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Hurt Road


Hurt Road by Mark Lee

Hurt Road is a  memoir from lead guitarist of the Christian band Third Day. The story begins with a life altering event that began on Hurt road in Georgia. The memoir is very readable and was a very quick read. Mark recalls his life and the journey he has lived until the present day. He leads the reader through his life and through his writing he reveals a glimpse of his journey with Christ. Mark starting with the Hurt road incident reflects how his life (and challenges the reader to reflect) doesn’t always follow his/our life plans. God has often allows events that alter our plans and can make them bigger than we could ever imagine.

Any fan of the band, Third Day, will appreciate this memoir. Those readers who have lived anytime in Georgia, will appreciate his description of Marietta. Teens will appreciate the first few chapters and will relate to Mark’s high school years. Mark writes with such introspection that readers will relate to wondering where their plans might line up with God’s or where God has different plans as long as you are ready to take the next step in faith. Highly recommend this book to any reader who likes memoirs and those who enjoy reading inspirational books.

I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley  and the publisher, Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review.


Cherished Mercy

Cherished Mercy Cherished Mercy  by Tracie Peterson

Mercy Flanagan survived the Whitman Massacre as a child, and now her heart’s cry is for peace between the native peoples and the white settlers inhabiting Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, most of the settlers would rather the tribes were removed from the land completely, one way or the other, and tensions are rising. Mercy has grown tired of  –Oregon City and feels that she has a larger purpose in life, so when she learns that family friend Eletta Browning is pregnant, she travels south to the Rogue River Valley to help.
At the Rogue River Mission, Mercy meets Eletta’s brother-in-law, Adam, who has suffered a broken engagement. Mercy finds him attractive, but Adam seems determined to focus on ministering to the local tribes and keeps Mercy at arm’s length.
When tragedy strikes and tensions in the territory reach the boiling point, Mercy is pushed to the limit of her strength. She and Adam must rely on their firm faith in God in order to make it out alive. -from the publisher

This title is the third in the Heart of the Frontier series. Although it can be read as a standalone, readers will appreciate the characters and storyline more having read the other titles in the series. The character of Mercy is a strong character and written so the reader can empathize with Mercy’s love of the native people, yet her hesitancy of the situation she finds herself among. An additional storyline is Mercy’s sister, Hope, who was raped while being held captive during the Whitman Mission Massacre gave up the daughter as a result. She comes back to this situation during the conclusion of this beautiful story. Fans of Tracie Peterson’s historical fiction offerings will fall in throughly enjoy this fast read.

I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley  and the publisher, Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.


Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Allie Navarro attended the Girls Code Camp summer camp. She developed what she feels is  a winning app. Arriving back at school she shares the app to her best friends who had summer experiences without her. Allie during her summer camp experience developed friendships outside of her school friends. The soft app launch goes well until the entire school download it.

This quick read has it all for middle school readers, a little romance, drama and conflict. Young readers will identify the middle school scene and begin to root for Allie and Nathan. Allie is a strong female character who is driven to win the coding competion. Hand this title to a girls who are beginning to learn coding to understand where they can go with their new found knowledge. This book would also be a great book club selection with the emphasis of the conflict between the desire to win at all costs vs. protecting friends and users privacy. Looking for a similar book for older teens, hand them a copy of When Dimple Meets Rishi.

I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley  and the publisher, Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

Sweetbriar Cottage


Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah? (From Publisher)

This title can be read as a standalone. The story is a quick read and a page turner like most of Denise Hunter’s novels. It, however, is darker than most of her novels.  While it was enjoyable because it was a little darker, Sweetbriar Cottage was not the warm and fuzzy read that most fans of Denise Hunter have come to expect. Having said this, it still is a worthwhile read but if the reader is expecting warm and fuzzy, might they might come away a little disappointed. Ms. Hunter through her character of Josephine explores some darker subjects and the consequences that can arise by not trusting ones partner. As always, Ms. Hunter gives depth to her characters which make the reader emphasize with them and ultimately root for their success. Give this title to readers whom like a little edge to their reading and who can identify with some real hardships in a persons life.

Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson for an honest review.



Unblemished by Sara Ella

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself? (from publisher)

The story starts slow but those willing to stick through the first few chapters will be rewarded. Eliyana is a strong character, who although does not view herself in this light, allows the reader to see beauty goes beyond the physical. The reader learns though Eliyana’s journey that  even though you see yourself as not beautiful or capable of accomplishing much, it is what is what is on the inside and who you truly are that makes you able to accomplish things you never thought you could.

For those readers who like fantasy and a little romance, this novel will feel comfortable. As stated previously, the novel started slow and was confusing when it went into an alternative world, but as the story progressed it became clearer to the reader. The author slowly built the characterizations and the plot had several twists that this reader did not anticipate. Hand this read to any teen reader who likes fantasy or who devoured Cassandra Cass’s Selection series. Readers will anticipate the next in the series .


Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson for an honest review.


With You Always

With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Elise Neuman has been taking care of her sisters since both of their parents died. Living in New York City as a seamstress she as been able to support her family until the financial crisis hits in the 1850’s. She finds herself not only homeless with her sisters but the added responsibility of two small orphaned children. Thanks to the generosity of a preacher and his well to do fiancee, Elise finds work and a place to live. That is until the financial crisis also hits the well to do and forces the close of their charity. Elise then sets out west to a job leaving her family behind. While living in New York Elise meets a wealthy young man, Thornton. Thornton has been forced to a competition with his twin brother for the control of his father’s business. Thornton and Elise meet back up in Illinois where Elise shows Thornton the life of a working class person.
This story tells of the plight of young women unable to support themselves or their family. Ms. Hedlund writes characters in such a way that you can identify where they are in life. Whether it be the well-to-do Thornton or the working Elise. The relationship that ensues between Thornton and Elise. This relationship is a great vehicle to illustrate the difference between the classes and the hardships of the working class during this time period. The readers finds themselves learning more about the orphan train and the difficult decisions many had to make to survive. Readers will find themselves rooting for Thornton to win the competition to better the community he has founded. Those who like historical fiction will feel satisfied this quick read.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review.

Hello Stars

9780310760597, Hello Stars, Alena Pitts

Hello Stars by Alena Pitts with Wynter Pitts

Lena Daniels always wanted to meet movie star Mallory. She has an opportunity to win a chance to meet her and star in a movie . She just needs to make a video telling why this would be her greatest desire. Of course, that’s not exactly how it all happened. Lena’s video is not anything that she was proud of and she figures her chance to meet her idol is out of reach. Lena gets her chance and leaves her home, family and friends for her great adventure toaster in a movie with her idol.

Lena is identifiable for many young teens. They can relate to Lena’s desire to meet their idol and wow what an adventure to star in a movie! The reader gets a glimpse on how it is to work on a movie set though Aleyna’s eyes, having worked on a movie herself. The adventures Lena experiences in the book keep the reader engaged and laughing. This book is refreshing, showing a tween who has a relationship with God that her choices influence and can impact their life. It illustrates how a person’s relationship with God can be through journaling.  Hand this book to any tween looking for a fun filled adventure. Girls who are walking with the Lord will find a new “friend” in Lena and will eagerly await her next adventure.

Note: I was given a copy by publisher, Zondervan  for an honest review.