Tag Archive | Book Review

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! 🙂

Sing To Me of Rain by E.B. Dawson (Book Review)

Aaaaahhh! You guys! I read the MOST DELIGHTFUL BOOK recently and I’m so excited to share about it!

It’s releasing TOMORROW (May 22) and the paperback and e-book versions are both up for pre-order, and it’s DEFINITELY one you’re not going to want to miss! One of my favorite books I’ve read this year, for sure!

Title: Sing To Me of Rain

Author: E.B. Dawson

  • Date read: May 10, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars, 6 stars if I could
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: Middle Grade or anyone, really (teens and adults will also love it)
  • Year pub: 2021
  • Pages: 205 (e-book)
  • Series: Standalone
  • Fave character: Ujio but really all of them
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my honest thoughts.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I CAN’T ADEQUATELY EXPRESS MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK. 😍😍😍 Studio Ghibli meets George MacDonald and Lloyd Alexander in this utterly enchanting Asian-inspired Middle Grade Fantasy novel from E.B. Dawson!

This book has everything: a tiny mermaid naiad, a fox, pangolins, hidden motives warring against innocence, ever-changing quests for truth, redemption AND heroism, a broad range of exotic locales from jungle to desert to mountain, a story through seasons and elements, and neat cultures and delightful fantasy worldbuilding that swept me off my feet. And so much more!

I loved Plip the little naiad and Akino the boy SO MUCH, and a certain other character who I won’t give away but his story was SO unexpected and I adored it! Part hero, part antihero, part mentor . . . let’s just say I have a new favorite unpigeonholeable character. (Watch for a certain fox is all I’m saying. ;))

I adored every second of this book! It’s full of twists and turns and I could never predict what was going to happen next, which made it exciting, but despite the suspense it was also a COZY story that I simply enjoyed the act of reading.

The settings remind me so much of a Studio Ghibli film, soft and peaceful and detailed, from river to mountain forest, rice fields, desert, waterfall . . . all of it! And the feeling we get that we’re passing through this vast world full of people living their lives which we only glimpse on our way through. I loved that. It’s just so RICH and like one thread winding through a tapestry, and fills me with a marvelous childlike wonder and joy and delight.

I loved how, with the perspectives of Plip and Akino, we saw the world through their eyes and the schemes of humans or grownups seemed outside and unnoticed, like levels of innocence and sneakiness. Felt true to life.

The depth and truths and levels of everything in this book were fascinating and one of the things I think older readers will like too. It asks hard questions and doesn’t talk down at all, which is something I dislike about some middle grade books these days — it’s just a book that happens to be about young characters, which young readers and teens and adults alike will find delight in.

It feels Deep and made me think and showed me things, and I highlighted sooo many quotes in my ebook copy, but it’s also very fun and I just ENJOYED it. It makes me so happy! *hugs book*

This is definitely going on my favorites list and is one of the top five books I’ve read so far this year. I’m going to need to add the paperback to my wishlist because I need SING TO ME OF RAIN on my shelf to read and reread forever. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. (I know the answer next time someone asks what my favorite middle grade book is.)

I can’t recommend this book enough! Just go read it! You need it in your life! (And you will never look at raindrops the same again. :D)

I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author and voluntarily wrote a review. All opinions are entirely my own.


You may also like . . . / For fans of . . .

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender show
  • Studio Ghibli films in general
  • The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald (original fairy tale)
  • The Golden Key by George MacDonald (original fairy tale)
  • The Remarkable Journeys of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander (Asian-inspired fantasy)
  • The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander (India-inspired fantasy, YA)
  • The Sentinel Trilogy or Emberhawk by Jamie Foley (for your talking fox fix, YA)
  • Plenilune by Jennifer Frietag (historical planetary fantasy, for your talking fox fix, Adult)

Does this sound like it’s up your alley? Let me know if it intrigues you! I simply adore it! 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! 🙂

Of Myth & Monster Review (Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology) + Timely Cover Reveal!

Time for a review of a very cool anthology from the Phoenix Fiction Writers! And scroll to the end for a cover reveal for their next anthology, coming in June! Also, two of the short stories in Of Myth and Monster were just announced as finalists in the 2021 Realm Awards in the short story category, which I thought was super exciting! 😀 (The Eyes of the Barghest by Jillane Purrazzi and H.E.R.O. by Beth Wangler.)

Title: Of Myth and Monster

Author: Phoenix Fiction Writers

Featuring stories written by: Hannah Heath, Kyle Robert Shultz, Beth Wangler, E.B. Dawson, C. Scott Frank, Grace Crandall, Deck Matthews, Nate Philbrick, and J.E. Purrazzi

  • Date read: March 20, 2021
  • Genre: Anthology / Short stories / Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 276 (e-book)
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this anthology from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Mistakes Were Made (by Hannah Heath)

What a delightful rollick! XD This one was so much fun and just such a wacky, amusing adventure. I especially loved the voice of this one — such character! — and the strong cultural flavor was neat. It’s probably one of the most unique short stories I’ve ever read. Such colorful sci-fi! Marvelous!


The Boy Who Listened (by Kyle Robert Shultz)

Full disclosure: I copyedited this short story, but my unbiased reader opinion is that it was a vibrant, fresh tale, with a fun take on the “chosen one” and “magical academy” tropes, as well as being full of heart and clever twists! And, of course, despite not being an Afterverse story, there’s still a dash of signature Kyle Robert Shultz humor. 😉


H.E.R.O. (by Beth Wangler)

Thrilling with a side of precious! With a relatable heroine who is part of a team of agents, this was an intense story which also had moments of fun. I loooved Poof the little phoenix! Such a cute side character. ^_^ This one dealt with fear and bravery, and I loved the mix of mythology creatures and technology, the agent aspect, and the twist at the end!


The Gods of Troy (by E.B. Dawson)

What a unique blending of Odysseus and space! E.B. Dawson always delights in her tales, and this was no exception, although with a bittersweet aspect which of course comes with the retelling. I really liked Odysseus and how the black hole and mythology and war of Troy and ship in space worked so well together. Fascinating!


The Unicorn Tamer (by C. Scott Frank)

A very amusing story, very tongue-in-cheek, about a fluffy, bear-like hero who’s rather grouchy but relatable. I loved the unicorn character! Almost the whole thing was wonderful and funny, although I confess that the ending horrified me. I guess I wasn’t expecting that dark of humor! But for the most part it was such fun and I really enjoyed the writing style.


Lamp of Silver (by Grace Crandall)

That was intense and fascinating! I was utterly immersed in this pirate tale-within-a-tale. A nautical adventure penned with skill. I love pirate stories and this one was amazing! I don’t want to give anything away, but the characters were fascinating and the twist on a genie was so unique. This was my first story from Grace Crandall and I definitely need to read more by her!


The Staff of Callewhyr (by Deck Matthews)

This was also my first taste of this author’s writing, and wow, I’m definitely curious to explore more, especially if there’s more in this world! This was a fascinating tale with a classic fantasy feel but its own original twists. The worldbuilding was so neat, the story edge-of-your-seat, and I found myself getting more and more curious about these characters, especially the secrets hinted at. A wonderful fantasy adventure!


Aura (by Nate Philbrick)

MY FEELS. *clutches heart* I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe during this. Wow, wow, wow. This was SO unique and feelsy and I loved every second of it — well, it toyed with my emotions and was a bit sad near the end, but it could have been worse and overall I loved it. WWII-era but with a unique mountainous setting and just the right thread of fantasy threaded throughout. The characters were amazing and I loved them so much. I CAN’T. IT WAS SO GOOD. It felt like Lloyd Alexander but more feelsy. I can’t get over this one. I loved the journaled bits, too. I can’t stop thinking about this one!


The Eyes of the Barghest (by J.E. Purrazzi)

This was so spooky and atmospheric — pretty sure the snow made ME feel cold reading it! The Barghest was totally unexpected. Some of this was sadder than I liked, but I liked the story by the end with the oddly hopeful twist. And it was another one that totally sucked me in and made me forget I was reading. And kind of a Nordic flavor, which was cool!


All of these stories were just so good! These were all delightful stories by skilled authors and I definitely recommend checking the anthology out!

Speaking of anthologies, the Phoenix Fiction Writers have a new anthology coming soon — and the cover was just revealed! Check it out!

timelytwittertext2

*flailing* Isn’t it so cool? I’m excited for this one too! Visit the Phoenix Fiction Writers here.


You may also like . . .

oncecover

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! 🙂