BHBR| Beloved Hope

Well lookie here! It’s my monthly review for Bethany House. Ever since I read and reviewed Treasured Grace I had hoped I would get to review this book (and I want to review the rest of the series too!).

 Beloved Hope

Heart of the Frontier Book #2.

By Tracie Peterson

My rating- 5 stars

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I love this sequel!

I am absolutely in love with this series so far. I love the prairie setting and the characters. I was happy to see that Tracie also included characters from Treasured Grace (and they were a pretty big part of it, in fact!).

To me this story is filled with journeys.

Hope’s journey, Grace’s continuing journey, Mercy’s journey (I loved how we get a view of her before her story comes out!), Lance’s journey, etc.

When I was done I had a moment of WOW. We went from anger, pain, misery, bitterness–to sweet, loving, trusting in God. This is so amazing. But let’s get a little specific here…

Hope is a lovely character

In the first book we see her as somewhat fickle and flighty. With her string of suitors and her flirtatious mannerisms. But wow! Character development, people.

She’s gone through a lot (read the other book for that) and it shows. I am glad I got to peek into her story as I identified more with her than Grace 😉 .

Re-visitation of old characters

I love when people use their old characters. It’s not so much reusing them as revisiting them. Alex, Grace, Mercy, and other characters return.

Intro to Mercy

Mercy is the sister who seeks education. You have Grace–the healer, Hope the romantic, and now Mercy the learner. I fully expect her to find someone when she goes for school but…for now she’s single. 😉 She’s also very young at the moment. (but prairie days were different)

One thing I like about her is how she doesn’t just go with the flow and marry one of those random proposal guys. (there’s a shortage of woman and plenty of men who need-want wives 😆 .) There are several jerks where they live btw so expect it.

She has dreams of her own, and yet she’s willing to conform her dreams to God’s will. Can’t wait for Cherished Mercy.

And then there’s Lance…

I wasn’t expecting much of a link with the main dude and the first book, so I was surprised when one occurred. This story is told in about the same perspective style as Treasured Grace. It switches from Hope to Lance on a regular basis.

I love the development between Lance and Alex. I am not going to spoil anything that the synopsis wouldn’t spoil so no more details. Just know I liked it. 😉

One part is ermmmmm…

When we get there…there’s a part right after someone gets married where I think it went borderline too close. I didn’t personally feel very comfortable at how close we got to ‘too much’. Basically, it was there to show how someone overcame their difficult past–but I think it could’ve been shown in other less suggestive ways.

 

 

Otherwise, I loved it! You should read it. Just read Treasured Grace first (book one). 😀

Emmaline Lucille (1)

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own. 

 

 

BHBR| Treasured Grace

Yay!

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.

Treasured Grace

Heart of the Frontier Book #1.

By Tracie Peterson

My rating- 5 stars

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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.

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WIRW # 7.

Welcome once again, What I Read Wednesday!

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

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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.

I liked…

//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

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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.

I liked…

//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.

Sadness…

//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

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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.

~Emmaline

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.

BHBR| Shadow of the Storm

Good afternoon!

As I informed y’all awhile back, I am now doing book reviews with the Bethany House Blogger Reviewer Program.

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

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Synopsis

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.

 

Praise…

//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:

//This is 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.

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*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. 

 

 

~Emmaline