Looking for Leroy By Melody Carlson

Most people have a “first love” they remember from their teen years.  Few ever meet again.  Leroy and Brynna were that exception.  30 years has passed a lot of life since they fell in love at a summer camp.  After a short correspondence Brynna marries her ex-high school crush who turns out to be a total loser. After years of heartache and infidelity they divorce.  Leroy marries, has 3 daughters and runs his family’s vineyard.  His wife has passed away. 

Struggling to put her life back together, Brynna agrees impulsively to go on a camping vacation with a co-worker at the school where she teaches.  Traveling through California and the area that fated summer camp is located, Brynna’s memories are triggered.  She shares this with Jan during a relaxed campfire moment. Her friend comes up with the scathingly brilliant idea that they find Leroy!  Brynna remembers his family owned a winery in the area and that sets Jan off on a search much against her friend’s will.  They locate Leroy and his winery and that’s when a most unusual, complicated, and crazy reunion begins.

I felt sorry for Brynna with who was already in emotional turmoil over her divorce and Jan pushing her into trying to arrange this reunion.  I totally understood her reluctance and insecurity but also became frustrated with her indecisiveness with so many decisions.  I have to admit I admired her adaptability in a very difficult situation!  

It was interesting to see how many changes were in both their personalities, yet their core qualities remained the same after all these years.  I mean who wouldn’t change some after 30 years!

One of my favorite parts of the book was the cottage Brynna stayed in, so beautiful and cozy.  The descriptions of the décor made me feel as if I was walking through the door and seeing it myself.  I think this is because the simplicity and comfort that was there.  Something I want to have in my life at difficult times. 

My favorite character was Sophie, Leroy’s daughter.  She was so down to earth and sweet.  Her energy, juggling her family, helping her father, and still able to have compassion for Brynna warmed my heart.

Be prepared, this story has many twists, turns, surprises and sweet moments.  I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. because I couldn’t put it down.  Insomnia alert!  LOL

Another amazing Melody Carlson book!

I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus By Sarah Geringer

This book gets a 10 star rating from me!  It is one you will not only give a permanent place on your book shelf, but, take notes, study and read over and over! It is definitely a keeper in my library! Meditation on Scripture is a much neglected discipline in most Christian’s lives.  Probably because many of us do not know where to start or how to do it.

It is easy to read and study.  I am not a big one for personal experiences by an author.  There are times it seems to actually take away from what they are trying to share.  Not so with Ms. Geringer!  She shares from the heart and often on a very personal level.  Her transparency helps the reader to honestly evaluate not only their thoughts but the source of them. Each chapter deals with the different thoughts one might have: guilty, negative, fearful, etc.  But this is only the beginning. There are 17 in all.  Many you may have never considered.

That’s what this book is all about, how get control of your thought life by meditating on scripture.  The author teaches you how to turn those thoughts into meditation on God’s Word.   She doesn’t’ leave you hanging there. For each of the categories she gives you a clear plan for conquering and transforming your mind by turning to Bible verses that apply these specifically to these challenges. There are suggested scriptures and at the end of each chapter there are questions to reflect on and a prayer.  Trust me! This is a life changing book! 

When the Meadow Blooms  By Ann H. Gabhart

One of the things I love about Ms. Gabhart’s books is the stories and characters are so different!  She always has such unique and original storylines and characters. 

Rose Meadows has had a hard life.  She is now a widow and has to young girls to care for.  She has been left destitute and on top of that she has tuberculosis.  It was 1925 and the only treatment for the disease was admission to a TB hospital where the patient received healthy food, fresh air and rest.  The average stay was 6 – 9 months, but poor Rose had been there 2 years.  With no other alternative she had to place her girls in an orphanage until she was well.  She has had all she can of the separation and wants to leave, but where will she go and how will she support her children?

She has no family, and the only person she can turn to is her deceased husband brother, Dirk, whom she has only met once.  Without either of them knowing her and her oldest daughter write him asking to come and stay at the family farm.  He comes to their rescue, but it is not as simple as that.  Dirk is a loner and has many things from his past to heal from.

This book was such a beautiful example of how God can heal anyone’s heart.  Each character had trauma and only the Lord could restore their hearts and lives.  Rose’s sweet patient spirit with the surly distant Dirk was a beautiful example persevering and trusting God when dealing with difficult people.  She saw in him what he could not see in himself.  Her acceptance of her weakened health and gratefulness for what the Lord had provided is inspirational.

 I loved the courage of the girls in facing their insecurities and fears.  How I wish I had Sienna’s joyful attitude and ability to focusing on the beauty of what was around her. 

Be ready to cry, rejoice and be surprised at the many developments in their relationships as God works to restore their lives! Another wonderful book from the author!  I can’t wait to read her next one!

I received this book from Revell Publishers through www.Librarything.com early reader program.  The opinions stated are my own.

Sea Glass Cottage By Irene Hannon

I am still working on reading all the Hope Harbor book series!  With each one I find myself back at the little seaside town.  It gives me a warm cozy feeling with that little town atmosphere where residents are close and caring.  I wish it really existed, but since it doesn’t I am content to escape into the pages and visit. The author’s beautiful descriptions of the streets, businesses, and sea side make me feel as if I am really there.  *sigh*

Christi Reece was once a wealthy, spoiled socialite with the world at her feet.  Through many hardships and losses, she is a poor, hardworking young woman that finds herself in a difficult situation and in need of money.  Her last resort is to humble herself and go to her ex-boyfriend Jack Colby to ask for a loan.  This takes a great deal of courage as she very deeply hurt him and they have not seen each other in 11 years!

Jack remembers the old Christi and does not realize she has become a Christian and is totally opposite of the girl he once loved. He just wants her to leave! I love how Christi’s new life in Christ shines through with her patient, gentle, sweet spirit. I found it exciting to see how the Lord continues to guide and provide for her as she trusts Him with impossible situations.  It was beautiful to see Jack’s bitter unforgiving attitude be changed by her testimony.

Of course one of my favorite characters, Charley the artist and fish taco truck owner is still there.  I always enjoy how he does the Lord’s work with wisdom and clever insight.  Christi and Jack aren’t the only residents of Hope Harbor that God is working to restore their romance and relationship. I also enjoyed the surprises along the way. I am looking forward to the next book and my next visit! 

I received this book from Revell Publishers through www.Librarything.com early reader program.  The opinions stated are my own.