Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Janette Oke, Julie Klassen, Melanie Dickerson, Mini Review Day, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah E. Ladd, Sarah Sundin, Tamera Alexander, Young Adult

March 2017 Mini Review Day

It’s time for another mini review day. Let’s get started!

The Wings of a Nightingale series by Sarah Sundin

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I admit I didn’t enjoy Sarah Sundin’s Wings of a Nightingale b00ks as much as I did her other series, but it was still amazing, every book earning 5/5 stars from me.

Warning: this review is a fangirl review. If you don’t like fangirls, fangirling, shrill fangirly shrieks, or obsessiveness of any kind, please refrain from reading. This will truly sicken you. It sickens me, too. And I wrote it.

With Every Letter was reviewed in the January 2017 Mini Review Day post.

On Distant Shores

Let’s be honest; this book broke my heart. Of course, every other Sarah Sundin book has broken my heart in a unique way, but this one … so much stuff to kill one internally! Rose (oh, wow … that was so heartbreaking!) … and Hutch’s girlfriend (ooooooh, I would have killed her, so help me!) and Georgie is such a trooper, and she’s so … awesome … and I just love her. Reminds me of my BFF a little, honestly.

Hutch … oh, my word, Hutch. I hate how no one respects him! Like, no one. Not a single person, honestly. And he so deserves everyone’s respect And Georgie. AAAH!!! (no, wait, I already fangirled over Georgie … must fangirl over someone else now … how about the nurses as a whole?)

THE NURSES! This series. They are like this little team of spunky awesome people. I just don’t have works. I feel like saying, “I CAN’T EVEN!” but that’s not really me. I’m more of a “AAAAAAH THIS BOOOOOOOOOOK!” girl.

In Perfect Time is one of the least-beloved Sundin books because of the content, despite the fact that I consider it to be amazing … mostly because of the emotions. THEY RUN HIGH!

Okay, so, here’s the scoop: there is an attempted rape – well, more like this guy wanted to have sex with Kay and was very insistent which she responded to by knocking him over and running away. Everyone (in the book) thinks the main character is some kind of a harlot (which she isn’t). Kay is constantly fending off men’s advances and even considers giving in at one point for rather bad reasons.

I get it if you’re not comfortable with that – or with a main character who honestly just dates for fun without wanting a serious relationship. But … but … she’s scarred, y’all! Can’t you see that she’s scarred and needs Jesus’ love??? *sobs* Sorry … emotions happening over here …

As a whole, the series was amazing. It let us look through the eyes of the lesser-sung heroes (and heroines, to some extent) of WW2. It is high on emotions with a beautiful Christian message in each book and characters so well-developed you feel as if you know them.

5/5 stars

Buy Book One on Amazon ~ Add Book One on Goodreads

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

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I’ve watched most of the Hallmark TV show of the same title (which is amazing, by the way), so I decided to give the book a try. Well, it was nothing like the TV show … but it was amazing. Once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. Elizabeth was a great character (though sometimes this country girl thought she was being silly, such as with the ‘wolves’) and I love Wynn. He wasn’t Jack (or Gil) … but he was still a great hero. I loved that last scene at the train depot. ❤

5/5 stars

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Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd

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This novel is a well-written sweet romance with an intriguing mystery that kept me up reading pretty late. However, I just can’t get over my disappointment over one little detail.

I really enjoyed Treasures of Surrey, Book 1: The Curiosity Keeper (which I mini-reviewed here). It got four stars (the ending disappointed me), but I was hoping we’d get to revisit the characters. After all, as I’ve said before, the ending was a little rocky. I needed closure. But then I find that Dawn at Emberwilde is in no way related to The Curiosity Keeper.

Like, not at all.

I was so disappointed! How could Sarah E. Ladd do this to me? I mean, I guess it’s my fault for not researching the novel before I read it or whatever … but still. So, despite this being a pretty decent novel, I just can’t be fair with it … so it received 3/5 stars. The author cheated. She can’t just create stick together a random bunch of books that aren’t related in any way, shape, or form. Well, I guess she can … but I don’t have to like it.

3/5 stars

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

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I’ve read every other Julie Klassen up to date, so I was of course excited to read her new(ish by the time I read it) release, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Well, it was great. A little different than her other stories, yes (not so much romance), but still amazing. My heart broke for a couple of the characters at different occasions, and I’m looking forward to seeing book 2 of the Tales from Ivy Hill series. Still, it did drag heavily in several places, and I sometimes just wished it could get to the point and stop dawdling.

4/5 stars

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A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

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When I began this book, it’d been a while since I’d read anything by Tamera Alexander. I really love her writing style, and this was no exception.

Historic Nashville is such an intriguing place, and the characters in it – some based on real-life, other fabricated – are equally as fascinating. I really adored this book. The historical details were amazing, I liked both Eleanor and Marcus, and of course I still love ‘Aunt Adelicia.’ She’s really the most amazing character ever. I wish I could have known her (though I doubt we would see eye to eye in real life; we’re both too independent).

I did chop off half a star because it did seem to drag just a little here and there. A few too many botany details, I think.

4.5/5 stars

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The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

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This is a ‘did not finish’ review. I finished approximately 25% of the book and … I couldn’t go on. Why not?

  • I disliked the main characters. I found their romance to be unrealistic (what I read of it, anyway) and didn’t think they were attracted to each other for the right reasons. I also didn’t like how they were gawking at each other all the time. Okay, okay, you’re both the most gorgeous things ever. Who cares? Not I.
  • The writing style was immature. I could write better. I could write a lot better (though most the time I don’t *sheepish grin*). And I don’t read books unless they’re better-written than my own. There’s no point to it. Why bother? I sure don’t want to start writing like that, and I will (I tend to imitate the authors I read), so … let’s not put the temptation out there for me!
  • Odette wasn’t married. We’re in the 1300s, and it doesn’t bother anyone that Odette isn’t married in her twenties? She would have been married at fourteen. I don’t care if her dear old uncle loves her or not. If he really loved her, he would have married her off at fourteen. Or thirteen. Or twelve. There were no exceptions. It was how things were done. Either write historical fiction and stick to the fact or write a fantasy in which people wait forever to marry. *shrugs*
  • Jorgen couldn’t even talk to Odette. He’s a couple classes below her, and the upper class was very upper class even back then while the commoners were commoners. There would have been no contact between them. Partially because she would have been married with three or four children.
  • Odette is a snob. I don’t care what you say. She may be sneaking off to kill pheasants for peasants, but she turned away perfectly good suitors for no reason. Again. And again. And again. Why? Because they’re not good enough for her. Why? Not handsome enough, not rich enough, not young enough. Hardly great reasons for turning men down, especially back then with looks and youth didn’t matter. In fact, age was considered distinguishing in some ways. She needs to get over herself.
  • But everyone loves Odette. Everyone either wants to marry her or be her friend. She’s gorgeous, she’s a great shot with a bow and arrow, and she feeds the poor and teaches the children. I just can’t deal with this kind of character, y’know?

For those reasons (and a few others), I just didn’t care to finish this book. I set it aside and moved on to something better, and I suggest you do likewise. It’s just not worth your time.

2/5 stars

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Thanks for reading my reviews,

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Allison Pittman, Carrie Turansky, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, K.M. Weiland, Melissa Jagears, Mini Review Day, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah E. Ladd, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

January 2017 Mini Review Day

Hi guys! Today we’re gonna do something a little different … mini reviews! I’ve decided to do this monthly (as you can see by the title. This one is for January 2017, in case you didn’t notice). These will mainly be books I chose to read, not review books.

So let’s get started!

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Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Whoa! That was fantastic!

Okay, so, I have written (to completion: I’ve started maybe fifty other books) three full-length books now. The first two had to be intensively rewritten. In fact, very little of the original drafts remain. Why was this? Well, after assuming myself to be a “pantser” (because I was too lazy to outline), I refused to outline …

And that got me nowhere.

I decided to try some extensive outlining with my third book (currently titled At Her Fingertips) this last November (for NaNoWriMo). I wrote 65,000+ words in 30 days (beating my previous record of 42,000) and they’re not all trash. Yes, it’s first drafty … but I have a feeling that this is a winner! I don’t expect rewriting, and I think my revising will be lighter.

I don’t know if K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel is completely responsible for this. I was super excited about my story this last NaNo, and that’s part of the reason. But … well, K.M. Weiland’s methods and ideas and tips are all great, and they are at least 75% responsible for me actually having an enjoyable writing experience!

Grab a copy! It’s a wonder what a little outlining can do, even if you don’t think you’re a ‘plotter.’

5/5 stars

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Where Two Hearts Meet by Carrie Turansky

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Two very sweet novellas. I loved Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series, so I was a little nervous/excited/worrying that they wouldn’t be as good, but these novellas were really great!

Tea For Two:
This was my favorite of the two novellas. It was sweet (and clean) and I really liked the characters … and Sweet Something, too, of course. I want to own a place like that … or at least visit it!

Content: clean. No language/violence. A couple kisses, none very detailed. A mention of adultery (treated as wrong), I believe?

5/5 stars

Wherever Love Takes Us:
I didn’t enjoy this one as much … probably because I’m not married and had trouble getting into the characters, understanding them, etc. This would probably be better-enjoyed by someone who’s married and a little older than me. 🙂 I did tack on half a star because OREGON MY OREGON! 😛

Content: fairly clean. No language/violence. Kisses (never detailed), and a mention of s*x (although it was pretty hard to catch and between a married couple … but still). Matt kinda seems to be considering adultery at one point.

4/5 stars

Overall, this is a worthwhile read for a summer afternoon (or, for me, a Christmas-break-afternoon). 🙂

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Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman

Wow. That was … all over the place. And the ending made no sense and wasn’t really happy or satisfactory. The main character annoyed me by continually going, “Oh! I’ve got it now!” and then doing stupid things. Again.

It wasn’t an awful book, but it wasn’t a good book either. I didn’t really care for it. I found it depressing, dark, and meaningless (probably one of those books where I’m not smart enough to get the theme … ;P).

This novel contains an honest (but somewhat scorching) portrayal of the Mormons of that era. Probably not a book for LDS readers for that reason.

Content: no language. A lot of violence, wars, people wanting to baptize “by blood if not by water,” fingers getting frostbitten and having to be cut off, sometimes somewhat detailed. Mentions of and portrayals of pregnancy. Lots of mentions of husbands and wives becoming one, sleeping together, etc. and the husband’s other wives (*shivers*) knowing that this is happening. One scene where a married couple presumably … you know. They cut it off before they actually do anything, but … yeah. Then later another woman and her proceed to discuss this. A little too much for me. Removed a star.

1.5 stars

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With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

It’s getting a little old for me to be rating Sarah Sundin books 5 stars and crooning over them, so this is gonna be a short review.

All of the books that I’ve read by Sarah Sundin have been five-star marvels … but wow. This may be the best one yet! An amazing plot, an amazing message, amazing characters … I just don’t have words for it!

I think my favorite thing about this novel was its originality. It’s a romance, but the two main characters don’t even meet for months and months into their relationship! And Tom … wow! He was totally committed before he even met her in person! AAAAH!!!

The minor characters were neat, too. I especially liked the other nurses. Oddly enough (because I don’t know if I was supposed to), I’ve taken a liking to Kay. Should I be shot? I’m sorry … I just feel like there’s something there, you know, underneath all the … ick. I feel sorry for her.

And Rose. I like Rose. And Georgie. I liked Georgie.

Hooooold it a minute! This was gonna be a short review! And so it stops here.

5/5 stars

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The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

This was a pretty good novel. It wasn’t my favorite of all the Regency romances I’ve read, but it was enjoyable, the characters were realistic, and the setting was charming, and it was pretty original. At times, I was wrapped up in it (my status updates mostly involved screaming … sorry, Goodreads friends!).

I found the ending to be a little unsettling. Why? Well, I can’t tell you that! It was the ending! THE ENDING! It’d be spoiled for you.

Oh, you’ve read the novel? Okay, here’s why. (HIGHLIGHT TO READ SPOILERS) This sounds stupid, and lots of people have mentioned liking this in their reviews (because it’s original, right?), but I love the idea of inheriting a mansion, it remaining in the family, and all that, and I wanted Jonathan to live at Kettering Hall! I wanted it to remain in the family, and I wanted it to be passed on to their children and their children’s children! So … my weirdness is revealed … (END OF SPOILERS)

Other than that, there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy about this book. It’s more a matter of personal preference than anything (as to why it’s not rated 5 stars).

4/5 stars

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A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

Ah, that was cute! I admit it was somewhat cliché, but not much, and I really enjoyed it (because some clichés are just too awesome). The character were believable and the plot was well-paced. I was a little frustrated at the main characters for their back-and-forth-ness sometimes.

Anyway, this is an enjoyable, sweet romance that was only sometimes frustrating and therefore worth it. Besides, I argue that if a couple characters can make me frustrated, even in a bad way, the author has great potential. 😉

Content: no language. Sicknesses and injuries. Lots of mentions of (and a couple brief descriptions of) childbirth. Mentions of pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths, and the like. Julia is terrified of childbirth (mostly of losing a baby). Several mentions of ‘becoming one’ and that sort of thing. Julia and Everett sleep in separate beds after they’re married, etc. Julia was ‘taken advantage of’ before she left Boston (no details, handled well, barely mentioned). Nothing that made me terribly uncomfortable.

4/5 stars

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Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Are any of these books getting added to your to-read list? Or taken off?

~Kellyn Roth

 

Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Title: Anchor in the Storm

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom, #2

Genre: Christian Historical Romance/Mystery

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. No language. It’s set during a war. Some violence and such connected with that, though nothing graphic. There’s a drug ring. Mentions of drinking and taking drugs, and Arch goes to a bar. Kisses and such. It’s mentioned that a man tried to take advantage of Lilly once. No details at all.

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

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One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance — and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy — even if he “is” her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves — and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

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This is going to be a short review due to limited time and me being behind on reviewing and struggling to catch up. However, I don’t have a lot to say about Sarah Sundin’s books that I haven’t said before (not that they’re the same, but that they all have the same level of awesomeness, and I tend to forget the differences in ranting about the awesomeness …), so that’s actually quite fitting. 🙂

That was another great story by Sarah Sundin! I can’t wait until book three of the Waves of Freedom trilogy comes out!

Lillian and Arch were both great characters. All the characters are, but these two were my favorite.

I loved Arch in book one. He’s a swell guy, pretty serious most of the time, always a perfect gentleman (that scene in the bar was hilarious!), but he is prone to depression and very insecure about being loved for his money/social position/looks instead of for himself. Of course we love him for his faults. Yeah, I know, in my last review I was going on about this guy who was perfect despite his lack of faults … well, Arch was perfect because of his faults. It makes sense. Just trust me on this one.

Lillian is also pretty insecure (if you didn’t guess!). As a kid, she lost her leg and now wears a prosthesis. You can imagine how that makes her feel! Overall, however, she’s pretty confident about that, which surprised me. Her main problem is her ‘wooden heart.’ She shuts people out, pushes herself too hard, goes through life bluntly and without feeling. At least, his (evil!) twin sister thinks so …

Which reminds me, I hate Lillian’s twin sister’s guts. I don’t know why, but I just do. I suppose because I can’t stand people who whine. Drives me crazy. I’m a lot more like Lillian; I’d die before I’d cry or complain or let anyone know I need help. 😛

The plot was, of course, fantastic. Another mystery, which I didn’t mind one bit! Very exciting, intriguing, etc.

It was also great to see Jim and Mary again, however briefly. I’m a bit surprised they’re only dating, though, not engaged. Wait a minute … no. I’m not surprised one bit! Thinking back, they just got around to actually confessing their love (after months … and months … and months … not that it was irritating, but that their personalities are just like that!), and knowing their personalities … this is gonna take a while. But they have to get engaged in the next book, mmkay, Ms. Sundin? They just have to! Please?

Well, that’s about all I have to say. I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope you’ll go pick up a copy of the book yourself so we can fangirl together. 😄

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Title: Blue Skies Tomorrow

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series Wings of Glory, #3

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: California (USA), England, France/Germany

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5 stars. No language. There’s a war going on, which Jack participates in. People are dying, planes are being shot down, etc. Wife-beating (highlight to read spoilers): Jim (Helen’s now-dead husband) used to beat Helen and Jim’s father beats Jim’s mother. Helen has a couple memories about this and is scarred by it. No details. As far as sexual content, some pretty detailed kisses/wanting to kiss and all the falling in love stuff. Nothing really inappropriate for anyone 13+, without parental guidance and younger with parental guidance (although Ray mentions Helen is “used to a lot more than kisses.” Me: “Mmkay … I know she was married … so you didn’t have to mention that …”).

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

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In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life–and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.

But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

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I can’t believe this fantastic series is over! Three books is really too few! I can’t stand it! *chokes*

Okay, so, this was a fantastic book. I didn’t like it as much A Memory Between Us, but it was as heartbreaking if not more so. Being hurt by someone you neither love nor trust is very different from being hurt by someone whom you love and trust, and … gosh. I was in tears … especially that scene where (highlight) Helen drives Ray away because he found out Jim used to beat her and she doesn’t want to dishonor his memory, etc. and that scene where Helen finds out that Ray is ‘dead.’

Although Helen was reacting incorrectly to what happened to her (heroizing Jim), it was really realistic! I totally understood why she did it. In fact, it’s fantastic how well we got into both the main characters’ heads.

I loved Ray. He was a simply fantastic character, a great guy. Sure, he had his problems, but I was like, “I DON’T CARE. YOU’RE PERFECT. STOP TRYING TO PERFECT THE PERFECTION, MAN!!!”

Helen … oh, Helen. You’re so messed up! Your child needs spanked. I wanted to give you a talking to. ‘A spanked child is a happy child.’ That’s what I’d tell you. Drag him along the straight and narrow (which basically means make him do what you want him to do because he’s a toddler and a toddler is like, “That’s mine and that’s mine and that’s mine although it’s actually yours …” and that’s not life!) when he’s too little not to stray, and eventually he’ll get up and walk it himself. You can’t make him into the perfect man, but …

And … I just realized the thing I thought Helen was most messed-up about was not spanking her kid …

Anyway, I really sympathized with Helen, even as I was frustrated with her. ‘Cause being scared of a kid a quarter your size? That’s … just sad. But I guess it’s understandable considering the circumstances.

The way Helen and Ray met and got to know each other and everything … I must say that was just perfect! I loved it.

I was a little upset with Mr. Novak about not interfering when he knew what was happening. I mean, he’s the pastor. I know he can’t force anything on anyone, but … he should definitely have dealt with it. It wasn’t ‘none of his business.’ When someone’s being hurt, it’s always your business to interfere and try to help them!

I found it hilarious how Jack and Walt didn’t recognize Ray until he mentioned the stain on the runner! Best (happy) scene in the book!

Anyway, this is a fantastic novel – though not quite the same as A Memory Between Us; nothing’s gonna trump that – and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get my hands on something new by Sarah Sundin! 😀

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Title: A Memory Between Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Wings of Glory, #2

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 15+ (upper young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: England

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. First, obviously, there is a war going on, planes are being shot down, people are dying/almost dying/being gravely wounded. However, it’s never graphic. So, yep, violence and thematic elements. No language. Then … there’s Ruth’s back story. (SPOILER) Basically, she was raped as a young girl. (SPOILER ENDS) It’s never described (no flashbacks or anything). It was tastefully handled (just like ’40s movies always handled that kind of thing), but it’s still there and she’s pretty broken, obviously. Also, (SPOILER) a man tries to take advantage of Ruth later on, but nothing comes of it and the guy goes to jail. (SPOILER ENDS)

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

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Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge–until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him.

Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man.

Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

 Wow. Just wow.

I’m sorry. It’s been almost two months, and I still can’t form words into sentences to describe this book.

It is so emotional.

It is so heartbreaking.

It is so beautiful.

I am almost crying while I write this, guys. Just thinking about the book is making me tear up.

I can’t really tell you a lot about the book itself, therefore. It’s … it’s just amazing. Read it. Now.

Except … well, I do have some content concerns (which are mentioned up there ^^). Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens without parental guidance. Older teens, however, should be able to handle it. It’s very delicately written, just like any ’40s movie. Except this is a ’40s book. And it wasn’t written during the ’40s. Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Sundin is incredibly talented.

This is an incredible story, from wonderful characters – every one like a real person with their ups, their downs, their ghosts – to fast-paced action scenes, to slower romance scenes (that were often cute … or heartbreaking … or both …).

Because I’m not capable of being organized just now (having fond reminisces about this book), I’ll list my favorite things.

  • Charlie and May, Jack and Ruth. Cutest foursome ever! Every scene with these guys … wow.
  • Charlie. AAAAAH!!!!! *sobs and laughs at the same time* And his friendship with Jack was amazing. I want a friend like that! No, wait, I already have one … *grins at various friends* *leaves them to speculate which one I’m talking about* 😉
  • May. Wow. Wow. Wow.
  • Jack. I love his character, and I especially love this flaw! I am incredibly prideful, and his story … it touched me here. *points to heart* He’s a wild ride, a hilarious guy, too. Lots of layers. Like an onion. That’s why I was crying, probably … not like I actually got emotional or anything …
  • Ruth. Okay, I’m going to stop listing the characters after her. She is really a standup gal. I can understand getting so obsessed with something that you ignore everything else. I … do that. Not for the reasons she did, though, of course; I’m just naturally obsessive. 😄 She was so realistic, too! I had to keep reminding myself she never actually existed … nor did her pain … so I could stop crying …
  • Glimpses at Walt and Allie again. I loved these guys (not as much as Jack and Ruth), and whenever I heard of them, it was really cool.
  • That scene where Jack confronts Ruth. Not to give away spoilers, but that one is so heartbreaking … I love it and hate it and aaah!!!!
  • First kiss. You’ll understand after reading the book …
  • “Long ago she’d clamped an iron shell around her heart and nothing and no one could pry it lose, but deep inside the tender flesh still beat.” Why do I love this quote so much!?!?!
  • Everything I haven’t mentioned so far.

I’d recommend A Memory Between Us to any lover of books. Why? Because I’m not required to give specifics for a novel as good as this. ANY lover of books – and quite a few book-haters, too – would love this novel.

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Title: Through Waters Deep

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure/Romance/Mystery

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. Some violence, nothing too graphic. A lot of suspense. No real sexual content except a few kisses, attraction, etc. No language. I can’t quite vouch for the content, though, because it’s been a month since I read it.

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

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It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood.

Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

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Perhaps you think that everything I say about this novel will sound redundant. It’s a book by the author of A Distant Melody, which I reviewed just a few days ago. They’re both set during WW2, both are adventure/romances with very strong (amazing!) Christian messages, and both were absolutely adored by the person who’s writing this review. However, these two stories are very different.

First, the obvious. A Distant Melody is about an airforce man; Through Waters Deep is about a member of the navy. This, in itself, makes it a very different story. Not a better or worse story, though. The details on navy life were just as fantastic as the details on airforce life.

Then there’s the added mystery/thriller element of Through Waters Deep. The main characters are investigating (unofficially and unwantedly) a supposed sabotage at the Boston Navy Yard. Very exciting. That scene in the dry (well, once-dry) dock was fantastic! I admired Mary so much then! And all those references to Nancy Drew books … *cracks up* Yeah, how many Nancy Drew books HAVE you read? I wondered something.

And Mary’s “scarred past” … I’m sorry, but I laughed. Partially because I could totally be scarred if that’s all that’s required to be scarred. One time when I was five … *dies of shame* Seriously, though, it was refreshing. Little things – and even if it was dreadfully embarrassing, it was a little thing – can have a huge effect on our lives … and take control over us if we don’t give them to God!

And Jim … he “floats.” *cracks up* I’m sorry … I just can’t be serious about these guys’ problems! That’s not a bad thing, either. I mean it as a good thing. I enjoyed it very much. They had amusing problems … but they were serious to me, too. Though not sad (except the root of Jim’s, a little … but everyone knew it wasn’t his fault! He was just being an awesome brother!). Backstories don’t have to be sad/absolutely terrible to be effective. Well-played, Sarah Sundin!

I liked Mary very much. I get along best when I’m working behind the scenes, too, although I admit I like to be recognized. For some reason, seeming to be competent really helps me cope with difficult situations. But Mary … private, humble Mary. She’s a sweetheart. She needed to learn to accept praise, but she was such a sweetheart! She’s an awesome lady.

And, you know, she’s obviously better than Quintessa. MARY is GOLDEN!!!

Jim … he was a really cool guy and … amusing, I admit. I can’t wait to read book 2 of the Waves of Freedom story and read more about Arch. He was an interesting guy. Although, for heaven’s sake, find a girl who doesn’t care about money, won’t you?!?!

I don’t have much more to say, as I don’t want to go on saying cliché things that anyone could say about any book. I’ll just say that if you like WW2, exciting adventures, intriguing mysteries, sweet romances, mouth-watering descriptions of dresses (what? I loved Mary’s clothes! Let’s go further: I NEED MARY’S CLOTHES!!! And to live in the ’40s, too, please!), and an amazing Christian message, read this novel! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Title: A Distant Melody

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Wings of Glory, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: California (USA) and England

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. It’s actually really clean. I tried to explain it up here, but it got too long. Find my summary of the content in the review itself. 🙂

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

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Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval–even marry a man she doesn’t love. Lt. Walter Novak–fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women–takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

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Simply fantastic story. I can’t get over it. I just loved it to death. Now, time to explain why A Distant Melody is now among my favorite novels ever. Not that I’ll be able to describe it in words, of course. You’ll just have to read the book and join my shrill fangirl shrieking. *dances happily*

Now, I just expected to read another sweet, light historical romance with a tiny bit of Christian faith. Was I ever surprised! The Christian message is strong! REALLY strong. Yet it’s not preachy. It’s amazing. Sundin didn’t bleach the truth; she handled it straightforwardly, never wincing at the way things are.

The romance … adorable. I loved how, although Walt and Allie were physically attracted to each other (healthily; more on that later), neither of them were described as handsome/beautiful. Quite interesting. They really had a solid friendship before they moved on to romance. They depended on each other, they knew each other, they were awesome together … *grins* I’m just so happy thinking about this book right now. 😀

Before I go any farther, a bit about the content (as promised):

I felt like I had to content-rate this 3/5 although it just didn’t feel unclean! It was a very sweet book, and everything that was wrong (even little white lies/not telling the whole true being a lie) was dealt with exactly as it should be, and wow! Just wow.

Walt was attracted to Allie (and visa-versa, I think; I don’t remember exactly), but he wasn’t gawking at her all the time; he was healthily attracted to her, I’d say. That’s really the first time I’ve seen that in a book. I was like, “Wow … that’s cool!” A few kisses, but nothing that made me squirm.

Also, there’s some gossip about Baxter (that he might be homosexual) that is never exactly disproved, though Allie is sure it’s not true; it’s just gossip. No language. Some violence; nothing really graphic, but it might disturb the weak-hearted. It’s war, guys. People die. Get over it. 

Back to the actual story.

Time to talk about characters. You know how I feel about characters, guys. I love ’em. I adore ’em. But I rarely find characters that satisfy my needs! These guys did. Walt, Allie, Frank, and every other character in this book was amazing. They were very real people, none of them completely perfect, none of them (except Baxter, maybe) completely evil.

I especially felt bad for Allie. I think it’s best if you read this book not knowing a ton about it (it’s one of those books that unfolds best if you don’t know a ton about it when you start reading), but I emphasized with her every step of the way.

And Walt … I don’t really have a problem with lying (not even “little white” ones) … but this still touched me. I do stretch the truth sometimes, I guess, come to think of it, but I’m a storyteller. What do you expect?

And there I am making excuses for myself again.

More than anything, this is a story of character growth – growth in personality, growth toward God, etc. Not that the romance wasn’t fantastic … but the character growth was the coolest part.

If you don’t like character-based stories, you’re an idiot that’s okay. This is a fantastic adventure story. We spend a lot of time in England, flying over France, almost dying, etc. I was so proud of knowing a bit about bombers due to a story my friend wrote. I was all like, “I don’t need to read this paragraph describing the plane! I already know what it looks like! HA!!!” 😛

Overall, I would recommend this book to any teen/adult who loves WW2, romance, adventure, the ’40s in general (research for both the ’40s as an era and WW2 was amazing, by the way! Sundin captured the ’40s!), bombers, action, a strong Christian message (that will change the way you think), touching stories, occasionally funny stories, sweet stories, or just trusts me to know a good book when I read it! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth