Tag Archives: books

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series Review

14 Feb

I’m excited to be sharing this series by Robin Lee Hatcher with you guys today. I know I promised this review to you way back in December but it’s finally here! And it’s definitely worth the wait. Trust me. I actually heard about this series from my aunt who found it at her local library.

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A Vote of Confidence, When Gwen Arlington complains about the mayoral candidate for their small town of Bethlehem Springs, she is encouraged to run for office herself. Although she’s unsure about upsetting her cozy life as a piano teacher and writing for the local newspaper, she decides to go for it. Unknown to her, newcomer Morgan Mckinley also decides to run for mayor. The health spa that he’s trying to build has stalled and he’s decided that being mayor will help cut through all the red tape. As both Gwen and Morgan try to prove that they are the best candidate for the job, not only to the residents of the town but to each other, sparks fly. But Gwen’s fiercely protected independence and Morgan’s guarded heart may just keep them as adversaries instead of allies.

Fit to Be Tied,  Cleo Arlington isn’t your typical young woman. She can rope, ride and wrangle a horse with the best of the outfit on her father’s ranch. But in 1916, those qualities aren’t what men are looking for in a wife. Her dreams of being married and having a family of her own look grim. So when Sherwood Statham comes to their ranch, she has a hard time with his uppity attitude. This English aristocrat isn’t there in Idaho by choice, but by order of his father. Cleo and Sherwood’s every encounter leaves one or the other mad as all get out. There’s no way he’s the one she’s been waiting  for, is there?

A Matter of Character, Writing dime novels isn’t what people expect of an heiress, so Daphne Mckinley keeps her hobby to herself. But the stories are a hit and the readers keep asking for more. Daphne eagerly obliges, continuing the saga of her villian Rawhide Rick, who is loosely based off local lore. But when Joshua Crawford comes to town in search of the man who has slandered his grandfather’s good name, Daphne learns just how powerful words are. She also has to make a choice on using her gift and just what she wants her life to be.

 

This series was so much fun. I love the time period – starting in 1915 – and Hatcher describes just enough of the world that you can picture it without there being too much reminding. Know what I mean? (there really can be too much description in a book. . .) The main characters are great, although I have to admit to liking Daphne the most (although I do remember getting frustrated at her a few times…) but I suppose that’s no surprise as she’s a writer and I’m a writer.

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aren’t these covers just perfect?! I’m in love

Anyway, this series was SO much fun, my friends. I read them all so quickly and was sad when they were over! Faith was an aspect of each book, but not overly done. (there can also be too much preaching in books…)  There is something so fun about reading novels set in this time period – the newfangled contraptions of typewriters and automobiles. The dresses, gloves and hats. (happy sigh)

The twists and turns were great as well, keeping me in suspense as to just how each book would end. I highly recommend this series, from teens on up! This series is definitely on my re-read list (we all have one of those, don’t we?)

Also, I have reviewed another of Hatcher’s books, The Shepherd’s Voice. Go check it out! It’s also set in Idaho.

~Laura

 

January 2019 Book Reviews

31 Jan

I read so much this past month! Books of quite different styles as well. I didn’t make it to a few that I had planned on reading but that’s okay, they’ll be picked up next month (hopefully…)

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

 

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope – Newly orphaned Peggy wishes she could ignore her father’s last request but honor bound, she makes her way to the family’s ancestral estate – and her eccentric uncle. Her welcome is hardly what she expected though, when her uncle drives away her only new acquaintance and is then ignored herself. But the estate isn’t lonely for Peggy as she finds out that it really is haunted. And her ancestors are eager to share their story, one of a centuries-old romance, spies and plots.

~This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different eras. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

 The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan – Rand al’Thor is left to his own devices to learn how to control the One Power, knowing only that he will eventually face the Dark One. Perrin Aybara is on the hunt with Moraine Sedai, Lan and Loial but is grappling with losing his own humanity. Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are on their way to Tar Valon, with a very sick Mat in tow, to tell the Amrylin that the Black Ajah is real but they’ve no idea that worse awaits them. None know that the greatest test is awaiting the Dragon Reborn in the Heart of the Stone.

~I’ve fallen more and more for Perrin you guys. His story just… intrigues me. And Loial. Mat’s storyline is also getting more interesting as well. The way Robert weaves so much information about so many people together is absolutely captivating. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey – Saving doomed infants (premies) in incubators at Coney Island, alongside burlesque shows and sword swallowers, Martin Couney ignored the scorn of the medical community and accepted any baby brought to him. His love for every one of his tiny patients was evident, as he fought against the popularity of eugenics. At the end of his career, it’s estimated that he saved some seven thousand babies.

~ Raffey uses historical documentation, interviews and original reports to tell the story of this incredible carnival doctor. Some of the information on her search was a bit dry for me, I was after all, reading it for the story of Couney but overall I really enjoyed this book. Learning about the invention of incubators (something I’d never really given much thought to before) and how, for years while Couney was using them, hospitals didn’t. A very intriguing read about an incredible man.

Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann – series review coming in February!

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme – When Tassie is told about the history of the blood moons, she brushes it off, focusing instead on her career and boyfriend. But her unbelief is threatened when she finds herself in the midst of terrifying worldwide turmoil, including a terrorist plot. Can she accept her destiny in the midst of these times and help save the country of her heritage?

~I was excited about the different/Jewish take on an end-times thriller. Plus the cover of the book is just stunning and let’s be honest, that affects us all probably more than it should… I ended up being discouraged quickly though. Part of it being that the writing style was distracting to me (I felt we were told the same thing repeatedly)- and I felt like the story could have been developed a lot more. I fell for a few of the characters -Tassie’s Dad for example. I was sad to realize that the Jewish aspect ended up feeling like it was a Christian take on Jewishness. While I did finish it, I ended it feeling unsatisfied and wishing that the author had really delved into the Jewish aspect (that which originally called to me about it) a lot more. I received this book free for my honest review from Ambassador International. 

The Princess by Lori Wick – Following the tradition of Pendarin, Prince Nikolai agrees to an arranged marriage with Shelby Parker. He’s still deeply in love with his late wife but knows he must move on. He doesn’t reckon on just how hard that will be though, even if Shelby is sweet, and steps easily into the role of Princess. She isn’t sure just what to think of Nikolai as he avoids her at home but is the perfect gentleman in public. Can they both find peace and love in this arranged marriage?

~I honestly am surprised that I haven’t reviewed this before! This is such a gem of a book. It’s sweet and romantic. I love reading this when I need an uplifting, easy read. The main character, Shelby, reminds me a little bit of Sophie from Sophie’s Heart. I fall for Nikolai every time I read it. As this is a Lori Wick, the men are ‘perfect even in their imperfections’ as I like to say, but I so appreciate the faith encouragement that I get from Wick’s books.

Good bye, Lover by Rachel Britz – For Honora Gallagher, her life is turned upside down when her father unexpectedly dies. The news of his death, and the unlikely requirement for her to inherit the estate, spreads across the country.

~I’d only read this once before, back in 2015 where I reviewed it here. Suffice it to say, you really should go check out my full review ( and the full synopsis)

 

Currently Reading:

Maire by Linda Windsor

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2 by Theodora Goss

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh (I’m making headway on this one!)

 

To Read:

Praying Through Lyme Disease by Rebecca Vandermark

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Medical Medium’s Liver Detox by Anthony William

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (finally got it from the library!)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

 

I’ve got crazy long lists of books I’ve read and To-Read on Goodreads if you want to follow me! I’ve got a page on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to follow me either place. I am much more active on IG than FB though.

~Laura

My Favorite Reads of 2018

12 Jan

I just love reading about what books people loved, so that I can add them to my To-Be-Read pile! We all know that list can never be too long, so here’s some great books to add to your own TBR!

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Series

Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson (somehow I only ever reviewed the second book. I’ll work on that problem this month!)

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Whispers on the Moor by Sarah E. Ladd (series review coming soon!)

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New Reads

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill

Taken by Dee Henderson

As you Wish : Inconceivable Tales of the making of Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Truth be Told by Carol Cox

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

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

The Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI

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Rereads

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Rose Daughter by Robin Mckinley

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

~Laura

 

Book Reviews – Dec 2018

5 Jan

So as I sat down to start this post, I always list all the books I read (thanks Goodreads, for making this easier than pounding my head on the desk trying to remember) and then go back and write the synopsis and my review of them. But as I started listing one after another, I couldn’t believe how much I’d read! So many books. I love it.

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Only the River Runs Free book 1 of Galway Chronicles by Bodie Thoene – set in Ireland in the 1830’s, the feelings were bitter between the English landlords and the Irish tenants. Laws intended to distance the Irish from their heritage tore at the already struggling people. Hope was a distant thing for many – except for one woman, called Mad Molly Fahey. She promises that a miracle is on it’s way to their small village.

~I have read this one since I was a teenager and still enjoy it. The story tugs at your heart and you end up wanting poor Molly to be understood, for Kate to release her anger and Joseph to find his redemption. I have one confession to make, I’ve only read the second book – no more of the series. I’m not sure why, but there it is. This book has a satisfying enough ending that while you do of course, want to know what else happens to the characters, it’s well done in that you can close the cover content. I do need to read the rest of the series one of these days though! 

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – As the seventh child, and only daughter, of a disinterested father, Sorcha is protected and loved by her older brothers. But when their father remarries and is bewitched by his new wife, Sorcha’s life is plunged into uncertainty. The evil enchantress puts a spell on all of Sorcha’s brothers – one that only she can break. By keeping silent. To speak is to lose her brothers. But her task is made more difficult when she is kidnapped by the enemies of her father and taken overseas. When a tender love surprises her, she is torn between saving her brothers and grabbing hold of it.

~I love Marillier’s books. So, grabbing this one from the book store a few months ago was a no-brainer for me. I quickly dived into it and loved it. All the way til…. about halfway through. Now, I understand why this particular event was in the story. It created obstacles, fears, etc for Sorcha and others to deal with. It moved the plot forward. I suppose it was more in the way that it was handled  – described – that bothered me. Descriptive and blunt. Too blunt for my taste. I put the book down for days before I decided to finish reading it. (which I normally don’t do.) And aside from the mentions/memories of that event, and a few…. overtures that she was forced to deal with, the book was great. It could easily have been a new favorite. But. That portion of the story was just too blunt and awful for my taste. Sadly, I won’t be reading it again.

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series by Robin Lee Hatcher separate post here – check it out, it was a great series!

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen – I reviewed it here  a few years ago. Go check it out – it is a very good read! I grabbed it at a used book store recently and loved it just as much this time!

Mara : Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – In order to gain freedom, the beautiful slave Mara, juggles the dangerous role of double spy to two arch enemies. Each are vying for contenders for the throne, intent on destroying the other. As she finds herself falling for one master, the charming and sly Lord Sheftu, she starts to want his plan of placing Thutmose III on the throne, to succeed. But her duplicity is revealed before she can bear her soul to Sheftu and soon, it’s not only Egypt’s fate that hangs in the balance, it is Mara’s very life.

~Mara’s daring and confidence are fun to watch as she navigates the different situations that her …position brings about. Reading a story set in ancient Egypt of political upheaval is unique and Sheftu is a delightful character. I probably read this one a few time a year (which makes me wonder how I haven’t reviewed it here on SGL before?!) Read it, I know you’ll love it. 

The Power of the Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah by Isaac Bashevis Singer – The author shares a story for each night of Hanukkah – sweet stories of love triumphing, faith prevailing and miracles occurring.

~I immensely enjoyed these short stories. The pictures that went with each were charming as well.

The Art of Hanukkah by Nancy Berman -“A rich celebration of Hanukkah, featuring centuries of extraordinary art and artifacts… Menorahs, paintings, dreidels—all the wonderful elements of the celebration of Hanukkah from around the world and throughout the centuries have been brought together in this one marvelous book. Clear, insightful, and thought-provoking commentaries make this book a perfect complement to the holiday.” – from Goodreads

~Forgive my sharing what Goodreads had to say about it  but I just couldn’t figure out how to word this synopsis! This book is a treasure trove and I intend on buying it one day. The art and history was very interesting. 

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick – When Sophie arrives to keep house for Alec Riley and his kids, she isn’t all that sure what she’s getting into. Having come from Czechoslovakia as a language translator, she wonders if she’ll be content being a housekeeper. But the broken hearts of Alec and his children prove a worthy mission field.

~Ah, Lori Wick. A sweet story that I’ve read since I was a young teen, this book still encourages me to live out a day by day faith and trust in God. I enjoy the growth that you see in each of the Riley family, and in Sophie herself.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – If Ebenezer Scrooge could have cancelled Christmas, he would have. But on one cold Christmas Eve, he is visited by his late business partner, who warns him to change his ways before he too has the same fate. Scrooge is visited by three Spirits who show him what has been, what is, and what will be.

~ It has been years since I read this short book by Dickens. It is definitely going to have to be a yearly Christmas-time read for me.

 

Currently Reading:

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

(finishing these last two are high on my priority list!)

Go check out My 2018 Year in Books  on Goodreads and add some great reads to your To-Read list!

To Read: 

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson

Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

Goodbye, Lover by Rachel Britz

 

Books I’ve been thinking about:

Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Eve Blackwell series by Dee Henderson

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

 

I have a Favorite Reads of 2018 planned for the next few weeks! Really, it was supposed to be up already (as was this one) but life (like nuclear migraines) happens and you’ve got to rearrange things.

~Laura

~What are you reading lately?~

November 2018 Book Reviews

29 Nov

I don’t know about you but I love seeing what other people are reading, and what they think about what they’ve read. It gives you insight into that person – and also offers different genres/authors up for you to delve into as well! Over the years I’ve really branched out in both the reading of different genres and of course, new authors. I do get a little nervous on some of them but it’s typically worth it – even if I end up not liking the book, I learn a little more about what I like and don’t like. And, as a writer, that is invaluable.

I’m not sure where that stemmed from, but let me know if you agree with me! I’d love to hear what you, my lovely readers, think about that.

As for what I read this month, I didn’t read a whole lot. Due to participating in Nanowrimo, I kept myself from picking up a novel and instead worked on my own! So this month’s book reviews will be rather short.

Here we go!

 

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott – Running to escape a life of being a maid, Tess secures a spot on the Titanic just as it’s about to sail. She’s hired by the formidable fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon. As an aspiring seamstress, she can’t believe her luck. She soon catches the eye of two very different men, one a Chicago millionaire and the other a sailor. But when tragedy strikes, Tess is one of the last passengers to find a spot on a life boat, along with the sailor who sees Lady Duff Gordon’s dubious responses during the tragedy. She will need all her wits about her as the media attacks her new boss, sits through the hearings about the Titanic’s sinking and as she enters the world of fashion.

~This book was lent to me with the words ‘it’s such a good book’. But as it was by an author I’d never read/heard of, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. But since I’d never read a book focused on the Titanic, I was hopeful about it. And , thankfully, it really was a good book! The glittering world of High Society in 1912, the fear of drowning and then the heartbreak after was described so well. It did take me a bit to really get sucked into the story but when Pinky Wade entered, I was hooked. The twists were unexpected and the ending left me feeling satisfied. A good historical fiction for sure.

The Great Hunt – Wheel of Time Series #2 by Robert Jordan – Time passes as the Wheel turns and the Horn of Valere is found. The Horn that, when blown, will call the dead heroes to fight for them against their enemy. Gleemen have told the story of the Great Hunt for the Horn of Valere for years upon years, but now, it’s been stolen.

~ Book 2 was just as good as the first one I thought, but I might have enjoyed it more because I knew the main characters. I did still get lost a little with all the different story lines going on, though. The twists that this story is taking is crazy- I can’t wait to get the third book from the library! 

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo (I’m slowly making my way through this)

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll (sadly, I haven’t touched this in weeks.)

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Only the River Runs Free by Bodie Thoene

 

~Laura

What have you been reading this month?

 

October 2018 Book Reviews

1 Nov

It’s already time for the monthly book reviews! I will admit that these are always the posts that I enjoy writing the most. I am such a book nerd, folks. SUCH a book nerd. At the moment, I’m trying to figure out the best (read : least-shocking) way to tell my OH that I want to bring my collection of old books out of storage. My collection is, at minimum, 5 boxes of classics mostly printed in the early 1900’s and quite a few from the 1800’s. They’ve been in storage too long, my book-heart says. They need to come out to live in my office.

That’s not why you’re here though, is it? On to the reviews!

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Undetected by Dee Henderson – Mark Bishop is commander of the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, a job that he loves despite the responsibility that comes with it. The dangers abound under the waters, though Gina Grey is doing her best to diminish them. Ocean science research is about to get a breakthrough with her newest findings, but it’s one that, in the wrong hands, could open the U.S. to more dangers than ever before.

~ As usual, I did enjoy this novel by Henderson. But… I wasn’t completely in love with it like I normally am. There was too much repetition in some of the areas about both Mark and Gina. It was interesting reading about ocean science research – first for a novel for me! And I did overall like both of the main characters. All in all, a good novel to read by Henderson, but a bit bogged down for me to fall in love with.

Threads of Suspicion -Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2 by Dee Henderson – As part of the newly appointed Missing Persons Task Force, Evie is feeling eager to get started, just like the rest of the governor-appointed team. They’ll need to get solid resolutions to their cold cases, but as Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, dig deeper into their individual cases, the going gets slow. She is looking for a missing college student, and he’s searching for a missing private investigator – two cases that are completely unrelated. Or are they?

~ be still my heart- I’m now eagerly awaiting the next book in this series that I’m really hoping is in the works! I like Evie so much and as well as the characters that you see again (one example: Ann Silver) and the new characters! Sigh. Henderson shines in this series of cold case investigations. If you enjoy who-dun-it’s with a splash of faith and romance, check this series out!

The Eye of the World – Wheel of Time Series #1 by Robert Jordan – When memories become legend that turn to myth that then turn to something long forgotten, the Third Age is on the brink of destruction. The Shadow is covering all, and only a few know the Prophecies to try and fight it.

~My brother recommended this series to me, since I like Brandon Sanderson’s style so much. I was nervous as this is a hefty book (@800 pages) and the series is 14 books long (!!). I quickly got into the story though, it does remind me a bit of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in ways. Trollocs look like Orcs in my mind’s eye, Fades look like the Ringwraiths and so on – but I think it’s helping me follow the story better. Keeping track of all the different story lines is the biggest thing with this series I think! Highly recommend if you enjoy Tolkien! 

Shadowfell Series Review here just in case you missed it!

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo (this is taking me ages to read but I’m absolutely enjoying it!)

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

Only the River Runs Free by Bodie Thoene

The Great Hunt – Wheel of Time Series #2 by Robert Jordan

 

To Read:

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

book #3 of the Jordan Series

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

 

Series Review – Shadowfell

24 Oct

As promised, a review on a new favorite series of mine! I’ve read it twice now and it’s set onto my must-own-one-day-soon list. Juliet Marillier has written twenty (!) historical fantasy novels and has won many awards. If you’ve been following SGL for any length of time, you know that Wildwood Dancing is one of my all-time favorite novels. When I first found this at the library, I was interested but nervous as my experience with fantasy was still limited to Brandon Sanderson. But, almost immediately, I was sucked into this story and never wanted to put the books down! It’s a three book series and at the end of it, you want it to continue! I really enjoyed Marillier’s descriptions of the world of Alban – the different regions/topography. But, on to a synopsis of the series!

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Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

Shadowfell:

Left on her own at sixteen, Neryn must put to use her knowledge of keeping hidden as she evades the king’s soldiers that are hunting her down. In the kingdom of Alban, anyone with canny skills is considered an enemy, and treated accordingly. Her ability to see the Good Folk – the wee fairy-like creatures behind that rock or in that tree – is something she’s always striven to ignore, knowing exactly what the consequences are for her ‘gift’.  After being rescued from certain death by the mysterious Flint, Neryn decides to set off for a place that she’s only heard of. Shadowfell. The only place left in all of Alban that is free of the evil of King Keldec – the only place that is planning on overthrowing him. Her journey is dangerous and her helpers are the Good Folk and Flint who tell her that she is the only one who can save Alban.

Raven Flight: 

Having reached Shadowfell, Neryn can finally rest. But too soon she learns that she must leave her new rebel friends and seek out each of the four Guardians to learn how to be a Caller. To learn how to use her canny gift to call the Good Folk to help them in their battle against Keldec. To do this is to risk compromising herself and the cause but remaining at Shadowfell is impossible because her skill will mean the failure or success of their venture. Her path will take her to the four corners of Alban, far away from Flint. Her companion is the warrior Tali, whose main allegiance is to the cause.

The Caller: 

Having journeyed to the mountains of the north and the isles of the west, Neryn has learned of water and of earth, but now she has to continue her training to learn of Air from the White Lady in the freezing winter. But when the White Lady isn’t what Neryn expected, plans must change and Neryn has to make a tough decision. Stay where it’s safe, or do what she knows she must. When another threat looms against the rebellion, she must enter into Keldec’s court and watch every step, for one wrong move will mean her death – as well as the death of the rebellion. She has to make it to the moment that she’s been training for, standing up against a stronger enemy than she ever imagined.

I tried not to give too much away ( I absolutely hate it when I learn too much about a series before even reading the first book, it makes me not want to read it at all. Anyone else have that reaction?), but to give enough info so that it intrigues you and makes you want to read it. Really, you should. Even if you’re not much into fantasy fiction. The romances are so lovely and sweet, although there is a bit of delicate sexual content in them. Marillier  wrote it well and mild but I do like to share with you that it’s there so you’re aware of it if you’re going to share it with a young reader – pre-read it first so you know if it’s appropriate!

I so appreciate the moral lessons woven through each of the books and the adventures that Neryn and her band of friends (fey and human) are so engrossing. I HIGHLY recommend this series!

~Laura

 

 

~ While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers. ~

 

Aug/Sept 2018 Book Reviews

29 Sep

Looking at July’s review, I realized that I ended up reading exactly what I had planned to on my to-read list! That doesn’t normally happen, so I’m a little pleased with myself. My list of books is rather short for two months but most of the novels I’ve been reading have been LONG. The Shadowfell series are about 400 pages each, and the Robert Jordan one I’m currently enjoying is about 700 pages. . . I like the extra story development that is allowed in these longer books though! I’m not sure I could ever write that in-depth though.

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Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier – separate review coming in the next few weeks

Gifts of the Spirit by FFOZ – as of right now, I’m going to just direct you to First Fruits of Zion’s website that gives great info into this well-written and informative book about the gifts of the Spirit and different perspectives on them.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson -Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~The first time I read this, I wasn’t sure if I would read it again but I decided to give it another shot. (I’m a sucker for Sanderson apparently). The way he weaves together a story is just incredible. The political and personal struggles of the different characters is engrossing. You can read my original review here.

Unspoken by Dee Henderson – Almost twenty years later, Charlotte Graham still hasn’t spoken about her past. A past that includes her being the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago’s history. A past that includes such pain and fear that she’s never risked telling anyone. Can she finally take that risk?

~You might notice that another Henderson kick is beginning… This one is ‘connected’ with Full Disclosure and Taken. While there was a lot of detail about coins, I appreciated how much she researched it out – it didn’t take away from the novel for me. As usual, some of the faith struggles of the characters hit a bit too close to home for me – but that is one reason I appreciate Henderson’s books. She writes not only good fiction, she gives real-life faith struggles to her characters. I highly recommend this book!

 

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox – When her prime governess position is abruptly ended, Melanie Ross sees no other choice but to travel to Idaho to the mercantile her cousin left her in his will. But someone else feels he has the same rights to the store, and Caleb Nelson isn’t about to just step aside and give up his new life to her. He sees her as the newest obstacle to the new life he’s carving out for himself, and he’ll try just about anything to get rid of her.

~ I borrowed this book from a friend as it is by a new-to-me author that I just read a book of hers earlier this year – Truth be Told.  I like Cox’s easy-to-read style and how she actually made me dislike Melanie for a little bit! I was so put off by her actions at one point that I had to keep reading to see how Caleb dealt with her. Brilliant move on Cox’s part. Highly recommend as a relaxing, faith-focused novel.

Traces of Guilt – An Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson – Watch for a separate review of this series! (I know, I said that about the Shadowfell books too but bear with me, the wait will be worth it!) 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

The Eye of the World  book 1 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Undetected by Dee Henderson

 

To Read:

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (book 2)

Traces of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

 

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

~What have you been reading lately? I’d absolutely love to hear about it and add them to my to-read list!

July 2018 Book Reviews

10 Aug

It’s finally time for some book reviews! I have decided that I’m just going to share a few of the books I’ve read in the past three odd months (my last review post was April’s) If you want to see everything I’ve read since then, go check out my Goodreads page!

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Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Ann Silver, cop, passes off a case to Luke Falcon, FBI. She’s relieved to have it off her desk, as she’s also the Midwest Homicide Investigator. He’s just been handed vital information that ties to a case he’s been working for years. But soon their lives will collide, getting far more personal than either had anticipated.

~ Whooeeee. I’d read this book years before but didn’t remember much of it. I appreciated how different of a lead female character Anne was – her end goal wasn’t marriage and kids and the white picket fence. This book has so many layers to it that I was sucked in very quickly and stayed that way. It is an intense story, as you follow along on a John Doe case. Perhaps a bit too quick of a wrap-up at the end for me, but thankfully, it didn’t ruin the whole thing. (you know what I’m talking about). 

 

Taken by Dee Henderson – Shannon’s escape was planned to the last detail, as is her plan to capture the ones who kidnapped her -the Jacoby family. Her choosing Matthew Dane, private investigator, as the one who helps her gain her freedom, wasn’t an accident. But the task of finding all the evidence, and what happened to the ransom that was paid all those years ago, is going to be harder than she thought.

~you might be noticing a theme here…. I was really on a Henderson kick! I do recommend that you read Full Disclosure before Taken though. You don’t have to, but you get background on several of the supporting characters in Taken that is helpful. I started Taken, but kept wondering why I felt like I should already know some of the characters..so I got Full Disclosure from the library! That aside, I did enjoy this book. It is intense and a bit slow moving but it’s theme was different than I’d read before – taking place AFTER the kidnapping. I liked the faith of Shannon and her coming to terms with the events of her life. The romance was a little odd but it grew on me. 

 

How To Be a Friend To a Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin – Everybody knows someone who is suffering. But how to act is often so confusing and stressful. Pogrebin shares, partly from her own experiences, what to do, what not to do and that sometimes, just being present is all that is needed.

~THANK YOU Letty, for writing such a great book on this subject. I admit that while I was excited to read this, I was a bit nervous as to what her take would be on this. But I learned so much from it, as someone who’s Sick and just as a friend of someone who’s Sick. I recommend this for sure, although, if my memory serves (I read it back in May), there were a few sections in her personal story that were a little off-color to me. (? I’m not sure how to word that properly…)

 

California Passage Series by Elaine Schulte – Follow the adventures of the Talbot family in the 1800’s as they travel to California via the different routes – covered wagon, around the Horn, through Panama.

~I have grown up reading this series of four books. I believe they were my great-aunt’s at one time. The journeys they go through are interesting to read about, especially in this modern age of convenient travel. This is definitely a christian romance series – faith is a strong theme throughout each of them. A fun historical romance read.

 

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1) by Colin Meloy  – When twelve- year old Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows, she’ll stop at nothing to rescue him. Even entering the Impassable Wilderness.

~I picked this up at a used bookstore because one of my friends’ loves it – but I was still hesitant about whether I would like it. It took me a few months to finally pick it up but I’m glad I did! Her statement of “It’s weird, but I love it” is a perfect review for it. It is a middle-grade fantasy series

 

Uncommon Heroes Series by Dee Henderson – you can find my review here and here. I probably hadn’t read them since 2014, so it was fun to fall in love with this series again. Highly recommend.

 

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill – Jean Grayson and Jasper Holt’s lives were intertwined the night of the train crash. She knows that her heart will never belong to anyone else. He knows that her family will forbid them to be together, so he makes her a promise that he will prove his virtue to all who keep them apart.

~I received this book from my aunt (along with a few other Hill books) and absolutely loved it. I read it in two days- and that’s because I made myself put it down and accomplish life things. Like eating. And sleeping. It was a sweet, heartfelt western romance with great imagery and life lessons. Does that sound cheesy? It wasn’t.  I never was sure what year it was set in but I quickly decided to quit trying to figure it out and just enjoy it. Lovely book. Highly recommend.

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Gifts of the Spirit by Fruits of the Zion

 

To Read:

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (new author for me!)

The Shadowfell Trilogy by Juliet Marrillier

 

~Laura

April Book Review 2018

4 May

As promised, April’s book reviews! I got a little excited while at the library one day and came home with a STACK of books of all different genres. It’s been fun bouncing around such different styles of writing these past few months. I have decided though, that I’ve got to stay away from the library for a few months at least to tackle my TBR list of books that I already own!

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut by Aaron Eby – Learn why God calls meat and dairy to be separated, hidden additives that contaminate food and practical ways to eat kosher.

~This was an easy-to-read book on eating kosher. I learned so much from it and it brought up many discussions between my OH and I about the topic. Definitely worth the read if you’re at all curious about the topic!

My Foolish Heart  (Deep Haven #4) by Susan May Warren – Unknown to her town, Isadora Presley is the voice behind Miss Foolish Heart, the talk show host guiding callers through finding  true love. When it seems that she’s falling in love with a caller, her ratings soar. What she doesn’t know is the the caller lives right next door, in the form of Caleb Knight. He has come to Deep Haven to start over after paying a steep price in Iraq. All he wants is to land the high school football coaching job and then he’ll reveal his disability. But he doesn’t count on moving in next door to a beautiful young woman. Desperate, he calls in to Miss Foolish Heart for advice.

~ As I have come to expect from Warren, this was a unique story line with endearing characters. It did take me a little bit to get fully into it though, as I felt there was so much longing for the past that it put me off. After a while, that eased and I just fell in love with Caleb, Issy and supporting characters.

The Shadow of Your Smile (Deep Haven #5) by Susan May Warren –  Noelle and Eli’s marriage is on the verge of divorce when an accident wipes Noelle’s memory of their life together. Not their life together, including their children and the tragedy that tore them apart. As she slowly finds her footing in this strange life that she’s built for herself, will their secrets tear them apart again or give them a second chance?

~Ahh, this one. What a heart-breaker. I’m learning that I have a hard time reading novels where the characters are struggling in their marriage. Aside from that, it was interesting how Warren wove the family’s restoration together after so much tragedy and ill-spoken words.

The Cozy Life : Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg – Learn how to slow down and enjoy each moment in every aspect of your life in this small treasure trove of inspiration and practical advice.

~This was a nice, easy read about Hygge – disconnecting from the fast-paced society (logging off social media, stepping off the rat race) and creating a life that we can enjoy and feel safe and content in. There’s even a 30 day challenge to Hygge.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard – Adam Dunne’s life is perfect. Until his girlfriend doesn’t return from Barcelona. Until he receives her passport and a note “I’m Sorry – S”. He starts searching for her and ends up connecting her to a cruise ship called the Celebrate. And finds that another woman disappeared from the ship a year ago in eerily similar circumstances. To find out what happened, he has to make difficult decisions, do impossible things – like outsmart a predator on what seems like the perfect hunting grounds.

~You. Guys. Thrillers aren’t normally my thing. Well, if I do read them, they are Christian, aka ‘toned down’. But I’ve been following Howard online for years (hopefully that didn’t make me sound like a stalker…) I got this from the library and couldn’t. Put. It. Down. I read it in less than three days – all 368 pages of it. There was some cussing in it so beware if you decide to read it. The plot was incredible though. I was pretty much blindsided by the ending. Brilliant. I am still thinking about it, weeks later. If you enjoy a good thriller that will wake you up at night because the Killer just might be lurking in your bedroom, pick this one up.

As You Wish: Inconceivable tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – A first-person account of the making of the Cult Classic, this book is delightful. Elwes’ recounting of the whole process – from auditioning for the part of Wesley, to the 25th Reunion – will bring laughs, tears and add another level of enjoyment to watching Princess Bride

~Delightful. Absolutely Delightful. I am so glad I finally read this! If you’re a fan of Princess Bride, you have got to get your hands on a copy of this.

 

Currently Reading:

You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Taken by Dee Henderson

Gifts of the Spirit by First Fruits of Zion

 

To Read:

Dear Theo: the Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh by Irving Stone

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

Whispers of the Moor series by Sarah Ladd

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

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