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The Reunion, by Dan Walsh 

Emotional and heartbreaking at times, The Reunion is the story of a Vietnam veteran and how he feels like he’s nothing special. Due to some choices made in his earlier years, Aaron has not seen his kids in decades. As the maintenance man at a Florida trailer park, he pretty much keeps to himself but helps others and reaches out to them without ever realizing how much difference he truly makes. 

Dave is a journalist on a mission to write a book on Vietnam war heroes when he finds himself commissioned by a veteran to find a recipient of the Medal of Honor. As he begins his search, he meets Karen, whose dad fought in Vietnam. 

The way this story plays out is beautiful, and I hope you’ll give it a try. 

Dan Walsh did a fabulous job of weaving this somewhat complex story so beautifully. His characters feel like real people, with real emotions and real problems. 

As I listened on Audible, Dick Hill was a great choice for this audio book. I’m always a little hesitant when a male reader records a book that has female characters, but he did an excellent job and I really enjoyed it. 

I would classify this book as a southern meal. Maybe mashed potatoes, fried chicken, biscuits, and green beans. Something that reaches your soul. 

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Close to You, by Kara Isaac

The lightheartedness of this book was something I really needed. And I’d been wanting to try Kara Isaac’s books for quite a while, so basically this was great all around– reading something from my ever-increasing TBR list that happened to be just exactly perfect for me right now. 

Close to You reminded me a lot of the movie Leap Year… Not in story, really, but just in the feel of it — they are both such fun stories, and even though there is sad stuff that happens, they are happy stories. Bright. Like sunshine. 

Allison is a Lord of the Rings tour guide in her native New Zealand, and she’s given enough tours that she’s basically seen it all as far as her clients go. Except for one that changes her life permanently. 

While love is the last thing Jackson expects to find on his trip to New Zealand as he  masquerades as an avid Tolkien fan, he quickly realizes that just maybe he doesn’t have his future mapped out at all. 

This book is well-written and truly a fun read. It’s such a sweet story. This one has to be ice cream. You pick the flavor. Something that is refreshing to you. 

 

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High as the Heavens, by Kate Breslin 

The tension of living in war-torn Belgium and France is very well-captured in this book. A World War 1 story, it covers an era that I don’t know nearly as well as WW2.

High as the Heavens tells us of Eve, a young woman who finds herself in Brussels, caught up in more levels of intrigue and deceit than she even realizes. Due to guilt she carries around with her through each moment of her present life, Eve believes herself unlovable and unforgivable.

Eve unexpectedly recognizes a victim in a plane crash, and the resulting danger in which she finds herself carries Eve and those close to her into some very dark places. This book is a beautiful picture of the hope that can only be found in Jesus. I love how Eve’s heart battle for hope and faith is so very real on these pages. It’s something that’s been difficult for me to read over the course of this summer (resulting in this book taking me much longer to read than it normally would) but so so necessary because of the beautiful hope that is reinforced.

I honestly can’t speak highly enough of Kate Breslin’s work – she may only have three novels in print thus far, but each of these three books is truly a story that will draw you in and make you forget that you’re not right there, going about everyday life with these beloved characters.

I would classify this book as a spicy chai, because of the deeply rich layers of flavor. Please read this book.

I was honored to be on the launch team for this book and received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

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Sticky Notes, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray 

Sherri Schoenborn Murray’s Sticky Notes is creative and original. Her characters are real, with quirks that make me smile and little annoying habits that just make it that much easier to forget that they are actually fictitious… and not people I know in real life.

This story centers around the adorable Ethel King, who lives near the university in Idaho where her granddaughter Katherine (who lives with her and is also a star within these pages) is pursuing her master’s degree. It opens with Katherine contesting a grade she received from her handsome, young professor, Quinn Benton. When Ethel finds out about Katherine’s less-than-gracious behavior, Mr Benton becomes the recipient of a surprise visit from Ethel.. and a box of her special cinnamon rolls. Soon an unlikely friendship has sprouted between Ethel and Quinn, much to Katherine’s dismay.

Even though I had suspicions about where the story was going to end up, it kept me surprised and wanting to hear “just one more chapter”. I’m happy with Sticky Notes. Well, except that I wanted more! 🙂

I believe this book takes place in approximately 1999, although it was published in 2014. So take that however you’d like… I wouldn’t classify it as historical fiction, although it’s really not quite modern either. 🙂 It works very well logistically for this story, as there are a lot of communication aspects that would change the story details if it took place at another time — either earlier or later.

Well this book has to be a cinnamon roll. No question. And I think it fits because it’s sweet and has substance. 

(As I listened to this book via Audible, I didn’t see the characters’ names printed out… I apologize for any misspellings I may have included here.)

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Fiction, Romance, Sherri Schoenborn Murray

 

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The Princess Spy, by Melanie Dickerson 

The Princess Spy… what a great book!! Technically the fifth installment of Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim fairy tale romance series, it chronologically parallels The Golden Braid (book #6) and is told from another character’s perspective, focusing the story in an entirely different direction. 

Full of castles and princesses, adventure and just enough romance, this book makes me smile. Prior to reading Melanie Dickerson’s imaginative books, I typically steered away from this era (I’m not really sure why)… but since discovering these, I jump at the chance to pretend I’m in medieval Europe alongside these characters. It feels like we’re friends. 

This story is a creative retelling of The Frog Prince. I really love that these stories include more than only the most commonly told fairy tales. 

I’d liken The Princess Spy to a cup of tea. Something comfortable that makes you feel right at home. Because that’s what these books do for me.

 

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Canteen Dreams, by Cara Putman

This Pearl Harbor era story by Cara Putman captured the fear and uncertainty that came with news of the attack. It painted a good picture of the patriotism, enthusiasm, courage, and even jealousy of those on the home front. I found myself contemplating aspects of the war that I hadn’t thought as much about prior to listening to this book… so I felt like I learned from it. 

Canteen Dreams was a sweet romance amid the turmoil of the war. While I found it predictable, this story was still enjoyable… although honestly, through most of the book I found myself wanting to slap Willard. He was kind of jerkish and self-absorbed. 

If you want a war time story but still want a light book, this would be a good option. I’d compare it with whipped cream in a can… airy and sweet, and you know what you’re getting. 

Laural Merlington did a good job with the recording – she struck me as sounding like a woman looking back at the war, telling the story.

 

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The Lady and the Lionheart, by Joanne Bischof 

Where to even begin… 

Although I had heard others raving about it, I was not prepared for how deeply The Lady and the Lionheart was going to affect my heart. That’s an understatement. Majorly.

You know the kind of book that leaves lasting marks after you close the cover? The kind that you can’t stop thinking about? The kind that you find yourself pondering into small hours? 

That’s this book by Joanne Bischof. 

It’s about Ella, a nurse with a torn heart and a broken past. She sees herself as small, not whole, unworthy. Though she is kind, she doesn’t know real joy. 

It’s about Charlie. Charlie the lion tamer. Oh my. Charlie is the epitome of a picture of God’s love. Of giving oneself for another. He’s open and often blunt. He’s vulnerable. And compassionate. 

And it’s about an orphaned gypsy baby named Holland who is more enveloped in a fight between good and evil than she likely will ever fully understand. 

Taking place in Virginia in 1890, this is quite possibly one of the most unique and imaginative storylines I’ve ever read. When Ella and Charlie’s worlds collide, quite literally, their lives become intertwined in ways neither of them anticipate. This tender story of sacrifice and redemption is one I can’t recommend highly enough. There is much raw emotion within these pages, but even more, there is an enormous depth, honesty, and a faith that is almost tangible. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that for a book to truly be Joanne Bischof’s it must evoke tears at some point. This is my third by her, and so far this theory holds true.

Because of its deeply rich story, I’m likening this book to dark chocolate cake with thick peanut butter frosting. There is so much going on in my mind with the sweet taste of this beautiful story lingering on. 

Please read this story. Please let it speak to your heart. Let it change you forever.

 

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