2021 in Books

2021 was my second full year of reading and reviewing the books I read, after starting this journey in 2019. Now that I’ve been doing this for 2 full years (I started halfway through 2019), it’s been fascinating and fun for me to compare stats from this year to last year.

I read 126 books in 2021, hitting my Goodreads challenge of 125 books on Dember 29th. My total page count was 34,593, making my average book length for the year 275 pages.

Below are the books I read in 2021. The link is to my review for that book, and a link to the book on Goodreads is at the bottom of each review.

January

Maus** by Art Spiegelman (5 / 5)
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (4 / 5)
A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter (3 / 5)
The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham (4.5 / 5)
The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus* by Jaime Jo Wright (2 / 5)
Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen (5 / 5)
Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (4 / 5)
The Warden and the Wolf King** by Andrew Peterson (5 / 5)
There I Go Again by William Daniels (5 / 5)
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein (4 / 5)
When Twilight Breaks* by Sarah Sundin (4 / 5)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (5 / 5)

February

Awake and Alive to Truth by John L. Cooper (5 / 5)
The Orchard House* by Heidi Chiavaroli (3.5 / 5)
The Cat Who Saw Red** by Lilian Jackson Braun (5 / 5)
Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein (3.5 / 5)
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (3 / 5)
Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea by Frank E. Peretti (4 / 5)
The Secret of The Desert Stone by Frank E. Peretti (3 / 5)
The Hiding Place** by Corrie ten Boom with John & Elizabeth Sherrill (5 / 5)
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as retold by Gary D. Schmidt (2 / 5)
From this Moment* by Kim Vogel Sawyer (3 / 5)
Mr. Lemoncello’s All-Star Breakout Game by Chris Grabenstein (3.5 / 5)

March

Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz (3.5 / 5)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (4 / 5)
Maus II** by Art Spiegelman (5 / 5)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (2 / 5)
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (5 / 5)
Wingfeather Tales* by Andrew Peterson and other authors (3.5 / 5)

The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters (3.5 / 5)
Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket by Chris Grabenstein (5 / 5)

April

The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey by Frank E. Peretti (4 / 5)
An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter (3 / 5)
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (5 / 5)
When You Reach Me** by Rebecca Stead (5 / 5)
The Purple Nightgown* by A.D. Lawrence (4 / 5)
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg (4 / 5)
The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden (4.5 / 5)
A Woman of Words* by Angela Hunt (3.5 / 5)
The Silver Shadow* by Liz Tolsma (2 / 5)
Crocodile Meatloaf by Nancy S. Levene (4 / 5)

May

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham (4 / 5)
The Legend of Annie Murphy by Frank E. Peretti (3.5 / 5)
Schindler’s List** by Thomas Keneally (5 / 5)
Refugees on the Run* by Chris Brack & Sheila Seifert (5 / 5)
Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii by Lee Goldberg (3.5 / 5)
Tidewater Bride* by Laura Frantz (4 / 5)
Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers by Tessa Arlen (4 / 5)
The Cat Who Played Brahms by Lilian Jackson Braun (5 / 5)
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (3.5 / 5)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (4.5 / 5)
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (5 / 5)
Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith (3 / 5)

June

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes & Joe Layden (5 / 5)
Rabbits* by Terry Miles (2 / 5)
Mayday at Two Thousand Five Hundred by Frank E. Peretti (4 / 5)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (4 / 5)
Project Hail Mary* by Andy Weir (5 / 5)
The Widows of Champagne* by Renee Ryan (3 / 5)
No More Broken Promises** by Angela Elwell Hunt (5 / 5)
Welcome to Vietnam** by Ellen Emerson White (4 / 5)
A Forever Friend** by Angela Elwell Hunt (5 / 5)
Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu by Lee Goldberg (2 / 5)
The Compass by Tyler Scott Hess (2.5 / 5)
A Basket of Roses** by Angela Elwell Hunt (4 / 5)
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (3.5 / 5)
Hill 568** by Ellen Emerson White (5 / 5)
Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot (4 / 5)
A Dream to Cherish** by Angela Elwell Hunt (4.5 / 5)

July

A Love to Cherish by Linda Ford (2 / 5)
The Much-Adored Sandy Shore** by Angela Hunt (4 / 5)
‘Tis the Season by Ellen Emerson White (4 / 5)
Love Burning Bright** by Angela Hunt (5 / 5)
The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (4 / 5)
Stand Down by Ellen Emerson White (4 / 5)
The Chance of a Lifetime** by Angela Hunt (5 / 5)
Murder at the Manor by Catherine Coles (3 / 5)
The Cryptographer’s Dilemma* by Johnnie Alexander (4 / 5)
Star Light, Star Bright** by Angela Hunt (4 / 5)

August

The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White (4 / 5)
Hangman’s Curse** by Frank Peretti (5 / 5)
The Glory of Love** by Angela Hunt (3.5 / 5)
A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden (3.5 / 5)
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (4 / 5)
The Eagle and the Lamb** by Darlene Mindrup (5 / 5)
Night of the Twisters** by Ivy Ruckman (5 / 5)
Trace of Doubt* by DiAnn Mills (2 / 5)
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (4 / 5)

September

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen (4 / 5)
The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney (3 / 5)
Independence Hall by Roland Smith (4 / 5)
Socks by Beverly Cleary (5 / 5)
All That Is Secret* by Patricia Raybon (2 / 5)
Mystery Lights of Navajo Mesa* by Jake & Luke Thoene (5 / 5)
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (4 / 5)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (5 / 5)
Escape from Fire Lake* by Robert Vernon (5 / 5)
Terror from Outer Space* by Robert Vernon (4 / 5)

October

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (4 / 5)
Night Song by Tricia Goyer (4 / 5)
Fan Fiction* by Brent Spiner (3 / 5)
Nightmare Academy** by Frank Peretti (5 / 5)
The Cat Who Played Post Office by Lilian Jackson Braun (5 / 5)
Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan (5 / 5)
Once Upon a Wardrobe* by Patti Callahan (3 / 5)
Poison at the Pump by Chris Brack & Sheila Seifert (4 / 5)

November

Lost in Darkness* by Michelle Griep (3.5 / 5)
Return to the Hiding Place by Hans Poley (5 / 5)
Princess in Love by Meg Cabot (4 / 5)
The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (2 / 5)
The White House by Roland Smith (4 / 5)
Elinor* by Shannon McNear (3 / 5)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (5 / 5)

December

Lead Me* by Matt Hammitt (5 / 5)
Shadows of Swanford Abbey* by Julie Klassen (4 / 5)
Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh (3.5 / 5)
Chapter and Curse* by Elizabeth Penney (3 / 5)
Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker (4 / 5)
The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein (4 / 5)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone** by J.K. Rowling (3.5 / 5)
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt (4 / 5)
Winnie-the-Pooh* by A.A. Milne (4.5 / 5)
To Kill a Mockingbird** by Harper Lee (4 / 5)
The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (2 / 5)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets** by J.K. Rowling (4 / 5)

This list includes 28 ARCs (marked with a *) and 25 re-reads (marked with a **). My favorite book from 2021 was Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. During the last year, I started 22 series and finished 10 series, caught up on 4 series (meaning the author plans to release more in the future), and decided not to continue 6 series (after being at least 2 books into the series). I currently have 10 series in progress. I also DNF’d 1 book (not listed anywhere in this post).

Considering that I gave only 3 5-star ratings out of 47 books in 2019, 38 out of 126 this year is pretty great. I don’t think my standards for what makes me like or dislike a book have changed, either. I think I’m just getting a little better at vetting books before I read them. My average rating for the year is up a little from last year too.

Here is a break-down of the ratings I gave (there were a few books I read twice during the year, so I only counted them once each):
1 star: 0
1.5 stars: 0
2 stars: 11
2.5 stars: 1
3 stars: 13
3.5 stars: 15
4 stars: 42
4.5 stars: 6
5 stars: 38
Average rating: 4

I’m going to stick with 125 books as my reading goal on Goodreads. I almost didn’t finish it this year, though I can also see that as 125 being the exact right number, since it took me right up until the end of the year to hit it.

My ever-changing short list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here. I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads, if anyone is interested in that.

What did you read last year? Let me know in the comments, and even feel free to link to your own summary post!

December in Review

I read 12 books last month, which is a lot more than it was shaping up to be early in the month. Then I realized it was the last month of the year, and I was still 6 books away from completing my Goodreads challenge to read 125 books for the year. I knew I could just throw in some short books to finish it off, but I didn’t want to complete it that way. I stuck with what I had planned, but threw some audiobooks in there too, which I’d been neglecting for various reasons. I managed to hit 125 books on Dec. 29th, and went 1 past it due to being sick enough on the last couple of days to not be able to work and thus having more time to listen to an audiobook.

Here are the books I read in December:

Lead Me by Matt Hammitt (5 / 5)
Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen (4 / 5)
Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh (3.5 / 5)
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney (3 / 5)
Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker (4 / 5)
The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein (4 / 5)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt (4 / 5)
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (4.5 / 5)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (4 / 5)
The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (2 / 5)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (re-read)

This list includes 4 ARCs and 3 re-reads. My favorite book from December was Lead Me. I started 2 series, continued 1 series, and finished 0 series. My ever-changing short list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here.

I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads. Despite my almost too-long TBR list, I’m always looking for more to add. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorites or just recent reads you enjoyed.

Book Review: Chapter and Curse

Chapter and Curse
The Cambridge Bookshop Series #1
by Elizabeth Penney

My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: Cozy mystery

When American Molly Kimball and her recently widowed British mother move to Cambridge to take over the running of a bookstore that’s been in their family for generations, the last thing they expect is to get caught up in a murder investigation. But within days of their arrival, someone dies near the bookstore, and Molly’s great aunt, who invited them to England, is the prime suspect. Now, amidst trying to help the bookstore get back on its feet, learning about and meeting members of her previously estranged family, and getting to know the good-looking guy who works next door, Molly is determined to clear her aunt’s name.

Overall, the book was decent. The plot drags in some places, and the mystery seems a little watered-down to me, which is certainly not what you want in a book from this genre. I liked most of the characters, though Molly herself is sort of “meh,” in my opinion. The bookstore and the community around it were a lot of fun to read about. Aunt Violet’s friends are a little on the bizarre side, and I had a difficult time pinning down what age anyone was supposed to be. I can figure it out with some math, but a lot of the characters act similarly to each other, so it was difficult to imagine age differences between some who I assume should have been in different generations.

I don’t go into a cozy mystery expecting to figure out whodunit by the end, though that doesn’t stop me from speculating. I have a tendency to take things at face value and get too caught up in the red herrings. The resolution to this mystery wasn’t a total surprise to me, though, even while I didn’t expect it to go that way simply because it felt so bland. The resolution to the mystery and motivation behind it seemed weak, like much more effort went into setting up this location and cast of characters for future stories than into making the mystery interesting. That’s my opinion, however, and it’s not enough to keep me from being interested in the continuation of this new series, due to how much I liked the setting and characters.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book to review.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

Shadows of Swanford Abbey
by Julie Klassen

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Historical Christian mystery, romance

Tasked by her brother to present his manuscript to a well-known author, Rebecca Lane takes a room in the monastery-turned-hotel Swanford Abbey, where the author is also staying. And so is Frederick Wilford, an older man Rebecca once had a huge crush on. When the famous writer is murdered, Frederick, as local magistrate, is determined to find the guilty party, even if the investigation shines a light on secrets Rebecca is hiding.

As a Regency-era romance, the story here is pretty good. As a mystery, it’s only okay. My biggest issue is that it takes quite a while to really get going; so much of the first half is spent describing the abbey, hinting at things from the past that affect the present (which we won’t know more about until much later), and setting up the mystery around the murder, which doesn’t even occur until over halfway through the book. I don’t mind a mystery taking so long to get started if I spend that time trying to figure out who the victim might end up being, along with who the murderer will be, but in this case, the synopsis tells us who the victim will be. All of this led the book to feel slow for a while.

I mostly liked the characters. Rebecca had her issues in the story, mostly stemming from the task her brother insists she help him with, but this seems to lead her to not care at all about the societal conventions of her time or about her reputation. That leaves Frederick to be the most understanding man ever. He ends up having to help her in a lot of different ways, more times than I might normally prefer in a story like this, but it didn’t bother me this time, I think because it didn’t seem as contrived as it could have.

I raised my eyebrows during part of a scene that seemed to be straight out of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and found out while reading the author’s note at the end of the book that I was correct. She also mentioned other classics that she took some direct inspiration from, though those others I either haven’t read or don’t know well enough to have recognized the way she used that inspiration. Overall, I enjoyed the book and the characters and recommend it to fans of historical romance. Fans of mystery books may like it, too, if they’re not bothered by what I described above.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Shadows of Swanford Abbey

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Lead Me

Lead Me
by Matt Hammitt

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Christian living, memoir

Former Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammitt talks about the difficulties he faced for many years trying to balance life on the road with life at home. With a wife and eventually 4 kids, he wanted to be the husband and father they needed while also following God’s calling on his life and providing for his family. In this book, he lays bare the doubts, anxieties, even depression he went through while his wife was at home simply wanting him to lead the family the way he was meant to.

This book really hit home to me in so many ways. My husband and I are at a good point in our 21-year marriage right now, but it hasn’t always been so, and I know it won’t always be so. When Sanctus Real’s song “Lead Me” came out, it spoke to me every time I heard it, and I used the lyrics to explain to my husband where I felt our relationship was lacking at the time. I’m sure the song spoke to countless others as well, just as I’m sure this book will speak to many hearts. Hammitt’s insights into what it means to be present in a marriage, even if you can’t be physically present (though that certainly helps) come from a place of experience, all of which he shares in this book. That his marriage survived some of what he describes is a testament to what can happen if two people refuse to take the easy way out and instead determine to do life together, even when it gets rough (really rough, from the sound of it).

I also found some insight into an issue my extended family is dealing with right now, and highlighted some quotes that apply to that situation. Though we all have our own stories that we’re writing as we go through life, we can certainly learn from each other along the way, even if circumstances don’t match up perfectly. And though I can’t fully connect with what Hammitt and his wife went through during and after the birth of their first son, my heart broke to read about the pain and uncertainty they went through.

My favorite thing about the book is that he points back to the Bible with every uncertainty he has, with every lesson he learns. It’s all right there for us to discover, and Hammitt lays some of it out in a way that could be beneficial to so many people who are struggling with their own families, marriages, or other relationships, whether their issue is trying to balance work and home or a plethora of other possible things that can cause a divide. Also, fans of Matt Hammitt and/or Sanctus Real might appreciate this peek into his life and why he left the band in 2015. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has interest for any reason. (Plus, any book that mentions Psalty the Singing Songbook, not once but twice, is a winner in my book!)

Thank you to Netgalley and WaterBrook & Multnomah for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Lead Me and the band Sanctus Real

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

November in Review

I read 7 books last month, which wasn’t bad considering that it was the month of NaNoWriMo, so a lot of my free time was spent writing. One book in particular dragged on for a week, due as much to not being interesting enough for me to make it a priority.

Here are the books I read in November:

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep (3.5 / 5)
Return to the Hiding Place by Hans Poley (5 / 5)
Princess in Love by Meg Cabot (4 / 5)
The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (2 / 5)
The White House by Roland Smith (4 / 5)
Elinor by Shannon McNear (3 / 5)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (5 / 5)

This list includes 2 ARCs. My favorite book from November was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I started 0 series (yay, self control!), continued 2 series, and finished 1 series*. My ever-changing short list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here.

*This is a series I didn’t reach the end of, but decided not to continue reading, after being at least 2 books into the series.

I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads. Despite my almost too-long TBR list, I’m always looking for more to add. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorites or just recent reads you enjoyed.

Book Review: Elinor

Elinor
by Shannon McNear

My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: Historical Christian fiction

Elinor Dare arrived in the New World pregnant and full of hope for the future. She, along with her husband, her father, and the other settlers who’d made the voyage, are ready for a new start, even with the difficulties that come from being dropped off in the wrong location. The island of Roanoke will be their home, at least for a time, but as history tell us, that colony did not fare well in that location. Though its true fate is still a mystery, in this book, Shannon McNear offers a possible glimpse into the colonists’ fate.

The idea of exploring what might have happened to the lost colony of Roanoke was really intriguing to me. And it’s clear, both from the book itself and from authors’ notes before and after the book, that McNear did her research. The atmosphere she painted really took me back to that time. However, the plot moved very slowly for the first half of the book, and I really struggled to get through it. I was confused about the title focusing on Elinor, when it seemed to be about so much more than her—her father’s and husband’s points of view were shown about as often as hers, and then sometimes a Native American from an opposing tribe. I was really uncertain about what the true plot was for a while.

Then just after the halfway point, a major event happened, and the story hurtled forward. It was a plot point I fully expected, but it came much later than I expected or would have preferred, considering the synopsis and that one of the genres the book is listed as is romance. I almost put the book down then, because I knew where the book was going, and I really didn’t want to go through it. But I kept going, and the 2nd half of the book came through for me better than I expected.

One of the things that I liked most about the book was the spiritual journey that Sees Far, the Native American I mentioned earlier, went through. I would have liked to see that fleshed out more in the second half, and the first half pared down. I like McNear’s writing in the couple of books of hers I’ve read so far, but this time, for me, the story just got bogged down by the history. However, I do think a lot of fans of history and Christian fiction will like this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for providing me a copy of this book to review.
Publication date: December 1, 2021

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Poison at the Pump

Poison at the Pump
The Imagination Station #25
by Chris Brack & Sheila Seifert

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Historical children’s fiction, Christian

In this first of a 3-part story arc, cousins Beth and Patrick are tasked with finding a mystery liquid in London during the cholera epidemic of 1854. They are separated at first and meet historical figures like Dr. John Snow and Curate Henry Whitehead who played important roles in history. But when Patrick learns that he drank water from the contaminated pump, he’s not certain he’ll be able to make it back from 1854 alive.

I actually read part 3 of this story arc (which, in turn, is part of a much larger series) first, then decided to go back and read the preceding stories. I did not like this one quite as much as the third in the arc, which might have been due to the respective subject matters as much as anything. I did still like it, though, and appreciate the way these stories bring somewhat lesser-known pockets of history to life for children. The doctor who first posited that cholera was spread by contaminated water, rather than through the air, for example, is certainly not one that kids this age are likely to have heard about. For that matter, I didn’t know about him either, though I can’t guarantee I didn’t read about him in passing during a history class in school and simply forgot about him. But that’s all the more reason this story is a nice way of making historical events and figures more memorable.

I’m a little confused about the premise for the series, the Imagination Station, and how it works. That’s likely due to not having read the rest of the series, but I did think I knew enough about the Imagination Station from Adventures in Odyssey as a whole to know that it’s…well…all in the imagination. And yet, this story made it seem like the kids were actually sent back in time. So I’m not sure if I misread the book/it was just confusing in that area, or if they’ve changed the way the Imagination Station works (though then the name wouldn’t really make sense either). That confusion aside, I think the book is a great read for kids up to age 12.

Find out more about Poison at the Pump

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Lost in Darkness

Lost in Darkness
by Michelle Griep

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Historical Christian romance

When Amelia Balfour’s father dies, it puts a halt to her plans to travel to Cairo for her travel-writing career. She was never close to her father, but his death means that she is responsible to help her estranged brother through a surgery meant to cure a disorder that has caused him to grow to giant proportions. The surgery is experimental and risky, and even the surgeon’s new partner, Graham Lambert, has doubts about whether or not it is worth the danger to the patient.

If I could break this story down into parts, the plot would get at least 4 stars, but characters would get maybe 2-3. The writing would get 4-5 stars, but relationship development would get maybe 3. As you can imagine, it was difficult for me to put a single rating on this book, with which I had my ups and down. In the end, I did like the plot, which was mostly dark with a light of hope shining through. It was inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and not subtly, considering that the author herself has a small role in the book. There is a bit of a mystery in the book that I didn’t see the purpose of, but all in all, the story was good.

My biggest issues were with the characters and the relationships that developed between them. Graham is inconsistent in a way that frustrated me, at times attributing hope and sovereignty to God, but at other times saying he’s not a religious man and that God likely wants nothing to do with him. He’s also so often shown to be a man with a short temper and violent tendencies, though Amelia describes him as normally cool and calm. The relationship between the male and female MCs developed about like one would expect from a romance, but the one that bothered me was the friendship between Graham and Amelia’s brother, Colin. We really don’t see much development there, and then suddenly Graham thinks of him like a brother. I would have loved to see that progression.

I wished Amelia would have come to see how idolatrous her superstitions were a lot sooner, but overall I liked the Christian message presented in the book, especially Mrs. Bap and her total reliance on God and her comment that death for a believer is the ultimate healing. In the end, I’m glad I read it, and think most fans of Christian romances of the Regency era will enjoy this book, especially if they’re okay with a little darkness in the story.

Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for providing me a copy of this book to review.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

October in Review

I read 8 books last month, which is more than I expected it to be by halfway through when I’d only finished a couple of books. I was a bit busier with work last month. This month is NaNoWriMo, and I’ve already slowed down even more on reading, so we’ll see how next month turns out.

Here are the books I read in October:

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (4 / 5)
Night Song by Tricia Goyer (4 / 5)
Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner (3 / 5)
Nightmare Academy by Frank Peretti (5 / 5)
The Cat Who Played Post Office by Lilian Jackson Braun (5 / 5)
Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan (5 / 5)
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (3 / 5)
Poison at the Pump by Chris Brack & Sheila Seifert (review pending)

This list includes 2 ARCs and 1 re-read. My favorite book from October (that wasn’t a re-read) was The Cat Who Played Post Office. I started 0 series (for once), continued 4 series, and finished 1 series. My ever-changing short list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here.

I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads. Despite my almost too-long TBR list, I’m always looking for more to add. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorites or just recent reads you enjoyed.