That Sad Moment When I Dislike A Book I Have To Review {Keturah – Book Review}

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Find it on:
Goodreads
Amazon
Watch my Book Unboxing here

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Quite simply I got authors confused. #BookWormProblem

When I requested this book I thought it was by Lisa Wingate who’s audiobooks I’ve greatly enjoyed the last couple of years. I’d also listened to a couple of Lisa T. Bergen’s audiobooks, and while I didn’t dislike them, they weren’t my style enough to request one of her books for review. So, #ooops

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I’m sorry, folks, but sadly this book was not my cup of tea. I always try and put a good spin on book reviews of books – no matter if I liked them or not, so I’ll start out with a list of the things I did find interesting in the book:

  • I’ve never read Historical fiction with this setting before, so props to the author for that
  • Despite the wide cast of characters, I was able to keep them straight most of the time, which is something I sometimes have trouble with
  • There was a redemptive plotline to the book – and while I didn’t benefit from it because I’ve never gone through what the main character did, I can imagine that a lot of people would find it relatable
  • The premise was a fairly strong one
  • Descriptions were strong and I could feel the heat wafting over me as I read

With that being said, I’ll skim over what I didn’t like, because unfortunately, I disliked every character from the first page. Later on, there were some slaves that I didn’t find face-palming worthy, but they were few and far between.

There was also quite a bit more romance than I appreciate in books – as well as romance that felt out of place, and downright annoying. Violence was another unexpected aspect of the book that left me wrinkling my nose.

The main complaint I have with the book though was the main character. I couldn’t find anything relatable in her, and she was thoroughly unlikeable from my point of view. The way she ended up treating a certain slave when she arrived on the island was something I could hardly fathom. (Especially with her own backstory!) Although, I will say she did have a soft spot and did try and rescue some slaves, so I guess she did have a redeeming quality.

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I don’t recommend this book, and I don’t foresee myself reading another book by the same author. BUT! This book does have a 4.4 out of 5 Star Rating on Amazon, so if the book looks interesting to you, you should totally try it.

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I’m giving Keturah 2 out of 5 stars. This book was given to me in exchange for writing this review. All thoughts and opinions are honest. (I mean, obviously, folks.)

New Book Releases for March and April {Vlog}

Folks! Happy March! It’s amazing because the month only started seven hours and one minute ago, and I already feel like I’m ahead.

A month or so ago I posted a vlog with books I was looking forward to that were going to be released in Februay. Someone, and I think it was Kate, said they’d like to see more of those types of vidoes, so…here y’all go!

Snarky Book Reviews

The truth of the matter is I’m very opinionated when it comes to books.

*Gasp*

The black and white snarky side of me bursts through and gives a running commentary on what is wrong with the book and how I can’t stand it. (To be fair, I do the same thing when I’m editing my own books…so at least I’m consistent.)

Most books bother me a lot. And even in books that I really like, there’s generally at least one aspect I can’t stand – a romance that makes my brain hurt, a side character who says all the right things at all the right times and is incredibly unrealistic, a main character who’s mean to the hilt and yet everyone things is so sweet…

And then there are the tropes that make me want to bury my head in my hands and groan for five hours. (Or text my friend Hosanna and moan to her.) Tropes like: Oh, this character is gloriously beautiful so we’ll not worry about how they treat the rest of the characters because they’re nice to look at. Or yes, we’re getting along splendidly, so let’s discover a deep, dark secret that tears us apart until the last chapter of the book. Or let’s throw in a romance that really has no place in the book, simply so we can checkmark that part of the plot.

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Y’all. There are so many times when I want to sit down and write a snarky review. I want to use my skills as a writer to pull a book apart in an amusing manner. I want to outline all the issues and problems I’ve found in a certain book.

And yet I don’t. And I won’t.

Why? Because I, too, am a writer. I know what it’s like to pour my heart and life into a book. I know what it’s like to feel vulnerable and lost as I send that book out into the world to see how people respond. I know what it’s like to eagerly await feedback, hoping, praying, longing for people to have kind words to say about the story that I’ve invested so much into.

So, even when I look at a book askance and wonder “How in the world did anyone think that was a story worth spending so much time working on?” I still want to be kind. Even when I have a witty retort or elegant argument, I keep it inside.

Even with books that I do write one and two-star reviews for, I strive to write those reviews with kind professionalism and always focus on the book – not the author. A review is to showcase the book – be it good or bad – not my ability to wield snark. (Although I will say, I do sometimes enjoy writing amusing reviews when I did like the book.)

Writing reviews is a gift we can give – not only to other readers but also to the authors. But please, remember to keep the author in mind as you write the review. It really does make a difference.

*I posted the screenshots above because I’m in an interlude between book reviews, plus y’all have no idea when the screenshots were taken, therefore you don’t know what book we were discussing. 😉

Top Ten Book Recommendations for Nonfiction Readers

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for a Top Ten Tuesday post. The prompt for today was “Ten books we’d recommend to ________,” and I choose ten books I’d recommend to someone who wanted to read nonfiction. Even if you’ve never enjoyed nonfiction before, these books would be a great place for you to get your feet wet.

I came up with a variety of my four and five star reads, trying to stay away from books I’ve talked about recently. These books seriously contain fantastic stories, information, writing, and ideas. I’ll give a little blurb about each book below. I highly recommend all these books and have even bought extra copies of some of them to give away.

  1. Whatever the Cost
    Written by identical twin brothers, this book is brimming with wit, laughter, and solid information.
  2. Life Creative
    So, so beautiful. The book itself, the writing, the ideas that are shared. Living a balanced life while being a creative person is possible.
  3. 20 Things We’d Tell our Twenty-Something Selves 
    Told by a husband/wife team, the writing is honest, clear, and helpful. (What twenty-something person doesn’t need advice and honesty?)
  4. Every Body Matters 
    This one dives right into the heart of the matter that most people in the church today avoid.
  5. Screens and Teens
    Yes, yes, and yes. How to have a healthy balance in today’s age of screens all over the place.
  6. Knowing God By Name
    This book goes through various names of God, exploring what they really mean and who God really is.
  7. Dangerous Love 
    Getting shot by terrorists? Yep. Finding forgiveness? Yep. There’s a bit of an info dump near the beginning of the book, but when you get past that the story is riveting.
  8. God’s Smuggler 
    Smuggling. For God. Say, what??? Yeah – it’s a mouth-dropping (and sometimes laughable) true account of the life of a man from Holland.
  9. Forensic Faith 
    Picture this: A real-life detective sets out to prove that God couldn’t exist, and instead becomes a passionate Christian. Here’s how that happened.
  10. Control Girl
    Nothing like wanting to take control of a situation (or should I say every situation). But that’s dangerous. Here’s a good look at just how dangerous that can be.

Have you read any of these books? Which looks most interesting to you?

Books I Read in July of 2017 {Vlog}

Happy Thursday, y’all! I have some fun stuff going on in the writing part of my life that I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon. But for today I had fun discussing the thirteen books I read in July of 2017.

Have you read any of these books? Which of these books looks the most interesting to you?

Another Great Book – “My Daughter’s Legacy” {Book Review}

Update: Y’all, it’s time for a giveaway!

Celebrate the release of Mindy and Leslie’s new book by entering to win the $75 Visa Cash Card Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party Today!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • One copy of My Daughter’s Legacy
  • One $75 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking HERE. But hurry, the giveaway ends today. The winner will be announced at the My Daughter’s Legacy Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Mindy, Leslie, and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!
My Daughter’s Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3)

BY: Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person & Third Person • Fiction • 400 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Virginia, 1864

Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day

Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.


Why I Choose this Book:

I don’t even remember what made me want to read this book, and by the time I received it in the mail I’d totally forgotten what the backcover copy said except for it taking place in two different eras. (YAY! Going into books “blind” is my favorite.)

Warning: (Very) Slight Spoilers

What I Thought about this Book:

Completely honest bookworm moment here: I wasn’t enthused about reading this book. When I started it I was actually kinda bummed because I had another book that looked a lot more interesting, but because of review dates, I needed to read this book first.

Oh my lands, people. This book grabbed me by the second page and wow. I applaud the authors. If the book would have been shorter, its rather doubtful that I would have put it down, before finishing it. But, alas, I started it on a Sunday night and of course didn’t want to be sleepy in church, and therefore had to read it over the period of Saturday and Sunday.

What impressed me probably the most is how Nicole’s struggle as an addict was depicted. It certainly wasn’t the main plot point at all, but it wasn’t glossed over either. I thought it held a very balanced place in the book and that had me gushing to a friend about how important it is to include stuff like this in books.

Slight spoiler: The book is about a murder that the main character stumbled upon as a kid, like 22 years before. I don’t like books that include murder, and I don’t read murder mysteries. Human life is incredibly precious, and when authors toss the loss of human life around as a plot point or a scare factor I feel like that numbs the reader (and writer) to how horrible murder actually is.

But this book was totally different in that respect, and I wouldn’t consider it to be a murder mystery at all, although it was a mystery that contained someone having been killed. I thought it handled the trauma and loss of a life very well, nor did it go into needless details about violence.

The first storyline kept me so intrigued that I thought it was going to be hard to switch when they finally went back to the Civil War era, but no. The authors did such a good job with that storyline, too, that I was (although not instantly) pulled in and held fast. I applaud the way the book gave several chapters with each storyline at a time, instead of switching back and forth too rapidly. As a reader I was really able to get into each time period and character before being pulled out of it.

At first I really thought I’d like the modern storyline first, but in the end, I’m fairly sure that the two storylines tied for me. They were both intriguing, well-written, and had realistic characters that I could relate to.

The ending was as bit of a disappointment to me (which is fairly common with books I really like), and there were a few elements that were a little bit hard to find believable, but that didn’t detract too much from the book.

Conclusion:

The book isn’t what I would consider violent or gruesome, but it does take place during a war and talks about death, wounds, and slaves. (Cause, it’s the Civil War.) I felt like the romance in the book was nicely done (if I remember correctly – I read it several books back.

Overall I really liked this book.

Rating:

I’m giving My Daughter’s Legacy 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10

*I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review 

Jeanne M. Dickson’s ‘Grounded Hearts’ Giveaway and Blog Tour

Grounded Hearts

BY: Jeanne M. Dickson

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • 350 Pages

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Enter the Giveaway Here

About the book:
A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

About the author:
Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.
Find out more about Jeanne M. at http://www.jeannemdickson.com.

 

Why I Choose This Book:

A WW2 book that takes place in Ireland? I’d never seen one before, and so I leapt at the chance to read it. Ireland is on the top of the list of places I want to visit, and the cover was gorgeous, so, I dove into the book with quite the high expectations.

What I Thought about This Book:

This book held so, so much promise. It had a perfect story to tell, and the characters intrigued me and drew me in right away. The setting was amazing. The world building was fantastic. The reactions realistic. The plot didn’t glue me to the page, but it did hold me there with high expectations of what was going to come next.

But. But the romance. UGH. Seriously, it was bad. There wasn’t anything truly horrible (I mean, not that I read anyway, but I did have to skim/skip several pages), but it was inappropriate. It made me so sad because four-star books are rare for me, but this book could have easily been four stars if it weren’t for the romantic element. The romance though? Yeah, I’m not even sure what I’m going to do with the book (as in, I’ll probably be tossing it). There were far too many little comments that I was uncomfortable with. And, the worse part is that the book could have been just as interesting and the plot just as exciting if the romance would have been waaaayyy toned down.

Conclusion:

Sadly I won’t be recommending this book because of the romantic element. The rest of the book was really interesting though.

Rating:

I’m giving Grounded Hearts 2 out of 5 stars, and 3 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review

A Fantastically Intriguing Book – “Egypt’s Sister” {Book Review}

Egypt’s Sister

BY: Angela Elwell Hunt

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • Fiction • 384 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

You Don’t Know Her Name. The World Remembers Only Her Greatest Friend: Cleopatra.

Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters–and rivals with their dreams of greatness. When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive. But absolute power has a way of changing everything.

The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she’s ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life, if she hopes to rise again.

Why I Choose this Book:

Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and this is a time period I’ve rarely read anything about. Therefore, whenever I get the opportunity to review a historical fiction book that doesn’t appear to be overly romantic, I jump at the chance.

What I Thought about this Book:

Can we just take a moment to bask in the wonder of authors who are able to create such totally amazing books like Egypt’s Sister? This book. Ah, how do I describe it? The world building was so complete and real and well-done that I felt like I’d been catapulted into Alexandria and the ancient world of power struggles and slaves and not being able to trust anyone, and all from the perspective of a naive little girl who danced through life with unbelievably drawn conclusions to life.

Chava was a brilliant narrator, because as the reader we could see the truth staring us in the face, but she was so blinded to it. I wanted to shake some sense into her, and wondered at the wisdom of her father for not doing so.

The first half of the book was by far my favorite. Everything about it was amazing. I realized later that I never actually connected with the characters, I never had the urge to laugh or cry. That’s rather surprising to me because I liked this book such a huge amount. I think what it all boils down to though is that the world building was so fantastically well done that I was intrigued beyond what most books have the power to accomplish. I went to the library when I was about halfway done with reading Egypt’s Sister and got all the nonfiction books they had on ancient Egypt. (Okay, it’s a small library and we had a grand total of four books on ancient Egypt, but still….)

This book made me want to study that era in history and take it all in and learn more, more, more.

One thing I greatly appreciated was the lack of sordid details regarding the debauchery and wicked lifestyles that took place in Alexandria and Rome at that time in history. It does mention it, and it’s certainly present, but I thought the author did a phenomenal job of not dwelling on it.

The second half of the book was still really well written and interesting, but I thought it lacked the undeniable pull of the first half of the book.

Another element of the book I greatly enjoyed was seeing how Chava’s Jewish heritage and faith influenced her decisions. There was a lot of good faith content in this book, although it’s obviously way different looking at the Bible through the eyes of life before the coming of Christ. It was so cool to see what life might have been like for Jews during that long gap of time that takes place between the Old and New Testament.

Conclusion:

Although it doesn’t go into details, there are still enough mentions of the wickedness from that time period the I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone under the age of 17 or 18.

Rating:

I’m giving Egypt’s Sister 4 out of 5 stars and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review 

Hiding From the Kids in My Prayer Closet {Book Review}

Hiding From the Kids in My Prayer Closet

BY: Jessica Kastner

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • Nonfiction • 208 Pages

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About the Book:

Soon after Jessica Kastner became a mother, she wondered if she was the only mom who found pretend play more boring than watching playdough harden and who dreaded yet another friend s Instagram post of homemade deliciousness.

In Hiding from My Kids in the Prayer Closet, Kastner shares her experience as an unmom a mom who loves her kids more than she loves the daily experience of mothering. She helps readers laugh at the ridiculous, delight in the unpredictable, and enjoy being the mothers God made them to be.

Why I Choose this Book: 

The premises sounded intriguing, and I read some samples and Miss Jessica’s writing is fantastic. Plus, even though I’m not a mom, I find it really interesting to read books on parenting to see the whats and whys and hows behind how kids are raised. The reasonings and logic behind such things fascinate me. (“Oh! Is that why parents let kids get away with this and stood firm on that?”)

What I Thought about this Book: 

First off: Miss Jessica’s writing style is amazing. The book drew me in right away and I was kept on a fast-paced, flipping-pages journey all of the way through. I imagine her as a very high-energy type of person, running through her house at the last minute throwing everything together, always one step away from disaster. (Which is kinda the way she described herself, but not quite.)

She was so real and open and very amusing. I can imagine overwhelmed moms laughing and crying with how much they can relate to the book. It’s also very candid, so if you’re not prepared to hear frank discussions of childbirth and various situations that come about when you’re raising children, then this book isn’t for you. (And, if you’re not a mom, it’s probably not for you anyway, even though *I* personally found it enjoyable, and even somewhat relatable at times seeing how I am around lots of little kids.)

Some of the chapters ended with tips of how to avoid/overcome the issues that were talked about in those chapters, and it was some solid advice. Overall the book was heavy on the amusement and relatable-factor, and light on the faith side, and somehow it was the perfect combo.

So, with all these amazing things to say about the book, why did it only get three stars? This is probably a controversial thing to say, but I think our words are extremely important, and even though it’s quite clear that the author really, really loves her children, she does talk about how they were “accidents.” And I totally get what she’s saying, but I didn’t like how she joked about it throughout the book. There were also a few other things like that which brought the rating down from four stars. I could go into it more, but I’ll refrain. Other than that though, the book was pretty amazing.

Conclusion:

Overwhelmed moms would probably either find this hilarious or chaotic. I have a feeling I’ll be re-reading this book one day in the future after I have a houseful of kids.

Rating:

I’m giving Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet 3 out of 5 stars, 6 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review

High As the Heavens {Book Review}

High As the Heavens

BY: Kate Breslin

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • 400 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

Why I Choose this Book:

Espionage.
Historical Fiction.
World War One.
Enough said.

What I Thought about this Book:

Oh my lands, folks. This book. This book was amazing. The first half of the book I kinda had my mouth wanting to drop open because it was nearly a five-star read and that happens about once every two years with me when I read a fiction book.

I’m still not sure what all the elements were that brought this book so seamlessly together in my mind, but it intrigued me, excited me, and made me want to keep reading, reading, reading. The writing was really fantastic, the characters seemed real, and I was totally unsure of who I was supposed to trust.

The main character was quite relatable and every few chapters we’d go back to her life before the war and see a glimpse of who she had been. I’m generally not a fan of that writing style, but in this case the author pulled it off very well. It gave a much clearer idea of who we were dealing with, and made the characters seem very real outside of the war effort. It made the war seem more painful, because we saw all the characters had taken away from them when the war started.

In the same way that I don’t know why the book totally drew me in, I’m also unsure of why, but the second half of the book took a bit of a downward spiral for me. I still enjoyed it and wanted to know what was going to happen next, but it was a solid three stars, not the five stars like the first half of the book.

The romance in the book was something that I skimmed over at times so I’m not incredibly sure how much details there were, but from what I read it wasn’t too bad, and there was an element that I’ll refrain from sharing cause of spoilers, but it made the romance way better than most books.

I don’t recall there being a ton of faith content in the book, but what there was it was from a Catholic perspective. The main character did have some horrors of war that she was dealing with, and so that plays a factor into the faith content part of the plot.

Conclusion:

There’s violence and other war-ish things that play a huge part of the book, but for the most part it wasn’t too detailed. Still, this isn’t a book I’d give to young (or even middle) teens.

Rating:

I’m giving High as the Heavens 4 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review