Such a Hope (Paths of Grace #1) by Sondra Kraak

32712291Such a Hope (Paths of Grace #1) by Sondra Kraak
Trail House Publishers, 2016
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Pages: 362
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 1/2


Summary (from Goodreads)

Washington Territory, 1871

Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.

When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted. Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.

What I thought

This was a nice, clean inspirational romance–perfect for ending the year!

I enjoyed it & thought the message about faith was touching and profound. It was a slower read, but I mean that in a pleasant way–it didn’t drag. It had a nice, relaxing pace. I truly enjoyed Tristan & Anna’s journey through healing and forgiveness and ultimately towards love. I just loved Anna–she was an inspiring example of a Godly woman and yet she still held onto her spunk & wit. Kraak’s writing was beautiful & flowed so well that his was an easy read. My only complaint was that I felt like some of the plot lines could have been shortened. I liked that Kraak took her time to develop Tristan & Anna’s characters, but I felt that the story could have been 50 pages shorter. Really, that’s the only thing that kept this from being a solid 4 star read.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this inspirational romance. I loved watching Tristan & Anna grow together & come to terms with their feelings towards each other. This story was a good, old-fashioned romance centering on God & faith, topped with lovely writing. I definitely recommend this for fans of Christian romance!

Henry Huggins (Henry Huggins #1) by Beverly Cleary


Henry Huggins (Henry Huggins #1) by Beverly Cleary 
Publisher/Year: Scholastic, 2000
Format: Paperback
Pages: 155
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Henry Huggins had been wishing for some excitement in his life. He never thought it would come in the form of a lost, hungry dog with big brown eyes that just begged for a taste of his ice cream cone.

Of course Henry shared his ice cream, and of course the poor dog wanted to follow Henry home. But long before Henry reached home with “Ribsy” he had spent all his money, been put off three buses, and enjoyed a hair-raising ride in a police car. And that was only the beginning of Henry’s exciting new life!

What I thought

I am so sad that I missed this book as a kid because I loved it now, as an adult. I was a HUGE Beverly Cleary as a kid, so I have no idea how I passed by this one. I’m just glad I finally found it.

Beverly Cleary is simply THE BEST, there’s no other way around it. You can tell that she knew & understood children, which is why she remains so popular among them.

With regards to this particular book, I fell in love with Henry and Ribsy. Henry is such a likeable, clever, adventurous, and ambitious boy, and Ribsy is such a great & oftentimes hilarious sidekick.

I really liked how Henry’s story was told, too, with each chapter being an anecdote versus having an overarching plot. It makes this book ideal for reading to (or with) young readers.

There’s something so wonderful & almost magical about the way that Beverly Cleary can take a simple story about everyday characters and create such a nostalgic, accessible read for all ages.

A definite must-read for young & old, I highly recommend checking out this classic book!

East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent


East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent
Publisher/Year: Candlewick Press, 1992
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 40
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟




A kind of Scandinavian Beauty and the Beast, this epic romantic story about a bewitched prince and the determined lassie who loves him has just about everything: rags and riches, hags and heroism, magic and mystery, a curse and a quest, wicked trolls, a shape-shifting bear, and finally, a happy ending.

Master children’s book illustrator P. J. Lynch has created a luminous backdrop worthy of this grand adventure, transporting readers to a world of fantasy and imagination.

What I thought

If you are a fan of fairytales and/or a fan of picture books, you NEED to get your hands on a copy of this book as soon as possible.

I had never read this tale (or any of its adaptations) before, and it’s such a lovely, adventurous, romantic, and fantastical story. It instills such a sense of wonder–I know I would have loved this as a child.

As is the case with fairytales, this tale definitely has its dark moments, what between the trolls, the hags, and even the lassie’s mother. And I particularly adored the element of repetition, reminiscent of traditional folklore. This is most definitely a story to be read aloud.

As far as the illustrations go, there really are not words to describe how stunning P. J. Lynch’s artwork is. The illustrations are evocative and atmospheric–they add to that sense of wonder I mentioned.

East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon is a gorgeously illustrated fairytale that is not to be missed. I definitely need to add this to my shelves!

Twice 22: The Golden Apples of the Sun / A Medicine for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury


Twice 22: The Golden Apples of the Sun / A Medicine for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury
Publisher/Year: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Summary (from Goodreads)

Twice twenty-two makes forty-four–a multiplication that explodes into nightmare fireworks when the twenty-two (and the forty-four) happen to be the number of collected stories in a collection by Ray Bradbury. For the first time, two complete books by the acknowledged Grand Master of fantasy and science fiction are here brought together: The Golden Apples of the Sun and A Medicine for Melancholy.

But of course it would be a mistake to call Bradbury a “science fiction” or a “fantasy” writer: he uses elements from both forms in the way a painter uses pigments. He can create images of the darkness and density of, say, “A Sound of Thunder”–a strange parable of the Faustian lust to conquer Time–and at the same time evokes the haunting delicacy and lightness of fifth century China in a story like “The Flying Machine.” His “All in a Summer Day” is an indelible portrait of a child’s torment and isolation; his “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit,” a splashy mural wild with gaiety. Endlessly, he subjects the reader, under his commanding power, to worlds as redolent with reverie, humor, and fear as those of Hawthorne or Poe or Kafka–worlds which have given him a multitudinous audience, including such men as W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, and Dylan Thomas.

What I thought

I think it’s safe to say that Ray Bradbury has officially made it onto the list of my favorite authors. This man is just a brilliant writer, simply put. I am so very glad I stumbled upon this collection of short stories.

Bradbury is a master of his craft, and nowhere is this more evident than in his short stories. Usually with a collection of short stories, it ends up being pretty 50-50 for me–some I like, some I don’t. With the exception of a few (and I’m talking 3-4 out of 44), I really loved these. There was a little bit of everything here; it wasn’t just one genre or another. And his stories are short & sweet, if you will, which I liked. They weren’t drawn out unnecessarily, and they got to the point. Bradbury has such a way with words that this brevity really worked. He describes things in a way that you’ve never thought of but that makes perfect sense. This makes his stories come vividly to life without the need of cumbersome back story. I truly have no other words–his stories are beautiful.

All in all, I enjoyed this collection immensely and it is not to be missed for Bradbury fans. I can definitely see myself revisiting this in the future. If you are a fan of the short story and are looking for some incisive, artful stories, look no further –Ray Bradbury’s your man.