As a child, one of my favorite books was Cynthia Rylant’s “When I Was Young in the Mountains.” Growing up in rural Ohio, near the border of West Virginia, my home is considered part of Appalachia. I’ve always been drawn to folk music and the backcountry. I remember watching the television adaptation of Catherine Marshall’s “Christy” when I was younger. There is just something fascinating about living off the grid, regardless of the time period: creating a unique community that is self-sustaining and learning what makes it flourish and what holds it together. Set in late 1920s in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, Tonya Jewel Blessings’ “The Melody of the Mulberries” presents a wonderful glimpse into this experience.
“The mulberry tree that shaded her from the afternoon sun sang a melody of obedience. It grew, blossomed, and bore fruit in submission to God. All flora and fauna flourished in Big Creek through obedience to the Maker of All Things.”
Despite not having read the previous book, I decided to take a chance and read “The Melody of the Mulberries” anyway, and I am glad that I did. If possible, I would recommend reading “The Whispering of the Willows” first to set the foundation for this sequel, but it is not a prerequisite. I was a bit confused for the first chapter or so; my main problem was keeping the characters straight and remembering who was who, but then again I’m terrible with names, so that could have just been my personal issue. As the story progresses, the main events from the first book receive mention, which helps establish the plot of this second book.
My favorite element was the presentation of beliefs, the amalgamation of Christianity and folklore, and how Ernest in particular does his best to disenchant others from superstitions and lead them instead to Christ. As a teacher, “Ernest thought that education was one of the best ways to combat mountain mysticism.” His wisdom in both book knowledge and spiritual matters reveals his altruistic nature: “He had choices to make. He could choose to let others dictate his life, choose to direct his own life, or make the right choice and allow God to dominate his thoughts and actions.” Two of the other main characters include his sister Coral, 16, and his fellow teacher, Lottie. Although young, Coral is attuned to the voice of God and determined to follow where He leads her, even if it means leaving home to visit a convicted felon who harmed her family. I loved her conviction! Lottie doesn’t take center stage, but her actions prove her to be an encourager and supporter. Something that stood out to me throughout the narrative was how the characters use hymns and songs to talk to God and to minister to others. So often when I am praying or when I read a Scripture verse a Christian praise song or hymn comes to mind, and they can be such a beautiful part of worship!
“The Melody of the Mulberries” does not shy away from tough subjects. It deals with wedlock, race relations, and other issues that continue to be prevalent today, but it is a clean read. Each chapter begins with an epigraph that states an Appalachian folk belief and has an image of a black raspberry branch, with a leaf image used to divide the sections of each chapter. The author’s affinity for alliteration made me smile while reading. It took a few chapters for me to become accustomed to the Appalachian dialect, more so because I was reading it instead of listening to it, but I appreciated its inclusion in the characters’ dialogue because it enhanced the story’s authenticity. As such, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in mountain life, godly living, evangelizing, and tackling challenging topics.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27
For Him and My Family, November 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 29 (Author Interview)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 1
For the Love of Literature, December 2
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3
Pause for Tales , December 4
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5
Texas Book-aholic, December 6
janicesbookreviews, December 7
Betti Mace, December 8
A Reader’s Brain, December 9
Inklings and notions, December 10
“Captivating, fun, and totally swoon-worthy! This is the kind of story my reader heart craves.” ―Rachel Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes on Me
Available in print for the first time, and with exclusive bonus content only found in the print version!
Fall in love with Sally and Becks all over again.
Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.
Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.
Her solution: She needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.
Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal―even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.
The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life―and he's completely clueless.
This book features two best friends, one special-edition Yoda Snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses, and begs the question:
Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?
Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sally AKA "Spitz" to most, is best friends with Becks. They have been close since they were young children. Too bad he has no idea she has been in love with him the whole time. It is an unlikely pair, as he is the hottest guy in school, and she is a well known geek.
Baldwin AKA "Becks" is very glad to be Sally's best friend. He has secrets of his own he has not shared. When she asks him a favor, he has no problem saying yes. Will it get even more complicated when the whole school finds out?
This was such an amazing story. I found the characters to be rather deep and compelling. I was absolutely enthralled and did not put the book down until I had read the entire thing. Then I wanted to read it again. This was a new author for me - but you can bet I will read all her works now.
***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
View all my reviews
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas.
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When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux—only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected.
Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is—and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions.
Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous…and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists.
And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point
#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the world of the Lux with this steamy, shocking second installment of the Origin series that will leave readers reeling.
If you have not read the first book this will contain spoilers, so be aware of that and come back once you read book one.
I certainly liked this book a bit better than the last , Evie ad Luc can still be annoying but I think because I expected it, it was not as bad.
The first half was a lot about Evie and her trying figure out who she is more like who she was and her past. She struggles quite a bit with that and what that does, it also put s a strain on the relationship or what was starting to become a relationship. But of course that is not all , while she trying to figure all that out , there is also some kind of super flu going around that is mutating and killing people what seems super fast . Everyone is trying to figure out what is happening and the public is of course blaming the Luxens and things get really dicey for them as well.
Evie grew quite a bit in this book, and became a little more bearable but she is still not my favorite, sometimes she is still pretty annoying especially when she is with Luc. While their banter is funny and cute most the times, there were a few times I rolled my eyes. Like when they were in the most ridicules life or death situation and start their banter, really it felt off, wrong and forced at those times.
Luc I of course still like him and we even get to see some other sites of him, which made me like him even more, But he also had a few eye roll moments, mostly when with Evie . I also must admit that sometimes I have a hard time seeing Luc all grown up lol.
Of course we see some old faces and it was awesome to see them and what has become of them and made me miss them.
The book is full of action and really, the last half our poor people hardly get a break and are thrown into action nonstop. The end was amazing and while I saw some things coming, other discoveries really blew me away and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Overall this was a fun read, with romance, humor and tons of actions, sure it had some ugh moments but overall it was a fun read
I rate it 4 ★