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.
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 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.
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.
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend, Grant; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.
Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous-more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has personal reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone-the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot-she realizes that nothing about the case-or the boys-is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all-and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line including her own.
The first line of this book just grabs the reader…”A ten point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forrest floor.” It sets the scene that this is a murder mystery. In alternating chapters told from Kate and one of the River Point boys. This is a fast, twisting story that keeps the reader wondering what really happened. Kate is a likable character from the beginning but towards the end some of the things she does towards the end of the book are frustrating. Through the author’s writing the reader begins to empathize with Logan and hopes that the killer is not him. Through the River Point boy’s view, the reader midway through begins to understand that this person is the killer but the author leaves enough clues to suggest who it might be while leaving enough doubt that the reader continues to quickly turn page after page. A satisfying ending but once the reader finishes the book, the plot seems familiar. Even with the feeling of familiar plot, give this to a teen that loves mysteries that keep you guessing with a fresh scenery from most YA reads.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Disney- Hyperion for an honest review.