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Tag Archives: Romance

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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Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful, by Susan May Warren 

Light and romantic, this story takes place in mountainous Montana. I’ve never been there, but I find myself fascinated with stories (and pictures!) of Montana, so the setting of this novella was a bonus for me.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful is the fun, cute, quick-moving story of Hannah and CJ and their personal struggles to find the courage inside themselves that everyone else already sees — including each other. They survive a horrific plane crash together, but in spite of their mutual attraction, they each manage to block the other from seeing how much their hearts need that connection… so they spend the following months both denying it. They surely both read more into it than was there, right? Yet they cling to their shared time online, talking as they team up to fight off zombies and save orphans in a game that gives them both false pictures of bravery.

This was my first-ever story by Susan May Warren, and I have to say, I liked it! I should probably have read the others in her Montana Fire series prior to this, but that didn’t scare me away. It was the equivalent of a cream puff. Very light, even with the struggles both main characters deal with.

Also, I listened to this via Audible, and Jackson Nickolay did a great job. I’m kind of picky about narrators, and while some of his voices for the characters (read: CJ’s little sister, for one..) weren’t exactly on my top favorites list, overall I really enjoyed his reading and voices.

(This is a novella. Mine says it’s the extended edition… I don’t really know what is extended, but I’m guessing that maybe the non-extended version doesn’t have the epilogue. And if that’s the case, make sure you read the extended one. Because you’ll be missing out if you don’t!) 

 
 

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The Piano Girl: Counterfeit Princess, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, this book wasn’t it — it was so much more.

The Piano Girl: Counterfeit Princess was such a fun book. Even though I wanted to know what happened, I was truly very sad knowing I was coming up on the end of this story. I can always read it again, and I will, but there’s just something about reading a book for the first time that grabs my heart in a way that can never be with a reread. You just can never read a book for the first time twice. Profound, I know.

A well-written, imaginative story, this book by Sherri Schoenborn Murray has believable characters that I feel like I now know intimately. I really can’t rave enough. As I listened via Audible, as opposed to reading a paper copy, I would be negligent to not also tell you about the narrator. As much as I loved the story itself, Sarah Zimmerman made it even better. Her voices and expression added depth to each character and really brought out the humor. She did a beautiful job.

Princess Alia of Blue Sky is a fairly spoiled girl who suddenly finds herself on a journey she could never have dreamt of, a journey that’s quite difficult and long, to meet the betrothed she doesn’t even know she has. Over the course of the trek, under the guise of chicken farmer’s daughter (it’s a dangerous, war-torn world, and the princess whose marriage will unite two kingdoms would be a perfect hostage), Alia learns much about herself, her privileged life, and the people of both her kingdom and those surrounding. She meets murderously mean citizens but also genuinely kindhearted, gentle souls, who would give away the little they have if they think it will benefit someone else. She’s deprived of many comforts and often frustrated by Felix, her “chicken farmer father”.

Many obstacles arise in Alia’s path… gypsies, learning to peel potatoes, not knowing who is to be trusted, giants, swamp pox, and an enchanted forest maze… just to name a few. Once she arrives at her destination, Yonder, Alia’s adventures continue. With so many girls impersonating her, though, Alia must be careful, lest she be deemed a counterfeit princess as well.

This book kept me guessing, kept me wanting “just one more chapter”. 🙂 I so enjoyed following along through Alia’s story of growth and true love.

I’d liken this story to a lava cake… on the surface it strikes you as a chocolate cake with the potential of being fabulous, but the inside holds surprises greater than you might have imagined.

(I apologize for any misspellings… Since mine is the Audible version, I never saw the text of this book, only heard it.)

 

 

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