What I Read in September, Part Two // Susan May Warren Edition

I read so many books in September, I had to split them up into two posts! Half of them happened to be by the same author: Susan May Warren, one of my top three favorite authors of all time. She’s one of those authors whose new books I’ll always buy as soon as they come out, because I know I’ll love them! In September, I read the last book in the Montana Fire trilogy that came out this summer, and the first three books in the Deep Haven series that my grandmother gave me for my birthday.

What I Read in September, Susan May Warren Edition || Grace to Grow Blog

Burnin’ For You – Montana Fire trilogy #3

Plot: He’s loved her for years . . .Smoke jumper Reuben Marshall is harboring a deep regret—a split-second decision that cost the life of his crew boss in a fire. It’s a grief that has paralyzed him, kept him from moving forward. It’s mistakes, and regrets like this that keep him from pursuing his long-burning interest in Gilly Priest, their pretty, petite pilot. Not only is she not interested in dating a teammate, but she’s also the preacher’s daughter. And while Reuben’s not the chiefest of sinners, he’s no saint. Reuben feels like a buffalo next to her and worse, can’t seem to string two words together when she’s in his radar. He’ll just have to love her from afar…

Her dark secret keeps her from trusting . . .Gilly Priest has worked hard to carve out her niche as a female bomber pilot in the dangerous world of firefighting. Sure she’s small, but she’s made up for her stature in courage, grit, and the tenacity to face danger other pilots wouldn’t dare to confront. And yes, she’s noticed handsome Reuben Marshall—who wouldn’t? Dependable and strong, he takes up most of the space in the room. But Gilly’s dark secret won’t allow her close enough to talk to him, let alone let herself fall for him.

A race to rescue the people they love . . .When their smokejumper plane goes down in the northwestern Montana mountains, wounding their team, Gilly and Reuben are the only ones able to hike out to find help. But when their rescue mission turns out to be a fight for their lives against the terrain, a saboteur, and a forest fire, they discover they’ll have to put aside their fears and learn to trust each other. But will trust lead to igniting something they both long for…and fear? And can they save their team before tragedy strikes—again?

My thoughts: This conclusion to the Montana Fire trilogy was so good! Susan May Warren does a great job of mixing drama, adventure, and romance in her books, and this one was no exception. I loved getting to know Gilly and Reuben and seeing how their love story grew as they faced their fears and sacrificed to save their friends. Not your typical or predictable love story…you won’t regret the time spent reading it!

Happily Ever After – Deep Haven Series #1

Plot: Mona Reynolds knows exactly whom she wants to marry. The only problem is, he isn’t real.

Mona’s dream is about to come true. With the help of her best friend, Liza, she’s transforming an old Victorian house in the lovely lakeside town of Deep Haven into the Footstep of Heaven Bookstore and Coffee Shop. If only she could swing a hammer. Luckily for Mona, Joe Michaels — a handsome, mysterious handyman — agrees to help in exchange for rent in the apartment above her garage. But when disaster threatens her dream, Mona turns to her handyman for more than just household solutions and finds that some fairy tales have surprise endings. . . .

My thoughts: This book is an introduction to Deep Haven, Minnesota, which is also where Warren’s more recent Christiansen Family series takes place. I love that it’s about a woman starting a bookstore — that sounds like so much fun! Still, it’s not without its struggles, as Mona soon discovers. Enter Joe, the handyman with secrets that could change everything. This story is really well-written, with great characters and a plot twist that I didn’t see coming at first.

Tying the Knot – Deep Haven Series #2

Plot: EMT Anne Lundstrom is running from her past. But it’s about to catch up. She thought she’d escaped it when she moved out of the city and into the quiet town of Deep Haven. She certainly never expected to get roped into helping Noah Standing Bear run his summer camp for inner-city kids. Yet Noah has a charisma she can’t ignore, and romance is in the air. But when the very danger she was trying to escape threatens her peaceful haven―and her life―Anne must find the courage to face her fears and embrace the one man who can help her understand her past.

My thoughts: I loved the first book in the series, but I thought this one was even better! Anne moves to Deep Haven from the city, not realizing that a chance encounter from her past is about to change the rest of her life. This is a great story about how God can use our lives when we’re willing to trust Him with our fears and open our eyes to something beyond our own dreams and plans.

The Perfect Match – Deep Haven Series #3

Plot: Ellie Karlson is new to Deep Haven. As the town’s interim fire chief, she is determined to lead the local macho fire crew in spite of their misconceptions about her. But when someone begins setting deadly fires, Ellie faces the biggest challenge of her life. Especially when sparks fly with one of the volunteers on her crew: Pastor Dan Matthews. As Ellie battles to do her job and win the respect of her crew, she finds that there is one fire she can’t fight―the one Dan has set in her heart.

My thoughts: Pastor Dan and Ellie are characters you can’t help but root for, even when they seem to be at odds with each other. Ellie has a tough job to do as Deep Haven’s fire chief, and the men on her crew don’t all appreciate having a woman in charge. Dan was skeptical too at first, but he soon becomes her friend and confidante. They learn to see and love each other for who they are, rather than their preconceived ideas of how the other should act. It turns out to be a story with plenty of danger and mystery, but a sweet and touching ending.

If you’ve never read Susan May Warren’s books, now is a great time to start! I just noticed that this ebook, the prequel to her upcoming Montana Rescue series, is free on Kindle right now.  You can download that and then pre-order the first book in the new series, Wild Montana Skies, that’s coming out next Tuesday. (This post is not sponsored in any way; I just love her books!) I know I can’t wait to read my copy as soon as it comes in the mail! 

Have you read any of Susan May Warren’s books? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Looking for Lovely Review

Looking for Lovely Book Review |Grace to Grow Blog

Looking for Lovely book review | Grace to Grow Blog

From the publisher: “I want you to take every step of your life with excitement for where you are headed. And I want you to feel beautiful and confident as you do.”

But how? When the enemy whispers lies that you are not smart enough, pretty enough, or rich enough? Or you are too dumb, too loud, too quiet, too thin, too fat, too much or not enough? What if you don’t have what it takes to be who you really want to be?

 In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.

 Intensely personal, yet incredibly powerful, Looking for Lovely will spark transformative conversations and life changing patterns. No matter who we are and what path God has us on, we all need to look for lovely, fight to finish, and find beautiful in our every day!

Perseverance. It doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? When things get tough, it’s easy to give up, to quit, to throw up your hands and say you’ve had enough…but that’s not what God wants for us, and that’s not what Annie Downs wants for herself–or for you.

I love to read stories, and that’s why I’ve always read a lot more fiction than nonfiction. But let me tell you, Annie’s new book Looking for Lovely is the perfect blend of stories and inspiration! She effortlessly weaves life lessons into stories from her life; she keeps you smiling, laughing, learning, and maybe crying, just a little. In Looking for Lovely, Annie tells stories about how God has been teaching her to persevere, to trust the path He has her on, to keep going and keep looking to Him when things get tough, to look for the lovely things in life that help us see the joy in the journey.

Looking for Lovely really spoke to my heart. I long to live a life of joy, even in the hard times. I want to learn to look for the lovely, beautiful bright spots God has put in my life, no matter how small or everyday, and to let them give me the courage to keep going. I want to be the person who lives life a little slower but a little fuller, savoring the richness of the little ways God shows Himself to me. Annie’s book is helping me see ways that I can look for my own lovely.

This book would be great for women in all stages of life, from girls like me in their early 20s to moms or single ladies in their 30s, 40s, or beyond. And this month, Annie has also released Bible study guides for students and adult ladies to go along with the book! You can buy it at Lifeway or Amazon, get a group of girlfriends together, and dig a little deeper. You won’t regret it!

 About Annie

Annie F. Downs is an author and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God.

Annie is the author of Let’s All Be Brave, a book for men and women about the power we each have to make a difference on this planet. By weaving together personal stories, humor, and Scripture, she invites those reading to experience fulfilled lives with a God who made them on purpose and loves them deeply.

While she loves writing- books, blogs, articles, thank-you notes- Annie also enjoys traveling around the world speaking to young women, college students, and adults.

Annie is a huge fan of bands with banjos, glitter, her community of friends, boiled peanuts, and football games. You can catch up with her blog and her other projects at http://www.anniefdowns.com/.