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: 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: 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: A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

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About the Book-

Telegraph operator Lucy Drake is a master of Morse code and has made herself a valuable asset to the Associated Press news agency. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Colin is talented, handsome, insufferably charming—and keeping a secret that jeopardizes his reputation.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy can’t deny that Colin has the connections she needs to give her family an edge in the long legal battle they’ve been waging over their rightful inheritance. But when she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, the web of treachery they dive into proves to be far more dangerous than they ever could have known.

My Review-

I’ve heard about Elizabeth Camden’s books for a while now, and have even started reading a couple, but this was the first book that I ever read from beginning to end, and I really enjoyed it!! The characters were absolutely precious, and there was suspense and awesome historical background.

Lucy Drake is the farthest thing from a sappy, swoony young lady—she has a lawsuit that she is fighting for with her brother Nick and is a master Morse code operator as well. Colin Beckwith is the manager of the rival news agency, and there shouldn’t be any correlation between them . . .  right? Well, wrong.

Both Lucy and Colin are master telegraph operators, so right off the bat they have something that ties them together. Add that to the fact that their witty banter and their ability to divulge secrets to each other, and you have THE perfect couple.

The romance in this book was so well paced: there weren’t any SPARKS RAN RINGLING UP AND DOWN HER ARM; DID HE FEEL IT TOO?? type moments. (Although, they do kiss as friends a couple of times, which was odd??).

The redemption storyline was so good, and I did not expect it at all! There were so many cool historical things thrown in too, like carrier pigeons, telegraphs, and society parties.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! A sweet sweet romance with a dash of suspense and amazing history: what’s not to love!

My Ranking-

8/10

Things liked-

  • The characters are so perfect for each other yet so different!
  • Anything with a telegraph gets a point, honestly
  • Slow, more realistic romance
  • Suspense!!!
  • Redemption storyline
  • Awesome history
  • Such grEAT villians!!
  • Lucy’s relationship with her brother!!!

Things disliked-

  • They kissed before they were a thing? And for no real apparent reason?
  • The entire story was really good, but the conclusion felt a little too perfect??

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers 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: 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: 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: 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.