Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund Book Review

(Review Written by Madilyn)
Book Title: Love Unexpected
Author: Jody Hedlund
Source/Sponsor: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1237-6
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Year of Publication: 2015 (Coming Soon)
Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Book Description
A Perfect Blend of History and Romance, with a Whisper of Mystery

All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.

But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.
Book Review
 I have really been looking forward to reading this book. Jody Hedlund is one of my go-to authors for a good read every time. She is consistent with her writing and has an interesting and unique style. I have read several of her books and loved every one of them. This story in particular stuck out to me because of the moral aspect of it. Patrick was is a former criminal that turned his life around and is raising his son, Josiah. He is a kind hearted man with a haunting past. He just wants the best for his family, but things keep going from bad to worse. Emma considers herself and old spinster and is overjoyed at the aspect of a ready made family. These two have a lot of things to work through and a lot of bridges to burn, but with God's help they can accomplish any feat. I loved all the strong characters and the plot was well thought out and executed. My only complaint is that there could have been a little bit more excitement. It was not boring by any means, and I had no trouble staying interested in what I was reading, but I think a little bit more action would have greatly enhanced the book overall. That being said, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more novels by Jody Hedlund.
D I S C L A I M E R: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion, and that is exactly what I have given. I was not further compensated to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen Book Review

20665064// The Secret of Pembrooke Park //

By Julie Klassen

{Review by Bethany}

Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Publication Date: December 2nd, 2014
Number of Pages: 460
  Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

// Book Synopsis //
Taken from Good Reads
"Julie Klassen Is the Top Name in Inspirational regency Romance

Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?"
// Bethany's Book Review //
It's no secret that Julie Klassen is one of my all-time favorite authors. However her last release The Dancing Master was a bit of a disappointment for me, so I was hoping that The Secret of Pembrooke Park would really bring back that Klassen wow factor-and it did! If you have been a fan of any of Klassen's books then you have to get your hands on this new one! You won't want to miss it!

I just adored everything about this novel-the mystery, regency era, old mansion full of secrets, the characters, romance, and plot! Everything was so masterfully placed together, and I was constantly surprised and delighted while reading this book. Even though it's nearly 500 pages I continuously flipped through pages without realizing the length. This is one of those rare books that I can actually truly say that I didn't want it to end! I just felt such a connection with the characters, and I found the story and characters were constantly in my thoughts even when I wasn't reading the book. For sure and certain, this is a 2014 favorite!!

Like I mentioned earlier, The Dancing Master, which released last December was a bit of a disappointment for me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. It just didn't have that Julie Klassen wow factor that I've come to admire. So, I didn't really get my hopes up for this novel. However I was pleasantly shocked when reading this book! The plot was so intriguing and the story flowed so smoothly. The mystery was very prevalent (which I really liked, as it's hard to find regency novels that have a lot of mystery instead of just a little sprinkled throughout) and was constantly leaving me in suspense of the next page. The romance between the main character and the two love interests was very well written and interesting. I loved how Klassen weaved such an intricate story in such a flawless way. If you are a fan on regency romance then you will not want to miss this book!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park from the publisher for the sole purpose of this review. All thoughts expressed are my own, completely honest and unbiased.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson Book Review

21746534// The Princess Spy //

By Melanie Dickerson

{Review By Bethany}

Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through Book Look Bloggers
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0310730988
 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //
Taken from Good Reads

"Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot."
// Bethany's Book Review // 

I've been a big fan on Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale re-tellings for some time now, and had eagerly been looking forward to the release of her newest release The Princess Spy. Dickerson's newest release doesn't disappoint, and weaves an exciting story sure to thrill and delight fans of heroic tales.
This exciting young adult novel is very engaging and flowed very well. There weren't any dry patches, and the story was consistent and adventurous. I quickly fell in love with the characters, and especially enjoyed learning more about Colin and his past, and how his story wove into Margaretha's. The story was well written and I loved how it ended! 
Margaretha's character was one I really admired. She was strong and courageous, and possessed a very mature and trustful quality that really shinned throughout the story. I especially loved how towards the end of the story, she really trusted the Lord with her current situation and didn't fret when most people would have. It was interested seeing her help Colin, and I loved the way that their relationship bettered the both of them; and how their working together brought such fruitful results. I loved how they worked together to benefit others and their relationship was an inspiring one. 
Since this book is a young adult one, it is very easy to read and not one that involves a lot of thinking or processing, making for a very fun, quick read. I loved the fairy-tale aspect, though I couldn't quite place the original story that was being re-told, if there was a specific one (though I'm sure I could have missed it due to my lack of fairy-tale knowledge). Even so, it was still a very interesting story that I thought to be very heartfelt and sweet.
I'd highly recommend this book to fans of fairy-tales. Melanie Dickerson's novels are very unique, even though they are based on well-known classics, and a real treat for young readers and adults alike! If you are looking for a fun weekend read full of heroic princes and strong heroines then look no further!
D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary copy of The Princess Spy from the publisher, for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review or promote this book, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own, honest and unbiased.