Tag Archives: book love

Book Reviews -April 2019

15 May

I can’t believe I’m finally getting this review up. There were just too many good books to share with you from last month to forgo doing this monthly review. I’ve been making it a point – once again – to read more instead of scrolling on my phone or watching Netflix. These 7 books are the result!

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(I know, I know, there are only 5 pictured here, but my dad is borrowing Sons and Soldiers and Fires of Heaven had to go back to the library… what’s a girl to do?)

The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley- When Harry Crewe struggles to settle into the sedate world of the Homelanders, she has no idea that a chance meeting with Corlath, the king of the Hillfolk, will change her life forever.  Check out my full review here 

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke- Ariana’s life is turned upside down when two rough-looking men take her hostage from the one-room schoolhouse she teaches at. With no explanation, they bundle her through the snowy mountain passes to their hideout. Her fear increases when the boss’s son is set to guard her. Will she ever see her adopted parents again? Will she have the chance to wear her mother’s wedding dress?

~I’m sure I squealed in delight when I found this recently at a used bookstore. I’m not sure what happened to my original copy, so I snatched this up quick. I am a big Oke fan and this is one of my favorites of hers. She didn’t write many westerns (in fact, this might be her only one). I enjoyed the twists and turns in this story, some that even though I’ve read it many times over the years (it’s been several years since I’ve read it last though), I was still surprised by them. Ariana’s faith is well-written through her captivity, which is so important to me. I highly recommend this novel for younger readers on up.

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A Falcon For a Queen by Catherine Gaskin – Suddenly an orphan, Kirsty Howard leaves her home in China and travels to Scotland to visit her grandfather. His home of Cluian is a strange one, utterly different from what she’s used to. Secrets abound in the old house, kept in place by the arrogance of the lonely old man and the two women who run his house. But being the site of one of the world’s finest whiskey distilleries, gives Kirsty an opportunity to carve her own place in the Highlands.

~I was given this book (published 1972) last year and finally decided I just had to read it. I’d never read anything by Gaskin before but now I intend to read a few more. It was intriguing, unexpected and enjoyable. Yes, there was far too much information about distilling whiskey. But in the context of their livelihood, it made sense, you know? It was a rather dry topic though, one that I tended to skip through, to get to the actual story. The STORY though. Sigh of happiness. I had the ending figured all wrong, but readily admit that it was far better, and more satisfying than I had come up with. I wouldn’t recommend this for younger readers as it is a darker, aka ‘gothic’ novel. There are only innuendos of a scandalous nature, but Gaskin kept it clean even in that. I fully intend to read it again. If you want a book that will surprise you (and you’re willing to sift through the whiskey aspect), find a copy of this book.

Heart of Wilderness by Janette Oke –  After days of anguished travel, George McMannus arrives to decide what to do with his only grandchild who is suddenly an orphan. He’s not sure just what to do with three year old Kendra Marty, after all, the life of a trapper up in the wilderness isn’t the best place to raise a child. But their hearts connect quickly and George knows that he has to try. He and his granddaughter belong together.

~I hadn’t read this book in years but I fondly remembered it. The fun thing about coming back to books you read as a young teen – early twenties is the different perspective you now have when you read them. Reading of the tragedy that brought young Kendra and ‘Papa Mac’ (as she calls him) together, and better realizing the struggle that he had in caring for her, etc etc through the years. As usual, the faith aspect was well done and both their development was good. I love Oke’s work as it’s a light read but still pulls you into the world and shares nuggets of truth. Highly recommend for teen readers on up.

Sons and Soldiers : The Untold Story of the Jews who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson – This is the story of the German Jews who escaped Germany in the 1930s, grew up in the U.S., joined the Army and became an elite group called the Ritchie Boys.  They were specially trained in interrogation techniques and used their boyhood knowledge of Germany’s language and customs. In small groups, the Ritchie Boys were sent with each major combat unit in Europe, gathering crucial intelligence and interrogating prisoners.

~I couldn’t get a book more different than the previous ones, could I? This one took me a while to get through, but it was written in a way that you wanted and needed to know how the boys made it through the war – and if they connected with their families again. Because of the content, I’d only recommend this for older readers.

At the Back of the North Wind by George Macdonald, Retold by Dan Larsen – It’s a dreary life in Victorian England but young Diamond is a ray of sunshine for those around him. When he meets the North Wind one night, he goes on an incredible adventure. She takes him over oceans, soaring over cities and even above the clouds. But his life is changed forever when she takes him to the back of the North Wind.

~This was a childhood read that I pulled out of storage after thinking about it for a few months. It was just about as delightful as I remembered, honestly. I enjoyed the lessons that young Diamond learned and the twist at the end! Sigh. I had completely forgotten about it. This is a great book for young readers, actually my edition is from the “Young Readers Christian Library”. 

The Fires of Heaven (book 5 of the Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan – With the seals holding the Great Lord of the Dark in his prison weakening, Rand al’Thor knows he needs to strike a heavy blow at the enemy. But his plans are weakened when his allies are divided and fighting each other. Even the Aes Sedai are caught in a civil war. How can he defeat the Enemy while dealing with all of this, and struggling to maintain his sanity, his identity against the madness that’s coming?

Once again, I got completely sucked into Jordan’s elaborate world. 900 pages starts to go fast when you just can’t put it down. Watching Rand battle for his own sanity while still trying to strategize and scheme with the best of them; seeing Mat fight the pull of ta’averen, and accidentally display his own struggles to not get pulled into the past; all of the girls’ individual struggles to attain their goals —- ahhhhh. The level of plotting that just one of these novels takes has got to be unbelievable. There was a little more… sensual …context in this book that I could have done without. As usual, this is me we’re talking about. 

 

Currently Reading:

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (yes, I’m reading it again!)

Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters

War Torn Heart by Allison Wells

Write by Karen E. Peterson, Phd

 

To Read: 

Lord of Chaos (book 6 of the Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

 

~Laura

Jan/Feb 2018 Book Review

1 Mar

              “A Book is a Dream that you Hold in your Hand.” ~ Neil Gaiman

This is a double feature today! I didn’t share my reads from last month so I’m throwing them in with this month’s reads. There are some really great books from classics to fantasy. I enjoy reading such different genres, especially since I have started reading them from a writer’s perspective. Like the book that I just finished yesterday, the author wrote one character in the 3rd point of view while the other main character was in the first person. I liked how you knew right away which person you were reading about. My writer’s brain is trying to decide just how hard it would be to implement that…. Anyway, on to the book reviews!

 

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Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson  – Crave salt or sweets? Unreasonably tired? Need coffee to keep you going? Having a hard time keeping up with daily life? With an easy to follow style, Dr. Wilson guides you through figuring out if you have adrenal fatigue, and then tells you just how to start feeling better.

~ I took notes as I read through what foods to eat/avoid, supplements to take and the best herbs to include. I learned so much from this book. I had several ah-ha moments , finding sense in so many health struggles that have confused me for years. I would highly recommend this to anyone with unexplained health struggles. And remember, whether you have adrenal fatigue or not – be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI – It’s not often that a young girl, when crossing the ocean to join her family, ends up joining the crew and being accused of murder. But Charlotte Doyle did. Her fantastic tale is one that must be read, unless of course, you don’t like strong ideas or action.

~I heard about this book through carrottoppapershop  and I requested it from the library that same day. I was so intrigued by it and it was well worth it. The story was fun and engaging and with some very unexpected twists. I was so pleased with how it ended that I read the last few pages twice and then had to tell my OH all about it. It is a children’s classic so all ages can read and enjoy it. 

 

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox – Great Western Investment Company is eager for Amelia Wagner to retract her late father’s statements about their business dealings. But as Amelia takes over the running of the newspaper and picks up the investigation into Great Western, she thinks her father was right. But she doesn’t know the danger that she’s getting into. Nor does Ben, the man that is keeping tabs on her. But soon they’ll both have to decide just how important this is – and try to reveal the truth before Great Western stops them.

-I got this book partly because it bears similarities to the novel that I’m writing and I wanted to know just how close they are. But! Relief, they aren’t that similar. (WHEW!) This novel was so fun, so easy to read that I flew through it. I will definitely read it again.

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodson Burnett – When Sara Crewe is taken to her first boarding school in England, it is far from the life she knew with her father in India. But as she is an exceptionally bright and imaginative child, she makes friends – and enemies – quickly. But when news comes that her father has died, leaving her destitute, she is devastated. The matron, Miss Minchin, forces her to work as a scullery maid. But Sara dreams that her fortunes will change again, and they do, in a very unexpected way.

– I enjoyed this story so much and it’s going on the ‘I can’t believe I’d never read it’ list. I liked the moral lessons in it and just fell in love with Becky. ( I have a thing for side characters). As a children’s classic, this is a great book for a younger – and older -audience. Another great story by Burnett is Little Lord Fauntleroy

 

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (book #1) and The Caller (book #2) – A separate review will be up when I read the third book! It’s waiting on my shelf and I can’t wait to start it! This series has been so good – and so engrossing.

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A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson – The newspaper world was a male-dominated field in the early 1900’s but a young and pretty female reporter enters into it with courage. She does whatever it takes to get the story – be it climbing a high ledge or acting as a blushing bride – and proves that she’s the best.

– This story was unlike any I’d read. It was highly amusing and I laughed out loud often. I did have a hard time keeping track of all the characters but that didn’t ruin it for me. As it was printed in 1905, and was about that era, it was perfect as research material for me for my own novel. Double win.

 

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – click the link to read all about this wonderful series!

 

Currently Reading:

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery

Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut  by Aaron Eby

The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris

 

To-read :

Raven Claw by Juliet Marillier (book #3 of Shadowfell)

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Whispers on the Moors series by Sarah E. Ladd

 

~Laura

What are you currently reading? Do any of these sound good to you?

 

 

Book Love Roundup

2 Nov

It being a rainy day I decided to have some fun and share some quotes and things on BOOKS. Because, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, I’m a bit obsessed. Enjoy!

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I have done this so many times! I try to tell myself it will be alright, they aren’t actually REAL. But, it doesn’t ring true somehow…

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I’m not the only one right??

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This mug is now on my Wish List

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yes yes and yes! I so want to do this one year!

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If this is true, then my life is super balanced.

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I’m thinking of doing a challenge like this next year.

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We totally have the attic we could do this in.

 And one more to leave you with :

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~Laura

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