Archives

The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White (Book Review)

SmartSelect_20210515-195603_Instagram

I have a new review today, this time for a historical fiction mystery set in 1906 in the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall!

Title: The Nature of a Lady

Author: Roseanna M. White

  • Date read: May 27, 2021
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Christian Fiction
  • Age: Adult, clean
  • Year pub: 2021
  • Pages: 374 (paperback)
  • Series: The Secrets of the Isles, #1
  • Fave character: Oliver Tremayne and Mabena Moon
  • Source: Bethany House reviewer program
  • Notes: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonChristianBook.comAuthor’s WebsitePublisher

Set in the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall, this book was a gorgeous treat to read!

The 1906 setting was interesting, and the islands themselves were drop-dead stunning and made me want to visit them! They sprang to life so well, considering I’d never read about this particular setting before, and were probably my favorite thing about the book! So unique and delightful, and I do love a good “island story.” I loved how it also felt somewhat Cornish but with its own twist, and the villagers, cottages, boats, flowers, sea, rocks, etc. were all wonderful!

I loved the writing! The story itself was super engaging and kept me intrigued throughout, and I loved seeing the intertwining threads of characters’ lives and secrets unfold, along with an exciting mystery/treasure hunt with lots of clues, and some super-cute romances thrown in there. Some of the twists surprised me in a good way (particularly a certain rivalry).

The characters all came to life and many of them were fabulous. I particularly loved mysterious lady’s-maid-turned-untameable-island-girl Mabenna Moon — she was marvelous! — and of course Oliver Tremayne, vicar and overall amazing fellow. And Mamm-wynn! Delightful mysterious, pixie-ish grandmother.

There were a couple things that weren’t my favorite: I sometimes felt the heroine had a sort of scientific arrogance; a few things rubbed me the wrong way; and I wished for more time for a certain side romance, so it would seem less sudden. But these are personal preferences!

On the whole, I very much enjoyed reading it and being swept off to these enchanting islands on an adventure. There are a couple of unresolved threads and I hope to return to the Isles of Scilly with these lovely characters for more tales in future books! Do check this one out!

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review and all opinions are my own.


You may also like . . .

spysdevotion  


Thanks for reading! 🙂

Between Two Worlds Book Release!

Happy release day to Between Two Worlds by Cheyenne van Langevelde! This is a stunning Roman/Celtic historical fiction novel which I had the honor to copyedit, and I’m so excited it’s out in the world today!

Check out the rest of the post for my mini review, book info and links, and a challenge giveaway over on Instagram!

My Mini Review

Inspiring historical fiction with lovely writing and two characters who wrapped themselves around my heart. (Lucius and Enid forever!) The historical detail is well done and feels vivid and alive. (A couple of grittier details for historical accuracy, so just that small warning.) I loved the deeper themes as well. Stunning. Historical fiction fans, and those interested in ancient Rome, early Christian history, or Celtic twists, check this one out!

(Disclaimer: I was a copyeditor for this, but as an unbiased reader I definitely would have enjoyed it too. 😉 Lovely.)

Links

About Between Two Worlds

Enid hates the Romans who enslaved her. Broken-hearted over the life she lost in Britain, she vows to bury her name and her past where the Redcrests can never reach it. As years of servitude pass, bitter resignation replaces her longing to return home.

Then an unlikely friendship with a fellow outcast raises Enid out of her isolation, bringing both hope for the future and questions about the confusing God of the Christiani. Yet memories of her childhood haunt her, urging her to cling to her old identity, while the barriers of Roman society remain in the way of her deepest dreams. The peace she thought she made with the past is crumbling.

But time is running out for Enid and those she loves. Danger threatens the household she serves as persecution stalks her few friends. She must decide if risking it all for the one she loves is worth giving up the world she knows.

Even if it is a choice between life and death.

Instagram challenge/giveaway!

If you’re on Instagram and have time for a challenge pic or two, check out these prompts for the challenge giveaway the author is having! (And check out her account here: @thedancingbardess)

(image by @thedancingbardess)
(photo by @thedancingbardess)

Giveaway info

Rules:

• simple, just choose a day (or all of the days if you want) to post something related to that day’s prompt. It can be #bookstagram or something as simple as a nature snapshot, etc. Nothing too difficult and if you have any questions, ask the author @thedancingbardess!

• when you post, please use the #betweentwoworldsnovel tag so the author can see your post and enter you into the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY U.S.: Winner will receive signed paperback, thank you note, two character cards, a bookmark, and chocolate covered coffee beans

INTERNATIONAL: Winner will receive e-book, two character cards, and a thank you note

In short, there are two winners! You can enter this giveaway through participating in this IG challenge! Each day/post counts as one entry.

And there we are! Are you a fan of Celtic things or Roman things? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading!

Traitor by Laurie Lucking (Book Review)

IMG_20210426_104435_583

I was honored to be on the Bookstagram tour for this lovely book today, and I thought I’d share my review here too!

Title: Traitor

Author: Laurie Lucking

  • Date read: April 25, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2021
  • Pages: 278 (paperback)
  • Series: Tales of the Mystics, book 2 (Book 1 is Common)
  • Fave character: Prince Vander
  • Source: The publisher, L2L2 Publishing
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are entirely my own.
  • Book links

traitorimage

I so enjoyed this book! What a delight! It swept me away to a richly detailed new land of differing cultures, filled with relatable characters and a sweet tale of marriage alliance and searching for redemption.

It was an intriguing twist to follow Princess Penelope, an antagonist from the previous book, Common. (Note: you’ll appreciate parts of Traitor more if you’ve read Common, but it’s not necessary. Despite being hazy on the details of Common since it was awhile since I read it, I still enjoyed this one immensely.) I wasn’t sure about her at first but I loved getting her perspective on things and I quickly grew to feel for her, traveling far away to a new country to marry the son of an emperor.

Prince Vander is the NICEST HUMAN. I kept wanting to shake Penelope and tell her to appreciate this good soul! XD I loved how appreciative he was and how anxious to make her at home in his country, despite her tendency to build walls around her heart. He truly cared and was SO SWEET but also human and I loved that.

Side characters were fun too, from cameos of characters from the first book (eep!) to spirited Princess Dionne, guards, loyal lady’s maid Victoria…

I adored Delunia! Experiencing Penelope’s head-first immersion in this colorful new culture and new language was neat. The setting was so gorgeous!

Penelope’s past mistakes haunted her in a very real way and led to said wall-building around her heart, pushing away those who cared about her from fear of being hurt again by opening herself to love. It could be frustrating at times to see her make those choices, but eye-opening as well, and the journey she took was ultimately so satisfying.

Loved it!

You may also like . . .

_225_350_book-2070-cover  A Dream Not Imagined Cover


Thanks for reading! 🙂

Pangur Ban, the White Cat by Fay Sampson (Book Review)

Happy release day to this delightful Irish fantasy book!

Title: Pangur Ban, the White Cat

Author: Fay Sampson

  • Date read: February 21, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Allegory / Celtic Fantasy
  • Age: Older children’s to YA
  • Year pub: new edition published 2021
  • Pages: 160 pages (e-book)
  • Series: Pangur Ban Celtic Fantasies, #1
  • Fave character: Pangur and Arthmael
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s WebsiteSpring Song Press Website

Mermaids, ancient Ireland, a feisty princess, a hapless young monk, and of course a mischievous cat! What is not to love!

This was a delightful book which was reminiscent of fantasy I grew up reading, such as Narnia, Lloyd Alexander’s books, and George MacDonald. So that made me super happy!

I never knew what was going to happen next and I so enjoyed the adventure! The Irish setting felt like coming home. The perilous mermaids and other creatures (eagle, dolphin, etc.) we met were intriguing. Pangur himself is such a, well, CAT, and I absolutely loved him! Princess Finglass was fierce and a good heroine. And of course Arthmael was so neat — but you’ll have to meet him yourself!

The timeless writing style was refreshing, and as a longtime fan of Celtic myth and legend, I found the essence of that Irish fairy tale feeling on Pangur Ban’s quest in particular to be marvelous.

With mishaps, adventure, a quest or two, and a touching allegory, it’s perfect for anyone who loves Irish fantasy or is looking for a slightly-wilder Narnia-esque story. Young adults and adults will find things to delight them, and children (who can handle a couple of violent/scary bits, so…caution on that) will love it.

This quick read is perfect if you need a brief adventure of mermaids and Ireland in your life! Which, of course, you absolutely do!

(Note: it’s not related to the Secret of Kells film, but since both were I think inspired by the Pangur Ban poem, there are similarities, and I think any fans of the movie would also, separately, enjoy this book.)

A timeless tale, originally published in England in the 1980s, this book is rereleasing with a new cover, and in ebook form for the first time, for a new set of readers to enjoy.

Now available from Spring Song Press!

(Brought to you by the amazing C.J. Brightley, who also runs PhoenixCrate and NobleBright.)


You may also like . . .

Poison Kiss: A Twist of Adventure

pc

2emmn


Thanks for reading! 🙂

Five Thoughts on Mardan’s Anointed by Kathrese McKee (Review)

Hey, my fellow pagelings! At long last I return to this little blog to attempt to catch up on some reviews I’m wayyy behind on—so let’s dive right in with a review of a fantasy novel I really enjoyed!

Title: Mardan’s Anointed (Mardan’s Mark, #3)

Author: Kathrese McKee

  • Date read: September 25, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Fantasy / Kingdom Adventure
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 287 (paperback)
  • Series: Mardan’s Mark, #3 (Read my reviews of the other books in the series here.)
  • Fave character: Aldan
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book as part of the street team, and later won a paperback copy. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

 Five thoughts on Mardan’s Anointed

1. Another fabulous book in the Mardan’s Mark series! Book one (Mardan’s Mark) was an adventure quest/survival story, while book two (Mardan’s Heir) was much more of a political-intrigue-around-the-palace sort of story. Mardan’s Anointed (book three) skillfully blends the feel of both books, picking up directly where Mardan’s Heir left off and following the separate paths of Princess Srilani and Aldan. Although I missed having them together, I so enjoyed reading their alternating chapters as they both face challenges in who they’re meant to be, and I loved-loved-loved how it ended up for both of them! (The parallels near the end particularly were stunning.)

2. I’m going to try to talk about this without sharing spoilers if you haven’t read the first two. XD Aldan’s quest in the southern kingdom was epic, and there were some unexpected happenings that left me on the edge of my seat! Exciting quests (for thrones and other things), castle infiltrating, woodland ambushes . . . So much awesomeness going down in this book! Aldan is growing SO much in trying to be worthy, and he’s already awesome, so. 😀 (Also, I remember loving his speech on the beach.) Also, all his loyal guys just make my heart happy.

3. Princess Srilani is stuck kind of trying to temporarily run the northern kingdom and being met with all kinds of opposition, but I love that she keeps going despite all that. I enjoyed reading about her (figurative) journey as she navigates politics etc. And where her story goes at the end! Wow, wow! So cool, though I’m looking forward to where it goes after her, too. (Trying to talk about this without spoilers is so hard. XD) Also, I loved how there were some parallels to certain biblical stories, and that whole mountain bit at the end! Yessss. So very cool!

4. I also liked the other side characters and how their stories are developing—like Prince Jamson coming so far, Princess Maelan getting to do stuff, Aldan’s brothers being epic as per usual, etc. I also have Feelings about Judge Elison. And I kinda feel bad for Greyson so I want more of him in the next book, haha! Plus, Raymon is super awesome, and I love him and Lady Elilan together! And I’m totally still shipping Srilani and Aldan and need book four because of it. XD

5. Like I said, there were some fabulous unexpected twists that are leaving me grinning, and I can’t wait for the fourth (and I believe final) book! (Fortunately, this one didn’t cliffhanger like book two did. Still with things awaiting in the fourth book, though! Eep!) It also reminded me a little of Jill Williamson’s excellent Blood of Kings Trilogy . . . So if you enjoy those or are a fan of Christian Fantasy, you’ll enjoy these! (Essentially Kingdom Adventure since there isn’t really anything magical or fantastical aside from one or two miraculous things?) Overall, I had a marvelous time reading this and just felt happy to be back in this world in the Marst kingdoms with Aldan and Srilani and everyone! So enjoyable!


Read my reviews for the other books in the series so far . . .

You may also like . . .

kingswarriorcover


Does this series sound intriguing? And let me know what you’re reading lately in a comment. Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin (Book Review)

(Whoops, had a glitch there when I tried to post this at first. Hopefully this works better!)

Hey! I have a review to share today! (I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post, due to not having internet at home right now, but I’m excited to be able to get a post up for this series finale which I just finished last night!)

Title: The Story Hunter

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

  • Date read: June 4, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: older YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 368
  • Series: The Weaver Trilogy, #3 (Book 1: The Story Peddler — my review. Book 2: The Story Raider — my review.)
  • Fave character: Kharn
  • Source: Amazon
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

What a majestic conclusion to this fantasy trilogy! I’m not sure quite what I expected, but I quite enjoyed THE STORY HUNTER, for the most part!

It was somehow cozy and familiar to be back in this world for the finale of this series, even with my near-panicked uncertainty of AAHH WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN? (You know, like coming into watching Endgame for the first time. XD) I was so curious to find out what was going to happen to these characters — after waiting all this time for the last book to release — and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

Which . . . sounds wrong, when I put it that way. But I was bracing myself for a lot more darkness and sadness, on par with the second book, and was pleasantly surprised with how things wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong — this book is definitely somewhat dark and grim, in some ways more than book two (although book two had all the middle-book-darkness-without-any-victory-to-offset-it feel which is, I suppose, why I enjoyed this one more). The stakes also ramped up a bit for the finale, and there were one or two darker parts that weren’t my favorite. But there was also much hope and light sprinkled in, a lot of triumph and unexpected twists, and even a proper eucatastrophe moment, to use Tolkien’s word. So I guess I would say it balanced itself out.

There’s heartache and loss but also love and light, and it wrapped up everything in a mostly-satisfying way and made me pretty happy. ^_^ It did give me all the feels (laughing at banter, shedding a tear or two but in a good way at the beautiful legacies left behind) but it didn’t tear my heart out like I was afraid it would, and overall, by the end, it left me . . . uplifted. Which is something that’s good to feel at the end of a series. 🙂

I quite enjoy the unique world and it just felt cozy to be back in it, like I said. It’s colorful and unique, even shrouded in the darkness that’s fallen across it as of book two. All the caverns and strands were particularly cool! And I loved following the large cast of characters — all well juggled, although I wanted more of Kharn but I suppose under the circumstances that wouldn’t have worked out so well. XD

I’m not mentioning everyone by name because I don’t want to give anything away (awk, trying to write book three reviews without spoilers is hard!) but I will say I was glad to see how several of the characters’ arcs ended, and some of them make me smile. I also loved the beautiful tribute near the end to those lost along their journey, which made those sad parts a little more worth it, somehow.

There were one or two things and/or character actions that seemed to come totally out of the blue and left me kind of bewildered and going “wait, what?”, but I rolled with it and things turned out better than I expected in some cases, so I’m cool with it, mostly. XD (And to be fair, it could just be the fact that I read the previous book a year ago, and the first book two years ago, and I may have just missed certain connections or not remembered seeing things before — like Celyn, who I’m not complaining about AT ALL but had no memory of meeting before.) And, again, a couple of the darker parts I wasn’t fond of, but there you are.

Still, on the whole, I absolutely LOVED how it drew so many elements from the previous two books and wove them together, all the strands weaving into a beautiful, if sometimes scary, tapestry. Everything connected for the finale, in a swirling crescendo of color and characters — I absolutely loved how everything came together for the end! It made me so happy. The adventure definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, worried for everyone at every step, not able to put the book down and reading until midnight to finish.

Overall, I’m so glad I finally got to read the end of this saga, and while there were a few stumbles along the way (and I don’t really recommend the second and third books to younger or sensitive readers), it’s still been quite a journey — an often-fun one, with laughter and tears and a reminder of the good and the light in the world, even amidst the darkness.

Because the light wins and “winter will not last forever.” A magnificent, fitting end to the Weaver Trilogy. ^_^


More reviews!

Books also by this author . . .

You may also like . . .

Orphan's Song Songkeeper  Seahorse Kindle Cover copy THE SUNKEN REALM KINDLE COVER SEPT 2015


Have you read any in this series? Thanks for reading! 🙂