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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.
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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.

 

Treasured Grace

Treasured Grace (Heart of the Frontier #1)

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

The Daniel Dilemma: Real Courage for Real Life

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.

My Valentine

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

 

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

The Devoted

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The Devoted by Suzanne Woods

Eighteen year old Ruthie Stoltzfus is torn for her future. She loves her family and the Amish religion but she also wants to go on in school. If she wants to stay near her family and in the Amish way she can not continue her education. She had been seeing Luke Shrock but his bad boy ways have left her lonely and in conflict of the Amish way. All of this conflict comes to head and yet clearer as a stranger appears in town. Patrick Kelly has always been drawn to the Amish religion and decided to move to Stoney Ridge to see if he should convert. Ruthie while torn between her religion and education sees Patrick who embraces the Amish ways.

 

This title is the last of Ms. Woods’ Bishop Family Series. It can be read as a standalone but to fully understand the characters and the quant town of Stoney Bridge start with The Bishop’s Family. Readers who love Suzanne Woods other books will not be disappointed by The Devoted. Ms. Woods does an excellent job showing the plot from a variety of viewpoints which for readers who enjoy the interaction among characters will appreciate. The viewpoint of Ruthie against Luke shows how a person new to world can see things with a new appreciation. The romance does not seemed forced, rather as readers of Christian Fiction expect to figure out the characters who will fall for each other. Readers of Amish fiction will appreciate the freshness of this title by showing that the encroachment of the World can cause us all to slip from our faith. The wrestling of this issue is explored by the character of David. Hand this title to a reader who enjoys Amish fiction with a little introspection on how we all wrestle with trying to life up to ones faith while embracing their desires.

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

 

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INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDIES