Mini-Reviews: The Summer 2020 Edition // Part 2

Hello again.

I can’t believe that summer has already passed and fall is on its way. School has started back up and time is in ever shorter supply. ( It remains to be seen how I will blog this school year, I am still thinking about it.) With the thought that summer has recently ended, I wanted to share these books that I read with you. I did a small amount of reading by my standards this summer. Although I must admit to being rather disappointed in myself for the fact that I had to cut my reading goal for the year in half, I have learned some valuable lessons about the art of marking a book with the dreaded DNF and valuing quality over quantity. (Perhaps one day you will be treated to more of my thoughts on these topics.)

And now..without further procrastinating, let’s get started.

*Note to my younger readers, all books marked with ❤ are books I would not recommend for you, due to a variety of content. If you have questions, ask away in the comments.


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Title: The Magnolia Sword

Author: Sherry Thomas

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I read The Magnolia Sword directly after reading another Mulan re-telling that shall remain un-named, but was beautifully written in a way that very few YA novels are. In many ways this choice was an unfair one to The Magnolia Sword, but ultimately this story won me over.

The Magnolia Sword is rather slow in its opening pages, but gradually picks up. At some point in the story you will find yourself eagerly anticipating the next words, pages and chapters. It is an interesting take on the classic story of Mulan. We are presented with a character who has been forced to publicly take the identity of her late brother, but who does not lose sight of the fact she is a woman. Mulan is in every way her “princeling’s” equal. The Magnolia Sword is a story of old family rivalries, beautiful swords and strong characters.


Title: The Land Beneath Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Sarah Sundin once again delivered a solid, enjoyable WWII romance in The Land Beneath Us. She expertly used the marriage-of-convenience and falling-in-love-through-letters tropes, while injecting new life into them.

The character growth in many of the characters, particularly Leah, was remarkable. We first meet Leah as a (strangely) naive girl and when we finish her story she has become a woman, passionate in her love of stories, a loving and devoted mother and wife to the man she loves. Although it may initially seem that Clay is the one who does the saving in their relationship, you come to see that Leah played just as large of a part in rescuing Clay as he did in rescuing her. Clay, with the help of God and Leah, is able to stop the bitterness that was slowly killing him from the inside out.

I am sad that this trilogy is complete, but satisfied with its ending. So much redemption and healing happens, making it a hopeful ending.


Title: SuperNova

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

SuperNova is an engaging final installment of the Renegades trilogy. I found it to be far more enjoyable than book 2 and can profess myself to be a fan of this trilogy after reading SuperNova. It was full of action and twists and turns, the revealing of secret identities and discoveries of the truth of past events. Although I cannot say I was shocked by the revelations I never the less found then enjoyable.


Title: Strands of Truth

Author: Colleen Coble

Publication Year: 2019

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I had high hopes for this book after hearing good things about Colleen Coble’s romantic suspense, unfortunately I was disappointed. Although Strands of Truth did not live up to my expectations the story line was intriguing and enjoyable.


Title: Flight Risk

Author: Cara Putman

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

This book was a pleasant surprise. After reading Strands of Truth I expected to be disappointed in Flight Risk. Instead I was quickly absorbed in a fast-paced and interesting story. It was rather refreshing to read the entire book and upon reflection realize that I had noticed no cringeworthy internal or external dialogue. The writing felt direct, clean and easily understandable.

Savannah and Jett were both interesting characters to get to know. I enjoyed the fact that although their romance was a thread of Flight Risk‘s overall story, it remained just that.


Title: Isaiah’s Legacy

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Mesu Andrews did not disappoint in any way in Isaiah’s Legacy. It was captivating, heartbreaking and beautiful. As always Andrews’ depiction of darkness and evil as well as light and the goodness of God were incredibly moving. Isaiah’s Legacy demonstrates how biblical fiction can actually be enjoyable and educational. Once again in a genre that I generally consider a lost cause Andrews’ has proven me wrong.

In Isaiah’s Legacy we get to revisit characters we already know and meet characters who have very real and relatable struggles. The theme of redemption runs thickly through this story. Characters who have done seemingly unforgivable things are forgiven and God’s power and love shines bright.


Title: Collateral Damage

Author: Lynette Eason

Publication Year: 2020

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Although I would not count Collateral Damage amount my favorites of Lynette Eason’s books, it was an engaging and interesting read. The topics dealt with were heavy, as is typical of Eason’s writing, but handled well. Collateral Damage was wonderfully suspenseful. Definitely a must read for all fans of Eason’s writing.


Beyond Justice

Title: Beyond Justice

Author: Cara Putman

Publication Year: 2017

Personal Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

After reading Flight Risk I eagerly anticipated reading Beyond Justice. Sadly I felt rather let down as I read it. Although it contains many of the elements I found compelling in Flight Risk, such as the focus on the law and absence of ridiculous inner dialogue, it lacked the engaging and suspenseful feelings of Flight Risk. That said, in the end I enjoyed this story and I am excited to read more of Cara Putman’s writing.


Have you read any of these books? Are there any books you are excited about reading that were (or are being) published this month? (Hint: A Portrait of Loyalty!!!!!) What are you reading right now?

5 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: The Summer 2020 Edition // Part 2

      1. Yessss they are SO good! One if my favorite series ever. It’s one of the few YA series I’ve read that completely surprises me and breaks so many stereotypes while being clean and so engaging. !!!

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