This past July I shared my Summer Reading List with you. As we are nearing the end of the year, I thought you might like a quick update on those books.
Love Held Captive – I loved this book! The next book in the series is on my TBR. You can read my full review, HERE.
The Lady and the Lionheart – Did you know this book just won the 2017 Christy Award?! Oh wow, did it deserve it! I absolutely adored this singularly unique novel. I hope to share my review soon.
Finders Keepers & All of You – These are the first two books in Sarah Monzon’s Carrington Family series. While I enjoyed both novels, I think I preferred the first. You can see my full review of All of You and a mini review of Finders Keepers, HERE.
Carolina Dream – I remember starting this book and struggling to get into it. The pace was a bit slow for my taste and I didn’t feel connected to the characters. It may have been a victim of my struggle to concentrate during my travels in China this summer and no fault of the book at all. Either way, it wound up on my DNF list. I might try it again in the future.
The Captive Brides – While I did finish this novella collection, I ultimately decided not to officially review it. My reasons in a nutshell: several of the stories went beyond my estimation of plausibility, the romance was more of an afterthought for a few of the stories than the main plot, and at least one author presented a view which I strongly disagreed with. That said, a couple of them were fun, quick reads with entertaining premises. Also, I do know there are other bloggers who fully enjoyed this collection. So take my opinion for what it is: my opinion.
Finding Love at the Oregon Coast –This was a thoroughly entertaining collection of contemporary romance novellas which I can confidently recommend. I enjoyed the fun way the collection began with one novella that included all the heroines in the following novellas. Each of these women were well-rounded, developed characters worthy of their staring roles.
One Thousand White Women – The real sour apple in the bunch. I loved the unique premise of this book, but the execution went in a direction I didn’t anticipate or care to read. It contained cursing and glorified situations I consider sinful. This is permanently on my DNF list.
Turtles in the Road – The golden apple! I absolutely fell in love with this novel and have read it twice now – and I am NOT a rereader! I cannot say enough how much I just adore this novel! You can find my full review of this hilarious contemporary Christian romance, HERE.
Beneath a Golden Veil – This one breaks my heart because I have wanted to read it for so long and I still haven’t. I know. I know. I said I was going to read it and I fully intended to read this one on the plane to China. That was my downfall right there. I could not have concentrated on that flight to save my life. I knew better than to even attempt reading. And so this poor book is still languishing on my TBR list. *sigh* Soon. I will read this one soon.
From This Moment – Another book I fully intended to read and just didn’t. I don’t know why. I have no excuse other than: life. You know? That annoying thing that gets in the way of reading. Thus this one is also still waiting on my TBR list.
What about you? Do you ever make reading lists? Do you always finish them or are you like me and life gets in the way?
Typically, I wait several days to write my reviews so that I’ve had time to process and thoroughly consider my reading experience. I will make notes about the characters and all the various sections I usually include in my regular reviews. Then I schedule the review to come out whenever I can fit it into my blogging calendar.
I haven’t the patience for that today. I just want to be a fangirl for a moment and tell you about this hilarious book I just read! And I want to tell you now. Not in two months when I have an empty Monday.
Seriously. I cannot remember the last book that made me laugh this loud, this often.
I started off reading this book in my usual spot: in bed beside my sleeping husband. However, that didn’t last long. Within minutes I was shaking the entire bed with the full-body laughter I was desperately trying to contain. You guys, I was smashing a hand over my mouth and it was still escaping in very unflattering snorts. There were tears trickling down my cheeks.
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!
This heroine is bizarre… and I LOVE IT! Without giving too much away, one of my favorite scenes involves sports equipment, a turtle, and revenge in the woods. That one had me bent in half, holding my stomach, and swiping the tears away so I could keep reading. And it was just the beginning. The entire book was like the best romantic comedy movie you have ever seen.
Oh how these two authors must have died laughing as they wrote this novel, because I about died reading it.
You might wonder if the comedy prevented the romance from developing in a believable way, but rest assured it did not. There are legit reasons for these two people to have fallen in love with each other (unlike another book I am currently suffering through and may not finish) and there is a reasonable amount of time allotted for their feelings to grow. This love story has true heart.
In addition to a legit love story, the characters have plausible relationships with God that don’t get in the way of the story, but enhance it. And you never feel preached to. Ever.
I will admit that I noticed the authors break a few writing “rules” and there’s probably even one or two typos I didn’t notice, but you know what? I only noticed them because I was in “edit mode” with my own manuscript at the time and thus extra sensitive to those things. Their rule breaking totally works for me. I could not care less that they do things differently. Because it works.
I will also admit that I almost passed on this book strictly because of the cover. It just isn’t my cup of tea and told me almost nothing about the book… or so I thought. In hindsight I can see how it sorta fits. That said, I am still not a big fan of the cover.
The cover is not the story and the story is SO worth reading! Especially if you’ve been having a tough time lately and just need a good laugh. This is THE book for you! Trust me.
How much do I love this book? I sincerely cannot remember the last time I read any book more than once which was not assigned to me for a class. I am just not a re-reader. There are too many books out there – too many waiting in my TBR pile – to read something twice, regardless of how well written it is. Yet I am seriously contemplating reading this book a second time. Next week. Because it was that enjoyable. And I could do with some more laughs right now.
The link below is NOT an affiliate link. I do not know these authors. I did not even get a free copy for review. I bought it myself. I do not benefit from you buying or reading this book in any way. I only decided to give this book a try because a fellow blogger had raved about it. So trust me on this one. If you love contemporary, clean romantic comedy, you will love this book.
BUY IT! BORROW IT! READ IT! Today! You can thank me later. 🙂
Hey everybody! Guess what today is? My birthday! So I thought I’d celebrate by sharing the list of books I’ll be reading this summer and giving away a book to one of you awesome readers! (Read through to the bottom for giveaway details.)
Since I will be traveling to China for an adoption next month, I won’t have as much free time to read this summer as I normally would. Therefore, this year’s list is somewhat limited, but here are the books I am hoping to get to:
Why: I requested a free copy of this book from NetGalley to review because the premise intrigued me. Then I opened it to read the first line for an FLF post and couldn’t put it down! I made myself stop after 3 chapters because I have other books to finish first, but I can’t wait to get back to this one.
About the Book:
After the War Between the States, a Confederate officer longs to heal the heart of a beautiful woman—but first he’ll have to right the wrongs that were done to her.
Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget.
Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war.
When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.
Why: This one has made several rounds to rave reviews on the book blogger circuit, which got it on my TBR pile. Then I discovered the author is a fellow member of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and met some of her friends at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference last month. That made me curious enough to open it and read the first few pages. What I read moved it toward the top of my TBR pile. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to this one!
About the Book:
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
Why: I loved her debut novel, The Isaac Project, so when I was offered the opportunity to be part of an upcoming tour for All of You, I jumped on it! Of course, I much prefer reading series books in order (even if they can be read as stand alones), so I am going to try to read Finders Keepers first. The fact that Finders Keepers won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance, is just added assurance that this will be time well spent.
Three lives. Three hundred years. One ship that ties them together.
Florida, Present Day
Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious nature magazine, Our World–even diving in waters haunted by great white sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’-man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her dive locations, it may be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.
A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life–a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece, or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?
The same evil that stole her mother’s life stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?
Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.
After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.
With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.
Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.
Why: I recently won a free copy of this book from the God Is Love blog. It’s a debut novel (I love reading new authors), the premise sounds interesting, the reviews so far have been positive, and the first few pages read well.
About the Book:
Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.
When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?
The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hicky, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn
Why: I was perusing NetGalley for books to request for review and found the premise for this novella collection to be intriguing. I am also fairly sure I haven’t read anything by any of these authors before, so it will be a good way to know whether I should be looking for more of their work in the future. Plus, a novella collection might be just the thing to fit between appointments near the end of summer.
About the Book:
Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances
Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?
Love’s Labour’s Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?
His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1770-1775
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Gree’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?
The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests her for murder.
His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – Barbary Coast, San Francisco, CA, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on in the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?
Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1755
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain Andrew Randell when an epidemic breaks out on the ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?
Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?
Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?
Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?
A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.
Why: When I was researching the small publishing company, Mountain Brook Ink, in preparation for attending the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference where the owner would be available for appointments, I discovered this collection with a novella by Christina Coryell. I recognized Coryell’s name as the author of one of my favorite stories (Mowed Over) from the Love at First Laugh novella collection. So I bought this one because I liked one of the authors (I don’t recognize the others).
About the Book:
When a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related romance novellas.
By Heather Woodhaven–Finding Love in Lincoln City: Liz feels stuck at her little beach magazine until a handsome rival sparks more than just friendly competition.
By Lisa Phillips–Finding Love in Oceanside: Anabeth is looking to get out of her rut when a fender bender and a bizarre date with a former marine leads her to a life of love she could never have imagined.
By Christina Coryell–Finding Love in Cannon Beach: Kadence feels the pressure to write a perfect love song, but an unexpected meeting with a musician will have her living one instead.
By Angela Ruth Strong–Finding Love in Seaside: Christina plans to spend her honeymoon alone, but when the bed and breakfast owner offers her a position as cook, she starts to feel at home in his kitchen…and in his arms.
Why: I stumbled across this one purely by chance on Amazon and found the premise positively fascinating.
About the Book:
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
Important UPDATE Note: While I was aware that One Thousand White Women was written for the general market, as opposed to a Christian audience, at the time this post was originally written, I was unaware of its occasional use of profanity and reference to subjects which some Christians may find distasteful or offensive. Consider yourself warned. This book made my DNF (Did Not Finish) list.
Why: This one was highly recommended on a fellow FLF blog and sounds like a fun read with a sense of humor.
About the Book:
Sometimes a detour takes you exactly where you need to be.
Piper Cope was so sure the Lord called her to be a pastor’s wife. So when her pastor/fiancé breaks it off, she’s every kind of puzzled. Does God even have a purpose for her anymore? On the road halfway between the bridges she’s burned and some kind of new start, she encounters the most unexpected detour. She swerves on a rainy road to miss a turtle and ends up in a ditch with an airbag to the face. Now stuck in this little town, she wonders how in the world she could’ve gotten her God-signals so very crossed. And how in the world is she supposed to know what He wants her to do now? In the meantime, at least the community center guy, Jay Marler, has her working a temporary job there. Problem is, somehow she’s coaching a children’s basketball team. She does not…basketball. And she certainly does not children.
Why: The connection to an lesser known part of California’s nineteenth century history will get me every time.
About the Book:
As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. It’s 1853, the heyday of the California Gold Rush. Isabelle is full of hope, staking her claim on the city’s refined clientele and her future on a sweetheart’s promise to marry her when he returns from the gold fields. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path.
While Isabelle learns to trust God’s provisions, a law student in Virginia must confront his father’s cruelty and rescue a young slave from his family’s tobacco plantation. As the two escape to freedom, and Isabelle risks everything to harbor runaway slaves, the past and present are set on an inevitable collision course—one that reveals hidden treasures of the heart.
Why: I recently finished reading Against the Tide and want to read more of Elizabeth Camden’s work, plus I was able to snag this one on Audible which means I can listen to it while I do laundry or whatever brainless chore is taking me away from my precious books.
About the Book:
Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?
Why: I loved the first two books in Sondra’s Love That Counts series!
About the Book: Although a little birdy told me to expect this release near the end of summer, it isn’t even out for pre-order yet so I don’t know much about this one. I only know what Sondra shared in her interview with me:
In Three Words and a Kiss (this year’s release), my hero Cam experiences an identity crisis. His safe, routine life is turned upside down when the owner of his blacksmith shop, Samantha Klein, comes to town. Samantha’s nickname is Sam. I wanted their names to rhyme so that Cam feels like even something as fundamental as his name is being stripped from him (she doesn’t like how their names sound alike and asks him to change his. What?! He’s not going for that).
Looking for more reading suggestions? Check out these post by fellow Christian Fiction lovers:
Which book would you like to win a copy of? (You may pick any book from this post OR any book which I have previously reviewed on this blog!)
(Your tweet/FB post could read: I’m hoping to win BOOK TITLE HERE from @KathleenDenly!)
STEP 2 – Leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question –
Which of the books in my Summer Reading Roundup 2017 post sound the most appealing to you? (I will add the most popular book to my list of books to review here on the blog!)
MUST complete both steps to enter.Shares and comments must be complete by midnight July 17th! Winner will be announced in a special post on this blog July 19th. Winner must contact me at writeKathleenDenly@gmail.com within 24 hours of the announcement and provide an email address for prize delivery.
WINNER WILL RECEIVE: 1 digital copy of their chosen book delivered to their email via Amazon.