Book Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth

I recently finished reading A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd. Unfortunately, I was not blown away by this novel. If you have spent any significant length of time reading inspirational romance, you will know what I mean when I say this book was a little too cliche, and not in an endearing way. The story itself starts out interestingly enough, but the mystery element was underwhelming. Now, I am not Nancy Drew by any means, but with a little deductive reasoning and practically from the moment the mystery arc was introduced I guessed the ending and the culprits. There was potential there, granted, but it ultimately fell flat.

My other issue was with the characters and their dynamic. They all seemed one-dimensional to me and didn’t possess any of the life and passion I have felt from even some of Ladd’s other works. Annabelle seemed nice enough, but she ultimately felt artificial. There wasn’t anything I found to be relatable about her, and none of her thoughts or feelings felt genuine. She seemed to me merely a paper doll–lifeless and boring after a few minutes. Owen, I feel like I barely got to know (perhaps that is the issue with all these characters, who knows?). Every time I interacted with him, he was too busy worrying about poachers to reveal anything deeper than surface level issues with his late wife. That backstory could have used more explanation as well, as it was teased a little, but I ultimately wasn’t made to care very much for the situation at all.

I don’t know that I would call this a romance novel. The two main characters hardly interact with one another in any significant ways, and their relationship felt too convenient. Yes, he helps her out. But do they necessarily fall in love? I read the entire book, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you they did if they hadn’t said so at the end. Why should they love one another? It didn’t make sense to me, and it felt too tropey. There was no spark, and for me, I feel like this is more a story about the dangers of poaching than anything else. Perhaps, if you are into that, you will enjoy this book, but I feel like I wasted my time.

As far as the faith element, I’m not sure there was much of one. Prayers are mentioned by a few of the characters, but it didn’t seem like it was much of a priority. It was more like an afterthought. Annabelle’s  journey to faith (I say journey very loosely) seemed more like a driveway that cut off too soon. I honestly cannot say that she even had a faith journey, frankly. Now granted, I don’t necessarily expect every character to have a miraculous faith experience by the end of one novel, but if your genre is faith-based fiction, you should use faith as more of a foundation than an addendum.

The main point I keep coming back to is that I did not connect with this book at all–not the story, the characters, or the writing. The long and the short of it is that it didn’t possess that je ne sais quoi. It was lifeless, flat, one-dimensional, and ultimately a let down. This may seem harsh considering it is “just a romance novel”, but to me, there is no such thing. Every piece of literature, no matter the target audience or genre, can build up a person, teach a lesson, and provide an escape to another world if only for a few hours. A Stranger at Fellsworth failed in this respect for me, and because of that, I’m afraid I cannot recommend it.

I received this book from the author, and I was in no way required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Book Review: An Uncommon Courtship

 

I recently finished reading An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter. I was not extremely thrilled with this novel. Even though I’ve read other books in this series, I felt at a complete loss at this story’s opening scene. I had absolutely no idea how the two main characters were connected, how they had met, and why they were being tossed into a seemingly random and unnecessary marriage. I also felt that these issues were never fully expounded on or explained very thoroughly, and that left me feeling disconnected from the characters and not fully invested in the story itself. Perhaps it was just my personal tastes, but this novel did nothing for me. I found myself skipping over entire paragraphs simply because their contents held nothing entertaining for me. Another aspect that didn’t jive very well with me was that I couldn’t identify or relate to any of the characters. To be quite honest, I just didn’t care what happened to them or if they worked out their inane issues in order to overcome their rushed marriage that was never really explained. I don’t think I would recommend this book. There are many other Christian romances out there that excel at what this book barely scraped at, and you are probably better off reading one of those than this mess that I suppose can be called a novel. That may seem harsh, but it’s the truth. I received this book from the publisher, but I was in no way required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

 

I recently finished reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen. This was such an excellent story! I’ve always adored novels with an ensemble cast of characters, and The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill hits the nail on the head in that department! I adored every one of the characters, and I felt that they all added something to the story. Normally I’m a little wary of series, as I find that the stories they exhibit can often be aptly told in one novel, However, in this instance, I found that I couldn’t get enough of the people of Ivy Hill! I felt myself rooting for their success and sharing in their sorrows at every turn, a sign of excellent story telling on the part of Julie Klassen. The quirkiness of the town and the beautiful setting brought to mind gems such as Cranford and North and South. I really enjoyed interacting with all the individual storylines, and I can’t wait to see how things turn out in the following installments! Overall, an excellent and worthwhile read for fans of Elizabeth Gaskell and Jane Austen that I could not recommend more! I received this novel from the publisher, but I was in no way required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Another Day, Another Dali

 

I recently finished reading Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard. Goodness, I just love this series so much! I don’t think I’ve loved a detective so much since my Nancy Drew days! Serena Jones is the complete package! She’s brave, bold, daring, talented, relatable, and she has two gorgeous men fawning over her (Team Tanner for the win)! And can we take a moment to appreciate that cover? I adore the use of bold primary colors and art related puns in this series’s cover design! Speaking of puns, I’d be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention how much time I spent laughing during this book! Honestly! Plus, the mystery is so well done! And that little bit of family drama, not too much, but just enough to be relatable without making you cringe? Perfect! It made me adore Serena and her family even more! All in all, if you are looking for a book with hardcore heroine, lots of belly laughs, and a heart-racing mystery, then Serena Jones is the girl for you! I received this book from the publisher, but I was in no way required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Waves of Mercy

 

I recently finished reading Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin. This is a charming novel set on the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan, an idyllic setting that I have personally experienced and enjoyed. I can vouch for the accuracy and genuine charm that Austin has portrayed, and it served as an excellent setting for this particular story. While not my favorite of Austin’s works, Waves of Mercy does have a thoroughly gripping storyline, and I greatly anticipated the resolution of the story. The characters were interesting, and I felt invested in their lives. The main problems I had with this story were merely a matter of personal taste. I am not a huge fan of family drama, and I was unaware that this would be the main focus of the story. Also, I found the “mystery” to be too easily solved (and I hesitate to say mystery, because it seemed so obvious to me). My final qualm with this story was the utilization of romance. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy romantic storylines. However, in this instance, I felt like it was a cheap throw away meant to tease readers and then be casually tossed aside without further consideration. Overall, a decent story, but not executed in a manner that aligned with my tastes. I received this book from the publisher, and I was in no way required to provide a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price

 

Hello all, and welcome back! It’s time for another book review, and trust me, you won’t be disappointed! I recently finished reading A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay, and I have two words for you–HOLY WOW! To say I enjoyed this novel would be an understatement. To say it was perfect, amazing, flawless, and otherworldly would also be an understatement! I am literally at a loss for words, friends!

I suppose I better start at the beginning–the cover. I have always adored the artwork on Katherine’s novels. In fact, it’s what drew me to Dear Mr. Knightley in a Barnes and Noble some years ago! But this cover is phenomenal! There are very few covers these days (especially in the Inspirational Fiction genre) that aren’t campy or over the top. Emily Price has the tailor made cover! When I close my eyes, I feel like Lucy Honeychurch touring the Italian countryside, skipping through fields of poppies. And that’s just the cover!

Like a beautiful person, having an attractive outer shell is nice, but even better is a lovely soul. This book has one of the loveliest souls I have ever beheld. (I know what you’re thinking, “Can books have souls?” Roll with me here!) The meat and substance of this book is incredible. This is no fluff piece of chick-lit, although I do love me some good chick-lit. This reads like a map of someone’s life. There are all the high points–the good times, the times that make me smile so wide my friends ask me what I’m so happy about, and the laughter, oh the laughter! But there are also the valleys–the times that had me on the edge of my seat, rooting for Emily to make the right choice. I totally felt one with Emily Price. Meeting her was like looking in a mirror and seeing all my flaws and all my points of beauty (this coming from an extremely insecure girl). I learned through Emily that we all have our moments of pain, but we also all have our moments of beauty. And the interesting thing? There are more moments of beauty than you think. You just have to look closely, take out your restoration equipment, and be patient to see the results. And boy, the results from Emily Price were astounding.

I’d like to thank the author, Katherine Reay, for allowing me to be a part of her “peeps team” for the release of this novel. All the opinions in this review are my own, and I was in no way required to give a positive review. Pick up A Portrait of Emily Price wherever books are sold on November 1, 2016.

Book Review: A Lady Unrivaled

I recently finished reading A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White. What a lovely conclusion to a lovely series! Each one of these books has been such a pleasure to read! I absolutely adored Ella and Cayton’s story! It was everything I was looking for and more! The characters were real, slightly snarky, and extremely adorable! Ella definitely knew her own mind, and her teasing ways never failed to bring a smile to my face. Cayton was the perfect hero, and he definitely brought to mind the brooding ways of Mr. Darcy. The mystery of the Fire Eyes wrapped up very nicely, and I loved how everything came together. If only there were more books in this series! I think I would enjoy reading about these characters eating breakfast for twenty pages I enjoy them so much! Overall, a fantastic story with phenomenal characters! I would highly recommend! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Book Review: Where Hope Prevails

I recently finished reading Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. I enjoyed this conclusion to the Return to Canadian West Series. It has not become my favorite by Janette Oke, but it was a fitting end to this series. To be completely honest, this series could have been fulfilled with only two books if some of the minor plot points were removed. The majority of this book, for instance, focused on some schoolroom drama that did little to drive the story forward. However, I did enjoy how the overarching story concluded, and I felt that trademark Janette Oke charm present throughout the story. Overall, a fun read for an old fan of Janette Oke, but not the series I would recommend for starting her work. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Book Review: To Follow Her Heart

I recently had the opportunity to read To Follow Her Hear by Rebecca DeMarino. Unfortunately, this book was not my cup of tea, and I did not end up finishing it. I found it to be way too wordy and descriptive. The first few chapters focused on mostly domestic activities, which I frankly have no desire to read. I cannot speak to the quality of the actual story, as the descriptive narrative was too much of a road block for me as a reader. Perhaps if you enjoy a lot of detail in your world building, then give this book a try. Otherwise, you might be better off skipping this one. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

P.S. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how entirely awful this cover is? The gentleman on the cover looks hilariously disturbed with the maiden in his arms.

Book Review: An Elegant Façade


I recently finished reading An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter. This was a very fun book to read that was full of extremely relatable characters and moments! Georgina was a very real character with faults, struggles, and moments of beauty. I really appreciated her struggles and journey of faith. Not only did she go through a significant spiritual transformation, but she also learned a lot about love, honesty, and the meaning of family. I found this story to be an incredibly instructive one–one that taught me the importance of being my true self and allowing the world to see me for the person I am. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable read! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.