I have been blessed with an abundance of books in the past several months. I LOVE to read, anything and everything except for slasher stories, really. Lately, I've been blessed with several wonderful Christian novels:
Bethany House's Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
With the promise of prime homesteads and fresh starts, sixteen Civil War widows uproot and move out West. But they soon find that more than land is awaiting their arrival.
When the women finally stumble off the train, they are greeted by the local bachelors--eager to propose marriage! As the true motive behind the offered land is revealed, the women muster all the faith, courage, and cunning they can to survive their new circumstances.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading historical romance novels. This was a FUN read. Very fast paced, the main characters do NOT take kindly to being tricked into moving out west on the premise of land and a new life when, on the receiving end, the locals were told that a train of brides-to-be were headed their way. The author does a nice job of character development, with just enough twists to not be totally predictable. And, yes, there's a happy ending. My favorite kind of ending!
The Noticer by Andy Andrews (from BookSneeze)
Once homeless, directionless and living under a pier, Andrews is now a best-selling author and an in-demand speaker for U.S. presidents, top corporations, celebrities, and the U.S. military. With his latest book, The Noticer, Andrews draws on his own remarkable true story to reveal the healing power of perspective.
The story is set in Orange Beach, Alabama, and could be any of our towns, filled with normal people with everyday problems. Young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, marital issues as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out.
A mysterious man named Jones, carrying a battered old suitcase shows up at the most needy times in these people’s lives. He’s able to connect with everyone and gain their trust. He gives everyone a positive perspective to gain control of their lives, and prosper in many ways other than financial.
Is this a bit simplistic? Yes. Is it a WONDERFUL reminder of common truths? YES again. This powerful little book is packed of full of truth and reminders of how we can choose our reactions and choose to be happy. Another quick read, I think you will find yourself picking this book up again and again. It made me want to give a packet of seeds to everyone I know, "as a simple reminder that you must also plant your own seeds in the minds and hearts of those you touch."
Bethany House's Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander Timber Ridge Reflections
Deep in the Colorado Territory, widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat. Faced with a loss she can't afford--and forced to trust the one man she's always avoided--she is about to learn that sometimes the greatest step of faith is taken neck-deep in fear.
Another delightful historical romance, this is actually the third book in a series. I didn't realize that until I was about halfway through, which is a powerful testament to the author being able to write a stand-alone book that is also part of a trilogy. I enjoyed being drawn into Rachel's world of single parenting after her husband dies and trying to keep their dream of a working ranch alive, all on her own with two little boys. A little suspense, a little romance, some adventure ... what's not to love??
Ten Minutes From Home by Beth Greenfield (via Read It Forward)
Ten Minutes from Home is the poignant account of how a suburban New Jersey family struggles to come together after being shattered by tragedy. In this searing, sparely written and surprisingly wry memoir, Beth Greenfield shares what happens in 1982 when, as a 12-year-old, she survives a drunk driving accident that kills her younger brother Adam and best friend Kristin. As the benign concerns of adolescence are replaced by crushing guilt and grief, Beth searches for hope and support in some likely and not-so-likely places (General Hospital, a kindly rabbi, the bottom of a keg), eventually discovering that while life is fragile, love doesn’t have to be.
This is the only book that isn't novel but the author's memoir from a difficult childhood marred by a tragedy. I will tell that this was not a favorite of mine. The book was a very slow read, and I did not enjoy the pace or style. Many parts, while touching, were really drawn out and lost my interest. If anyone else would like to give their own opinion, I am happy to forward this book on to you, just leave a comment.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from the Publishers as part of their blogger review programs. I was not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."