Mini-Reviews: The Summer 2020 Edition // Part 2

Hello again.

I can’t believe that summer has already passed and fall is on its way. School has started back up and time is in ever shorter supply. ( It remains to be seen how I will blog this school year, I am still thinking about it.) With the thought that summer has recently ended, I wanted to share these books that I read with you. I did a small amount of reading by my standards this summer. Although I must admit to being rather disappointed in myself for the fact that I had to cut my reading goal for the year in half, I have learned some valuable lessons about the art of marking a book with the dreaded DNF and valuing quality over quantity. (Perhaps one day you will be treated to more of my thoughts on these topics.)

And now..without further procrastinating, let’s get started.

*Note to my younger readers, all books marked with ❤ are books I would not recommend for you, due to a variety of content. If you have questions, ask away in the comments.


44059557. sy475

Title: The Magnolia Sword

Author: Sherry Thomas

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I read The Magnolia Sword directly after reading another Mulan re-telling that shall remain un-named, but was beautifully written in a way that very few YA novels are. In many ways this choice was an unfair one to The Magnolia Sword, but ultimately this story won me over.

The Magnolia Sword is rather slow in its opening pages, but gradually picks up. At some point in the story you will find yourself eagerly anticipating the next words, pages and chapters. It is an interesting take on the classic story of Mulan. We are presented with a character who has been forced to publicly take the identity of her late brother, but who does not lose sight of the fact she is a woman. Mulan is in every way her “princeling’s” equal. The Magnolia Sword is a story of old family rivalries, beautiful swords and strong characters.


Title: The Land Beneath Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Sarah Sundin once again delivered a solid, enjoyable WWII romance in The Land Beneath Us. She expertly used the marriage-of-convenience and falling-in-love-through-letters tropes, while injecting new life into them.

The character growth in many of the characters, particularly Leah, was remarkable. We first meet Leah as a (strangely) naive girl and when we finish her story she has become a woman, passionate in her love of stories, a loving and devoted mother and wife to the man she loves. Although it may initially seem that Clay is the one who does the saving in their relationship, you come to see that Leah played just as large of a part in rescuing Clay as he did in rescuing her. Clay, with the help of God and Leah, is able to stop the bitterness that was slowly killing him from the inside out.

I am sad that this trilogy is complete, but satisfied with its ending. So much redemption and healing happens, making it a hopeful ending.


Title: SuperNova

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

SuperNova is an engaging final installment of the Renegades trilogy. I found it to be far more enjoyable than book 2 and can profess myself to be a fan of this trilogy after reading SuperNova. It was full of action and twists and turns, the revealing of secret identities and discoveries of the truth of past events. Although I cannot say I was shocked by the revelations I never the less found then enjoyable.


Title: Strands of Truth

Author: Colleen Coble

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I had high hopes for this book after hearing good things about Colleen Coble’s romantic suspense, unfortunately I was disappointed. Although Strands of Truth did not live up to my expectations the story line was intriguing and enjoyable.


Title: Flight Risk

Author: Cara Putman

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

This book was a pleasant surprise. After reading Strands of Truth I expected to be disappointed in Flight Risk. Instead I was quickly absorbed in a fast-paced and interesting story. It was rather refreshing to read the entire book and upon reflection realize that I had noticed no cringeworthy internal or external dialogue. The writing felt direct, clean and easily understandable.

Savannah and Jett were both interesting characters to get to know. I enjoyed the fact that although their romance was a thread of Flight Risk‘s overall story, it remained just that.


Title: Isaiah’s Legacy

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Mesu Andrews did not disappoint in any way in Isaiah’s Legacy. It was captivating, heartbreaking and beautiful. As always Andrews’ depiction of darkness and evil as well as light and the goodness of God were incredibly moving. Isaiah’s Legacy demonstrates how biblical fiction can actually be enjoyable and educational. Once again in a genre that I generally consider a lost cause Andrews’ has proven me wrong.

In Isaiah’s Legacy we get to revisit characters we already know and meet characters who have very real and relatable struggles. The theme of redemption runs thickly through this story. Characters who have done seemingly unforgivable things are forgiven and God’s power and love shines bright.


Title: Collateral Damage

Author: Lynette Eason

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Although I would not count Collateral Damage amount my favorites of Lynette Eason’s books, it was an engaging and interesting read. The topics dealt with were heavy, as is typical of Eason’s writing, but handled well. Collateral Damage was wonderfully suspenseful. Definitely a must read for all fans of Eason’s writing.


Beyond Justice

Title: Beyond Justice

Author: Cara Putman

Publication Year: 2017

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

After reading Flight Risk I eagerly anticipated reading Beyond Justice. Sadly I felt rather let down as I read it. Although it contains many of the elements I found compelling in Flight Risk, such as the focus on the law and absence of ridiculous inner dialogue, it lacked the engaging and suspenseful feelings of Flight Risk. That said, in the end I enjoyed this story and I am excited to read more of Cara Putman’s writing.


Have you read any of these books? Are there any books you are excited about reading that were (or are being) published this month? (Hint: A Portrait of Loyalty!!!!!) What are you reading right now?

Mini-Reviews: The Summer 2020 Edition

Hey Everyone.

I’m back and ready to share yet another list of mini-reviews, admittedly it is shorter than normal and mostly made up of books that have been sitting on my shelf for weeks if not months, but there are a couple good ones. It feels really good to be sharing these with all of you, I have missed putting bookish content together. 😀

Without a further intro (I am quite terrible at writing them, as I am sure you are all aware), let’s get started.

*Note: Reviews marked with ❤️ are books I would recommend to older readers and contain some form of slightly more mature content.


The Weaver's Daughter

Title: The Weaver’s Daughter

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

The Weaver’s Daughter is a slow-paced, historically interesting story with a wintery and cozy feel. Not exactly the type of book anyone is looking for right now, but definitely worth adding to your winter tbr list.

Family and loyalty are the main themes of The Weaver’s Daughter. The story follows two people as they try to determine how to keep their parents’ and grandparents’ legacies alive while being true to themselves.


A Touch of Gold (A Touch of Gold, #1)

Title: A Touch of Gold

Author: Annie Sullivan

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about A Touch of Gold. On one hand it is an interesting and unique retelling of the story of King Midas, on the other it just felt like it was lacking something. Maybe depth, maybe the author wasn’t particularly passionate about it or maybe it was just me.

From the first time Kora met a certain character, his words rang extremely hollow to me. Finding out that he was actually a villian, not the hero, did not come as a shock. What was frustrating was that as soon as he is out of the picture, Kora begins falling for a man who previously drove her crazy. Another issue for me was the logic behind Kora’s powers, in fact there was none.

All that said, A Touch of Gold is overall an enjoyable story, if you can ignore it’s issues.


Between Shades of Gray

Title: Between Shades of Gray ❤️

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Published: 2011

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

As you all know, I adore Ruta Sepetys’ writing. Despite the fact that Between Shades of Gray is not my favorite of her beautiful stories (I’m looking at you FOTS), it did not disappoint. Although the writing format and style is slightly more simple than FOTS and Salt To The Sea, it in no way lacks depth.

Between Shades of Gray is about a piece of WWII that is not covered by many (or any) historical fiction writers. We meet Lina as a fifteen year old and follow the next years of her life as she is exiled to Siberia with her family. Between Shades of Gray is filled with sadness and a strong thread of hope.


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn ❤️

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Spin the Dawn is an interesting and entertaining story with a definite Mulan feel. It is unique and the ending came as a complete surprise. I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next book in the series.

Spin the Dawn has it’s fair share of issues though. Starting with the fact that it could have used some more editing and that at times things just didn’t quite make sense. I could ignore those issues if it weren’t for the fact that the author couldn’t seem to decide whether Spin the Dawn was a middle-grade or YA book. The writing level felt absolutely middle-grade for much of the book and then at chapter 27, all of the sudden, you have YA content thrown at you. Sure it is subtle, but it is very much there. That said, overall I enjoyed this story.


In Too Deep (Dive Team Investigations, #2)

Title: In Too Deep ❤️

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Lynn Blackburn’s books have found a place on my close-to-favorites mental list. They have a very similar feel to Lynette Eason’s books, which is a positive thing in my opinion. In Too Deep was enjoyable and interesting, with wonderful characters. It also is giving me small amount of hope for the future of the “Christian fiction” genre, but that’s a post for another time.


Have you read any of these books? Who else has seen the cover for Shannon Messenger’s Unlocked!? What are you currently reading?

Mini-Reviews: Winter Edition// Part 2

Hey Everyone.

I am excited to being sharing part two of my winter mini-reviews. I sadly have not had much time to read lately, with all of the schoolwork I have had and still have, but I read these books semi recently. It is so hard to see my large stack of books not getting any smaller and several books that I am really excited about reading remaining unread. I was only able to read two books last week! A very small and sad number for me. 😀

Well, I guess we might as well jump in. Hopefully these books will be some you are interested in reading. Nothing is better than a good and interesting book when your life, or the whole country, is messy and crazy.

*Just a reminder, books marked with a ❤️ are not books I would recommend to tweens and younger teens.


Let the Wind Rise (Sky Fall, #3)

Title: Let The Wind Rise ❤️

Author: Shannon Messenger

Published: 2016

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Let the Wind Rise is the conclusion of Audra and Vane’s story and the third book in the Sky Fall trilogy. I enjoyed the whole Sky Fall trilogy. It sadly did not have the same quality of writing and world-building details as KOTLC but it was enjoyable. Some of the ideas in KOTLC seem to be more sophisticated and developed versions of some of the ideas in this trilogy. Overall, I am glad that Shannon Messenger mostly write middle-grade, that is where she excells.


The Pharaoh's Daughter (Treasures of the Nile, #1)

Title: The Pharaoh’s Daughter ❤️

Author: Mesu Andrews

Published: 2015

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Wow, what a beautiful historical fiction book! The Pharaoh’s Daughter follows the life of Annipe, an Egyptian princess, from when she was five years old to when she is in her thirties. Annipe is five when she watches her mother, one of the pharaoh’s wives, die in childbirth. This event terrifies Annipe and she decides that she will never bear her own children. Through many events over the next ten years, Annipe ends up married to one of Egypt’s highest military officials. Before long Annipe’s new husband leaves to go to war, leaving her to run their linen business and estate. Right after this Annipe finds a baby in a basket floating on the river, Moses. She adopts the baby and eventually raises him as her son. Annipe’s story is still far from over, but that is all I am spoiling. 😀

This book is fascinating and really beautifully written, my favorite biblical/historical fiction book that I have read.


The Piper's Pursuit (Hagenheim, #10)

Title: Piper’s Pursuit

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

This was a sadly disappointing read. I have enjoyed most of Melanie Dickerson’s books, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I had high expectations for this book after reading Warrior Maiden, but…I just could not get interested in the story. That said, the characters were great and enjoyable!


Vow of Justice (Blue Justice, #4)

Title: Vow of Justice ❤️

Author: Lynette Eason

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

This was my favorite Blue Justice book. I love Linc and Allison! Their story was so interesting and fast-paced. I felt that the mole was a bit obvious, since I guessed the person’s identity about half way through the book. How it all played out was not predictable, though. Allison’s story was very unexpected and heartbreaking.

One thing that I appreciate about Lynnette Eason’s books, or at least those of them that I have read, is that although there is a romance thread in the story it does not overpower the rest of the story.


The Bridge to Belle Island

Title: The Bridge to Belle Island

Author: Julie Klassen

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

This is a wonderful and very original feeling story. In many ways it is my favorite of Julie Klassen’s books. The Bridge To Belle Island is set on a tiny and beautiful island. The characters are interesting and rather complex. The mystery is not easily solved or expected. This is a book I am looking forward to re-reading.


Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain, #1)

Title: Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Author: Joanne Bischof

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

This book is really unique and interesting. Both of the MCs are strong, but very human feeling characters. Thor, the male MC is deaf and mute, he is massive and kind, but dependent on alcohol to dull the emotional and mental pain of being unable to speak or hear. Thor and Aven’s story is beautiful and inspiring. It is different and something that more authors should be doing. Characters who have mental and physical limitations that they have to overcome are characters that readers can relate to.


Are any of these books on your tbr or read list? What book are you currently reading or just finished?

Summer Reading//Mini-Reviews #2

Hey Everyone!

Wow, it seems like it has been forever since I’ve posted! I started out the summer planning to post at least weekly maybe more and here I am at the end of July having only posted twice.

This summer has been busy and awesome so far! Camp was a really amazing experience, I met new people, had some adventures (like camping out when it was pouring rain and everything was soaking wet), learned more about Jesus and had a good week away from home. I am so thankful that I was able to go. Thank you to my grandparents for helping to fund it

I have been loving having fresh veggies to cook with. Summer food is the best! Sadly we don’t have a garden this year, but I am so thankful for the local vegetable farms who grow amazing and healthy food. Hopefully sometime soon I will share some of my favorite, super easy, summer dishes with all of you.

The weather has mostly been pretty good for haying this year. We finally got some much needed rain this week. There is nothing like summer rain, especially long, steady, summer rain showers. When I was younger thunder storms really freaked me out, now I love them. love watching the rain pour down, hearing the thunder crash and seeing the lightning streak across the sky. I also love how clean and fresh the air always smells after a storm, there is nothing like it.

Something I have been doing alot of this summer is reading. I am so grateful for our wonderful library system and our kind, if at times scatterbrained, librarian. One of my favorite feelings is when I look at my desk and I see a stack of fifteen or so new books, just waiting to be read. Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about everything those wonderful pages hold, but most of all it is exciting. Reading will always be my first love, nothing else comes close enough to challenge its place in my heart. 🙂

All that said, let’s jump into these reviews.


Image result for heist society

Title: Heist Society

Author: Ally Carter

Published: 2010

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

I’ve seen this book around, but never really considered reading it until recently. This book was the first book I read by Ally Carter and I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and enjoyable it was. Kat and her crew are so much fun to read about! I always love reading about kids who accomplish things adults failed to.

The Heist society books are perfect for curling up with on a hot summer day, wherever you are.


Image result for a note yet unsung

Title: A Note Yet Unsung

Author: Tamera Alexander

Published: 2017

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

I stumbled across A Lasting Impression a couple months ago and I loved it! I also read the second Belmont Mansion novel and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was really excited about the third book. It managed to fulfill most of my expectations.

I loved reading about Rebekah and Tate’s passion for the music they played and wrote. It was beautiful and I could almost hear violins playing while I was reading it. That alone made this a worthwhile read for me.


Image result for the lady of bolton hill

Title: The Lady of Bolton Hill

Author: Elizabeth Camden

Published: 2011

Rating: ✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

I really loved Daniel and Clara’s relationship. It is always nice when the characters have known each other for a long time before falling in love. It was enjoyable to read about them bonding over music, that they played and wrote.

Bane’s transformation seemed a bit rushed to me, but he added a lot to the story. I am looking forward to reading more about him.


Image result for wished jen calonita

Title: Wished

Author: Jen Calonita

Published: 2019

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

This next book in the FTRS series is just as fun and entertaining as the others. I have always loved Gilly and still do. Even though it is definitely an easy read for me it is quite enjoyable.


Image result for starring me

Title: Starring Me

Author: Krista McGee

Published: 2012

Rating: ✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

After reading First Date, I was excited to find out there was a book about Kara. I really love Kara and Chad as individuals and together. They are both really fun to read about and get to know. I totally recommend this as a fun summer read.


Image result for the lieutenant's bargain

Title: The Lieutenant’s Bargain

Author: Regina Jennings

Published: 2018

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

I love Hattie and Jack! For such a common plot, two people who don’t love each other, are forced to get married and end up falling in love, but think that the other doesn’t love them, until the end when they realize they both love each other, it was a fresh and fun story. Totally worth the time spent reading it.


Image result for through waters deep sarah sundin

Title: Through Waters Deep

Author: Sarah Sundin

Published: 2015

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

My Thoughts:

If you are someone who enjoys christian WW2 romances, then Sarah Sundin’s books are for you. Through Waters Deep started out slow, but toward the middle of the book I couldn’t put it down. The mystery element kept the story interesting. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series.


How has your summer been? What have you been reading? Do any of these books sound interesting to you?