2.25.2017

The Legend of the Sand Dollar by Chris Auer and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey ~ Review

The Legend of the Sand Dollar, Newly Illustrated Edition: An Inspirational Story of Hope for Easter
My Review:

Kerry and her sister Margaret are going to visit their Aunt Jane's house by the ocean. Kerry goes exploring the beach with cousin Jack and finds a sand dollar, and Jack shares with her The Legend of the Sand Dollar.

Beautifully illustrated, this book is beautiful and perfect for Easter. Jack uses the sand dollar to share the gospel with Kerry, telling of the great gift, sacrifice, and the hope that we now have.

Bound in a hardcover with a jacket, this is a lovely book, What I loved most about it is that it encourages the sharing of the gospel with others, and appreciates how creation points to the Creator. A lovely book, and highly enjoyable, perfect to share with the young ones in your life.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

2.23.2017

Child of the River by Irma Joubert ~ Review

Child of the River
My Review:

Persomi is a poor bywoner's daughter in South Africa in the 1940's, when her older brother, Gerbrand, leaves home to find work in the city, and her troubled family is torn apart by her step-father's drunkeness and abuse, her whole life changes. Persomi earns a scholarship to continue her education, and a whole new world opens up to her, giving her hope beyond her humble upbringing.

Persomi excels at her studies, but her visits home remind her of the broken home she left behind. She treasures the letters from her brother who has joined the military to support his family. She is able to continue her education with the help of a mysterious sponsor, as the political climate becomes more and more tense with the stories that come from the north.

A story about a strong, resilient young woman, who rises above the circumstances of her birth and status, to fight for equality in South Africa, and find a home for her heart.

Originally a best-seller in the Netherlands and South Africa where it was titled simply Persomi, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was intrigued by the South African setting. I was not at all prepared to go through the emotional roller coaster that this book took me on. I instantly liked Persomi, she is clever and dreams of the world that her brother walks in, wanting to see the world as more than a bywoner's daughter, but wonders what it is to be a "real person." Persomi adores her older brother Gerbrand, who takes her under his wing, and introduces her to his friends.

It was hard at first to keep all the characters straight, because of how they respectfully call older friends Aunt, Oom, Ouma, and Oupa, so at first I had some trouble figuring out who belonged to what family, but I caught on the more I read. And there are so many characters, and as they years go by their lives intermingle and entwine, through children, marriage, and love.

Persomi shows strength and determination throughout this book, as it follows decades of her life, as she goes from a girl who runs from trouble to a woman who stands up for others in the face of adversity. She sees unspeakable things and injustices that shape her life, making life long friends along the way like Reinier, Christine, Yusuf, De Wet, and Boelie.

Reinier is her faithful friend and companion, smitten with Irene Fourie, but ever Persomi's true friend. Boelie is passionate about farming, and has a love for the land that his grandfather sees in him, Persomi talks to him in Gerbrand's absence and finds within him a kindred spirit of sorts despite the fact that they agree to disagree about politics. Yusuf is a young man with a dream, and full of hope and grit to make it happen, he in his own journey reminded me a lot of Persomi. I think two of the most underrated friends that Persomi has are Christine and De Wet, De Wet loves Christine fiercely, and he has a good heart, he is a stable and steady friend to depend upon.

This book covers so much and is like s slideshow of snapshots from the pivotal moments in Persomi's life, as it travels through the decades, experiences, friendships, and heartbreaks. At times it was hard to read, because it just seemed like the bad things that happened to Persomi and her family would never end, though it realistically showed the uphill battle she was fighting, and I admired her pluck and determination. I was spellbound by Ms. Joubert's storytelling, fascinated by how much I was learning about a place I had never thought much about during that particular time period, I didn't want to put this book down, there were moments when I was sure that it had my heart in a vice grip! It is a masterful story of hard times, heartache, triumph, defeat, and hope. I would highly recommend this riveting novel, it exceeded my humble expectations, and completely blew me away! A book I will remember for a long time.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

His Amish Teacher by Patricia Davids ~ Review

His Amish Teacher (The Amish Bachelors #3)Lucie's Review:

Lillian and Timothy were childhood friends, and their love of reading brought them together as children until Lillian and her family moved away from Bowman's Crossing. But now Lillian is back as the new school teacher and her friendship with Timothy remains strong.

Timothy is a volunteer firefighter and he gives the school children a fire safety demonstration, but are soon called to a fire very nearby. As he sees Lillian's quick thinking in action he realizes that Lillian is more than a friend to him, but does she want the same?

Timothy is outgoing and naturally curious, he has a hunger for learning and loves to read, he always is full of questions, so when the school board decides to hire an additional teacher, his brother suggests that Timothy apply.

I like the relationship between Timothy and Lillian, they can talk about anything, joking and laughing or discussing something serious. As well as the good natured ribbing between the brothers, which brings their bond to life.

I loved the full plot into this book that brings Bowman's Crossing to life and the interaction between Lillian and Timothy, who show that together they work well together. Lillian works hard to be the best teacher that she can to help the children to learn and excel. A quick, thoroughly enjoyable read.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano ~ Review

Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1)
Lucie's Review: 

Parmila Griswold makes the most of her circumstances despite the fact that she didn't grow up among society, and doesn't fit in. But now that her business minded father has remarried, she must accompany her new step-mother and step-sister to all the society functions including Vanderbilt's Costume Ball.

Parmila doesn't shy away from her "Wallflower" status, and decides to make friends among the other "Wallflowers." Befriending the other girls that the rest of society likes to look down their noses at, including Gertrude Cadwalader who is a lady's companion to a mischievous Mrs. Davenport.

Asher Rutherford is a high society gentleman, a success in his own right and  who also comes from a good family. He owns Rutherford & Company Department Store, and Parmila is surprised at how easy he is to talk to. Could it be that Asher is too good to be true?

Parmila is a strong independent woman who goes out of her way to help others. She is full of ideas and willing to try new things. She's fiercely passionate about helping others, and she wants to give her money to those less fortunate.

I really liked Asher, he takes a while to like because is a silver tongued dandy, who always seems to know the best way to sell something which is what makes him a good salesperson. But underneath it all, he's a genuine gentleman, and he's open to new ideas.

This is a wildly entertaining book that made me laugh out loud numerous times, with the colorful and at times larger than life characters that bring this vibrant read to life. The hilarious situations are descriptive and believable, and the dialog is clever and witty. I loved the fast paced plot full of surprise twists, perfect for someone who likes historical romance with a humorous twist!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

2.20.2017

My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela's Quandary by Susan Page Davis ~ Review

My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary
Lucie's Review:

Carmela is tired of living a lie. She travels the country with her uncle across the country telling "her account" of being a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and making a profit from telling the falsehood.

But when their stagecoach is attacked, freedom from the lies might finally be in reach even if it means being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

Carmela was never taken by the Indians but her uncle is her sole guardian after her parents died, and they owed him a lot of money, so she agrees to do what he says. She has stayed true to her faith, and feels terrible for the life that she has been living. She perseveres without complaint, is willing to work hard and speaks up for the sake of others.

Freeland McKay is the deputy marshal from Tucsan and he is escorting a prisoner, when things go horribly wrong on the stagecoach. When Freeland wakes up he finds himself handcuffed to Carmela, together they decide to walk to the next station, getting to know each other well along the way. I like that when Carmela tells the truth that he doesn't judge her and is understanding to her plight. He is a good man devoted to his duty, faithful , courageous, and strong.

I like that Freeland can see past Carmela's past and her lies, he encourages her to continue to break free and find her strength. The dialog between them is good, and I liked them together. A very enjoyable read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

2.19.2017

In the Shadow of the Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse ~ Review

In the Shadow of Denali (Heart of Alaska #1)Lucie's Review:


A book that vividly brings to life the bustling time around the opening of Mt. McKinley National Park. Cassidy and her father, John Ivanoff, work at a hotel close to the new park, and John serves as a guide and Cassidy works as a cook.

Allen Brennan comes to Alaska looking for revenge for his father's death, and a grudge against John Ivanoff, who he believes to be at fault for his father's death, despite their kindness to him. He finds a true friend in Cassidy, but will he let his hunger for revenge ruin their friendship?

John Ivanoff is part native Alaskan, and grew up in the mountains surrounding the Denali. He raised Cassidy himself after his wife died. He is a man of integrity and faith, and he feels terrible about what happened to Henry Brennan, and understands Allen's anger. John is a good father, and a very wise man in his dealings with others.

Cassidy is a ray of sunshine, positive in attitude with a strong faith, and does her best of think the best of everyone. Befriending nearly everyone she meets, she has a big heart, and is a good daughter and friend.

This is a well written book, with great character interactions and dialog between the characters. John is my favorite character, and his faith shines through the toughest times, and he brings light to others. I like how he mentors Timothy a young orphan boy that Cassidy befriends and also Allen. Allen is a good man, and listens and considers all that John tells him. Allen loved his father and he grows alot over the course of the story. A good read, with mystery, great dialogue, and romance.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

God Bless Our Baby by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Steve Whitlow ~ Review

God Bless Our BabyMy Review:

Spring time is coming and the animal families are growing, as the young animals are becoming big brothers and sisters.

This is a lovely book for young children who are soon to become a big sister or brother, excited and ready to be mom and dad's helper. A new sibling only means that there's more love to go around, and a wonderful blessing to a growing family.

This was a charming and delightful read, with rhyming verse and charming illustrations that show the many different families welcoming a new member into their midst. Sturdily bound in a padded hardcover, this is a lovely book to share with a youngster about to become an older sibling for the first time.

A delightful read, and a wonderful addition to the God Bless Books.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

2.14.2017

Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg and illustrated by Robert Dunn ~ Review


Your Magnificent Chooser
My Review:

A beautiful book for children about God's gift of free will, which Mr. Ortberg refers to as your "Chooser." Through rhyming verse and colorful illustrations John Ortberg and Robert Dunn show the many sides of the wonderful gift of having a "Chooser." The book explores how we have the option to say, "Yes," and "No," choose our clothes, food, and what we want to do, and also how our "Chooser" can be twisted by sin in ways that can hurt others.

I loved the way that the author chooses to explore free will and what our response should be to the gift we have been given, leading us to the One who gave us a "Chooser" in the first place. This is a lovely book, with lyrical verses that are at times whimsical and then profoundly deep and straightforward. This book breaks down a hard topic in a way that can be explained and shared with young children, will pictures that give a visual to go along with the poem.

A wonderful addition to a child's library that is a delight and joy to share with the young ones in your life, that serves as a great conversation starter about the choices we make and how we are responsible for our choices and how they can affect others. Well done, lyrical, beautiful, simple, deep, and concise, a wonderful book that I would happily recommend!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

2.12.2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren ~ Review

Rescue Me (Montana Rescue, #2)
Lucie's Review:

Head of PEAK rescue team, Deputy Sheriff Sam Brooks gets a report that a bear is sitting in Glacier National Park, he has his doubts and is surprised to find that it is still there.

Sierra's sister, Willow, is the youth leader at her church. She has planned a field trip to the park hoping that the teens will see and appreciate the grandeur of the glaciers and see God's glory, like she does. Her sister suggests that she invite Josh, the new youth pastor to come with them, but everything could go wrong does. They lose cell service, and no one knows where they are, and it is up to Sam and Willow to get everyone safely home.

I like how everyone pulls together to help them get out, Sam does everything he can to improve their chances of getting out, and he risks his life again and again. And Sam and Willow draw together to get the children safely home, I like how their situation and dialog draws them closer together, and Sam tells her things that he's never told anyone before. He is good at his job, and he follows through. I love how Willow and Sam are opposites, and make each other better people.

I also like how it explores Sam's brother, Pete, and his friend Jess, and though they spend alot of time together, they realize how little they know of each other and their lives. I can't wait to read their story next!

Overall, this was a fast paced read, that I struggled to put down, I was quickly drawn into the drama and dangerous suspense. Willow was my favorite character, her faith motivates her actions, she puts others first and lives to serve. This is a fantastic heart pounding read, tensions and emotions run high, and it was book well worth the read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer ~ Review

Saffire
My Review:

James Holt comes to Panama in 1909  at the request of his old friend, Theodore Roosevelt, to carry out a mission that starts out as a search for the mother of Saffire, beautiful and spirited young girl with wits as sharp as a razor. But the more he digs, the more he feels that he is getting nowhere, yet there is something more beneath the surface that threatens the future of the canal and America.

Jim tells the story from his point of view, and despite how the story is told through his eyes, he still keeps his cards rather close to his chest. I admired his love for his daughter back home in the Dakotas, and how his rich backstory weaves its way into the story.

It takes a while for the book to really pick up, which is uncommon for this author, but when it picks up all the pieces and people begin to fall in place. And in the end it all came together and was hard to put down.

I like how Jim tells story, he calculating and cool, yet we see his doubts and vulnerabilities that he hates about himself. He is a smart man, who sees his past actions with perfect clarity and owns up to his faults. I liked his alertness and awareness.

T.B. Miskimons was probably my favorite character, a enigmatic man shrouded in mystery and who seems to be ever in the know, and his interactions with Jim are some of my favorite parts of the book.

Overall, a well written novel that brings the uneasy relations between the Americans and the Panama people to life, showing the obstacles that had to be overcome to build the wonder of the Panama Canal. A well researched historical read, filled with intrigue, mystery, and even romance!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."