Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

Book Review: “The Promise of a Letter” by Kathleen Fuller

 

“The Promise of a Letter” by Kathleen Fuller

“An Amish Letter” Novel, Book two

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

A letter brings him back to his Amish family. It will take someone truly extraordinary to make him stay.

Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish ways. Feeling confined by the strict rules, he longs to do something more with his life. But when things don’t go as planned, Roman’s prospects outside of the community dwindle. Upon learning that his beloved grandmother has died and left a letter urging him to reconcile with his brother in Birch Creek, Roman decides to return home. But he doesn’t plan to stay for long.

Leanna Chupp has always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional—strange, even—Leanna is happy. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, which Leanna doesn’t mind. She is content being single.

But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Though neither fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, their differences could be the very thing to help them form a deeper connection to their community and to each other. The question remains: will this strengthening bond be enough to make Roman stay for good?

 

My Thoughts:

 
Surprisingly to me, I am enjoying this Amish series. Personally I am not a huge fan of Amish fiction, but the first two books of this newer series have been interesting reads that keep me occupied. I enjoy the characters, and the plots have been sweet.
In “The Promise of a Letter”, we get to see more of Leanna’s character that was introduced in the first book. I really liked Leanna – she was a very spunky, fun character. And Roman was an equally good character in different ways.
I appreciated the faith aspect, and Roman’s grandmother’s influence even though she wasn’t present in the novel.
The sibling dynamics between brothers Roman and Daniel was realistic in their struggle for reconciliation – and stubbornness against it happening. It was frustrating at times, but not unbelievable, which I think is good.
I really did enjoy Leanna and Roman’s relationship – they were pretty cute. And headstrong, both. ^.^
I don’t know how accurate to the Amish way these books are – some things in the books seem a little far-fetched, but I guess I really can’t say one way or another.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. :)

 

 

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Posted in Book reviews, Tyndale House

Book Review: “Freedom’s Ring” by Heidi Chiavaroli

Toothless Books (10)

“Freedom’s Ring” by Heidi Chiavaroli

Historical/Contemporary Fiction

Review copy through Tyndale Blogger Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated―plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

 

My Thoughts:

 

The cover is lovely, and the story, too. What kind of threw me off, to be honest, was the switching back from one time period to the next with each chapter – I found myself having a hard time switching gears, getting into one character’s story and then having to switch to the other, etc. I must confess that I “cheated” and just read the story of Liberty’s first, switching off about halfway through to catch up on Anaya’s, and then slowly eased my way into reading it “normally” towards the end where it made most sense to do so. By reading it in this unconventional way, I was able to enjoy it more, personally.
Liberty’s story was a little heart-rending, the struggles and pain she had to go through. She had a hard life.
I felt for Annie (Anaya), and her own trials she had to deal with.
Really, both of these characters dealt with struggles and trials that shaped their lives. They were not free from pain, but they learned to live through it and eventually, find God’s Grace, Mercy, and Salvation.
The historical side of this book was actually my favourite, and where I connected the most. Though **SPOILER** I wanted her to marry Alexander in the first place. Redcoat or not. END OF SPOILER***
But yes, it was a good book, one I’m sure many will enjoy.
Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, God's Lessons

Book Review: “Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors

Toothless Books (4)

 

“Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors  

Non-fiction, Inspiring

Review copy from the publishers through Blogging for Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book: 

How do you hold on to hope 
when you don’t get the ending 
you asked for?

When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease.
 
After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him. 
 
Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places. 
 
Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You’ll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow. And you’ll hear God’s whisper: Hold on to hope. I will meet you here.

My Thoughts:

 

 
I absolutely loved Katie Davis’ first book, “Kisses from Katie”, and so when I saw that she was writing a new book, I was beyond thrilled! And then even MORE beyond thrilled when the opportunity came to review it. Yes please!
I do not read a lot of non-fiction. But Katie’s two books have captivated me fully. I have loved them both. “Daring to Hope” was so inspiring, so encouraging, and so challenging. I was just deeply moved. Each new chapter had me thinking more, and I shed many a tear from my heart being touched by her words.
A truly magnificent book. She just writes with so much passion, and it is all so God-centered. Really, I’m not sure I’ve read a book so full of God’s glory being the focus as this book was. Every thought was turned back towards Christ. What a lovely accomplishment! He is worthy to be praised, and that was shown well in “Daring to Hope”.
This book isn’t just a light, inspiring book – it is prick-your-heart and make-you-want-to-grow-more. So much so. Katie D. Major’s tackles the hard aspect of faith: Do we trust Him even when it’s hard? When He does something different to what we prayed for? Wow. Her life-experiences lends so much to these lessons. Reading this, I just was encouraged to really pray even more and trust even more. He is Worthy. He is in Control. And He does all things for our good – even the hard things. I so definitely recommend this book – it is a must read!
I also loooved reading about how her marriage came about. Wow, what a cool God-story. <3 That really encouraged me too.
I could probably just go on and on about this book – I am just full of love for it! But I suppose I shall end with one last word:  Exceptional!
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Book Review: “The Promise of Dawn” by Lauraine Snelling

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“The Promise of Dawn” by Lauraine Snelling

Book One in Under Northern Skies series

 

Review copy through Bethany House Publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book: When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.

Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn’t an easy life, it wasn’t as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This was actually my first book that I’ve read by Lauraine Snelling.
The setting was what really drew me in – I love all things Norwegian, and living in MN myself, it seemed quite perfect for me! :) And indeed, I enjoyed the setting very much.
The names! They were probably my favourite thing about the book – I just loved them. So…Norwegian, and much like the viking names I love. “Signe, Rune, Bjorn, Knute, Leif…” etc. Just brilliant.
The beginning of the book was a bit hard for me to get into at first, but once I reached about the middle of it, it picked up and really held my attention.
Some parts seemed repetitive, more like a filler, but otherwise it was a well written story.
I thought it was impressive how you can go through a good chunk of the book just really disliking one character, but by the end you really actually started to truly love that character. That was great. :)
I was fond of this book, and am interested in reading the rest of the series as they come out. :)
Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: The Case of the Clobbered Cad by Debra E. Marvin

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“The Case of the Clobbered Cad” by Debra E. Marvin

A Nosy Parkers Mystery

 

Review copy provided by the author

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:   Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls’ Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until… Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again. As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.

 

 

My Thoughts: 

Oh my word, this was such a delightful read! I was swept away the moment I started it. It was just charming! I know, how can a “murder mystery” be charming, right? But just read “The Case of the Clobbered Cad” yourself and find out!
This book has a darling cover, and a fantastic setting. 1956 Scotland – yes please! Main character, Heather Munro, is American spending time in Scotland as she studies. But she doesn’t find time for boredom – right off starts her in the midst of a murder, and a mysterious one at that, with her being a possible suspect – yikes!
Very well-written and captivating, with very pleasant characters. And I didn’t guess the murder till the end, which is always more enjoyable, to be kept in a bit of suspense. :)
I’ve enjoyed each story I’ve read by Debra, but this might just be my favourite. I already would like to read it again.
CCC was a clean book, with a couple mentions of faith. It wasn’t the main point of this novel, but the book was still extremely enjoyable, and I appreciated the few mentions of prayer and the Lord. :)
If you enjoy mystery novels, or BBC mysteries, or really just a great read, be sure to pick up a copy of “The Case of The Clobbered Cad”!

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

Book Review: “Canteen Dreams” by Cara Putman

(Click on the image to go to its amazon page)

 

“Canteen Dreams” by Cara Putman

Book One in the Cornhusker Dreams Series

Review copy from author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

A heartwarming WWII love story.
In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Nebraska schoolteacher Audrey Stone wants to support the war effort in any way she can. When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. She never expected to fall for a local boy…or face the challenges of budding love in the face of war.

Rancher Willard Johnson admires Audrey’s passionate nature, but when his brother is killed in action, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. His father insists he stay, but Willard knows he must go. Reality intrudes, and he never expected the jealousy he experiences when he sees those in uniform.

Can Willard’s budding relationship with Audrey weather the storms of war? Or will one of the other soldiers at the canteen steal her heart?

 

My Thoughts:

 

It’s been a while since I read a story set during WWII, so it was nice to get back into that setting/genre with “Canteen Dreams”. Very well written, with a captivating story line. And the faith-strand was quite excellent, weaving in sound truths that the characters learned. I thought that was beautiful. :)
“Canteen Dreams” was a very sweet story, with real characters, and real lessons. And the romance was believable, and pretty cute. ^.^ Not all simple and roses, but definitely good.
It was interesting to see how the War affected a smaller town, and what they did to pitch in.
If you’re a fan of WWII fictions, or even just good, sweet stories, be sure to pick up a copy of “Canteen Dreams”. :)
Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “On Grounds of Honor” by Rebekah Colburn

“On Grounds of Honor” by Rebekah Colburn

Book One in My Brother’s Flag series

Review copy from author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

 

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the division of the Civil War is an inescapable reality for many households. For the Turner brothers, it means choosing politics over blood. Although his younger brother goes south to join the Rebels, Jeremiah feels honor-bound to defend the Stars and Stripes even at the risk of meeting Charlie on the battlefield and facing a deeper conflict of loyalties. His wife, Clara, is left behind at Laurel Hill to manage the farm with her father-in-law and his slaves. As the country is torn apart by opposing forces from within, Clara must find the strength to live in a world of uncertainty and change. What began as an act of patriotic loyalty for Jeremiah will become a test of character and courage. And as the death toll climbs into the thousands, Clara clings to the desperate hope that her husband will come back to her alive. Before it ends, the war will take far more than they could have anticipated. But in the wake of its destruction, Jeremiah and Clara will learn that sometimes victory can only come through surrender.

 

 

My Thoughts:

This book was clearly extremely well-researched. I commend the author for writing so much historical details into this book. I think I have learned more about the Civil War through “On the Ground of Honor” than I had previously known.
It’s very interesting, especially since it’s in a ‘fiction setting’, so you’re experiencing the time period through the character’s lives. So yes, the setting feels very accurate and well depicted.
The beginning starts out a bit slow and for me I didn’t feel like I got to really emotionally connect with the characters in the first few chapters of the book, but as it got going you do get to know them better and relate to them.
I really liked how neutral the views were regarding North versus South. There were characters with opposing views, but they were well explained and shown very diplomatically.
I was glad to see the point made by one character about slavery, that God didn’t create one race to be above or below another – they’re all His creation, not property.
And at the same hand, it was interesting to read other character’s viewpoints on it, though I may have disagreed with their stance.
So yes, definitely a thought-provoking book. It wasn’t a light read, as it dealt with a lot of depth, but it was certainly interesting and enjoyable. The romance was also innocent, real, and sweet. I liked that the main couple were married at the start.
*I would like to note that there were a few swear words used (‘d-m-‘ and ‘g-d-awful’).