Mom's Shelf

Currently Reading...
Glitter of Gold (Liz Johnson)
Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging, and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but she runs after a disastrous first meeting.  Carter has been searching for the location of the wreck detailed in the worn pages of an 18th-century diary, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she'd never do again: trust a man.  Finding a monetary backer and sticking with a search that's turning up nothing will take all their dedication--and every secret they've tried to hide. If they can find the lost ship, they may discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world--love.

Although part of the Georgia Coast romance series, this book isn't really connected to the other one in any way besides location. You'll easily be able to jump into this standalone novel, meet the characters and the setting, and be whisked away into a pirate adventure! For half of the book, the story goes back and forth between modern day and 250 years ago, giving the story of a young woman lost in a man's world. The parallels between the modern day and past characters are easily drawn, and the lessons learned are readily available. Each of the main characters is hiding from their past, running from their potential future, and basically fumbling around. Eventually, they find faith through each other and begin to work together....and the ending is sweet.

Yours Truly, Thomas (Rachel Fordham)
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.  Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn't expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.  When Penny's undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring--perhaps too much--for the one who wrote it.

Letter writing seems to be a dead art. I can remember finding letters that my great-grandparents sent back and forth during their courtship, and loved reading through their histories.  We don't have that these days...and I think that's one of the things that drew me to this book.  Thomas is a beautiful writer who expresses himself in a way that would make any woman swoon!  Also, the backstory and the Dead Letter Office were fascinating...I never knew so much about how that works, and am now curious to know how it has changed until today.  The book is a clean romance with lots of history tucked into the pages, as well as some danger and mystery.  It returns to the setting of Azure Springs, which was featured in an earlier book, but it is a perfectly fine stand-alone novel.  A must-read for fans of historic fiction.

Ever Faithful (Karen Barnett)
A man who can't read will never amount to anything--or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain "requirements." Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well. Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger's daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park's hotels, she still hasn't saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate's secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

What a beautiful blend of historical detail, scenic imagery, clean romance, and mystery!  All of the main characters have past tragedies and struggles to overcome, but they lean on each other and learn from each other.  I learned a lot about the history of Yellowstone and the CCC, which is always a bonus when reading a book.  Also, I thought that I knew who the culprit was, but turned out to be all wrong...which was a nice surprise!

Devotions from the Beach (Thomas Nelson)
Sand on warm skin, salty breeze in your hair, the crashing of waves in the distance, saltwater taffy, and a pace that takes its time . . . There's nothing quite like the warmth and relaxation of the beach, away from the stresses of everyday life. Devotions from the Beach is the winding road that takes you to a front-row seat to God's majestic creation. Breathe deeply and open your heart and soul to the One who shaped it all.  Devotions from the Beach includes beautiful four-color photography on every spread and 100 devotions that explore life's parallels with the elements of the shore—to help you see God, find hope, draw strength, and rest in the comfort of His arms throughout your day.

I was attracted to this book because of its beautiful cover and because it was about the beach...which is my ultimate happy place! All of the devotions have a coastal theme, and it's a great gift for any lover of nature and beauty. Each day begins with a Biblical passage, goes on to the short devotion, and then ends with a prayer. There are also interesting facts and tidbits about the coast! The beautiful, glossy, full-color pages, hardcover spine, and built-in bookmark round out the book's beauty, making it a nice gift option - even to yourself! I can't always get to the beach, but I can steal away, open the pages, and immerse myself for a few moments...

*I received some of these books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.*