Where It All Begins

Every book has its beginning.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” (The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling)

Every book has its ending but those I will not write down for I might spoil a book for you.

This is where my blog begins…

           For it is universally acknowledged that a girl who lives in a comfortable nook is in want of a good book…thank you very much.                                                 (It Starts with a Book)

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The Traitor’s Game (A New 2018 Favorite)

Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s second-in-command to the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her rebels has his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for.

The Traitor's Game

Where to start? Jennifer Nielsen has runaway with the spotlight, again. This brand new books begins yet another intriguing series. With every turn of the page, Nielsen leads you deeper into the Traitor’s Game, to the point where you don’t know what will happen next.

I guess I will start with the characters. Unlike Nielsen’s other two series, The Ascendance   Trilogy and The Mark of the Thief, this series has two main characters–Kestra and Simon. The book starts with Kestra as the main character in first person, but once Simon is introduced into the book, it then switches point of views. In the Nielsen world, Kestra would be a sister to Sage and Nic. Her sass and attitude tied with Sage’s, from the The False Prince. 

I don’t want to give too much away because there were so many twists and turns in the book that I did not know the ending until the last page. That is one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed it so much. The plot had me guessing and every time I thought I knew the answer and what was going to happen, it took a 90 degree turn.

This book is a new Favorite of mine and I am looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out. This a must read for Nielsen fans, because you will not be disappointed in this book at all.

 

Title: The Traitor’s Game

Author: Jennifer Nielsen

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

Together Forever and a Q&A with the Author

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Together ForeverMarianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train. Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

My Review:

Here it finally is, the next book the Jody Hedlund’s Orphan Train Series. As a fan of Hedlund’s books this one left me feeling happy, sad, excited, and counting the days until the next one comes out. When I first read that this book was going to be about the character Marianne, I was not sure if I was going to like the book, since I did not like her character in the first book. But I decided to give her the chance to change my mind and she did. Marianne grew up within the pages of this book.

Hedlund’s style of writing is excellent. She gave enough description and made the characters different from each other, especially since Andrew’s personality was a little more humorous. That made both main characters clash, because Marianne had a more serious personality. I enjoyed that part very much. Another thing about this book was that I could see it in my head. I could imagine what the characters, the train, and the towns looked like. The description was very well done.

As I kept reading the book, I knew it was going to be one of those books I had to finish and I did! The only thing that left me disappointed is that the next book, Searching for You, is not out yet. And from what I can find out, it won’t be out until December. I guess I will have to reread the two book and the novella again before that.

I highly recommend this book and this series–well the books that are out! I am looking forward to the next book as well.

Want To Read Some More:

Read my review of With You Always, the first book in this series, here.

Want to learn a little how the cover was made? Read about that here. It is really fun to see how covers are picked.

Here are some Q&As with Jody:

What do you hope readers take away from Together Forever?

I pray that in reading this story, not only will readers gain greater insights and a different perspective of the orphan train movement, but that they will also be encouraged to know God is present in their weakest moments. He doesn’t necessarily promise to give us the courage of a lion or to make everything perfect. But He does promise that His strength is available and that His power will rest upon us. Perhaps that strength will be just enough to get out of bed for another difficult day. Or perhaps it will be just enough to face the illness or hurt or heartache we bear. We can rest assured it will always be just enough. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

What are you working on next?

 I’m in the editing phase of the third and final book in the orphan train series, Searching For You, which releases in December. It wraps up the story of the Neumann sisters by finally giving long-lost Sophie her happily-ever-after. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that Reinhold Weiss also has a major role in helping Sophie as she struggles to make a new life for herself.

Do you have any parting words?

I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund

I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Find me on Instagram: instagram.com/jodyhedlund/

Come pin with me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund/pins/

Title: Together Forever

Author: Jody Hedlund

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group as a gift from the author.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

Read about the the next Book!

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children.Searching-For-You She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option. Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life. Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

 

Lastly, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below! I love hearing from you as well!

 

Falling for You

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic Falling-for-Youschedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin — then suffered the consequences when it all fell apart. Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When a decades-old missing persons case brings Corbin and Willow together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become — and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Review:

This is the second installment of Becky Wade’s A Bradford Sisters Romance. I liked the first book very much, so I had really high hopes for this one. It was good but not as good as True to You. My sister, who has read all of Wade’s books, told me that this was a more typical type of story that Wade writes. This book follows Willow and Corbin. Willow is Nora’s sister (Nora is the main character from True to You). This book is filled with a little more drama, compared to the first book, because Corbin and Willow have a history together, but you don’t find out until quite far in the book. My favorite quote in the book was this, “Her sisters were inextricably linked to her. Their histories were intertwined more tightly than any braid.” Like the main character, I have sisters (three of them) and we are really close, so I like seeing that in books. Sisters always (well most of the time) understand each other.

I did not mind this book but I personally did not feel like I got attached to the main characters. For any of Wade’s fans I think you will enjoy this brand new book. Those who enjoyed her first book in this series, I think might like it. To those who are intrigued with this book, I recommend that you read the first book before this one.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I am hoping there will be a certain wedding, Hint, Hint, Nora and John’s wedding.

Before, I end this review I have to say that whoever did the covers of the two books in this series did an excellent job. I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the next book.

Title: Falling for you

Author: Becky Wade

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group through Netgalley for this review.

 

Read my review of the first book, True to You, here.

A Most Noble Heir

A Most Noble HeirWhen stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station. Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations. At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

My Review:

This book is a historical type book with an interesting story about the downstairs and upstairs of the classes. The story is filled with many characters but it mostly follows Nolan Price. He is a stable hand for the earl and is almost ready to buy some land for himself and marry the girl he loves, but then his life is turned upside down when he learns he is actually the earl’s son. The drama continues when the earl forbids him to marry Hannah, Nolan’s true love. He then is left with the question: should he go against the earl’s wishes or should he follow his own heart? He is faced with many decisions like that and must choose whether to accept that he is the earl’s heir or to choose the life of a stable hand. His love for Hannah is tested over and over again throughout the book and he must learn what true love means.

The one thing in the book that I was not impressed by was actually the character Hannah. She was always crying and weeping. During the story, she was always moody. She would be like “I love you and want to be with you forever” and then the next minute she was “We need to take a break from each other.” She did that more then once, during the book. I didn’t mind it once but then it got a little old.

To be honest this was not my type of book, but if you like Downton Abbey, you might like this book. I leave it up to you to go and try it out because you might like it!

 

Title: A Most Noble Heir

Author: Susan Anne Mason

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group for this review.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

 

Reviews to come:

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Courageous Women of the Vietnam War: Medics, Journalists, Survivors, and More
by Kathryn J. Atwood

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

 

Donut Dolly

Donut Dolly puts you in the Vietnam War face down in the dirt under a sniper attack, inside Donut Dollya helicopter being struck by lightning, at dinner next to a commanding general, and slogging through the mud along a line of foxholes. You see the war through the eyes of one of the first women officially allowed in the combat zone. When Joann Puffer Kotcher left for Vietnam in 1966, she was fresh out of the University of Michigan with a year of teaching, and a year as an American Red Cross Donut Dolly in Korea. All she wanted was to go someplace exciting. In Vietnam, she visited troops from the Central Highlands to the Mekong Delta, from the South China Sea to the Cambodian border. At four duty stations, she set up recreation centers and made mobile visits wherever commanders requested. That included Special Forces Teams in remote combat zone jungles. She brought reminders of home, thoughts of a sister or the girl next door. Officers asked her to take risks because they believed her visits to the front lines were important to the men. Every Vietnam veteran who meets her thinks of her as a brother-at-arms. Donut Dolly is Kotcher’s personal view of the war, recorded in a journal kept during her tour, day by day as she experienced it. It is a faithful representation of the twists and turns of the turbulent, controversial time. While in Vietnam, Kotcher was once abducted; dodged an ambush in the Delta; talked with a true war hero in a hospital who had charged a machine gun; and had a conversation with a prostitute. A rare account of an American Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam, Donut Dolly will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War, to those who have interest in the military, and to women aspiring to go beyond the ordinary.

My Review:

I probably would have never picked up this book but the local library I work for is actually having this author come in and talk about her book. I love it when libraries get authors to come, so I that is why I read this book.

It was interesting but just a little repetitive in my own opinion. As are all memorials, it was also a little boring. Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was interesting. You don’t hear much about the Red Cross any more and you most definitely don’t hear about the part they played in the Vietnam War. This book follows a Red Cross girl, Joann Puffer Kotcher, the author of the book. She and her fellow Red Cross girls where known as donut dollys. Kotcher started her book off my saying that this memoir is based off her journals, which shows that it is important to write down your memories so you remember them later.

It was interesting to read the rules the ladies had to follow. Such as: they could carry weapons, they could not be married, but they also could not marry during their service time and so on. The reason they could not have weapons is because they were non-combative civilians. The ladies were not soldiers but they were there to boost moral and remind them of home.

I am looking forward to listening to the author. For any of you who like war memorials, this is the book for you.

 

Title: Donut Dolly

Author: Joann Puffer Kotcher

2018 Reading Resolution

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

 

The Orphan’s Wish

Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, the orphans wishfaraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break. Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune. Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save Kirstyn from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain? An enchanting new version of the well-known fairy tale, The Orphan’s Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what “family” really means.

My Review:

I am so disappointed with this book. Why, Melanie Dickerson, did you have to have the main character’s name be Aladdin.  In the Captive Maiden, the main characters were not named Prince Charming or Cinderella. This book was not like any of her other books, or the ones I have read before. Most of the time in the book the main two characters were thinking about the past. For example, Kirstyn thought about that day when she was 12 or Aladdin remembered the day Kirstyn turned 13. And things like that were in the book more times I could count. The story was rather bland as well. So, the main girl gets kidnapped and her dad, who is a duke, pretty much gave up on trying to find her.

In my own opinion this is not Dickerson’s best work. I am not a fan of this book and was really disappointed.

 

Title: The Orphan’s Wish

Author: Melanie Dickerson

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

 

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Christy

The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions. But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her–and her one-room school–as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

My Review:

Just last year this book turned the big 50. I have been meaning to read this book for Christy TV.jpgmany years and a couple of years ago I started but never was able to finish it. So when our library got a brand new 50th anniversary edition copy, I checked it out and started over.

The TV show is a favorite of mine (except that it does not end like the book, which it should have). So reading the book now was quite easy because I already had an image of the setting and characters. After reading it, I want to re-watch the series. The book depicts the hardship of the 1912 poorer society. Christy (based off of Catharine Marshall’s mother) is the young 19 year old teacher who traveled from her home to Cutter Cape. This book takes the journey with Christy to show how a naive young woman learns to live, love, and endure hardship. The point of view is the character Christy. From moonshiners, to family feuds, and to the typhoid, this story keeps readers turning the pages and wondering what Christy will do next. It is an excellent written book that left me thinking. “What would I have done in Christy’s place?”

It is not a novel that I could read over and over again. I would say that this book is more geared to historical Christian fiction readers. Now that I have read the book I can say Marshall created an excellent story, and I recommend it very much.

Have you read the book or watched the TV show? What did you think?

Title: Christy

Author: Catherine Marshall

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.