I thought I would create a post in honor of Valentine's Day. Pink and red is the theme.
1. My absolute favorite of all of Laura Frantz's books!
2. I love this cover the best out of all the Redeeming Love covers.
3. My favorite in the trilogy! Charles Towne Belles can be read out of order and still be understood.
4. Got to love Susan May Warren! Happily Ever After is one of my favorites of hers.
5. I think I read this book before. Even though Collen Coble's books are really good they all are too similar for me to distinguish between them once I've read them. But I love this cover!
6. Cover candy definitely! I didn't really click with the characters when I read it, though.
7. I know that everyone has been wanting to read this delightful collection of novellas. I really enjoyed it. I don't know if Karen Witemeyer's was my favorite or Regina Jennings's was...
8. I loved this story! And her dress actually matches the dress in the book!
9. I really like Delia Parr. This story was sweet and steady. But nothing really fast-paced.
10. I want Cathy Marie Hake to write another book. Her last one was Serendipity. And that was four years ago! I love all of her books. I will probably re-read That Certain Spark in the future...
11. Haven't read this one yet. But Elizabeth Camden is an enjoyable author. Her covers are always gorgeous.
11. Nancy Moser always does an excellent job of incorporating history into her books. My favorite books of hers so far: How Do I Love Thee? A story based on the life of Elizabeth Barret Browning and how she fell in love.
12. Wonderful novel. I think it took the author three years to perfect it. The only complaint I had with it was that it was too similar to her last one.
13. Never read this author. But I want to!
14. This story was strange for me. It felt stilted. Not like Kim Vogel Sawyer's previous stories. My Heart Remembers and Waiting for Summer's Return are her best books yet in my opinion.
15. I loved this book. Siri Mitchell balanced the lives of three women and the men they fell in love with perfectly. It moved at a very fast rate because there were so many characters. But it was unique and enjoyable.
I hope you enjoyed this list of books. Which one is your favorite? Have you read any of these books? Don't forget to subscribe to my blog if you liked this post! I like making lists like this all the time.
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At 15 and 16 Mercy and Mick have are just starting to become more than friends.
But there is a problem.
He’s Maliseet—an Indian—and she’s not.
When prejudice raises its ugly head will their new-found love be able to survive?
I felt as though Shades of Mercy flowed like water. The descriptions of the surroundings and of the people were lovely to read. In fact, I had planned on reading another book before this one, but when I picked up this one and glanced at the first few pages, I was drawn into the story by the beautiful language. I really liked Mercy—the main character—she was industrious and sweet.
Shades of Mercy was told in first person from Mercy’s point of view. This was a bold act for the authors because first person can be a difficult way to write a story. This point of view caught my attention. However, it failed to hold it throughout the novel. The trick to first person is that there has to be constant action in order to keep the reader’s attention and the pace of the story going—or else the reader will get bored with the one character’s ideas, thoughts, goals etc. The execution of the first point of view was flawless in and of itself. But it did come with some challenges which the authors could not completely overcome.
This novel had a prologue and an epilogue . These were unneeded. It gave the book an interesting beginning, but a disconnected end because I wasn’t really sure what was happening in the epilogue because—frankly—I had forgotten what the prologue had been about.
Though it did flow smoothly, the pacing was so slow that I became quickly disinterested. Practically nothing happened except in two marked places. I could probably give the plot of the story in seven words, but will refrain so as to not to spoil it for those who wish to read it.
Mick—Mercy’s boyfriend—was not around for a third of the book, which is what took a major part of interest from the novel. However, the descriptions Mercy uses to describe her beloved farm made me want to go to Maine to see the potatoes bloom in the spring time.
The book is told in a lovely fashion—though it was slow paced. It was very well-researched. The prejudices against the Indians back in the 1950’s were well-represented in many of the townsfolk. The bitterness the Indians must have felt towards the whites was also epitomized well in Mick’s brother, Joe. In many ways Joe was a more developed character than his brother. I believe my favorite character was Mercy’s father. There was just something likeable about him. I wanted to get inside of his head more, see what he was thinking and feeling.
There were some subtle beauties that a reader would miss in Shades of Mercy if he wasn’t paying attention. Some ideas were revealed that can go as deep as the reader can think. However, these were somewhat obscured because of Mercy’s limited view. Therefore, these ideas were not carried out and expounded upon as they could have been.
Shades of Mercy is for those who love history and don’t mind a slower paced story.
I give Shades of Mercy 31/2 out of 5 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the River North publishers. The ideas and opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
Just extra: I was a little leery about Shades of Mercy because normally I don’t care for books that have two authors. This may sound strange, but hear me out. For instance, I love Janette Oke. I have read every book she has ever written—save those books she has written with other authors. I have tried reading those books and found that I don’t like them simply because I feel as though her writing style is diluted. However, with Shades of Mercy I did not know the authors at all, so I was able to form an unbiased opinion according to their one work together—not judging this book by previous books one of the authors had written beforehand (simply because I have never read anything by either one of these authors).
Because of a past bad relationship, Sarah is wary of all men with Indian ancestry. But when she meets Daniel Broadfoot she is unaccountably drawn to him. His gentle yet powerful presence gives her a sense of peace, though he stirs her like no other has ever done. However, the secret he is keeping from her may just drive them apart.
Daniel Broadfoot is undercover in order to protect Sarah from the person that murdered her parents and his sister. He never expected to get emotionally involved. And he never thought keeping the truth from her would be so hard.
Will Sarah learn to trust Daniel enough to place her life in his hands? But, more importantly, will she learn to trust God in all things, no matter how difficult they seem?
Will Daniel learn to let go of the past and reach toward the future? And will the secrets he’s kept from Sarah destroy their blossoming love entirely?
* * *
Starflower was not what I expected it would be. Many authors have contacted me asking me to review their book for them. Most of those books were worth only three stars. I equate three stars with average—a nice book, but not to be read again. Starflower is worth more than that because of the sheer intelligence and depth it possesses.
The author chose a unique way of writing the story. She used omniscient point of view, switching between the thoughts of one character to another often within the same paragraph or scene. Though this way of writing could be confusing, the author handled it adeptly and I never found myself confused. Also, by doing this, it gave her more of a handle on developing the characters. By the first third of the novel I knew that Sarah was compassionate, godly, and yet still vulnerable from painful past circumstances both of her doing and out of her control. Also, I immensely enjoyed getting to know Daniel Broadfoot. He was introduced in such a way that made me begging to know more. He was strong, courageous, and revealed himself to be a man of God especially when the circumstances put him to the test. I was also pleasantly surprised about how well the minor characters were developed because of the way the book was written. I got to know Sarah’s grandfather and Daniel’s mother very well.
More than anything, I enjoyed the scripture that saturated this book. In almost every circumstance, the characters turned to God and His Word for help. Starflower was written with great sensitivity toward the Holy Spirit and things of God. I felt myself inwardly praising the author because rarely do I find a book that speaks of what I read in this novel—even in Christian novels. Also, God was mentioned so often I felt as though He had as much say in the book as Sarah or Daniel. Almost never have I found that in the Christian romance novels of today. Spiritually, Starflower had a lot of depth.
I mentioned earlier the intelligence with which Starflower was written. It is a murder mystery/Christian romance. Both the romance and the mystery balanced each other fully, neither one drowning the other out. It takes skill to do that. Also, it made me think, trying to guess who the villain could be.
I found the Indian culture and heritage very interesting. Some of the bizarre customs and stories were new to me, but gave me understanding of why some of the characters in the book acted as they acted.
The only thing wrong I found with this book was the editing. I did not find much wrong having to do with punctuation. But I felt as though some sentences could be more clearly or succinctly stated. There was a time or two I could not quite figure out what a character was saying because the words seemed a bit jumbled together. I thought perhaps it could have been polished a bit more. But other than that, Starflower is one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. I definitely will want to read more by June Caedmon!
I give Starflower 4 out of 5 stars.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.
At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines. Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers-a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur-she knows she's playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he's discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life. First in a three-book series.
Look to the East was a book with a solid plot. It also showed that the author did much research about World War II. Look to the East was the winner of Inspirational Reader's Choice contest, so I expected it to be good. Sadly, I was disappointed. It had no amazing points to it. At times, it dragged on horribly because the characters had the same worries over and over again with no resolution until the very end. The author's research won her the contest. The problem I had with the novel was that it was just so heavy with inconsequential minutiae of World War II. It was perfect in that it was historically accurate. For those who like fiction that have that element, then this is definitely for you. I like history. But, please, spare me the details.
The only thing that stood out to me was that Julitte, one of the main characters, seemed to have visions of heaven when somebody died. Charles, the man Julitte falls in love with, is a weak character. He starts out as weak, perhaps becomes a bit more honorable during the middle, and ends out being only slightly stronger in the reader's mind than before. But not much.
I was not impressed with Look to the East. However, after looking at this author's other books I would be willing to give her another chance.
I give Look to the East 3 out of 5 stars.
Following the death of her father, Miss Charlotte Fraser decides to return home to Fairhaven Plantation. However, as she begins to plant rice and figure out her new life she cannot help but worry what will become of her home for her father did not leave any tangible claim to the land behind.
Charlotte meets her new neighbor, Nicholas Betancourt along with his two daughters. When he asks her to tutor them until he can find a more suitable schooling situation for them, she eventually—yet reluctantly—agrees. One day Nicholas leaves for New Orleans to clear up the foggy situation surrounding the claim to his land. However, he does not return. Charlotte takes in his two little girls for part of the summer before going in search of him, thinking that perhaps he has caught the yellow fever that is plaguing New Orleans and is quite possibly too sick to write or even dead. Will she be able to find him?
* * *
The start of Carolina Gold gently segues into the rest of the book, sweetly pulling me along through the pages. There was no major attention getter as many books in this genre nowadays has. However, I was swept into the story and down the Waccamaw River along with Charlotte.
I was surprised by the absolute authenticity that was so completely woven into Carolina Gold. The word pictures and descriptions the author gives are absolutely breathtaking. Sometimes, after reading a paragraph, I could close my eyes and imagine myself in the place the author described. Carolina Gold is saturated in the history of the post-Civil War era.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters. This novel is told in third person from Charlotte’s point of view. She had a distinct personality. She was cordial yet abrupt when needed. She accepted the death of her father with a grace I’m sure not many others could. She took no nonsense from anybody and held firm convictions concerning her land and life. I also enjoyed getting to know Nicholas’s daughters, Marie-Claire and Anne-Louise. In fact, the book is told in such a way that the girls are introduced and developed even more than their father. This is unique in that the book’s plot does not solely revolve around Charlotte and Nicolas’s romance, but rather around Charlotte’s growing maternal affection for the girls.
Carolina Gold has a steady pace from beginning to end that never speeds up and never slows down. Those who are looking for an exciting story filled with romance will not get that here. The romance between Charlotte and Nicholas is sweet but rather slow. Also, Nicholas disappears for a large portion of the book, which does not give Charlotte and Nicholas time to develop their relationship.
I felt as though some characters were introduced rather abruptly. There was no mention of a few of the characters before their introduction and sometimes I wondered why they were introduced at all because they were never mentioned again in the book. However, this did lend a certain uniqueness to the novel as a whole. Also, something else I found unique was that certain scenes of the book were told in first person from Charlotte’s point of view about different times in her life.
The only thing I could find that I did not care for as a reader was that the author seemed to shy away from action or excitement. Whenever there was a possibility for a little action the scene would cut off and the book would pick up at a later time. However, I was struck by the realistic characters and situations. Also, Carolina Gold was not as predictable as I thought it would be. There were several places in the book when a minor character turned out to be the cause of a major problem.
I give Carolina Gold 4 out of 5 stars.
*I received an e-book copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.
An isolated island girl with painful memories. A dedicated city boy with a wild past. What will it cost for them both to find a refuge from their storms?
I wanted to read Love’s Refuge because I was intrigued by the lovely front cover. Also, I had never read Sandra Lee Smith before and wanted to find out what her writing was like. She had good character development, believable characters, and even some intrigue. I was also impressed with how she ended almost every chapter. This author knows how a reader thinks, which is always key when writing a book. She knows that if a reader doesn’t want to read more of the book, the reader probably will read to the end of the chapter and stop there. However, there was a cliffhanger at the close of almost every chapter, which kept me wondering and kept me reading. It’s very smart to do that if the reader is not enjoying the book because it will keep them reading anyway.
I enjoyed learning about how to go hunting for clams and oysters and crabs. That was really interesting to me, since I've never lived near the ocean or had anything to do with things like that. It made me want to go hunt for them after reading about it!
I know that this book has some five and four star reviews, but I truly couldn't see how it got those stars. I could not connect with Skye or Danny. In the beginning, I found Danny somewhat pathetic because it seemed like he couldn't do much for himself on the island. He did get better, but I still could not connect with him. And I did feel sorry for Skye for what she went through, but I just felt as if something was missing. Love’s Refuge had a good plot—though predictable—and nice characters. It was a nice book. But that was all it was. Nice. There was nothing amazing and nothing fantastic. Nothing memorable. In another year these characters will have blended into all the other books I have read. If I’m going to read a book, then I want it to hold a theme, story, and characters that will stay with me years after I've read the book. I’m sorry to say that Love’s Refuge did not have any of those things.
All in all the characters were well made and the plot was solid. But not anything memorable. I give Love’s Refuge 3 out of 5 stars.
Because Glenn Campbell kidnapped and sold his mother and sister as indentured servants in America, Malcolm MacGregor decides to do the same. He took Campbell’s daughter, Lauren, against her own will on a ship headed toward a place called Charles Town. However, as Malcolm comes to know her on the trip over his plans for revenge fade away in the light of her faith and growing affection he begins to feel for her.
Just as Lauren believes that her trials are at their hardest, they become harder still. Will her faith survive the circumstances thrust upon her once she arrives in America? Will she and Malcolm ever be free to love each other completely and forever?
Since I have never read anything by this author before I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by For Love or Loyalty. The characters felt realistic for the most part. Lauren was almost too good to be true when she was kidnapped by the MacGregor and forced to set sail on a ship with Malcolm MacGregor. From the moment she realized what happened to her she was thinking of forgiving him for what he was doing. This was entirely unrealistic. It seemed as though she didn’t have to work very hard in order to achieve forgiveness for him. However, a part later on in the novel made Lauren’s faith look more real than it did at the beginning. This redeemed the beginning somewhat but not completely.
Malcolm and Lauren were the only two characters who were developed. I felt as though perhaps three other characters could have been better advanced, lending a deeper quality to the book. The story coming from just these two characters’ point of view made it, if not drag, at least slow down the pace of the story overall. At one part another character’s point of view was added, but only because it was necessary to reveal more of the plot.
The author did a creditable job of capturing my attention at the beginning. Fire, grief, and kidnapping were great attention grabbers. The action does smooth out somewhat after that, though there are many places in the book where Malcolm fights for some reason or another. I really liked Lauren and how she selflessly served others while in the process silently showing Malcolm her faith. Also, I could see Malcolm's own faith in God building mostly because of Lauren’s influence.
The romance between Lauren and Malcolm was pure and sweet. I felt as though perhaps they could have been married earlier in order to add more interest to the story. But I enjoyed how they got to know each other.
There were two discrepancies in For Love or Loyalty. Reading through the other reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I was surprised that nobody else caught them. However, since I received an ARC( Advanced Reading Copy)of this book, that may be the cause. The first discrepancy was the color of Lauren’s eyes. Usually, they were blue. The author referred to them as azure blue a lot. But about three or four times Lauren’s eyes were mentioned as green. This would not bother most people but it did me. The author is responsible for knowing her characters better than the reader ever will. If the author didn’t even remember the color of Lauren’s eyes then the author probably never made a character sketch of Lauren to begin with. A book should always give the reader a feeling of there being more than what is written in the book. For Love or Loyalty never gave it because the author never thought of more.
The other discrepancy is minor but also reveals a major flaw in the author’s way of writing. The captain of the ship that sailed Malcom and Lauren across the ocean kept changing names. He introduced himself as Captain Edward Shaw. However, half the time he was referred to as Captain Edwards. I believe the captain possessed great potential. I wanted to know him better. I wanted to see if he was a good captain or a bad one. A moral man or an immoral one. However, the author barely knew him herself so she could not introduce him more fully into the story.
Despite the flaws I caught, I did enjoy Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s writing style. I will read more of her work in the future to see if this book was abnormal or not. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars
*I received an e-book copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine alone
Ruth is a slave whose soul is drained dry from the abuse—both physical and verbal—she has received. When a free black man named Bo Peace buys her to set her free, will she ever be really free? Will she ever be able to shake the chains of slavery from her soul?
I read the reviews both on Amazon and Goodreads and was surprised at how many people gave it 5-4 stars. I don’t think anybody caught the discrepancies I caught. The book as a whole is well-researched and planned. But the way things were stated and sentences were formed gave a disconnected, choppy feeling. I liked getting a glimpse at what slaves felt during the era of slavery in America. It is a shameful part of America’s past that most people like to forget. The author portrayed it well. The ramifications of Nat Turner’s rebellion was the most interesting part of the novel.
One thing that was majorly wrong with the book was when Bo said that he loved Ruth. First on page 91, “I love you, Ruth.” He said it over and over. Then again on pages 114-115. “…that’s what a man does for the woman he loves.” …It was the first time he’d told her he loved her. Obviously, he had told Ruth that he had loved her about 20 pages back. Reading through other people’s reviews, I was surprised that nobody else caught that. Also Ruth’s Redemption is loosely based on the story of Ruth and Boaz in the Bible. But at other times I thought that the author was also trying to tell the story of Hosea and Gomer. I kept on thinking throughout the whole book that the author just could not make up her mind on what she wanted the book to be exactly. It had a wishy-washy feel to it.
All in all, Ruth’s Redemption was an interesting read. I enjoyed the slave dialect and reading about such a major part of America’s history. But because of the unpolished feel and discrepancies I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
* I received a copy of this book from the LEVB publishers. This review is my honest opinion of this book.
Just wanted to share the upcoming release of novels by some of my favorite authors!
I was so excited to learn that Janette Oke and her daughter have a new novel coming out. I have read most all of Janette Oke's books. My favorite series was When Calls the Heart. Can't wait to read Where Courage Calls!
This book is the first to be published by Rooglewood Press--which Anne Elisabeth Stengl has started. Jill Stengl is Anne Elisabeth Stengl's mother. This is Jill's first novel. She has written things before, but only novellas. She hasn't had anything new released in 7 years. I can't wait to read this book!
I have to say, I'm a big Tamera Alexander fan. I've read all of her books. This one looks absolutely wonderful. However, after this one I'm hoping she will do something other than a Belmont Mansion novel. Her most recent books have been set in such similar settings that they are beginning to blur together.
I was so excited to see this one! I adore Karen Witemeyer! So far, out of all of her books, To Win Her Heart has been my favorite. Isn't the cover adorable!
This cover makes me breathless just looking at it! I have enjoyed this talented author's books immensely. I hope the story lives up to what the cover promises!
I became a fan of Christian fantasy because of Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Each book is intricately interwoven with the other, though each can be understood even if read out of order. Except for Veiled Rose and Moonblood. Those are the only two that should be read together. If you don't like fantasy, reading one of Anne Elisabeth's books will definitely change your mind! I can't wait for Shadow Hand!
This intriguing title snagged my attention immediately. I've never read anything this author has written before, but I would love to read this book.
Who doesn't love Susan May Warren? Happily Ever After and My Foolish Heart are my absolute favorites out of all she has written. It Had to be You looks like a lovely read.
And last, but certainly not least, Francine Rivers newest book, Bridge to Haven. Like all of her books, I'm sure that this one will be a heart and life changing book. I am dying to read all of these books!
And, just to say this, Laura Frantz's upcoming book is called Love's Fortune. The cover has yet to be revealed, but I'm sure that it will be as beautiful as the first two covers in this series. If you haven't read Love's Reckoning or Love's Awakening I recommend that you do. Laura has a way of writing that steals your breath away and makes you feel like you are walking through the pages of the book laughing, crying, hurting, and loving with the characters.
All right, authors. Let’s admit it. Not everyone can be Francine Rivers or Janette Oke or CS Lewis. But we should strive for more. Much, much more. Most books I read are mediocre. There have been some rather obscure authors that I have read—wanting to support them because I understand how hard it is for a new author to find a solid platform. But those authors are not going to become famous or even moderately well-known because their books are just ordinary. Nothing above par. Nothing that would grasp the attention of a famous agent or publishing company. An author should write (I’m speaking to the Christians) for the glory of God. An author should write to touch hearts and to ultimately change them. If a writer does not write from the experience of his heart, then his writing will not touch others for the kingdom of God. And his writing will fade into the background. If an author does not cry while writing an emotional scene, then why would the reader cry? If the author does not laugh while writing something particularly funny, then why should the reader laugh? If the writer doesn't die a little when a character dies, then why should the reader feel anything?
I read, on average, about 208 books a year—give or take. Only about three of those books ever find their way into my heart and resonate in my soul. The other 205 books may have been good, but they won't be classics. They were ordinary. And I don’t know about everybody else but I want more than ordinary.
I want extraordinary.
Something I can remember forever.
Most every author I have read has not striven for enough.
But amazing fiction—saturated in Biblical principles—takes an amazing author saturated in Christ.
Most Christian authors I know are good writers, but not amazing. And to be saturated in Christ means to give up things that most people are not willing to give up. That can be a painful—though cleansing—process.
Like every voracious reader who writes a review after reading the book, I compare each book I've read to all the ones I've read before. What stands out? What is different? What makes this book unique and separate from all the books I've ever read and am ever going to read? In essence, to be a good writer I need to know how a reader thinks and how he will feel when reading my work. That is why so many famous writers are such great readers. It is the best way to learn how their readers will think and feel.
Why was C.S. Lewis such an effective writer? He read literally thousands of books in his youth. Also, as a boy, he and his brother had a world all their own. This world was the place where the seeds of Narnia were planted, though he didn't know it yet. Imagination as a child is important--though not in all cases essential--to the future of an author. C.S. Lewis said, "You can make anything by writing."
And he's right.
It's just that most people don't have talking lions, or fauns or hobbits, and orcs running around in their heads. And if they do, they aren't brave enough to write about it.
Did you know J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends? Just something to think about.
So...do you have a story in your head that you are simply burning to write but are afraid to because it's so...different?
Then write it!
I dare you.
I know there is more to most authors then what I am reading.
If C.S. Lewis can have talking lions and J.R.R. Tolkien can have hobbits, then so can you!
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I love Jesus, taking long walks, reading, writing, (did I mention reading?) and eating chocolate.