What would you like to see on Reveries Reviews?

What would you like to see on Reveries Reviews

Guess what? I decided it was time for you, my faithful follower, to give me your opinion on what the future of Reveries Reviews should be.

More or less reviews?

Ramblings about books or characters?

Organized books or character analysis?

Movie reviews?

I’d really appreciate it if you took this survey. It’s short, so it shouldn’t take you too long. Also, let me know in the comments if there’s anything in particular (which you weren’t given space for in the survey) that you’d like to see improved/changed on RR.

Thanks for your help,

~Kellyn Roth~

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Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

Title: Mercer Street

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #2

Genre: Time Travel Romance (Science Fiction)

Era: contemporary and 1938 (pre-WW2)

Setting: United States (Princeton, New Jersey)

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars (1 star removed for content)

Continue reading “Mercer Street by John A. Heldt”

10 Books That Make Me Cry

TenBooksThatMakeMeCry

I don’t cry a lot. And when I do, I’m usually not crying about one thing so much as a bunch of things.

But yes, some books do make me cry … or at least make my eyes water. And these are my top ten. Not in any particular order because, to be honest, who can choose? Not me. I probably should have done them in order of least to most tears, but eh. Too much work.

Onward and downward!

Continue reading “10 Books That Make Me Cry”

April 2017 Mini Reviews

AprilMiniReviews

Well, it’s time for another round of mini reviews! 😀

Amazing Grace by Faith Blum

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3/5 stars

I was really looking forward to this book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. First, the timeline was confusing. There were flashbacks (which, to me, are usually a no-no), and it started before the last book ended, which was quite confusing. I also felt like the actual plot ended and the book just kept going on. However, it was very sweet. I really liked Rachel and Caleb.

Continue reading “April 2017 Mini Reviews”

Why You Should Read a Variety of Genres

Most of my reviews are of historical fiction … more specifically, Christian historical romance novels. I primarily read this genre for the following reasons:

  1. I love historical settings. To me, the past is a completely different world that actually existed. There were no “good old days”? Think again!
  2. I love romance. I don’t know why, but without romance, I just don’t enjoy the story as much. Of course, there are plenty of non-romantic books I’ve enjoyed … okay, more like three. Or two. Maybe -5.
  3. I love clean fiction. I’m actually not big on Christian fiction unless it’s done well (it’s rarely done well), but a title being labelled “Christian fiction” is a good way of determining that it’s clean. Well, usually …

Those are pretty decent reasons, right? Still, I argue that reading too much of any genre is a bad idea.

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I’m not saying that reading more of one kind of book than another is a bad thing. I quite enjoy my Christian historical romances, and I want to keep reading them. However, I’m going to start reading books of a variety of genres.

Yesterday I went to the library and picked up The Selection (dystopian romance), Oregon Brides (basically what I always read), Lizzy & Jane (contemporary), the Red Fairy Book (children’s fairy tales), and Australian Shepherd (nonfiction animal care). Even so, I honestly could have done better for variety (I do have a couple books on hold that are a little different, but they haven’t arrived yet).

My advice to you would be to go to the library, pick up several random books (do a better job at it than I did, though!), and bring them home. That seems a pretty decent way to try new kinds of books to me! And it’s fun.

Anyway, on with my reasons why you should read varied genres.

  • Your mind will stop growing. Statistics have proven that people who don’t at least try more than one genre of book are stupid. Okay, I made that up, but trying different things and expanding your horizons and all that is generally considered a good idea.

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  • It’s unhealthy. Seriously. Your mind needs more than one kind of book just like your stomach needs more than one kind of food.

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  • You will miss out on some different perspectives. The same genre, even if written by different authors, is generally biased in one way or another about humankind or about a certain chapter in humankind or something like that.

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  • You will miss out on some cool books. I never thought I’d enjoy The Hunger Games, but I really did! There are a lot of amazing books out there in every genre. Don’t just read one kind!

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  • Because I said so.

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Thanks for reading,

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

What’s your favorite genre? Do you read too much of it or are you pretty evenly balanced? What do you think about reading too much of any one genre?

Only Children Chase Sawdust by Willowy Whisper

Title: Only Children Chase Sawdust

Author: Willowy Whisper

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure

Era: Pioneer-era (maybe early 1800s? Mid-1800s?)

Setting: United States

Publisher: Willowy Whisper

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5

Only Children Chase Sawdust by Willowy Whisper

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Their whole life turned to sawdust and blew away . . .

Please don’t leave me, Jacob. I need you. I know you’re grieving. Maybe we all are. But you’re chasing something you’ll never catch . . . and we both know you won’t come back alive.

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I wasn’t sure what to think of this novel when I first began it. The author doesn’t really even offer us a synopsis to go off of! However, I read it in an afternoon. It wasn’t the best story I’ve ever read, but it was really good.

Plot: 4.5/5

This is the tale of a young couple who must recover from an Indian massacre during which most of their loved ones were killed. Jacob, the husband, leaves Annie in the care of some military men to go preach salvation to the Indians.

The plot does seem to rush or slow down unnecessarily in a couple places, but I really did enjoy it. It was both sweet and heartbreaking. There were times when I was close to tears, which is rare for me.

Characters: 4.5/5

Jacob: I was really skeptical of his choices from start to end. I knew it was the right thing to do, but like Annie, I just wanted him to stay!

Annie: *breaks out the tissues and comfort food* My heart is broken. I may never recover. *sobs* Also, Annie and Jacob were so cute together. Just sayin’.

Akando: his development happened too fast, but he was a great character nonetheless. I just wish a little more time could have been spent on his development.

Obadiah Clark: oooh, I could kill this man! I really wish I could. Except that would be wrong. But he’s a fictional character, so … *considers the jail fines for killing a fictional character* *realizes I have killed several fictional characters* *shrugs*

There were several other characters, but I won’t mention them because I don’t want to write an overwhelmingly long review. They all seemed well-developed to me, however.

Setting: 3/5

This is the real failing-place of the book, in my opinion. There just wasn’t enough focus on where we were. It made no impression on my brain if the time or place were ever mentioned.

It might have been nice to see dates at the beginning of the chapter or something similar. Just so my mind would know where it was supposed to be.

Writing: 5/5

I really enjoy Willowy Whisper’s writing style, and this was no exception.

Theme: 4/5

I really did enjoy the themes of forgiveness and spreading the Good News (even to your enemies), but occasionally it seemed like the Christian content was a little bit forced. Still, great themes. I wish I was as brave as Jacob!

Content: 3/5

Language: n/a

Violence: a massacre and Indian torture methods are described in some details,  people die or almost die, murder (apart from the massacre) is attempted

Sexual: kisses between a married couple, mentions of pregnancy and childbirth (few to no details), a man pushes himself on a woman repeatedly (not as in rape or anything like that, but as in persistent courtship which is almost inappropriate)

Also some drunkenness, few details. Rated PG-13 for violence.

Overall: 4/5

This is a great book, and I’d recommend it to any lover of Christian historical adventures. There were a few short-comings, but they weren’t overwhelming and in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

~Kellyn Roth~

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Emmeline by Sarah Holman

Title: Emmeline

Author: Sarah Holman

Series: Vintage Jane Austen (multi-author series)

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction (light romance/classic retelling)

Era: early 1930s (Great Depression)

Setting: a small town in Pennsylvania (United States)

Publisher: Sarah Holman

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

Emmeline by Sarah Holman

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What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?

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I am a hard-core Austenite. However, as always with Jane Austen retellings, I forced myself to get into the mind-set of Emmeline being its own book before reading it. Otherwise, I’d be continually comparing the author to Austen, which just isn’t fair.

With this one, though … I let myself get a wee bit disappointed with the way the characters were portrayed. I put this book aside for a while and forced myself to look at it as not a retelling of my precious Emma, but as a completely different book with random scenes from Emma in it. 😉

Other than that, it was a fairly decent book, but not an amazing one. All my friends  will probably kill me, but I just didn’t like it!

Plot: 3/5

All the scenes from Emma interpreted in a 1930s setting were fantastic. I enjoyed a lot of the little twisted and turns, and it was overall pretty enjoyable.

However, towards the end it really rushed, and I was disappointed with the whole plot twist with Morgan. I was like, “Uh … no. I’m sorry, I just can’t do this now …” More my fault than the book’s, of course. I just liked Morgan more than I should have … always have … though not Morgan, I suppose, but Frank Churchill.

Characters: 3/5

Emmeline: whoa, that was a sudden turn-around! If all it took for you to change your wicked ways was for Fredrick to yell at you, why didn’t it work earlier in book? I’m confused. She was a good Emma, though. It’s hard to write this character without having her come across as selfish and overbearing. It was easier to see her self-deception, though. I was never fooled as one can be when reading Emma. Of course, that’s another unfair comparison.

Fredrick: I know this is an interpretation, and the author can change whatever she wants, but … I wish Fredrick didn’t go out without his hat and looked messy and stuff. He also came across as far more stuffy and preachy than Austen’s Knightley, which was disappointing. And a bit of a paradox. He was amusing, though, and his relationship with Emmeline was adorable.

Catarina: awwwww. ❤ This girl is such a sweetheart! And her being a German immigrant? Yes. Just yes.

Geraldine: Miss Bates is young, doesn’t talk a lot, and is redeemable? Eh, no. It’s a cool idea … but no. The boarding house and the falling-from-wealth twist was awesome, though. It was also cool how she was kinda old-fashioned.

Morgan: I liked him, but I was a little disappointed as to that whole plot twist at the end. I just wanted him to be merry and charming and clever, not evil. Why couldn’t he just be merry and charming and clever?!

Evelyn: awwwww, again. Really sweet. But … as her own character, not as an interpretation of Miss Fairfax.

Jack: *growls* But he was perfect.

Doris: I disliked her (everyone loves disliking “Mrs. Elton!”). But I also thought she had a point. She went overboard, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dancing or with nicknames or with … quite a few other things. You’re right, Dory. It is a ‘quaint’ little town … *raises eyebrows*

Setting: 2/5

This is where the book really disappointed me. I felt like half the time the characters still spoke like they were from the 1800s … except for random slang words tossed in. Usually by the villains. Um …? The whole feel of the book was vintage, yes, but a little too vintage. It was also lacking in description in several places.

And … I understand the need for historical accuracy, but the Christians in this book came across as stuffy, preachy, and annoying. They won’t dance. They won’t go to picture shows. And they’re not even accepting of those who do! And yes, I understand why, but it really made me dislike them none-the-less!

Besides, the “ball scenes” were greatly missed, as Mrs. Edmonton points out. I think this (and the overall preachy feel) was my biggest problem.

Writing: 3/5

This was an ARC copy, so I won’t mention typos and such. The writing was good overall, but it was a little too old-fashioned for the 1930s at time.

Theme: 4/5

Sometimes the Christian content (of which there was a lot) seemed thrown in, as if it didn’t really belong. However, I did enjoy Emmeline’s character arc, despite it being rushed and crowded at the end. It was a new and cool way of show her change at the end of the book.

Content: 2/5

Language: n/a

Violence: mentions of WW1

Sexual: talk about dancing being inappropriate, Morgan makes a couple kind of inappropriate comments, some super clean romance

Overall: 3/5

Not a bad book, but not a good one either. I didn’t enjoy it much at all, and probably wouldn’t recommend it to any lover of the ’30s or Jane Austen. However, if you enjoy light historical reads with a little romance (but not much) and a lot of Christianity, this might be the book for you.

~Kellyn Roth~

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