Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling ~ Book Review

A Breath of Hope (Under Northern Skies #2)

 

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling

Book 2 in the Under Northern Skies series

Review copy through publisher

My rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Nilda Carlson has been trying to save enough money to go to America for months, so when a letter arrives, with an offer to pay her passage, she jumps at the chance. Her younger brother Ivar accompanies her, and they are thrilled to join older brother Rune and his family in the northern forests of Minnesota.

But America is not everything Nilda imagined. A terrifying experience in a lumber camp shakes Nilda’s confidence and trust in men, but a job helping a young widow raise her children and run her farm gives her a chance to build her own life. When she meets Fritz, the children’s schoolteacher, she is initially unimpressed and uninterested. His kindness and passion for learning begin to win her over, but how can she sacrifice her dreams for the future for a man she’s still not sure of?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Book Two in the “Under Northern Skies” series, “A Breath of Hope” continues Signe and Rune’s story in America as well as Rune’s siblings, Nilda and Ivar, joining them from Norway.
I was expecting this book to be more of Nilda’s story than anyone else’ but I was still quite pelased to find that we got to see more from Signe and Rune, and experience the story through their POV’s too.
What I like about this series is that it portrays life as it was in that time period, and the trials and experiences they went through with a realistic view.
And the names are always fantastic – I love the Norwegian background. It was fun that in this one, we get to see a little more of Norway in the beginning as Nilda and Ivar are saving to make their trip to America.
This book was a little…lacking in a main plot line. It’s more of a continuation of every-day life from the first book, with not much climax. So, it could be a bit of a slow read, but I still enjoyed it. The characters were well-built up just like the first one, and the setting/descriptions were strong.
There were a couple of “inconsistencies” where they would skip over something just mentioned, or didn’t revisit a “plot line” I thought they would. There was also a fair build up to something happening, but when it was revealed at the very end it wasn’t very monumental, if that makes sense.
But all in all, I still enjoyed reading it, and am curious to see what the next book will hold. I don’t feel like we really got to hear much of Nilda’s story, so I would like to see hers especially continue. :)
 
*This doesn’t really pertain to the review or the book’s contents at all, but I must admit I was a little bummed when the review copy came and it was hardcopy, because the first was paperback, and I want a series to match. Am I the only one? XD
Quote:
“Never is a long time. Somehow we will find a way.”
*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

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt ~ Book review

 

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

Biblical Fiction

Review copy through Bethany House Publishers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? 

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I was actually hesitant to read this book at first because the other books I’ve read by this author were not favourites. But since this one was about the Maccabees, I was very intrigued and willing to give it a chance. Happily, I didn’t find it to be like the other books I’d read previously, which was good. It was pretty clean, as a whole, though since it is largely a battle-book, there are definitely some graphic scenes, but the graphic-descriptions never lasted too long.
Being someone who celebrates The Feast of Dedication with my family, I was particularly interested in that aspect of this novel, but honestly, that specific account was told in a matter of 2 or so pages without much depth.
A lot of the book seemed mostly factual instead of story-sounding, and I realize facts are good, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I prefer a Biblical based book to explain things more in a story-telling way – where you relate to it at a deeper level because it is incorporating characters and storylines along with the information.  I couldn’t really connect with the main characters because, well, there wasn’t much about them. The first half of the book showed them well enough, and I was able to connect a bit there and the book’s title made sense, but at the middle-mark, when the battles all started to happen, it lost the character-relation and was really more of a battle play-by-play and less about Leah and much more about Judah. Which is fine for many, just not what the title suggests at all, or what I was hoping for.
Things that I thought they would spend time on were glossed over within a paragraph, or mentioned as just a passing thought, which I thought was a little odd.
It was nice to see each battle-victory be given to the glory of Adoni, though.
I appreciate the author’s intent, writing a novel about the Maccabees, because it is fascinating, I just personally could not connect with this book.

Quote:

“And we are to teach our children that no king can ever take the place of HaShem in our hearts. The Hellenes may abolish our Temple service, they may forbid us to circumcise our children or observe the Sabbath, and they may encourage us to eat unclean animals. But they can never unseat HaShem from His throne. He still owns heaven and earth, and He still controls the fate of kings and priests.” 
** I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher.  All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, reading, Reviews

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

018 (2).JPG

 

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette

Book One in the Cities of Refuge Series

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

Image result for curly q

 

About the Book:

 

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

 

 

Image result for curly q

 

My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful treat to be able to read Moriyah’s story, whom we were introduced to in “Wings of the Wind” (part of the Out of Egypt Series, while this book is book one of the Cities of Refuge Series)!
I loved this book; it was excellent. I love how the author weaves a story that is at once so captivating and so meaningful and ripe with the Lord’s beauty.
And I loved the characters – of course, Moriyah, but also Ora, and Eitan (SO adorable!!), and the hero Derek – all such excellent characters, well-constructed and portrayed.
I was impressed that most of the book was one of the characters being on the move – they weren’t in one location for very long, and that made the setting very unique! And adventurous. Though the reason behind it was a sad one, the descriptions of the sights they saw were a pleasure to read.
Moriyah’s heart-journey was even more enjoyable, seeing her struggles from page one and how she found healing from Yahweh. Her finding her worth was beautiful. <3
She was so kind to those around her, and so strong even when she felt herself weak. I also loved how she could hear Yahweh’s Voice – so precious. Moriyah was such an easy character to bond with. I felt like I shared in her sorrows and also her joys. I wanted to see her triumph, but most of all I loved how she committed – and surrendered – her life to Yahweh. Such a humbling and good reminder, one I love to read about in fiction.
I was a little surprised by the amount of kissing involved…I am not a Biblical/Historical expert at all, but I wouldn’t think that a Hebrew maiden would give away so many kisses before commitment, let alone before marriage. And if it was a matter of getting caught up in the moment (understandable; the flesh is weak), I think because of their upbringing, she would have felt a bit of remorse afterwards, if that makes sense.
But otherwise, I very much adored this book.
Each piece of this book was well-written and engaging, and I can hardly wait for the next one (yay for getting to see an older Eitan in the next one!!)!!
Image result for curly q

Quotes:

 

Moriyah

Moriyah 2

Moriyah 3

Moriyah 4

Moriyah 5.png

 

 

“Hear, O Israel. The Lord your God, the Lord is One. And you should love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength…these words which I command you today shall be on your heart.” If I loved Yahweh, I would obey, no matter the cost.

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

007.JPG

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book One in Sunrise at Normandy series

Review copy through Revell Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars <3

Image result for curly q

About the Book:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

Image result for curly q

 

My Thoughts:

 

What a marvelous book. *Happy sigh*. A new book by Sarah Sundin is always highly anticipated, and this one did not let me down in the least. It was so excellent!
Wyatt Paxton and Dorothy Fairfax were amazing characters – so real, and they both had such depth. Each of the characters did.
The plot-line was superb, and drew you in from the beginning. There’s a ton of history in these books and still they read so smoothly.
Sometimes I think books you adore are harder to review. There was just so much about this book that I loved, that it is hard to find adequate words to describe it.
Wyatt was the perfect hero. Oh goodness – he had me from page one, truly. He is such an admirable man, with quiet strength and such a sense of what’s right and godly. And yet, so real – his struggles were hard, and he was so rough on himself. But wow – his whole journey was remarkable.
The same goes for Dorothy. I really liked her as well, and felt sad for her trials too. She felt like no one had ever really loved the real her – can you say heartbreaking? And while it was frustrating, her liking a certain other man who was not worthy of her, it was understandable – she yearned for something, anything.
I am just in awe at how Sarah Sundin can create a story that explores so much, endures so much, and yet comes out finished and completed at the end. No loose ends, everything ties up, and so emotionally investing!
And the plot-twist I wasn’t expecting – ufda. It just ties you in even more to the characters, all. Their struggle, their pains, and their resolution and healing. So beautiful!
WWII fiction at its finest indeed!!
And again, loooooved Wyatt. Can’t say that enough! New favourite hero…. ;)
Definitely recommend this book!!!!! Loved it so much <3
Image result for curly q

Quotes:

I marked down several other quotes, but haven’t had the chance to turn them into quote graphics yet – but still hope to! Check back in April when I have a fun post planned relating to “The Sea Before Us”! :)

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering ~ Book Review

Review (7).JPG

 

“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering

Book Six in the Drew Farthing Mysteries Series

Review copy provided by the publishers

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

Image result for curly q

 

 

About the Book:

 

The Fartherings’ Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn 
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

 

Image result for curly q

 

My Thoughts:

 

I found this book uniquely written, and very… British-mystery-esque! Really, it was liking stepping into a BBC Mystery show. ^.^
The setting and era were very nice, and worked well with the story.I was most intrigued to find out the culprit in the end, though I did suspect the person earlier than Drew figured it out…! ^.^ But then, I have watched a lot of British Mysteries ;)
The characters were endearing, though because this is part of a series, you don’t really get to know them completely in one book. That is the one thing that probably makes this a lower rating for me, but not due to the book’s fault at all. This is just the kind of series that should be read in order. And I did not do that. ^.^ There were lots of references to past happenings in the previous books, so I wished I had had the chance to read them in order, but alas. I’m still glad I got the chance to read a Drew Farthing mystery, even if it is the 6th book. :) I’d like to start over at the first book at some point, and go through them, because, judging off this one book, they seem good and entertaining. :)
That being said, “Death at Thornburn Hall” could be read as a standalone (as I did), but I think I would recommend reading them in order to get a better grasp on the characters and their background! :)

Image result for curly q

 

 

Quotes:

“That could be. Or maybe He has something else in mind. Some other way for you to find out what you want to know. A better way. Or maybe it just isn’t time yet and His answer isn’t no, but ‘not now’.”
“People generally think sheep are stupid, you know, but he says they’re not. It’s only when they’re afraid that they make bad decisions.”
“It wouldn’t be faith if we could see everything ahead of time.”
“You know how it is. When there’s a tragedy, people are so helpful at first. But after a while they go back to their regular routines, and the bereaved one is left quite alone with nothing to go back to.”
“At some point we have to trust God with our lives, don’t we? Otherwise we spend our days huddles in a corner afraid to take a step outside. But what a waste that is when there’s so much we;re meant to do with the time He’s given us.”
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

Oct (12).JPG

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

Review copy through Bethany House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

The Adventure of a Lifetime for Two Indomitable Socialite Sisters 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm. 

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was my first Lynn Austin book, and I can gladly say that I enjoyed her writing. It was thorough, and pleasant.
It was delightful to follow the sisters, Rebecca and Flora, on their great many adventures, and their center goal always being the Lord. I also loved their saying, “The Lord knows our end”, because that’s true. He’s got us in the palm of His hand, and our days are ordered by Him.
Both sisters were very unique, and different from each other, yet shared such a strong bond. I did actually like having different parts of the story told from the various array of characters, starting with Rebecca, continuing on with Flora, then Soren, and then Kate, and ending with Rebecca again. It all tied together nicely.
This wasn’t an “on the edge of your seat” read – this was more so a “take it slow” read. It wasn’t packed with action, but neither was it boring. As I said, I enjoyed their journeys, and just their lives.
I really enjoyed the character, Soren. His story was good, and real, and sad. I’m so glad he got his own ‘happy ending’ in a way. That was sweet.
It certainly was a long book, but I didn’t find that tiresome as I might in other cases. I also didn’t see much that could’ve been left out. It was a sound story, and their finds on their adventures were exciting! Even more fun was reading the author’s note and finding that it was based on a true story – very neat.
If you like historical fiction, I definitely recommend this one.

Quotes:

“Egyption thinking would say that we must have angered Him. That He’s punishing us. But our faith asks us to trust Him and to believe that He has a plan for our good, even in the midst of disaster.”
“I need to leave my life in God’s hands and be content. I admit I haven’t found contentment yet, but I’m trying. Meanwhile, I need to keep doing His work without expecting to be rewarded with all of my wishes in return.”
“We need to show her grace, Soren.  Jesus said ‘Freely ye have received, freely give’. We must pray for her, too – not that she’ll change into what we want her to be, but that she’ll become all that God intends her to be.”
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Captain’s Daughter” by Jennifer Delamere ~ Book review

(Click on image to go to its amazon page)

 

“The Captain’s Daughter” by Jennifer Delamere

Book one in London Beginnings

Review copy from Bethany House Publishers

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

 

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

 

My Thoughts:

 

“We can not keep dwelling on the past. We must look ahead. Remember Mr. Muller’s admonition that God will always meet our needs.” -TCD
When I requested this book for review, I didn’t actually know it would have mention of George Muller’s orphanage, but finding that was a nice surprise. Rosalyn and her sisters were orphaned and spent their growing up years in the GM orphanage. When I found that out, I expected this story to have more of that included, with relying on God really being Rosalyn’s foundation. However, it seemed that the main focus of this story was on Rosalyn’s life in London; to be more specific, in the theater. It was a very interesting read, and also very easy to get into and continue reading without getting bored or hung up on things. It flowed smoothly, and was entertaining. I would’ve just liked to have seen more emphasis on trusting God – that the faith aspect would’ve been the central theme. It was included of course, but more as an undertone to the story. The plot and Rosalyn & Nate were the driving force of this novel.
Rosalyn and Nate were good characters. Rosalyn could be quite…naiive, but she was still a likeable character. I just got frustrated with her relationship with Tony – I did not like Tony at all.
Nate was a solid character, and I enjoyed his and Rosalyn’s relationship. Though it would’ve been nice to have them finally get together and work out things sooner rather than it all just happening in the end chapter. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but I do hope we will get to see glimpses of their story in the next book about Rosalyn’s sister, Julia. I’m looking forward to reading that one – Julia seems like quite an interesting character.
The theater aspect was indeed interesting. I did like following that story.
And the cover is lovely, though I should note that, while she is technically a daughter of a captain, I suppose, the title is slightly misleading, as her father isn’t in this story, nor much about the sea.
Overall, I liked “The Captain’s Daughter”, and will continue with the series. There were just a few things that frustrated me, but I still enjoyed the book.

 

“God is the supplier of need,” Mrs. Moran said. “We are simply blessed to be His agents sometimes.” – Page 166
“Perhaps not. But then, absolution doesn’t come through what we can do, does it? It comes from another source. One greter than ourselves.” – Page 325