Sunday, July 10, 2016

Like a River from its Course by Kelli Stuart



ABOUT THE BOOK:
An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer's plans for domination
are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.

Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

MY THOUGHTS:
I found this book difficult to read. The four separate characters weren't woven together as much as I was expecting and the spiritual thread was almost non-existent.

(Near the end of the book, Ivan and his wife encounter and embrace a very Catholic-feeling kind of religion - a priest, stained glass windows, and icons of Mary and Jesus).

Luda's story was also very hard to read. I understand that such horrific things happened, but some of the language used by her father just made me uncomfortable.

It just felt like a book of sorrows. Oh, yes, I understand that so much of WWII was sorrowful...but, I do like reading about the hope and joy that some found despite the awfulness going on around them. Or at least some hope and joy that some may have found post-war.

That's what I thought! Click HERE to see what other reviewers are saying!

Thank you to Kelli and Kregel through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.

With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.

What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.

MY THOUGHTS:
I really, really enjoyed this second story in Kristi Hunter's Hawthorne House series.

I must admit that it had been awhile since I read the first book, A Noble Masquerade...and at first I didn't remember Georgina. An Elegant Façade CAN be read as a standalone, but the two stories overlap for several chapters in the beginning (this was very unique -- I've never read a book with parts of the same story told from another's perspective). So...it's nice - and somewhat helpful - to read them both!

Georgina's 'flaw,' as she thinks it is, causes her to appear almost untouchable. I found Georgina's struggle with such a malady during that time period to be very interesting. As she is challenged by Mr. McCrae, a gentleman beneath her notice, I couldn't help but begin to like her more and more as I realized how her façade was just that. Her responses and mannerisms weren't really HER...but, my empathy and compassion grew during the fearful journey to find the real HER.

A very unique and enjoyable story that lends understanding to one of today's learning disabilities. I am hoping that Kristi will be writing next about the Hawthorne brothers! Because I'll certainly be reading them!

Thank you to Kristi and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

The House on Windridge by Tracie Peterson *Bonus novella*



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Rediscover this classic romance from bestselling author Tracie Peterson.

Jessica is alone in the world except for her infant son. She returns to the ranch where her life began, but Jessica doesn't know whom she can trust. Will Windridge become the home she has always longed for, or will it be the scene of her final betrayal?

Also included is a bonus historical prairie romance from author Joyce Livingston.

MY THOUGHTS:
The prologue was actually my favorite part of The House on Windridge...and I wished the story had continued straight from there. It was good, had me hooked, and I was disappointed in the 20+ year gap that picked up the characters' lives. Oh well...

Still, the story was a nice prairie romance. Quite a twist to have a daughter come back 'home' to run a ranch she's never really been a part of. At times Jessica rubbed me the wrong way, but her insecurities, though not loveable, were understandable.

Devon, Buck, and Katie were the perfect characters to help a girl like Jessica along...and the romance was sweet.

Thank you to Tracie and Barbour through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.

MY THOUGHTS:
Don't you just love computer errors? I had a nice review all written and saved...and my laptop crashed. Apparently the crash corrupted my file, as OpenOffice can't seem to recover it. I hate when that happens! I can't ever remember everything I so eloquently said! ;-)

Well, let's just cut to the chase and say that Sarah's descriptions are rich and exciting. I love historical British Victorian/Regency kind of tales! Isabel is startled by her unknown family's summons, though she dearly longs for a home. However, it is quickly obvious that her aunt isn't welcoming to her niece or her younger sister. Isabel's uncle seems eager to marry her off, and the mysteries of the dark woods outside her window only add to the awkward and uneasy situation.

Dawn at Emberwilde will keep you reading to see if Isabel ever finds love and home.

Another lovely novel by Sarah! I loved it!

Thank you to Sarah and Thomas Nelson through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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