Summer is here, and my book queue is growing longer every day. How I wish I could just sit and read on my porch swing all day every day. But alas, my four (soon to be five) children won’t allow it. Here’s what I *did* manage to read during the month of June…
Titles marked with an asterisk(*) were provided to me for review purposes.
A Rebel Heart by Beth White*
Life got in the way of this book, and thus I had to read it over the course of several days. Because of that, I found my experience with it to be less than “smooth,” and the story felt disjointed and choppy at times.
Beyond that, however, I found myself thoroughly engaged with the characters and storyline, eager to pick the book up again to continue reading. The setting and struggles of post-Civil War southerners were interesting and the author did a great job of weaving the historical facts into the fictional story.
I’m eager to read the next book in the series, not only to see how this piece progresses, but also to experience life from another character’s point of view.
Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley*
I love a good crime drama/suspense thriller, and Patricia Bradley always hits the mark. Justice Betrayed was a “can’t put down” novel that keeps readers guessing until the end. I love how all the seemingly disjointed pieces come together so smoothly at the end to solve the case.
The main characters were relatable and likable. I found myself lost in their personal stories as much as I did in the overarching plot.
Faith didn’t play a strong role in this particular book, and honestly probably could have been left out completely without making a difference. The few mentions of faith (or lack thereof) weren’t pushy, but they didn’t add to the story or really help to define the characters.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to future titles from this author.
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
This was a book I wanted to like but the struggle to relate with and connect to be main character kept me from loving it. It wasn’t until chapter eighteen or nineteen that I even found myself engaged enough in the story to want to kept reading at the end of the chapter.
The last quarter or so of the book was interesting and kept my attention (as the main character finally had to face reality), but the rest of it seemed like “fluff,” and I struggled to keep reading at times.
I probably won’t read any other titles in this series, as it wasn’t a good fit for me personally.
The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but it blew away anything I could have imagined or hoped for. The depth of the characters, the setting of England in the early-1900s, and the plot all worked together to weave a captivating story that I didn’t want to put down.
The characters were only only believable, but they exhibited a genuine faith that never seemed forced into the story. The way that they clung to God’s promises in the face of serious trials was both encouraging and challenging. It endeared them to me even more so than their stories already had.
I loved the way this book ended – with a definite resolution but with loose threads – and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next title in this series!
The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White
While I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hated to have to put it down, it wasn’t quite at the same level as the first in the series.
I didn’t find the introduction of the characters to be quite as solid as I would have liked. If I hadn’t recently read the first book in the series, I’m not sure I would have had a solid grasp of the story line or the various characters.
That all said, I dove head first into this story, eager to find out how it all played out. Having to walk away from it at times was a struggle, and my thoughts continually went back to it.
I’m eager to read the final title in the series to see how it is all resolved!
A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White
I was so excited to read the final book in this series, and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t strike the same chord as the first book did. For some reason, while I absolutely loved the first book in the series, each subsequent book failed to hit the same level as the one before it.
That said, I did enjoy reading Ella’s story and seeing the trilogy’s overriding plot come to a final resolution. The romance in this book was enjoyable to watch develop, and I’m happy for how things ended on a “personal” level for each of the main characters.
Orb Web by Jennifer Haynie*
Super quick introductory read to the series, it sets the stage for what’s to come.
While the writing wasn’t spectacular, it got the job done. I was both intrigued by and engaged with the story to the point of wanting to immediately pick up the next book in the series.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series!
Panama Deception by Jennifer Haynie*
Once I figured out who the main characters were and how they all related to one another, the story drew me in and I didn’t want to put it down.
While there were a few spots where the writing could have been better (rushed dialogue and/or “show me don’t tell me” moments), the plot was intriguing and I enjoyed reading the story.
I’m excited to start reading the next book in the series – to see where the story leads!
Loose Ends by Jennifer Haynie*
Having read the previous books in this series, I have to say that this was by far my favorite. The author seemed to have overcome some of her previous delivery struggles and did a great job of telling the end of Alex and Jabir’s story.
(While this book could stand on its own, I definitely recommend reading the series’ prequel and book one. They help to build a solid grasp of the main characters and the story being played out.)
Another fast-pass suspense thriller with a splash of realistic faith and real-life romance, Loose Ends was captivating and engaging. I didn’t want to stop reading… even as I got to the end.
I loved how the author put the various pieces together, building the suspense throughout, and I felt as if this book had solid closure to the story at the end.
The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham*
Sweet, but not sappy. While this story had some suspense in it, it felt more like a love story.
The author did a great job of bringing the reader into the story and setting the scene. I enjoyed the historical setting and the overall plot.
I did feel that the main characters were missing a little bit of depth at times and the conversation felt superficial in a few places. The lack of faith (apart from one mention of prayer) throughout the book felt strange, too.
I’d be interested in reading additional titles by this author, and I’d recommend adding this book to your summer reading list.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects was dark, disturbing, and brilliantly crafted. I didn’t want to put it down.
(FYI: includes explicit content including language and detailed intimate scenes)
The writing was graphic without being verbose, and the author drew me into the story with ease. While I couldn’t “relate” to the characters, I could empathize with their struggles.
River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart*
From the early chapters that set the stage to the final pages of the story, this historical fiction novel with bits and pieces of true facts scattered throughout made for an interesting and intriguing read.
The characters were full of depth and personality, and the plot had plenty of twists and turns as each of the main characters struggled to find their place and purpose in life.
The setting of a small town in Kentucky prior to the Civil War was the perfect backdrop to a great story of faith lived by “praying believing.”
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I look forward to reading future titles by this author.