Hymns in the Hills Book Review

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p“Could you not teach them what you do know?”

Separated from her parents and sent to live with unknown relatives for the summer, Belle Standish clings hard to the promises found in her dear Bible and her beloved hymns. As she grows to love her newly discovered family, she finds much work to be done for her Lord in this neglected field.

But when danger threatens those she loves, Belle’s faith and courage are tested in ways she never imagined. Will God’s promises hold true even in the midst of the storm? And what can she possibly accomplish with just her one little light?

Giveaway!

Click here to enter to win a free ebook of Hymns in the Hills. One way to enter is to find the hidden sentence in all the blog posts for this tour (the links for all the posts are at the bottom of this post). There is one word hidden in every post. The hidden word in this post is in all-caps somewhere in my review below. 🙂

My Review

What a sweet little old-fashioned story! This is a style I particularly love. Told from the perspective of a dear little child who is sincerely seeking God with her whole heart (notwithstanding her very human mistakes and struggles), Hymns in the Hills is heartwarming and refreshing. I enjoyed meeting Belle, a young girl who is sent to live with her aunt and uncle for several months. I enjoyed each one of the many hymns she would SING as she went about her daily work. Some of the hymns were very familiar to me; others were old favorites I rarely hear sung nowadays; still others were new to me and yet equally beautiful and beloved.  I loved how their theology wove about naturally with Belle’s everyday life, shaping her character, encouraging her heart, ministering to those around her, and guiding her decisions.

The plot was well crafted. It wasn’t complicated, and I found much of it quite predictable, but that did not in the least detract from my enjoyment. It was inherently Christian, with Biblical messages and morals unapologetically woven throughout the pages, but I didn’t find it contrived or forced to forward the Christian themes, but rather quite realistic and believable for the work and purpose of God in the hearts of His people.

The more exciting parts of the plot were handled well. Although there was danger from human and natural forces, it wasn’t inappropriately frightening. Nothing was shown “on page” that I’d hesitate to let a child read, and yet just enough hints were woven within the background threads of the story to allow older readers to appreciate what was going on without dwelling on evil.

The characters! The characters were so well-drawn! At first, it’s difficult to keep track of all the many cousins, but since we get to know them slowly right along with Belle, it’s not hard to put everyone in their places as quickly as needed. Each cousin’s personality shone through the pages, each contributing to the well-rounded flavor of the story. The older relations were also well-characterized – no cookie cutter characters here! I also enjoyed the minister and his wife. I even loved the distinct personalities of the dogs, though I’m by no means a dog person. 🙂

Tom Beck remained a puzzle to me throughout the book. I would have liked a bit more explanation as to his motives and methods, though there was enough to be satisfactory for the most part. The one part of the story I didn’t find entirely realistic was his interaction with the girls – he seemed quite careless in regards to them.

Another element of the book I enjoyed was how long it took to travel to each isolated cabin in the hills! So often stories gloss over this, but I was happy to see that this wasn’t the case here. The long treks between neighbors came across quite realistically.

The ending was satisfying. The storylines of the aunts, uncles, cousins, Belle, and her parents all wrapped up quite well in the sweet old-fashioned style the book was written in. All in all, I found Hymns in the Hills to be encouraging and refreshing. I’d love to meet Belle in person, and I’d love to read a sequel about her future life!

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View book on Goodreads

View book on Amazon

View the Author’s Blog

rebekahmRebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great WarThe Unexpected RequestGift from the Storm and her best-selling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing an item through one of these links may give me a small payment at no increased cost to you. I only link to products I’ve personally enjoyed and/or recommend.

Tour Schedule
Monday, May 27
Tuesday, May 28
Kaitlyn S. – Review and Author Interview – www.maidensformodesty.com/hymns-in-the-hills/
Rebekah Ashley – Book Spotlight – http://rebekahashleigh.blogspot.com
Wednesday, May 29
Sarah – Book Spotlight – http://www.thedestinyofone.com/
Thursday, May 30
Kaylee – Review – https://kayleeskindofwrites20.com/
Friday, May 31
Esther – Author Interview – https://wevegotpockets.wordpress.com/
Jessica – Book Spotlight – https://www.jessicagreyson.com/
Saturday, June 1
Kassie – Review and Author Interview –  https://soldiergirlstories.com/?p=630
Rosalyn – Book Spotlight/Review – https://www.instagram.com/rosysbookishcorner/
Rebekah – Final post + book covers – http://readanotherpage.com/2019/hith-tour-end-more-book-covers/
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Ilyon & Acktar Blog Tour

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Bitter Winter, and companion novella Lacy have been released! Bitter Winter is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles.

Tricia Mingerink’s newest novel Decree is also releasing! Decree is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy/kingdom adventure series The Blades of Acktar.

Read about these books below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

I’ve read all three of these books, and they are seriously amazing. Today I’m reviewing all three, and to avoid creating a monster post, I’ll be posting the reviews separately.

For information on the books and to enter the massive giveaway, keep reading. If you’re here just for my reviews, click the following links:

The Ilyon Chronicles

Bitter Winter

About Bitter Winter

Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.

Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Available now on Amazon!

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Lacy

About Lacy

The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.

When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.

An Ilyon Chronicles Novella

Available now on Amazon!

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Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!

About the Author

JayeLKnight Author PhotoJaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.

The Blades of Acktar

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About Decree

The Adventure Continues.

Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.

The Blades as They Should’ve Been

A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family?

The First Mission

When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?

To the Far Great Mountains

A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?

From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.

Available now on Amazon!

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Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page.

DSC09450-2About the Author

Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.

You can connect with Tricia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Giveaway!

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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.) Click on this link to enter.

Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour!

Bitter Winter Book Review

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Bitter Winter is the fifth book in the Jaye L. Knight’s Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve heard my excessive praise for this amazing series.

Well. You haven’t heard the end of it yet. I’ve now read Bitter Winter, and it just might be my new favorite of the series. And if you know anything about my views on the previous four books, you know this one is excellent.

Before we get into the review, here’s the official tour page.

Here’s my spotlight of this book and the two others in this tour. You can also find a giveaway for the whole Ilyon series at that link.

Bitter Winter
This is an amazing, beautiful, deep book. It’s just what a story of believers ought to be. Sarah Holman beautifully summed it up in her review: “I think the reason that these books mean so much to me is they are so true to life while being a good escape.” It’s full of tragedy, clinging together, trying to solve issues in one’s own strength, and the all-encompassing, all-sufficient power of God. There are no words to describe the depth and beauty of this book.

I love that character development is a strong element of this series. I love how I still feel like Jace and Kyrin are the same Jace and Kyrin from Resistance, only so much more mature. There weren’t a whole lot of new characters in this book, which I actually appreciate. The cast of characters is so large already, and time spent with our favorites is a joy.

Alex was a refreshing character to get to know. I loved having him in the story – he was not at all stereotypical. I’m quite interested in what he may do next. His goals and motives were very understandable – I appreciated the depth of his motives. He was very well crafted.

The description in narrative sections is a weaker part of the story for me. For me, when the story is shown through the character’s eyes, it immerses me in the story, draws me along, and makes me feel like I’m experiencing, not reading. However, the action, dialogue, romantic, and emotional scenes excelled at this!

Bitter Winter is absolutely cohesive. I loved the flow of the scenes and plot: very natural, easy to read, logical, and appropriate. The description of the emotions connects with me well. Reactions felt very appropriate. High emotion scenes felt real. The author does an excellent job portraying real emotions without being unnecessarily dramatic.

Dialogue feels great to me. I love how I can especially feel Trask and Daniel’s unique voices throughout their POV scenes.

Overall, Bitter Winter is a great length with a great plot and a great message. It’s exactly what a story should be – especially the spiritual flow of Jace’s storyline – so perfect. The ending is so sweetly done and beautiful. It’s everything I hoped it would be. I love how the whole book ties together with the themes when the story begins and in the ending scenes.

Despite one particular sad incident in this book, I love this story. Despite what the author puts the characters through, it’s a beautiful tale. I wish the story could have gone differently for one particular character in this book, but I love this story and all Jace and the others learn through it. I love how the author set up Jace’s choices – set him up so gently and yet desperately that it’s easy to see why it’s impossible. Overall, it’s a tale of love – love that must be sacrificed, love that must to be placed entirely in Elom’s hands.

I especially love what the author is doing with this series. This book in particular has an important message to believers woven throughout its pages. It’s something deep and near to everyone’s hearts – the suffering, the helplessness, the difficulty of surrender, and the need to let God be Lord. This is beautifully shown through Bitter Winter, and it’s what causes this book to rate as one of my favorites in this series so far. I love stories that get down to that personal deep level, and seeing that in Jace – after he’s come so far – was beautiful.

Carrie Mouse Book Review

Morgan and Rebekah Huneke are releasing an adorable children’s book! Morgan wrote the story and Rebekah did the illustrations.

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About the Book

Martha Squirrel made her journey down the big hill seem like a grand adventure. But what happens when Carrie Mouse disobeys her mama and explores the giant garage?

Inspired by a true story, Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage tells the story of a young mouse who gets trapped in the garage of the human house at the bottom of the hill. Beautifully illustrated with clay sculptures, this is a book you won’t want to miss!

Buy Now

Add to Goodreads

IMG_4127 croppedAbout the Author

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. She is the author of several middle grade novels including the Time Captives fantasy trilogy and one YA fairy tale retelling novella entitled Twisted Dreams. Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is her first picture book.

To learn more about Morgan and her work, visit www.morganhuneke.com or www.morganhuneke.blogspot.com

IMG_4522 - Copy croppedAbout the Illustrator

Rebekah Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia with her parents, sisters, and yellow Labrador named Sophie. She has been working with Sculpey since age nine, and sells her creations in the Klay Kottage Etsy shop. She also creates and sells stuffed animals and knitted goods. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing cello and piano. Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is her first book.

To learn more about Rebekah and her work, visit www.etsy.com/shop/klaykottage or follow @klaykottage on Instagram

My Review!

carrie2Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is a short moral tale of learning to listen to the wisdom of parents and those older and wiser than you. Throughout the book, we follow Carrie Mouse as she discovers the importance of this valuable lesson.

I read this book with my toddler and we both enjoyed the story. As a parent, I can be quick to testify that this book carries the values and character that I’m happy to model for my children through their reading material. While all books don’t have to be such strictly “moral tales,” I appreciate those that are – especially when my child finds the book fascinating as well.

I especially appreciated the respectful, loving way in which the parents spoke to Carrie. So often children’s books portray parents as – quite frankly – rude, yelling at their children, telling them “no” for no evident reason, and just downright being negatively-minded towards the child. Carrie’s parents speak out of true love: not giving in to Carrie’s wants and not relenting in their job as her protectors, but also showing through their words and manner how much they care about Carrie and how their words are only motivated from a desire for her well-being.

My toddler also loved the book. She still keeps asking to “read the Mr. Mouse book” (either he was the character that stuck with her most, or else she thought Carrie’s full name is Mr. Mouse). Her favorite page was near the beginning, when Mrs. Mouse and Carrie have their important conversation. (“Read the cat page, Mama!”)

As I was posting this review, my toddler and her five-year-old aunt came over wanting to read the book again. The five-year-old’s comment after we finished: “A story about a mouse. That’s cool!”

The illustrations are fabulous! So homey, quaint, and cute. The colors are vivid, and the style is consistent throughout. The attention to tiny details truly causes the pages to shine.

All in all, this is a fun little story I highly recommend.

give.jpgGiveaway

Morgan and Rebekah will be giving away a signed copy of Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage with a handmade Carrie Mouse doll! ISN’T THIS FANTASTIC? My toddler, for one, would love a stuffed animal that matches her favorite stories. 🙂 Second prize is a signed copy of the book only. Be sure to enter the giveaway! Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Five Fall Favorites: Top Five for 2018

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Welcome to the last day of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog had a different theme for the day and each blog shared five favorite books each day in a specific genre.

Things are winding down at the Literary Lodge – giveaway winners will be announced as well as other exciting happenings. But today we have a special treat for you: free and cheap books! So be sure to read to the end to find them.

Today I’m hosting the Blankets party room, and today I’ll be sharing my top five reads from 2018: my favorite books I’ve read so far this year.blankers

Pick your favorite blanket from one of these baskets here and join me on the swings.

The creaking of the chains blends with chirping of birds and the gentle whispering of the breeze, bringing a definite autumn chill. I wrap my blue and white crocheted blanket more firmly around me as readers select their blankets and find a seat. Continue reading

Five Fall Favorites: Military

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Welcome to day five of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog has a different theme for the day and each blog will be sharing five favorite books in a specific genre. There are also giveaways and free books, so don’t forget to check out the rest of the rooms for today’s freebie (link at the end of this post). The US giveaway includes a fall reading basket with several paperbacks and a mug. Enter here. The good news is if we get enough entries, we’re adding a special second prize and perhaps even a third, so go enter!

Today I’m hosting the Backpacks party room, and today I’ll be sharing five of my top military books: stories that involve military personnel from any era.

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Today we’re hiking the rocky trails out back to view the fall colors and perhaps find a shady nook in which to sit and read. Join me here as we are outfitted with backpacks for the day: we’ve pre-packed them with water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a special hat. We’ve left space for your favorite books.

Readers select backpacks, don sunglasses, smother sunscreen, lace hiking boots, and set out. Grasping my walking stick, I step ahead of the group, leading the way up the rocky trail. Sunlight dances off birch leaves and moss patches. Chattering readers follow.

Silence falls as I begin sharing some of my favorite military books.

Continue reading