Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Castle of Refuge”by Melanie Dickerson – Review

Castle of Refuge (The Dericott Tales, #2)

“Castle of Refuge” by Melanie Dickerson

Book Two in the Dericott Tales Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 of out 5 Stars

About the Book:

Audrey is a viscount’s daughter who has suffered her sister Maris’s cruel, jealous behavior all her life. An act of malice led their father to send Maris to a convent, but Audrey was still left with scars. Three years later, Audrey’s father is determined to marry off his damaged daughter, and Maris is returning. Desperate, Audrey sneaks away.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, injured, and in dire straits. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, each must make a life-changing decision about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high-stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.

My Thoughts:

Second in the Dericott Tales, “Castle of Refuge” features familiar character, Edwin Dericott, and new character, Audrey. I loved this story, it was so delightful and the characters were endearing. Audrey was bubbly, and such a joyful personality despite the difficulties she faced at the hand of her sister.The plot moved along so well, and I was swept into the story immediately.

The faith aspect was well-developed, and the characters really did shine. The romance was so, so sweet too. I loved watching the relationship between Audrey and Edwin, and how tentative they both were. And also how well they worked together in harmony against the struggles they were facing. They both felt like they were too scarred to love, but it was great seeing how they each grew as individuals and as a couple.

An exciting, well-paced book, and I look forward to more of this series!!


*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Present Danger” by Elizabeth Goddard ~ Book Review

Present Danger (Rocky Mountain Courage, #1)

“Present Danger” by Elizabeth Goddard

Romantic Suspense

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He’s committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.

When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn–one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he’s failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.

Join bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard as she plunges you into a web of deceit made of hidden crimes, open threats, and long-buried family secrets in this gripping first book of an explosive new series. 

My Thoughts:

Every so often, I get a craving for a good suspense fiction title and this one certainly fit that bill! Present Danger was extremely well written, with lots of turns and twists you don’t see coming – especially at the end! I loved seeing how everything connected, and worked together. I hadn’t read any books by this author previously, but I am most excited to continue now.

The plot was superb, and the characters were really well constructed, and I enjoyed seeing how they progressed and grew throughout the novel.The pace of the novel was great, and every page left you ready to flip to the next without delay. It was exciting, dangerous, and compelling, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

The only thing that I would’ve liked to see more was the faith content – it was pretty weakly interspersed, not a major theme. The characters were shown crying out to God in prayer a couple times, but it wasn’t so much of an integral part of the story. Otherwise, as I said, this was an excellently written novel, and I recommend for fans of clean suspense! 

*I received a copy of the book from the publishers as apart of the launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Facing the Dawn” by Cynthia Ruchti ~ Book Review

Facing the Dawn

“Facing the Dawn” by Cynthia Ruchti

Women’s Fiction

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Mara Jacobs does her best to hold everything together, despite three detention-prone kids, an unrewarding job, never-ending chores, and a husband thousands of miles away. After a shocking loss, she must lean on those around her to find her way to healing and renewed faith.

My Thoughts:

This was definitely one of those books you experience, rather than so much as read. It’s hard to explain, and I’m not really certain how to write a review that could do the book justice. For the majority of the book, I would sum it up as being ‘sad’. And it is. But there is also light carefully woven into the threads of the novel, threads that grow stronger towards the end. Oh and the ending was utterly beautiful. That, I think, may have been my favorite part – those last two chapters.

Facing the Dawn is a very real, raw story. The grief experienced by Mara, and the other characters as well, was down right palpable. At times it was heavy, and you could absolutely feel the exhaustion it caused the characters.I wouldn’t have a hard time believing if each one of these characters were real people, the novel came across that realistic.

I loved Mara’s friends, Ashlee and Sol. They were amazing support for the entire Jacobs’ family. And I love how Ashlee constantly encouraged Mara to seek after God, even when it was hard.

I would give a “trigger warning” to those who need it that this book deals heavily with grief, suicide, miscarriage, and depression. It is handled well, but nonetheless, very real.I am impressed with how the book was written to be something you experience alongside the characters instead of just read about. It won’t be a book you quickly forget.There were a couple things that were either abrupt, or not addressed, but life throws those things at us frequently, so it didn’t feel too terribly out of line. I just would’ve liked to have seen a couple more things either talked out or resolved. 

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Reviews

“Shadows of the White City” by Jocelyn Green ~ Book Review

Shadows of the White City (The Windy City Saga, #2)

“Shadows of the White City” by Jocelyn Green

Book 2 in the Windy City Saga// Historical Fiction

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have–a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears–until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World’s Fair, and Sylvie’s world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose’s violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, they’re taken on a search that points to Rose’s long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong? 

My Thoughts:

Sylvie’s story is here at last! I have been looking forward to reading this story, and it did not disappoint. <3 I had a hard time with the first novel, mostly because of how Sylvie was treated, so I was so eager for her to have her own story, and it was such a good one. “Shadows of the White City” is a complex and artfully woven novel. It’s not one to rush through – the vivid details and wording of it all is sure to require your attention and paint the setting in your mind. Characters are always the best part of every story for me, so as you can imagine, that is where I spent the majority of my focus! This book takes place many years after the first novel, and Slyvie’s life hasn’t exactly turned out as she planned but she has cherished the pieces that she held on to, most dearly her adopted daughter, Rose. When Rose goes missing, Slyvie is confronted with more than just fear at losing her precious daughter – fear of losing everything that she has found her identity in. I loved seeing how Slyvie’s character grew throughout the story. She was such a strong character even at the beginning, but she grew even stronger throughout it, while still showing gentleness of spirit, and learning that it is perfectly good to rely on others at times too. We don’t need to be self-sufficient – and indeed, we are never really self-sufficient at all; God is our strength, and Slyvie learned this lesson for herself, learning how to let go and trust Him. It really was a beautiful message, and it played across the pages so naturally.Kristoff was the perfect gentleman! Truly a respectable and entirely loveable hero. He was never pushy or forceful, but always enduring, always loving – yet he had his own weaknesses certainly, and seeing his own journey progress alongside Slyvie’s was very enjoyable to be apart of. I truly enjoyed this book, and I think I can say it might just be my most favorite of the author’s works I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far. “Shadows of the White City” was beautifully written with fantastic characters, and a moving plot – a wonderful read for sure!!

*I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher for being on the launch team. I was not required to give a positive review.

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“Dreams of Savannah” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

“Dreams of Savannah” by Roseanna M White

Civil War Fiction

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 4.5 out 5 Stars

About The Book:

Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful dream around anything and is well used to winning the hearts of everyone in Savannah with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.

But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the first horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and cynical, and all too sure that he is not the hero Cordelia seems determined to make him. Matters of black and white don’t seem so simple anymore to Phin, and despite her best efforts, Delia’s smiles can’t erase all the complications in his life. And when Fort Pulaski falls and the future wavers, they both must decide where the dreams of a new America will take them, and if they will go together.

My Thoughts:

This novel isn’t quite the usual fair of what we’ve come to expect from author Roseanna M White – instead of set in England, “Dreams of Savannah” is set in the United States, during the tumultuous time that was the Civil War. I was curious to see how this new setting would read, and I was pleasantly drawn right in, just like every other White book I’ve had the pleasure of reading! The author’s writing style really is captivating, and it was easy for me to get lost in the story. The historical details were really well done, and I felt that the whole novel, from slavery, to the many other aspects of the war, were written with care and attention. I loved how Cordelia could spin a story from everything, and when she started realizing that every single person had a story of their own, her character shined even more. Phin was a dashing hero, and I loved how their relationship endured.Luther was one of the best characters for certain, and I was touched by how hard he followed after the Lord, and shared His care with others. All of the characters were given such care and details that their stories truly came to life. I thoroughly enjoyed Dreams of Savannah, and will definitely always read whatever this author writes! 

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publishers as apart of the launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews, Tessa Afshar

“Pearl in the Sand” 10th Anniversary Edition by Tessa Afshar – Review

“Pearl in the Sand” by Tessa Afshar

10th Anniversary Edition

Review copy through the publishers/author

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Can a Canaanite harlot who made her living enticing men be a fitting wife for a leader of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

This 10th anniversary edition of Pearl in the Sand includes new features that will invite you into the untold story of Rahab’s journey from lowly outcast to redeemed child of God. Rahab’s home is built into a wall, a wall that fortifies and protects the City of Jericho. However, other walls surround her too, walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness… Years of pain and betrayal have wounded Rahab’s heart—she doubts whether her dreams of experiencing true love will ever come true…

A woman with a wrecked past—a man of success, of faith… of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

My Thoughts:

How has it been ten years since this beautiful novel first released? I have such fond memories including Pearl in the Sand. I just happened upon it after it first came out, sitting on our library’s New Release shelf, and it was my first foray back into the world of Christian Romance after taking a break. I’m so glad I picked it up, and I devoured it that first time. It touched me so much, I got my own copy and read it again…and again…and here I am now, having the absolute delight of reading the new revised edition. This beautiful story touched me as much now as it did each of the previous reads of it.The author does such a brilliant job of telling Rahab’s story – her life as a harlot and what led up to that point is delicately told in a matter of the first few chapters. It is never explicit, or summed up with no meaning; it truly is handled with care and grace. Each of the characters are so realistic and so multidimensional. We are engulfed in their struggles right alongside them, and it is a joy to become a part of their journey.I love this novel so much. The message is so touching. It’s not just about Rahab and Salmone, it is about God’s pursuing, redeeming, and precious love for us. He woos us, and calls us worthy. I tear up every time I read Pearl in the Sand, because these truths are so wondrously told – it impacts me every time.The author’s note in this new edition also had me misty-eyed. She writes so from the heart, and that heart is so for the Lord that it translates vibrantly to the page.This will remain one of my favourite reads for ever, I am quite sure. I love how God uses it, and how the author allows the Lord to use her! <3

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Until I Met You” by Tari Faris ~ Book Review

Until I Met You (Restoring Heritage, #2)

“Until I Met You” by Tari faris

Book Two in Restoring Heritage Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

When she hears that the small town of Heritage, Michigan, is looking for a new librarian, Libby Kingsley jumps at the opportunity. Little did she know the library is barely more than a storage closet stuffed with dusty, outdated books. What the community really needs is a new building. But the only funds available are those being channeled into the new town square, and the landscape architect in charge of the project wants nothing to do with her plans.

All Austin Williams wants to do is get the town square project finished so he can do right by the family business and then extricate himself from the town that reveres the brother who cost him so much. But the local media and the town’s new librarian seem to be conspiring against him at every turn. Will the determined bookworm find her way into his blueprints–and possibly even his heart?

My Thoughts:

I love discovering new authors! This was my first book to read by Tari Faris, though it is the second in the series. I seem to have a habit for doing that…but I do plan on catching up on the first book soon as I can. :) “Until I Met You” tells the story of Libby and Austin, as well as Austin’s brother Nathan, and Libby’s roommate Olivia. I really enjoyed how the novel played out, displaying each character’s story with care and attention. It all read very smoothly, and I enjoyed my visit to their little town of Heritage. ^.^ 

While primarily a light hearted read, Until I Met You also contains a great message of the importance of God’s grace. That was lovely. I think this book stood well on its own, but I think reading them in order would be the best way to enjoy it, as there are return-characters. I like when books interconnect, even if I haven’t had the pleasure of catching up on the first book(s) XD

I liked all the characters, though I’ll admit Austin could frustrate me. I understood his struggle with forgiveness, and appreciated his journey to arrive at that point, but I just had a bit of a hard time with his anger sometimes. But again, we get to see him grow so that was nice.

All in all, a fun, sweet story. :)

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” by Bethany Turner ~ Review (and MBTI mention!)

 

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@vikinglady10

 

 

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner

RomCom: Releases Tuesday, May 5th (TODAY!!!)

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

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.
When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.
Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 
I don’t cook or bake. At least, I don’t particularly enjoy it. So one might ask, why are you reading a very Foodie Novel? And the answer to that, besides the fact that the story itself sounds amazing obviously, is because Bethany Turner wrote it. As soon as I read her debut novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, I was hooked on this author’s writing style. It is so unique, and fun, and witty. So of course I could not miss out on another book by her!
And of course, I utterly enjoyed this one too. Surprise! ;) The story plot was really good, and the characters fabulous. The dynamics were a joy to see played out, and seeing Max transform was especially nice. Hadley was a sweetheart of a character, and I could relate to her on many levels (except the cooking/baking… haha). Max was detestable at first, and I really wondered how we would grow to love him. But we did, we really did.
I will say that I wish there was a bit more emphasis on faith. It was very subtly present, and I still feel that the author was respectful of that, but I think Max’s transformation could have had a lot more ‘oomph’ had the emphasis been more on God’s tranformation in us.
Still, I vastly enjoyed this book, and I’m sad to see it’s over. That just means I have to wait AGAIN for another Bethany Turner book…and that is quite difficult.  I guess I will just have to appease myself with rereads of the authors three published novels so far. ;)
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I don’t actually know if I’ve mentioned here on my blog yet, but I’ve been studying personality types for a while now, and am in the middle of a series on my Instagram where I type characters from books and movies every Monday (God-willing, of course!). It’s been a lot of fun, and yesterday I typed Hadley and Max from this wonderful book! You can check that out on my Instagram – my username is @vikinglady10 . :)

 

Posted in Bethany House, Blades, Book reviews, reading, Reviews, Tomahawks

A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Book Review

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A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter

Haven Manor Book 3

Review copy from the publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Pursuit of Home (Haven Manor, #3)

About the book:

In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.
Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.
As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’m feeling very inadequate to write this review. I just can’t believe this series is over, and that this particular story is over. I didn’t want it to end! Still don’t, but I suppose I must come to terms with that fact at some point.Readers of the Haven Manor series have been anticipating Jess’ story for quite some time. And oh goodness did it satisfy!! Right from page one of “A Pursuit of Home”, I was drawn into the story, and became even more entwined withe the characters. It was so nice (and sad too) to finally understand Jess and her past. Her snarky character really is marvelous, by the way. Every hardship only made her stronger and more resilient, and I just love her sarcasm. And Derek! Oh my word, was he fantastic too. The banter held between these two was beyond exemplary. I laughed numerous times, and I just loved their chemistry. A sentence that had me grinning:
“Unless you’ve an axe for me to use, I can’t go any farther,” Derek whispered. “And I feel I should warn you, before you produce an axe from some random corner of your person, I haven’t the ability to chop wood silently.”
At first, Derek irritated Jess, and that made for some very humorous situations. Jess was used to being hardened, and the thought of actually caring terrified her. And sometimes I could understand this. “This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying”  – I get that. ^.^ Truly, I was just very impressed with the characters as a whole. Beautifully done!The plot was exciting, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded. The mystery, the journeys, the danger, and the growth in each character – it was all just marvelous and I felt right at home within the pages. I also loved the knife-throwing aspect. That was extremely fun as knife-throwing is one of my hobbies  – and I was just flabbergasted to read the acknowledgements and find my name listed there. THANK YOU Kristi Ann Hunter! Being able to share info about knife-throwing was a delight and having my name in the acknowledgements an extreme honor. I’ve been squealing over it for days! :)But yes, in conclusion, this book is amazing, it never disappointed, and I adore these characters. I loved this book so much and am truly sad to see it end. But what an ending it was. I highly recommend this fabulous series! <3

 

 

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Quotes:

 

“The problem with inevitability was that no matter how much effort one put into avoiding them, they still happened.”

 

“Derek loved the scent of books. Paper, ink, leather, and dust created an aroma that always made him feel at home.”

 

“Interesting thing about opinions. They tend to vary from person to person. If they didn’t, they would be facts.”

“This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying” — I feel ya Jess.

 

“God had given the sacrifice she needed, not the one she’d asked for. That was the sacrifice love demanded. It wasn’t sacrificing to make someone else happy; it was sacrificing to provide what they needed.”

 

 

 

**I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.  

Posted in Reviews

Book Sleeve Review – Lulu Book Design//Minnie and Mickey Mouse print

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LuLu Book Designs Book Sleeve, Minnie and Mickey design

 

 

 

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I had the extreme privilege of receiving this Minnie and Mickey Mouse pattern book sleeve from LuLu Book Designs for review! So without further ado, here are my thoughts about this sleeve:

First off, it is so adorable! I may be in my twenties, but I have a major soft spot for Minnie and Mickey Mouse. :) Minnie was always my favorite when I was younger, and I have many Minnie Mouse themed items. Which was one of the reasons I was so excited to add this to my collection. The print really is just darling – the different travel themed Minnies and Mickeys …so cute! And it is exceptionally well made! The padding is thick and strong, without being too stiff, and it is super durable. I’ve been using it a lot since I got it, and I can say that I am so pleased with it! The quality really is excellent. And I love the inside fabric being such a cheery yellow – it really brings the whole sleeve together!

I definitely recommend LuLu Book Design sleeves – they are gorgeous, well made, and affordable too!

Very thankful to add this beautiful sleeve to my collection. :)

 

 

 

Disney Inspired Book Sleeve  Book Lover Gift  Tablet and image 0
(this photo is taken from the etsy listing)

 

 

 

 

(I share more pictures on my instagram – @vikinglady10)