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  • Writer's pictureJenna Miller

September 2023 Reads

Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham: Izzy's well-meaning cousin sets her up on a dating site and she reluctantly agrees. A match to another Lord of the Rings fan seems too good to be true. He proves her wrong in this witty, sweet, rom-com that follows their burgeoning relationship. The majority of this book is epistolary and I was here for it. I love books written like this! It is heartwarming and charming and I recommend it.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: I remember watching the Judy Garland film as a girl and did not really care for it, but I decided to give the novel a try. I read it aloud to my kiddos and we laughed a great deal. It was surprising how different the famous film is from the novel, and I did not know it was the first in a series. To sum it up, I enjoyed reading it with the kids, but not enough to read the rest of the series. We will have to visit the All Things Oz Museum which is not too far from us in NY.

The Winter King by Christine Cohen: Cora's father disappeared years ago through broken ice, and ever since that tragedy her family has fought increasing poverty. The leading religious men deemed her family as cursed by their winter king god. Desperate to help her family survive and increasingly skeptical of this tyrannical god, Cora uncovers secrets that threaten not only their kingdom's religious beliefs but also her family's safety. This was such a good book! I've loved both Cohen's books. They deal with some darker subjects that force you to think through hard situations, but end hopeful. Recommend!

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green: historical fiction set in 1940s Maine where five very different women reluctantly form a book club in order to save the library from being appropriated for the war effort. As many of these women learn to love reading for the first time, they find themselves bonded together and learning to lean on one another for support and friendship. While there is some romance in the novel, it is heavily focused on female friendships. Recommend.

Dear Henry, Love Edith by Becca Kinzer: debut novel; Henry's niece volunteers him to house a volunteer for a local rescue mission. She will work nights; he will work days. They communicate via notes left on the kitchen counter. Through a flurry of misunderstandings, both assume the other is elderly (they are actually in their 30s). Life passes, love blooms, but both have baggage that cannot be ignored. This was such a cute story! I still think back at it and smile. She has another novel being published in the spring that I look forward to reading as well.

On Wings of Devotion, The Codebreakers, Book 2 by Roseanna M. White: Philip Camden, known as "Black Heart", has been widely assumed as responsible for the deaths of his entire squadron. Awaiting trial, he uses his skills to interpret coded messages. Head nurse Arabelle prays for him daily when she sees him walk past the hospital. She discerns that there is more than arrogance behind his public demeanor. When unexpected circumstances throw them together, both find in the other a beautiful friendship. When Camden's past returns to haunt him, Arabelle must decide whether or not to stand beside him. White always has great plots and character developments in her books. Her faith references are not cheesy or contrived. I recommend all her books.

Thin Ice, Men of Valor Book 2 by Irene Hannon: Lance McGregor's first case with the FBI is a doozy. Months after her sister dies in a house fire, Christy receives a ransom note with a photo of her sister. A deep dive into both Christy's parents' and her sister's deaths lead to few answers. With the killer zeroing in on his ultimate target, the suspense builds! Hannon include some distressing topics, but it's well-handled. I have enjoyed this whole series.

In addition to the aforementioned, I went on a Pepper Basham kick thanks to Kindle Unlimited. She writes Christian fiction/romance. Most are set in Appalachia or include characters from Appalachia. They are easy, uplifting, and funny. The titles I read include: Second Impressions, Just the Way You Are, Jane by the Book, When You Look at Me, Charming the Troublemaker, A Match for Emma, and A Twist of Faith. Check them out!

Falling for Franklin, Books 1-3 by Hailey Gardiner: these three cute rom-coms are all set in Franklin, Tennessee and follow the same group of characters. I enjoyed them! They are all clean, breezy reads you can read quite quickly.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, Book 2 by Julie Klassen: book 2 continues to follow Jane, Rachel, and Mercy as their friendships deepen, romance blossoms, and mysteries are solved. Mercy has resigned herself to spinsterhood when a new suitor is foisted upon her by her parents. Rachel also has a suitor but her heart still yearns for her first love. And Jane is finally learning to put her grief from her husband's death behind her to move on with life. These are very much Jane Austen-ish books, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright: fleeing from California after her husband's unsolved death and a stalker, Kaine buys a house sight unseen in her grandparents' Wisconsin hometown. But the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance. Point of view jumps back 100 years when a dead woman was found stuffed into a hollow tree on the same property. This is a great fall book--suspenseful and creepy. Wright's books are never as they seem. She always adds twists and turns that result in a much more meaningful book. I recommend all of hers!

Redwall by Brian Jacques: if you have never read Jacques' books, you should--especially if you enjoy animals and/or fantasy. I read several of these books as a child, and it has such fun to see my children discover and love them as well. Each installment deals with animals fighting for good over evil. Certain animals are always portrayed as the bad guys: rats, ferrets, weasels, etc. The good guys are usually mice, voles, badgers, hedgehogs, moles, etc. We listened to this as an audiobook because it includes a full cast of characters. There is also a fun 1999 television series of the first couple books avialble on Amazon!

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