Book Review: No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky (McAlister Family #2)

About the Book-

A family long divided, a mysterious trunk, and a desperate journey across the ocean—all in the name of love. The epic saga of the McAlisters continues in this riveting sequel to No Ocean Too Wide.

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?

After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

This book was the sequel to No Ocean Too Wide, set 10 years after the first one. In that book, four siblings and their mother were separated; three of them were sent to Canada, having been mistaken as orphans. In that book, 2 of the children were reunited with their family, and in this one, the last child is finally reunited. I did not expect the large time gap between the two books, especially with the cliffhanger book 1 ended on, but I do think it was really well done.

The space between the stories allowed for there to have been a lot of changes in the book, and was realistic in that stories do not often intersect as easily in real life as in stories. There is a slight romance in this book: it is the love story between one of the children, Garth, and a girl he met while working in Canada, Emma. In addition, the book covers the story of Grace, the youngest child, being reunited with her family, as aforementioned. These three storylines intertwine over the course of this book, as well as all the adventures and mishaps that happen along the way.

The storytelling in this book wasn’t my favorite: it felt like the author really “told not showed,” which is generally bad writing form. It felt really passive, and I never really felt connected to any of the characters because all of their actions were described, and their thoughts were never really described. In addition, some of the writing was really stilted and it did not feel like there was enough proofreading done to make the story flow better.

I also felt like the backstory could have been established better: there were some aspects of Grace’s personality that did not really make sense, and some of her actions did not really align with what her character portrayed. (Spoiler: highlight to read-

she runs away from home because her parents didn’t believe Garth was her brother, but then the next time she talked to them they understood??? so WHY didn’t she just,,,talk to her parents earlier?)

Without knowing the motivation behind the characters, understanding them and the reasoning behind their actions was a little difficult and threw me off a lot. The characters also . . . never really worried about money? Laura’s husband (whose story was told in the first book) was really rich, and seemed to just pay for everything but . . . it kind of feels like traveling between England and Canada shouldn’t have been easy as it appeared in the book. That also affected how I felt about the realism of the book.

There was a lot of spiritual content in this book, which was really nice! The story is kicked off by Grace finding her Bible and rediscovering her faith. The characters all had strong faith and prayed and talked about their faith a lot. There was a lot of adult content as well though: there was one mention of a man trying to force himself on Emma while he was drunk, as well as other implications of men wanting to take advantage of women.

My last critique of this book is that it tied things together too well. I called each of the plot points before they happened, even the one that was supposed to be the plot twist: and the story wasn’t really engaging to read because the entire plot is predictable. The story seems to wrap up neatly with a bow, and the chances of each of those things individually happening was quite low, much less them all together. Because of that, it was difficult to believe the realism of this book.

Overall, I did enjoy this story. It was very inspirational, and highlighted some of the atrocities of history and discrimination. I recommend this book if you are looking for a lighthearted read with a historical background; in addition, I definitely recommend reading the two books in the duology in order (though maybe with a bit of time in between because of the time gap between the books).

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Nature of A Lady by Roseanna M. White (The Secrets of the Isles #1)

About This Book-

1906
Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne–gentleman and clergyman–is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he’s happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth’s summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it’s the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can’t quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

I have been reading and enjoying Roseanna M. White’s books for several years now, and I was really excited to see her releasing a new historical fiction series! This series is set in the Edwardian era, and this book in particular follows the story of scientifically-inclined Elizabeth Sinclair, which I thought was so fun! I love books about women in STEM, and I was so excited to read this.

I really enjoyed this story! I didn’t really know much about it going in, but the cast of characters and the setting of the book was so unique and made it really fun to follow. Elizabeth (Libby) is on holiday with her maid Mabena Moon to the Isles of Scilly, which I had never heard of before. It was a bit ✨colonizer energy✨, especially in the section where she interacts with some rich girl’s family that she meets, but that aside, it was really fun reading about her experience there. The tightknit community on the islands made all the characters and the setting really dynamic, and reading all the interactions between Libby and the people who live there was just so much fun.

The basis of this book is a mistaken identity of people named Elizabeth, which I found so novel and interesting! There was a mystery element to it as well, which I enjoyed so much. Libby moves into a cottage rented out by another Elizabeth, who has gone missing without anyone’s knowledge, and people start dropping off packages for “Elizabeth,” but not for her. As the story progresses, she works with Mabena Moon, who is from the area, and the rest of the people from the Isles, to figure out what is going on with the missing Elizabeth.

I felt the storytelling in this book was a bit slow: there were some sections where several days were skipped in 2 sentences, and others where 15 minutes took place over several pages. The pacing felt a little disjointed and took some calibrating to read. Some sections of it felt quite slow, whereas others felt too fast, and overall I feel like this book was a little too long: it is a bit under 400 pages, and the middle third of the book especially felt slow.

The main love interest was SO GOOD: I really loved the story told from Oliver’s perspective, and the role he played in the story: it really made the book for me and I loved his interactions with not just Libby, but also everyone else on the the Isles. He is the pastor for the region, and his personality and gentleness really made him such a good character. The romance between him and Libby was also sweet and I loved the way he introduced Libby to Christ. He was one of my favorite parts of this book. Libby herself was not my favorite: she was honestly pretty boring and did not have much of a character except “liking science.” However, I did like her development throughout the story and her romance with Oliver was top tier.

I also liked Mabena Moon’s story, and her journey of growth. It is pretty unusual for books like this to show a character growth arc for someone who is not the protagonist, but this one did and I loved it. While obviously she played a more minor role in this book, I enjoyed the story told from her perspective and her growth journey.

There were so many fun parts to this book that I loved–Mabena Moon’s parents, Mamm-wynn and Tas-gwyn, the little kitten named Darling, the pirate treasure, the boat races, the gardens, Oliver’s brother Morgan who had mitochondria disease–there was so much to love! The story itself needed a bit of suspension of disbelief for me, but I enjoyed it a lot. The writing style was captivating: while I think the writing itself was a bit slow, it was really engaging and kept me reading.

Overall, I really liked this story! While the main character herself wasn’t my personal favorite, all the other aspects of this book made it really fun to read! The character cast, the setting, and the adventure/mystery aspect of this book made it really enjoyable and I am excited for book 2!

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Dreams of Savannah by Roseanna M. White

About the Book-

Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful dream around anything and is well used to winning the hearts of everyone in Savannah with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.

But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the first horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and cynical, and all too sure that he is not the hero Cordelia seems determined to make him. Matters of black and white don’t seem so simple anymore to Phin, and despite her best efforts, Delia’s smiles can’t erase all the complications in his life. And when Fort Pulaski falls and the future wavers, they both must decide where the dreams of a new America will take them, and if they will go together.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

tw // rape and sexual violence

This was an interesting book! I have read many of Roseanna’s books before (and have even met her in person once!) and loved them, so I was excited to read her new release. It was very different from her previous books, and while this one was also good, it wasn’t my favorite.

First of all, this book was set in the Civil War era, in the Confederate states. The main characters, Cordelia and Phineas, are members of two families who own slaves/plantations, who have liked each other since before the book started, and get into an “understanding” fairly early on into the book. Since Phineas, or Phin as he likes to be known, is a Confederate soldier, most of this book details the time that they are apart, and the individual struggles and growth that they go through.

With that premise, it makes sense that this book is very white focused: both Cordelia and Phineas have slaves (although they call them servants), and despite being more open to the fact that black people aren’t merely animals, they still treat their servants as below them for the vast majority of the book, which is my main concern with this book. Despite the main characters being more sympathetic to the black people working for them, they still treat them in a “less than” fashion. With that, I did like the parts of the book narrated by the black people in the story, as well as their portrayals in general: as the story develops, the humanity of the black people comes to light. Although I understood why this story was told the way it was, I’m kind of wondering what a black reader would feel like reading this book.

Moreover, this book felt quite “preachy” for a lot of it. There were a lot of “spontaneous” sermon-conversations, a la characters randomly breaking into song during a musical. There were some really /interesting/ conversations meant as “the message” that was intended to be conveyed, such as one at the beginning where Phineas asked a tall black man, essentially, “if you weren’t made to work in the fields, why do you look like that?” Again, as the story progresses, both the main characters (as well as some of the white side characters) begin to learn the value and importance of black people, which somehow wasn’t really made clear in the beginning? As someone who is not black, I can’t say whether or not that is a fair portrayal, and I understand why the story was told how it was, but at the very least, it bears mentioning.

Not only that, there was a LOT of just . . . violence. Nothing actually portrayed, but there was a lot of suggestions towards sexual violence, especially towards slaves. There was one particularly sleazy character, who was very interested in (marrying) Cordelia. While Cordelia understood that he did not have good intentions, she didn’t really try to do anything about it, other than pawning her sister off on him (since she already had a love interest)??? SO that was something that bothered me, although it was only mentioned once. Someone important to the story had also taken advantage of a black slave woman, and the resulting child was also not treated well by the man. There was also several scenes where aforementioned sleazy character pulled a girl into a secluded room and attempted to kiss her (and it is suggested that he would go farther than kissing, although it never happened). There was just a LOT of implied sexual violence that was not only unnecessary, but also A Lot to read.

As for the characters, I was honestly not a fan of the main (white) characters. The protagonist, Cordelia, was simply unlikeable, not in any particular way, but I never really connected with her. She had a very vivid imagination, and wrote a ton of stories, but that was pretty much her only character trait. Her parents were also selfish and generally terrible people (both to her, as well as to their slaves), and she really did not question it until the very end of the book. Phineas was a slightly more likeable character: his growth development was incredible, and more noticeable starting midway through the book. He did start out the book being very much a “woo confederacy” type, being excited to go into the Confederate army and kill the “Yankees that are ruining everything.” His view on slavery was very much ‘it’s bad but there’s nothing I can do about it’ and he used the excuse that Georgia didn’t allow people to free their slaves as the reason why he kept them so that was . . . Not Great. He was more likable than Cordelia, and I connected more with him in general, but he’s nowhere near my favorite fictional male characters.

The black side characters–Selina, Luther, River, and all the servants–really made the story much more enjoyable. Their characters were somehow more fleshed out than Cordelia and Phineas, and their motivations, personalities, and beliefs, were significantly more enumerated, and thus, relatable. I found myself more invested in them than the main characters, and their story was just . . . better (than overcoming racism, which was what Cordelia and Phineas were going through).

The spiritual content was very well done: there was a lot of mentions of God, and references to prayer, and just an overall spiritual focus throughout the book. Scripture was quoted several times, and in that regards, I do like it.

Overall? This was a very deep and heavy story. It meant to cover both sides of the Civil War, and to tell the story of humanity on both sides. I think it did achieve that purpose, however, I think the way it did so was lacking. There was a lot of violence and unsavory characters and situations, and while it is mostly resolved in the end, it does not mitigate the generations of suffering of black people at the hands of white people, and this portrayal is more harm than good in my opinion. Quite honestly, as I was starting this book, I expected that I would not like it as much as the author’s other works (which are among my favorite books), and I was right.

My Rating-

3/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Blog Tour: To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency #1) || Celebrate Lit Blog Tour

About the Book

To-Steal-a-Heart-662x1024

Book: To Steal A Heart
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Comedic Historical Romance
Release Date: November, 2020

After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

Amazon || GoodReads || Barnes and Noble || Book Depository || Christian Book

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

This was a really fun book! I’ve read a ton of Jen Turano’s work previously and I have enjoyed them all a lot. Turano’s characters are always so witty and fun, and it is just always a good time all around. I was really excited to see that there was another series from her coming and to meet the cast of new characters. As usual, it was humorous and bantery and all the characters were a lot of fun: I particularly enjoyed Gabriella’s friendship with the other girls who lived at the boardinghouse: they were all so unique! Like usual, it took me a little bit to get into the story, but once I started figuring out who was who, it all made sense.

This book was very similar to Roseanna M. White’s Shadows Over England series, in that the characters were from a street thief background. As per typical Jen Turano style, the book was set in New York society in the late 1800s, with The Four Hundred featured, but with a twist of wacky events that just seem to happen that require a tiny bit of suspension of disbelief, such as things that could have happened, but just seemed to work out *just so*, or little character traits that probably couldn’t happen in real life but just did in the book (like a dog that only listens if one speaks in pirate).

I wasn’t a huge fan of either of the main characters, and there didn’t seem to be a ton of chemistry between them, but I enjoyed them plenty. The fact that they were childhood friends called back to the “Shadows Over England” series (is it a call back if it’s a reference to another series by another author?), and I do like that trope. I did enjoy one of the side characters, Daphne, though! (and little birdies tell me that the next book is about her which I’m super excited about!). The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency was SO MUCH FUN (think: women in the late 1800s forming a tiny little detective group) and I’m super excited to read more in the series because of it.

It felt like the storyline moved a little bit slowly in the beginning, but it definitely picked up as the book moved along. The wrapping up of the storyline was really interesting: I think it really added to the “suspension of disbelief” aspect of it, since it didn’t really feel like things should/could have happened the way they are.

Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and I’m really excited to see where the rest of this series goes!

My Rating-

7/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author

Turano_Jen1

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.

Giveaway-

To Steal a Heart Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Enter Here.

For more information about this blog tour, and an exclusive interview from the author about To Steal a Heart, as well as more stops from the blog tour, click here

Book Spotlight: Tales of the East by Faith Blum || plus exclusive Author Interview!

Hey everyone! Today I’m here with a super exciting blog post: I’m part of the release team for Faith Blum’s retelling collection, Tales of the East! I’ve reviewed a couple books of hers in the past on the blog, and this collection of novellas sounds super interesting! I’m excited to share the details of it with you all! Not only that, but Faith is doing an exclusive interview here, which I’m super excited about!

About the Book:

Five fairy tale retellings…

Go back in time to Old Testament times for imaginative retellings of Hansel and Gretl, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, The 12 Dancing Princesses, and Cinderella. Love Lifted Me is also a retelling of the Song of Solomon.

Three kings…

Trust and Obey is set during the end of King Saul’s life, Lo, How a Rose, Rock of Ages, and The Haven of Rest are set during King David’s reign, and Love Lifted Me is set as Solomon starts to take over for King David.

One volume

All five books are now in one volume for a limited time! Don’t miss out!

This is a limited time volume that will go out of stock at midnight, December 31, 202. Purchase now on Amazon*

Link is affiliate

My Reviews-

While I haven’t read all of the books in the series, I was able to read and review two of the books in the series, Trust and Obey, which is book 1, and Rock of Ages, which is book 3. I enjoyed both of them and look forward to reading the rest from the collection!

Exclusive Author Interview-

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?

My favorite part of the writing process is writing the first draft. I love working out what is going to happen in the story.

What are ways that you have learned to adapt to writing with a baby?

Write whenever there is a free moment. Usually this means after David goes to bed.

What is your ideal writing situation?

Right now after 7pm has been the best time of day to write. I like to make sure I have my water available and have some classical music or soundtracks going.

Do you prefer reading or writing and why?

That’s a tough one. Reading is obviously easier because the book is already written, but writing means creating new stories. I think it’s a tie.

I noticed that a lot of your books share titles with classic hymns. What was your inspiration for that?

When I was coming up with the title for my first book, I noticed that the hymn A Mighty Fortress was predominant in the novel, so I decided to go with that for the title. After which, I decided to make that as part of my brand

About the Author-Author Headshot

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl. She has independently published over 25 books in over five years. Most of her books are Christian Historical Fiction with an emphasis on Westerns. During an eBook sale, she was #2 overall in Kindle eBooks on Amazon. Faith resides in Central Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their cat, Smokey. When not writing, you can find her cooking, doing dishes, sewing, reading, or spending time with her husband and son. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her on her website: https://faithblum.com.


What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer reading or writing? Leave a comment and let me know; I’d love to hear from you!

Book Review: A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White (Codebreakers #3)

About this Book-

Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon’s loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple’s future dreams–it becomes a matter of ending the war.

My Review

Similar Reviews:

This book was so good! I feel like I’ve said this about every book I’ve read in 2020, but I’ve felt like I’ve been in a reading slump for a while and this book was such a good one to read to get me out of it!

I’ve been reading this series for a while, as well as the Shadows Over England series and the Lost Heiress series, which tie into The Codebreakers series, so really it feels like a whole series (ugH I love books that do that thank you Roseanna M. White), so finishing this book felt really bittersweet. I loved seeing characters from other books making an appearance in this one.

As for this book, I really loved both the main characters! Zivon was a ~dark and mysterious~ type, but half of the chapters were written from his perspective, so that his thoughts were revealed and it helped him feel more personable. I actually feel more connection with him than Lilly, the main female lead and I really liked his introspection and his faith.

Lilly was also really fun to read! I loved reading about her work (and of course, like I have mentioned MANY times, I LOVE reading about women who have had “real” jobs throughout history and this was no exception). In addition, I loved reading about her relationship with her sister, as well as her family overall! Her romance with Zivon was also so sweet, and I loved reading it.

The alternate perspective that was given in this book was also super interesting and added a bit of a suspense element to the book (I can’t say exactly what because it’s not mentioned in the blurb and would be a spoiler), but I did really enjoy the secondary storyline as well!

The historical setting in this book was excellent: I remember learning about the Germans and Russians in World War I during high school, but it didn’t really sink in until I read this book. There was also a lot of historical pieces scattered throughout this book, such as the flu pandemic (which . . . was Certainly Something to read in 2020, especially when wearing masks were mentioned!), the end of WWI, as well as Lilly and Zivon’s work in the British Admiralty office. The line between historical brain dump and including enough facts to make a story feel authentic is thin but Roseanna does it so well, in this book, as in all her other books.

The faith topics in the book were also really good! Zivon was a Russian Orthodox, and Lilly was a ~standard Protestant~ and both of them contributed to the faith discussion in the book, which were really good. There was also a good discussion about using one’s skills and talents to benefit the overall good of the world, which I found really insightful.

Overall, I really really enjoyed this book! It tied up the series very well with the end of the war, and while I will be sorry to see this story wrap up, I’m glad I’ve read it! It’s probably one of my favorite Christian fiction series, and in a way, it changed my life and my reading habits.

My Rating

9/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jamie Jo Wright

About the Book-

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

My Review-

This was such an unexpectedly good book! When you think of a Christian fiction book, a book about a haunted circus is not what comes to mind. This book was super creepy and suspenseful, and in a good way: it would be a great falltime/Halloweentime read!

First off, the plot is split between 1928 and present time, which took me a while to get into. As a matter of fact, this whole book took a while for me to get into. I don’t think I have read any other books by Jamie Jo Wright, so I’m not sure if this is a feature of her writing, but reading reviews, it seems like it. The plot didn’t start picking up until page 250 or so, and before that, it was very slow reading.

I enjoyed the writing style, even if it was quite slow. The scenes are very vividly described, sometimes to the detriment of the actual plot, which I wasn’t super into. There were a lot of small actions that were described closely, and overall the writing style was pretty dense. With that, though, it was very easy to picture the scene and what is going on all the time.

As for the characters, I really liked the cast! There were a lot of characters, which I’m not very good with, and I was pretty confused by who was who pretty much all the way until the end of the book. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about the antagonist until they were revealed, which made it confusing, to say the least. I really liked both Pippa and Chandler. I related more to Pippa and her struggles, but I’m not sure if that was because of how they were written: there was more insight into what Pippa was thinking, whereas for Chandler, it was more reactionary (if that makes sense: “she looked for x, so she did y” vs “she looked around frantically. she needed to see x”). I think overall I related to Pippa’s struggles more and we are in a more similar stage of life than I am with Chandler.

Like I mentioned earlier, this book was not what I expected! The story very much based on ghosts and Bonaventure Circus, which is rumored to be haunted. It was a lot spookier than I expected it to be, which was nice. It was always just an unexplained happenings scary, not actual scary scary, and it was fun to read. I think the story did a pretty good job of explaining what happened, without explicitly saying whether or not ghosts are real.

Overall, I really liked the story! I enjoyed the plot a lot (finding a serial killer, especially a historical one, is so interesting to me), and while the story took a long time to get into, it was very good once it started moving!

My Rating-

7/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Blog Tour: Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth || Book Review

About the Book-

Cover

In a world that doesn’t understand her, how can she grow?

Ivy Knight lives her life in a blur of confusion as the world passes her by in a tumultuous melody. She isn’t the perfect daughter or student, but as long as she can be with her family, she doesn’t mind watching rather than living.

Mrs. Chattoway treasures both of her granddaughters now that they’re reunited. When Ivy’s parents enroll her in a Scottish school for unique children, she’s happy to chaperone.

In a new place with a new guardian, Ivy discovers a special talent that helps her see the blurred world in a new way. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and Ivy becomes determined to find it—and help others do the same.

GoodReads || Amazon || Website

My Review-

Previous books in this series:

This was such a sweet book! I didn’t know how much I would like reading a book from the perspective of Ivy, since I enjoyed Alice’s so much; however, it was done super well! It never felt slow or stilted, and I actually really fell in love with Ivy’s narration style!

Overall, I think I liked this story line better than Alice’s (from book 1): the storyline and narrative was a lot more internal (i.e., happening inside Ivy’s head, rather than spoken by Alice). The overall growth and development was also really satisfying to read, and I just really liked it overall! Ivy is just so precious and 🥺 I just love her story.

I also really liked the perspective of Mrs. Chattoway: Ivy’s grandmother in this book! We didn’t really see much of her in the previous book at all, and it was so nice to get to know her! Hopefully she makes an appearance in future books, because I would love to see her life continue on.

Just like the last one, this book covered some pretty serious topics with a lot of tact and compassion: this one included talks of suicide, domestic abuse, and mental health, which is so so rarely discussed about in Christian fiction! I enjoyed that so much and I think it is so needed in this space!

I also loved the Christian message presented in the book: it was fairly deeply presented, which I’m not always a fan of (sometimes the Gospel is presented, but it feels unnatural and stilted and written for the sake of having the gospel in), but this one was well done and I loved it!

Finally, I lOVVVVVVVVVVVVED Violet’s character and Violet and Ivy’s relationship! Their friendship was just so sweet, and Ivy is just so pure and I just love the two of them together! I can’t wait to see Violet come back in book 4.

Overall, this was a really sweet book! Again, it’s in the women’s fiction genre, which I like, because there is a bit of pretty serious content that might not be suitable for young readers, but I really enjoyed reading it! I look forwards to seeing where these characters go in the future!

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author-Kellyn Roth - Author Photo

Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who loves border collies. A ranch girl with a love for storytelling, she’s been writing since she was seven and published since she was fourteen.

Kell lives in the country outside a small town in North-Eastern Oregon with her family, cat, and three puppy-dogs. When not writing, she teaches writing and talks about writing, but she also enjoys other things. She just can’t think of any right now.

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