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.
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.
I have decided to enter the YALSA’s (Young Adult Library Service Association) Best of the Best Reading challenge. This challenge is to read 25 of 80 titles on the YALSA Best of the Best lists. I have already read a few titles, Sara Zarr’s How to Save a Life and Jane by April Linder. I am currently reading Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. I hope to meet the challenge but only time will tell.
If you would like to participate in the challenge. Check out this announcement. Those that reach the 25 goal will be entered into a drawing for some free books! I hope that you will join me and share what you are reading. Check back here for my updated reading lists.
Fourteen year-old Ricky Jo Winstead begins her high school career wanting to change her life and friends to become popular at her new school. Ricky Jo, who hails from a small town in Kentucky, used to belong to the 4-H club and went to church when she was in middle school. Now she desires to be popular and will do anything to accomplish that goal. She changes her name to Erica, begins to hang out with the more popular girls as well as longing to go out with a very popular boy. The biggest problem is whether she will be able to continue her lifelong friendship with Luke, the boy next door.
Tweens and Teens from the country and ex-suburbs will quickly identify with life in the small town. Hanging out with friends and talking about raising a cow, pig or sheep and of course the competitions that go along with 4-H clubs. Those from the city or suburbs may not immediately identify with Ricky Jo especially with what she does away from school. Many, however, will identify with the desire to be someone different in a new school and surrounding.
The author, Alecia Whitaker, creates characters that one can identify. The sub-plots of true friendship and alcohol abuse are easily identifiable to many readers. This coming of age novel moves quickly and is a very enjoyable read. Highly Recommended.
Disclaimer: I received an Advance Readers Copy from the publisher Hatchett Book Group.