Flight of Fancy – A Review

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Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano
Released January 1, 2019

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

My Review

Flights of Fancy felt somewhat like a Hallmark movie in novel form. The rich heiress thrown into farm life with absolutely no idea what she’s doing, while attracted to the wealthy attorney and learning to look after a handful of children. I liked Ian, the attorney and I enjoyed the children. Isadora I found to be rather annoying more than once, but I do think I’m likely the minority there. The did find the story interesting; I’m fond of mysteries and I found this one enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I found the number of trailing sentences and ellipses throughout the novel to be quite distracting, as well as the author’s tendency to repeat the same information two to three times. I also found one of the main supporting characters, who was meant to be a voice of wisdom, come off as rather arrogant and obnoxious.

As a warning to those among my readers who are younger or prefer to avoid such, there are rather too many references and descriptions to Ian’s muscles and chest, as well.

Still, if you’re fond of society lady turned farm girl stories with a touch of the ridiculous, peppered with some truly cute children throughout, I would recommend you read this book.

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10

Among the Reads, January 10

Through the Fire, January 10

To Everything A Season, January 10

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 11

Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11

Back Porch Reads, January 12

KarenSueHadley, January 12

Godly Book Reviews, January 12

Daysong Refections, January 12

Livin Lit, January 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13

The Becca Files, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Rebekah’s Quill, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 15

Stories By Gina, January 15

God’s Little Bookworm, January 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16

Splashes of Joy, January 16

Janices book reviews, January 16

Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17

Mary Hake, January 17

Maureen’s Musings, January 17

Bibliophile Reviews, January 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18

Baker Kella, January 18

Simple Harvest Reads, January 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Captive Dreams Window, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Have A Wonderful Day, January 20

Life with the Tribe, January 20

Inklings and Notions, January 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21

Inspiration Clothesline, January 21

amandainpa, January 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22

Pause for Tales, January 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23

Live Love Read, January 23

A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

To the KING be all glory!

Not So Happily Ever After – A Review

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Not So Happily Ever After by Susan Barnett Braun
Released August 28th, 2018

Think history is boring? Then you’ve never met Mad King Ludwig, who inspired Walt Disney with his magnificent castle in the clouds. He ruled the German kingdom of Bavaria for twenty-two years, inspiring his people by his support for the arts. And yet, “Mad King Ludwig” rarely appeared in the capital or attended any government functions. He slept most of the day and stayed awake all night. He dined with his horse and waved pistols at servants. He created a fantasy world inside his castles, complete with caves and trap-door tables. To this day, no one is sure exactly what caused his untimely death in a lake. Who was this man: fairy tale king? Insane eccentric? Mad King Ludwig’s life followed many twists and turns on its way to Not So Happily Ever After. The book’s intended audience is young adults, but it is perfect for adults wanting to learn more about Ludwig also.

My Review

I read this book in one sitting last night. Written in a language that would entertain a middle schooler, the book nevertheless didn’t fall short when it came to pulling in my interest. I feel like I personally got to know King Ludwig II of Bavaria last night; a man who, before that, I had scarcely even heard of.

His love of fairy tales and folklore, his intricate and unique castles, his personality and manner of assigning story-like names to real life proved to be captivating. It is no wonder that Ludwig’s people often called him the Fairy Tale King – he earned the name for certain.

The book’s title does not lie. King Ludwig meets his end in less then pleasant circumstances and I confess that I didn’t want the book to end in the way that I knew it headed. I am not, however, sorry that I read about the Bavarian ruler. I found myself fascinated by and even relating to parts of Ludwig’s life, and I learned a good bit of history in the process. The photograph’s included of Ludwig and those close to him, added greatly to the story.

I’d love to visit Ludwig’s castles and, quite frankly, would love to live in one of them. A real life castle built as, possibly, as close to a fairy tale castle as possible? It would be a dream come true!

I would certainly recommend this book and hope to get a hard copy sometime.

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a world/globe necklace and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8a1/not-so-happily-ever-after-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 3

A Reader’s Brain, January 3

Real World Bible Study, January 4

Inklings and notions, January 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, January 6

Genesis 5020, January 7

Rebekah’s Quill, January 7

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 8

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, January 9

Bigreadersite, January 9

Carpe Diem, January 9

Just the Write Escape, January 10

A Baker’s Perspective, January 11

Mary Hake, January 11

Bibliophile Reviews, January 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 15

Janices book reviews, January 16

About the Author

Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla).

To the KING be all glory!

Connection to the World at Large…

It’s not often that I think about my connection to the world. I don’t tend to consider what my connections are to the wild, bustling planet of continents, countries, counties, cities, towns, villages, communities, and homes. In person, I interact with so few and such small pockets of my community.

Presented, however, with the question on one thing that connects me to the world at large, I thought for a bit. After consideration, I would have to decide on literature.

As a child, I devoured all the books that my parents provided. Isabella Alden held prominence as my favorite author, giving me a glimpse into American life in other parts of the country, albeit, in the early twentieth century. My other favorites O.F. Walton and Hesba Stretton as well as a few other Lamplighter titles gave me my first glimpse into the dirty streets of London and the glowing countryside of England.

As I grew older, Arthur Conan Doyle took me through various corners of Britain, while Douglas Bond showed me the bonny braes and beautiful accents of the Scottish. G.A. Henty introduced me to the French, aided by Mr. Dickens who also let me explore Britain in more detail, while strengthening my growing fondness for Egypt and the Scots.

True, many of these books are old. Classics. Jules Verne showed me a world long since aged and shifting. Carriages no longer rumble through London as Mr. Dickens told of and I know the mines aren’t run as Hesba Stretton described. It didn’t matter. The connection had been made.

I still love those connections and still enjoy learning about their more modern ways. I’ve studied many of the countries and their ways both historically and modern day because of those stories. England is on my list to visit some day. I would love to learn the French language. If I could choose to give myself any accent, I’d pick a Scottish one.

Further, their influence makes it into much of my writing. The reverend and his wife who join Georgiana’s church in Grandmother’s Letters are from England. The Wallace clan, who appear more than once in multiple books, began in Scotland, while the patriarch David Wallace shows the accent of his native home in his speech. Knowing what I do about my own future projects, I know that influence isn’t going to wane any time soon.

In my every day life, I use English and Scottish words, I play around with the accents of multiple countries both when reading aloud and just when I feel like it, and I enjoy watching movies or shows that show life and characters from around the world, especially those places that I learned to love through my books.

Certainly, there are other connections that I could ponder and pontificate upon. So much in this world is connected and interconnected, often only in ways that the Creator of this intricate tapestry of life can see and identify. I do think, however, that literature might be my favorite connection, it certainly is one of them, and I’m rather thankful that it can be.

To the KING be all the glory!

Shadow Sister – A Review

Shadow Sister by Katherine Scott Jones
Released August 28th, 2018

Working on her father’s vineyard allows Sarah Lanning to bury memories of a lost love and a career that might have been. But then her fractured family receives word that her estranged sister, Jenna, is dead, leaving behind an unexpected request: that Sarah travel to Bolivia to scatter her ashes.

Accompanied by pilot Chase Maddox, Sarah embarks on an Andean journey that tests her devotion to home and exposes Jenna’s secret life. Each staggering discovery creates new mysteries—until the last, which leaves Sarah questioning everything she understood about family loyalty. At a crossroads, she must decide whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness—and whether she can lay claim to a future of happiness without it.

Bittersweet and bold, Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.

My Review

Something niggled at the back of my mind after reading this book. The story, despite my struggles with the present tense author voice, did prove to stay interesting enough to keep my attention. The clues to Jenna’s secret did feel a bit put off and contrived, but only a very little. I rather liked Sarah, and the variety of nationalities and personalities among the characters themselves showed through quite well most of the time. While the descriptions felt a little too descriptive for my taste, I consider that preference, and I really was able to picture the vineyards, the slopes, and the Bolivian village with great clarity, thanks to the colorful manner used by the author.

After consideration though, I finally hit upon what bothered me the most about Shadow Sister. For claiming to have a Christian undercurrent – for the majority of the main characters having claimed Christ and mentioning Jesus on multiple occasions, – this book did not have an undercurrent of Christian worldview. One of the characters is touted as almost a saint by the words of several characters, but almost none of her actions are ones that stem directly from a Biblical framework. The book claimed to be centered in an area where women are regarded as property and are presumably ill-used by their husbands, but with one single exception, the “mistreatment” is never shown. Instead, the life of a wife and mother is downplayed, and the need for an education, the ability to hold down a job, and be able to “stand up to” one’s husband are the main things that are pushed for this Bolivian community. While, I won’t ever say one shouldn’t be able to read – it’s a grand thing and reading the Bible should be one of the chief pleasures for an able Christian – none of these things are pushed in the Bible. It’s not a requisite, while honoring one’s husband is, and the tone of the book pushed education above that Biblical mandate.

The ghost of Sarah’s sister passing around in two houses after death also threw me off. No where, do I see a Biblical framework for such a thing, though the book tried to make it link in with the story of Lazarus.

Perhaps my greatest issue with the book though is how the author dealt with the sin of marital infidelity. The Bible places strong emphasis on the importance of staying true to your own husband or wife. Jesus, Paul, the book of Proverbs… While one person mentions in, almost in passing, that “it was wrong” there was very little weight given to the sin. Sure, consequences are shown to an extent, but not really. It was almost excused. One of the people in question, treated with a pity that he in no way deserved. If this had been a secular book, I wouldn’t have been surprised and would have rated the book higher – I wouldn’t have expected a stronger moral compass. However, the claims of Christianity, led me to disappointment and sorrow at the way in which adultery and even fornication were handled. Why the characters fell into this sin doesn’t matter, they did it, and it should be shown as the sin that it is, if it is to be included in the story.

Also, the lying behavior of another character in another topic altogether was excused on account of fear. While I can agree that fear will lead to sin, it does not excuse it. Lying, even by omission, is bearing a false witness and is, therefore, a sin. Exodus 20:16. It should not be justified. Forgiven? Yes. Grace extended? Yes. Absolutely. I agree with the forgiveness shown, but the reasons behind a sin do not mitigate the sin. The lies allowed by this character caused deep wounds in those nearest them, which were shown very well. The writer handled betrayal and rejection well, I thought, up until the moment the reason for the sin seemed to wipe away everything else.

In conclusion, while an interesting story and even a good mystery, I could not recommend Shadow Sister.

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a grand prize that includes a personalized signed print copy of the book, a Shadow Sister bookmark, a Frame-able print, Book-lover’s tea, 6 Handcrafted notecards, and a set of vineyard-themed playing cards!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d25f/shadow-sister-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 4

Carpe Diem, September 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 5

The Power of Words, September 5

Among the Reads, September 5

Fiction Aficionado, September 6

The Becca Files, September 6

RebekahsQuill, September 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Bigreadersite, September 7

Just the Write Escape, September 8

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, September 8

Bibliophile Reviews, September 9

Living Life Free in Christ, September 9

Inspirationally Ever After, September 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 10

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

Livin Lit, September 11

Janices book reviews, September 12

Remembrancy, September 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 13

Inklings and notions, September 13

The Midnight Bookaholic, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

The Mimosa Blossom, September 14

Kelly Harrel, September 15

Two Points of Interest, September 15

A Baker’s Perspective, September 16

proud to be an autism mom, September 16

Godly Book Reviews, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 17

About the Author

Katherine Scott Jones grew up in cities on every U.S. coast and overseas as her family moved with her father’s Navy career. Seattle became home when she married her husband twenty-eight years ago. After graduating Whitworth University with a degree in communications, she established herself as a freelance writer before turning her hand to fiction. She blogs about books that celebrate beauty at www.katherinescottjones.com. Katherine and her husband have two teenage children. Shadow Sister is her second novel.

To the KING be all glory!

Hearts Entwined – A Review

Hearts Entwined
By Erin Nichole

The only sound Jana could hear was her own breathing. The darkness even spooked her and she rarely feared the night. But this fear was almost crushing. Pain on top of the fear wrapped the Royal’s mind into a frantic state. She curled to her side, wrapping her arms around her knees that pressed tightly against her chest. If only she didn’t feel so alone and terrified. Why did the High King feel so distant? The Scripture she rehearsed in her heart felt cold and she wondered, if her heart too, would soon turn to a stony statue like that of her former trainer’s…

My Review

I am always loth to read a series. I possess a certain, perhaps unfounded and odd, fear that if I like a book, the author will inevitably ruin the story in the following books.

Hearts Entwined is Volume 3 in The Wyvern Tales. It can be read as a standalone from its predecessors, but it certainly builds on their story – and without ruining anything. My favorite characters from The Scarlet Rose are still as noble and lovable as before; and I found several new favorites.

Coen is, possibly, at the top of my favorites list. I certainly related to him the most. Rowan, Wynter, Jana, and Kicster were other new favorites and weren’t terribly far behind. Kicster, indeed, did not have nearly enough page time. He needed several more… chapters. In my opinion, anyhow.

I enjoyed the overall story. The message of friendship, loyalty, and broken trust is a difficult one, but a message that ought to be heard. The mystery behind the past of one character particularly, is well hinted at, but not at all annoying as I have found some books, though intriguing.

Finally, I did approach the book with some trepidation, wondering how the narrator voice might be affected by Morgan Myomoto’s co-authorship with Erin Nichole, who has previously written on her own. I had no need to worry. The story telling fared well in the hands of both authors, living up to the previous works.

Hearts Entwined is currently on sale for .99 for Kindle, so get it while you have a chance!

To the KING be all the glory!