Book Reviews

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

“I felt in this new adventure I was rousing to life again. I was a butterfly, newly emerged from the chrysalis, damp winged and trembling with expectation.”

This was an exquisite tale! 

I was instantly struck by the writing. It is so beautiful and deep. Raybourn does not simply tell the story, she paints a vivid landscape. Simply put, it is a piece of art. Also, this story was intelligently written. Either the author is talented lepidopterist like Veronica or she did some thorough research. Further, the author created such vivid characters. In some ways, Veronica was naive and in others, she was experienced. Through it all, she was feisty and absolutely fearless – she faced calamities with cool composure. Her relationship with Stoker was amusing and intriguing. Obviously, it is a slow burn romance, but Veronica keeps him at arm’s distance and treats him with placid indifference. I am very interested to see how this relationship develops… As for the man Stoker. He was a stormy individual who, at first, I was not entirely drawn to; however, as the story progressed, I found myself learning to like him.  30008834

“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.”

While the plot was entertaining, I found that it was rather bogged down by dialogue. Stoker and Veronica talk so much that it became exhausting. Yes, it was elegantly written, but it was excessive. Also, this was not a clean read. There is mention of crude language, plus some that is written out and while there are no explicit scenes, it is alluded to and Veronica is a woman of loose morals – her trysts with foreign men are frequently mentioned.      

I do believe, though, that I will read the sequel. I am curious to where Veronica’s adventures will lead.

“That is the hallmark of a good partnership, you know – when one partner sees the forest and the other studies the trees.”  

P.S. Aren’t the covers stunning?!? I am very much in love with them. ❤

Book Reviews

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher

This was a sweet and beautiful contemporary romance with a dash of historical flavour. 

Ashley and Ben both had spotty pasts. Ben as a recovering alcoholic struggled with the past and rebuilding relationships, while Ashley wrestled with the pain of a brother addicted to drugs and alcohol and with finding peace in God. These two people connect when Ben approaches Ashley for help with his new equine therapy facility – Harmony Barn. They labour on this project together and eventually find themselves falling for each other. But it isn’t all sunshine and roses; no, there are disappointments and hardships. Yet, through it all, Ben and Ashley are moulded into stronger characters who see God’s hands through it all. 

There is also a lovely connection between Ben’s family Bible and flashbacks to the 1940s and Andrew Hennings experience of World War II. This aspect connected beautifully to the previous book and added another tone to the story. 

The writing, while simple was neatly done and Hatcher did a wonderful job conveying the emotions. This was also a clean read which was quite enjoyable.    

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Book Reviews

Hearts Unshackled by Amy Klaus

This fantasy story is set in Andorvia and is full of dangerous politics and heart-wrenching twists and turns. At times, I felt like I was on a roller coaster! 

The characters were colourful and interesting. Katherine, especially, was sweet and kind. I did find, though, that their names were reminiscent of current royalty. 

For example…

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Prince George of Maledonia

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King William of Maledonia

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King Phillip of Ehtrington

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Queen Beatrice of Ethrington

 

While the plot was compelling, I found that it dragged in some spots. I think if the author cut almost 10% of the “in-between stuff,” the story would be a little more concise and engaging. 

Lastly, I loved that this was a clean read! I didn’t have to worry about language or any inappropriate scenes. That was so refreshing!  

 

Book Reviews

Lost Girl (Neverwood Chronicles #1) by Chanda Hahn

This book was AMAZING!!! I could not put it down and it easily became my favourite Peter Pan retelling. It is such a unique twist on the story – it is a MUST read. 

The characters were absolutely loveable. Wendy was smart and brave even though she faced great challenges. And Tink…! I was never a huge fan of Tinkerbell, but in this one, she stole my heart. Of course, we can’t forget about Peter. What a darling. 😉 He was a leader, but he was also vulnerable and sweet.  

The writing was enjoyable. There were a few typos here and there, but it was nothing terrible. And the plot totally had me hooked. XD I was in over my head the entire time. Image result for tinkerbell gif

I can’t go without mentioning the ending, though. ARRRGH what a steep cliffhanger! After everything that happened Wendy… Well, I better not spoil it. Haha

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read. There is mention of Tink swearing, but her words are covered by bells that ring at the same frequency as her voice.

So anyway… YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. It is incredible and it only has 232 reviews on Goodreads! It deserves more than that so please, give it a try.     

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Book Reviews

Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer

I was expecting a fairytale retelling or at least something along those lines, but Wolves and Roses is not your typical fairy tale retelling. 

This book follows the story of Bryar Rose who is told that her life is the Sleeping Beauty template and that she mush marry her prince charming on her eighteenth birthday after which her curse will be broken etc. etc. But my goodness! What ensued is definitely not your typical fairytale. Bauer took multiple fairytales and worked a complex plot around them. It was creative and exciting!

While Bryar Rose was a good protagonist, the characters as a whole were rather bland. They were a little too perfect and although they seemed to have the lives of adults they acted and were said to be in their teens. It was kind of weird. Once, Bryar and Elle comment on having stolen from a company for years. But that doesn’t totally make sense because if Bryar is 17, years would have made her around 13 (15 at the oldest). The inner wolves of Knox and Bryar were rather annoying. Especially Knox’s wolf would not stop commenting on how Bryar was a good mate. Strong mate. Smart mate We find best mate. etc. etc.  Also, the romance was rather cringy… 

“Knox stretches, and since he’s still wearing his rock star pants and fitted T-shirt, I’m really enjoying the view. Knox is ripped…” 

Enough said. Moving on.

While I was engaged most of the time, I can’t say I was a huge fan of the writing. To me, it felt rather unprofessional. 

“I click through pic after pic.”

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“This is me, going for the door.” 

While I don’t mind that in dialogue, I don’t care too much for it in the storytelling. 

Lastly, this was not a clean read. While there is no sex, at times the characters use strong language – especially Knox.   

Altogether, this was an interesting read, but I don’t think I will be reading the sequel. 

Book Reviews

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa Tawn Bergren

This was my second time reading Waterfall, but I still enjoyed every bit of it! 

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something is more important than fear.” 

The main character Gabriella was absolutely amazing. She was brave and intelligent and kind, but not perfect – I actually really enjoyed being inside her head and getting to know her. Bergren does an excellent job keeping things interesting and balancing between Gabi’s thoughts and actions. The love interest, Marcello, was definitely your chivalrous knight in shining armour. I did like him; although, I felt we didn’t get to know him super well. Also, their relationship wasn’t quite as developed as I would have liked. But, hey, there are two more books. So we have time for that.

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“Sometimes the heart tells us to venture where the mind fears to tread.”

The setting was 14th-century Italy and Bergren made it feel quite authentic. It’s clear that she did her research. Her writing was also delightful. It was not flowery, but it was engaging. I felt drawn into the story from the very start and there was no point where I felt like skimming because I was getting bored.     

My greatest qualm, though, is the title. It’s beautiful and compelling, but while reading, I never made a connection. I get that the girls fell into a “river of time” and fell down a “waterfall” into the 14th century, but that was never brought up in the book. 

Lastly, this was a clean read.

“We all have freedom of choice. Over and over again, minute by minute. How will you live your life? For yourself? Or for others? For something good? For love?” 

I definitely recommend this book to those who love an adventure tinged history and romance.  

 

Book Reviews

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

This is another book I picked up at my local book fair and as usual, it’s hit and miss with those. This one… Well, let’s just say it didn’t quite touch the target.

The idea behind this story is compelling – the history explained in the prologue had me intrigued! And Alera was in the position to be an influential and strong character. However, she was rather boring and her decisions were quite childish. Related imageIn one instance she demanded to be present at the interrogation of a prisoner and I thought, “Yes, this character is growing.” But then she tattled on her bodyguard and my thoughts were the exact opposite.

I did like how the author ended the book. As cringy as the outcome was, it left room for an interesting plot to develop in book #2. However, I don’t think I will be reading the next book. And enough said – I will leave it at that.

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Book Reviews

Verity by Lisa T. Bergren

This was an enjoyable adventure about a brave young woman who left her home to independently create a living for herself. Despite the place of women during this time period, Verity bravely left home and with diligence and hard work, carved a place for herself in the world. Along the way, she met Duncan’s brother, Ian, who helped her in her endeavour. Their relationship was sweet and slow; although, at times I found there was too much thinking about the other.

The author did a lovely job of creating the setting -it was a colourful and exciting world. However, the plot had some valleys. There didn’t seem to be that forward drive that gives a novel its energy. Verity’s journey and shop opening were too easy for me – there was no conflict that generated intensity.    

Lastly, this was a clean read which made it all the more enjoyable.  

P.S. Isn’t the cover beautiful? That dress is gorgeous. XD

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Another beautiful cover…

Keturah (The Sugar Baron’s Daughters #1)

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Ramblings

The Painter by Arleen Jennings

Today is the last day of Indie April and what better way to celebrate this month than by sharing a book from one of my good friends. I beta read this book and it has been such an amazing journey to see Arleen pour herself into creating it. I haven’t read the finished version, but it’s on my to-read list and I’m excited to do it.

BLURB

While painting, Claire jumps at the sound of a loud crash, which causes her to drop a loaded brush of paint onto the watercolor paper. She manages to spill the jar of water too. The painting is ruined. Or is it? To her astonishment, three perfectly painted teenage boys fill the paper. But how? Once she realizes others can see the boys too, she’s at a loss. Not knowing what else to do, she turns her attention from how it happened to why.

Weeks later, Claire is stunned when she meets a woman at Frontier Days who recognizes the boys in the painting. Though her account is heartbreaking, the details spur Claire to ask for permission to come see where the boys grew up. There she meets Chase, a strong yet broken rancher.

As their friendship deepens, more of Claire’s paintings change and she is determined to find their purpose. An unlikely cast of characters weave their way into her heart and turn this unbelievable tale into a real-life adventure of love, loss, and the need for forgiveness.

WILL CHASE’S PAST CAUSE HIM TO DESTROY ALL THE GOOD THAT CLAIRE UNCOVERS THROUGH HER PAINTINGS?
‘Love gained, love lost . . . calamity makes or breaks a man . . . and yet, sometimes it’s both.’

 

FIRST PARAGRAPH

Claire’s heart raced as she walked into Casper Events Center. The Wyoming High School Art Symposium was her favorite event of the year and she wanted to see every exhibit. As soon as they entered the auditorium, she grabbed Tim’s hand and hurried him toward the first display booth. “Isn’t this cool?”

 

 

Book Reviews

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

“She walks with grace upon the clouds, and the stars know her by name.”

What a  stunning read! There were many things I expected and many did not come to pass. Which was wonderful. It just proved that this was not a novel I could predict and this made me enjoy it all the more.

Although some may say that the story began slowly, I found that this time which Brienna spent at the school, allowed for some wonderful world building and also allowed me to become well acquainted with Brienna. Who, by the way, was quite sweet and brave. She was so loyal as well – she risked her life for her country and for the people she cared about.

“There are many secret doors around us, in plain sight. We just don’t take the time to find and open them.”

The writing was lovely. It was colourful, but not in a pretentious way. It flowed naturally through the story and gave it a delightful flavour.

This was also a clean read. Which I honestly was not expecting, but it was a pleasant surprise. 38739550

But wait, I cannot go without vaguely mentioning the ending. I loved it! Not what I was expecting, but I’m glad it unfurled this way. Also, it ended with a neat closing. This could definitely be a stand-alone. Yet, there is a second book? I’m not convinced it’s necessary, so I suppose I will have to read it and find out.   

“Passion is wholehearted devotion; it is fervor and agony; it is temper and zeal.”

Ta ta for now!  

P.S. Aren’t they both beautiful covers?!? Simply gorgeous! ❤