Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

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Combining mystery, adventure and friendship with a sumptuous Edwardian setting, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is an absolute joy of a book, transporting the reader to a world of heady glamour offset by a murky criminal underground. It’s Nancy Drew with a PBS twist, and readers of all ages will adore the cast of exceptionally likeable characters.

Paperback, 336 pages, Age 10-14 years

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Once again our heroines, Sophie and Lil are on the case, donning cunning disguises and mingling in high society, leading them straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind.

Paperback, 352 pages.

Immensely enjoyable. This is a great series for young teens. And I think some adults would enjoy it like I am. It has a good story, characters, and an interesting plot. Reading the first chapter of Clockwork Sparrow briefly reminded me of the PBS Masterpiece series Mr. Selfridge. I recommend these stories for a home school book list. 

Order online at Kane Miller Publishing shopping site usborne books and more

Kane Miller EDC Publishing provided these books to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Overview

Bath, England 1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief ’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument … with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

Prelude for a Lord  -     By: Camille Elliot

 

Zondervan Publishing 

Paperback, 352 pages

Prelude for a Lord is a Regency-era Christian novel. Author Camy Tang provided me with an autographed copy (Jer 31:3) that I’ve enjoyed immensely. At first, I was intimidated by the size (as in number of pages) of the book and speculated if I was actually going to like all of it. With mystery, friendship, romance, and faith, I enjoyed the story/characters as I read from chapter to chapter. The two main characters grew in their relationship and reliance on God. The book’s spiritual message is that you are not alone, God loves you, and He will take care of you. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Read a little bit about the author, Camy Tang. More at Camy Tang, Romance with a kick of wasabi

I am a fourth generation Japanese American married to a third generation Chinese American (hence my Chinese last name). I grew up in Wahiawa, Hawai’i, a small town right in the center of the island of O’ahu.

When I first started writing, I didn’t know if God was going to allow my novels to be published, but the entire experience has taught me more about entirely, completely, totally depending upon Him, and submitting to Him aspects of my life that I never realized I was trying to keep control over. A lot of that struggle is mirrored in my characters’ struggles in my books.

Now, I try to trust in His plans for me—I know that what I write is for Him to use for His own agenda. He knows how He wants to use me, so I just need to go with the flow.

A complimentary copy was provided by the author for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

 

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by Lisa Martin & Valerie Martin

Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

Published by Algonquin Young Readers, A division of Workman Publishing

“A swashbuckling story of two very different cat brothers and their adventures at sea.”

Algonquin Young Readers is a new imprint that features books for readers seven to seventeen. From short illustrated novels for the youngest independent readers to timely and topical crossover young adult fiction, what ties our books together are unforgettable characters, absorbing stories, and superior writing.

A captivating read for either middle school boys or girls (ages 8-12). Told from the alternating views of Anton and Cecil (cats), each chapter is illustrated with a black and white line drawing. Artistic talent done by Kelly Murphy. It was the cover artwork that piqued my interest in the book. Nicely done throughout.

“Winning author Valerie Martin’s and Lisa Martin’s colorful cast of characters, rich historical detail, and lyrical storytelling will delight fans of such classic animal adventures as The Wind in the Willows, Stuart Little, and Poppy.” I love Stuart Little and also The Cricket In Times Square and in my opinion Anton and Cecil is a good story but doesn’t come close to a “classic” adventure. I rate the storytelling as fair but without flair. 

SITES OF NOTE:

Lisa Martin

Valerie Martin

Algonquin Young Readers

Kelly Murphy

A copy was provided by Algonquin Young Readers at the request of Lisa Martin. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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Andi Unexpected. Amanda Flower

ZONDERKIDZ / 2013 / HARDCOVER

208 pages

Book Description

Twelve-year-old Andora “Andi” Boggs and her fourteen-year-old sister Bethany move to rural Ohio to live with their eccentric twenty-something aunt after the sudden death of their parents. While dealing with her grief, Andi discovers proof of another Andora Boggs in the family tree whose existence was hidden in a Depression-era trunk in the attic. With help from her new friend and neighbor, Colin Carter, Andi is determined to find out who this first Andora was and what happened to her.

This book for young teens (middle school girls AND boys) is full of mystery and history. The characters and setting feel real and the story’s details are suspenseful keeping the reader’s interest. The author didn’t incorporate any serious Christian topics into the story although the writing was clean and wholesome. Appropriate for juvenile fiction. This sweet, energetic first book of a new series would be a nice holiday gift for a teen reader on your list. 

Read the First Chapter 

BookSneeze provided this complimentary copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

 
 

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Katherine Reay’s debut novel is terrific!

Dear Mr. Knightley

The story is entirely told through letters. Mostly the letters of Sam, the main character, to the anonymous Mr. Knightley. It is a super book with humor, romance, tenderness, honesty, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and all that. Quotes from the classics, like Jane Austen, are written in Sam’s letters; there’s usually a bit of an explanation that goes with it so that an unfamiliar reader understands what she is referencing. Katherine Reay wrote a novel with quality characters and a believable story. I’d recommend Dear Mr. Knightly for anyone who loves a good story. And I’m looking forward to reading more from Katherine Reay. 

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in Focus on the Family and the Upper Room. Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. Dear Mr. Knightley is her first novel.

Overview

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a stunning debut—a pure gem with humor and heart.” —Serena Chase, USA Today

Includes Reading Group Guide

Plus Bonus Material: Q & A with Katherine Reay and Sam’s Reading List

BookSneeze provided this complimentary copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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Lock, Stock, and Over a Barre
l (Dear Daphne Series #1)

Melody Carlson

B&H Publishing Group

2013

paperback, 320 pages

Book Description

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it’s not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt’s very specific posthumous terms — personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee’s life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God’s perfect timing.

I loved this book! Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel is an entertaining Christian novel. Interesting characters and story made it a lighthearted read that I’d recommend for girls of all ages. (teens – seniors) There are ten discussion questions at the end of the book.

By the end of the story, Daphne has become hopeful, encouraged, and confident with her “second chance”. The ending is not so much of a conclusion to the story as it is a to-be-continued ending. I’m looking forward to the next book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided by the publisher, B&H Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received. 

 

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Lead Me Home 

Stacy Hawkins Adams

Zondervan

July 9, 2013

paperback, 336 pages

9780310334033

Book Description

A compelling novel of truth and a search for identity by bestselling author Stacy Hawkins Adams.

Stacy Hawkins Adams first touched on love and belief with her Jubilant Soul series. Coming Home, the first novel in her Winds of Change series, let her look deeper into the same themes.

Now, in Lead Me Home, the second in the Winds of Change series, Shiloh Griffin has no identity outside of her roles as pastor’s wife and mom. Some days that is enough … but not always. Particularly when partnered with the always confident, always gracious Jade Smith on a church ministry project. Rather than shying away from God in her nervousness, Shiloh clings to him, seeking every day to redeem herself.

When Shiloh begins mentoring Monica, a fifteen-year-old member of the church, she confronts an issue she has been praying for years to forget. If she turns away, this teen’s life-and her soul-could be in jeopardy. If she decides to stand up and help, she knows she’s the one who risks losing everything.

Lead Me Home is the second book of the Winds of Change series but background from the first in the series isn’t needed before reading this story. This is the first book I’ve read by Stacy Adams and I enjoyed her writing style. She wrote a great Christian story (a girl read) that focuses on some hard issues. It was a big book that I read in no time because I was caught up in the story. 

The characters and their struggles were real. The storylines were interesting and dealt with forgiveness, hope, and my personal favorite, acceptance. 

The book starts with a great dedication page. It ends with discussion questions and a fact page about hearing loss which is something Stacy brings awareness of through one of the characters. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received.

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