Historical Fiction for the Win {ON WINGS OF DEVOTION}

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 400
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Title: On Wings of Devotion
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

All of England thinks Phillip Camden a monster–a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But as nurse Arabelle Denler watches the so-dubbed “Black Heart” every day, she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their paths twist together and he declares himself her new protector, she realizes she has her own role to play in his healing.

Phillip Camden would have preferred to die that day with his squadron rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved. What comes as a shock is the reborn desire to truly live that Arabelle inspires in him.

But when an old acquaintance shows up and seems set on using him in a plot that has the codebreakers of Room 40 in a frenzy, new affections are put to the test.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Did I read the back cover blurb before requesting this book for review? No, of course not. All I did was read the first book in the series – The Number of Love. You can read my gushy review for that book here. That pretty much sums up why I jumped on the chance to get this book for review when I found out the release date.

And good news for you! This book can totally be a stand-a-lone. It will only give minor spoilers to the first book in the series if you read them out of order which is a huge plus. The books contain a lot of the same characters (as well as guest appearances from other series) which will make your heart do a happy dance if you’ve read those other books.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

December was one of my most busy months to date with long work hours and a lot of life happening, therefore I didn’t get to talk about this book as much as I wish I could have with y’all. It also meant I had to separate my reading time to over the course of a week, rather than downing it all in one gulp. And yo, folks, that was hard to do because I didn’t want to put it down.

With her delightful writing style, thoroughly developed characters, intriguing plot, and phenomenal world-building skills, Miss Roseanna blows the reading world away once again with a fantastic book.

Crack the book open and you’ll instantly be whisked away to the world of World War One, viewing life from both the civilian and military side of things. I highly recommend you give yourself several hours of reading time before you sit down with this book, because you won’t want to put it down.

This book was a tale of loyalty, selfless caring, and showing God’s love to others. Arabelle is a nurse who is wholly devoted to helping others – be that a hard-to-love father, a faithless-human-who-I-won’t-name-cause-of-spoilers, her patients, random strangers, and everyone in-between. I’ve always considered myself a loyal person, but am exceedingly thankful that I haven’t had my loyalty tested to the max like Arabelle. Her emotions were so easy to understand and relate to, and I rooted for her the entire book.

Camden – the main male character – wasn’t my favorite character, but I don’t think he was supposed to be. He’s thoroughly written, has highly redeeming qualities (among his black-hearted ones), and has a family who I really liked.

Most of the time when I read a book that changes perspectives I have one perspective I like the best, but in this book, everything flowed seamlessly and I enjoyed getting to see the world no matter who’s eyes I was looking through.

The spying element was different from the last book, and I’m still not sure how I felt about how one of the plot-trains ended, but it was still well-done.

CONCLUSION With Slight Spoilers

SPOILER: From the back cover blurb y’all can assume that Arabelle and Camden are romantic interests in the story, so no spoiler there. My issue with their relationship is that Arabelle is a Christian throughout the book, and Camden isn’t. The Bible talks about how we shouldn’t be yoked together unequally, etc… and so it always bothers me in Christian fiction when this type of relationship is a common element.
END of SPOILER

As for the rest of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend this series (and Miss Roseanna’s previous series) to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction or wants to give it a try.

I can’t wait until the next book by this author comes out!

RATING

I’m giving On Wings of Devotion 4 out of 5 stars. I’m so grateful for the generosity of the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book so I could review it and share it with y’all.

Protecting Your Child from Predators

Warning: Hey folks! This review is going to be nice and vague, but it’s still not necessarily something I recommend for kids. So, proceed at your own decretion.

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: Protecting Your Child from Predators
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Read the back cover blurb here. (Since it’s a sensitive topic, I’m choosing not to post the back cover blurb on my blog since I have young readers.)

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I think this subject is one that really needs to be taught today. I became fairly aware of it when I began studying the subject of children’s ministry at churches. (I taught Children’s Church for fifteen months before moving to Kentucky.) When I read the blurb for this book it sounded like the authors really knew what they were talking about so I requested the book.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Obviously it’s not a fun topic to read about, but the authors did a phenomenal job of tackling an exceedingly difficult subject with gentle grace while not compromising the message.

The book is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to skip around and read the parts that are applicable to you and your life. After the introduction where they explain the purpose of the book, the rest of the chapters are divided into three different sections, each one focusing on a certain age group and how to best prepare children of that age to be safest. This is helpful because it means the reader doesn’t have to be overwhelmed trying to read the book all the way through – instead they can read it at the same pace their children grow.

Throughout the book, one of the authors shares many stories (with appropriate changes) from her years as a counselor. Along with the examples, she explains what could have been done differently, how parents should respond in each situation, and the best way to help children move on. (With the main emphasis being on what could have been done to prevent the situation in the first place.) In each example, I was impressed by how kindly the author approached what had happened. It was clear that she loves children and parents, and even when someone obviously did the wrong thing, she doesn’t pass judgment. Instead, she lovingly helps offer solutions. With that attitude being the overall tone, I can see how this book will be a huge tool to helping parents rectify abuse and wrongs that might have unknowingly been going on in their homes.

In addition to the true-life examples, this book is also full of statistics. A lot of those stats are rather disturbing and a good reason for people to read this book. But, in the midst of all that, I didn’t feel like the book was trying to scare the readers. Instead, it was informing us, then providing good tools for how to protect children. The authors continually took us back to the Bible and showed how we’ve been prepared to fight and that we aren’t powerless. This approach was very encouraging.

Although I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I did find it very enlighting and something that I feel like will help how I am around children (especially who I don’t know well) in the future. The writing style is easy to read which is perfect since it’s such a difficult topic. I read the whole book within five hours of unboxing it.

CONCLUSION

This is a book I highly recommend. It’s disturbing, yes, but it’s written with such grace and love that they make a hard, horrible subject something that can be read and received. I do recommend that it not be read by anyone under 18, possibly even older.

RATING

I’m giving Protecting Your Child from Predators 5 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

Until the Mountains​ Fall {Time for me to gush about another one of my favorite 2019 reads}

June 5th was the last time I posted a book review. (Say what!?!) I’m not sure when I last went that long without tapping out a review, and I’ve missed getting to share my bookish thoughts with y’all. Thankfully I get to jump back into the ring with a book that I really liked, so that’s going to be fun. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Title: Until the Mountains Fall
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK
(Which you might want to skip because going into a book blind is so much fun.)

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Connilyn Cossette is my only 100% auto-buy author – except I’ve never had to auto-buy her books because I’ve gotten to be on the review team for each and every one of her books. Y’all, I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to say that! Seriously, every time I’ve been chosen to review one of her books I do an internal, external, and internet happy dance. (Just check out my reviews below to see my gushing.)

Miss Connilyn is my very favorite Biblical Fiction author – and I don’t say that lightly. Read more about her other books here:

Counted with the Stars 
Shadow of the Storm 
Wings of the Wind
A Light on the Hill
Shelter of the Most High 

As I always do with this author’s books, I went into the story completely blind – meaning, the first time I’ve read the back cover blurb was just now, as I’m writing this review. This can be a bit sketchy with a new-to-me author, but I trust Miss Connilyn’s writing so much that not knowing what I’m getting myself into is exceedingly interesting.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Let’s get real: When I first opened the pages of this book and started reading I felt a bit of a sinking feeling. I was concerned that it was going to be one of those trite, overly romanticized, mail-order brides type of books. (Remember, I hadn’t read the blurb.) But never fear! We’re talking about Miss Connilyn here – she writes amazing Biblical fiction, not cheesy Hallmark flicks. *cue sigh of relief*

As the story progressed there were twists and turns I did not expect, keeping me reading far into the night even though I was in the midst of a busy work week. I kept waiting for a slow chapter to arrive so I could convince myself to set the book down and sleep but finally had to compromise and put it away when there was a scene/point of view shift.

I’ve only read a few books with an unreliable narrator, and those books are fairly mindblowing to me. Rivkah, the main female character in this story, isn’t exactly an unreliable narrator, but she is to the point where I had vastly different opinions of her depending on who was narrating. It takes advanced skills as an author to pull that character voice off so well.

Malakhi, the main male character, had far more depth than I first expected him to have. I wasn’t anticipating liking him – especially not after the first part of the book, but as his story went on I found myself cheering for him. He was thoroughly written and felt extremely real. He wasn’t perfect by any means, which of course is the mark of a good character. His character development was intense at times and was well-paced.

There were a host of side characters who captured my attention and at times my heart. Seeing their story, watching the way they weren’t simply put there to progress the main character’s stories, but having an arc of their own reminded me of what a skilled author Miss Connilyn is.

The plot itself wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I think I figured it would follow some of the same guidelines as the first two books in the series, but instead, this one had a few new elements.

One thing that generally bothers me in books, but in this case ended up working out well, was a time jump. There’s about a five-year gap between the first part and second part of the book. I’m not a fan of this plot device, yet in Until the Mountains Fall Miss Connilyn pulls it off exceedingly well. The characters are the same but have changed as much as you’d expect during such a time period. The world is different, yet I didn’t feel jarred or like I’d missed out on life due to the missing years. The jump did exactly what it was supposed to – it made us totally skip a boring, listless middle-of-the-book-filler section – and kept the plot moving.

CONCLUSION (With Vague Spoilers)

There is some content in this book that isn’t suitable for young teens – war, violence, mention of some of the evil practices of pagan worship, mentions of inappropriate behavior, characters who are taken advantage of, etc… Everything was written in a vague way and is probably less graphic than if you’re reading some sections of the Old Testament, but still, I’d recommend parental guidance for probably anyone under 15.

I came away from this book with the feeling that Miss Connilyn did it again – wrote another winner and once again made the time period of the Bible leap into life for me. I can’t hardly wait to read her next book!

This summer I moved out of state and wasn’t able to bring most of my books with me. That means I’ve never seen all three books together, but I can’t wait until I have them all with me. The covers are amazing together, right?

*Note: This is the third book in a series. They can be easily read in any order, but you’ll get to know the supporting characters and surroundings a lot better, and avoid spoilers if you read them in order.

RATING

I’m giving Until the Mountains Fall 4 out of 5 stars. I’ve already loaned the book out to a friend, and am planning on requesting it for my library. Y’all should do the same. 😉

Two Homes?

It’s 8:09 Wednesday morning and I can hear a host of birds singing outside my open camper windows. The interstate traffic is a muffled hum behind them, but the birds are doing a brilliant job of vying for attention and have certainly won mine.

It’s a strange feeling because on Sunday I went “home” – but then yesterday I came back “home.” Because apparently I now have two homes. I’ve only lived in my little camper in Kentucky for a little over six weeks now, but it’s won me over and I miss it when I’m gone.

Sunday was only the second time I’ve gone back to the beautiful countryside in Ohio that I lived in for the last sixteen years since moving to Kentucky – and seriously, it was great. Like, driving down the road and yelling hello out the window to all the familiar landmarks as I passed them type of great. (Y’all, being able to actually yell out the windows and have no one around to see me was – in and of itself – rather magical.)

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I had a wonderful time driving down the country roads, swinging on my familiar swingset, sitting out on the porch in the early morning stillness, the calmness of my bedroom, having a pantry full of snacks I didn’t buy, and best of all being around my family. I have a lot of family in the area and receiving enthusiastic hugs from my little nieces, holding babies while chatting with my sisters, playing games with my brother, and chatting with my parents? It was all delightful and I’m so thankful I got to do it.

Yet, when it was time for me to head back to Kentucky, I was like “Oh, it’s time to go home.” And that was really weird because I was home, and yet I wasn’t.

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After the next month and a half, I’m not sure what my life is going to look like, but for now, I’m thankful for this little sphere that makes up my world. I’m thankful for a job that I genuinely enjoy and that makes a difference. I’m thankful to be close enough to my family that I can go visit them and help out when needed. I’m thankful that my driving abilities have grown to the point where I can take on a four-hour road trip without freaking out.

I’m exceedingly thankful for two homes. For two places where I can feel completely comfortable, at home, and miss when I’m gone. I’m thankful for all I’m learning, experiencing, and doing. I’m thankful for the delights of new adventures, old comforts, and all the thousands of little elements that make up this season of my life.

And now I’ve got to shut the computer and scurry off so I’m not late for that job that I’m so thankful for. 😉

Whose Waves These Are

Y’all, hang on tight because we have a little bit of a rambly review below. This is generally what happens when I really do or really don’t like a book.

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Title: Whose Waves These Are
Fiction

3

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn’t anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Mostly the cover. And the title. The title sounds so intriguing. I also read the back cover blurb, but that wasn’t the tipping point for me.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Oh guys. This isn’t a review I’m looking forward to writing because I always feel so bad writing a negative review when I’ve received a book for free. Yet, honest reviews are my specialty, so here I am.

Let me start off by saying that there isn’t really anything wrong with the book. The content is clean, the editing is good, and the writing is lovely.

But.

It just wasn’t the book for me. And that’s sad, because after reading the first several chapters I was super excited. As in, it’s been a long time since I’ve started a book by a new author and felt so much promise. I was intrigued by the characters, delighted by the quirks, and drawn in by the lyrical tone of the writing.

But then the time hops started, and the writing style changed, and I fell into bookerly woes and didn’t even want to finish the story. The good news about all those things I just mentioned is they’re purely subjective. That means that there’s a good chance you will like the story.

For me, when a book begins going back and forth with time periods, it’s a total hit or miss for me. Meaning, I either really, really like it, or else I really don’t like it. And this book was one that I really didn’t like. I’m not even sure why it was. I liked each of the time periods, but when the switching began I lost interest in all of them.

One thing that I think is super cool in theory but didn’t actually like in reality, was that the tenses changed with the different time periods. One of the storylines was told in present tense, and the other was told in past tense. (Both third-person.) This is a brillant way to tell a story, but sadly, for me, present tense just messes with my brain and it’s hard and takes a super long time for me to get into a story. So, to be pulled back and forth meant I never really had time to immerse myself in present tense, which is probably the biggest reason as to why I didn’t like the book.

Also, when I re-read the back cover copy just now I was amazed by how long it takes in the book to find out what the rocks are for. I read the back cover copy before I requested the book, but then forgot what the book was about before I started reading. I’m not sure if the knowledge of what was going on would have made the book better for me, or been spoiler-y?

As for the plot itself… It felt kinda jumbled together. Not everything made sense to me and I was a bit confused by why the relationships were so messed up. I mean, it you find out in the book, but it just felt off. 

I read this as an e-book because I was on vacation, but in retrospect, if I would have realized sooner that it was a time hopping book I would have waited to read my physical copy of the book and probably would have enjoyed it more.

To end on a positive note, there were some things I really liked in the book: The small town feel, the way Ann communicated with her uncle (SO COOL and one of my favorite things I’ve read about in a loooonnnngggg time), Rob and Roy’s relationship with each other (sweetest thing ever), and a certain chapter near the end of the book involving watching the sunrise over the ocean.

CONCLUSION

Y’all will probably like the book. I certainly don’t not recommend it. It was clean and interesting. I do encourage y’all to get a physical copy instead of an e-copy if possible because this is one of those books that is better read while physically.

Also, the book has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, with over 75 reviews, so that’s pretty great.

RATING

I’m giving Whose Waves These Are two out of five stars and am thankful for NetGalley giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

Across the Blue

It’s time for me to review some of the books I read while I was gone on vacation, and that’s kinda a lot of books because I read nine of them in ten days. What can I say? May is always one of my best-read months out of the year.

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 354
Publisher: Multnomah
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Title: Across the Blue
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year.

When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I don’t think I even read the back cover copy to this book. I’ve just heard about it in the on-line bookish community and it sounded interesting and clean, so I thought I’d give it a go.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

*Slight Spoilers in the Cons Section*

Three Pros: 
-The aviation aspect of the book was truly fascinating. It felt very well researched and I learned a lot without feeling like I was being pounded over the head with information. It’s amazing to think of how recently air-travel was something people only dreamed of. How in the world did we get from trying to fly across the English Channel to landing on the moon in such a short amount of time?
-Even though we didn’t get quite as much detail about the newspaper side in the book, that was still interesting to me. The glimpses we saw in the newspaper office, as well as watching Isabella’s emerging journalistic dreams was pretty cool.
-The pace of the book and writing style were both well-done and kept my interest most of the time.

Three Cons (With Slight Spoilers, so read at your own risk):
-It wasn’t really insta-love, but it was far too close to that for my enjoyment. Isabella has a secret she can’t tell anyone, and she feels guilty and like she’s betraying James not to tell him. She doesn’t owe James anything at this point, so even though feeling slightly bad makes sense, the amount of guilt she felt over it made me feel like she’d formed an emotional attachment to him way too fast.
-That said secret was cajoled out of her by someone else far too easily, and then she didn’t respond the way I hoped she would have.
-James’ family secret, and how it all ended kinda annoyed me, but that’s probably not the case for most people…

CONCLUSION

There were aspects of this book that I actually enjoyed far more than I had thought I would. The relationship was kinda meh in my opinion, but it was clean, so that’s a plus.

After reading this book I’d be open to reading more of Carrie Turansky’s books in the future.

RATING

I’m giving Across the Blue three out of five stars and am thankful for NetGalley giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

Top Ten Authors I Wanted to Meet in 2017

Y’all! Today I’m having fun reminiscing. I looked back in my old blog posts and decided to share one with you from March 28th, 2017. Enjoy seeing a little bit of what was going on in my bookish world two years ago. 🙂

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It’s Tuesday so I’m joining The Broke and Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday linkup. Today’s theme is the top ten authors I want to meet. For any of y’all who don’t know I am an author, so meeting other authors is something I really like doing.

ttt

  1. Cathrine Farns
    It was late one evening when I was around sixteen that I first found Miss Cathrine’s books. At the time I had been sick for two years and had recently given up trying to sleep at night due to having my days and nights switched around.
    My family ordered a box of books, and Way of Escape was the first book I choose to read from that box (and I later realized it was the last book in the series – oh well). The book pulled me in, held me tight, and eight years later still hasn’t let go. All of Miss Cathrine’s books are now like old friends to me – friends that helped me through a very hard time in life.
  2. Stephanie Morrill
    If you’ve been around Noveltea for long, you’ve heard me talk about Miss Stephanie. She started Go Teen Writers, as well as a book by the same title, and has been one of the most influential people in the writing part of my life. I happily call her my writing mentor, and although I’ve never met her in person, I’m quite thankful that I have gotten to email with her some.
  3. Bob Goff
    When it comes to inspiring, Mr. Goff is high up on my list. I’m incredibly thankful for how he’s choosing to live his life for God’s glory. I’d love to get to learn from him in person.
  4. Maria Goff
    I was first “introduced” to Miss Maria through the pages of her husband’s, Mr. Goff, book. Earlier this month her first book was published and I was thrilled to read it. I gave it to my sister, and the next time she saw me she’s like “Wow, Lydia! You’re so much like Miss Maria – it’s crazy!” And I agree – our personalities are a lot alike, which means I was able to learn a lot through her book.
  5. Franklin Graham
    I can’t even imagine how much I’d be able to learn from him. His life is so inspiring to me. I don’t want to wander through my time on earth, I want to make a difference that will count for eternity, and Mr. Graham is doing just that.
  6.  Julie Nye
    Miss Julie was one of my favorite authors growing up, and therefore she was one of those influential people who made me dream of being an author. I can’t begin to thank those authors enough for filling my little-girl-heart with starry-eyed ideas of writing.
  7. Patricia St. John
    As a child I didn’t just want to meet Miss Patricia, I wanted to be Miss Patricia. Since that wasn’t possible, I figured I would just name a daughter after her. Strangely enough, I have a hard time saying “Patricia” though, so that probably won’t happen either.
    Growing up, Miss Patricia was my favorite author. I read her books over, and over, and over again, and delighted in them each time.
  8. Dawn L. Watkins
    Someday I hope little children look at my book as fondly as I looked at Miss Dawn’s books. I’d like to thank her in person for being a writer.
  9.  Corrie ten Boom
    I am so looking forward to one-day meeting this heroine in heaven. If you don’t know who she is, please stop what you’re doing and click on her name. It will be well worth your time.
  10. Brother Andrew
    I feel like his books should have a warning about not reading them unless you’re prepared to have your life change. They are that good. I am SO thankful for his work. As a young teen, I dreamed of one day meeting him, and being a part of his work.

What about you? What authors would YOU like to meet?