“Thief of Corinth” by Tessa Afshar, book review

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“Thief of Corinth” by Tessa Afshar, book review

Ariadne has lived in an unsettled family situation her whole life. Her mother and father did not get along and finally lived apart. And her grandfather did not really like her, so it was difficult to be around him. She runs away to live with her father. While there, she discovers an amazing and perilous secret: he is the honorable thief. Basically, a first century Robin Hood- stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Ariadne accidentally becomes an accomplice to the stealing. Together, they were quite a successful team, proving income for the family and helping the less fortunate.

When her brother brings home a stranger, Ariadne is challenged with what she believes and how it impacts everything. This stranger is Paul, and he brings the message from the “Unknown God.” This changes everything for her.

This is a very complex story with many layers of action. It was not easy for me to “get into” at the beginning, but I kept with it, and by the time I had read several chapters I had all the characters straight in my mind and was able to enjoy the story. It is a slow moving story, with a lot of details. This is not to say the story drags, it just has lots of details and we get a lot of insight into what the main characters are thinking and doing.

I enjoyed this story and especially liked how the author weaves the Biblical characters of Paul, Silas, and Timothy into the story. I would recommend this for anyone who especially likes Biblical historical fiction.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale Fiction. all opinions expressed are my own.

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“Christmas by the Sea” by Melody Carlson, book review

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“Christams By the Sea” by Melody Carlson, book review

Wendy has inherited the sea side cottage from her grandparents, following the death of her grandfather. While she had not visited the cottage in years, it was a place of wonderful memories from childhood visits. Now she has one goal, to sell the cottage and return home by Christmas. But her son, Jackson has different ideas. Jackson has been bullied at school and longs to start over. He sees to cottage and small sea side town as a wonderful new place to live.

While shopping for items to repair the cottage, Wendy meets Caleb. He has lived in the town for ages, they probably knew each other as kids. Caleb helps Wendy realize that staying in Seaside is a way for her to start a new phase in her life.

This is a small, hardbound gift style book that is centered around Christmas. It is a sweet story of a family rebuilding after tragedy. The plot is a bit like a Hallmark movie, but refreshing and inspirational.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Everything She Didn’t Say” Jane Kirkpatrick, book review

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“Everything She Didn’t Say” Jane Kirkpatrick, book review

Carrie Strahorn married Robert and joined him on a life long adventure to help settle the west for the Rail Road companies. Robert was an author, hired by RR companies to explore and write books to encourage folks to move west. And Carrie went with him. She kept a diary and wrote letters home to her mother, which she later used to write books about her life.

Carrie was a gifted writer in her own right and published articles under several pen names, as women were not really thought to be writers.

In this book, Carrie shares the “public” story of her life, but also her more private thoughts: her longing for children, her hope for a home of their own, and her love for Robert.

This was an interesting book, with lots of stories about travel in the westward expansion era. As with other books by the same author, this story is about a strong woman who overcomes challenges. The book is based on a true story. But I was hoping for a happier ending. Carrie was very faithful to Robert through many ups and downs, but he disappointed her many times.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Ours for a Season” by Kim Vogel Sawyer, book review

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“Ours for a Season” by Kim Vogel Sawyer, book review

Anthony and Marty are members of the Old Order Mennenite community. Anthony runs a successful construction business and Marty longs to be a mother, but that is not happening yet. Being apart of a tight new community has its blessings as well as the harder parts too. Marty longs to escape and start over somewhere, anywhere.

When her childhood friend, Brooke asks for Anthony and Marty’s help to rebuild an abandon town, Marty is ready to go. Anthony is up for the challenge and they load the truck and drive to the new or rather abandoned town. They both encounter challenges to their work and their faith, but through out all the problems, Marty and Anthony lean on God for guidance.

As Brooke heads into her cancer treatments, Marty finds her mothering skills are useful when Brooke becomes quite ill. But Brooke leads the construction team to rebuild the abandoned town and while doing this, decides to change the direction of the town.

I enjoyed this book. The characters are very real and likable. Their problems are ones that we all encounter, and they leaned on God for the strength to tackle them. I look forward to reading another book in this series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids” by Sandy Silverthrone, book review

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“Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids” by Sandy Silverthrone, book review

As a child, did you like to tell jokes? Of course, you did. I did too. Especially, because my dad liked to tell jokes, so I wanted to as well. But where can kids find good, clean jokes to tell? This book by Sandy Silverthorne has a lot of really funny jokes for kids, and adults too.

The small, pocket size book has 135 pages of jokes: knock knock, question and answer, and lots of one liners. There are great illustrations through out the book to add interest.

This will make a good gift for a school age child who knows how to read. It would be a good stocking-stuffer or gift for the young person in your life.

Disclaimmer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Spire- Revell publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Crescent Stone” by Matt Mikalatos, book review

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“The Crescent Stone” by Matt Mikalatos, book review

In the young adult science fiction novel, Madeline and Jason are lured from their regular lives with school, parents, teachers, and illness; to another world where Madeline is promised healing in exchange for her help to defeat evil.

This book is believable and unbelievable at the same time. The youth at the center of the story are so independent, that when Madeline is rushed to the hospital, she is treated without parental consent. And her friend, Jason is allowed to stay in the room. And when a stranger enters to hospital and offers Madeline healing in exchange for service to rid his country of evil, she accepts without much thought.

As these teens are transported to the other world, the trip is described in so much detail, that I really got bogged down and the story seemed to drag. And when they finally arrive, there is so much that they are not told, that the plot is hard to follow.

I really tried to like this book, but in the end, it was disappointing for me. I think that an older teen who enjoys sci fi will probably enjoy this book and see through the problems that I encountered.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale House. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Daily Question” book review

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“The Daily Question for you and your Child” book review

3 year Spiritual Journey. 3 years. 365 Questions. 1,095 Conversations

This hard back journal is a systematic way for you and your child to document each day by asking and recording the answer to 1 question each day, for 3 years. The book has a whimsical cover with an opening to insert the child’s picture to make it more personal. Each page has a thought provoking question at the top and space to write an answer for that day, for 3 years. As the days and months go on, it will be entertaining and enlightening to read answers from previous years.

At first glance I really liked this book and the idea of an easy way to journal my child’s development and our interaction. But as I contemplated actually implementing the plan, I became overwhelmed, because I have four children. My thoughts included: what age to start? How can I do this with just one child and have the others not feel left out? Do I buy three more and do it with all the children? Then that felt like an enormous task.

Conclusion: I still really like the idea and feel it is worth the time and effort. However, for the mother of more than 1 or 2 children, it is probably just not feasible. So this is best for the mother of a preschool or young elementary age child. It would make a good gift for beginning kindergarten or even junior high.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Press. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle”, by Sarah Arthur, book review

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“A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle” author of “A Wrinkle in Time” by Sarah Arthur, book review

Beloved author of “A Wrinkle in Time” Madeleine L’Engle had an incredible imagination and was able to put that to work in her books. The most popular, Wrinkle, was also very controversial, at the time of its publication and still today. Many will argue that she was too Christian, while others say the opposite. She was ahead of her time in many ways, most notably that she combined science fiction and Christianity in a most excellent story.

This book shares accounts from Madeleine’s family and friends who share about her personality, accomplishments and motivations for life and her writing. I learned many things about this author. I do not remember reading any of her books as a child (gap in my learning) but I am using “Wrinkle” for a language arts class I am teaching this year. We will compare and contrast to the movie that was recently produced, based on this book.

Basically, this book gave me an interesting insight into the real author, Madeleine L’Engle.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Handlebar group. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Through the Autumn Air” by Kelly Irvin, book review

“Through the Autumn Air” by Kelley Irvin, book review, an every Amish seasons novel #3

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Mary Katherine has been a widow a long time, but now that the last of her 10 children is married, the empty nest has really become a reality. But sometimes she does not mind the quiet, as it allows her time to write. She loves to write, especially fiction stories.

Ezekiel is the owner and life of the Purple Martin restaurant. He loves to cook and see people happy when they are eating at this place. But after all these years of running the place, his kids think he should sell it and retire. But what will he do to fill his days? There is only so much relaxing a person can do.

These two are the main characters in this third book of the series based on the seasons and the Amish of the town. We see the characters from the other books, but this one pretty much stands on its own, if you have not read the others. I enjoy the real life situations that the characters encounter, and how they rely on God and their friends to solve their problems.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano, book review

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A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano, book review

Tressa had always been the one to follow her father around the vineyards. She asked endless questions because she wanted to know her father. To know the vineyards was to know her father. But he always pushed her away. Too busy, it seemed.

When Tressa and her mother receive a summons to return to the castle, they come home. But instead of finding her father, they are met with the news that he has died, two weeks previously. While dealing with this unexpected news, they are also faced with the financial problem of the estate. Father had always told Tressa that he would reveal the location of the treasure prior to his death, but now she had to locate it on her own.

This was an excellently written story of intrigue, suspense and love. There were subtle hints along the way that gave me an idea of the resolution to the mystery, but never enough to give it away. The characters were very well developed and complex. There was a lot of historical information, so I understood what the culture of the time was. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. All opinions expressed are my own.

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