From Russia with Love
By Susan May Warren
I purchased this as a kindle book for only $.99! I saw that it involved Russia, and knew I had to read it. You see my brother is Russia obsessed, and reading this book reminded me of him.
Kat Moore is a Russian American who was raised in America. After receiving a strange package from Russia she gets on a plane and flies to Moscow. She is only a tourist hoping to discover family secrets, and perhaps even discover long lost family members. So why do the Russian FSB agents think she is involved with terrorists? She quickly develops a love hate relationship with Vadeem Spasonov, the FSB agent who saved her life and has taken to protecting her after she refuses to leave the country. While Kat and Vadeem search for answers, Vadeem struggles with guilt from his past. He has been running from God for years, and is frankly worn out. And although Kat is in danger she sees God's providential leading. He brings people into her path that she couldn't have found on her own. But will it be enough? Will she find the answers she's looking for?
Some of the peeks into the terrorists life are gag worthy. They are not at all explicit, just a little disturbing.
After finishing the book I still had a lot of questions. Where Vadeem's parents and brother killed the day the church burnt? And what happened to Kat's biological parents?
Some people might be confused with Vadeem being called Vadick in flashbacks. My brother told me that it's common in Russia to be called one name by family and another by friends. I don't understand why, but I am not used to Russian culture.
In my opinion if there is an epilogue, it should complete the story and give you a peek into the characters future. This epilogue wasn't as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.
This book had the perfect balance of Mystery, Suspense, Love, and Religion. I didn't get have such a complicated mystery that I zoned out. And it didn't have so much romance that it was inappropriate or took away from the mystery.
When Pyotr reaches out to Vadeem as a friend, that made me happy! He really is a good friend.
All the Russian names! Vadeem, Ekaterina, Pyotr... I love it!
Who should Read it:
I would recommend this book to anyone 15 +. Especially if they love Russia, history, or suspense.
I loved reading this book, and it has earned a top spot in my contemporary fiction favorites. I forced myself to stop every few chapters because I didn't want it to be over! I finished it in a week when I would have read it in a day. Like I said, I LOVED it!
If you're interested in reading the book you can buy it on Amazon by using this link:
Summer of Promise
by Amanda Cabot
I downloaded the free Kindle version of this book and I'm so glad I did! It sat on my 'bookshelf' for at least two months but as soon as a started reading, I wished I had read it sooner! Here are some of my thoughts on it...
Abigail Harding is a young schoolteacher who leaves her comfortable home in Vermont to travel west to Wyoming for what is supposed to be a short visit with her sister. She is disappointed in the region so many people called 'beautiful' but she found boring. She can't call it boring after the attempted robbery made on her stagecoach. But thanks to Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, the only person hurt is the deserter turned thief.
Arriving at Fort Laramie the place Abigail's sister Charlotte and her husband Jeffrey. Abigail discovers that Ethan is acquainted with them. While Charlotte is thrilled to have Abigail there, Jeffrey couldn't be any less excited. Jeffrey is not at all fond of Abigail. Unless you consider "pickle-faced" a term of endearment.
Abigail came to Wyoming because she knew God was calling her there, but it doesn't mean she likes it.
Ethan joined the Army to follow in his fathers footsteps, and to spite his grandfather. Who as a wealthy man raised Ethan when his parents died. Telling him that his father was wicked and didn't love Ethan or his mother.
While Abigail is walking Charlotte's puppy (now called 'Puddles') she meets Leah by the river. Leah is a prostitute. Leah discourages Abigail's friendship because of how her reputation would be marred. Abigail will not be dissuaded. She takes Leah on as her 'project' determining to help her change her lifestyle.
When the stagecoach robberies continue. Ethan and Abigail find themselves deeply involved in restoring justice.
I am hard pressed to find anything I didn't like about this book!
A book where the world is portrayed as perfect and good would not be realistic. However you don't have to go into explicit detail to show that people are sinners. The book had some examples of human flaws and the reality of our fallen nature. But there was nothing at all offensive about it, I found the book to be realistic and clean.
What I Loved:
Abigail is an admirable heroine. She is brave, courageous, and she earnestly seeks God's will in everything she does.
Abigail is determined to help someone whom other women stuck up their nose at. Showing great compassion.
After a run in with a rattle snake Ethan discovers that Abigail is terrified of guns due to a childhood experience. He teaches Abigail how to shoot so that she can defend herself. What's more romantic than gunpowder?
There are a lot of scriptural truths shared in this book. Through words and in the lives of the characters. One of the most prominent is that God sometimes calls us to go places, and do things that we don't want to do. But God has an awesome plan! And even if we don't like it at first, God can help us grow to love it
Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge
Jessie Stone has one goal in life: to get married. She has a decent job and friends, but she isn't satisfied. She speed dates and has a dating website profile to fill her time. All the while dreaming about her fantasy life and writing it down in her journal with her purple feather pen.
She has no marital prospects. Except her life long best friend Blake whom she has secretly had a crush on for a while. She makes the natural assumption that God has simply forgotten to write her love story, so she tries to write her own. That is until God shows up in the flesh and asks for her purple pen so He can write her story. He gives her 24 hours to decide.
Nearing the end of the allotted time Jessie decides to give God a try. And how else do you give it to him except breaking into His house (aka a church) and leaving it there? Maybe she should have taken into account the silent alarm system.
Soon after that Jessie spontaneously decides to quit her job and start her own business. She is going to rent space in her friend Malia's (Blake's mom's) flower shop. She is going to help men create dream proposals. She's basically the wedding planner for the proposal. She's also blogging now too, one of the things God told her to do.
She still wrestles with the fact that God isn't writing what she wants. She knows how her story should go and still tries to make it so. Even fooling herself into thinking some things are God's will simply because she's tired of waiting.
A guy that Jessie dates takes her to a restaurant with a bar atmosphere that makes her feel uncomfortable.
After an embarrassing situation with Blake and his girlfriend, Jessie tells Brooklyn she wants to try Brooklyn's lifestyle. While this brings Brooklyn to realize how Jessie has felt over the years trying to keep her out of trouble. I am frankly disappointed in our main character.
Jessie's sister Brooklyn participates in some very questionable activities which are mentioned in the book, but not condoned.
While the book talks about people getting back in church and straightening their lives out, there isn't a clear gospel message.
What I Loved:
Many times we wish God would just tell us to our face exactly what to do. But Jessie realized that she didn't listen to God any more even when He did. God has given us the Bible and Holy Spirit, we wouldn't listen any more is He did show up in person.
There is a common plot line among romantic comedies. The girl was a tomboy growing up who has a guy best friend. The guy best friend still thinks of her as a tomboy, but falls in love with her by the end of the book. This book was different. The ending surprised, and delighted me with its twist.
The book is laugh out loud hilarious! I was cackling almost non stop.
Over the years Jessie collected 52 greeting cards for her future husband. How cute is that?!
Love isn't always easy, God made this clear to Jessie. Her future husband wasn't going to be perfect, and she would be annoyed at times. That's something we need to hear. We can't expect people to be perfect, but we need to love them anyway.
God has a far better plan for our lives than we could ever make for ourselves. He wants to give us that life, but we have to let Him. The purple pen is a perfect metaphor for that.
The fact that God appeared as a man may be controversial. God doesn't really do that. But in the context of the novel it was a good way to get you thinking of how much we wrestle with what God wants us to do. We know His way is best, yet we lack the faith to believe it.
Have you read the book? What are your thoughts?