Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 for 1 {Fiction Book Reviews}

I have have spent the past couple of months playing catch up with some books I have on deck to review for various blogger review programs. I am an avid reader, but had taken a hiatus for awhile so when I started reading again, suddenly I had a few books ready to be reviewed all at once. So why not do a little triple play here?!?!  I LOVE fiction, getting lost in a story and learning life lessons along with the characters. Please enjoy my reviews of 3 very diverse stories, timelines, settings, and characters.

Julie Klassen knocks is out of the park on this one. Hidden motives, riches to rags storyline, unrequited love, and character development that will leave you cheering and hand-wringing throughout the duration of your read.

Margaret Macy's life was one born into wealth and a happy family, but when untimely death and her mother's remarriage find her in a position to be forced into a marriage to a dishonorable man, Margaret flees her house in the dead of night. With little money and months to hide before her inheritance will grant her freedom to marry as she chooses, Margaret makes a difficult decision -- to become a housemaid! To top it all, she finds herself in the Upchurch manor, the home of two brothers, with whom she has previous scandalous history.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall pulls you into a story crammed with romance, intrigue, danger, and suspense. Margaret Macy's journey will remind you of your own flaws and prejudices as well as challenge you to invest in a personal pilgrimage of growth no matter what life brings.

Book #2 - Switched! 
{Book 5 of TJ and the Time Stumblers

Even though Switched is considered youth/juvenile fiction, I really wanted to read it. I was ALWAYS an avid reader as a child and teen, so I thought not only would I enjoy a walk down memory lane but also would have a lot of experience under my belt from where I could offer perspective in my review.

Like I mentioned, Switched is Book 5 in an ongoing series of TJ and the Time Stumblers. I did not realize that when I offered to review as I hate coming into a book mid-story, however the book does an excellent job of recapping while propelling the current storyline forward as well.

Tuna and Herby have come from the future, more specifically the 23rd century, to learn more about TJ Finkelstein BEFORE she becomes famous. But right now she is just an awkward teen, trying not to stand out and struggling to fit in. However, her future pals are NOT making that very easy -- between their invisibility cloak, making it appear like TJ is talking to herself and scrape after scrape they keep falling into, TJ gets more than she bargains for with these time stumblers.

Switched was a quick, fun read. Having been a children's and youth pastor for a number of years, I found the interactions between friends and peer sets to be accurate in many ways. The ongoing story line is sure to entertain young people as they delve into these characters. The continuous sarcastic narration between scenes and dialogue turned me off somewhat. However overall, the part I really enjoyed is the fact that since Tuna and Herby have come from the future to meet TJ because she made an impact in the world, this book inspires kids and teens to dream big and reach for the stars, even when braces and awkward hair make the world seem more like a monster trying to eat you than an oyster to be possessed.

Having family ancestry in the English/Scottish/Irish region of the world, yet never having had the opportunity {as of yet} to travel there, I relished in the idea of taking a journey with Marie Buchan to rediscover a dream as well as her own Scottish heritage. After the death of her husband, seven years before, forty-year-old Marie discovers that while she is not living in daily sorrow any longer, she is stuck in a rut, a rut that is causing depression and discouragement to weigh heavy on her soul. So she wraps up her responsibilities and spontaneously journeys to Scotland for a summer with her harp.

Angel Harp reads not only as a journey of one woman to rediscover life after the death of a spouse, but also as an expedition into the heart of the Heavenly Father and the way He loves us in our greatest hurts and deepest rejections, even of Him.

I began reading Angel Harp a number of months ago, but the story line progressed so slowly that I grew weary of it and eventually moved on to other interests. However, the richness of the story itself said with me. I would find myself at random moments replaying scenes the author had described or mulling over dialogue where the characters had revealed pieces of themselves.  So finally, since this narrative would not seem to leave me alone, I delved back in.

The pace of the book WAS quite long and possibly even arduous at times, however, a love of Scotland and these now "real-to-me" characters propelled me forward in spite of myself, even causing me to sign up to review the sequel Heather Song.

There are questions in the last few chapters of the book that beg resolution, and I have faith that as Marie's life expedition continues into Heather Song, the answers will reveal themselves.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received The Maid of Fairbourne Hall from Bethany House Publishers, Switched from Tyndale House Publishers, and Angel Harp from Faith Words Hatchette Book Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Kendra Bartholomew said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for your honest review. I often read teen/tween novels in hopes of finding ones for my class to read. Especially ones that are devoid of killing, magic, and sex. 

The first one sounds intriguing and I have been looking for a good book. 

Ms. Kathleen said... Best Blogger Tips

The Maid looks intriguing. I will have to check it out. I absolutely love Michael Phillips so that's a no brainer read for me :) - Switched looks like a must by for my nieces and nephews - I'll add that one to my Christmas list. Great reviews and have a fabulous day! Oh, if you haven't yet, I highly recommend The Chiveis Trilogy by Bryan Liftin.... Superb! And he's on fb. Have a fabulous day! 

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

The Maid really was! Do you like and/or read fiction a lot?

And thanks for the recommendation...haven't read that trilogy yet!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes...I think you would enjoy both of the first two...especially the kids one in reference to teaching at school. Good clean quality for sure!

Ms. Kathleen said... Best Blogger Tips

Do I read fiction a lot. YES I really do and I read a lot of non-fiction. I'm usually reading 2-3 books at a time unless I find one I can't put down. I also am reading through the Bible, at least one chapter a day or rather night before I go to sleep. So, if you want any recommendations just let me know. I have at 28 years of Christian fiction and non-fiction behind me.

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