Cry of the Raven by Moran L. Busse // A Book Review

Cry of the Raven - LifeWay

Title: Cry Of The Raven

Author: Morgan L. Busse

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Christian Fiction, YA, Fantasy

My Thoughts:

Cry Of The Raven was a wonderful conclusion to an engaging trilogy. Although I have enjoyed all three books of this trilogy, my favorite is definitely Cry Of The Raven. Seeing Selene and Damien discover the full scope of their gifts was inspiring and beautiful. This book was a satisfying and interesting read.

One of my favorite things about the Ravenwood trilogy is the character names. As I know I have mentioned before, I find unique character names incredibly refreshing. A unique name helps to set a character apart from the hundreds of other characters hanging out in my brain. Selene, Damien, Amara, Opheliana and so many of the other names in this book are beautifully unusual.

I love Selene as a main character. Although her story arc is not particularly rare, a trained assassin who comes to the “good side”, she manages to feel unique. Selene is far from perfect and is fully human in her struggles surrounding how to use her gift. As tensions build and a war with the empire becomes inevitable, knowing that she could essentially win the war in a night, before it has even begun, is a heavy and tempting burden, but with the Light she is strong enough to stand firm.

Selene’s growth as a person is a main theme of the trilogy. When you first meet Selene, she is cold-hearted and unfeeling. As the story develops, Selene learns to open her heart and to shoulder the pain that comes with letting yourself feel and love.

All of the characters were strong, human and interesting. I am sad that we will not be getting to know any of them better. The stories of the young gifted leaders were inspiring in a way as they learned how to lead and protect their people.

Cry Of The Raven is a book I would recommend to fans of the Weaver Trilogy and those who enjoy clean YA fantasy.

“Does the sun disappear when clouds come? Or is the sun still there? Just as clouds cannot quench the sun, the darkness cannot quench the Light.” – Morgan L. Busse

What are you reading right now? Any interesting books on your summer tbr? Have you read any of the Ravenwood Saga books?

Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth // A Book Review

Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth

Title: Ivy Introspective

Author: Kellyn Roth

Publication Date: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

My Thoughts: 

Wow, what a pleasant surprise this book was! Unlike The Dressmaker’s Secret, I really enjoyed this story. That said, there were some issues for me.

First, let’s talk about the characters. Unlike Alice, who I personally felt was rather wooden at times, Ivy is a beautiful and relatable character. Her struggles with anxiety and other mental difficulties felt very human and real. My only complaint about Ivy is that at times she was slightly too sweet. Violet, do I even have to explain why I love her? After all, she is a moody bookworm who loves music! I can’t forget Jody, because what’s not to like about a sweet and smiley guy with an amazing accent!?

I loved the setting, in the wild Scottish moors. The descriptions of the gardens and brooks surrounding McClare House was beautiful and I could easily imagine it all. Although the historical aspect seemed lacking in depth, the setting made up for it.

Now for the issues, I can’t ignore them forever. Starting with Nora, I found her to be a weak character. I understand that she was discovering what it meant to be out from under the fist of a cruel man, but she just was watery in an unexplainable way.

My second major issue was how marriage was viewed and discussed. As you may or may not know, I firmly believe that men and women are equals in every way and I believe that a marriage should be an equal partnership. If you believe differently that aspect of this story obviously won’t bother you, but for me it is a problem that leads to another problem that is discussed among readers of Christian historical fiction. Is it historically inaccurate to have female MCs who have feminist mindsets before the term feminist even existed? I’ll let you think about that while I finish this review.

All that to say, I really enjoyed reading Ivy Introspective and I am looking forward to reading book three of The Chronicles of Alice And Ivy.

“They ignored her, caught up in their grown-up world, caught up in their moving lives that rushed past Ivy with fearless abandon. Far above her, far away from her.” – Kellyn Roth

Have you read Ivy Introspective? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kelly Roth & Start With Me by Kara Isaac // Book Reviews

The Dressmaker's Secret (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, #1)

Title: The Dressmaker’s Secret

Author: Kellyn Roth

Year Published: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

My Thoughts:

This was a tough book for me to review, for several reasons. Over the past couple years, I have heard quite a few wonderful things about The Dressmaker’s Secret. Therefore when I realized that I was able to read it using my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I was thrilled. Until I started reading it, that is. (Yes, this is a largely negative review and yes, up to this point I have mostly posted positive reviews. I realized that I really should be sharing both the books I have mixed feelings about and the books that I enjoyed. So here you have it, my first not particularly positive review.)

To begin with, let’s talk about the positive aspects of The Dressmaker’s Secret. The storyline was interesting and fast-paced. Several of the characters were enjoyable to read about, Nettie in particular. The Dressmaker’s Secret manages to deal with some difficult subject matter in a mostly PG-rated way. This book is one that I could hand to my younger siblings without really having to worry about the content. 

Several things annoyed and surprised me about The Dressmaker’s Secret. Number one being, where was the history!? There was absolutely no focus on the historical aspect of the story beyond the necessary notes about horses and carriages. I found this surprising due to the fact that Roth writes about her love and knowledge of history on her blog often. Another thing that frustrated me was the fact that I found the characters difficult to relate to. The thought processes of Alice often seemed far too mature for an eight year old and I would have to remind myself of her age when she did do something that made her seem childish. Last, but not least, the suspenseful piece of the story was not exactly suspenseful or unpredictable. 

All that said, I did not strongly dislike The Dressmaker’s Secret, I simply could not get myself to fully enjoy it. 

Start With Me

Title: Start With Me ❤

Author: Kara Isaac

Year of Publication: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Fiction 

My Thoughts:

I know that I haven’t really mentioned Kara Isaac’s books before and I am long overdue to do so. I am absolutely in love with her stories and her beautiful characters. Isaac writes some of the best contemporary clean/Christian novels out there. The characters are always interesting and engaging, real and relatable. Isaac’s story-lines are always well thought out and edited just about perfectly. They pull you in and don’t let go until the last page without being fast-paced. All of Isaac’s books connect through overlapping characters, making reading her books enjoyable on yet another level. 

Starts With Me follows Lacey O’Connor and Victor Carlisle’s story. They are easily my favorite of Isaac’s characters. The two of them come from completely different backgrounds, Lacey’s family are struggling Americans from Minnesota and Victor is the heir of a British Viscount, who just happens to be his father. 

One of the major themes of Start With Me is restoration. Specifically restoration of family and sibling relationships. Lacey and Victor both have sadly strained relationships with their siblings, although for very different reasons. It was satisfying to watch Victor fight to prove that he has changed and to see Lacey called out by her sister. Both Victor and Lacey grew as characters and were able to move forward with their lives, stronger and together.

Start With Me is a satisfying and enjoyable read. One I would absolutely recommend to my slightly older readers who enjoy clean contemporary fiction and relatable characters. 

Have you read either of these books? Which would you be more likely to read? What is one common story trope that drives you crazy

Who seen has Hamilton? Thoughts? (I may be slightly obsessed. 😀)

The Story Raiders: A Book Review

The Story Raider (The Weaver Trilogy, #2)

Title: The Story Raider ❤️

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

Published: 2019

Genre:  Fantasy, Christian, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

I fell in love with The Story Peddler from it’s first paragraphs. Lindsay Franklin’s story was interesting, her world building detailed and believable and her characters absolutely wonderful. I received The Story Raider for Christmas and just read it about a month ago. It is a wonderful sequel to The Story Peddler, every bit as enjoyable and interesting.

The Story Raider follows Tanwen as she travels with Mor, her father and the other Corsyth weavers. The purpose of their journey is to find the cure to the weaver’s curse and to save Gryfelle’s life. They travel by boat to several island countries in search of story strands. The story strands were hidden by the Master weavers of old and when put together form the cure to the weaver’s curse.

Mor and Tanwen’s relationship is strained throughout most of the story. They are both tied to others, but they care for each other. Tanwen and mor are also each struggling with things unrelated to each other. Mor is filled with grief over the state of Gryfelle’s health and quickly approaching death. Tawen is scared to realize that she also is suffering from the same sickness that is killing Gryfelle. At times they are able to connect and rekindle their friendship, but each time their journey manages to build walls between them.

Throughout the journey, Tanwen’s story strands’ abilities grow and begin to develop. She is starting to discover what her strands are capable of with and without her direction. Tanwen is beginning to learn about the full scope of the powers of weavers and how knowledge of these powers is largely lost to time.

Back in Tir, Braith is trying to establish herself as queen. There are many who are against her and she struggles to fully establish herself as the leader of the Tirian Kingdom. Meanwhile, Naith Bo-Offraid, the High Priest, is working on a plan with his mysterious and evil Master to overthrow Braith.

The Story Raider is a story of friendship, adventure and determination. It is a beautiful story of sacrifice, endings and second chances with family. You do not want to miss the second book of The Weaver Trilogy.

Have you read The Story Peddler? Have you read The Story Raider? I am I the only one who can’t wait for the release of The Story Hunter!? What have you been reading?

Of Fire and Lions: A Book Review Of Fire and Lions: A Novel (9780735291867): Mesu ...

Title: Of Fire and Lions ❤️

Author: Mesu Andrews

Published: 2019

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Biblical Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Biblical Fiction as a whole is not known for being that great, in terms of actual story lines and writing quality. So many of the books that fall into this genre are uninteresting and not very enjoyable reads. The storylines often all feel like you have read them before and just don’t pull the reader into the story. Many authors simply seem to have trouble breathing new life into their characters from the time period.

There are a few exceptions though. Mesu Andrews is one such exception. I have thoroughly enjoyed each of Mesu andrews books that I have read. Each book has had wonderful characters and an interesting story line that doesn’t move so slowly that you fall asleep while reading it. In fact the stories have pulled me on from the first pages and kept me reading until the last pages. Of Fire and Lions was every bit as enjoyable as Mesu Andrews’ other books.

Of Fire and Lions is about Belili, the fictional wife of Daniel. The books begins when daniel and Belili are in their mid eighties and goes on to tell Belili’s life story. Belili was a young Hebrew girl when she was taken to Babylon with Daniel and many other Hebrew people. Belili and Daniel became friends on the long journey and when they arrived in Babylon, after a short period of time Belili became his maid. After an attempt on Belili’s life, she was sent away from the palace. This is when Belili’s life dramatically and sadly changes course for some time.

Quite a few years later, Belili and Daniel meet again. After each losing their first spouses and growing close to each other through sickness, Belili and Daniel get married. This is in many ways still only the beginning of their story. Of Fire and Lions then goes to tell the story of the time that Daniel spent in the lions’ den from Belili’s perspective.

Of Fire and Lions is a moving story, a beautiful story of love between a couple who has been married for many years and a story of faith and redemption. Belili’s faith and relationship with God grows and develops throughout the story and over the years. Belili finds forgiveness from her sins and peace from her heartache.

I highly recommend this book to older christian historical and biblical fiction fans. It is definitely worth the time spent reading all 400 pages of the story. That said, I would not recommend this book to younger teens and tweens.

How do you feel about Biblical Fiction? Have you read any of Mesu Andrews’ books? What have you been reading lately?

Sherwood: A Book Review

Image result for sherwood meagan spooner

Title: Sherwood

Author: Meagan Spooner

Published: 2019

Genre: YA, Fairytale Retellings, Christian

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

I have read quite a few versions of the Robin Hood legend. In some of them Robin is a young woman and in another the MC is Robin’s daughter. Sherwood is yet another spin on the original legend. Our MC is Lady Marian, a strong, courageous young woman who is an exceptional archer and swordswoman.

Lady Marian loves Robin and Robin loves Lady Marian. Then war comes and Robin leaves to go and fight for his king, a loyal soldier if not a talented one. Marian waits for Robin, but all she receives is the ring that she sent with him, from the hand of Guy of Gisborne. Marian is distraught, an absolute wreck for weeks, mourning the loss of her best friend.

Surprisingly enough, this is only the beginning of the story. Robin returns, or does he? When Marian rides like the wind to the rescue of Will Scarlet, her maid and friend’s brother, she begins her adventures in a way. After Marian is able to overcome her grief she grows increasingly anger over the state of the lands and people in the villages of her father and Robin. This is the inspiration for Marian and “Robin”‘s following adventures.

Throughout Sherwood, Marian matures and grows as a young woman and character. From the beginning of the book, Marian is self-confident and strong, perhaps too self confident. She learns to depend on, trust and care for others and even falls in love.

This story is interesting, although it has a slow start. It is original, but sadly almost predictably unpredictable. The ending is both satisfying and slightly disappointing to every reader who wishes that that the characters did not have to fall in love in the end. Sherwood is an worthwhile and fun read, worth getting through the slow first few chapters and the far too fast moving relationship between Marian and her mystery love interest.

Have you read Sherwood or anything else by Meagan Spooner? What are you currently reading?

The Painted Castle: A Book Review

Image result for the painted castle kristy cambron

Title: The Painted Castle

Author: Kristy Cambron

Published: 2019


Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

My Thoughts:

Wow, another beautiful book from Kristy Cambron. I haven’t read anything by Kristy Cambron that I haven’t enjoyed. I love her writing style and how she alternates POVs from different periods of time. She weaves her stories together beautifully.

The Painted Castle is the third Lost Castle novel and possibly the last, sadly. It is every bit as wonderful as The Lost Castle and Castle on the Rise. All three books definitely have a spot on my favorite books shelf and books I wish I owned shelf. If anyone is ever telling you that Christian Historical Fiction is a waste of time, Kristy Cambron’s books are ones that I would recommend to them, and her books might change their mind about the genre.

I loved Kiera, Amelia and Elizabeth, they were all beautiful, strong and unique characters. Other then that they don’t have much in common, but the estate and painting brought their stories together, across several hundred years. Each of the women lost people they loved and had to work hard to end up where they did. These women went through difficult things and came out stronger.

“The sun drooped low on the horizon as they talked, until it’s rays were gone and only an ink-sky and coffee by the firelight remained.”

“Perhaps God whispers my name instead, and gave me an artist’s heart all along.”

Quotes from the The Painted Castle

Have you read this book? Have you read any of Kristy Cambron’s books?

Fountains Of Silence: Book Review

Image result for fountains of silence ruta sepetys

Title: Fountains Of Silence

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Published: October, 2019

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Fountains of Silence is beautifully written, interesting and heartbreaking in a way. I have fallen in love with Ruta Sepetys writing through this book. I love how she formats her chapters and how she shares her characters’ stories.

Fountains of Silence is set in Madrid, Spain. The majority of the book takes place during the 1950s. I haven’t read any other books set in Spain during this time. It was really interesting to learn about a new, to me, place.

The main characters in Fountains of Silence are Ana, a teenage Spanish girl from a poor family, and Daniel, a wealthy American teenage boy with a Spanish mother. Ana works as a maid at the hotel where Daniel and his family are staying. Ana and Daniel are fascinated by each other. Ana endlessly curious about the United States and Daniel fascinated by the beautiful girl who lives in a world of secrets and silence.

Fountains of Silence also tells the stories of Ana’s brother and cousin, with pieces of her sister’s story as well. Rafa, Ana’s brother is a butcher and a grave digger. He hates General Franco for stealing his parents and so much more. Puri, Ana’s cousin, works with “orphans”. helping to take care of them before they are adopted. She follows her parents’ example and is a “good” and respectful young woman, except for when she asks questions.

One of the main focuses of this book is to tell the story of the hundreds of babies who were stolen from their parents while Spain was under General Franco’s dictatorship. The parents of these babies were told that there babies died. The babies were in fact very much alive and were sold to families who were loyal to General Franco. Fountains of Silence tells these babies’ and their parents’ stories.

I loved this book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I would say though that it is definitely an older YA book, so for older teenagers I guess.

Have you read any of Ruta Sepetys books? What you been reading lately? What are a couple books on your tbr list?

Diamond in the Rough: Book Review

Image result for diamond in the rough jen turano

Title: Diamond in the Rough

Author: Jen Turano

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Christian Romance

My Thoughts:

I love this book, it is definitely one of my favorite recent reads! All of Jen Turano’s books are so fun to read. I love her characters, their dialogue is always hilarious. I always end up laughing when I read her books. They are the kind of books I love to read when I am stressed (and grouchy), they always cheer me up.

Poppy is someone who I would love to meet in real life, or to spend more time with in a book. She is smart, funny, stubborn and tough. Poppy is always getting into trouble in some way, she just can’t seem to help it! Poppy is a breath of fresh air to her grandparents and all of the New York 400.

I loved seeing Reginald’s character develop over the book. He really lightened up and learned how to smile. Poppy and Reginald really balance each other out. I loved reading their conversations with each other, it always made me smile.

I love this book, that really sums it all up. 🙂

I’ve always felt that misfits are far more interesting than normal folks.” Diamond in the Rough

I hope that your fall has been a wonderful season. I miss posting regularly on here, but school has to be priority. Right? Sadly, yes. I hope that you all enjoyed this review, I’ll be back soon with a….well a something post. I’m not sure yet what it will be, maybe a photography post or a cooking post or a…well you get the idea.

Have you read any of Jen Turano’s books? Are you going to check them out now? Did you know that KOTLC book 8, Legacy, was released last week?

Lady Jayne Disappears: Book Review

Image result for lady jayne disappears

Title: Lady Jayne Disappears

Author: Joanna Davidson Politano

Published: 2017

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Another amazing book by Joanna Politano, she is currently one of my favorite authors. All three of her beautiful books pulled me in and kept me engaged until the last page. I have so enjoyed each of her books! I am so glad that I happened upon A Rumored Fortune.

There are so many things I love about this book! Let’s start with the names, Aurelie, Juliette, Eudora, Glenna and Garamond. They all seemed to really fit their characters. I loved that Joanna used very few common names. Whenever I read a book about a Sarah, Rachel or Elizabeth, I wish that the author had been a bit more creative. Afterall why not come up or give your characters fun names! It was refreshing to have some interestingly named characters.

The name Lady Jayne Disappears immediately made me curious. What made the title even more interesting was that Aurelie’s novel shared the same title. Very rarely have I read a read a book that’s title shares the title of the story being written within the book. Lady Jayne Disappears‘ cover is so mysterious, in a way, and beautiful.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Aurelie’s parents. It was in many ways a surprising story. I was in some ways disappointed by how Aurelie’s parents’ story ended but it worked for this book somehow.

The romance element of this story in some ways felt unremarkable. For some reason it felt like an afterthought to me.The romance honestly was not needed and didn’t really add much to the story for me. All that said, I am glad that Aurelie and Silas ended up together, since I love both characters.

I loved the excerpts of Nathaniel Droll’s Lady Jayne Disappears! It really added to the story.

“Lady Jayne dreamed endlessly of escaping to something different, of living a fascinating and dramatic life – until she did.” – Nathaniel Droll

I hope that you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book? Do you want to read it now? What have you been reading lately?