musings

Merry Christmas: a Message of Hope

Hey everyone! I just wanted to also leave a post on this hopefully fabulous Christmas Day for you all. No matter where you are, I hope you find peace and love at this glorious time of year.

It has been a tumultuous year for me, and at times this blog was either a place of solace where I could just share some of the turmoil inside of me or a place that started feeling like it was more of an obligation than a choice to share my life and books with you all.

But through it all, I learned a whole lot. I learned to put more stock in my faith and trust that I’m getting to where I need to be, even when I can’t seem to see it (Prov 3:5-6).

I found someone amazing who makes me want to continually be a better person. Who challenges how I see myself and my world so that I may stand more firm in it.

And I have the support and love of a family I don’t deserve. Both by blood and by heart. I may have felt lost along the way at times, but I was never alone. This little elf always had God and people by her side, and for that, I’m always grateful.

So if you’re feeling down and alone right now on Christmas Day, I hope it’s a bit of encouragement to know that maybe we all just need to dig a little bit deeper to see who has always been there for us, even at our lowest points in life.

I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and to hopefully an amazing new year to come!

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adult

Review: Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Series: Rock Harbor #6

beneath copper falls -colleen cobleUSA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble returns to her beloved Rock Harbor—but both danger and romance hide in this idyllic small town.

Dana Newell has just moved to Rock Harbor to take a job as a sheriff’s dispatcher and is settling in next door to Bree and Kade Matthews. The abusive relationship she left behind seems a distant memory in this perfect place.

Her first day on the job, Dana receives a call from her friend Allyson who screams “He’s going to kill me too” before the phone goes dead. Dana immediately dispatches a deputy, but it’s too late. Allyson’s death is ruled an accident, but Dana just doesn’t believe it. She knows Allyson—an investigative reporter—was researching a new story. Did someone want to keep her quiet?

Dana continues to look into the accident with the help of Bree and also Allyson’s cousin Boone. Romance quickly blooms between Dana and Boone but the game is much more complex than either of them imagined. When Dana’s ex-fiance locates her, she’s caught in the middle. It’s a game of cat and mouse as she and Boone fight to catch one killer while evading another.


3 Drink Me Potions


Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**Beneath Copper Falls comes out July 11, 2017!**

Ah, another mystery set in Rock Harbor. I will confess. I’m a huge fan of Colleen Coble and while that still remains true, I always found myself enjoying her historical fiction works a little more than her contemporary ones. Even still, I wanted to see how her latest story back by popular demand in the town of Rock Harbor would do.

And it didn’t necessarily disappoint (which is a win!).

Dana is an emergency hotline operator. That’s one tough job, but apparently the story trope of witnessing a tragic murder while on the line isn’t all that uncommon anymore. Nevertheless, Colleen Coble made this her own story.

As I was saying, Dana was a good protagonist. She was relatable, albeit not too memorable. She faced similar challenges as I do, trying to speak up when you’re afraid of rejection or being reprimanded by others. With the challenges she had to face due to the murder of her friend Allyson, it gets somewhat overlooked in the grand scheme of things, but she does grow a little in character. I think her character mostly shone through with the craziness that came from her ex chasing her around the country. I will get back to this later.

The romance was predictable. Boone has faced rejection from a previous relationship and didn’t want trust women, yada yada yada. But of course, Dana’s goodheartedness and inner beauty made him change his mind. Okay, it didn’t quite sound so simple, but it kinda felt that way. I wanted to believe in their blossoming love, but I felt it was all a little too cliched and it just didn’t hit me in a way that made me say “aha, my heart is hurting with them”. ‘Cause of course that’s the sign of true love in my eyes 😉

So maybe the romance wasn’t great with the typical strong male character wanting to save the girl who gets in trouble. But the mystery made up for it.

Except for the fact that I guessed who the unlikely culprit was before the halfway point. I was thinking to myself, “hmm, why do I get this crazy feeling it’s *insert name*? No, that can’t be right….”. And guess what?

I was right.

But I’m sure most of you won’t see it coming (I blame it on reading too many mysteries growing up – and the amount of crime shows I binge watch). So that aspect should still be suspenseful and exciting for most readers. I enjoyed the way the pieces fell together. I was hoping it would be a little bit more creepy – like Colleen’s Abomination – but alas, it wasn’t quite as psychologically twisted as I initially thought it would be.

Other little things made the book better. Appearances by fan favourites Kade and Bree put them in roles – particularly Bree – beyond cameos in this story, and the familiar feeling of being back in Rock Harbor was pleasant. The plot was a little all over the place following different POVs, such as the killer’s and Boone’s and Dana’s, but it wasn’t to the level of chaotic so it felt like a good mix of omniscient narrative for us readers.

To sum it up, the romance wasn’t the best, but the mystery was still Colleen’s best. I liked being back in Rock Harbor, and I’m sure many more diehard fans than I am would really enjoy seeing familiar sights and characters. I may just be a bit picky (although I do love her historical mysteries!) but I believe this book falls in line with all the other works in this series and make for a good addition to fan favourites.

Overall Recommendation:
Beneath Copper Falls was a present to diehard Rock Harbor fans and I think Coble did a decent job with this new book. Witnessing the murder of her friend over the line, Dana was a relatable character who struggled with her own past relationship abuse while trying to figure out who killed her friends before the killer got to her. The budding new romance with Boone could’ve been better – he was a little cliched in personality and backstory – but that’s okay as the mystery more than made up for it. Mostly suspenseful (no matter if I predicted it a little early), this book is bound to satisfy some Rock Harbor fans and also make some new ones.


Know of any other good mysteries similar to this storyline?

And if you read this, do YOU think the culprit was predictable or not? I feel like I’m just an anomaly, but I could be wrong.

Next up: reviews on I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski, and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh; and my June book haul ❤ Until then, lovelies.

YA

Review: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim #6

the golden braid -melanie dickersonThe one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.


 

3 Drink Me Potions


The Golden Braid brings to life an interesting re-telling of Rapunzel with a Christian twist that fits well with the characters and themes we already enjoy in the world of Hagenheim, and tacks on another good moral for the readers to mull over.

Set partially concurrently with the events of the previous book in this series, The Princess Spy, the next installment in Dickerson’s Hagenheim books met all the expectations that I’ve come to have for her and her novels. Rapunzel, with her name actually sticking to Rapunzel oddly enough, was a very shy girl sheltered from the world by an overbearing mother who could be seen right from the beginning to have more than one side than the one she showed her daughter. She was afraid of all men for fear of becoming entrapped in their lies and being left alone to take care of a babe out of wedlock.

The comes along the hero of the story, Sir Gerek, who is actually quite arrogant. I didn’t think he’d be as prideful as the synopsis depicted him, but he set on marrying a wealthy widow just to prove to himself that he can and does deserve such riches. His interactions with Rapunzel initially didn’t capture too much of my intention as the pace was slow around this point.

It wasn’t until more towards the middle of the book that everything picks up more. We see how the storyline with Margaretha from the previous novel intersects with Rapunzel’s story, and the aftermath of those events in her POV. I rather enjoyed the character development, particularly in Sir Gerek. It was humbling to see the two of them learn to put the other first, and above all, God at the top. The big “plot twist”, although it might not have been meant to be such a surprise, was very predictable. As soon as both points were mentioned in the book, you’d so easily connect the dots way before anyone else does, especially if you know the story of Rapunzel well.

Although predictable and occasionally slow, The Golden Braid is another example of combining Christian elements with a fairy tale we find very familiar. Dickerson continues to write in a manner that’s consistent with my expectations, but maybe one of these days, I hope to be surprised by her to bring up a rating.

Overall Recommendation:
The Golden Braid brings readers a re-telling of Rapunzel in the land of Hagenheim. With wonderful continuity with the previous novels of the series, Rapunzel’s story fits extremely well with what happened in an earlier novel. Rapunzel and Sir Gerek’s character development turned them from slightly irritating people to stronger people with better goals in life. Fitting with my expectations from Dickerson these days, I found myself mildly entertained by the book as it’s not meant to be unpredictable but rather a pleasantly familiar journey to walk through on a lazy afternoon (or night).