Book Review: The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The book that… I have been anticipating for a long time.

This book was mostly a cover buy because it is such a gorgeous book. I had never heard of this book but it sounded interesting so I picked it up. However, it has sat on my shelf for over 4 years. I have thought about picking it up so many times but just never did. My sister decided that I needed to read it already so she put in on the list of 12 books that I am reading this year. I decided to pick it for my June read which I actually read in July because I was extremely busy in June and didn’t get to it.

I ended up giving this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Synopsis: Tom Cole, the grandson of a legendary local hero, has inherited an uncanny knack for reading the Niagara River’s whims and performing daring feats of rescue at the mighty falls. And like the tumultuous meeting of the cataract’s waters with the rocks below, a chance encounter between Tom and 17-year-old Bess Heath has an explosive effect. When they first meet on a trolley platform, Bess immediately recognizes the chemistry between them, and the feeling is mutual.

But the hopes of young love are constrained by the 1915 conventions of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Tom’s working-class pedigree doesn’t suit Bess’s family, despite their recent fall from grace. Sacked from his position at a hydroelectric power company, Bess’s father has taken to drink, forcing her mother to take in sewing for the society women who were once her peers. Bess pitches in as she pines for Tom, but at her young age, she’s unable to fully realize how drastically her world is about to change.

I loved the setting of this book! I had never before read a book set near Niagara Falls and after reading this book, I want to go and visit. The setting was so vivid, it was almost a character on its own and was the perfect backdrop for this story. There was also a hint of magic realism in the writing and the setting which I adored!

The characters in this book, especially the main character were well-developed and I found myself attached to Bess and her story. There was a lot of family drama in this book which made me a little hesitant as sometimes that can come across a bit ridiculous and often turns me off to a book. However, the drama in this book was executed very well and never went to far, but felt realistic and made me want to find out what was going to happen next.

This book has very compelling characters and an addicting plot. I found that I was often thinking about what was going to happen next even when I was not reading it. There were parts of it that were a bit predictable but a few reveals really caught me off guard. The book was a bit slow for the first half but the last half was very compelling and I had a hard time putting it down.

I thought that some of the writing in this book seemed liked a fact dump. I could tell the author had done a lot of research in order to prepare for the book but some of the information seemed like it was in there to show how historically accurate the author was trying to be rather than actually adding to the plot. It was also a bit heavy on the descriptions at times but for some reason, it seemed to fit with the hot summer weather I was having while reading it. I think it is a good summer read as it begins in summer and summers are great for a fictional vacation to Niagara Falls.

I would highly recommend this book to people who like historical fiction and someone who enjoys very character-driven books.

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Book Review: Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes

The book that…perplexed me.

I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley. I ended up giving it 3 stars on Goodreads. This book will be released on February 10, 2015.

The beginning of this book was a bit confusing yet extremely intriguing. About 30 pages in, I was very invested in it and although I wasn’t quite sure if I understood everything that was happening, I was enjoying the story. As I read, though, this excitement flagged quite a bit. There was a lag in the story around the middle of the book that lasted for a while because I felt like I did not know what the characters were doing and where they were going. By the end of the book, I was extremely confused. I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone so I won’t say any more but it was a little flat for me.

This book takes place in two different time periods, modern day and late 1900sI thought that the author did a great job of tailoring the writing style to the time period. When I was reading the parts of the book that took place in the past, It felt like I was reading something that was written in the past which enhanced my reading experience.

I love the references in this book to famous authors such as Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, and the Bronte sisters. I just thought that this added a really fun element to the book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. However, there was something in the way it was written or in the way plot unfolded that kept me from being completely sucked into the story. I felt like the author didn’t really flesh out the ending of the book and it left me more confused than anything.

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Bout of Books 12: Days 2-5 Update

Hello, everyone!

Sorry I have been so spotty with my updates so far for Bout of Books. I was doing some traveling and visiting with some family the past few days so I have not read much.

What I have read so far: I have finished two books so far, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy and Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography. I have read a total of 519 pages so far.

What I am currently reading: I just began The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows this evening. It is a pretty intriguing start and I hope that I will be able to read it quickly.

How is your Bout of Books 12 coming along? What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

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Series in Progress

Hello, everyone!

A while ago, I did a post called Top 10 Series I Want to Start and I thought that I could share with you the series that I am in the middle of and would like to continue on in.

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I am in the middle of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets right now and will be finishing it very soon. This is the first time I have ever read the Harry Potter series and I am having a lot of fun so far. I hope to continue to read the series throughout the rest of the summer.

2.  The Bright Empires Series by Stephen Lawhead

I read the first book in this series called The Skin Map a while ago and absolutely loved it. I am really looking forward to see what will happen in the next books.  The second one is the one pictured above called The Bone House. This is a crazy sci-fi time-travel sort of series so if that sounds like something you would like, I recommend you go check this series out.

3. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

I am also really looking forward to reading the next book in this very epic series. I recently finished the 7th book called An Echo in the Bone and am looking forward to reading the 8th one shown above. I ordered it from my library the second I finished the 7th one. There is suppose to be one more book coming out to complete the series but it is not known when the book will come out since it takes an author a long time to write such long books. I am literally obsessed with this series. It is an epic historical fiction series with hints of magic and time travel and it has captivated me from the very beginning.

4. The Aurelia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet

This is a Christian fantasy series that I began a year or two ago. I read the first two books but have yet to pick up the final two. This is a really crazy series with lots of intertwining plots and crazy monsters and other creatures. I have been meaning to finish this series for a while and I hope to read the 3rd book Raven’s Ladder sometime in the near future.

These are not all the series I am in the middle of but just a few of the ones I want to continue sometime this year.

Do you have any series that you want to get back into or to finish sometime soon? Let me know down in the comments.

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Happy Reading!

Book Review: Bridge to the Past and Borrowed Promises by Judith Ingram

The books that…..gripped me from the very beginning.

Bridge to the Past by Judith Ingram (Book 1 in The Moonseed Trilogy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Victoria longs for a different life. Then her wish on a mysterious coin transports her back in time, into the body of a ruthless young woman accused of murdering her husband… Despite the perils of her new identity, Victoria discovers a new sense of belonging and adventure in the other woman’s world, especially when a handsome man captures her attention. But can borrowed love last for a lifetime? And how long will Victoria’s wish last?

I got this book as an e-book since I had received the second book in the trilogy for review and wanted to read the story from the beginning. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it a solid 4 stars on Goodreads.

The writing, though beautiful, sometimes seemed so ornate and descriptive that I was stumbling over it. The writing is supposed to be narrating the main character’s thoughts so when there are deep philosophical statements being made about every little thing, it made the reading a bit cumbersome.

The plot while extremely interesting often does seem a little too perfect. When the two women finally switched places, they seemed to adjust to the new time period with no problems at all. A little confusion was there but then they just shrugged it off and were fine. If that happened to me, I would be freaking out and neither of them seemed even a little bit concerned. No one else seemed too worried that these women were suddenly different and didn’t follow cultural and social norms of the time period they were in when they had been doing that exact thing the day before.

Despite the many problems I had with the writing style of this book, I flew through it. I could not stop reading and every time I finished a chapter I wanted to immediately see what would happen in the next one.

Borrowed Promises by Judith Ingram (Book 2 in The Moonseed Trilogy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This book ended up getting only three stars from me for a few reasons. While I still love the story, this book had quite a few flaws.

The dialogue of this book did not always seem natural and often made the character seem unbelievable. Especially between Brett and Stephanie. I have never heard teenagers talk quite so formally.

Also, every person in this book is remarkably gorgeous. And the author doesn’t mean on the inside. They are all described as having beautiful or handsome features and being strong or graceful as well as having a magnetism that everyone around them gets caught up in. Because of this, it sometimes felt like the characters are almost the same basic person just with a different name. I would have liked to see some variety in the personality and demeanor of the characters.

I found that with this book, time isn’t very consistent. There will sometimes be a break in a chapter and suddenly we are somewhere completely different with no explanation as to how long it has been since the previous scene. At one point it skips a month entirely without any explanation to what happened in that month. I wish that the author would have explained more about what was happening when time suddenly moved on or why it did so.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and want to finish the series. I am very interested in seeing how everything is going to wrap up. I hope that some of the flaws that were in this book will be fixed by the time the final book is written. I think that the author has a great story that she is writing but all of the little flaws end up building on one another and making the story less enjoyable.

I would suggest this series  for lovers of time-travel, romance, and just a fun and fast-paced read.

 

Have you had the opportunity to read these books? If so, what did you think?

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Happy Reading!

Book Review: Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren

The book that….transported me.

This is the final book in The Grand Tour Series. I was sent a copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

     Synopsis: For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she  never knew she had and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. Yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging …

    

     Hounded by the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, Cora begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.

    

     As she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not

 

 

I thought that this book was the perfect ending to a great trilogy. This book was paced extremely well for the most part, though there were a few times where it did get a bit dull. It felt like any time I got a little bored with what was happening, some new plot twist would pop up.

I loved the travel aspect of this trilogy. I love a book that can fully transport me to another time and place. This was probably my favorite part of this story. It took me all around Europe and allowed me to completely escape into Cora’s story.

While this book has strong Christian themes, they are woven throughout the story in a way that makes sense and seems natural. So many Christian books seem to put the message before the plot but this one worked it in in subtle and meaningful ways.

I would recommend this book to people who love travel and European architecture and history or are just looking for a coming of age story.

Have any of you begun this series at all? Have you read any books that have completely transported you to the time place? Let me know down in the comments. I love having books recommended to me.

Thanks for stopping by,

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

The book that….tugged at my heartstrings.

I recieved an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for pursuing a man’s profession. As a lady doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice–until she doctors an imposing man who threatens the fulfillment of her dream.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who aspire to walk in a man’s shoes.

But the abandoned baby Hunter discovers at the Fair finds him teaming up with the good doctor to give the foundling a better future than the slums of Chicago, where the children play on flea-infested, garbage-strewn streets. AS Billy and Hunter fight for the foundling’s welfare, their hearts warm to the precious child–and to each other. Soon their concern grows to encompass the Nineteenth Ward’s burgeoning population of street children. In the interest of fair play, Billy and Hunter let nothing stand in their way as they labor to build a park for them, birthing Chicago’s first playground and a national movement that will sweep the nation.

But the Fair is coming to an end, posing impossible decisions for Billy and the man who has won her heart. Will they become a footnote in the Fair’s history books, or will what they discovered in Chicago be longer lasting than the World’s Exhibition.

 


This is the second book in Gist’s It Happened at the Fair series. This book was released earlier in the month. I have not read the first book yet but this book can easily be read on its own. As with most books, there were things that I liked and disliked about the book. I ended up giving it a 3 maybe 3.5 star rating. I am a big fan of this author but this one was not my favorite of Deeanne’s.

One thing I did not appreciate was the fact that Hunter supposedly likes everything about Billy’s personality yet all we ever hear him mention are her looks. The least the author could do is actually make us believe that Hunter has even noticed anything beyond how skinny she is or how shapely her bottom is. Along with that, the sexual tension between the two of them was brought up again and again and again. After a while it got a little old and I felt like it was used just to make the book that much longer.

I did really enjoy the setting of this book. I love reading about World Fairs and this book did not disappoint. I only wished she had talked a little bit more about the fair. I also loved the aspects that had to do with the poorer parts of town. Reading about the people’s living conditions was both eye-opening and touching. I also think that the author did a good job trying to add as many accurate details as possible into the story. There are even some photos included throughout the book showing different people and places the author talks about.

Overall, I thought this was a sweet story. It was not perfect but it did satisfy me as a fun and entertaining read. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and romance novels.

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