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.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

My Top 5 Reads of 2023!

 It's that time again. The time when I completely lose my mind in the impossible task of choosing just five favorites out of the over 100 books I've read this year. Thankfully, rereads are disqualified, so that narrows it just a bit, but sheesh, this is going to be a hard one, because I branched out and read a lot of new and different things this year that really stuck with me. This may be the most difficult year so far...

First, the honorable mentions, in absolutely no particular order. By the way, I adore all of these!!! 

The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron,  A Beautiful Disguise by Roseanna M White, In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer, A Mark of Grace by Kimberley Woodhouse, The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji, Crossfire by Lynette Eason, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Yesterday's Tides by Roseanna M White, The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theatre by Jaime Jo Wright, The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron 

These were all amazing books! I even pre-ordered the sequels to some of them. 

Now... top five begins...

In fifth, this story had me laughing the entire time, while also keeping me invested in the characters. This duo never fails to challenge me spiritually and write a book that God wants me to read in the season of life that I'm in. I'm ever grateful for this book, as well as completely captivated by Marvella. If that didn't give it away, I'll go ahead and let you know... It's

The Heart's Choice by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Fourth place this year goes to the sequel to last year's winner. When I tell you I read this book twice this year, ordered copies for all my friends, and shared quotes on my Instagram stories for weeks. This book impacted me hard. (Also had me in tears... I'm still not over having my heart yanked out like that!) It's

The Looking Glass Illusion by Sara Ella

Third place, sitting comfy on the podium, is by an author I had never read before. Not just another war story, this book had me reading constantly, even on lunch breaks at work. I love a good "spies whose cover is a married couple even though they don't even like being in the same room as each other" trope, and this book gave by exactly what I wanted! It's 

Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Second, a book from another new to me author. That I reread the parts I loved the most. That I bookmarked and highlighted and used quotes from as my phone lockscreen. That helped me understand the prophets just a little better. It's

Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

And my favorite book of the year, another new to me author. I didn't think this would be my type of book, but let's be honest, I fell for the cover. This first place book had me literally sobbing my heart out. I tried listening as an audiobook, but got so invested that I had to read with my eyes so I could go faster. I've already pre-ordered the newest book in the series. It's

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

Friday, December 29, 2023

Spotlights! New To Me Authors in 2023!

 Hey all! I branched out just a smidgeon this year and found some new-to-me-authors. Not saying I recommend everything by these authors, but here's a list of folks that I just found, some contemporary, and some classic, and even a few translated works.

1. Kate Breslin

2. Mesu Andrews

3. Hannah Linder

4. Yoko Ogawa

5. Yukito Ayatsuji

6. Gaston Leroux

7. Wilkie Collins

8. Denise Weimer

9. Sarah E. Ladd

10. Gabrielle Meyer

11. Olivia Newport

Who have you discovered this year?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Spotlights! Books That Got a Re-Read in 2023

 Hi there! A bit of a different post today, but I'm sharing books that I read in 2023 that were rereads. (AKA captured my heart and mind enough to push them to the top of my ever-growing TBR pile of shiny new books...) Since re-reads aren't eligible for the Top 5 post, I thought they should get their own special time.

In no particular order...

1. The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright (my second time)

2. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (I think my fourth time?)

3. The Striking a Match trilogy by Tracie Peterson (Third... or maybe fourth? time. It's my favorite non-Alaskan series she's written)

4. Fraying at the Edge and Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall (Third time... maybe fourth, now that I think of it.)

5. Books 1-8 of the Jennie McGrady series by Patricia H. Rushford (At least the fifth time... maybe more. These were an obsession in my high school years...)

6. The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella (Fourth time)

7. A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason (Second time)

8. Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason (At least the third time)

9. Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason (Second time)

10. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas (Second time)

11. Not My Will by Francena H. Arnold (Ninth time...)

12. The Looking-Glass Illusion by Sara Ella (I know it came out this year... I read it twice...)

13. Christy by Catherine Marshall (Fourth time)

14. House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson (Second time)

15. Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White (Third or fourth time...)

16. Yukon Quest trilogy by Tracie Peterson (I've literally lost track of how many times I've read this series...)

17. Alaskan Quest trilogy by Tracie Peterson (Again... no clue...)

18. Song of Alaska trilogy by Tracie Peterson (Third time, I think)

What books do you come back to over and over again?

Monday, November 6, 2023

CelebrateLit Tour: Review: Garden of the Midnights by Hannah Linder


About the Book

Book: Garden of the Midnights

Author: Hannah Linder

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release Date: October, 2023

Danger Lurks at Rosenleigh Manor

Enjoy another Gothic Style Regency from Hannah Linder.

The accidents are not a matter of chance. They are deliberate. As English gentleman William Kensley becomes aware of the danger at Rosenleigh, he pleads for truth from the only man he can trust—until that man is murdered.

As the secrets unfold into scandal, William’s world is tipped into destitution—leaving him penniless and alone. His only comfort is in the constant love of Isabella Gresham, but even that has been threatened. When a hidden foe arises from their acquaintances and imperils Isabella’s life, will William be the only one willing to rescue her? And even if he saves Isabella from her captors, will he still have to forsake her heart?


Click here to get your copy!

Review: While it did take me several chapters to get into this book, I find that it does have a gripping story. The main characters are likeable and atypical. While regency is not my favorite of my commonly read genres, I do enjoy a well-written foray into the genre, and that was what this was. Gripping and heartbreaking, while also humorous and warming. I will point out that for the second time in a row, this author went with the thought of her as a sister but then she's not trope and it is mildly concerning, but overall, a nice read.

I did receive a copy of this book to review, but all opinions are honestly my own.

About the Author

Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, and International bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. To follow her journey, visit hannahlinderbooks.com.


More from Hannah

Sometimes, the things we say we’ll never do are exactly the things we find ourselves doing.

Back when I was still wearing two braids and walking around barefoot everywhere, I told myself I would never make a speech. Never. But by the time high school graduation came along, despite a thousand firm declarations that I wouldn’t, my mother shook her head. “I think you should do it,” she said—and because mothers are usually right, I did.

Granted, I read the speech off a folded sheet of copy paper because I was too nervous to face the crowd. And my knees were jelly. And I stood off-centered on the stage instead of behind the pulpit like anyone else.

But I did it.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and remember what it felt like. Standing on the stage, reading my heart, hearing the sniffles and glancing up to see tears glistening in the eyes of endless people I love.

That was special. Mother was right.

Want to know another thing I said I would never do? Re-write a novel. I’ve heard the stories all my life. The author second guesses their own ability and burns their manuscript. Then, years later, they rewrite the story that echoes through the ages as a classic. Or the novelist loses their entire document to a computer crash, so with a blank page and a blinking cursor, they start anew.

I never thought that was something I could do.

I never wanted to.

If I ever lost a novel or was prompted to start over, I would abandon ship and try for a different vessel. Anyway, that’s what I told myself.

Garden of the Midnights was the story I wrote many years ago when I was younger, when I knew less about manors and England and history. I made mistakes. I broke writing rules. I did too little research and too much overwriting…but it had my soul. Somehow, it was alive. The characters breathed. The tears in their pillow, the aches in their throat, became a part of who I was and what I felt.

This was the one. The story I loved most.

But the edits and the mistakes and the problems overwhelmed me. Like the fearful girl in braids who refused to make a speech, I wanted to throw in the towel and say with even more defiance, “I will never re-write a novel. Never.”

But Mother knew what was needed. She knew the story was too much a part of me to tuck away in some drawer, forgotten and dusty, unread by anyone. So she nodded her head and said, “I think you should do it.”

I didn’t want to.

I was afraid because it wasn’t easy.

But because mothers are usually right, I did. Now, Garden of the Midnights is ready. My heart is still tangled in all the words, all the twists, all the secrets—but this time more, because the book has yet another part of me. The part that was fearful. The part that was too close to quitting. The part that finished anyway.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and be thankful. When someone writes me a note that they enjoyed the book, or gets a whimsical tone to their voice when they talk about a scene, or looks up from the pages with tears shimmering in their eyes.

That will be special. Mother was right.


To celebrate her tour, Hannah is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

An Author’s Take, October 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Book Looks by Lisa, November 1

Alena Mentink, November 1

Connie’s History Classroom, November 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Sylvan Musings, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Blogging With Carol, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 5

Betti Mace, November 6

Live.Love.Read., November 6 (YOU ARE HERE)

Wishful Endings, November 7

Cover Lover Book Review, November 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 8

Holly’s Book Corner, November 8

Splashes of Joy, November 9

Labor Not in Vain, November 9

Pause for Tales, November 10