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, December 28, 2021

My Top 5 Reads of 2021!

 Taking all the books that I read for the first time this year (there are several honorable mentions that were not first time reads- Looking at all of Roseanna M White's books here...) here are my top five reads for this year.

In fifth place, the most recent book in the Rizkaland Legends series by Kendra E Ardnek, Love and Memory. Love and Memory is a massive, I mean MASSIVE, tome of a portal fantasy and I adored every moment of it. The characters are complex, the world building is awesome, and can we have a moment of appreciation for Laura, who has to be the best character ever written ever. While some things can get a little confusing sometimes, Kendra does an amazing job with this series, which is Indie published, something I'm excited to share with you because that's impressive to get in the top five considering how many books I've devoured this year. 

Coming up next, in fourth place Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham. I absolutely love Pepper because she takes me to the Blue Ridge in the most perfect way each and every time. This dual timeline story swept me right into the Biltmore estate, a place I've visited several times, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the special insight she brought to a place I already love. While it did take me a second to get into the dual timeline, I was hooked long before the ending, and definitely recommend it.

And on the podium, we have our third place, The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen. This was a new author for me, but I absolutely couldn't have asked for more. I adored the story, even spending my entire day off one week this summer reading it straight through. What's more, I even posted a review immediately, which generally only happens when I'm overwhelmed with how perfectly a story ended. I need to get my hands on more by this author in 2022.

Second place (Silver medal, anyone?) goes to A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse, whose new series explores the Harvey Girls in the southwest US. Emma's story resonated with me in a way I didn't expect, and Emma's verse was a verse that at that moment in my life, was already pulsing through my entire being, which just proves that God works in mysterious ways that include historical fiction. From Psalm 34- I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

And my top read of 2021 goes to... (((I really hope y'all are drumrolling)))

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep. This wasn't the first of her books I've read, but I think it's my favorite so far. I was so into the story and my goodness the plot just did exactly what I wanted it to (with of course a few frightening setbacks along the way...) and the characters were so real to me that I didn't want to book to end. Ever. I wanted to stay with them forever. I want a sequel. NOW. I absolutely adore this book, and you should definitely read it if you have time. (AKA make time...)

What about you? What were your favorite reads this year? Let me know in the comments. Anyone loving the same ones I do?

Friday, December 17, 2021

Series Review: Millie Maven by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

Millie Maven, a fearful orphan girl who lives with her strict, evil aunt is trapped in a life of cruel punishment without any friends. So on the night of her twelfth birthday, when old Aggie of the woods invites her to take a journey that can change her life forever, Millie knows she has to go. Unsure but desperate, Millie embarks on a great adventure that takes her to the distant, mysterious world of FIGS, the FarPointe Institute for Gifted Students, where she might discover her true value through gifts that defy belief. 

I was not actually expecting these books to be as good as they were. There are three books in the trilogy, and they didn't take long for me to read. (Mainly because they're for 8-12 year olds... which I am not) I ordered these for my classroom during a Black Friday sale. I love the idea of a Christian portal fantasy aimed at kids, and I was hoping the storytelling wouldn't be too hokey, as sometimes happens in this sort of genre. Thankfully, I enjoyed the series. My one complaint is that I feel like the books could have been longer. They didn't really thresh out the depth of all the characters they were trying to spotlight. The worldbuilding also suffered from the lack of length, leaving somewhat to be desired with the world of FIGS. It felt rushed. So much happened, what could have taken a whole year at magical otherworld boarding school, and it only took three weeks or less from what I can tell. However, when I finished the last page of the last book, I wanted to go back and enjoy the adventure again, and I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to FIGS. I think the world of Millie Maven is a good choice for the age group, however, there are some spooky parts that the younger end of the range might be creeped out about. I enjoyed delving into the message of the series though and I think it's awesome for a children's series to so heavily emphasize that God's love, infinite, eternal, will strengthen us through every trial we face. I would say the theme of the series is that our identity is found in Christ, not feelings. I would recommend this series if your children enjoy fantasy type settings and you're looking for a clean but still magical story.