Posted in Books

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. The only thing that could have improved my experience with this book would have been finding it fifteen years sooner. I wish twelve year-old me had known this book existed, and had been able to experience the life of Francie Nolan when we were closer to the same age. But even as an adult, I’ve found a kindred spirit in this scrappy little girl from Brooklyn, and watching her grow up and experience both heartaches and triumph was one of the most wonderful reading journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. Better late than never. Continue reading “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”

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Posted in Books

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finally finished! And it only took me five months on the Serial Reader app. I feel like I’ve been reading this forever. Not because I didn’t like it, of course. Au contraire, I loved it! It’s a wonderful book, and definitely deserves it’s status as a classic. But it was dense and intricate and long, and wasn’t a book to be sped through. This tome is meant to be savored, and savor it I did. The Count of Monte Cristo is without a doubt the best tale of vengeance I’ve ever read, and one of the most intricately plotted books I’ve ever had the pleasure of picking up. Continue reading “The Count of Monte Cristo”

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Posted in Books

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Unpopular opinion time. If this is one of your favorite books, I apologize in advance, and you might want to look away now.

If you follow my reviews, you know that I generally love everything. Very rarely do I hate a book. Well, I hated this one. Seriously, it was awful. It felt like pulling teeth trying to get myself to finish it. But finish it I (finally) did, and here are my thoughts. Continue reading “Wuthering Heights”

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Posted in Books

Brian’s Winter

Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3)Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Until last month, I didn’t even realize that Hatchet had a sequel. Turns out, it has four. How did I not know this?! I skipped over The River, the first sequel, for the time being, as it seemed like a repeat of the first but with an audience. Although I have to confess, I’ll probably be reading it sooner rather than later. But I was intrigued by the synopsis of Brian’s Winter. What if Brian hadn’t been rescued, and had to ride out the winter in the Canadian wilderness? Would he survive? Continue reading “Brian’s Winter”

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Posted in Books

Hatchet

Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1)Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books imprint themselves on your mind and stay with you. You can remember vividly where you were when you first read them. Hatchet is one of those books for me. I remember being in Mrs. Alison’s sixth grade class, and this book was raging though the male half of my class like a wildfire. Even boys who usually hated reading couldn’t put it down. Obviously, as the class’s self-proclaimed queen of the bookworms, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So, when a copy finally made it back to the book cubbies that lined the back of the classroom, I nabbed it. And I totally saw what the fuss was about. Continue reading “Hatchet”

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Posted in Books

Best Books of 2017 (so far)

I’ve read some phenomenal books so far this year. However, if you only follow this blog for my reviews, you’ve missed most of the reviews of my favorites, which have been posted on Booknest. But I can remedy that! Below you’ll find a list of my top 15 favorite books from March through June that were not reviewed on Celestial Musings, along with mini reviews and links to full-length reviews on Booknest. Remember: these are only my favorites that haven’t yet been reviewed on this site. Enjoy! Happy reading! Continue reading “Best Books of 2017 (so far)”

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True to You

True to You (Bradford Sisters Romance #1)True to You by Becky Wade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I took a couple of days to try to gather my thoughts on this book, so that I could maybe do a little more than blather and gush. But, nope. Pretty sure this review is going to pretty much be blathering and gushing.

Those who follow my reviews know that fantasy is my favorite genre. I can get behind a good romance now and again, but romance novels very rarely make it onto my favorites shelf. Especially Christian romances, as they tend to lean towards cheesiness and, though that can be fun, they don’t tend to stick with me. But in this book, the first I’ve read from Becky Wade, I found an exception. Continue reading “True to You”

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Posted in Books

The Elusive Miss Ellison

The Elusive Miss Ellison (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace, #1)The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full review now posted!

Sometimes, you need a radical change of pace. Since October, I’ve read more fantasy in a shorter period of time than I’ve ever read in my life. Don’t get me wrong; fantasy is my favorite genre, and it always will be. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. So I decided that I needed a little fantasy break. This book was about as far away from fantasy as is possible, and it was a breath of fresh air. Continue reading “The Elusive Miss Ellison”

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Posted in Books

Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full review now posted!

I first read Jane Eyre about five or six years ago, and I really liked it. Since then, I gotten quite a few more classics under my belt. Classics are vastly different from modern fiction, and have to be read differently. Now that I understand this fact, reading classics has become much more fulfilling for me. So, when I picked up Jane Eyre for the second time, I didn’t just really like it; I loved it! Continue reading “Jane Eyre”

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Posted in Books, Life in General

When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart (Canadian West, #1)When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a confession to make: I absolutely love When Calls the Heart. You know, the Hallmark show? The Christian historical romance that borders on cheesy where everything always turns out okay? Yeah, that’s the one. It’s one of my favorites. In this show, community is about celebrating together in the good times and supporting each other through the hard times. Faith in God is the norm, and that faith actually means something. And love always finds a way. The show idyllic and wholesome and just makes me really happy every time I watch it. It’s my visual comfort food.

Last week, Chris and I very unexpectedly became foster parents for two little boys. A couple of days ago, they just as suddenly returned home to their mom. Our emotions during this time went haywire; we were terrified because we’ve never been parents and didn’t know what to do, we were thrilled with the boys themselves and fell in love with them despite our efforts not to get attached, and we were a weird mix of devastated (for us) and relieved (for them) when they went home so soon. When they left and our house felt just the slightest bit hollow, I needed to disappear into a book. But the books I’m reading currently, while they’re great books, they were darker than what I needed. So I decided to read the book that inspired my favorite feel-good show.

The book wasn’t perfect. It was stilted and felt a tad forced in places. It was different from the show that I’ve come to love, even though they shared a common name and framework. But it was exactly what I needed when I picked it up. It was short and sweet and full of love and hope and Jesus. Though Christian historical fiction is not one of my favorite genres, it’s what I tend to turn to whenever I’m going through a rough patch in my life. I love how unapologetic the characters are about their faith, and how that faith permeates their lives. I also love how faith is just an expected aspect of life in these bygone eras. And in the vast majority of the books in this genre, you go in knowing that everything is going to turn out okay, and that a happy ending is almost inevitable.

Janette Oke provided me with exactly what I needed here. It gave me some of the hope I needed when I wasn’t feeling all that hopeful. Even though I enjoy the show more than I did this book, I’ll probably continue with the series at some point.

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