I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

Check out these three contemporary novels–each one will make you think differently about life. And discovering other points of view helps us understand the world a little better.

Check out these three contemporary novels--each one will make you think differently about life. And discovering other points of view helps us understand the world a little better. #amreading #notnormal #personalityclash

When We Were Vikings

by Andrew David MacDonald, Simon and Schuster, January 28, 2020, 335 pages.

Zelda loves Vikings, and when her roommate and brother gives her a real Viking for her 21st birthday, Zelda knows just how much he loves her. She spends her days at the community center, going to see her counselor, increasing her knowledge of all things Viking, learning new words, and texting with her boyfriend. Pretty normal things for a girl who didn’t grow up in a normal household. But she and Gert have rules, and Zelda knows that following rules keeps her safe.

When she finds out that Gert hasn’t been keeping the rules, Zelda decides to go on a quest to become legendary. After all, Vikings achieve legendary status by doing heroic things. Unfortunately, Gert needs saving from some pretty shady characters, and Zelda’s quest puts her smack in the middle of dangerous situations and people. 

MacDonald brings the reader into the mind and heart of an orphaned, not-normal woman coming of age surrounded by people who want to label her. He explores the theme of how not-normal doesn’t mean not-capable. After all, Zelda does some pretty legendary things and discovers her true power in the process. 

Why You’ll Love this Book: MacDonald has fresh characters who talk about things like sex and relationships in ways that don’t offend (even if you don’t agree with their conclusions). If you grew up in a white, middle- or upper-class environment, some of the things you read may shock you. You’ll definitely think about your preconceived ideas of capability and disability. This book stretches the reader.

You won't want to miss #WhenWeWereVikings! #FAS #disabled #powerful #amreading #legendary Click To Tweet

More Than We Remember 

Christina Suzann Nelson. Bethany House Publishers. February 2020. 352 pages.

Three women in a small Oregon town all have memories of the past that determine their present and future courses of action. But memories prevaricate. Sometimes, they outright lie.

Deputy Emilia Cruz comes upon the scene of a head-on collision with one fatality and discovers the second driver trapped in his truck—reeking of alcohol. With the determination of an evangelist out to save souls, she hustles to bring a case against the driver for vehicular homicide—it doesn’t matter if everyone in the community loves him. A high-school basketball coach should meet higher standards than other community members. 

Deputy Cruz has no patience for drunk people who ruin lives. She knows all too intimately the results of a drunk’s negligence. 

The Other Side of the Story

Addison Kilbourn’s life has spiraled out of control since moving in with her mother-in-law. Although she loves her mother-in-law, the woman seems out to lunch half the time. When an office shows up on her doorstep to inform her that her husband lies in the local hospital with serious injuries. 

Even worse, a local deputy seems to believe that her husband drank and drove—thus ending the life of a mother of three teen boys. When he regains consciousness, he has no memory of the wreck or even their move to his mother’s house.

Brianne Demanno made a horrible mistake, and she quits her job and decides to pursue art. When her brother’s high-school buddy knocks on her door by mistake late one night her present reality takes a turn as she offers to help out her neighbor. Her newfound friendship with her neighbor helps her examine her memories of the past. 

Who Will Love This Book

Readers who love delving into the lives of well-developed, relatable characters will enjoy this book. The three protagonists come from various walks of life and spiritual maturity. Reading the book reminds me of sitting in a cozy coffee shop riveted to the conversation between three friends seated at a table next to me. 

Christina Suzann Nelson weaves together a poignant tale of three women whose lives intersect in a small town in ways they never would have expected. Their stories will make you think about perceptions and how they affect our ability to extend mercy.

Don't miss this beautiful new book from @ChristinaSuzann. Three woman, one event, and a myriad ways to deal with it. Click To Tweet

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

by Jessica Kate, Thomas Nelson, January 2020, 368 pages.

Kimberly Foster longs to belong—in a family, at church, even at work. That’s why she passionately advocates for Wildfire, a drop-in youth ministry run by her nemesis, Samuel Payton. Sam seems to belong wherever he goes. Teens love him, donors make decisions based on his advice, and he dispenses hugs and a listening ear to anyone who needs them—except Kim. 

When Sam decides to return to Australia to help out his sister on their family farm, Kim breathes a sigh of relief. Until the Wildfire board starts to question her business plan and projections. Without just the right leader, Wildfire will die out. And Kimberly can’t seem to find the right replacement. No one has what Sam had.

The board sends Kim to Australia to win back Sam, which seems like a poor plan on their part. Don’t they realize that opposites attack? If she can’t convince Sam to return, she may lose her dream job—and the tenuous sense of family that comes along with it. 

You’ll Love This Book if…

Jessica Kate’s quirky characters find themselves in situations that make the reader both squirm and cheer. How can a city girl survive in the Outback, and will she ever discover the key to saving Wildfire? 

Readers who have known the pain of rejection will relate to Kim and the ways she copes. Those who struggled in school and feel less-than will relate to Sam. Only God can help them see the strengths in the other. And only God can bring about the changes needed to help Wildfire succeed. 

Kim and Sam will make you think about how often we judge someone without first trying to understand them.

You'll love the quirky characters that @JessicaKate05 created in #AGirlsGuidetotheOutback! #amreading #romcom #inspy Click To Tweet
Check out these three contemporary novels--each one will make you think differently about life. And discovering other points of view helps us understand the world a little better. #amreading #notnormal #personalityclash