Tag: Fiction

Book Review: Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan

Trusting Grace

About-

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s farm until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

My Review-

Ahhh, yet another Sterotypical Christian Novel™! Honestly, I’m getting rather annoyed by these Christian Novels! I’ll write a blogpost on this someday (I Promise™).

Instead of focusing on how Trusting Grace is the same as Every Book Ever, I’m going to review on the unique parts of the book, because, again, it’s literally THE SAME IN EVERY BOOK.

First off, this was the third book in a series, but I couldn’t really tell (I wasn’t confused or anything), so it could work as a standalone book.

The characters in the book were great as well. While yes, it was a girl (named Grace, surprise, surprise) with a marred past, and a guy wanting to forget his past (as usual), the characters themselves were developed pretty well and the children were a nice addition. (Grace’s father, in particular, was AWESOME to read :)).

I can’t say much for the plot: it’s the basic girl with troubled past meets guy that she doesn’t like, but then somehow finds out she’s missing him, and then there’s a beautifully descriptive scene of his muscles or something, and then they eventually get married.

I will have to say, though, that the children gave the story a nice little twist; it was different from the strictly guy+girl stories.

My Rating-

6/10

The author, Maggie Brendan’s website||Amazon|| Barnes and Noble || ChristianBook Distributers|| Goodreads

Thanks to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review. 

 

Book Review: The Princess and I by Rebekah Eddy

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About the Book-

Megan is content with her life, despite her parents’ death and her brother Malcolm’s job that keeps him busy at the King’s castle. But when she is offered the position as Princess Christine’s lady-in-waiting, Megan is glad of the change in scenery and accepts it with the hope that she can spend more time with her brother. The promise from Malcolm of lessons in swordsmanship only adds to her enthusiasm.
However, helping keep an eye on the emotional and excitable young lady proves to be much harder than becoming her friend. As rumors of war circulate the castle, Megan strives to encourage her new friend even as she tries to settle the doubts and fears in her own heart when her responsibility in protecting the Princess is put to the test. Follow the unwanted adventure which serves to teach her that loyal friendship, true love, and God’s amazing grace will always triumph over revenge, greed, and hate.

My Review-

Whoo, my third post about this book! (Cover Reveal here and Blog Tour post here) Today’s post is the review of The Princess and I! It was intended to be posted with the blog tour, but I hadn’t finished it yet, so here’s my review!


Okay. I’m not a fan of fantasy (like I covered in (this review), but nevertheless, I read a whole bunch of fantasy. This book was awesome!

So…it *was* pretty cliche. However, it was also not. Think of plots twists on every fairy tale ever and then combine them all. Okay, maybe not *quite* that epic, but it comes pretty darn close.

There  were a bunch of points that were pretty out-of-the-ordinary, and I appreciated them. For instance, the main character (pov) was not the average princess silk-dresses and afternoon-tea type, and *lots of spoilers*

The epilogue was also pretty awesome; I had felt like the book was finished, but I really liked how all the characters were resolved and I found out what happened after the story was finished.

The romance throughout the book was very minimum, and it was very deftly woven, so I didn’t feel like was reading romance. Not to mention that it was clean.

Overall, it was a great princess book!!

My Rating-

8/10

Now, after I’ve talked about this book for so long, here’s the link to purchase!

The Princess and I

Go check it out!

Book Review: A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

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About the Book-

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to make his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’ new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathanial Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But further pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony.

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women’s hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history–but the hearts of men.

My Review-

Okay so this book. MY GOODNESS.

So if you know me, you know that I’m a musician who plays too many instruments to get really good at one. So, this book about the entry of women into the world of music was really really close to my heart.

When I first saw this book, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Judging the book by it’s cover, I wasn’t really a fan. Neither was the 422 pages that it is. But…I finished it

As a female musician, I know that women can be as good of a musician as any man, and are not “far too fragile,” so I was able to sympathize with Rebekah from the start. Also, she plays violin, oboe, piano, and sings, and does them all brilliantly well, so she has my respect and honor. XD ALSO BY GOODNESS IF YOU REFUSE ME BECAUSE IM A WOMAN? *thinks of threats but fails*

Her story is so beautiful (and probably out of the normal for her setting, which makes it a bit weird, but hey, I’ll take it). She does some questionable things (like bottles…not a spoiler), but overall, she is really sweet. I found myself wondering sometimes though, where she got some parts of her character. While they were there, I was left wondering where they had developed from, because with the background portrayed, it didn’t really look like she had an opportunity to establish some of the traits that she did. (does that even make sense omw)

As for Tate, I can’t imagine composing. The description of composing, though, are just so good and made me want to compose. Like the morning after I read the book (aka finished it at 3am XD), I sat down and started arranging a piece for piano, flute, bassoon, and violin. (also I suck at bassoon and violin soooooooo).

In Tate’s story, there’s also a plot twist (actually, multiple), and it’s so unexpected and beautiful and heart warming. LIKE AAASDLJGFDHLKJ ID WRITE THEM ALL HERE BUT THAT’D SPOIL THEM AND THATS NOT THE POINT OF A BOOK REVIEW

Also can we just say Rebekah has THE. IDEAL. JOB? She teaches music to a rich lady’s daughter, and also helps Tate in his composing.

Personally, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in the book. It felt a little rushed, and it was at times a little too…um….vividly portrayed…? (not inappropriately, but I just didn’t like it). That’s the only reason there’s points taken off.

As a smallish sidenote, this book is apparently the third in a series, but I would never have guessed. It would work great as a standalone.

My Rating-

8/10

(not counting the romance, rating: 10/10)

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Wish by Beverly Lewis

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About the Book:

Leona Speicher got the “sister” she always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County. The Arkansas newcomers seemed to the answer to Leona’s prayers–until Gloria’s father is expelled from their Old Order Amish church for reasons no one will discuss. Much to Leona’s dismay, the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear. Then, after a silence of several years, Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona, who makes up her mind to go after her friend. Yet Leona’s fiancé–the deacon’s son–is alarmed. Will Leona’s dearest wish lead to her own undoing?

My Review:

I don’t think I’ve read Beverly Lewis books before (aside from probably a couple that I just don’t remember XD), but if this book is an indicator, I’m going to love her books!

This book is so sweet. It’s about two girls who become “sisters” and have a super strong bond…until one of them, Gloria suddenly moves away.

Three years later, she suddenly contacts Leona (the other girl), because she is in trouble. Leona decides to go after Gloria and help her.

I really appreciate how God-centered the book is: they are constantly praying and hoping for return to the church.

I like how this book was so different from all other Amish fiction, whether romance or not. It’s not very romantic (although there is some, which I guess apparently is a crucial part in all Amish teenage life?), but focused instead on the friendship between Gloria and Leona, and the storyline is just so good.

There was a beautiful ending, everything resolved, without any more questions as to “what next?”

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

10/10

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick

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About the Book-

Tabitha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her sone makes the decision to strike out for Oregon–even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear.

Along with the reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family’s survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn’t know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life–and the greater part she had to play in history.

With her signature attention to detail and epic style, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites you to travel the deadly and enticing Oregon Trail. Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled inspires the pioneer in all of us.

My Review-

So I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and this is yet another historical fiction book that I’m reviewing! (duh)

But seriously, the blurb thing for this book said “based on actual events.” Like seriously, BASED! All the characters (well, all but one) were actual people that Kirkpatrick did research and added life to. I really love when I find books written like this that bring life to historical characters.

This book is written from multiple third-person perspectives, and is written in an almost journal-like form. As with many multiple perspective books, this did tend to become slightly confusing at places.

One cool thing about this book was the names of all the interesting characters: Pherne (pronounced the same way as Fern), Orus, Virgil, and Virgilia (this name is really pretty, in my opinion).

I’ll have to admit, I was a little turned off from the book initially, because of it’s size, and its writing style was a little dry and hard to get through. However, once I got into it, I finished it all in one night (aka I stayed up until ungodly hours of the night reading, as always :P)

Overall, I really liked this book: although it was a little dry at first, it was a really interesting book that documented the Oregon Trail very well.

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

9/10

Thank you to Revell Publishers for sending me a free print copy of This Road We Traveled for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any other form of compensation.

 

Book Review: Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

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About the Book

Elizabeth Thatcher’s highly anticipated return to her beloved Coal Valley after a long summer with her family back east is filled with surprises . . . and not all of them good ones, in her estimation. Maybe the worst one of all relates to her treasured students. Can she adapt and learn to cope with this enormous change?
Her Mountie, Jarrick Thornton, hasn’t yet proposed, but she already knows what her answer will be. His duties take him away from the valley much too often, in her view, but the two of them, with patience and understanding–and one significant misunderstanding–are learning to know each other better.
The dark cloud looming on the horizon in Beth’s mind, though, is filled with questions about where their future might take them. As a member of the RCMP, Jarrick is stationed wherever his superiors send him . . . but what about her teaching position in Coal Valley?
Beth attempts to do her best with each obstacle she faces, but does she rightly assess each situation as it surfaces? Good intentions don’t always lead to good results. . . .

My Review

Although I know several people who love Janette Oke’s writing, and although I’ve heard of Oke’s books several times before, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by her. This book is also the third book in the second serious with the same character list, which makes it really a tad bit confusing for me as I read it.

In this book, I really enjoyed how Beth’s (the main character) Christian worldview was front and center, and how she dealt with the nonChristian co-teacher without lashing out, and the forgiveness she shows him.

I also really liked the character development of Beth: how she learns to live on her own and cook, her change in attitude towards the co-teacher, as well as her preparation to becoming a wife.

As for the storyline itself, I felt like each of the characters were not very well-defined and developed. I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t read any of the previous books, but I got a little lost withing the plethora of characters within the book. I’ll have to say, though, that each of the characters were very established: they each had their own personality and didn’t stray from it. The progression of the plot was really good, and I enjoyed that.

Overall, it was a really good ‘clean’ romance book, with an interesting plotline.

Quotes

Sidenote: does anyone know if this violates copyright rules/regulations?

 

“’I’ve found ya can’t cling to what ain’t gonna be—can’t even build on the ruins till the wishin’ for the what ya wanted first dies away. But it takes time fer that to happen. Often time has ta pass ‘fore you can see them old dead dreams fade to naught. And then, only then, somethin’ else can spring up instead.’”

“‘I think God is always good no mater what we do or don’t do. And He loves each one of us very much too.'”

“Marnie and Beth walked the short hallway into the kitchen in order to muffle their laughter, each spontaneously breaking into giggles again whenever one looked up at the other, triggering more laughter long after they thought they were done.”

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

7/10

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Novella Review: The Ghost of Briardale (Five Magic Spindles)

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About the Book:

Awaken the Magic!

Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can’t prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.

Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day. {{This is the one I’m reviewing!!}}

Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.

Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems.

My Review:

I’ve been reading Fictionally, by Grace for some time now, and on her blog, she announced that she was chosen as a winner for the Five Magic Spindles contest, which was really exciting! And when she announced that she was looking for someone to beta/advanced review for her, of course I said yes!!

I was only required to review The Ghost of Briardale by Grace Mullins, so I wanted to write a post only about it, but a complete review of the entire book may come later.

The Ghost of Briardale is set in an asylum, with flashbacks to a time 500 years ago when the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ part alternating to the ‘present’ where the ‘curse’ is being ‘reversed’. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure about reading a story set in an asylum, period, but it ended up to be very well done and not shady/scary at all, which I appreciated.

Grace (living up to her name) has a really graceful way with the pen, and is able to paint descriptions of characters, places, and everything so beautifully and vibrantly! She wrote so incredibly descriptively and compactly (as in, a lot of plot, description, dialogue etc packed in very few words) that her ‘short story’ didn’t even seem to be that short! While I was getting ready to write this post, had a slight shock to see that it was technically a novella…

I like how finding a ‘True Hero’ was emphasized in the book and that people don’t act as they seem they would (which is ultra-cliche, but it still really true!).

Also…that evil fairy/queen/person…WAS. SO. EVIL. And I loved it!!!

I also enjoyed the main character, a ghost girl, who ended up to be different than I had expected!

Also…Slavering Swamp Beast –> adorable puppy….?! My heart’s melting. :3

As I’m writing this, I feel pressured to give it a positive review, because of all the stellar reviews that it has gotten already, but by being completely honest with myself,  I can’t say it’s now part of my GoodReads ‘favorites’ shelf.

Why?

Well…the setting didn’t completely agree with me. While I was pleasantly surprised at how non-violent/shady the asylum ended up to be, I still wouldn’t off-key say to my mom “Oh yeah, I’m now reading this book where they’re in an asylum”nor would I give the synopsis to either of my younger brothers (not that I would with any other book, but this one I wouldn’t give the plot).

Also because I have a hard time reading fantasy. Because I am a very ‘give me the facts’ person, I can’t wrap my head around fantasy very well and thus can’t easily love fantasy. It’s especially hard because the original setting wasn’t a fantasyfied land, then transitioned it to being magical, which was even harder for me to think about. This is just a personal reason, though, so I won’t particularly take off any points for this.

Quotes:

“I’ll need you to make your daring escape now, if you don’t mind, then follow me quickly.”

It was an intimidating structure, especially since it was . . . upside down? Panic almost seized Franz at this sight, but then he realized that it was he who was the wrong-side up.

“Maybe . . .” Roselee whispered even as the three Guardians […] stared at her with earnest dismay, “. . . maybe there’s more to being a hero than saving kingdoms and things. Maybe a True Hero needs a true heart . . .”

To be sure, they hadn’t much hope left. But sometimes a final, desperate hope is all that’s really needed . . .

RockandMinerals4Him Rating:

8/10

Final Remarks:

(Because Grace getting a blogpost all to herself equals me talking on and on about how good she is, right?) I really enjoyed getting an ARC of The Five Magic Spindles to read…it was a joy reading Grace’s debut work! And also, shoutout to Grace for running such a great blog that made me want to read it!

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itssimplygrace.blogspot.com

 

Book Review: Mommy Needs a Raise (Because Quitting’s Not an Option) by Sarah Parshall Perry

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About the Book

Women know that raising children will be different from climbing the corporate ladder. But nothing can truly prepare them for the mind-muddling world of motherhood. It doesn’t take long for a new mom to question whether her tyrannical, diapered boss really understands her value to the organization. Because honestly? She’s not always sure herself.

With her signature wit, lawyer-turned-full-time-mommy Sarah Parshall Perry says what all new moms are thinking when they trade annual reports for homework help and yoga pants. Perry invites moms to laugh alongside her amidst the “Are you kidding me?!” moments that come with the job of raising humans. This book is story of every mother who gives up one thing to get something better–and ends up finding out what she’s worth along the way.

My Review

Believe it or not, I really enjoy books about parenting and about kids…and I like them even better when they’re humorous and well written, so when I saw Mommy Needs A Raise (Because Quitting’s Not an Option), I went ahead and requested it, because of that reason, because of the interesting description, and because of that title, which is like perfect. 😀

In short, I had high hopes for the book.

The book is structured so that Perry describes her background, then her pre-kids life, and then her post-kids life.

I thought it was rather odd that the section on her background was so long (about 1/4-1/3 of the book!). It was fine reading, but it was just strange to have that much background information in a book about her kids.

Perry’s writing style was really fun and flowy, sort of like my writing. However, she did often manage to get off on tangents then get back the the point, without any connections, which confused me more than once.

I also felt that she tried a little too hard to be funny, and that just ended up to be….not. The book was really relatable and funny though…at some parts, and there were some great quotes, but not as many as I would have expected/enjoyed.

However….did this book meet my expectations?

Kind of. Because I was looking for a humorous book about raising kids (because I obviously don’t have kids yet), I wasn’t looking for a book on basically her ranting about how much money she lost in law school and yet wasn’t getting paid. That part I didn’t like (which was the main reason I requested it).

The cover didn’t fail to amaze. Not only was the title on-spot perfect, the colors, and the picture, and the TEXTURE…okay, this might be due to my not getting very many new books, but new-book plastic-that-looks-almost-fuzzy-but-not. Oh, I love it!

Quotes

When I lift my hands from the keyboard for so much as thirty seconds, [my kids] think I’m “done” and they swarm me like angry hornets. I have resorted to typing things like “asldkjf wpowo0v mnaodklh” just to keep my fingers moving so they’ll leave me alone.

I think there should be a rule that if you post something stellar you’ve made on social media, you should also post directions on how to do it, and those directions should make it easy. As in, “You could do this in five minutes” easy. Or, “I actually just bought this from a store and heated it up” easy.

“There’s a saying that ‘if you want something done then ask a busy person to do it.’ That’s why I like working with mothers now.”

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

6/10

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.