“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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Monday, May 1, 2017

A Clever Fairy Tale Retelling You Won't Want to Miss--Review of the "Noble Servant" by Melanie Dickerson

Blurb from Goodreads:

She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted.

Since meeting Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg, at Thornbeck Castle, Lady Magdalen has not been able to stop thinking about him. She knows—as a penniless lady with little to offer in terms of a dowry—she has no real hope of marrying such a highly titled man, so it comes as a great surprise when she receives a letter from him, asking for her hand in marriage.

But all is not what it seems at Wolfberg Castle. Steffan has been evicted by his scheming uncle, and his cousin has taken over the title of duke. Left for dead, Steffan is able to escape, and disguised as a shepherd, hopes to gain entry to the castle to claim the items that will prove he is the true Duke of Wolfberg.

Journeying to the castle, Magdalen has no idea what awaits her, but she certainly did not expect her loyal maidservant to turn on her. Forcing Magdalen to trade places with her, the servant plans to marry the duke and force Magdalen to tend the geese.

Without their respective titles—and the privileges that came with them—Steffan and Magdalen are reunited in the shepherd’s field. Together they conspire to get back their rightful titles. But they must hurry . . . or else they risk losing it all to the uncle’s evil plan.

My review:

Melanie Dickerson has been a favorite author of mine since I first learned she was going to be writing a Christian fairy tale retelling!  I love fairy tale retellings (hence my blog name) and it's not always easy to find clean ones without a lot of mature content.  Ever since her first book, I have been devouring everything she writes.  I love that young girls and adults alike can enjoy these stories.

The Noble Servant is a fun twist on two fairy talesThe Goose Girl and The Prince and the Pauper!  This is the third book in Ms. Dickerson's A Medieval Fairy Tale / Thornbeck series.  You don't have to read the first two books to understand this story.  It is fun to discover the way Ms. Dickerson weaves the traditional fairy tales into this story and then puts her own spin on it.  My favorite aspects of this story are the characters and the spiritual content.

The two main characters are both very likable and relatable.  Even though they live in medieval times I find I can very much relate to them and their struggles.  It is refreshing that Magdalen, the heroine, isn't a super bold, "kick butt" type.  I love those female characters in stories (and Ms. Dickerson does have some of these heroines in her other books), but let's be real, not everyone is like that.  Magdalen, instead, is very strong spiritually. She also has great kindness, gentleness and compassion.  She does stand up for what she believes in, like when she stands up for a mute boy.  Magdalen feels compassion for Agnes, the girl who has taken everything away from her.  Steffan, the hero, also defends the helpless when he takes the beating for a man caught stealing bread.

The spiritual aspect of this book is very well written.  I feel like Magdalen and Steffan both really learn to incorporate faith into every aspect of their life and they rely on God in hard situations.  Magdalen goes right to God in prayer when she doesn't know what to do.  She also quotes Scripture.  Both characters have their world turned completely upside down and come out of their hardships with a stronger faith.  I really love the strong faith thread that is woven into this story.

This is a great book with well written characters and a great faith theme.  It isn't my favorite of Ms. Dickerson's stories but I still love it and would recommend it!  I give this book four stars.  It is a clean read.

Releases May 9th!!

Pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Noble-Servant-Melanie-Dickerson/dp/0718026608/

Melanie Dickerson's website: http://www.melaniedickerson.com/

I want to thank Thomas Nelson, Melanie Dickerson, & NetGalley for the complimentary advanced copy of this book.  I received this book for free.  No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"A Lady in Disguise" is a riveting read!

A Lady in Disguise (Daughters of Hampshire, #3)A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Sandra Byrd's historical books! This one did not disappoint. It was a perfect blend of history, suspense and romance. I really enjoyed learning a lot about the theatres and the "darker side of London" during the Victorian era. Ms. Byrd kept me guessing as to the mystery aspect and I really didn't figure it out until near the end, soon before everything was revealed. The hero was really great too. He wasn't your "typical" gothic hero, which I appreciated. I would definitely recommend this book and I give it 5 stars.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trying out Bookstagram!

.  Check out my new Instagram https://www.instagram.com/faerytalesarereal/. 

So excited to read Sandra Byrd's newest Daughter's of Hampshire book "Lady in Disguise." #bookstagram #books #booksoninstagram #mystery #christianfiction #bookromance #victorian #sandrabyrd
Perfect trip to a quaint, delightful book shop. I was able to pick up a beautiful copy of Anne of Green Gables and enjoy some gluten and dairy free pumpkin chai, brownies and peanut butter bars (I split them with my hubby 😉). 📚🍫❤ #bookstagram #booklover #wellingtonsquarebookshop #glutenanddairyfree ##chailatte #quaintbookstore

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour--A Duke's Promise by Jamie Carie

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Duke's Promise
B&H Books (September 1, 2012)
Jamie Carie


As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.

Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in her head for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.

Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.

If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”


From the Land of Fire and Ice back to England’s shores, Alexandria Featherstone finds herself the new Duchess of St. Easton. Her husband has promised a wedding trip to take them to the place where her imperiled parents were last seen -- Italy and the marble caves of Carrara -- but a powerful Italian duke plots against Alex and her treasure-hunting parents.

Hoping to save them, Alex and Gabriel travel to Italy by balloon. Fraught with danger on all sides and pressured by Gabriel’s affliction to the breaking point, they must learn to work and fight together. The mysterious key is within their grasp, but they have yet to recognize it. This journey will require steadfast faith in God and each other -- a risk that will win them everything they want or lose them everything they have.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Duke's Promise, go HERE.

Jamie can be reached through the Contact link on her Website

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Outrunning the Trials of War - A Review of "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand

Book Description
Copied from Amazon.com

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.a

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Book Review

"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" is the newest book from Laura Hillenbrand, author of "Seabiscuit."  Let me start off by saying that "Unbroken" is amazing.  The story it tells is awe-inspiring, and the writing which conveys it is beautiful.

From the very first chapter I knew I was in for a treat.  Hillenbrand immediately takes the reader deep into the life of Louis Zamerini, the main character.  Nearly every passage in this book is informed by the immense amount of research that Hillenbrand did, and that research shines through every page.  Facts about Louis's track days are scattered through the first chapters, quotes from first-hand witnesses are inserted often, and photographs provided directly from the main players in the story and their families are littered throughout.  The reader really gets to know Zamperini and all the supporting cast very intimately.

However, all this factual information would be nothing without beautiful writing to tie it all together, and Hillenbrand brings it in spades.  Through all the climactic moments, and all the lulls, Hillenbrand's writing carries the reader through the story with grace - and what a story it is!  I find it hard to think of anyone who would not enjoy this book.  It is a story of human resilience and the strength to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.  It is also a wonderfully moving story of Christian faith.  I am inspired by the stories of the men and women in this book and I think anyone who reads it will be too.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  This is a clean read.

This book was reviewed by my husband, Addison.

I want to thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers  for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour "The Kingdom" by Bryan Litfin--Thrilling Conclusion to Chiveis Trilogy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Kingdom
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
Brian M. Litfin


Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.

Brian can be reached through the Contact link on his Website


Book Three in the Chiveis Trilogy

War and disease have destroyed the modern world. Centuries later, feudal societies have arisen across Europe. No one can remember the ancient religion of Christianity—until an army captain and a farmer’s daughter discover the Sacred Writing of the one true God.
As Teo and Ana encounter the forgotten words of the holy book, they realize its message is just what their kingdom needs. Though exiled from their homeland, they join their hearts in a quest to return. But now an ancient pact has united the enemies of the Christian faith into a dark alliance that threatens to consume the known world. Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Teo and Ana must battle heinous villains, stormy seas, and the powers of the underworld itself. As armies begin to mass for a final battle, the odds favor the forces of evil. Can Teo and Ana bring divine truth to Chiveis—or will the Word of God fade from the earth forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Kingdom, go HERE.

My review:

Can you imagine a place where the Bible has never been heard of and Christianity never preached?  At least in Teo and Ana's day, that's what the reader encounters.  As they get swept into this epic saga, readers find themselves in a land not unlike that of medieval society, except all traces of Christianity are suppressed and it is in fact not the Middle Ages but 400 years in the future.  What a refreshing view, to take a society who has never heard of the Bible and reintroduce Christianity.  How will the society react?  Will they feel threatened after reading the truth of God's Word or rejoice at the beautiful truths presented therein?  Litfin's The Kingdom is an awesome testimony to the power of God's transforming Word and how the discovery of that Word changed everything in the life of two people and one kingdom.

The Kingdom by Bryan Litfin is the third installment in the Chiveis Trilogy.  I would recommend that one read the other two books in the series before this one as The Kingdom directly picks up where the second book leaves off.  Litfin does do a good job of summing up events for those who have not read the other two books, without being too tedious about it.  I had not finished reading the second book in the series (The Gift) by the time I was reading this book and was still able to fully understand and enjoy it. 

The Kingdom has an epic, adventure-like quality to it not unlike The Lord of the Rings or Narnia.  Unlike those classic series though, this is no made-up world.  Instead, The Kingdom is set in the real world, in a vividly imagined post-apocalyptic future.  It's a world that has gone through nuclear warfare and has regressed in terms of technology, thus giving it an otherworldly, fantasy-like feel.  The places Litfin refers to in The Kingdom are all real and many of them are places he has actually visited.

Spiritually, "The Kingdom" packs a big punch!  The characters, especially the main characters, are fully developed in their relationship with the Lord (or Deu, as they call Him).  I love the freshness of the hero's and heroine's (Teo's and Ana's) faith and hunger for the Lord.  They are seeing Scripture through new eyes and just discovering God and Christianity.  It really convicts me of how much I take the ability to own and read the Bible for granted.  I also felt myself having a new vibrancy as I read Scripture just from reading Ana's reaction to different situations.  Ana's love for Deu and her relationship with him is really described so beautifully and is something I want to emulate in my own life.

The characters in The Kingdom are characters the reader will not easily want to part with at the end of the series.  I found myself getting attached to them, especially Ana and Teo.  Teo and Ana are written in such a way that they complement each other.  It is not just Teo who is always coming to the rescue and saving Ana.  Ana, not content to be the "damsel in distress," often ends up saving Teo as well. 
Ana is definitely my favorite character.  She is strong and I like the fact that she saves Teo at times.  As well as being good with a bow and arrow, she is also vulnerable, beautiful, noble, feminine and virtuous (no, she's definitely not perfect).  There is one scene where she will not deny Deu, even if it means her death! 

There are a lot of extra features (for free) on The Chiveis Trilogy website.  There are maps, videos and downloads for each book. 

Content:  The book is a clean read (no bad language or sex).  I would recommend this book to teens and up due to the violent content in a lot of the battle and fighting scenes.  The subject matter of demons and demon possession is also dealt with, sometimes in detail (in reference to spiritual warfare, as the hero's enemies often use demons to give them otherworldly power).  The hero and heroine are tempted sexually but do not give into their temptation knowing that waiting until marriage is God's best plan for them.  The evil priestess is said to wear seductive (even see-through) clothing.  Our hero admits how attractive he finds her at times.  I believe this is to show how beguiling and attractive evil can often look. 

I give this book 5 stars!

I want to thank Bryan Litfin, Crossway Books, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Forgiven Duke Blog Tour--Review & Giveaway!

There is a GIVEAWAY for a signed paperback copy of the Guardian Duke and The Forgiven Duke (Forgotten Castles #1 & #2) to one winner!  Be sure to enter!  Scroll to the bottom to find out more!
The Book: (description from Goodreads)

Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

Book Links:

The Author:

Jamie Carie writes novels about fierce, passionate women; their dreams; their fears; their triumphs. Her deepest desire is to see her readers find that same passion as they follow their destiny and discover deeper intimacy with Jesus.

 She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three sons.
It's here!  The official Facebook page for The Forgotten Castles series: facebook.com/ForgottenCastles
The Guardian DukeFebruary 2012 See the making of the cover and trailer  here!

The Forgiven Duke – Book 2 in The Forgotten Castles series - July 2012

The Review:

Jamie Carie has done it again! She has produced quite a masterpiece in The Forgiven Duke, the second installment in her “Forgotten Castles” series. I was so impressed by the first book in the series, The Guardian Duke, that I was a little worried the sequel might disappoint. Although the two books are different in some ways, they are both just as good and equally deserving of the five stars I have given them.

In the first book, The Guardian Duke, Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, has been trying to catch his ward, Alexandria Featherstone, in a chase across England and Ireland, but to no avail. Alexandria (Alex) has been trying to locate her parents who are high-profile treasure hunters. At the end, Alex is sailing off on a ship to Iceland as the Duke is on shore watching her leave. They lock eyes for an intense moment over the distance that separates them—and speak to each other in the way only soul mates can. Gabriel has just decided that if he reaches Alex in time, he will abandon the Regent’s wishes to bring Alex back to England and help her in her quest to find her parents. He will choose faith over duty (his family motto is “Faith for Duty”). He knows he loves her and will do whatever it takes.

The Forgiven Duke begins where The Guardian Duke leaves off. The year is 1818. Alex is now aboard the ship with her fiance, John Lemon. Alex realizes she may have made a mistake in trying to escape her guardian, and prays that he will come. She needs him. Alex feels her life has gotten off track. John seems too eager to marry her. She wonders what his real motivations are. In the midst of all this, Alex must be on constant alert for the dangerous men who have been following her since the beginning of her search for her parents. She must also consider if she can trust those who are supposedly her allies.

The Duke follows Alex to Iceland, the last place where “the manuscript” was heard to be. This is what Alex’s parents are searching for. Gabriel travels to the Black Castles of Iceland, huge black pillars from volcanic lava that look like castles. This path is fraught with dangers. Gabriel is deterred again and again. Will he ever make it to Alex in time? Why is the manuscript so valuable? 

Alex and Gabriel do finally meet, and the meeting is so tender and worth the wait! Then a tragedy occurs. Will Alex and the Duke let the tragedy separate them just when they were finally brought together?

I adored this book. It was different from its predecessor in many ways, as I stated before, because it seemed to have a more intense feel to it. The Guardian Duke was a more light-hearted romp, with fun, lovable characters. The Forgiven Duke deals with much weightier subjects. The scenery here, instead of being the verdant Ireland, is the dark, dangerous paths of Iceland.

As I state in my previous review of The Guardian Duke, both are written to have an air of poetry about them. Jamie Carie writes in a way that is lyrical and mesmerizing. The Forgiven Duke uses amazing and wonderfully descriptive language. The land of Iceland feels almost otherworldly. She describes a beautiful land with fire, ice, snow, crevasses, boiling mud pits, volcanoes, and mists.

It was inspiring to watch the journey of faith that Gabriel and Alex’s characters take. Gabriel prays a lot more in this book. He used to love listening to music, but now he uses music to worship God. God fills the hole in him that music used to fill. While reading I began examining myself for different areas where I might be going to things other than God to satisfy my needs. It is a good reality check for all of us. The Duke must come to the end of himself and ask for God’s will in everything. That is a hard place to be, but a good one, because that is really when God can start to use us. 

Alex realizes she is trying to control things by attempting to find her parents her own way and not submitting to the Duke. She now comprehends how much havoc and suffering this has caused to others. I can relate to Alex as I constantly have to give up my own issues of control to God.

I love the storyline of this series because it is fresh, exiting and will whisk you off to new places!

I give this book five stars out of five. It is a clean read. It is Christian fiction.

Click here to go check out all the other sites on the tour!  Thank you so much to Bookshelf Confessions for sponsoring this tour!

I want to thank NetGalley, Jamie Carie and the B&H Publishing Group for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255. 

There is a GIVEAWAY for a signed paperback copy of the Guardian Duke and The Forgiven Duke (Forgotten Castles # 1, #2) to one winner! Be sure to enter. Scroll to the bottom to find out more. US/CAN only.  Follow the Rafflecopter on how to enter.    

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