Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

Fatal Frost was the best crime novel I have read this year and possibly to date! Nancy Mehl did a fabulous job of staying realistic without being gritty or gory. I was addicted to the plot line by the end of the first chapter, and the many twists and turns along the way kept me on the edge of my seat until it ended. When it did come to a crashing end, I leaned back on my pillow and heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Nancy's character development was amazing and I was sympathetic toward all of them. I appreciated that all the characters had their different struggles that managed to be somewhat resolved by the end of the book. All in all, Fatal Frost was a great read and I hope there is a sequel coming soon! Personal rating is 5/5 stars. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review: Shaken by Tim Tebow

Five stars!  Absolutely amazing!  I love Tim Tebow.  He has an amazing testimony and a great platform to share it on, his athletic career.  I took away so many things from this book, and I hope that it is a great seller!  I will say that it is a little sports heavy, but being an athlete I eat that up!  It may be a little confusing for non-athletic folks, however.  I will recommend this book to all of my friends!

Book Review: The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

Ahh, another refreshing Michelle Griep read!  I absolutely loved Brentwood's Ward, and I was ecstatic when I heard about The Captive Heart!
I fell in love with Eleanor from the first page.  My heart hurt for her and the situation she was in, and I found myself cheering her on throughout the book.  She was a relatable and well developed character.  I also liked her transformation from timid and shy to open and honest in her relationship with Samuel.  The plotline was a little hard to follow with all of the Native American words and issues, however I understood the basic plotline by the end of the book.  I really enjoyed this book (4/5 stars), and I hope a sequel is soon to come!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Review: The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

MELANIE DID IT AGAIN!!! I wasn't sure about this book when I started reading it, partly because it is supposed to be the last book in the Hagenheim series! That makes me so sad :(!  The Silent Songbird defied all of my expectations for a Little Mermaid retelling and swept me off my feet from page one!  Eva and Wesley were such cute characters, and I enjoyed reading their story.  Although I am still a little confused about how they relate to the other books/characters.  I can't think of any extremely negative or concerning content, except for a few non-detailed kisses.  Also, the cover is just stunning!  Overall, I am sad that this amazing series is coming to an end, but I think Melanie chose the right book to end with.  She definitely went out with a bang!  Personal rating is 5/5 stars!

*Disclaimer* I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive one.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review: A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love


 

Book Summary:
When the illustrious India Hartley is accused of murder, she has to uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone in the world after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her

    What I loved: I read Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love, and her writing style is so interesting!  She manages to fill her books to the brim with historical information without sounding like a professor giving a boring lecture, haha! I really liked India and Phillip, and the plot was really interesting and intriguing.  The law process has always been of interest to me personally, and this book did not disappoint.
     What I didn't like:  I have never been incredibly interested in acting or theater, so those scenes/ chapters were a little boring!  Also, India and Phillip's relationship was a little dry.  I think they fell in love a little too quick and definitely kissed too quick.
     Concerning content:  The book focuses on a murder, a few kisses and romantic thoughts.  Phillip's first wife cheated on him.  People burn in a fire.
     Conclusion and Personal Rating:  A Respectable Actress was a great book full of mystery and intrigue!  Personal rating is 3/5 stars.  Probably best for 8th graders and up!
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book Review: Step by Step by Candace Calvert


Book's Summary:

     Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point—“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?


What I loved:

     Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good medical drama! Step by Step did not disappoint!  Nurse Taylor was a great character, and she seemed like a great nurse!  And I loved her and Seth's relationship, though I was silently nudging them along the entire time haha!

What I didn't like:
     I didn't like that arrogant, narcissistic surgeon guy that tried to force himself into a relationship with Taylor!  She was such a nice character and deserved so much better!

Concerning content:
     Medical/EMT scenes, a mention of making out, a dog dies.

Conclusion and Personal Rating:
     I absolutely loved Step by Step!  I am on the hunt for a copy of the next installment in this series, which is about Nurse Sloane.  Personal rating for all teens is 4/5 stars!

See y'all soon with another review!
xoxo,
Lexi

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Abducted by Janice Cantore


Book's Summary:

After solving the mayor s murder and exposing corruption among the top brass in Las Playas, Carly Edwards is happy to be back on patrol with her partner, Joe, putting bad guys behind bars. For once, everything in life seems to be going right.

But then everything starts going wrong. Slow to recover from an injury, her ex-husband, Nick, begins pulling away just as they were starting to get close again. Meanwhile, when Joe s wife lands in the hospital with a mysterious illness, their baby is kidnapped. As Carly chases down every lead in a desperate search to find the baby, her newfound faith is pushed to its limits.

What I liked: This is the first Christian Fiction crime novel (besides Vanetta Chapman's Amish crime series), and I have to say that I was impressed! Ms. Cantore's experience as a cop definitely shows in this book. I wasn't able to read the first book in this series, but I am trying to find it so I can read it! Abducted is a great book that gives interesting insight on how police and public safety deal with the scary situation of child kidnapping. Definitely a good read for girls considering a career in criminal justice!

What I didn't like: I think Carly was a little too hasty in repairing her relationship with her ex-husband. The relationship almost seemed forced, and when the ending came, it seemed too perfect for reality. I almost wish Carly would have gone out with that media reporter ;)

Concerning Content: A little violent, but definitely to be expected in a crime novel. Carly's roommate is known for sleeping around and bringing guys home. The fact that a baby was kidnapped might be troublesome for young or sensitive girls.  Also, the whole reason for Carly and Nick's divorce was because of an affair.

Conclusion and Rating: Abducted was a great book that definitely kept me intrigued, and I hope to read some other Janice Cantore books in the future! Personal rating for teenagers up, and maybe certain tweens is 4 stars.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Book Review: A Refuge at Highland Hall, by Carrie Turansky

 What I loved:
     Ms. Turansky did it again!  I did not think that anything could top her first two books (reviews coming soon!), but A Refuge of Highland Hall did. When I stated in my review of Against the Tide that it was my absolute favorite book, I was definitely not remembering Carrie's Edwardian Brides series.  All of the books in this series are a VERY close second! I love it when authors include characters from previous books, and I was fangirling the entire time I was reading.  Alex and Penny were the cutest couple, and I found myself cheering for them, and also laughing and crying at their successes and failures.  It was very interesting to read about the RNAS and other defense methods during WWI,  and I appreciated Ms. Turansky's gentle and nonviolent writing style. 

The two things I didn't like about this book: 1) It wasn't long enough! and 2) IT WAS THE LAST BOOK IN THE SERIES! They really should make movies out of these books, y'all!

Concerning Content:  Really, none.  A little bit of violence and a few non-detailed kisses, but really that was it!

Conclusion and my rating:  I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone aged 12 and up!  It was that good! 5 STARS!!!


See y'all soon with another review, and stay safe everyone who evacuated for Hurricane Matthew
xoxo,
Lexi

Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Review: Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund


     Book Summary:
               Now remembered as the author of the world's most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life.  His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father- until the night he hears Polly Catlett's enchanting voice, caroling.  He's immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.  
               An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John's reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly.  When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must chose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever.  Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?
              Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

     What I loved:
               This was my first time reading a Jody Hedlund book, and I have to say she is an amazing author.  Her books are informative and full of historical information, but you don't feel like you are reading a textbook.  I had never really heard of John Newton before reading this book, but I of course know the song Amazing Grace and sing it all the time!  It was really interesting to learn about how that song was written.  Also, I really did like John and Polly's banter throughout the book.  They were so sweet!
     What I didn't love so much:
               Y'all, John Newton was caught up in some NASTY stuff before he converted.  Stuff like getting drunk, gambling, adultery (lots of adultery), and slave trade.  While Ms. Hedlund was very conservative in the way she described these things, they were still there and younger girls or sensitive girls may not want to read about these things. Everyone has a past, and if Newton wouldn't have had that past, I don't think we would have the song Amazing Grace today.  Also, John and Polly shared a quite detailed kiss.  It lasted almost an entire page (TMI)!
     Conclusion and Rating:
                This was a hard book to read and an even harder book to review.  First of all, this is definitely a high school aged book, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger at all.  I would definitely have a parent or trusted adult/ older sibling read the book first just due to all the violent and sexual content.  Personally, I would give this book a 2.5-3 star rating.

See y'all soon for another review!
xoxo,
Lexi
               

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden


Book Summary:
     After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself.  She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
     Lydia's talents bring her to the attention of Alexander Bainbridge, a mysterious man in need of a translator.  Driven by a campaign to end the opium trade, Bane is cooly analytical and relentless in his quest.  He cannot afford to fall for Lydia and must fight the bittersweet love growing between them.
     When Bane's enemies gain the upper hand, he is forced to turn to Lydia for help.  Determined to prove her worth, Lydia soon discovers that carrying out Bane's mission will test her wits and courage to the very limits.

What I loved:
     I'm just going to say it.  I never thought that this early in my life I would ever say that a book was my absolute favorite, but Against the Tide is my absolute favorite book of all time!  Before reading this book, I didn't know much about the opium trades or the dark black markets circling them.  It was interesting to learn about the ways people tried to stop the "drug lords".  But that wasn't my favorite part.  My favorite part was "Lane"!  I shipped them so hard when they had their very first conversation, and those feelings only got stronger as the story progressed.  I was rooting for them for all 357 pages of the book.  Elizabeth Camden did a great job of describing two very broken people and how their determination to end the opium trade, both of them with their own reasons, ultimately brought them together.  *Spoiler alert* Y'all, I almost CRIED when Bane left her for the first time.  Luckily everything worked out okay. Or else I don't know what I would have done


What I didn't like:
     The only thing I really didn't like about this book was that it was too short.  Yes, 357 pages was not nearly enough for this story.  Also, I didn't like how Lydia prayed to the moon in the beginning of the book.  That was a little bit weird.


Conclusion and Rating:
    Against the Tide is a book that I will definitely recommend and reread (and reread and reread and reread)!  I really hope the author decides to do a sequel to this book! That would be amazing!  As far as ratings, I would say 5 stars for any girl who knows what opium is and what it can do to a person.  These topics are described in detail throughout the book.  The only girls I wouldn't recommend this book to would be younger girls who don't know what opium is, or who are too young to read about drugs and their affects on people.

See y'all soon with another review!
xoxo,
Lexi

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Review: The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr


Book Summary: 
     Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania, for generations.  A widow with two grown children, she's hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but when Victoria runs off, Martha's world is shattered.
     Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can't remember a time when her faith has been tested more.  Still determined to do the work she knows God has intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead.  Whether it's trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationships, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and opportunity with hope and faith. 

What I loved:
     Reading about midwifery in the 1800's has helped me to realize and appreciate the advances we have made in both midwifery and obstetrics!  The author did a great job of describing all of the birth events in the book in a realistic, but not inappropriate way.  As a girl who may be interested in the field of labor and delivery, this was definitely an interesting read for me.  I really liked the manner in which Parr described the struggle between embracing the old art of midwifery and utilizing the advances of modern medicine.  Martha, who was the main character, was probably the oldest main character out of all the books I have read.  It was nice to have a "mature" and levelheaded heroine!  

What I didn't love so much:
     The plot moved along slowly.  If Martha wasn't attending a birth, the book progressed painfully slow.  I wish there would have been more details concerning midwifery (this IS a book about a midwife, right? ;)) 

Age recommendation and personal rating:
     How I would rate this book depends on the age of the girl reading it.  The author uses words and describes the birthing process in a very scientific way.  For a girl who knows about things like this, it is a great read.  For middle school girls, I would lower the rating, due to the birth scenes. My personal rating is 3/5 stars.

See y'all soon with another book!
xoxo,
Lexi

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen



Book Summary:
     Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over.  But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in the past.
     Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter.  Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul- and hidden sorrows of her own.
     Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master- a man her mother would never approve of- but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village...and to her mother's tattered heart?
     Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.

What I loved:
Alec was such a gentleman, oh my gosh!  I am a sucker for chivalry and men treating women right and all that jazz.  He would literally do anything for Julia (and frankly any lady), even if they didn't treat him right.  Also, the playful banter between Alec and Julia was very enjoyable.  Then it got all lovey-dovey and deep, which was another great part!  This book had so many great quotes!  I liked the historical information on dancing masters as well! And oh my goodness the plot twist! It kept me turning pages past my bedtime for sure, haha!

What I was wary of:
 Julia's flirting and forgetting got on my nerves during the first half of the book.  She seemed to be flirting with a different guy every ten pages!  When she finally settled on Alec, it was so much better.  Also, I did not like Amelia Midwinter.  She was WAYYY too uptight the entire book.  Even toward the end when she supposedly "loosened up", she already did too much damage in my book!

In conclusion, The Dancing Master was a great regency read with engaging characters and an amazing plot twist.  Probably best for ages 14-15 and up, it's a pretty deep book.  My Personal Rating for this age group is 5/5 stars, and trust me that doesn't happen very often!

See y'all soon with another review!
xoxo,
 Lexi

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Review: An Ocean Away by Lisa Harris



Book Summary:
"Lizzie MacTavis is determined to remain in Southern Africa, serving the people who live along the banks of the rugged Zambezi River. But Andrew Styles has been commissioned to bring her back to New York City at any cost- an assignment he predicts will be easy....until he meets Lizzie. With a personal fortune at stake and a tribal war brewing, Lizzie is caught between two worlds.  And the striking Mr. Styles isn't making her decision any easier.  Danger threatens her life both in Africa and an ocean away.  Will Andrew prove to be Lizzie's nemesis or hero?"


An Ocean Away had the ability to take me from my bedroom to the wilds of Africa and to the life of a female missionary in the 1920's.  Any book that can do that is a great book to me!  While Andrew and Lizzie's relationship moved very slowly, even painfully at times, it was worth it to see how everything turned out in the end.  Lizzie was a headstrong character who actually reminded me a lot of myself....I think that's why I liked the book so much.  Despite her doubts about leaving the tribe members in Africa, many of whom she brought to the Lord, she decided to do what was best for herself.  I was having sympathy pains for Lizzie the entire time she was adjusting to New York!  I can't even imagine the culture shock!  Especially during the 1920's, when women's liberation movements were making their way across the United States. As for Mr.Styles, I didn't really like his arrogant attitude at first, but his devotion to Lizzie and determination to keep her safe won me over in the end.  In all, An Ocean Away was a great read for girls ages 13 and up who are interested in missionary work and early 1900's society. 


See y'all soon with another review!
xoxo,
Lexi

Monday, September 5, 2016

Book Review: With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin



     All I can say about this book is...WOW! I have always been a sucker for World War II romance, and I am interested in nursing, so I knew this book was going to be good, but not THAT good! I was sucked in from the very first page, and I couldn't put it down until I reached the end.
     In With Every Letter, Flight nurse Mellie Blake is desperate to make friends.  As an immigrant from the Pacific, she constantly feels like an outsider.  The same can be said for Tom MacGilliver.  So they were naturally attracted to each other when they began an anonymous penpal program.  Their relationship is jeopardized when they meet in person, both fearful of betraying their penpal.  IT WAS LITERALLY SO CUTE!  I found myself laughing, crying, and cheering with both characters on their incredible journeys of finding themselves, and ultimately each other.  This was the first Sarah Sundin book I have read, and I am looking forward to reading her others.
     Age wise, I would say 14-15 and up.  There are a few kisses (not-detailed), and plenty of romantic thoughts. Also some medical/violent content due to the war and nursing scenes.  My rating for this book would be 4.5/5 stars! See y'all soon for another review!
xoxo,
Lexi