I’m really delighted to share this wonderful story with you, The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night.
Read my full review below!
Ivy Lovely is just another scaldrony maid, unknown to all except the unkind Helga and her one beloved friend, the dwarf Rimbrick.
But all her anonymity is about to be swept away.
A world of Scrivenists and Royals awaits, of magical training, and mysteries untold. But dangerous enemies are lurking, and it remains to be seen whether Ivy Lovely, with the help of a few enduring friends, is up to the task of facing them.
D.E. Night has successfully woven an enchanting tale full of magical wonders and excitement. The world-building is rich and the descriptions of Croswald and its residents so vivid that readers will feel as if they’ve been swept into a glenagerie bottle, a world of pure and vivid imagination, right along with Ivy and her friends.
The world of Croswald is unlike any other, and there is no doubt that all who pick up this book will find themselves better off for having visited it.
Today, I’m so excited to share with you a new-to-me book, Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster.
What a wild, adventurous ride this book turned out to be! You can read my full review below.
Have you ever wished for something lost to be found?
Esme is a young girl, full of unwavering hope, who has continued to wish for the same thing: that her mother, Ariane, lost at sea many years ago, is still alive and will return home. Long after everyone else has given up, Esme still believes that her mother’s return is possible.
But the search for her mother takes an unexpected turn as headaches and visions from the past begin to plague Esme, all of them leading her to a land that she thought only existed in Ariane’s stories.
Could the stories be more than just that?
Soon enough, Esme discovers how very real Aeolia is when she unexpectedly discovers it as she walks along the beach. Suddenly, she is plunged into a land full of magic, sirens, and mysterious Gifts that allow Aeolia’s residents to give shape to water and sing impossible things into existence.
But all is not well. Full of wonder as this world might be, people’s Gifts are failing and the land is wracked by earthquakes that threaten to reduce Aeolia to rubble. Still, there is hope. Clues abound in Ariane’s paintings, and Esme and her friends bravely follow them, determined to uncover the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and Aeolia’s failing magic.
Elizabeth Foster has handcrafted a fantastic world that will long remain in the memories of all who are willing to explore it. Every description seems like paint swept across canvas, creating vivid images of Aeolia that leave readers wondering if it just might be real. But perhaps the most stunning thing of all is that Esme’s Wish reminds us that having hope isn’t childish at all; it is bravery at its finest and we should all take hold of it as fiercely as Esme, the young woman courageous enough to go in search of lost things.
This week, I’m thrilled to share The One with the Scraggly Beard by Elizabeth Withey with you. This illustrated children’s story is well worth the read. Though the words are few, they are rich and sure to stay with you for a long time to come.
Sometimes, the right words for a book this wonderful come slowly. The story’s events are seen through the eyes of a young boy who is overflowing with questions about someone he calls The One with the Scraggly Beard, a homeless man who sleeps beneath a nearby bridge.
Readers might expect a little boy to be full of questions, but what sets him apart is his ability to really see someone whose life is so unlike his own, while also possessing the innocent courage it takes to understand that they aren’t so very different from one another after all.
Elizabeth Withey and illustrator, Lynn Scurfield, have bravely crafted a story that will fill readers with the longing to recapture all that’s best about a child’s heart and the willingness to ask the hard questions and truly see painful realities.
Read this one aloud with your children. Your family won’t soon forget it, for The One with the Scraggly Beard is one of those rare books that will simultaneously leave your hearts broken for the hurting and put the pieces back together with the hope that, one day, as love and empathy flourish, the pain of all those sleeping under bridges tonight will be healed.
You can connect with Elizabeth Withey on Twitter and Lynn Scurfield on Instagram
And for more wonderful stories, connect with Orca Books on Facebook
This weekend, the next installment of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves will be available! If you’d like to catch up on past installments, you can do that here.
Can you hear the music, reader? The melody spins in time with the horses, inviting you to step into four carousel dreams sure to entertain and delight with their lighthearted romance and historic ties to, perhaps, the most nostalgic of all carnival rides.
Carousel Dreams is a whirlwind book, bringing together four stories that are unconnected in all respects except one: each features a historic carousel and the couples that are brought together by their connections to it. Each story celebrates love stories that, while not without their difficulties, are pure and true. While reading, I was impressed by each author’s ability to set the stage so deftly and craft meaningful story lines. That being said, the stories, with A Carousel Wedding being the exception, left me wanting deeper character development and a richer historical backdrop.
All things considered, Carousel Dreams is the perfect summertime read, lighthearted and inspiring. While the stories could have had more depth, the characters remain real: flawed, hopeful, torn, courageous, and all the more relatable because of it. In its own unique way, each story will encourage readers to take risks, remain faithful, and hold onto hope.
Can you hear the music, reader? Step aboard the carousel, quickly now, before the music fades.
This week, I’m introducing you to one of new favorite authors, Kimberly Duffy! Check out my review of her debut release below!
Readers are always searching for those rarest of books that not only entertain and delight you, but also work their way deep into your spirit, finding an eternal home there. A Mosaic of Wings is one of them. The story opens with Nora, a passionate student of entomology at Cornell University, who finds beauty and wonder in all of God’s creation, but particularly in the world of insects. But society insists that she cannot add anything of value to a man’s field, and Nora soon finds herself opposed on all sides, most fiercely by her step-father, who promotes a advantageous match as the only proper path for her.
Still, some friends remain true, among them a favorite professor who longs to see her flourish in the field. Before long, Nora finds herself swept off to India, a land all warmth and spice and passion, competing for a scholarship that just might give her the freedom she’s craving to boldly pursue her dreams. It will not be long, though, before this new land and its people, along with an unexpected friend from home, begin to shape Nora into a stronger and more courageous woman of God than ever before, making her one of those rare fictional characters who are most worthy of emulating.
Without doubt, Kimberly Duffy has woven an enchanting tale that will captivate anyone with the courage to pick up this book and embrace all the ways it will challenge and change you.
“Living off thievery and evading the Roman authorities, Dismas is a man who looks out only for himself. But when a sudden misfortune leaves him stranded in a small village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dismas has an opportunity to leave his fugitive existence behind. As a hired hand on a fishing boat, Dismas finds pleasure in work for time, and peace out on the sea. It’s an honest life—and he may have even found a woman to share it with.
But then tragedy strikes, and Dismas sets out on the road again to seek a man he’s been told is capable of miracles. However, being touched by the divine grace of this man cannot save Dismas from the Roman authorities if they finally catch up with him for his past misdeeds. As Passover approaches, Romans and Jews alike converge on the chaotic city of Jerusalem, where Dismas navigates trials of persecution, conspiracy, and murder that ultimately lead him to be an eyewitness to the most pivotal moment in human history.
With vividly imagined depictions of events from the New Testament, Redemption at the Eleventh Hour is the exciting tale of one man’s difficult journey towards salvation.”
Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is sure to be one of the most unique books readers will encounter this year. Dismas, a seemingly irredeemable thief with no remorse for his actions, has a chance meeting with Leah, a local fisherman’s daughter, an encounter that ultimately plants the seeds of change in Dismas’ heart. But this is not your run-of-the-mill redemption story; a twist of fate alters the course of Dismas’ life, leaving a soul ravaged by past shame open to grace and healing in the most unexpected of ways.
Andrew Crown has successfully crafted a redemption story that stands out beautifully amidst the many meaningful stories in Christian fiction. His descriptions, for all their simplicity, allow readers to easily imagine themselves placed in the most significant moment in all history, and they will be eager to follow Dismas down dusty, country roads to the streets of Jerusalem as he searches for Jesus and a life full of real meaning.
The characters, even those who play a more minor role, are memorable and unique. Whether it is the cruel and vengeful Roman, Bricius, or kind-hearted Leah, readers are alternately repulsed by and drawn to Crown’s characters. These are fully-imagined human beings with faults and redeeming characteristics in equal measure, making what could have been “just another book” a truly worthwhile read that will leave readers with questions and an undeniable thirst to know Jesus better.
The only issue with the novel is the grammatical errors. While every book has them, it became obvious fairly quickly that the book could use another thorough round of editing. That being said, Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is a pleasantly surprising story that is sure to remain with readers for a long time. In a world that often focuses on the negative and the “realistic,” it is refreshing to come across a book that celebrates the reality that people can, indeed, change, thanks to the One Who paid the price for our redemption.