Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, a fictionalized biography (is that even a genre?), reads like an autobiography and simmers like a good novel. The author has taken the life story of the woman who captured C..S. Lewis’s heart and turned it into an intimate look inside the mind and heart of a brilliant woman.

The author weaves a beautiful first-person narrative Joy Davidman, who as a child escaped the pain of her circumstances by sneaking out with her brother to pet the lions in the Bronx Zoo. Her boldness and inquisitive mind lead her to reject her Jewish faith and declare herself an atheist.

Along with religion, she rejects the social mores of her era. She marries Bill Gresham just three days after his divorce finalizes. Together they hope to write literature that inspires the world. Instead, he struggles with an alcohol addiction, they rarely have enough money, and they have a child.

At the lowest point in her early married life, Joy experiences a presence that she can only explain as the presence of God. Convinced that God exists, she and her husband set out to find him. The decide to write to C. S. Lewis, a fellow former atheist, writer, and Christian apologist.

The letters become a lifeline for Joy, who struggles to write, raise her children, and care for an increasingly abusive husband who wants her to fit into his preconceived ideal of the ‘perfect wife’ of the forties and fifties.

Getting to the Heart of the Writer

Unlike a strict biography, the author attempts to ‘gather all of the information, compare it, and unravel it to tell a story that relates an emotional truth.’ While Patti Callahan claims to unravel the essence of truth, she does much more. She weaves a tapestry that takes the reader into the social milieu of an era that most modern-day women don’t understand.

Callahan’s masterpiece also piqued my interest in Joy Davidman as a writer. Any book that highlights the rich heritage of literature by women is a winner in my book!

If you love C.S. Lewis, you'll love this new book by @pcalhenry. A beautiful look into a beautiful mind. #amreading Click To Tweet

Last-minute Gift Ideas for Readers Who Love Sweet Romance

Catching Christmas

Not only does Terri Blackstock write masterful suspense, she has mastered the sweet romance genre as well. Catching Christmas, her newest story, takes the reader on a fast-paced ride through the Christmas season for Finn Parrish and Sydney Clifton.

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Finn, a top-chef-down-on-his-luck-turned-taxi-driver, gets a call from dispatch to pick up a fare in a residential neighborhood. He’d rather work the airport scene, but he needs to pay rent. What he finds when he shows up changes his life forever. Despite his annoyance with his new customer (and her odd requests), he gets drawn into her life. In the process, he faces  issues from his past. In the end, he feels like God has given him a divine do-over.And introduced him to the love of his life.

Sydney Clifton has her dream job working for a large firm,but despite her hard work she can barely keep things together. Her grandma(Sydney’s only living relative) has apparently gone off the deep end. Sydney doesn’t know how she can take care of her grandma AND work full time.Especially when her law firm starts laying people off right before Christmas.She tries her best, but when she gets a stinker of a case and her grandma’s taxi driver leaves her hostile messages on her phone, she doesn’t think she can sink any lower. Maybe it’s time to change her dreams.

A fast-paced, whimsical, and sweet romance just in time for Christmas.

Don't miss this heartwarming and quirky Christmas tale from @TerriBlackstock! #amreading #cleanromance Click To Tweet

On Magnolia Lane

Denise Hunter returns to Copper Creek, GA, in this third installment of the Blue Ridge Romance series. Pastor Jack McReady finds himself fighting his feelings for parishioner Daisy Pendleton. There’s nothing wrong with his affection—after all, they’re both single. But Jack is older (not horribly so), and Daisy just sees him as her pastor—nothing more. How can he help Daisy see him as a prospective suitor?

Daisy Pendleton loves her job bringing happiness to customers as Copper Creek’s florist—a business she co-owns with her mom and grandma. She opted to stay home after graduating from high school because dyslexia made school difficult for her, and she’s content with life. Mostly. The dating scene in Copper Creek leaves her feeling desperate. As all of her friends fall in love and get married, Daisy wonders if she’ll ever find Mr. Right. Preferably a man as honorable and faithful as her father, the former mayor of Copper Creek, who passed away way too young.

When a stranger enters the flower shop, Daisy has no idea that her life will change forever. Will what she learns shake her faith? Will the mysterious TJ, the cool guy she met on a dating site, turn out to be the best thing that’s happened to her or her worst nightmare?

Hunter writes real characters with real problems. This is a book I’d share with my non-Christian friends because Hunter doesn’t preach—she just shares life.

A sweet romance from @DeniseAHunter that you won't want to miss! Click To Tweet

Last-minute Gift Ideas for Readers who Love Suspense

Tell Her No Lies

Nina Fischer wants to show the world the many faucets of people who experience homelessness, and she’s found a way to do so through a medium she loves—film photography. While many might mistake her for a rich kid dabbling in art, before her adoption, she experienced the bone-crushing hopelessness of living on the streets.

While preparing for an upcoming art exhibit, she steps out of her darkroom and into a nightmare. A whisper pleading for help in the early hours irrevocably changes the trajectory of her life. Will she sort out who she can rely on before she ends up the next victim?

Aaron McClure has loved Nina since the moment he met her back in college. And ever since then, they’ve been friends. He thinks Nina might feel ready to take the next step, but her childhood friend Rick Zavala keeps getting in the way. When her life starts falling apart, he promises to stick by and help her through it—even if it means letting her go.

This edge-of-your-seat suspense story will keep you guessing,and on your toes as you try to solve the mystery. Kelly Irvin crafts characters with depth (even the villains) and keeps the reader guessing to the very end how everything will turn out.

Chilling suspense from @Kelly_S_Irvin you won't want to miss! #amreading #suspense Click To Tweet

Delayed Justice

 If you know someone who loves suspense, here’s a great last-minute gift idea. Delayed Justice, the third book in the Hidden Justice series, features Jaime Nichols, a friend of Hayden McCarthy and Emilie Wesley who practices law as a criminal defense attorney. Because of the trauma of her early childhood, she vows to work tirelessly to be the voice for those who have no voice and no hope.

After years of counseling, she feels ready to seek justice for herself. But she has no idea the chain of events that her actions will unleash.

Chandler Bolton, retired army vet, works at the Vet Center and helps fellow veterans transition into civilian life. His therapy dog, Aslan, assists him. When Chandler and Aslan get called to help a young witness prepare for trial, Chandler runs into the mysterious Jaime Nichols. Together they seek to bring justice to a fragile young girl.

As they work together, their friendship develops into something that provides healing for both of them. Once they experience healing, endless possibilities await them.

Cara Putman handles a sensitive topic with grace and empathy. The book might trigger survivors of childhood abuse, but Putman’s understanding of what victims go through make it a must-read for anyone who works with children.

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I received an electronic advanced copy of each of these books through NetGalley and the books’ publishers in exchange for my honest review on NetGalley. I only feature books I really liked on my blog.