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We Hope For Better Things

 

The publisher’s blurb:

When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos–seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse north of Detroit, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time–from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War–to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

What I thought of the book:

I will be blatantly honest – with so many people calling so many things “racist” these days, about the last thing I would choose to read is a book largely about racism. Still, the other parts of the book seemed to be interesting, so I took a chance. What a good bet! The story is so well written, touching nerves in a raw but good way. Back and forth between the past and the present, and how everything that has happened before affects what is happening now in each of our lives – and how all of this combined might affect the future.

The characters are all so human, so real. It feels as though we could know them ourselves. And isn’t that one of the things we all long for in a story? The smaller tales woven together are each realistic and interesting and will hold your attention through to the end.

This book is highly recommended!

 

**I was sent this book from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

 

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The Girl’s Guide To Conquering Life!

It’s really not just for teen girls, either!

The publisher’s blurb:

There’s a lot a girl needs to know as she grows up and makes her way in the world. Having a reference guide of practical how-to life skills and character traits can empower her to become a confident and capable woman. Coauthors Erica and Jonathan Catherman offer this collection of step-by-step instructions on 100 things girls need to succeed, including how to

– introduce yourself
– change a flat tire
– respectfully break up with a guy
– leave a tip
– apply for a job
– ask for a promotion
– behave during a police stop
– create a personal budget
– calculate square footage
– wash your face
– clear a clogged drain
– iron a shirt
– wear a scarf
– shoot a basketball
– sharpen kitchen knives
– and much more

In fact, if it’s in here, it’s an important skill or character trait practiced by capable and confident women. With great illustrations and sidebars of advice from world-class experts, this all-in-one reference tool for young women in the making is the perfect gift for birthdays, graduations, or any occasion.

What I thought of the book:

Seriously, how many of us couldn’t use a refresher course in a lot of these things? To be honest, this review is coming in late because I have been busy wearing myself out (mainly mentally!) learning a brand new job – and I was using some of these tips at all my interviews! I can also attest to the fact that YES you really do need to know the proper way to sharpen and maintain your kitchen knives, and how to leave a correct tip, how to introduce yourself, and how to create a personal budget. (Yeah, that one I’m working on…)

Please don’t assume this is only for those under the age of 21, because there are so many little tidbits women of all ages can pick up from this book. It will make a wonderful gift for any occasion, and one that will teach life lessons that everyone needs to learn for a better day to day life.

Definitely a keeper!

 

**I was sent these books from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

 

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Pelican Point

Lighthouse. That’s all I needed to know when I first picked up this book. Because I LOVE lighthouses.

 

The publisher’s blurb:

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home–and she’s determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

What I thought of the book:

Oh no! I’ve jumped into a series on the last book again. But what a jump. This is the fourth novel in the Hope Harbour series, and while it can definitely be enjoyed on its own, like so many later books in any series it’s probably better to have read the previous stories first. Old characters tend to give a lot of the background in everything, and this book was no exception.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. Easy to pick up and read, whether I had a few minutes or a whole afternoon. This would be a great story to take to the beach or poolside this summer. The characters are pretty well-developed (though again, already being familiar with the background would probably help a lot), and the storylines flow.

Grab it – you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

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The Heart’s Appeal

The publisher’s blurb:

Strong-minded and independent Julia Bernay comes to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. She witnesses a serious accident, and through her quick actions saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its money and its respectability, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought was impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to rise above his family’s stigma and set him on the path to wealth and recognition. But his well-laid plans are upended when the accident brings Julia into his life.

Michael soon discovers he’s met a woman every bit as stubborn and determined to make her mark on the world as he is. Sparks fly–but will they find common ground?

What I thought of the book:

In all honesty, I had mixed feelings about this book. The story itself was good. The characters were interesting and varied, and there was nothing glaringly incorrect for the time period. (I just hate when that happens!)

Julia Bernay is an orphan raised in an orphanage who has managed to overcome that societal flaw. She is determined to become a woman doctor, and join a mission in Africa, not only tending to the natives’ bodies but to their souls as well. Michael Stephenson is just as determined to regain the status of his family – mainly for his sister who places a great deal of importance on this. He is a barrister, but will soon see himself with a thriving practice of his own, especially if he is on the winning side of this current lawsuit.

The lawsuit just happens to be against the medical school Julia is set to attend next semester…

As I said, I really enjoyed the story, but what I found a bit grating was Julia’s near-constant espousing of her beliefs. (Kudos, though, that the author showed some others of her acquaintance ill at ease and at times a bit hostile towards this.) Maybe it’s because I wanted to step into the story myself and tell Julia to hush up a bit, that not everyone wants to listen to her claims of faith all the time. Show, don’t tell, Julia!

Still, that is part of Julia’s personality, so after a bit I found I couldn’t complain… too much.

I do recommend this book, though there is one before it which you might like to read first.

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Bethany House in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

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The Golden Vial

Not the conclusion again!

The publisher’s blurb:

Lady Shona, the newly crowned queen of the realm, is a leader without a throne. Pursued relentlessly by a dark force, her small contingent of loyal followers must make a difficult choice–flee or fight. Determined to save her land from nefarious threats, Lady Shona decides that she must seek out the enemy and attack them head on–a strategy that leads back to the region of the Three Valleys where Hyam was born.

Alas, Hyam has been struck by a mysterious illness that is silently sweeping through the realm. Known as the wasting disease, the sickness has no cure. But there is one shred of hope for Lady Shona and the realm–and it comes in the most unlikely of forms. A young orphan, untested and untrained, could well mean the difference between victory and total defeat.

Thomas Locke concludes his epic trilogy with a gripping tale of courage that will inspire readers to persevere even when all seems lost.

What I thought of the book:

I was very ready for a story that takes place somewhere “other Continue reading “The Golden Vial”

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For Studies…

The publisher’s blurb:

When it comes to the realm of biblical studies, students of the Bible are often overwhelmed, both with the sheer volume of information and with all of the unfamiliar terms, concepts, and topics. Like any other field of study, the serious study of the Bible has developed a specialized vocabulary. The key terms in this important field are defined in The Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies. It provides clear, concise, and accurate definitions to help students of the Bible make sense of the specialized language of biblical studies.

What I thought of this book:

I love this book. I know – who would have ever thought I would say I love a dictionary? But it’s true – this dictionary is a wonderful resource for the biblical scholar, the theology student, or just someone like me who would like a bit more information on something. Marduk, Marxist interpretation, Gilgamesh Epic, gloss. From “abomination of desolation” (the first entry) to “Zoroastrianism” (the last), there are so many clutches of knowledge in this little book! Honestly, just reading a bit through it – not solely to learn about something you’ve come across in the Bible, but just to be looking – will give you things to think about, and to widen your view of the world, both modern and ancient.

A reference book that should have a place on desks and in backpacks around the world.

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Baker Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**