Book Review: Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

lovecomescallingThe thoughts of Ellis Eton are definitely something you will enjoy being privy to. She is an engaging main character unlike any I’ve ever read before. Her quirks are endearing, and her personality is fun. I chuckled many times as she once again found herself in the middle of trouble without quite knowing how she got there — or how it could be fixed, for that matter.

I read the entire book in one sitting, accidentally staying up past 3am to finish because I just couldn’t put it down. It was a light read, similar in that way to the author’s novel Unrivaled, but I enjoyed this novel more. It must be because all of the characters, not just Ellis, were more vivid and colorful. And the writing is even better. I can’t think of a single pet word, and the story was very smooth. The length was perfect, not rushed but not drawn out.

I wonder if there would ever be a sequel…

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr

adrawofkingsI enjoyed this novel so very much, and I believe it is the best in the entire trilogy. Mr. Carr’s writing is more polished, more vivid, more captivating. The people and places (and creatures) Errol and company encountered were so alive in my mind that I stayed up past midnight several nights in a row because I couldn’t pull myself from the pages.

My only regret when I closed the cover on the final page was that the adventure was over. I already miss the feeling of anticipation that I enjoyed when picking up one of the books for the first time and going on those new adventures. As with the first two, this wonderful conclusion of the tale kept me guessing to the very end.

I hope Mr. Carr keeps writing fantasy, as this trilogy is one of the best I have ever read in the genre. They will always hold a very special place on my bookshelves.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

dancingmasterJulie Klassen has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read The Girl in the Gatehouse when it was her latest novel. I’ve gone on to read all of her other books as they’ve released, and I’ve enjoyed each of them. While The Dancing Master isn’t my favorite (I think that would have to be The Tutor’s Daughter), I was drawn into the mysteries in the various plot lines, and I was taken by surprise more than once! Prior to reading this novel, I thought little of how young people learned dancing, so I found it quite interesting to read about a dancing master!

Julia was a multi-faceted character, and I liked seeing her change and grow. I think Alec was a great match for her, and his character was intriguing. Lady Amelia surprisingly ended up being a favorite, as did Desmond (no surprise there). The other characters were memorable, and I didn’t feel that the story would have been what it was without each one. Even Alec’s horse had a purpose in the story. The places in the novel felt real, and I would love to have visited Buckleigh Manor and Medlands. The old church building too.

I don’t recall anything that popped out at me as far as pet words or problems with the writing, but then, I couldn’t put the book down and therefore read it in a single day. So I may have missed something. But that’s okay because the story kept my attention very well. It was a wonderful Sunday read, and I look forward to Julie’s next novel.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer

sweetsanctuaryKim Vogel Sawyer is a story-teller. I enjoy her characters, her plots, and her settings. But most of all I enjoy the deeper meanings she weaves in, how the characters depend on God to get them through the events that unfold.

Set during WWII, a time in history that I find captivating, the deep stirrings of war and danger make for a serious set of circumstances that only God can work out. I loved Micah’s involvement with Jeremiah’s mission, as the Jewish people hold a special place in my heart. Lydia was an engaging character, and I enjoyed her unwillingness to back down or give up. Nicky, of course, was a joy to read about. And Justina is just too adorable for words.

I did pick up on a few pet phrases or words, and the trying-not-to-fall-in-love thing did get pretty old pretty quickly (mainly because within the first few chapters I figured out who would end up with whom). But both could be overlooked when in the middle of the dark alleys of New York or the gripping coming-clean scenes.

All in all, I really did enjoy this novel. By the time I finished, I felt like I had read a 400+ page story because the author packed in so much. I wish there was a sequel.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

chasinghopeThis was the first novel I’ve read by Kathryn Cushman, and as usual when trying a new-to-me author for the first time, I was skeptical. The subject sounded interesting, but I wondered if the story would be. It was. I enjoyed it very much, and I’ll tell you why.

The voice Kathryn used drew me in with its lively feel. Sabrina was interesting, her past cleverly kept secret from the reader as well as the characters trying to uncover just what haunted her. Brandy ended up being one of my favorite characters, though I must admit I wanted to smack her many times. I so enjoyed the grandmothers, and of course Koen was dreamy! All of them felt real to me, as though I could look out my window at 5AM and find Brandy running by while Sabrina looked on. And speaking of running, as a backdrop it was interesting, and as a theme it really was deep, the message encouraging. I felt like cheering when I read the last race, and I loved the epilogue!

I enjoyed the flow of the story, and the characters were real, each with his or her own unique dialogue style and personality. The writing/editing was very good overall. One thing really nagged at my inner editor, and I am pleased to say that it was the only thing that did: the use of “further” instead of “farther” when referring to physical distance. It’s a common enough mistake, but I must admit that it did irk me very much with its recurrence throughout the book. Like I said, though, it was the only thing I picked up on.

All of that to say that I will definitely be reading more by Kathryn Cushman, and I will be recommending this novel to my family and friends!

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Stranded by Dani Pettrey

strandedI blew through all three Alaskan Courage books in no time, reading one after another in rapid succession. I enjoyed each one, and I must confess that I wondered if they would continue to be as good as the first one. I was not disappointed!

With Stranded, I was pulled into the mystery right away, of course, and enjoyed the setting aboard a cruise ship. It was unlike any novel I’d read, and the twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing. And what Darcy uncovered was quite a surprise. It was intense, real, and made for a wonderful story. In fact, it was so real that I don’t want to set foot on a cruise ship anytime soon!

My inner editor picked up on some pet phrases that have been carried throughout the series, but the story kept me so engaged that I didn’t mind. The characters were interesting — not a single flat character in the bunch! Piper remains my favorite, but Darcy was fun to get to know. And I really enjoyed getting the inside scoop about Jake. He’s so cool! I’m looking forward to digging into his character more as the series continues. I can’t wait for the next book! And I wish the McKennas were real. ;)

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

abrideforkeepsI was a little skeptical of reading what at first I thought was a romance about a mail-order bride, but I’m glad I took a chance and read this novel. To me it isn’t a “romance”. That’s not the central thread. It’s part of the tapestry of the story, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it. I enjoyed how it seemed to be a picture of God wooing his beloved.

The characters were interesting, and I was surprised by the plot more than once. Again I realized that this wasn’t the typical romance — even though I had the ending figured out before I opened the book. Everett’s struggle was realistic, and Julia’s vulnerability was very tangible. I admire her for staying the course even though she was tempted to give up. My favorite scene was when she finally let go and realized just how much love God was filling her life with. Well, and the ending scene. Love was the final word, just as it should be.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

amostpeculiarcircumstanceBeing in Arabella’s head was fun. I enjoyed her spunkiness and determination to stand up for what she believed in. And the fact that she didn’t let Theodore put out her inner fire. Their relationship was interesting to watch as the story progressed, and I enjoyed seeing the changes in their hearts and minds.

There were times I felt the dialogue was too modern, and I spotted a few pet words here and there. But nothing my inner editor couldn’t get around for the sake of enjoying the book. It was definitely better than the first book in the series, so I’m glad. And I look forward to the next book Jen shares with us readers!

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

intothewhirlwindI have read every single novel Elizabeth Camden has written, and I love each one of them. I enjoyed Against the Tide so much that I was a little uncertain about reading Into the Whirlwind. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wasn’t! Well, maybe a little because I knew Bane wouldn’t be in it (wink). But Zack is a pretty cool dude too, so I was satisfied. He’s perfect for Mollie, even though she was a dweeb and didn’t think so.

The backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire really drew me in. It felt real to me as I tagged along with Mollie through her journey. Her thoughts and emotions leapt off the page, and I experienced them with her. I know what it’s like to watch your life go completely out of your control and land somewhere you didn’t expect, so I really identified with Mollie. I was inspired by her resolve not to give up, and I came away from the book feeling encouraged and strengthened.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Unrivaled_mck.inddAs of writing this review, I have read all but one of Siri Mitchell’s novels, and I must say that this is novel has a very different flavor than the others I’ve read (pun intended). It has a lightheartedness that the others didn’t. I was surprised at first, but as I became used to it, I enjoyed it very much. I still heard her voice and saw her style in the plot and characters, and that was enough for me to feel that despite the change, I was still reading one of my favorite authors. The characters and setting were colorful, and the plot was interesting. I enjoyed Lucy and Charlie as main characters, and I wish they were real.

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+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.