Book Reviews

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Intrigue. Adventure. Mystery.

This was a captivating historical mystery set in London in 1858.

“It’s terrifying, to be on the verge of finally getting what you want.”  

                                                ― Y.S. Lee, A Spy in the House

The characters were quite good. One of my favorite aspects about Mary was her ethnicity. It was quite refreshing to have a non-white protagonist. Further, Mary was independent and fearless; although, she felt a little distant since she chiefly focused on her work. Also, I’m not sure I am a huge fan of how she interacted with James Easton. At first, her sassiness was amusing, but eventually, it became slightly annoying. That brings us to James. He was sweet and kind and his fondness for Alfred Quigley warmed my heart.7507889

The plot was engaging and the mystery had me stumped – I was not expecting it to work out the way it did. I do wish, though, that there were a few more scenes of Mary in action. She was trained to be an agent, but much of her time was spent haggling with James or observing the Thorolds. Further, the villain was pushed to the side. I wish there had been a little more development in that area. And also the villain’s little spiel in which he/she reveals everything… A touch unrealistic and cliche.

This was mostly a clean read, but there were mentions of mistresses, erotica books (a detail I’m still confused about), and a bit of mild language.

Altogether, I really liked the idea behind this one, but I don’t think it was executed super well. Will I read book #2? Maybe. If it’s on sale or I find it at a second-hand store, but I won’t go out of my way to buy it.   

Have you read this book or this series? If so, what are your thoughts?

Book Reviews

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

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I read this book so fast I’m not even sure I’m qualified to write a review. But… I’m going to try anyway. Just let me catch my breath.

“This is all so tangled and so impossible, but God did the impossible tonight. He does it all the time. I’m so overcome by it that I can’t formulate an elaborate prayer. I simply whisper, “Thank you.”
― Terri Blackstock, If I Live

What a smashing ending to this series!

The plot of was gripping and fast-paced and I was completely engaged the entire time. Perhaps there could have been a little more development, but that might have dragged things out too long. The writing was similar – it was concise and said what needed to be said. I think this is a talent as much as elaborate, colourful writing is. It’s not easy to write such an impactful novel while keeping things simple.

I loved how realistic Casey’s character was. Over the series, she became stronger, but she also developed a weariness. It’s been weeks since she discovered Brent’s body and since that day, she’s been running for her life. She’s tired. Blackstock did a marvellous job with communicating these emotions. Again, Dylan was supportive and kind. What a sweetheart! However, in terms of the romance, things moved a little too quickly. No spoilers, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

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Author Terri Blackstock

 

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex. But there was a lot of violence! At one point, I sat back and thought, “People are dropping like flies, no one’s going to be left at the end!” Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, but there was a significant number of murders.

Despite this, though, it was a well written, nail-biting, breath-stealing, ending to an amazing series. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend. If you have, what are your thoughts on the conclusion to If I Run?   

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Book Reviews

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

Wow! Just wow! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. This is just way, way too intense! But one thing I know: I am very thankful that I bought book #3 when I bought #2. (Yes, I’ve already started reading it….)Image result for mary poppins nannies gif

So I liked the first book, it was good, but it didn’t knock me off of my chair or anything. With this one, I was blown away!  

Okay, sorry. I’ll stop blabbering and get to the review.

“Every expression of gratitude is a prayer, which means the practice of intentional gratitude leads directly to a life lived in continual worship.” – If I’m Found

The plot for this book was well executed. I was engaged the entire time and I never felt bored, but I also didn’t feel left behind. Blackstock spent enough time on things to effectively develop them. It is interesting, though, that there isn’t a huge amount of description. This usually bugs me, but Blackstock was careful to mention just the right things in order to efficiently tell the story. She also progressed the events of book 1 or as I like to say, “ She ‘thickened’ the plot.” As a result, I was left hanging and completely overwhelmed by the suspense.      

I loved getting to know Casey and Dylan better. One of my favourite things was being able to see how Casey interacted with someone she wasn’t hiding from. Up to this point, a lot of Casey’s POV was her on her own, running and hiding from others. However, she is finally portrayed openly connecting with another person. Dylan… What a sweetheart. Even though he has been through some difficult times, he is still willing to risk his life if it means doing what’s right. Image result for if i live terri blackstock

I definitely recommend this book (and series!) if you enjoy a good thriller. You won’t be disappointed!

Keep your eyes open for a review of book #3! I assure you, it will be showing up soon.

P.S. I love these covers! So beautiful. They made my Top Ten Covers of 2018

 

Book Reviews

The Songbird and the Secret by Celena Janton

Synopsis: 

When Katharina Simeon makes a secret promise, she never stops to wonder what consequences may come of it. Yet 200 years later, far from her home in 18th century England, that very promise is carried across time and the Atlantic to rest upon her descendant…

Melissa Benjamin discovers her eleventh great grandmother’s journal while researching her senior history project. Sent down a path she never imagined venturing, Katharina’s intriguing story leads Melissa on a quest to find the parents she’s never known even as she unravels a secret spanning generations. During her search, history buff and schoolgirl crush, Tom Berington, offers to help… but will his aid come at a price too high to pay? And what secrets of his own is Tom hiding?

The Songbird and the Secret is a blend of historical and contemporary Christian fiction sweeping from 18th century England to pre-Revolutionary America, onward to life today. As the reader discovers Katharina’s thrilling story along with Melissa, a mysterious tale weaves together the lives of these two women separated by hundreds of years but joined through an ancient family secret. When each is faced with heartrending disappointment, will she cling to the one who loves her unconditionally?

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Review: 

What a lovely read! One of my favorite aspects was the way it spanned from the 1700s to modern times. This gave it such a colorful and broad spectrum. And it was done well! Janton made each time period feel real and alive. I also enjoyed the mystery, it kept me interested and my mind was constantly trying to solve it.

There were quite a few characters which can sometimes be confusing, but in this instance, each different part of the story was kept clear. The characters were colorful and it was fun to get to know them all. Melly and Katherina were especially loveable! Although I can’t say I was a huge fan of Tom, I was not fully convinced to trust him.

Lastly, this was a clean read with somewhat of a focus on Godly relationships. I liked how Janton showed the ramifications of a marriage that is not focused on Christ vs. the blessings of one that is focused on Christ.

I recommend this book to those who love historical fiction mixed with romance, mystery, and contemporary.  

my writing, Ramblings

Thank You Thank You

I would just like to quickly send out a huge a THANK YOU to all those who have read and reviewed by book “Ashes of Glass.”

cat, cute, followers, funny, i, kawaii, lol, love, pics, picture, pusheen, thank, thankyou, you, ♥, everydayiscute

Your words mean a lot, not just because it helps get my book out there, but also because feedback will help me in my future writing projects. It was kinda scary to put my work out there for the first time. I spent months writing and editing “Ashes of Glass” and when I hit “publish book,” there was a big part of me that was worried people would hate it. Despite this, my reviewers have been super gracious and have said many wonderful things. Here are a few highlights 🙂 

Reviews

 

Thank you again! And also, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the strength God has given me. Praise be His name. Soli Deo Gloria.    

E.J. Hill

Book Reviews

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

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Happy Sunday everyone!

First off, I loved the mystery in this book. I think that out of everything, it was what got me hooked. It kept me guessing all the way to the ending; which by the way, held a few surprises (happy and sad).

The characters were so sweet!

Of course, there was a villain and a mean girl, but the others were kind and caring just totally loveable. They made me want to visit Azure Springs 🙂 Specifically, Em was selfless, hardworking, and tender-hearted. Fordham also made a point of describing her as plain and this was great! Not every heroine is stunningly beautiful. This also led to the discovery, (by other characters) that you should not let others define beautiful for you. “Don’t let anyone else decide which kind of beautiful is right for you. You find a girl who brings out the best in you. Who you can see a happy future with. That’s your kind of beautiful.”  What a profound statement! I had to read that twice because honestly, I couldn’t agree more. What are your thoughts?

Anyways, on to the writing.

Over all, the writing was okay. It was a bit cliché in places and didn’t bear too many colorful flourishes. One thing which bothered me, was the number of times Em was described as being very thin. I got the picture after it was mentioned only twice… No need to repeat. Also, I found that the dialogue didn’t always flow super well. The characters said things which came across as random and created some awkward bumps in the narrative.

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity and immorality and I definitely enjoyed this.  

Altogether “The Hope of Azure Springs,” was a heartwarming story about facing the past and learning to trust others. I recommend it to those who love inspirational romances. 🙂 I received a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading!

E.J. Hill