From Ugly Duckling To Swan
All Summer Long by Melody Carlson is a contemporary romance and book number two in the San Francisco Romance series. It can be read as a stand-alone.
I always love Melody Carlson’s novels. I must confess that this is my first book of hers that has not been a Christmas novel and I loved it.
All Summer Long is a wonderful gentle romance. It is also a book about friendship. Sometimes being a friend means sacrificing your needs and desires in order to maintain your friendship.
Closely linked to the friendship theme is that of family. Family means support. Sometimes it is travelling many miles to be there in a time of need.
Beyond The Rising Tide by Sarah Beard is a clean YA fantasy romance novel and I really enjoyed it, in spite of being considerably older than a YA! I found Beyond The Rising Tide a most beautifully written novel. The love contained within its pages, sinks deep into the readers’ soul. As the novel ends, the reader feels calm, peaceful and loved.
The novel is about love. A gentle love that permeates all it touches. A sacrificial love motivated by the best interests and love of another. It reminds the reader of Jesus’ words “greater love hath no-one than that he lays down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13) Love is giving, not taking. This novel lives out 1 Corinthians: 13.
The story in contrast also deals with regret. Seventeen year old Avery is paralysed by her memories and regret. She is unable to move forwards as her heart is stuck in the past. She needs to have “courage to take back the life I discarded.” Life is too short to live in the past. “Get up. Life is too short to stay down when we fall.” Sometimes one needs help to rejoin the human race and to live our lives once more.
Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a contemporary novel about searching to belong and I really enjoyed it.
Sixteen year old Carly and eleven year old Jen spend much of the novel walking. They are on a journey looking for home. Carly has a restless spirit that cannot settle. She is focussed in her search. Jen has a calmer nature. She knows a truth that Carly has yet to grasp – home is not a place, home is a relationship and being with people who love you. Will Carly ever grasp this truth?
Carly and Jen are a unit. They are sisters. They have a bond. Carly has a dominant personality. She loves Jen but doesn’t always hear correctly what she is saying. Carly wants Jen and everything else in the world to fit in with her views. She fails to mould her life into the circumstances and people around her.
Joint Venture by Elizabeth Maddrey is a wonderful contemporary Christian romance novella. It is the prequel to the Grant Us Grace series and I absolutely loved it. I love everything that Elizabeth Maddrey writes.
Joint Venture is a novella about best friends and new beginnings. Hairdressers Matt and Laura are friends who support each other. Their relationship is wonderful to read. They are both friendly and caring. Elizabeth Maddrey writes in such a way that I can ‘feel’ their friendship and it is a complete joy to ‘watch’ their interactions.
The new beginnings is in both Laura’s personal and professional life. New beginnings can be scary and new beginnings can be fun. As the reader I could both ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the excitement and intrepidation as Laura planned a new venture.