Posts Tagged With: fiction

True to You by Becky Wade

cover105949-mediumTrue to You by Becky Wade is a Christian romance that has several parts that are funny, and emotional. This is a wonderful book. The characters are well developed and relatable. The dynamics of the sister’s is well-thoughtout.

There are two main characters. The first; is Nora, is a cautious and studious young woman. The second; John, is a modern-day Navy SEAL who comes into Nora’s life and turns it upside down.

Nora had a really bad relationship in the past that caused her to build a wall to protect herself from being hurt that she did in her last relationship. The obstacles she puts in her way consist of unfashionable clothing, old hairstyles, and work. Eventually John and Nora meet and the wall that she has built slowly begins to break down.

John has an ego but deep down he was hurting and there was an uncertainty of his future that bothered him.  Recently, John was diagnosed with a genetic condition that will affect him for the rest of his life. John was not attracted to Nora at first but the most time he spent with her the more he saw a wonderful young lady. Through his friendship with Nora, John learns some important lessons in trusting God with his past as well as his future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, family, fiction, Literary Fiction, navy seal, NetGalley, Review, romance, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

cover112930-mediumThe Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the second book in the series The Amish cooking class. In the first book Heidi and Lyle open their home up at the Troyer Amish Farm for cooking classes that Heidi teaches. In this second book Heidi teaches were second cooking class. I read the Brunstetter’s first book in The Amish cooking class series and this book did not disappoint.

Just like the first book, Heidi’s students in The Blessing are facing a variety of needs. Aa young teenage who is struggling with life after her mother, an alcoholic, abandon her family. A mailman who wants to learn to cook. A wife who’s husband is a policeman and gives her this gift to learn to cook. A caterer who wants to learn new recipes for her business and a hunter who wants to learn to cook for his buddies. The story bring in some of the characters from the first book in the series, which is an added bonus to see how the first set of doing are doing.

Heidi seems to be a compassionate and thoughtful young woman, with a good sense of humor who genuinely loves sharing her love of cooking and of God with her students. It is heartwarming to see how Heidi is able to reach her students hearts when they are suffering, particularly teenage Nicole, who is struggling with forgiving her mother for leaving the family.

At the classes Heidi teaches her student to cook good Amish food and always sends them home with a Bible verse on the back of the recipe card. The story shows how each person needs something in there lives and Heidi is able to help them.

The story has feelings of hope, love, friendship, forgiveness and trust in God. Heidi shares a scripture with each of her recipe cards. This touching story left me wanting for more. I hope there will be more additions to her Cooking Class series. The stories are uplifting and enjoyable to read.

I received an ARC from Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Amish, Amish Cooking Class, book review, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, cooking, Inspirational, NetGalley, Review, romance, series, Shiloh Run Press, Wanda Brunstetter, Wanda E. Brunstetter, women, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle

32333242Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle is an interesting historical mystery, and modern day problems that my middle grade students will enjoy.

Jessie, her father and her siblings Julia and Jonathan are staying at a run down house near Quicksand Pond for six weeks in the summer. The father is an English teacher who doesn’t like to spend money, so he’s fine with the moldy floors and lack of technology. Their mother is staying behind in Pittsburgh to work. Julia finds a group of teens to hang out with, and Jonathan is happy staying close to the house, but Jessie is enthralled with the pond. Once she finds a raft, and meets Terri, a girl from the neighborhood, she spends most of her time outside. Terri has a difficult life; her father is an alcoholic who frequently abuses her. A neighbor, Miss Cutting, meets the girls and tells them they may use the tools in her garage to repair the raft. Miss Cutting’s own past is entwined with Terri’s family; her parents were murdered when she was young, and Terri’s great grandfather was sent to jail for it, although he was most likely not guilty. Terri makes some bad choices, and Jessie is not supposed to spend time with her, especially after there are a series of incidents that make Terri look guilty.

I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Atheneum Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Middle grade, NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

cover103804-mediumYou’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher is a beautiful story of survival and God’s love for each of us. The characters in this book are the example of grace and acceptance, and demonstrate how far love and kindness can go in this world. This is a lovely story of faith and forgiveness. It is lovely to see the spiritual growth of the hero and heroine cheered on by the sweet innocence of a child and of a grandmother.

Brooklyn Myers is a single mother, not by choice. Life hasn’t been fair to her at all. Everyone who should have loved and supported her have left her or let her down. Now, she is going back home again not by choice; but, putting her daughter first she is returning to Thunder Creek to the home left to her by her deceased ex-husband.

Derek Johnson, local Sheriff’s Deputy of Thunder Creek has received a letter from his best friend’s estate. His friend has died and failed to leave him the land he had promised to sell him; instead, he has left it to his ex-wife and daughter. In addition, he has requested, Derek act as a surrogate father to the child. Derek, doesn’t have good memories of Brooklyn and blames her for his best friend’s life choices as well as resents that his dreams of expanding his farm, which happents to be next door to her new home, are in the dust.

While the characters, particularly Brooklyn, have faced difficulty in their pasts, these issues are only briefly touched upon in the story. The story remains a light tale of romance, family, and community. As a result this is a very peaceful book to read, but I really would have liked to delve a little deeper on some of the big issues that were present. I also expected more conflict between Brooklyn and Derek, but aside from a few calm disagreements, they get along well. They are a well-matched pair and I liked their open communication and peaceful relationship, despite the conflict they might have had in the past. There is also no discussion between Brooklyn and Derek about her family life or her history with her first husband. Once Brooklyn and Alycia move to Thunder Creek, everything falls into place for them. There is a bit of suspense towards the end of the book as characters face dangerous situations, bringing a bit of action to this story of romance and family.

Written in third person, the chapters alternate perspective between Brooklyn, Derek, and Derek’s grandmother Ruth. I enjoyed the small, country-town setting and the collection of supportive and caring characters. Hopefully, Thunder Creek will be a setting we readers can return to in future books by Robin Lee Hatcher.

I received an ARC from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Children's Fiction, christian fiction, Christian Romance, fiction, marriage, NetGalley, Review, romance, Thomas Nelson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

28695904That burning summer is a really interesting story of a romance that develops between a British girl and a Polish pilot who she finds honest her home after he is forced out of his plane by parachute. I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop and seeing the world through their eyes particularly in the way he worried about being treated by others.

It is set in rural England during the Second World War. We are introduced to Peggy, a sixteen year old, who one day, during her daily chores, stumbles across someone who she does not expect to meet – a young Polish pilot named Henryk. Neither are sure whether or not to trust each other, but they do begin to bond until Ernest, Peggy’s younger brother, finds Henryk and becomes suspicious. Not only are there obvious difficulties with knowing who to trust or not during a war, we also sometimes have to wonder whether one family member can trust the family member as there are is also an interesting subplot regarding Peggy and Ernest’s father. I believe that the main focus of the story is intended to be the gradual building relationship between Peggy and Henryk, but there felt like there was a lot more to think about or to consider if you weren’t actually interested in ‘romance’.

I enjoyed the historical information about WWII that Syson included in the story and the experiences of the characters. Rather than feeling like the book merely took place during WWII, it felt like the characters were actually experiencing and living through the events.

I received this ARC from Skyhorse Publishing and Sky Pony Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, historical fiction, history, romance, Sky Pony Press, Skyhorse Publishing, WWII, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Loud House #1 “There Will Be Chaos” by Chris Savino

cover108453-mediumThe Loud House #1: “There Will Be Chaos” by Chris Savino is based off of the Nickelodeon T.V. show. When I saw this book I knew a few of my students would love to read this story. The student I requested this book for read in about 15 minutes.

The format was easy for my 5th grade student to follow and enjoy. She like it when Lincoln was looking for the T.V. remote. The best chapter was “The Call”. In this chapter Lincoln went looking for a location to talk to Ronneane but when finally found a spot she wanted to talk to her sister.

The illustrations are crisp with strong color contrast throughout. The stories are funny and full of mischief while clearly embracing the annoyance that only true siblings can bring. Fun and enjoyable for the whole family and a strong recommendation for the show.

I received this book from Papercutz via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, comic book, Graphic, Graphic novel, Loud House, Middle grade, Papercutz | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Clue in the Papyrus Scroll (The Boxcar Children Great Adventure #2) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, Anthony VanArsdale

32672745The Clue In The Papyrus Scroll is the second book in the Great Adventures series. After arriving in Egypt, they soon realize that the agent is missing but a puzzle will guide them to the next spot. While taking in the sites and escaping danger once again, the kids are off to Nairobi, Stonehenge and Rome while giving back stolen artifacts and the mystery of why other people are trying to stop their quest.

The book raises some good questions and answers that pertain to learning about our world’s history, and the people who are native to different areas of the globe, all while packed into a fun mystery adventure. I think I would have preferred if the children could have spent more time in just one place to really get to know the people there better and learn more in one area,

The Alden children (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny) are now globe-hopping with the family dog, Watch. After being introduced to a secret society that returns lost and stolen artifacts to museums and historic sites, The Boxcar Children join in the world-wide search for missing artifacts. But as if working with ancient treasures weren’t already enough of an adventure, when the Aldens arrive in Cairo, the agent that they were supposed to meet has gone missing.

While the Aldens are working for the secret society, they don’t know what artifact they are transporting or anything else about their ‘mission’ until they arrive at a destination and decode a clue. The clue here is on a papyrus scroll (hence the title), but it takes time to even get to that point as the agent is missing. Once they figure out what they have and where it’s going, the Alden siblings still have to evade a thief who is following them.

These are definitely not the Boxcar Children I grew up with. These children are now world-travelers (on their own!) and much more savvy than those I read about back in the 1960’s and certainly not even close to those from the 1920’s! There were plenty of adventures close to home for the early Aldens, but now they travel with ease around the globe. I’m sure there’s more of an educational value to this, teaching children about places like the pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge, but it takes away from the innocence of the Boxcar Children. That’s what I miss the most … innocence. These children, with their laptop computers and they ‘Facetime’ don’t really resemble their namesakes of old. I know this is the world we live in, but it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right with these particular children.

But these books aren’t written for me. They are written for an audience that already takes smart phones and laptops to school (yes…I know elementary school children that have laptops in school). These books are for children who already have access to Magic Tree House stories and Magic School Bus stories, where the past is approachable, as is outer space. To compete for attention, the Aldens must step up their game, and I think that the new Boxcar Children (still using the Gertrude Chandler Warner name as author) do this well. It’s just a little sigh-inducing for some of us.

I received a copy of this book from the Albert Whitman & Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, boxcar children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, fiction, NetGalley, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abby’s Journey by Steena Holms

cover95941-mediumAbby’s Journey by Steena Holms is the sequel to the  Saving Abbey. It tells the story of Abby’s childhood living with her father Josh. Her mother Claire died shortly after Abby was born but Abby has a real connection with her mother because Claire had written letters to both Josh and Abby to help guide them through her childhood. She had also left her beautiful illustrations in the books she wrote for children with her husband Josh, videos, journals and postcards, all that brought her mother nearer and nearer to Abby.

Abby was born with bronchopulmonary dysplasia a condition which could easily see a simple every-day cold become life threatening pneumonia. Josh had sat at her bedside in hospital time after time, praying that she had the strength. When she was twenty years of age she begged her father to let her move to a flat-share, but he was reluctant to let her move out. Nobody knew Abby as well as he did or would look after her health needs as he did. Reluctantly Josh agreed to let Abby go on a trip to Europe with Millie, her maternal grandmother, retracing her mother’s footsteps and taking her travel journal with her. She not only looked like her mother, but also her thirst for travel adventures was equal to Claire’s. This is the story of Abbey’s first ever holiday without her father, but guided by her mother. Like her mother she documents her travels, sending out postcards, texts and filling her blog with interesting facts and experiences. She was at last living the life she had always hoped she would.

This is a heart-warming story about parental love, family love and friendship. In the various locations that Abby visits she meets people who knew her mother and had kept mementos of her visit. She uses her mother’s journals to connect to the places she visits and she has the time of her life. She also discovers a family secret that her mother had anticipated and another letter for both Josh and Abby helped her to accommodate and assimilate this information with her mother’s wise words.

I loved the gorgeous descriptions Steena Holmes created of the beautiful places Millie and Abby visited. I only wished I was there to share her experiences.

I received this ARC book from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, culture, fiction, first reads, historical fiction, Lake Union Publishing, NetGalley, Review, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anton and Cecil, Book 3, by Lisa Martin, and Valerie Martin


Anton and Cecil, Book 3, by Lisa Martin, and Valerie Martin is the third book in the Anton and Cecil historical fiction series. After traveling by ship and train in the first two books, they get an opportunity to travel in the air in this outing. Anton and Cecil hook up with a bloodhound, Ruby LaNez in Chicago, to try a solve the mystery of the stolen white puppies. After helping to capture a bank robber, they head off to the fair to track down half a dozen missing white puppies. When they think they know who the culprits are, Cecil accidentally ends up in a hot air balloon. After a disaster in the sky, he ends up at the circus where he locates the missing puppies. With the help of some of the circus animals and a group of overgrown rats, he comes up with a plan to free a Siberian tiger and rescue the puppies. Anton and Ruby follow their noses and also end up at the circus.
What an enjoyable adventure for a pair of adventurous cats. The illustrations are scattered throughout this early chapter book and add just enough visual appeal that children will enjoy. For readers who love animal adventurers this is a fun series. This is an early chapter book that would be great for those late primary, junior readers to enjoy.

I received an advanced copy this book via NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers. Thanks so much.
Categories: Algonquin Young Readers, book review, books, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Lisa Martin, NetGalley, Review, Valarie Martin | 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

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