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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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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The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo (blog tour)

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I know I already reviewed The Reluctant Godfather, but I’m reviewing it again. This one is a full-length review as part of Allison Tebo’s blog tour for her new novella. You can enter the giveaway here.

Before you read the review, a little about the author …

Allison Tebo is a Christian homeschool graduate in her mid-twenties, who works part time as a sales associate for a major transportation company.  A graduate of London Art College, Allison pursues avenues in cartooning and illustrating as well as singing and voice acting. In her spare time she writes and blogs at www.allisonswell.com.

It is her goal to write fiction that appeals to many different kind of people, by writing clean, classic fun. Her faith in Christ directly influences all she writes about – or does not write about.  Whether the story possesses a strong message or is simply fun and imaginative fiction – her desire is to bring honor to God – and to provide quality stories for everyone to enjoy.

And the review …

Title: The Reluctant Godfather

Author: Allison Tebo

Series: Tales of Ambia, 1

Genre: fairytale retelling (light fantasy)

Publisher: Allison Tebo

Source: bought

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo

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A humorous and magical re-telling of Cinderella from a unique perspective.

Burndee is a young and cantankerous fairy godfather, who would rather bake cakes than help humans. A disgrace to the fairy order, Burndee has only two wards entrusted to his care…a cinder girl and a charming prince.

A royal ball presents Burndee with the brilliant solution of how to make his wards happy with the least amount of effort. He’ll arrange a meeting and hope the two fall in love.

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I got this book on a free day, and I was so excited! I’d really been looking forward to reading it. A retelling of Cinderella from the perspective of the Fairy Godfather? Sign me up! Then I skim-read it again (although it was hard; I really wanted to just settle in and enjoy it!) so I could rewrite this review. I’m going to have to read it again sometime sooner or later … it’s really that good!

The Reluctant Godfather is a fantastic story. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was hilarious, causing me to laugh aloud several times. Allison’s writing style is unique and engaging. It’s light and just a bit silly, but completely self-aware and quite clever.

The characters were amazing. Burndee was especially awesome with Ella running a close second. Colin … I am a little irritated with him. Mostly because I think all Colins should be amazing. *shrugs* It’s a weird quirk …

Though, in hindsight, I guess Colin wasn’t terrible. He was irritating, though. Sometimes I was like, “Colin … I’m going to strangle you … and I don’t think anyone’s going to try to stop me …”

I can’t tell you all the amazing twists and turns of the plot without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that this retelling leaves no cliché unaddressed. Sometimes I thought, “Oh, well, that’s gonna be a little cliché …” and it turned out so creative! It’s truly a work of genius. And it’s really funny. What’s not to love? I honestly can’t stop raving about it.

I’m not going to rant on about the amazingness of this book forever, but you must read it! Really. Get yourself a copy.

In closing, I just want to say: Allison. I MUST READ THE SEQUEL AAAAH!!! More Ella and Burndee and maybe even Colin … *squeals*

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read this book? Are you going to? Did you check out the giveaway and other blog posts? What are your thoughts on fairytale retellings?

Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts by Grace Marshall

Title: Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts

Author: Grace Marshall

Series: Horse Haven, #2

Genre: Christian Young Adult Fiction

Era: contemporary

Setting: Missouri, USA

Publisher: Grace Marshall

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts by Grace Marshall

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A spunky kitten on a daring rescue, a neglected mare full of love, and boys that recur like warts make teenager Ruth Deloach’s life far from boring. For every kind person that comes to the ranch there seems to be two warts.

The attitudes and temperatures of southeast Missouri starkly contrast the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but Ruth doesn’t have time to adjust before her father holds an open house for their horse ranch, Meredith Meadows. Ruth’s overbearing older brother seems to just add dangerous sparks to her frustration as she tries to figure out who she has to be nice to and who she actually wants to be nice to. At first, the horse lessons on the ranch start making Ruth feel as if she is back in her comfort zone until she gets tossed by one of the horses.

Sometimes the best way through life is to laugh through the tears, warts, and her own attempts to mow the grass in a straight line.

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The Goodreads Tag

Grace @ The Upstairs Girl tagged me for The Goodreads Tag. And, because I’m a Goodreads addict, I had to do it. So. Here goes.

Rules (which I just made up)

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag at least three people.

The Questions

What was the last book you marked as ‘Read’?

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy. It was really good … I loved it so much! However, good things can’t last forever, and it ended all too soon. Therefore, it is now ‘read’ instead of ‘currently-reading.’ *sniffs*

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What are you currently reading?

I’m reading three books: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Journey by John A. Heldt, and North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell.

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What was the last book you marked as ‘To Read’?

The Notes in Our Hearts by Gabriellyn Gidman. It’s a short story, and it was written by a friend of mine.

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Do you use the star system?

Yes, I do! It’s on my ‘review system’ page if you want to see it.

Are you doing the 2017 Reading Challenge?

Yep! I’ve read 80/200 books so far (although some are re-reads).

Do you have a wishlist?

My to-read list is my wishlist. 😉

Who are your favorite authors?

I’ve been trying and trying to narrow this down … and here is my most recent effort.

  • Gene Stratton Porter
  • Jane Austen
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Margaret Mitchell
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Sarah Sundin
  • A.A. Milne
  • Julie Andrews Edwards
  • Elizabeth Goudge
  • Jeanne Birdsall
  • Jesseca Wheaton
  • J.C. Buchanan
  • Shannon Hale
  • Carrie Turansky
  • L.M. Montgomery
  • Amanda Tero
  • Allison Tebo

Yes, I do realize that’s eighteen … and I narrowed it down as much as I could, honest. (Okay, that’s a lie. When I start listing authors, I can’t stop …)

Have you joined any groups?

*coughs* Sixteen. And that’s after I got out of some I wasn’t really active on. On the other hand, most of those are for promos and reviews and such.

How many Goodreads Shelves do you have?

Twenty-three as well as read, to-read, did-not-finish, and currently-reading. *sheepish grin* They’re mostly genre shelves (such as historical-fiction), but there’s also for-school and such. I like to keep organized, and they make it so easy!

The Tagged

Bonjour (wait, that’s wrong …),

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Are you on Goodreads? If so, have you done this tag? (If not, go do it! I mean it; you’re tagged!) Are you amongst the Goodreads lover or haters? (And if you’re a Goodreads lover, are you with me in not understanding the Goodreaders hater at all?)

Diamond by Paul Willis

Title: Diamond

Author: Paul Willis

Series: The Greywood Files, #1

Genre: mystery (detective stories)

Era: contemporary

Publisher: Paul Willis

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

Diamond by Paul Willis

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When Detective Greywood gets a midnight case from a forgetful friend, he thinks it’s just another robbery. But when he learns his client stored the world’s eighth largest diamond in a highly secure bank vault, he knows there must be much more to the case. Only the owner himself could retrieve the diamond.

A short story containing odd friends, two eventful dinner parties, and a coffee fueled detective.

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A clever detective short story which I really enjoyed. I’m really looking forward to reading more about Rory Greyhood (and his crazy friends). I had the pleasure of beta-reading Diamond, and then I got to read it again in its completed form, and I enjoyed it both times!

Plot {4/5}:

Well-paced, clever, and exciting. I admit I had some trouble understanding certain things, but I figure you don’t need to know everything all at once (especially in a mystery), and I eventually caught on, which is what counts. 😛

Characters {5/5}:

For a short story, the characters were really well-developed, especially Rory and Henry. I really liked Henry (needless to say) and Rory’s “cop friend” was really cool. I hope we get to see Henry again. 😀

Setting {4/5}:

There wasn’t really a lot of talk about where the story was taking place or anything (some big city in the United States is my guess), but it wasn’t really necessary, partially because of the shortness of the story and partially because it just wouldn’t have added anything.

Writing {5/5}:

Mr. Willis has got to be one of the most amusing writers out there! His writing style is just so witty and bouncy and fresh. I was quietly chuckling at a lot of his similes and descriptions.

Content {1/5}:

I honestly can’t think of a single thing. I suppose there was a (non-descriptive) fist-fight of sorts towards the end.

Okay for all ages.

Overall {5/5}:

A simple amazing detective story, comparable with Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown mysteries. I’d recommend Diamond to almost anyone, but especially to lovers of old-fashioned detective stories, amusing characters, and witty writing.

~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

No Pizza Delivery? by Grace Marshall

Title: No Pizza Delivery?

Author: Grace Marshall

Series: Horse Haven, #1

Genre: Contemporary Christian Comedy

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: United States – Missouri and Wisconsin

Publisher: Grace Marshall

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

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 2/5, rude humor, mentions of thinking a guy’s hot (not really innapropriate or anything).

No Pizza Delivery? by Grace Marshall

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Manure, southern accents, self-absorbed boys, and new faces are all a part of the maze that have become Ruth Deloach’s life.

Her world is sent spinning when she finds out she is going to be ripped from America’s Dairyland to live in the embarrassingly small tourist town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. The blow is slightly lessened by the news that her father wants to start a horse ranch, but how enjoyable will it really be to live where there is no pizza delivery and a revolving door to the public? A public with a different idea of how things are done and said.

To add embarrassment to her frustration she finds she knows less about horses than she presumed. Maybe the handsome ranch hand her father hires can brighten things up, then again, maybe not.

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This was a sweet, hilarious story. It had a well-paced plot and I can’t wait to read the next book – I kinda felt like it ended with a cliffhanger, even though it wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, because I wanted to read more! I also enjoyed the characters … and, of course, my mouth started to water every time a horse entered. 😛 I need a horse, guys … need not want.

And you know what’s weird? It wasn’t cliché! There are so many books and movies out there about a city girl moving to the country (presumably a country containing horses) and messing up there and finding herself along the way … but this was not cliché. Nor was it cheesy, as most of those books and movies are.

It was fresh and funny and interesting. I liked Ruth a lot, and I really liked her brother … although, of course, I probably wouldn’t want him to be my brother …

And the turkey thing! *cracks up* I have come near to having that happen to me, so I understand the feeling, though I would have been the one ripping the turkey out. (What? Read the book to find out what I’m talking about!)

Ruth and me have something in common in thinking we’re better with horses than we are … though even Ruth is probably a better rider than I am! 😀

Overall, this was a quick, amusing read! I think it could use just a wee bit of editing (I’m sorry; I’m a bit of a perfectionist!), but a couple punctuation mistakes didn’t bother my enjoyment of it … and most people probably wouldn’t notice them, as I’m extremely meticulous.

So, go buy a copy and have a nice, light read and, above all, enjoy the horses! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth