Posts Tagged With: family

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury

cover105549-mediumLove Story by Karen Kingsburg is the book that ties up unanswered questions from the previous books in her series about the Baxter’s. In this book the reader learns the full story of John and Elizabeth Baxter. The reader learns how the couple met and fell in love. The reader learns how the Baxter’s first child was born out of wedlock and that Elizabeth was sent away as a result. The reader learns that Elizabeth was forced to put the baby up for adoption.

I personally have not read the other stories in this series about the Baxter family and as a result I spent most o the book confused. I would recommend reading the other books to know what has happened so you as the reader will not be utterly confused.

Thank you to NetGalley and Howard Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, family, fiction, Howard books, Karen Kingsbury, Literary Fiction, NetGalley, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson

cover109383-mediumHedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson is a horrific, true story about a Hungarian Jewish girl named Hedy who had to travel through Germany during the Holocaust in search of safety. She takes a portion of the journey to America alone, as she is required to separate from her parents.

She and her family suffered through trials and tribulations on the unpredictable journey. Plans often changed, and she had no choice but to be brave. Follow along in the story to learn there destination and future.

The author, Michelle Bisson, is Hedy’s daughter. She tells the story of Hedy’s (Hungarian Jewish) journey to safety, from the Nazis to the US. The story is sort of passing of the baton. Someone has to continue to tell their stories, history in its worst manifestation, and I appreciated the effort of this daughter. The story is told with extreme delicacy and the designs convey this emotion. I truly appreciate that she has taken the story about her mother’s experience and offered it to others so that they can retain this piece of history that is so essential to children’s education. In addition, I appreciated the author mentioning that it wasn’t just Jews who were persecuted.

The book also contains lots of photographs of Hedy and her family as well as a timeline of events. This book is one I believe should be integral to children’s curriculums and should be in every library.

I received this ARC book from Capstone and Capstone Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Capstone, capstone press, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, family, Germany, hero, history, Holocaust, Middle grade, Nazi, NetGalley, war, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sisters One, Two and Three by Nancy Star

29806089Sisters One, Two and Three by Nancy Star is a story told from Ginger’s perspective. The plot moves between the 1970s and today. Ginger is the oldest of four siblings, and in the 1970s a tragic event redefined her family.

The three sisters, all very different, come together after the death of their mother.  Ginger is the the eldest who is the overanxious hypochondriac. Mimi is the laissez-faire soccer Mom extraordinaire. Lastly, Callie is the youngest and the wanderer whom, as of late, has been on one of her famous disappearing acts. The three finally converge at their Martha’s Vineyard home and, finally, are forced to confront the tragedy from their childhood that has plagued them all for years.

The characters in this novel are well thought out and unique, as well as realistic and flawed. This novel has great style, flow and is very easy to read. I was overjoyed when the format on my E-reader copy was clear, and I could easily engage.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Lake Union Publishing for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

Categories: book review, books, family, fiction, friendships, Lake Union Publishing, Nancy Star, NetGalley, Review, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Depths We Rise by Sarah Rodriguez

28956769From Depths We Rise by Sarah Rodriguez is a story where the author recounts her husband Joel’s battle with cancer, their struggle to conceive, his eventual death, and her attempts at IVF afterward.

Sarah was writing about incredibly emotional experiences but rather than allowing the reader to see her emotion, she told the reader that she was sad, angry, etc. As a reader I did not feel that I was able to experience the emotions with the author.

This book is about a man of faith named Joel and his baby girl Ellis; both of their names mean ‘Jehovah is God’. Joel’s hope was that as a result of every crisis, others would come to believe in Jehovah. It is also about Joel’s wife Sarah, mother to Ellis as well as their son Milo. Sarah and Joel Rodriguez believed that the Lord’s hand was on their family; they never imagined how many and how severe trials could be in their lives. Sarah is a young woman whose life after she married Joel Rodriguez became a roller-coaster ride, from despair to joy, from joy to mourning, from mourning to beauty. She could only have endured through close communion with her Savior and the support of family and close friends. This book may be appreciated by those who are going through severe trials as they may find encouragement. It can also be appreciated by those whose loved ones are going through trials as they may find a way to encourage them. The Lord showed Sarah how to see beauty each time she rose through the ashes of intense pain which speaks volumes for her choice of tenacious faith.

Sarah met the love of her life, Joel Rodriguez, in NYC in 2004, and they were married just over a year later. They were both Christians and had similar hopes as they grew their marriage. This included their desire for children; the natural step they saw toward that goal was to move to Sarah’s home state of Oklahoma. Pregnancy was not something easily obtained by the couple, however, and after various tests, surgery, and medications, they agreed to submit to in vitro fertilization. Before they could begin the IVF process they learned that Joel had cancer, a football-size tumor that engulfed one of his kidneys. Prior to his treatments and surgery, they began IVF procedures so she could have healthy embryos implanted at a better time.

Each step along the way, God was preparing them for the next crisis. They endured what many couldn’t by doing the next right thing, even when their cries were interspersed with screaming, weeping, and asking “why”. The author speaks from her heart with raw vulnerability and authenticity. She doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges in their lives, nor does she seek pity. She has determined to tell their story.

This very well-written story of the Rodriguez family will inspire and encourage readers, although one might keep a box of tissues nearby. I highly recommend ‘From Depths We Rise’ to readers and church libraries. Whatever one is going through, this book will ultimately bring hope in the God who brings us beauty from the ashes of our lives.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. and Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Barbour Publishing, Bible, biography, book review, books, Christian, death, devotional, family, friendships, From Depths We Rise, inspiration, literature, love, memoir, NetGalley, pregnancy, Relationships, Review, Sarah Rodriguez, Shiloh Run Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Biggest Poutine in the World by Andrée Poulin

cover77777-mediumThe Biggest Poutine in the World by Andrée Poulin is a cute, enjoyable, surprisingly emotional book about poutine and a world record attempt. I wish that the book had not ended so abruptly but it has a fantastic message and sympathetic and well-developed characters.

Our hero is twelve year old Thomas. His Mom disappeared on his fifth birthday. Dad has become withdrawn. Thomas feels abandoned. He develops a plan to put together the biggest poutine in the world in the hope that the attention that will draw will somehow lure his Mom back into his life. Three things gave me pause.

The book is loaded with sympathetic, supportive, decent real people who help and guide Thomas in the right direction. Thomas has a best friend, Sam, who is a real kid but is in fact a best friend. Thomas is extorted into taking on lonely Elie as a poutine project partner, and she turns out to be a lively, no-nonsense breath of fresh air. Sam’s Mom, the city’s mayor, Elie’s Mom, and even the French Fry Guy are all adults who can see what’s going on and provide gentle guidance and support. Finally, even Dad shows some spine. The effect of all of this is never sappy; it’s upbeat and kind.

Thomas is insightful and the tale is told with great humor. As to Thomas, who narrates, we get a kid who may not be “real”, but he feels real. I would suspect almost any middle grade reader would like and identify with this kid, which is most of the battle right there. Thomas has been dealt a bad hand, (his sense of abandonment, misplaced guilt, and anger is palpable, but he soldiers on pretty gamely and you root for him to get it together when his resolve wavers.

And, there is some very funny stuff that keeps us out of grim and depressing territory. The whole poutine project is a goof. Thomas and Sam have some great exchanges. Elie has a dry and deadpan style that keeps Thomas honest. A subplot involving the mayor’s parrot, (don’t ask), adds some slapstick. And behind it all you sense an author with a great command of the light and the dark and a good sense of how to ration them both out.

The upshot is that this is an honest, entertaining and very engaging story that I think would challenge, amuse and possibly touch a young reader. That’s a nice combination.

I received this book from Annick Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Categories: Adventure, Andrée Poulin, Annick Press, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, family, fiction, friendships, funny, literature, NetGalley, Review, The Biggest Poutine in the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible for Women A Hope-Filled Reading for Every Day of the Year by Barbour Publishing

cover91422-medium365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible for Women: A Hope-Filled Reading for Every Day of the Year by Barbour Publishing is an encouraging devotional. It is encouraging, uplifting, and hits on the deep questions. This book hits on faith, love, family, hope, patience.

The devotions are picked to suit the day or season. Each starts with a verse, then the devotion, and followed by a prayer. The devotions are typically on one page per day. The reader may start any day of the year or start from January 1 and read to December 31.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: 365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible for Women, Barbour Publishing, book review, books, Christian, devotional, inspiration, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

25226174The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life. It is a story of fear and bravery, love and loss, strangers becoming family, and one boy’s treacherous and life-changing journey.

In this story it is two children (12 and 15) travelling alone with only names, maps, information and money sewn into their clothes that take the treacherous journey from Guatemala to the U.S. When Angela’s brother and Jamie’s cousin Miguel is killed by the local gang because he refused to join them, the family believes the only way to keep Angela and Jamie safe is to get them away from Guatemala. Tomas, Jaimie’s brother, lives in New Mexico, so that is their destination. The journey is dangerous, but they go anyway. They meet other children on the way and they become friends. They rescue a dog, near death from the dog fights and nurse her back to life. They work sewing and drawing portraits to earn even more money to get safe passage across the border. Unfortunately, out of the small group of five children travelling together, they are the only ones to make it. We so not find out exactly what happens to the others, but from what is happening in the story, we can imagine. This journey took courage, guts, a little naivite and luck to get to their final destination. Many try and do not make it, many try multiple times, many disappear or are killed. A very hard story to read.

This book should be read by all students to help them understand the plight of refugees and immigrants. It should also give them an appreciation of what they have and how they live.

I received this book from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, children, family, friendships, Guatemala, history, NetGalley, nonfiction, refugee, Review, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, South America, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cinnamon Moon by Tess Hilo

27414405Cinnamon Moon by Tess Hilo is a story about the survival of a brother and sister from that small town and how they learned to survive without their parents. Alone as orphans in the city of Chicago, they survived with the help of new friends, during a time in our history when so many lost the world they once knew, and had to re-build their lives and their futures.

Ailis and her brother Quinn have moved to Chicago from the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin after a fire killed their parents and young sister. They are being raised in a boarding house by a negative, controlled woman, Miss Franny. Since Chicago is also recuperating from the Great Fire of 1871, Ailis is glad that she and her brother, along with another orphan, Nettie, have food to eat and a place to sleep, but hopes for more. She takes a job with a German woman, Ida, in a millinery shop, and Quinn starts busking with his violin, making a lot more money that he thought possible. When Nettie goes missing, the two try to investigate, and uncover a plot to use very young children to help keep down the rat population. They find Nettie, who is too afraid to go back with them. Eventually, the two manage to tell an investigative reported about the scheme, and are able to find Nettie.

Modern readers will be drawn to the difficult circumstances under which Ailis and Quinn live, but will also secretly long for their freedom from parents. They may be a bit surprised at the prejudice against the Irish. This was just a very fun, very readable book, and happier than you would think.

I received this book from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.


Categories: Adventure, book review, books, Chicago Fire, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, death, family, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, fiction, friendships, historical fiction, history, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Middle grade, NetGalley, Review, Teens | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

25669067One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank is about a girl name Sophie. Sophie is intelligent, kind, and passionate. She definitely has her flaws, which make her incredibly relatable. Her flaws make her relatable because everyone has been in the awkward stage of high school where you’re still so unsure of yourself.

As the story progresses, we meet Sophie’s new stepmom and stepsister. While the family tries to blend and navigate their summer together, well there’s lots of drama. One of my favorite parts about this story was how family was one of the main focuses of the book. Yes there was romance and friendships, but seeing how Sophie fixed her life within her family was always an important element throughout the story.

Sophie starts to open up more once one of her stepsister’s friends, Mathieu, lets her practice the piano at his house. Sophie is a passionate person and one of her passions is playing the piano.

There’s a lot of drama Sophie is left to deal with when it comes to Mathieu, but this bring a romantic aspect to the story. This book definitely delivers on that aspect of the story. This is a great romantic story that is perfect for teens. It is a relatable story because of the characters and their experiences.

I received this book from Zonderkidz-Books and Blink via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, Blink, book review, children, culture, fiction, love, NetGalley, Relationships, Review, Teens, travel, YA, young adult, Zonderkidz-Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

29223495The Bone Sparrow by Zana Frailly is a book that tells the story of Subhi. The story revolves around the life of Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian permanent detention centre. Having never stepped foot outside of the fence, Subhi has no idea what life could be like. No matter if he has never known a life behind the fences, his world is bigger than the fences. When he meets Jimmie, a young girl from the Outside who needs someone to read her late mother’s stories, he offers to help her.

The Bone Sparrow is a captivating book. It brings light to a situation that is horrifying but true. It is traumatic, saddening, and heartbreaking to read the way these people were treated. This is a story that delves into a situation that is still occurring to this very day. Just because one doesn’t see it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

The title does have a meaning in the novel [a sparrow carved from bone that symbolizes hope, protection, courage and faith, has been in Jimmie’s family for a long time] which is a pleasant surprise. Jimmie, now the owner of the sparrow, believes that Subhi needs it more. Zana Fraillon brings to life these characters and portrays them honestly well tackling such a saddening topic extremely well.

Overall, this is an captivating book that ensnares and engages readers from beginning to end. I definitely recommend that everyone, all ages, read this novel.

I receive this book from Disney Book Group and Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, children, culture, Disney, Disney Book Group, Disney-Hyperion, family, fiction, friendships, Middle grade, NetGalley, refugee, Relationships, Review, Teens, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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