Posted in Book reviews, Books, Revell Reads, Reviews, Spiritual beliefs

“Finding Lady Enderly” by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Review (I loved it!!)

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“Finding Lady Enderly” by Joanna Davidson Politano

Review copy through the publisher/author as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I loved this book, so so much. It meant so much to me, the message and everything, because it is something I am learning too – my identity in Christ. During the reading of it, I even wrote a poem that, if Rania were real, I’d love to share with her. I will include it at the end of this post, but first read on for the description of this beautiful book and my “official” review! :)

 

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About the Book:

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Oh my word, this book. Wow. It floored me in its gentle beauty and remarkable message. It is no coincident that I read it when I did, and took my time to savor it, for the message lined up with what God has been showing me lately, and that just blessed me so much.
I fell so utterly in love with this story, that it will long remain on my favorites shelf. How it is written is so beautifully smooth and captivating, and the plot was fantastic as well, with characters that will just sweep you off your feet.
Truly, I don’t know how I could write a review that would do this book justice. I loved it so much. Dear sweet Rania went through such a journey. And that ending! Not quite what I was expecting, but so much better and full of redemption. Gorgeous prose, amazing characters, and truth about identity that is sure to bless any reader who stumbles into its pages.
The absolute heart that is woven through the story is touching, and that it all shines back to our Creator, is astounding. I’m so in love with this book and its characters. The author did a beautiful job, and I am in awe of her ability to turn it all back to God. <3
I marked SO many places in this book that it would be nearly impossible to share them all. I so badly wanted to make a graphic for each one, but our computer has been so slow that I’m not sure I can even get one made. But the quotes were fantastic and I will savor them for a long time. Hopefully I can get them typed up soon and perhaps I will devote a special post to them in the near future. :)
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My Worth // by Raechel Lenore
I’m building my courage
One strand at a time
I’m lifting my head
by the inch
Healing can come
not all in a wave
but in soft whispers of strength
A Change slowly happening
A change still occuring
My eyes ever upward I raise
Coming to learn
and coming to know
that I reside in a place of grace
Beauty and truth,
they shine from within
they rely not upon another soul
I need not look to another’s face
to know my worth is whole
A crown slowly forming
upon my head
I let it there reside
Not knowing its strength
yet feeling its weight
I’m learning to accept it as mine
My worth to you I do not owe
My worth secure within me
I used to look towards anothers face
to change what grew so simply
Freedom’s glance
feels just wihin reach
and I’m starting to stand taller now
Knowing I am enough on my own
this truth is a new beginning, allowed.
I’ll raise my head another inch
I’ll lift up sparkling eyes
I’ll look into my reflection close and say ‘You are dignified.
My Father has put His crown on you
to His children He has given all
The garments are complete on you
Dignified and without pall
Raise up, you daughter of courage
raise up and continue to mend
Your worth is not held by anothers hands
Your worth is found in Heavens stead
You are worth
all on your own
You are worth and enough
You are a beauty
a pearl all desired
treasured by heavens touch.’
My worth is not measured by others opinions
my worth does not fluctate by anothers whims
My worth cannot be tossed by the wind
when I’ve found it secured within.
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I do ask that you respect that this poem I shared belongs to me and is copyrighted as such. I would be pleased as punch if you wanted to share it linking back to me, just please don’t steal. :) Thank you!!
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“My Dearest Dietrich” by Amanda Barratt – Review

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“My Dearest Dietrich” by Amanda Barratt

Review copy from the author/publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison
Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.
Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.
Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.
With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.
Based on detailed historical research and including photos from both Maria’s and Dietrich’s lives, this is a true love story at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love

My Thoughts:

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer left behind a remarkable legacy. I loved the look into his life that this book brought. Getting to know his “lost love” was an enjoyable story with a bittersweet end.
He was a man of stalwart faith, and reading about his life, even through fiction, is an encouragement! I marked several spots of his wise words. :)
While slow-moving at times, it was a good read. Not one to be rushed through.
My heart hurts for all the atrocities so many endured during WWII. And yet, what strength they showed, especially in their faith.
I didn’t particularily “bond” with Maria.  She endured a lot though, and grew much throughout her journey, I just didn’t care for her, personally.
But their shared letters were very fascinating, and their story sweet.
If you enjoy WWII fiction books that are real and down-to-earth, you’ll want to add this to your list. :)
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*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Revell Reads

“Living Lies” by Natalie Walters ~ Book Review

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“Living Lies” by Natalie Walters

Harbored Secrets #1

Review copy from publishers/author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name–but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love getting the opportunity to read an author’s debut novel. It feels so special, to be trusted with their first book baby. :)
“Living Lies” is a romantic suspense title, and I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense plot – it was really well-written, and I enjoyed seeing how the whole thing played out and worked together in the end.  That thread was my favorite for sure.
The characters themselves were great, and nicely written. I appreciate how  Lane dealt with depression and anxiety, and that message of the book was definitely handled very well and with care.
The romance didn’t really ‘click’ for me, personally. Not that the two characters weren’t good for each other – they were, and I certainly didn’t dislike them as a couple. I don’t really know why I wasn’t getting engaged in the romance thread. Sometimes it felt a little like insta-love but it wasn’t exactly like that because the main character had some things she felt she needed to overcome.
Charlie was a fantastic guy. I loved how patient he was. And little Noah was a cutie. Also, I had a soft spot for Miguel. His character was really well-written.
The story flowed so nicely, and was an enjoyable read to be sure.
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*I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 

 

Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes ~ Review

Raes books (6)

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes

Review copy from publishers/author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

 

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My Thoughts:

This book is one that should be savored. It is not a book to rush through. Just as I felt when reading the prequel novella (“Up From the Sea”), while traversing the pages of “Whose Waves These Are”, it was almost like I was holding my breath in anticipation. To see how it would all play out, to watch the characters live their lives – but it was also so much more.
I loved the little Harbor town, Ansel-by-the-Sea – it sounds so charming, and I wish it were a place that I could visit!
The writing style is very unique – and I’ll admit that at first, it took me a while to really get into it because I’m not used to reading a book written in this manner. However, once I got acclimated to the waters, so-to-speak, it was so pleasurable, and I felt so drawn in.
The characters each lept off the page. As did the story itself. It is a winding tale through several decades, but every piece is so well woven together that the completed work is rather stunning indeed.
This story evokes emotion – I wept at more than one part, and the messages impressed throughout the novel were beautiful and touching.
“Whose Waves These Are” took me a while to read, but I wish I had time to linger in it longer, for as I said – it is a story not to be devoured, but to be slowly inhaled.
I loved Bob, and Annie, and Fletch, and Bess, and Ed, and so many other characters, and I am quite certain you will too.
“He said he loves you, that it’ll be all right, that life is big…and God is bigger.”
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Quotes:
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*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, Revell Reads

“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith ~ Book Review

 

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“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith

The Loves of Solomon

Biblical/historical Fiction

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Heart of a King (The Loves of King Solomon #1-4)

About the book:

Four women captured King Solomon’s heart in different ways, and he indulges his desires despite warnings. For all his wisdom, did Solomon or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

 

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Before I go into my review, I want to state how much I love this cover. The colors just pop and it is beautifully designed! And the spine of it too – it’s beautiful!
The inside of this attractive novel was very enjoyable as well. Not once was I bored or lacking interest. I found this book to be very well-written, and captivating.
It was really interesting to see into King Solomon’s life, as well as a few of his many wives’ lives.
I was really impressed with how the author wrote King Solomon’s character  – he was likeable and understandable, and yet so frustrating with his weakness for many, many women. I have always wondered about him and his many wives, and honestly, he was irritating in this aspect but I couldn’t hate him. His flaws made up his character, and his strengths were shown as well. Like I said, I was impressed with the overall respect the author wrote into his story.
And I also found the four wives highlighted in this novel to be fascinating and well-written. I felt for each of them and enjoyed getting to know them. I think Naamah and Abishag were my favorites, but they each were unique characters that had complex stories.
I would like to add as well that it was all tastefully written. I was a little cautious about how…passionate it might become at times because of the nature of the story, but the descriptions never went too far, and it was handled really well. I was very appreciative of this!
The historicalness of the story felt natural, and I would easily classify it as such; historical fiction.
“The Heart of a King” is definitely my favorite of this author’s work thus far, and I would recommend it to fans of Historical/Biblical fiction. This novel felt similar to the author Mesu Andrews’ writing, so if you’ve enjoyed her novels, be sure to check out this one as well.
:)
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_It did no good to try to rewrite what was already past. What could never change. The very idea was futile._
_Sometimes suffering brings people together in a way prosperity never can._
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers as apart of the books launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.  
Posted in Uncategorized

“Far Side of the Sea” by Kate Breslin ~ Book review

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“Far Side of the Sea” by Kate Breslin

WWI fiction

Review copy from the publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life–a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a well-crafted and splendid novel this was! I love the author’s ability to write compelling and realistic (and romantic ;)) historical fiction. “Far side of the Sea” is set during WWI, and while I’ve read (and enjoyed!) my fair share of WW TWO fiction, I haven’t read too many WW ONE fiction – so it is always a delight to learn more about historical time periods through fiction. And it is woven so well throughout this novel.
The plotline was superb with many twists and mysteries, though I shan’t be saying much about that because…spoilers! And I should dearly hate to ruin the enjoyment of finding out everything for yourself. So if you enjoy compelling WWI fiction, don’t hesitate to add this one to your list!
The characters were amazing, as well. I simply loved Colin, and Johanna both! They were each so realistic, and beautifully portrayed that it was so easy to fall in love with them right away. At first, I thought I would favor the parts written from Colin’s point of view (third person), but as soon as I got to know Johanna, I was just as much enthralled with hers (also third person)! So well done, and remarkably enjoyable.
It was also fun to see familiar characters from “Not By Sight” :)
The faith strand was present and sweet. I really liked how it ended, and the conclusion Colin came to, and there was just so much to love! So sweet! But again, I hesitate to mention too much more!
I can’t end though without saying I also loved the pigeon history and involvement throughout the story! So interesting, and added a great touch.
Bravo to the author for another riveting and beautiful book!
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Posted in Book reviews

“The Secrets of Paper and Ink” by Lindsay Harrel ~ Book Review

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“The Secrets of Paper and Ink” by Lindsay Harrel

Duel-Timeline story

Review copy through the publishers/author

 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

 

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England–a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author–and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

Two hundred years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

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My Thoughts:

The cover of this book is simply ravishing, is it not? Jaw-droppingly gorgeous, in my opinion! That was incentive enough for me to read this book. Add in that it is about books and a bookstore, set in Cornwall, England, and is the authors second novel – count me in. ;)
The prologue starts us off with letters written from Emily Fairfax from the 19th century. I found this to be a lovely beginning. I would gladly read a whole novel comprised of letters. But anyway! “The Secrets of Paper and Ink” follow more than just one story-line. We are introduced to three leading heroine’s; two in the present day, and Emily from the past. I loved each of these stories and how they were interwoven with each other. I must say though, that I favored Emily’s portions. I loved being enveloped into her time period, and seeing the struggles she was faced with, and the joys she discovered. Her piece was written in first person, and I really am a sucker for that style of writing. :)
That is not to say that I didn’t connect with Sophia and Ginny, though. I very much enjoyed each of their stories. And their friendship was perfect – they were there for each other at just the right time. And I looooved the bookstore aspect! I so want to own a bookstore, and that was just so fun. I also really liked how each character was so unique and individual to themselves. They were all fantastic, and William was so sweet! Memorable characters for sure.
The one and only thing that kept this being a full five stars for me was the faith content. While there at the end, it wasn’t as strong as I was hoping for, and there were a couple spots that hinted at a more “laid back” view of religions in general that I wasn’t keen on. Don’t get me wrong – the ending message was about finding ourselves in God alone, and that was beautiful. But I felt that there was a theme, especially in the beginning that was more a bit prominent  and that was the message of “being true to ourselves”. Emily wrote towards the end that true strength doesn’t come from us or other people, but rather alluded to it being the Lord – I know that is what she meant when she said “It is to another strength we must look, to first build and then to sustain us.” but I admit I was hoping for a stronger pointing to God – an obvious shout that He is the One she received healing from.
The story itself was (or rather, I should say the stories themselves were ;))  beautiful, and written very well. This wasn’t just a fluff book – it was lovely and entertaining, and meaningful. I will definitely be giving it another read or two in the future!
Lindsay Harrel writes a very captivating tale that keeps you until the very end.