Sunday, February 23, 2014

God's Daughter


God’s Daughter
Heather Day Gilbert

I’ve been really wanting to find a novel about the Vikings for some time now; unfortunately, they’re quite hard to find! I’ve actually been thinking of writing one myself, and so when I found God’s Daughter through Goodreads, I immediately knew I had to put it on my to-read list.

(And this may seem a bit self-serving, but I was really glad that, though God’s Daughter was about the Vikings, this storyline was nothing like the story idea that’s been rolling around my head.)

I did have mixed feelings on this book. I did really like the insight into the culture and time period, and the story was interesting. However, it did bother me that Gudrid was sort of yearning back to a man who wasn’t her husband. I understand that this was a main character development/growth but I didn’t care for it, especially with how much it was mentioned. That being said, it was a nice change to read about a woman who was already married; I do like “married” fiction so long as it doesn’t get too intimate or anything.

Overall, God’s Daughter was a nice debut for author Heather Day Gilbert, and though I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers as it’s a more “mature” book (not only for the reasons mentioned about but also due to the fact there was some violence- not crazy violence, but definitely some- in there as well) I enjoyed it and am curious about what’s going to happen next in this series.

Rating: 7 ½

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shadow Hand


Shadow Hand
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Bethany House Publishers

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . .

I was so happy when I finally received this book in the mail! I’ve been anxiously awaiting it ever since I finished Dragonwitch, and I totally admit it was mostly because I’m simply dying to find out what happens to Eanrin and Imraldera. Did I find out what happened to them? Well…sort of. Not really. Oh, don’t get me wrong- they’re in it. But this novel is rather timey-wimey, which is both a blessing and a curse ;)

I was really surprised how much I ended up liking Foxbrush- there was much more to him than at first meets the eye. I can’t say I ever fully warmed to Daylily, and I did miss Rose Red. (There are so many things I want to happen soooo badly in these books. I’m just getting rather impatient.) But when I found out who the characters in the Southlands jungle were, I almost squealed. These books sometimes make me a little fangirlish… ;) I don’t think I enjoyed Shadow Hand as much as Starflower or Dragonwitch and sometimes I felt a little confused, although most of that confusion certainly started making sense near the end of the book. Still, Shadow Hand some very particularly good bits, and I’m more excited than ever for the next book in the series!

However, one thing I cannot stress enough: my friends, read this series in order. It took me at least three books to grasp the world of Goldstone Wood, and even then, I still get confused a lot. So if you haven’t read the other books in this series, I HIGHLY recommend starting at the beginning. You’ll thank me later. :)

Rating: 8 ½

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Princess Ever After


Princess Ever After
Rachel Hauck
Thomas Nelson

Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny

Like the previous book in the Royal Weddings series, I enjoyed Princess Ever After, although it still didn't quite hit all the right notes for me.

I did have a hard time relating to Regina- not because she as a character was unrealistic or unlikable, but simply because our personalities and interests were so very different. I found Tanner intriguing at first, but like I was with Regina, I just wasn't completely satisfied; there were a few characters I felt needed more "screen time" and I felt the book perhaps moved just a little too quickly in the last half, while the first half of the book seemed to go really slowly.

All the same, Rachel Hauck must have done something right with this book- my sister commented that I had a smile on my face nearly the entire time I was reading it. The basic plot reminded me a little of The Princess Diaries, although the characters and situations were very different. So though I probably liked the previous book just a teeny bit better, Princess Ever After still gets a 7 out of 10.

Objectionable content: there are several kisses near the end; a character had two children out of wedlock.

Rating: 7

Monday, February 3, 2014

Where Courage Calls


Where Courage Calls
Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Bethany House

Though I've been cutting back on my reading of historical fiction, when I saw this new book by Janette Oke and her daughter, I knew I had to get it: I mean, it's been years since Janette Oke has released a book. I practically had an obligation to read it.

A sort-of continuation of the When Calls the Heart series and a companion to the new Hallmark Channel movie/ TV series, this book is about Elizabeth Thatcher's niece, also named, well, Elizabeth Thatcher.

Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected... 
Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way. 
But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once. 
Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

Though I enjoyed the first book, the When Calls the Heart series was always my least favorite set of books by Janette Oke, and though I really, really wanted to like Where Courage Calls, it failed to completely suck me in. Part of this might be because most of the book was about Beth's teaching, and that really didn't interest me a whole lot. I found the romance aspect lacking, too- she just didn't seem to spend a whole lot with either of the guys. That part of the book was almost like an afterthought- actually, several of the plot points mentioned in the synopsis (her sister's visit and the "two men" in her life) weren't really major points in the book at all.  It did pick up my interest more in the last half of the book, and I'm sure that Janette Oke fans will want to pick up this novel, Where courage Calls is definitely not my favorite by the author. Not because it was bad, but because it simply wasn't....amazing.

Rating: 6 1/2
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