Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy Palmer Review

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Synopsis

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she’s forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart.

But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?

My Thoughts

Every once in a while I like to take a break from my usual reading diet of dark, mysterious thrillers and cleanse my palette with a cutesy fun contemporary. This story was the perfect break from my usual morbid fare.

The story follows Apryl, who has always struggled with her self esteem, as her twin sister Courtney is well loved “shines at everything”. Apryl hides her pain with a lot of sarcasm and forced humor and although I found it funny at first, there were times when I felt like it was too much and made Apryl less likable.

The business that Apryl and her sister make from their grandmother’s antique store was very creative and I loved reading about all the wedding stuff.

I enjoyed the romance, it was sweet without being too quick. The faith content was also very strong with a great message.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I would recommend.

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

More than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: More Than Words Can Say

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: May 7, 2019 More Than Words Can Say

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Thoughts

This novel focuses on a marriage of convenience between Abigail, the owner of a bakery and Zacharias, a rough around the edges young man in 1896. I usually enjoy stories that focus on marriages of convenience because it’s enjoyable to see the couple go from acquaintances or strangers to people in love…this book was no exception.

The characters of both Zach and Abigail were some of my favorites in historical fiction. Abigail had a very sweet but assertive demeanor and her determination was admirable. I also appreciated that she was a “curvy” girl and I loved that Zach was attracted to her curves. Zach was a bit gruff on the outside due to his difficult upbringing but his gestures showed that he truly had a heart of gold. His interactions with Abigail were adorable and swoonworthy (which is a word I very rarely say in reviews!)

There was no lack of action in this story…there were many surprises and plenty of drama to keep it interesting.

My only issue with the story was the emphasis on the sexual tension between the two main characters…it was brought up too often for my taste. Realistically, it would be something on their minds but I felt that the author visited the subject too much.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first journey into a Karen Witemeyer book and I plan on journeying into others in the future!

I received this book from the publisher/ author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Witemeyer_Karen1Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

 

More from Karen

Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Familyseries have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s websiteproved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 15

She Lives to Read, June 15

Real World Bible Study, June 15

Carla Loves to Read, June 15

Baker kella, June 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 16

EmpowerMoms, June 16

Daysong Reflections, June 16

Through the Fire Blogs, June 17

Genesis 5020, June 17

Lighthouse Academy, June 17

Bigreadersite , June 17

Among the Reads, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 18

For The Love of Books, June 18

C Jane Read, June 19

Inspired By Fiction, June 19

Mary Hake, June 19

Hallie Reads, June 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Living Life Free in Christ, June 20

Connect in Fiction, June 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 21

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 21

Stories By Gina , June 22

Worthy2Read, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 22

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom , June 23

Vicky Sluiter, June 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23

Wishful Endings, June 24

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Texas Book-aholic, June 24

A Baker’s Perspective, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

amandainpa , June 25

janicesbookreviews, June 25

Britt Reads Fiction, June 26

Quiet Quilter, June 26

Older & Smarter?, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 26

LifeofLiterature, June 27

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , June 27

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 27

Emily Yager, June 28

Lukewarm Tea, June 28

By The Book, June 28

The Becca Files, June 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer Review

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Synopsis

For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.

Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?

My Thoughts

Although I’m not a fan of romance, I always enjoy books by Kim Vogel Sawyer. She is very gifted in her storytelling ability and I always find myself immersed in her books. This story is set in 1895, during the Atlanta Cotton Exposition. It is 30 years after the Civil War but racial tension is still running very strong.

Sawyer addresses the issue of racism in a realistic way without sugar coating the ugliness and hatred that was present.

The main character, Laurel is courted by a very wealthy man named Langdon. It is very clear throughout the book that Langdon’s character is extremely poor but Laurel doesn’t see it. I became extremely frustrated with her and it ruined my enjoyment of the book a bit.

I loved the setting of the story, the sights and sounds of the Cotton Exposition were described very well and I felt as though I was there.

Overall, this was another good story by Kim Vogel Sawyer but it wasn’t my favorite.

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The White City by Grace Hitchcock Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

The white CityMysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

Click here to order your copy.

 

My Thoughts

First of all, the cover on this book is gorgeous and really pulled me in! This is the first in a series of books called True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime that focus on true crimes in the past, told from a fictional perspective.

The White City focuses on the Chicago World’s Fair and America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes…a man who built a hotel in Chicago that was full of dead ends, torture devices, trap doors, and many more confusing things to lure people in just to kill them. For some strange reason, I am very interested in true crime stories and so I was very eager to pick this book up. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a book that mainly focuses on Holmes and his sinister practices, this may not be the book for you.

The main focus is the romance and love triangle that forms between the main character, Winifred, and her two potential suitors. The romance was sweet but, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that romance is my least favorite genre. Luckily, there were some great scenes that took place at the World’s Fair, which I loved. I’m always excited to read stories at carnivals, fairs, circuses, amusement parks, etc, so this was a lot of fun. I also loved Winifred’s courage and independence, which was less common in her day. It was fun to follow her on her undercover mission and there were moments when I was on the edge of my seat and very concerned for her safety.

There were also some great scenes that took place in Holmes’ “murder castle”  but not enough to satisfy my penchant for mystery and suspense. For anyone nervous to read this story because of the content, I would assure you that it’s fairly tame. There are a few references to some of the gory things that had occurred but the author allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I think the verdict for this book is that it just was not the book for me. I did enjoy it but I went into reading it with the wrong expectations. It was definitely a fun book and I highly recommend it to those who are looking for a sweet historical romance with some creepy suspense thrown in.

I received this book from the author/publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

grace hitchcockGrace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance BridesThe Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

Guest Post from Grace

True Colors—Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

The Real Criminal Behind the Story

While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notionsMarch 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book51e5obPqP-L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

This was such a lovely story. It follows 3 women, all struggling with things in their lives and journeying to discover what truly matters.

It takes place in Cornwall, England, a place I’ve never visited in books or real life, and I really enjoyed the time I spent there in this novel. Not only is the book set in a very quaint seaside English town, a large portion of it takes place in a bookstore. What more could a book lover ask for?

The characters in the story were all people that I would love to be friends with. I adored the friendship that was formed between Sophia and Ginny and Emily was such a sweet- natured girl that I was rooting for throughout the entire book. The romances were also very well done and not rushed or unrealistic.

The faith content was subtle but very well done and I loved the message that was given through it.

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable story to escape into. Lindsay’s writing style is very easy to slip into and I would definitely read more of her books.

My Rating

4 stars

I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the AuthorB1TqqyVuflS._US230_

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at LindsayHarrel.com.

 

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances.

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life.

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself.

And that, to me, is the true power of story.

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26

The Avid Reader, February 26

The Power of Words, February 26

Carla Loves To Read, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Inspirationally Ever After, February 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27

Real World Bible Study, February 28

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 1

Andy Carmichael, March 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Just Your Average reviews, March 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3

Emily Yager, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Genesis 5020, March 4

Reader’s Cozy CornerMarch 4

Stories By GinaMarch 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 6

Inklings and Notions, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Pause for Tales, March 7

Book by Book, March 7

Living Life Free in Christ, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

To Everything A Season, March 8

The Lit Addict, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10

Janices book reviews, March 10

Bigreadersite, March 10

Henry Happens, March 11

Godly Book Reviews, March 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11

amandainpa , March 11

Giveaway

Image result for the heart between us

To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of Lindsay’s first book The Heart Between Us!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcc3/the-secrets-of-paper-and-ink-celebration-tour-giveaway

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron Review

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Synopsis

A storied castle. A band of rebels. And a nation chasing the centuries-old dream of freedom . . . What legacy will they leave behind?

When Laine Forrester travels to France to attend her longtime friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find a bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks–a devastating diagnosis, a castle restoration put on hold, and the emergence of deep-seated family dynamics that threaten to derail the new couple’s fledgling marriage–it seems the storybook life Laine had imagined for her friend–and once, for herself–is suddenly crumbling before her eyes.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending for one of them, Laine throws support behind her friend and agrees to accompany the couple to the groom’s family home in Ireland, where the merging of a mysterious inheritance, long-buried wounds, and a fractured family set out to upend the trip from the start. It’s in the unlikely corners of a historic Dublin pub, and across the wide-open moors bordering Ireland’s majestic Wicklow Mountains, that Laine is slowly drawn in by the land and the people, sparking hope for something she never imagined possible: the courage to heal. But with secrets of her own–and a heart afraid to trust again–Laine must determine how much she’s willing to risk in mending the broken places within herself, and whether she believes that even through the depths of our pain, a beautiful story can emerge.

Set in three time-periods–the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century, Ireland’s turbulent Easter week of the 1916 Rising, and present day–Castle on the Rise weaves a story of legacy, conviction, and redemption against the backdrop of Dublin’s storied streets, and the stretch of Ireland’s stunning emerald shores. It raises the question: given the choice between the fairy tale or a life of truly anchored faith–which legacy would you choose?

My Thoughts

This story is told in 3 different time periods (present day, 1916, and 1798) and follows many characters in Ireland. All the stories involve a crumbling castle and manor near the Irish Sea.

The story is very atmospheric, as I read the words, I was swept away to Ireland and felt as though I was travelling along with the characters. Kristy Cambron is very gifted of describing everything so that the picture is very clear and vivid.

I found the book to be very educational as I had never learned about the 1916 Easter Rising or even the snugs in Irish pubs (which I found very interesting and had to google pictures after reading about them).

I did find the plot to be a little bit dull and I was not very interested in any of the romances. I also felt as though the story didn’t seem like a Christian fiction story…it seemed more like a clean fiction story.  I also at times got confused by the number of characters and the 3 timelines switching back and forth.

Overall, the atmospheric quality of the story was my favorite part.

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson Review

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Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret?

Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster . . . or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.

When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen—and usually does.

When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?

My Thoughts:

I was not familiar with the story of Mulan as I had never seen the movie but I was still interested to read this re-telling. The story is very interesting…a young girl who dresses as a boy to fight in order for her mother to keep their home. Of course along the way she meets a handsome man.

The story was full of action and adventure. Set in the 1400s, a time of religious strife, there is plenty of tension and drama. I found it interesting to learn about the Teutonic Knights and their somewhat hypocritical and legalistic views.

Mulan was a great character and wonderful role model for young girls…she was strong and courageous and went against the norms of what a young lady should do.

The faith content in the book is excellent, there are many references to God’s will and sovereignty. The content is clean and I would not be hesitant to allow my 12 year old daughter to read it.

Overall, this was an enjoyable historical fiction re-telling. I think many people would enjoy the story, especially if they love the story of Mulan.

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.