides, #1) Grace Unplugged Pearl in the Sand For Such a Time Abraham And Sarah: The Long Journey 30 Days to a More Beautiful You: A Devotional for Girls Daisies Are Forever The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing Miranda Warning (A Murder in the Mountains, #1) Raptor 6 (Quiet Professionals #1) The House of Mercy A Broken Kind of Beautiful The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking Rebekah's Treasure In the Field of Grace A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South A Bride for Keeps (Unexpected Brides, #1) A Distant Melody  (Wings of Glory, #1) Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless (Secrets, #1) A Bride in Store (Unexpected Brides #2) Kingdom's Dawn (Kingdom, #1) A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory, #2) Kingdom's Hope (Kingdom, #2) Kingdom's Edge (Kingdom, #3) Thief of Glory Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II Love Amid The Ashes (Treasure Of His Love) Sew, It's a Quest (The Bookania Quests #1) The Crown of Anavrea Finally and Forever (Katie Weldon, #4) The Silver Bowl (Silver Bowl, #1) Destiny Defied The Princess Spy Destiny Delivered And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity Shades of Mercy (Maine Chronicle, #1) How to Be a Pirate (How to Train Your Dragon, #2) Swept Away (Quilts of Love)  Bella at Midnight Dash and Cinder  Ransomed At Home in Last Chance (A Place to Call Home, #3)  (If you click on the image of each book, they will lead to my review of it, if applicable. The last one “At Home in Last Chance” will be reviewed in January).

 

So that is it – or at least most of them. These are the ones I added on Goodreads (and the images are from that site as well); there were a couple others that I read, but forgot to add to GR…

As some of you may remember, a good percent of these were review books. I liked more than half of the books I read, which is always a good thing! As for my favourites, it is really hard to choose, and the list might be too long, so I will try to keep it short and list one the ones that I super loved (in no order):

“God’s Daughter” by Heather Day Gilbert

“The Well” and “The Thief” by Stephanie Landsem

“Visible Threat” by Janice Cantor

“Pearl in the Sand” (though I’ve read it numerous times before), and “In the Field of Grace” by Tessa Afshar

“For Such a Time” by Kate Breslin

“Daisies are Forever” by Liz Tolsma

“The Cross Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney (oh my word was this amazing!! Everyone should read this)

“The House of Mercy” by Alicia R. Ruggieri

“A Broken Kind of Beautiful” by Katie Ganshert

“A Distant Melody” and “A Memory Between Us” by Sarah Sundin

“Kingdom’s Dawn”, “Kingdom’s Hope”, and “Kingdom’s Edge” by Chuck Black

“Love  Amid the Ashes” by Mesu Andrews

“The Crown of Anavrea” by Rachel Rossano

“Destiny Defied” and “Destiny Delivered” by J.A. Marx

“Ransomed” By Elizabeth Ender

Like I said, there were many!! I truly adored each of these books and they made huge impacts on my life. :)

So, what books did you read this past year, and which made it to your favourites? I’d love to hear!

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Swept Away” by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven – A Quilts of Love book

“Swept Away” by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven, a Quilts of Love Book

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

My Thoughts:

I had never read any of the Quilt’s of Love books, and when one came available through Litfuse, I thought I’d give it a try. And while I’m glad I did, I think I would’ve enjoyed a different one more so.

Though I don’t think it is the series’ fault, I did not care for this book at all. I was actually very disappointed, and disgusted, even, in a few areas. The story itself could’ve been good, and one I wouldn’t have thought twice about, but there was much that I found just inappropriate to be in a “Christian” book.

The main two things that I was disgusted with were:

The main female character was doing the chasing, and dressing provocatively on purpose – causing Drew to stumble, but this was all shown in a ‘good light’. I will not go into details, but please believe me when I say those sections were very inappropriate, and I would not recommend this book to any young readers, especially. I don’t actually recommend this book at all, because I do not feel it was God-honouring, but it is especially not for young readers. If this were just a ‘secular’ book with no claims on Christianity, fine (sad, but fine).  But to have the idea that a Christian person can read this and be uplifted and possibly even learn, is not going to happen. Instead, I’m afraid it’s teaching unChristian behaviour (causing anyone who reads it to stumble).  people that read it might believe it is perfectly okay to seduce men by unbuttoning buttons, etc.  It’s not!   Or think it’s okay to be with a man before marriage, which is exactly what Christian books should be training others not to do.  We are to be set apart -not to look and act or behave as the world behaves.  I see little to no difference in the way these characters behave than any other ‘worldly’ person.  And to me, personally, that is not a “Christian” book.

Second was how the women were ‘strong-headed’ and bossy, and even said that, in the grandma’s case, the husband let her run the house and didn’t stand up to her – this is not godly. God does not ask the woman to run the house – instead, He instructs the wives to be submissive. This does not mean the man should walk upon her, but it means equal respect, and letting the man be the head of the house as God designed.

I was disappointed with the lack of faith displayed among the characters. It seems like it was just thrown in at the end. Drew’s testimony, given on page 167, was great, but the book was not centered around that fact, nor gave much evidence that he was much changed because of Christ. “You will know them by their fruits” – in this book, I did not see this from either, even after they were both saved.

I do realize that many people reading this review will disagree because these are the standards that the world accepts.   However, I do believe that Christians should hold quite different standards and their books should reflect that.

I don’t want this to be a completely negative review; the writing style was fine, and were it not for the inappropriateness, and lack of faith, it would’ve been an enjoyable read. And by this one book, I am not turned away from the Quilt’s of Love series – I would still consider reading more in this series, as they are all different and by different authors. Also, one thing I did like about this book was the quilt aspect – I’ve never been a quilter, but reading about the story behind the quilt being made was neat, and I enjoyed that.

 

Litfuse and the publishers sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion, which I have given. All thoughts are strictly my own.