Review: My Hope Is Found

My Hope Is Found by Joanne Bischof
The Cadence of Grace, Book 3
Multnomah Books, 2013

“Everything was tangled. All her hopes and dreams knotted with the past.” (140)

In this third and final installment of The Cadence of Grace series, My Hope is Found, Gideon and Lonnie’s love story comes to a satisfying conclusion.

This book opens with Gideon making his return to Lonnie, while at the same time, Lonnie is trying to move forward with her life without Gideon. Right from the beginning, it is evident that this journey will be one of emotional ups and downs.

In Gideon’s absence, Lonnie has been getting to know Toby, the Scottish reverend who has become an important person in her life. On the eve of Gideon’s return, Toby proposes marriage and a future. As Lonnie gives her heart to Toby, she still needs to heal from the pain of losing Gideon, only to find him on her doorstep.

Talk about emotional turmoil! These characters endure so much hurt and pain as they try to work through their emotions and make the right choices. Both Gideon and Toby love Lonnie and want her to be a part of their lives, but they also know Lonnie has to make that decision herself; neither one of them can make it for her.

I grew rather fond of Toby myself. He was a man of honor and integrity. He loved Lonnie with all his heart and had such a quiet, gentle spirit. He always treated Lonnie with kindness and understanding.

Who will Lonnie choose? You would think this is an easy question to answer, but as things get more complicated, it is hard to not go back and forth between the two men. Toby or Gideon?

Rating: 4 stars

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.

My Hope Is Found can be found in bookstores on October 15th.

To read chapter 1, click here.

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On My TBR List: Rachel Hauck

As you may remember, I loved Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. So, of course I am eagerly awaiting her next books! Today is about sharing those new books with you and spreading the joy!


First, we have Princess Ever After, the next book in the Royal Wedding Series. This book will follow one of the characters who was ‘found’ towards the end of the first book. An unexpected princess, if you will. Coming in February 2014.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Rachel also has a novella, A March Bride, coming out early next year. I do believe it will be about the couple from the first book, so I am very excited!

What are you looking forward to? Have you read any books by Rachel Hauck? What are your thoughts?

Review: Rebellious Heart

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House, 2013

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (from the back cover):
Massachusetts, 1763
A Love That Would Shape History Forever

Because she’s a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she’s determined to marry well, so she’ll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.

Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he’s taken by Susanna’s intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.

When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.

My Thoughts:
WOW! I completely loved this book. It is such a good read.

I was completely immersed in the plot, the characters, and the history that was packed into this novel. This book is beautifully written.

Susanna Smith is a compassionate and independent woman. She has a love for education and reading, but she has limited access to learning. Benjamin Ross is a poor lawyer who has a passion for speaking the truth and standing for justice. He desires to prove himself and do something important with his life.

Susanna believes in following the law and respecting authority. But, when she meets a runaway indentured servant, her beliefs are thrown into disarray. She struggles between following the law and having compassion for this woman. Will she break the law in the name of doing what is right? And will Ben’s influence on her be good or bad?

In a past encounter when they were children, Susanna made a hurtful and cutting remark to Ben that has been etched in both their memories. This provides for quite an interesting and amusing first interaction in the book, when, as adults, their lives intersect again. Ben wants to push Susanna’s buttons and see how she will react to him now that they are adults. From this scene, it is immediately apparent that Susanna and Ben will have dynamic interactions throughout the book.

I think this quote is the most perfect way to describe Ben, and also what it is like to read his and Susanna’s scenes together:

“He was infuriating and intriguing and altogether likable at the same time” (63).

Ben and Susanna’s relationship was my favorite part of this book. It was always exciting and entertaining to read their scenes together, whether they were arguing, discussing important topics, or becoming close friends. I completely loved them together and they had a chemistry that jumped off the page. Their time together was always filled with intelligent conversation, romance, and tension.

In their relationship, Ben and Susanna challenged each other, and through their conversations, they were able to sharpen each other and make each other better. It reminded me of this verse:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17, NIV

This seriously has to be one of my favorite literary couples. Their chemistry and the tension between them provided for a dynamic relationship.

A wonderful book- I loved it. One of my favorites of the year and I can’t wait to read it again.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: The Miner’s Lady

The Miner’s Lady by Tracie Peterson
Land of Shining Water, Book 3
Bethany House, 2013

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (from the back cover):
When Chantel Panetta’s younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella’s pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando…only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando’s brother.

Chantel can’t deny the attraction that flares when she’s with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel and Isabella’s hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My Thoughts:
Warring families…Star-crossed lovers…Romeo and Juliet?

In the city of Ely, Minnesota, men provide for their families by putting their lives in danger every day and going to the mines. With long shifts and less-than-safe working conditions, the very real possibility of tragedy threatens men and their families on a daily basis. This dangerous and grueling work provides an interesting backdrop in Tracie Peterson’s latest offering.

Unfortunately, this book was a difficult read. I had a rough time getting interested in the book and caring about the characters. The characters often felt one-dimensional and the dialogue was redundant. There was a constant focus on the feud between the Panetta and Calarco families, peace that would never exist, and extreme family loyalty. It became tiresome to read page after page.

However, the book has its merits as well. I really enjoyed the glimpses we saw into Isabella and Orlando’s relationship. They truly loved each other, and were willing to do whatever it took to stay together. Their commitment to each other was beautiful and uplifting.

Overall, this book has a strong message that love breaks through walls of anger and bitterness. Forgiveness heals deep wounds.

Rating: 2 stars

And the winner is…

Just popping in to announce the giveaway winner of On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin.

Congratulations to Stephanie M.! Please get in contact with me soon- I have sent you an email!

And to those of you who did not win, I hope you will still read the book. It’s not one you want to miss! Thank you to everyone who participated.

The Liebster Award!

liebster

Ok, I have been nominated for the Liebster award 3 times now, so I finally decided to take the time to write about it (however, there are so many questions, I am going to answer a few of my favorites). Here we go!

Thank you to Holly, Booklovers1, and Lizzie for each nominating me for this award! I am so excited and thankful that you thought of me!

First, the rules:

  • Link back to the blogger that tagged you
  • Nominate ten others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you
  • Ask ten questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Let your nominees know of their award

Are you a spender or a saver?

Definitely a saver.

Have you ever written (or started to write) a book?

No, I have not. I would love to write a book someday, though! I have really enjoyed writing for my blog, and I think it would be a really amazing thing to write a book one day. If the opportunity ever comes my way, I definitely wouldn’t pass it up!

If you could pick a favorite author who would it be and why? What specific book or series of theirs do you highly recommend?

Sarah Sundin. I love everything about her books: the setting, the plot, the characters, the flaws her characters have and their journey to become better people…everything. Her novels are interesting and exciting. I don’t know if I can choose a specific book of hers that is my favorite because I love them all. However, her first novel, A Distant Melody, is my favorite, so I would recommend starting there.

Out of all the fictional characters you have been introduced to, who do you really want to meet? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I would love to meet Allie from A Distant Melody and Skeeter from The Help by Kathryn Stockett. What appeals to me about each of them is the same: I think they would be wonderful friends and we would get along very well. Also, both of their stories resonated with me, and I felt I could identify with them- both in their struggles and in their aspirations.

If you were able to learn any language, which would it be?

ASL (American Sign Language). It is just so beautiful.

Why did you start blogging and when?

I started blogging because I enjoy reading books and I wanted to share my opinion with people who also love books. I have been writing this blog since the end of December 2012.

If you could travel anywhere (truth or fictional) for a week where would it be?

Scotland. Duh. And I will tell you why. Laura Frantz, one of my favorite authors, wrote a book with a Scottish main character who I loved. She also has posted pictures of Scotland on her Facebook (of which, yes, I am a follower), and those pictures are ridiculously beautiful. To see the beauty of Scotland in person would be a moment I would never forget. Also, movies like Brave make me want to visit. I just loved Merida! I mean, who didn’t?

eBook or real book? Why? 

Both? I love having an e-reader and being able to pick it up and take it with me anywhere. Also, I can buy a book just about whenever I feel like it! And I still love real books as well. There really is nothing like holding a book in your hands, is there?

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate

The bloggers that I nominate for this award are:

1. All Things Bright and Beautiful

2. On The Bookshelf

3. Ode to Jo & Katniss

4. Must Love Books

5. Books and Beverages

And my questions for my nominees are:

1. What is your favorite book (at the moment) and why?

2. What book has changed your life or made a lasting impact on you?

3. Who is your favorite author?

4. Do you have a bucket list? What is one thing on it that you plan to complete soon?

5. What goals did you have in mind when you started blogging?

6. Other than reading, what are some of your hobbies?

7. Coffee or tea?

8. Heels or flats?

9. Summer or winter?

10. What is your dream job?

Everyone: feel free to answer some of these questions yourself in the comments. I would love to hear your answers! And to those I nominated, please let me know when you’ve posted about this so I can see your answers!