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.
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Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

The Vintage Jane Austen Series: Spotlight & Book Review of “Perception” by Emily Benedict

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Today I’m sharing about the Vintage Jane Austen series! So far I’ve had the pleasure of reading three of these novels and have enjoyed each one. They’re delightful. :) Read on to find out more about the series collection, and read my review of “Perception” by Emily Benedict!!

 

About:

VJAgraphic.pngWhat would it be like to see Elizabeth Bennet in 1930’s clothes? What if Emma Woodhouse was the daughter of a car dealership owner? What if Marianne Dashwood was seeking to become a movie star in the golden age of film? The Vintage Jane Austen series explores the world of Jane Austen, set in 1930’s America. Five authors took on Jane Austen’s five most popular novels and retold them set in the depression era, remaining faithful to the original plots. As an extra bonus to the series, there is a collection of short stories that were inspired by Jane Austen. Which of these books do you most want to read?

 

EmmelineVJAtour Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma): The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

 

 

SuitSuitabilityVJAtourSuit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility): Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

 

BellevereHouseVJAtourBellevere House by Sarah Scheele (Mansfield Park): It’s March, 1937 and Faye Powell couldn’t be happier. After moving to live with her uncle, a wealthy banker, she’s fallen into the swing of life with his exuberant children–including Ed. The one she’ll never admit she’s in love with. But she hadn’t reckoned on the swanky Carters getting mixed up in that vow. Ed seems to be falling for charming, sweet Helene Carter. And when Faye’s cousin BeBe trusts her with a secret about Horace Carter, Faye is in over her head. Will she betray the confidence BeBe’s given her? Will she lose Ed to Helene? The days at Bellevere House are crowded with surprises and only time will tell how God plans to unravel Faye and Ed’s hearts.

 

PerceptionVJAtourPerception by Emily Benedict (Persuasion): Upstate New York, 1930. Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family’s prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune – and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey decide her own fate, before it is too late…

 

VJA Blog EventPresumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones (Pride and Prejudice): Coming soon…A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice… set in 1930s Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SecondImpressionsVJAtourSecond Impressions: Jane Austen’s stories have inspired writers for generations…in this collection they inspire fiction across the genres!

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the English Regency to the American 1950s, in Houston or a space freighter, fairytale land or a retirement center…Austen’s timeless characters come to life again.

Visit these blogs during this week to find interviews, book reviews, and much more!

 

 

Book Review:

 

Perception (Vintage Jane Austen #4)

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

I love the story of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. While I confess I have not read the original, I have watched the 1995 movie version more than 20 times. It’s my favourite Jane Austen story, in fact. So it should come to no surprise that so far, this book of the Vintage Jane Austen series is probably my favourite. :)
“Perception” followed closely with the original storyline, with all its richness, and yet had it’s own unique qualities that defined it as seperate. And it gave “insight” into things in the movie that you might have wondered about.
I really enjoyed reading this one, following along with Abbey’s life, and how even in the end she was able to look back and see the good in all of life’s transpirings. 
Freddy was a dashing hero, of course. How could he not be? “Captain Wentworth” (original hero’s name) will forever be one of my favourites. Always swoonworthy. ;)
There was also a tadbit of a mystery involved towards the end that was brought about to completion quite nicely. :)
I appreciate how easy “Perception” was to read, and how captivating it was. Even though I knew the story, it was fresh and new, and yet familiar and comfortable at the same time, always drawing back into its electronic pages.
Fans of Jane Austen, and “Persuasion” will definitely not want to miss this one!!

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

November 5

        Review of Emmeline – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Bellevere House – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – A Real Writer’s Life

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – Resting Life

Series Spotlight – Kelsey’s Notebook

 

November 6

Interview with Sarah Holman – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Emmeline – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Mini-Reviews and interview with Sarah Scheele – Deborah O’Carroll

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Livy Lynn Blog

Review Suit and Suitability – Resting Life

 

November 7

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Perception – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review and Interview of Perception – Purely by Faith Reviews

Review of Second Impressions – The Page Dreamer

Series Spotlight – Finding the True Fairytale

November 8

Interview and Review Suit and Suitability – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Suit and Suitability – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – A Brighter Destiny

November 9

Series Spotlight – God’s Peculiar Treasure

        Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability – Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews

November 10

Review of Suit and Suitability – With a Joyful Noise

Series Spotlight – Liv K. Fisher

Review of Second Impressions- Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – She Hearts Fiction

Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh

November 11

Series Spotlight – Reveries Reviews

Review of Suit and Suitability – Faith Blum

Interview with Sarah Holman – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Interview with Hannah Scheele – Peculiar on Purpose

Review of Bellevere House – Seasons of Humility

As part of this special blogging event, we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card.

Enter to win below:

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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books

Book Review: “Deadly Proof” by Rachel Dylan

 

Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice)

 

“Deadly Proof” by Rachel Dylan

Book on in the Atlanta Justice series

Review copy from Bethany House

 

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.
Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 
Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’m not really sure how it escaped my notice upon requesting this book that it was a legal-thriller, but somehow it did, so that was a bit of a surprise upon beginning the story. ^.^
While I generally don’t read a lot of legal suspense novels, I didn’t hate this one. There were times when I felt a little lost because of the legal-setting/speech etc. but it wasn’t terrible for me.
Somebody who enjoys this genre won’t be lost at all.
There are two female characters that I literally couldn’t tell apart for the first 3rd of the book, and had to reread a couple of parts because I realized I read it thinking it was one character when it was actually another…they didn’t have distinct different personalities. But that could just be me.
The story revolves around fighting for a case against a big pharmaceutical company, and the court case surrounding that. It was interesting. I wanted to see how it would end, and what transpired with the characters. But for me, it was kind of just watching a Leverage episode, and I pretty much knew the outcome.
The romance wasn’t my favourite, but it was there.
For me, “Deadly Proof” was just an okay book – not my favourite, but I really don’t have any major complaints about it, and I know it could be a favourite among many! For me it just wasn’t my favourite genre and therefore not really a “me” type of book. :) Totally a matter of preference.

 

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

Book Review: “Out of the Dark” by MacKenzie Morganthal

 

Out of the Dark Blog Tou

Yeppers, this book review is part of the lovely Blog Tour! Click on the image above to be brought to the first post that kicked off this amazing tour!

 

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“Out of the Dark” by MacKenzie Morganthal

Book Two in the Mission for Freedom series, Released October 27th, 2017

Contemporary, human-trafficking awareness, action, redemption

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

It’s not over yet…

     It’s been three years since Haley Hampton rescued her sister, Avery, from a human trafficking ring. They are still struggling through the aftermath as both women desperately long for healing to come. But the emotional wounds are not easily forgotten. And the past is quickly catching up to them. A string of death threats leaves Haley on the hunt for a potential killer. As tensions run high, a single mistake could jeopardize Avery’s life.

Then Haley encounters Elaine, a young teen trapped by human trafficking. Could she be their missing link in the case? Is there anyone they can trust? Haley must rely on God now more than ever if they intend to make it out alive. Will they find a way out of the darkness closing in? Because evil is lurking closer…and determined to win this time.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Oh this book. Where do I start? I had the immense – and I do mean immense – pleasure of reading this book twice before its release. It was so fun to see how it changed and strengthened.
As with the first book in this series (“Not Abandoned”), “Out of the Dark” is a very strong, poignant story, full of action, and truths. The author deals with the topic of human-trafficking with such gentleness and expertise.
Revisiting the familiar characters was an absolute delight – I was so happy in particular to reaquaint myself with a character whom we met in the first book of this series. I was eager to see his journey continue, even though he’s not necessarily a central character. :)
Each of the characters are well-built up, and relatable. Sisters Haley and Avery each have to go through their own unique process of healing; their struggles are present, and very well-portrayed. I believe the struggles a character goes through towards healing is a very good element in novels, and that was evident in “Out of the Dark”. I really loved the healing aspect – the journey of healing. It was beautiful, and meaningful.
Not only is this book full of beauty, it is also full of danger and suspense. There is always darkness to overcome, but sometimes a character questions whether or not it might overcome them.
Have I mentioned that this book is exciting? I can assure you that it’s not a dull one. And that ending – you will just have to read it to find out what I mean. And I highly recommend that you do so!! “Out of the Dark” is a fantastic sequel to “Not Abandoned”, and it is a story I will cherish for many years to come. I can hardly wait to read the next installment in The Mission for Freedom series!
*I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Enjoy some sneak peaks into the story:

 

And don’t forget to see the first blog tour post to follow along with the other stops, and enter the GIVEAWAY!!!

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Whither Shall I Go?” by Gina Holder

Oct (11)

“Whither Shall I Go?” by Gina Holder

Review copy from the author

 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

“I miss him too, Bitty, but God knows best. Someday you’ll see.” If only I could believe that…
In 1911, Ellie Williams struggles to see God’s hand in her life when she loses both parents and is sent to live with her wealthy, estranged aunt, who transforms her from awkward country bumpkin to socialite heiress. Six years later, she meets a young preacher and finds hope as they serve the Lord together.
Robert Hampton is deeply devoted to God and desires to take the gospel to the unreached natives of Brazil. He didn’t expect to fall in love. When he is drafted, Robert is torn between his duty as a soldier and his budding affections for Ellie. Will Robert survive the trenches? Will he lose the only woman he’s ever loved?
Ellie’s journey takes her from her home in Cades Cove, Tennessee, to the concrete jungle of New York City, and finally to the harsh unforgiving world of the Amazon River Basin, where she meets Paul, a doctor who’s lost his way, and Jack, a soldier with amnesia. Encountering anacondas, jaguars, and an antagonistic shaman, will Ellie give in to the fears that threaten to overwhelm her?
Or can she depend on God’s grace to bring about His will for her life?
Whither Shall I Go? combines compelling characters, sweet romance, vivid setting, and historical details in this emotionally-charged story of one woman’s struggle to surrender to God’s plan and allow His grace to work in her life. Can life take her anywhere that his hand does not lead and his presence cannot be found?

 

 

My Thoughts:

I loved how this book started out with a Bible passage before the prologue. And how so many verses were sprinkled throughout the story – I very much appreciated that and enjoyed that aspect! To me, you can never get enough Jesus. His Word, His truths, they’re amazing and should be used more often in fiction.
Another thing I really liked about “Whither Shall I Go?” was the emphasis on waiting and following God’s will – that His will for our lives is so much more important than following anything else. If God leads us to do something, we must forsake all else to follow Him.
This is a book that follows the main characters through their lives. Ellie is the majority of the book’s main character, but we also follow along with Robert and his journey, and Paul and his family’s journey too, till they all meet up in a satisfying ending.
This book was a little slow at times, and didn’t have a huge build-up – it was really more of a journey – but it was still good, and I enjoyed reading it. It was really neat to see how God’s plan for the characters lives was orchestrated completely, and glory given to His name for it.
There were some instances of behaviour by the characters that I couldn’t relate to – things would happen and the characters wouldn’t react to it – they wouldn’t do anything about it, and were…passive. Which seemed weird to me. I’d explain more but I don’t want to give any spoilers.
I didn’t agree with all of the character’s behaviours (like the parents of Paul sometimes), but they were realistically portrayed.
I did enjoy how a fair part of this book was missions-related, as missions are close to my heart.
“Whither Shall I Go?” is a unique story, filled with Biblical truths, and the real factors of life.
“Just keep your trust in the Lord. He knows every thought and intent of the heart. Remember, the will of God won’t lead you where the grace of God can’t keep you.”
“We can’t let heartache keep us from loving. We can’t let the bad memories cover the good ones.  Just think of all the good times. Would you give them up just to be rid of the pain you feel now?”
“But I do know that God is always leading us, even when we don’t understand. Even if it feels like we’ve done made our bed in hell; the Bible says, ‘when I awake I am still with Thee.’ …God knows the horror we lived through, but He brought us through it. And He’s going to bring you through this too.”

 

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Lady Layne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

od's Peculiar Treasure Rae Reviews

 

“Lady Jayne Disappears” by Joanna Davidson Politano

 

Review copy from publishers through the author’s Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5  Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is one of the most beautifully crafted novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. It was such a masterpiece of writing.
A story within a story, with twists and turns, and curiosities that leave you wondering but keep you oh-so absorbed in its pages.
Upon closing the final page, I had to sit back in a bit of awe. The author has a way with words, just as the main character Aurelie has. May I also say how much I love that name – Aurelie. So beautiful.
The characters were marvelous. I love real feeling characters, and these definitely filled that.  Aurelie: a most beautiful and unique heroine, Silas Rotherham: the perfect hero. And each of the side characters were brilliantly crafted as well.
Every scene was depicted so well, with so much feeling – you were definitely present in the novel. And the bit of mystery – goodness! I was entirely surprised by the culprit behind the murder. What murder you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out!
Truly, this was a lovely novel. The faith aspect was beautiful and poignant. The struggles felt by the characters were most real and relatable.
I wish I could give a review that would justly describe this book, but I am afraid I’m at a bit of a loss for words. I thoroughly enjoyed “Lady Jayne Disappears” and was very reluctant to leave its pages!
This stunning tale just sweeps you away with its beauty and richness. I definitely recommend, especially for fans of Charles Dickens (think Little Dorrit and Bleak House), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) and just excellent English/Gothic fiction that is inspiring and full of faith.

Below are graphics I made for this lovely book:

e Disappears
-A good book will enable you to both lose yourself and find yourself.- - Nathaniel Droll, Lady Jayne Disappears.
-I admit I'm an escapist when it comes to books. I become drunk on story, on words, as a buffer against reality.- If only she knew how often. If books were alcohol, he'd be the worst dru
Lady Jayne
It's always a choice, Aura Rose. Happiness is always a choice
-And the maiden found her escape into books, the worlds created by the pen of some stranger who would creep into her mind and rearrange the furniture.-
-Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.-
-The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I'd never had to depend so fully on the Lord before this, and it seemed now He was all I had.-
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Book review: “Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

Toothless Books (8)

“Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

A Memphis Cold Case Novel

Review copy from the publishers through the Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing–and looking over their shoulders.

My Thoughts:

 

“Justice Buried” is apparently the second book in a series, but I found that it was pretty easy to read as a stand-alone. There were a couple instances where you knew they were referring to the first book, but not in a way that was confusing or made you think you had to read the first one first. :) I’m sure it’s probably best enjoyed to be read that way, but since I didn’t know, I don’t feel like I was unable to still enjoy the story as it was.
Full of mystery and suspense, you were wondering who the murderer was right till the end.
It was an enjoyable book, and kept me interested to find out what happened to the characters. I like Kelsey and Brad, but I think their relationship development could’ve been strengthened a bit, and the ending seemed a tiny bit rushed. But this book does fit in with its genre of Romantic Suspense, and yet it was quite clean which I appreciated a great deal.
That being said, this book I would classify more as a clean book than a Christian book. There were a couple mentions of characters attending church and a random verse thrown out once, but that was it, and the whole thread of faith was not present – very buried if it was there. That disappointed me, but I do still appreciate that it was at least clean.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts presented in this review are my own.