Isolated by Jordy Leigh

Title: Isolated

Author: Jordy Leigh

Series: War and Wilderness, #1

Genre: Christian Action/Adventure

Publisher: Jordy Leigh

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

ISOLATED BY JORDY LEIGH

Fourteen-year-old Louise Stella flees into the forest to escape an intruder who would take her hostage. But by the time she returns to her house, her country has broken out in war and her home island has become a military base. Sharing the land with enemy soldiers, Louise’s only goal is to stay alive one day at a time. Having no food or water, and little knowledge of how to survive in the forests of Quebec, her biggest adversary is “the Unknown”. Her pride crumbles and she realizes that she can’t sustain herself. She must depend on someone else… but Who?

Isolated is a Young Adult suspense novella with uncertainty lurking at every turn. It will have you asking the big questions about life and death. Will you come to the same conclusion as Louise?

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Dandelion Dust by Faith L. Potts

Title: Dandelion Dust

Author: Faith L. Potts

Genre: Christian Contemporary (with light romance)

Setting: United States

Publisher: Faith L. Potts

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Dandelion Dust by Faith L. Potts

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Charity always had a dream. It was simple, really. Find a guy, fall in love, and get married.

The day she met Ryder, Charity knew he was the man God had chosen for her. But she never expected their relationship to be tested and tried through the fires of a freak accident. Suddenly, her world is thrown into chaos, and the bleak, white walls and sterile smells of a city hospital fill every spare minute. And then there comes the dreaded news. It was likely Ryder would never make it out of the hospital bed.

As her carefully laid plans for the future come crashing down around her and the sun seems to set on her dreams, can Charity still find hope in the dark of night?

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When Christian Fiction Is Ungodly

Note: this post is kinda along the lines of a Reading Rant, but not exactly.

When Christian Fiction is Ungodly

When you saw “graphic” and “Christian fiction” in the same title, you probably either laughed or winced. The ones who winced have actually read Christian fiction.

Seriously, though, ladies and gents, you know I hate writing negative reviews … especially negative reviews based on content. You see, I feel unfair giving a book a bad review just ’cause it was worldly.

I mean, seriously. Can I really expect non-Christian authors to write clean books?

However, when it’s a Christian fiction book, I get quite angry. I huff and I puff. Christians should abide by God’s rules for the things we think on (whatsoever things are good, pure, noble, just, lovely, and of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy), and when they don’t, it upsets me.

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Icing by Debra Sue Brice

Title: Icing

Author: Debra Sue Brice

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Setting: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Publisher: Debra Sue Brice

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 2/5 stars

Icing by Debra Sue Brice

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Some people can only dream of living out their fantasies. Cupcake shop owner Denie Shaw is the exception to the rule. This young, witty and charming woman seems to have a perfectly balanced life. 

Years of making bad relationship decisions had given Denie, owner of Icing, the opportunity not only to become a strong, successful business woman, but also managed to involve her three best friends in her crazy cupcake adventures. 

Denie’s sweet life gets turned upside down when she meets her crush, Tom Billingsly, right wing for the Cleveland Monsters hockey team. Together, Denie and Tom strike up a relationship that seems to have all the right ingredients. 

Will Denie allow the fear of heartache to guide her choice, or will she take the leap of faith and trust God to provide a solid recipe for her life?

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The Incredible Adventures of Scruffer & Co. by John Serbin

Title: The Incredible Adventures of Scruffer & Co.

Author: John Serbin

Series: The Incredible Adventures of Scruffer & Co., Part 1

Genre: Comedy

Setting: United States

Publisher: John Serbin

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

The Incredible Adventures of Scruffer & Co. by John Serbin

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A self-centered teddy bear becomes real and has to learn how to live in this new reality. He is soon joined by other teddy bears with differing personalities. Together, they embark on a series of comical adventures as only fun loving teddy bears can. 

If you enjoy the characters and humor of Calvin and Hobbs, The Far Side, and Peanuts, you will definitely fall in love with this comical company of teddy bears as they experience the world from their unique perspective. 

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The Journey by John A. Heldt

And we’re back!

I’m planning on posting Tuesday and Friday from this point forward, although there may occasionally be a post on another day. Especially as I need to catch up on reviews. The hiatus was nice, but it’s good to be back. 🙂

Title: The Journey

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #2

Genre: Science Fiction (time travel romance/adventure)

Era: contemporary and 1979

Setting: Unionville, Oregon, United States

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from the author (in exchange for an honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

THE JOURNEY BY JOHN A. HELDT

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Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

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Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

Title: Hannah’s Moon

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #5

Genre: science fiction (time travel romance)

Era: contemporary & 1945

Setting: Tennessee, United States

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

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After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, Hannah’s Moon, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

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I don’t know what to say about this novel. It was amazing, yes, but I don’t know if I can put that amazingness into sentences that make a lick of sense. But I’m going to try, and hopefully I’ll be able to do this book justice.

Let me just say, before I delve into each individual aspect, that it is an amazing book. I cried, I laughed, I shivered – from fear, from worry, from excitement. It’s threatened Indiana Belle‘s place as my favorite Heldt book!

PLOT: 5/5

Incredible.

I’m not going to attempt to recap this book (I rarely do that; it’s just not my style), but let me just say that all the twists and turns were quite amazing. I can honestly say I didn’t see most of the plot twists coming, and even the smallest changes kept me spinning, excited to keep reading, not wanting to stop.

Also, the ending … I don’t want the American Journey series to end, but let me just say, that the final plot twist + seeing all the characters I’ve read about in previous books again if only briefly + how it concluded the series was pretty awesome!

Also, it was pretty clean (that I remember). Which is something I’m technically supposed to talk about later on, but, well, it bears mentioning twice.

CHARACTERS: 5/5

I felt that every character in this book was well-developed and interesting. A few of my favorites were …

Margaret: I loved her to death. Her backstory was heartbreaking, but it really added depth to her character. Also, she was just a sweet, friendly lady. Technically, the main story didn’t revolve around her, but she was a great sideplot.

David: David is awesome! He’s one of those guys you root for and yet want to push into a creek or something.

Claire: Because she’s just so sweet. And I feel so awful for her, poor dear, or at least at the start of the book.

Ron, I’m not putting up there because he annoyed me. He did some pretty stupid things, even if he did them for the right reason. I was impressed with his fortitude in certain situations, though.

SETTING: 5/5

I felt that John A. Heldt did a great job researching for this book and putting that research into this fictional world.

(Minor spoilers!)

One of my favorite parts were the details about the Indianapolis. I am by no means a WW2 buff, but I do know a ton (and I’m not exaggerating) about the USS Indianapolis. Possibly because of Jaws and the sharks. Okay, mostly because of Jaws and the sharks. *sigh*

Also, am I the only one who was just a little disappointed that there was no Jaws reference? That would have been a perfect way to warn Ron. Ah, well, I can go write my own book if I want to use that. 😛

(End of minor spoilers!)

WRITING: 5/5

I thought it was quite well-written. I don’t know if it’s proper reviewer protocol to say this or not, but I really see how the author’s prose, dialogue, etc. has improved from book to book, which is just fun to see.

CONTENT: 3/5

Language: some language, including a few instances of d**n and h*ll as well as possibly oh my g*d (although it’s been a while since I read it). Pretty infrequent.

Violence: talks about the war, people dying, etc. A semi-detailed account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and what the survivors experienced. A fight in an alley, described in a little detail.

Sexual: several kisses, some a little bit detailed (but not much). Claire and Ron have suffered numerous miscarriages and a stillborn child. Margaret and David kinda-sorta have a romance while Margaret is engaged. Margaret has a backstory; (spoilers ahead) she got pregnant out of wedlock; she gave her child up for adoption. (end of spoilers)

Other: much sadness and drama. *couldn’t think of anything else to put here*

Overall, it was pretty clean. I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens, but I think anyone about 15+ would be able to handle it.

OVERALL: 5/5

I’m starting to feel a little guilty about not thinking up something negative to say about this book, but I honestly can’t! It’s a little heavier than the other Heldt books, but it’s really, really good. Heartbreaking … and yet leaves you with a satisfied feeling.

Hmm … I guess it’s not out in paperback, so I could moan about that a little. I really want to own a physical copy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

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~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you ever read anything by John A. Heldt? Do you enjoy time travel fiction? What about WW2 fiction?

7 Christian Historical Romances

I was just going to have this be a mini review post, but I realized the genres were kind of … exactly the same. So this post is ‘7 Christian Historical Romances.’ Hopefully you enjoy these reviews.

7 Christian Historical Romances

And no, these aren’t any particular Christian Historical Romances. They’re just ones I needed to review that I grouped together to do mini reviews of.

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

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For the most part, this was a great book. I loved Cullen and Della, and everything about the fair was absolutely fascinating. I also loved reading about the school for deaf children, etc. That was part heartbreaking, part intriguing. I don’t really have any complaints about the characters, plot, setting, or writing … I thought it was all pretty awesome! It even deals with some tough issues of the time.

However, the content was a little much for a book of this particular genre. Cullen’s former fiancée tries to talk him into sleeping with her (basically). It’s a brief scene, but … still. Too much. Also, we kinda-sorta get a peek at the wedding night of the main characters’. It’s not an actual scene, but it’s led up to, if you will. Then Cullen does spend a lot of time staring at Della’s lips … but … if you read the book (or even the synopsis), you’ll understand why. 😉

4/5 stars

Amazon ~ Goodreads

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang

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This novel deals with a time and place I don’t often visit – Denver, Colorado of 1887. It also touches on a difficult subject – prostitution. Basically, the main character, Dessa Caldwell, is trying to found a refuge for former prostitutes (and needs the help of handsome bank manager Henry Hawkins to do it). However, I thought it was well dealt with. The content didn’t feel like too much (although I still wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers because it just isn’t good subject-matter for them).

I was a little worried that Henry’s secret past wasn’t dealt with as fully as it should have been, but maybe that’s just me. Also, the book seemed to drag in a couple places. I didn’t enjoy it a ton, but it still was interesting, and Della was endearing.

2/5 stars

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A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

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I don’t know if I’ve yet to express how much I love Belmont Mansion and its owner, Adelicia Acklen. Also, I’m a huge fan of Tamera Alexander’s writing style and the settings she chooses for her novels.

Things I loved included Tate, Rebekah, basically everything related to the orchestra and music, seeing characters from the old novel, Adelicia herself, the mansion.

Things I didn’t love so much included a super-rushed ending, quite a lot of kissing (you know, for this genre), and Rebekah’s stepfather (who tried to rape her when she was a young; there is some talk about this, but it’s never described).

4/5 stars

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When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke

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I feel like there was only meant to be one or two of these books and Janette Oke just kept stringing them out ’cause they were popular. I didn’t really enjoy this book very much. I liked Elizabeth and Wynn still, yes, but I guess I just got sick of them. It’s the same Elizabeth and Wynn of the last three books, and I guess some people really want that, but I just can’t take it anymore.

I guess I just ended up being kinda disappointed with this series as a whole. I did love the first book, but after that they got steadily worse and worse. Yes, there’s a lot of sweet Christian content, but I never absolutely loved Elizabeth. Then, in this book, the ending seemed so random and just there. Not worth the rest, in my opinion.

2/5 stars

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The Pelican Bride by Beth White

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I loved parts of this book, what with its original setting and interesting characters. The romance took up a small part of the story, which was refreshing.

However, there seemed to be a lot of content. I’m not too worried about the violence. There was nothing gory, but the French were at war with some of the American Indians as well as the Brittish and all sides could be pretty ruthless. I didn’t even mind the mentions of how the French took Indian mistresses and sired illegitimate children. I mean, that actually happened; we can’t just ignore it!

I’m talking about all that talk about the wedding night. Goodness gracious, what was that for? We didn’t need to go that far! Sure, the book doesn’t actually show sex, but it shows what I’d call foreplay. Seriously. Not something I want to read.

Other than that, it was pretty awesome. The author clearly did her homework. I recently studied this period, and seeing it play out in a fictional world was fun for me.

3/5 stars

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Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

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Not a great book, but not a bad book. It skipped forward rather suddenly a couple times, oftentimes skimming over years. It was kind of divided into two parts; the Titantic and the war. Between then, the events are kinda foggy. (And yes, a lot of reviewers said the exact thing, but it bears restating.)

Then there were just too many POVs. Don’t get me wrong; I love seeing the world of a book from as many perspectives as possible. However, this was just too much. A lot of characters just got one scene and for the rest of the book either didn’t exist or weren’t important. This was extremely annoying.

I did enjoy it, I just didn’t love it. I don’t think it was as well-done as it could have been, and it was pretty confusing at times.

3/5 stars

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The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell

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This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. There were a couple issues (which I’ll address below; I literally wrote them down because I read this on vacation and was bored), but other than that, I really loved it. Great characters, great plot, great setting. I especially loved Julia, Fiona, Mr. Clay, and … okay, yep, I loved all of them.

So, the negatives:

  • Trumpets, baritones, etc. aren’t “wind instruments.” Just sayin’.
  • I believe housekeepers were called “Mrs.” even when they weren’t? Correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t know for sure.
  • What happened to half-mourning? Julia just seems to hop out of mourning at the end of a year, but that wasn’t how it worked. In fact, it seems like a lot of the rules of mourning were ignored.
  • The formatting was pretty awful in the Kindle version I had. Not really a problem wit the book, but, um, I wrote it down, so …
  • There were a couple places where the author randomly head-hopped at the very end (about 90%+). And a few typos here and there, I think.
  • Were American fashions seriously considered fashionable in England? Okay, yes, maybe they were, but … I’d never heard it before. And, again, I wrote it down, so …
  • I don’t believe the English school system was at all like the American school system of the time. I believe you had to pay to put your children in school except in the case of charity schools (which this school didn’t appear to be). (Again, I could be wrong!)
  • The ending was a little sudden and rushed. It wasn’t too bad, though.

4.5/5 stars

Amazon ~ Goodreads


Thanks for reading my reviews! I hope you enjoyed them. I’ll be reviewing a lot in the next couple weeks, and then, once I’m all caught up, there will be some fun posts. Hopefully.

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read any of these books? Do you enjoy Christian Historical Romances? If so, do you have any pet peeves about the genre? I sure do …

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

Title: Broken Branches

Author: M. Jonathan Lee

Genre: horror/paranormal

Setting: English countryside

Publisher: Hideaway Falls

Source: from the publisher

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

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After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Over at my blog, Reveries, there’s a blog tour going on. You should check it out! But anyway, that’s why I didn’t post these last weeks. *blushes*

Title: After a Fashion

Author: Jen Turano

Series: A Class of Their Own, #1

Genre: Historical Romance/Romantic Comedy

Era: 1882

Setting: New York

Publisher: Bethany House Publisher

Source: from library

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

After a Fashion by Jen Turano

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Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself without an income.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiancée causing the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can’t make her fashionable. She’ll never truly fit into Oliver’s world, with its fancy dinners and elegant balls, but just as she’s ready to call off the fake relationship a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

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