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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Continue reading “Icing by Debra Sue Brice”

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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

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

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

Title: A Lasting Impression

Author: Tamera Alexander

Series: Belmont Mansion, #1

Genre: Historical Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: late 1860s (Reconstruction)

Setting: Nashville, Tennessee

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. No language. No violence, though there is a horse-riding accident. A couple kisses, the average falling in love/attraction stuff. Illegal activity (stealing, cheating people out of their money; happened in the past, no-details). Okay for teens of any age, probably without parental guidance unless your kids have problems with thievery. 😉

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

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After an unwanted past, Claire strives to create something that will last as an artist among Nashville’s elite society in the 1860s.

Claire Laurent’s greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she’s forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she’s sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach–but only if her past remains hidden.

The Federal Army destroyed Sutton’s home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family’s honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined–as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville’s historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves–and each other–for who they really are.

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AH THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I’d better calm down and write an orderly review of this fantastic book which I adore and want to read again and again and again and again …

So … yep.

First, Belmont … gorgeous. I want to live there. I need to live there!

Second, Adelicia Acklen. Amazing character. She was a real person who actually lived and some of the words she said in the book were written by her in a letter to someone! That’s so cool! She has a really sad past. Really, really incredible woman. Wow, wow, wow!

Claire is a fantastic character! I love how hard-working she is, how good she is at her job. Her job is one to die for … although I definitely couldn’t do it. Her creativity in the party and all other things is fantastic. Just … wow.

Sutton is also a great character. I feel like he wasn’t as focused on as Claire, but he was still great. I really liked him.

As I mentioned before, the setting was once-again amazing; Tamera Alexander is always great at putting you in a place you want to live and that you see in a very vivid way. The characters were all well-developed (I love most of them and hate the others, which is how it’s supposed to be). The plot was great. There was a little back-and-forth between Claire and Sutton that I didn’t care, but yeah, otherwise, is was a fantastic book.

And … I have no negatives.

I’m just going to publish this (once-again, pretty short) review as I’m not feeling particularly creative. It was fantastic, I’d recommend it to any lover of historical fiction, sweet romances, lush settings, or intriguing plots.

~Kellyn Roth

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Title: Anchor in the Storm

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom, #2

Genre: Christian Historical Romance/Mystery

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. No language. It’s set during a war. Some violence and such connected with that, though nothing graphic. There’s a drug ring. Mentions of drinking and taking drugs, and Arch goes to a bar. Kisses and such. It’s mentioned that a man tried to take advantage of Lilly once. No details at all.

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

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One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance — and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy — even if he “is” her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves — and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

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This is going to be a short review due to limited time and me being behind on reviewing and struggling to catch up. However, I don’t have a lot to say about Sarah Sundin’s books that I haven’t said before (not that they’re the same, but that they all have the same level of awesomeness, and I tend to forget the differences in ranting about the awesomeness …), so that’s actually quite fitting. 🙂

That was another great story by Sarah Sundin! I can’t wait until book three of the Waves of Freedom trilogy comes out!

Lillian and Arch were both great characters. All the characters are, but these two were my favorite.

I loved Arch in book one. He’s a swell guy, pretty serious most of the time, always a perfect gentleman (that scene in the bar was hilarious!), but he is prone to depression and very insecure about being loved for his money/social position/looks instead of for himself. Of course we love him for his faults. Yeah, I know, in my last review I was going on about this guy who was perfect despite his lack of faults … well, Arch was perfect because of his faults. It makes sense. Just trust me on this one.

Lillian is also pretty insecure (if you didn’t guess!). As a kid, she lost her leg and now wears a prosthesis. You can imagine how that makes her feel! Overall, however, she’s pretty confident about that, which surprised me. Her main problem is her ‘wooden heart.’ She shuts people out, pushes herself too hard, goes through life bluntly and without feeling. At least, his (evil!) twin sister thinks so …

Which reminds me, I hate Lillian’s twin sister’s guts. I don’t know why, but I just do. I suppose because I can’t stand people who whine. Drives me crazy. I’m a lot more like Lillian; I’d die before I’d cry or complain or let anyone know I need help. 😛

The plot was, of course, fantastic. Another mystery, which I didn’t mind one bit! Very exciting, intriguing, etc.

It was also great to see Jim and Mary again, however briefly. I’m a bit surprised they’re only dating, though, not engaged. Wait a minute … no. I’m not surprised one bit! Thinking back, they just got around to actually confessing their love (after months … and months … and months … not that it was irritating, but that their personalities are just like that!), and knowing their personalities … this is gonna take a while. But they have to get engaged in the next book, mmkay, Ms. Sundin? They just have to! Please?

Well, that’s about all I have to say. I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope you’ll go pick up a copy of the book yourself so we can fangirl together. XD

~Kellyn Roth

Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton

Title: Beyond the Horizon

Author: Jesseca Wheaton

Genre: Fairytale Retelling/Christian Fiction/Romance

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

Era: late 1930s (pre-WW2)

Setting: Austria

Publisher: Jesseca Wheaton

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 1/5. I can’t think of a lot. I, personally, had no content problems whatsoever. I guess the ‘evil stepmother’ of the story is mean. And then there is romance, but no kissing or anything. Mentions of the Nazis’ hatred of Jews (and peoples’ hatred of the Nazis), the oncoming war (I think), etc.

Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton

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Eliana longs to see the world beyond the mountains that tower above Salzburg, Austria, but knows that dream will never see such adventure- and neither will she.

Surrounded by a world of cruelty, she lives for the weekly visits of Aron, a boy she met on one of her rambles through the countryside. But as the years pass and she begins to grow older, a new and unwelcome world is opened up to her. On a fateful night at a party she vowed she’d never attend, she comes face to face with a shocking truth.

As the world around her teeters on the brink of war, Eliana struggles to figure out just where her loyalty lies; a decision that will drastically change the course of her life. Will she ever be free to see what lies beyond the horizon?

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Before we go any farther, I just want to say … that cover. Wowza. It’s so gorgeous. It’s also super professional. I just adore it! I know who I’m going to go to for future covers! (Although … I know so many good cover designers!)

That was really a fantastic story! It’s a unique, interesting way of retelling the Cinderella story. I especially liked the little mystery! Absolutely fantastic. She totally had me going for a while! 😀

This is definitely one of my favorite eras! That’s partially because a lot of my favorite movies were made around this time period. Cary Grant, anyone? Anyone!? It’s just such a great era. The manners, the outfits, the sense of honor … amazing. I don’t care about the war; there were ‘good old days.’

However, this is a new setting for me to some extent. I really enjoyed it. It was hard for me to remember that the characters weren’t American sometimes … and other times I couldn’t remember this was the 1930s, not the Victorian era or some fantasy world. So there was that. It didn’t bother me a lot, though.

So … the setting could have used a little improvement, but, after all, this was a novella. How much can you fit into a novella? The answer is “not a lot.” You can only write as long as you have a plot to write about, and so it’s hard to pack in all the other stuff you need to in order to make a great story. I know I have difficulties doing it!

The characters were very well-done. I liked Eliana a lot, but Aron was my favorite. He was so sweet and kind and perfect … ack! I mean, perhaps he didn’t have faults … but I don’t care. Some characters don’t need faults to be perfect. Aron is perfect, and whoever doesn’t like can … can … eat their umbrella! 😛 Wilhelm is cool, too.

How the characters interacted … gosh, it was fantastic. I especially like Wilhelm and Elly’s interactions. Of course, Elly and Aron were adorable together (and I love how they supported each other), but Wilhelm and Elly were so much fun. 🙂

I loved SPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERS Eliana’s conversion. END OF SPOILERS It was realistically done and really sweet.

The description in this novella was amazing! The writing was, overall, really fantastic.

I’d recommend Beyond the Horizon to any lover of (fantastic!) fairytale retellings, WW2 in Europe, intricate characters, and plot-twisty plots.

~Kellyn Roth

The Blog Tour

Today and tomorrow, Jesseca is having a blog tour for the release of this novel!

Here’s the schedule, so you can know which blogs to visit when:

Friday, December 16th:

Saturday, December 17th:

About the Author

jesseca-wheaton

Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

Connect with Jesseca:

Blog: Whimsical Writings

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14241334.Jesseca_Wheaton

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pacitosenoritaj/

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Title: Blue Skies Tomorrow

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series Wings of Glory, #3

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: California (USA), England, France/Germany

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5 stars. No language. There’s a war going on, which Jack participates in. People are dying, planes are being shot down, etc. Wife-beating (highlight to read spoilers): Jim (Helen’s now-dead husband) used to beat Helen and Jim’s father beats Jim’s mother. Helen has a couple memories about this and is scarred by it. No details. As far as sexual content, some pretty detailed kisses/wanting to kiss and all the falling in love stuff. Nothing really inappropriate for anyone 13+, without parental guidance and younger with parental guidance (although Ray mentions Helen is “used to a lot more than kisses.” Me: “Mmkay … I know she was married … so you didn’t have to mention that …”).

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

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In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life–and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.

But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

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I can’t believe this fantastic series is over! Three books is really too few! I can’t stand it! *chokes*

Okay, so, this was a fantastic book. I didn’t like it as much A Memory Between Us, but it was as heartbreaking if not more so. Being hurt by someone you neither love nor trust is very different from being hurt by someone whom you love and trust, and … gosh. I was in tears … especially that scene where (highlight) Helen drives Ray away because he found out Jim used to beat her and she doesn’t want to dishonor his memory, etc. and that scene where Helen finds out that Ray is ‘dead.’

Although Helen was reacting incorrectly to what happened to her (heroizing Jim), it was really realistic! I totally understood why she did it. In fact, it’s fantastic how well we got into both the main characters’ heads.

I loved Ray. He was a simply fantastic character, a great guy. Sure, he had his problems, but I was like, “I DON’T CARE. YOU’RE PERFECT. STOP TRYING TO PERFECT THE PERFECTION, MAN!!!”

Helen … oh, Helen. You’re so messed up! Your child needs spanked. I wanted to give you a talking to. ‘A spanked child is a happy child.’ That’s what I’d tell you. Drag him along the straight and narrow (which basically means make him do what you want him to do because he’s a toddler and a toddler is like, “That’s mine and that’s mine and that’s mine although it’s actually yours …” and that’s not life!) when he’s too little not to stray, and eventually he’ll get up and walk it himself. You can’t make him into the perfect man, but …

And … I just realized the thing I thought Helen was most messed-up about was not spanking her kid …

Anyway, I really sympathized with Helen, even as I was frustrated with her. ‘Cause being scared of a kid a quarter your size? That’s … just sad. But I guess it’s understandable considering the circumstances.

The way Helen and Ray met and got to know each other and everything … I must say that was just perfect! I loved it.

I was a little upset with Mr. Novak about not interfering when he knew what was happening. I mean, he’s the pastor. I know he can’t force anything on anyone, but … he should definitely have dealt with it. It wasn’t ‘none of his business.’ When someone’s being hurt, it’s always your business to interfere and try to help them!

I found it hilarious how Jack and Walt didn’t recognize Ray until he mentioned the stain on the runner! Best (happy) scene in the book!

Anyway, this is a fantastic novel – though not quite the same as A Memory Between Us; nothing’s gonna trump that – and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get my hands on something new by Sarah Sundin! 😀

~Kellyn Roth

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Title: A Memory Between Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Wings of Glory, #2

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 15+ (upper young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: England

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. First, obviously, there is a war going on, planes are being shot down, people are dying/almost dying/being gravely wounded. However, it’s never graphic. So, yep, violence and thematic elements. No language. Then … there’s Ruth’s back story. (SPOILER) Basically, she was raped as a young girl. (SPOILER ENDS) It’s never described (no flashbacks or anything). It was tastefully handled (just like ’40s movies always handled that kind of thing), but it’s still there and she’s pretty broken, obviously. Also, (SPOILER) a man tries to take advantage of Ruth later on, but nothing comes of it and the guy goes to jail. (SPOILER ENDS)

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

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Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge–until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him.

Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man.

Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

 Wow. Just wow.

I’m sorry. It’s been almost two months, and I still can’t form words into sentences to describe this book.

It is so emotional.

It is so heartbreaking.

It is so beautiful.

I am almost crying while I write this, guys. Just thinking about the book is making me tear up.

I can’t really tell you a lot about the book itself, therefore. It’s … it’s just amazing. Read it. Now.

Except … well, I do have some content concerns (which are mentioned up there ^^). Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens without parental guidance. Older teens, however, should be able to handle it. It’s very delicately written, just like any ’40s movie. Except this is a ’40s book. And it wasn’t written during the ’40s. Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Sundin is incredibly talented.

This is an incredible story, from wonderful characters – every one like a real person with their ups, their downs, their ghosts – to fast-paced action scenes, to slower romance scenes (that were often cute … or heartbreaking … or both …).

Because I’m not capable of being organized just now (having fond reminisces about this book), I’ll list my favorite things.

  • Charlie and May, Jack and Ruth. Cutest foursome ever! Every scene with these guys … wow.
  • Charlie. AAAAAH!!!!! *sobs and laughs at the same time* And his friendship with Jack was amazing. I want a friend like that! No, wait, I already have one … *grins at various friends* *leaves them to speculate which one I’m talking about* 😉
  • May. Wow. Wow. Wow.
  • Jack. I love his character, and I especially love this flaw! I am incredibly prideful, and his story … it touched me here. *points to heart* He’s a wild ride, a hilarious guy, too. Lots of layers. Like an onion. That’s why I was crying, probably … not like I actually got emotional or anything …
  • Ruth. Okay, I’m going to stop listing the characters after her. She is really a standup gal. I can understand getting so obsessed with something that you ignore everything else. I … do that. Not for the reasons she did, though, of course; I’m just naturally obsessive. XD She was so realistic, too! I had to keep reminding myself she never actually existed … nor did her pain … so I could stop crying …
  • Glimpses at Walt and Allie again. I loved these guys (not as much as Jack and Ruth), and whenever I heard of them, it was really cool.
  • That scene where Jack confronts Ruth. Not to give away spoilers, but that one is so heartbreaking … I love it and hate it and aaah!!!!
  • First kiss. You’ll understand after reading the book …
  • “Long ago she’d clamped an iron shell around her heart and nothing and no one could pry it lose, but deep inside the tender flesh still beat.” Why do I love this quote so much!?!?!
  • Everything I haven’t mentioned so far.

I’d recommend A Memory Between Us to any lover of books. Why? Because I’m not required to give specifics for a novel as good as this. ANY lover of books – and quite a few book-haters, too – would love this novel.

~Kellyn Roth

Hold Me Close by Marguerite Martin Gray

Title: Hold Me Close

Author: Marguerite Martin Gray

Series: Revolutionary Faith, #1

Genre: Historical Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1770s (Revolution)

Setting: Charles Town, Virginia

Publisher: WestBow Press

Source: author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. No language. Little violence; mostly mentions of violence, uprisings, impending war, etc. A couple kisses, not very detailed.

Hold Me Close by Marguerite Martin Gray

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Louis Lestarjette, a Frenchman, arrives in Charles Town, South Carolina, in 1772 without purpose or plans. He encounters a society on the brink of revolution and is forced to make decisions that include finding meaning and direction in his carefree life. Who can he trust in his endeavors to prosper? Will he be able to stay neutral in a battle for independence? When decisive events confront him, will he stay or leave? Running from God and commitment is a constant option.

Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of a prominent British citizen, believes God will hold her close in uncertain and changing times. Faced with making difficult decisions about her loyalties, she finds comfort in close friends, a devout sister, and her music. When the mysterious Frenchman with no commitment to God or Charles Town enters her life, her role in the political battle is challenged. Can she trust her heart in volatile situations?

Set in pre-revolution Charles Town, Hold Me Close takes the reader into the lives of immigrants, ordinary citizens, and prominent historical figures at a time in which decisions are made that will change the world.

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Wow. That was really a fantastic novel. Great plot, great characters, great message. I really loved it, but there was a lot of showing instead of talking and several awkward sentences. It increased my enjoyment of the book at times just because the writing wasn’t smooth. Other than that, though, I have nothing to do but sing this book’s praises.

The plot was entertaining, exciting, and well-paced. I really loved seeing both sides of the story. Both the Loyalists and the Sons of Liberty have points … but, of course, the Sons of Liberty were right. The way England treated its colonies was wrong. Especially considering what great folks we were. 😉

At times, this was a very intense book. It showed the various sides of the conflict within the colonies along with the various opinions of each individual character very clearly in a unique way. It wasn’t just that, though. I was very involved in everything the characters were feeling and thinking. I really enjoyed that.

It was never too fast-paced despite being exciting; crucial things like character development or description were never ignored. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of telling instead of showing and a couple awkward sentences which interrupted the flow of the story.

I really loved Louis. He was my favorite character by far … though I liked Elizabeth, too. It’s rarely you see an accurately portrayed yet not overdone Frenchman. I don’t know why, but it just is that way. Though intriguingly French, Louis was natural and likable.

Elizabeth was also a very cool character. Most of the time when a book character (or anyone) has differing opinions from their parents, they end up having tons of quarrels with each other, hating each other, etc. It wasn’t so in this case, which was refreshing and cool. I love how, though standing firm in her beliefs, she respected her father and deferred to him. What an awesome way to be!

There were quite a few minor characters, but I won’t go into them. I admit that once or twice I got named mixed up or forgot who was married to who or something like that, but for the most part, they were interesting, individual characters which I really got invested in (and can’t wait to see in the sequel!).

Then there was the message. There are maybe 1,000 books called Hold Me Close. I know, because searching this book on Goodreads was a nightmare, especially since I couldn’t remember the author’s full name AND had a blonde moment in regards to the spelling of ‘Marguerite’ (which it completely my fault). I’ll bet that all of them are romance. Most are dirty romances if you can judge a book by the cover (which you’re not supposed to, but, um, in this case …). 😉

However, although this is a (really sweet, realistic) romance, the title isn’t a corny romantic line. It’s a prayer to God. Now, that’s original, isn’t it? Nice variance. Besides being clever, it’s a really deep, awesome message.

Overall, this is a really fantastic adventure/romance story that wraps you up in the era without overwhelming you with a ton of historical details. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves sweet romances with strong historical, adventure, and Christian themes.

~Kellyn Roth

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Title: Mansfield Park

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classic Romance

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

Era: early 1800s (Regency)

Setting: various places in England

Source: own a copy

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. No language (at least none that isn’t crossed out like this: by G-d), no violence. Romance, a person commits adultery (everyone is shocked, so I feel like anyone could read it because … everyone is so shocked! Great moral lesson there!).

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation.

As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.

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I admit I didn’t enjoy Mansfield Park as much as the other Jane Austen novels. It doesn’t have the sparkle and pizazz of Pride and Prejudice or Emma, it doesn’t have the intensity of Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion, and it doesn’t have the light-hearted humor of Northanger Abbey. Yet … there’s something about it that makes it an equal to all of her novels, though definitely not superior.

Yes, it’s a bit boring. It’s a quiet, rainy-day read. It took me a long time to finish both times I read it (twice now). Yet … there’s something about it that’s appealing. It’s taken me a long time to identify it, and I’m still not sure I have, but here goes.

This story is full of people who live as they should – people who live as they shouldn’t – people who act properly socially, but rather improperly morally. All this is viewed from the quiet soul of Miss Fanny Price, who is shocked at any bad behavior, yet ever-forgiving if it’s directed at herself.

Fanny really is pure gold. She can be a bit of an Elsie Dinsmore at times, but, because this is Jane Austen not Martha Finley, we know that she’s, first and foremost, human.

Edmund … hmm. Austen did well not to mention a specific date for his change of heart. Goodness gracious, Edmund! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? MISS CRAWFORD!?!?! MISS CRAWFORD!???????? In every way she offends! How could you ever consider -!? And with Fanny right there all along -!?! Unbelievable.

Anyway, I still like you, but you’ll never be in the same league with Darcy or Knightley or Wentworth. In fact, you know what? You’re not even up there with Bingley. Bingley is way hotter than you. You know, even Ferrars was honorable and faithful. Hang yourself with your stiff collar, Edmund Bertram.

Would you believe I actually like Henry Crawford? Yeah … Willoughby, too. I’m sorry! I just feel like they could have been good guys if they weren’t … bad guys. I suppose you could say that about anyone, though, so …

Mary … I just can’t forgive her. Especially her reaction to the Maria/Henry debacle. Wow. Just wow. I mean, you weren’t awful, though you felt super fake, especially in your treatment of Fanny, but … I just can’t even think of you as ‘influenced by your evil aunt’ or something stupid like that as Edmund did.

I’m not going to go into the other characters. I loved some, hated others, and had mixed feelings for the rest. I did end up liking Sir Bertram more than I did the first time I read this book, though. He was pretty nice, and I loved his treatment of Fanny towards the end.

Overall, this was a fantastic novel, which I’d recommend for any lovers of classics. Though it’s a bit heavier than the other Austen novels, it’s definitely worth the rest, though I wouldn’t recommend it as your first Austen. 🙂

Favorite Quotes:

“We have all been more or less to blame … every one of us, excepting Fanny.”

“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” 

“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.”

~Kellyn Roth