To Steal a Heart By Jen Turano

Gabriella Goodhue has had a hard life.  As a child she was forced to work as a thief many other children for an unscrupulous man, until being rescued into an orphanage.  Now as an adult she has turned all that around.  She is has become an upright citizen and has a respectable job as a seamstress.  She resides at the Bleeker Street Boardinghouse with a most unusual group of women.  Each with their own past and funny quirks, but together have formed a close knit family. 

One of the tenants there is falsely accused of stealing an expensive heirloom from an aristocratic family.  Gabriella is determined to clear their name.  She disguises herself and goes undercover at a ball to try and nab the real thief.  In the process, she is thrown together with Nicholas Quinn.  He was a part of the child thief ring and they had been very close, but had not seen each other in many years.  Nicholas was taken in by a wealthy man and is now part of high society. He purposes to help her solve her case but she wants nothing to do with him.  She has past hurts of feeling he abandoned her.

As with all of Ms. Turano’s books the events that follow are hilarious and touching! I couldn’t quit laughing at the escapades of Gabriella, Nicholas and the motley group from the boardinghouse. Daphne, her friend and fellow tenant, was my favorite character!  Her eccentricities paired with her helping Gabriella were hysterical   I loved the suspense and close calls they found themselves in.  What I liked most was Nicholas’s strong faith in the Lord and his gentle guiding to help Gabriella see that God loved her and she could trust Him. This is such a fun book and the ending will surprise you.  Thank you Ms. Turano for brightening my reading days with another fantastic book!

The Nature of Small Birds By Susie Finkbeiner

The Vietnam War was a news topic all my growing up years and early adulthood.  I remember the headlines.  When Operation Baby Lift occurred April 4 to April 19, 1975, I had just given birth to my first child on April 4th.  As I held my sweet baby, I remember hurting for all these frightened children being brought to the United States.  They had already been through such traumatic experiences.  I heard of families that had adopted them, but I knew nothing of their lives after that.

Mindy was one of those children.  The story goes back and forth between Mindy’s thoughts and feelings and that of her adoptive father and mother.  Each had, of course, such different perspectives. This gave a complete picture mentally and emotionally of what so many children and families faced. I had not even considered the racial and political hurdles they would have to handle, not only in their communities but within extended family.  For me this added to the challenges of trying to give a child love and security while making them a part of your family.  In addition, these sweet little ones had no way of telling you the horrors they had seen. Mindy’s new family was loving, accepting, and wonderful, she always felt as if she did not belong.  As an adult she found herself wanting to meet her birth family.  Her desire was muddled with fear, doubt, and insecurity of what she might find out.  Her parents supported her 100% by helping her work through her maze of emotions.

Not only did I enjoy Mindy’s story, but also the closeness and love the family shared.  I enjoyed their humor and sensitivity toward one another and so many happy times.

Ms. Finkbeiner has a unique way of making her stories personal and real.  For me, this book brought to life what might have happened to those children and their new families.

100 Best Bible Verses to Overcome Worry and Anxiety By Bethany House Publishers

This book is not what I was expecting but in a very good way!  Being a worry wart has been a struggle for me most of my adult life.  In the last few years due to health issues, family losses and medication changes, my battle with worry and anxiety has reached an all-time high.  So of course my interest was piqued in reading this book. I was expecting to find the best known and loved scriptures concerning this subject and an application or story to go with them. 

I am pleased to say I found much more!  This book goes much deeper than that!  Yes it has those comforting verses but it also has truths from the Bible that remind a Christian of their foundation in Christ and the true Source of all comfort.

Each page with a verse has four parts:

Context: This gives a background what is going on in the scripture, in relation to the lesson, the events and the people involved.

Meaning: I found this very helpful.  It fleshes out the verse with visualization, feelings, and thoughts.  I found many helpful insights in the section.

Application: I think of the three, this one helped the most.  When you are caught up in anxiety your thinking can get muddled.  This part gave me direction in how to use what I had read and learned.

At the end of each section are included more scriptures to read. Far more than just a Bible references to verses. A wonderful book!

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Betty Greene By Janet and Geoff Benge

Betty’s desire to be a pilot blossomed at the very young age of 8 years old, and that dream never diminished.  Her mother pushed her into enrolling in nursing school, but after two years she dropped out.  All she wanted to do was fly!  In 1940 she was visiting a 70 year old neighbor, and poured out her frustrations about what to do with her life.   The wise old woman asked her what she loved doing the most and Betty’s answers were flying and helping with the youth group at church. Her neighbor pointed out she could do both by helping by flying for Christian missions. Once she got home she prayed and told God that although she had never heard of anyone flying to spread the gospel, if it was what He wanted her to do, He would work it out. Just a few weeks after her prayer, she heard of a civilian pilot training.  She enrolled and was accepted.  From that point on God continued to move with opportunity after opportunity in training and experience.  Being an eager student Betty excelled in everything she did.  She flew for Women’s Airforce Service in World War 2. She is honored with the title of the first woman to fly over the Andes and also to be allowed to fly over Sudan (women pilots were not allowed at that time). With 3 other men she helped found and Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship. Now the Mission Aviation Fellowship. Her adventures were incredible; flying to isolated jungle areas, staying with missionaries, hiking through the jungle, and repairing planes in remote areas.  She even coordinated and flew missions across many continents which was no easy feat with numerous stops for fueling plus time to rest, all in different countries!  I found all she did mind boggling, but the planning and knowledge it took to accomplish this was incredible.  She had so many close calls, emergency situations, illness and just downright scary circumstances.  Betty loved every minute of it and never wavered.  I won’t even travel to another state alone in a car!  What I found most impressive was all of this was done with her intense devotion to God and desire to serve Him. One amazing lady! 

Thank you to YWAM Publishing for a providing this book for me to review.  The opinions stated are my own.