Book Review: Bumpy Landings by Donald J. Carey

Across the field, a couple of small planes cast long shadows as the sun inched its way toward the western horizon. 

Then Jordan heard the sound he was hoping for. He looked out into the sky above the ocean where a small white plane with a red tail buzzed over the waves, flying parallel to the runway. As the plane flew past, Jordan imagined he was the one at the controls, with one eye on the airport and the other on the altimeter, waiting for just the right moment to turn into the base leg of the landing pattern.

All his life, Jordan MacDonald has dreamed of taking flight and soaring above the majestic mountains of his native Hawaii, but he doesn’t dare disobey his mother, who has absolutely forbidden him from flying. Suddenly everything changes when, spurred by the pain of a failed relationship, Jordan begins working toward the coveted pilot’s license. Just as he finds love again, Jordan’s lies start to close in around him, and he soon learns that a life full of dishonesty attracts more turbulence than he’s ever faced in the air.

Set against the exotic backdrop of the Hawaiian islands, this thrilling tale of romance and self-discovery is a perfect vacation from the average love story. Join Jordan as he tests the limits of friendship and finds out just how far his dreams can carry him. Entertaining and engaging, Bumpy Landings will take you to new heights with each turn of the page.


My Review

Hawaii? Tell me one person who doesn't want to go there to escape some winter blues and sink into a land of paradise. I've been hankering to go to Hawaii - even just recently tried to convince my hubby it was time for a trip. But to no avail. Not enough money for plane tickets, blah, blah, blah. So I was excited when my copy of Bumpy Landings by Donald J. Carey arrived in the mail. I couldn't wait to pick it up and absorb some of what life is like on a Hawaiian island. Sigh. Note to self: Must start saving for a trip (even if it means hubby must stay behind as the babysitter!)

Okay, let's jump into the story. Everyone who read my blog knows I'm a romance book chick. Bumpy Landings is not a straight romance type book - it's not marketed as such either. But of course, I really like the romantic elements the author added. I actually think the back cover blurb does a great job describing the book.

Bumpy Landings is about a young man named Jordan, who is home from his mission and entering his first post-mission year of college at BYU-Hawaii, where his mother is a professor. He falls in love, is thwarted in love, falls in lust, out of lust, and maybe, just maybe, if he's a good boy, will fall back into love before the end of the book (I'm not telling what happens!).

Some of the elements I really liked about Bumpy Landings:

1. Find Yourself

I often tell my daughters and the Young Women I'm good friends with, that it's important for them to leave home for at least a year of college. Go live in the dorms or share an apartment with friends. That year is essential for them to figure out who they are inside, what they believe in and stand for, how to budget and manage their time, and get a taste - just a little one - of what the real world is like. It's important for them to have this experience, most especially before they get married.

I love that Jordan goes through this same thing. He has issues at home with a controlling mother, but not only that, he realizes once he's moved out, that he needs to figure out who HE is and what he wants in life. This is by far my favorite message in this book. I don't know if the author intended it to come across or not, but it's one I'm sensitive to because I firmly believe in its importance.

2. Love vs. Lust

We've all been there - multiple times through high school and college. You meet someone who's attractive and give you goose bumps just to think about . . . and you fall in love. But is it love? Or is it just lust? How do you tell the difference? Some pretty complicated questions, eh?

So, another part of the book that I really liked is that Jordan does fall in love, but doesn't get much further than the second date cause the chickie becomes interested in Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome she recently met. Jordan is heart-broken. But eventually he meets another girl, who makes him laugh and who likes to kiss - a lot. Oh yeah, he's in love! Or is he? (You'll have to read the book to find out).

This is another theme I'm not sure if the author meant to send out as a message or not, but one I really liked. What is real love and how do you recognize it? Very well done, Mr. Carey.

3. Airplanes

I'm terrified of heights and hate flying, but I love to watch airplanes take off, fly, and land. That probably has to do with the fact that I grew up in Lock Haven, PA - home of the Piper Cubs. I loved to go to our little Piper Airport and just watch the planes. They are really the only planes I'm attached to. I still remember how excited I was when my son got to fly a Piper Cub for the Challenger Air program. I was terrified about him actually being in the plane and up in the sky - but how totally cool to see him hanging out with the Cubs.

There are a few times when Jordan is flying that my feet tingled. Like I said, I'm sensitive about heights - even imagined heights. But I enjoyed Jordan's response to his love of flying and how it made him feel.

4. Honesty and Integrity

Another theme in the book is figuring out the whole honesty and integrity thing. Which I kind of associate with the first element I talked about - finding yourself. But in Bumpy Landings, Jordan hides his flying lessons and plans to become a pilot from his mom and girlfriend - both of whom have particular reasons for not wanting him to fly.

This actually made me sit back and think. I reviewed my life and could pick out times that I've said or embellished something so it was mostly true . . . but tweaked just right and to my advantage. It's interesting how those things tend to eventually come back and catch up with you, isn't it? Well, Jordan certainly gets caught in his web and has to make some very difficult decisions about his life. But are they the right choices? And will he get it right on the first try? (You'll have to read the book to find out!)

Bumpy Landings has some fun and humorous scenes in it, but also parts that make you sit back and think. It was an engaging book and one that I think teens and adults would all enjoy.

You can find out more about Donald J. Carey on his website.

Bumpy Landings is available at your local book store and also on

Would you like to comment?

Taffy said...

Great review!
I get in trouble with moms sometimes when I tell my YW to leave home before they get married. It doesn't stop me from telling them though :)

Mary said...

I even tell moms of future missionaries it is good to have their sons leave home for a semester or a year before going on a mission....something about being able to call Mom when they are learning to adjust to weird roommates and doing their own cooking and laundry. The book sounds interesting (especially since my daughter graduated from BYU Hawaii

Don said...

Thanks so much for the great review! I'm glad you appreciated the themes, as I wanted to give Jordan some important lessons to learn, and some believable areas to grow in.

I'm very much looking forward to YOUR book, too.

Also, there's a chance we might swing through the Jackson County/Winter Quarters area at the beginning of summer vacation. Nothing firm yet, but discussing the possibilities.

Unknown said...

I like stories that have multiple themes and individual themes that we find just for us. It also lets us escape to such a wonderful setting. Thanks for the review.

Stephanie Black said...

Sounds like a great story! And I'm especially intrigued by the fact that Don explores the difference between love and lust, because that's one thing the bugs me in romance stories--when what is portrayed as "love" is basically "my hormones are raging because you're so gorgeous." Not love.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Ooh Don . . . any chance of you coming down to the KC area? Maybe we could meet up for a combined book signing somewhere. That would be very fun!

Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback.

Taffy - I haven't gotten in trouble yet with another mom, but I'll keep that in mind.

Mary - I agree that it's excellent for future missionaries to leave the roost before their mission,too.

Renae - I also love when authors weave multiple themes into their books. It makes them so much richer and interesting.

And Stephanie - I totally agree with the whole love vs. lust thing. It's annoying when the only thing the main characters "fall in love with" is kissing each other. Ugh!

Don said...

I'm thinking a joint signing would for sure be on the agenda! If it can be made to work, June 4 would be the day.

Thanks again for your review.

Maggie said...

I've heard a lot of neat things about this book. I am going to have to check it out. How is reading for the Whitneys going? That sounds so fun!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Maggie - I have just one book left to read. Then the hard part is ranking the books from my favorite to least favorite. Some spots will be easy to figure out . . . others - definitely not. Thanks for asking! =)