Mom's Shelf

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Currently Reading...
a Royal Christmas (Melody Carlson)
Adelaide Smith is too busy for fairy tales. She's been working hard to put herself through law school and now that the end is in sight, she's determined to stay focused on her goals. Then she receives a letter notifying her that she has been found through a DNA registry to be a direct descendant of King Maximillian V, the ruler of a small Eastern European principality called Montovia. She's understandably skeptical. This is the stuff of cheesy made-for-TV movies, not real life.  Although the pieces of this surprising family puzzle seem too good to be true, curiosity gets the best of her. At the king's invitation, Adelaide embarks on a Christmas break trip that is chock-full of surprises, including a charming village, an opulent palace, family mysteries, royal jealousies, a handsome young member of Parliament--and the chance at a real fairy tale romance with a happily-ever-after ending.

Another Carlson book destined to be a Hallmark-type classic movie, this one shines in its simplicity. Sure, we'd all love to be a princess, and the plot is unrealistic, but it's sweet and cleanly-written, with faith woven subtly throughout. This feels a little like Princess Diaries, but it's different enough that folks who love quick reads, sweet romances, or Christmas stories are going to enjoy it!

Better Than Okay (Brandi Wilson)
Some seasons of life can seem far more difficult than one human should have to endure. For Brandi Wilson, that was the year her husband--and a megachurch pastor--walked away from her and her family. Suddenly, her church community dissolved, and her dreams and identity were shattered.  Yet God transformed this heartbreaking time into an invaluable lesson on the gift of healing.  And now, Brandi beautifully tells her courageous story of confronting grief and heartache head-on and learning how to rise from the pain. Filled with aha moments and laugh-out-loud humor, this book reminds you that your story is always evolving and that you can move forward with hope after divorce.

The author writes with warmth, strength, and authenticity -- just like having a best friend in your corner supporting you.  Whether you're dealing with abuse, a narcissist, or just have dealt with betrayal and abuse, this book can be extremely helpful and hopeful.  She gives a first-hand detailed account of how painful divorce can be, including not only the loss of a spouse, but how your world is turned upside down, then how to reinvent yourself for what you envision in the future. 

You want a life of purpose and meaning, but if there's a map to get you there, you haven't been able to find it.  Until now.  Your treasure map is closer than you think, and Jami Nato tucked it inside these pages. Your journey begins by looking at your past, and then following the breadcrumbs that God has left for you every step of the way.  Jami found her breadcrumbs in the rubble after her marriage fell apart. Downgraded from perfect Christian wife and mother to hot mess, she finally let go of what the world (and the church) said she should be and let God reforge her into a thriving, joyful woman living on purpose.  Moving seamlessly between the hilarious and the heartbreaking, Jami asks hard questions and shares what God has taught her through her own story--so you can step fully into yours. And while you shouldn't trust her with your laundry or houseplants, you can trust her to help you discover the unique calling God has for your life.

I have recently gone through a big change in my life, and this book reminded me that I'm not crazy for wanting something more -- it was exactly what I needed.  Each chapter stirs up lots of thought that make you stop and reflect, so it's one you'll want to read a little bit at a time...yet feel compelled to plow through since the author writes in such a humorous and conversational tone.  This is a fantastic resource for reading alone, but also for coming together in small groups to build community.

Some of Yvie's Favorite Reads

Mary (Shannon McNear)
Immerse yourself in the “what if” questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. What if an English boy and a native girl met in the wilderness? The push-and-pull between two very different worlds begins as one seeks simple friendship and the other struggles to trust. And can it—dare they—allow it to be more?  Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they’d been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call “savage” are guilty of his father’s death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust.

This series has overdelivered with every single book! As someone who loves both history and the Outer Banks, I was intrigued by the premise of these historically-based stories of women from early America. In Mary, we learn much more about the Croatoan people and their customs, as well as how the English are integrating with them. It's a most fascinating depiction of our nation's first interracial couples and the murkiness that came along with them. The author does a fantastic job of weaving obscure historic facts with speculation to create a riveting read!

When the Day Comes (Gabrielle Meyer)
Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she's the same person at her core in both times, she's leading two vastly different lives. In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives--and any hope of love--are put in jeopardy. Libby's life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about--women's suffrage--is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters. But Libby knows she's not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other--but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

I read a few hundred books each year, and enjoy time-travel, historic fiction, and mysteries....this is a combination of all of the above, with a bit of romance thrown in, too. It's almost like reading two books at the same time - one set in Colonial Williamsburg and one set in WWI England - until they begin to intertwine toward the end. And the ending...oh my heart! There are so many different facets to this book; it could have been a hot mess, but author perfectly weaves together each and every one of them to create a masterpiece. I look forward to seeing what comes next in this series!

The Master Craftsman (Kelli Stuart)
In 1917, Alma Pihl, a master craftsman in the House of Fabergé, was charged to protect one of the greatest secrets in Russian history--an unknown Fabergé Egg that Peter Karl Fabergé secretly created to honor his divided allegiance to both the people of Russia and the Imperial tsar's family. When Alma and her husband escaped Russia for their native Finland in 1921, she took the secret with her, guarding her past connection to the Romanov family.  Three generations later, world-renowned treasure hunter Nick Laine is sick and fears the secret of the missing egg will die with him. With time running out, he entrusts the mission of retrieving the egg to his estranged daughter, Ava, who has little idea of the dangers she is about to face. As the stakes are raised, Ava is forced to declare her own allegiance--and the consequences are greater than she could have imagined.

Wow! This wasn't exactly what I expected -- it was so much better! Fans of Dan Brown or the National Treasure movie series will love taking a treasure hunt across time, through Imperial Russia, in search of a priceless, lost artifact. There are twists and turns all along the way, some intellectual sleuthing, and soul searching for many of the characters. What's the real treasure here? You'll have to read to find out!

Peggy Witherspoon, a widow, mother, and pilot flying for the Women’s Airforce Service in 1944 clashes with her new reporting officer. Army Air Corp Major Howie Berg was injured in combat and is now stationed at Bolling Field in Washington D.C. Most of Peggy’s jobs are safe, predictable, and she can be home each night with her three daughters—until a cargo run to Cuba alerts her to American soldiers being held captive there, despite Cuba being an “ally.” Will Peggy go against orders to help the men—even risk her own life?

I loved everything about this book! Growing up in an aviator-family, the author's descriptions of airplanes and aeronautic maneuvers, with the lingo, felt like slipping into a warm, comfortable blanket. She has definitely done her research on the world of aviation as well as on the WASPs and even the weather of this time! Like any good air show, the book took twists and turns, appeared as though the protagonist would fall to her death, and then recovered at the very last moment to bring cheers from the audience....ahem, readers. A must-read!

The Newcomer (Mary Kay Andrews)
After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate
entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.” So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road WITH A TRUNKFUL OF EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE and her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel. THE NO VACANCY SIGN IS FLASHING, & THE SHARKS ARE CIRCLING . . .And that’s the good news...

A lazy read for a lazy summer's day....Mary Kay Andrews has another hit with this murder mystery! The cast of characters illustrates the differences between northerners and southerners, and their quirks will draw you into their 'family.' At times flashing back to earlier moments, it tends to be a fairly straightforward and easy read. The reader will be rooting for Letty and Maya, wanting to have their questions answered, and occasionally surprised by a twist! Overall, the perfect beach read.

Dear Miss Dupre (Grace Hitchcock)
Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father's unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan--find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.  Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society's elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn't expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

I read about a book a day, and this was one of the most entertaining books I've read in quite some time! In a Victorian-age Bachelorette, Willow is being forced to find a husband as quickly as possible. It truly plays out like the Bachelorette tv show, with hijinks, underhandedness, and multiple affections...but this a Christian romance, so it is clean. It ended the way I had hoped, and I cannot wait for the author to write the next book in the series....I sincerely hope it is about Flora and the runner-up (did you think I would reveal the winner?), as they deserve their happily-ever-after, too!

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