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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.

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.


Crossing Ebenezer CreekThe

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

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.

If I’m Found

If I'm Found (If I Run Series) by [Blackstock, Terri]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.


Girl Code: gaming, going viral, and getting it done



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.

Love Bears All

Love Bears All Things

Love Bears All by Beth Wiseman

Charlotte Dolynsky has come to town to forget her broken relationship and mend her broken heart. She has come back to the Amish where she was accepted by family even though she previously had lied to them to find out the truth about her brother. Getting involved with the community again, she meets Daniel Byer whom  also is learning to heal his broken heart. Charlotte finds herself getting to know Daniel while trying to help a young couple whom bear a secret from the community. As the secret comes to light,  Daniel and Charlotte learn more about each other. Their dedication to this young couple brings them closer together. Will they see beyond their hurt to learn to love again?

Love Bears All is the second title in the Amish Secrets series. It can be read as a stand alone. Beth Wiseman writes characters which the reader quickly learn to love and identify with them. The plot gives the path of two couples each dealing with obstacles in their lives. Charlotte just wants to escape her bad relationship and isn’t looking for a new one but through friendship with  Daniel she begins to think that she might be able to love again. Young  Jacob and Annie must deal with their secret and decide if their love will survive their differences and secret. The plot twists and reads quickly. Readers who like page turners and well developed characters should snatch up this first in a new series by Ms. Wiseman. The book includes discussion questions, perfect for a book discussion group.

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



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