Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: The Tutor's Daughter

Title: The Tutor's Daughter
Author: Julie Klassen
Our Rating: 5/5

Plot: Emma Smallwood and her father have recently arrived in Cornwall to tutor the youngest sons of Sir Giles, the father of two previous pupils, Henry and Phillip Weston. But something feels wrong. Sir Giles seemed very flustered when they arrived, and his wife all but told them to go back home. It was Emma and her father's understanding that they were expected, and to be welcomed, but the opposite is true. Soon after, strange things begin to happen. Emma hears wailing one night, and then someone playing the pianoforte the next. The two boys her father is tutoring say that Ebbington Manor has a ghost. Emma is completely confused, and when one of the older Weston brothers begins to develop unexpected feelings for her, and she him, things only become more confusing.

We absolutely LOVED this book! It is a definite favorite, and we expect it to be for quite some time! There was never a dull moment in this book, but there wasn't too much romance either. The excitement was perfect, yet the major plot points didn't just come out of nowhere. This book was woven together in just the right way to keep you reading! We would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery, romance, excitement, or Regency books!

Book Trailer

Characters: The Characters in this book were very well developed and easily connected to, but the author didn't spend entire chapters describing someone's personality; you just kind of got to know them based on their thoughts and actions. We would tell you our favorite character (as we normally do) but unfortunately, that would spoil the story (no spoilers here)!

Emotion: This book was very exciting, but touching as well. As we said before, there wasn't a single dull part, and it kept us coming back for more.

Elinor's Thoughts: This book was simply amazing! Even though I don't read lots of historical fiction, I loved this one! It will be a definite re-read (and I don't do that often either)! I think one of my favorite things about the book was the hero's seemingly rock-solid emotion, but deeper into the book seeing his sweet, soft side. It actually had me tearing up at one point (and that is really rare, you can tell this book was special right?)! Ok, no joke here, you really need to read this book!

Favorite Quote:
"He did admire you, you know. He just didn't know how to show it."
She gave him an incredulous look. "Mr. Pugsworth?"
"Yes," he said, then walked away, thinking, Him too.

Marianne's Thoughts: This book is a FAVORITE! Ever single thing about it was absolutely perfect! I loved seeing Emma's faith in God strengthen. I also loved the romance. It was definitely not over the top! It was so sweet, and beautiful, while still seeming realistic. Here, let me sum it up for you: Julie Klassen knows how to write romance! Like my sister said, the hero was a bit rock-solid and stubborn on the outside, but the sweetest most caring guy on the inside! I also really liked that Emma's personality was a lot like mine. She was sweet and considerate... but a bit up-tight every now and then... and a control freak. All of these qualities are ones that I can relate to. ;) The excitement was also amazing! It was just enough to make you shiver every now and then, giving you a very thrilling experience without being too frightening. I'm sure I will re-read this book soon, and will definitely recommend it to many!

Favorite Quote:
"I don't presume to know what you believe, Emma. But I do know that God loves you and forgives you. And if you acknowledge Him as the only one who can truly save you, save anyone, He will."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Friends #2

Marianne's Choice:
Gisela Mueller from The Captive Maiden
By Melanie Dickerson

   I loved reading about Gisela in The Captive Maiden. I think that she was truly beautiful, inside and out. She was compassionate, strong, courageous, and I know that she'd be a great friend. She went through many struggles in her life, beginning with her father's death, and going on to her awful step-mother and step-sisters treatment towards her. I think it would've been nice for her to have had a friend to talk to about those things instead of just telling herself she didn't care how they treated her.  She went through a lot, but she overcame and made it through the difficult times. She came out of it more beautiful than ever.

   I absolutely LOVED how the author described Gisela and her feelings. I loved how no matter what happened to her, she loved God and found her hope in him. I really enjoyed this book and if you haven't read it yet, I really recommend doing so. 
You can read mine & Elinor's review for The Captive Maiden HERE!

Elinor's Choice:
Nancy Drew

   I have always loved reading her adventures, and I've known her since I was about 9, so I think that Nancy Drew has already become a book friend that I will never forget! She is talented, clever, and quick on her feet. Her mysteries have kept me reading past bedtimes; and even though every time you read one, you know it will end with the classic super hero/Sherlock Holmes ending of nabbing the bad guy, you just have to keep reading!

   Her family and friends are very easily connected to as well. Some of the most memorable are Carson Drew (her father), George Fayne (her best friend), Bess Marvin (her other best friend and cousin to George), Hannah Gruen (her housekeeper), and of course, Ned Nickerson (her boyfriend).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Veil of Pearls

NOTE: I did not finish this book, so I can only give my opinion on the part I read.
(I'm sorry, I was not able to get a photo of the book, but you can see the cover in my Shelfari)

Review by Marianne 
Title: Veil of Pearls
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Rating: 1/5
Age Recommendation: 16+

Plot: It's the early 1800s and Adalia Winston is 1/4 African American. After running away from Barbados and her past as a slave, she travels to Charleston, South Carolina. Her light skin hides her past, and she becomes an assistant to a doctor. While staying there, she meets many interesting people, including the young Morgan Rutledge.
Morgan Rutledge is the son of one of Charleston's wealthiest families. He leads a life of pleasures. Parties and plays every night. Then he meets Adalia Winston. The strange young woman with a heart for slaves. And unaware of her genes and past, he becomes enamored.

I did not enjoy this book. When I bought it, I had high expectations. It did not meet them at all. I was very interested in the story-line and so I bought it pretty much as soon as I could. I was exceedingly disappointed. The plot altogether though, was interesting.

Characters: I felt like the only truly trustworthy and very kind hearted character was Adalia. Even Morgan disappointed me on numerous occasions. The suitor or hero of the book is NOT supposed to be a womanizer who always smells of wine or some other alcoholic beverage.
Emotions: This book was not a favorite. The overall emotion that I felt the whole time I was reading was discomfort. I was hoping for a sweet romance with a bit of mystery and excitement.

My Thoughts: I was very disappointed in this book. I would not recommend it to anyone and I will not read another book by this author. Harshness is not my intention, but it really was awful. I was sure that since it was labeled "Christian Fiction" it would be totally safe. I was totally wrong. As I said before, Morgan was a womanizer. He changed when he met Adalia but even then he constantly smelled of wine. Morgan's brother, Hadley was an even worse womanizer. His behavior towards females was absolutely unacceptable. There was also a kissing scene that got very descriptive. That was when I stopped reading (about halfway through). The story line was really cool, I was sure it would be a great book. It made me really sad to see that "Christian Fiction" was able to contain such... lustful ideas and scenes. I recommended it for ages 16+ for the following reasons:
1. This book contained a lot of drinking. Several of the men constantly smelled of alcohol.
2. There wasn't very many kisses (I only got to the 2nd. one), but they contained EXTREME description. The thoughts going through the characters' minds were VERY lustful, and I couldn't tell where it was going to go from there. That's when I stopped.
3. There was a scene that described Adalia as she remembered some of the things that had happened to her as a slave. It mentioned that she had been the master's "favorite" and that he had stolen her innocence and purity. Which sent the message that he behaved very inappropriately towards her.
I just felt that not only did the story get lost in kisses, drinks, and inappropriateness, but God did too.

(There is no Favorite Quote from this book.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: Double Take

Title: Double Take
Author: Melody Carlson
Rating: 4/5
Age Recommendation: 12+

Plot: Madison Van Buren is spoiled, rich, and aggravated. Her mother wants her to spend spring break in Tuscany, with her grandmother. Her father wants her to visit him in Boston so that he can convince her to go to Harvard. Her best friend wants her to go to Palm Beach with her and her family. And her boyfriend was caught flirting with another girl.
Anna Fisher lives a simple Amish life, but sometimes she feels it is too simple. She longs for adventure and excitement. When she wakes, she doesn't want to just know that today is a pie baking day, she wants to know that anything could happen. She also wants to know what happened to Jacob Glick, an Amish boy that she loved who ran away to the big city. So, when the two girls meet - and discover that they look amazingly similar - they decide it would be fun to trade lives for a week.
I loved reading this book! I received it as a Christmas gift, and had it finished the next day. The story was about friendship and being thankful that God made you and your life the way he did. It was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone!
Characters: All of the characters were really cool, and their development was nice as well. My favorite characters were Anna, Madison, and Anna's Aunt Rachel. Like I said, they were all great!
Emotion: This book was very funny! Altogether, this was a sweet, humorous book that was very enjoyable! I did not want it to end.
My Thoughts: Overall, great book that I would highly recommend. However, one thing that made me a bit uncomfortable was how Madison's boyfriend was constantly trying to get her to come with him to his parent's vacant beach house for the spring. I know that doesn't seem too bad, I just had a bad feeling about his intentions. Other than that, I loved every part of this book! If you love sweet stories without much romance, this book is for you!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Book Review: The Bronze Bow

Review by Marianne
Title: The Bronze Bow
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Rating: 5/5
Age Recommendation: 10+
Plot: Daniel bar Jamin hates Romans. Especially after witnessing his father be crucified by them, when he was just a little boy. Now he lives in a cave with a large band of outlaws. He believes that Rosh, the leader of the outlaw band is going to free him and all of the other Jews from the Romans. But when his grandmother dies, Daniel is forced to leave his carefree life in the cave behind and take care of his sister who is greatly troubled by demons. While in the town he starts to build a group of young men to help Rosh, but when he meets Jesus he is confused by him. Why does this man speak of loving the Romans? And why doesn't use his power to free God's people?

This book was great. Actually, I had to read it for a school book study, and  enjoyed it so much that I had to write a review. I enjoyed watching Daniel struggle with understanding love, and how to apply it to his life. This book was extremely pleasing and I absolutely loved it!

Characters: I loved all of the characters in this book. They were brilliantly developed, and easy to attach to. One of my favorite characters was Malthace (The sister of a young man that joins Daniel's group of boys.) She was so kind and patient and sweet.
Emotion: This book was pleasantly entertaining and amusing. There were several touching scenes, (one of which brought tears to my eyes. ;)). There were also many heroic and/or dramatic scenes that really kept me interested.
My Thoughts: Overall, this is one of my absolute favorite books. The author did such an amazing job with her scene descriptions! I loved every single moment and would recommend this to absolutely anyone. I really liked how the author didn't describe exactly what Jesus looked like (for none of us know) but described the power and greatness that you could tell he had just by looking at him.
Favorite Quote:
"Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Favorite Music #3

Royal Tailor - Remain
Switchfoot - Love Alone Is Worth The Fight

Jamie Grace - Beautiful Day

Mandisa - Overcomer

Colton Dixon - Never Gone

Capital Kings - I Feel So Alive

Thanks for stopping by! And Happy New Year!!!