Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh
Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick , North Carolina , twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.
Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.
Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.
While I find the misfit Pickwick family entertaining I have a personally difficult time relating to Piper who is the main character in the book. I do not dislike her character I just don't relate well to her. I do find several of the other characters easier to relate to and the book has a good plot which keeps you involved in the story line. Piper has tried to escape her past judging others in the present for what she remembers of them years ago. She comes to a point where she has to deal with the reality that maybe some people change while others don't. Who can she trust and who does she need to forgive? Whom does she need to ask forgiveness from? While she is dealing with all these questions her faith starts to bloom in many ways. I would say this is a good read but not my first pick.
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)
Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.
To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.
I really liked the character of Maya. She has an attitude but she is so straight-forward that I enjoy the way she presents herself. You can easily bond with her as she struggles to grow into a mature woman and Christian. While I can't completely relate to her life (mom just released from prision and a dad on world tour with his music all while living with an uncle) I seem to be able to understand just how Maya feels. This would be a great book for a teen girl who is trying to find her own place in the world. I think I will be passing this book onto someone I know would love it.
Limelight by Melody Carlson
Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.
Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.
* All books were provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.