Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

My Review:
A sweet medieval romance with a fairy-tale twist!

The Beautiful Pretender (Thornbeck #2)I must say I enjoyed this novel much more than it's predecessor, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. But nevertheless, Huntress set the stage for The Beautiful Pretender, though both can be read without having read the other. This novel focuses on the Margrave of Thornbeck, Reinhart. He must wed in short order, or else the king might intervene. So with the help of his chancellor, they invite several young ladies to Thornbeck. I wasn't sure about this plot at first, but I came to really like how Ms. Dickerson handled things.

I enjoyed Reinhart and Avelina's character development for the most part. While trying to not give too much away, I felt the romance was a bit rushed at the end but others may disagree with me. Just a personal opinion. I really liked the threads of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale Ms. Dickerson weaved into storyline. It's one of my favorite fairytales and I loved her inclusion of it.

Overall, I was satisfied with The Beautiful Pretender. The story (and its characters) really grew on me over the course of its pages. I found myself becoming deeply involved and the book nearly impossible to put down! There were a interesting twists, an adorable romance, and a pleasant fairytale-like ending. If you like fairytales or the medieval era, you'll want to check this one out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I received a ebook copy of this book from Litfuse in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Inheriting the new title of margrave means Reinhart has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise? Find out in the new medieval fairy tale, The Beautiful Pretender, by Melanie Dickerson. Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

Join Melanie in celebrating the release of The Beautiful Pretender by entering to win her Once Upon a Kindle giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Beautiful Pretender
  • A Kindle Fire tablet
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • The choice between a Funko POP Disney Beauty or Beast doll
beautiful pretender - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 7th. The winner will be announced June 8th on Melanie's blog.

beautiful pretender - enter banner

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

My Review:
27066853A wonderful addition to the Waves of Freedom series!

After getting to know Arch in Through Waters Deep, I was looking forward to reading his story. The guy has been through a lot, as it was implied in the prior novel. Such things are revealed in Anchor in the Storm, and we get to watch Arch slowly grow into the man he was called to be. Growing in her own way alongside him, is Lillian Avery, Jim's little sister. Lillian has her gone through her own problems and obstacles, yet she remains resilient. Falling in love puts a crack in her armor, but in the end, it only makes her stronger.

On the side of this romance, we have another thrilling mystery to decipher! Instead of the docks, this mystery is found in Mr. Dixon's drugstore. It was interesting to watch Lillian work on this case. Interesting how? Well, she isn't Mary and so watching the way Lillian worked on the case was fun. I really appreciate that Ms. Sundin's characters are each their own person.

I can't tell you which book I loved more, Through Waters Deep or Anchor in the Storm. Both had delicious mysteries to unravel, characters overcome their insecurities, and a love story to make you swoon! The last book might have to be the deciding factor, so we shall see. ;) If only we didn't have to wait until next spring for When Tides Turn! I can easily recommend this novel to anyone who appreciates historical fiction at it's finest! Ms. Sundin provides the perfect amount of detail. This book is sure to be a favorite.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin's new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah's Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah's blog.

anchor in the storm - banner

Thursday, May 19, 2016

{Book Review:} Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

My Review:
Another wonderful historical novel by Ms. Sundin!!

23411607I have loved and dearly enjoyed each novel I pick up by Ms. Sundin. Through Waters Deep is no exception! Ms. Sundin skillfully transports us back in time to Boston in 1941. If there was one thing I appreciated the most about this novel it would be the superb attention to historic detail. Whenever I began reading I lost all track of time and what was going on around me, I was totally immersed into the time period. The details Ms. Sundin includes about the navy are a testament to the thorough research she accomplished. She made everything easy to understand.

Additionally, I loved the saboteur plot! I felt like I was right alongside Mary, trying to work out the mystery myself. Those of you who know me, know how much I enjoy a good mystery and this one met my approval. Without this, the story would have lacked something. I thought it was well done and the conclusion satisfactory.

I admired the way both Jim and Mary grew over time. From beginning to end, they had changed in a positive way for the better. This book has not been a disappointment! Rather, it's another shining gem among Ms. Sundin's other novels. I'm eager to start Anchor in the Storm! If you have a propensity for World War II novels, or if you simply love a good historical read, this book is for you. :-)

I checked this book out at my local library. No review required!

Back Cover:
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

{Book Review:} The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

My Review:
A masterpiece debut from Cambron!!

18850688I missed out on reading this one when it initially released, but I did have the pleasure of reading the next title, The Sparrow in Terezin. I was giddy when I stumbled across The Butterfly and the Violin at my local library. And I was equally giddy when I finally had time to crack open the pages and dive right in. This novel takes us into Auschwitz, probably well known as the camp that killed the most people.

Friends, I will warn you, this isn't an easy book to read. Along with its sequel, this book takes on the all-too-real horrors of World War II. Ms. Cambron spares us the more gruesome, violent details, of course, but she does not shy away from the truth. I admire her for taking on such a hard story. Because with all that said, this story is truly beautiful. It possesses heart and something else I pinpointed in the sequel, hope. Hope in the face of one's world tearing apart. Hope in the face of potential death.

But this is not just a World War II story about Adele, also sharing space in this book is modern-day Sera James' story. She's on a journey of her own seeking, perhaps not hope, but healing. And without giving too much away, I loved the way Ms. Cambron wove their stories together. Whenever we transitioned from story to story, I found myself eager to return to the prior story. Ms. Cambron's writing is engaging and powerful, so very powerful.

This Hidden Masterpiece series will forever be dear to me and shall be read over and over again. I highly recommend this one to anyone who values well written historical novels with a deeper message.

I checked this book out at my local library, no review required. :)

Back Cover:
A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz--and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover--the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul--who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

{Book Review:} The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

My Review:
An interesting twist on the story of Swan Lake!

22574726I can't say this has been my favorite of Ms. Dickerson's novels, but I can say I really liked the main characters, Odette and Jorgen. I loved Odette's heart and her compassion for the poor children. Jorgen had compassion too, but also integrity, which I admired. The side characters were okay, in my opinion. They didn't always feel real. Though, once the story began wrapping up, their actions and behavior made more sense.

As far as the plot and story, I enjoyed the tension following Odette's secret. It kept the pages turning, for sure! I was personally very interested to see the "Swan Lake" twist, and I wasn't disappointed. However I would have liked to have seen more of that story incorporated.

To wrap this up, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest was a nice afternoon read, despite its disappointments. I look forward to reading what Ms. Dickerson has in store for the next in this series, The Beautiful Pretender. If you like historical fairy tales retold, you just might like this one. :-)

I checked this book out at my local library, no review required.  

Back Cover:
A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.

A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.

Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.

For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.

When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.

The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?