Posted in Book reviews

Two Reviews: Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkard, and The Foolish Things by Rebekah Tyne McKamie

I’m going to be posting two reviews in one post today just because I can. ^.^

 

Miss Tavistock's Mistake (The Brides of Mayfair #1)

Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkard

Regency romance fiction

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Young Miss Tavistock is promised in marriage to Captain Rempeare by the wish of her dearly departed papa. But the captain’s been at sea for a decade. When she finally meets him, tempestuous sparks fly, and she impulsively adopts a daring false identity. Going by “Lady X,” she vows never to marry such an infuriating man.
Captain Gabriel Rempeare is prepared to fulfill his duty and marry Miss Tavistock—if only he can clap eyes on her. One circumstance or another keeps them apart, though he cannot seem to avoid the beautiful, maddening, Lady X. When fate throws them together in London, Miss Tavistock discovers the real nature of the captain, and regrets her subterfuge. But can such a noble man forgive deceit? Or has her mistake already cost her everything?

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book takes place primarily in London, England 1811, and tells the story and mishaps of  a Miss Feodora Margaret Tavistock. The beginning was a bit slow, but the pace did pick up a bit more towards the middle. The ruse Miss Tavistock goes through to disguise herself from Captain Rempeare was amusing at first, though I admit that I found the lie to continue much too long. There were entertaining parts of the story, and the setting/time felt realistic, but Miss Tavistock was definitely very immature in my opinion, and sometimes her desire to continue the lie, and her behavior as a whole wore on me.I liked the Captain very well – he was very kind and understanding. Miss Tavistock’s companion, Mrs. Filbert was also a very good character.Just because I couldn’t really connect to Miss Tavistock and her story doesn’t mean that others won’t. This book might become a favorite of many, especially those who like light-hearted, sometimes silly, regency stories. I am glad to have had the chance to try it. :)

This book was provided courtesy of the author/publisher, through Interviews & Reviews.

 

 

 

The Foolish Things

“The Foolish Things” by Rebekah Tyne McKamie

Contemporary fiction

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Sharon Mehlmann’s obesity, emotional weakness, and pessimism have caused her close-knit family to rearrange their lives to encourage her. But with Self-Doubt relentlessly persecuting them all, Sharon and her family may ultimately succumb to their weaknesses – leaving plenty of opportunity for God’s glory.

“…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10

 

My Thoughts:

No matter how much I do or  don’t enjoy a book, I always love trying new authors. I deeply appreciate the work, heart, and effort they put into their novels.
I personally had a hard time getting into this book and feeling any depth of attachment to it.  While the blurb given on the back of the book doesn’t disclose much at all, the story itself seemed like it was a strong concept. And perhaps if it was told a different way, I might have been more engaged. But it is told through the perspective of Self-Doubt, which states itself as being neither a demon or a spirit but a tool. I understand that we need to be weak so that God can be strong, but how the story was told felt kind of creepy, more like from a demon’s perspective and that really threw me off, to be honest. There would be a couple times where I’d forget it was written this way, but then it would end a sentence in something like “And that’s where I came in.” etc. I just don’t think that the story’s concept was best displayed through this vehicle of perspective.
By the back cover blurb, I also assumed it would be primarily about Sharon. However, the story gravitates more so towards her friend, LD/Georgie and her brother Sean, who had an odd start to a relationship but got where they needed to be in the end. Sharon’s story came more towards the end, and I liked parts of it, but I struggled with how much it was stressed that she was SO overweight and morbidly obese, and then they name a number  – in my opinion, when talking about weight problems, numbers shouldn’t be mentioned because every body type is different and the number on a scale can read the same for two people but show totally different. We understood from words alone how she struggled with her weight, but to name a number felt overdone. As someone who has struggled with weight myself, I’ve had to realize that the scale tells a different story for each person and what may be overweight for someone might be considered healthy on another body type.
In conclusion, it was an interesting read, just not personally a hit for me.
  This book was provided courtesy of the author/publisher  through Interviews & Reviews.

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations” by V.Joy Palmer ~ Book Review

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations

“Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations” by V. Joy Palmer

Review copy from the author as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.
But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she’s forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.
Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart. 
But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?

 

Rae's books (48)

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a truly fun and enjoyable book. I really liked Apryl, and Chance was amazing.
I also liked how we got to see Courtney’s story play out as well – this wasn’t just a one-character’s-story book. Yes, Apryl was the primary ‘star’ but we got to know Courtney as well, and that aspect was really nice! Having Chance’s POV in there was a great piece of the book too!
Twins, Apryl and Courtney take over their grandmother’s antique business while she recovers in the hospital. To keep the business from failing, they revamp it into a wedding decorating venue, and I loved this clever aspect of the story. It was unique, and fun, and I loved seeing each wedding that they decorated come together and how each one painted a vivid picture for me to see in my mind’s eye.
Returning to the topic of Apryl and Chance though…  I loved these two so much! They could be oh-so frustrating (though I can see why XD) but they were so fantastic, and quickly became beloved characters to me! And I loved the faith message in this book. I could relate to Apryl’s feeling like a failure and not worth it, etc. but the truth she received at the end was beautiful. And same goes for Chance’s journey! I loved how each grew separately AND together.
I was curious to see if this book would have some sections that felt a little too over-the-top witty like I found the first book to sometimes contain, but the included sarcasm matched Apryl’s character perfectly, and I loved it! (Which is not to say that I didn’t like the first book – I very much did! You can find my review on goodreads.)
Apryl really had a vivid character and I so enjoyed getting to know her, and Chance too. (I may have developed a little crush on him myself. And also, this book made me really want potato chips….).
All in all, a delightful story! Looking forward to more from this author!
Quotes:

 

“Yeah, he’d always liked Batman.”

*

“I’m not perfect either, much to my dismay. I’ve tried to be. I’ve tried to have the perfect grades, the perfect job, the perfect life. I can’t do it. Our love will not be perfect. It will be filled with mistakes. But perfection isn’t love, it’s a cage. And with everything that’s happened with Gram and the shop, my identity can’t hang on my career, my accomplishments, and that elusive perfection. It’s defined by God and the way I love.”

 

*

*

*

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

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Tyndale House

“The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers ~ Book Review

 

 

Review copy from Tyndale Publishers 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

My Thoughts:
 
I may not have read  all of Francine River’s books, but I know that, by picking up one of hers, I will be guaranteed an excellent and deeper read.
Right from page one, I was drawn into “The Masterpiece”, and was not keen to stop when life required it. ;)
It is such a realistic read, with real struggles. The author doesn’t tip-toe around the harsher things in life. And yet she still weaves it in a tasteful way.
Both main characters, Roman and Grace, suffered pretty horrible and traumatic childhoods. And our childhood does shape us into how we deal with life as an adult. I feel that it was portrayed very well in this book. Reading about their trauma’s was heart-wrenching. I felt for these characters as if they were real people.
The message of Christ was also very realistically and beautifully shown. It was very poignant, and touching.  I also liked the morals Grace upheld, even when it was difficult. Yes, she’s made mistakes, but all Christians do.  And in everything, she still fought to keep God at the forefront.
Roman’s journey was an important one. I was so happy to see his conclusion, and the things God brought him to. Very cool.
Despite that this is a bigger book, I actually think there could have been a bit more at the end – I wasn’t quite ready for it to come to its finish. However, it was nicely done. Just wanted more, as you do with many a good book. :)
One small thing that kind of bugged me was some of the ways Grace raised her son, Samuel – she was an excellent mother, but she didn’t have a problem leaving him with people she didn’t know after moving to a new place, or letting him cry because he was apart from her, etc. I realize that these are just different parenting-things and different views, however, it is also true that leaving our children to people we do not know, could result in abuse.  That wasn’t included in this book, but it bothers me when people are casual about leaving children in unknown situations. As well as the fact that society (even churches) push parents to leave their kids with others.
Otherwise Grace was a very loving mother.
The graffiti-art aspect of this novel was terrific. I found it very fascinating, and the whole thing just worked together greatly.
I very much enjoyed this novel. :) It was a very powerful book that I look forward to reading again!
*This book is geared more for mature-readers. As I said, the author doesn’t skirt certain issues. Topics of abuse, death, sex, etc. are involved.
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 Book reviews, Books, lists, Pinterest, reading, Tessa Afshar, update

April Book Recap

Happy May First!

And first, I’d like to wish my dearest friend, Kenzie, a very Happy Birthday!!! Love you, Ken!! <3

 

FREE printable book wall art - or use it for filling in the titles of books you read(pic via Pinterest)

 

I’ve been keeping track of what books I receive in the mail and what books I read through the month, so I thought it might be fun to share! If I have already written and posted the review for each book, I will link to it in the title. :)

 

During the month of April, this was my Book News:

Finished “Like Never Before” by Melissa Tagg (LOVED it) Contemporary Romance

Read:

“A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund – but I didn’t finish, only skimmed because I was disappointed in it. Medieval/fantasy fiction

 

“The Prophetess” by Jill Eileen Smith – I skimmed this one too towards the end because of the content. Biblical Fiction

 

“Family Lies, Deadly Ties” by J.A.Marx – I adored this book, and am so very excited about it! It releases on May 13th. Can’t wait to share more about it!! Contemporary/Human-trafficking fiction

 

“Counted with the Stars” by Connilyn Cossette – Very good! I will be posting my review soon. :) Biblical Fiction

 

“The Beautiful Pretender” by Melanie Dickerson – Really enjoyed this one! Will also post my review of it soon. :) Medieval/Historical Fiction

 

And I started “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin, which I am enjoying! WII Fiction

 

Favourite Book of April: Hard to choose between the few excellent ones…but I’d have to say “Family Lies, Deadly Ties” by J.A. Marx. So good. :)

 

This month, I plan to read “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar (which releases TODAY!!! <3), “Dawn at Emberwilde” by Sarah E. Ladd, and we’ll see what else! :)

I’ve also got a couple blog posts coming soon…a Tag and some book reviews. :)

Do you keep track of the books you read each month?

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Fiction Guild, Litfuse

FictionGuild/Litfuse Book review: “The Wedding Chapel” by Rachel Hauck

“The Wedding Chapel” by Rachel Hauck
Review copy source: Litfuse and Fiction Guild
My rating: 4 out 5 Stars
About the Book:

A lonely wedding chapel built as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.

For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.

Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement—then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.

Taking a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.

My Thoughts:
This was certainly a cute read. I really enjoyed it. :) Normally I don’t pick up too many contemporary books, but having read one of Rachel Hauck’s other books and enjoying it, I wasn’t hesitant to try another, and I’m glad I did! This one had pieces of the story that were set in the late 40’s/early 50’s, and it was all so delightfully depicted.
The only thing I didn’t care for and would warn others about is the amount of ‘intimate’ moments there were. I don’t think they were necessary at all, at least in any detail.
The faith strand was very powerful at the end, and had me a tiny bit water-eyed I admit. :) Though I didn’t “agree” that once you’ve heard God’s heart, it stops and becomes solely part of walking by faith. Yes, we are definitely to walk by faith (amen to that), but we can also hear the heart of God no matter what.
The characters were very real – their flaws and all. I enjoyed the journeys each went on within themselves. Not sure I could pick a favourite…Jimmy and Collette in their teen years especially, and I really enjoyed Taylor’s character. And Jack. At the first introduction of him, I wasn’t sure, but as we got to read from his point of view, my heart ached for him.
I really like Rachel Hauck’s writing – oh! And there was a mention of one of her previous books that I thought was cute. :)
All in all, I found this to be quite an enjoyable book! Recommended for ages 18+
I received a complimentary copy from the publishers/Litfuse/FictionGuild in exchange for my honest review which I have given.