The Lady of the Vineyard by Kellyn Roth

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: The Lady of the Vineyard

Author: Kellyn Roth

Published: 2016

Synopsis: Since her divorce, Adele Collier has pursued her own pleasure at the expense of her daughter. When her ex-husband suddenly reappears in their lives, Adele allows him to take Judy to France with him for the summer. The time apart leads her to realize her daughter is the light of her world, yet she’s still not sure she’s ready to give up her lifestyle.

Six-year-old Judy is more than happy to trade her mother’s neglect for her father’s adoring care. She loves his vineyard and wishes she could stay there forever … but someday she must return to England and her mother. However, Judy isn’t sure she can ever trust her mother again.

A novella set in pre-WW2 Europe, this sweet story is sure to delight lovers of light-hearted historical fiction. (Taken from Goodreads)


Enthralling, well designed, and elegantly presented, The Lady of the Vineyard was a short but sweet novella. It was an engaging yet fun read. The characters, from bitter and rebellious Adele to sweet and innocent Judy to mysterious Troy, were all uniquely patterned and cleverly developed.

I really liked the twists and turns and thought they were well done. I did find Adele’s turn back to Troy very predictable, but it was done nicely; it seemed practical and realistic. As a whole it was particularly predictable, but that didn’t restrain my enjoyment of the story. I love how the author has her main characters as younger children in general—they’re always done so perfectly and Judy is no exception; I loved her. Adele’s character was the only one I had my reservations on, simply because her main character change was rather predictable and just a bit cheesy. But I did enjoy it nonetheless!

The storyline was captivating, unique, and sweet all at once. There were strong romantic threads while still retaining a youthful and fun feel. The turns of the story felt natural and the ending brought everything together. I was only a little disappointed in the epilogue; it was a little confusing at first and jumped ahead a lot.

Negative Content:


Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: fans of historical fiction!

**I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Beautiful Blue World

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: Beautiful Blue Word

Author: Suzanne LaFleur

Published By: Wendy Lamb Books (2016)

Synopsis: Sofarende is at war. For twelve-year-old Mathilde, it means food shortages, feuding neighbors, and bombings. Even so, as long as she and her best friend, Megs, are together, they’ll be all right.

But the army is recruiting children, and paying families well for their service. If Megs takes the test, Mathilde knows she will pass. Megs hopes the army is the way to save her family. Mathilde fears it might separate them forever.

A reimagining of war, where even kindness can be a weapon, and children have the power to see what adults cannot. (Taken from Goodreads)


What is there to say about this book? It was breathtaking. The relationships and characterization were absolutely phenomenal, rich, deep, and full of life and animation. Mathilde was such a great character to lead this book, Megs a great companion and all the others great tag-alongs.

Cons: I didn’t like how the story tied together. It ended well and all—actually the ending was pretty awesome—but the story as a whole didn’t match up one hundred percent. Maybe this is just something I’m not seeing, but it seemed like the book was divided into two sections—part one, which focused on everything in the blurb: war, friendship, love, etc; and then part two, which was completely unexpected and almost unrelated to anything in the previous part. None of the friendship themes really were completely transferred into the second part; it seemed like two individual plots merged together. Yes, they flowed together well for the most part, but I can’t say it wasn’t choppy at times. Usually this kind of thing is super awesome, but since almost none of the friendship things transferred over it made me wonder what the point of it was. Now understand I am saying this from an objective point of view; I loved the book and both parts whether choppy or not, but coming from an objective standpoint it didn’t work as well.

And again, it’s also very likely once the second book comes out this will all make a lot more sense. Essentially I didn’t understand how all the plotline in the second half fit into the plotline of the first half.

The ending was awesome. Cleverly done, clear and concise but also super cliffhangery. I’m satisfied, but I’d also take more.

Pros: Putting aside the two-halfs dilemma, I loved each part in its own way. Megs’ and Mathilde’s friendship was beautiful. So beautiful. I don’t usually cry easily over books, but Beautiful Blue World had me shedding beautiful blue tears. (Which I guess could actually kind of be a con in its own, since not a lot of this beauty transferred to the second half.)

The second half of the book, which was provoked from a twist I certainly didn’t see coming, took on its own story, plot, and shape. Putting aside the fact the idea, to me, lacked tangible orginality—personally it reminded me too much of The Ability, though I doubt it was intentional—and the fact it didn’t line up with the first half, I did like the things portrayed during this part of the book.

I’ve said a lot about different halves and parts, and still trying to grasp what was off about them to put into words because they both were beautiful, but together it was—mismatched. Two gorgeous pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit together. I think this could have been avoided by lengthening the book; draw this book out a little more and it works wonderfully. It was just a bit too short to fully envelop the ideas.

I guess the main thing that bugged me was that the blurb was so misleading. It got me thinking the whole story would be about friendship when really the blurb could summarize about the first fifty pages and that’s it. The rest was scattered and totally different. So my assumptions and expectations were set at the wrong level. Not at a higher or lower, because quality-wise this book met my standards. Just a mismatched level. I was at green instead of blue.

Also I want to know what the whole sub-idea of “It’s easy to love those you care about, but not so easy to love those you don’t know” was exactly portraying. It’s a great theme, but putting it with this book makes it look like the whole friendship between Megs and Mathilde is meaningless because Mathilde should have been caring about others. It’s supposed to be a heartfelt novel about friendship power, not about how said friendship shouldn’t have such power. I was very confused.

Bottom line, I wish this novel could have had more length to develop these key aspects.

All things aside, I did absolutely love this novel. Just because I love it so much is why I want to know why I love it, and what I don’t about it, and that’s where all these cons came from. I wanted to objectively analyze this book and this is what I came up with; however, don’t let that make you think I didn’t like it. I LOVED THIS BOOK TO TEARS. I’ll definitely be re-reading it soon to see if I can find answers to these questions I have. I’d definitely recommend it.

Side note: I hated the line about no such thing as heaven. I get what it’s supposed to be saying, but it was unnecessary.

Negative Content:


Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Readers 12 & up will probably most appreciate this book!

A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: A Time to Rise (Out of Time, #3)

Author: Nadine Brandes

Published By: Enclave Publishing (2016)

Synopsis: What more can you sacrifice than your life?
Parvin Blackwater is dead.
At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? (Taken from Goodreads)



So many plotlines—I had no clue how they would all come together…but they did…

PARVIN IS AMAZING. I love her so much. She’s like a role model, and quite honestly, one of the best characters I’ve ever read. She seriously needs to be in real life. Being fictional is only a small setback, right? She can overcome that, right? With enough of our support? I want to meet her!!

In all seriousness, she was amazing. I loved the growth I saw in her. She’s so humble and caring and determined; she’s so easy to relate to and in so many ways I want to be like her. Her faith in God is so, so, so incredible in so many ways and is so inspiring. Is it weird to be inspired by a fictional character? I say no, because it’s Parvin Blackwater!

Solomon: Last book my one downside was I didn’t “get” this romance, but this time around, it took off in a sweet, clean, and adorable way. I absolutely loved it. Yes. Yes. One thousand times yes. Parvin and Solomon are awesome together. Just—for goodness’ sakes Parvin, quit constantly thinking/remembering Jude! You know you’re in love with Solomon, so let it go! I think I mostly liked Solomon because he’s so legit. There’s nothing unsure or shaky about his character; he’s such a solid and dependable guy for Parvin. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about him. A fantastic guy and strong male lead for this series—instead of writing him in as a side character primarily to serve as a romantic interest to Parvin, like so many YA novels do with guy characters—it rather feels like two main characters who happen to fall in love, which I think is always the more realistic way to do it.

I loved the way the side characters had their turn in the spotlight—Frenchie and Kaphtor were hilarious, especially Kaphtor’s name—say it aloud—captor, as in he took them prisoner? He was their captor? But then he turned out to not be their captor and to be on their side? Nice irony. Very nice.:)


 I also dislike the way Solomon constantly thought himself outside the family because he was adopted.

The descriptions as usual are amazing and enthralling and grab ahold of you, allowing you to feel the emotion that is coursing through the words of this narration. Parvin’s realizations, her faith, and her beliefs portray positive truths without being cheesy; the God aspect is worked in as a part of the plot—the plotline wouldn’t survive without it.

I love how God found a way into this book. I love it so much.

I just love this book. Fantastic job, Nadine Brandes. All the subplots tying together perfectly…THE ENDING. The ending was so exactly right and made perfect sense. It fit perfectly with the themes of the series. I love the way this was done because in some way it’s very similiar to all the other dystopian book series going around, but at the same time it’s completely, entirely different. Very cleverly done.

And now that Time to Rise is over…it’s Time to Reread the entire series!

Negative Content/Notes:


Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: fans of Out of Time of course!!

** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: The Danger Box

Author: Blue Balliett

Published By: Scholastic Press (2010)

Synopsis: An all-new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Vermeer and The Calder Game.

A boy in a small town who has a different way of seeing.
A mischievous girl who doesn’t belong.
A mysterious notebook .
A fire.
A stranger.
A death.

These are some of the things you’ll find within The Danger Box, the new mystery from bestselling author Blue Balliett. (Taken from Goodreads.)


I’m a little befuddled, a little amused, and a little satsified coming off this book.

It was a cute story that was well structured (for the most part) and had a solid, enthralling plot. Unfortunately, that plot was hard, if not impossible, to see until at least halfway through the book. I was a bit unsure what it was about when I began, and honestly, if I were to summarize what the book is about now, it would be all taken from the last half of the book.

It was a solid and cute story; the plot points were definable, unpredictable, and suspensful, and the characters were loveable, relatable and lots of fun. It had a very unique premise and such premise was delivered in a very unique way. I didn’t see hardly any of it coming.

However, it was very confusing. The tense switched back and forth between present and past, which, knowing the feel of the story surely was there for a purpose and reason, but to me it just seemed staggered and like the author changed her mind several times between the two tenses. It became very confusing. Also, the whole side plot with Mr. Zip and the “players” never really wrapped up or tied in clearly. I mean, yes it tied in, but that tie wasn’t clear or distinct and I’m honestly still very confused of how it was actually important to the story to begin with.

I suppose the Darwin element was creative, but it almost felt like the author was trying to tell us what to believe about it.

Also, maybe this is just me, but the way the story was told—in short, brief, random chapters through the eyes of a young, sheltered, slightly ‘different’ boy who ends up becoming the hero of the story thanks to his awesome sidekick who becomes his best friend after being a loner all his life—that way? I’ve read a million books written in that way and it just seemed cheesy and stereotypical. I don’t mean to say the author intended for it to be that way; I’m just saying to me that is how it came off.

Negative Content:


Rating: 2.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Not recommended

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: Awaken 

Author: Katie Kacvinsky

Published By: HMH Books for Young Readers (2011)

Synopsis: Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space. (Taken from Goodreads)


Quite an interesting premise and I suppose unique in its own way, Awaken was a definitely intriguing storyline. However, I did have quite a few things I disliked.

I’ll begin with positives: I thought some of the themes had quite an uplifting feel to them at first, themes about love and taking care of those close to you. I liked Maddie and I loved the element of a society attached to technology and the strong messages it conveyed about such tech. I thought that aspect was done very skillfully.

However, putting the unique storyworld aside, everything else was incredibly stereotypical, which was very disappointing.

The romance was disheartening in the sense that the first two-thirds of the book I was very impressed by the cleanliness—but that all fell flat because the last third of the book is compromised of ninety-five percent romance. While there isn’t anything necessarily super inappropriate, it does get intense and was not on the very purest track in the long run. I’m not planning on reading future books simply because of the sure-to-be increase of romantic activity. I also got very tired of Justin very fast. I get how he’s supposed to be, but that character is just so overdone. And Maddie was incredibly stereotypical. Let’s apply my tried-and-true description. (I wrote this to describe another character in another YA dystopian series a while ago, and since then I have applied it to other YA series and found it just as accurate despite the  different authors and series. I call it the YA Main Character Stereotype.)

She’s strong and determined, but of course has her fears—that she hides—that set her back. She’s part of the lowly county. She doesn’t think much about higher counties; she just keeps her head down, lives her life, and tries not to get noticed. She thinks of herself as lowly and ugly. She’s stubborn and willfull, but thinks she knows right from wrong. She’s often chastised for misbehavior and is warned that someday it’ll get back to her. Often she sneaks off to be in private because the world becomes too much. She doesn’t have any plans of rebelling—that would be ridiculous, they would totally get her for it! She refuses to believe any legends or rumors She doesn’t let herself hope, because hope will get you nowhere. 

Obviously, Maddie excludes quite a few of these stereotypes, but she still does fit into many.

Negative Content/Notes:

The romantic plot line walked a very thin line of being clean. (Above)


As a whole, the plotline was rather predictable, and was drawn out in other parts. I don’t have much else to say about it. Unique storyworld, stereotypical characters, edging-on-inapropriate romance, and predictable plot, this pretty much fits right in with every other YA dystopian. But nevertheless, I did finish it, so that says something.

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Not really recommended …

The Old River Road by Ivy Rose

** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**

Title: The Old River Road

Author: Ivy Rose

Published By: Lakeside Publications (2016)

Synopsis: 1885
When seventeen-year-old Clara Boutwell married her dashing coworker, William McDonald, she was convinced her life was near perfect. The journey before them as newlyweds in the great city of Chicago was promising and exciting. But a frightening disease soon takes William in its grip, forcing them to the clean air of the western frontier in a desperate attempt to save his life. But pioneering doesn’t prove to be easy, with miles between neighbors instead of fences. On the eastern Washington prairies, the McDonalds face hardships and trials in a new world where everything is tested, from physical endurance to emotional strength—down to their relationship and faith in the Lord.

This novel tells the incredible true story of Clara and William, the great-great grandparents of the author, in a sweet narrative full of laughter, tears, and the struggles of an early pioneering family. Prepare yourself to share in their experience as you read this account of a pioneer family in Washington state, and see their lasting legacy that has endured into the fifth generation. (Taken from Goodreads)


Was there anything I did not like about this book?

No. There was not.

Ivy Rose has created a beautiful piece of art in The Old River Road. It’s beautiful in almost every aspect it could be. I love this time period the story is set in, so that it made it even better for me, but I think even those who don’t prefer historical fiction can still find the charm in this book.

I also thought it was incredibly awesome that it was based on true events.

Such a clever way of retelling a history in form of fiction! The characters were incredible; I absolutely adored all of them and their interactions were true to life and full of authenticity. The whole story rings themes of love and family, and the writing style displayed so much talent; it was easily better than most adult writers I’ve read of this similiar genre.

While there was really no strong plot or suspense, this kind of story doesn’t need that. It was solely the characters that drove me forward, and I found more than enough enjoyment and happiness just following their lives. I kept reading for these characters, not for what was happening. In fact, I was so disappointed when it finished—I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them! They feel like good friends now.

This book was completely clean and full of sweet and adorable romance. Every interaction, every emotion, every event drew me closer and closer into the story and to the characters.

I loved this book from the first word to the last and I am now super sad that it’s over because I want to see Clara and William and Archie and everyone again. And of course the fact it’s based on true events makes it all so much awesomer. I think it’s such an awesome idea from the author’s point to write a novel like in the form of historical fiction, and though I obviously do not have the documents she pulled from, I would estimate from having read it that she stuck very true to the original.

Negative Content/Notes:



No cons significant enough to mention. I loved everything about this book and loved the characters to pieces. They had me laughing, smiling, and crying. I can’t wait for the next installment! (Please tell me there is another!??!)

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Anyone looking for an amazing read!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*