The Rose and the Thistle

This is my second book by Laura Frantz and I am again blown away by the attention to detail her books contain. I definitely had to reread some history on the Jacobite rebellion, as well as pull out my photo albums of when I traveled to England and Scotland-including Stirling Castle, a major site during the rebellion.

Blythe’s father is the Duke of Northumbria and a Jacobite. When her family’s residence is attacked by a mob because of his political leanings, Blythe flees to her godfather’s home in Scotland. But there she finds her godfather recently passed and his oldest son, Everard, very angry at having to hide Blythe away. At first they truly do not get along but soon they begin to see the good in the other and fall in love. But Blythe cannot stay hidden away forever.

Being from different areas of Britain and of different religions, Frantz does a great job conveying the significance of Blythe and Everard’s love, despite the political and religious unrest at the time. She sprinkles in faith throughout the story, which feels natural and unforced given their backgrounds.

Read if you love:
-beautiful descriptions of the English and Scottish countryside
-historical phrases and ways of speaking
-slow burns
-enemies to lovers trope

With a bit of a slow start, this book soon took off and I kept frantically turning the pages until the end. I really loved the Authors Note at the end explaining her personal connection to Everard’s family, the Humes- she is a descendant of one of the Humes who was exiled to America during that same time period.

The Secrets of Emberwild

If you love mystery, a dash of faith, and horses, then you definitely need to check out this book.

It’s 1905 and Nora has lost her father. She has made up her mind to save their horse farm, which isn’t doing well, by entering a prized colt named Arrow into the harness races. But women aren’t allowed to race and not even headstrong Nora can get around that rule. Nora needs a male trainer and jockey to help Arrow win.

Silas Cavallero arrives at Emberwild seeking to uncover the mystery behind his father’s death. But dangerous things start happening at the farm, and both Nora and Silas have to work together to uncover the mysteries plaguing Emberwild.

I liked how the book wrapped up but felt the beginning was a little slow. Nora’s spirit and gumption was admirable and I like that this story was told in the South.

Do you like to read historical fiction stories?

💜In the Shadow Garden 💜

✨In the Shadow Garden ✨

Happy Pub Week to this beautiful book! Thank you SO much to @readforeverpub and @lizparkerwrites for my finished copy.
Swipe for synopsis!!

Friends, I loved this story of family, love, and magical realism. The idea of giving up your painful memories is such a thought provoking concept.

Read if you like:
🫖 tea and reading tea leaves
🌷gardens
✨the movie Practical Magic
⚔️ rival families
💜multiple points of view
🥃bourbon
🕵🏻a hint of mystery

Would you give up a memory if you were able? Or do you think the repercussions of that would be too great?

By Way of the Moonlight

Happy Thursday, friends!

Thank you to Bethany House Fiction for my copy of By Way of Moonlight in exchange for an honest review.

Told in dual timelines, the book follows Nana Dale who grew up on a huge horse ranch in Atlanta. During WW2, she helps keep the coastal areas of GA and SC alert from German U-boat attacks. This history was so interesting to read about and not something I was aware of! Dale’s story and her tragedy shapes her life. Her granddaughter, Allie, inherits her love of horses and wants to turn the ranch into an equine therapeutic center. But when Nana Dale dies, Allie is shocked to learn she doesn’t inherit the farm as Nana Dale promised. Allie must, literally, dig up the past to find out how to preserve her dream.

I looove historical fiction and horses (can someone buy me a horse ranch please?) so I was excited to #buddyread this with Maria @her.nose.stuck.in.a.book87
Unfortunately I just didn’t like it. Allie and Dale were both irritable characters throughout and while they had lots of gumption I just wasn’t on board. The book itself was very detailed and very slow- I’m glad I was buddy reading to keep me going. At almost halfway through, not much action had happened but Maria and I pushed through to figure out all the mysteries.

This book ends in March 2020 as the COVID-19 is emerging. This was my first book that mentioned the pandemic. Have you read any lately? I’m sure we will be seeing more and more in the years to come.

⚔️✨Legendborn⚔️✨

⚔️ Legendborn ⚔️

This was definitely a #bookstagrammademedoit read and I really liked it!

I mostly listened to this on audio but I had to renew it from the library a few times because it is a big book. The narrator was great and definitely helped with some of the magical names as well as nailing all the condescending Southern accents.

The author does a great job of weaving magic with the generational trauma of slavery and its lasting effects. Bree’s experience of infiltrating the Order as a black woman and the micro-aggressions she faces were also an added bonus for a different and meaningful perspective. I loved the exciting beginning, I thought the middle was a little slow with the world building, and the end was action packed! I’m definitely excited to read the sequel later this year.

⚔️Read if you love:
-Magical realism
-King Arthur retellings/lore
-Action packed fights
-Morally gray love interests
-Love triangles
-Academic settings

Have you read this one? Are you a fan of King Arthur tales and retellings?

The Long Way Home

“Eli Ross had a black eye, a fractured wrist, and nothing else to his name. It was not the way he’d planned to come home.”

How’s that for a first line?!

Thank you to @revellbooks for my copy in exchange for an honest review. The Last Way Home is available now!

This is Book 2 in the Prince Edward Island Shores series from @lizjohnsonbooks but it can be read as a stand alone.

Years ago, Eli left behind his mother and two brothers on Prince Edward Island to join the NHL. He enjoyed success and a lavish lifestyle until he made a terrible choice and now has nothing. With no where else to go, he returns home where he expects hatred and distrust but is met with love and forgiveness. Violet has been helping Eli’s mother run her ceramics shop for years after fleeing her home to due to tragedy. Eli and Violet start off on the wrong foot but soon bond over their past mistakes and their love for the island and it’s people.

But both their pasts finally catch up with them, testing their feelings and their resolve to heal.

-Read if you love:
🌾beautiful descriptions of Prince Edward Island
🏒 Hockey
❤️‍🩹Prodigal Son stories
🫶Sweet love
🏠Small towns
❤️Found family

After reading Anne of Green Gables as a kid, I’ve always want to travel to PEI. Have you been there? Is it on your bucket list?

🥾All That Fills Us 🥾

“We are not meant to obsess over ourselves because it will not take much time for us to realize what flawed creatures we are. The more we focus on ourselves, the more we obsess over all those flaws. We lose sleep over them, revolve our whole lives around fixing them because at that point, we are all we see. We become blinded by ourselves.”

“Try not to give that little voice too much power. It can overrun your life if you’re not careful.”

Mel is quickly losing her battle with an eating and exercise disorder. Instead of going to rehab, she sets off on a journey walking from Michigan to Mount Rainier to prove to herself and others that her life isn’t a waste. She meets various people on the way and learns from each of them.

Friends, get this book. It’s one of my favorites of 2022. Heartbreaking. Moving. Witty. Poingant with a hint of Faith. You will root for Mel and grieve with her every step of her journey!

Each person on Mel’s journey contributes to her self acceptance and their lessons are lessons for every reader. I think we all have a piece of Mel in us, fighting to accept and love our various flaws. This book is such a stunning reminder that we were created for a purpose and that our world needs the gifts that we have.
5⭐️

CW: Parental abandonment, eating disorders, mental illness. Mel’s journey is so raw and her wounds (physical and emotional) are so substantial, which can be triggering for many who suffer from eating disorders or who have loved ones who do.

All That It Takes

💙All That It Takes💙

Thank you so much to @bethanyhousefiction and @nicoledeeseauthor for my copy.

“All that it takes is one person being willing to step out in love for the betterment of another to change the trajectory of an entire life.”

💙I absolutely loved last year’s All That Really Matters and I was so excited to dive into Miles and Val’s story!

💙Miles is an outreach pastor who has been pulled from his ministry in Mexico and is now serving at a struggling outreach facility and bidding his time until he can go overseas again. He arrives home to find his sister Molly (from All That Really Matters) has rented out his upstairs apartment to Val.

💙Val is a single mom who moves from Alaska to Spokane to work for Molly and try to carve her own path in life. While working in video editing for Molly, Val enters a documentary film contest and goes on a journey of forgiveness & self discovery that will change her life and others.

Read it if you like:
💙Best friend’s brother trope
💙Single moms who find their inner strength
💙Found families
💙Christian fiction that isn’t fluffy or preachy

💙Deese touches on some really heavy topics but treats them with hope and compassion. They include: disability discrimination, abortion, abandonment, depression, and suicide

🧶Hooked🧶

🧶Hooked🧶

My husband bought me “Hooked” by Sutton Foster for Christmas, and I’ve been excited but also nervous to read it. I knew Sutton was going to unpack some heavy things and, being the person I am, I empathize and always cry alongside the author. Her book was a delight and didn’t disappoint! Sutton doesn’t shy away from her experiences and even though she is a famous Broadway star, it often felt relatable. Like Sutton, I have always loved to craft (baking, coloring with my kids, book bullet journaling, and crochet are my favorites). Even though our experiences aren’t the same, I definitely related a lot to Sutton’s need to create to help with swirling emotions or find a little peace with events outside of my control.

I also love musical theatre and hearing about Sutton’s life and some behind the scenes info was really fun! She’s currently starring on Broadway in “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and it sounds like a phenomenal show!!

Do you like to craft or create? What’s your biggest hobby outside of reading?

In Search of a Prince

Thank you to Bethany House publishers and NetGalley for copies of In Search of a Prince in exchange for an honest review.

Bri finds out she is the heir to Oloro Ile, a country in Western Africa and moved there to learn how to be a royal.

I was incredibly excited about this book! The cover is stunning and it’s a throw back to the Princess Diaries movies and books of my tween years. Plus, add a woman of color and I was in! I really loved the setting, the realistic feel of Oloro Ile, the descriptions of the scenery, the clothes, the palace, etc. I also liked Bri a lot and thought she was a good character. I liked her friendship with Iris too.

However, I didn’t love In Search of a Prince as much as I was hoping to. I thought that a lot of the book was dialogue and that got hard to follow. It also read like fan fiction quite a bit and felt a little disjointed in many parts.

Definitely check it out if you love a light hearted, clean romance with lots of faith sprinkled in but if you are looking more critically, I’d skip it.