Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox (Blog Tour)

AllegianceBlogTour

Title: Disowned

Author: Sarah Addison-Fox

Series: Allegiance, #1

Genre: Christian Fantasy Adventure (though I’d say more dystopia but in a fantasy world and with slightly less drama)

Setting: Etraea and Kyraenea, both countries in a made-up world. Non-magical.

Publisher: Sarah Addison-Fox

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Continue reading “Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox (Blog Tour)”

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Swazi Sunrise by Donna Chapman Gilbert

Title: Swazi Sunrise

Author: Donna Chapman Gilbert

Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Biography (missionaries)

Era: early 1900s (1907 through the early 1920s)

Setting: New York, then Africa

Publisher: Donna Chapman Gilbert

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Swazi Sunrise by Donna Chapman Gilbert

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19-year-old Lula is bookish and shy. She longs for a husband and children of her own, but gives up that dream to become a missionary. Lula never imagined the life of hair-raising adventure that awaits her. Nor does she expect to meet the most thrilling adventure of all in the form of a handsome young preacher.

Harmon leaves his home in Ohio with only goal in mind—converting Africans to Christ. No one is going to stand in his way. Not even a little brown-eyed slip of a girl with a sweet smile.

Young Emely lives in fear of the snake spirits and the witchdoctor who summons them. Then she encounters a pale man who tells her she can be free from fear. Will she find the courage to defy the witchdoctor and grab hold of that freedom?

Kosa loses his standing as a Swazi prince due to the conniving of his hateful younger brother. To regain his honor and his father’s respect, he trains hard to become a renowned fighter. But he discovers that fame and fortune do nothing to bring peace to his tortured soul.

Swazi Sunrise is a safari ride into early 20th century Africa. Its vivid depiction of life in Swaziland and the trials and triumphs of pioneer missionaries makes for a highly satisfying read.

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I have some confused thoughts on this book, and I’m going to try to get them all into some sort of a cognizant order, but don’t blame me if it’s a little confusing.*

Also, it has been a bit since I’ve read it, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I had to think about this book a while before I could review it.

*I don’t know who you could possibly blame other than me, but oh well …

PLOT: 3/5

The plot was well-developed. As a nonfiction story, there were some limitations – the author had to abide to the real-life details, of course. I sometimes felt that it dragged, probably for that reason. It was pretty boring and a little annoying at times for that reason.

I myself don’t necessarily support the main characters’ choices. Lula Glatzel and Harmon Schmelzenbach may have felt guided to marry each other, but it sure did neither of them any good. They just suffered for it – them and the innocent children they pulled into it.

I may have totally misread the characters’ intentions, but I thought they were basing their relationship off attraction, maybe even lust, and on dreams they never got to finalize because of their decision to serve God. Maybe that was just me, though.

There were some parts that were very emotional and well-done. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but … argggg these poor people!

CHARACTERS: 4/5

I feel that the author did a really good job portraying these real-life people. Emely was my personal favorite; she was quite sweet, and I felt so bad for her. I hate how the witch doctors or whatever used fear to rule!

I also liked Lula (and Harmon seemed like a good guy). I wasn’t too interested in Kosa, and there wasn’t as much a focus on him as the summary would lead you to believe, anyway. His whole story seemed underplayed, but I can’t complain as I didn’t find his story that interesting.

One thing: Women Shouldn’t Be Preachers. Not by themselves and not to men. Nope. Sorry. It’s Biblical, and I just can’t support it.

SETTING: 4/5

I loved the description and attention to native culture, etc., as well as to lots of details about the era. It was very well-done, in my opinion.

I remember a couple slips in historical accuracy, but I have lost my original notes (argggggggg!), so I won’t lower the rating for those. And I think all y’all should assume it was perfectly historically accurate. Maybe I was wrong.

CONTENT: 2/5

Language: n/a

Violence: I can’t remember specifically, but there was some fighting between tribes, etc. Never too gory, though. I remember an instance where a mob beat a missionary to death, few details. Illnesses and death from various wounds.

Sexual: lots of mentions and talk about childbirth, several scenes where children are born with mild details.

Other: scary demonness, witch doctors, all kinds of scary evil culture that the missionaries had to work through and fight.

Okay for most older teens. Younger teens cautioned. The main thing was the demonic and pagan culture, but that was correctly dealt with even if it was a little scary.

OVERALL: 4/5

A pretty decent book! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about missionaries – nonfiction, anyway – so it was new for me.


Review by Kellyn Roth of Reveries Reviews

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Rainland by Sarah Allerding

Title: Rainland

Author: Sarah Allerding

Genre: Middle Grade (Light) Fantasy

Publisher: Sarah Allerding

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Rainland by Sarah Allerding

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When Thomas gets caught in a summer storm, he is sucked into the world of raindrops through a tornado. He learns he will not be allowed to return until he can defeat the lightning, which has been hurling raindrops from the clouds. Many adventures await him in this strange land. Is everything just as the raindrops say it will be? Is it the lightning they need to defend themselves against, or is there a much greater foe behind the disturbing disappearances?

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Music of Her Heart by Sophie Dawson

Guess what … I’m reviewing a book today!

Okay, I guess it’s not all that surprising considering that’s just about all I do here, but … but …? YAY I ANNOUNCED IT! IT’S OFFICIAL!

Now, y’all know I obsess over like historical romances, particularly the Christian or Inspirational type … but it’s very rarely that they’re set in the Old West! And rarely to they involve kidnappings and bandits and all kinds of awesome, hilarious characters.

Continue reading “Music of Her Heart by Sophie Dawson”

As In Olden Days by Jesseca Wheaton

Title: As in Olden Days

Author: Jesseca Wheaton

Series: Questions of War, 0.5

Genre: Christian Historical Short Story (@Christmas)

Era: late 1940s

Setting: Kansas

Publisher: Jesseca Wheaton

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars

As in Olden Days by Jesseca Wheaton

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The short story prequel to the Questions of War series, As in Olden Days is an adorable Christmas story about all our favorite characters – Gil, David, Lily, Elaine, Rafe with an awesome peek into their pre-war life.

It is awesome in its awesomeness, and the cover is pretty. I love red on gray and white. It’s so striking. Kind of reminds me of blood on snow. Which I’ve seen a lot of because my brother gets bloody noses all the time. It looks cool.

(~summary by moi … which is why it’s … like it is)

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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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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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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

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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 …