The Bodyguard by Katherine Center: dumped by her boyfriend/coworker on the eve of her mother's funeral, Hannah is placed on forced administrative leave. Upon her return, she is voluntold to work as an infamous actor's Executive Protection Agent (a bodyguard). Events occur that place Hannah and her client in funny, endearing situations. Center wrote this to be mostly a light read (the cow scene had me laughing out loud), but she still manages to delve into some harder issues as well--PTSD, family tragedies, and stalkers. This is not my favorite Center novel, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and read it quickly. There is some language.
The Last White Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir: a historical fiction novel about infamous Henry VIII's mother. She lived during a very turbulent time in England's history, had some devious and conniving relatives, and died very young--at 37--after the birth of her 10th child. Her younger brothers were the two young boys who were locked away by their uncle, Richard III, in the London Tower and mysteriously disappeared. To this day, no one knows exactly what happened or where they were buried. She lived through some great familial tragedies. I found this novel fascinating and detailed. Weir always does a good job with English history.
Dangerous Journey: The Story of the Pilgrims Progress originally by John Bunyan: the full text version was written in 1678. This illustrated, abridged edition was a great way to dip our feet in to his classic, allegorical tale of the Christian life. Bunyan wrote it while he was imprisoned in England for holding religious services that did not meet the official Church of England standards. This version uses the original text and includes great pictures for the kids to look at while I am reading aloud. Some of the pictures are a bit scary, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well my oldest followed along with the old English vocabulary! Now, I will have to try out the full text version.
Branches of Love series, Books 1-7 by Sally Britton: this clean, regency romance series is made up of stand-alone books with interconnected characters. I read them in order and it was fun to see how the main characters from previous books progressed in their lives during books focusing on other characters. My favorites were The Gentleman Physician and Miss Devon's Choice. They were all delightful and fun reads.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the Wingfeather Saga Book 1 by Andrew Peterson: siblings Janner, Think, and Leeli have lived on the edge of Glipwood Forest for as long as they can remember. The land was conquered over a decade ago by the Fangs of Dang, lizard-like creatures terrorizing the people. Under orders from their ruler they are searching for the lost Jewels of Anniera. An uncomfortable equilibrium is established, until surprising events bring conflict and danger. I plan to read the rest of this series. So far, I have found it to be funny, heart-warming, and bittersweet. I would place it in a similar genre to Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, but it is more YA, and this book has a greater sense of almost absurd humor. Peterson seems to be setting the scene for a great battle between good and evil, and while there are scenes of violence, I did not feel like it was glorified. I'm excited to read the rest!
Quick Theology: Four Views of End Times by Phylicia Masonheimer: a quick breakdown of the four views of the end times and a concise overview of their differences, popularity, and referenced Scripture. The four views listed are premillennial, postmillennial, amillennial, and dispensational millennial. I found this very helpful. It's a super short booklet, great for gaining general knowledge about these views.
Quick Theology: Calvinism and Arminianism by Phylicia Masonheimer: both Calvinism and Arminianism are within the theological orthodoxy of Christianity, but I did not know what stood apart between them. I remember reading about Calvinism and TULIP in history class, but that was a long time ago. This short booklet delved into some differences and couple of lies commonly believed about each. It was very interesting and I would like to read a more in depth book on this subject now
The Elves of Lessa, Books 1-3 by KM Shea: in a world where elves and humans are allies but cannot really communicate with one another, an elf and a human enter into a bond and discover that they can understand each other perfectly. They find that they can more easily learn one another's languages too. This opens up new worlds, possibilities, and friendships. So far there are only three books, and each builds off the other with new main characters. I am ready for the fourth! I really enjoyed each of these! I have yet to read a Shea book I have not liked.
Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig: historical fiction set during World War I. Female graduates from Smith College form a team to travel to France to help the villagers devastated by the war. Most of the women are from pampered backgrounds, and are in for a huge awakening to the sufferings of war and the absolute destruction of these people's homes and families. There are some truly terrible stories written about in this book. I loved seeing the women bond together and become able-bodied, less selfish people. Knowing that this actually happened during a time when women had much less freedom is incredible as well. Recommend!
A Cloud by Day, A Fire by Night by A.W. Tozer: this short devotional book focuses on how the LORD led the Israelites from Egypt and through the wilderness as a cloud by day and a fire by night. I had never read anything by Tozer before this and found him surprisingly readable. Each entry was about 5-7 minutes of reading with a prayer and a hymn. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of his works.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides: Mariana, a brilliant psychologist, is unwillingly drawn into a murder investigation when girls at her niece's university are found murdered. The girls turn out to all be members of a secret, Ancient Greek society called The Maidens led by an enigmatic professor. Mariana is increasingly convinced that this professor is the murderer and becomes obsessed with proving it. I read this in July for book club but forgot to post it! I had such high hoped for this book since I loved The Silent Patient, but it just was not as good of a story as his first. It was interesting, but I felt like there were too many story lines that were not fully fleshed out. And perhaps too many twists and turns. I hope that if he writes another book that it will be more to my liking.
Signal Moon by Kate Quinn: this short story (about an hour long) is set in England during World War II and in 2023. A young WREN (Women's Royal Naval Service) is listening for German intercepts on her radio when she inexplicably overhears the deaths of an entire American warship. There is a rather large issue. The date she heard is from 2023. She sets out to try to see if she can stop it. This is definitely a little bit historical fiction, a little bit science fiction. I enjoyed it! It does have some language. It is free on Kindle Unlimited right now.