Book Review: Atoning For Ashes by Kaitlin Covel

atoning for ashes by kaitlin covel book review

Synopsis:

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father's debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia's sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.

Charles Radcliffe's heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love--let alone the love of her God.

As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it's too late?

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

  • Publisher: Deep River Books

  • Published: 12/14/2019

  • Pages: 320

  • Good Reads Rating: 4.28 Stars

atoning for ashes book review kaitlin covel

Why I Chose This Book

I was personally contacted by Kaitlin to review her debut book. You know I can’t turn down a regency romance. I just love them!

First Initial Thoughts

Josie is a daughter of a wealthy family or at least once was wealthy. Her father gambled away their money and is now heavily in debt. In order for her family to resolve the debt, Delia is to be married to a man named Charles Radcliffe. However, it is found out that Delia has been secretly seeing another man outside of marriage and is now pregnant. When Delia is disowned from the family, Josie must take over and marry Charles. I found this very commendable of Josie. She didn’t have to save her family from being ruined but during this time it was not for the woman to make her own life decisions.

Charles Radcliffe, I wasn’t sure what to think of him at the start. We only get a glimpse of his character at the start with Delia absolutely loathing him. However, we do get a sense that he is a honorable man because Josie is the one who proposed the idea of marrying him to save her family, and he accepted.

Soon after being married, dark secrets start coming to surface. How will they handle them as a couple and family?

Setting

Early 19th century in England? I just love this time period in fiction. Kaitlin did a good job at world building and bringing the reader to a time that we can only read about in books. I also have to say that the story had a touch of gothic-ness to it.

Final Thoughts

Kaitlin hooked me in right from the start and I stayed up late at night wanting to know what would happen to the characters.

The marriage between Josie and Charles started as loveless marriage but slowly they started to feel for one another. They also had to face the typical issues we all face as newly weds. Specifically, they had to overcome Charles’ alcoholism. I found it admirable that Josie stayed by him and helped him with his issues. Many would have just left.

What I liked about this story most of all is that it felt like modern day times but set during the early 1800’s. We don’t often think of woman getting pregnant outside of marriage back then, but I am sure it happened more often than we think. This book also was very raw. Covering topics like attempted rape, alcoholism, fornication, domestic violence, and struggles of a marriage. We don’t often see all these topics covered in one book. Kaitlin covered them well and I didn’t think it was overly done or exaggerated.

Despite its dark tones, the story reminded us of God’s forgiveness and redemption. We all sin but we are forgiven and loved by Christ.

This is Kaitlin’s debut novel and I have to say that it was not written like a debut novel. It was well researched and written. She is a talented writer for sure and one to look out for!

Would I Recommend?

Yes. However, I would only recommend this for ages 18+ due to the material covered in this book.


You can purchase the book —> HERE

the caffeinated bibliophile

Book Review: American Omens by Travis Thrasher

american omens by travis thrasher book review

Synopsis:

In this taut thriller that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.

The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world's top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team--including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books--to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it's too late?

  • Genre: Christian Thriller/Dystopian

  • Publisher: Multnomah Books

  • Published: 02/12/2019

  • Pages: 352

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.24 Stars

american omens travis thrasher book review

Why I Chose This Book

I was kindly gifted an ARC copy of this book from Multnomah Books. I was excited to read this book because I have been wanting to read more dystopian lately.

First Initial Thoughts

The year is 2038. In the future everyone has what they call a SYNOPSES. It is a micro chic that is embedded into your body. It acts like an algorithm that determines what you want to do based on your likes and dislikes. We no longer have a physical computer or phone- it’s all built in the SYNOPSES. This technology is created and owned by Acatour.

What is most alarming is that Christianity is outlawed. Bibles, churches, etc. are outlawed and no one can publicly practice Christianity. Also Christians are suddenly disappearing but no one is really talking about it.

This story focuses on three main characters. Cheyenne, Will, and Dowland.

Cheyenne works and lives in the Incen Tower owned by Acatour. Her whole life turns around when her father who has been missing for a year sends her a letter warning her to leave immedaitely. Acatour finds out she is the daughter of a man who is wanted by the government for spreading Christianity and warning the public of Revelations. Therefore, she is fired and is thrown into a world she didn’t even know existed.

Will is a husband and father of two girls. He use to own a bookstore but it was shut down because he was selling Christian materials. He is thousands in debt and his marriage is falling apart. Because of this he starts to find his faith again.

Dowland is a FBI Agent. In the future FBI Agents are manipulated to finding Christians and “making them disappear”. I found this quite interesting- to think that FBI Agents will become essentially evil in the future. I found it slightly hard to believe this would happen. Yes I could see a few Agents go rogue - but the entire FBI?

Setting

Travis really brought the future to life. Whether or not those technologies could eventually exist you could definitely see them take life in your mind as you read about them. I also liked the little mentions about how the earth has faired in the past 20 years from the freezing blizzards in the west to Los Angeles being decimated from a massive earthquake - bringing most of the population to the eastern part of the US. However, I would have liked to learn more about the rest of the world and how it had faired in the past 20 years.

Final Thoughts

One thing I always question myself when reading a book set in the future, is it possible for that technology to exist for that time period? 20 years is a long time I have to say but I have to honestly say I don’t think a lot of the technologies mentioned in this book will likely exist in that short of a time span. However, I do think that we might have what they call Autoveh’s. Which basically are driverless cars. Tesla is already on the works of making a driverless semi - so I could see it being a possibility.

Will social media exist? In this book it does not anymore. Honestly, I really don’t know. I am pretty sure that Facebook, Instagram, etc. won’t last forever- and there will be something new to replace it. But who knows when or what will replace it. It just seemed odd to have a world without social media- but I could see it happening.

I really found it scary that Christianity is outlawed. I would have liked to know if other world religions like Judaism and Islam - are they outlawed as well? It was implied that it was but I think this story would have made more of an impact if all religions were suffering. It’s definitely scary to think that in the future we can’t practice our religion and could be possibly persecuted for it right here in America.

The reckoner, we didn’t find out who it was till the end. I found that interesting- I would have thought Travis would have revealed him right from the start. I didn’t guess who it was, but after it was revealed I could see all the clues pointing to that person.

The gripe I had about this book was that Travis I think focused a little too much on conspiracies when I think he could have used that space for more character and world building. The book also just kind of… ended. It kind of read like a series - so I am left wondering if this will be a series of books?

I think Travis wanted the main message of this book is to let people know that the Book of Revelations is true. One day Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. And to remind us to hold onto our faith no matter what is faced in front of us.

Would I Recommend?

Yes. It’s definitely a book that makes you think about our privacy in today’s society. It also makes you wonder about how different religions will be viewed in the future.



Q&A with Travis Thrasher,
Author of American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith

travis thrasher

Tell us about your new book, American Omens.

American Omens is a thriller set in the future that explores the threat of Christianity in the United States being subverted and Christians being ostracized for their beliefs.

You tell the story from multiple points of view, some of whom do not know each other for the majority of the book. Why did you decide to frame the story this way? Which point of view was your favorite to write?

I wanted to tell this story from three viewpoints: a believer who is struggling with his faith, somebody who doesn’t have faith and isn’t really thinking about it, and somebody very much opposed to having a faith. So you have a believer, a searcher, and a nonbeliever. I thought these three journeys would be interesting to watch unfold. 

I really love all these characters. My favorite might be the person who doesn’t have a viewpoint, the radical Christian who calls himself Reckoner. It was fun to write about him and see his character come to life. 

The story is set in the year 2038. What was it like brainstorming and writing about technology 20 years from now?

Fascinating because I love thinking about it, and frustrating because I wish I had more time to research trends and technology. 


What are you currently reading?

I’m usually reading about a dozen books or more at the same time. But here are a few: George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones. Dark Debts by Karen Hall. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. 

What’s one thing you learned about yourself while writing American Omens?

I learned that I’m stronger in my faith than I might actually like to admit. That I hold certain truths firmly. My urgency level for sharing the gospel increases as I get older and look out into the world.   

What do you hope readers take away from American Omens?

There’s a line in a message from Reckoner that says “Wake up. Do you find desires inside of you that nothing in this world can satisfy? The most probable explanation, as C.S. Lewis wrote, is that you are made for another world.” If this book can wake people up and get them to think, not about the future but more importantly about their present state. Fiction is not the place to preach to readers, but rather to get their minds to start wondering. Getting hearts to possibly slow down and consider some of the things written about inside the novel. 


Connect with Travis:

Website | Facebook | Twitter



You can purchase the book —-> HERE

How do you see technology looking like in 20 years? Do you see it being much different from now?

the caffeinated bibliophile

Book Review: Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron

her hope discovered

Synopsis:
Is the sure thing worth risking for the possibility of maybe?

Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery. 
Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course? 

Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents.

Nestled in the Ozarks’ hills and hollows is Ruby, Missouri, a quaint, cozy town where “neighbor” is merely another word for “friend.” Ruby will charm and delight as will her quirky, lovable characters who will steal your heart, but hand it right back—with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Savor your new friends’ sorrows and successes in the community where offbeat is perfect and mishaps and mayhem never tasted so good.

  • Genre: Christian Contemporary

  • Published: 12/31/2018

  • Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink

  • Pages: 251

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.54 Stars

her hope discovered book review cynthia herron
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;...
— Ecclesiastes 3:1

Why I Chose This Book

I am part of the Just Reads review tour for this book. Since this is a romance novel, I thought it would be the perfect book to review for Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

First Initial Thoughts

Charla is a young woman who sold everything and moved out to a small town in Missouri to start her life over. She worked a demanding high level corporate job that drained her emotionally and physically, and was invested in a relationship with a man who didn’t want to commit for the long run. She also grew up in a wealthy family who’s mother was quite demanding and forthright. She left to get away and find herself again. And the last thing she wanted to do was get involved in another relationship. Charla is that woman you aspire to be - wealthy, successful, but also kind and considerate.

Sam is a widow of three years with two little girls, Faith and Hope. He owns his own carpentry business and lives in the house next to Charla. His friend Horace believes it’s time for Sam to move on and start dating again. He things that Faith and Hope need a mom, especially at this point of their life. Speaking of Horace, he is that sweet old southern man that is filled with stories and wisdom. He was a good influence for Sam. Sam doesn’t know what to think about dating. He isn’t sure if he can let go of Angie, his former wife quite yet.

Setting

Ruby just sounds like one of those small towns that you would never get tired of. It also reminds you of how slow paced and friendly small towns are. It just seems like the idyllic place to set up a vacation home and enjoy some iced tea on the porch. Cynthia definitely made me miss that small town feel I grew up in!

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
— Psalm 31:24

Final Thoughts

I absolutely adored the charming town of Ruby. It felt like you stepped back in time when people actually talked to you at the grocery store line, people waved at you as you drive down the street, and the waitress at the diner was friendly and sweet instead of rushed. I feel like we need to experience that more often!

Charla and Sam were so cute together. However, I do have one gripe. I thought they got together too quickly in my opinion. I think that there should have been more time lapse between Charla moving in the house and them getting together. Faith and Hope were so adorable - they were sweet on Charla right away. They always looked forward to her visits and I think Charla fell for them fast as well.

Each character I think represents a certain life lesson. Charla has a second chance at life and has to let God help her see where that will lead her. Sam has to learn how to be honest (you have to read the story to understand) in relationships but also be more trusting in God. Charla’s mother has to learn how to appreciate life more and realize that family is everything. I think we all go through these life lessons one point in our lives and that makes this book quite relatable.

Though this story was kind of predictable I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the characters. I also could see this being adapted into a Hallmark movie! This story would be perfect for that channel.

Would I Recommend?

Yes most definitely. I think this book would be perfect to read on the back porch with some sweet iced tea. It’s one of those feel good books you will just adore!

You can purchase the book (it’s free right now on Kindle Unlimited!) —> HERE

Did you grow up in a small town or the city? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Please Note: I was provided a ebook copy of this book from the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.

The Valentine's Day Book Tag

The Valentine's Day Book Tag

This Thursday is Valentine’s Day so I thought I would do a fun book tag! I haven’t done one of these in a long time and I thought it was due. I love a good book tag - you get to learn more about the blogger behind the screen. And the questions are always so fun!

So without further ado, here are my answers to the book tag:

Stand Alone Book You Love

land of silence tessa afshar

I am assuming this question is talking about book series. This one is hard because I do read so many Christian books in a particular series. Even if you don’t have to read them in a particular order. Land of Silence is definitely a book I absolutely love that is a stand alone book. And it does have some romance! ;)

Dystopian Book You Love

the book of ivy amy engel

I don’t actually read too many dystopian’s. I tend to watch more dystopian movies. However, I do remember really enjoying this duo-logy by Amy Engel. It’s one of those book series that is underrepresented. This book reminded me more of the classic dystopians out there than modern day dystopians. So that is probably why I enjoyed it a lot.

A Book You Love But No One Else Talks About

monster

No one talks about Frank Peretti’s books anymore. His books are classics in the Christian genre!

Favorite Book Couple

a voice in the wind.jpg

I know Hadassah and Marcus wasn’t technically a “couple” but swoon… they were soo good together.

Book That Other People Love But You Haven’t Read Yet

hunger games

Yep… I have never read this famous dystopian. I have only seen the movies.

A Book With Red on the Cover

the kremlin conspiracy.jpg

A Book With Pink on the Cover

on magnolia lane denise hunter

You are given a Box of Chocolates, what fictional boyfriend/girlfriend would have given them to you?

shelter of the most of high connilyn cossette

Eitan… just swoon….

You are single on Valentine’s Day. What Book would you read? What TV Show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Book: I am actually not sure! I would probably read something not related to romance or doesn’t have romance in it.

TV Show:

Movie:

Believe it or not I am not that into romance comedy or romance movies. I tend to watch more adventure and drama type movies and stick to romance in books.

You are in the bookstore. All of a sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What new release will you love?

the sky above us sarah sundin

I hope you enjoyed this book tag! You are welcome to do this book tag as well! If you will be doing this book tag as well, please share your post!

the caffeinated bibliophile