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