Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adventure Between the Pages: Whispers from the Shadows

Whispers from the Shadows (The Culper Ring, #2)

Buy it Here
Age Appropriate For: 15 and up for violence, and romance
Best for Ages: 15 and up

Description: Treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild's world to crumble. The daughter of a British general, she just barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could implicitly trust Winter and Bennet Lane, even though their nations are once again at war. After meeting their son, Thad, she soon discovers they are a family much like her own. The Lanes trade in a dangerous commodity--espionage. Not long after Gwyneth is on his ship, Captain Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is uncertain. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them.

Whispers from the Shadows was even better than the first book! White took on a time period that is not as well known in history: the War of 1812. With this historical backdrop, the story that unfolds was heart-pounding, charming, and gripping.

I loved Gwyn. White wrote her so vividly that I felt as if I had met her. As she flees England with a secret, my heart just broke. Her drawing and painting?  Wow! I felt as if I was looking over her shoulder when she drew. The paintings were described so vividly and each of them had a piece of Gwyn in them.

Thad was a bit confusing to me. Don’t get me wrong, he made an excellent hero for the story. However, I think his secret past was kept secret almost too long. Something didn’t fit, and I couldn’t figure out why. Thad had so much compassion and sweetness about him that I loved him despite my confusion.

Seeing Winter and Bennet was a delight. Although they play minor roles in the story, it was a treat to see this couple happy years later, watching their children find love.

The romance in this book was sweet even with its bumps. I love how Thad really seemed to understand Gwyn’s needs and helped her deal with the pain in her past. I also loved how Gwyn forgave Thad when he failed and accepted the help she needed.

I highly recommend this book to historical fiction lovers, those who like romance, and anyone looking for a well told story.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventure Between the Pages: Fairchild's Lady by Roseanna White

Fairchild's Lady (The Culper Ring, #1.5)
Get it Here for free
Age Appropriate For: 15 and up for romance including passionate kissing
Best for Ages: 15 and up

Description: In 1789 General Isaac Fairchild travels across the Channel on a very special assignment. After surviving the American Revolution, he is now gathering information on life at King Louis XVI’s court. But he must also locate a countess and her grown daughter and escort them back to England before revolution explodes in France. He knows danger is in the task set before him, but when he meets the beautiful Julienne, a new peril beckons him deeper into the intrigue of Versailles.
If I had read this as a standalone book, I probably would not have enjoyed it. It is very heavy on the romance and not a lot of substance to back it up, unless you have read Ring of Secrets.

I felt sorry for Isaac Fairchild in Ring of Secrets. He was such a nice guy and honorable, but he didn’t have a happy ending in the book. This short story gives him a happy ending and is the bridge between the Ring of Secrets and Whispers from the Shadows.

This story has a fairy tale feel to it. Isaac meets Julienne at a ball and, before he finds out her name, they are separated again. This story is a light read full of pretty costumes, gorgeous settings, and romance, perfect for a fairy tale lover, or someone who wants a light read.

I highly recommend this novella for anyone who has read Ring of Secrets and is planning on reading Whispers from the Shadows.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Faith to Start your Week: Proverbs Project

God has really been using Proverbs to encourage, teach, and mold me the last few months. For a while, I would like to share a verse from Proverbs on Monday.

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          It is all in the Roots

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventure Between the Pages: Ring of Secrets by Roseanna White

Ring of Secrets (The Culper Ring, #1)
Buy it Here
Age Appropriate For: 13 and up for romance, mild violence and some subject matter
Best for Ages: 13 and up

Description: This exciting romantic spy novel from Roseanna M. White combines fascinating cloak-and-dagger secrets with a tale of love and intrigue during the Revolutionary War. Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she's caught, if she's hung for espionage...well, she won't be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover. Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington's spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can't be ignored. Both believers...and both committed to a separate cause. Will their faith in God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?

When I got the email from Roseanna White saying I had won her Culper Ring series, I was ecstatic! I love books, history, and mystery, and free things, so it couldn’t get much better. I waited for the books to come in the mail and started reading the first one as soon as I opened the package.

Winter was a fascinating character. I don’t think I have read a book about a very smart girl pretending to be stupid all the time, to get information from the enemy. The uniqueness of the plot and characters made me fall in love instantly with this book. Even in the couple of rough spots of the book, Winter kept me reading. She is one of those characters that gets stuck in your head and stays.

Bennet wasn’t as well developed as Winter, I felt. Don’t get me wrong, he made an excellent hero. His way of pursuing Winter was not only charming, it was heartwarming.  My main issue with Bennet is that I really didn’t understand why he felt the way he did about things both personally or politically. I won’t say anything else about that, because I don’t want to give away any of the book.

The story itself was so fascinating that I didn’t want to stop reading. Winter’s political and personal struggles made sure that there was never a dull moment. There were several times I ignored my siblings, because I had to find out what happened next.

The historical setting of this book was captured wonderfully. White obviously did a lot of research for this story (I loved the prayers). The details painted a rich picture of the times and the people who lived in them.
I highly recommend this book for history lovers, Revolutionary War buffs, those who love spy stories, or those looking for an entertaining read.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It is here!

A Different Kind of Courage

“Why did my life have to be full of secrets?”

After three years in England, William Landor returns to Boston in 1774, little knowing the events that are about to unfold.

England has issued an ultimatum: pay for the tea that was destroyed in the Boston Tea Party, or the Port of Boston will be closed. William knows that this will have a devastating effect on his hometown, which is so dependent on the sea. However, he finds himself in the middle of the political struggle he wanted to avoid.

William’s father is a merchant and loyal to the king and is furious at what the rebels of Boston have cost him. He would like nothing more than to rid the city of their poisonous influence. Meanwhile, William’s best friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, is one of the leaders of rebels, or Whigs as they call themselves.

As if his life was not complicated enough, he meets a fiery indentured servant who tugs at his heart as well as his loyalty. When he is confronted by the consequences of his many secrets, he has to make a choice weather or not to tell the truth. Does he have the kind of courage it will take?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventure Between the Pages: A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory Book #2): A Novel
Buy it Here
Age Appropriate For: 15 and up for romance, violence, and thematic elements
Best for Ages: 18 and up

Description: Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

I was having a really rough day and didn’t feel like doing anything. I was trying to push through the mountain of work I had to do, but it just wasn’t working. Mom called to me to check my email, so I opened it up. There was an email saying she had gifted me the second book in Sarah Sundin’s Wings of Glory series. The rest of the day I spent reading this amazing story.

The only thing that kept me from loving the book as much as the last one was Ruth’s very tough past and one scene where she is almost taken advantage of. Nothing was graphic, and for the subject matter covered, I felt Sundin handled it very well. However, those types of things are never easy to read, no matter how well they are handled.

I don’t think a fiction book has touched my heart as much as this one has in years. Jack and I have a sad trait in common; we are both very prideful, but often we can’t see it. I spent a lot of time while I was reading and afterword praying and examining myself. Sundin tackles issues in her books that Christians struggle with, but often paint as acceptable sins. I applaud and thank her for not shying away from the big issues.

Jack was my favorite character in this book. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the ladies-man of the family. As I said, though, he and I have some failings in common. Jack grew on me with each page. I loved watching him change and mature. I still like Walt best, but Jack also now has a special place in my heart.

Ruth was such a broken girl, my heart went out to her. I loved her loyalty to her family and her journey from doubt to faith. It seemed so realistic. The only thing I didn’t understand was why her instructors/boss’ never seemed to believe her when she said one of the men was giving her issues. She seemed very trustworthy, and they are always talking about what a good nurse she is, but for some reason they get mad if she says a guy is treating her wrong.

This story was one of those you never want to put down. I started reading, and I didn’t stop until midnight when I read the last page. The backdrop of WWII makes this story even more compelling. It was one of those rare books where faith, not romance, took the center stage, even though the romance is a huge part of the book.

I highly recommend this book to those who like compelling stories, tales of God’s grace and redemption, and books that make you think.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adventure Between the Pages: A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

A Distant Melody  (Wings of Glory, #1)
Buy it Here
Age Appropriate For: 13 and up for romance and violence
Best for Ages: 15 and up

Description: Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

I have been a bit flighty when it comes to books lately. I have read a few pages in one book before jumping to the next book. This book grabbed my attention and didn’t let go until I read the last page. I wished I could afford to go out and buy copies of all of Sundin’s books.

This book will make my top 10 books of the year list for sure. I thought it was going to be another sweet romance with a little spiritual message. I was blown away by this story. Yes the romance was wonderful, but it was dominated by the characters’ personal struggles, and faith in God took center stage.

I was reminded in some aspects of this story of one of my favorite writers of this era, Grace Livingston Hill. Sundin so captured the time and the spirit of the people, I felt I was reading a book by a contemporary of the times. She obviously researched this book, and it made the book sparkle with authenticity.

Allie tore at my heart. She and I come from opposite worlds. I have two loving parents who share my faith, she has two uncaring parents that sneer at her faith. Yet, I felt as if I was riding the roller-coaster of emotions with her, struggling alongside her as she warred within herself what she should do.

How can I even begin to describe my love for Walt. We both come from strong believing families, and we both struggle with some of the same problems. Walt was such an upstanding guy, yet he has flaws. I do not think I have seen a character with so much integrity written with such believable human failings as well as Sudin wrote Walt – not in a very long time.

One of the other things I really appreciated about this book was how it reflected the realities of World War II without being too depressing. No one in the story comes through it unscathed. Everyone loses someone they know, or knows someone who receives a life-altering injury. Some people like to whitewash history, and everyone in their stories come back healthy and whole. This book was more realistic, without leaving me depressed.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes amazing historical fiction, stories that build your faith, and tales that compel you to keep reading.