What I read: Provenance by Carla Laureano

Why I picked it up: Someone I follow on Goodreads read and love it.

How I read it: On audio at 2x while walking, mowing, and driving.

What it’s about: Kendall grew up in foster care and at 18 set out in the world on her own to make something of her life, which she did. She apprenticed under a great interior designer and ended up starting her own business. Now she finds out she’s inherited a plot of land and 5 houses from her grandmother, who she never even remembers meeting. It’s set in small town Colorado and made me want to go live in the new village they’ve designed!!

What I liked: The mayor was a delight!! The way he was true to himself and his faith was really a great read. I also love that he gets his own great family story.

What I disliked: Kendall ended up in foster care because the computer system to communicate lost children was defunct. If society had done a better job, she wouldn’t have had the suffering she did. That made me sad because I know it’s true life for so many.

Genre: Christian romance, foster care, adoption.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely!!

Unyielding Hope

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I’ve loved Janette Oke’s books about the Canadian frontier life from the Love Comes Softly series to her When Calls the Heart series so I was excited to pick up this first installment into When Hope Calls.

This was written either simultaneously with the show or after the show because it follows along quite well, from what I saw when the sisters made an appearance on WCTH. Characters from WCTH even show up in this book, which is an interesting experience. It’s not often characters from tv show up in books when those characters weren’t in the original book source material.

But anyway, the redeeming quality of this book is the history of the Home Children who were brought to Canada in the early 20th century. I’d be very interested in learning more about their stories.

“The future again was uncertain. He was alone, facing a frightening and hostile world, with no idea what was ahead nor how he’d navigate the unforeseen obstacles that loomed.”


The Dating Charade

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After I finished that delightful reread, I decided I needed another. So I found this one on audio and listened all day, finishing just before bed. I even listened the whole time on the plane instead of pulling out my paperback.

Cassie and Jett are delightful. Their antics as new parents/guardians are laugh out loud funny. They’re really two early 30-somethings looking for love who find a whole lot extra dumped on them when kids show up in need of love.

I know we need a “eeek, major issue, will they overcome it and get together” in a book – but I will say this one could have been entirely avoided if they just spoke in specifics rather than trying to get the read on the other with generalities. She might not want a little baby, but she will love TJ. He might not want a teen, but he’s gladly be a parent to Star.

Just be clear!! My lesson from this delightful romance. I think I’m going to listen to Bree’s story in my planes on the way home! Just for more fun!

“Jett closed the distance between them, bent down. Just as he watched her take a breath, his pocket began to ring. As did Cassie’s.”


Dear Mr. Knightly

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A book in letters, what a treat. This is a retelling of a classic so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the end, but I don’t know the original so it was a delight.

I loved the classic setting. Sam, Alex, Father John (a Catholic priest portrayed well is always a treat), Kyle, the Muirs … they were a delight.

I loved Sam’s love for the classics and wish I shared them, but alas I love a good modern retelling!! I also loved the connection and stories from children in foster care. They felt real and honest.

“You’re know and loved, my dear girl. You always were.”


All That Really Matters

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What a delight!! An author I love reviewed this last week and then I got it from the library when it came out on Tuesday.

It was a delight. A Social Media Influencer seeks out a “mission” to expand her platform. What she gets is more than she ever imagined. The young adults change her in ways she couldn’t have predicted and she changes them too.

Her ideas for classes are fun. Her relationship with the director starts off a bit rocky but is a delightful Christian love story in the end.

After starting it I realized this author wrote one of my top books from 2020 … and she’s done it again. The way she brings in fostering and adoption are quite moving.

“Because no matter how I try to spin it or pretty it up, the truth is getting more and more difficult to disguise: Though I was one of the most liked personas on the internet, I was likely one of the most lonely, too.”


10: The Opposite of Everyone

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

I loved listening to this in the car over the past few weeks. Paula’s mother was quite the woman. She named Paula after an Eastern god that she worshipped and should actually be known as “Callie.” Paula hasn’t seen her mother in more than 20 years because she was given more responsibility than any little girl should have … and she betrayed her mother … then her mother found out about it.

Joshilyn reads her own audio books which is such a delight and the sole reason I picked this one up! And why I’ll gladly get another one!

A great listen!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3: The Dating Charade

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson

I was looking for something to stream while I had dinner the other night and chose Instant Family on Amazon Prime. I’ve seen it before, but it’s such a delight. I laughed, I cried, I thought “what if I considered being a foster parent?” Then I remembered my current job has me traveling more than I’m home and now might not be the right time. But the future is full of dreams.

Then I put this book on hold at the library for later this month, but when I went to pick up my other holds, I saw it on the new release shelf as I walked in and added to my giant pile. After the heaviness of Firefly Lane I wanted a sweet romance. And this fit the bill. I started it before bed last night and stayed up way too late reading more than 200 pages … then finished it this morning. Worth it!

A Christian Love story of a woman who runs a girl’s after-school program and a firefighter who are both on the fence about kids … it turns into the Brady Bunch (or the Bentley Bunch) when they both become surprise parents to a brood of 3. It’s laugh out loud funny, and also tearfully good. Her debut earns all ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

195: Far from the Tree

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

To go from taking a week to read a book to finishing one in less than 24 hours. This book was so good. It’s YA, and about adoption and foster care and family and love and hard stuff.

Joaquin entered foster care when he was about 18 months old and now he’s almost 18. He’s still there. He’s had a couple of close calls on adoption but no one’s really loved him like Mark and Linda do now – and he doesn’t know what to do with that. It’s hard to receive love when you’re whole life has been filled with the opposite.

Grace was adopted before birth giving her birth mother some extra help over the course of her pregnancy. Now she’s living through the experience her mother had as a pregnant, teenage mom giving her child up for adoption as well. Will she want to see Peach or just forget this ever happened? The boyfriend, his parents, her friends, and everyone at school couldn’t be less supportive. He’s being crowned homecoming queen, and all she gets is the giant S for SLUT on her sweater forever.

Maya was adopted at birth followed shortly by a surprise little sister to her parents. She’s always felt out of place being the one brunet in a family of red heads. Her parents fight a lot, there’s a bit of a drinking problem, and she just doesn’t know where she fits.

Joaquin, Grace, and Maya have the same mom, and they’ve just learned that the others exist. A new family is formed as they begin navigating life together as siblings.

This book was SO GOOD. Tears, laughter, and even some of myself in a bit of their stories. If we want to remove abortion as an option in this country, then we need to change so many of the attitudes portrayed in this book surrounding foster care, adoption, birth parents, and teenage pregnancy. The attitudes were hard to read through because they’re so true.

Family isn’t always a mom and a dad with 2.3 kids living in the same house for ever – that’s only one version of it. We need to normalize the other versions of family! Go read this book, it’ll be worth it!