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.
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.
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.
Love’s Betrayal by Di Ann Mills
In 1776, Delight Butler is a young girl who supports the patriots in Boston, Massachusetts and secretly helps the effort of those patriots. She and her family are placed in conflict when one evening a young British soldier is dropped off to her family’s home to nurse back to health. Delight because of her mother’s own health, must tend to this soldier who represents the enemy and against everything she believes. Through her time with this young man, she grows spiritually and experiences challenges to her Christian walk a and sees the young man in a different light.
An enjoyable historical fiction book that shows, through the character of Delight, how a Christian’s walk is to help everyone no matter their beliefs. If you like Revolutionary War time period, you will enjoy this read. It is a slower paced story but is interesting to see how the Irish soldier signed up to free himself from the tyranny of England and through conversations with Delight and her father begins to view the Revolutionary war in a different light.
The Second novel included in the book was a faster paced story and takes place right before the time of the Revolutionary war. Georgette is part of an arranged marriage to a man that has a bad reputation but is needed to help keep her father out of economic trouble. Georgette accepts her fate but through the meeting of an unknown Frenchman, she begins to think about what it might be like to be betrothed to a “good” man. This story has more romance and a little suspense to keep the reader turning the page to see if Georgette will marry the man whom will help her family. Scripture is sprinkled within the chapters. The reader sees how Georgette wanting to be honoring to her father and her Christian walk struggles between her fiancé and the mysterious Frenchman through her prayer and her conscience. A gem to quench the appetite of historical Christian fiction readers since there are few options for this time period.
Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter
Riley joined the army to avoid watching his best friend, Paige and his brother in their relationship. Riley has known Paige all his life and has fallen for his best friend. When he hears that his brother and Paige have broken up, Riley plans to come home and declare his fillings. But as best laid plans happen, he returns from Afghanistan missing a leg. His feelings put distance between Paige and him. She desires to help her best friend but doesn’t understand his actions towards her.
Denise Hunter always writes fast paced romantic novels. This title is the last of the Summer Harbor series but can be read as a standalone. Reading this title you can tell there is more of a back story between the characters but can still enjoy this story. She is a master when it comes to family and romance stories. The side romance between the other characters, Sheriff Colton and Aunt Trudy, is sweet. Readers quickly find themselves rooting for each character to complete the romance. Ms. Hunter places obstacles for each couple but the resolution of them is nicely paced. Just a Kiss is an enjoyable quick read for fans of romantic fiction and of Ms. Hunter. If I had read the first two in the series, I might have given it a higher review. Give this title to any Denise Hunter fan or any Romantic Christian fan who enjoys a quick read and revolves around families.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson for an honest review.
Sarah’s Surrender by Vickie McDonough
Sarah Worley has lived with the Coulter’s for several years after escaping a situation that greatly impacted her outlook on life. Luke McNeil also lived with the Coulter’s as their foreman and best friend of Gabe Coulter. Luke and Sarah have been friends for years but for Luke his feelings for Sarah have changed. He asks her to marry him but she rejects him setting out instead to journey and try to win the lottery in the Oklahoma land lottery. Will Luke change her mind about himself and men in general?
This entry is the third in the Land Rush Dreams series by Vickie McDonough. This title can be read as a standalone. The pacing is fast and the characters while not deeply flushed out are written in such a way that the reader learns to care about Sarah and Luke and root them on both individually and as a potential couple. This story is one of independence and forgiveness. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, stories with family focus and a gentle romance will enjoy this book.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Barbour Publishing for an honest review.