A Name Unknown—July 4

grippingRoseanna M. White. Bethany House. 432 pages.

Rosemary Gresham has skills that draw the attention of the mysterious Mr. V—a man who wants her to research Mr. Peter Holstein and find evidence of his disloyalty to England. Rosemary accepts the job because the pay will keep her large family from destitution. Although her expertise involves theft, her gift for languages and study of the upper classes allows her to pose as a librarian looking for work.

Peter Holstein, a loyal English subject with German parents and grandparents has no idea that the librarian he just hired has a plan to research his identity and find evidence of his German loyalties in his own library—he’s just overjoyed that someone will take on the daunting task of organizing the disaster. A reclusive man, Peter struggles to gain the trust of the villagers in the months leading up to the First World War.

Both Peter and Rosemary have something to hide, and their blooming friendship surprises them both. Can they learn to trust each other with their darkest secrets? If they do, what will their future hold?

White weaves together historical details, delightful characters, and enough red herrings to keep the reader turning pages late into the night.

My favorite gripping #July new release by @RoseannaMWhite #ANameUnknown releases just in time for #FourthofJuly Click To Tweet

Hannibal—July 11

grippingPatrick N Hunt. Simon and Schuster. 384 pages.

When I say “I’m reading a book about Hannibal,” my students all say, “Hannibal Lecter?” For me, Patrick Hunt’s biography of Hannibal Barcid—tactician and general extraordinaire, beats any story about the fictional Hannibal Lecter. Although, if one has seen the movie, one understands how a propos the character’s name is.

Hunt’s extensive research into all the elements that made Hannibal a successful general and an unwitting teacher to his Roman opponents brings life to the story. You don’t have to love ancient history to enjoy this book—I read it because I just started teaching world history last year, and wanted to expand my knowledge.

Readers will love the gripping account of crossing the Alps with an army and elephants. The later years of Hannibal’s career don’t share the same excitement, but his feats will amaze the modern reader, nevertheless.

The Writing Desk—July 11

grippingRachel Hauck. Zondervan. 352 pages.

When Tenley accepts an invitation from her estranged mother, Blanche, to become Blanche’s caregiver during her fight with cancer, she has no idea what she’s getting into. An antique desk with a mysteriously stuck drawer and story of its own ties together this multigenerational saga of family, awakened faith, and learning to do what’s right even when it means losing everything we hold dear.

On the one hand, I like how the main character isn’t a Christian and has doubts and a lifestyle that contrasts greatly with the Christian man she’s attracted to. I confess that Tenley’s worldly views about cohabitating bothered me at first—in fact, I didn’t really like her that much. Eventually I came to understand that Hauck wants the reader to understand the transforming power of God’s love—whether we act like saints or sinners.

The second story, set a century before, weaves a gripping counterpart to Tenley’s current situation. By the end of the story, I loved Tenley, quirks and all, and not only that, I admired her growth and new choices that she makes.

Beneath Copper Falls—July 11

grippingColleen Coble. Thomas Nelson. 368 pages.

This chilly suspense book from Colleen Coble explores the question of how well we really know people. When Dana escapes an abusive boyfriend and moves back home to Rock Harbor, the security she hoped for doesn’t seem to exist. People she loves suffer injuries and even death—could it be her ex? Or something more sinister?

Can she trust her new friend, Boone? Or the ‘brother’ who has stood by her during each of the tragedies in her life? Will she discover the truth before time runs out?

Well-developed characters (especially if you’ve read her other Rock Harbor books), and edge-of-the-seat suspense keep readers involved. Coble has mastered the art of gripping the readers with flashes of information that keep the reader hooked wondering who-done-it.

Great new #July releases from @ColleenCoble, @RoseannaMWhite, @RachelHauck, and Patrick N Hunt. Click To Tweet

In the Woods—May 2008

grippingTana French. Penguin Books. 464 pages.

I tend to read mostly books in the inspirational category, but when my daughter couldn’t put down this book by Tana French, I decided to borrow it. I kindly waited until she finished it, though. The book, published in 2008, won an Edgar Award for the first-time author. The eerie, haunting prologue pulls the reader in with a story of three children who enter a wood on a sunny August day near Dublin, Ireland. Only one will return. The haunting question of what happened to the other two children provides the subtext for the main story—which takes place twenty years later, involves the same woods, and is no less gripping.

Rob Ryan, member of the Murder Squad (homicide detective) and his partner Cassie Maddox end up with the murder case. Archeologists find a young girl’s body left on an ancient altar in the woods near Knocknaree, and everyone wonders if the two cases share connections.

The relationship between Ryan and Maddox provides a beacon of hope in the grim world of murder and unanswered questions. No superheroes populate this book, but French carefully crafts each character and weaves a plot that will keep the reader wondering what will happen next.

As a book in the non-inspirational category, readers should know that the characters speak using the common assortment of expletives. Most of it comes across as non-gratuitous. A lot of it probably went right over my head because the author uses Irish terms.

If you prefer books that tie everything up nicely at the end and deliver it with a silver bow, you probably won’t like this book. If you enjoy the occasional book that makes you think and helps you relate to those outside your comfort zone, you’ll enjoy this book.

What About You?

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this summer? I always love recommendations!

If you’ve written a book review of a favorite book, make sure to include it in the link up below!

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your favorite posts from last week!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

Don’t forget to visit our other #InspireMeMonday host site over at Blessed (but Stressed)!

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  1. I really enjoyed Jen Pollock Michel’s Keeping Place. And I just finished Street of Eternal Happiness and enjoyed it so much — likely because it’s been a long time since I read something in that genre.

    Thanks for sharing your recent favorites.
    Michele Morin recently posted…Musings — June 2017My Profile

  2. I am always amazed at the volume of books you and Michele read in addition to your extraordinarily busy lives you have. Currently I an reading NEVER GIVE UP by John Mason, and mockingbird (mok’ing-bu^rd) by Kathryn Erskine. Both books are broadening my perspectives and giving me plenty to reflect upon as Christ-follower, writer, and educator.

  3. I am not reading this summer. I hope that doesn’t sound rebellious because it isn’t intended to. How do you, Tammy Mashburn, and Michele Morin read so many dang books!!!

  4. Currently reading “A Girl Named Zippy”. I just started it though so I don’t know what it will be like. The last book I read was “Wonder” and I loved it! Thanks for all of these thorough book reviews. They all sound fantastic.
    Natalie @messymom recently posted…Messy Mom ContributorsMy Profile

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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