Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy

Jo and her two sisters live alone on top of a mountain.  They haven’t seen another human for  many years.  So when Jo sees Dave Warden and his men on her mountain, she’s drawn like a moth to flame.  It reminded me of Mowgli when he sees people for the first time in “Jungle Book.”   Jo is very curious and wants to learn all she can about these people.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book.  I liked Jo’s adventurous spirit.  Her sister, Ilsa, reminded me of a fairy, flying through the trees. Ursula was a little harder to warm up to as she was so afraid and angry most of the time.  I’m sure she’ll come around eventually.   While this book wasn’t as funny as some of Connealy’s books, there was humor as two cultures clashed and both found out unexpected things about the other.

I appreciated Ma’s wisdom and kindness.  She understands how the girls are feeling and has a gentle way about her.  I would dearly love to taste her pancakes.

This book sets up the series well.  I was immediately drawn into the story.  It was hard to put the book down.  I’d recommend it.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

#AimingForLove  #Netgalley

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Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England by [Griep, Michelle]This book combines many things I love:  novellas, Christmas stories, Victorian England, and Charles Dickens. What a treat to have it all in one place! Each story had a thread that was common to all three, a second chance coin, as well as some reference to or appearance from Dickens.

The first story “12 Days at Bleakly Manor” had such an unusual premise.  I couldn’t figure out why such a mysterious gathering with unusual people was conceived or what purpose there was for it.  It’s always nice to be surprised with an unknown direction to a story.

The second story “A Tale of Two Hearts” gave proof to the adage, “Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”  A simple deception grows and becomes problematic as William strives to protect his uncle and provide for his mother. I really liked William and Mina. Mina has an uncommon strength and I enjoyed her quote quiz-offs with William’s uncle.

In “The Old Lace Shop” I liked that Bella went into a new situation and did what she did best.  She saw ways to make improvements and to help others less fortunate in a way that maintained their dignity.

Throughout the stories, I enjoyed the writing. “Sucking in a breath, I package up regret, ignorance, and fear and stow it deep inside my heart to open later in a quiet–and very alone–moment with God” (location 4119).

Thank you to Barbour Publishing for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  I would recommend it.  All opinions are my own.

#OnceUponADickensChristmas #Netgalley

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

Harper Taylor believes she is alone in the world until a DNA test reveals she has a half-sister. When she meets her, they realize how similar their stories are.  When both meet trouble soon thereafter, it seems too great of a coincidence.

While the ending seemed predictable, it took quite a while for the characters to figure out what was going on.  Granted, at times there were four mysteries to figure out. They seemed so diverse that it seemed unlikely they’d be connected.

The story kept me reading.  It moved back and forth between the past and the present. It sometimes made it confusing to keep the people and their connections to the present straight.   All in all, it was an enjoyable read.   Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I was impressed.  It was beautifully written.  I felt like I was right there with the characters seeing and experiencing everything.  There was so much action.  It reminded me of the Mission Impossible movies or the show “Leverage” with its grifter and other people who were each brought into a team for their own unique skills .   At the end of the book, I learned that the author himself was a former stealth pilot and has been chased by an armed terrorist, shot at and more.  No wonder the book was so believable in its details!  It would make a great movie.

It was interesting seeing what it is like for someone just starting out in the CIA and to go along with Eddie and Talia on their first adventure/assignment.   I liked Eddie’s funny references to movies. “These are the droids I’m looking for” (location 5495).   I liked Conrad’s wit.  “I’ll set a plate aside for both of you. Because nothing adds to the full flavor of a homemade cacciatore like the radiological bombardment only a microwave can provide” (location 2327).

Along with the action, there were big twists.  It wasn’t clear who the villain was.  People weren’t always what they seemed.  It was a fabulous read.

Thank you to Revell for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker

“Are you dangerous?”

“Is the sunlight a danger to the night?”

Grace has grown up in an extremely legalistic community in the hills of Tennessee.   The rules and the red rope around the community are meant to keep them safe. When some outsiders come, it causes Grace to question everything she’s been told.  Will she continue to live in fear of the “Fury” she believes is ravaging the rest of the world?  Or will she embrace love and light?

This book reminded me a lot of “The Giver” by Lois Lowry.  People are trapped in fear and a child leads the way to truth.

I think this book will make some uncomfortable.  Evil can masquerade as light for a while before showing its true colors.  It’s a thought-provoking read.

Thank you to Revell for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

You Belong With Me by Tari Faris

I really enjoyed my first visit to Heritage. I love books set in small towns like the one I grew up in.  There are always a few stereotypical people that you find in every town like the powerful businessman/landowner who thinks he can have whatever he wants or the person who is brimming with ideas for making the town better.

I loved Luke and Hannah’s friendship.  It was beautiful reading of how she befriended him when he felt like he didn’t belong and just wouldn’t let go or give up on him.

This is a book about making mistakes and receiving forgiveness and a second chance. There’s loss and restoration.  It’s a thoughtful book. I appreciated Janie’s wisdom on giving the broken pieces in our lives to God to see what he can do with them.   It was an enjoyable read and I’ll look forward to the next book in the Restoring Heritage series.

Thank you to Revell for providing me with a free e-copy of this  book.  All opinions are my own.

Dear Grandchild, This is Me: A Gift of Stories, Wisdom, and Off-the-Record Tales

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this book.  It’s a great keepsake.  This book starts out with you telling about your childhood and your heritage.  It moves on into your early adulthood, your marriage, kids, travels, etc. It has a section to talk about being a grandparent and some of the big events and technological changes that have taken place during your lifetime. There’s a place to talk about your older years and your spiritual beliefs and important relationships.  It’s quite thorough.

Each section has several questions and writing prompts.  It also includes a couple of pages where you can include photos from that time of your life.  I love that.  There is also an envelope where you can write a note or put something special for your grandchild.  These are labeled:

  • Open when you are stepping into a new chapter of life
  • Open when you’re making a new home
  • Open when you find yourself overwhelmed by a season of change
  • Open when you need a special reminder of my love for you

This is a great way to share your thoughts and beliefs with those who come after.  As I was filling out pages about my heritage, I realized that I didn’t know the answers to some of the questions.  I was able to go and ask my mom.  Even if you don’t have grandchildren yet, you can start filling this out, as I am, and do it at your own pace.  You could write the answer to one question a day.  I enjoyed some of the funny questions and all the memories that came back as I read this book.

Thank you to Waterbrook for providing me with a free copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.