Apr 10, 2018

Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown

Book description: An emotionally charged debut novel of a family on the brink--an autistic child, his determined mother, and her distant father--who learn that when your world changes, you find out who you really are. . . .

While she was growing up, Piper's father, Lance "the Silver Eagle" Whitman, became a national hero piloting a plane through an emergency landing. But at home, he was a controlling and overbearing presence in her life, raining emotional and verbal abuse upon the entire family.

It's no surprise, then, that as an adult, Piper has poured all of her energy into creating a warm and loving home for her own family, while catering to her son Fred's ever-growing idiosyncrasies.

Then Lance has a heart attack, leaving him with a brain injury--and dependent upon Piper for his care--just before tests confirm Piper's suspicions that Fred is on the autism spectrum.

A powerful and extraordinary novel, Flying at Night gives voice to Fred, trying to find his place in a world that doesn't quite understand him; to Lance, who's lost what made him the man he was, for better and worse; and to Piper, who, while desperately trying to navigate the shifting landscape around her, watches as her son and father start to connect--in the most miraculous ways. . . .

My thoughts:

Flying at Night takes the reader on a deeply transparent and thought provoking journey, joining a dysfunctional family as they discover who they really are. Relationships changed dramatically as each life altering hurdle presented itself.

I especially loved reading the chapters that were written in young Fred's voice. Having this glimpse into the little known autism spectrum was something I totally did not expect to find in a fictional novel.

It is common knowledge that one generation has a profound effect on the actions of the next generation. It was interesting to see how this played out between the members of this family, and without them even realizing it. Depression, autism, brain damage, as well as unforgiveness added even more drama to the family dynamics.

This book caught my attention from the start, and I felt drawn into the lives of this entire family. I could relate to each of the characters in some way, and their pain and frustration were so realistic and believable.  I give a huge thumbs up on this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Apr 7, 2018

Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

Book description: 

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

My thoughts:

A story that revolves around a crumbling lighthouse that may be destined for demolition ... this immediately intrigued me. Throw in a young and handsome army doctor, and I was hooked.

I loved how the first interaction between Ben and his beautiful neighbour involves a cat, a tree, a ladder, and a subsequent police call. The sparks were flying between the young doctor and his neighbour Marcy, the editor of the local newspaper.

There is lots of action and suspense in Pelican Point, as well as a nice mixture of romance and history.  I think it's a perfect blend to keep the reader wanting more and more.

Irene Hannon has written another winner in the Hope Harbor series, and I highly recommend this one.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Book description:  

A Southern Novel of Two Sisters and the Storms They Must Weather

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing—and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

My thoughts:

I was actually pulled into this story by the unusual cover, and I was immediately immersed into the Franklin family and their broken dreams. I couldn't help but feel Betsy's pain and her unspoken longing for children. Her younger sister Jenna had broken dreams of her own, and she felt overwhelmed with her role as sole caregiver to her two young daughters.

It wasn't planned by any of them, but that hot Alabama summer brought monumental changes to the entire family. Ty and Betsy were thrown into full-time childcare, and their normally busy summer days became chaotic, to say the least.  However, some of the brokenness started to heal without them even realizing what was happening.

Jenna, Betsy's younger sister, basically ran away from everything that was weighing her down, and hunkered down at an isolated art commune for the summer. She essentially abandoned her daughters and it gave her time to prioritize the most important parts of her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover, and Hurricane Season would make a great summer read as well as a great choice for book club study.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson--FICTION through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Apr 3, 2018

The Case for Miracles by Lee Strobel

Book description: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural
New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel trains his investigative sights on the hot-button issue of whether it’s credible to believe God intervenes supernaturally in people’s lives today.

This provocative book starts with an unlikely interview in which America’s foremost skeptic builds a seemingly persuasive case against the miraculous. But then Strobel travels the country to quiz scholars to see whether they can offer solid answers to atheist objections. Along the way, he encounters astounding accounts of healings and other phenomena that simply cannot be explained away by naturalistic causes. The book features the results of exclusive new scientific polling that shows miracle accounts are much more common than people think.

What’s more, Strobel delves into the most controversial question of all: what about miracles that don’t happen? If God can intervene in the world, why doesn’t he do it more often to relieve suffering? Many American Christians are embarrassed by the supernatural, not wanting to look odd or extreme to their neighbors. Yet, The Case for Miracles shows not only that the miraculous is possible, but that God still does intervene in our world in awe-inspiring ways. Here’s a unique book that examines all sides of this issue and comes away with a passionate defense for God’s divine action in lives today.

My thoughts:

Lee Strobel is an expert who asks all the questions that we wonder about. Haven't we all wondered if God still performs miracles?  Lee interviews the skeptics and also the believers who have experienced miracles first hand, and he does it in his usual and thorough investigative style.

The Table of Contents clearly defines five distinct areas: 1) The Case Against Miracles, 2) The Case for Miracles, 3) Science, Dreams, and Visions, 4) The Most Spectacular Miracles, and 5) Difficulty with Miracles.

The section titled Most Spectacular Miracles is what immediately drew my attention, and I couldn't wait to reach that part of the book. I definitely will read this book again, and highly recommend it for everyone.  Whether believers or unbelievers, this book will ... without a doubt, make a person look at things differently.

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley courtesy of  Zondervan Non-Fiction in exchange for my honest review.