Friday, December 28, 2012

The Ride of Her Life (Lake Manawa Summer Series #3)

Lorna Seilstad does it again. With the third, and final, installment of the Lake Manawa series, we discover that Lily Hart has become a widow and is raising her 6 year old son by herself.  Her station in life has changed dramatically yet again. I can relate to this book in a personal way, being a widow myself. I am not, however, a mother so we do face some different challenges.

This book gripped my heart from the beginning, watching Lily struggle to maintain her control of her life, because she feels like God has abandoned her. She went from a servant, to the wife of a respected lawyer, to a widow who's inlaws see her as an unfit mother to her son Levi.

Enter Nick Perrin. He, of course, is immediately intrigued by the beautiful Lilly because of her stubbornness and fierce loyalty to her son. He works on rollar coasters, and his life has been like a rollar coaster as well.  He is a bit cocky, and of course he has his flaws as well.

The epigraph for this book is 1 Corinthians 2:5, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Both characters have to learn that man does not know everything there is to know, and that your faith should not be put in men or ourselves, it should be put in God, the almighty. There were a couple of quotes that stood out to me and I will share them here:

"We're so busy managing our lives for ourselves, we forget that it is God who is in control. His plans for you may include some storms, but He will be with you through them. Have faith. Trust the Lord to still the storms either in the world or in your heart."

"Faith entrusts oneself and one's children to God in the midst of danger."

These quotes perfectly describe every feeling, thought, and trial Lilly had to face in this book (and many of which we've all faced). I this this was my favorite book out of the whole series because it reminded me of God's power and that He is in control of my life, even when the storms come and times get so hard I can't see the way out. He's never left me and He never will. It's a great reminder of that promise.

A Great Catch (Lake Manawa Summers Series #2)

This book is a "great catch" (pun intended)! The author, Lorna Seilstad, does a great job in this second installment of the Lake Manawa series. Unfortunately, my Nook went on the fritz and I had to get a new one, so I lost all my notes and highlights made about this book. I do, however, remember the point and that it is a wonderful story.

The overview provided on Barnes and Noble's website sums the book up nicely.
She wants to change the world.
He wants to change her mind.

When Emily Graham returns to Lake Manawa for the summer, all she wants to do is her work for the suffragette movement.  She is having a hard enough time keeping up with all she has to do and keeping certain members of the suffragist group from taking over her leadership role. Her meddlesome aunts, however, have other plans for her. Emily is clumsily endearing and a genuine character. I feel for her at times because I can relate to the clumsiness and the shock and embarrassment that can accompany it sometimes. She also struggles with letting God take control of her life, just like I do.

Carter Stockton is a dreamer. He is a dreamer because he wants nothing more than to play baseball, while his father wants nothing more than for him to join the family business. So, his last hurrah is playing for a baseball team this summer. He meets Emily Stockton, who happens to be his friend's little sister, and sparks fly. He is immediately intrigued by her honesty, unconventionality, and determination to do what she wants despite society's dictates. The romance that blossoms between them is sweet and endearing.

In the beginning of the book, it quotes Proverbs 3:5, "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Both characters struggle with letting God have control of their lives and acknowledging Him in their everyday actions. Emily is frequently putting God on the back burner, so to speak, and we see that she struggles because of it.

The story is good, the characters are lovable, and the plot is great. I do, however, wish the ending would have been a little different. I won't give away any plot spoilers, but I was a little disappointed with the conclusion of the problems, right before the happy ending. It still doesn't change my mind about this book, it's simply a great, easy read!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Change of Fortune

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

This is the first book I have read by this author, and it was delightful.

Lady Eliza Sumner has travelled to America under the guise of a governess to recover what is rightfully hers.  Agatha Watson's matchmaking mama arranged a dinner party from which Agatha was strangely "ill" and Eliza was forced to step in. Enter Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the handsome man Agatha's mother has decided would suit her daughter, and his brother Mr. Zayne Beckett. Sparks fly the first time Eliza meets Hamilton and things just get crazier and crazier as the story progresses.

The dialogue is fast paced and exciting. There is never a dull moment with Eliza and Agatha.  The character development is wonderful. Jen Turano creates characters you can relate to in a personal way.  You sympathize with Eliza and Hamilton once you hear their stories and you pray and wish the best for both of them because you feel they deserve the best. The plot, while a little unbelievable, is still interesting and the romance between Hamilton and Eliza is sweet, but not overdone.

The theme that runs throughout the story is trust.  Learning to trust yourself, others, and most importantly, learning to trust that God has a purpose for everything and is in control of your life whether you realize it at the time or not.  Both Eliza and Hamilton have been placed in situations where much like we would do, they questioned God's wisdom and authority in their lives.  They have taken the reins from God, so to speak.  The story is about learning to relinquish that control and letting God do what He intended for your life.

Thank you Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book. It is excellent and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Check it out: