Tag Archives: christian historical fiction

Nov 2017 Book Reviews

8 Dec

Hello again! I read varying types of books this month – and am sad to say there are a few that I didn’t care much for. I do love how much I was able to read this past month though! I have already more than met my Goodreads goal of reading 52 books this year.

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Just the Essentials by Adina Grigore 

~This was a fun book that tells about the history, composition and encouragement to enter the world of essential oils. To make it even better, there were several do it yourself recipes for the home, personal care and cooking.

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

~ As an introductory book about Messianic Judaism, this book (originally printed in 1995 I believe) did a nice job of answering a lot of questions. It was easy to read. I recommend this as a good starting place if you’re curious about how it got started, where it was at at the point of printing and the basic beliefs and traditions. It would go well with God-Fearers as well.

Beside Still Waters by Annalee Conti  When Violet Channing’s aunt, her sole relative, dies, she isn’t sure what she’ll do. She certainly doesn’t want to continue working in the Boston garment factory, so she takes a job in the Yukon Territory as a live-in teacher for a sick child. As she’s traveling, she falls in love with a Yukon riverboat captain. But, tragedy strikes again and Violet has to decide if she’ll become bitter or learn to love again.

~I received this book free from Ambassador International for my personal review. I was excited for this book as it’s set in the early 1900s and in Alaska, no less! After receiving it, I realized that it’s the third book in the Alaskan Waters Series. Perhaps this is why I didn’t get into the book until I was three-quarters of the way into it. I couldn’t connect with Violet well. It was interesting and fun to find out the history of Alaska that is sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the side characters I really liked and would have liked them to have an even bigger part! (like Cally).

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann – When Trevor MacDaniel rescues a toddler from a cougar, he inevitably meets sculpter Natalie Reeve.  But trouble comes at them from all sides, including a twisted mind seeing him as an adversary. Can the hero save himself?

~I tried to like this one so much! My mom recommended it and let me borrow it but… I got a quarter of the way through (barely) and haven’t picked it up in weeks. I normally like Heitzmann’s books so I really want(ed) to like it but it just hasn’t hit the right note for me I guess.  I felt like I couldn’t get connected to one character before being introduced to another one; it almost felt like I was expected to already know a few of the characters; the main character felt like they should be more of a minor character (and then with talking to mom, apparently someone else is the main character so now I’m really confused). Anyway, since I have it for a few more months I’ll keep trying it but it might be a lost cause. Which makes me sad.

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) and Voyage of the Dawn Treader (#3) by C.S. Lewis

~I will be doing a separate post on the Chronicle series (how have I not done it yet?!) but for now –  I love the completely different people they meet and  ‘worlds’ and they enter as they travel! And Reepicheep. Always Reepicheep.

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The Mermaid in the Basement (Lady Trent Mystery #1) by Gilbert Morris – In London, 1857, Lady Serafina Trent has one goal – prove that her brother is not a murderer. In order to do this, she must ally herself with people outside of her social class. But nothing will stand in her way.

~This book is probably in my top ten historical fiction list now. It’s also a mystery which, let’s be honest, makes it even better. I haven’t read much of Morris’ novels ( mostly just The Price of Liberty series, which I reviewed a little of here and here) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I quickly got pulled in and found it hard to put down! I highly recommend this novel. (fun fact: this is one of almost a dozen books my mom and I got for $1!!)

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For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

~I read this right after we got married and did a short review on it . I’m planning on reading the accompanying book For Men Only next and want to do a separate review for both – so here’s hoping! Suffice it to say that this book is well worth the read!

 

Currently Reading:

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

The Horse and His Boy  by C.S. Lewis

For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

 

To Read:

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Josiah Allen’s Wife (printed 1892)

Next Narnia book

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

 

I hope you found something to add to your to-read list! Happy December!

~Laura

 

Book Review – June 2017

3 Jul

Ahhh time for book reviews again. I am trying to write more separate posts but what with the pain levels ever increasing, many end up here instead. I went through my library recently and pulled out some novels to read again to see if I actually want to keep them or not. (I was surprised to be able to pull a few off and easily send them on their way out the door.)  With my limited space, I’m trying to be a bit pickier on what novels I keep (especially since we live so close to Powell’s bookstore and classics keep coming home with me). A few of these I read back in May, so no, I didn’t read this many books this past month.

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Because – Have you seen the length of Brandon Sanderson’s novels?!?!  (the one I’m currently reading is 552 pages, aka 236 thousand words) 

Timber Ridge Reflections by Tamera Alexander – click the link for my full review!

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My Life in France by Julia Child – When Julia and her husband, Paul, moved to France in 1948, she knew no French and nothing about food. Her experiences with superb food had her soon signing up for cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Her passion for learning the secrets to what made each dish delicious ended up changing her life – and turning her into one of the most beloved cooking teachers and writers.

~ This memoir was enjoyable in every way.  Child shares her travels throughout Europe along with the meals that made such impressions on her. It reminded me of a goal that I had years ago – that of cooking my way through her Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but alas, with all these food allergies, that will never be possible.  Her dedication to detail in her recipes revolutionized the cookbook industry. A fun read about one of the most endearing American personalities. Bon Appetit! 

~These next four novels are the ones I read to decide to keep them or not. All four are getting passed on to my mom! ~

Sweet Blessings by Jillian Hart – Heath Murdock never expected anything more than a hot meal and a dry place to sit for a while when he entered the small diner. He ended up earning the trust and love of independent Amy Mckaslin when he steps in and helps out.

~This is the second book in the Mckaslin series, but the only one I’ve ever read. It’s a sweet story of learning to let go of the past, forgive yourself and accept God’s love. It being a novella, I feel like the story could go deeper but Hart still brings depths to her characters. 

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake – Clara Fields can’t believe that her and her widowed aunt were abandoned by their wagon train on the way to Oregon. When help is offered by the owner of the general store in Buttonwood, Clara strikes a bargain that in exchange for marrying his son, she’ll get the house so that they will be independent of any man. But when she meets the son, a handsome doctor, sparks fly.

~A short story, the characters are engaging and the story is well-written. The struggles that Clara faces – inward and outwardly – as well as the son, a Dr. Reed, are often in opposition to the other, creating tense or confused moments! A fun, light read. 

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn – Jessica Morgan just wants to live her own life and forget her past. She heads for a small town in Oregon to teach at the high school, hiding her true identity. She finds it harder than she had imagined when she meets a caring paramedic who just wants to help her and a devious woman who’s trying to destroy her. Will she let fear or love win in the end?

~ This was a sweet christian romance story that I read in one day. I’ve read it before, a few years ago so couldn’t remember it too well. The faith portion was well-shared and the plot was sweet and happily resolved. I’d recommend this if you’re searching for a light read! .(I just realized that it’s book 1 of a series but I don’t think I’ve read any more of the series)

Forgotten Justice by Lois Richer – All John Riddle can remember is a date – October 29th. He knows nothing else – not who he is or where he’s from. He’s found a temporary home in Camp Hope and a friend in the beautiful and determined lady in a wheelchair. As time goes on though, he wonders, is his presence at Camp Hope putting her in danger?

~ This is #2 of the Camp Hope series, but is still enjoyable as a stand-alone. I liked how Richer slowly revealed things in this romantic suspense. Near the end of it, I thought I’d figured out who John Riddle was but was totally wrong! Which, is always fun when they keep you guessing til the end. I told my OH that I’d love to read it as a lot longer story – maybe as 500 pages? I feel like there could be so much depth added to it! But it is a fun, quick suspense just as it is. 

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Revision and Self-Editing : Techniques for Transforming your First Draft into a Finished Novel by James Scott Bell – This was SUCH a great book on self-editing! I grabbed it from the library on a whim one day but really think I’ll end up buying it. It had some great tips throughout along with exercises to do so that you can practice what he’s teaching. I took a whole lot of notes on it, and this is the only time I wrote on on my novel in June – working off his suggestions. I highly recommend this as a book to help you polish up your novel! 

Messianic Jewish Manifesto  by David H. Stern – click for a full review!

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Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson ( watch for a review soon!) – I know guys, I know, I’m not going to tell you a thing about this series until I finish the third book. If you really can’t wait, google it. 😉 

What I’m Currently Reading:

When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ( I’m still listening to this on audiobook, might have to get it from the library so I can actually finish it)

Linking up to The Reading Roundup again!

Reading Roundup

What are you reading lately? 

~Laura

Series Review – Timber Ridge Reflections

22 Jun

Hello friends! I have a quick series review for you today. You simply must check this series out. You Must!

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From a Distance – Eastern photographer Elizabeth Westbrook hopes that Colorado will prove to be a place where she can not only further her career, but also be cured of the illness that’s threatening her life. Loner Daniel Radcliffe only wants to protect his land but when he’s called on to repay a debt, his carefully guarded secret is threatened.

 

Beyond This Moment – The small Colorado town of Timber Ridge represents a chance for Dr. Molly Whitcomb to start over. But being a Professor in Romance Languages doesn’t prepare her for the new life she’s forced to invent. Sheriff James McPherson has always been able to read people – and he knows that Molly has a secret. But when he learns what it is, it threatens his position in the town and what he’s always known about himself.

 

Within My Heart – Rachel Boyd and her two sons struggle with running their ranch without their late husband and father. When her only recourse is to trust Dr. Rand Brookston, she balks at it. He is a doctor, just like her father was. Dr Brookston came to the Colorado Territory with a dream of opening a proper clinic but trust, and money, are both hard to come by.

 

While at the library one day, I stumbled upon this series and am so glad I did! It is now on my ‘favorite series’ and ‘favorite author’ lists. I adore historical fiction novels and Alexander does a fabulous job of describing the times just enough so that you’re engrossed in it but doesn’t overdo it to where you’re bogged down with descriptions. The plots of these three books were enjoyable and there was at least one point in each that I teared up. She throws surprises in that I did not see coming – which makes them even more fun! They are set in the late 1800’s, which is one of my favorite time periods.  The descriptions of the dresses made me long to actually see them. (And wear them!) 

I also liked that Elizabeth was working in a field that was still largely a male career ; that Molly’s story highlighted how different the expectations/ repercussions were for men and women; how Rachel fought to keep her ranch afloat despite the physical labor and frustrations. You continue to see/get to know the characters from the previous book and I love when authors do that. 

I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting a great series that has a message in each book! I can’t wait to read more by Tamera Alexander! 

~Laura

Have you read any books by Alexander? Who’s your favorite historical fiction author?

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