Monday, November 28, 2016

Ain't We Got Fun


Ain't We Got Fun
Emily Chapman and Emily Ann Putzke
The White Rose Press

It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?

     Oh guys, this book was so adorable! I loved that the format was all letters, and honestly...I loved the romance (Tom was my favorite). The whole book was cozy and homey, the characters were winsome, and my only big complaint was that I wanted it to go on longer. It's really a perfect cozy read that brought me back to my childhood reading the Kit Kitteridge books, and I couldn't put it down. Absolutely charming.

Rating: 9

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NIV Journal the Word Bible

NIV Journal the Word Bible

     I had been admiring the journaling Bibles in my local Books-A-Million not that long ago, and I thought the idea was neat. It seemed like a worthwhile keepsake, not only to remind you of what God has done throughout your life, but also for maybe your children and grandchildren to one day see. This edition has a lovely cover and is well-made, even if the NIV isn't my preferred translation (but it was the only one available for review, so that was that- although there are other versions available if you want). Also, I wish there wasn't any wording on the side or that it simply said "Holy Bible:" the "NIV Journal the Word" logo seems a little commercial for my taste. However, the inside is great, although the print is small. There are  lines for writing, but they are faint enough so that you could draw of doodle along the sides if you wanted to, as well.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

French Country Cooking


French Country Cooking
Mimi Thorisson
Clarkson Potter

A captivating journey to off-the-beaten-path French wine country with 100 simple yet exquisite recipes, 150 sumptuous photographs, and stories inspired by life in a small village

Readers everywhere fell in love with Mimi Thorisson, her family, and their band of smooth fox terriers through her blog, Manger, and debut cookbook, A Kitchen in France. In French Country Cooking, the family moves to an abandoned old château in Médoc. While shopping for local ingredients, cooking, and renovating the house, Mimi meets the farmers and artisans who populate the village and learns about the former owner of the house, an accomplished local cook. Here are recipes inspired by this eccentric cast of characters, including White Asparagus Soufflé, Wine Harvest Pot au Feu, Endives with Ham, and Salted Butter Chocolate Cake. Featuring evocative photographs taken by Mimi’s husband, Oddur Thorisson, this cookbook is a charming jaunt to an untouched corner of France that has thus far eluded the spotlight.

     It's been a little while since I've gotten a cookbook for review, and I'm really glad I chose this one! I had not heard of Mimi Thorisson or her blog before, but I was definitely pleased with this cookbook, and I'd love to check out her previous one, A Kitchen in France.

     There are so many good recipes in here- I was especially enticed by the soups, and anything with lots of onions. Somehow, even the dishes that I know I wouldn't like looked appetizing...I think I might even be willing to try the asparagus dishes, honestly (and I hate asparagus).

     It also was memoir-like, as the author described how her large family came to own their current home and started their restaurant, which I liked. Some of it was a little...iffy, since the history of the house involved a man and his mistress. (And while all of her neighbors and friends sound interesting, there was a tiny bit of language). But the feel of the book was charming, and pleasantly French.

     But overall, this is one of my favorite cookbooks. Not only do the recipes look delicious, but they are also inspiring--making me want to get out my pots and pans and cook something new.

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Shattered Vigil


The Shattered Vigil
Patrick W. Carr
Bethany House Publishers

Victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they've been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. Jorgen, the member of the Vigil assigned to Frayel, has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms' ability to defend themselves.

Just when the Vigil thought they had quenched the menace from their enemy in Collum, a new threat emerges: assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it's too late. The orders of the church and the rulers of the kingdoms, fearing the loss of the Vigil's members altogether, have decided to take them into protective custody to safeguard their gift. On Pellin's orders, the Vigil scatters, leaving Willet to be taken prisoner by the church in Bunard. 
In the midst of this, Willet learns of the murder of an obscure nobleman's daughter by one of the unseen assassins. Now he must escape his imprisonment and brave the wrath of the church to find the killer in order to turn back this latest threat to the northern continent.

     The awful thing about reading books in a series when they first come out is that you have to wait months to read the next book. When that happens, you're liable to forget things, and that can be frustrating.  It took me several chapters to fully get back into the plot of the story, especially since I didn't have access to the first book to get a refresher. There were several things I liked about this book (like the invisible assassins and the street urchins) but it was still slow going for me. (also, there were some disturbing scenes that would not be suitable for younger readers) It was a very long book, and rather dense. Readers a bit more used to fantasy books than I might find it less exhausting than I did, though! And though it wasn't a favorite for me, I do want to read the next book in this series when it comes out--especially because of that ending!

Rating: 7

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Silent Songbird

The Silent Songbird
Melanie Dickerson
Thomas Nelson

Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal—until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?

Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.

Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.

More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

     This was a book I was both really looking forward to...and not looking forward to. Being that it's a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and Ms. Dickerson's books are usually based on the Disney version (which I don't normally mind) I was afraid that the main character might retain much of the Disney character's rebelliousness, which I don't care for. On the other hand, my all-time favorite Melanie Dickerson book is The Merchant's Daughter, and The Silent Songbird is the sequel to that one.

     When I began, I admit my fears seemed to have some foundation. I had sympathy for Evangeline's plight, but I still didn't particularly like her attitude and her character at times annoyed me. However, as the book continued on I felt it got better and I enjoyed seeing more of Westley's parents...the two main characters from The Merchant's Daughter. Though the fairytale elements in this retelling weren't quite as immediately recognizable as in the author's other books, it did contain a lot of plot points taken from the fairy tale, and it had some nice history woven into it. My favorite character was probably Reeve Folsham, as I found his relationship with Evangeline funny and rather sweet.

Rating: 7

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