Howdy! How has your month been thus far? Hard to believe we’re already halfway through August! I’m still trying to recover from July, lol!
Today, I am doing a full review of the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy by Kellyn Roth! Well, as full as it can be; the series is ongoing! But it’s currently on hold, so now it the perfect time to review what’s out so far, because… Kellyn is publishing a book next month that connects to this series!
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
*Review Style will vary as my review method has changed since I first started reviewing! Some are more detailed than others. These are the reviews I wrote and posted on Goodreads. I do plan to fix it in the future after rereading the final book. Sorry, I’m a busy mama and don’t always have time to make the reviews as detailed as I like, but this is my current season. Thank you for understanding!*
The Dressmaker's Secret
Recommended for 16+ 🧵|| Content Meter: 4/5 🧵|| Quality Meter: 9/10 🧵|| Personal Enjoyment: 8 🧵|| Overall: 8/10 🧵
The Story || This is the second time I've read this book. Frankly, I am in a better place to be reading this book. The first time was too soon and I didn't appreciate it. But this time...I adore it. Alice is a dear and I deeply identify with her. Claire too, but in an out of context way 🤣 Nettie is by far my favorite character and I would love a whole book about her 🥰 Ivy is a dear and the whole story is one big Victorian hug. 🧵
I'll sandwich my complaints between the praise, I've only two. The part about the War Between the States didn't fit, it felt completely random (Also, I listened to part of the audio book and y'all, southerners don't sound like that 🙄). The second issue is that most of the time, I just thought I was in turn of the century New York rather than Victorian England, but that may just be me. 🧵
It's deep and uncomfortable but in a way people need to be made uncomfortable. Prejudging people is not okay. It just isn't. And even if the person is in the wrong, you will never help them see it if you cast them out. I firmly believe that. Jesus didn't refuse to speak to those who rejected Him and neither should we. I am very much looking forward to binging the rest of the series! 🧵
The Aesthetic || This book is a book that makes me want to grab a cup of tea; fabric, thread, old sewing machines; tea, finger sandwiches and tea cakes; lace, pearls and ponies; handkerchiefs, kittens and school books; Dickens, shop girls and butlers🧵
The Writing || I’ve said it before, Kelly’s is a talented author. I’ve never seen someone craft a story on such a taboo topic with such grace and honesty, balanced with struggle, realistic conflict and grounded truth. I can honestly say, this is a book I would gladly recommend to my friends.🧵
The Vibe || This book gives a vibe of desperation, perseverance, love, agony, betrayal and fulfillment. It’s moody with the rainy London backdrop and cheery with the visits out of the city. It’s a reminder that olden days weren’t perfect, yes, far from it. There is darkness…but also Light…🧵
The Content || Insinuations of immorality happening in the past, but no details; mentions/assumptions of rape; mention (vague) of how babies are made; mention of running away; verbally/emotionally abusive father; SPOILER: forced annulment and the man remarried while first wife is living, but the situation is resolved in a biblical manner.🧵
The Story|| This book. How do I even begin? As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, this book was such an encouragement to me! Ivy and Violet were relatable, realistic and I pray they open people's eyes to the struggles of others!
Nora too, oh my heart! Her struggles to get through mental and emotional abuse, guilt and timidity are well written, expertly handled and biblically explained. Mrs. Roth knows what she's about with these topics. And pointing out the differences between submission and abuse! Spot on!
Ivy's desire for everything to stay the same was very relatable! I struggle with change and seeing her grow was encouraging to me. The Character development in this book is fantastic, btw! Overall, this is one of my top favorites!
The Aesthetic || This book is a book with a cool undertone... Stone structures, rushing water, wind whistling. Warm tea, sweaters, sheet music and ink splotches; canopy beds, white linens, hearty soup and snow storms; Lanterns, candles and flannel night gowns; Rolling hills, waving grass and iron gates.
The Writing|| The last book was good, this one was great! It takes talent to write books with accents that don't come off annoying eventually! Jordy. That's all I'm saying. The prose was clear, thought provoking and soul-searching. It wasn't too complicated and the POVs transferred with ease. Definitely one I will be rereading!
The Vibe|| This book gives a vibe of anxiety understood, depression loved through and changes embraced. It's darkness pieced and music healing the hurting heart. It's understanding and embracing God given differences. Learning to cope and live among people who don't understand. Loving people through hard times...
The Content|| Mental health issues, anxiety, depression, child abandonment or feeling abandoned; reference to previous marital issues, toxic spouse, mental, verbal and emotional abuse; mentions of suicide.
The Rating|| Recommended for 12+ || Content Meter: 5/5 || Quality Meter: 10/10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 10/10
At Her Fingertips
Recommended for 16+ 🌹|| Content Meter: 4/5 🌹|| Quality Meter: 10/10 🌹|| Personal Enjoyment: 10 🌹|| Overall: 10/10 🌹
The Story || This book y'all. It's so so good. It's a romance for those who don't like romance. It is like a Victorian version of Pride and Prejudice and I am so here for it. The Aesthetic, the silliness of society and the "marriage market," ah, y'all, it's so good! 🌹
And can we talk about the spiritual themes??? It's the perfect valence of not preachy and deep spiritual conversations about His will in our lives and the struggles we face when we try to do it on our own, even with good intentions. Highly recommended for singles! 🌹
The Aesthetic || This books is a whirlwind! Ball gowns and parties, fans, tea cakes and curls piled high; newspaper print, charcoal pencils and Yankee accents; marble, the throne room and too much tea; picnics, Brooks, paintings and horses sweaty from racing; broken hearts, dark secrets and true love.🌹
The Writing || How can each book become my new favorite in the series? I mean seriously, series aren't supposed to get better with each subsequent book! But I've noticed this to be true with many Indie authors and I love this trend!🌹
The Vibe || This book is about inward struggles; fighting with desires, what we should want and what God has planned for us; trying to reach others that don't want to be reached. It's the desperation to do what's right even if it doesn't make sense.🌹
The Content || Mentions of rumored abuse; babies out of wedlock, one consensual, one not; Christian "dating" a non-believer, well resolved; man slaps woman; dancing, horse-racing; per-marital kiss, not too detailed.🌹
Beyond Her Calling
The Story || This is probably my favorite in the series so far because I relate to Ivy in ways I can't explain...well, I mean I can but I don't want to because it's personal and I'm not there yet. But her struggles with mental illness and desires for her life...yeah this is my favorite book so far... I just can't say more, go get this book.
The Aesthetic || This book is a warm hug! It's a Scottish breeze, bleating sheep and a thick brogue. It's windy heights, rocky landscapes and rolling pastures. It's medicine cabinets, flowing dresses and warm scarves. It's rainy days, music on the breeze and fresh milk and bread.
The Writing || I think by this point, we all know Kellyn is an expert. What more can I say? I wanna be like her!
The Vibe || This book is about worth. It's about being worthy through Christ and learning that we are worthy of the blessings He has designed for us. Because He says we are. It's learning to forgive and be forgiven. It's finding your worth in Christ.
The Content || Man gets drunk, girl steals kiss; man has relations before marriage (talked about, not on scene); kissing before marriage, hugging.
The Rating || Recommended for 16+ || Content Meter: 4.5/5 || Quality Meter: 10/10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 10/10
A Prayer Unanswered
Recommended for 16+🌿|| Content Meter: 4.5/5 🌿|| Quality Meter: 10/10 🌿|| Personal Enjoyment: 10 🌿|| Overall: 10/10 🌿
The Story || This series has touched me in ways I can begin to unpack in a single review. This book in particular made me feel seen, heard and understood. *Spoiler* While I have never miscarried and my PPD didn’t lead to suicidal thoughts, I related to Alice’s insecurities and struggles in a way I can’t explain. *End Spoiler*🌿
I admit, most of the book, I wanted to unalive Peter. How he could be so blinded to what Alice was going through, how he prioritized others over their relationship…it broke my heart. I thank God for a husband that puts me second only to God.🌿
I believe everyone should read this book. Men included. Guys, you need to see the hints of things your wife isn’t sure how to express in words. Ask her what you can do better, that way, when you need to point out something she needs to improve on, she won’t feel attacked. Just…listen for what she isn’t saying. That’s all…🌿
The Aesthetic || This book is an autumn read. Cobblestone streets, falling leaves, broken hearts. New homes, strange people and a cup of tea. Warm shawls, running water and tiny headstones. Wet handkerchief, cold winds and cries of despair. Sunrises, hope and forgiveness. 🌿
The Writing || You all know Kellyn Roth is my standard for excellent writing. If I could be even half as good as she is, I would probably cry.🌿
The Vibe || This book is about learning to forgive and let go, even if it rips you in two. It’s overcoming guilt, suicidal thoughts and forgiving people who wronged you, even unintentionally. It’s mourning dreams that died in your arms and holding tight to the ones you still have. It’s hitting rock bottom so God can heal you. It’s about not being perfect, but being a daughter of the King.🌿
The Content || Suicidal thoughts/attempt; elopement; miscarriage and still birth; blood; marital struggles; child born out of wedlock; deception revealed; mentions of rape, not graphically detailed.🌿
After Our Castle
I think this book is best for mature adults and married women because there are some mild references to intimacy. But this book is oh so needed and I need more books cause I must know more!
As I said, I will do my best to update this post soon!
Question of the Day: Have you read this series? What were your thoughts? Would you read them if you haven’t already?
Have a Blessed Day!
Y’all know I love books and have a hard time finding places to put my collection! Well, Instagram has been a blessing and a curse in that respect, because I have found so many new books to try out and some were just too much to resist! Today, I’m gonna share nine books I bought because Instagram made me, lol! Let’s dive in!
Once I Knew by Victoria Lynn
This book is truly a gem. It’s not a fast-paced read, but rather a deep thought-provoking book to take your time with. It’s a realistic fantasy (or Kingdom fantasy as many of us have dubbed it) with a deep message of trusting the Lord with your life even when it makes no sense.
The Coronation by Olivia Jarmusch
If you grew up with the real barbie movies growing up, and miss that vibe in media, you need to try The Coronation! It deals with themes of trusting your future spouse to the Lord, sibling rivalry, identity in Christ, terrorism, owning up to mistakes and being a godly leader. Perfect for grown up gals wanting that fun princess feel, a bit more mature but still with a healthy dose of fangirly giddiness!
Mammoth by Brian McBride
Never would have tried a book like this if it weren’t for my friends hyping it up! I bought the paperback before I even finished the eBook! This one is on the darker side of reality: broken families, cold case (or maybe not so much) murders, escaping the wrong crowd and standing up to evil authorities in your life. Because of a couple scenes, I recommend this book for adults and mature teens. A great start to a new adult adventure series!
How We Rise by Brooke Riley
This is a realistic dystopian that I discovered within my first month on Instagram. I didn’t buy it until book two was almost published but I really enjoyed it! It’s a fast paced read and honestly, I am surprised I haven’t read the sequel yet! It deals with standing up to evil government, losing friends, betrayal and intense grief through persecution.
Southpaw by Tabetha R. H.
Now we are getting into books I haven’t read yet! I heard about this book, I want to say last summer? But I got it this past winter right when it released. It’s a murder mystery, the first in a duology. Miss Tabby is a love human being and I just had to support her debut! I have it towards the top of my fall/winter tbr!
On Wings of Ash and Dust by Brittany Wang
This is another debut by an especially sweet woman that I just had to support! Mrs. Wang is an advocate for no spice fantasy and that’s a movement I can get behind! I’ve not really gotten into high fantasy (is this high fantasy? What is high fantasy? And is everything else low fantasy? What about medium fantasy? …) but thought this would be a fun place to start!
By Blood and Blade by Anna Augustine
This was an author I heard about when I first came to Instagram and I remember when she first started chatting about this book. It’s a middle-eastern style fantasy with an arranged marriage theme and I must admit, I am quite eager to read BBB and BLL (the prequel novella)! Technically, this book is a small-press published book, but I’m including these small presses as Indie. Anything non-trad, I’m including XD
Robbing Centaurs and Other Bad Ideas by Bethany Myers
Don’t ask me what this is. I bowed to the pressure XD I just decided to get it one day when it was on sale XD I think it’s a fantasy? Based on Greek Myths? I don’t know but there’s an unfillable bag so that’s all I’m going on.
Dìlseachd by Cheyenne van Langevelde
And finally, this lovely book is a Scottish themed fantasy and I cannot wait to dig into it! It’s on my fall/winter tbr, but again, yall know how I am with tbr’s so I may have just jinxed myself XD I bought the book not long after release (or did I preorder? I can’t remember! *face palm*) and I’m so excited to read it!
Question of the Day: What are some books blog/social media/friends have “made” you buy? Share them in the comments below!
Have a Blessed Day!
Hello and Happy August! Is it just me or has Summer flown by? It’s so hard to believe we only have one month of summer left and then school starts! Fells weird not being a student anymore, but I substitute during the school year, so I still, “go back to school,” lol!
The past year, I was introduced to a show that I really enjoyed, called Naruto, with a second part called Naruto: Shippuden. They were translated into English from Japanese, but the culture and style remains. I loved it. As with any show, there were elements we didn’t like and would skip, but as a whole, it was a powerful story that I really enjoyed. So much so that I am now reading the series! At the time I am writing this, I have read 51/72 volumes (they are quick reads, lol!).
If you do not enjoy anime or manga, that is totally fine! But I don’t want you to leave! This post isn’t about getting you to read or watch Japanese cartoons, but rather, my thoughts on a series I loved and why, as an author, I want to go back through and analyze the author’s writing and style! There’s always something to be learned from media, even if it’s just what not to do!
So today, I’m going to give five reasons, some author inspired, so consumer fangirling, on why I enjoyed Naruto!
I am obsessed with how beautiful the artwork is for this series! The national architecture, the food, the clothes (Well, not all of the clothes XD), every little detail is so vivid and alive! As a writer, I want my story settings to jump off the page the way these images do, and it really gave me lots of idea of how to do that, even if I’m a writer, not an artist!
The Story is Compelling
Please note that this is a fantasy series, so it’s not realistic, haha! These are “Ninjas,” that are born with abilities that help them fight. Some would compare it to magic systems, but that’s not what it’s meant to represent, it’s normal in their societies. But because of this, a warrior culture is born. There is a boy, Naruto, who is an outcast because of things he cannot control. All he wants is to be accepted and have a family.
Through the story, he finds his people, and fiercely defends and fights to bring his closest friend back to the right path. Sasuke’s story is a whole ‘nother post in itself, so I won’t dig into it, but for once, a sympathetic villain gets an appropriate redemption arc that doesn’t just let him off the hook for the bad things he’s done. And it shows that no matter how far a friend goes, they are never beyond coming back from the darkness. And this is just one of the many sweet story lines in this very intense story!
The Deep Relationships
As stated above, the relationship between characters is heartwarming. Shikamaru is one of my favorites and his relationship with his friends is impeccable! He encourages his, “pleasantly plump,” friend not to listen to their other friend who is constantly putting emphasis on weight and worth. He befriends Naruto when others are avoiding him. He is willing to risk everything to protect his friends and help Naruto rescue Sasuke. Sakura loves her friends enough that when Sasuke is labeled an outlaw, she is willing to take on the burden of killing him so they don’t have to (she doesn’t and the reasons why she was going to are too long to go in this post, but it makes sense, I promise XD). And Naruto is always willing to listen and talk to anyone who needs it. I could go on and on about this aspect (Hinata, Neji, *sobs*) but I’ll just say this is the kind of friendships I want to write about and experience in my life. Which I feel blessed to say that I do have these relationships <3
The Way Grief is Portrayed
Okay, just so you know, this series in very emotional. You will cry XD But the way each person deals with grief is so different and so realistic. Some are encouraged to become even stronger to protect their friends. Some go into depression. Some go hog wild and are bent on revenge. Some are a combination. Some have to quit one chapter of their life and start a new one. And some find healing. It’s beautiful, heart wrenching and so accurate. As a writer, if I can bring that to the table and help someone, it would be so worth it!
It's a Warrior Culture
This one is purely fangirling, because y’all, I love me a good warrior story. And there are so many good arcs that just make my heart so happy, lol! Nothing like a good verses evil show down and seeing the right get battered and beaten but ultimately winning in the end. And it doesn’t come cheap. Love how they make that so clear!
So anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post even if Anime isn’t your thing!
Question of the Day: What’s a story you’ve read that encouraged you to be a better writer or a better person?
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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