Pages

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Reviews: The Small-town Brides Romance Collection

Today's review is on The Small-Town Brides Romance Collection by Various Authors
This was a collection of nine novellas by nine different authors. As I have done with previous novella collections, I am going to do a brief review of each novella and then an overall review of the collection. So let's get started.

Run of the Mill by Susan Downs: 
This was a cute romance with blunders between the two main characters along the way. I loved how Kathleen and Maxwell started off as complete opposites and how Kathleen kind of inadvertently changes Maxwell for the better. However, not much happened plot wise. 3/5 Stars.

A Second Glance by Kathleen Paul: 
This story is connected to the previous novella because Lucas is Maxwell's brother. There wasn't a whole lot that happened in this novella, and there wasn't really explanation for why the two characters fell in love with each other. However, I did love how spunky Ginger Finnegan was! 2.5/5 Stars

The Caretaker by Kelly Eileen Hake: 
This was linked to the previous two stories because it deals with several characters that were mentioned in them. There were several things I liked about this story, the first being that I loved the tension between Amy Ross and Taylor Samuels and the reason behind it on both sides. I also loved how it was both a tale of romance and also one of forgiveness. The characters in the previous two novellas have cameo roles and I was sad to see these characters go. 4/5 Stars.

Leap of Faith by Pamela Griffin: 
This was an okay story. It was kind of slow moving and didn't really interest me and it took me a while to get through. I also felt that Amanda came across a little bit too forward. 2/5 Stars.

A Blessing for Beau by Darlene Franklin: 
I liked this story, even though Beau frustrated me because he was so proud and arrogant and didn't want to accept help from anyone. I loved how both he and Ruth are just as stubborn as each other, especially in her insisting on making new clothes for his niece Dru (mild spoiler!). I enjoyed seeing a romance developing between the two of them, and I really loved the town of Calico and I want to get to know some of the characters a bit more. 3.5/5 Stars.

American Pie by Debby Mayne: 
This was another cute romance. I loved how Hank Ellis and Sophia Mayhew were perfect for each other and how they had to wait for things to work out in order for them to be together. Sophia's parents really annoying, but I loved Dora the housekeeper, she had such sage advice for Sophia. I also enjoyed the romance that developed between Hank and Sophia and how Sophia realized she couldn't marry the man that everyone wanted her to marry (mild spoiler, but it is kind of obvious). 4/5 Stars.

Victorious by Kathleen Y'Barbo: 
I loved how this was not just another love story, it also involved a little bit of crime solving and mystery that made it very interesting. I enjoyed getting to know the couple, Victoria and Gus and I want to find out more about the other couples that met each other before the start of this novella. I also wish this had been longer. 4/5 Stars.

Language of Love by Janet Lee Barton: 
This was a cute story about a World War I soldier and a school teacher. I enjoyed seeing Nicolas realize that Suzette wasn't his enemy (I can't say why because it is a spoiler). Suzette was also a cute character that I was rooting for the entire time. Not a whole lot happens but just enough that it held my attention. 3.5/5 Stars.

A Shelter from the Story by Marjorie Vawter: 
This story was about a World War I medic and nurse who return home during the ravages of the Spanish Influenza. I really enjoyed seeing how Nelson and Mildred worked together and I believe that it was a great picture of how true love should be. 4/5 Stars.

Overall, I enjoyed all of these novellas, except for one and that was probably my fault because I took a long break in the middle of it. I am giving this whole collection 4/5 Stars because I enjoyed the stories a lot.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy of this collection in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations, let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What I Read in June 2016

I read a lot of books this month, I usually don't this many books in a month. The main reason I read a lot is that most of these books were checked out from the library and I was trying to finish them so that I could check out more books that I wanted to read. I don't think I will be reading nearly as much in July, we shall see. Anyway, here are the books I read in June:

1. 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
This was a quick read and I read it in a day. Debbie Macomber once again produces a novel in which characters undergo very real issues and some of them even find some happiness along the way. 3/5 Stars.

2. Inklings by Melanie M. Jeschke
Inklings was a great, clean  read set amongst the backdrop 1960s Oxford. It deals with relationships, purity and trusting God to work things out. I loved the allusions to C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and it is a great read for fans of these two great authors. 4/5 Stars

3. My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson
I enjoyed reading a book by one of my favorite childhood authors. This book was both relatable as well as sad in some places, but Jacqueline Wilson doesn't disappoint. I enjoyed getting to know these characters and the setting of Melchester College. I will have a longer review up soon.  4/5 Stars.

4. Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, there were several things that I didn't agree with the author about and I almost put it down. However, there were also several things that I liked about this book therefore I gave it a 3/5 Stars.

5. Tidal by Amanda Hocking
This was the third installment in the Watersong Quartet and it didn't disappoint. It was a good set up for the conclusion of this series. 3.5/5 Stars.

6. Elegy by Amanda Hocking
This was a great conclusion to Watersong Quartet, I felt like everything was wrapped up well and that there weren't any loose ends. Amanda Hocking takes her time to try and resolve all the issues that need to be resolved and I was content with how it ended. 3.95/5 Stars.

7. Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead, Illustrated by Emma Viecelli
This was the first graphic novel I have read. I didn't really like it, I mainly read it to complete a challenge for the Tome Topple Read-a-thon. Even though I didn't particularly like this graphic novel, I am interested in trying others in the future. However, it was a quick read and it gave me a taste as to what the Vampire Academy series is about. 2.5/5 Stars.

8. Delilah by Angela Hunt
I read this book for review and I enjoyed it. It tells the story of Samson and Delilah and tries to explain why Delilah betrayed Samson. Even though I don't necessarily agree with the author's portrayal of Delilah, I did enjoy it. If you want to read my full-length review on it click here. 4/5 Stars.

9. Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly
I loved the world-building, plot and characters and I can't wait to continue the rest of the series. If you are looking for a good book about mermaids I highly recommend this book. 4/5 Stars.

10. The Chariot of Israel by William Varner
I read this during my quiet time and I've been meaning to read it for a while, but for some reason I was only get to it this month. This book was really good, especially if you are looking for a book that focuses mainly on the Prophet Elijah. 4.5/5 Stars

11. The Sea-Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate
I loved this book, it was a mix of present-day and historical and it also takes a little peak into the mystery surrounding the lost colony of Roanoke. It also deal with family issues and the importance of forgiveness. I will have a longer review up soon. 5/5 Stars

12. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This book was so good! I read it in a day. It deals with the Lithuanian deportation by the Soviets during World War II. It was a moving and heart-breaking read and I learned a little bit about a piece of history I never really knew about before. 5/5 Stars

13. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
This book surprised me, I had very low expectations for it, but it was so good. Even though it does kind of have a cliche plot line it was just a cute, clean contemporary novel to read this summer. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a clean, summery read. 5/5 Stars.

14. The Small-Town Brides Romance Collection by Various Authors
I've been reading through this novella collection slowly but surely. Most of the stories were enjoyable, especially as a light, fluffy, romantic read. My review on this collection will be up on the blog tomorrow. 4/5 Stars.

15. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This was a reread for me because it had been about 6 years since I had read it and I never continued the series. However, I am planning on reading the whole series this summer because I want to. This was a fun quick read filled with Greek mythology set against the backdrop of the present day. 4/5 Stars

16. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This was another summer contemporary book that I read because I felt like reading some more contemporary YA books. I didn't enjoy this one as much as This is What Happy Looks Like because there were several things I didn't like. I will have a longer review up soon discussing the issues I had with this book. 3/5 Stars.

17. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Just like the first book, this was a quick read and I still enjoyed it, especially since more of the world of mythology is developed in this book. 4/5 Stars

18. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
This book was okay, I felt like a lot of it was repetitive of other books I have read. 3/5 Stars.

19. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
I really enjoyed this dystopian YA novel by Cecelia Ahern. There were several twists I wasn't expecting. 4.5/5 Stars

20. How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern
I've been wanting to read this book for two years and I finally did. It was a nice chick lit novel that also handles the issue of suicide in an appropriate way. 3.5/5 Stars.

And those are all the books I read this month and I still don't really know how I read so many books.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)


My July TBR

This month I head back to the U.S. for my senior year of college. However I still have a month and a half until school starts up again so I am going to be working for the remainder of the summer so I won't have as much time to read in July and August as I did in May and June, but I still plan on reading. I've decided that this month I am going to focus mainly on reading the Advanced Reader Copies I have received from NetGalley, however, there are a couple of books I still plan on reading that aren't ARCs. I'm also planning on taking part in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon and the High Summer Read-a-thon this month. With that being said, here are the two books I plan on definitely reading this month:

1. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
I am so excited to read this book, even though it is just a novella collection. There are 9 novellas some of them are the background stories of some of the characters (I think, don't take my word on that) and then there is a novella that is an epilogue to the series, and it involves a wedding so I am excited for it. I am planning on reading this on the plane when I head back to the U.S. in a couple of weeks.

2.Ante Up! by Chautona Havig
This is the 4th book in the Aggie's Inheritance series and I can't wait to find out what has happened to these characters since the conclusion of Here We Come (Book 3). I highly recommend this series, it is clean, funny and relatable. I am also looking forward to reading the bonus devotional that came with it to those who pre-ordered it.

These are the two books I plan on definitely reading this month, but there will be other books I read during the month. I'm still deciding whether or not I am going to do a TBR for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon, but I will definitely be doing a wrap-up post when it is done.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tome Topple Wrap Up

I took part in the Tome Topple Read-a-thon that started on June 5th and lasted until June 19th. The goal of this read-a-thon was to read at least one tome (a book that is 500+). If you want to see my TBR for Tome Topple click here. Instead of listing all the books I read (which ended up being a lot) during Tome Topple, I am going to go through each challenge and say whether I completed them or not and which books I read to complete the the book challenges.

Challenge #1: Read more than one tome (500+ pages):
I did not complete this challenge because there were so many books I wanted to try and read, but I did start the second tome, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, I will finish it eventually.

Challenge #2: Take a graphic novel break:
I read Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead to complete this challenge. It was the first graphic novel I have read, and I am interested in reading some more graphic novels in the future.

Challenge #3: Read a tome that is part of a series:
To complete this challenge I read Elegy by Amanda Hocking which is the last book in the Watersong Quartet - it was the only tome I completed.

Challenge #4: Read over 500 pages in a week:
I definitely completed this challenge. Here are the total amount of pages I read in each week and then overall.
Total pages read in Week 1: 1385 pages
Total pages read in Week 2: 2007 pages (umm...no comment)
Total pages read overall: 3392 pages

Challenge #5: Read one adult novel: 
I read two adult novels during Tome Topple, the first one was Delilah by Angela Hunt (click here to read my review).

The second adult novel I read was The Sea-Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate.

Overall I ended up completing four out of the five challenges for Tome Topple and that makes me happy! :) I'm looking forward to taking part in more read-a-thons in the future because it was fun to take part in this one.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Delilah: Treacherous Beauty

Today's review is on Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt
Before I get started I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Angela Hunt is a fantastic writer, in fact probably one of the most memorable books from my childhood is her book The Tale of Three Trees (I only found out about a year ago that she was the author). I haven't had an opportunity to read a lot of her books, but the ones that I have read have been great reads, and Delilah wasn't any different. 

Delilah tells the story of Samson and Delilah, however the author takes creative license and tells the story of Delilah's background. The novel starts in Gaza, where seventeen year old Delilah is getting used to life in a new city after her mother remarried. Her step-father is kind and has a prominent position in the city and respected by everyone. However, her step-father soon dies and her mother and herself are left at the mercy of her step-brother Achish, who treats them horrendously. He sells Delilah's mother into slavery and makes Delilah his slave, however she soon runs away and tries to figure out a way to free her mother. The readers are introduced to Samson when he is trying to win the hand of the Timnahite woman and the events that happened after that. 

If you are interested in reading the biblical account of Samson and Delilah you can find in Judges 14-16, which is what this novel is based on. 

I liked how this was told from the first person point of view, which isn't really common in most biblical fiction books, at least in the ones I have read. I also liked how we got both Delilah and Samson's points of view - in a way there are two stories until their paths converge into the events that happen between them. As I mentioned before the novel starts several years before they actually meet. 

I enjoyed how Angela Hunt brought these historical people to life through her novel. Samson is portrayed as being kind of arrogant, which I feel like that does fit him considering that he believed that he could do whatever he wanted because he was chosen by God. However, throughout the novel, it shows how God is merciful to him despite his mistakes. Delilah is also an interesting character because she starts out as being innocent, however through a series of events she starts to become vengeful and that is why she betrays Samson. It is also interesting how she starts to become duplicitous, but yet she accuses others of being liars when she is just as guilty. 

I don't know if I necessarily agree with the author's portrayal of Delilah, I guess I always pictured her as being a really evil seductress. But then again it is a fictional account of real events and the author did have to fill in missing pieces from the biblical narrative, especially since not much is said about Delilah except her betrayal of Samson. 

I liked how Angela Hunt reminds readers in the author's note at the end of the book that Samson and Delilah were people, and I think sometimes it is easy to forget that these historical people also had emotions and struggled with decisions in their life. I also appreciated how Hunt explains why she wrote Delilah the way she did, and it makes sense. 

I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because even though I did enjoy it, I didn't fully agree with how Delilah is portrayed in this novel. But Angela Hunt is still a great writer and I can't wait to read more of her work. 

Happy Reading, 
Janelle L. C. 

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Review: Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Today's review is on Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
This was the book I received in my OwlCrate box in January, and I've been longing to read it. Finally over Spring Break I had a chance to dedicate the time to read it. At first it was hard for me to get into, in fact I almost stopped reading because it was such a slow start. However, things started to get interesting about 100 pages in.

The novel is about the Bronte siblings: Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell, who live with their father in a small country parish town. When they were children they created their own worlds and wrote numerous stories set in these worlds. Lena Coakley takes this fact and develops a novel where the Brontes are able to travel to their worlds, which proved to be a very interesting concept.

At first I didn't like the story because it seemed as if the Brontes just had the ability to travel to their worlds, however later it is discovered that this ability comes with a price (to quote Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time, "All magic comes with a price." ) and it shows how this starts to affect both Charlotte and Branwell who were the first ones to gain this ability to travel to their fictional realms.

The fictional countries that the siblings travel to were actual countries they had created, as well as the characters that live in these fictional countries, which was really interesting. Obviously, the events in the book are fictional, but Coakley tries to use this fictional account of their lives to explain why they all died so young.

It was also interesting to see the various characters and how some of them kind of alluded to the characters in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, having read both of these novels I got excited when I saw these traits.

I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because even though it was a good book the first half was slow moving and didn't really grab my attention. But once the story started to progress I couldn't put it down.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Book Review: The Black Stallion

Today's review is on The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

First off, let me just say that I have no idea why I never read this as a kid, especially when I went through my horse crazy phase! But now, at the age of 21, I have finally read this classic and I loved it. It was a fun read and it was a nostalgic read too because it reminded me of all the series I used to read as a kid such as Heartland, The Saddle Club, The Thoroughbred series, etc.

I picked up this book at the library when I was checking out movies to watch over Spring Break with my friend Michelle. We were looking at the children's section - you are never too old to read books from this section!- and we were talking about a few of the books and she asked me if I had ever read The Black Stallion. I said no and she took it off the shelf and handed it to me and  checked it out to read over Spring Break.

This is a great book for middle-grade readers and it is a book that both boys and girls will enjoy. It is about a  boy name Alec who meets the Black Stallion while journeying back to New York after visiting his uncle in Bombay, India. After a series of events, Alec ends up owning the Black Stallion and starts training him to be a race-horse.

So much happens in this book and it is about 240 pages long and it is easy to fly through it. The only issue that some people might have with this book is that the language is a little bit dated, but it makes sense since it was published in the early 1940's. Alec says the word "swell" way too much, but then again I do say the words "great" and "cool" a lot, so I am in no place to complain about that.

The one question I have is why doesn't Alec give the stallion a name? He keeps referring to him as "the Black." A horse like that deserves a better name than that, oh well, maybe he gives him a name in the other books?

I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because it was an enjoyable, clean read and it was a nice reminder of the kinds of books I used to read growing up.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Tome Topple Read-a-Thon TBR

I mentioned in my June TBR post that I will taking part in the Tome Topple Read-a-Thon hosted by Samantha at the YouTube channel Thoughts on Tomes, if you would like to know more about it click here to watch the announcement video. The read-a-thon starts at midnight on June 5th and goes until 11:59 PM on June 19th.

Basically the goal of this read-a-thon is to try and read at least one book that is over 500 pages long (a tome). However, instead of seeing how many books you can read in two weeks, this read-a-thon is about how many pages you can read in two weeks. There are also 5 challenges that participants can take part in as part of the Read-a-thon- but they are not required- and they are:

1. Read more than one tome (500+ pages)
2. Take a graphic novel break (doesn't need to be 500+ pages)
3. Read a tome that is part of a series
4. Read over 500 pages in one week
5. Read an adult novel

I might do a weekly update over the course of the read-a-thon. I will definitely have a wrap up at the end of the read-a-thon in which I will show which books I read, how many pages I read, and which challenges I was able to complete over the course of the read-a-thon.

Here are the books I will definitely be reading over the course of two weeks in order to fulfill the challenges. I also hope to read a couple other books, which I am not including in this list because I don't know if I will get to them.

1. Elegy by Amanda Hocking

This is the fourth book in the Watersong Quartet and since I will be reading Tidal (Book #3) it is only fitting that I finish this series. Elegy is over 500 pages long so it will help me complete challenge #1 and #3, as well as #4

2. Vampire Academy: A Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead 
I chose this to complete the graphic novel challenge because it was one of the only interesting graphic novels that my public library had. I also am a little bit interested in Vampire Academy, but I don't really want to read the books, so I figure reading the graphic novel will give me a better idea of what the series is like.

3. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton 
I've wanted to read this book for awhile now, even though I don't really know what it is about. I do know that it is almost 600 pages long, and it is a historical novel that has both mystery and a little bit of romance.

Those are all the books I plan on reading for Tome Topple, however there might be one or two other books that I read over the course of these two weeks because I still have to read Tidal (Watersong Quartet #3) before I can read Elegy.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: The Blessings of Humility 

Today's review is on The Blessings of Humility by Jerry Bridges

This was another great book by the late Jerry Bridges. He shows how all the Beatitudes all fall under the attribute of humility and how we as Christians are called to be humble. He argues that Christians are to live out the Beatitudes because they are characteristics of humility.

He does a great job of breaking down each Beatitude and explains how it is linked to humility, how it should be displayed in our lives and how it is connected to all of the other Beatitudes. Once again, he does a great job of grounding his points with Scripture, so that readers are able to see for themselves how it is outlined in Scripture.

Bridges does a good job of reminding believers that humility is not an option, it is commanded in Scripture and it is something that all believers should strive to be. We are called to be humble because Christ Himself was humble. He also makes the point that humility is linked to both a love for God and a love for others, which are the two greatest commandments for believers (see Matthew 22:37-40).

I am giving this book 4.5/5 Stars because it is was really good and convicting, however I felt like it was too short.

Thanks again to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review: Silverglade - The Dream

Today's review is on Silverglade- The Dream by Richard Lewis Grant


This book was recommended to me by some family friends who know the author. I was interested in finding out what was about, especially since this series developed from the bedtime stories that he used to tell his kids.

It is the perfect book for Middle Grade readers and it is a great fantasy series to read if you have already read the Chronicles of Narnia and/or Lord of the Rings.

While I was reading this first installment I enjoyed the writing style because it read like a bedtime story, the whole time I was imagining a voice reading this to me before bed every night. It definitely bought back a lot of memories from my childhood when my parents used to read to me before bed, or even try ad tell their own bed time stories. I love books that are nostalgic like that.

It wasn't a very long book and it could easily be read in one sitting. There also isn't really any violence therefor making it appropriate for younger readers.

The whole book is basically the building of this fantasy world, there are a few events that happen but the majority is just descriptions of characters and groups.

I enjoyed the main characters, Nemo and Quasar and how they start off kind naive of the world around them but through the progression of the novel they both start to grow up. I can't really go into anymore details about what happens because it will give away too much of the book.

I am very interested to read the rest of this series in the near future and I will have more reviews up on these books when I do.

I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because I enjoyed the world building and the development of the main characters.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

June 2016 TBR

Since it is summer and there are a lot of books I want to try and read, I've decided that my TBR lists are only going to have the three books I definitely want to read/finish this month. I am doing this mainly because I sometimes beat myself up when I deviate from my TBR list for month, and I also want to have more freedom to choose what I want to read. Here are the books I hope to finish this month:

1. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is probably the 5th or sixth time this book has appeared on my TBR list, but I am definitely finishing it this month!

2. Small-Town Brides Collection by Various Authors

This is a book I received for review from the publisher and NetGalley. I am looking forward to being introduced to some new authors, as well as some cute, clean, romance stories. I've already read three of nine novellas in this collection, and I am enjoying it so far!

3. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

I am excited to read Cecelia Ahern's first YA novel, especially since I am a fan of her contemporary novels. It will be interesting to see what she does as she branches out into the world of YA dystopian fiction.

These are the books that I hope to get to this month, along with many others. I have some exciting posts coming this month, tomorrow will be the first book review in a series of reviews on several Children's novels. I am also planning on taking part in the Tome Topple Read-a-thon that starts on June 5. I will have a post of the books I plan on reading for that, as well as the challenges that are involved in it, on Saturday.

Happy reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations, let me know and I will check them out! :)