Posted in Book reviews

“A Promise to Break” by Kathryn Spurgeon ~ Book Review

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“A Promise to Break” by Kathryn Spurgeon

 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

Christian Historical Novel based on a true story. 

Sibyl, a wealthy banker’s daughter, meets a penniless hobo with the bluest eyes she’s ever seen. He finds work, and she finds she can’t keep away from the kindhearted man. But choosing him means betraying her father, his Socialists beliefs, and the plans he’s made for her life. This relationship begins a spiritual journey she never expected. As the Great Depression worsens, Sibyl has to choose–security or love?

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

This book was a fantastic read. It was so rich in its setting and history – and I am impressed that it was based on a true story and held to the true facts so well!
As I said, the setting was just fantastic – I so enjoyed reading a book in the 1930’s. I’ve been intrigued by that time period since I was young. This book was like a mature version of “American Girl Kit Kittredge” which I adored. ^.^ You can imagine my delight in this book then – more suited to my age, and so interesting.
It had a lot of depth, and the characters were so realistic it was amazing. The author did a fantastic job in making them really come to life.
This wasn’t an easy book – there was so much hardship, and so much pain. And oh how I disliked a certain character’s constant actions! I won’t say who, but if you read this book I’m sure you’ll understand.
Sybil Trimble was easy to relate to. And I loved her caring heart, and desire to help the poor.
And “her hobo”! From the first encounter, I loved him too! I loved them. Each of their encounters were much-waited-for and savoured. I loved his absolutely selfless behaviour and patience for Sybil, and others too. His family were really all quite remarkable.
The message of faith was great as well – very real and down-to-earth, but meaningful too.
I was just impressed with the whole book. :)
There were a couple of typos and errors, and one paragraph repeated itself, but those are easy to overlook, in my opinion. It doesn’t subtract from the story.
Definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!
*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 Book reviews

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

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“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White

Book Two in the Shadows Over England series

Review copy from the author/publishers as apart of the Launch Team.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I–to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales. 

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

This book was beautiful. I wasn’t sure how the next book in this series would stand next to the first, “A Name Unknown” (because I loooved that one), but wow! It exceeded my expectations. Utterly delightful, and vivid and strong. I love how it wasn’t ‘heavy’, but it was deep. It was so easy to get caught up into, and so refreshing. This is definitely one of those books that you don’t just read – you live in its pages. You feel like you know the characters personally – not like you’re just reading about them. Spectacular!
And the settings were rich – London. Wales. Belgium.
“A Song Unheard” really does pull you in effortlessly.
There was so much to it, that I’m not even sure how to capture it all in my review! The music aspect was glorious. I’m not really a musician, but wow! Stunning. And the strength of family – maybe not by-blood-family, but still family. That was touching. And the faith-element – absolutely fantastic, and heartwarming. It was real, and not just ‘fluff’.
The characters were all spot-on.
Willa Forsythe…oh Willa. What a character she was! So developed, so complex, so broken, but so lovely. And strong. And willa-ful. ;) I loved her! What else can I say than that she was amazing? Her struggles, and trials – the walls she put up, and the ending conclusion – ahh, so good!
Lukas De Wilde being a playboy – I was curious to see how his character would go. But wow, I loved him too! His flirtation towards Willa was extremely amusing, and his devotion endearing. He had great depth too, and I loved “getting to know” him and seeing his transformation in the book.
Parts of this story shared the POV of Lukas’ sister, Margot. She was positively delightful! Her math-brain – goodness, I wish I had that! ;) And her loyalty to the Lord, and her faith – inspiring. I believe I heard that we’ll get to see more of her character in another series possibly? I sure hope so!
“A Song Unheard” is full of so much beauty, and depth, as I said, it’s impossible to cover all of it within one review, but I definitely recommend it! Music, intrigue, danger, hard-won-romance, a family of thieves, a world-renowned violinist – this book is enticing to say the least! It’s lovely to have a series set during the start of WWI – and a series so well written at that!
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Quotes:

 

“We are in God’s hands, and God’s alone. War is knocking on our door, and it is bigger than any of us. But the Lord is bigger than war. He will take care of us, if it is His will. And if it is not, then it will be to His glory. Rest in Him.” – words from Lukas’ mother’s letter.

 

_Our faith is the rock we stand on, Willa - but we don't demand anyone else stand here with us. Though if you ever wanted to, there is plenty of room.__God is real, my friend. And I dare

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

_Music is like a person, oui_ You must make friends. Court it. Listen to it speak, let it find its voice._

_I don't want fame. Or awards or...I just want to play. That's all. To have the music._

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

It felt, just now, impossible. But impossible was all he had to hope in.png

 

 

*Read an interview with the author, Roseanna M. White HERE. And stay tuned for this next Monday, where Willa Forsythe will get her own post. :) Also….pop in on Valentine’s Day to see a special cover reveal!! Lots of fun!

 

 

I received a 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 blog tour, Book reviews, Books

“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

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“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

A Novel of Prophets and Kings

Review copy from the author/publishers as apart of Mesu Andrews’ Launch Team

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars!

 

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About the Book:

 

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bibleminiseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Wow, what an absolutely beautiful and captivating story! I was just utterly engaged the moment I started it right until the very end page. It was so very good.
Ishma and Hezi’s relationship from the very beginning was just the most endearing thing ever. It was so sweet how they bonded and grew so close.
The characters were all really amazing, and so believable, so three-dimensional. You didn’t just read about their trials and joys, you felt them with the characters. The heartbreak, the pain, and the beautiful healing.
I absolutely loved how Ishma’s name changed to Hephzibah, and that whole theme throughout the book with her new name meaning ‘God’s delight’. What a beautiful reminder for all of us!! We are the Lord’s delight. I love that. Her journey was so poignant – so touching.
“Isaiah’s Daughter” is a remarkable look into the prophesies of Isaiah, and how they might have interpreted them in their own time.
Author Mesu Andrews can take what might be normally seen as ‘heavy history’ and weave it into a compelling tale that is not only very understandable, but completely enjoyable and enlightening. This is one reason why I love Biblical Fiction so much. It really gives depth to the Bible accounts that are familiar, but sometimes less understood.
This book is so full that trying to write a review that would give it justice seems rather impossible. But I definitely recommend this beautiful story, and look forward to losing myself in its pages again!

I thought “Miriam” was my favourite book by Mesu Andrews, but now I’m thinking “Isaiah’s Daughter” tops the list!

 

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Quotes:

I actually highlighted a TON of quotes, and made several graphics. Below are a few of them, but you can go to my Pinterest Page here to see more graphics with ID quotes. :)

 

 

 

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BLOG TOUR:

1/15 – Lena Nelson Dooley

1/15 – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!

1/15 – More Than Poetic Musings

1/16 – Seriously Write

1/16 – Lighthouse Academy

1/17 – Jill Eileen Smith

1/18 – Kristie Moments

1/19 – Coffee Cups & Camisoles

1/19 – Montana Made

1/20 – Fiction Aficionado

1/21 – Angie Arndt

1/21 – Christian Chicks Thoughts

1/22 – Carole Towriss

1/22 – Backing Books

1/23 – God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

1/24 – Faithfully Bookish

1/24 – Mommynificent

1/25 – Just Commonly

1/25 – Bibliophile Reviews

1/26 – Reading is my Superpower

1/26 – The Mary Reader

 

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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse ~ Book Review

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Review copy from Publishers

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

 

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My Thoughts:

Set in the south, “Missing Isaac” gave a very interesting look into life during the 1960’s, in a town where both rich and poor, black and white, consisted. What first drew me to this debut novel was the time period – I don’t see a lot of Christian fiction set during the 1960’s, so that immediately caught my attention along with the fact that I’ve been looking for more CF set during this time. :) However, this was primarily a southern 1960’s view and what they had to go through, not so much the 1960’s that first comes to mind.
The story follows Pete, who starts out as a young boy who just lost his father in a tragic accident. One of his father’s workers, Isaac, becomes the father-figure Pete looks up to and learns from, deepening their bond of friendship, but then Isaac goes missing, leaving Pete to grieve again.
The title of the book is a little deceiving in the way that the story doesn’t focus entirely on the title’s name. It’s included, but I didn’t feel like it was the main focal point.
There was a thread of mystery as we waited to find out what happened to Isaac, and it was good to see it concluded in the end, but overall the storyline was about Pete McLean. Having said that, the storyline of Pete was good and interesting. I enjoyed it.
I loved the character Dovey, and especially Pete and Dovey’s relationship throughout the book – that was absolutely touching and endearing.
I also liked that it was realistic. And that Pete’s family were honest that life is hard, but we learn from our trials, and honor God through them.
It was a good and enjoyable debut book. :)
Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner ~Book Review

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“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner

A Pearl Spence Novel

Review copy from Kregal Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the book:

 

Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed! 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

“A Song of Home” was an excellent read. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’d heard good things about the author’s writing which is why I requested this book for review, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect from the story. However, this book delightfully surprised me, and felt so comfortable.
It is the third book in the Pearl Spence novels, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it. In fact, it left me craving to go back and read the first two – I must get my hands on copies of those!!
The writing talent alone is enough to draw you in – boy, was I impressed. It read flawlessly, and I realized that I hadn’t looked at the chapter number once until the very end, making sure I had another left. And while that may not seem important to some, I was dazzled to be so captivated that I didn’t realize where I was at in the book. ^.^
ASOH is a quiet tale, a gentle story, full of life and trials, beauty and pain. All told through the eyes of eleven year old Pearlie Spence.
I loved her friendship with Ray. I’m hoping there’s another book to come that continues their friendship as they both grow?? :)
All of the characters really were special, and so well-written. Each one seeming so realistic and so alive. Everything about this book was that way.
Oh, her Daddy was so sweet – their relationship was precious. I wasn’t as fond of her mama – at first. The more I got to see of her, the more that was explained – well, I grew to understand her better.
And the ending was very sweet. It was such a good book; I definitely want to read more. :)
 
 

Quotes:

“Hard times had the power to change people. I knew that. They could change them for the good or bad. Thing was, nobody could tell somebody which way to go. Folks had to figure it out on their own.” 
“Was she lost to him?’ I asked. ‘Ah, but one can never be too lost to be found by true love.'” 
 
“The work it must’ve taken for Daddy to be kind to her was more than I had patience for. But he was a kind man, Daddy was. If there was anything I’d learned from him it was that gentleness wasn’t a show of weakness. Sometimes it took more strength to be gentle than Samson possessed even on his very best day.” 
“They behave badly indeed. But there’s always a reason for people to do the things they do.” 
“Do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you. That’s in the Good Book, you know. How you wanna be treated is how you best do to everybody else. Even if they gone and hurt you. You still gotta do it. Praise Jesus.”

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

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

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“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

 

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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.

 

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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! :)

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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 Book reviews, Heather Day Gilbert

“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert ~ Book Review

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“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert

Book Three in the “A Murder in the Mountains” series

Review copy from author, being a launch team member

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

Tess Spencer hadn’t planned on returning to her hometown, but when her ex-prisoner mom puts in a special request, Tess overcomes her hesitance to help her turn over a new leaf.

Pearletta Vee’s drug-dealing past is resurrected when the body of an overdosed teen shows up—right next to her trailer. Tess decides to stick around and investigate, yet the evidence is stacked against Pearletta. Tess suspects a setup—but why?

Never one to back down from a challenge, Tess takes on a wayward teen, an abusive grandma, and more than one drug dealer in her quest for the truth. But it’s going to take a miracle to keep her from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs.

Plunging into the shadowy reality of the drug epidemic in West Virginia, Guilt by Association is the third book in the award-winning Murder in the Mountains mystery series.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

:D  <—- That’s how I feel to be reading a Heather Day Gilbert book. I love her writing!
“Guilt by Association” was an absolutely excellent read. So very easy to get into, and if I could, I would’ve read it straight through – I can’t do that with a lot of books (weird quirk of mine) but I could have easily done that with this book if only time had allowed. But I so enjoyed the time I got to spend within its pages.
The mystery was very well-done, gripping to the end, yet not overly…disturbing. I hope that makes sense! There are definitely some dark murder-mystery books out there, but I don’t think Guilt by Association was dark at all, which I appreciate. It was serious without being morbid.
The drug involvement was fascinating, sharing facts I hadn’t previously been aware of. I am thankful the author included this subject and so smoothly worked it in, educating her readers a bit. I was impressed.
And of course, I absolutely loved revisiting the characters! Tess Spencer is such a strong lead character, and so enjoyable to follow along with.
Truly, reading this book was pure pleasure, and felt so realistic, so believable.
The mystery had me curious till the end, with a very satisfying conclusion. And that ending!!! Oh my word, I teared up. Yes, the ending conclusion to the mystery itself was fantastic, but the last page….yep, it hit me right here (imagine me pointing to my heart ;)). You’ll just have to read the book to find out what I mean!
So good. I don’t know what else to say other than that I loved it, enjoyed every minute of it, was impressed, and definitely recommend this series to good-mystery-suspense-homey fiction! I think “Guilt by Association” may actually be my favourite of the series so far! And I hope there’s more books to come, because…yes, very much-needed, in my opinion!! I don’t want to be done with this series. :)
profits
And look! If you buy a copy of this book this month, you will be helping an excellent cause. So do go pick up a copy of this book! (And the first 2 books in this series!)
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

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“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

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

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“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.
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.”