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In the midst of the craziness of July, you might have thought that I wouldn’t have had time for reading, but you would be wrong! There were plenty of hours spent in vehicles and airplanes when traveling that I could either listen to a book or read one. For one week we were at family camp and there were many hours spent reading on the dock or in the cool of my cabin. I also learned that audio books were my best friend to get me through the endless hours of cleaning, painting, and packing that happened the last two weeks of July.

I am only going to review the books that came from Graf-Martin Communications and their Nuts About Books program. I am so thankful that they send out real copies of books to me. I decided to just take whatever was on the list for the month. I don’t normally read romance type books but there were a few thrown in there, not my fave, but oh well, they get me closer to my goal of 100 books read this year!!

Non Graf-Martin Communications books included:

#49 – Crime Rib by Leslie Budewitz

#50 – Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz

#51 – Stitched Together – Stories for the Quilter’s Soul Volume 1 – put together by the Missouri Star Quilting Company

#52 – Wonderland Creek  by Lynn Austin (Audible)

#53 – Graceling (Audio book)

#54 – Sticks and Bones (Audible)

#55 – These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking by Melody Carlson (Audible)

On to the reviews, all of these books were provided in exchange for my honest review:

#56 – On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Erin is back in her hometown on P.E.I. and she isn’t exactly happy about it. Her fiance decided it would be the perfect place to get married but he has no idea about her past. Erin has re-invented herself and hasn’t told the unsuspecting Russell anything about her great desire to NEVER go back home.

Justin, however, knows ALL about Erin’s past and while they have a few misunderstandings to overcome, they do. The friendship that was her bulwark through her difficult upbringing brings her safely back to shore and reconciliation, but what is she going to do with that other guy? Guess you’ll have to read it and find out.

I have to admit there were a few issues for me with this book, possibly because I have been the wedding planner and some of the timelines just bothered my obsessive nature to do be doing things at the right time, it was distracting to me. I just couldn’t figure out what Erin was DOING with her time and how she could possibly get to the point she was in her relationship with Russel without telling him a single thing about her past. It just didn’t quite ring true with me. I can’t say it was my best read.

#57 – With You Always by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group)

With You Always is part of the Orphan Train series but with a slightly different take on the subject. The orphan trains weren’t only used for transporting orphans out west, they were used to transport workers, specifically women down on their luck, to developing towns along the railroad. This piece of history was quite fascinating to me and I must say I very much enjoyed reading this book.

I had no idea that there was an economic depression in the United States in the 1800’s, nor did I really know anything about how towns were developed or the plight of women during this difficult period of history. With You Always depicts a double story. One plot line is the competition between two brothers to build a town along the railroad, the winner being given the running of the family money and company. The other story is of a family trying desperately to stay together with the lack of parents and steady income.

The oldest sister, Elise, is finally forced to seek the help of the Children’s Aid Society and takes off on one of the orphan trains to work in one of these developing towns. Her siblings are left behind and she can only hope that she’ll make enough to send for them one day. Elise catches the eye of Thornton Quincy, the town developer. She lets him know just what she thinks and he takes a listen to her advice, but will it be enough to win the competition, her heart and reunite her family? You’ll have to read it to find out!!

#58 – The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere (Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Captain’s Daughter is a historical romance set in the early 1800’s. The oldest of three orphaned sisters, Rosalyn had a good job until she was forced to run away to save her reputation. Landing in London she finds herself at the hands of human traffickers and then at the mercy of a theater company! It is quite a ride for the young lady but God sees her safely into the home of the Morans.

Nate Moran is on the run, too, but from his own guilt over events that happened while he was in the service. He is determined to go back to sea and rectify things but is helping his brother out by working at the same theatre that Rosalyn finds herself in.

The Captain’s Daughter is an interesting peek behind the scenes at the beginnings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s career in theater and the life backstage. Nate and Rosalyn have much to deal with in their own hearts and minds as their growing affection for each other blooms backstage. While somewhat predictable, this was an enjoyable book – I like history!

#59 – High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin (Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group)

I have read many novels set in WW2 but never one set in WW1 – High as the Heavens takes us into German-occupied Belgium. There are so many secrets that need to be kept. So many spies to be ferreted out and no idea who can be trusted. Eve thought all that she left was her mother, much to her surprise the plane that crashes brings her husband, whom she thought dead, back into her life, but can she trust him with her secrets.

High as the Heavens is a heart-stopping, fast paced, nail-biting, page-turning book! Can you tell I loved it?  I was kept guessing at every turn, hardly daring to breathe lest Simon be found out in the tunnels of the church, if Eve’s identity would be discovered and whether or not Simon and Eve would ever speak the truth to each other again. You’ll want to read this one, there is no doubt!!

#60 Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson (Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Nicole Anderson decides to help out her mom’s friend for the summer. Savannah stirs up some old memories and some new challenges as she tries to figure out how to run an art gallery that comes complete with a disgruntled employee, wrangle an adolescent whose parents are in the middle of a divorce AND juggle the two brothers that are vying for her attention.

I enjoy Melody Carlson’s writing a lot. Under a Summer Sky was a lighthearted read perfect for the beach or the back deck this summer. Sometimes you have to take a risk, get out of your comfort zone and that’s what Nicole does and is surprised by the benefits of doing just that!

**All of these books are available at your favourite bookseller

On to August and more great reads!