Finding Lady Enderly: A Net Galley Review


I love a good mystery with a bit of humor and romance. This wonderful story had all three and was one of the most creatively written novels I’ve had the privilege to read. The author was new to me and I enjoyed this so much I am already exploring some of her other works. 

The basic premise is a bit of a Cinderella story. A poor young lady is given the opportunity to live a life of opulence for a time as she pretends to be someone she is not. The enticing presentation of a solicitor, who guarantees there is no harm nor illegal act, is too much for her adventurous curiosity. Since she learned of the death at sea of the young man she loved, she has been looking for a way to escape her life and this seems to be the opportunity. Soon, however, she realizes there must be something awry in spite of all the fine promises of the solicitor. 

Two things struck me as I read this novel. The first was the way in which the author presented the story. Current trends lead novelists to write in 3rd person limited fashion with usually two lead characters (one male and one female) giving us insight into their perspectives, but not from the personal perspective of I. In this novel there was a shift in perspective, but one used 1st person (the heroine) and one used 3rd person limited (the hero). I was initially surprised by this style but ended up absolutely loving it! It kept the writing fresh and alive and my attention was completely held from page one. 

The second was the setting. I loved that the mansion our heroine arrives at is actually a abbey which was once used by monks. Its history and beauty shone through the author’s pen and made me want to live there myself! Not because of the opulence, but rather because of the meaningful spiritual context. 

Finally, I loved the complex plot and unexpected twists throughout the narrative. I was continually surprised and ready to learn what would happen next. 

I highly, highly recommend this novel! I can’t wait to read more by the author.
Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Song of Joy: A Net Galley Review

NetGalley

Lauraine Snelling has been one of my favorite historical novelists for quite a number of years. I was first introduced to her through the Blessings Series, which I eagerly awaited new titles as soon as I completed one! Dakota Treasures and the Secret Refuge Series were both compelling sets as well. It has been a while since I picked up one of her novels, so I was really excited to start turning the pages in A Song of Joy, the fourth title in Under the Northern Skies. 


As with many of Snelling’s titles the story centers around a Norwegian immigrant. I love the setting and time period for this particular title. Set in 1911 in Minnesota, it is a time of simplicity and new innovations all at the same time. Nilda, originally from Norway and most recently from a small farm near Blackduck, MN, works alongside Mrs. Schoenleber. The older woman completely trusts Nilda, who acts a sort of personal assistant. She is also quite altruistic around town and with those whom she encounters, much to the consternation of her brothers who are more miserly and greedy with funds from the family business. It becomes increasingly apparent that these brothers are conniving. Nilda, meanwhile, is struggling with memories which haunt her of a man who attacked her. He is no longer living, but even in death he makes her life a nightmare.

I love how Snelling weaves truths from Scripture throughout the pages. We see the very real struggle of what it is like to live with the darkness which comes to someone who is attacked. I appreciate her ability to empathize and guide the reader through what the experience is like. I also appreciate the advice given by Nilda’s family and employer to help her through this time. 

I also find the struggle some of the characters have with English a truly beautiful thing! We learn a few Norwegian words along the way, but are reminded that those new to our country may need some help, not to mention patience and understanding, when they come to this country. It is easy to take our native language for granted. 

There are three novels previous to this which I have not yet read. Although I greatly enjoyed the book, I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series in order to fully appreciate the family structure and know the background of the characters. I myself intend to go to the beginning of the series and read them all!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Noble Guardian: A Net Galley Review

NetGalley

Quality, clean historical fiction is my favorite genre. I don’t mind a little mystery as long as it isn’t too intense. Neither some romance, as long as it remains clean. A Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep filled these requirements well! 


This is the third title in The Bow Street Runner Trilogy. I have not read the first two titles, but this story stands alone and it is not necessary to have done so. I love that it is a pretty lengthy book! I love reading long books where there is plenty of time for character development. 

This particular title was peril-filled! Lots of action and adventure follow the heroine and hero along the way. I did have some trouble getting a good feeling for the setting, but I think this may have had to do with the nature of travel in the book. The heroine is traveling to meet her fiance and in the process the hero must accompany her for safety reasons after she is attacked. I do think if I had read the previous novels the setting would have been a little easier to grasp. 

I did like the heroine of this story. She is plucky, but also naive in many ways. At times I felt her reactions didn’t match other parts of her expressed character, but then I remember none of us is able to be exactly predictable in our natures. 

Like most romance stories there is a lot of will-they/won’t-they play back and forth. I appreciated that it was handled well and with tact. The more “romantic” descriptions were very tasteful, but were still a little deeper than I would have my daughters read until they are older, maybe college age. They aren’t interested in romance yet anyway, but I do keep that in mind as I am reading. 

I was pleased with the closure. There was miscommunication and misunderstanding, not all the fault of the characters, but it was cleared up eventually and everything tied up nicely. I do not like cliff hangers or unresolved endings and I was quite satisfied with how things tied up with both of the main characters as well as the young child who plays a significant role in their story. 

I would highly recommend this title, but I think going back and reading the first two in the series might be beneficial to getting the most enjoyment out of this one. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Perfect Silhouette: A Net Galley Review

NetGalley

It’s been a while since I picked up a title by Judith Miller. I have always enjoyed her writing and I was not disappointed with A Perfect Silhouette! 


One of the things I enjoy about Judith Miller’s storytelling is the constant theme of redemption. No one is ever beyond forgiveness or repentance and this is beautifully represented in her novels. 

The main character, Mellie, is a sweetly innocent girl thrown into the necessity of working in a mill town. She’s used to living a comfortable life, but she finds must help her sister meet financial needs because of her brother-in-laws misdeeds. Morgan, the hero, is not who he presents himself to be. Things become quite complicated faster than Morgan is able to deal with them, especially as the two begin to realize their feelings for one another.

I love how their innocence and honorable behavior is portrayed. We need more pure love stories that stir the emotions without leaving the reader blushing. Judith Miller does a wonderful job of this in a way I would be completely comfortable allowing my daughters to read her writing when in middle or high school. 

I also admire the progression of her characters. Even though both begin with high moral standards even in the beginning, they grow in their faith and maturity throughout the chapters. 

*Slight spoiler…but not too much!*
My favorite part of this books is as I mentioned before, no one is beyond forgiveness or repentance. Two characters in particular show this played out. One is Mellie’s roommate. I love how forgiveness leads to a repentant heart. I know it doesn’t always work out this way, but seeing this gives hope for a real-life answer to prayer such as is given in the story. 

The second character who shows this example is Morgan’s mother. I honestly was surprised at the turn of events at the end of the novel and it was nice to be surprised in a pleasant way! It is lovely to read a story where there not true villains in the sense of most literature, merely souls who need to be reminded of the love of the God most high. 

This is again and excellent read and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for something to capture your heart and give a happy ending. This is one I would love to see created into a television series or movie! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World: A Bryan Davis Novel Review

Last spring we attended our state’s homeschool convention and I met some wonderful publishers and authors! One of those authors was Bryan Davis. I was already familiar with Davis’ writing because he hosted a writers conference for homeschoolers at our church several years back. My kids were pretty young then and I don’t think they were even school age yet, but this author who took the time to teach and mentor young aspiring authors was suddenly on my radar! He is already well known for his fantasy series including Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire and many others.


In Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World the reader is transported into the mind of Eddie Hertz, a 12-year-old inventor. Eddie may not be very big, but he is brilliant and has created a wide range of gadgets to help him fight against evil in his city. The city may already have a hero, but he is certain there is enough evil for him to join in the fight! Eddie’s younger sister also joins his team and helps him along the way in this fun, edge-of-your-seat novel.

My daughter, Rose, is 13 and devoured this book! She is an avid reader anyway, but has very discerning taste when it comes to fiction. She asked me if there were more novels by the author she could read, a sure sign it is a winner!

Personally, I love several things about this artfully crafted novel. The idea that kids can be used in a mighty way is very biblical. The Scriptures are full of young boys and girls who did great things. We teach our children truth from Scripture, but I want their entertainment to reflect these truths as well. This novel in particular values heroic attributes which are echos of Scripture.

In addition to reminding kids they can do great things, there are also themes of forgiveness, hope, family togetherness, and good vs. evil. Super heroes and villains are very popular right now in our culture. I’m beyond thrilled to give my girls the chance to read a story that is just as wholesome as it is inspiring. I highly recommend this to your entire family!

Disclaimer: I was given this book by the author, Bryan Davis, in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own. 

A Secret Courage: A NetGalley Review

One of my favorite periods of history to read about is World War 2. My own grandfather served in the war and I’m sure this is what fuels my interest in this period. A Secret Courage is the first fiction title I’ve read from Tricia Goyer. I was very excited to give this novel a try and I was not at all disappointed!

A Secret Courage is set in war-time England and centers around the covert operations of the war. Wars are fought and lost upon the backs of the dedicated men and women willing to risk their lives to uncover the secrets of the enemy. It is hard, often overlooked work because of the need for secrecy. I loved learning about how covert photos were taken and analyzed in secrecy. It was a fascinating side of the war I was unfamiliar with prior to this book While the history fascinates me, I do not enjoy reading fiction books which end up feeling like a history text. The author skillfully weaves in the historical information with accuracy and grace so that I was engaged through every page. 

I also liked the slightly different take on the love-story. As with most historical, romances I had a pretty good idea from the beginning which characters were going to get together, but rather than the usual cat-and-mouse game authors tend to give their readers, these two quickly came together. Now every good love-story needs some challenges to overcome, and they are definitely present, but I won’t tell you about those and spoil the book for you!

I was also surprised by the ending. Again, I do not want to spoil it, but it was anything other than a neatly wrapped-up story. What I can assure you of is you will not be disappointed. It was one of the best historical fiction books of the World War 2 era I have read in a long time.

Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer: A TOS Review Crew Review

Peggy Consolver Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}Novels are always one of our favorite things to review! Rose in particular loves historical and biblical fiction. She was quite anxious to start reading Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer from Peggy Miracle Consolver – Author.  Set during the time when Joshua led the Israelites to victory in Canaan, this novel has captured my daughters imagination. She has been reading 2 chapters a day and I keep catching her picking it up during other times! We love living history books and this fits beautifull right into that genre. While it is fictional, the historical information is abundant and extremely accurate. Don’t worry though, this is in no way a history text! The author has the ability to weave the historical facts surrounding her setting into the story so that it blends beautifully. So in addition to being a very enjoyable read, your children will be learning at the same time!    

 This is one of Rose’s favorite spots to read. Our Puppy Penny loves to cuddle with her while she reads on the beanbag chair! She had just started the book here. After reading the first couple of chapters she was already eager to read more. It is so important for authors to grab their audiences within the first few pages and she does this well!

 I would say this would be ideal for middle grades on up through high school, and even adults if you enjoy this genre! It is not a book for a struggling reader. All three of my daughters are reading several grade levels ahead. Rose is reading on a 10th/11th grade level and finding resources for her which are age appropriate and still engaging her at a level that will meet her ability can often be a challenge. This beautifully written book is completely safe and perfect for her as a pre-teen. A wonderful study guide is also available to use! In it are videos, deeper historical information, maps, and more. This resource would allow this to be a wonderful unit study for your family or a co-op setting.        I could go on and on about this novel, but I’d also like to let you hear from Rose and her perspective of what she liked.

“I like this book tells the side of the story of the Canaanites, not just the Hebrews. They are the main characters of the story. There are a lot of books which tells the side of the story of God’s people and it is good to read it from the Canaanites perspective. I also like all of the history in it. It is well researched and makes a better story if it sticks to the facts that are true. I know it is a fiction book, but I like the history.” Digging deeper into the history of God’s Word through literature is an amazing adventure! Here is a message from the author about why she chose to write this novel.  

 

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 Don’t forget to check out what my Crewmates had to say!

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Circle C Stepping Stones: A TOS Review Crew Review

Kregel Publications We are big-time readers in this house. I know the book-shelf conundrum is always an issue for homeschoolers, but it was an issue for me before we started homeschooling! My girls can often be found reading in their spare time and literature is never a struggle. We are always on the lookout for quality, age-appropriate fiction titles. Sadly modern fiction is often lacking the values we wish to instill in our daughters and often crosses into content or language we find inappropriate. I was so very excited to introduce my girls to the Circle C Stepping Stones series by Susan K Marlow from Kregel Publications
 Andi Under the Big TopAndi Saddles UpBeth and Grace read each one of the two books in the series so far, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top.  They loved both stories and are now swapping books so they can read the other. Andi is growing up in 1880’s in California on her family’s ranch, the Circle C. These sweet chapter books show how Andi deals with friendships, trials, and misconceptions all in a way which is age-appropriate to the audience. There are 6 books planned in this series and I have no doubt we will be collecting all of them.            Beth said her favorite part was the Andi is the same age as her! She is 9 and I think it is great that she has books written to her and about a girl like her. She also liked that Andi lives on a ranch and is about horses. Beth, like most girls, would love to own a horse so I think she enjoyed putting herself into Andi’s place. She also wants to be a veterinarian so her love of animals is reflected as well!Grace says her favorite part was that it was about the circus. She is 7 and so Andi is slightly older than her, but she is the youngest in the family, which Grace can relate to very well! She also thought it was neat that she had her very own horse. She loves chapter books, but being young still appreciates that there were illustrations within the pages.

Another really great feature is that each book has a study guide, coloring pages, and a lap book! The book itself is great, but if you would like to build a unit around it, you can do so easily.

 Grace really liked the vocabulary section as she loves learning new words and exploring the English language in general. Beth really liked creating and naming her own horse. I know they were really engaged in these stories because during their playtime after reading they played ranch with their toys. The best literature always engages creativity and imagination! This new series fits snugly within the other Circle C series which follows Andi from young girlhood through womanhood. The concept for these books is spectacular. There are a lot of books about young girls and growing up, but this is the first series I’ve come across which writes about the same easy-to-love character at appropriate reading levels which reflect her age and take her through all of her growing up years! This is the first of the books I’ve been exposed to. Now I’m very excited to get the next series for my oldest daughter.  You can read more reviews from my Crewmates below!  Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Melanie Dickerson has done it again! I was captivated by this newest title from the first page to the last. Her retelling of classic fairy tales crates the backdrop for delightful new stories. I love not knowing which tale her stories are based on and then figuring it out as I read. This newest tale takes a privileged yet essentially imprisoned maiden on a journey to discover who she really is and who she wants to become.

The heroine, Evangeline, is the cousin of the king and an illegitimate relation as well. She is so closely guarded that very few even know she exists and she is never permitted off the castle grounds where she lives. In a desperate attempt to avoid a dangerous marriage arranged by the king she fleas in disguise along with her maid. Together they attempt to hide in a far away town. To do so she must deceive the chivalrous man who provides them sanctuary.

I found myself spellbound as I read. I cheered both the heroine and hero on to find real love. I also enjoy the way faith in God is presented. One or more characters are always on a journey in Dickerson’s novels, and they seek to know God, not just accept what a bishop or priest is telling them. Quiet often the one joy in their day is simply reading from God’s Word. What a blessing to be reminded of how precious the Word of God should be to us!

As soon as I finish each of Dickerson’s novels I’m anxious to find out when the next will be published. There are few authors who delight me novel after novel, but Melanie Dickerson is definitely one of them!

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Haven on Orchard Lane: A Net Galley Review

A Haven on Orchard Lane  -     By: Lawana Blackwell  
My mom introduced me to the author Lawana Blackwell many years ago through The Gresham Chronicles. I’ve loved her ever since! It has been a few years since she has published a new book, so I was very excited to read A Haven on Orchard Lane. I was not disappointed!

The story centers around the rekindled relationship of an estranged mother and daughter. While I do not relate to that specifically, I did enjoy the interchange and growth which occurred throughout between the two characters. While this is the main story, out from it come many branches and side stories which are intriguing and carefully crafted. The setting is a quaint seaside English village. As I read I felt as if I were walking the streets and left me with a desire to visit one day!

One of the unique and enjoyable aspects of Lawana Blackwell’s stories is the abundance of colorful characters and the intertwining of their lives. This beautifully written story focuses mostly on two women, but the many wonderful characters leaves you feeling as if you are a part of the charming community. Characters are artfully crafted and feel very realistic. You will feel as if you know each one personally as you read.

As with every book I’ve ever read by Mrs. Blackwell I was sad to get to the final page. I hated to say goodbye to the quaint village and charming characters. I dearly hope this is not the only novel about them!