Good morning everyone! Today I am so excited to share my review of Amanda Tero’s newest book, A Strand of Hope! This is a YA read, and as it is sooooo hard to find clean YA, I am super excited to share this story with you today! Let’s hop right in, shall we?
A Strand of Hope
By Amanda Tero
Librarians of Willow Hollow Series Book #1
About the Book ||
Lena Davis is the daughter her mom never wanted.
But she survived. Through stories. Because books didn’t judge. Books weren’t angry she was alive. Books never expected her to be anything but who she was.
As she grows up, her beloved library becomes her true home. So when the library is designated part of President Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project, Lena is determined to get the job of bringing books to highlanders, believing she’ll finally be free of her mom forever.
But earning the trust of highlanders is harder than she imagined, and her passion for books might not be enough to free her from her chains.
About the Author ||
My Review ||
This book was not at all what I thought it would be. It was so much more! The themes of forgiveness and throwing off bitterness, embracing unconditional love while renouncing sin were so well done, I finished the book in awe! And the ending! It was perfect. I don’t think any other conclusion would have worked for this book. More than once, I felt myself tearing up at the pitiful circumstances surrounding the characters. And while I was angered by Lena’s mom, I even felt a little pity for her as well. So broken and running to the wrong things for help and comfort…
As I said, this book is YA. My personal recommendation is 16+. There is talk of alcohol, and a character was born under unfortunate circumstances. Ms. Tero covered these themes masterfully, in a way that did not glorify or embrace sin. It was clearly written as wrong and tactfully dealt with. If a younger reader has been made aware of such circumstances, I would gladly hand this to a 13-year-old with no hesitation. Ms. Tero deals with the realities of life very gently and subtly. As I have said before, I haven’t read a book by her that I haven’t loved!
*I was gifted an eCopy of the book for promotional purpose and happily provided my honest review. All thoughts are my own and were not impressed on me by anyone.*
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That’s it for now! Hope you all have a blessed week!
Okay, so I’ve never done a favorite books post, so today, I’m sharing my top 10 favorites! I’m thinking about expanding this into a genre/theme-related post in the future, so if you would like to see that, please drop us a line and let us know!
1| The Holy War by John Bunyan
This book has been at the top of my list ever since I read it. I’ve never read Pilgrim’s Progress all the way through, but I’ve heard the audio version dozens of times, but it just doesn’t compare with The Holy War. The allegory, the symbolism, the deep spiritual truths…this book is way underrated and deserves to be read and loved to pieces.
2| Three People by Isabella Alden
My favorite book by my favorite Author! Three People is the story of three young men from three classes of society and how the evils of alcohol have a devastating impact on each of their lives. It shows how birth status doesn’t matter; who you are on the inside is what counts. And when you have a Mighty and Righteous God fighting on your side, there is no way you can lose! An inspiring read for the whole family and one that should be shared with the world!
3| Let’s Roll! by Lisa Beamer
I thought I knew 9/11 before reading this book. Let’s Roll! makes it personal. The story of a young mother widowed by terrorism and the husband she loved and adored will rip your heart out. Lisa shares their life stories, showing their faith boldly and their struggles. She paints a devastatingly detailed account of Flight 93 and the heroes onboard as the vilians as well. To anyone who says our fight in the Middle East is unjustified and says they are ashamed to be an American, read this book. To those who love their country and support our troops and want a closer look at the American tragedy, read this book.
4| O To Be Like Thee by Kassie Angle
I will not fangirl, I will not fangirl…this book made me cry so hard. I love the military. I love the U.S. Army. And this book deepened that love tenfold…and taught me so much. People…we have no right to disrespect our troops. We have no right to ignore them. We have no right to burn the flag they fight and die for. That is not a right. That is a disgusting crime. Read this book. Wake up.
5| Tattered Wings by Kassie Ange
Wow, Kass, you made the list twice! This book broke my heart even more than OTBLT. Service dogs, Rangers, amputees, Law Enforement…missing someone, and not knowing who they are or why…I shouldn’t understand this book as much as I do. I literally have nothing in common with these characters…but maybe in a deeper since I do…Anyway, this book is eye-opening and needs to be read like yesterday.
6| Iron Scouts of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
A true story of the Fane brothers, novelized for today’s readers, this is a classic favorite of mine! I read this book once a year, usually, and I plan to pull it out soon! If you want to know what the War Between the States was like on a deeper level, plus learn the story of Taps, read this book. It’s from Southern POV, but please, if you support the Union, read it anyway. It really doesn’t talk about the cause of the war as much as it does the soldiers' lives. Just read it, please.
7| Worth Dying For by Roarke Denver
This one will need a little editing (language), but it is sooooo worth it. This needs to be read by every high school student as required reading. There are more ways to serve your country than in the military; it’s not a good fit for everyone. But just because you can’t do the military doesn’t give you an excuse not to make a difference. If you are in high school or beyond, read this book, change your ways.
8| Wounded Tiger by T. Martin Bennett
This book opened my eyes to a lot of things about WWII Japan. Eastern reasoning and culture is way different than Western and alarmingly so. This book showed me that while Japan was soooo wrong, the FDR administration was part of the problem. I refuse to say America because FDR does NOT represent who we are or what we stand for, thank God! Everyone has their issues, and so many things could have been avoided, but they weren’t. We were right to fight, but they have a story too. It’s essential to look at both sides. Don’t condone their sin, but learn from their mistakes. (This one is 18+, and requires minor edits for language.)
9| The Last Day I Remember by Andrew Klavan
This book hit me hard because it was so close to home. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone; it is super intense, and I don’t agree with everything said in the series. But seeing how a terrorist organization could overtake our great nation from the inside was disturbing and sobering. We need to stand by our Judeo Christian values. We need to fight for our country to remain great and never give in to the evil that would love to swallow us whole. And this book shows that we can still make a difference. 18+ and again, minor edits for content and mild language.
10| The South Was Right! By Ron and Don Kennedy
This book just makes me smile so much. And before you get turned off by the title, hear me out. This book does not say we are right because we are the South. We were right because the Founding Fathers were right. This book dives into the incatracies of why the War Between the States happened, exposes the propaganda of the era, and dives deep into the culture of the North and South, using not only Souther documents but mostly official Federal documents. It deals with myths of American Slavery, so things you might not know about Northern and Southern leaders and how all of this impacts us today. There are a couple of things I didn’t fully agree with, but overall, I recommend this book to everyone! Even if you don’t agree with the Confederacy, or even if you take issue with the Colonials, please, just give it a read with an open mind 😉 It will change your life!
So that’s it for today! Hope you have a blessed week!
Hello! I didn’t think this was gonna work out, but last minute it did! I finished the book yesterday! And Let me tell you, on kindle, it may seem long, but this book was well worth the read! It is the second in a series, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book, this one was so good!
Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth
(2nd Edition, 2020)
About the Book ||
In a world that doesn’t understand her, how can she grow?
Ivy Knight lives her life in a blur of confusion as the world passes her by in a tumultuous melody. She isn’t the perfect daughter or student, but as long as she can be with her family, she doesn’t mind watching rather than living.
Mrs. Chattoway treasures both of her granddaughters now that they’re reunited. When Ivy’s parents enroll her in a Scottish school for unique children, she’s happy to chaperone.
In a new place with a new guardian, Ivy discovers a special talent that helps her see the blurred world in a new way. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and Ivy becomes determined to find it—and help others do the same.
About the Author ||
Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical author from North-Eastern Oregon who loves border collies. A ranch girl with a love for storytelling, she’s been writing since she was seven and published since she was fourteen.
Kell lives in the country outside a small town in North-Eastern Oregon with her family, cat, and three puppy-dogs. When not writing, she teaches writing and talks about writing, but she also enjoys other things. She just can’t think of any right now.
Website & Blog: http://kellynrothauthor.com/
Email List: http://kellynrothauthor.com/newsletter/
My Review ||
This book was so sweet! I loved Ivy from the first book, and this book was 10 times better! I was a little confused about whether Ivy was saved or not, but her innocent depiction of Salvation to someone else was beautiful! Personally, I felt Ivy didn’t seem mentally ill. Neither she nor Alice acts like they are 12, more like 8-year-olds, one outgoing, the other shy. So in that way, the story fell a little flat to me. Once Ivy went to school, she seemed a little more convincing. The characters were well developed otherwise and consistent. I wasn’t disappointed by the lack of Alice as she annoys me, haha! And Nora…bless her heart, I just adore her! And who doesn’t like Jordy? I mean seriously, he needs his own book!
One thing that bothered me was that I felt some of the story came off a bit feministic. While in a way, some thoughts about men are resolved in the story, and the feelings of dislike were undoubtedly justified, I didn’t feel enough positive was said about men. It was noted that men could cause plenty of evil if they didn’t live biblically, which is true, but women are every bit as capable. However, I do not believe the author is trying to say that men are usually toads 😉 I just thought I’d mention that it may come across that way if you aren’t paying attention.
Overall, I love this book and hope to get a paperback copy someday! Recommended for ages 16+!
|| I received a copy of this book free from the author for marketing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own! ||
That's it for now! Have a Blessed Week!
Hello everyone! I finally have a book review for you! And it’s from my summer reading list! Unfortunately, this will not be a recommendation. Read on to find out why…
The Last Cherry Blossom
by Kathleen Burkinshaw
About the Book||
Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.
My Review ||
We all know bad things happen in life. It’s a sad reality. Not everyone grows up in a good family or lives under the same circumstances. It’s important that we understand that and give sympathy and help when we can.
But we also shouldn’t discuss such situations with middle-grade readers. Do most middle graders out in the world know about such things or experience them? Yes, many do. But should they have to read about it too? Absolutely not. This book is based on the true story of the author’s mother. Her birth situation was immoral, and that’s not her fault. But she didn’t have to share those details with 8-14-year-olds. I was shocked and appalled! Call me what you like, but I believe children should be given as much morally innocent reading material as we can provide them! Yes, many know about such things, but that doesn’t mean they have to read about it! I know about a lot of sin that the world has to offer, but I don’t want to read about it!
If this book had been written as a biography or for an older audience in a more “This is wrong, don’t make this mistake” way, I would have finished the book. But it wasn’t. It was an entertaining read for children.
The main character’s attitude was annoying through the majority of the book so that rather than feeling sorry for her, I wanted her to suck it up and get on with her life. I don’t think that’s what the author was going for. And it condoned keeping secrets from parents, disobeying them and having crushes way too young.
And while I loved learning more about Japanese culture, she littered the story with a plethora of facts about pagan religion and didn’t even attempt to say it was wrong. In short, she was saying devil worship was okay. Maybe a little scary at times, but okay and right to do. Disgusting!
The only thing that I liked about this book was the fact that even though it was WWII Japan, there was no question that the allies were right. Doubt in the emperor was discussed, and while they follow the rules, it vividly showed the plight of the Japanese people and the cruelty of their government. That is what garnered it 1 star.
In short, don’t waste your time. This book isn’t worth it.
Hope to have a more positive review for you next time!
Have a Blessed Week!
This series has seriously got swept under the rug! It’s time for a new episode, and today’s is on Cold Harbor! I hope you enjoy!
1| Fickle Federals. The command of Col. Elisha Strong Kellogg couldn’t decide what they thought of him. One moment, they would be complaining he was too strict, and the next, they would be pooling their resources to get him a better horse! Col. Kellogg’s first and last fight would be the opening day of Cold Harbor.
2| Bloodiest? Many battles of the War Between the States claim some sort of “Bloodiest” title, and Cold Harbor (May 31st-June 12th, 1864) is no exception. Its claim to fame is in have the bloodiest single hour of the entire war. Nearly 7,000 federal troops fell in that space, most, it is claimed, within 10 minutes! (Source: HistoryNet)
3| A New Weapon. While some might not think of it as such, the spade was the real weapon of the Battle of Cold Harbor. The Confederates spent hours digging trenches that stood chest-deep, with head logs to shield their heads, leaving a slit for them to fire from. The federals never stood a chance.
4| Go Back! My favorite story from Cold Harbor is that of a flag bearer in the Union army. He boldly marched forward, zoned in on the Confederate lines, heedless of the fact that he was the only man left from his company advancing; the others had fallen in the fight. Southern troops ceased fire and shouted for him to turn around, unwilling to knowingly shoot an unarmed man. When he realized he was alone, he calmly stood at attention, saluted smartly to his enemies, did an about-face, and withdrew. The Confederates honored him with a Rebel Yell and thunderous applause.
5| Victory No Matter the Cost. Grant didn’t care about wasting time getting ready. He threw tired, travel-weary men straight into the fight at Cold Harbor and ordered a multitude of deadly charges on their fortified works, reminiscent of the Federals’ foolish charges at Fredericksburg and the Confederates’ at Pickett’s Charge.
6| The Only Union Successes. Grant only had two victories over the battle of Cold Harbor. Confederate troops lost ground the first day, and on the second day of fighting, they lost nearly 200 men prisoner to General Francis Barlow. Confederate losses stood at 788 killed, 3, 376 wounded, and 1,123 missing or captured for a total of 5,287 men. Federal Casualty rates were much higher, with 1,845 killed, 9,077 wounded, and 1,816 missing or captured for a total of 12,738.
7| Wrong Guys! Lines were so tangled during this particular campaign (the Overland Campaign) that multiple times during the fighting, officers of one side could successfully, though unintentionally, give orders to men of the opposite side and be obeyed! And because of several visibility issues, one Confederate officer watered his horse very close to a group of federal soldiers who paid him no heed!
8| What’s in a Name? Cold Harbor was named after a tavern in the area that wouldn’t serve hot meals. It was neither cold nor anywhere near the water.
9| A New Nickname. Following multiple senseless and fruitless charges, Grant was no longer touted as Unconditional Surrender Grant, but Butcher Grant.
10| Stubborn as a Mule. Grant waited for days to officially admit defeat on the field by calling for an official truce. He didn’t want to accept yet another failure to his superior on the field, Robert E. Lee. His pride cost many disabled wounded their lives.
And as usual, here is an excerpt from my Series from the Battle of Cold Harbor!
From Chapter 22 "Cold Harbor"
Jordan surveyed the ingenious trenches built during the day of silence. They were deep enough to conceal most of a soldier’s body. Forked branches anchored into the mounds to hold a “head log,” gave the Confederate forces full protection. The Union troops wouldn’t have time to aim between the headspace.
That night it rained cats and dogs. Jordan cramped together with his fellow soldiers in small tents, tried to keep dry. The longer the war lasted, the tinier the replacement tents got. Economizing, some called it.
From the next tent came fiddle music, slow and gentle. Jordan frowned as he drifted back to sleep, hearing the last verse in his mind…
We’ve been fighting today on the old campground.
Many are lying near.
Some are dead, some are dying.
Many are in tears.
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease.
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight.
Dying on the old campground.
June 3rd, 1864
Cold Harbor, Va.
June 3rd was hot and muggy. Southern soldiers shed their coats and jackets, opting to fight in their shirt sleeves. Richard checked the line of men. They leaned up against their trenches, rifles ready and fingers on the trigger.
“They’re coming,” Burdy whispered to him.
Richard nodded, squinting at the regimental colors.
“There are enough men here, put your unit farther down the line,” an officer shouted to Richard.
The men in Richard’s rag-tag unit hurried down the line, loading their pistols and checking their sabers as they went.
The flank was the weakest link in the Confederate lines. Union Gen. Francis Barlow knew this and decided this would be the perfect place to advance his military career. He organized his men and ordered the attack.
No sooner had the 32:7 Boys arrived than Federals raced out of the woods. Burdy took a step back, stunned at the sudden appearance of the enemy, shouting like banshees. “Get back!” Titus ordered, pushing the boy behind him.
It was a battle like Burdy had never seen before. He stood rooted to the ground, blinking in disbelief. The Union soldiers seemed like beasts rather than humans to the lad. They beat Confederate soldiers to the ground with their rifles, then using the bayonet to finish the job. Some were taken prisoner.
 Overly ambitious, Francis Channing Barlow was young, but eager. He started out as a lieutenant and made his way up to Brevet Major General.
And to find out more, you'll have to buy the book! :)
That’s it for now! God Bless!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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