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My Foolish Heart - Susan May Warren

I've been in desperate need of a good book lately. I am a teacher and 15 hours from now, I will be on summer break. In my excitement for the impending summer, I started dreaming about all of the wonderful books I was going to read. And in that excitement, I couldn't help but get started a bit earlier than I probably should have. I was so lucky to start my summer reading off with Susan May Warren's My Foolish Heart. While this books is part of a series, it does not need to be read in order to understand what is going on. (Turns out I had read one book in the series...didn't even realize it until partway through!)

I love a good story with good guys and bad guys, but I love it even more when you're not really sure who is good and who is bad. I loved that about this book. There is one character in particular who you just want to not like, but you can't help it, and you can't decide if he's "good" or "bad".

In the end though, it is not just a quick, fun read. Yes, it's quick, yes, it's fun, but there's a lot more to My Foolish Heart than is seen from the back cover. There are issues of faith and issues that have great depth. I appreciated going on the journey with Issy, Caleb, Lucy, and Seb and discovering my own areas of crippling fear along with them.

Thank you to Tyndale for the review copy of this book. My opinions are entirely my own.


Divine Appointments - Charlene Ann Baumbich

Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich was a tough read for me. I really wanted to like it because I like most books I read published by WaterBrook Multnomah, but I just couldn't do it with Divine Appointments.

Josie Brooks is single, nearly 50, and thinks she's got it made. A series of events happen that turn her life upside down and she is left trying to figure out her next steps and her life. Her coworkers are dealing with issues in their lives as well, and added together, everyone is faced with decisions to make.

I typically read a book in one sitting, but it took me about three days to finally finish this book. I didn't particularly like Josie's character, nor the other main characters. I found one character's attempts at a novel to be ridiculous; there had to be a better way for this character to express her emotions.

Although I really wanted to like this novel, I really just ended up ploughing through it mindlessly bored.

Thank you anyway, WaterBrook Multnomah, for the review copy. My opinions are my own honest ramblings.


The Lightkeeper's Ball - Colleen Coble

I first fell in love with the cover of Colleen Coble's newest novel The Lightkeeper's Ball. From there, it only got better!

Olivia Stewart's sister is killed under mysterious circumstances while out west. Olivia has to get to the bottom of it and along the way gets to know the suspected murderer. With lots of twists and turns, this book kept me on my toes and guessing the whole time. I was sure I had it figured out toward the end (and I was close :)) but I was surprised when the truth was revealed.

It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but I really enjoyed this novel. Coble is a great writer: I enjoyed her descriptions and her character development. I have not read either of the two other books in the series, but The Lightkeeper's Ball was a good stand alone novel. I could tell that there were references to the other two books but the story wasn't lost on me due to that. Overall, an interesting read!

Thanks, Thomas Nelson, for a review copy. The opinions above are my honest opinions.


Journey to Riverbend - Henry McLaughlin

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about Henry McLaughlin's Journey to Riverbend. My skepticism mostly came from the cheesy cover. I even got made fun of by my sweet cousin while on the plane to Hawaii.

"You are reading that book? From the cover, I thought that was a book that Grandma brought with her."

I agreed with her that it was a dumb cover, and that I was a little hesitant to read it. The description on the back cover and the pictures on the front cover made me feel like I was being set up to read a cheesy Christian romance.

Oh, was I wrong! This book had everything I was (secretly) hoping for: adventure, intrigue, (some) romance, growth, mystery, suspense. Michael and Rachel are both portrayed as beautiful examples of redemption, and their story carries all of the subplots throughout this lengthy novel. I was sad when it ended.

While some of the bad guys seemed all bad, with no redeemable qualities, McLaughlin carefully wove humanity through all of his characters. It was an engaging and captivating read and I appreciated the redemption emphasized.

A great debut novel; I look forward to reading more of McLaughlin's work as he continues his writing career.

I was given this book (thank you!) by Tyndale and have expressed my honest opinions in this review.


Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes - Robin Jones Gunn

I have a soft place in my heart for Robin Jones Gunn. Through her Christy Miller series, I got to know God and grew in my faith every single time I reread any of her books. That still happens when I read the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon, or Glenbrooke series.

I recently received a review copy of Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn that I read in a span of three hours. Big type, somewhat surface, and overall a very quick read. It was interesting to read, as I enjoyed the Dutch history and culture woven throughout the two Sisterchicks' adventures.

Throughout the story, Gunn weaves a theme of overcoming fears, of both the past and the future. Summer has an abnormal test result...definitely scary. Noelle has a past that she hasn't addressed and an estranged relationship with her father. Both address their issues and their fears as they are loose in Holland and ridiculous adventures follow. I felt like this book was very surface...there were only a few parts of the story that went beyond surface level in terms of the characters and their lives and their growth.

Overall, a good, quick read. Enjoyable. I received this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah (thank you!) and have expressed my opinion in this review.


Lady in Waiting - Susan Meissner

I have had my review copy (thank you, Waterbrook Multnomah!) of Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner for the last week and a half. Every evening, I look at the book then look at the clock. I typically finish most books that I start before I fall asleep that night, and with teaching the next day most days, it's hard to find time to start a book early enough in the evening. I know that's weird, but it's how I do things because I get so invested in the characters.

Anyway, FINALLY, tonight was the night. And I am so thankful I waited and gave myself a full evening to read, stop, process, read, enjoy, read, etc. this book. What an incredible story Susan Meissner weaves!

Jane and Jane are two women, centuries apart but similar in many ways. I was amazed as Meissner brought each Jane story to a semi-climax then moved on to the other Jane just when I couldn't stop reading! I must admit that I contemplated skipping ahead to find the next section of the Jane I was devouring.

Jane Lindsay, Jane Grey, and Lucy Day are complex women but Meissner writes their stories with beauty and grace. I was impressed with the attention to detail, as well as, simply put, the good storytelling.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and Christian fiction. While it wasn't too overtly pushed, I felt like I grew and was challenged in my own faith as I read this book. Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for the review copy of this great book. I was not asked to write a positive review...it's positive due to Meissner's lovely story.