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The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

About the Book:Book - The Princess in the Opal Mask
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Publisher: RP Teens
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: The Opal Mask Series – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Teen/YA, Fairytale
Rating: 4 out of 5

Fantasy, fairytales and anything that involves a royal is catching like wildfire and fortunately for the most part, it’s a subculture most fans are willing to embrace. With a twist, this fairytale is one of the cutest I’ve read in this genre for a while. It follows the feisty, Elara whose life has been anything but easy. Raised by a family who is not her own, Elara has become tough to the world and has no love for the family who’ve given her a roof but treated her as nothing more than a source of income and servant to do their bidding. Then there is Wilha. The young princess has had a very different life than Elara – she’s been brought up with privilege, yet no answers as to why her father insists she wear a mask that hides nearly her entire face. The two girls meet after forces greater than their own bring them together and forever change both of their futures. Continue reading “The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist”

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Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward

About the Book:Book - Heart of the Country
Author: Rene Gutteridge with John Ward
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2013
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary/General
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Usually I like stories that reconcile characters who have been distant, whether it’s after a dispute or separated by literal distance. This novelization offers no more unique a perspective than most prodigal returns sagas. Unfolding in the 300-plus pages is the life of Faith Carraway who has just found out her husband Luke is being investigated as is the company he worked for on suspicion of a Ponzi scheme. Leaving behind the New York life she and Luke built together – and one Faith became accustomed to, Faith heads back to the place she wasn’t sure she’d ever see again: Home. Once there, Faith reunites with her father and sister and tries to deal with her scared past. Continue reading “Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward”

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Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren

About the Book: Book - Glittering Promises
Author: Lisa T. Bergren 
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Grand Tour – Book 3
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5

There isn’t a historical series that has been more of a whirlwind than this atmospheric trilogy revolving around a girl coming of age in the most unusual circumstances. Classifying this as a “historical” is fair yet somehow doesn’t seem fitting since this novel covers so much ground (so much more than merely a historical delight), and seems unafraid to tackle deep-seated emotional scars as well as the delights of each city it visits – from the City of Lights to the Ruins of Rome. Having found her identity – both spiritual and as an heiress, Cora Diehl Kensington is ready to accept some of the responsibilities of being a Kensington particularly running the mines in the Morgan-Kensington ­­name that Cora’s father has built with his business partner; this angers the Morgan’s and leaves Cora at odds over future business decisions. When tragedy strikes, Cora is again fighting to keep her emotional identity intact and find a way to outsmart the people who are still pursuing the tourists with ploys to destroy them.   Continue reading “Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren”

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Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

About the Book:
Author: Robin Lee HatcherBook - Beloved
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Where the Heart Lives – Book 3
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5

Coming across unusual premises is rare. When you’ve read as many books in one genre as it feels like I have (not that I’m complaining, mind you), so many of the plots seem to resemble each other. This last novel in Robin Lee Hatcher’s most recent trilogy was actually a different concept and that made it special. Diana has had a tough childhood. Orphaned at only six, she along with her two siblings were put on the orphan train west. Unlike her siblings, Diana was adopted by a loving couple who gave her a world of love; she grew up spoiled, fell in love with the 20-something Tyson Applegate when she was only seventeen… and married him. It isn’t long into their young marriage Diana learns that Tyson married her for an inheritance and then… he walks out on Diana and his family. Now, seven years later, Tyson has returned on the eve of her planned engagement. Only trouble is, he isn’t willing to let Diana go and she isn’t so sure that Tyson has really changed. Continue reading “Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher”

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The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue

About the Book:Book - The Merciful Scar
Author: Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 2013
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Genre: Fiction; Women’s Fiction, Christian, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Review: There is a difference between fiction that deals with a traumatic past and fiction that revolves around ones mistakes. This new piece of fiction falls into the painful trappings of the latter. When first we meet its heroine, Kirsten (a girl who may not be in the title but is certainly the person the title is all about), she’s a seemingly happy college student who is living a good life with a doting boyfriend and friends. It isn’t until her dreams fall apart and her boyfriend, Wes’ betrayal is revealed that her dark past and propensity to hurt herself physically that we learn not only does Kirsten have a whole world of guilt she carries, she also is lacking a support system to help her escape the metaphorical chains that pull her down. Continue reading “The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue”

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Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

About the Book:Book - Dear Mr. Knightly
Author: Katherine Reay
Publication Date: November 2013 (ARC)
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Romance, Christian Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Dear Mr. Knightly tells the picturesque story of a young woman named Samantha who is not only an orphan, but a girl who’s made – nearly – one mistake too many. After attempting to make it on her own, she’s forced to return to the safety of the parish home she grew up in and try earning back the scholarship offered by a mysterious benefactor who is known to her only as “Mr. Knightley.” When the man agrees to reinstate Sam’s scholarship, the only stipulation he asks is that she write him letters detailing her progress. During her year of journaling through letters, Sam learns the meaning of independence, self-worth and maybe… even love. Continue reading “Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay”