Shrink Unwrapped (by Joel Schwartz) … a humorous and touching story

This was at moments a humorous story and at other times a heart aching view into Jacob Fink’s life as a man pursuing a career as a psychoanalyst.

To be honest, I found myself laughing out loud…even while sitting in a restaurant eating…several times. I had to stop and share some of the moments in the book with my mother because they were too good for her to not enjoy along with me.

It is obvious from the beginning that this is much more than Dr. Fink’s effort to become a psychoanalyst. And you will discover all of the secrets from his past. The author’s delightful sense of humor and touching parts of the story have you turning the pages quickly. How much of ourselves do we see in Jacob’s revelations of his life?

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Residence (by Kate Andersen Brower) … behind the scenes look at the staff and family of the White House

The Residence was a haphazard presentation of memories by the staff and families of the White House. I listened to the audiobook version and was taken aback that the beginning was just a listing of names. It did nothing to help with the rest of the book. An while it may have been worthwhile in the written version, it almost caused me to stop listening! So there are times in an audiobook that you need to just out the information or preface it with a statement that explains why the information is being presented.

There were some very interesting bits of information shared. And while not an inside “tell all” book, it does give you a glimpse into the lives of people who lived and served in the White House. I learned a lot. But I can’t say that it was one of those books that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. As far as a sense of background and information, I would think it is worth reading.

The Winemaker’s Wife (by Kristin Harmel) … a story of intrigue, tensions, lies, infidelities

Kristin Harmel has once again written a book that has you deeply invested in the story of Inès, Céline, Edith, and Liv. Her ability to weave the story back and forth in time…during WWII and the Nazi occupation of France and the present day…is a gift. You will be drawn into the lives of the characters and find yourself judging some of them in negative ways. But hold onto your seats, because what you assume to be true may not be the case.

The information you learn about champagne and wine production is interesting. And the willingness of individuals to take a stand against the atrocities of the Nazi invasion…in small and large ways…is impressive.

The background research that the author did to present a story with truth and integrity only adds to its appeal. You will find yourself drawn into the intense dangers, tensions, lies, infidelities, and poor decisions. And hold onto your seats, but there is a great twist at the end. You’ll be gasping in shock!

Thank you to NetGalley and Kristin Harmel for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. To be honest, I can’t wait for the author to release another book!

We Never Asked for Wings (by Vanessa Diffenbaugh) … a story of determination and overcoming bad decisions

As some of the reviewers have mentioned, this is a story about how determination and hard work can help you overcome bad decisions a person makes in life. And one thing is absolute, this book was full of bad decisions…some for selfish reasons and others out of a sense of caring.

While this book will make your heart ache, you will also cheer on the family members as they mature and as they learn what it means to care so deeply for another person. You will get an indepth view of each character along with their flaws and mistakes, their positive moments and gifts, and the way they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Prayers of a Strange (by Davis Bunn) … story that touches your soul

This is an inspiring story and the character’s determination to not give up. The book is realistic because you see what life can throw at you. But yet you see how God is there to support you and bring people into your life that help you heal from the tragedies and heartache you experience.

Davis Bunn writes books that will touch your soul and aware of God’s miracles and His presence in our lives.

Sweetwater Creek (by Anne Rivers Siddon) … a tale of coming-of-age in the South

This story slowly moves through the life of Emily. This coming-of-age adventure has you holding your breath, gasping, crying, and your heart aching. Then when Lulu Foxworth enters the picture, you will wonder what’s really going on.

Because I listened to the audiobook version, I think I might have missed some strategic events. It is easier to get distracted when listening than when you are reading the words. But overall, I still think this was a good story.