King’s Shadow {The Silent Years}

Today is my first day in a while that I’ve had off work without needing to go shopping or having company over. And, although I enjoy doing both those things sometimes, it’s so nice to spend a day just relaxing at home.

I sat out in the sun reading a nonfiction book and sipping coffee, journaling a ton, and then got caught up on housework and cleaned out my fridge because I’m going to be visiting my family for about two weeks.

This afternoon I took a nap and finished reading King’s Shadow. I’m excited about this for several reasons, including the fact that after being behind with book reviews for far too long I’m finally caught up! I’m so thankful for the grace the publishing companies/review sites showed me when life didn’t go according to plan and I got behind.

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THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: King’s Shadow
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Two women occupy a place in Herod’s court. The first, Salome, is the king’s only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless–both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great’s tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

In July of 2017, I received the first book in The Silent Years series for review. It’s titled Egypt’s Sister (read the review here) and totally intrigued me. I’d never read a book that took place during the Silent Years before, and I right away set about researching that time period.

Over the last couple of years, I bought books 2 (Judah’s Wife which I gave three stars) and 3 (Jerusalem’s Queen which also got three stars from me) when they were released. The crazy thing I was didn’t even really like the storyline of either of those books, but the writing, world-building, and research were so well done that I kept going with the series. When this book was released I jumped at the chance to review it.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

My admiration for the author is strong. I can’t even imagine the number of historical documents she had to shift through to write this book, nor how much notetaking she had to commit to in order to keep everything straight. Considering the sheer amounts of Herod’sAlexandra/Alexander’s, and Mariamne’s that were mentioned in this book I’m amazed by how smoothly the storyline flowed and how well I was able to understand what was going on. Seriously though, why did everyone use the same names? (Actually, not seriously, I understand why.)

As far as storylines go, I thought the author made a bold (and wise) move by having the story be from the perspective of the “bad guy” – although you never feel like that when you’re reading. Most of the story is told by Salome, the sister of Herod, a person who was very loyal to him. Therefore, as we read about the atrocities that Herod committed, it’s through the eyes of someone who’s only seeing his best and always justifying his actions. If you were reading the book just paying attention to tone instead of content, then it would seem that everything that is going on is perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s only when you stop and consider what is actually happening that you realize how terrible it really is.

This perspective was well done and made the story flow in a way that I’m not used to. Instead of focusing on emotions that you’d normally feel while reading about someone in history doing horrible things, those violent acts were just stated as facts and then you move on. For instance, when King Herod had someone he’d loved very much be executed, he then went crazy for a while. Since we’re reading from the perspective of Salome, we focus on her sadness that her brother is having a hard time, and the way she tries to help him, vs. the fact that the man is a brutal, savage madman.

Because of this lack of emotion and the way Salome merely recites facts (“And then he had 300 Jews killed in a mad fit, but hey – the guy has to protect his throne.”) it made the book a lot more bearable to read than if it had gone into how horrible everything was. If this story was merely fiction I wouldn’t have liked the approach at all, but since it’s based on true facts I appreciated being able to read and learn this way.

The other perspective is from Zara (a made-up character) who is Salome’s Jewish handmaid. Her chapters weren’t very often, but she did provide an interesting balance to Salome’s cut-throat and scheming ways. Since her perspective isn’t really prevalent in the story I felt like we didn’t get to know her well as a character, but I have nothing bad to say about her.

The book covers about a 30ish year period of time, which isn’t something I generally like, but for the sake of this story, I think it was well-done.

I’ve learned so much through this series, and I find myself being satisfied with King’s Shadow as the final book.

CONCLUSION

There’s a lot of horrible stuff that goes on in the book. So much plotting, killing, torture (not in detail) scheming, lying, and un-holy relationships.

But, nothing was written in detail (probably about as much as if you were reading the Bible), and I think the author did a really good job of making the time period come alive without saying too much. I think I would recommend this book to people fifteen and older.

RATING

I’m giving King’s Shadow 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for giving me a copy so I could review it for y’all.

Protecting Your Child from Predators

Warning: Hey folks! This review is going to be nice and vague, but it’s still not necessarily something I recommend for kids. So, proceed at your own decretion.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: Protecting Your Child from Predators
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Read the back cover blurb here. (Since it’s a sensitive topic, I’m choosing not to post the back cover blurb on my blog since I have young readers.)

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I think this subject is one that really needs to be taught today. I became fairly aware of it when I began studying the subject of children’s ministry at churches. (I taught Children’s Church for fifteen months before moving to Kentucky.) When I read the blurb for this book it sounded like the authors really knew what they were talking about so I requested the book.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Obviously it’s not a fun topic to read about, but the authors did a phenomenal job of tackling an exceedingly difficult subject with gentle grace while not compromising the message.

The book is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to skip around and read the parts that are applicable to you and your life. After the introduction where they explain the purpose of the book, the rest of the chapters are divided into three different sections, each one focusing on a certain age group and how to best prepare children of that age to be safest. This is helpful because it means the reader doesn’t have to be overwhelmed trying to read the book all the way through – instead they can read it at the same pace their children grow.

Throughout the book, one of the authors shares many stories (with appropriate changes) from her years as a counselor. Along with the examples, she explains what could have been done differently, how parents should respond in each situation, and the best way to help children move on. (With the main emphasis being on what could have been done to prevent the situation in the first place.) In each example, I was impressed by how kindly the author approached what had happened. It was clear that she loves children and parents, and even when someone obviously did the wrong thing, she doesn’t pass judgment. Instead, she lovingly helps offer solutions. With that attitude being the overall tone, I can see how this book will be a huge tool to helping parents rectify abuse and wrongs that might have unknowingly been going on in their homes.

In addition to the true-life examples, this book is also full of statistics. A lot of those stats are rather disturbing and a good reason for people to read this book. But, in the midst of all that, I didn’t feel like the book was trying to scare the readers. Instead, it was informing us, then providing good tools for how to protect children. The authors continually took us back to the Bible and showed how we’ve been prepared to fight and that we aren’t powerless. This approach was very encouraging.

Although I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I did find it very enlighting and something that I feel like will help how I am around children (especially who I don’t know well) in the future. The writing style is easy to read which is perfect since it’s such a difficult topic. I read the whole book within five hours of unboxing it.

CONCLUSION

This is a book I highly recommend. It’s disturbing, yes, but it’s written with such grace and love that they make a hard, horrible subject something that can be read and received. I do recommend that it not be read by anyone under 18, possibly even older.

RATING

I’m giving Protecting Your Child from Predators 5 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

The Most Important Stories of the Bible?

It’s Thursday and the camels next door have been calling out to each other a lot this morning. (Who would have ever thought I’d start a blog post with that line?!?)

I’m so thankful to finally be catching up with book reviews. This is the last one I’ve had sitting here waiting for me to write, and I’m thrilled to be about ready to push the publish button. It’s also kinda exciting because last time I went home I picked up three more book packages from publishing companies to open, but I told myself I wouldn’t do anything with them until I was caught up on reviews.

I’ve had some exciting things happen at work recently that I look forward to sharing with y’all soon. Among other things Monday was my three month anniversary of moving to Kentucky. My original plan was to be here for three months, but… Well, that’s a story for another day. For now, here’s my book review. Have a great day, folks!

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 190
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Title: The Most Important Stories of the Bible
Nonfiction

4

ABOUT THE BOOK

Most of us are familiar with the exciting adventures of David and Goliath, Noah, or Daniel in the lions’ den, but we don’t always understand how they fit together. We lack context, and so we sometimes miss the point.

The Most Important Stories of the Bible will give you a working knowledge of the key events in Scripture and how they flow into one big story. The book’s 75 stories are compact, easy to read, and enjoyable. Each chapter includes a brief introduction that gives historical context to help you grasp the overall narrative of the Bible, and concludes with an explanation of why that story matters in our lives.

There’s a reason most of the Bible is made up of stories. They speak to us in a deep way, helping us internalize God’s message. And in the end, understanding the stories of God’s Word will help us connect more closely to Jesus, the greatest storyteller of all.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Plain and simple: Because I was curious.

I dislike it when people refer to Biblical accounts as stories (which in todays lingo brings to mind fiction, which the Bible obviously isn’t), so I nearly didn’t request the book. But then my desire to see what “stories” (aka, accounts) from the Bible were included in the book made me request it after all.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

The book was a pleasant surprise to me. I think the title is a misnomer and not entirely true anyway, but other than that I only had a few minor disagreements with the book.

I think a better way of marketing the book would be to tout it as an overview of how the Bible works as a cohesive whole – and that’s kind of what is talked about on the back cover blurb.

The book is short, and the chapters only a couple pages long. Therefore, it was easy to sit down and take a few minutes to breeze through the book. I read it over the course of a couple of days and greatly enjoyed how one chapter flowed into the next – complete with a timeline, a paragraph about how the two accounts connected to each other, and a thought to ponder at the end of each segment. (Some of which I agreed with, some I didn’t…)

It was a bit confusing to me trying to figure out who the book was designed for – a Christian who understood the Bible? A new Christian trying to figure out what the Bible was all about? An unbeliever? There were times when I felt like the wording was a bit confusing for someone unfamiliar with the Bible, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because hopefully that would make them find an actual Bible to dig around in and get answers.

As someone who grew up reading the Bible, I really enjoyed the new perspective of how things fit together, as well as the way the authors told the accounts. They weren’t trying to quote the Bible word for word, so it was more the way that you would imagine someone sitting down and regaling you with an account in their own words. Because of that, I got to see the Bible through someone else’s perspective which was interesting.

CONCLUSION

There were a few places I disagreed with how they interpreted something from the Bible, but that’s not uncommon in books (or life). I probably won’t be re-reading the book, but I did enjoy the chance to get new perspectives on how everything flows together.

Also, obviously the title, but we already went over that.

RATING

I’m giving The Most Important Stories of the Bible 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

The Cranky Mom Fix

I’m back, folks! On Saturday I drove home to Ohio after work to surprise my family and be there for the weekend. I got home around 11:00 in the evening and snuck up to my sister’s rooms and surprised them (although they weren’t actually all that surprised). Although it was late and we were all really tired we had fun catching up for a while before going to sleep.

The next morning I went downstairs and walked into the kitchen where I told my mom “Happy Anniversary” (which was the reason I went home). My mom was shocked and exceedingly happy and I was thrilled to have pulled off the surprise.

My weekend home was short, but delightful and I had a fantastic time with my family. I’m back in Kentucky now, and about to head off to work. But first, a book review. 😉

The STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Title: The Cranky Mom Fix
Nonfiction

3

ABOUT THE BOOK

If we’re honest with ourselves, almost every mom knows she can go from being kind to cranky in no time flat. When we’re tired, busy, anxious, preoccupied–okay, so anytime, really–we tend to default to snapping and barking at our kids. But life doesn’t have to be this way.

Through coaching other moms who share a desire to be a kinder, gentler parent, Becky Kopitzke has learned the keys to taming the “momster” in all of us. And in this grace-filled book, she will help you

  • assess the triggers that spark your angry responses
  • understand your children better so you can minimize frustrations
  • learn gentle, effective responses to trying situations
  • and much more
WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

What can I say? Parenting books are incredibly intriguing to me. I’ve read dozens of them and still find them to be some of the most interesting books I pick up. I find it very enlightening to see the concepts behind the why and how parents are raising their kids.

(Disclaimer: I’m not married, I’m not a mom, and I’m very aware of the fact that I don’t have the whole parenting thing figured out. I’m not one of those annoying single people who think I know how to raise kids. I just like reading about how others raise their kids and figure that my reviews of these books give an interesting perspective since I’m not the intended audience.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

This book isn’t a book about how to raise kids.

This book is about how to be a good mom.

There’s a big difference between the two and I was impressed as I read this book. My dad (who’s done a fantastic job raising nine kids) has told me before that he never really liked reading parenting books written by people who’s kids were still little, because how do they know that what they are teaching really works? And that makes sense. This author’s kids are still young, but her approach isn’t about what to do with the kids, it’s about how to respond as a mom.

really liked this book. It was encouraging, uplifting, honest, and so practical. The author talks about how she, as a mom, is working on learning to change her mindset, control herself, and become more Christ-like. Although this book was about how to be a better mom, it’s applicable for pretty much anyone.

It’s so easy for people to blame their reactions on other people, but this book highlighted the fact that we are responsible for how we respond to situations. The author does a fantastic job of helping the reader think through why they respond the way they do to certain things, then offers solid, Biblically-based answers for how they can change.

When I read this book I was inspired by how I can change things in my life to become more Christ-like. It also made me excited about being a mom one day if I ever have kids. From my very non-experienced viewpoint, I felt like the author did the perfect job of being inspiring, encouraging, honest, funny, and hard-hitting. She doesn’t hold back from the truth, but she delivers it in a way that’s easy(ish) to accept.

CONCLUSION

There were only a very few things in this book that I had an issue with which isn’t common. As usual, I don’t recommend or un-recommend parenting books, but I did really like this one.

RATING

I’m giving The Cranky Mom Fix 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

Exhale

Good morning, folks! It’s time for another book review – this one the first of three nonfiction books that I’ve been reading. It’s so good to be back to sharing books with y’all and I hope you enjoy. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Title: Exhale
Nonfiction

2

ABOUT THE BOOK

Exhale is for the woman who is suffocating under the pressures of being all things to all people. The pressure of filling every unfilled spot at church, home, and work. The pressure of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, in this book Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory show you how to lose who you’re not, love who you are, and live your one life well.

This isn’t a time management book filled with how-to lists and calendar tools. Rather, it walks you through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure. Then you’ll be free to start investing your life in ways that fulfill the desires of your heart, benefit your people, and bring glory to God.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Overall I’d say I’m good at telling people no. But, that only applies to people who I feel ‘equal’ to – my peers, etc… When it comes to my bosses, managers, or pretty much anyone in a position of authority, I have an overwhelming desire to do any and everything I can to please them.

Thankfully I work with a great team who actually cares about me and looks out for my best interests, but I figured I should probably start curbing my management-pleasing-side now. After all, it’s Jesus I want to please most of all, not just my boss. (Although I’m convinced that if I’m pleasing Jesus, then the right boss will be pretty happy with me, too.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I read this book over about a three week period of time, which considering how short it is means I crawled through it. But, it felt like one of those books that’s supposed to be nibbled at instead of gulping down. That way, I was able to process what I was reading, let it sink in, and figure out what I needed to apply to my life.

The two authors switch back and forth, each writing one chapter at a time. The varying personalities and points of view helped make the book well-balanced and made me feel like it could apply to a lot more people than if it would have had a single author. They also did a fantastic job of bouncing off of each other and building on what the other had written, versus being redundant and/or contradictory. It was clear that they planned the book well and the flow was surprisingly smooth for having more than one author.

As with all books, there were several things I didn’t agree with, and there were a few times that I thought I’d give the book a lower rating, but as I continued reading I was really impressed with the things I learned.

It’s hard for me to read a book that talks about loving ourselves because I feel like that terminology is way over-used and generally not glorifying to God. In this book though, I felt like they had a balanced view of the matter. They talk about how God made each one of us for a specific purpose, and we need to be content with who God has created us to be, instead of trying to become someone else in order to please people. That is a concept I can totally stand behind.

I could relate fairly well to one of the authors and had a few lightbulb moments while reading her chapters. For instance, she talked about how she consistently (starting in school) would subconsciously look for the “most important person in the room” and then try to please them. This meant she was always trying to please teachers, bosses, etc… When I read that it made me laugh – not because I could relate to it, but because it was the first time I realized that not everyone felt that way. Because, as I mentioned earlier, pleasing people in mangament – aka the “most important person in the room” – is my default setting. Realizing that a mindset or behavior isn’t necessarily normal helps me to then stop and think through it and figure out why I do it and pray about if it’s something I need to stop doing.

This book is great for moments like that. Like it says on the back cover blurb, the book was written to help ladies realize who they are in God, and learn what things in life they need to lose in order to live their one life well.

CONCLUSION

There were a few things in this book – mostly wording, etc… – that I didn’t really like, but when I took it as a whole, considering the overall message I’ve come to the conclusion that I really do agree with most of what the book is saying, just not exactly the way in which it says some of the things.

Also, the tips on how to breathe deeply in this book are seriously good.

RATING

I’m giving Exhale 4 out of 5 stars. This book is a great way to stop, check where you’re heading, what you’re subconsciously believing, and get your life back on track for what God created you for.

Until the Mountains​ Fall {Time for me to gush about another one of my favorite 2019 reads}

June 5th was the last time I posted a book review. (Say what!?!) I’m not sure when I last went that long without tapping out a review, and I’ve missed getting to share my bookish thoughts with y’all. Thankfully I get to jump back into the ring with a book that I really liked, so that’s going to be fun. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Title: Until the Mountains Fall
Fiction

1

ABOUT THE BOOK
(Which you might want to skip because going into a book blind is so much fun.)

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Connilyn Cossette is my only 100% auto-buy author – except I’ve never had to auto-buy her books because I’ve gotten to be on the review team for each and every one of her books. Y’all, I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to say that! Seriously, every time I’ve been chosen to review one of her books I do an internal, external, and internet happy dance. (Just check out my reviews below to see my gushing.)

Miss Connilyn is my very favorite Biblical Fiction author – and I don’t say that lightly. Read more about her other books here:

Counted with the Stars 
Shadow of the Storm 
Wings of the Wind
A Light on the Hill
Shelter of the Most High 

As I always do with this author’s books, I went into the story completely blind – meaning, the first time I’ve read the back cover blurb was just now, as I’m writing this review. This can be a bit sketchy with a new-to-me author, but I trust Miss Connilyn’s writing so much that not knowing what I’m getting myself into is exceedingly interesting.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Let’s get real: When I first opened the pages of this book and started reading I felt a bit of a sinking feeling. I was concerned that it was going to be one of those trite, overly romanticized, mail-order brides type of books. (Remember, I hadn’t read the blurb.) But never fear! We’re talking about Miss Connilyn here – she writes amazing Biblical fiction, not cheesy Hallmark flicks. *cue sigh of relief*

As the story progressed there were twists and turns I did not expect, keeping me reading far into the night even though I was in the midst of a busy work week. I kept waiting for a slow chapter to arrive so I could convince myself to set the book down and sleep but finally had to compromise and put it away when there was a scene/point of view shift.

I’ve only read a few books with an unreliable narrator, and those books are fairly mindblowing to me. Rivkah, the main female character in this story, isn’t exactly an unreliable narrator, but she is to the point where I had vastly different opinions of her depending on who was narrating. It takes advanced skills as an author to pull that character voice off so well.

Malakhi, the main male character, had far more depth than I first expected him to have. I wasn’t anticipating liking him – especially not after the first part of the book, but as his story went on I found myself cheering for him. He was thoroughly written and felt extremely real. He wasn’t perfect by any means, which of course is the mark of a good character. His character development was intense at times and was well-paced.

There were a host of side characters who captured my attention and at times my heart. Seeing their story, watching the way they weren’t simply put there to progress the main character’s stories, but having an arc of their own reminded me of what a skilled author Miss Connilyn is.

The plot itself wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I think I figured it would follow some of the same guidelines as the first two books in the series, but instead, this one had a few new elements.

One thing that generally bothers me in books, but in this case ended up working out well, was a time jump. There’s about a five-year gap between the first part and second part of the book. I’m not a fan of this plot device, yet in Until the Mountains Fall Miss Connilyn pulls it off exceedingly well. The characters are the same but have changed as much as you’d expect during such a time period. The world is different, yet I didn’t feel jarred or like I’d missed out on life due to the missing years. The jump did exactly what it was supposed to – it made us totally skip a boring, listless middle-of-the-book-filler section – and kept the plot moving.

CONCLUSION (With Vague Spoilers)

There is some content in this book that isn’t suitable for young teens – war, violence, mention of some of the evil practices of pagan worship, mentions of inappropriate behavior, characters who are taken advantage of, etc… Everything was written in a vague way and is probably less graphic than if you’re reading some sections of the Old Testament, but still, I’d recommend parental guidance for probably anyone under 15.

I came away from this book with the feeling that Miss Connilyn did it again – wrote another winner and once again made the time period of the Bible leap into life for me. I can’t hardly wait to read her next book!

This summer I moved out of state and wasn’t able to bring most of my books with me. That means I’ve never seen all three books together, but I can’t wait until I have them all with me. The covers are amazing together, right?

*Note: This is the third book in a series. They can be easily read in any order, but you’ll get to know the supporting characters and surroundings a lot better, and avoid spoilers if you read them in order.

RATING

I’m giving Until the Mountains Fall 4 out of 5 stars. I’ve already loaned the book out to a friend, and am planning on requesting it for my library. Y’all should do the same. 😉

A New Favorite Historical Fiction Book? {The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White}

Y’all. This is the book that I nearly cried about when I found out I’d been chosen to be on the early review team. Yeah, I was that excited and that honored about it. Of course, back then I didn’t realize that I would be in the midst of moving and overwhelmed with a new job and life-ish happenings in the weeks leading up to the book’s release. But here we are! The book released yesterday and although I moved before the physical copy of the book arrived at my old address, I did download an e-copy of the book and landsakes, people!

I settled down with this book and some popcorn on Sunday afternoon and prepared to be delighted as I read. Why was I so excited? Because this book features Margot De Wilde as the main character. Readers were first introduced to this character in the middle book of the Shadows Over London trilogy, as the younger sister of one of the main characters. In that book, she intrigued me like crazy – as in I would say she’s probably in the top five of most intriguing characters I’ve ever read about. And, considering the thousands of characters that have been part of my reading experience, that says a lot.

Before I say more, here’s a bit about the book:

NUMBER

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Roseanna’s Shop (Signed)

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

Also, you can take a quiz for the book (after you’ve read it, because #spoilers). I just took it and got 8/10 answers right. I really thought I’d get 100 because the book is so memorable, but one of the questions was guesswork, and the other was a bit tricky. 😉

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This book was gold. The writing, the characters, the plot, and the time period came together in a perfect, seamless, beautiful story that tugged my heart and made me want to keep reading for ages. In fact, although I read this book in two sittings if I hadn’t been hurrying to finish it for review I would have made it last even longer so I could savor the characters.

When I read this book the rest of the world faded away and I was so immersed in the story that it really felt like I was there…that the characters were my friends, that I’d time-traveled back to the early 1900s and England was right outside my door.

I can’t even begin to imagine how much work and research went into writing this book. The concepts were so far beyond me, yet without being confusing. That takes so much talent and time to pull off. Margot, the main character, is a codebreaker who works in Room 40 during WW1. I knew about codebreakers during WW2, but until I read this book I had no clue they existed during the Great War. (Which is why I mistakenly assumed that this book took place during WW2 when I first heard about it.)

Margot is a mathematical genius and thinks in numbers. She’s logical, scorns emotions, and is unlike any other character I’ve ever read. I seriously couldn’t get enough of her character and wish we had a whole trilogy solely from her perspective. The way she reacted to grief was my favorite scene in the whole book, simply because I can’t even fathom doing what she did, and it totally shocked me, but was so true to who she was as a person. Plus, it made me tear up, and books that make me cry are the best.

Drake was the second main character, and although I generally don’t like it when the main female and main male character both have chapters from their perspectives, Miss Roseanna pulled it off perfectly. I think this is because although there was romance in the book, that wasn’t the main plot and when we saw life from Drake’s perspective we were actually seeing espionage work, not just fluff. Seriously, his work was so cool and when I read in the endnote how much of it was taken from historical facts, I was pretty amazed. Also, Drake is just a wonderful character all around and he’s got a fantastic name, so what’s not to like?

And then we have the bad guy. Seriously, y’all don’t even know how much I dislike it when books have sections from the villain’s point of view. And yet, somehow Miss Roseanna makes it work. She gave us just enough time inside the villain’s head so that he became real and intriguing, yet without giving too much away or making me feel creeped out. I’m very impressed.

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When it comes to books, this is one of my favorites. As in, it’s so close to being five stars that I’m really not sure if I should rate it four or five stars? (And y’all know how rare five-star fiction books are for me.) My one issue is that I really didn’t agree with a lot of  Margot’s ideals. I understand how she was changing and growing, and yet the book felt a little more feministic than what I like.

Other than that though, this book was simply fantastic. I hope y’all read it and enjoy it as much as I did. If you’ve read the Shadow Over London series, or if you plan on reading this book you should totally let me know so we can gush about the stories together. 😉

Way to go, Miss Roseanna, on writing another winner! Please keep writing and thank you so much for the honor of having me be part of your review team!

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Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.