March 2022 Reads!
Hello. readers! Late again, but what's new. I hope you find something interesting in here.
Lady Ludmilla's Accidental Letter by Sofi Laporte: this is a humorous regency
era novel. Lady Ludmilla, a spinster by that era's standards, has been conducting a secret correspondence with a gentleman she knows only as Addy. She thought she was writing to her dear friend, but when said gentleman wrote to inform her that no one lived there by that name, they continued writing to each other. She has fallen completely in love with him. Imagine her shock when 'Addy' turns out to be a rakehell with quite a reputation! Or is it his cousin who lives with him also? This was hilarious to read, and short. I finished it in a day. Definitely recommend if you are in the mood for a light, clean read.
The Silver and Orchids Collection, Books 1-4 by Shari L. Tapscott: Lucia, a feisty adventuress, and her estranged business partner/childhood friend Sebastian head out on their latest excursion to locate and return with a Moss Forest Orchid. They've recently lost their earnings due to an investment gone wrong, hence their estrangement. When they secure passage aboard Captain Greybrow's ship, a love triangle emerges that threatens the tenuous truce the partners have managed to come to. I enjoyed this series! They were clean, quick reads with some fun magical elements added in. Recommend.
Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar: historical fiction novel growing off the Biblical facts related about Lydia of Thyatira in Acts 16. She was a seller of purple, and made her way in a foreign city as a single woman. Most importantly, she responded to God's call on her life. She also housed Paul and his fellow missionaries while they stayed in Philippi. Obviously some narrative liberties were taken, but the Biblical truths remain clearly intact. I was immersed immediately, loved Paul's preaching, and the stories of the early church. I love Afshar's books, and recommend all of them.
Princess Without A Palace: A King Thrushbeard Fairy Tale by Kristen Niedfeldt: Princess Liesel makes a selfish decision that not only humiliates her parents, but destroys any prospect of an important alliance with a neighboring country. In a temper, her father declares that she must marry the first person who asks for her hand. Said proposal comes from an unsuspecting traveling minstrel who entertains the royal family with a love song. Horrified and in disbelief, Liesel leaves with her intended but slowly begins to learn the power of hard work and to enjoy the ordinariness of life. Perhaps happily ever after comes through strange circumstances? I was not familiar with this fairy tale at all, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was heartwarming and emotional. And clean! Recommend!
Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi: returning to New York after the British take control of it, Sophia and her parents must hide their family's true patriotism from those around them. Living a lie day in and day out becomes more difficult after witnessing Nathan Hale's hanging and seeing the horrors aboard the British prison ship where her brother is held. Recruited to spy as a maid in the home of a British general, Sophia discovers the name of an American general planning in earnest to switch sides and effectively force the Patriots into surrendering. Will anyone believe a young woman? This YA novel would be great for a teen/tween not familiar with the intricacies of the Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. I found some of it repetitive, but that's simply because I've read other books about the topic.
Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson: historical fiction novel following the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion--the first class of female officers and first black women allowed into the Army. Grace and Eliza, two northern women, must learn to navigate a segregated Army and do so with better success than their white counterparts. This book follows their often contentious friendship, their own separate passions, and how life fared overseas as well. This book was well-written, interesting, and offers an example of what true systemic racism actually looked like in America. There is some language in this book. I had never heard of the 6888th, so this was a fascinating read for me. Some of the things these ladies went through were just terrible, and yet they were so strong. Recommend.
Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale: third and final in the trilogy. Finally setting out on her journey home to Mount Eskel, Miri is surprisingly recalled to the palace and voluntold to accept a position of tutor for another Princess Academy in Lesser Alva, a Louisiana-like swampland. Things are not what they seem in Lesser Alva, and the royal cousins she is meant to tutor have no desire to be taught. As Miri deals with thievery, caiman hunting, the threat of war, and loneliness, she wonders if she will ever see home again. Can she truly help these three sisters she was sent to tutor? Such a good ending to the series! Highly recommend, but you definitely need to read them in order.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: does this book even need a summary? I do not plan to give one. I read this book for the first time in early high school, but it has been so long that this seemed like the first time! I understood the language, irony, and idiosyncrasies of the characters so much better as an adult! It really added to the entire reading experience. Austen's characters came to life and they seemed so believable to me. If you've never tried one of her novels, I'd highly recommend P&P. I also rewatched the BBC version and the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. So good! I loved it!
Pack of Dawn and Destiny Series, Books 1-3 by KM Shea: Pip is a werewolf hunter who has been living for years with a very affectionate werewolf pack. She's not pack but she's not the enemy either. Pip's constantly being tested and teased by pack alpha Greyson, but she must set her animosity aside when outside threats appear: feral werewolves, attacks by other jealous packs, etc. All three books follow Pip and Greyson as they learn to trust each other, and Pip begins to understand what it means to belong. This series was funny, heartwarming, and entertaining! Loved them. I felt the need afterward to reread the other Magiford trilogies--Hall of Blood and Mercy and Court of Midnight and Deception. Just as good the second time around!
The Nabob's Daughter by Jess Heileman: Honora Crauford has lived most of her life in India. She is blindsided when her father announces her arranged marriage to a bankrupt nobleman she has never met back in England. On her forced voyage, Honora comes up with a plot to act as unlikeable as possible once she reaches England in hopes that the family will cancel their marriage and allow her to return home to India. But Graham, her betrothed, is handsome and kind and quickly discovers her scheme. The two work together to try to restore Graham's estate and return Honora to India. But can more than one place feel like home? This was very well-written, clean, and provided information about how those who earned their fortunes in India were treated back in England. Not to mention the Indian natives themselves who often found themselves abandoned in England when their employers died and more often than not, willed them nothing. Honora's act grated my nerves at times, but the plot was full, and well-thought out. Loved the ending!
The Rose and the Wand by EJ Kitchens: fantasy novel that follows Beauty and the Beast from the perspective of the enchantress. Such an interesting concept! Lady Alexandria is well-known for her great beauty and magic, but she rarely deigns to use it for those below her station. When she dares to enchant a magical mirror, her punishment is to lose all she holds dear--beauty, magic, wealth, reputation. She is cursed to live without beauty and have her fortunes tied to a man cursed for the same behavior. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved in return, will she be able to regain her powers before the feared magic collectors arrive to steal them from her? Will she learn the same lesson as her counterpart? I really enjoyed this novel! I loved the fresh perspective from which it was written. Recommend.
Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch: teen Addie is in Ireland with her mom and older brothers for her celebrity aunt's televised marriage. After the ceremony, Addie and her brother Ian are supposed to fly to Italy to stay with Addie's best friend. Ian has other plans. A series of unfortunate mishaps lead to Addie missing her plane, and the tension between Addie and Ian is always simmering just below the surface. Once two peas in a pod, now an incident at school has driven a wedge between them. With the help of Irish friend Rowan, the three learn to let go and begin healing from their own respective problems. I loved the brother/sister relationship here! It's the main focus of the entire book, although there are some hints of romance. And it's clean! Recommend!
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys: historical fiction; it's December 1989 in Bucharest, Romania and tensions are high. The Soviet Union is falling and so are its puppet countries. Only Romania remains. Nicolae Ceausescu and Mother Elena are still firmly in power, although whispers of revolution are infiltrating the hopeless lives of the Romanian people. Cristian Florescu is 17 years old and blindsided when he is blackmailed into informing on those around him. Is anyone trustworthy? Does he have the courage to feed the ruthless Securitate false information? And when the Revolution comes, will he be able to brave the beatings and torture that will inevitably come with it? I was too young to remember anything about this time in history, but Sepetys does a fantastic job informing her readers of the horrors of life under communism and totalitarianism. So many things jumped out to me that made me think about Orwell's 1984. Highly recommend.
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler: Does it take more faith to believe in God or not? Can you prove God exists? Can you, will you accept the results of the research into these questions if they prove you wrong? This book is a fantastic apologetics resource with jaw-dropping quotes by atheists, information delved from all scientific studies and woven together to form a much more realistic picture of the 'proof' claimed by atheists, and so much more. This book is for Christians wanting to educate themselves further, and those who do not claim Christianity at all. If you have questions about Christianity or know someone who does, this is the book to get. Each chapter builds upon the previous chapter answering questions like: big bang theory vs. divine design, evil vs. good, believability of miracles, the crucifixion and resurrection, trustworthiness of New testament eyewitness testimony, etc. Pick it up!