Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: The Governess of Highland Hall

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents' financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn't sure what to make of the estate's preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin's two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families--common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia's steadfast heart over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall's future?

This book was very predictable and full of cliches. It had a good storyline and the potential of being a great book but the author chose a safe route. Hardly anything was original about it, and the characters, especially William, seemed one dimensional with hardly any personality or individuality. Also the ending seemed to come too soon and it left several loose ends.
It was well written though (aside from the characters) and there were some things I liked about it, like how it focused on both the family and the servants, and I could picture all of the scenery pretty vividly in my mind. Not a terrible book but not all that good either.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Twilight's Serenade

Twilight's Serenade (Song of Alaska #3) by Tracie Peterson

Britta Lindquist left Sitka six years ago in an attempt to distance herself from the love of her life, Yuri Belikov. Upon her return, she finds Yuri absent and his wife about to deliver a child. When tragedy strikes, Britta suddenly finds herself caring for Yuri's children---and her life intertwining with the man she's tried so hard to forget.

But Britta's other great love is for the violin, and her talent is recognized by Brenton Maltese, a conductor from England. The coveted first-chair position in his orchestra could be hers... but what is the cry of her heart?

At a crossroads, Britta must determine
               what her heart truly longs for---and
                                          if she's willing to fight for it.

I finished this book several weeks ago and kept forgetting to write a review for it. This was the third book in a series and I have read the first two books before it. It's not super fresh in  my mind but it was pretty good and I did enjoy it, though if I remember correctly I don't think it was quite as good as the other two books in the series. Britta wasn't the typical heroine of these type of books and I liked that, and the book did take some turns that I wasn't expecting. However, the series is supposed to be music oriented (being called Song of Alaska) but I don't think there was a single part in it where Britta played her violin. They did talk about her trip she went on where she played in some orchestras but that happened before the beginning of the book, and I kept expecting there to be a scene where she finally gets out her violin and plays again, but if I remember correctly that never happened. Still, it was a cute love story and a good ending to the series. I have read several books by Tracie Peterson and I will read more. She's one of my favorite authors.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: What Once Was Lost

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?
This book was sooo good! I got swept into the story right at the beginning and read it pretty steadily right to the end! Though I had to take breaks because one day I left it in the living room and my mom picked it up and started reading it and got into it as well! lol! It was a good story and well written. It was the third book I've read by this author and so far I've liked every book I've read by her, and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. This book had a little bit of everything thrown in, and a good cast of colorful characters that you grow to love. (and hate, lol) I definitely recommend both the book and author to others!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: Child of the Mist

Child of the Mist by Kathleen Morgan

In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1564, superstitions threaten a truce . . . a traitor plans his attack . . . and a new love is born.

 An arranged betrothal was never the course Anne MacGregor imagined her life would take. Yet when her father explains that her cooperation is the only way to bring about the long-sought truce between feuding families, Anne has no other choice.

A simple ceremony pledging Anne's hand in marriage after one year of commitment is the only seal to the promise of peace. But when the arrangement requires the reluctant Anne to follow Niall Campbell back to his home, she soon discovers that peace is not so easily achieved. Before they even arrive, rumors about her abound, and her safety is threatened. Meanwhile, Niall's ascension as leader of his clan is in jeopardy, as a traitor works to bring about his downfall.

As Niall and Anne begin to see beyond each other's defenses, love takes them by surprise. But will it be enough to defeat their foes? Or will the truce be broken, their lives forfeit, and war return to their beloved land?

I downloaded this book for free on the iBooks app and it was actually a very good read! It had me pulled in from the very beginning and I read the first half in only a few days. Then somewhere near the middle I slowed down a bit, but then picked up pace again and had it finished pretty quickly. It had just the right amount of action, romance and suspense. I did find parts a bit redundant as the two main characters kept going back and forth, arguing and acting like they hated each other one minute, then they would right things only to have something else happen that caused them to be mad at each other again almost immediately. This went on for quite a while, but other than that it was a very good book.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Forever Friday

Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis

Every Friday, a postcard
           Every Friday, a love poem
                     Every Friday for sixty years

Adam Colby is just doing his job, sorting through the Alexander belongings remaining after the estate sale. He is unprepared for what he finds in an old photo album, overlooked by the bargain hounds and treasure hunters---six decades of postcards and poems from Gabe Alexander to his wife, Pearl. The mystery of the Alexanders' love entices Adam, a man unhinged by divorce and puzzled by the depth of commitment that he finds in the unabashedly romantic cards.
Forever Friday invites you to travel back in time to the early twentieth century Texas Coastal Bend where a young couple---Gabe and Pearl Alexander---are swept up in a miraculous love. As the heartwarming, pulse-quickening story of their relationship develops through Gabe's poems, the Alexanders reveal a new way to consider what it means to be truly devoted to each other. Could the secrets of their love affair, laid to rest twenty years ago, hold the key to one man's future?

This was an enjoyable read following Gabe and Pearl's (AKA Huck) relationship from the day they meet up until their deaths, showing first how they fall in love and then following their life after they're married, showing everything they go through during their marriage. It was a very sweet love story and I especially enjoyed the first half of it, though it was all good. A worthwhile read and one that I think most women would enjoy.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass is the story of Alice venturing into Looking Glass World through a looking glass! (which is all just a dream of course.)

This was a rather hilarious and intriguing book! Of course nothing made much sense in it but that's why it was so funny. I love how some of the characters talk or how some things are worded. I laughed out loud in several parts. So I will say that I quite enjoyed this little read. I read it on my iPod and would definitely want a real copy of it! I'll probably read both this book and Alice In Wonderland to my children someday, even if they are a little odd. :P

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Review: Gone South

Gone South by Meg Moseley
The Charm of the South drew her back
to her family's roots. But when the town's old
resentments turn the sweet tea bitter,
can Tish find a welcome anywhere?
Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents' Civil War-era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream---the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
When Tish discovers that McCombs aren't welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What's a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble's resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.
Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love, and forgiveness.
I enjoyed this book quite well. It didn't really have any parts that I found boring and kept me interested throughout the whole story. The characters were likeable and it was very realistic how they talked and did things, unlike how some books can be. It was just kind of a simple story, nothing super in-depth, but still good. The only thing is that the end seemed to come all at once and it seems like it left some loose ends, but overall a worthwhile read. It was the first book I've read by this author and I would read more by her.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: In Every Heartbeat

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Three best friends, three cherished dreams, three searching hearts...

As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a special plan for the future. Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible. But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well.

When Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

I started this book months ago and would put it down here and there to read other books, but finally I took the time to finish it! It was actually really good. I had read the book before it in this series, "My Heart Remembers" and really liked that one, so I was eager to read this one as well. I think Kim Vogel Sawyer is a really good writer and would like to read more of her books. She isn't as cliche as some writers can be. I would say I liked the first half of the book better than the second, which is usually the opposite. But I remember being pulled in at the beginning, then at a certain point it got kind of boring. But I still wouldn't say it was bad. It was still a good book overall and had a really cute ending, although it does seem like there were a few loose ends and as far as I know there isn't another book in the series. But one good thing is that it had really likeable characters! I loved all three of the main characters. But anyway, a really good read and I would definitely recommend this series to others. The books have some of the same characters but focus on totally different characters so it's not a series that has to be read in order.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: Wishing on Willows

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?

A three-year-old son, a struggling cafe, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Cafe in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her cafe and a vital town ministry are located, she isn't about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won't give up easily. His family's business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin's gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal, and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of second chances.

I can't exactly say I loved this book, but neither did I hate it. Basically it was just average as far as books go, not great but not bad either. It was kind of a cute story and was definitely a simple, laid back read. It did have some good stuff in it but I also found it to be a little cliche and the story predictable. Typical romance, you know. I would say it definitely got better toward the end and it's sweet (though maybe a bit unrealistic) what Ian does for Robin. If a guy did all that for me I think I'd have no choice but to love him! Haha. Anyway, it was a cute little story.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 13, 2013


So whilst I was considering writing a new blog post I asked on my Facebook page what I should write about and my sister suggested tea. So here I am, writing a blog post dedicated entirely to tea.

Tea is definitely a huge part of my life and I will admit I am a tea addict. Well, more than likely a caffeine addict, but still, most of my caffeine consumption is in the form of tea.Every morning I enjoy a nice cup of black tea, enriched with cream and sugar. Sometimes I'll enjoy a couple more cups of tea later on in the day, but it's a sure thing that I'll be consuming at least one cup of tea everyday. Not only do I love the stuff, but I'm also a bit of a tea nerd (insert nerd emoticon here). I happen to know that there is black tea, green tea, white tea, red tea, blue tea, gold tea, and herbal tea, and I also know which of these contain caffeine and how much caffeine the caffeinated ones contain. I also know which teas cream or milk will curdle in. So if you're interested, here's some tea information.
The three teas that contain caffeine are black, green and white. Black tea has the most caffeine but still not nearly as much as coffee. Green is next and white has the least amount. As far as cream curdling, this will result in any citrus or berry herbal tea, but not in black tea that is citrus or berry flavored. Curdleization (made that up) will result in some green teas. Usually if the tea is pink or red in color it will curdle, but if it's the usual greenish yellow color of green tea it won't curdle.
What is my favorite tea, you might ask? Well, my favorite is definitely black tea, but what flavors? Irish Breakfast is one of my favorites as well as peach flavored black tea. (which sadly is hard to find.) I also love a raspberry flavored black tea called Raspberry Royal. Today my morning cup of tea was called Black Pearl. Now while there are several "plain" black teas, they all have a slightly different flavor. These flavor differences are kind of hard to describe, but they are most certainly noticeable! Okay... I'm done being a nerd. :B (and there may be some other kinds of tea that I don't know about, so I don't know EVERYTHING about tea. :P)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Echoes

Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn

Will Lauren learn to trust her heart before she loses her chance at love?

Crazy things always seem to happen to Lauren Phillips, but even she wasn't expecting her fiance to break their engegement. Hoping to lift her spirits, her brother Brad gives her a new computer---along with a few suggestions for how she can improve her social life online. Soon Lauren connects with a mysterious man who identifies himself as a fellow God-lover...someone she knows only as K.C.

As she takes tentative steps into a new life, Lauren increasingly enjoys her new online friendship with K.C. But she can't bring herself to hope for something more and risk relinquishing the safety that distance provides her bruised heart.

After a year of corresponding, Lauren finally has an opportunity to meet K.C. Is she willing to risk everything, including more heartache?

This was a lovely book! It was well written and easy to read. I breezed through it in less than a week. It was a very cute little story, a nice light read. I believe I liked it better than "Secrets", the first book in this series. This one was the third, and while there are some of the same characters in this book, it's not a series that has to be read in order. The end nearly brought a tear to my eye. This is a book I'd recommend to anyone who's in the mood for a light and fairly happy read!

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Review: The Note

I just finished this book this afternoon.

The Note by Angela Hunt

En route from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Tampa International, Flight 848 bursts into flames and crashes into Tampa Bay. All 261 passengers and crew are killed. For one week, newspaper columnist Peyton MacGruder and her fellow reporters cover one of the nation's worst air disasters in years with overwhelming and numbed emotions.
Then a woman Peyton's never met gives her a plastic bag that has washed up behind her house. The bag contains a note, almost certainly from the doomed flight, with a simple yet wrenching message:

                                                        I love you. All is forgiven. 

Combing through the passenger list to find the victims whose children's names begin with T, Peyton is determined to deliver the note to its proper owner. A quest which will prove as important to Peyton's own life as to the mysterious T.

This book was very good and an easy read. I had read one other book by this author which ended up to be a bit on the weird side, but this book was quite different from that one. The outcome is surprising and a few parts nearly moistened my eyes. A very good read that I would recommend to others.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn't believe that Susannah's ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather that the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband's home, she is soon led to believe that the house she's just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide's richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak---and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

I thought this to be a fairly intriguing read. One that kept me interested from beginning to end and scarcely had any boring parts. It was well written and the imagery quite colorful. I could very nearly imagine myself there at Holly Oak, in the parlor or the garden. The author had a nice way of describing the scenery.
The part I liked the best and found myself most swept up in was the letters Susannah wrote to her cousin. It was most intriguing learning of her life and the struggles she, her aunt, mother and grandmother faced amidst the terrors of war. All in all it was an enjoyable read, though it was supposed to be a Christian book yet it scarcely even mentioned God or brought out that the Characters were Christians and even had some language in it. But still a very interesting book and one that I would recommend to others.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year

I know it's been quite some time since I've posted an actual "post" post, so I guess now that it's a new year I'll try and whip something up!
Firstly, happy 2013 to all those reading this! I pray this year will be even better than the last! My new years resolution is to mature more both as a person and in the Lord! And... to read more books than I did last year! Haha. Oh, and write more! Both in this blog and in the many books that I've started writing. Hopefully I'll finish at least one of them this year!
*Sigh* Oh how I can't wait until Spring! Green grass and beautifully blossomed trees, wild flowers growing in abundance, warm air containing a gentle breeze... Spring showers... Perhaps I'll write a poem about Spring! Who would like to hear a poem about Spring? I suppose I'll write one if enough people request it. And then I'll post it on my blog!
Bleh, I shouldn't have drank that coffee! Now I'm all jittery! Well, my band (WOAH, WOAH, WOAH!! How on EARTH did I write BAND when I meant mind??!! O.o Sooo weird...) seems to be drawing a blank, so I suppose that's all for this post! Until next time, i miei amici!