Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell Book Review

18008073// Love Comes Calling //
By Siri Mitchell
{Review By Bethany}
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction/Early 1900s
Number of Pages: 360
ISBN: 076421036X
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Rating: Four out of five stars
// Book Synopsis //
{Taken from the back cover}
"A girl with the best of intentions.
A heart set on Hollywood.
An empty pocketbook.

That's all it takes for Ellis Eton to find herself working as a telephone operator for a look-alike friend. For Ellis, this job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get her a start in the movies. She's tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can't deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she's not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It's simple: avoid Griff's attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call...with her very own Griff as the target.

With an endearing heroine as her lead, Siri Mitchell takes readers on a madcap tale
 of love and discovering one's true desires!"

// Bethany's Book Review //
I've had the pleasure of being able to read several of Siri Mitchell's previous novels including She Walks In Beauty (and absolute favorite novel of mine!), as well as Unrivaled. Being that her writing style is very diverse in time periods and themes, I was excited to see what she did with this new novel based in the early 1920s in Boston. While I did enjoy reading it, I don't think it's a favorite, though I'm glad I did read it. However for sure, She Walks In Beauty takes the cake for being my favorite novel she has written; which quite honestly I don't see changing in the future.
This novel was different than I expected it to be in the fact that it was a very fun, light and quick read, that I found very personable and humorous-while at the same time having very serious strains within the pages. I really ended up reading this book with "spare moments". Basically I started it on a day where I had an extra 15 minutes, and then read a bit more a few other times I had a few minutes, and then it seemed like all the sudden I'd finished it without putting lots of time into reading it. I think this was mainly because the story flowed well and the story line was relaxed and not super complex like other stories that take a while to "connect" (no pun intended! :D) in your brain with all the different plots and characters. So in a way, this book was very simple, but also very nice. Since the plot was very simple, it made it easier to read, and also made it a light read, but one I did enjoy.
The main character Ellis Eaton's personality was quite honestly a bit difficult for me to "get". I felt like at times I totally related with her clumsiness and difficulty remembering things. I laughed at the situations it brought her into, but also felt a deeply like I could totally relate, being that her character was so real and showed honestly that people make mistakes! However, at other times I felt like her mind may not have been "all there", and I felt like she might almost have a disorder or something of the sort.  Her character is one of very high energy and one of easily forgetting things or loose track of situations. While it wasn't so bad to where I thought she was mental, I did get a feel like there was something not quite right, from ways she would respond verbally to certain situations that reminded me of someone who might have a compulsive disorder. True enough, at the end of the book the author described how she created Ellis's character with ADHD, and I was glad to know that wasn't just a feeling I got, but that the author made the character like that on purpose. So while at times I just loved the "real" situations her compulsive disorder brought, I felt like at other times I didn't quite relate with other bits of her personality.
Despite the title which may suggest this novel to be a big romance, it's not. I felt like the title worked perfectly with the story since Ellis fills in for a friend at her telephone job as a "hello girl", where she is constantly connecting and disconnecting calls. I liked how the story mainly focused on Ellis and didn't heavily rely on a romance to make the story interesting. While there was a nice bit of clean romance, I felt like it wasn't overly done, and for sure very clean.
The only con I'd mention is that there is a minor-character who is rather immoral, and there was one scene at a bar where she was inappropriately dancing on stage. I'd probably just recommend to skip over that paragraph when it comes, if this is an area you'd rather just avoid. Since it's only one paragraph it makes it easy to just skip over once. There are several scenes at a bar, with people being getting/being drunk, with an over-all not good feeling, and we also learn of the dangerous effects that drinking can give a body, leading to a very good moral to the story.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel and loved Ellis's personality and the humorously light style that makes this book easy to read in a short amount of time. I'd highly recommend this book to historical fiction fans, or those who enjoy very unique novels from Christian authors.
D I  C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of Love Comes Calling from the publisher for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely honest and unbiased.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shadow Hand By Anne Elisabeth Stengl Book Review

Shadow Hand

Tales Of Goldstone Wood, #2

Review Written By Madi
Book Title: Shadow Hand
Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Series: Tales Of Goldstone Wood
Source: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Magic Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1028-0
Number Of Pages: 408
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Year Of Publication: 2014
Rating: Two Out Of Five Stars
Book Description
She will take your own two hands
to save your ancient, sorrowing lands.

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . .

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

Book Review

I absolutely LOVE historical fiction. It is by far my favorite book genre. When I read the description for this book, I was intrigued. The story is set in medieval times? How interesting. I thought that maybe it would be like some of Melanie Dickerson's books, and I LOVE her. I requested this book with high expectations. When it arrived in the mail, I was surprised how thick it was. I didn't realize it was quite so long. No matter, I'm a fast reader anyway. The second thing I noticed about this novel was it's absolutely gorgeous cover. It's so . . . magical. I ought to know better than to judge a book by it's cover, but I can't help but love a book even more if it has a good story AND it's pretty. I opened it up, and I realized that it was just as pretty looking on the inside. The cover page, page numbers, and bits of poetry makes this book look very well done. To whoever was in charge of design, awesome job! Very professional. Unfortunately, the story didn't match up to the outward beauty. I was disappointed at first, but then I decided that I should read on a little further before making judgment. Well, over 150 pages in and I'm still not lovin' it. I thought to myself, "Maybe I'm just not used to this writing style," and I read on, still hoping. Then when I passed up the halfway mark, I realized that I was gonna have trouble finishing this book. And I did. The characters are such lack wits. Nothing that was going on had a purpose. Actually, I found it downright weird. Stengl is definitely no Melanie Dickerson. I just feel like this book was . . . well . . . pointless. It was waste of my time and now I'm behind on my reading. The only thing I liked about it aside from it's cover was how Daylily was a redhead and that her hair color really made her stand out in several parts of the story. If you read about someone referring to the girl with the "fiery hair", you know whom they were referring to. I'm sad to say that I won't be searching out any more books from this author, and I would not be likely to recommend it to a friend.
~Madi For The Literary Maidens
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not further compensated to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Remnants by Lisa T. Bergren Book Review

13645229// Remnants: Season of Wonder //
Remnants Series // Book #1
By Lisa T. Bergren
{Review by Bethany}
Source: ARC review copy courtesy of the author
Genre: Young Adult, Futuristic/Dystopian fiction
Number of Pages: 570
ISBN: 0310735645
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: April 8th, 2014
Rating: Four out of five stars
// Book Synopsis //
{Taken from GoodReads}

"In the first book of the new futuristic dystopian series from author Lisa T. Bergren, the chosen remnants must work to redirect humanity’s course.

The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life.

The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down.

But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril.

Bestselling author Lisa T. Bergren presents the first book in her new YA futuristic dystopian series—The Remnants Novels—fitting in with the current dystopian trend in the marketplace."
// Book Review //
For a while now, I've been a huge fan of Lisa Bergren-especially her River of Time series. Ever since hearing about her newest release, Remnants which is a futuristic young adult series with an emphasis on spiritual warfare; I was very eager to read it!
In my opinion, this book is an excellent start to this new Remnants series! I really felt like I got to know the characters very well-especially main character Andriana, and I'm very eager to continue the journey in the next book, Remnants: Season of Fire! I really liked how it was all eluding to Christianity throughout the story. All the things that represented Christianity, like the Remnants (the good guys) fighting the Sons of Sheol (the bad guys), which reminded me of angels and demons as well as the spiritual warfare between good and evil. Another aspect which reminded me of the whole spiritual emphasis was how each of the Remnants had a special gift, given to them by the Maker, that greatly assisted them in their fight against the Sons of Sheol. I found Andriana's gift of "reading" people's emotions and feelings as an interesting gift; that though helpful, was sometimes dangerous. Since she had this gift, it was interesting seeing the story from her perspective, and getting to see how she handled various situations throughout the story.  
It was neat reading a story where the whole plot is driven to remind you of the constant war between good and evil. Remnants reminded me of anther book I've read titled Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black, which is also is written from a spiritual warfare aspect. However in this book I liked how there were more Remnants and main characters with gifts, as it made things much more interesting being that there were more people involved. (However I still greatly recommend Cloak of the Light!)
As with any dystopian novel, Remnants did have a bit of violence, as the Remnants had several big fights with the Sons of Sheol, and obviously in such an event, there will be violence due to killing these creatures that represented demons. While the actual Sons of Sheol weren't in my opinion very scary or overly-described, the violence is a bit graphic, though not overly so. However I'd not recommend this book to younger readers, as it has an overall very thought-provoking aspect that has a dark weight of good versus evil, which can be more than your everyday light read.
Really the only other aspect that I wasn't completely crazy over was the romance and love-triangle aspect. Considering the length of the story, there wasn't an overabundance of romance in my opinion. However when it did show up it was just a little different for me. I felt like a few of the romance scenes had a bit to many details and descriptions. But it never was anything that made me disappointed in the novel, just something I felt was a bit different and probably consisted of too many details for my taste.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel which despite being over 550 pages didn't get bland or dry, and I had no problem continuously turning pages. I'd highly recommend it to fans of Christian futuristic novels!
D I S C L A I M E R :: I contacted the author with an interest in reviewing this book and was sent a free ARC copy of Remnants to read and review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in my review are my own, completely honest and unbiased.