Books Less Travelled

I'm Stephanie, an avid book reader. I read a little of everything but most often either YA or Fantasy with a dash of romance! (Previously Adventures Thru Wonderland)

To Win Her Heart

To Win Her Heart - Karen Witemeyer Actual Rating: 4.5

This one was recommended to be recently, and I'm so glad I picked it up! Historical Romance tends to be a bit hit-or-miss for me, as romance as a plot doesn't always grab my attention. This is a clean Christian Romance, but I really enjoyed the writing style and getting to meet these characters!

I admit, while I did like Eden, her uppity tendencies and prejudice ideals did gets old quick at times. More so, as the readers already know about Levi's past, and that she's about to find out too... I loved Levi's parts through-out though, and really loved seeing his gentile ways and patient nature slowly change the way the town dealt with their fears and concerns as his past, and the church's Bible funds drive start to make sense.

I also can't write a proper review with at least mentioning Chloe and Duncan! I loves several of the townspeople in this one (and honestly wish it was part of a series...Stand alones are find, but part of me wishes to return to this town a while longer...) I loved both of these supporting-characters and really enjoyed seeing how Chloe's story helps Eden learn to trust and open-up to the idea that her past, and her thoughts on forgiveness and redemption can change over time without her being naïve or loosing a part of herself in the process. She has long thought that if she allowed the events of her past to be anything but a guiding force to prevent repeated heart-break, that she would be less than the woman she strived for years to become or considered 'broken' regardless of what anyone else tries to teach her.

I also loved the library scenes, each one! I also loved how a love of books and literature is one of the things that connected these characters!

Overall, I found this one a charming and entertaining read. While there were a few places there I wished it would *hurry up and move to the next scene already!* I did enjoy this one and loved meeting these characters! I really enjoyed this story of finding one's place, love, redemption, and new beginnings. I also really enjoyed how the events around the side-characters and townsfolk also plays a role in changing up the MCs' perspectives a bit toward each other, and others from less fortunate upbringings or past mistakes that have followed them by way of stigmas. I also loved the detailed descriptions in this one! The writing style flows and is picturesque at times, with beautiful fields of wildflowers, cozy library afternoons, and lively exchanges around town!

Love That Dog

Love That Dog - Sharon Creech Oddly one of my favorite books as a kid...Probably because I made my mom read it out-loud (every night!) much to her utter dismay! XD

Sands of Time (Mission: Russia #2) (Steeple Hill Women's Fiction #41)

Sands of Time (Mission: Russia #2) (Steeple Hill Women's Fiction #41) - Susan May Warren Actual Rating: 4.5

After reading Vicktor's story, I was excited to continue on with this series. I quickly picked up the sequel, but admit I wasn't convinced I'd enjoy Roman's story quite as much as Victor's. Not anything against Roman, I loved his role in In Sheep's Clothing as Victor's friend, and as a Christian who tried to do the right thing and was always there to support his friends along with David (Preach)'s help when issues arose that needed prayer or advice. He struck me as the fun more carefree one of the group, well if there is such a thing in a group of Russian FSB (formally KGB) members and American soldiers. But, still.... He's the one with the jokes and always trying to make light of a dark situation when his friend need the hope and a loyal companion.

That said, his story, and character, are drastically different from Vicktor's. Whereas Vita is the 'tall, dark, and handsome, Russian cop, take no prisoners type tough-guy who things women are either cursed or all crazy, and is hard set on revenge to atone for past sins, with or without the help of his Believing friends. Roman is different. Coming from a very different background, Roman is just trying to prove himself worth and good enough as a man of God, trying desperately to avoid his father's failures, while struggling to find his place in God's will in the harsh Siberian reality.

Much to my surprise, I ended up loving this one! More so even than book 1, which blew me away and snuck up on my toward the end! I loved seeing Roman and Sarai's story unfold, but also loved how the truths they discovered, about themselves, each other, and God's will were relevant in my life today, and how they even had the chance to display their newfound knowledge before the story ended, which was a satisfying addition to the story.

I also must mention Genye and Anya! I enjoyed meeting them early on in the book, and loved their role more as the story plays out. They serve several purposes, missionaries, mentors, friends, and a sort of adopted/found family for Sarai for a time along with others. I loved their wisdom and guidance, from Genye's silent knowing and protective kindness, to Anya's talk in the kitchen and her guidance as a medical missionary alongside Sarai.

I also loved seeing the duel POV as Roman and Sarai's relationship grows and develops. I always love duel POV for romances and similar stories, but this one was extra important and enjoyable amidst all the twists and surprises, sometimes even the character themselves made a new discovery of self realization that changes things in how they react to each other in the future, and I loved seeing that progression, and the thought processes that lead to those new turns!

In Sheep's Clothing (Mission: Russia #1) (Steeple Hill Women's Fiction #25)

In Sheep's Clothing (Mission: Russia #1) (Steeple Hill Women's Fiction #25) - Susan May Warren Actual Rating: 4.5

Quick Thoughts: How have I never heard or seen this series anywhere? 2005!!! God works in mysterious and wonderous ways indeed! Right when I needed it, and the reminder, and when my heart has been crying out for the persecuted Church, especially in Russia!


Duty - Rachel Rossano *I received a copy from the author. This does not affect my review. This review is voluntary.*

I was excited to read this one as I've seen it mentioned by other people I follow in the book blog community, and it's the genre I tend to lean toward. Little did I know how impressive it is! I loved reading this, and really enjoyed all the attention to detail from things like every-day life and chores, to much larger things like characters, plot, and the overall story writing! Such a joy to read this, and while it does deal with many heavy topics including some triggers, I loved it but as mentioned, probably not for everyone. Still, it's not anything you wouldn't find in most history books, and it's realistic nature made the story stronger and felt well executed rather than some that are watered down and shy away from tough topics. For that I respect the author, and found myself really loving the characters' complexity as they face various challenges and are forced to ask (and answer) tough questions. I'm excited to read more of this series, and the author's other books, in the future!

Secrets of PEACE (Secrets of PEACE, #1)

Secrets of PEACE (Secrets of PEACE, #1) - T.A. Hernandez I read an advance copy from the author, this does not affect my review, and this review is voluntary. I was excited to read this, and was excited that not only did I enjoy it, but I found that I flew through it, finishing it in a few short sittings! I'm amazed that this is a debut, it's one of the best I've read, and even compared to others in similar genre, it's one of my favorite books debut or not! I've found a few debut authors that have quickly become insta-buy/instant reads on my list, and T. A. Hernandez has easily made that list with this powerful story. I can't wait to read more of this series, I loved the action and thrills, made even better with plenty of emotion. Zira is already a strong and lovable heroine, but I have a feeling her story is far from over!

Proof of Lies

Proof of Lies - Diana Rodriguez Wallach I didn't love this one at times, hints the rating, but this is one of those that if you truly enjoy YA-teen mystery/spy type stories, then you just might be in for a treat. I enjoyed how human Anastasia felt, and that she did grieve and go though normal human emotions, and not just jump into the 'super hero/vengeance' whatever role. (Hint: teens don't often just..."level up" suddenly.) Still, with the YA-teen theme, there were some slower points, and a few that were completely impossible and unrealistic. I enjoyed the story overall, and these really didn't bother me, but it happened enough that I didn't completely love this story. I am excited to read more of this series though, and can easily recommend this series to fans of similar stories.


Fallen - Ann  Hunter While I've only read a few classic fairy-tale type stories, this was one that I've both read and watched...and honestly, I wasn't impressed. So why did I read this? Because I love new adaptations and retellings of classics of all kinds, especially fairy-tales, and I'm so glad I found this one! I loved this take on The Frog Prince! Exciting and well written, this book had all the feels I longed for in the original. I loved the detail and excitement Ann Hunter was able to add to this story!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.


River - India R. Adams *I received an eCopy from the author for review. This does not affect my review.*, what an emotional/beautiful work! I fell in love with the characters in Rain, and it was bliss getting to see them again in this second book! Rose, Gunner, and Ryder welcome Rain into the world a the end of the first book, and this one starts where Rain ends. With danger and fate lurking around every corner, the heroes are faced with new threats, and King is determined to win in the end, targeting Rain and tempting her with tricks of his own. I love how the lines are drawn, then are blurred, making light and dark into shades of gray!

Slow to start, but definitely worth reading!

The Storm Runner -  J.C. Cervantes, Jennifer Cervantes

*I received an ARC from NetGalley. This does not affect my review.*

First off, I'll admit that had it not been for a NetGalley email letting readers know about The Storm Runner and Dragon Pearl that were inspired and sponsored by Rick Riordan, I probably...perhaps very likely would not have heard of these, or picked them up so quickly... I loved the Percy Jackson series growing up, and like with any of my favorite authors, if they talk about other authors and books, I have to check them out! (Which is why this isn't a 5 star review.)

That said, while I wasn't immediately pulled into this one, I loved the idea of learning about Mayan mythology as I read this, and once the gods started getting introduced I quickly found myself wanting to know more! That was a big thing, since I was afraid this wouldn't be able to stand up to other mythology stories I've read like the mentioned Percy Jackson series, and even things like Gaiman's Norse Mythology. Not to worry, since I loved it! (Although all those I and X names kind of got confusing! I still managed to figure it out though.) If I was asked about a favorite character...? I don't have one, and there was a part where pretty much each of the main characters was able to stand up and have the spotlight. I loved so many little things that I can't even begin to list, with or without spoilers I just know I would miss something. Why not read it? I'm sure you will find your own favorite things about this book!


Hey! God, Was That You?: Coincidences from Over Five Thousand Hours of Flight and Forty-Four Years

Hey! God, Was That You?: Coincidences from Over Five Thousand Hours of Flight and Forty-Four Years - Ron Gluck * I received a digital copy from the publisher for review. This does not affect my review.*

I'll admit, I haven't heard of this author before, and likely wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been offered to me fore review. That said, I was impressed and ended up enjoying this story. In a way, it reminded me of the missionary, Jim Elliot, who also went by plane to reach indigenous peoples for Christ. Yes, I know it's not the same, but then again, both reached out to people who needed to know Jesus, and were willing to risk it all to spread light in the darkness. Ron Gluck talks about being blessed that he was able to fly accident free over and over again. At any point, something could have happened, and yet he chose to place his trust in God, giving Him the glory.

The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish - Jennifer L. Holm Source: I Own

I'm a little late getting to this one. I actually never knew about it until I was offered a copy of The Third Mushroom the companion book in this series. That said, I had no idea what to expect, and this isn't anything like I normally read.

Still, I did end up enjoying it. It's a quick, easy read, and has a good balance of scientific facts mixed with light humor. I can easily see this recommended for students in middle-school, or maybe even 5-6th graders as it's a clean fiction that is easy to understand, and yet interesting enough to keep readers of all ages entertained.

Love, Alchemy

Love, Alchemy - Eden Ashley *I received a copy for review. This does not affect my review.*

When I was first introduced to this book/series, I wasn't sure what to think. While I do read some sci-fi, I'm more of a fantasy kind of girl, and I'm picky about romances, so it wouldn't have likely been my first choice. That said, the summary interested me, and especially since I got to see the blurb for books one and two side by side, I had to know more!

I'm so glad I agreed to read this! Davey comes from an abusive childhood in a small town who can't wait to get away. (Something I can relate to!) That said, the story quickly starts to take a turn when she is introduced to Officer Ethan Remington. Thinking him just another small town cop...that is until they get caught up in a conspiracy, one that could cost Davey her life! Faced with the choice to trust Ethan, or risk death, she soon learns that there is more to Ethan that meets the eye.

I really enjoyed the characters in this one, and the romance was well done.

Song of the Current

Song of the Current - Sarah Tolcser *I received a copy from the publisher thanks to NetGalley for review. This does not affect my review.*

I actually started this book twice. The first time I only read a few pages, but life got in the way, and I put it down. Why? From early on, I knew this book was going to draw me in, and I wanted to be able to read it without worrying about distractions. So when I started it again this year, as predicted, I loved the adventure!

I loved the characters in this one, and enjoyed the character growth as well. Caroline, is a strong female lead, but even she has some doubts about who she is, something that is a recurring theme in this story. From birth the Oresteia line are meant to be wherrymen, blessed by the god at the bottom of the river. Only...she hasn't heard the calling.

Likewise, Tarquin Markos knew from birth that he only served one purpose...only that changed the day he was forced to fell his family home. Now he is on the run with Caro as they discover their fate as well as a sense of purpose.

While I love the action, adventure, romance, and of course pirates, I'll admit, my favorite part of this story it the lore and gods of the story. The mythology is unique and yet it fits perfectly with the characters and world created in this story.

The Culling

The Culling - Ramona Finn I've had this in ebook for...forever, and only recently made it a priority. Being able to listen to it really helped that decision, and I'm so glad I did! I've enjoyed a lot of dystopians lately, but many seem to be lacking originality and only a few have become instant favorites. I wasn't expecting to love this one so much when I started, but quickly found I couldn't wait to listen to more each time I was forced to put it down! Well written, and I loved Stacey Glemboski's narration style!

The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli *I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. This does not affect my review.*

This one really grew on me. When I started it, it was kind of slow, and I wasn't completely sure what was happening, but the more I read, the more it started to make sense. And like many of the books I've read lately, this is one of those books that it's best to go in knowing next to nothing, allowing the story to unfold as you read.

The characters were well written, and I really enjoyed reading their story. Where Asha and Roa had to grow on me, I instantly liked Dax and Torwin, and Safire. I also loved the dragons and the stories. The lore is so beautiful, and entrancing.

The only thing I didn't care for was the fact that the story took about 30% to really draw me in. While I was interested before that, I was kind of meh in parts, and didn't really understand what was going on, which as I read on, made sense, but made it hard to really care for anything that happened up to that point, even though the beginning was laying the groundwork for the rest of the story.

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