Book Review: Court of Swans
Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson is the first in a series of fairytale retellings, set in medieval England.
After her father’s passing, Delia’s seven brothers—the youngest only 10 years old—are taken by the king’s guards and wrongly accused of treason. Delia suspects her step-mother of accusing them, and sets out alone to try to free them. Sir Geoffrey, the guard who arrested them, is suspicious of her, but even he can see the injustice of accusing children.
Based off The Wild Swans fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers, this book is as an entertaining read. It wasn’t my favorite of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytales because not many things happened in the plot. However, I still enjoyed it and have continued the series.
Delia is a sweet, if foolish, young woman who I had the pleasure of watching grow in wisdom and strength throughout the novel. She asks God the same questions we all feel in very hard times—why does He allow the suffering and unjust treatment? I appreciated watching her struggle through the question and see that God is still faithful.
I enjoyed this novel and recommend it to fans of fairytale retellings and clean historical romances.
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for sharing them.
Book Review: To Treasure an Heiress
To Treasure an Heiress is a delightful Christian historical mystery/romance by Roseanna M White. 5 stars, PG.
I thoroughly enjoyed this second book in The Secrets of the Isles series. Set in the early 1900s, it follows Beth T while she continues to search for pirate treasure. But the pesky Lord Sheridan is also searching, and while she blames him for all of the danger they faced previously, the real enemy hasn’t given up the hunt.
What could be more fun than a hunt for pirate treasure? This one takes place on the Isles of Scilly, located off the coast the British Isles, and the real stories of pirates visiting those Isles inspired this series.
I loved the characters most. Lord Sheridan, in particular, was a favorite. He spent the entire book trying to win Beth over, but she was dead-set against being even friends. In his mind, he kept calculating how long it would take before he could propose—up to 10 years! He and the other characters were a little over-the-top in their personalities, but it added color and fun to an otherwise tense tale.
A theme in the story is forgiveness and redemption. Beth had to learn to forgive Sheridan and to see that she was misunderstanding his part in the danger they had faced. Meanwhile, in a secondary love story among Beth and Sheridan’s friends, the sweet woman was learning that she was still lovable, forgivable, and redeemable in spite of an awful choice she had made. Her part of the story was my favorite because it reminded me that no mistake or sin is too big for God.
I highly recommend this fun tale to those who enjoyed “Wings of the Morning” by Lori Wick.
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley, I received no compensation, and my review is entirely honest.
Book Review: Twilight at Moorington Cross
Twilight at Moorington Cross by Abigail Williams grabbed my attention from the first page.
After living at a mesmeric hospital and growing close to the doctor, Amelia was informed that she would inherit the entirety of the hospital—if she married one of the men stipulated in the will. The next morning, the doctor died in mysterious circumstances, and Amelia must grapple with her grief, her suitors, and a clues to a possible murder.
I have enjoyed all of Abigail Williams’ books this far, and this one is no exception. I love the mystery and intrigue, and the regency period is one of my favorite settings. The characters were entertaining and well-developed, though, perhaps, a little extreme. The forbidden romance kept me guessing as to how the characters would come together in the end.
I tried to unravel the mystery, but I couldn’t guess all of it. It reminded me of Agatha Christie’s novels.
I would rate the book around PG to PG-13 for cleanness. There were no intimate scenes beyond kissing, but it was clear that characters other than the main ones had been immoral “off screen.” The murder happened off screen as well, and the body was not described in much detail. The focus of the novel was the romance and the mystery, not the gore.
I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to fans of Agatha Christie and Julie Klassen.
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for sharing them.
Book Tour: Life’s Journey our Greatest Test by Marshalee Patterson
Today, I’m welcoming Marshalee Patterson to the blog to share about her upcoming release – Life’s Journey our Greatest Test, a contemporary Christian novel. I haven’t read it yet, but the excerpt makes me curious!
About the Book
When Brady lost his brother, John, he felt his entire world crumble. All their plans went up in smoke, and soon his life took a turn for the worst; one he had not seen coming.
When his uncontrollable rage landed him in the Lexington Prison, he lost all will to live. However, his grandmother Ruth, being the devoted Christian woman that she was, never gave up on him and kept praying for him.
Walking around town shortly after his release from Lexington, Brady was pleasantly surprised when he stumbled upon Sara in a partially burnt abandoned building. Thinking that being a good Samaritan to her, could help him make right with God for all the wrong he had done in his life, he later discovered Sara was more of a blessing to his tortured life than he was to her.
Will this unlikely union bring them peace and seeing God’s promises fulfilled in their lives?
Links to Buy
Chills ran along his spine as he ambled along the corridor of the factory’s second floor. Ghastly whispers now filled his ears, with nothing in sight to connect to the strange sounds. Brady wondered if the ghosts of his past had returned to rob him of the new beginning he so longed for.
As he continued walking, the urge to turn back shot through him, but his legs would not cooperate with his brain. He froze at the sound of a terrible cough that echoed across the hallway. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and his breathing intensified as he tried to distinguish whether it was human. His eyes darted from left to right, trying to figure out from which room the sound emanated.
Snap out of it! How can you be fearful, for a man who isn’t afraid of anyone and even once didn’t care about anything? Even worse, you now call yourself a born-again Christian, and you are letting fear grip you. Get a hold of yourself! Remember, God’s word says: he does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind, he internalized, trying to encourage himself.
Brady shook himself and focused on where the sound resonated the loudest. He stepped into the second room to his right. From where he stood, papers and foliage scattered across the empty room. Sunlight permeated into the room from what remained of a burnt-out medium-sized window.
A slight movement among a bundle of papers at the far end corner of the room caught his attention. He gasped when he saw the figure of a person. With slow, careful steps, he moved forward, curious to see what manner of person would hide away in such a place like this. His eyes dilated when those of a frightened young woman stared back at him.
“Hey, . . . I’m not going to hurt you,” Brady told her in a gentle voice. Her gaze remained fixated on him, watching his every movement while she clung to the wall like a security blanket. Brady stooped down, facing her, maintaining eye contact with her. He empathized with her, knowing what he himself had gone through. He wanted to help her—but would she let him?
This may be my opportunity to do something good for someone, to prove to God that I am worthy of the second chance I so craved, he thought.
“Please . . . I know I don’t know you, but please let me help you somehow. I know what being homeless is like, hiding away from the world. But the dangers of living on the streets landed me in prison, from where I came only a few days ago. I’m trying to start over, and, even now, I’m still having a hard time getting over the pain I’ve caused my family.” He choked on his words. He didn’t know why he shared that with this stranger but felt opening up would allow her to see she was not alone in suffering hardships. He hoped it would allow her to at least give him a chance to help her.
About the Author
When Marshalee Patterson left high school and started working, she thought she was cursed. She would look at her life and compare it with some of her high school friends who seemed to be achieving the things she wanted. That is—marriage and kids. That desire led her to seek things her own way and not wait on God and it resulted in many shameful and painful experiences that she hid from everyone. She struggled to forgive herself and to also embrace God’s mercy, thinking she wasn’t deserving because of her weakness to the flesh. She felt cheap and not good enough.
Years later God revealed his plan for her life and it was to write books; books that would bring healing and deliverance to people’s lives. Each book she wrote she realized had a theme and that they were drawing from her own past experiences- the same past she wanted to stay hidden and buried. But as she wrote each book she saw herself healing from whatever trauma mentioned in that book. It was then that she realized, as shameful and painful as her past was, that God had a plan for it. They were the blueprint for her stories, experiences readers can relate to and the process through which God carried her to find healing and deliverance was how her readers would as well.
Marshalee Patterson is a Christian Fiction Author of life-changing books that have spiritual warfare and romance. Her goal is to see her readers gain the advantage of how to be victorious against Satan’s tactics and exposes some of the devices he uses.
She is a lover of nature and its tranquillity. She finds nature refreshing and peaceful. She loves different cultures, especially Spanish, which she feels make us learn to appreciate ours a little more in areas where we have been ungrateful or unappreciative. She loves salsa music very much and dances it well too. She is a proud Jamaican.
Connect with Marshalee
Facebook Page: https://bit.ly/3QGOpDK
Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/3wjJhfM
Add to Bookbub: https://bit.ly/3dlrVtw
August 22 – Beauty in the Binding https://moments-of-beauty.blogspot.com
August 23 – Emily Kopf https://emily-kopf.com
August 25 – Reading is my super power http://readingismysuperpower.org
August 27 – Lock, Hooks and Books https://www.amybooksy.blogspot.com
August 28 – Marshalee Patterson https://marshaleepatterson1.wixsite.com/christianbooks/blog/categories/book-updates
August 30 – Felix Felicitated https://felixfelicitatedblog.wordpress.com
August 31 – Wall to wall Books https://wall-to-wall-books.blogspot.com/
September 1- Britt Reads Fiction https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.com
September 2 – Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama
September 3 – Cats in the Cradle Blog https://catsinthecradle.blog
September 4 – Batya’s Bits https://batyasbits.home.blog)
Book Review: Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen
“Get Out of Your Head” by Jennie Allen is a Christian non-fiction book about stopping spiraling thoughts by committing them to God and renewing your mind.
This is a practical book, and the title explains it perfectly. As a person who struggles to control my thoughts and anxieties, I found it helpful. Most of what the author said was a repeat of what various Christian counselors have told me. The core of it is this: our actions come from our thoughts which come from our core beliefs which we believe because of past experiences, in this case bad experiences. In order to control our thoughts and actions, then, we must deal with our negative experiences and change our beliefs to reflect what God says in Scripture. Changing our beliefs can only be done by prayer and trust in God, encouragement from other Christians, and renewing our minds by repeatedly calling to mind the the truths in Scripture.
I appreciated the much-needed reminder of these truths and of the need to renew my mind. The Jennie Allen talked about these truths in an approachable way. The book was filed with examples from her own life and the lives of her friends, Biblical truths, and comments from counselors. I especially appreciated the author’s emphasis on depending on God’s strength to stop the spiral of toxic thoughts and the role of Satan in inspiring us to begin spiraling. These spiritual aspects are things we often overlook as a Christian community, and I am grateful the author took the time to emphasize them. We cannot do this on our own; we need God’s help.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who struggles with spiraling thoughts and anxiety. It isn’t an instant fix, but it will point you to Christ and His strength and healing, which is the only true solution.
Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen
An abbey-turned-hotel holds many secrets, but not nearly as many as the guests.
Perhaps inspired by Agatha Christy and Jane Austen, Julie Klassen’s newest novel is a delight to readers. Set in England in the early 1800s, it features a reclusive author, a potentially haunted hotel, and two sweet lovebirds and other guests with myriad secrets. Although it is a murder mystery and romance, it is clean and Christian.
I loved this story, and I have loved nearly every book Julie Klassen has published. The characters are kind, deep, and imperfect, showing true growth throughout the tale. I enjoyed their sweet romance.
The solution to the mystery surprised me, which is not easily done, and makes me love it more. There was foreshadowing, plot twists, and false leads, all contributing to a satisfying end.
As usual, I learned something about the time period, and that was the presence of a doctor who used humane practices to treat mental health patients. General knowledge of asylums in the time period contradicts that fact, so I am grateful to know that was not true of everyone.
I recommend Shadows of Swanford Abbey to fans of clean, Christian, historical fiction.
Devotional: Mountain Climbing
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4
Additional References: Romans 5:3-5, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 37:23-24, Psalm 139:1-5
As I was walking through life, I looked up and saw a mountain looming before me. Jagged cliffs were as far as I could see, and the peak was disguised by clouds. How was I going to climb it? I gulped in fear but plunged ahead because there was no way around it.
God was beside me. I asked for help, and He offered me climbing gear, a path, and protection if I should fall. I didn’t look at His offering. I had asked Him to help, but I really wanted to do it myself.
I chose what looked like the easiest path, but not far into it, I found that it was much more difficult than I had hoped. I was scaling a vertical cliff with nothing to hold me up but my fingers and toes grasping the edges of the rocks.
“Lord, help!” I cried, when I was slipping to my death. I wasn’t strong enough.
My fall stopped. I found that He had slipped a harness around me when I wasn’t looking, and it caught me in midair.
“I would never let you fall,” He said. “But I need you to trust Me.”
“But I want to be in control!” I cried. “How do I know You know the way? What if You take me somewhere terrible and hard? What if You let me fall? How can I trust You?”
“Do you know the way, daughter?”
“I do. Have I ever let You fall?”
“No, Lord, but You’ve taken me to some really scary places!”
“Are you sure it was Me who took you to those places, or you?”
“Hmm. Both, I think.”
“I was there for you either way.”
“Yes, You were. I remember now. We climbed other mountains before. It’s just that, this one seems steeper than any we’ve climbed yet, and I wasn’t sure You knew the way.”
“Daughter, I love you. I would never lead you wrong. And you know Me—I know everything, and I know the path up this mountain. I am all-powerful and will protect you from falling. Whenever you are in control, you lead yourself into disaster. But I know all the hidden dangers and would only lead you into one if it’s the best way for you to grow. I need you to trust Me.”
My shoulders slumped in defeat. I knew He was right, but I didn’t want to surrender my control. He had led me correctly, protected me, and loved me for years. But somehow, I still didn’t feel as though I could trust anyone but myself with my life, even Him.
I thought ahead: if I kept leading the path up this mountain, I would lead myself into disaster again. But if I let Him lead… in my mind’s eye, I saw Him pointing out each safe step to take, gently nudging me another way, smilingly encouraging me and laughing with me, and catching me when I slipped. He would take me up hard paths sometimes, but He would be with me all the way. And we would make it to the top of the mountain together, and I would be a stronger climber—and better at trusting—because of Him.
“Okay, Lord. I’ll trust You. Thank You for Your help and love. I love You too.”
He laughed in joy and hugged me. Then we turned and faced the mountain together.
My name is Emily Kopf, as you’ve probably guessed.
A few things to know about me – I love Jesus, learning, stories, most art forms, people, travel, culture, and being outside. On this website you can expect to see blog posts about all of those things, with an emphasis in Jesus and books, including the one I hope to publish.
If you want to learn more about me and this blog, head over to the About page.