Mini Review Day, Reviews

April 2017 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.

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Lily of the Valley by Faith Blum

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4/5 stars

This is by far my favorite Faith Blum book. Partially because I own a gorgeous paperback copy, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is the sweetest book in the world. I’ve always liked Ruth, and it was amazing to see a story focused on her. I’ve always loved the idea of being a teacher in a frontier-ish school, so that was another fun thing for me.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that all the characters seemed to think that falling in love before you’re engaged is a bad idea. Everyone is telling Ruth, “Don’t get too emotionally attached! You can’t make this decision based on emotions!” Well, good advice, except why get engaged unless you’re in love? To me, it seems like love is a pretty important component!

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The Solid Rock by Faith Blum

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4/5 stars

This was a great book, but I didn’t really care for the main character, Joshua. The way he wasn’t able to handle hanging out with the bad guys for a couple weeks without losing grip on his faith doesn’t speak well for Christianity. Even though he had to act like a bad guy, his faith should have carried him through it. And I know “bad company corrupts good people,” but … still.

Other than that, it was an amazing book. It did have some heavier themes (a young lady recovering from rape and a prostitute with a child are both main-ish characters), but they were handled really well.

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Love’s Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

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3/5 stars

I don’t really know what to think of this book, so I won’t try to put it in words. It doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, and I normally hate it when that happens, but it was fairly well-done. Still, a little unsettling and somewhat dark.

Then … the content. It is fairly delicately handled, but a girl is abused (sexually) by her father before she rescued by a man who takes her home and marries her. This happens before the book, but there are a couple of flashbacks, none dealing with the actual abuse.

This couple (the girl and her rescuer) sleep separately, which is mentioned several times and changes at the end of the book. *is awkward* Then there are mentions of married relationships and such-like. Really more than I prefer to read.

But I really did enjoy it, mostly because I love the drama. Also, the spiritual content was really amazing.

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Oregon Brides by Tracey Bateman

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2/5 stars

Well, that was a waste of several perfectly good days.

Honestly, all the plot was great. The characters were good. The writing was decent. The setting was my favorite place on earth. But several things ruined this little collection for me.

The author tried to cram too many storylines, too much time, and too many characters into the stories. I was able to survive through the first book without getting too confused. However, in the second book, I could barely keep track of all the characters and the epilogue was terrible, with major info-dumping and random plot lines introduced (which were never mentioned again).

In the third? Don’t get me started on the huge time difference between it and the first two, the characters and plotlines I couldn’t keep track of, and the inconsistencies.

Then the ending of the third book was terrible. It just didn’t end how it was supposed to. This is no ‘personal preference’ thing. The ending was horrible, and it gave the wrong message.

As far as content, I’d say PG-13. There are many mentions of prostitutes (called saloon girls) and one of the characters is the daughter of one and has to deal with the shame of her parentage. A character was raped (no details). Mentions of miscarriages, pregnancy, etc. No language, very little violence.

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When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke

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4/5 stars

I really enjoyed this continuation of Elizabeth and Wynn’s story. I feel like it was dashed up somewhat hastily (could even use some editing), but it was still great. I especially liked all Elizabeth’s little escapades and the characters (Nimmie was a favorite, and Wynn, too, of course!).

Elizabeth was pretty silly … like not knowing the ‘deer’ is both singular and plural and stuff like that. She’s a schoolteacher. Seems weird that she wouldn’t know that. Also, Beth. Stop acting like a three-year-old. *glares*

Still, I’m looking forward to reading book three.

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The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd

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3/5 stars

On many levels, I really enjoyed this book. It was an amazing concept, and I enjoyed the characters and setting. However, the plot was very rushed. I wished the author could have slowed down and taken her time with some scenes, events, plotlines, etc. The end was especially rushed.

Then there’s the whole deal with William’s secret past. I’m not going to say what that is, but I will say this: when Patience finds out about it, she hardly bats an eyelash. In fact, she’s kind of excited. Wait, what?! Don’t you think you might want to, I don’t know, confront him on his sins and see if this hasn’t happened before or will happen again, etc.? Patience, get your head out of the clouds.

It was pretty clean. There is one thing, but that’s a spoiler (and it’s well-handled), so I won’t mention it. Okay for older teens.

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The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo

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5/5 stars

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!

This is a fantastic story. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was hilarious, causing me to laugh aloud several times, and 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 …

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. It’s truly a work of genius. And it’s really funny. What’s not to love?

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. Sequel. Now.

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That’s it for today, folks. Sorry for reviewing so many books at once. From now on, I intend to review just a few books on my mini review posts. However, I was in drastic need of some catching-up! 😉

Thanks for reading!

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read any of these books? Will you ever read any of them? Which appeal to you? Which would you rather skip?

Mini Review Day, Reviews

March 2017 Mini Review Day

It’s time for another mini review day. Let’s get started!

The Wings of a Nightingale series by Sarah Sundin

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I admit I didn’t enjoy Sarah Sundin’s Wings of a Nightingale b00ks as much as I did her other series, but it was still amazing, every book earning 5/5 stars from me.

Warning: this review is a fangirl review. If you don’t like fangirls, fangirling, shrill fangirly shrieks, or obsessiveness of any kind, please refrain from reading. This will truly sicken you. It sickens me, too. And I wrote it.

With Every Letter was reviewed in the January 2017 Mini Review Day post.

On Distant Shores

Let’s be honest; this book broke my heart. Of course, every other Sarah Sundin book has broken my heart in a unique way, but this one … so much stuff to kill one internally! Rose (oh, wow … that was so heartbreaking!) … and Hutch’s girlfriend (ooooooh, I would have killed her, so help me!) and Georgie is such a trooper, and she’s so … awesome … and I just love her. Reminds me of my BFF a little, honestly.

Hutch … oh, my word, Hutch. I hate how no one respects him! Like, no one. Not a single person, honestly. And he so deserves everyone’s respect And Georgie. AAAH!!! (no, wait, I already fangirled over Georgie … must fangirl over someone else now … how about the nurses as a whole?)

THE NURSES! This series. They are like this little team of spunky awesome people. I just don’t have works. I feel like saying, “I CAN’T EVEN!” but that’s not really me. I’m more of a “AAAAAAH THIS BOOOOOOOOOOK!” girl.

In Perfect Time is one of the least-beloved Sundin books because of the content, despite the fact that I consider it to be amazing … mostly because of the emotions. THEY RUN HIGH!

Okay, so, here’s the scoop: there is an attempted rape – well, more like this guy wanted to have sex with Kay and was very insistent which she responded to by knocking him over and running away. Everyone (in the book) thinks the main character is some kind of a harlot (which she isn’t). Kay is constantly fending off men’s advances and even considers giving in at one point for rather bad reasons.

I get it if you’re not comfortable with that – or with a main character who honestly just dates for fun without wanting a serious relationship. But … but … she’s scarred, y’all! Can’t you see that she’s scarred and needs Jesus’ love??? *sobs* Sorry … emotions happening over here …

As a whole, the series was amazing. It let us look through the eyes of the lesser-sung heroes (and heroines, to some extent) of WW2. It is high on emotions with a beautiful Christian message in each book and characters so well-developed you feel as if you know them.

5/5 stars

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When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

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I’ve watched most of the Hallmark TV show of the same title (which is amazing, by the way), so I decided to give the book a try. Well, it was nothing like the TV show … but it was amazing. Once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. Elizabeth was a great character (though sometimes this country girl thought she was being silly, such as with the ‘wolves’) and I love Wynn. He wasn’t Jack (or Gil) … but he was still a great hero. I loved that last scene at the train depot. ❤

5/5 stars

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Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd

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This novel is a well-written sweet romance with an intriguing mystery that kept me up reading pretty late. However, I just can’t get over my disappointment over one little detail.

I really enjoyed Treasures of Surrey, Book 1: The Curiosity Keeper (which I mini-reviewed here). It got four stars (the ending disappointed me), but I was hoping we’d get to revisit the characters. After all, as I’ve said before, the ending was a little rocky. I needed closure. But then I find that Dawn at Emberwilde is in no way related to The Curiosity Keeper.

Like, not at all.

I was so disappointed! How could Sarah E. Ladd do this to me? I mean, I guess it’s my fault for not researching the novel before I read it or whatever … but still. So, despite this being a pretty decent novel, I just can’t be fair with it … so it received 3/5 stars. The author cheated. She can’t just create stick together a random bunch of books that aren’t related in any way, shape, or form. Well, I guess she can … but I don’t have to like it.

3/5 stars

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

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I’ve read every other Julie Klassen up to date, so I was of course excited to read her new(ish by the time I read it) release, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Well, it was great. A little different than her other stories, yes (not so much romance), but still amazing. My heart broke for a couple of the characters at different occasions, and I’m looking forward to seeing book 2 of the Tales from Ivy Hill series. Still, it did drag heavily in several places, and I sometimes just wished it could get to the point and stop dawdling.

4/5 stars

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A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

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When I began this book, it’d been a while since I’d read anything by Tamera Alexander. I really love her writing style, and this was no exception.

Historic Nashville is such an intriguing place, and the characters in it – some based on real-life, other fabricated – are equally as fascinating. I really adored this book. The historical details were amazing, I liked both Eleanor and Marcus, and of course I still love ‘Aunt Adelicia.’ She’s really the most amazing character ever. I wish I could have known her (though I doubt we would see eye to eye in real life; we’re both too independent).

I did chop off half a star because it did seem to drag just a little here and there. A few too many botany details, I think.

4.5/5 stars

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The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

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This is a ‘did not finish’ review. I finished approximately 25% of the book and … I couldn’t go on. Why not?

  • I disliked the main characters. I found their romance to be unrealistic (what I read of it, anyway) and didn’t think they were attracted to each other for the right reasons. I also didn’t like how they were gawking at each other all the time. Okay, okay, you’re both the most gorgeous things ever. Who cares? Not I.
  • The writing style was immature. I could write better. I could write a lot better (though most the time I don’t *sheepish grin*). And I don’t read books unless they’re better-written than my own. There’s no point to it. Why bother? I sure don’t want to start writing like that, and I will (I tend to imitate the authors I read), so … let’s not put the temptation out there for me!
  • Odette wasn’t married. We’re in the 1300s, and it doesn’t bother anyone that Odette isn’t married in her twenties? She would have been married at fourteen. I don’t care if her dear old uncle loves her or not. If he really loved her, he would have married her off at fourteen. Or thirteen. Or twelve. There were no exceptions. It was how things were done. Either write historical fiction and stick to the fact or write a fantasy in which people wait forever to marry. *shrugs*
  • Jorgen couldn’t even talk to Odette. He’s a couple classes below her, and the upper class was very upper class even back then while the commoners were commoners. There would have been no contact between them. Partially because she would have been married with three or four children.
  • Odette is a snob. I don’t care what you say. She may be sneaking off to kill pheasants for peasants, but she turned away perfectly good suitors for no reason. Again. And again. And again. Why? Because they’re not good enough for her. Why? Not handsome enough, not rich enough, not young enough. Hardly great reasons for turning men down, especially back then with looks and youth didn’t matter. In fact, age was considered distinguishing in some ways. She needs to get over herself.
  • But everyone loves Odette. Everyone either wants to marry her or be her friend. She’s gorgeous, she’s a great shot with a bow and arrow, and she feeds the poor and teaches the children. I just can’t deal with this kind of character, y’know?

For those reasons (and a few others), I just didn’t care to finish this book. I set it aside and moved on to something better, and I suggest you do likewise. It’s just not worth your time.

2/5 stars

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Thanks for reading my reviews,

~Kellyn Roth

Reviews

The Centurion’s Wife by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

Title: The Centurion’s Wife

Author: Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

Series: Acts of Faith, #1

Genre: Christian Historical (Biblical) Romance/Adventure

Age-Range: 12+ (upper middle grade/young adult/adult)

Era: first century AD (Jesus Christ’s time)

Setting: around the area of Judea

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Source: downloaded a free ebook copy

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. Some violence – mentions of crucifixion, swordfights, etc. Never anything too violent. No language or sexual content (although there are mentions of men looking at Leah).

The Centurion’s Wife by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

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Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil–facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions.

Head of the garrison near Galilee, Alban has been assigned by Palestine’s governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah’s mistress, the governor’s wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death–and missing body–is causing such furor.

This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, The Centurion’s Wife unfolds the testing of loyalties–between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.

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I loved this book so much. I read it during the summer and absolutely adored it. I’m thinking I’m going to reread it around Easter if I can wait that long.

I admit it started a little slow, but I didn’t mind (summer lets me read slow books!). After the story got going, I couldn’t put it down. It was beautiful, and when I read it, I felt like, “How could anyone ever not believe in Jesus?!” Reading this book and experiencing what so many people must have been experiencing in Jerusalem and the surrounding area at that time was incredible. I loved it so much.

Every time a Bible character popped up, I grinned big. That’s one of my favorite things about historical fiction where you get to meet actual historical people who you know of. It’s awesome, especially when they sound so … so human! Like you could’ve been them if you lived during that time; like God didn’t choose them because they had superpowers or anything. They were just people.

Sometimes it’s hard to look past the Bible’s text and see the people behind the stories of God’s almighty power. So reading about Lazarus and Martha and Mary (and a bunch of other people) was so cool.

I will say that the romance wasn’t as good as it could have been. I suppose there wasn’t a lot of romance to be had, though, so yep. 😄

I’m not going to go much more into this story. I’ll just say it was extremely good and you should get a copy. 🙂

~Kellyn Roth