Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

I was excited to get back into the Serafina books. It has been more than three years since I first read and reviewed Serafina and the Black Cloak so I ‘reread’ the book by listening to the audiobook before listening to Serafina and the Twisted Staff. It was worth the time. Cassandra Campbell, the narrator for the Serafina series, is genuinely talented. She made the books come alive as she is a master with pacing, dialects, accents, and characterization. Campbell gave a completely professional reading of the stories.

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The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

The Noble Servant is a lovely medieval fairy tale romance.  It has been said by other reviewers that The Noble Servant is reminiscent of The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm.  I’ve not read the story so I can’t speak to that.  I can say that The Noble Servant is a modern fairytale.  I find in our two primary characters qualities that are reminiscent of Cinderella and the prince in the classic fairy tale Cinderella by Charles Perrault.  The Noble Servant isn’t a copycat book by any measure though; it retains a distinctly unique style that is wholly Melanie Dickerson.

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To Love Anew by Bonnie Leon

To Love Anew begins with our heroine, Hannah, losing her precious mother to the sweating sickness.  Hannah’s mother provided her with a strong foundation of faith in God, a sweet and loving spirit, and skilled hands that aren’t idle.  As can only be, Hannah grieves for her mother and life is never the same again.  

Hannah’s situation is one that most of us will never experience.  Without her mother’s skills as a seamstress, Hannah very rapidly becomes homeless, alone and defenseless in a harsh and cruel world.  The reality of young women without means in 19th century London.

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The Cottage by Michael Phillips

I highly recommend any book written by Michael Phillips.  The Cottage is no exception.  It is a beautiful romance and a compelling Christian fiction read.  As is common in Phillips’ written works, The Cottage is a lesson-filled book.  It is a comforting read, a relaxing read, while at the same time a spiritually and morally challenging read... if you are listening.  I pray that you listen.  I'm going to encourage you now to read The Inheritance, the first book in the Secrets of the Shetlands series, if you haven't already and to then read The Cottage

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the best of 2016

A list of my favorite books (from my 5-star rated list) read in 2016.  They may or may not have been published in 2016.  Sometimes I am blessed and run across a book years after it has been published and find a new favorite.

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The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

Phillips paints beautiful scenery.  His descriptions of the Shetland Islands and the community of Whales Reef in particular are very detailed and lovely.  He shows the value and an understanding of the culture and history of the island. The Inheritance extolls the blessings to be found in a families heritage that I find distinctly lacking in America.  I am much the poorer for it. 

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The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert

The Girl From the Train is an incredibly beautiful book.  In many ways it touched me very similarly to Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.  It drew me in, made me smile and cheer, made me cry, made me angry.  

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A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson

The name of the story, A Treasure Concealed, reveals three treasures.  Two are of earthly value and one that has the greatest value of all and is of eternal significance.  A Treasure Concealed is a beautiful historical love story.

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