Waves of Mercy Book Review

*I received this book from the publisher for review purposes, all opinions are my own*

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Title: Waves of Mercy

Author: Lynn Austin

Publish Date: October 4th, 2016

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Christian/Historical/Fiction

Summary:

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

Review:

I’ve heard a lot about the author of this book, Lynn Austin, and many people seem to love her books. This is the first book of her’s that I have read and when I read the summary I was intrigued by the story especially because I love multiple prospective narratives and historical fiction. For the most part this is a lovely story and it shows the reader the lives of two women, Anna and Geesje, both of whom have had to overcome obstacles and questions in their lives and in their faiths.

I enjoyed learning about Geesje’s past and how her and her family immigrated from the Netherlands to come to America in the 1800’s. This was an area of history I wasn’t aware of in terms of the religious persecution that happened to those who did not choose to worship in the state churches in the Netherlands. Anna also faces this persecution from her own fiance and family as she decides to listen to the sermons of an evangelical preacher that is not apart of her family’s church. Anna is even faced with the ending of her engagement due to her continuing involvement with the church and this leads her character to go through a personal journey of what it is she wants and what it is she is looking for.

Like most Christian fiction, this book was slightly sappy and I am not a particularly sappy person. There were moments in the book where I found myself rolling my eyes in certain scenes. Also it should be noted about the narrative of the book is that we get two perspectives from Geesje, one is from 1897 and the other starts 50 years before then of her detailing her life from the Netherlands to living in America. The transition between these narratives is sometimes odd as Geesje in 1897 explains the actions she is taking to write her story in 1847. This sometimes threw me off when reading the story and would distract me from the flow of the story.

Overall this was a nice story. I didn’t love it and nor am I going to pretend I enjoyed the book all the way through. It would be boring in some sections and drag on in describing the characters feelings, but again I’m not sappy person so that’s a  more personal perspective of the book.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

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Book Review: Falling Kingdoms

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Title: Falling Kingdoms

Series: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publisher: Razorbill

Publish Date: December 11th, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Reading Format: Paperback

Summary:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. (Goodreads summary)

What I liked about Falling Kingdoms:

I loved the characters in this story and the way Falling Kingdoms is told.

Falling Kingdoms is written from the third person perspective of the 4 main characters of this book. Cleo in the beginning is a spoiled princess in the wealthiest land in Mytica, Auranos. She grows the most to me character wise and was admittedly my favorite out of the characters thus far. Cleo experiences a lot in the first book , so I can’t imagine what Morgan Rhodes, the author, might have in store for her over the course of the entire series but I can’t wait to find out.

Jonas comes from Paelsia and he is from the poorest kingdom in Mytica. I didn’t love him in the beginning but by the end I was all for Jonas. He represents the change that Palesia needs in order for the people there to experience positive change. Much like Cleo watching his character development over the series is going to be great to read I’m sure. Jonas’ potential was only just starting in book 1.

Magnus is the heir to the Limeros throne. His father is known as the King of blood and trust me King Gaius lives up to that reputation. Magnus is an interesting character, he has to live in the shadow of his father and battle some demons in Falling Kingdoms. He also has an interesting relationship with his adopted sister that really plays into whether or not Magnus will inherit this King of Blood reputation like his father.

Lastly, Princess Lucia is Magnus’ adopted sister. She discovers a lot about herself that essentially has been kept from her her entire life. Lucia learns that she posses something that Mytica hasn’t seen in a long time, which is magic. I will say she is probably my least favorite of the 4 but she is still interesting none the less. And the way she and what she can do is being used by her father will probably lead to even more destruction in the next books.

What I didn’t like about Falling Kingdoms:

I don’t really have any dislikes for Falling Kingdoms, it was better than I thought it was going to be.

Overall thoughts:

If you like high fantasy you should read this story. I can’t wait to start the next book, but I promised myself I’d take a break for the fantasy genre for a little bit. However I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to with this series

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: A Desperate Fortune

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Title: A Desperate Fortune

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Publish Date: April 7th, 2015

Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction/Romance

Reading Format: E-book

Summary from the Publisher:

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread-its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher.

But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects. As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take… to find the road that will lead her safely home.

What I liked about A Desperate Fortune:

The first thing I liked about A Desperate Fortune was the way the story was told. We get Sara’s modern day perspective and Mary’s views from 1723; that really made the story interesting to me because while they sometimes intermingled both stories for the most part it felt somewhat separate and as though you were getting two stories for one.

I also really loved Sara’s character because it was the first time for me reading from the perspective of a main character that has Asperger’s.  Getting read how her mind works and the overall development she makes as a character was really satisfying to me. I’ve never read a book from the perspective of anyone who has a disorder or wouldn’t be classified as “normal” but Sara is a lovely main character.

And lastly I really found the romantic story elements were some of my favorite they have the slow build up I’m looking for and they make you feel all warm inside.

What I did not like about A Desperate Fortune:

The only thing I didn’t like was Sara’s cousin Jacqui. She was too overbearing of Sara for my liking and at times I felt she was holding her back more than helping her move forward.

Overall thoughts:

This is one of my favorite stories I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: The Paper Magician

I’ve reformatted the way I write my book reviews. I might still be making a few changes on occasion but I’m trying to find the best layout for this blog.


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Title: The Paper Magician

Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Publisher: Brilliance Audio/47North

Publish Date: September 1, 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Reading Format: Audibook

Summary:

Ceony Twill has just graduated top of her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, however her dreams are dashed once she learns she will be an apprentice for paper magic and not a smelter as she had always planned. Ceony holds her apprenticeship under Professor Thane who charms her into learning the world of paper magic. All is well until an excisioner, or dark magician, literally rips Professor Thane’s heart from his own chest. Ceony must take what little magic she has learned and save her teacher, which comes with a little bit of a twist as Ceony finds herself confined  within his still beating heart.

What I liked about The Paper Magician:

I though the story was charming and I really enjoyed the narration. Choosing to do this book as an audio I think made it more enjoyable to me than if I were to read it.  I found the beginning of the book to be magical and getting to learn about Ceony’s magic was interesting.

What I did not like about The Paper Magician:

The Paper Magician can be a bit boring during the middle when Ceony is trapped inside Thane’s heart (this by the way is not a spoiler it is literally written on the back of the book). Those chapters can be long and at times I couldn’t see the point to why the scenes inside the heart needed to last for so long.

Overall thoughts:

Overall, I liked The Paper Magician. I didn’t love it but I will continue on with the series. I’m interested enough to know what happens with Ceony and Thane as they move on from the events that take place in the first book. I’ll probably continue the series as an audibook though because I think I might become uninterested with the stories if I were to read them.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

TBR Thursday: The Kitchen House

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The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Give me a historical fiction set on a plantation and I’ll read it almost every time. The Kitchen House was a Kindle deal once upon a time and I immediately scooped it up, but like most TBR Thursday picks its been in my library for a while without me ever reading it.

The Kitchen House is about an orphaned Irish girl named Lavinia who is brought to America to work and live on a tobacco plantation in the kitchen house with Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter and also a slave.  The story tells of how Lavinia becomes deeply bonded with her adopted family in the kitchen house but how she is also separated from them because of her skin tone.

I get excited about this book every time I read the summary but I will admit I do forget I have it and therefore I end up neglecting it. But I know I have to read it soon, I just hope it doesn’t end up being disappointing.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: Forever Doon

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Title:  Forever Doon

Author: Carey Corp and Lori Langdon

Genre: YA Fantasy

Date Published: August 2, 2016

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Summary:

Forever Doon is the final book in the Doon series and takes place after the events in the third book. With MacKenna and Duncan back in the real world of Alloway and Veronica stuck in Doon thinking her beloved Prince Jamie is dead, they must find a way to come together in order to defeat the witch of Doon who has taken over.

What did I think about the book?

This was great final book in this four book series.  I was actually trying to take my time with reading it because I’m not completely ready to give up the world of Doon yet. Sadly the book was too good not to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.  Forever Doon is full of action and emotion, and you really see these characters go through somethings that they have either been battling in the three books prior or have recently come to struggle with in this newer story line.  I really enjoyed the character growth and the ending was satisfying for the series end. Though secretly I’m hoping another book comes along at some point. After all reading Doon early this year is what reignited my love of reading and inspired me to start a blog.

 

Who would I recommend this book to?

I would only recommend Forever Doon to those who have read the other three books as they all flow together to really display a fuller story.  But if you have read the others then please pick up Forever Doon it will be worth the read.

Who would I not recommend this book to?

Those who haven’t read Doon, Destined for Doon, or Shades of Doon will be lost with this book. Also the series may not appeal to people who don’t like YA Fantasy.

Enchanted August (or Not so Much)


Title: Enchanted August: A Novel

Author:  Brenda Bow

Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit

Date Published: July 5th, 2016

Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Summary: 

The book begins with Lottie Wilkes a wife and mom to a little boy named Ethan. Lottie is facing marital issues with her husband Jon and finds most of her time is concentrated on her 4 year old. It is at his preschool that Lottie finds an ad on the bulletin board for Hopewell Cottage and is introduced to Rose Arbuthnot, the wife of a famous author and mother to twins Bea and Ben.  Rose too has her own issues with her husband and her son Ben who is basically kicked out of preschool for his behavior. With both women feeling overwhelmed by their daily lives they decide to take a chance and rent the cottage on Little Lost Island.  They are also joined at the cottage with Caroline Dester, a famed actress who was recently humiliated at the Oscars, and Beverly Fisher, a MacArthur genius who has recently gone through a very tragic loss. Through the time spent at Hopewell Cottage these 4 strangers come together and are able to strip away the hardships of life they left behind back in New York.

What did I think about the book?

I wanted to really like this book, its why I chose it over another I was debating while standing in the book section at Target. But as I read further along and turned page after page of Enchanted August I kept thinking about the other book. (I’m even thinking about it now) It isn’t that Enchanted August is bad, I loved the author’s writing and I read through it very quickly but it lacked a story line to me. 

 I didn’t feel as though while reading the book I could see the end goal. You know? For example are they going to fix the problems they have at home once they get back from Little Lost Island or do they all become great friends at the end. The timeline of Enchanted August is off to me as well. I know it takes place between August 1st and August 31st but how’d we get from first day at Hopewell Cottage to the Blue Moon in late August without much happening or a whole lot of character development? And another problem for me was I would get lost in the multiple points of view from each character that could switch mid sentence without clarity of who I was suppose to reading the story from now. Enchanted August is told from a third person point of view and sometimes that third person point of view went from Lottie to Rose to Jon and then back to Lottie all in one paragraph. It would make my head spin.

Granted the book is clearly marketed as a beach read and I bought it on impulse buy for a weekend I planned to not do much with. And while I have negative aspects of the book on my mind currently as I write this review, I do have positives as well. For instance I was able to read it in an afternoon and it didn’t bother me to quit reading it, so I had to like it enough to see what happened. And as I wrote earlier the author writes well. The sentences follow and I’m not having to re-read parts I didn’t quite understand the first time; and who doesn’t like that?

But my overall thought of Enchanted August: maybe next time I grab the other book instead.

 

Who would I recommend this book to?

Anyone looking for a light read. The book is a few pages over 300 and could be completed in an afternoon or a day at the beach. 

Who would I not recommend this book to?

If you don’t like Chick Lit skip Enchanted August. Can’t stand horrible husbands also skip it. Seriously the husbands in this novel are appalling (add that to another negative for this book). A story lacking a plot I’d also pass and find something else.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

TBR Thursday: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I have owned this book for at least two years. It was given to me by a former co-worker and she swore it was the funniest book she had ever read. I unfortunately have not picked it up yet and it has sat on my bookshelf untouched.

I will also admit that I don’t know what the book is about other than the fact it involves a woman named Bernadette and she has a 15 year old daughter named Bee. I did however recently place it higher on my TBR list and I think I did it mainly out of guilt of having never read it.

My goal is to read it before next year. Although seeing as I have held onto it for 2 years without so much as opening it, I don’t know how promising this timeline will be. I will certainly post a review though once it happens, but don’t hold your breath because I’m pretty good at procrastination.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Boyfriend League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title:  The Boyfriend League

Author: Rachel Hawthorne

Genre: YA Romance

Date Published: June 26th, 2007

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Dani and her best friend Bird love baseball and the collegiate team in their hometown called the Ragland Rattlers. After she reads an ad in the local paper asking families to house the players for the summer, her and Bird hatch (no pun intended) a plan to have their families volunteer.  Dani’s parents only agree under one condition, she cannot date the boy they take in. Dani finds that this will be no problem because who wants to date the boy who might accidentally see the bra you leave in the bathroom to dry, of course once the Rattler’s pitcher Jason shows up it makes that one rule a little complicated.

What did I think about the book?

This was a CUTE read that was light and quick and perfect for summer. I personally chose it because I love baseball myself and thought that it would be a great story for a lazy afternoon, and I was correct. Dani reminded me a lot of myself in high school and I did find the story entertaining and sometimes funny.

What I liked most was that Dani is a super insecure girl. She does have some moments, like most of us do, but in the end she remains true to herself and doesn’t need to date Jason in order to define who she is. I will say that often times when the main female character is obsessively insecure I can’t usually finish the book because it can plague the entire story. But Dani realistic as a female character. I also liked that even though the ending is predictable you get what you want as the reader in the end, which is a happy ending. And sometimes I like to read books like this because they make me happy unlike the more adult romance novels that can make me feel dirty (note: not in a good way).

My least favorite thing is how cheesy the story line can get in parts but its a young adult romance novel it’s gonna have some cheese in it given the audience its for.  Overall, I can look over it and see that The Boyfriend League was nice read for me.

Who would I recommend this book to?

Teen girls. Obviously this is the intended target audience for these books and not 27 year olds but I think anyone can read it who wants a light read. I’d also recommend it to someone looking for a baseball themed romance as baseball is clearly a large theme in the book.

Who would I not recommend this book to?

If you don’t like cheesy romances, this isn’t for you. Or if you don’t like clean romances because it isn’t of the romance-trashy-variety (I’m not entirely sure that’s a thing). As mentioned in my recommended for section, any one older than 18 may not like it because I do think my 16 year old self would have enjoyed it a lot more.

Happy Reading,

Meghan