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text 2019-11-13 17:18
Reading progress update: I've listened 700 out of 967 minutes.
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters,Simon Vance

I definitely have to bump up my star rating for this book.


Being stuck inside the head of this condescending creep Dr. Faraday is quite sickening. And it makes me want to get my trusted frying pan out of my cupboard.


This just shows how fabulous Simon Vance´s narration is. His narration truly adds something special to this story.

(spoiler show)
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review 2019-11-12 10:00
The Bright Unknown Review

About the Book


Book: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.
The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click HERE to grab your copy!  

About the Author


Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.  

More from Elizabeth


The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.
That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

My Review


“But I am ready to find those buried souls and love them and remind anyone who will listen that the invisible still exist.”

Every once in a while, an author comes along who transforms the genre with work that is exquisitely written and original. This is one of the most exciting moments for book reviewers, finding a diamond among the other gems. There are few Christian books that I choose to review that I end up truly not liking, but even so, certain ones sincerely rise above the rest. Elizabeth Younts’ “The Bright Unknown” definitely makes this exceptional list.

From the moment I began reading, I found myself mesmerized. Drawn into the life of the protagonist, Brighton, I was immediately absorbed and became more emotionally engaged with each page. Younts adeptly employs a dual timeline, recounting Brighton’s early life in the Riverside asylum in the early 1940s interspersed with scenes from her life at age 67. At first, the narrative projects a whimsical aura during Brighton’s adolescence, but the veil is removed early on, and the rest of the story exudes a sobering darkness. The author does not flinch away from the realities of twentieth-century mental asylums, yet relates them in a clean manner, demonstrating that unpleasant and even horrific happenings can be told without profanity or graphic detail. If there is one element that I would like to see changed, it would be to increase the faith aspect, which is subtle.

“The Bright Unknown” is haunting and will linger long after turning the final page, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might think. What makes this book shine is how thought-provoking it is. Instead of being outright terror-ridden like most asylum-based novels, this one lies more on the level of trauma. The trauma of losing one’s identity and the trauma of not knowing one’s identity in the first place. This story is rife with symbolism and layers of complexity. And I love that! The restraints are not always physical, but sometimes emotional as well. The characters’ psychological profiles drive the plot in more ways than one, entangling and interweaving them. Brighton’s situation is so unique and raises many questions regarding how we think about and relate to others, and what motivates us. I can’t say much without giving away plot points, but suffice it to say that “The Bright Unknown” resonates on a deep level because it speaks to our collective need to be known and loved. And the good news is that we are and always have been by the One who created us and who calls us into a relationship with Him, regardless of our circumstances.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops


The Power of Words, November 2

A Reader’s Brain, November 2

Living Life Free in Christ, November 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 3

Inspired by fiction, November 3

Fiction Aficionado, November 4

Genesis 5020, November 4

janicesbookreviews, November 5

Blogging With Carol , November 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

To Everything A Season, November 6

The Becca Files, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

A Baker’s Perspective, November 8

Connect in Fiction, November 8

Moments, November 9

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Hallie Reads, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

mpbooks, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Godly Book Reviews, November 15


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review 2019-11-12 06:35
Malcolm's Honor by Jillian Hart
Malcolm's Honor (Harlequin Historical, Vol. #519) - Jillian Hart

Malcolm le Farouche felt his blood race at the thought. Yet, was rage or passion the reason? He knew only that though Elinore of Evenbough would share his bed by royal command, the warrior-trained beauty was not to be trusted...with his life or his heart!

Le Farouche¬ó"the Fierce." The epithet added luster to Sir Malcolm's dark reputation as the greatest knight in the land. But how would Elinore refute his deep suspicions of an alliance with her treacherous father? For her soul called out that this man was her true mate born!






In the year 1280, Sir Malcolm le Farouche ("the fierce") is the greatest knight in all the land. He is sent as a kind of bounty hunter to round up the Lord of Evenbough when the man is suspected of treason and murder. When Malcolm finds the lord's daughter, Lady Elinor also in attendance, he gathers her up as well, unsure if she is equally guilty as the father. Better safe than sorry, it's decided everyone shall go to see King Edward.

Though innocent of wrong doing, Elinor (who goes by Elin for most of the novel) fears her fate will be tarnished through guilt by association, possibly meaning an end by execution. With her lady's maid, Alma, in tow, Elinor decides to make an escape attempt. Making a meal for Malcolm and his men, Elin mixes in a low dose of oakwood, mildly poisoning everyone... not enough to kill them, just enough for them to have bad enough intestinal upset for her to have a window to get away without capture. That's the plan, anyway. But much to her surprise and dismay, Malcolm pushes through his discomfort and does successfully capture her not far outside the camp.


Once in front of King Edward, Elin's father is swiftly handed off for execution, but Edward decides there's not enough evidence against Elin to condemn her, and her father's lands remain quite valuable. Edward's skeevy nephew, Carodoc, tries to make a grab for Elin's hand but since Edward apparently doesn't entirely trust his own family, he puts forth his decision to marry Elin to Malcolm. Malcolm's initially not fully onboard with the idea but once told that if he declines he will be banished from court and Elin WILL be executed, seems like there is little choice in the matter. So after a quick ceremony, off our newlyweds go back to the newly dubbed Le Farouche homestead...where you'd think things would kinda chill out for a bit, but nah.


Within mere hours of these two uniting, there are NUMEROUS attacks on their lives and home, with even more to come in the following days. It just does not let up! There's even yet another guy showing up claiming he has marital dibs on Elin! But on the upside, conflict often tends to stir up heightened emotions in people, and it's no different here. Though he's still struggling with learning to trust his new wife, Malcolm does definitely feel a growing interest towards her in general. He's impressed with her training in combat and healing arts (though he sometimes suspects her of sorcery), he's amused by her feisty side, but he's also baffled by her --- the way she has a "fragile cut of face, lithe grace, and womanly curves" but also physical strength and self-confidence to rival any man's. Prior to meeting Elin, Malcolm had taught himself to be content with putting all his energy toward being the most dedicated knight to the king. But maybe, just maybe, there IS, in fact, more to life than that ol' "punching the clock" business. Maybe there's something to be said for a coming home to a quiet night at the house and a soft woman to curl up with!


Though they might have had an unconventional start, Malcolm and Elin grow to have an adorable, realistic "I'm calling you on your BS" banter between them that kept me laughing and nodding. Those who have been in long-term relationships will appreciate the style of playfulness these two have. True, they developed theirs rather quickly, but the way Hart lays it out still makes it somehow believable, like they were just one of those couples that would of course find each other when the timing was right.

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review 2019-11-12 03:34
The Greatest Lover in All England by Christina Dodd
The Greatest Lover in All England - Christina Dodd



Since childhood, Rosie's life has been the stage—passing herself off as a boy playing women's roles in the somewhat disreputable theatrical troupe of actor Danny Plympton, Rosie's adoptive father. But when unanticipated danger confronts them, they must flee London, taking refuge at the estate of Sir Anthony Rycliffe. A handsome, devil-may-care rakehell, Tony quickly sees through Rosie's disguise. But a lush, womanly form and eminently kissable lips are not the ravishing young beauty's only secrets—and the burning attraction Tony feels for her does not lessen the peril she has brought to his doorstep. The dashing rogue is determined to strip the irresistible lady of her mysteries—and her masculine garb—using all of his fabled seductive powers. After all, Tony has a reputation to uphold, as . . .The Greatest Lover in All England




Rosie (aka Rosencrantz) is no stranger to life on the streets of 17th century London. She travels around with a group of performers, led by her adoptive father, Sir Danny Plympton (he "knighted" himself), singing for food or dollars. Though illiterate, Rosie has one illustrious benefactor in her life, the one and only "Uncle Will" --- William Shakespeare.


*BTW --- each chapter in this book opens with a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays.


Our girl is rocking one secret on the cusp of having an unplanned reveal: only those closest to her know she is female, everyone else has always accepted Rosie's masculine presentation as the truth. Sir Danny took Rosie in as a little girl and made the choice to raise & present her as a boy for her own safety. Only now, with Rosie's introduction to Sir Anthony Rycliffe (legitimately knighted), is that coming into question.

When it's suggested that Rosie may possibly be the true, lost heir of the estate Sir Anthony calls home, Anthony proposes they settle the dispute by marrying and combining their lands and wealth. The long-term benefits of the arrangement take some convincing for Rosie, but eventually she agrees to Anthony's idea. Naturally, because this is a romance novel, what starts as a seemingly straightforward business arrangement shortly turns into something much more feelings-infused.


But if you think that's all there could be to this story, oh no no. Dodd throws some fun intrigue her readers' way! We got the Earl of Southampton, a patron of Shakespeare's theater, asking him to put on a production of Richard III (the Earls of Southampton and Essex harbor secret hopes that it will incite rioting against Queen Elizabeth I); Is Sir Danny looking at a chance at love?; Then there seems to be a secret assassin targeting either Anthony or Rosie... or both... but who wants them dead so badly? And then we have a friend of Rosie's sent to Newgate Prison and Anthony does his best to charm the proverbial pants off the queen to get the friend released. But oooh, the scene where Anthony takes things too far and his flirtatious words happen to contain a verbal knock on Earl of Essex, one of the queen's current favorites... so Anthony ends up getting his ears boxed, repeatedly! There's no shortage of entertainment in these pages!


For a romance novel, this ended up feeling quite literary. The writing is wonderfully clever, with all sorts of bookish references woven in. The dialogue is light and cheeky, such as the line, "... the cat who got the canary...I can almost see feathers protruding from your lips, what do you have planned?" Anthony and Rosie have an adorable, realistic "I'm calling you on your BS" banter between them that kept me laughing and nodding. Those who have been in long-term relationships will appreciate the style of playfulness these two have. You can just imagine the twinkle lights going off in the eyes of these characters --- Great fun!

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review 2019-11-11 17:21
Royal Beauty Bright
Royal Beauty Bright - Ryan Byrnes

Read for Veteran's Day task- 24 tasks!


The Baker family was not the typical family of Leamington Spa, England in the late 1800's. Mrs. Baker is a widow who runs her own sweets shop, her oldest son, Luther is different from other children. People say he is possessed or a lunatic, what we would now diagnose as autism. Luther's younger brother, Jim protects Luther furiously, but still takes the brunt of his mother's pain and frustration. One day as Jim and Luther are playing with Jim's best friend, Rodney, Luther pushes Rodney and hurts him badly. Rodney recovers but the incident leaves its mark. Years later, a war breaks out. Rodney is fighting on the Western Front and finds a new recruit in his regiment acting strangely. He is surprised to find that it is Luther Baker. Rodney is pressed to protect Luther by childhood friend Ethyl, who is serving as a nurse and trying to find a way to send Luther home. Meanwhile, Jim has taken a job with the British Army Postal Service with his own plan to smuggle Luther out. As Christmas approaches on the Front, Luther cooks up his own plan for survival.

Royal Beauty Bright is a heartwarming tale of compassion that revolves around the Christmas Truce of 1914. Alternating between 1897 and 1914, the timeline immersed me in the lives of Constance Baker, Luther, Jim, Rodney, and Ethyl. Though Luther was met with much adversity in his life, including being tricked into service, the love that Luther shares with his family and friends and they love they return shines brightly through. I loved that Luther excelled at chocolate making and that it paved the way for him to form relationships with other people as well. The depictions of life in the trenches on the Western Front were brutally realistic and showed the impact on the soldier's mental well being. Luther's insights during this time were often the most honest and truthful sentiments during the war, unhindered by what others might think of him. I loved when he told Rodney to write his mother: "Tell her people don't want to kill each other, but they don't know how to stop." As Christmas approaches on the front, I could tell that something had to give. I enjoyed reading the reactions of the men on both sides as they realized that they could take a break from the War and have fun, if only for a day.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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