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

unfolding

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

wing.jpg

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

home.jpg

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.

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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

shadowofthestorm

 

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.

*

 

*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

WIRW #5.

Hello!

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

where-hope-prevails

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

 

This synopsis is found here.

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

IMG_1817.JPG
I thought I might just take a picture of MY copy of the book for once. And as you can see, it contains the lovely $2.00 sticker :). 

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?

Are you familiar with Janette Oke books?

What do you think of C.S Lewis? 

Have you read any of C.S Lewis’s other books?

 

~Emmaline

The Brown Recluse

Howdy, howdy!

No, this is not me turning into a cowgirl. This is me messing around with different openings. But anyways…I’m back with another one of my books! My writing posts, I call them. Today, I’m telling y’all about a fun one I’m writing. I don’t know about y’all…but I love ALMOST superheros. What do I mean by that? Well…people with great fighting abilities that want to help people…but minus any powers. No super strength, no climbing walls because you got bit by a spider, you get it. I’m more the Captain America type- minus the serum. 🙂 I do enjoy powers…but I don’t really want to write about that. I want to give this story a more realistic feel. I want readers to feel that this might actually be able to happen. So without further ado, I give you- The Brown Recluse.

 

 

the brown
One of the very earliest covers I ever made for my books, was this cover for The Brown Recluse. Talk about a creepy cover, guys! 🙂

 

Genre: Young adult, thriller, elements of mystery.

Synopsis

A prison boat sinks, supposedly drowning all the prisoners.

A young woman suffers from a spider bite, nearly dying.

A mysterious mentor, trains a woman to fight criminals…

…and Svetlana Ivanov lives a ‘quiet’ but mysterious life in a big city.

 

Excerpt

Prologue

Svetlana groaned, nausea gripping her insides. The constant tossing of the ship increased the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Beside her- Valentina stirred. How in the world is Valentina still asleep when this ship is about to sink? Svetlana wondered to herself.  Valentina opened her eyes. “Where are we?” she asked with a long yawn. “In a ship, below deck, and behind bars- just as we’ve been for the last two days.” Was Svetlana’s not-very-positive response. “Why am I in prison?” Valentina inquired blankly. “Valentina! You ought to know this by now. I already told you that you were suspected of murder…” Svetlana’s voice trailed off and she covered her face with her hands. “Sorry.” Valentina apologized with a sheepish look. “It’s okay.” Svetlana responded in a weak voice.

*

“Captain, we need to abandon ship. She’s about to go down!” a frightened sailor pleaded. “Prepare to launch the lifeboats. The prisoners will just have to stay below deck. We haven’t enough room or lifeboats to fit them anyway- besides, I don’t want to be in a lifeboat with any serial-killers.” The captain mumbled- reluctant to abandon his ship. “Is no effort to be made to save the prisoners?” another sailor asked overhearing the words of the captain. “Some of them aren’t serial-killers, sir.” Offered a tall man in a drenched sailing suit. “You and Abel were ever the compassionate ones, Cedrick. No! There will be no saving of prisoners! It’s every man for himself now. Abel, go and get the jailer and tell him we’re abandoning ship. And another thing- tell the jailer that he’d better shoot the prisoners.” As he spoke the captain began lowering the lifeboats. Cedrick accompanied Abel down the stairs that led to where the prisoners were being kept. As they went down Cedrick hit Abel hard on the back of his head so that he slumped over unconscious. Then Cedrick went down. He found the jailer asleep. Svetlana hopped to her feet when she saw Cedrick. “Cedrick, what news?” she asked in a whisper. “She’s going down- the Captains given orders to shoot the prisoners.” He whispered back grabbing the keys from the jailers. Svetlana groaned.. Why must death come to me so soon in life? She wondered.

He sorted through the keys until he found the key marked ‘7’ then went to Valentina and Svetlana’s cell and opened the door. Svetlana shook Valentina. Valentina- who was pretending to be asleep fell to her knees at sight of Cedrick. “God bless you!” she said. “Valentina, stop talking! We need to go or else we’ll be shot dead with the rest of the prisoners.” He whispered to Svetlana something about hiding below deck while he ‘took care’ of the other prisoners. Svetlana and Valentina exited and found a convenient nook to hide and wait. “Jailer, you have orders to shoot the prisoners.” Cedrick said. The jailer stirred and opened his eyes. “Oh, would that their blood would be on someone else’s hands!” he said, starting to shake. “Get moving, jailer. We’re abandoning ship. Unless you want to go down with the carcasses of the prisoners.” The jailer groaned. “Yes, that’s it! My fate will be their fate. I’m going down with the ship- you go and save yourself, Cedrick.” Cedrick snorted angrily. “No, we’re shooting the prisoners. Much more humane than choking them to death for lack of air.” The jailer nodded. Soon all the prisoners were dead- except Valentina and Svetlana. Svetlana listened to all that occurred- at last it seemed okay to stir. Valentina shivered. “What-what’s going to happen to us?” Valentina whimpered. “We’re getting out of this ship!” Svetlana gasped. She grabbed Valentina’s arm and pulled her through the door of the jailer’s cabin. After turning several times, they were on the main deck. Waves crashed and foamed all around them. One solitary lifeboat offered her welcome. “God bless Cedrick!” Svetlana praised aloud. “He’s left us the last lifeboat!” Valentina exclaimed. Yes, he’s left us the last lifeboat, and at risk of his life! Valentina hobbled into the lifeboat and Svetlana crawled in after her.

 

One

My fingers move, and Val’s pencil taps time to the movement. Everything about Val has changed these last two years. From the little things, to the big. Things like her hair, for instance. In the old days, it would’ve been cut short- right above her ear. And her hair would’ve been slicked. Now her jet black hair falls in soft waves just above her shoulders. Another thing is makeup. She barely wears any of it now. One coat of light mascara and a touch of light pink lipstick. She looks so innocent and sweet without all the dark, heavy makeup. And then she has changed. She’s almost never fussy, and whiny. Now, she’s just quiet. Barely talks to anyone except me.

“What’d you think, Val?” I ask, holding up a light red carnation. Val smiles, and rolls her eyes.

“I think, Svet that it looks like a well-groomed carnation.” I poke her. She pokes me back. Then we both laugh.

“Hey Val, will you pass me that hairclip?” I point at a teeny weenie gold clip across from me.

“Sure.” She answers in a nonchalant tone. I brush back the front of my hair, ‘losing the part’, as Val would say. Then I stick in the hairclip.

“You’re going to be late for work, you know.” Val says.

“I know. That’s why I asked for the clip, silly.” I poke her once again. She just grins. I hop up, and grab my handbag. I turn to go out the front door.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Val’s voice startles me. I instinctively reach to my leg. My gun’s not here. I look around, and yes– Val’s holding it. Ever since Val found my gun one night, I haven’t kept secrets from her. I first only got the thing to feel protected. My past makes it difficult for me to feel secure without a gun. It bothered Val at first. She was abused as a child, much the same as I was. One time I got it out of her that her father beat her whenever she didn’t do what he asked fast enough. But now as I see the gun in her hand, I know having it means much more. It’s my way of getting even with the government. I was falsely accused of murder. My father, who was the real culprit-, turned me in. My gun is carried illegally. That’s not a secret between Val and I. There’s no way I could get a concealed carry permit with a record like mine. And also, the fact that I and Val are supposed to be dead could make it potentially much harder.

“Thanks.” I say, extending my hand and taking it from her. I carefully pull up the right palazzo pant leg, slipping the gun into the hidden holster. I turn to go again.

“Svet?” Val’s voice stops me once again.

“Yeah?” I answer back.

“You look nice.” Her words are simple, but undeniably sweet. I glance down at my 1940’s palazzo pants, and then finger the hem of my classy white tuck-in, button-up shirt. We love world war two clothing. It’s our disguise, so to speak. I figured out that it’s not unusual to find a small group of people who like old-fashioned clothing. There’s really some of everything here in New York.

“That’s sweet of you to say.” It really is. Val always looks perfect no matter what she wears. I, on the other hand, have to work hard just to look ‘presentable’. Then I walk out the door. Val and I never say ‘goodbye’. Perhaps there’s a part of us that’s afraid if we say goodbye- it really will be just that.

*

I pull on my apron and stand at the old-fashioned cash register. I love the coffee shop I work at. They try hard to look vintage. The tablecloths, the waitresses, and the menu- everything smacks of the 1940’s. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to work here. I fit in here. Clara, a fellow employee, and my friend- steps toward the old radio.

“Hit me with it, Svet! What should we listen to today?” she asks.

“Hmm…put on the swing music. But remember Clara, it’s background music- not central.” She laughs; no doubt remembering the time where she flipped it on and the radio volume came out full blast. All the customers were covering their ears.

“Gotcha’.” She giggles. That’s the only thing I don’t like about her. She’s giggles too much.

__________________________________________________________________

Well, that’s it. Sorry about the roughness. This is literally the entirety of the first draft…and I haven’t edited it in forever! 😦

 

Do y’all like ‘almost’ superheros?

Are any of y’all into Marvel or DC?

Who’s your favorite superhero?

Have you ever tried to write a ‘superhero’ story?

~Emmaline