Commit Thy Works…

This morning, as I was preparing for my day, I spent some time in Proverbs 16, along with reading a few other chapters. Verse three really struck my attention:

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

This past week hasn’t been the easiest in all senses of the term. For the last few months, Dad and Mom have been trying to figure out how to buy this rental we’re currently in. Due to one thing and another, though, getting all the paperwork together and getting the inspections and agreements drawn up has been a tedious, drawn-out process. And this week, they got the news that if they can’t get everything together by Friday, we won’t be able to purchase the place.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

I was struck by the similarity of this verse with one a book earlier in Psalm 37:

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

This committing thing is hard. It’s entrusting everything we have (or think we have, when really it’s His all along) to God. And while theoretically we might know that He’s the one in control anyway, it’s still hard to choose to give it to Him.

If we can’t get this place, we’ll have to move. While I’m personally not too worried about moving, and in some ways would welcome the change, I do shudder a little at the thought of the amount of work needed for us to make the move as a family. It’s a big job.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Sigh. I think I have more to learn in this “commitment” stage. And while I pray for God’s will to be done, and that I will be accepting and eager for His plan for my life—our lives—it still takes faith to wait.

Uncertainty is a difficult thorn to work with, but today, I’m going to focus on committing it and my future to Him.

I’ve got a promise to stand on that my thoughts will be established, and He will bring my way—His will for my life—to fruition.

What uncertainties are you facing today? What encouragement have you gleaned from the Word as you try to face it with a Christ-like attitude?

Hope in the Hurting Places

It’s been a cloudy day here in North Canterbury, but this evening the sky is starting to show slices of blue through it. It’s beautiful. And with the dandelions scattered around the yard like little bursts of starlight, I can’t help but feel a little happier.

Last year at this time, that wasn’t the case though—I was reeling from the devastating news that my brother was dead. Today, I haven’t been able to help but remember all that happened that day, and how our family was changed forever from that time on…but despite that and the difficult memories that come with it, I’ve continuously tried to direct my thoughts up.

Like the Psalmist of old, “Oh Lord, I’m sinking…but You in Your salvation and mercy will lift me up.”

And in this case, that’s enough.

Trust Him

One thing I’ve purposefully been doing these last few days leading up to the one-year anniversary is focus on God’s character. I knew this time would be rough, emotionally speaking. And I wanted to be prepared to some extent. It’s been such a blessed time. Even though there’s been a lot of pain, eyes stinging with tears at times, I know I can still look up and see the truth of God and His Word. It’s one constant thing in my life right now—and it has been constant for the last 2000+ years. It’s not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

This has been very helpful for me. Making note of these things, to read over and ground myself in when I need it, has been so special.

I’m thankful…

  • For the riches of God’s Word
  • For God’s holiness and justice
  • For the peace only Jesus can give
  • For God’s absolute love and guidance
  • For God’s mercy and grace
  • For His unending faithfulness
  • For hope in Christ
  • For the fact that we can trust God in everything
  • That He is in control
  • That He will never leave us
  • That He has (and will) bring us through
  • That He has cleared the path before, and He will again
  • That He is God, Jehovah-jireh, the Provider

God is so good.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now, what testings (emotionally or physically) you might be facing at the moment. But do know that you are loved, that you are in the center of His hand, and He will never let you go. God is there, in the situation with you. And that, as cliché as it sounds, is really enough.

Trust Him.

If you had to choose, what Bible verse comforts you the most when you’re walking through the valleys? Share below—I’d love to hear!

The Texting Book Story – A Guest Post

When I signed up to review Where Dandelions Grow, I also had the option of Lydia guest posting on my blog. Today, I’m excited to share with you a part of the backstory for the book—who the real people are. This was something I was curious about, as I saw a mention of this “texting book” in the story, so I’m interested to hear a little more about how this story came about today!

Welcome, Lydia!

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Only the bestest of cousins could inspire a story like Where Dandelion Grow, and my cousins happen to be the inspiration.

Alexa and Aubrey are close in age to my sister, Helena, and I, and we did everything together. Right after I turned eighteen, Helena and I got an opportunity to go help some missionaries in South America—only we’d be leaving in two weeks and we’d be gone for two months, including missing out on the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Texting Book Story

The town where Lydia and Helena stayed.

When we told Alexa and Aubrey they rearranged their schedule so they could come and spend a couple days with us before we left. We lived out in the country and their cell phones didn’t work out at our place. All throughout the visit, the girls kept scribbling stuff in a notebook that they were carrying around. When Helena and I asked about it, they told us it was their “texting book” and since they couldn’t text from our place they were just jotting down all the texts they wanted to send, so they could do it later when they had service.

We obviously knew they were joking, but it wasn’t until later that we found out what the book was really for. They’d written us a note for each and every day that we were going to be gone. That way, whenever we felt homesick, we could just open the book and read a delightful memory, joke, story, or piece of encouragement from them.

That was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I read and re-read the book many times while being gone—especially on the holidays when I was missing home the most. The book helped keep homesickness at bay and made me feel loved. Each time I read the “texting book” it was like getting a hug from my cousins. I still keep that book tucked away in a special place and pull it out from time to time.

At the end of Where Dandelions Grow I’ve included some of the special entries Alexa and Aubrey put into the “Texting Book.” I’ll forever be thankful they took the time to do that, and in a way, inspired Where Dandelions Grow through their kindness.

Lydia's Author PictureAbout the Author:

Lydia Howe (aka Aidyl Ewoh) is a twenty-something adventurous author who is partial to hiking in the mountains of Asia and South America, building life-size models of dinosaurs, taking road trips across Europe, visiting friends in Africa, growing up in a barn and everything in-between. She currently works in a coffee shop during the day and concocts stories by night. Find her online at her blogYoutubeFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Google+.

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Read my review of Where Dandelions Grow here.

Where Dandelions Grow: My Review

It’s one of those brilliant blue spring days outside. My brothers are mowing—I hadn’t realized how long the grass had grown in the last couple weeks since the last mowing! The mound of clippings beside the greenhouse is pretty tall now.

The spring daffodils are pretty much done now, and the apple trees are in full bloom. They’re the last of the fruit trees to bloom, if I remember right. The dandelions are also just starting to bloom. Another week or so, and there will be hundreds of them all over the yard and down the roadsides. So pretty!

Mowing

And speaking of dandelions, I’m excited to share with you a new book I’ve had the privilege of reading recently: Where Dandelions Grow! It’s written by one of my favorite bloggers, Lydia Howe, and it released today!

Note: Some of the links today may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links will not cost you any extra, but will help keep this blog going.

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up the story for the first time, but I knew I really appreciated what the author blogged about, and I had great hopes for a good book. I wasn’t disappointed. This book blew me away in some aspects, and overall, I loved the story.

Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia HoweDestiny isn’t quite sure what to expect when she decides to go against her mom’s wishes and go back to her roots—back to Swallow Ridge, where she was born. And had lived, until she was ten, when for some inexplicable reason the family up and moved away. She didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to her three best friends—her cousins. Now, she’s heading back, hoping against hope to be able to track her family down and find answers to the questions she’s been silently asking all these years. She’d also really like to prove that for once her mom is wrong: That she can write a book, and that she can do it well. Will her move prove fruitless in the end? Will she ever be able to figure out what happened so many years ago—and even if she can, is there any way she or her cousins can help to bring healing to their fractured relationships? And how is she even supposed to start looking, when all she knows are first names?

I loved the fact that while this is a young adult novel, it didn’t have the stereotypical triangle of love interests—or any romance in it at all, for that matter. That fact both shocked and delighted me, not because I don’t like romance, but not having it in the story (especially since in this case it wasn’t needed) was a refreshing change. The story also wasn’t fantastical fiction (is there such a thing? the characters certainly didn’t attempt to do things that under normal conditions would be impossible), rather, it felt fairly believable and the characters were delightfully relatable. I read the book in close to one sitting, and thoroughly enjoyed the pacing—it wasn’t too fast, but fast enough to keep me interested. In all, if you’re looking for a clean book—not necessarily hold-onto-your-seat fiction, but gripping enough to keep going—with a good theme, I’d recommend checking out Where Dandelions Grow.

Note: I received this book for free from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Now for a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

Where Dandelions Grow Quote 01

Where Dandelions Grow Quote 02

There’s a giveaway going—enter here!

And join in the fun over at Lydia’s blog here.

(Psst…Where Dandelions Grow is still $.99 as of this writing right now. I’m not sure what the “normal” price will be, but I believe it will be going up after a while.)

Website Building and the Vine

Ever since—well, almost before Learning Resource Directory was launched, I’ve been wanting to change to a different name. I knew I wanted something shorter, easier to type, and catchier, but laid that aside to let my subconscious mull over it while I got more important things, like the website launching and more book reviews written, done.

Just a few months ago, I finally came across the perfect name. And although I’m not (quite) ready to share that with you yet, suffice to say I’m thrilled to finally have a name I love!

I bought the domain name several months ago, but didn’t have time to do any more then, as I wanted to research hosting (Gretchen Louise’s tips have been extremely helpful in that area!). I eventually decided to do in-between hosting on Bluehost, where I’m currently hosting this website. I’m not planning to stay here long-term due to a plethora of problems I’ve had, but for now I’ve got another year on the contract I’m on and I may as well use it.

Website Building and the Vine

This past week, I’ve transferred the domain to Bluehost, and am now getting into the exciting phase of deciding on a theme and how to put it together, what I’d like for a logo, how I want the reviews to show up (static, like I have now, or more of a blog layout?), etc., etc.

For someone who’s been through all this designing and tweaking multiple times before, for multiple websites, this is where all the magic (and a lot of the “Oops! I broke it. Now what did I do wrong…?) happens. Next job is to contact someone who designs themes, who has done one particular theme I’ve got my eye on, and ask if she does 30-day money back guarantees in the off chance it doesn’t end up being the right theme for what I need.

And as I sit here, pondering the work I have ahead of copying and pasting, and messing up and trying again and maybe—just maybe—getting it right the first time around for some things, I can’t help but think of that passage in John 15 where Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches. He’s the trunk, the roots, where all the nutrients and plant strength comes from. If that gets cut off, the vines and branches can wither in just a few hours.

Just like a new domain name on a new host—it has potential to do a lot, and if fed the right bits of code and has the correct files that are all interconnected properly, it works well and delivers the information to those who need or want it.

But if just one part of the coding is wrong—even one character off, it’s broken.

Like what mysteriously happened last night when somehow the connection between the two major parts of the website and this blog got disconnected, and they went down. Turned out all I needed was a few bits of text—a database name and a username, and perhaps a password—put in the right places, and we were live again (don’t ask me how they were wrong in the first place, but anyway—it’s obviously fixed now, if you can read this!).

Sometimes, it seems to take daily checking to make sure this website is up and running like it should, no pages showing funny gobbeldy-guck or not showing up at all.

And I have to think how important it is to keep going back to the trunk, the Word, to make sure everything’s still lined up right. No character misplaced, no essential file accidentally deleted. It often takes daily refreshing—both the browser tab kind, and the prayer and reading kind.

But it’s all worth it. Because, in the end, if we are still being fed through the trunk, getting the nutrients we need, we can thrive and grow and through that growth be a blessing to others.

Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus!

What have you been doing lately? Have you ever worked on putting a website together?

Top Ten Books on My To-Read List

A week or two ago, I set about trying to make a list of all the books I’ve been given for review or borrowed over the past four months. I was prepared for a decent-sized list, but I admit I did have to gulp a little when I saw the full extent of it. I’m a little more behind than I thought. However, since making this list, I can see progress! My hope is that by November, I’ll be mostly through this stack. There are thirty-two books altogether there so far, with fourteen of them being physical copies and the other eighteen being ebooks, mostly “e-review” copies, which means most of them were given to me in exchange for my honest review (and, obviously, the authors hope that I’ll get it done in good time!).

Top 10 To-Reads

My want-to-read list, however, isn’t just contained on this page. If I would write out all of those, I’d easily have somewhere between 1 and 500 books written down!

However, the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading over the next couple months are as follows:

Note: Some links are affiliate links. Your purchases through these links will not cost you any more, but will help support this site—thank you!

#1. Love Lifted Me by MarJanita Geigley. Borrowed from my aunt’s shelf, this is a story of two people from tough pasts finding the Lord. I love salvation stories, and I think I’ll love this!

#2. Savior, Like a Shepherd by Faith Blum. I read the sequel, All the Way My Savior Leads, and participated in the blog tour back in May. When I was sent the latter book, Faith kindly included Savior as well, and I can’t wait to read it. I really enjoyed All the Way!

#3. Such a Tease by Chautona Havig. I read the prequel to this story, Sweet on You, back when it was released—and got this one to read and review at this one’s release, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Seeing as it’s written by one of my favorite authors, and I loved Sweet on You, I can’t wait to read this as well!

#4 and #5. None So Blind and Will Not See by Chautona Havig. I’ve been eyeing the first book in the Sight Unseen series for months now, and just this last month the second book was released! Which is so exciting, but now I’ve got two stories to read instead of one (yay!). Next time I’m ready to lose my afternoon to reading, I’m planning on picking one of these up.

#6. The Last Jew of Rotterdam by Ernest Cassutto. World War II story? Jews? Hope in the midst of despair? Yes, please! Another book borrowed from my aunt, I can’t wait to dive into it!

#7. They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? by Natalie Vellacott. I’ve been following this author’s blog for a while, and wanting to read her books, and I was absolutely delighted when she contacted me one day after I added several to my Goodreads want-to-read list, asking if I’d like to read them. What? YES, PLEASE! Can’t wait to pick these up!

#8. Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman. Although this hasn’t been my most favorite series by Holman, I do enjoy getting to read her books, which are generally very clean and family-friendly. According to my brother, who happened to read this before me this time, it’s very good.

#9. Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. I’m really wanting to improve my writing, especially in the plotting/outlining area. To that end, I’ve started reading this book, and also bought the workbook to go along with it. Although I’ve only made it part-way through the second chapter so far, it’s excellent!

#10. The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Content Creation by Karen Banes. I’m always looking for ways to better my knowledge of writing, online basics, etc., and I’ve sort-of followed along with Karen Banes for quite a while. I can’t say I’ve learned a lot from her (yet!), but I’m looking forward to what I can learn from this book!

And a bonus: #11. Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe. Okay; I admit—I just finished reading this book Monday. But before that, it was at the top of my list. This book was so good. A young adult book without a romantic element, a family story without being too ridiculous or tedious, and a Christian story with a fairly good Christian element without feeling preachy or too “fluffy”—one character, especially, was excellent this way. Overall, I loved it. Can’t wait to share my thoughts about it at the end of the month when the book releases!

Although it’s hard to choose what my top books are, these are the ones that I believe I’m most looking forward to at the moment. Five fiction, three biographies or biographical-type books, and two non-fictions. The non-fiction titles will probably be the hardest for me to get through, but I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn from them. And if I mix them up with the other books, it’ll definitely be doable!

What books are on your to-read list right now?

In Which I…Embark on Being a Writer Again

Eleven days ago, I started a journey I’ve been pondering for quite a few months now, but hadn’t figured out how to do until then. But once I did figure it out—at least, the first step—I jumped in. And I haven’t looked back. Until today.

If you had known me back in 2012, you would have found me a girl who was just discovering the beauties of creative writing. Just testing the waters, starting to feel the potential, excited that my dreams, thoughts, and ideas could be expressed in such an exciting way. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short) that year, and my first task was researching what this “novel” thing mentioned in the website’s name was. The next year, I read every writing blog I could find, and grew by leaps and bounds in my knowledge. I loved it.

In 2013, I went into NaNo with a much better idea of what this whole thing was about, eager to tell the story I’d been trying to write for a year and a half at that point. I lost myself in the story, reveling in the descriptions and characters that seemed to leap from my head to the page. For those first three weeks of November, I lived the rest of my life as an automaton, completely caught up in my story. Then I won NaNo, finished the book, and suddenly realized…what do I do next?

Writing Again

Over the course of the next few months, into early 2014, I edited the novel, and dreamed about the new ideas I had as a result of all the creative writing I’d been doing.

Then I stopped. I had a new story idea that I loved, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work—so from early 2014 until now, mid-2017, I barely ever picked up the creative pen, so to speak. Last November, I briefly tried again for NaNoWriMo, but almost immediately got stymied because I couldn’t figure out where the story was going.

This month, I’ve started again.

I decided to be simple, but intentional about writing. I’ve really missed using my imagination in the story realm, and the longer I let it go the more I miss it, so I’ve decided to simply write 100 words per day—so that if nothing else, I can practice the craft at least a little every day. You know, the old “practice makes perfect—or at least makes you better at it”.

I asked a dear friend if she’d be willing to be my accountability partner for this goal, and (thank you, Rachel!) she agreed. So now she’s getting an exorbitant amount of emails from me now, but it’s keeping me on track. I’m thankful—and loving to be back “in the saddle” again!

(By the way—you should totally check out her blog. I love it, and she tends to do an excellent job of stepping on my toes, too, in that excellent way she has. She’s shared some very good articles lately.)

Do you enjoy creative writing? What have you written recently?

Hospitals and a Little Thing Called Thoughtfulness

Hospital waiting rooms are notoriously tiring. And actually, that’s one statement I agree with—because I’ve experienced it! Three hours doesn’t hold a candle to the many, many other people’s experiences in such things. But as for me, while I did find it somewhat tiresome, I did have a book to read and interesting people to talk to, so that made the time pass faster.

For a lot of my time in there, there was another couple waiting as well whose fourteen-year-old son was in for a complex procedure. We got to talking a little, and I enjoyed the glimpse into their lives. Very sweet couple. At one stage, the husband decided he needed his morning coffee, so he made himself one with the service provided in our room (very nice of the hospital, in my opinion!). After downing his first cup, and another hour or so passing, he said something about maybe having another cup.

“Maybe I should join you,” I half-jokingly replied, “this instant stuff isn’t nearly as good as the real, but at least it’s caffeinated.”

Bouquet from Little Brother

He set to work making himself another one, and soon a steaming hot beverage came my way as well. I was surprised; strangers, even ones you’ve talked to some, don’t normally do things like that for you! And while, yes, that coffee was not nearly as good as what I’m used to, his act of kindness really blessed me while I waited. Which totally made up for it!

Last evening, I walked into my room, tired and ready to finish up for the night—and discovered a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a mixture of daffodils and plum blossoms, sitting on the table under my window! One of my youngest brothers gathered it for me as a surprise, found a container to put it in, and even found something to set under it so it wouldn’t mark the table. What a beautiful, cheery gift to give! In my opinion, that’s one of the best bouquets I’ve ever received—I know the heart behind it is pure gold. Or close to it, anyway.

All that to say that on two different occasions just recently, I was very blessed by little things people did for me. So next time you see an opportunity (and this goes for me as well!), do something for someone else. Be that blessing to them. You never know how even a little thoughtfulness might brighten someone’s day considerably!

What was one time you remember someone did something special for you, even if it was small?

Rest in Jesus…Despite the Rapids

It was a gorgeously sunny day as my cousin and I drifted down the creek in our canoe. I was the lookout in front, and despite the fact that this was only my second-ever canoe trip, I was enjoying the blue sky powdered with puffs of clouds, birds trilling along the banks, and the lush green of the leafed-out summer trees. Compared to the last time I had sat in the front of a canoe, on my first-ever canoe trip, water rushing beneath me, this was blissfully relaxing. The last time?—not so much, as, unbeknownst to us before we started, the river was in flood stage.

This time, though, as I breathed in the clean scents and reveled in the day, I really enjoyed it—and tried to push away the fear that this time would end up like last time, with several of us clinging to a drowned log for dear life. The creek we were on had been in flood two days before, following a violent storm that dumped sheets of rain on the land. But today, with the creek down to manageable proportions and actually more perfect conditions than normal since the water level was still on the higher side, we glided through with ease. There were a few rapids to pass through—short stretches of tumbling, sometimes white-capped water—but thankfully even the one semi-trouble spot wasn’t too bad.

Rest in Jesus 01

First canoe trip. Notice our relaxed positions, as this was before we were tipped into the river!

“You know,” I mused to Beth as I shipped paddle for a bit on a particularly straight, gentle stretch in order to enjoy the experience more, “it’s interesting that these flat, smooth spots come right before some more rapids.”

We were silent for a little, as we glided past small cliffs for banks with tree roots embedded in them. “That’s true,” she said at last. “It’s a little like life, isn’t it? Things seem to be going along so well when—bam!—something happens, and we’re in the midst of trials again.”

We laughed, as we realized our thoughts had both been following the same direction. But as we paddled on—and yes, did have another short piece of rapids to go through—I was thankful for the time to spend with her, for the gorgeous day, and even more for the beautiful memories we were making together.

No matter what happens in the intervening time between when we said goodbye not long after that canoe trip, and when we say hello again, we know the One in control of the creeks of our lives…of our flimsy canoes, of our paddles, and, ultimately, of how we will respond to the rapids. And despite the uncertainty of the terrain, of what might be around the next bend, we can rest assured that in knowing Him, we know all we need to know for today. Isn’t that precious?

Have you gone on a canoe trip before? Did you enjoy it?

Book Review of A Name Unknown

We sat there, Mom and I, in the too-clean feeling hospital room, with the stiffly starched sheets and the stinky hand cleaner. I’ve always read that hospitals have an awful “clean” smell. I submit that perhaps it’s just the overall too-clean feeling. We were both reading, trying to pass the time until the ward doctor came by for one last check on Mom before we were given her discharge papers. It’s hard to focus on reading when you’re anxious to get out to fresh air, green grass, and blue skies again—even if the stay was pleasant enough, and not nearly as long as other people’s! (Now, I’m not complaining—I am thankful for modern medicine, hospitals, and all that. I’m just a terrible homebody!)

“It’s hard to focus on finishing a book,” I sighed to Mom as I set the book aside, “when you’re tired of reading and you already know what the ending will be.”

She agreed with me, but went back to reading. There wasn’t much else to do between those four walls with several curtains designed to give each patient a little privacy!

(This blog post contains affiliate links. Your purchase through these links does not cost you anything extra, but it helps keep this website going. Thank you!)

Several months ago, a book came up on a book reviews site I follow, and it immediately piqued my curiosity. Roseanna M. White is a co-author of the Go Teen Writers blog, and as such when I saw her most recent release available in exchange for review, I decided to try it. I was really interested to see what kind of writing style she had, so I was glad for a way to find out! I did know that the book was a romance, so thankfully that wasn’t a surprise.

What I Thought of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White:

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. WhiteI loved this book! And…in some ways, got quite annoyed with the story, but that’s a side point right now. I loved the setting. I can’t remember when the last time was that I read a historical fiction about England right before the First World War, so that was extra special (probably partly because I’ve always had a bit of fascination for English history anyway!). I loved the tension as it built between the different characters as they tried to prove (or disprove!) one of the main character’s loyalties—whether to the Crown, or to the enemy, the Germans.

I also loved the fact that this felt like Oliver Twist retold in some ways. Different, of course, but some elements were very striking in that area. And since I loved Oliver Twist when I read it for school several years ago, this naturally felt like meeting an old friend once again.

The whole librarian thing is, of course, an intriguing element for me since I love books as well. And I LOVED the fact that one of the main characters was a writer! It gave an interesting, sometimes humorous twist to the story—and one that’s all too relatable! At one point, he got distracted with an idea for his story, and ended up ignoring someone for about five minutes. I couldn’t help laughing! Been there, done that!

Despite all the fun parts, though, the history, the semi-classic feel, the fun characters (some really made me crack up!), the bookishness (if that’s a word!) of the story, I was disappointed in some ways. The romance was actually okay—only one kissing scene made me gag a little, and I’m thankful that was confined to just over a page. Overall, though, it wasn’t icky. I appreciated that.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT) My main gripe with the book lies in its predictableness—or, at least, what felt like that when I was reading it. I knew from the first page who would marry whom, and what the ending would be—down to some of the less important parts—and that kind-of ruined the ending for me. I’m not sure I would have even finished the book once I got past the climax, except for the fact that I wanted to finish for the review’s sake. I also didn’t like the fact that the villain (or supposed villain) didn’t actually end up bad in the end. It was understandable, but disappointing. (END SPOILER ALERT)

In all, while I did enjoy this book, I don’t see myself coming back to read it again very soon, which I find to be somewhat disappointing. However, I do hope I’ll be able to read more of White’s books in the future, because I loved the rhythm and wording she used. In many ways, this book was a cozy, relaxing read for me—some parts were outright funny, some sad, and overall it was a good story.

There were two things that I learned from A Name Unknown I thought noteworthy: First, have you ever heard of these landscaping things called ha-has? I hadn’t, until I encountered it in chapter thirteen—and had to look it up. Very neat idea! (You can find out about them here.) I was glad, this week, I had taken time to look it up—while I was listening to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, a ha-ha was mentioned several times. Never would have picked up on that otherwise! Second, I enjoyed the mention of New Zealand cabbage trees, of all things, being in Cornwall back in the early 1900s—and looked that up as well. Apparently there are places in the UK that have them. So I did find it neat to have two different minor things confirmed as being realistic parts of the setting.

White 2

About the Book:

She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

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Note: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.