June 2017 Mini Reviews

Today I’m going to be reviewing six lovely books. Most of them are historical romances. Okay, all but one are historical romances. *hides* Sorry, guys … I tend to stick to one genre most of the time. And then get behind reviewing them because I read them for pleasure, not for review. *shrugs*

On other news, I’ve moved my schedule to Monday and Thursday instead of Tuesday and Thursday. I think this will be better because it spreads the posts out somewhat (and give us a bit of variety, as reviews are going to be only on Monday except when I can’t help it for whatever reason).

I’m going to try to post more fun stuff over the summer. Sorry for all the dull reviews! I have about twenty-five books that need to be reviewed at this point – some of which I’ve read, some of which I haven’t.

Continue reading “June 2017 Mini Reviews”

A Mighty Fortress by Faith Blum

Title: A Mighty Fortress

Author: Faith Blum

Series: Hymns of the West, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure

Era: 1870s

Setting: Montana Territory, United States of America

Publisher: Faith Blum

Source: received as a prize/gift

Overall Rating: 2/5 stars

A Mighty Fortress by Faith Blum


Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who’s hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom’s gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss’s right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what’s one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God’s strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running–the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?

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This was one of those books I just had to slog through. I was determined to finish it, but I really didn’t want to. I didn’t enjoy it. However, it wasn’t all bad, and it may be for some people more than me.

Note: the author has improved so much since writing of this book, and I really have enjoyed her more recent works.

Plot: 3/5

It started out pretty well, but towards the middle it dragged on and on. Also, when dealing with the dual story lines of Joshua/Ruth and Jed, it skipped all over the place. One moment we’d be a month ahead, the next we’d be two months behind, the next we’d be a year ago, and so on.

Characters: 3/5

There were quite a few characters towards the end, but I easily kept them separated in my head. I didn’t really like Ruth (I found her to be a bit of a Mary Sue) or Joshua (same). They both seemed judgmental to me.

I did like Jed, who was presumably the antagonist. I looked forward to seeing what happened next to him. He made me want to write a Western. I don’t know why, but I just find the outlaws and sheriffs and such of the old west to be fascinating. Probably too much John Wayne …

Setting: 3/5

The description was pretty good. I really do want to visit Montana someday. I didn’t really see anything missing in this aspect. The dialogue was sometimes a little too modern.

Writing: 2/5

This book probably needs a little more editing. The worst problem was probably the head-hopping. I never knew whose head we were in, which was confusing.

Theme: 3/5

I normally love reading Christian fiction … but in this book, I found the Christian content a little bit preachy. It was hard to get through the paragraphs of Bible that seemed put in at random. Almost everyone in this book was a Christian or became a Christian (usually remarkably easily), which I didn’t find very realistic.

However, the overall theme of redemption and forgiveness was a good one – despite my not liking the portrayal of it – and I did appreciate that.

Content: 2/5

Language: n/a

Violence: robbing, outlawing, and even several murders. Never detailed, always treated as (very) wrong.

Sexual: Jed supposedly raped a girl at one point. It all happened off-screen and was dealt with pretty tastefully.

Overall: 2/5

Not my favorite book. I didn’t really like it and wouldn’t recommend it. However, later works by the author were much better.

~Kellyn Roth

The Painting by Kathleen J. Shields

Title: The Painting

Author: Kathleen J. Shields

Genre: Christian Allegory

Age-Range: 15+ (young adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: contemporary world

Publisher: Kathleen J. Shields

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 2/5 stars

Content: 3/5. Bullying, depressing subjects. Didn’t really bug me, but some people are sensitive about that kind of stuff.

The Painting by Kathleen J. Shields


We start our lives as a blank canvas.
It’s our diverse experiences that add color and definition to our painting.

Gerald’s world was often harsh and challenging. Feelings of loneliness and isolation were normal for him. The people in his life didn’t understand him and as a result, often ignored him, or refused to make time for him. However, the nature that surrounded Gerald inspired the most sympathetic and caring young child you could ever know.

It was Gerald’s love of the world’s creatures and all of its beauty that enabled the magic of his painting to come to life. The personal growth and the steps Gerald took to protect his creation is what truly made him exceptional.

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There are happier subjects to dwell on than books I just didn’t like, so I won’t talk long about The Painting. I didn’t enjoy it. I found it to be cliché, with flat, dead characters whose actions didn’t make sense.

Basically, Gerald, a bullied kid (whose parents are somehow not stepping in to help their obviously depressed, antisocial, hurting son … what kind of parents are they?!), is gifted a large blank canvass by his father.

Gerald paints a world on the canvass that magically comes to life (although Gerald doesn’t seem that surprised …) and allows people to step inside it and walk around (although Gerald doesn’t, for a reason I didn’t quite catch). Due to the fact that he sees humankind as evil, he doesn’t paint people in.

After 40% of sad Gerald, he meets the new kid in town, bubbly, optimistic Tiffany who acts like your average middle-grades most of the time … except when she starts having these in-depth, easily-could-be-thirty conversations with Gerald on the subject of humankind and how they truly aren’t evil.

Now, I’ve said way more than I promised myself I would. I promised the author I’d give my honest opinion, and so … this is gonna sound so mean … here goes.

This book is immature both in its interpretation of humankind, in its writing, and in its overall message. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who can’t tell the difference between truth and fiction, for the lines are greatly blurred here.

Thank you for reading my review, and I’m sorry for anyone who loves this book. I’m just giving my honest opinion.

~Kellyn Roth

Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang

Title: Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Author: Maureen Lang

Genre: Christian Historical Romance/Adventure

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

Era: 1870s (Victorian)

Setting: New York, USA

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Source: Tyndale Rewards

Rating: 2/5 stars

Content: 3/5. Younger teens cautioned for violence and thematic elements. Characters are living immoral lifestyles, although we don’t really know what that entails. Meg’s father apparently lived with a woman without marrying her for a long period of time; Meg wonders if she’d have to do this to be a thief. There’s your average romance-y stuff. No swearing.

Cover: 5/5. Best part of the whole book!

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The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Title: The Heiress of Winterwood

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Series: Whispers on the Moors, #1

Genre: Historical Romance

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

Era: 1814 (Regency)

Setting: Darbury, England

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: library

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. I’d say thematic elements (fights, guns, knives, semi-detailed … nothing gory or overdone) and then some kissing (not detailed), noticing, all the average romance stuff, but none of it inappropriate. The main thing is that a baby is conceived out of wedlock by minor characters and it barely comes up and is hardly talked about at all. No cussing.

Cover: 4/5. Such mixed feelings … just like with the book! It’s really elegant and pretty, but I feel like it doesn’t portray the actual nature of the novel too well, y’know?

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