Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Healer's Apprentice Review

The Healer's ApprenticeThe Healer's Apprentice 

Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny

My Review: 10/10

 I loved this book, which was kind of unexpected. It reminded me of Ella Enchanted, but a little more serious; I mean when you're dealing with assault, attempted rape, and demons, it's not really a light, humorous read. But somehow Dickerson pulled it off.

I figured out the twist about halfway through, and the ending was predictable of course, but it was still enjoyable. I loved that the Rose stays faithful in trusting and waiting on God. Such a great story.

I found the Q and A with Dickerson at the end interesting too. I think she did a much better job of retelling Sleeping Beauty, even though the story only had hints of the original, than Disney did. It stood alone well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Homespun Bride Review

Disclaimer: I did not know it was affiliated with Harlequin until after I read it. Though the style is like night and day, I assume, it was just another kind of awful. Had I known I probably wouldn't have bothered, free be damned.


Homespun Bride (The McKaslin Clan Historical #2)


Montana Territory in 1883 was a dangerous place --- especially for a blind woman struggling to make her way through an early winter snowstorm. Undaunted, Noelle Kramer fought to remain independent. But then a runaway horse nearly plunged her into a rushing, ice-choked river, before a stranger's strong, sure hand saved her from certain death.

And yet this was no stranger. Though she could not know it, her rescuer was rancher Thad McKaslin, the man who had once loved her more than life itself. Losing her had shaken all his most deeply held beliefs. Now he wondered if the return of this strong woman was a sign that somehow he could find his way home.

Review: 1

Ugh. I got this for free and tried to give a fair chance, but it was just every kind of awful. Let me save you the time- there was not a single redeeming thing about this book. Not one.

the characters are one dimensional. any "change" occured before the book started.

the characters are the authors idea of flawless. the only thing that stands between them is a simple misunderstanding: *spoiler alert, which is revealed in like, the first page* Thad left her the night they were supposed to elope, and subsequently stayed away, because her father threated to take -everything- from his ailing and dependent family. This is easily overcome when a) the father dies and b) he returns so that the truth can come out. There are no actual character flaws or mistakes that either makes, unless you count self-denial to a fault and being totally oblivious of the other person's love. Totally unrelatable and boring.

The flip from one persons thoughts to the other was disorienting. Few books can pull it off. This one had enough troubles as it was. Thad was not at all believable as a man.

What was the point? I've read a lot of historical fiction, never one about a blind woman. The storyline -could- have been something. Why did the author relegate the personal struggles in loss of sight, family, love and faith in God to a blip of background info summed up in a couple of sentences and then spend almost THREE HUNDRED PAGES writing what was essentially the last scene?!

Torture for the reader. Not in a good way. I read my favorite love stories over and over again. I understand wanting that moment where everything becomes perfectly understood between the two to last forever, to want to draw it out sometimes. But that's only for characters that you're emotionally invested in! As far as I could understand, Thad loved Noelle because she was sweet and had emerald eyes. And Noelle loved Thad because he was caring. Urgh.

To top it all off, the writing was bad too. Repetitive and melodramatic in description of EVERYTHING.

I cannot forget this book too soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Mercy Review

The Mercy (Rose Trilogy, #3)The Mercy 

The Powerful Conclusion to Beverly Lewis' Latest #1 Bestselling Series!
Rose Kauffman pines for prodigal Nick Franco, the Bishop's foster son who left the Amish under a cloud of suspicion after his foster brother's death. His rebellion led to the "silencing" of their beloved Bishop. But is Nick really the rebel he appears to be? Rose's lingering feelings for her wayward friend refuse to fade, but she is frustrated that Nick won't return and make things right with the People. Nick avowed his love for Rose--but will he ever be willing to sacrifice modern life for her?
Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, is living in her parents' "Dawdi Haus." Her estranged "English" husband, injured and helpless after a car accident, has reluctantly come to live with her and their young daughter during his recovery. Can their marriage recover, as well? Is there any possible middle ground between a woman reclaiming her old-fashioned Amish lifestyle and thoroughly modern man?

My Review:  7/10

predictable, but enjoyable all the same. though i found the resolution between hen and brandon to kind of appear out of no where. brandons change was so subtle that i missed it entirely. and i was really surprised at the compromise, but glad i guess, too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Thorn Review

The Thorn (Rose Trilogy, #1)The Thorn 

Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. THE ROSE TRILOGY is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters on the fringes of the church, and the unforeseen discoveries that change their lives.
Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding?
Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?
My Review: 6/10

 I picked this up on a whim at the library. i thought it was historical fiction by the cover and was a little disappointed to find out it was set in the 80s. interesting to learn a little about amish life. i liked that it was fairly scandal free. hen and brandons deterioration bothered me, although i guess it was supposed to. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Just popping in!

Just popping in for a quick message since I haven't been able to write in a while, and it'll probably still be a few weeks at least til I can sit down and really write. In the meantime, I'm writing down blogging topics when I think of them. :]

To family that have been wanting to know what we've been up to:

just tons of the same! We pulled Lily out of preschool to spend the second half of the year at home with me (may have already mentioned that). Ella is doing amazing in Kindergarten- she learned how to read months ago and loves the same chapter books that I did when I was her age, which is really cool. She's helping to teach her sister how to read too. Jon is busy with his job at Westinghouse and we've enjoyed actually going on dates and regularly spending time together. I'm almost done with my (first?) degree. I know my dad wants me to continue on and I may at some point- I like school. But I've spent three years (ahhh can't believe it's been that long) completing this one and there are so many other things I'd rather be doing with my time at this point in my life. School can wait, people are much more important. That being said, I'm really happy that I'm almost done. March was a horrible month between extreme sickness, horrible weather, traveling all over the place and too many deaths. Because of all the personal stuff going on, I really skimped on my classes and did the bare minimum. But this last week, I really pushed through, finishing one class and getting caught up in two others. Just a couple more weeks to go!

I'm in three bible studies, although my attendance has not been all that stellar with everything else going on. But I'm really enjoying the new things I'm learning and  the new friendships we're making. And Jon and I celebrated our 8th anniversary last week. Happy. :]

More to come soon, hopefully. And hope everyone else is thawing and enjoying spring!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Belonging Review

Belonging (Where the Heart Lives #1)


In the high desert town of Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho, Felicia Kristoffersen has set out to create a future for herself that is better than her painful past. Alone in the world with only her faith to sustain her, she must prove herself as this tiny community's new school teacher. She cannot, must not, fail. But, there are those who never wanted her there to begin with.

Five years after the death of his wife, local merchant Colin Murphy cares about just one thing: raising his daughter, Charity. Colin wants to give her the educational advantages he never had. The new schoolmarm's inexperience doesn't sit well with him, and if this teacher up and marries like the last one did, Charity's heart will be broken once again.

A woman who hasn't known love. A man who lost the love he had.

In the midst of the wide, sage-covered plains, each is about to discover that life's bitterest circumstances truly can work together for good.

My Review: 1/10

 I can't really say I enjoyed anything about this book. The plot, characters, everything has been done a million times before and better. Can no relationship be built without first being prejudiced against one another, then a bond over a child, and then *the clincher* falling in love over being rescued (most likely from a near-drowning)? Then of course, there is a misunderstanding, causing one to flee and another to follow after them, culminating in a undying love confession in a train station.


The best stories have characters who change, who are flawed, real, relatable. They have plots and events that could happen to anyone, things that happen regularly. This had NONE of that.

If you want good historical fiction, try Lawana Blackwell's Gresham series. Sadly, I've not come across another like it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Before I Fall Review

Before I FallBefore I Fall

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Review: 10/10

Read this book! Right now! It has rendered me speechless.  

This book was a masterpiece.

Not just because I related to several different aspects of the story, not just because it was moving and the strongest, most impactful book I've ever read. Not just because the writing was beautiful, flawless. And in spite of the ending, because I avoid endings like this at all costs.

I hate how it ended. I wish, I wish, I wish... But it was perfect, done exactly the way it had to be, even if it hurts, even when it feels senseless.

It was a masterpiece.