Fiction

Book Review of “The Weaver’s Daughter” by Sarah E. Ladd

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Book Review

“The Weaver’s Daughter” is a Regency era Romance novel. Set in the early 1800s in Yorkshire, England this novel is at first glance a thematic Romeo and Juliet with two young people fighting their attraction for each other who come from families which have been bitter wool-industry rivals for decades.

Although I have nothing against romance novels, I enjoy when the main plot is not all about the boy and girl getting hitched. Thankfully, this novel also includes a well-plotted mystery, more than one suspicious suspect, and characters that are complex and not one-dimensional.

This novel has strong tension that keeps you turning pages. I read it on a camping weekend in only a couple of days!

The only negative thing I felt toward the story is the need for variety when describing intuitive fear felt by the characters. Their neck hair was standing on end a little too frequently … but that is being SUPER knit-picky, and I know it. That was the only thing I would change, and obviously it didn’t suck me out of the story for very long or I wouldn’t have finished it so quickly.

Overall I loved this story, and felt it was well placed within a rocky time in history for mill-workers, weavers, and their owners.  I think both Christian and non-Christian readers will be happy when they get to the truth of the mysteries within this story. As it does contain romance, I do think it will attract more female than male readers.

I’m rating this one 4.5 out of 5 snowy lambs.


Cover Review

I confess that the first thing that caught my eye for choosing this particular book was the inspirational fiction sticker my library had stuck to the spine. I knew what kind of book I wanted to read that weekend, and that was the fastest way to find it. The spine itself wasn’t particularly eye-catching in design. There is only a faint snowy building blending into the white of the spine. [The author’s name was even covered up by the numerous library stickers.] However, when I did pull it off the shelf, by design, it was obviously a historical romance of some kind … and I recognized the author’s name as one I had enjoyed reading in the past.

I could tell by the dress on the cover model that it was likely set in the late 1700s or early 1800s – beyond that I didn’t know much except that it looked like a very cold environment.  The warm muff on the model’s arm steals a little of the focus on this cover. It is only thanks to the designer’s choice to run the title very large from edge to edge (over the top of the muff) that it maintains being the focal point.

I’m rating this cover 3.5 snowy lambs out of 5.

Please note: I borrowed this book from my local library. No expectation of a review at all was expected by any party.

Reading-related

I don’t need another bookmark

True confession … I don’t often use the actual bookmarks people gift me with. I know. I’m feeling guilty right now for all the hand-colored ones given me by my two girls for Mother’s Day over the last half dozen years or more. Frankly, I was too afraid I’d lose them!

Additionally, I find myself reading books in digital format on my phone or tablet more than half the time, so though adorable, paper bookmarks aren’t always a match for my needs.  I don’t usually need a book light because I read digitally either.

If I am reading a printed book I confess that I more often than not just grab whatever is at hand to hold my place. Whether that’s a restaurant napkin, a recently paid, household bill or one of the thousands of other papers my kiddos bring home from school … any of those things gets used more frequently than a real bookmark, I’m afraid. [I never dog-ear pages, or crack spines if I can help it though!]

However, these socks are currently on my wish list. Aren’t they fun?

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How about you? If you are a fellow reading addict, what is one of your favorite reading-inspired gifts? Also feel free to share a pic of something on your wish list.

*Please note that all of my posts may contain affiliate links to purchase any products mentioned specifically in the post. If you make a purchase using one of these links it may help me offset costs of keeping this site active. Thanks so much!

 

Fiction, YA fiction

Review of “The Bone Thief” by Alyson Noel

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Book Review

“The Bone Thief” is a young adult, general market fiction novel. It is set in a fantastical world, where the only thing normal is that everything is always weird – well, everything except for the novel’s main character, Grimsley Summerfield, who is a seemingly average boy for having lived in such an unusual atmosphere all of his life.

The book deals with typical tween/teen issues of insecurity and the desire to fit in, as well as stronger topics such as bullying by both peers and those in authority. What I enjoyed was that this novel handles these topics in a way that is driven by the plot of our young hero’s journey and that of his unusual friends – both old and new.  The message of the story comes about very organically and not in a forced way. The book is not what I would categorize as a Christian novel, yet the theme of light triumphing over darkness is still definitely present.

“… there’s always a great deal of value to be found in the contrasts. If not for the dark, you wouldn’t recognize the light. If not for hate, you wouldn’t know love. If not for evil, you’d fail to recognize goodness. It’s the opposites of things that are most defining.”

I would recommend this book to readers primarily age 11-14. It features shorter chapters, strange characters, intriguing mystery, and a lot of action to keep them turning pages.

I’m rating this one 4.5  bent-spoons out of 5.


Cover Review

This cover was full of such whimsical imagination. As a life long lover of mysteries and fairy tales the misty vines, odd colored rabbits, and text made creatively out of bones had me guessing as to what kind of story this could be … from the very first glance.

Even the choice of font used to display the author’s name is no accident. It’s first impression is one of creative, rule-breaking mischief. A trait not unlike the personality of the main character.

The bone text is quite frankly a bit creepy, but paired with the fairy-tale like top half of the cover we are reassured that this novel won’t be one of complete gore. Although there is darkness in the novel, it is just enough to let the light shine through by contrast.

I’m rating this cover 5 out of 5.

Please note: I checked this book out of my local library simply because the cover caught my eye, and the marketing copy on the inside jacket confirmed that it should be everything the cover design promised.

Non-Fiction

Book & Cover Review of "The Karma of Jesus" by Mark Herringshaw

Book Cover Review

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Normally, I start with the book review first, however, this book was one of those cases where the cover seems to reach out to a different audience than that of the writing found on the inside.  First, let me say that I think this cover is VERY eye-catching.  Not only is it vividly bright green – to the point that it might glow-in-the dark – but the contrasting black varnished text and art can’t be missed.  This cover will definitely not be looked past on the shelf due to its lack of color.

By the cover alone, I assumed that the rather cartoonish/simplistic design was reflecting that the author was going to break down the concepts of Karma and Jesus’s ministry in a “Karma/Salvation for Dummies” fashion.  The back cover even features a cartoon likeness of the author – leading potential readers to believe that it will be a simple read and probably humorous.

Although I like, and was attracted to, this book’s cover … I think they have reached out to the wrong audience.

Book Review

It became obvious within a few pages that this was definitely not a humorous tome, and although I found the content of this book to be interesting, it is done in a very rambling and scholarly fashion – not at all in-line with the book’s cover design.  Normally a fast reader, I found that I had to put this very short book down multiple times in order to try and absorb the complexity of the various ideas presented.

The information is packaged within a remembered conversation with a young man who came to see one of the author’s speaking engagements.  Unfortunately, the book became a little confusing – at times the author is remembering actual things said between he and the young man, but it is interspersed with rather lengthy and in-depth research the author quite obviously did after the conversation had sparked his interest in the topic.  The author is seemingly padding a previous conversation he has already had with research and examples he wishes he had known or referred to at the time of the original conversation.  And as readers we are being armed with that information too.

A worthwhile read, that definitely makes you ponder what you believe regarding whether we truly reap what we sow – or if Christ has instead exchanged our unavoidable bad Karma for His perfectly good Karma.

Fiction

Book & Cover Review of "The Carousel Painter" by Judith Miller

Book Review

This was a delightful Christian historical novel, featuring a fast-paced mystery and a little romance. The plot definitely kept you turning the pages!  I additionally love that the characters were given very unique personalities – filled with character flaws we could all relate to. This novels main character, Carrington Brouwer, is a young woman seeking to be loved for who she is, flaws and all.

Due to the death of both her parents she becomes dependent on the offered charity of one of her father’s previous painting students and her wealthy family.  After moving from Paris to Ohio she discovers her presence is largely unwanted by the female head of the household.  She struggles to fit in, and to find worth after such a drastic change in her family life and her circumstances.

Although she does develop an earthly love interest during the plot, the overarching need to trust and be loved by her heavenly father is what helps see the main character through many trials in this great book. I also loved the factoids about the creation of the beautiful carousel animals.  The daily operations of a carousel factory were not something I knew a lot about before reading this book, but it was obvious that Judith Miller had done her homework (as usual) and the factory setting seemed to come alive with realism. A wonderful story.

Cover Review

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This cover is quite beautiful. If I had spotted it in the book store it would have captured my attention.  The red striping and a decorative scroll pattern mimics the carvings on carousel animals. They are used well throughout the cover and even help to capture attention on the spine. I like that although the carousel horse on the cover is quite beautiful, the focus is blurred so that the female behind it is the true focus of the photo.  Hair style and dress on the female in the photo seem appropriate for the historical setting of the novel, but her dress is not overtly colorful or fancy and the focus is decidedly on her expression.  She appears happy, mysterious … and a little proud of her work as she stares at the painted pony in the foreground.

I was a little unsure about the back cover carousel photo at first.  Because the title is regarding a carousel painter it seemed odd to show a carousel in such fast motion that you couldn’t really even see the animals, much less their paint job.  However, when you read the teaser text beneath it you realize that it’s a subtle statement about how what seems to be a perfect job for this novel’s main character – turns out to have a lot of confusing ups and downs. (She is the first woman to work at the factory, and both the workmen and their female relatives are upset about it.)  I’m glad that this photo of the carousel in motion was not the chosen style for the front cover, but feel it was a good choice for the back cover, in order to give readers a hint that the main character’s life won’t be calm and pretty throughout …