Book Review: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

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About the Book-

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and a top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lucas de Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas feats that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.

My Review-

This book. THIS BOOK. If I’d thought I liked the first book in the series a lot, I LOVE this book! Well, considering the first book was about books, and the second one is about music, I’M SOLD.

I don’t really know why I waited so long to read this book: it was so sweet and fun to read! It follows Willa, the second oldest child in the family, and a lot of the characters from the first book came back make an appearance, which was so fun, and made it so coherent!

Like I said, I loved the first book, but I like this one even more than that one, because of the music. Being a musician myself, that absolute skILL Willa and Lukas have just resonates within me (no pun intended, hahaha). Also I may or may not have read this while I should have been studying for my AP Music Theory exam, and it was highkey convicting me all the way through, but I couldn’t juST PUT IT DOWN LIKE THAT?????

The romance was a bit heavier in this one than in the previous book, but it . . . just felt right. Sometimes romance feels rushed and thrown in for the sake of being thrown in, but this felt natural. *(There are some mentions of possible content warning stuff, but it was super clean overall)*

The side story, Margot (Lukas’ sister), was also so so intriguing to follow as well. Also, there was more wartime content, and if you know me, you know that I LOVE that kind of stuff.

Overall? THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Read it (but in order). You will not be disappointed.

My Rating-

9/10 (closer to 9.5, since it’s higher than the 9 I gave A Name Unknown)

Things Liked-

  • Music!!!!
  • Wartime stuff
    (those two things right there have won my heart right over)
  • The family!
  • The side story line/cryptology bits were super interesting
  • buT whO iS mR V thO
  • So similar yet so different from the first book
  • The SASS
  • But that ending is perFECT though fight me
  • Also spiritual content

Things Didn’t Like-

  • A little romantic (the first few kisses were unwarrented), and I’m a big downer when it comes to romance

Thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a free physical copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion; I was not required to provide a positive review.

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Book Review: The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

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About the Book-

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theatre putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

My Review-

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a while now, and I finally buddy read it with my friend Mary (at least, up until I went and finished it before I was supposed to. #oops)

Both of the main characters I really liked: Rosalyn was really sweet (although clueless? like, vERY clueless?), and Nate is just sweet and cute and all thAT. Both of them have a really interesting backstory, which I enjoyed reading.

A lot of this book was set in the theatre, which I really liked as well. Seeing how the theatre tied everything together (also the charACTER DEVELOPMENT on Rosalyn’s part in the theatre thOUGH) was lots of fun, and also the theaTRE CAT. CAN I HAVE HIM???

One thing I was slightly confused about was the fact that the title and the cover really didn’t match what was IN the book? Like yes, Rosalyn is a captain’s daughter, but aside from that, it was literally never mentioned. I don’t know what’s going on.

All that being said, this book really was very sterotypical of Christian fiction: I’m rereading that post as I link it and it’s just like yup, check, check, that too, so if you want a brief synopsis, read that post lol.

All in all, it was a fun book. There is almost no brain power needed to read it, and it isn’t particularly memorable, but it was still a fun read!

My Ranking-

6/10

Things liked-

  • They were from George Mueller’s orphanage, how cool!
  • Theatre things
  • Nate (also Nate and his family) was so precious and lovely and bantery and I loved them

Things disliked-

  • that bit about a brothel. Like yes, I get why it was relevant . . . but there could have been better ways to do it?
  • very sterotypical

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: If I Live by Terri Blackstock

About the Book-

THE HUNT IS ALMOST OVER.

Casey Cox is still on the run after being indicted for murder. The hunt that began with her bloody footprints escalates, and she’s running out of places to hide. Her face is all over the news, and her disguises are no longer enough. It’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes her.

Dylan Roberts, the investigator who once hunted her, is now her only hope. Terrifying attempts on Dylan’s life could force Casey out of hiding. The clock is ticking on both their lives, but exposing the real killers is more complicated than they knew. Amassing the evidence to convict their enemies draws Dylan and Casey together, but their relationship has consequences. Will one life have to be sacrificed to protect the other?

With If I Live, Terri Blackstock takes us on one more heart-stopping chase in the sensational conclusion to the If I Run series.

My Review:

WOW THIS TRILOGY. This is my exact reaction to my friend at 4 in the morning, after I read book 2 and book 3 in one night.

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First of all, I DEFINITELY recommend you reading them in order (in all trilogies, but I feel like if you didn’t read this one in order, it’s impossible to follow the story). All three books in the trilogy flow together SO WELL, not just physically (the covers match to make a picture!) but also story-wise.

The characters are THE BEST. There are points of view from both protagonists as well as the antagonist, and they all go together to paint the full picture and what goes on in the minds of the characters. (ALSO THE SHIP THAT HAPPENS HERE. ITS PRETTY MUCH THE ONLY SHIP THAT I AGREE WITH IN BOOKS)

All the plot twists in this book are amazing!! Halfway through the book, I thought it was about to end, but then A PLOT TWIST HAPPENED. There were so many but it didn’t feel overdone at all.

ALSO SO MUCH ACTION. There was a lot of legal action (aka, stuff that happens at the police station), but as far as I can tell, it’s very realistic and actually makes sense.

The last thing I liked about this book was all the faith content. The first book (and also a little in the second book) didn’t contain so much faith content (which I get, as part of character development), but there was so much in this one, despite all the action, which I really appreciated.

One thing to keep an eye out for is all the violence in the book. As one might expect with a suspense novel, there is a lot of violence, which I don’t recommend at 2 in the morning, but it might be a little bit much for younger readers or those not comfortable with that violence.

BUT overall? I’M SHOVING THIS TRILOGY AT EVERYONE I SEE. EVERYONE.

My Rating:

8/10

Good things-

  • The characters were well developed (SO SO WELL DEVELOPED. OMGNS)
  • The Point of Views were well balanced between the characters and felt natural
  • A lot of action
  • Seems realistic (in terms of law enforcement and the scenes and stuff…but then, I’m not in that world so I wouldn’t know)
  • THE SHIP. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but like. THE SHIP THOUGH.
  • All the plot twists!!! All the way through the book, I knew what was going to happen (at least, I *hoped* that everything was going to come out okay), but there were so so many plot twists that happened along the way
  • All the faith content and the spiritual talk
  • The coherency between all the books

Bad things-

  • A lot of violence (well portrayed, which means realistic, but there are guns and shooting and death and etc)
  • It feels a little deux ex machina at the end (in regards to the media)

Thank you to NetGalley for a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in San Francisco, California || Historical Fiction

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About the Book-

Journey now to San Francisco, California, of 1853 where…
An English socialite finds more treasure than expected on her trip to the American West.

When Abby Effingham becomes stranded in the middle of the California gold rush, her money depletes quickly even while her prospects for marriage increase daily. But Abby is on a mission to find her mother—not romance. Will a ridiculous scandal keep her from traveling on, or will it wake up an aloof innkeeper to the treasure right under his roof?

Samuel Harris runs a moderately priced hotel where Abby and her family’s elderly butler find shelter. He is looking forward to when she—and her parade of suitors—move on, though he concedes to let her work in his restaurant. When the sassy socialite is in trouble, will Samuel come to her rescue or find himself alone?

My Review-

I’m a suCKER for historical fiction (which is probably why I read so much Christian fiction when I don’t necessarily like it all the way), so I was excited to read this series that is solely based around different cities. I also heard a lot of good things about Janice Thompson (looking at you, Lindsey), so I was also excited to read this book written by her. Did this book meet my expectations? Yes, and no.

My Heart Belongs in San Francisco, California reminded me a lot of the plotless historical fiction I used to read in middle school, plus a heavy dose of [mostly clean] romance.

Abby and her butler are travelling to Oregon when they are diverted to San Francisco, which is filled with 49-ers mining for gold. The details that go into describing the city and the circumstances that happened there are accurate (as far as I can tell), and the story was very cute.

Rich English Abby gets to San Francisco having not worked a day in her life, but quickly begins to work in the restaurant alongside the cook, who makes amazing food (that made me hungry). And as expected, falls in love with the main guy. What surprised me, though, was the other fallings-in-love that happened, and all the ploT twists that happened in that department. All the characters I enjoyed reading: they were all distinct in their own way and had their own flair!

I’m not sure what the directed audience of the book is, because the writing was rather simplistic, but had a surprisingly large amount of (albeit, clean) kissing going on, especially at the end. The story generally flowed pretty well, and ended happily (although it DID follow the setting, building, climax, end formula really well so there’s also that).

Overall, it was a cute historical fiction book that I’ll read the rest of the series for, but it wasn’t anything particularly spectacular. The faith content in it was really good, and I enjoyed reading it!

My Rating-

7/10

Things liked-

  • the butler!
  • aw it was so sweet
  • okay but I want some of Cookie’s pie
  • A+ Chinese dude representation. He was amazing and hilarious
  • saSSY comments though
  • yay for happy ending
  • faith content

Things disliked-

  • why so kissey????
  • mentions of saloon girls and their [buSINESS]
  • simplistic writing style

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston

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About the Book-

My Review-

Well. Honestly, I’m surprised that this was a book written by Amy Clipston: her books are usually less cliche than this? By the time I was two chapters in, I had essentially predicted the ending of the book, and the rest of the book was a drag: I thought it was never going to end.

Honestly, the only bright spot about the entire book was Mollie: she was a darling little thing and she was so cute! I enjoyed seeing her grow up and learn how to walk and talk and she was adorable!

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve already read enough of Clipston’s books to predict what was going on (the timeline basically followed the same ones as the ones in the Amish Heirloom series, the only other books by her I’ve read), or because it really was that flat, but this story really had no life for me. Her writing style is superb: she is able to draw readers into the scene and really bring it to life, but I really did not see the point of the entire book.

Laura and Rudy’s relationship really just felt lifeless (which was the point), but it felt simply frustrating because it kept dragging on. The relationships between the family was also weird; usually there is a lot more camaraderie between the families in these books and it just felt not there this time.

The descriptions of scenes was also a little too . . . much? The descriptions of “falling in love” not only mirrored EVERY SINGLE OTHER falling in love scene ever, but also seemed unwarranted and extra. In addition, some of what Laura did/felt towards Allen just felt inappropriate (and I am nowhere as conservative as the Amish should be!)

Overall, this book, while I am loathe to say was useless, was one that I was glad I finished. The storyline fell very flat for me, and I felt like it would have worked a lot better as a short story.

My Ranking-

1/10

Things liked-

  • Mollie! She was a darling little thing

Things disliked-

  • You mean, aside from the fact that I PREDICTED THE ENTIRE BOOK?
  • A lot of [thoUGHTS]
  • Honestly, it was much too long? I wanted the book to be oVER ALREADY
  • Inappropriate guy/girl scenarios
  • Kind of lack of family? or at least, a disconnected family?
  • Would have worked a lot better as a short story
  • The same storyline was basically the same thing as the Amish Heirloom series
  • Despite the story seeming long, the love still seemed to move way too fast
  • I didn’t like the character of Laura in general? She seemed to forward at times and then was baffled by where the feelings came from? I didn’t really get it?

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

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About the Book-

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

My Review-

Out of the girls-on-the-cover type Christian fiction authors, Jen Turano is one of my favorites: her characters are always portrayed so well and their sass is just a bonus.

Gertrude and Harrison, as well as all of the other characters, are very well developed and each have their own little personalities. Gertrude is the helper to Mrs. Davenport, who has rather . . . peculiar . . . ideas that are super amusing, and her slight social inadequacy makes situations rather humorous.

Because the book is set in Wealthy Society New York City, thinking about marriage and dances and that kind of stuff feels a lot more natural (a slightly Pride and Prejudice feel), and because of that, the romance didn’t feel very forced, which I really appreciate (because so much other Christian fiction romance feels so forced).

There was a lot of good spiritual content, and a couple of the main characters got to see why and how God worked in what happened, which was really fun to read.

One thing I would keep in mind is that it IS the second book in a series, and if you haven’t read the first one, like me, you might not catch some subtle allusions (that I didn’t get and that I assume is from the first book).

Overall, it’s not my *favorite* Jen Turano book, but it was still witty and fun!

My Ranking-

7/10

Things liked-

  • So!!! Witty!!!
  • The romance didn’t feel forced at all (rather surprising for Christian fiction)
  • Harrison and his [special] fashion taste reminds me of my Fren™ which was fun
  • Good spiritual content
  • Gertrude and Harrison (and all the others) are such great characters!
  • A little mystery scene
  • THE EPILOGUE

Things disliked-

  • Went a little slowly sometimes
  • With that being said, the time span was really short and not . . . really realistic for falling in love?
  • A *few* mentions about . . . what happens once a bustle comes off and the entire dress has to come off and what happens when a guy walks in

Thank you to Bethany House Fiction for providing me with a free print copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Amish Sweethearts by Amy Clipston

About the Book-

My Review-

I don’t usually read Amish fiction, mainly because I have too many Mennonite friends to really want to read Amish fiction, if that makes any sense? However, I have read Amy Clipston’s Amish fiction series and I have to say, she really does write them well!

This is the first novella collection that I’ve read, and I enjoyed it a lot! In particular, I enjoyed being able to put the book down whenever I finished a novella, instead of reading all the way through.

Each of the stories had a nicely developed backstory, and the storylines also moved very well. None of the stories really felt like insta-love, despite being novellas, which is something I appreciated, since so often Amish fiction straight up feels like a romance novel, where the entire point of the book is for them to fall in love, and nothing happens to prevent that. Clipston’s books don’t do that, and I really like that.

Also, the Amish in her books weren’t exactly your stereotypical Amish: they are more real, and although I don’t doubt that there are aspects that aren’t as accurate as they could be, they are more real than a lot of Amish fiction I’ve read.

Overall, I really really liked these stories! I was very impressed with the pacing of them, and how they didn’t feel rushed despite being novellas.

My Ranking-

7/10

Things I liked-

  • Although they are all novellas, the stories didn’t feel like insta-love–they are all very well paced
  • How the stories tie to other series that she’s written!
  • Cute romance stories!
  • There were all good backstories and not quickly summarized
  • Clean wholesome reads
  • Accurate to Amish lifestyle (modern day Amish lifestyle), as far as I can tell
  • I like reading novellas more than I thought! I liked getting to put the book down after every novella

Things I didn’t like as much-

  • There are some scenes where I was a little uncomfortable with (guy with girl) scenes: nothing scandalous but I wouldn’t be in those scenes myself
  • Like I’ve seen, I’m not always a fan of romance, so I’m docking a point just because of that
  • Slightly stereotypical Amish love stories (but that’s the topic of it all so like)

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston

About the Book-

When Mattie packed her hope chest, she put away the heartache of her past. But as her daughters begin to unpack it, she discovers a healing more powerful than she ever hoped for.

Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it’s a story of love and redemption born out of heartache–and it’s past time to share it.

My Review-

The Beloved Hope Chest goes over the story of Mattie Fisher, the mother of Veronica, Rachel, and Emily. The previous three books in the Amish Heirloom series covered the daughters’ stories: how they found love and their husbands, and themselves in the process. Throughout those books, they all alluded to their mother’s hope chest, and all the mysteries are revealed in this book.

In terms of content/romance, there is more visual depictions in this book than the previous books, and it’s a sad story, but full of redemption. Seeing the story all tied up makes it all make sense and I love stories that are all explained up at the end. Although the books are all rather predictable (you know they’re going to get married at the end, pshhhh), the different stories are all distinct and memorable, in their own way.

This story in particular is the most described and the most ‘authentic’ almost, because it feels like it is more realistic, but at the same time, it was the one from the series that I liked the least, in terms of the content. The redemption of the story makes it a very lovable tale and I enjoyed reading it!

My Rating-

6/10

Pro points:

  • Ties up the series very well
  • Redemption story
  • Very well described
  • Memorable stories (all of them)
  • Beautiful portrayal of a family and love
  • SO. MUCH. HOPE.

Con points:

  • A little heavy on the content
  • Predictable story (all of them)
  • Characters are a little annoying at times (stubbornness gets a little frustrating at times)
  • Conclusion feels a little bit rushed

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.