Monday, February 19, 2024

"Lady of Disguise" by Melanie Dickerson

About this book:

  “Only the hidden treasure will allow Louisa and her sister to gain their freedom.
   England, 1388: All her life, Louisa has dreamed of finding the rumored “Giant’s Treasure,” a collection of ancient, lost riches said to be hidden on a mountaintop in Scotland, guarded by a fierce monster. It’s a story her father used to tell her, and when he dies and she and her younger sister have to go live with their shiftless, greedy uncle, Louisa is determined to find that treasure. It’s the hope that has kept her defying her uncle’s efforts to marry her off to the highest bidder.
    After her uncle starts to parade Louisa’s twelve-year-old sister Margaret in front of potential husbands, Louisa realizes she has no time to waste. She disguises herself as a boy and takes off for Scotland. But the road is a harsher place than she’d imagined, and she is relieved to find a friend in the knight, Sir Charles, who goes along with her on her journey.
    Charles is intrigued by this young woman who claims her name is “Jack” and is set on going to Scotland. He goes along, pretending to believe she is a boy, in order to make sure nothing bad happens to her. As they meet new friends along the road, and as Louisa comes clean about her identity, the pair find themselves falling in love. But what will happen when they reach Scotland? Will they find their independence and the freedom to marry in the form of a buried treasure, or will the monster from Louisa’s own past keep the young couple apart?”


Series: Book #6 in the “The Dericott Tales”. Review of the Book #1 Here!, Book #2 Here!, Book #3 Here!, Book #4 Here!, and Book #5 Here!


Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned & quoted; Many Prayers & Thanking and Praising God; Going to churches, lighting candles, & praying; 'H's are capital when referring to God; Louisa’s aunt tells her that it’s her “duty to God and to [her] husband to bear children and baptize them”; There is a friar that joins Louisa and Charles & is very opinionated and shares many judgmental things (such as stained glass on churches are for the “uneducated” people to feel God’s presence, shoos away a beggar child and comments on the child going to becoming a thief, begging being “idleness and is of the devil”, that Louisa rebelling is a sin of witchcraft and needs to repent for that and wearing a man’s clothing, telling Charles and Louisa that they are committing a graven sin by traveling alone together, comments on the way for a soul to go to hell is broad, and fears for Louisa’s soul if she doesn’t repent); The friar shares about the dangers for a woman alone and other “various tales of woe” which are not in the Holy Writ, which Louisa knows because she’s read the Holy Writ herself; Charles comments to the friar about Jesus traveling with women during his ministry & the friar has nothing to say about that; Charles thinks that the friar is condemning Louisa because she showed more Christian charity and compassion to orphan children than he did; Charles tells the friar that Jesus only condemned Pharisees and the teachers of the law, adding that Jesus care more about mercy towards others and He said to not judge others or they will be judged in the same way; Because of the friar’s words making her feel like “the worst kind of sinner”, Louisa prays and asks God if the friar is right; Louisa has a moment where she wants to tell the friar that he is being pharisaical and not Christlike at all; Louisa prays about finding the treasure & thinks that God would bless her with it if she believed it was real; Charles thinks that people are too fearful of the devil & forget that God is more powerful; A woman wants to pray at a church and put a penny in the poor box at every church she sees because “who knows where one might meet the very Spirit of God and gain His favor for a miracle?” (Louisa has never thought of it this way before and has a desire to pray where many others have prayed before her); Louisa has had a couple of times where God appears to her with a thought appearing in her mind; Louisa prays for a sign from God about a decision & recalls a conversation with a priest (the priest discourages her from asking for a sign, she asks why not because Gideon asked for a sign, & he only answers with “you are not Gideon”which wasn’t good enough for her; Louisa believes she’s more justified in asking for a sign compared to Gideon because she “didn’t have the benefit of hearing from God first”, but understands that “asking for a sign was not something to be done lightly or in any and every situation. She had to truly believe and not doubt, and to go against what God was telling her would surely be a grave sin”; She later sees something that makes her wonder if it is a sign or just her trying to see what she wants); When Louisa takes part in a ritual about dreaming about her future husband, she thinks that while she believes in miracles “surely God did not let people manipulate Him into telling her who she would marry by placing herbs under their pillows on certain night of the year. However, just as she’d argued with her priest, perhaps Gideon using the fleece was simply an example of a child of God asking Him to confirm what they believed God had told them” & she asked God to let her dream of the man she would marry; *Spoiler* Louisa prays with the “giant” for forgiveness of his sins and after repenting, he says he feels lighter; He later thinks that he deserves whatever happens to him because of the bad things he’s done, but Louisa is quick to say that “none of us get what we deserve because God is merciful and forgiving, and He has forgiven you” *End of Spoiler*; Mentions of God, Jesus, His will, & forgiveness; Mentions of prayers, praying, thanking God, & praising God; Mentions of the Holy Writ & reading it; Mentions of those & events in the Bible; Mentions of churches/cathedrals, monasteries, priests, friars, nuns, & stained glass; Mentions of a mother going to a shrine to procure some of “St. Thomas’s Water” for her sick daughter (hoping that it will heal her) & when she put a drop of the saint’s blood with water on a man’s forehead in the sign of the cross and it shockingly did not restoring his strength; Mentions of sins & sinners; A few mentions of crucifixes; A few mentions of showing Christian charity; A handful of mentions of pilgrimages & holy relics; A couple mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of blessings; A couple mentions of God resting someone’s soul; A couple mentions of others crossing themselves; A mention of bad things happening to everyone because we live in “a fallen and evil world”; A mention of Heaven; A mention of being Blessed; A mention of a chant from church; 
             *Note: The phrase “saints above!” is exclaimed thrice; Louisa thinks she sees a unicorn & is excited about it (thinking that it may be a sign from God); A child that was born with one arm is called cursed by a village leader and is casted out of the village (Charles has read the Holy Scriptures are knows that the child isn’t to be blamed for misfortunes); A man (who is called a “giant”) says that people want to know if he made a deal with the devil or if he was “cursed by a witch or a demon” to look the way he does; With many mentions of the Viking treasure, there are also mentions of magical beans, giants, fairies, elves, & unicorns; Mentions of curses & people calling others cursed because they are different than “normal” (including a child with one arm and a man who is very tall); Mentions of a ritual about young women putting certain herbs under their pillows & dreaming about their future husbands (Louisa takes part of this); Mentions of evil men; A couple mentions of luck; A mention of strange tales that were of “miracles and fairies and giants, strange beasts and heroic deeds that defied normal abilities of man”; A mention of a child being born with only one arm being considered as a “sign of the devil’s curse”; A mention of a guardian angel; A mention of fate deciding something; A mention of an evil spirit.
 

Negative Content- Eye rolling & Sarcasm; A mention of a curse (said, not written); Being attacked by robbers, Being attacked with arrows (& shooting one that injures another), Being slapped, Fighting, Fighting back, & Pain (up to semi-detailed); Being surrounded by wolves, attacked by them, & killing them (up to semi-detailed); Louisa behaves badly with potential suitors to keep them from choosing her (scowling, crossing her eyes, and “generally saying and doing anything that might make a man not choose her for his wife” when her aunt and uncle weren’t looking); Louisa disobeys her aunt and uncle when she thinks their commands are unreasonable (“which was often” she adds); Louisa runs away from home to find a rumored treasure (to be able to live with her sister without the pressure of marriage or her uncle’s ways); Louisa lies about being a boy to others (including Charles; which she hopes will be forgiven because she’s only trying to save herself and her sister & she hates deceiving him; He realized right away that she was a girl); Louisa feels guilt about potentially stealing someone else’s treasure; A giant is said to have skinned & killed people that come after his treasure & threatens Charles and Louisa (*Spoiler* It turns out that the villagers are forcing him to kidnap those who come for his treasure so that they can get ransom money for them; Other times, they have kill the people; *End of Spoiler*); Charles thinks about killing someone, but knows he wouldn’t because the man was unarmed and that vengeance belongs to God; Charles threatens someone about harming him if Louisa is hurt at all (saying that if she is harmed or touched, he will kill the man and even adds that the man will wish he was never born; Louisa takes comfort in his words and is soothed by picturing it); A man threatens Louisa with slitting Charles’ throat and burying his body if she doesn’t listen to him (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of killing, murders, & being held hostage for ransoms; Mentions of deaths (including of Louisa’s parents and a cousin); Mentions of potential illnesses and/or deaths; Mentions of attacks, being attacked, screams, injuries, pain, & blood/bleeding (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of stealing, stolen items, & thieves/robbers; Mentions of women being beaten and flogged for disobeying a man above them (implied that this would happen to Louisa when she’s found); Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of alcohol, alehouses, & drunk men; Mentions of relieving one’s self (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of being attacked and/or killed by wild animals; Mentions of hunting & slaughtered animals (for food, up to semi-detailed); A few mentions of a baron who mistreated, murdered, & robbed his own people (Book #5); A few mentions of a man who lost his arm in a sword fight (Book #1); A few mentions of almost beheadings (Book #1); A couple mentions of treason; A couple mentions of poisons; A couple mentions of nightmares; A couple mentions of jealousy; A mention of a massacre; A mention of a bully; A mention of horses being shot with arrows unintentionally; A mention of a nearly dead horse; 
             *Note: Louisa thinks about how woman have no more power than in Jesus’ lifetime (thinking about the women that followed Him and went where they pleased); Louisa’s aunt and uncle threaten and manipulate her to do their bidding (typically by threatening to marry off her younger sister); Louisa’s aunt calls her selfish and ungrateful, which Louisa doesn’t think she’s any more selfish than more people as she just wants to protect herself and her sister; Louisa wants to rebel against the “duties” her aunt says she has to do (such as getting married and bearing children specifically) because the aunt has made marriage to be “something distasteful that was done out of duty, not a joyful relationship of love and choice” (this makes Louisa thinks that most men didn’t have such distasteful duties and could do whatever they pleased; She also thinks that she wants to rebel more the more her aunt talks); A man is called a “giant, misshapen beast of a man”because of his height and appearance; Mentions of a man’s chest pains & him believing that he doesn’t have much longer to live; Mentions of those with afflictions being treated as if having a curse (a women with difficultly walking and a child being born with one arm); A couple mentions of some women laughing at another woman for being clumsy and breaking her ankle.
 
 
Sexual Content- Two almost kisses (one in a dream), two hand kisses, two hair/forehead kisses, two cheek kisses, two barely-above-not-detailed kisses, and six semi-detailed kisses (including two of him kissing her neck); Remembering kisses & almost kisses (up to semi-detailed); Staring at another’s lips & being tempted by the thought of kissing the other (up to semi-detailed); Wanting to kiss (up to semi-detailed); Touches, Embraces, Being held, & Nearness (up to semi-detailed); Wanting to touch & embrace (up to semi-detailed); Swooning; Blushes; Noticing (including muscles, up to semi-detailed); Louisa recalls when a potential suitor (who was drunk) sneaked into her room and tried to force himself on her (also called trying to steal her “virtue”; she was able to knock him out and she had nightmares of it for weeks after, mentioned a few times, barely-above-not-detailed); Both Louisa & Charles aren’t interested in marriage due to past events; Charles thought he was in love with a wealth woman and entered her bedroom to find out that she’s been stringing him and other knights along (she’s engaged to someone else and tells the knights they can love her from afar; Charles says he doesn’t want to spend his life in love with a married woman; They had prior shared kisses); Louisa disguises herself as a boy on her trip (including by binding her chest), but Charles realizes she’s a girl right away; When Charles helps her, Louisa is afraid that he’ll want something in payment that not money (she doesn’t think he’s that kind of man, but is distrustful towards men because of a prior event); Louisa starts to wish that Charles could see her as a pretty and feminine woman; A friar asks if there is something between Louisa and Charles that “would be considered fornication” (which they both quickly deny); Louisa and Charles sleep close to each other on the ground when a storm keeps them in a shelter/cave (they both think about how much they want to kiss the other, but Charles definitely won’t kiss her when she’s asleep because that would be unchivalrous); Louisa’s uncle comments on her running off by saying that bad things would happen to her and that she “would be with child and then [she] would be no good to him anymore”; Louisa’s uncle asks if she’s with child & she answers that she is not and asks him if he is (he says that would be impossible and she responds that it is the same for her); After one kiss that leaves them breathing hard, Charles comments on needing to be “a bit more restrained until we’re married and alone with a lock on the door”; Many mentions of Louisa’s uncle trying to marry her and her twelve-year-old sister off to man (ranging in age from 16 to 60 and some are called “disgusting” and “perverted”) for the highest amount (it’s also said that some of the men will just “use [Louisa and Margaret] and not care about them”); Mentions of kisses & kissing; Mentions of reputations, virtue, & it being looked as “unseemly” that Louisa & Charles are traveling alone together; Mentions of flirting; A few mentions of men leering at Louisa with greedy and disgusting smiles & make her feel as if there were bugs “crawling on her”; A couple mentions of men trying and succeeding in taking advantage of servant girls; A couple mentions of men “blustering about their conquests or making ribald jests” about women; A couple mentions of children born out of wedlock (including Jesus); A couple mentions of jealousy; A mention of seeing a couple kissing (barely-above-not-detailed); Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: Margaret (Louisa’s younger sister) comments on her lack of breasts and sticks out her flat chest to Louisa; A man comments on Louisa being “well proportioned”; Mentions of women being forced to marry & bear a man’s children (Louisa mentions this for herself and her younger sister & being “used” by a man who only care “about having a boy child to carry on his name”); Louisa is concerned about falling into the same “trap” that her aunt and uncle set for her about “marriage and a life of having babies until her body was so worn down that it gave up”; A mention of Margaret not being able to bear children yet, but would be able to soon; A mention of a wife dying in childbirth to a stillborn baby.
 
-Louisa Lenton, age 18
-Charles Raynsford, age 21
                                P.O.V. switches between them 
                                           Set in 1388 (Medieval)
                                                        304 pages


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Pre Teens- 

New Teens- 

Early High School Teens- 

Older High School Teens- 

My personal Rating- 


After some…concerns with content in a couple other books of this series, I was pleasantly surprised that this one did not have an insta-love attraction between the main characters. They fell more for the other’s personality than their physical appearance (though, they did notice the other’s physical assets) which was better to see after said prior books in the series.

 

I’m learning with a lot of fairytale retellings, that you really have to suspend your disbelief for a lot of the book. At least, that’s how I’ve been feeling with the series. Louisa is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I don’t understand her logic of wanting to protect her sister and then goes off to find the treasure which means she’s leaving her 12-year-old sister alone with the people that are trying to marry her off?? She estimates that she would have a week to stop a wedding from happening if she comes back to that, but that’s way too close for my comfort and events can come up to alter travel plans—especially in this time period when plans get derailed easily. 

 

I liked the Charles wasn’t fooled by her disguise at all, that he instantly knew that she was a girl. He did have about the same personality though as his brothers in the prior books especially because they all really want to do is rescue damsels in distress and be all knightly. There really hasn’t been much difference in their thoughts, compared to the prior main characters of this series. 

 

I wasn’t a fan of the message of asking God for a sign and then Louisa brushing off a priests’ comment on the topic. In this series, I have noted that if there are priests or any type of clergyman (friars even) their comments get pushed to the side because the main characters know what the Bible says about such topic they’re discussing. (Because they’ve been privileged enough to have been able to read the Holy Writ for themselves.) And I think the author is trying to point out that you should read the Bible for yourself and just the overall the judgmental era of the history with the Catholic Church, but it also puts those supposed to be men of God in a bad and judgmental light. I could go much more in depth on my thoughts about both of those elements, but this review is long enough.

 

Honestly, it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t fantastic either, in my opinion. I liked it more before all the kissing happened. I feel like it’s just a bit too much kissing to be read by preteens. And that’s what I feel like fairytale retellings are really for—or should be aimed for—especially in the Christian Market when the plot is very fluffy like in this book. Older teens would probably be absolutely fine with that amount of kissing, but the storyline may be too simple and cheesy for some. Definitely better than the prior books of the series in terms of plot and characters, but I still just didn’t love it, unfortunately, and would not give it a wide age recommendation.


 


See y’all on Friday with a new review! 




*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

 

Friday, February 16, 2024

"The Irish Matchmaker" by Jennifer Deibel

About this book:

  “As daughter of a well-known matchmaker, Catríona Daly is no stranger to the business of love--and sees it as her ticket away from the sleepy village that only comes alive during the annual matchmaking festival. Enter Lord Osborne's son, Andrew, who has returned to the festival after being disappointed by a rival matchmaker's failed setup. Catríona seizes the opportunity to make a better match for the handsome man--and for herself!
    Cattle farmer Donal Bunratty is in desperate need of a wife after loss left him to handle the farm and raise his daughter on his own. Shy and lacking the finer social graces, he agrees to attend the matchmaking festival to appease his daughter. But when he arrives, it's not any of the other merrymakers that catch his eye but rather his matchmaker--who clearly has eyes for someone else.
    Catríona will have to put all her expertise to work to make a match that could change her life forever. Will her plan succeed? Or will love have its own way?”


Series: Does not seem to be connected to any other books as of this time.


Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned, read, remembered, discussed, & thought over; Bible reading; Prayers, Talking to God, & Thanking and Praising God; Sara refers to her mother’s passing as “making the trip to the angels”; Catríona says a little prayer that her future includes luxuries; Donal has a bit of a shock when he says a prayer because his faith has struggled with the idea of a good God allowing “His children to suffer, go hungry, even homeless”, but think that a “wee plea to the Auld Man Upstairs could hardly hurt”; He prays again later and finds it unnerving that it feels foreign to him as he hasn’t prayed much since praying fervently for his wife to be healed and it wasn’t answered in the way he wanted; A friend calls Catríona out on making plans for her future without talking to God; Sara talks to her dad about “The Serpent on the Mound” (Sermon on the Mount) & it’s referred to again over a handful of times; Donal recalls the nuns in his schooling telling him and the other students that the Bible needs to be interpreted for their “feeble minds” to be able to understand it (secretly, Donal always wondered if that was true because why would God give it to His people if not to read it for themselves?); Donal isn’t sure about trusting God for their food or income as he thinks God has taken that away from them; At one point, Donal wonders why the weather isn’t nice for him to do something that he thinks is God’s plan for him; Donal isn’t sure if he’s comforted or infuriated about a Scripture constantly coming to mind (*Spoiler* Towards the very end, he wonders about something being God’s provision and Him organizing in a conclusion that’s happened *End of Spoiler*); There is a nun that doesn’t show much compassion to someone in a hard situation; Greetings literally meaning “God to you” and “God and Mary to you” are said; Most 'H's are capital when referring to God; Mentions of God, Jesus, His love, & Him taking care of us; Mentions of prayers, praying, & Thanking God; Mentions of Bibles & Bible reading; Mentions of those & events in the Bible; Mentions of Mass, churches/chapels, priests, nuns, & a bell being a call to prayer; Mentions of miracles; A few mentions of blessings & being Blessed; A mention of Donal pondering the “mystery of Providence”; A mention of Easter; A mention of the Pope; 
             *Note: The phrase “for Pete’s sake” is said thrice; A storm is described as “hellacious”; Catríona teasing calls someone a saint; A few mentions of fairies; A couple mentions of being lured like as if a siren; A couple mentions of Sara pretending something has magical powers & fairy dust; A couple mentions of spas proclaiming to have healing powers; A couple mentions of Santa Claus/Father Christmas; A mention of fate leading someone to the right person; A mention of luck; A mention of Cupid’s arrow; A mention of Mother Nature.
 

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘biddy’, a ‘bloomin’’, a ‘darn’, a form of ‘idiot’, a form of ‘shut up’, a ‘stupid’, two ‘bah’s, three ‘hang it all’s, and five ‘blasted’s; Mentions of curses & biting back an oath (Donal & Catríona each up to thrice for the latter; none are written out); Eye rolling & Sarcasm; A bad storm & being concerned for a loved one (*Spoiler* Sara is trapped and injured in a collapsed building; Donal is distraught at the fact that he almost lost her *End of Spoiler*, up to semi-detailed); Seeing someone suddenly ill & dying (up to semi-detailed); Grief (Donal for his late wife); Going to pubs & Drinking (Donal, twice, one which causes his chest to warm and fill with “resolve and courage”; Catríona drinks wine, once, and wishes it was tea or a ladies’ pint of stout; Side characters including Catríona’s father drink on page as well); Sara is picked on & teased by bullies (both physically and verbally, which makes her slap one of them & cry at their mean words, up to semi-detailed); Catríona purposefully sends a man she’s interested in on dates with girls she knows won’t interest him (because she wants to stand out to him and thinks that he is her only way out of her town; She feels a bit of guilt later); Mentions of deaths, illnesses, & grief (including Donal for his wife who passed six years prior & Sara for her mother and what could have been, barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of injuries, pain, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of bullies & their physical and verbal taunts; Mentions of pubs, bars, bartenders, alcohol, drinking, drunks, & being sober; Mentions of rumors; Mentions of injuries and deaths of cattle (including being eaten by a lion, breaking a leg, & a run-in with a horse and buggy, all barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of manure; A few mentions of thieves & stealing; A couple mentions of wars; A couple mentions of two of a man’s daughters passing away; A couple mentions of arrests & wanting to beat someone up; A couple mentions of hunting & hunters; A mention of a fistfight; A mention of lying; A mention of smoking; 
             *Note: Catríona was raised in a poor farmhouse & is determined to not have to go through that ever again (she comes across a bit prideful at times); Catríona’s mother left their family when Catríona was young; There is a comment on most Irishmen turning to either a cup of tea or a pint (of alcohol) when it comes to healing wounds of the heart & it’s added that some “sorrows were simply too strong for the pint” and had to be handled by the cup of tea.
 
 
Sexual Content- Four hand kisses (one being semi-detailed), four cheek kisses, a nose kiss, three forehead/hair kisses, an almost kiss, two not-detailed kisses, six barely-above-not-detailed kisses, four border line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed kisses, four semi-detailed kisses, and two border-line semi-detailed // detailed kisses (one being slightly unwanted); Remembering kisses (including unwanted ones, up to semi-detailed); Staring at another’s lips & Wanting to kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Touches, Embraces, Snuggling, Dancing, Hand holding, Warmth, Shivers, Nearness, Smelling, & Butterflies (up to semi-detailed); Wanting to touch, embrace, & dance (up to semi-detailed); Blushes; Noticing & Staring (including muscles, up to semi-detailed); Catríona wonders if she’ll ever find her match & imagines it happening (including dancing with a man, up to semi-detailed); Donal and his late wife got married due to necessity of stability and financial reasons, and while it was “never a passionate love affair…eventually an amiable compassion formed between them” and then they had their daughter; A man tries to hold Catríona incredibly close when dancing & his hand goes lower than she prefers (& she comments on his hand which makes him move it; it’s more awkward than romantic, up to semi-detailed); Catríona tries to convince herself that she wants a man to kiss her & that her hesitation is just because she hasn’t been kissed in a long time (they do share a kiss after he’s been drinking and she stops him before another one, thinking that he didn’t force himself on her because she didn’t ask him not to kiss her); Sara teases and makes kissy noises; A man says that he can “still live [his] life” and “have some real fun” (by playing around with multiple women) after getting married & another man calls him a “dirty dog” with tone of awe rather than judgement; A man says he doesn’t want anyone’s “sloppy seconds” when referring to a woman who’s already in love with another man; After a wedding, a newly married couple are teased by men with a “knowing gleam in their eyes” about having to go get “their beauty sleep”; All about many, many mentions of matchmaking; Mentions of a man being “far too familiar” with the staff girls (touching maids without their permission, smacking one’s bottom, eyeing them like food, making them cry, & blowing one a kiss, barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of longing, passion, & Donal never caring about passion in a relationship until recent events; Mentions of kisses & kissing; Mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of flirting & winks; A couple mentions of a man being seen with multiple different women alone out in the countryside (implied player reputation); A mention of a couple “snogging” in the middle of a crowd; Love, being infatuated, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: Catríona comments (in her head) about inheriting her mother’s “big bones”; Sara wonders if she’ll get lost in Catríona’s bosom if she hugged her (also noticing her build being “thick and full”); Catríona’s mother would tell her off for spending time on her looks, told her that no one will be looking at her anyway, & to eat less to be able to maintain her figure to be able to get a man (Catríona recalls these comments with pain); Catríona eat less when in front of a man & later ties the laces of a dress so tight she won’t be able to eat (because of wanting to maintain her appearance); Catríona curses her tick waist and full bust at one point; A couple mentions of a song about a man falling in love with a woman old enough to be his grandmother because of her money; A mention of a client finding all of his matches to be either “too tall”, “too fat”, or “not fat enough”; A mention of a stud (bull).
 
- Catríona “Caty” Daly
- Donal Bunratty
                                P.O.V. switches between them & Sara

                                              Set in 1905 (Epilogue in 1908)
                                                        320 pages


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Pre Teens- 

New Teens- 

Early High School Teens- 

Older High School Teens- 

My personal Rating- 


I have mixed feelings about this book. It started out really cute, but started getting a bit too notice-y on his muscles and kissy for my tastes and past what I want to recommend for BFCG’s target ages. The prior book I read by this author would be fine for high school girls, but this one has me shaking my head for them because of the prior mentioned content and a player side character that Catríona is infatuated with.

 

I knew based on the back cover that Catríona was going to be infatuated with the wrong guy and even though I knew that it would drive me a bit crazy, I was still very interested in this book because of the matchmaking element. I did get annoyed at her for being so smitten with a player and unable to see past his ability to take her away from her small town. She made some bad choices that made me want to fuss at her. I really liked her with Sara, but elsewise I wanted to smack some sense into her. I was so excited when Sara’s point of view started because I already really liked her and her father. Donal was trying so hard for the sake of his little girl and it was really sweet to see. I did really like the importance of father-daughter relationships in this book between Catríona and her father & then Donal and Sara. 

 

I wasn’t a fan of the drinking elements—particularly when Donal drinks a pint and it’s noted that his chest was filled with courage to tell the truth to someone. 

 

Not being very familiar with Irish history and terms (such as “plucking of the gander”) I had to research quite a bit because not everything was explained. There was a glossary at the beginning which covered a lot, but I’m also just not aware of the history of Ireland of this time (or any time, really). 

 

Some have said this book has a love triangle, but I don’t think so at all because we never see the other man’s perspective— thankfully, because he was a player and a jerk that brought these ratings down enough as it is. 

 

There really were a lot of cute parts and it was an easy-to-read story that while may have been completely predictable, was still cute at times. So, I hate to mark it so low, but I truly don’t think it’s the best choice for those in high school. 

 

I liked how the Sermon on the Mount was mentioned and thought about so much, but at the same time I wish we would have seen more development in both Catríona & Donal’s faiths on page. By the end, you get the impression that they’re each “good with God”, but after comments and concerns they both had, I would have liked to see it actually discussed and resolved. While we never see them cross themselves after praying, there are mentions of Mass, priests, & nuns that imply the typical Catholic faith for these characters at this time in history. That said, we never see them go to church or Mass once. 

 

I liked some aspects but there were definitely parts that lowered my rating and content (lots of kissing, noticing muscles, and jerk of a player to name some) that make me mark this book not the best choice for those in BFCG’s target age range. 

 

 

See y’all on Friday with a new review! 




*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

Monday, February 12, 2024

"The Lost King's Daughter" by A. D. German

About this book:

  ““The gold of nobles is a rare gift indeed.” For as long as Finockt can remember, she has sought a means to escape the remote Valínthian village in which she grew up, prompted to depart by something deeper than herself and which she cannot explain. But that same prompting compels her to remain until the day her vengeful enemy seeks her life after he discovers her a golden necklace bearing one half of an intricate cross pendant.
     When she is suddenly rescued by a mysterious, young man who has been tracking her for years, she and the rare, unbefitting item she owns are taken to Thorlóthlon, Valínthia’s stronghold.
     Now Finockt finds herself tossed in the middle of a battle between two kingdoms, each with a claim to one man’s throne, and face-to-face with a regent who holds the key to unlocking everything she did not know about herself and the past she thought was forgotten.
     But does she have the courage to combat Thorlóthlon’s dark history and curtail the inevitable? And what other secret will she find hidden in Thorlóthlon's depths to aid her quest?”


Series: Book #1 in the “In the Shadow of Emerald Fire” trilogy. 


Spiritual Content- Three Scriptures are referenced at the beginning (Psalm 65:2, Psalm 34:5, & Psalm 116:14); Prayers & a blessing over food; Finding abandoned chapels & feeling peace in one; Talks about God; 'H's are capital when referring to God & Jesus; A “silent message of hope” comes to Finockt to know what she’s supposed to do; All about many mentions of a cross pendant necklace; Mentions of God & Jesus; Mentions of prayers, praying, & thanking and praising God; Mentions of a chapels (including Finockt finding an abandoned one); A few mentions of Providence being with someone; A couple mentions of Heaven; A couple mentions of a banner with a lion representing Christ as the Lion of Judah; A mention of someone saying that he believes that “God does not separate us form those we love for long”; A mention of a Power beyond Finockt’s control spinning a different course for her; In the bonus content at the end, there are the meanings of characters’ names and some have Christian meanings; 
             *Note: Finockt wonders if the necklace has a mysterious power as it always draws/calls her to the woods and a stream (someone else says that it’s like a spell over her and always makes her “restless and angry” when she returns, but Finockt feels peace when following it and knows that she should); Finockt is told that the necklace “contains a power foreign to most men, the true meaning of which not many are privileged enough to understand”; Finockt calls the cross a curse because she feels trapped (someone tells her that those who do not comprehend it say that); A group of people’s hope is in the coming of the Lost King’s Daughter; A man’s darkness flees him when speaking to a certain person (who assumingly worships God), but succumbs to the darkness and evil again; A queen is able to know another’s thoughts and stretches out her hand where a sword comes to her; The phrase “saints above” is exclaimed once; Mentions of prophecies & a curse that some have foreseen (including a group of people being cursed to always strive for power of a country, but never attain it; & some believing that Finockt is the only one who can get rid of a curse); Mentions of magic, “magical” items, & spells (in terms of a household’s “unexpected magic”, a magical sword, Finockt wondering if the necklace has a mysterious power, someone saying that the necklace has a spell over Finockt (unclear if that’s true or not), Finockt wondering if a man casted a spell on her, it seeming as if the necklace gathers sunrays to shine more brilliantly, & a mention of fey’s magic in a frosty forest); Mentions of evil, darkness/evil in others, & evil lurking in the forest; A few mentions of ill omens; A couple mentions of seeing someone who has passed again; A mention of Fate dealing a man his tasks; A mention of someone facing “eternal damnation in the next [life]” if he does not change his ways; A mention of an ornery house having the “devil himself” in it; A mention of someone asking enough if they are a magician (teasing); A mention of a place being full of “deep magic and myth”; A mention of someone lurking like a “loosed spirit” (ghost).
 

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘drat’, a ‘wretch’, and two forms of ‘blast’; A bit of eye rolling; A few mentions of curses (including one by Finockt, all are said, but not written); Being attacked (multiple times), Being held at knife/sword-point, Being chased, Being threatened with death, Fighting back, Almost drowning/falling into water, Falling off a horse, Passing out, Injuries, Pain, & Blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Battles, Attacks, & seeing deaths and bodies (up to semi-detailed); A fire & concern for a loved one (up to semi-detailed); Grief (for loved ones and dear friends, up to semi-detailed); Remembering seeing deaths & bodies (up to semi-detailed); Social drinking at parties & dinner (including Finockt being given ale and watered down wine a few times, up to semi-detailed on the tastes; Others drink on page as well); A villain talks about killing Finockt & she is watched carefully to keep that from happening (she is attacked multiple times); A villain slaps his son (barely-above-not-detailed); Finoickt feels like a trapped prisoner at times; Finockt doesn’t make a promise to someone because she doesn’t think she can keep it; Finockt doesn’t follow instructions a few times and disobeys an authority figure to be able to find out information; Finockt deceives someone that she thinks is a spy & feels guilt over it; For a moment, at one point, Finockt feels ugly bitterness & hatred for the cross necklace and people involved because of what she’s had to do; Many mentions of wars, deaths, killing, battles, attacks, fights, fighting, people being knocked out, fires, & a village being destroyed; Mentions of deaths & a missing (assumed dead) child; Mentions of bodies, injuries, pain, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a mother being sick & close to death (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of stealing, stolen items, thieves, crimes, & criminals; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & a drunk; Mentions of smoking, pipes, & tobacco (a young man smokes on page); Mentions of lies, lying, liars, & deceit; Mentions of hatred; Mentions of hunting, animals for their meat, & stuff animals; A few mentions of murders (not in a war-setting); A few mentions of a man killing his own brother; A few mentions of prisoners & a death/execution; A few mentions of murder holes of a castle & how they were used (border-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed); A few mentions of blackmail; A few mentions of rumors; A couple mentions of death sentences & a possible public execution; A couple mentions of possibly being killed because of a reckless horse; A couple mentions of jealousy; A mention of a potential hostage; A mention of others acting like beaten dogs; 
             *Note: Finockt is told by someone that he blames her mother for the death of his family (she is distraught hearing this, but she counters his claims); A horse is hit multiple times with arrows (said that it’s in pain and runs off into the woods, border-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed); Mentions of coffin-like structures.
 
 
Sexual Content- A hand kiss and a forehead kiss; A bit of Touches, Hand holding, Noticing, & Nearness (barely-above-not-detailed); Seeing a couple in an embrace; Finockt feels ashamed to have been out at night unaccompanied with a young man; Finockt blushes when told about her producing a male offspring; A few mentions of a young man liking Finockt (she views him as one of her best friends but later confesses to herself that she loves him); A couple mentions of romantic gestures (which Finockt hoped for from a certain young man deep down, but it’s said that “her feelings were beginning to outweigh her reason” when alone with him in a dangerous situation); A couple mentions of courting; A mention of a kiss; A small amount of love, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: A few mentions of mothers passing away in childbirth & other babies not surviving.
 
-Finockt
                                P.O.V. switches between Finockt & many others 
                                                        462 pages


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Pre Teens- 

New Teens- 

Early High School Teens- 

Older High School Teens- 

My personal Rating- 

This book has intimidated me for a while. Purely because of the page length of over 460 pages. Well, I decided to dive into the world these last couple of days and finally read it. Overall? I enjoyed it. I do think it was a bit too long at times and not too much happened in this book, but it was an interesting plot and I would be curious to see what happens in the next book of the series. 

 

The story is told almost in a narrator style, but not *quite* that way or in a normal third-person point of view style. It took me a long time to be able to follow along well because it was similar to head jumping (when the point of view changes between different characters and their thoughts within the same chapter with no breaks). This was probably my biggest struggle when reading with the slow pacing. 

 

As far as the characters, I liked Finockt, but never really felt connected to her because of the head jumping and birds’ eye view of what was happening. Everyone else I felt distrustful towards (much like she did after betrayals) and watched with a narrow eye. 

 

There’s not much dialogue—which I typically prefer—but the author has a focus on giving the reader the details of the surrounding nature and events that take place. Very descriptive and gives a lot of the play-by-play, so to speak, which I didn’t always love, I’ll admit, but made it easy to visualize the places, areas, and textiles. 

 

The pacing felt very slow for the majority of the book, but once we hit about page 300 or 65% that was where things started being revealed finally to Finockt and I started being more interested in the plot. Everyone was keeping her in the dark about things, events, and why she was there prior to that—for over four months. She’s much more patient than me, because I would have been relentlessly pestering for answers after a week. I feel like a lot of things could’ve been omitted and that could’ve happened closer to the hundred-hundred and fifty page range. 

 

There’s a very light romance thread, but it almost come out of left-field and definitely was not the focus of the book at all. The faith content was light, but you could tell that the good guys of the book had a faith. 

 

It’s definitely a slower paced novel than I expected it to be, but that’s not necessarily a negative thing. I do wish more events and dialogue had happened within these many pages, but I do appreciate how it was very, very clean throughout the whole story. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger which was nice, but it does end with a lot of things unresolved, making sure you know it’s the first book in the series.

 

 

See y’all on Friday with a new review! 




*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

*I received this book for free from the Author for this honest review.