Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир, что отдал Сына Своего Единородного, дабы всякий верующий в Него, не погиб, но имел хизнь вечную.
While I receive many books in exchange for review, I am never required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Review: Yesterday's Tides by Roseanna M. White

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the SS officer he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, never expecting to fall in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. But when war breaks out in Europe, their relationship is put in jeopardy and may not survive what lies ahead for them.

As the ripples from the Great War rock Evie and Sterling's lives in World War II, it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today. 

I absolutely adored this book! The dual timeline is something new for me from Roseanna M. White, and I loved it. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't invested in both. I loved all the characters, and you cannot believe how EXTREMELY pleased I was when I realized that all of my favorite characters got a cameo in the book. I was so sad when I had to leave the WW1 friends, but Margot and Barclay and Brooke and Camden all showed up and my heart was happy. At one point, I was squealing out loud, and I really hope nobody heard me. Evie and Louisa and Rem and Sterling were so perfect. Even thinking about Aunt L and her ending right now is making me tear up again. The grandma's were perfect. I could honestly read a sequel picking right up with Evie and Sterling right this second. I loved that there was sign language incorporated. The espionage was thrilling. The setting was beautiful. I loved the relationship between Evie and the Coast Guards. The whole way this book was sewn together was to die for. I highly recommend to lovers of historical fiction or lovers of Roseanna's books. 

(Also want to mention that Edith is a despicable human and I extremely much do not love her.)

This beauty releases today, so I hope you'll check it out right away!



I received this book as part of Roseanna's street team, but I was not required to post a positive review.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Review: A Mark of Grace by Kimberley Woodhouse

When everything crumbles, her chance for a new beginning hangs in the balance.

Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen and dining room supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes and with little hope of finding love. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth's entire livelihood is put at risk when she lands on the list of suspects.

Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as head chef at the El Tovar. But competition in the kitchen is fierce, and one mistake could cost him his future. As the thefts at the hotel continue, and his affection for Ruth grows, Frank's career--and his heart--are in jeopardy.

As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar. They find themselves growing closer . . . but can their combined ingenuity overcome the odds against them?

 

I've been waiting forever for Ruth's story, and this book was totally worth the wait! There might be a lot of chaos going on here (Let's just say I was getting some anxiety from all the mishaps... I'm sure the characters must've been feeling it even worse!) and there were a few times that I had to put it down for a second to catch my breath. I couldn't ever leave it more than a minute though, because I was just so strongly rooting for Ruth and Frank. The way this book ties up the series is a masterpiece. I felt like I knew that characters so well, even non-POV characters, like Mr. Owens. I also have a phrase stuck in my head now, and it's of the lifechanging variety, since I tend to have a slightly similar personality to Ruth at times: GRACE PLUS NOTHING. Isn't that great? Now, I do have two final things to say, and that is, I knew Oliver's secret pretty early on because I'm a naturally suspicious person and now I'm quite proud of myself, and secondly, while mostly unrelated, isn't there a saying about never trusting a skinny cook? I swear my Spidey senses were tingling as soon as the poor fellow was described. I know I've said this about all three books, but this time I mean it for real... this is the best book in the series! We're going out with a bang! (And a few other loud noises caused by the saboteur and his cronies...) Five stars well earned!


I received a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are my honest own.

A Mark of Grace is available for purchase as of Jan 3, 2023.



Monday, December 26, 2022

My Top 5 Reads of 2022!

 It's that time of year again! The one where I try and come up with a short list of this year's favorites, even though there are so many amazing ones! Remember, these are books that I read for the first time this year. Repeat reads are lovely, but disqualified. (Looking at you, Love Comes Softly!) I'll start with honorable mentions and then move up from there!

Honorable Mentions, in no particular order: Ever Constant by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, Wishtress by Nadine Brandes, The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham, The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas, To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White, and The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham.

These all deserve to be the favorite, honestly, but I read a ton of great books this year. Don't worry. It's also breaking my heart that they can't all be number one.

Without further ado, the top five fiction reads of 2022.

In fifth place, the breathtaking sequel to last year's top read, it's The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep. I love the mix of Sherlock and Dickens vibes, coupled with stunning characters and a story that I just couldn't put down! Anyone who has read book one will be thrilled to see the continuing adventures of our favorite quick witted couple.





In fourth, book two in a series that I read completely backwards. I met the characters in Drawn by the Current and just had to know them better. Cue me binge reading Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green. I adored the theme of adoption and watching the characters work out their disagreements just hit that special part of my heart. This story broke my heart and soothed it all at once. An absolute must read for fans of historical fiction.




I went through a dry season where I couldn't read anything for quite a while. A Gem of Truth by Kimberley Woodhouse knocked me out of that painful spot. I honestly can't even begin to describe how this book was used in my life when I needed it most. For all those people that knock on fiction, just know that sometimes fiction is just the right medicine for a tired and weary soul. For helping me in the toughest of spots, this beauty earns a place on the podium and in my heart.




For most of the year, I thought this next book would be my number one. I read it twice and bawled like a baby both times. A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White really took me by surprise, not that it should've since I love her work. I was deeply attached to every character. I was compelled by the story and immediately wished to have the experience of reading it for the first time all over again. While I adore all of her books, this might possibly be my favorite. It's also notable for being the last time we get to enter the world started in The Lost Heiress. This was the first book I read in 2022, and I couldn't have chosen better if I'd tried. What a deserving recipient of the silver medal.


And taking home the gold today, the book that made me feel like I might be okay with teaching high school, it's The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella. I've read it two and a half times this year, and I'm making all of my ninth and tenth grade students read it as well. (They adore it as well, and alternate between rooting for Chess and wanting to slap him.) The reimagined Wonderland captured my heart like you wouldn't believe. Alice, Charlotte, Chess, Madi, Blanche Lapin (whose name delights me to no end, and I'm sure my French students are tired of hearing about it), and Dinah are such a part of me now. I absolutely am on tenterhooks waiting for book two. The allegorical nature of the work adds a little something special, too. I honestly can't say enough good things about this book. If you haven't read it, do so soon. I promise it will make a special place in your life. 



And a special shoutout to my top nonfiction read of the year, Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. If you haven't read the story of Jim Elliot told through Elisabeth's eyes, you're missing out. There's something so powerful and inspiring in this missionary journey. 



So, what were your favorite reads this year? Do we have any overlaps? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Countdown to Christmas Review: The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham

It's time to start a Christmas countdown with reviews of novels and novellas that are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

 I was looking for a book to put me in the Christmas spirit and spotted this one at the bookstore. I HAD to have it, and it was the perfect purchase! I was chuckling out loud before I even finished the first chapter. Grace's character absolutely waltzed right off of the page and into my heart. I felt that she was a kindred spirit of equal caliber to Anne Shirley. She's certainly one of the most dynamic leading ladies you'll ever see! Frederick was the perfect amount of smoldering hero, too. Usually, I don't care for the male POV that much, but I actually loved his as well. The mysterious air of the whole story was spell-binding and I read late into the night just to see what happened next. Aunt Lavenia is also one of the funniest ladies ever. I want to read more about her! My one complaint, if you want to call it that, is that the romance had a lot more... steam... than the typical books I read. Not in any way a dealbreaker. In fact, I always love a Pepper book, but this was definitely high up there on my list! (in my top 2 Pepper books) What a perfect way to start off the Christmas book season. 



Saturday, November 26, 2022

Review: The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn't help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.

In the present day, Molly Wasziak's life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband's purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?

 This book is the perfect fall vibe! It has corn, it has spooks, it has a bunch of weird stuff that makes it hard to sleep at night. I mean, it's got it all. At first, I was a little suspicious of where we were going with the spiritism and all that jazz, but she NAILED it and the ending was superb. As always with a dual timeline, I started off enjoying the past story best, but by the end was totally into the contemporary storyline. The two tangled together in a way I did not see coming, and, as per usual with Jaime Jo Wright, I had absolutely no clue who was the bad guy until the end of the story. I am so good at guessing antagonists in suspense (I'm pretty sure I have at least a silver medal in the sport) but she gets me every time. There were even a couple other plot twists that I did not see coming but that I cannot speak of because it will be a spoiler, but they got me good. Perliett was a fun character to follow around and her annoyance with George was hilarious. Molly is such a touching, heart-breaking character that you'll just love to know.

Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is still my all-time top favorite book by her, but if you don't mind spooky vibes, you should grab a copy of Premonition and try to solve the murders.

Have you read it? Comment below and let me know if you caught the villains?

I was a part of Jaime Jo's launch team and received a free copy of the book. However, all opinions are my own.



Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Review: A Gem of Truth by Kimberley Woodhouse

Escaping her shattered past is much more difficult than she imagined.

Julia Schultz has a reputation for being a storyteller, or as others see it, a liar. But with her dark and painful past, stories are all that have kept her company throughout her life. Longing for a fresh start and a second chance to earn real trust, Julia takes a job as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel, where she's challenged to be her true self.

Learning the trade of a master jeweler is hard work, but Christopher Miller takes pride in running his family's small shop and earning the respect of the people around him. But when he discovers that he has six weeks to buy his building from his landlord before it is sold, he must find a way to save his grandfather's legacy.

United by the discovery of a legendary treasure, Chris and Julia find hope in each other. But when Julia's past catches up with her, doubt creeps into Chris's heart. Can he really trust her and her stories? 

At first, I was having a hard time getting into this one, but I soon realized I was not liking reading on my phone because I was in a mood. (Sometimes you just need to be able to hold it, am I right?) As soon as I got the print copy, I was able to devour it like it out to be devoured. The characters in this book are very dear to me, and it's so hard to explain. Ruth is my absolute favorite and I was going to pitch a fit if she didn't get done right by, but no worries. No fits here! I'll be honest here. Ever since coming back for the school year, I've been feeling so dry and shallow inside. This book touched me and I think healed me more than I ever expected or anticipated. I was in tears for most of the last hundred pages. I identified with Julia's struggles (well... not so much the lying... but the rest) and there were so many things that I wanted to happen in this book that absolutely did! I love it more than book one and I'm moving it to my favorites shelf post-haste. Happy Release Day to the book that was a balm to my heart just when I needed it most.

While I did receive a review copy, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you read it yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Have a lovely day!


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Review: The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson. 

There are books and characters that grab your heart and just stick with you for ages. Jackson and Kit and Graybone and Frankie are just those sorts of characters. I loved seeing the relationships forge new paths and grow deeper in this second installment from this series (which I hope and pray continues for many more books. Two is not enough. I'll be satisfied with no fewer than ten...) While the incorrigible Kit is running around solving mysteries and keeping her ex-crew out of scrapes, Jackson is chasing even more mysteries, and they just can't get on the same page. The characters grow so much during this stunning show of London's squirmiest places, and the story is sure to capture you and take you back in time in the most intriguing way possible. The unique style here is captivating and if you love a fun mystery with plenty of romantic notions and hijinks, or if you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes and other detective stories, you'll love Blackfriars Lane and the folks who live there, although I beg of you to read book one first, so that you can enjoy the interactions between characters to the fullest. Pre-order this novel soon! You won't be disappointed. I've read it straight through with hardly a break for air, so you must know it's a keeper.


I was sent a free copy of this book to review, but of course, the opinions are my own.