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.

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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.

Book Review: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

About the Book-

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as  a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets–instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime–determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family’s history, their very own name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown–so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrived on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth–about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

My Review-

Ahhh this book!! First of all, the characters!! They were all so distinct and well developed, and they all have such interesting backstories! Rosemary is a orphan who seems to have mastered the ‘art’ of thievery. Master of disguises, she is able to fit into high society in order to steal valuable things. Although she dislikes reading, she disguises herself as a librarian to investigate Peter. She is there to organize his library (which is very soothing to read about!) and they learn to communicate, despite Peter’s speech impediment.

It also portrays friendship very well. Peter’s friends are  his very best friends, and they stand beside him and advise him of everything, and Elowyen is simply adorable. In the same vein, Rosemary’s ‘family’/friends are absolutely to be adored!

This book doesn’t fit the Christian Fiction stereotype at all, and it is very refreshing! There is a romance that happens, but it feels natural and although a bit rushed, it feels like it was meant to be. In addition, the plot twists keep the action interesting. The character development throughout was also amazing to see! The gospel was also very clearly presented, which is not something people usually see in Christian fiction either.

The one downside to A Name Unknown is that it’s over 400 pages, and it’s a little bit slow in the middle, but it is so worth it!

My Rating-

9/10

Points earned-

  • Cute, adorable, well developed characters
  • Libraries and writing
  • Interesting back story to both characters
  • Mystery and suspense
  • Adorable side families
  • Great portrayal of friendship
  • Not too much romance
  • Christianity and gospel very well presented
  • British talk!! *heart eyes*

Points lost-

  • A little bit slow in parts and on the long side

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.

Book Review: True to You by Becky Wade

True-to-You.jpg

About the Book

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with am inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

My Review

First of all, LOOK AT THAT PRETTY COVER. It’s so cute! I love the dress, I love the cover scheme, it’s adorable!

Nora is literally me. She doesn’t know how to dress cute (me), she reads way too much (me), and look at this quote:
“She’d picked up the Silverstone Chronicles, sunk two hours into reading, visited her favorite fiction blogs, updated her progress on goodreads.com, and switched out her winter wardrobe for her summer wardrobe. She never did make it to the gym, yet here she stood in her yoga pants, Hogwarts Alumni t-shirt, and sweatshirt”
^ MEEEE
(Also speaking of which, I need sisters that do The Enhancement Of Hanne on me bc we all know I sorely need it)

I like how the Bradfords were so close to each other: the close family feel and the Bible/God references were a plus! (Usually the most “Christian” in a Christian fiction book is two prayers and maybe a church mention).

I didn’t really like how the Bradford sisters approached/described men in general. Fine, a couple of small descriptions, but nothing about “a delicious masculine scent” or “a male torso that had about as much give as a fir tree” please. (There were also some PG13 kissing scenes that could probably have been a lot less detailed.)

As for the writing style, I LOVE how the grandma is portrayed: she’s hilarious! There are also several fun points that made me smile. It just really clicked with me. In addition, the contemporary feel was really present in the book. Sometimes, when reading “contemporary” books, I feel like some stuff is outdated (eg instant messages, booting up a computer, etc). There was no such feel in this book. There was Facebook, there was GoodReads, there was Netflix, there were smartphones, and it just felt really “in time.” (of course, this is going to change in a year, but for now it’s really relevant)

In addition, I really like the small changes of perspective: “the quote emblazoned across Nora’s purple pajama top” or “typed by John Lawson into the Reminders app on his phone” or text messages from Nora to her sisters. They add a nice perspective and an extra depth to the book.

As a caveat, there are some topics discussed in the book that I can’t give away (because spoilers, see below), but they do deal with violence and, er, adult stuff. Nothing descriptive, but they are mentioned quite a great deal.

The story of redemption and forgiveness and love in this book was portrayed very well. That story was amazing. I also really enjoyed the God-moment/coincidence and John’s mother’s letter was beautiful.

My Rating

6/10

Points earned:

  • Cute story that ends well
  • Witty and humorous
  • Small changes in point of view
  • Characters 👌
  • Family/God bonds
  • Redemption and forgiveness and the storyline in general

Points lost:

  • Lovey scenes (some may like them, I personally felt they were both too stereotypical and overvividly described)
  • Descriptions of guys’ bodies
  • Adult topics (every third letter, SPOILER: akrfjadlpxle and almwduqprvkdkveajr and fjacjlwuceiocnhsmofjlqvipasvjm) that do tell a beautiful story but are not recommended for audiences below at least 15
  • The romance progressed a little too quickly for my liking? I felt like that made it feel less realistic.

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.

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

cover

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

A Note Yet Unsung.jpg

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.