To Follow Her Heart: A Novel

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Rebecca DeMarino wraps up her “Southold Chronicles” series with To Follow Her Heart: A Novel. In it, we get another look at life during 17th century Long Island for the Horton family and those around them.

I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Dutch and English conflicts during this time period, so I think what I most appreciate about this book are the historical setting and events. Learning about history, even if it’s fictionally enhanced, is so much better through a good novel than a dry textbook.

To Follow Her Heart offers adventure and love and a bit of suspense with the question of Jeremy Horton’s survival in a devastating shipwreck. We get a good picture of daily life among the families, with their businesses and matters of government and military. Mostly, through the journey of Jeremy and Patience and their relationship together, we explore the intricacies of relationship when there is fear and unsettledness to resolve before steps can be made forward.

All in all, book 3 was pretty good, and I bet you’d enjoy reading it too!

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

Rescue Me – New Release by Susan May Warren

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Susan May Warren has just released a great new book, Rescue Me. It drew me in from the first page, and I stayed up way too late last night to finish it – but it was worth it!

Using drama, suspense, adventure and love, Warren tells a story with an amazingly developed cast of characters. Her characters really do show depth and emotion within a relatively short span of pages. Between Sam and Pete, Jess and Willow and Sierra, the whole team at the Search and Rescue center, the high school students from the church, and various other characters, it’s a tall order to give each one enough personality to really stand out. But she did it, and she did it well.

Rescue Me has beautiful, intersecting plot lines, and I found myself equally engaged in each one. I absolutely recommend this book to my book-loving friends. It’s a quick read, and it’s a good one!

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

Shalom in Psalms

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The Psalms have been a go-to throughout my life. I love the poeticism of them, the rich depth of thought, the journey many of them take from honest struggle to a place of praise. There is much wisdom to be gained in reading them, and they always strike a personal chord within me.

That said, when I find a fresh way to read through them, I am drawn immediately to embrace it. Shalom in Psalms is a beautiful devotional that combines the rich artistry of the original Psalms with both commentary and exploration of their meaning and purpose. This is an amazing work compiled by Jewish and Christian scholars and worship artists. It truly is “A Devotional from the Jewish Heart of the Christian Faith,” giving knowledgeable, divine insight that promises to expand my own understanding of the Psalms.

I’m adding this book to my rotation of devotionals, planning to come back to it repeatedly and experience its richness in my personal study and worship time. I highly recommend adding it to your study shelves!

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

Raising Uncommon Kids

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Over the years since my kids have been born, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the qualities we want to instill in them. Virtues, character traits, fruit of the Spirit. There are all kinds of ways to say that what we essentially want is for them to have the nature of God come alive in them.

In Raising Uncommon Kids, Sami Cone highlights twelve Biblical traits for families to work on. And by “work on,” she means parents have to do the hard work in themselves first. Ouch.

That truth is an eye-opener and a compelling reminder that my kids catch what I teach them through my own actions much more deeply than through my words. So, with that in mind, our family will be going through this book, chapter by chapter, doing the hard work of both understanding what each trait is and also putting it into practice through the practical application steps included in each chapter.

Twelve Biblical traits. Dealing with our hearts at home – Love, Harmony, Gentleness, and Bearing With. Our attitudes toward others – Forgiveness, Wisdom, Patience, and Kindness. And our influence in the world – Gratitude, Peace, Humility, and Compassion.

As we focus on looking like Jesus in these twelve areas, our family life will be richer and more meaningful, and our impact in our part of the world will be much more effective.

The world needs families who come alive together in the image of Christ. We are the picture of Jesus to the world around us. Let’s all grab this book together, and hopefully by this time next year, we’ll have hundreds of stories to tell about God’s faithfulness as we follow Him together.

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

This Road We Traveled

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Today I spent time cleaning, preparing dinner ahead of time, making biscuits from scratch, doing laundry, and running a few errands. I actually got a lot done, including working for a couple hours, and I finished a book that I think inspired me to get off my rear end and do something.

I’ve read plenty of pioneer stories that detail the journeys of a family gone west. But Jane Kirkpatrick’s This Road We Traveled inspired me on a deeper level.

Maybe it was the character development of the family matriarch, Tabby, who had her share of heartache and loss and still managed to raise up three solid children who raised up children of their own. Maybe it was the tangible way Kirkpatrick described the thoughts and fears each woman had to wrestle down as they decided to sacrifice comfort and preference to forge a new way to a new land and honor the men in their lives. Or maybe it was the reality of the loss and struggle families had to endure to create a new legacy in a new place for the good of many.

There are many reasons I loved this book, but I think I most appreciate the way it subconsciously inspired me to do more than the normal of my days. To go another step. Take it up a notch. Reflect on what I have and embrace it.

I hope you take some time to experience this story. Read it with wonder and gratitude, knowing that even through the characters of a historical novel, our modern lives can be challenged and enriched.

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

A Lady Unrivaled

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Roseanna White is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her latest book in her “Ladies of the Manor” series, A Lady Unrivaled, is a fitting finale.

Lady Ella, with all her optimism and positivity, brings a sense of delight to the fire eyes legend that at once drew me into the story. She’s sweet and feisty, stubborn and spunky, and you can feel her eyes sparkle through the pages.

From start to finish, this book is engaging. Lord Cayton and his troubled past, as well as Lady Ella’s determined positivity that he is a worthy man, make for a completely enjoyable read.

Definitely recommend that you add this book to your collection!

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.

From This Day Forward

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Just finished reading the last book in Lauraine Snelling’s Blessing series, From This Day Forward. Based in Blessing, North Dakota, it’s a story of patience in love, reflection on journeys well-traveled, and the importance of community during difficult times. The story of a nurse searching for answers about love. Redemption between family members who have a rift. Daily life and unity in a small town.

It’s been awhile since I read the other books in the series, which made it a bit challenging to remember who was who. Most of the older characters have Dutch names, and I couldn’t remember exactly who they were from previous stories. I would definitely recommend reading the others in the series first to give yourself a more level reading field.

I think what I appreciated most was the slower pace of the story. It’s a nice breather from the fast pace of today’s world.

Grab your copy here. Before you do, make sure you have Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 of the Blessing series!

*Honest review given as participant in blogger review program.