Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden.
Mariah and her little brother Zeke are freed from slavery and the life they have only known. Mariah for years yearned to be free from her Master and when suddenly freed, joins Sherman’s army on their march through Georgia. Mariah meets a free black, Caleb and begins a friendship with a possibility of a new free life together. This story is based on a real life event which is not known to many, until now.
Ms. Bolden draws the reader into this true event. The reader quickly gets drawn into the character Mariah’s journey on the march and her struggles to her new found freedom on the road. The friendship between Caleb and Mariah builds throughout the story. Teen readers will be drawn into the budding romance of Caleb and Mariah. Ms. Bolden writes in such a way that the readers can start to feel like they are along for the journey throughout Georgia. The ending is shocking but done tastefully.
This read makes the civil war feel a little more personable and might spark additional study of this event and the personal effect of the civil war on the persons of this time period. This book would be a great discussion on how the war touched both sides of the war and the impact upon the free black and slaves. Hand this book to fans of historical fiction or readers who enjoyed Laurie Halse Anderson’s Seeds of America series.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Bloomsbury USA Childrens for an honest review.
Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.
Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.
With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible. – from the Publisher
Author Tracie Peterson is back writing historical fiction. This is the good news about Treasured Grace. The novel places the reader among the true incident of the Whitman massacre and through the events of the novel, the reader sees how such an event could affect both victim and community. The subjects touched on are not light but true to the historical time.
The character of Grace did not seem as developed or written in such a way that this reader did not have investment into her. There was a little bit of a romance but it did not seem to be the focal point of the story. For those looking for romance, another Tracie Peterson novel would suit the reader’s taste. For readers who like historical fiction and learning about an event not well known outside of the west, take this read for a spin.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review.
The Daniel Dilemma by Rand Hummel
The Daniel Dilemma: Real Courage for Real Life is a Christian teenagers’ survival guide for not getting eaten by lions in a world that rejects God and expects them to reject Him too. From this study, teens can find the courage to overcome the daily peer pressure that threatens to pull them away from their faith. Rand Hummel uses his more than twenty years of Christian camp experience to formulate fourteen Laws of Courageous Leadership from the book of Daniel and apply them to the real-life situations young people face today. (From the publisher)
This study of the book of Daniel takes the reader through this book as a survival guide to be used to navigate the world today. Mr. Hummel does a great job by comparing what Daniel and his friends went through to a variety of situations that teens today face each day. This makes this study and the book of Daniel relatable to the teen reader. The majority of the chapters address a single subject that Mr. Hummel says is a law such as humility, prayer, rejection, etc. This study fits a niche in the publishing world. There are not many bible studies that are focused on one book of the bible that is targeted to teens. This is a great start to introduce teens to a single book of the bible study. Each chapter of the Daniel Dilemma could be taken as a day’s study. The one criticism was that the author uses the King James version of the bible. For your average teen, this version of the bible is very hard to read and apprehend. Give this book to a teen who is desiring to get deeper in their walk and wanting to get deeper in the Word. Just have either a bible app or another bible version handy so the teen can get a better understanding of the verses Mr. Hummel covered.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, BJ Press for an honest review.
If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock
Casey Cox is on the run, fleeing from a murder she did not commit. She is being tracked by Dylan Roberts who was hired by the victim’s family to find the murderer. Dylan has been contacting her by email giving her the impression that he might believe that she did not commit the murder. In fact, he has let her go on at least one occasion. Casey while on the run continues to come across folks that are in situations that have put them in harm. She puts her own safety and freedom aside to help them when she can.
This sequel to If I Run is a page turner! It can be read as a standalone and still make a great read. Terri Blackstock has the ability to write characters that the reader begins to care and root for in her stories. The mystery of whether Casey actually murdered is the main plot and unfolds through Casey’s point of view, Dylan and the detectives on the case for the police. These points of view help flesh out the story a little but the conclusion will have to wait until the third installment. The secondary plot, happens when Casey discovers a child being abused. This plot is not as much of a suspense but a call for justice. The characters of Casey and Dylan show how a new relationship can lead someone down their faith journey and to accepting Christ. Hand this book to anyone that like a quick and fun suspense but doesn’t mind waiting a bit for the final conclusion. Fans of Terri Blackstock will not be disappointed and new readers will be drawn in enough to want to go back and read the first book in the series.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Edelweiss and the publisher, Zondervan for an honest review.
My Valentine by Tracie Peterson
This book included the bonus story Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity. My Valentine takes place in 1835. Darlene lives with her father both Jewish and living in the Jewish section of the city. Dennison and his son Pierce Blackwell, Christians, use Darlene’s father, Abraham, as their tailor for all of their fine suits. The Blackwells come from money while the Darlene’s family is working class. As all good romances start, Darlene and Pierce meet and sparks ignite.
Tracie Peterson always writes stories that draw the reader into her character’s world. Easy and fast-paced, My Valentine will not disappoint Ms. Peterson’s fans. Although the story takes place in New York City, the story really revolves around the questioning of one’s religion and the learning about Christianity. Some exploration about class difference also comes through with the Darlene’s and Pierce’s budding friendship. The only criticism was the story seemed to conclude a little fast and seemed rushed. Looking for a nice historical read with romance, pick up this title and you won’t be disappointed.
The bonus story, Little Shoes and Mistletoe, is set in 1898 in Manhattan. Another historical romance story that is focused more on the romance between the two main characters. Eliza was jilted by her fiancee and moves to Manhattan to recover with her aunt. Working with her aunt, she meets Micah a Christian young man who has a heart for the down-trodden. Micah spends his time in the poorer neighborhoods helping them and especially the children that have been orphaned by death or inability to care for them. Micah is engaged but his fiancee does not share his passion. Eliza and Micah begin a friendship over their compassion for the down-trodden. Micah is aware that his fiancee, a life long friend, could use friends her own age and introduces her to Eliza. Of course as in any good page turner does, conflict arises for all of the characters.
Little Shoes and Mistletoe is a quick and enjoyable read. The characters are written so the reader quickly can identify and empathize with them. A quick enjoyable read for those liking their romance and a little drama between budding relationships. This read is more about romantic relationships and hits the mark for a cozy read. Give this book with both titles to readers who like a little variety in their romantic reading.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Edelweiss and the publisher, Barbour Books for an honest review.
Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix
Lauren and husband Sam have moved their family to Nepal to minister to the people of this beautiful country. Sam has always felt called to start a ministry in Nepal. It took him and Lauren over ten years to acquire the money to make the move from the United States. In Nepal, Sam treks around the country to spread the Gospel while Lauren and their son Sam stay living in Kathmandu.
Told between present time and a time period where Lauren and Sam first met. Author Michele Phoenix was a missionary kid and gives a viewpoint of mission work not all rosy as some stories depict this calling. Using the alternative tellings, the reader gains insight into the main characters Lauren and Sam and their relationship strains. This story is poignant and thought proving about relationships and a warning to those who are in different places in their faith. Readers will find themselves at times questioning the motives and moves of both Lauren and Sam but really empathizing with their son Ryan who is a victim of circumstances. Give this title to someone who enjoys a well written book that enjoys a story that is thought provoking. A book that will stay with the reader for weeks after finishing it.
Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy by Litfuse Publicity Group, Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without any compensation
Girl Code: gaming, going viral, and getting it done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser
Andrea “Andy” and Sophie met at a local coding camp in New York city during their high school years. In this book, they discuss how they ended up at the code camp sponsored by Girls That Code. Told in alternating chapters, the girls share their experience of the coding camp and their wild ride of developing an online game, Tampon Run.
Andy and Sophie share their experiences, fears, frustrations and success through their coding club camp experience, promotion of their game and their experiences of the technology world. This book gives the reader an inside view of the computer camp experience and inspiration of two girls who not only went to camp but successfully launched a game they coded themselves and shared with the public. Girl Code shares with readers the variety of careers that a girl can explore while still using the computer skill that they can acquire.
The book is well written and in an identifying voice. It fills a narrow but important niche of non-fiction books. Most technology books, especially computer coding, are instructional but not personable. Girls wanting to explore what computer coding is will enjoy this narrative and inspiring title. Girl Code includes several beginning instructional codes to help girls interested in trying computer coding a place to start. Give this book to any middle or high school girl who has an interest in technology or computer coding.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Edelweiss and the publisher, Harper Collins for an honest review.