Friday, July 26, 2013

Whispers From the Shadows

Whispers from the Shadows, Culper Ring Series #2   -     
        By: Roseanna M. White

Whispers From the Shadows
Roseanna M. White
Harvest House Publishers

I thought the first book in this series was enjoyable, but I actually ended up liking this novel even better. I found the storyline more enjoyable, and I liked the characters better, too! I especially liked Gwyneth, and her fragility and quiet spirit was a nice change from the overly feisty heroines that have taken over fiction nowadays.

The only quibble with this book that I had was 1) the beginning was a little confusing and I had a little trouble keeping the characters straight and 2) some characters called each other by their first name (or called them by first name sooner than they should have), which wouldn’t have been appropriate for the time period. However, aside from that, Whispers From the Shadows was a great follow-up to Ring of Secrets.

Objectionable content: someone is murdered; there are a few kisses.

Rating: 8 ½

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Burning Sky

Burning Sky   -     
        By: Lori Benton

Burning Sky
Lori Benton
Waterbrook Multnomah

The 18th century New York frontier bred courage in those who survived its perils. Willa Obenchain has courage to spare. Returning to her white parents' abandoned homestead after twelve years of Indian captivity, Willa believes a solitary life is the only way she'll never lose again what's twice been lost: her family, and her heart. As she begins the backbreaking work of reviving her farm, Willa's determined isolation is threatened. First by injured botanist Neil MacGregor, found unconscious on her land, and also by her Mohawk clan brother Joseph Tames-His-Horse, a man who cannot give up the woman he calls Burning Sky. Willa is a woman caught between two worlds and the residents of the nearby frontier village, still reeling from a bloody revolutionary war, are reluctant to welcome her home. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, Willa must find a new courage--the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow, and answer the question, "am I brave enough to love again?"

I think the thing that struck me about this book was just the fact that it was so well-done, and I could tell that the author really, truly cared about her characters and story. That was big, because this isn't my favorite time/setting, but I ended up really liking the book because the character development was so well done. It is hard to pick a favorite character from Burning Sky, but I admit that I have a soft spot for Francis!

I also must admit that I'm not expert on the time period, but I could tell that this book was well-researched. The author was able to transport me right into the 1780s, all without the book coming across as a history lesson. Overall, I ended up really liking this book, and I can't wait to read any more books that the author comes out with in the future!

Objectionable content: there are a couple kisses, a few difficult themes (such as prejudice, rape, and war) are also present but handled well.

Rating: 9

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Living Room

The Living Room
Robert Whitlow
Thomas Nelson

Amy Clarke’s dreams are coming true—and that’s the problem.
Legal secretary by day, romance novelist by night, Amy Clarke lives with a precious secret. For years, she has traveled to a holy place in her dreams—a sublime place she calls the Living Room. When she awakes, her faith and energy are supernaturally restored. And when she dreams, she receives vibrant inspiration for her novels.
As she begins to write her third book, the nature of her dreams shifts. Gone are the literary signposts. Instead, her dreams are studded with scenes that foreshadow real life. Before long, the scenes begin to spill over into her waking hours too.
As Amy becomes entangled in a high stakes case at work, her visions take on a dark hue—implicating someone dear to her, causing her to question everything. And convincing her to trust someone with his own shadowy secrets.
Things are not always what they seem. But as fiction, dreams, and real life begin to overlap, Amy must stop dreaming and act to prevent tragedy.
Having never read anything by Robert Whitlow before, I wasn't sure to expect. Parts of this book I really enjoyed -especially since it was a change from what I normally read- but there were a few things that bothered me about it. The thing is, the things that bothered me probably wouldn't bother most people. But I'm a very conservative person, so some of Amy and Jeff's lifestyle choices -though certainly more godly than most people- didn't seem to me the best option. Mainly, it was with putting their children in public school. Half of the problems they had with their kids made me think, "good grief, if they just homeschooled their kids, things would be so much better!" A lot people might hate me for that, but really, sending your children to a godless institution for eight hours, five days a week- and then letting them go gallivanting off the rest of the time- really bothered me.

However, the rest of the plot was interesting, and as an author who gets many of her ideas from dreams, that aspect of the story really intrigued me (and to tell the truth, the look at the publishing industry made me so much more grateful that I've decided to self-publish!). I found one plot twist rather predictable- I was expecting it nearly the entire, 400+ page novel- and the story wasn't quite as fast-paced as I thought it would be. However, it was still a nice change for my normal fiction fare, and it kept my interest the entire way through.

Rating: 7 1/2

I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Sale!

Hello all! I just thought I'd let you know that I'm cleaning out my bookshelves and I'm selling a good many on ebay! I have 7 volumes of the Love Come Softly series, Kelly Eileen Hakes Prairie Promises series, Love in Disguise by Carol Cox, and a set of two advanced reader copies (including one that is not yet available in stores!) I'm planning to post more soon, as well.

You can find them here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Rose of Winslow Street

The Rose of Winslow Street

The Rose of Winslow Street
Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House Publishers

Returning from their summer home, the last thing that 19th-century New Englanders Libby and her father expect to find is a Romanian family inhabiting the house they've lived in for 20 years. But that's exactly what happens---sparking a fierce legal battle as both clans insist the house is rightfully theirs. Can they find common ground?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this book. The first book by Elizabeth Camden that I read was The Lady of Bolton Hill, and though it had some parts I really liked, it wasn’t one of my favorites. On the other hand, I loved Against the Tide. So I wasn’t sure where The Rose of Winslow Street would be on that spectrum. Would I love it, would I find it just okay, or would I find it somewhere in between?

I’m going to admit that at first I didn’t think I was going to like it. It was really hard to like Michael right after he had just barged into someone else’s home and claimed it as his own, even if he did think he had a legal right to it. However, as the book went on, I really started to get into the story (and I actually learned to like Michael, haha).

One thing I really like about Elizabeth Camden’s work is the fact that she’ll throw really original elements into her story. From Libby’s “secret” (the fact that she couldn’t read) to Professor Sawyer’s inventions, to Michael’s perfumes, to the Romanian heritage, it just had so many neat quirks that were new to me and the types of stories I normally read.

So, it turns out that The Rose of Winslow Street was in the middle: while I didn’t love it as much as Against the Tide, I did like it better than The Lady of Bolton Hill. If you’ve read of Elizabeth Camden’s other works, I’m sure you’ll also love The Rose of Winslow Street (and isn’t the cover simply gorgeous???) I can’t wait for the author’s next release, Into the Whirlwind!

Objectionable content: a character was in the past a victim of rape; there are about two kisses.

Rating: 8

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prairie Song

Prairie Song, Hearts Seeking Home Series #1   -     
        By: Mona Hodgson

Prairie Song
Mona Hodgson
Waterbrook Multnomah

For some reason I really liked the cover of this book. I’m not sure why, because it isn’t really original, but it just gave a pleasant home-y feeling and a bit of nostalgia. I was hoping that this novel would remind me of my Oregon Trail-playing days.

As it was…I’m going to have to say something about this book that I think is nearly the worst thing that can be said: it was boring. It was a real struggle for me to connect to this book. Every part of the plot just seemed rather like it had been done before, and I didn’t find it interesting. I did like how it was about several different couples/families on the trail, but even that could be a problem, as sometimes it was hard to remember who was who.

Overall, I think this book is skippable, unless you’re one who absolutely loves western fiction and would like to try it.

Rating: 5

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Before Midnight

this is the cover of the book I had, but I thought this cover was really pretty!

Before Midnight
Cameron Dokey
Simon and Shuster

I’ve heard of this series for a long time now, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to read any of the books until just recently. I really did enjoy this retelling of Cinderella, although there were things about it I didn’t care for. However, it was one of those books whose flaws you don’t notice until you’re done reading and sit back and reflect on the story. One thing I did like about this book was the way it was written, and that it really drew me right in.

The twists on the story of Cinderella were interesting, and a few were unexpected. Another thing I liked was that the main character was called Cendrillon, the original French version of the name Cinderella, and that her nickname was Rilla.

However, the romance wasn’t really as great; it felt like almost an afterthought. The Prince was barely in it, and their relationship wasn’t given much “screen time” for lack of a better word. Though I don’t always like it when romance is the main focus and I’ve read plenty of books where something like this would be just fine, here it just made the ending of the book feel rushed.

The magical element of the book was strange; there wasn’t really anyone performing magic as magic just happened (like signs with the weather or crops) and there was superstition and making wishes. Most of that was at the beginning of the book.

Though this book wasn’t astounding- it's a quick, light read and doesn't pretend to be anything else- I still liked it enough where I’m looking forward to read other books in the Once Upon a Time is Timeless series!

Rating: 7
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