Book Reviews

First & Then by Emma Mills


First & Then
By: Emma Mills

Published: October 2015
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Format Read: Trade Paperback, Library Book
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA Lit, Romance

Rating: 3/5


Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.


My Thoughts

Emma Mills debut novel First and Then is said to be a modern day Pride and Prejudice. When I came across it at my local library, I was leery as I’m not a Jane Austen fan. And truth be told that particularly novel is among my least favourites. However I decided to borrow it anyway as I have been looking forward to reading from this author. The football storyline also caught my interest.

First and Then was a quick young adult contemporary novel that I enjoyed, for the most part. I liked the authors style of writing and the bits of sarcastic humor. The bond between Foster and Ezra was my favourite part of this book.

Unfortunately I didn’t quite connect with the main character Devon and I struggled to see where she fit in. Devon seemed more of a narrator or a way of connecting the side characters. There were some minor characters that I felt should have played more of roll in the story and I was disappointed how they were kind of cast aside.

Although First and Then wasn’t my favourite, it did have moments I enjoyed and I do plan to read more from this author in the future.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Mending Fences
(The Deacon’s Family, #1)

By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Published: February 2019
Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company
Format Read: ARC, eBook, Kindle, NetGalley
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 5/5

I was sent a copy of Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.


My Thoughts

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s latest release is aptly named as this story is indeed about Mending Fences. Not only figuratively but literally as well. Fans of this author may remember the troubled Luke Schrock from her previous novels that follow the Amish Stoney Ridge inhabitants. Readers follow as he tries to turn over a new leaf and make amends for the pain he has caused.

The numerous series set in Stoney Ridge, are always a heartwarming reading experience and Mending Fences is no exception. I love the community this author has created and being reunited with past characters from previous installments.

Although some of the earlier decisions made might have been questionable, there was immense character growth throughout this novel. Not only from our main characters, but in those who were more secondary as well. The connections between different storylines, was well thought out and I enjoyed the different comparisons used in respect to Luke’s journey.

I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this Deacon’s Family series and would highly recommend Mending Fences.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Mini 5 Star Historical Fiction Reviews: March 2019

I was fortunate enough to read two books that I rated 5 stars during the month of march. Both of these books were historical fiction. Here are my quick thoughts.


The Gilded Years
By Karin Tanabe

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5

Passing meets The House of Mirth in this “utterly captivating” (Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House) historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passed as white—until she let herself grow too attached to the wrong person.

My Thoughts: The setting of Karin Tanabe’s The Gilded Years was of great interest to me as I am really drawn to books set in New York (state or city) during this time period. Life for young women in college, during a time when very few had the opportunity was fascinating. However it was the importance of Anita Hemmings story that really captivated me. Not only did she make strides during a time of women’s suffrage, but in the civil rights of her own people as well. The Gilded Age would make for a great book club selection as it will open many opportunities for discussion.


To the Farthest Shores
By: Elizabeth Camden

Read by: Angela Brazil
It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett’s heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness. Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can’t tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk. Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can’t pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I enjoyed Elizabeth Camden’s To The Farthest Shores. There are many different aspects to this story that some may find overwhelming, but I enjoyed each part. The characters were very diverse with very detailed histories including a strong female lead. I was especially intrigued by the comparisons between the American and Japanese cultures. Angela Brazil was a wonderful and optimistic narrator for this audiobook and I hope to listen to more from her in the future. I would highly recommend To the Farthest Shores to fans of Christian historical fiction.


Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme featuring our most anticipated releases to come. It is hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
By: Kim Michele Richardson

Expected Publication Date: May 7, 2019


“Richardson’s latest work is a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and – just as importantly – a compassionate human connection. Richardson’s rendering of stark poverty against the ferocity of the human spirit is irresistible. Add to this the history of the unique and oppressed blue-skinned people of Kentucky, and you’ve got an un-put-downable work that holds real cultural significance.” – Sara Gruen, #1 NYT bestselling author

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people–a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman’s chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,i> showcases a historical first for the introduction of Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a tale of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2019

Total Books Read in March: 4

Total Book Read in 2019: 12


First and Then
By: Emma Mills
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3/5


The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2)
By: Sarah Sundin

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance
Rating: 4/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2) by Sarah Sundin, from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for a honest review.


The Gilded Years
By: Karin Tanabe
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
NOTE: The Gilded Years was my TBR Jar Pick for February.


To the Farthest Shores
By: Elizabeth Camden
Read By: Angela Brazil
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Audio Book, Library Book, Libby App
Rating: 5/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 2

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 1
2019 TBR Jar Challenge: 1

Formats Read

Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 1

April TBR

From My TBR Jar


Sent for Review


Currently Reading