Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

Like Flames in the Night

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette

Cities of Refuge #4//Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.
Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.
When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Thoughts:

 

And just like that, this lovely series comes to an end. “Like Flames in the Night” is the fourth and final book in the Cities of Refuge series. It was a very good ending, but I am sad to see it all wrapped up and completed. In the best of ways of course. :) These characters have all become so familiar and loved. <3

Tirzah is the central character in this beautiful novel. She is spirited, strong, and quick-witted. She convinces her brother to allow her to be a spy in their work to recover the Land, and she does a good job at it.

Liyam is also a strong character, bent on avenging his daughter’s dealth. For much time that is all he can think of, and understandably so. His journey of change was probably my favorite. He was really rough, and turned toward anger, but his character arc was really well done, and I loved seeing how it was all resolved at the end.

Sometimes, I will admit, that Tirzah’s character got on my nerves. She had moments of being overly strong-willed, and prideful. But I liked how she softened a little at the end.

I really loved the epilogue – how that all wrapped up, and tied everything together. It was so sweet. And can’t leave this off without mentioning how much I adore the cover of this book – it’s stunning. :)

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of the Launch Team. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green ~ Book Review

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“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green

Releases February 4th

The Windy City Sage Book One

Review copy from the author/publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

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(Thank you to the author for sending the amazing prints and ash confetti!<3)

 

My Thoughts:

 
I must admit I have some conflicted feelings regarding this book. It is brilliantly written, and I definitely enjoyed the story, but there was an aspect that…well, I guess it was a trigger for me, and therefore how it ended was a bit of a wound to me.
I couldn’t deeply connect with main character Meg. Going into the story, I assumed that this story would be equally shared between the two sisters, and gravitated more towards Sylvie. Though her story was more of a side story, and I struggled with some of the ways she was treated.
Before I go on to explain some of what triggered me, I do want to preface it with saying how beautifully the author writes. This novel is gorgeous, and the story told vibrant and captivating. I still consider it a good read, worth my time, and I look forward to reading the following books in this series. The history was portrayed wonderfully, and the tragedy real.
As I don’t wish to spoil the book for anyone, I will warn that you may want to wait on reading the rest of this review until you have read the book for yourself. So, with that being said….
I really liked Sylvie. I really liked the relationship that blossomed between her and Jasper. It felt like throughout the novel though, that her feelings and her personal journey were not very well respected by the main character and supporting characters. It was really all about Meg and her end happiness. I know we are to root for the main character, but I couldn’t help but feel triggered by the fact that Sylvie was so often not given a voice or validated in any of her feelings. So yes, this ended up being a trigger for me but that doesn’t mean it will be for anyone else.
I have hopes that the next book in this story will be about Sylvie. However, I confess I still feel sorrow that she couldn’t have the ending she wanted in this book.
Again, my feelings will not reflect everyone’s, and as I also said this author is an excellent writer so her books are definitely worth the read!
Quotes:
“Sylvie rarely won a argument with Meg. She didn’t even like to disagree with her, preferring all the conflict in her life to be contained within the pages of books, where it was resolved by the last chapter…”
“But if she’d learned anything during the last several years, it was that the body repaired itself far easier than the spirit.”
“What a mercy that God was not limited by that which limited her. What a grace that His power and presence remained, regardless of whether she felt close to them. She must trust Him for what she could not see. Wasn’t that the essence of faith? Her hands were bound. His were not.”
“We will thank God as soon as we can.”
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers; all thoughts expressed are entirely my own.
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 Bethany House, blog tour, Book reviews

“Until The Mountains Fall” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

 

“Until the Mountains Fall” by Connilyn Cossette

Cities of Refuge series #3//Biblical Fiction

Review copy through the publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

My Thoughts:

 

I have loved every one of this author’s novels, and this one was no exception!
“Until the Mountains Fall” is a beautiful story representing the parable of the Prodigal Son.
I will be honest, I didn’t like main character Rivkah in the beginning. She was selfish and rough, and rude. I was worried her character would alter little, and she’d still be one of those “so strong woman who doesn’t need any man at all ever. end of story.” But her story…her character arc was amazing. Truly, she grew and changed so much, it was beautiful and humbling. And happened so naturally. I’m not saying her character needed to change, but her attitude did, and wow. The result was well done.
Malakhi – he was amazing. A bit gruff for a while there but he did have reason to be. His personal journey was fantastic too, and how this whole story wove together was lovely. The redemption…the sacrifice…the love. Rivkah’s father was one of my favorite characters of this story. His devotion to his daughter was just astounding, and there was a scene at the end that had me crying. It was a truly beautiful representation of Jesus welcoming us back, accepting us, forgiving us, loving us.
The faith wasn’t so much spoken as it was shown in the undertones ~ the allegorical message to it was the heart of it.
This book spanned over several years and covered a lot. It was all done so well. And my heart was so involved. Another captivating read by the author!
“Our family was built atop the ruins of tragedy, Rivkah, each brick fashioned from mercy. You will find no stones in their palms.”
“There is nothing you have done or will do that will ever erase the love I have for you. It is enough that you have returned to me.”
Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White ~ Book Review

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“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White

Book #1 of The Codebreakers // Historical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Another amazing book by Roseanna M White to add to my favorites list! Everytime I think I can name my favorite book by this author, I read her newest and change my mind. ^.^ They are all so very good! And “The Number of Love” is no exception. What a marvelous story! I was captivated from page one, and immediately fell in love with the characters. They were so very vivid in this book. And seeing a couple other characters whom I recognized from previous White books – what a fun treat. :)
Margot is such a fascinating character. I loved her so much, and Drake too! Another major favorite was Drake’s sister Dot. I could relate to her in many ways, and wish she had her own full-length novel! :D She was lovely.
One of my favorite things about this book (and there were many!) was Margot’s relationship with God. Throughout the book, faith wasn’t just a religion interwoven through the pages – it was relationship displayed through the characters hearts. And Margot’s relationship with God was so real, and present, and personable, right down to the very struggles that she thought hindered that relationship at times. It was just remarkably well-written, and so beautifully real. I really appreciated that.
One thought at the end that I had…I would have liked to have seen Margot also realize that sometimes God does ask us to sacrifice our own dreams – but that He gives us new ones that are so much better. I think this was touched on a bit, and I am still very happy with the ending how it was (it was very sweet and beautiful!), but this was just an added thought I had, knowing that God does often ask this of us.:)
The whole book was beautifully written, truly. The plot was amazing and detailed, and so interesting, and the characters, as stated, absolutely marvelous. I loved “The Number of Love” so very much – it definitely is a favorite of mine already!
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**I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 
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“He always spoke. Always. And she listened, because God was smarter than she was – the only being about whom she could say that with certainty. She didn’t always understand His ways, but she’d learned to trust them.” 
“It doesn’t heal. We’re never restored fully, whole again, after we lose someone. We must learn to go on with the pieces missing.” 
“Sometimes running away does speak to courage instead of fear. To wisdom. Sometimes running away is necessary. Though I certainly hope not in this case.”
“Sometimes God let people die. Let His children break. And then pieced them back together into something new. Something that He could use for His glory instead of theirs.” 
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Curse of Misty Wayfair” by Jaime Jo Wright ~ Book Review

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“The Curse of Misty Wayfair” by Jaime Jo Wright

Duel-Timeline Novel

Review copy through the publishers/author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Goodness. Gracious. I’m quite sure that I resembled a wide-eyed owl upon completing this book! Just when I thought I had figured it out, I was wrong, and there was a different twist! And that brings me to how impressed I am with the authors writing ability. Like…how?..! This book and its plot is SO intricate and so detailed and complex, and yet it all weaves together so brilliantly and flawlessly – both the historical story and the present day story.
The characters themselves are each complex as well.  Historical heroine, Thea Reed, has lived her life as an orphan, not knowing her real parents. Her journey to find her identity is captivating, to say the least. Present day heroine, Heidi Lane is on the path to find her identity too, though in a different way. Having grown up in a Christian family, she still felt like a misfit. There was a theme and even a quote in the present day story that made me relate well to Heidi. The quote said: “But, Heidi had to admit, it was nice to finally be heard.”
I felt that this was actually a timely thing for me, and agree with that – it is nice to be heard, to know that there are others who are willing to listen and make us feel validated.
The overarcing theme of our identity and where it is truly found was beautiful. It unfolded at a good pace, and is a very lovely reminder.
I can’t continue without at least mentioning some of the other characters though, such as Simeon (past timeline), Rhett (present day), Connie (present day), and Emma (present day). Simeon is a sweetheart; felt for him immediately. Rhett could be a bit annoying at first (Heidi thought so too, so I’m not alone!), but I grew to love his character. Connie (Rhett’s mother) was amazing, and I adored her daughter (Rhett’s sister) Emma. <3 All amazing characters woven together.
And I loved both storylines pretty equally. Not sure I had a favorite…I love historical stories, but the present-day one was just as good!
There are many creepy things that occur in this novel that might give you a few shivers. I don’t generally take delight in reading eerie novels, but I know I am in for an enjoyable – and impressive – ride when I pick up one of Jaime Jo Wright’s books. As I said, her plotlines are just amazing, and nothing is as it seems until the very end. With each book, I’ve been a little more flabbergasted at how it all comes together.
But do prepare yourself….while things indeed aren’t what they seem, those things and events can still be a bit creepy. ;) Definitely worth the read, though! Thoroughly enjoyed “The Curse of Misty Wayfair”!

 

 

 

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter – Book Review

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, #1)

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Haven Manor Book #1

Review copy through publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was such a good book! On one hand, I’m sad it took me so long to read (due to life…), but on the other hand, that meant I was able to stay in its pages that much longer! And while I knew I had to eventually move on to another book, I was reluctant to leave the story.
The plotline was superb, and the characters just full of depth and charm and yes, I loved them. I loved how complex they were, and how we got to see their motives and thought process behind things.
At first I thought it was going to be a good read with Christian hints and mentions, but towards the end – wow! I was so pleasantly surprised because it was so much more. There was such a powerful message given, and I was thoroughly impressed. And convicted ride alongside one of the characters as I had felt what she was feeling and probably would’ve done the same thing and justified as she did.
So the godly message was beautiful and meaningful and oh so poignant.
The children in this book were so endearing, as well as each character really! I loved them all. The way they handled life was lovely, and yes, this was just such a good book! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to read the next books as they come out. I’m certainly not ready to leave Haven Manor!
Quotes:
I had actually marked quite a few quotes in this book but haven’t had time to make any graphics of them, sadly. But I will still share the quotes here, for they are good ones!
“There was something cathartic about throwing knife after knife into a tree.”
“What else had he missed in life because he was too focused on where he was going?”
“Good. Every child should grow up with books.”
“Perhaps if she let life follow its course, tried to enjoy the little moments along the way, it would be better.”
“Favorite book?”  Her bark of laughter chased the shadows away and made him feel like a conquering hero. “You can’t ask a book lover such a question. It’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is.”
He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Who’s your favorite child?”
“Grace doesn’t work like that, Kit. I know my life’s been pretty easy, and my list of sins wouldn’t make anyone blush, but I’m not perfect and I’ve read the Bible enough to know that grace doesn’t come because of anything you can do. Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you could crucify yourself with guilt.”
“But recently someone pointed out to me that God doesn’t always work in ways we can foresee. That’s why He asks us to trust.”
“The past would always be there, its scars a part of her, but at this moment, with this man, she felt beautiful and knew that God could bring something beautiful from her pain.”
“The most precious gems are forged from pressure. God brings beauty from adversity, when you let Him.”
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright ~ Book Review

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“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright

Review copy from the publisher/author as part of launch team.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

Gossamer Grove is a town of lots of secrets – past and present. Goodness! I knew that by picking up this book I would be in for a suspenseful ride, and I was right! From reading the author’s debut novel, “The House on Foster Hill”, I expected this to be a bit on the creepy side (like a not-read-at-night sort of novel!), but TRAGP actually wasn’t quite as creepy as the first. ;) Oh there were a couple of moments that had your eyes huge, wondering how it was going to end. And the suspense and mystery are so present! And so well done. All the secrets were woven through the story at a perfect pace, revealing themselves slowly and at the perfect time. Very impressive. :)
I don’t usually care for duel-time line stories, but I make an exception for Jaime Jo Wright’s novels – I am always so captivated, and always love both past and present stories pretty equally, which is a feat in itself! Switching back and forth can be a bit hard for my brain to adjust, but these stories…well, golly! I have to keep reading. ^.^
In 1907 and present day, our heroines Libby and Annalise both strive to uncover the mysteries that surround their lives. It’s very gripping, and the characters are so realistic, it’s almost hard to remember that I’m reading a fiction novel. :)
Also woven through this book is the very important message of grace and forgiveness. I like that it was also presented with the message of the importance of repentance too.
I very much enjoyed this one, and am so looking forward to the next book by Jaime Jo Wright!
Quotes:
“No amount of mystery in one’s soul can escape the ever-watchful eye of God. One may carry guilt and shame with them for years, only to discover that while they attempted to doge God’s judgement, they instead cheated themselves of His forgiveness.”  
“There is a balance to be struck between justice and grace. I say justice rather than judgement, although sometimes one comes hand in hand with the other. We cannot cheapen God’s righteousness by familiarizing Him to such a degree that His grace becomes a ticket to wanton freedom. Yet we cannot discount His forgiveness under the assumption He creates only to destroy.” 
“The consequence of sin is death, but the grace of God brings us life. One must fear God for what He can do, while loving Him for what He doesn’t do. A contrite heart results in the withholding discipline in exchange for mercy – and love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“All for Love” Collection ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“All for Love” 3-Novella collection by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano

 Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.

 

Review copy: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

“The Boden Birthright” by Mary Connealy// 3 stars

I’m not generally a huge fan of the “old west” type of fiction, but I had read one of Mary Connealy’s stories before and enjoyed it, so I started this one with little trepidation. And while it was a fine story, I felt that it was heavy on the descriptions instead of the characters and their lives, and it was very much an insta-love situation. Which, I know, kind of has to be the case for a novella, but it was like a switch had gone off with their romance, since Chance had been mourning his wife only a couple pages previously.

It just was a bit rushed, and not my favourite story. But that’s not saying it won’t be your favourite. :)

“A Lady of Esteem” by Kristi Ann Hunter//  4.5 Stars

This is the story for which I received the review copy. :) I absolutely loved Kristi Ann Hunter’s book, “An Inconvenient Beauty” and have been eager to go back and start this series from the very start. So receiving this novella collection with The Hawthorne House’s prequel in print – I was quite pleased. ^.^

And it was a joy to read “A Lady of Esteem”! I loved main character, Amelia – she had just a sweet and caring heart, and she was oh-so patient throughout each trial she faced. And all the servants – I loved them too, and their love and devotion to Amelia; even if they didn’t work under her themselves. And hero, Anthony was a great character of a changed man. The two main characters complimented each other so well!

The faith message was definitely present, which I of course appreciated.

The whole story was brought together very nicely, and a fantastic prequel to the series!

 

 

 “At Your Request” by Jen Turano// 4.5 stars

 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this novella. I hadn’t previously read anything by Jen Turano, and since I was almost done with this collection, I admit I was a bit hesitant about the last one, concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the one before. But goodness, I shouldn’t have worried! This story was darling, and pleasantly surprised me at more than one turn. Every time I thought I knew what would happen or what one of the characters would say, assuming it would be the typical in most romance fiction, it would be the opposite – which delighted me because that is what I wanted to find but rarely do in stories.

I also loved that Wilhelmina wasn’t your typical ‘perfect stunning trim’ character. One scene had me giggling out loud, and I was just very impressed with this story. I would definitely like to read more by this author. :)

I do wish there would have been a faith message; that was sadly not present.

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars// Very lovely collection with enjoyable reads!

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Book Review: “An Inconvenient Beauty” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Oct (13)

“An Inconvenient Beauty” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Five (I think!) in the Hawthorne House series

Review copy from Publishers/Launch Team

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was my first novel by this author, and I know, who starts with the end of the series?! But I did. And I don’t regret that choice one bit, because it was such a lovely book!! My only sadness is that I haven’t had the delight of reading the others first, but I shall not hesitate to catch up on those.
The author’s writing style is engaging, and the plot just gripping, and warm, and emotional. I can’t remember what exact part it was, but I was reading along enjoying the book, but something just “clicked” and at that part I became emotionally invested – connected to this story, these characters. That’s when it became a five-star book to me.
The characters were marvelous. At first, I wasn’t sure what I would think about Isabella, honestly. I must admit I was leery of her “vast beauty”, and in those first couple chapters was routing for her less pretty, plain cousin, Frederica. However, as I continued to read and found out that it wasn’t your typical story of the main character being stunning and perfect, (and that Frederica had a story of her own…read it to find out!) I softened more, and almost immediately became endeared to Isabella.
I also have to say that I really understood Griffith and his wanting everything to be “just so”. He’s a character of order, of…well, control, and I could relate well. Yes, there are faults in that, and this book actually helped me remember that more, that life really doesn’t always fit in our perfect box, and God has a MUCH better plan than we could ever come up with, and to just allow it. Even if it seems messy at times. It will all come together.
The story line was fresh and not at all annoying (except when things didn’t come together and I wanted to cry along with Isabella. I told you, I got very emotionally connected!!), and I just didn’t want to leave its pages.
And there were some fantastic laugh-out-loud (literally!) moments that were just an utter delight. Reading in bed, I was giggling so hard my sister had to know what was happening. I ended up reading a few parts of this book out loud to both my Mom and sister just so they could laugh along with me. :)
I also appreciated that it wasn’t your typical plot where you know what turmoil is imminent. Yes, there were snags, and like I said, I almost cried with the main character towards the end, but the part I was expecting and almost dreading because I’ve seen it in other novels and not cared for it, didn’t come. It was so much better, and I was very glad for that.
The only thing I was a little “Hmmm” about was a scene where it was implied that God couldn’t show Griffith who to marry, as if He doesn’t show up like that in our lives, especially in very important matters such as marriage. I definitely agree that He lets us make our own choice, and what was said on that matter was good. But I just disagree that He wouldn’t show us His will if we’re truly seeking it. He’s got a great plan for our lives and will gladly show us when the time is right and if we’re earnestly seeking His counsel and guidance.
So yes, to wrap this review up, I very much enjoyed this novel and can hardly wait to read more by this author!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for being on the launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.