Book Review: Intentional Christian By Daniel Ryan Day

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 Our Christian culture tends to emphasize specific life callings. God does call certain believers to specific short-term tasks or even lifelong careers. But too many of us are waiting for God to hand us a dream job or reveal some big plan for our lives. All we really need to know has already been revealed in Scripture by directives like “love God and love others” and “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” Daniel Ryan Day defines the difference between “specific callings” and “common callings” so you can become an “intentional Christian,” finding fulfillment by serving God in all things.

I wish I had Intentional Christian years ago. It would have soothed my soul to read about Daniel’s struggle to find a career and a calling, and know that I was not alone. This book is full of the practical wisdom I needed. I loved the common callings, and the concept that you don’t have to be a missionary or pastor to have a “calling ” from God.

A quick read that left me breathing easier about Gods plan for my life. I felt I could start doing the will of God right where I am and I think that’s the point of the book.

Intentional Christian would make a great group read ,especially if you researched in your Bible as you went.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is : “And may we not be overly concerned with discovering a specific call or dream job, but instead with faithfully obeying the many common callings the Bible teaches.”

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

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Fiercehearted By Holley Gerth

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A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they’ll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fiercehearted is an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

I’ve read quite a few inspirational books recently that have changed my perspective . Of these, I gained the most encouragement from Fiercehearted.

This book is for those who feel they will never be, do , or accomplish enough. Holley comes beside you and says “When you get to the end of these pages. I want you to also be able to say with certainty, “I’m not the only one.” I want all of us to feel less alone and more comfortable in our God-sewn skin and a little surer that we are a force to be reckoned with in this world.”  I can say Holley accomplished this!  That’s exactly how I felt , not just during reading , but as I finished the last page.

Fiercehearted encourages you to replace all the striving for the wrong things and start embracing who God created you to be. Chapter 26 was one of my favorites. The way my anxiety works is very similar and it felt so wonderful to see it expressed in words I often struggle to find.

This book was easily five stars and I recommended it to everyone.

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

Book Review: The Watchman By V.B. Tenery

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When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene—and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah’s special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening. Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody’s deranged father has taken his son and it’s up to Noah to follow the judge’s twisted trail to find the boy before it’s too late. Corrupt city officials, a missing socialite, an attempted murder, and a rescue in the middle of a blizzard entangle Noah in the most complicated case of his career. A case that will mean his ultimate redemption or will take him back into the dark history that haunts him.
 This was such an enjoyable read! Let me list the reasons :
  • The adventure is set at a steady pace and continues till the very last page.
  • It handled the topic of abuse in a good way,( this topic can be very triggering , so I wouldn’t recommend the book to just anyone)
  • I did not see the plot twist coming, in hindsight I probably should have but I didn’t.
  • All the characters were well written , though my favorites were Noah and Jake.
  • Noah is a wonderful character. His backstory and special abilities are unique and interesting. I loved reading about a gentle man who really cared about the work he was doing . He couldn’t be bought or forced into doing the wrong thing, which was refreshing.
  • It has diversity. One character is mentally challenged, there is multiple ethnicities.
  • While being a Christian read, it doesn’t shy away from the question of why God allows pain.
  • It has humor in it, despite handling such a serious topic.

I have to share a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. I rarely laugh out loud at books, but The Watchman accomplished just that.

The day we met must have been my lucky day Adams. I can’t imagine what I did to God to deserve you.” Jake really loved me. He just liked to complain.”

You never cease to amaze me with your perceptive grasp of the obvious.”

I like what you’ve done with the place. Is boring your style of choice or is this an accident?”

The Watchman by V.B. Tenery was a refreshing and unique read , I enjoyed every page. Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Have you read any books recently that handled a hard subject well? Do you like books with continually action? Do you like good, bad, or morally gray Main Characters?

 

Book Review: Dangerous Territory By Amy Peterson

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Amy Peterson grew up in church, where she loved the adventurous stories of missionaries in foreign countries who won people to the Lord. After college, she was ready to “do big things for God” on the mission field herself. Dangerous Territory is a captivating memoir that tells Amy’s personal journey from wide-eyed adventurer to questioning believer to simply a beloved child of God. Her story will challenge your notion of “mission work,” showing how you can have a vital relationship with God that naturally spills over to affect others.

 

Dangerous Territory was a refreshing read. I don’t know about others but when I read a memoir (especially a missionary / Christian one)  instead of finding inspiration and encouragement, I come away feeling a little drained .

Amy Peterson did such an amazing job with this book. There are chapter interludes every so often where you learn some history and interesting facts about missionaries. In Dangerous Territory I really felt like I knew Amy, she wrote the book being very honest, unfiltered and raw about her feelings and experiences. She doesn’t try to sugar coat her struggles or glorify herself, you get a real sense of who Amy is.

I loved that she is simultaneously telling you about her mission opportunities and all the other things happening in her life! I enjoyed reading about her adventures and all the interesting food she ate. However Amy is not afraid to tackle some harder subjects such as conservative Christians, why God lets things happen, and having blessings while so many suffer.

This book was an enjoyable read and has a wonderful way of looking at things differently.

Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy 🙂

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s Chat! Have you read any memoirs that changed your way of thinking? Any Christian books you would recommend?

If We Survive by Andrew Klavan

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I’m in love with this cover^^^

 They came on a mission of mercy, but now they’re in a fight for their lives.
High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness.
But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere―and Americans are being targeted as the first to die. 
Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . .hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home.
If they can just survive.

I went to the library about two weeks ago. I didn’t get the book I originally went for (they didn’t have it #Rude), I found this AMAZING book instead. The title was what caught my attention, upon reading the synopsis it sounded like my kind of book. “If We Survive” did not disappoint.

Let’s start with the Characters : All the characters were realistic. They all had good qualities, bad qualities, and character growth.

  • Will : I am a picky person when it comes to main characters. I really enjoyed Will’s character and his narrator style. Will is a good kid in a tough situation who makes hard decisions. I love his bravery and good morals.
  • Palmer : My favorite character from the moment he walked onto the page. He’s portrayed as a bit of a  jerk in the first few chapters (but this is also because that is Will’s perception of him). Palmer however redeems himself pretty quickly. He is very intelligent and is the only thing standing between the rest of the group and death. I loved his backstory and the fact that he was an Ex- Marine. Plus the witty sarcasm!! Ok he’s my favorite I’ll stop rambling now.
  • Nicki: Nicki starts the book as a typical diva, and honestly I thought she would end the book that way. But her character finally got a grip on her emotions and turned out to be really sweet.
  • Meredith : Meredith is the definition of strong female character done right. She had a little problem with being “perfect” (but I don’t count being quiet/ shy as a negative trait so…). Meredith portrayed really strong moral character; and over-all strength while still being gentle and kind.
  • Jim : The most annoying character for me. I just don’t understand delusional characters. He finally got a reality check and became semi-useful, but I’m still not a fan.
  • Pastor Ron: Was a character who did what he felt was right at all times, even though he was a bit naïve on how things work in life.

 

The Yes Factor:

  • I love the little mini stories about each character in the beginning of the book.
  • Once the action started , it was paced perfectly.
  • Romance was minimal, Will had a crush on Meredith. Meredith had a crush on Palmer. But it wasn’t a big part of the story, and it only added to the plot.
  • Character development was A+.
  • The “bad guys” were convincing and really well thought out. They weren’t just there to cause trouble for the group, they had goals and motivations.

The only thing negative I can think of is the action is a mite predictable; however I watch and read a lot of action so this could just be me. Even with that it was such a good read and kept my attention.

Since this is a library book, “If We Survive” got added to my wish list. I want to try some of Andrew Klavan’s other books, I’ve read good things about his Homelanders series.

Let’s Chat. Have you ever read anything by Andrew Klavan? Do you like action stories?

Forever & Always ,

Emily

10 Christian Books I Recommend

IMG_1889-19-06-17-05-41 The lovely picture above was taken by my bestie ( you can find her HERE).

All of these books had a major impact on my life at some point. To be honest quite a few of them came to me when I needed them most, like any good book should. While I find each of them inspirational and they helped me in diverse ways.

1.Shaken by Tim Tebow – I did a full review here, but in short this book is just amazing. I got it for Christmas last year and it could not have come at a better time. It is so encouraging and really shows how living out your faith looks.

2. One Thousand Gifts  by Ann Voskamp – I read this book many years ago but it is really just about being thankful for the little things in life . It also got me into the practice of being grateful and writing down blessings I found each day, and some days that’s hard. The goal is to turn our focus from the negative and show our gratitude towards God for all the things he does provide.

3. The Dream Giver By Bruce Wilkinson- This is a beautiful book told in an analogy. I loved it so much, and it’s such a good reminder that God gives us our dreams and he will help us accomplish them.

4. Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl – This is a great book for young women who strive to be a good, godly, wife one day and it would make the perfect gift for a bride-to-be. This book is actually on my reread list for this year. I do remember that it had statistics and information from guys POV, along with just practical advise on relationships.

5. Cross Roads By W.M Paul Young – This book is so amazing!! While I haven’t read the authors more famous book “The Shack” , I can tell you that this one is so very good and should be on everyone’s TBR list.

6. Unafraid By Susie Davis – If you suffer from fear or on going anxiety I can tell you this book is such an encouragement. The author walks you through her very real struggles that’s started as a child, and shows how overcoming fear / anxiety is not an easy thing but it is possible.

7. Before you meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally –  I especially recommend this book for teenage girls who are just starting to seriously notice boys. I remember a friend and I reading this when we were young and discussing how we related to the daydreaming aspect of waiting on our prince charming’s. It really try’s to inspire girls to focus on the here and now, and to become the best version of themselves before they worry about boys.

8. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers – This is a classic ,and there is a reason for that. So many of these daily devotions hit on whatever subject I needed most. I have read it multiple times and each time I use a different highlighter to see what means something to me each time.

9. Kisses From Katie By Katie Davis – This girls story is so unique and amazing.  Katie went to Uganda on a missions trip before college, but her life changed very quickly. Now Katie is the mother of 14 girls she adopted over in Uganda. I love this story because it just shows how God has His own plans for our life if we are willing to follow his lead.

10. Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald – This is a study book for mothers and daughters to read together. I however read it on my own and then discussed it with my mom as I went. I think I love this book because of its focus on being feminine and modest. It also has lists in the back for other Christian books, and modest clothing sites.

So those are some of my most recommended Christian books. Let me know in the comments if you have read any of the books above? What are some Christian books you recommend?

Forever & Always,

Emily

10 Books I Would Sell My Siblings For

To clarify on the post title, I wouldn’t actually sell my siblings……well two of them I would (which still leaves me two and I feel good about that) if you know the opportunity presented itself….just kidding Mom I wouldn’t sell your other children (unless you want half the profits…..we can talk it out).

So I’m actually naming 10 books I’m dying to read , which is a link-up with Top Ten Tuesday , not this weeks because I don’t do what I’m told……I’m sure the afore mentioned mom would agree.

 

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  1. Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell : A Peter Pan retelling that focuses on Good vs. Evil, ummm yes please!! Also I love anything with Pirates so I can’t wait to read this books version of Captain Hook.

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2. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: I have heard such good things about this book and I want to read it this very instant. My best friend (who happens to be one of the siblings I refuse to sell) and I have very different tastes in books, it’s not often that we both want to read the same thing and Bone Gap is one we both are excited for.

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3. Uprooted By Naomi Novik : A Fantasy, fairy-tale book about magic and a wizard who is known as “The Dragon” , I need it.

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4. Reckless -The Petrified Flesh By Cornelia Funke: First off I loved Cornelia’s Inkheart series, though it had it’s issues I am still a big fan, so I’m excited to read the Reckless series. Second – Pretty covers !!!!

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5. Dare (The Blades of Acktar) By Tricia Mingerink : I heard about these books from a girl who was listing books that both her and her husband liked (I wish I remembered her blog, but my memory is horrible ). I read the Chiveis Trilogy off the list and loved it, so I am interested in giving this series a go.

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6. The Lies Of Locke Lamora By Scott Lynch : An orphan who makes a life as a thief / con artist, yes please a thousand times over. My only worry is I have heard there is quite a bit of swearing in it……but most people seem to love the story besides that.

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7. Fairest of All – A tale of the wicked Queen : I’m a fan of retellings and have read quite a few (mostly Robin Hood), so I think reading one from the villain’s POV would be awesome. The concept reminds me of the tv show “Once Upon A Time”, where all the characters and their stories aren’t what you always expect.

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8. Meddling Kids By Edgar Cantero : A Scooby- Doo retelling!!!!!!!! ALL THE EXCITEMENT ( am I right, of course I am). Seriously I have never met anyone that didn’t like The Mystery Gang (except a sister I will give in exchange for this book). It sounds  awesome and takes place when the meddling kids are grown up and dealing with their past. Again ALL THE EXCITEMENT!!

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9. The Silent Songbird By Melanie Dickerson: I haven’t read a Melanie Dickerson book yet that I didn’t like, while some of her books have better built and more relatable characters, all her books are still good. This is suppose to be a Little Mermaid retelling and I’ve never read one of those.

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10. Hittite Warrior By Joanne Williamson: This book has been on my wish list for years. I love History and anytime it’s Biblical history I really want to read it.

So those are the 10 books I’m dying to read. I noticed a lot of them are retellings, but that is pretty much normal for me.

I have some awesome news as well. I will be writing one of my books on Wattpad. I am going to try and have the first chapter up this Friday and then continue to post every Friday. The link to my Wattpad Account so stop by and check it out on Friday if you like. It’s about two brothers who happen to not only be opposites but also Princes . They are both currently engaged and neither is particularly happy about it , but it’s a chance to unify three Countries. However certain events bring them closer to war and a not so happily ever after , then either brother anticipated.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Talk to me. Have you read any of these books? See any that you want to read now and would consider selling a sibling for? If you have a Wattpad account link it in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

 

Prayers for an Anxious Heart

cover110622-mediumDozens of practical and encouraging prayers inspired by Philippians 4:6-7 will help you strengthen your heart-connection to the Master Creator. Each prayer will draw you ever closer to the heavenly Father as you discover a deeper understanding and love for the One who holds the whole world in His hands.

I originally requested this book because I have anxiety and am a worrier……or should I say used to be. I’ve grown quiet a bit over the past year and while I still have anxiety it’s not the state I’m constantly in anymore. This book probably would have meant more to me in my earlier state of being , than it did now. However Prayer for an Anxious Heart is a beautiful book that would be perfect for anyone struggling with anxiety or worry.

I’ve recently taken to copying things that really mean something to me in my Prayer Journal. I find it helps things stick in my mind better and I can always go back to it. I copied quite a few prayers from this book into my journal.

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The book was full  of inspiration and uplifting prayers that often remind you who you are to God. I came away from reading it everyday (usually multiple prayers) feeling very encouraged and peaceful. I love how every prayer has a scripture at the top to start you off, and it also includes scripture in some of the prayers as well. The prayers were written like a conversation and made it feel more natural and unique when using them.

I want to thank Netgalley and Barbour publishing for the review copy.

Forever & Always,

Emily

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

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She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant.

But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . .

if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

 

Thank you Netgalley for the review copy of Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson.

I missed posting last week because I usually write my posts on Monday and then review and edit one last time Tuesday morning. So last week was a little crazy and I just didn’t get to it or feel up to rushing a post Tuesday. That being said I decided to post this on Monday to make up for it 🙂

I am a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson! So when I got approved for this book I was extremely excited.  I wish I could tell you I immediately fell in love with this book but that’s just not the case. I was a quarter of the way through before I really got interested and it finally held my attention. That being said , once the pace picked up I didn’t put it down till it was finished.

What I Loved:

  1. A+  Character Development. Magdalen and Steffan start the book both very entitled, and selfish. But as the book progresses the reader gets to see them both evolve into compassionate, sweet and humble characters. The struggle is shown though about how tough it is to change one’s self.
  2. Supporting characters had personality and depth. My favorite being Lenhart, who was the sweetest little thing ever. I love how Magdalen protected him.
  3. Spoiler free : The romance was cute, both character’s were so unsure of themselves and not willing to be hurt. It was so relatable. But once they admitted their love, the adorable couple-ness (shh that’s totally a word) made me smile.
  4. The characters had solid background stories that played deep in the plot. They were so different and it made the emotional baggage they carried contrast to each other.
  5. The plot was so well thought out and written perfectly! Though it started out slow it eventually picked up pace and then went along nice.
  6. It quotes Scripture! I love when books do this.

What annoyed me :

  1. Magdalen’s relationship with her mother, while it served the plot was quiet tedious to read about. I mean I’m not stupid, so after the second time of explaining why Magdalen would not want to go home because of how her mother treated her, I got it. No need to remind me ten more times.
  2. How slow the beginning was , and maybe this is just me I don’t know but it took awhile to get into for me.
  3. Magdalen’s oblivion to the fact there was a trader amongst her friends. Like even I saw it coming a mile away.

Over all this book was cute and I loved the characters , you know once they got over the whole entitled brat thing. Easily a four star.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Have you read any Melanie Dickerson books? What’s your favorite? Do you give books a chance to redeem themselves if they start a little slow ? Let’s chat, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

8 Series that I love to pieces

I love series! Don’t get me wrong stand alone books are great and I love and cherish many . Series have the benefit of giving us more time with the characters and can span a longer period of the characters life. I’m that person that wants all the little details about characters that don’t actually matter to the plot but I want them anyway, so meet my unrealistic demands authors.

Below are some of my favorite series, eight to be exact. Why eight, you ask, because my brain functions in a manner like this :

Me: I should write a blog post with 10 series, you know like a normal blogger.

Brain: But, like, what if you didn’t. You should do 8.

Me: Good point in all but nah.

Brain: Funny, like you had a choice, I said 8. For no apparent reason I like that number today.

Me: awesome. 8 it is.

A rare glimpse into my life of weirdness. By the way people who say they don’t have internal monologue running all day, seriously how do you live?? I blame being a writer as to why I talk to myself non stop.

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1. The Heist Society by Alley Carter.

I should probably be worried at the amount of books with criminals that I adore, but I’m not. These books are awesome. I originally “borrowed” Perfect Scoundrels from my sister, she never got it back (sorry hope you’re not to upset about the loss). Reading the third book first had me addicted and needing all the background stories. I love the characters and while some of them are a little cliché , the over all story and family dynamic made up for it.

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2. The Lost Books series by Ted Dekker

These are the best when it comes to being fast paced, action packed, and the ultimate good verses evil. While Chosen and Elyon ( the book on top) are my favorite, the rest of the series does keep pace. I enjoyed these books so much because of the unique story. It’s set in another world, where evil is on the outside in the form of a skin disease (known as Scabs). Believers wash themselves in the pools of Elyon to prevent the disease. The books center around four teenagers who get chosen to lead the forest guard and also get chosen by Elyon for a secret mission- to find the lost books of history.

I own all hardcover except for #6 Elyon , which I ordered used and didn’t pay attention to the fact that it is a paperback, so its in time out for being the oddball.

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3. Little House On The Prairie By Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 These books shaped my adolescence years, I loved her life and more often then not wished I lived in her era of time. I own all nine of the original and then a bunch of other ones , either written about Laura or her family members.

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4. Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

I loved Hattie Big Sky, its about an orphan girl who gets passed from relative to relative. Then one day she gets the opportunity to strike out on her own and prove up a land claim. It was awesome and I have enjoyed reading it multiple times.

I was super excited for Hattie Ever After. It fell a little flat of my expectations, but was still an enjoyable read. In this book we see Hattie get to pursue a career and romantic relationships.

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5. Seasons of the Heart by Janette Oke.

I love Janette Oke books, and I haven’t read one yet that disappointed me. However I do realize that some are a might predictable and can have “fairytale endings “, neither of those bother me enough to turn me away. Seasons of the heart is such an adorable series and centers around a boy named Josh, over the course of the four books you get to experience his first love, his disappointments and all that accompanies growing up.

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6. Eagles Flying High series by Linda Rae Rao.

When I was about 16, I found Eagles Flying High at a thrift store. I bought it because it centered around the Revolutionary War, and History was (and still is ) my favorite subject. I devoured it quickly and had to have the rest. My shy self worked up the courage to ask my librarian if we had the others, my library didn’t but the college library carried it. This was important to my 16 year old self, that I got books from the college library, ahhhh the small things in life.

Anyway My favorite’s are Eagles Flying High and Of Eagles and Ravens , but all of them are beautifully written. All the books center around different members of the family. The family dynamic is so awesome, plus the action and history involved are perfect.

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7.  Knightley Academy  series by Violet Haberdasher

My sister bought me Knightley Academy for my birthday many years ago ( or maybe she bought me The Secret Prince, heck if I remember). I love these books because of how Henry in a underdog who takes a chance on a dream and makes it work for himself. The books are wonderful, I loved all the action and mystery. Plus a win for great friendships.

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8. The Ascendance Trilogy By  Jennifer A. Neilsen

These books are pure gold, and if you haven’t read them I urge you to consider what you are doing with your life (the answer is failing, so go read them). I cannot say enough about how good these books are, and it boils down to SASS and SWORDS. Yep those were the main reason I loved this trilogy, because sassy boys who fight with swords and are still adorable cupcakes make my life. All the relationships in these books just worked so well!

So those are my series I suggest you check out all of them to see if they would interest you, because they all have something amazing to offer.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Have you read any of the above series? Any suggestions of some series that I should try? Do you like series or stand alone books better?