Cries of Grace by Angela Beach Silverthorne

Title: Cries of Grace

Author: Angela Beach Silverthorne

Series: Cries, Book 2

Genre: Christian Contemporary

Setting: United States

Publisher: Angela Beach Silverthorne

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

Overall Rating: 2/5 stars

Cries of Grace by Angela Beach Silverthorne

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The Haven has enjoyed five years of peace after a brutal demonic assault. The land has flourished. People have moved on, reaping a treasure house of blessings and getting comfortable and complacent.

Bren has been away for five years. Now she heads home with a Master’s degree in nursing, hoping to follow her grandmother’s passion as a midwife. Going home holds deep-rooted issues. She must face the death of her grandmother, her father’s involvement in demonic activity, and bitter disappointments.

Going home also means seeing Joseph. Through brief visits, phone calls, and letters, Bren has fallen in love with Joseph. She is indebted to him for helping restore The Haven to its former glory, but she wants more. She wants her love reciprocated to the fullest.
Going home might mean more hurt, more brokenness, but it also might mean love and passion, sharing a future with the man of her dreams.

Cries of Grace weaves a beautiful tale of romance, redemption, faith, and trust, but in the background things are shifting—mistrust, deceit, and corruption begin to slip in and insidiously corrode hope.

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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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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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Left to Die by Ivy Rose (and blog tour)

Title: Left to Die

Author: Ivy Rose

Genre: Christian contemporary fiction

Setting: China

Publisher: Lakeside Publications

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Left for Die by Ivy Rose

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Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a rural hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.

Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the clinic does nothing to help him focus.

The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive.

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I wasn’t sure about this novel. I’ve never read a book about missionaries (unless you count the Bible), and I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it (mostly because these kind of things really make me feel guilty). I was a bit nervous, to say the least. But this was a sensational book that has earned a place amongst my favorites.

Plot {5/5}:

The plot was fantastic! It all unfolded so beautifully and was perfect and amazing and wonderful and – *kicks self* It was well-paced, interesting, and kept my attention 100% throughout the entire book.

And I’ve just got to say … the epilogue was so perfect, guys. Just ❤

Characters {4/5}:

I didn’t get extremely attached to Lindy (although I really liked her), but Jia … I think I’m in love again, guys. I know I’ve said that before, but … this is it. At least in a sisterly way.

I think I need a little sister now …

And yes, I do realize it’s expensive and a lot of work and gruesome and I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it with my lack of experience – Left to Die was nothing if not realistic – but … but …

Back on track.

I loved Nate. He was amazing! Not as good as Gil, of course, but … Besides, Nate and Lindy were so cute together!

Setting {4/5}:

Sometimes there could have been a little more description, but overall, the setting was vividly portrayed. I think I always realized how bad it was in China with the orphans and such … or at least I was able to imagine it that bad (I can be pessimistic about these things) … but it was still sad to read about it.

Writing {4/5}:

I feel like there could have been a little work on the writing here and there, but overall, it was good. I really like Ivy Rose’s writing style. It just … appeals to me. No particular reason. 🙂

Content:

Parental guidance suggested for younger teens. No language or sexual content (except maybe a couple kisses, no details). Descriptions of sickness and the medical care and abandonment/other poor treatment of infants/children (somewhat graphic, but still pretty clean) that may disturb sensitive readers or young children.

Overall {5/5}:

AAAAAH THAT WAS SO GOOD!!!

*puts on serious face* It was a noble story which I’m recommend to any lover of missionary stories, Christian fiction, light romance, adorable babies, and somewhat sad stories with very happy endings.

~Kellyn Roth

About the Author

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Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

She can be found at various places on the internet:

Blog – Pinterest – Goodreads – Instagram

lefttodieblogtour

Is that cover not amazing? And the graphics! *swoons*

lefttodiegiveaway

You can enter the giveaway here (as the HTML is not cooperating for some reason so I can’t embed it)!

Follow the Tour

~Monday~

Becoming Lost – Review

Beyond the Amethyst – Review

Anika’s Avenue – Review

Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview

~Tuesday~

Whispers on the Wind – Interview

Read Another Page – Review

The Left-Handed Typist – Review

~Wednesday~

Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview

Stories by Firefly – Review

Writing in the Light – Interview

~Thursday~

Reveries Reviews – Review

Marrok Macintyre – Interview

~Friday~

A Purpose and a Promise – Review

Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview

Whimsical Writings – Review

~Saturday~

Rebekah’s Remarks – Interview

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

 

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

Title: The Crowd

Author: Alleece Balts

Series: The Crowd, #1

Genre: Contemporary YA/Romance

Era: contemporary

Setting: Vermont, United States

Publisher: Alleece Balts

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

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Whitfield Preparatory Academy ought to be the perfect school…

Not only does the Academy boast a distinguished faculty and lavish campus, it is also home to the privileged youth of the upper class. They will one day hold the reins of power in the business world and political arena – but for now, they exercise absolute authority at the Academy.

For seventeen-year-old Ella Parker, acceptance into the prestigious Academy is a dream come true. But her delight quickly turns to dread when she finds herself in the crosshairs of an elite group of ruthless students dubbed “the Crowd.” Ella’s been at the center of unwanted attention before – but never like this – and she’ll do anything to make them stop. Anything, that is, apart from accepting the advances of popular and wealthy playboy Jackson Montgomery, the leader of the Crowd.

Will Ella be humiliated, or triumph over her tormentors?

An irresistible story of faith, friendship, betrayal, and romance, The Crowd will immerse readers in Ella’s tumultuous struggle from the very first page.

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The Crowd by Alleece Balts is a simply fantastic novel. That is the only word to describe this book: fantastic. I was, as the blurb says, immersed from the very first page. I loved it to death, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2!

Plot {5/5}:

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I started this novel. I only knew I was sick to death of hearing about bullying. Why? Because I’m homeschooled and know nothing about it and just want people to stand up for themselves! I’ve read maybe a hundred YA/MG novels with characters getting bullied in it … and it always just annoys me.

However, for some reason this one didn’t annoy me at all.

Aside from that, the plot was fantastic. I’m not going to attempt to explain it to you, but I’ll just say it was amazing, start to finish (and you should read it; you should definitely read it!).

Characters {5/5}:

The characters were another of this novel’s strong points. Ella was one of the most individualistic characters I’ve read of in a long time. There was nothing generic about Ella! Jack was also super cool and interesting (his past, the redemption, etc. were all very real). I love how Ella’s dad was a rockstar and her mother was a reporter and the story of their meeting … wow. Even though we didn’t get to meet either of Ella’s parents (well, we didn’t get to meet Ella’s mom for very long, anyway), I got a super good idea of who they are just based on their actions (and because of Ella’s thinking about them). The same goes for Malcolm.

I’m not going to go into every single character, but … wow. Quite a few of them, all so beautifully done, and I never got them mixed up! How did Mrs. Balts do it? 😀

Setting {4/5}:

Fairly strong. I would have liked a little more focus on the setting here and there. For the most part, though, it was good, and the description was top-notch.

Writing {3/5}:

The author’s writing is absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of … hmm. I don’t know. Old-fashioned yet contemporary. Whimsical and sweet, but dipping into solemnity when need be. It really showed a lot of emotions and had a lot of content (not the bad kind; I mean content like deep stuff) while not overloading my tiny little brain. 😛

The one problem was the head-hopping. I was never sure if I was in Ella, Jack, or Aunt Meg’s head. It kept changing, oftentimes three or four times in a scene. It was confusing. It didn’t bug me a ton, but it almost made me shave off half a star … before I realized it just wasn’t worth it because the novel was too strong besides that.

Content:

I’d say light PG-13. I’m gonna try to say why as accurately as possible, but I’m not going to list every little thing. Depending on the maturity level, younger teens may need parental guidance.

No cussing. Some crude language and name-calling. A mention of gay people (as a part of the name-calling, not justified). Bullying. Mentions of (and an attempted) suicide. Mentions of drug-use and drinking. Mentions of hospitals, blood, gunshot wounds, almost dying, cancer, etc. Nothing graphic or disturbing.

Lots of attraction, romantic emotions, etc. There are some crude jokes that count towards sexual content. Quite a few kisses, ranging from no details to somewhat-detailed-ish. It’s pretty clear that most of the girls and boys at the campus are none too moralistic. Then … once Ella is hiding a closet (she was snooping and had to hide) and there’s a couple in the room presumably having s*x. Nothing is detailed and it’s not talked about a ton, but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. So there’s that … *awkwardness hopefully ends* But it was such a very brief scene, so … I don’t know.

Overall {5/5}:

A fantastic novel I’d recommend to almost any older teenager/adult and some younger teenagers (depending on who they are and what they can handle). PLEASE let the sequel be coming out soon! Plllllleeeeeaaaaseeee!!!!

~Kellyn Roth

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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

Era: contemporary

Setting: New York, USA and England

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Source: library

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 3.5/5. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember exactly. Some cussing, but extremely rare … and unnecessary in my opinion. I just remember one or two words. A little sexual content – mostly in form of mentioning stuff that could be taken inappropriately, a little innuendo, and then kissing (not extremely detailed). There were also three mentions of gay people. Never says what that is or goes into more detail about it. Mentions of adultery, and it’s hinted that several of the stayers at the result (they’re all female) have husbands. No violence. Not recommended for readers under 14.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

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Well … hmm. It was a great book, but there were also a couple things that were not so good. The content, for one. It wasn’t awful (it was better than the very worst Gilmore Girls episode, for my mom’s sake), but it was still there. And unnecessary.

Then I found the writing a bit immature, and the romance was just a wee bit cheesy at times. Also, falling in love with Mr. Darcy does not make you a lesser human being, as Jane seems to think. It makes you a little crazy (KNIGHTLEY GUYS KNIGHTLEY!!! THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERY AUSTEN HERO BUT KNIGHTLEY!!!!!!!!), but not a lesser human being. 😉

Other than that, the book was amazing.

The plot, the characters, the setting … all well-developed and original. I especially liked the concept … a place where you can go to dress up like a Regency bell, enjoy the empire-waist gowns and meet the dashing gentlemen (or are they … actors?) of that time. Is anything real at Pembrooke Park, or it all just Jane’s imagination?

But, of course, I’m obsessed with Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy. And I’ve never actually gotten through the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. 😛 I love Keira Knightley unconditionally, no matter what. I don’t care what people say. She is the perfect Elizabeth Bennet.

Anyway, overall, it was a great book. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Gilmore Girls (chick flit) crossed with your less-awesome “historical” romance novel (usually also a chick flit and sometimes pretty slack on the “historical” part!). However, I did enjoy it (didn’t put it down for a long time!) and would recommend it for older young adults/adults.

~Kellyn Roth