Here’s the newest one from Bethany House, and also my book review for April. Basically, if I’m quick at the draw…I’ll have one book from them a month. If I don’t want to review any of the options they have (which I’ve done before)…then I don’t 😀 .
The Chapel Car Bride
By Judith Miller
My rating- 5 stars ❤
Look at this lovely cover! I’m in love with that dress she’s wearing. ❤ One thing I love to think about is what the design of the cover and the image are trying to tell you about the book. Originally, when I got this book I had actually forgotten that this was the one I had lined up! lol. And so…I thought to myself: “Oh no. It’s probably about a Mail Order Bride. And I hate those.”. But it wasn’t. And I loved it.
From now on I’m keeping my records in better order. I think I’ll place entries in my reading journal about the books when I receive the confirmation emails in the future. Order is a good thing to have, right?
Reasons why I loved it…
It was a neat idea.In the past I haven’t come across any novels that have things about preachers in a train car. It’s a fun and interesting idea to me. New for me anyway. On the other hand, I HAVE come across a lot of missionary-sent-out-by-organization books.
The mining theme. While this seems a little overused in some regards- I still like it. This time period had a lot of mining and miners, and so it’s natural. Anyone remember the beginning of the When Calls the Heart series? 😀
The gospel theme. In normal christian fiction a lot of the time you’ll have a gospel presentation of some sort. In this case though, it’s more of a major theme to the plot. Especially given the fact that the main character’s dad is a pastor.
The discipleship moments. I love it when Hope’s dad is discipling the young men. It’s always been special watching my dad do the same as a pastor. I guess this book connects to me a little more specifically.
The main guy. In some ways I like the refined guys, but there’s something so much more believable and masculine in a guy with a pinch less class. The ruggedness, the not talking in complete sentences. I just think it’s more realistic for the ‘guy’ to sometimes give you a fragment. I love Luke’s gentleness, and I personally think it’s funny when the main guys get jealous (especially when there’s no call for it!).
Mr. Irving/Father & Daughter Relationship. I love their dynamic. One thing I think is so needed is the father/daughter relationship. It’s adorable when you see her heart first her dad’s–and then her man’s. ❤
Things I didn’t like…
Nellie.Sorry people, I just found her annoying. She seems slightly fickle too in some ways.
The character cliche. I feel like authors are trying too hard to make their main female leads strong and special. I still liked Hope as a character but I think that the headstrong ‘I-got-this’ girl is gettin’ a wee bit cliche. For myself I admire a little less of the take-charge lead characters. I like spunk, but not when it gets too cliche. 😀
And that’s pretty much it! This is a great bit of easy-fun reading. It’s clean, cute, spiritual–and just an enjoyable read.
*My thanks to Bethany House for the free copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own (as they always are 😀 )–I didn’t sugarcoat or anything!
I am now reviewing my third book for Bethany House! The first one was Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette, the second was Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner, and this (the third) is…Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson. So let’s just run into this here review.
Heart of the Frontier Book #1.
By Tracie Peterson
My rating- 5 stars
I loved this book! It was such an exciting novel to read. I love the cover (as a side note 😀 ), and the time period is one of great interest to me. This is the first Tracie Peterson book I have ever read, and I like it. The reason I haven’t read much of Tracie’s work is simply that I’m not much into western stuff. And a lot of her stuff seems to be western. I don’t (so far) like western romances as much. I’m not into mail order brides. It’s just not my thing. But this…yep. This got me. Prairie days are much more thrilling for me.
Let’s go back to the days of Indians…
//I love the setting. Wagon trains, sickness, prairie dangers, and beautiful country. It all appeals to me.
//The main character. Grace is a neat person. She’s strong, and kind, and is a healer. She cares for people as a life calling. But she’s not perfect…and I love how she develops.
//The pain.The story does a good job building tension and getting you excited. I started dreading what was probably coming. If you like…you can read the synopsis- and figure out what I was dreading happening. After THE event of the story there is so much hurt and scars, and it makes the reader feel sad 😦 .
//Good story line.I felt that the plot was engaging, and it just kept going. The dialogue was delightful as well.
//Age line. Because of several things that occur in the story which are suggestive, I would recommend this book for 13+ or the discretion of the parent. (It would be discretion of the parent or guardian regardless! 🙂 )
//Faith. This book is Christian Historical Fiction. I thought the faith was much better emphasized in this book than in most other books of its genre. And believe me…you would need a strong faith to survive such trials!
So…I will probably borrow some more Tracie Peterson from our local library soon. I think maybe not all of her stuff is Western? I know that a lot of it IS, but then- maybe someone else out there has read some of her westerny ones and liked them? I’m sure they’re good. 😉
*This book actually arrived earlier than I was expecting it to (thumbs up to Bethany House for promptness!). So I actually was able to finish reading it at the conference I attended the 14-16. And I finished it so fast…because it was amazing. It kept me under it’s power the entire time. I don’t think I experienced any boredom at all.
My newest book review for Bethany House! As you may have noticed…this is only review #2. The reason for that is Bethany House has a limited number of books so it’s a first-come first-serve deal. And I hadn’t been quick enough up until this point. But here we are once again (and I just got a confirmation email that I’ll be receiving another book from BH sometime in April or May). Today, the book up for review is…Quick Tips for Busy Families.
Quick Tips for Busy Families
Sneaky Strategies for Raising Great Kids
By Jay Payleitner
My rating- 4 stars
I may not generally be a non-fiction guru (except when it comes to spiritual books 😉 Still not a guru on that either!)–but I genuinely liked this book. It was interesting and I loved the layout. The book has 144 tips/strategies on raising kids. Here are a few bullet things I loved.
The layout. (Brief ‘chapters’ which makes it easy to keep on reading!)
The practical nature. The tips range from very practical to rather sneaky (as the front cover indicates).
The fact that Bible verses were used in the book. Isn’t it just sad that I have to mention this? But seriously- so many ‘self-help’ books these days say they’re Christian and then have zero Bible verses in them.
Things I felt weren’t as helpful (to me)…
Now I realize that the majority of the stuff I’m about to say probably won’t have much bearing on the majority of parents today. Don’t let some of this necessarily discourage you from buying the book.
As a young woman who wants to home school her children one day, I think that this book wouldn’t be quite as helpful to me. The book very obviously targets the public/private school crowd. So if you’re a parent doing either of those two things- then wonderful! Otherwise make your own judgement.
Sometimes I felt like the author minimized sin. One thing that gives me pause is that he also had chapters where he very clearly said that sin is well, sin.
I don’t agree with the spiritual gift part necessarily. Sorry guys. 😦 If you know anything about reformed people- you’ll know that most of them don’t believe tongues or prophesy continues. Like I said this doesn’t apply to all people. This is really just a note to the reformed crowd. Just to be clear though- I believe in spiritual gifts. I believe we all have God-given gifts. I just don’t buy the speaking in tongues or continued prophecy thing because I don’t believe they continue.
So anyways…just a note of explanation on why the book only got four stars from me: I feel like it was mostly just the fact that it didn’t really relate to me theologically- also the school kid thing. No fear though, I don’t believe it’s wrong to public/private school your child.
Back to the book, though. Overall here’s a summary statement.
Quick Tips for Busy Families is a book with a lot of helpful tips/strategies for parents or guardians. There was a lot of practical advice and insight from the author- who’s raised 5 children along with his wife, Rita. There was also a sense of humor which was enjoyable + the well-loved parenting stories everyone loves to hear. If you’re looking for a book to help you with everyday life and give you practicality mixed with Biblical truths- you’re in the right place.
Thanks to Bethany House for another great book review! All opinions here expressed are my own and haven’t been otherwise influenced. This is an honest review. Thanks for reading.
People had begun to think I don’t read anything anymore…but the honest truth is I just haven’t been posting what I’ve been reading. I just decided to be selective and review the last three books in the Love Comes Softly series. They focus on Belinda Davis, Clark and Marty’s daughter. (Oh, if you haven’t read the rest of the series- you should probably do that first–but I would say you can just pick up the three of these as well.)
Love’s Unfolding Dream
love comes softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 5 stars
This book was such a fun piece to read. I have to say, I really loved it. It was able to make me feel strongly with and for the characters. There were plenty of things in it that kept me engaged. One thing about is the fact that this focuses on her 12-16 years. That directly identifies it with the teen girl crowd. I thought it was enjoyable, sad, happy, and humorous all at once.
//the plot. I thought it was well developed. There were plenty of characters to like or dislike and some very heart-rending things occurred as well.
//the family aspect. This whole series has family stamped on it. I especially love how Belinda and Marty are so close to each other. I love their mother-daughter relationship.
//the characters. You can’t escape this one! They’re always going to be the ones you like and don’t like. I love Belinda, Marty, Clark, Luke, Drew, and yep. Those are my favorites.
//the spiritual aspect. I always like when a book is faith-driven. This series is pretty faith-driven the whole time. There are some aspects of their theology I don’t agree with, but in principle they do stress the love of God to His children.
//the ‘rivalry’ and tension between family. Yes, there’s some of this too. They do get upset with each other from time to time- just like a real family. I won’t spoil it, but I’ll tell you, it’s interesting.
//the ending. Wait for it, wait for it…the entire book. Okay, not really. But I like the ending because it’s kinda’ nice after the conflict in the book. 😀
Love Takes Wing
love come softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 4.5 stars
This book picks up a few years after Love’s Unfolding Dream. It is a little cliff-hangering from the last book, too. They give you the impression something’s going to happen at the end of LUD, and then they stick you here scrambling to figure out what happened. And I’ll just warn you, you’d best be prepared for some waiting. Because you’re going to be waiting pretty much the WHOLE book to hear ANYTHING at all. It plain confused me. I was sitting reading and kept interrupting my sister: “Hannah, what in the world is going on here? Why isn’t so-and-so in the story?” I honestly almost threw the book down at that point. But I picked it back up, and I’m so glad I did.
//the expansion of nursing. If you’ve gotten this far or read any of the synopsis-es, you’ll know Belinda wants to be a nurse. Well, her nursing will take her places in this book.
//Belinda’s continual struggle. Growing up is HARD. And Belinda always has the struggle accompanied with that. I think she experiences the same highs and lows of the Christian life that I do, in some ways. And I think it’s identifiable.
//Mrs. Stafford-Smythe. I love her. She’s an older lady with spunk. I like how Belinda and her relationship gets closer, and I love how she’s always so perky and funny.
//the cliffhanger from LUD. This nearly made me drop the book. I would encourage you to persevere though- it’s worth it!
//the way Belinda treats some of the young men. It’s not necessarily bad- I just wish she would have sent them packing long ago instead of going out with any of them at all. Oh, well. She learns.
//the removal of characters you’ve gotten to know. People leave, people marry, people disappear! Makes me sad. 😦 😥
Love Finds A Home
loves comes softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 5 stars
The exciting conclusion! I LOVE this book! Things start to speed up in this book, loose ends get tied up, fun things happen…heartwarming. 😉
// the plot.
// the look at Boston from a bigger angle. I love all the comparison between city vs. country. It’s an interesting thing to look at.
//the thingy that happens in the middle. You will be surprised…maybe even as surprised as Belinda was? 😀
//the other thingy that happens… uh-huh. Several things. (I am really trying not to spoil things for ya’ here).
//the continued faith. Belinda really begins realizing just how important faith is in this book. You can really see her clinging to Him in this one.
//gratification. Belinda gets a happy ending (of a sort)–and I love how you see in the book that romance won’t ultimately satisfy you. Rather, it’s God who can make you delight in Him alone.
*Sorry…but it’s hard to write a review without spoiling something. I keep wanting to say “I liked that THIS happened.” -so I’ll just say I loved the book(s) aaannnd the ending to this book.
p.s. While I do like SOME of the movies made of Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series–I am extremely dissatisfied with the later ones. Especially the later ones with Missie, and the ones that describe Belinda. For one, Belinda isn’t even an orphan–she’s Clark and Marty’s youngest daughter! And a minor detail…Belinda’s hair isn’t brown, it’s blond. Another thing: Willie, Missie’s husband–does NOT die either. And neither does Belinda’s husband! Sorry guys. Rant over. Just wanted to make sure y’all knew what I thought in regards to that. Hint to producers: include the author in your productions. 😀 It helps.
It’s time for another installment of What I Read Wednesday ! We are on #6. Today I will be reviewing Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte– and Grow in Grace by Sinclair B. Ferguson.
by Emily Bronte
Apple Classics (scholastic)
My rating- 3.5 stars
This is one of the most interesting, disturbing, and depressing books I have ever read. It all started at the dentist’s office. The lady who was cleaning my teeth was asking questions about books (why those people ask you questions when your mouth is full of water is beyond me 🙂 ) and mentioned having to read Wuthering Heights in high school when she was a girl. I had heard of Wuthering Heights before, but had never read it. After the dentist, mom and I went (of all places) to the BOOK STORE. It was just a little bitty store…but what did I see on the shelf? You guessed it–this book.
// This is a tragedy, but not the tragedy it’s advertised to be. Supposedly, this is a romantic tragedy where two people who are in love are ‘cruelly’ torn asunder. But…the real tragedy is definitely the sin displayed in the book.
// Heathcliff. I am sorry, y’all–Heathcliff is simply not a likable character. End of story. 🙂 His mean temperament, his selfishness, his cruelty. Ugh. He’s not a night-in-shining-armor.
// The only characters I like are minor. Yep. If that tells you anything about the characters…they’re not a nice lot.
//The depressing worldview. The whole romance is just…ohhhhhhhhhhhh nooooo. 😦
//The slow beginning. Need we day any more?
//But it was interesting. Despite all my other points…it WAS interesting. I didn’t stop reading it but instead persevered despite it’s depressingness and slow beginning. I would definitely suggest an age start. Probably be a teen before you read it. It’s sort of morbidly depressingly dark.
Grow In Grace
By Sinclair B. Ferguson
My rating- 5 stars
This is the book that I was given shortly after professing my faith publicly. I liked the book then and I still like it now. Sinclair Ferguson is very good at practically applying things and making them simple (yes, he can probably make them complicated too 🙂 ) without dumbing them down.
Some bullet thoughts…
// Good for younger ages. I think the first time I ever read this was when I was twelve. It’s really a great book for (almost) all ages.
//Using Bible characters. I love how the book uses Bible ‘heroes’ as examples. Although it’d important to note that they were used by God and not ‘heroes’ in and of themselves. My favorite chapter is on Jesus 🙂 .
//Straightforward and clear. ‘Nough said.
//Great book on the topic for new believers. I would highly recommend this book for new believers or younger olders (age range 12 and up).
I just felt like putting exclamation marks on this post. I am in a good mood, I guess. Today I am just doing a book review on Beowulf. I am also going to be sharing a scene from my book-in-progress Warchful. The scene takes place a little later on in the book. If y’all aren’t familiar with what I’ve already mentioned about that…it’s a Christian fiction dystopian novel. Mouthful, huh? 🙂
Let’s hop into the review then…
A New Verse Translation…
…by Seamus Heaney.
My rating- 5 stars
Besides the gorgeous fact that this book’s paperback cover allows you to feel the texture of the chain mail (expiring over that fact, BTW 🙂 )– why would you read a book like this? Well first let me just mention that I read this book for the Gileskirk curriculum. And as I’ve been glad for all the other books I’ve read for Gileskirk…so am I happy for the reading of this one.
It’s one of those books that you’re just fascinated by. Okay…that I’M fascinated by (but you might be too, who knows! 🙂 ). This translation is easy to understand and yet Seamus Heaney manages to give you a flavor of times past. True, this story is a legend. So what? It’s an interesting, well-written legend…and it’s classic. But on to some more definitive ‘points’.
// This book (translation, content, etc.) is well-written.
// It gives you a step-back-into time feeling. Enough said.
//It is, however a poem. Not the rhyme type, BTW. If you read this there won’t be any Mother Goose…
//The story is all the wonderful medieval knights and distress and monsters…YAY!
//There’s a difference in the book. I believe whoever the original writer of this poem was a Christian. And I’m pretty sure that the characters in the story were supposed to be pagan. If I’m wrong about that–correction is in order.
//It’s actually interesting. This may seem like a no-brainer…but I just thought I’d add it to make sure that it is clear. There is a deadly fight, there is another deadly fight…and you guessed it–another deadly fight farther along. There are evocative descriptions…things that really get the brain going.
//This book is easier to follow along with than I thought it would be. It really is easier. One thing that really contributed to its being easier…was the fact that they include little notes on the sides of the poem on each page. The notes basically tell you what’s going on. So if you’re lost, fear not! You will not remain lost for long.
And that’s the scoop. So get this book, and read it. And if you’ve already read it…hmm. Read it again? 🙂
What are your thoughts on reading legends?
Do you enjoy the style of old english writing?
What do YOU think of the medieval era?
p.s. Scroll down further for the bonus scene from ‘Watchful‘.
Scene title: Jess in the cafeteria
I stir some lemon spice into my food. I add salt, then slop a spoonful of sauteed onions on the top. The salad bar is next. I pick and choose toppings. I avoid the dairy toppings and move toward the vegetable ones. Cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, carrot shreds, and collard greens.
“You gotta’ try one of these, Jess.” I turn hesitantly to find Garth, Maul holding his hand tightly. In his outstretched hand is a chocolate truffle.
“No thanks, Garth. I- I think I’ll stick with vegetables.” I answer. Garth frowns. Then he turns away, but not before he shoots me a look. It pains me more than I’d like to admit. Letting go of my friend is hard. But I am convinced it’s the best thing to do in light of the situation with Maul. I sweep the room looking for Prisl, and when I’m satisfied she’s not here- take a seat in a quiet corner. I have just taken a seat when I see my ’employer’ out of the corner of my eye. He exchanges comments with several young men, before coming and plunking his plate right next to mine.
“Mind if I sit here?” he asks in a polite voice.
“Uh-no. I guess not. But, um- don’t you want to sit with them?” I ask indicating a table crammed with young men- all of them capitals. He frowns.
“No, I generally sit in the quiet area. I don’t enjoy the rambunctiousness of that table.” he says, taking off his jacket and draping it over the chair.
“Well, I’m sure you don’t want to be seen with a- a tributary.” I get out. There is no way he can sit here. I’ve got to get out of here.
“I don’t see what you mean. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘tributary’– it’s just a silly old ranking for the school. It doesn’t describe the people it names.” So saying he promptly sits down. I unconsciously look into his eyes and exercise my gift. I jerk when I realize how closely I was studying him. He smiles a little at my embarrassment, which I try to cover by taking a sip of water. But I had enough time to read him. Nothing about him rings false. I saw nothing but honesty and humility in his gaze.
“Do you make a practice of scrutinizing people that meticulously?” I panic a little at the question. I try to keep my face impassive. It doesn’t help much. Why does my gift help me zero at hiding my own emotions?
“Yes- uh no…” I stammer. There’s no great answer to this question, anything I say could give me away. But maybe I can just be honest with him. I don’t think he’d turn me in because he suspects something…
“Sorry. I probably just made things more awkward, huh?” I nod before I can stop myself. He laughs. To my relief, his laughter isn’t loud.
“You know, Jess- you’re nothing like so many of the other tributaries I’ve met.” I startle at his using my shortened name. This is such an awkward conversation. I bet Prisl would’ve nailed it.
“Well, if it makes you feel better- you’re nothing like the other capitals.” He grimaces at my flipping the comment.
“I often wonder why there’s so much hate amongst the different people in the different ratings.” Everything about Chase- uh- my employer, is different.
“You really are nothing like the others. None of the other capitals would even question the way things are. They are content to see us as far inferior and below them.” I crumple my napkin in my fist under the table.
“You care about them don’t you? The tributaries?” he inquires, dipping his head.
“Yeah. I care about many people here. I’ve grown with so many of them and I want to help them if I can.” I admit.
“I believe you can change them, and help them too. In some ways, just believing the way you do can change them.” ‘Just believing the way’ I do? He must know something about the religion of Vigor then.
“Thank you. I enjoyed talking with you, and I’m glad that I get to serve you instead of someone else.” the words I thought I’d never say. Who could’ve known a week ago that I would be grateful in working for a young man instead of a girl.
“I enjoyed talking to you too. Here, let me take the dishes to the counter for you, so you can go catch your class.” Chase says. How did he know I have a class? But the mention of the class puts the question far from my mind.
I am super excited to invite you to my VERY FIRST book review with Bethany House! The book I chose to review is…Shadow of the Storm–by Connilyn Cossette. So let me just share the lovely cover first:
Shadow of the Storm
Out from Egypt Book # 2.
By Connilyn Cossette
My rating- 4.5 stars
In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.
When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?
When first I saw this book , I personally thought it looked interesting. And after reading it…I was pleased. It had me hooked from the beginning. It was engaging, sad (to some degree), and well-written. I found it easy to both sympathize and empathize with the different characters. So after this brief introduction to the review…let’s get started.
//The characters… It didn’t take me long to bond with the characters. Shira’s unrealized strength, Kiya’s sweetness, Ayal’s gentleness, and even Dvorah’s bitterness. I was smiling at the characters when they ‘scored a point’ (did what was right), and frowning at them when they did wrongly. And I loved the way children played into the story. Dov and Ari are such sweeties! I have to say though, I went on a roller-coaster ride with all the characters–and had moments of liking them and disliking them.
//The confusion… You had me there. I dangled on a string wondering what was going on. It was more suspense than anything else. I wanted to know what was up with Shira, what was up with Ayal, and what was up with Leisha…and then I got hit with half of it. The other half was left suspensefully for later. And I’m glad the information was withheld from me. Because oh, it just enhances the plot so much!
//The way Shira’s mind works… This point may sound weird. But Shira’s desires make her feel more like a real person, a real girl. True, not all girls are like this. But I know how girls can be…and I’ve struggled in my own writing how much to show of this. The fact of the matter is…for many girls– we’re wired to be thinking: “Oh, handsome guy–could he be the one?”. Instead of trusting God with our features we worry about those things. And Shira has that same struggle. And I applaud the courage it takes to make a character human.
//The step back into time… I so appreciate this. I have always had questions whenever I read Biblical narratives. I call them the: “What was it like?” questions. All those rich descriptions in the Bible. But I always am curious about little details. And while I can’t say with certainty that the things provided ARE accurate (I would not be a good judge of that:) ) it really helps to be given a taste of what it might have been like.
//The message… I have read many books with supposedly ‘Biblical’ messages. I have even read books within this GENRE who’s messages are supposedly ‘Biblical’. But this one actually has Biblical message. I love the message that speaks to healing. I love the message that speaks of trusting God. And yes, putting our futures in His hands is so important!
What you should know..
*This section is dedicated to parents mostly. I want to make it clear what things parents should be aware of before allowing your child to read the book. I believe it’s important that we as bloggers make sure parents are aware, so that you can then decide what your children ought to read.
*All readers please stay tuned for this part! I want you to make the decision based on the dictates of your conscience.
You should be aware that:
//Thisis a book on a young woman who wants to be a midwife. There ARE birth scenes. They are not overly explicit…but if you know NOTHING of birth, you might want to pass on this one.
//There is one scene where a character tell about being raped. It doesn’t go very far or anything, but the girl is punched up and whatnot before the scene reaches its conclusion. Like I said, it’s not terribly descriptive. But it is disturbing, and obviously suggestive. This is definitely where I would say “umm…maybe not show the kids?” 🙂
//There is a scene where a woman tries to entice a man. It’s not too bad. Just bad.(hopefully that makes sense?) The woman only pulls her shirt sleeve down a little–it’s more the suggestion that I would advise caution over. This is another instance where I would advise caution, especially with younger readers.
All-in-all, if I HAD to put an age on the reading of this book I would say (very) mature 13+, and would highly advise the reading of this book FIRST by the parents.
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers. I was not required to post a positive review, but rather to honestly give my opinion– which I have done. All things here expressed are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
At the suggestion of a friend and reader, I am going to do another installment of What I Read Wednesday! I have chosen to review some books I just recently read. Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan, and Till We Have Faces by C.S Lewis.
Just a little background on the chosen books. Where Hope Prevails is the 3rd book in the Return to the Canadian West series. So, if you’re thinking on getting the book, you might just want to purchase the other two first :). Till We Have Faces, on the other hand–is a retelling of the ancient myth of Cupid and Psyche. It’s the kind of book you would expect to be assigned for some mythology reading. Weird me…I bought it as an interesting read. I had read it once before at a dear friend’s house–and found it fascinatingly strange. I don’t think I really understood it the first time I read it, because frankly- it’s a bizarre read. And so when I found the book for the lovely price of $2.00, I determined to give the book another try. And here we are!
Where Hope Prevails
By Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Return to the Canadian West Book # 3.
My rating- 4.5 stars
Because this book is part of a series that I haven’t reviewed…I will provide the synopsis.
She leans forward for her first glimpse of the little mountain town that has captured her heart, but something has changed.
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 too good results. . . .
A companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series
So…uh. That’s the synopsis, but I gotta’ admit…it slightly ruins the other two books. Not hugely (it’s not my fault if their synopsis ruins it!)– but just enough.
I’ll just give some quick thoughts on the book…
Pluses and Minuses…
//The return to Coal Valley was anticipated, and I thought it was a good thing.
//I was surprised at the little things that bothered Beth. Hmm…I still haven’t figured out why she was so upset at the stumps?
//I did find the challenges to be exciting. I think they enhanced the plot.
//The conflict between Beth and Harris Hughes–was frustrating. But I think it was frustrating in a good way. It made me wonder how it would all ‘end’ (it’s not quite over yet…another book must be in the works!).
//Julie…yeah. I like it whenever she enters the story. Mind you, she’s not very wise–but sometimes you just need a slightly frivolous character. And she’s gotten better over time, too.
//The romance aspect. So, I’m TRYING not to give anything away. Although please note that the synopsis is the culprit this time. This book picks up where the last one left off. I think that it was a good idea to show the confusion that occurs during their relationship. It’s good to throw in a little misunderstanding every now and then.
So that’s my very-basic-opinion of the book.
Till We Have Faces
A Myth Retold
By C.S Lewis
My Rating- 5 stars
Pluses and Minuses…
//To be completely honest, the first time I read this–I just didn’t understand it. I would recommend brushing up on your mythology a wee bit before tackling this book.
//I really have NO idea why I like this book exactly. It’s a very interesting story though.
//At first you feel, (along with the main character Orual) that Orual is wronged. That it’s Orual who’s wrong. Then later, well…something just happens. You’ll have to read it, because I really can’t quite explain it.
//I’m sorry…for some reason I just enjoy reading it.
//Age sensitive material..there are some references to some things in here which requires some discretion. I think I would probably set the book depending on maturity. But I guess maybe as rule of thumb ages 13+?
//But one thing that super annoyed me…was the false god aspect. Ungit, Cupid, etc. But hey! It’s a book on mythology. So duh. That’s obviously what I signed up for. 🙂
//I’m not a Lewis geek. I do love this book and the Chronicles of Narnia though.
Well, there ya’ go! Please feel free to comment if you happen to have read either of these books and want to share your thought(s) on them.
Have you read either of these books?
Do you enjoy reading mythology, or are you going *blech* right now?
I am reviewing a book series today. They’re not about the same person. Rather, they’re about 5 different women. So what is this book series that I am reviewing?… Enter the Chosen Daughters series! I will mention the authors on the spot where I always put the author.
Chosen Daughters Series
By Hope Marston, Ethel Herr, Simonetta Carr,
& Christine Farenhorst
My Rating- (Individual ratings will be given in review)
Genre– Historical Fiction (based on the lives of real young women in history)
The first book in this series that I ever read was Wings Like a Dove by Christine Farenhorst. That was so enjoyable to me–that it was quickly followed by A Cup of Cold Water which is the other one written by her in this series.
I’m going to review the books in the order that I originally read them in.
* This is a quick review–it’s only going to give a few little tidbit thoughts.
The story of Queen Jeanne D’ Albret. And though it’s tragic in content…it brings across an important message.
This story shows that believing the gospel can and very well just might turn our lives upside down. This story reminded me not to get too comfortable in my American security.
That it shows me: If we are going to follow Christ we must be willing and ready to lay down our lives for the love of Christ and His Word. And to give up everything!
If you are familiar with the story of Jeanne D’ Albret of Navarre…then you can guess what the ending of this story is. It’s sad. But it’s also triumphant–so this is just me complaining about non-important things again 🙂 .
At the fickleness/foolishness of Antoine D’ Bourbon (prince of the blood). It just shows what happens when your heart is set on pleasing people.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ~Matthew 6:24, ESV, Emphasis my own.
A CUP OF COLD WATER
by Christine Farenhorst
My Rating- 5 stars
*Another quickie. Sorry, it deserves more!
Louisa Cavell’s Story. From little girl to a nurse in Belgium…she became a woman dedicated to prayer and a life of faith.
Her Compassion. The way she took in both enemy soldiers and those she rooted for–she really showed her commitment to obeying God and extending a ‘cup of cold water’ in the name of Jesus.
“For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.”~ Mark 9:11, ESV.
Just a tip. If you’re looking for Joel Osteen’s ‘Your Best Life Now’ (terrible book, btw. Completely contradictory to the Bible.)–story with a happy ending, I would NOT read this book series. Most of them don’t end happily (from one viewpoint)–unless we look at it from the angle of their commitment to Christ and His sustaining power in them. And the legacy they left behind, of course.
I’m Not the Crying Type. No matter the book I can’t really cry. But who knows, you might?
WEIGHT OF A FLAME
by Simonetta Carr
My Rating- 4.5 stars
*I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t find it quite as exciting.
It had a slow beginning. I got a little more prone to boredom reading this book’s beginning.
It didn’t have the same spirit as the other two. It was sad, yes. But I didn’t quite connect with it as well. (no clue why)
SO I LIKED…
The main character. I found her life to be fascinating. Olympia Fulvia Morata–was a remarkable woman in many ways. Intelligent, kind, and brave. I think the book did a pretty good job portraying her (although I obviously wasn’t around when she was alive).
Her story. The family-friendly nature of the book (although the entire series is fairly family-friendly. I would recommend the series for ages 12+.)
AGAINST THE TIDE
by Hope Irvin Marston
My Rating- 3 stars
*I love the time period of the book (Scottish covenanters) but I’m not quite so big on this particular book.
WHAT I LIKED…
The main character. I find I generally like the characters they choose for their books.
The setting. Very few people dislike the idea of a story set in Scotland.
BUT IN THE END…
I got annoyed. I was not liking some of the views expressed by Margaret (the main character).
I was NOT liking the few kisses in the book. They were done with no commitment, and Margaret Wilson was not known to have a boyfriend.
All-in-all I didn’t find the book to be terribly accurate. Although I did find it to lay out the main events in her life and make them interesting.
I’m not going to give a review on Dr. Oma due to length of this post. But I give it 3 stars because it wasn’t quite as interesting as the others. And it confused me a leetle tinsy weensy bit. 🙂
Welcome once again to another installment of What I Read Wednesday!
What -say you, are the chosen reviews for today? The first The Spinner and the Slipper is by Camryn Lockhart. The other book I’m reviewing is Augustine’s Confessions. Here we go!
The Spinner and the Slipper
By Camryn Lockhart
My rating- 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy fiction
This retelling had me gripped from the start. Mainly because I was curious to see how Camryn would weave Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin together. The synopsis for the book has been provided this time. Look at the wraparound cover!
// It was an interesting twist on the two fairy tales.
// It was an enjoyable, well written book.
// The characters were interesting, and I love Eliana’s confusion at one part of the book.
// The increase of tension got at me, and made me want to know how it would end.
// The romance was interesting, and unexpected.
//The inclusion of fey in this story made for some interesting developments.
*I read this book in one sitting. I do that when I can’t put the book down. 🙂
by Augustine of Hippo
A new translation by Henry Chadwick
My rating 4.5 stars
*It is important to realize that this book is pretty much Augustine of Hippo’s autobiography. It is full of his musings and personal feelings/struggles.
// While not the easiest read ever, it is profitable.
// I found Augustine’s struggles with different heresies to be both interesting and informative.
// Hint: You may need to skip over certain parts/ reread them if they confuse you. I skim-read certain portions because I got a leetle bit confuzzled at times.
// All-in-all Augustine’s confessions are confessions to God of his sins- you really get to see Augustine’s heart before God.
// It’s pretty crazy/amazing that he could remember so fully, so many of his sins– and confess them. I mean it’s hard enough to confess to others–but to thousands of readers? (yeah, I know he’s dead.) He had God-given courage.
// Discretion: I think that because of certain of Augustine’s sins…that I might only recommend this to maturer readers. I don’t think that younger readers would survive long reading it anyways, they’d probably get too confused.
// I would never have picked up Augustine’s Confessions on my own. So I am thankful that I had to read it for my Gileskirk Christendom (humanities, history, etc.) course.
NOTE: I don’t know if there is an easier translation or not. I suppose this translation might be as easy as it gets.
What books haven’t you been able to put down of late?