Monday, January 25, 2016

Beyond the Orphan Train series by Arleta Richardson



ABOUT THE BOOK:
In the tender style of Little House on the Prairie, the Beyond the Orphan Train series tells the story of the Cooper children who ride the orphan train to a new life.

These four charming books will engage young readers with a forgotten era in American history when thousands of homeless children were relocated from the East Coast to live with families in the Midwest.

Written for children ages 8 to 12, this fictional series captures the lives and adventures of Ethan, Alice, Simon, and Will Cooper as they travel from an orphanage in Pennsylvania to a farm in Nebraska to a new home in Mexico. Along the way, they encounter snakebites, dust storms, and other trials but ultimately learn that God will never leave them.

MY THOUGHTS:
I had hoped the Orphan Train series would appeal to my 9 year old daughter who is a voracious reader, but her interest just didn't go past the first few pages.

So, I read the four books, and I could see why it was difficult to get past the beginning. Ethan's story starts out pretty sadly and seriously. And, for the most part, the book continues to keep the somber theme.

The story felt like several small incidents that weren't tied in smoothly. I loved that Ethan was a real boy – and I loved knowing that these events really happened: like painting the pig, the circus train, and Pancho Villa! – but the overall flow of the story was a bit choppy.

Because Ethan's new family wasn't really loving, in a nurturing and compassionate way, I only felt sorry for him and his siblings, wishing for them the same tender care that his friend Bert received.

Eh, but that's life...and history. Like Mrs. Richardson, the orphan trains fascinate me...and I enjoyed hearing a true-to-life, less-than-glamorous tale.

Still, the Orphan Train series is worth the read. Just be aware it's a bit more serious than most children's books. Perhaps my daughter – or son – will prefer these books when they hit the higher end of the recommended age bracket (8-12).

Thank you to Arleta and David C. Cook through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse



ABOUT THE BOOK:
In the 1890s a nanny accepts a position in California, but upon arrival she learns that her six-year-old charge hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, fueling troubling rumors about her employer that do not align with the man she comes to know.

MY THOUGHTS:
I'm not sure if Beyond the Silence was more Kimberley Woodhouse's work or not, but I enjoyed this much more than the last few books of Tracie Peterson's that I've picked up.

The prologue caught my interest immediately – how could it not?! – and I couldn't stop turning the rest of the pages for the rest of the story. In fact, once I ended the book, I was still thinking about the characters and wishing I could keep reading about them! They were well thought out and, except for the 'bad guys,' I loved all of them, from the housekeeper to the field workers to the mercantile man.

Woody and Little Jimmy's story is one that tugged on my heart, and sweet, but strong, Lillian brought such healing and hope into their lives that I couldn't help but love her. Beyond the Silence definitely ran the gamut as far as emotions go, everything from intrigue...sorrow...hatefulness...genuine compassion and love...and innocence.

I loved it...and I think you will too!

Thank you to Tracie, Kimberley, and Bethany House through Bethany House Blogger Review Program for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar



ABOUT THE BOOK:
A story of love, hope, and healing set in the
midst of the Civil War.

Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off---only to find she's fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they're all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.

Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally---and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?

MY THOUGHTS:
A Thousand Shall Fall was a bit of a slow book for me. The last third of the book picked up, and I was anxious to read to the end; however, it didn't feel like other books I've read of Andrea's. I wished the beginning had more depth or background to many of the characters and situations.

I know it must be hard to write a book without having too much information. Too much can make the reading tedious. Nonetheless, I would have enjoyed a longer book with a bit more detail to Carrie Ann's younger years (the fire, her relationship with Joshua), and a little more background on Peyton. I liked Carrie Ann and Peyton, but I never really felt their initial attraction in the pages.

Still, by the end, I liked the overall story and especially enjoyed the time Carrie Ann was at Aunt Ruth's house. Will I read book 2 (about Carrie Ann's sister, Margaret)? Probably. I hope a few things from book 1 will also be resolved.

That's what I thought! Click HERE to see what other reviewers are saying!

Thank you to Andrea and Kregel through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Brook's friend Justin discovers that she may be an English heiress, she travels to meet her alleged father. But will her journey end in tragedy?

MY THOUGHTS:
The Lost Heiress was a well written and very enjoyable Edwardian era story! I really liked Brook. I can be turned off by very strong protagonists, but Brook had just enough sweetness and vulnerability mixed with her independence that I couldn't help but like her. I also really liked Brook and Justin's relationship. Best friends that just weren't sure how, if, or when to go to the next step.

Sprawling estates, spirited horses, snooty and greedy gentry, deceptive maids, loyal friends...ahh, all made for a satisfying story that I wished continued!

Thank you to Roseanna and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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