The Secret Place of Thunder || The Librarians of Willow Hollow Book #4 || Book Review and Author Interview
And now, it is time for the fourth and final review in The Librarians of Willow Hollow Series! This has been a lovely journey, but it has come to a satisfying end. I am participating in Mrs. Ruggieri’s blog tour, so be sure and visit her site for more book release fun!
The Secret Place of Thunder
By Alicia G. Ruggieri
Librarians of Willow Hollow Book #4
Series Rating || 4 Stars || Solo Rating || 4 Stars
|| Amazon || Author’s Site ||
About the Book ||
The mountains have imprisoned her long enough...
Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.
When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.
But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.
The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.
About the Author ||
Alicia G. Ruggieri grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England. She now writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from her home in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and sweet second-hand mutt. She loves old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.
My Review ||
Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from the author for Review purposes. All thoughts are my own.
This was another new to me author and I am so glad to have been introduced to her! Her style was lovely and realistic, very mountany and 1930s! I loved getting to know Edna Sue and even though I disagreed with her on almost everything, she was still easy to feel sorry for, though I wanted to wring her neck a few times 😊
I am not sure if Edna Sue was supposed to be severely backslidden or lost, and if the former, I am not at all sure she got saved. It was all rather vague. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that the author never insinuated that her wearing pants was wrong. I understand that she was not right with God, but there wasn’t a godly influence asserting that this was against the Bible. I also didn’t approve of a saved man, supposedly close to God, pursuing a girl that at best is grossly out of God’s will. Thankfully, the romance was only apparent in the last half of the book and went no farther than hand hold, though it was still wrong. I also don’t agree with Christians isolating them away from fellow Christians. I understand the character was grieving, but the Bible clearly states that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together with fellow believers.
Seeing the book of Job play out in this story was sad and eye opening. Because of material in the story, nothing lingered over, just tactfully mentioned, I would recommend this for ages 18+ or 16+ if mature.
And now we have an interview with the author!
1| What inspired your librarian story?
Often with me, the story begins with a little nugget, and then the title comes to mind, and God guides it onward from there! With The Secret Place of Thunder, it all began with the premise: "What if the Book of Job was set in the Appalachians?"
2| Do you feel like you relate to Edna at all?
In a bunch of ways, yes. It's hard for me to write a main character with whom I can't relate in some significant way because it's difficult for me to understand what makes them tick. Edna's feeling of despair in the face of extreme, seemingly-unending difficulty resonates with me. By God's grace, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." But the path to that "hope and stay" in Him can still be dark. On a lighter note :-) - I also relate to Edna's frustration at the mountain people's lack of interest in books. Whenever I encounter that kind of apathy toward good reading material, it bothers me because I know what treasures people would find in some books if they would read them.
3| What was your favorite part of writing this story?
I really enjoyed introducing the "mysterious mountain man" and the variety of the mountain people. I enjoyed learning more about Appalachian culture, and - early on - I loved the short trip I took down to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky to see the area in which this novella is set.
4| Do you have any writing advice for Young Writers you would like to share?
Read solid, classic books - a lot of them. Re-read them. It saddens me how a lot of the really good books from the past have been pushed aside in favor of more contemporary reads. Authors like Dickens, MacDonald, the Brontes, Elliot, and others have so much to teach us about good writing!
5| Any advice for those interested in writing a collaborated series?
Communicate as much as possible so that everything is very clear at every stage regarding who is responsible for what, etc. Also, keep in mind that group projects mean a lot of give-and-take and being open to new and different ideas than you might be used to. Collaborated series can be a lot of fun - and what a wonderful result they can produce - but they are also a lot of work, and it's a good idea to "count the costs" before you start or join one.
That's all for now! God Bless!
It’s time for the 3rd Librarian to make her appearance here on the blog! Today, I shall share my thoughts on Lillian Bledsoe! This is a new-to-me author, and all things considered, I really enjoyed her style!
Hearts on Lonely Mountain
By A. M. Heath
Librarians of Willow Hollow Book #3
Series Rating || 3 Stars || Solo Rating || 3.5 Stars
|| Amazon || Author’s Site ||
About the Book ||
Can two lonely people find more than a fleeting friendship or will a prejudiced town keep them apart?
When Ivory Bledsoe left the city to minister to the people of the rural mountain town of Willow Hollow, she never expected to be shunned rather than welcomed. Seeing the town as a lost cause, she’s eager to return home, but when the bridge leading out of town is washed away during a flood, she finds herself stranded in the last place she wants to be.
Ben Thrasher was content with his quiet life until he met the new librarian. He can’t help but be drawn to the friendly and lively Ivory Bledsoe, despite her being at the center of the town’s latest superstition. It’s only a matter of time until she captures his heart, turning his world upside down in the process.
Has Ivory gotten God’s plan for her all wrong or is there still a way she can serve these people? And can Ben ask her to stay in a place where so few are willing to embrace her?
About the Author ||
Being raised in a small Tennessee town, A.M. Heath grew up with a love for southern history and nostalgia. Her husband and 4 children embrace the small-town lifestyle and southern standard of back porch relaxing, sweet tea, homemade comfort food, strong Christian values, and tightly woven family bonds.
My Review ||
Disclaimer: I do not approve of romance novels. I committed to reading this series and reviewing them in it's entirety. Also, I received an ARC copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.
I love Mrs. Heath’s style! It was delightfully old fashioned but not in a way that bogs one down. I loved Ivory’s name and the little notes through the story that gave it a distinct 1930’s flare! That said, I was super annoyed by all the “Sanitized” swearing in this book. It’s a disturbing trend I’m seeing in Indie authors of late that needs to stop!
There was an instance where an unmarried couple was stranded by a storm with a child. Nothing inappropriate happened, but I didn’t like the situation. All the talk of witches and the use of alcohol as medicine was also unneeded and unappreciated. I also disapprove of kissing, holding hands, hugging, or dancing before marriage. This was overdone at the end of the book.
The spiritual lessons in the story were well written, and I loved seeing how certain characters were befriended. Garrit was my favorite even if the spelling did throw me off 😉
The head librarian took a weird turn in this story that I didn’t like. It didn’t seem like the librarian I had come to know and love over the last two books. The other librarians were consistent, however. And I loved the bridge analogy!
I’d recommend this book to readers 21+ as one situation was not appropriate for minors. For more details, contact us! Otherwise, I immensely enjoyed the story!
That's all for now! Have a blessed day!
Hello everyone! After Amanda Tero released her newest book, A Strand of Hope, I was eager to read the rest of the series she had helped to co-author! So I was excited for the chance to read Book 2 right away! Today, I’m reviewing the book, so let’s dive in!
I Love to Tell the Story
By Faith Blum
The Librarians of Willow Hollow #2
Series Rating* || 2.5 Stars || Solo Rating || 3 Stars
|| Amazon || Author’s Site ||
*Compared to the other books in the Series*
About the Book ||
Bored with her life in Castle Town, Montana, Lillian Sullivan follows her friend’s suggestion and joins the horseback librarian program in rural Kentucky. Not only does she anticipate sharing her love of books, but she also wants to spread the gospel among the mountain people.
However, Willow Hollow presents her with one trouble after another and she struggles to step outside her shyness to share the gospel.
What will it take for Lillian to share her love of the Best Story? Can the power of the gospel overcome the shyness of her own heart?
This novella is part of a series with different authors, but can easily be read as a standalone.
About the Author ||
Faith Blum is an author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and spend time with her husband and infant son. She lives in Wisconsin in a small town with her husband, son and cat where she can write to her heart’s content during the day. Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ.
My Review ||
Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.
I was a bit disappointed with this book. After reading Ms. Tero’s, I was expecting more from this story. Lillian was a sweet character, and I enjoyed learning about her mother through her memory journal, even though the excerpts had little or nothing to do with the furtherance of the story.
The book was supposed to be YA, but the style was more middle-grade level, in my opinion. It was disjointed and choppy. Solutions to issues were far too fast. (Ex. Problem is presented, and the next paragraph or page solves it.) And all through the book, it was asserted that Lillian was shy, but the only shyness I saw in the story was were the Author happened to mention she was shy.
The Stuarts were not consistent with A Strand of Hope, coming off rough and domineering. And the head librarian didn’t feel consistent either. Lena, however, seemed the same, and I was glad for that.
The book is titled after the song I Love to Tell the Story, but the song is not referenced in the book. Also, with how juvenile the style of writing was, I was surprised the author decided to mention things that were not suitable to a young audience. (If you have questions, please contact us.) And the ending was quite abrupt. I was left confused and thinking, “That’s it?”
The spiritual lesson of the book was confusing, as well. It was supposed to be about pride and how that keeps us from sharing the gospel and insinuated that that was Lillian’s struggle. But it wasn’t. Which made no sense. Also, the scriptures were not King James, so I don’t even know if the verses were used in context.
The best scene in the book was the librarian meeting. It was smooth, and it was fun meeting all the characters, though Ivory kept dropping swear words, which I found shocking for Christian literature.
Sadly, I couldn’t hand this over to a sibling with a clear conscience or without a lot of explanation. I’d recommend a reader be at least 16 before trying it, but I honestly can’t recommend it.
Nineteen years ago, one of the most vicious crimes of the 21st Century was committed against the United States. Four planes, hijacked by Muslim Terrorists, were flown into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the last crashed into the ground at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This year, Kassie Angle and I brainstormed and decided to get together 11 bloggers who would post about this tragedy in American History.
We Haven’t Forgotten.
I was five years old when 9/11 happened. It traumatized me in a way I still haven’t gotten over. In 2011, I became enamored with researching the topic. I still don’t know all that I want to know, but then again, you can never exhaust a topic. But today, I’m not going to give you a history post. I want to share a story that I wrote in 2016 back about the Pentagon. Is it realistic? No, not really. At the time, I was just getting a story on paper and trying to express patriotism the only way I knew how. I’ve made a couple changes to the story, such as the amount of time that has passed in the story, but it is largely unedited. I hope younger me isn’t too embarrassed 😉
Why I Don’t Drive a Mustang
I’m Taking His Place
By Ryana Lynn
“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
President George W. Bush
It was all a mistake. And a big one at that. I should never have gone to D.C. Everything in my life was just right. Everything. Life was perfect, and I had endless possibilities at my fingertips. After all, wasn’t I an honor roll student? Didn’t I have an academic scholarship to Chapel Hill Medical? But I just had to go to D.C. on that senior trip. And I just had to tour the Pentagon that day.
I had a black 1998 Mustang that I had bought and paid for. It was mine, and I cared for it and filled it with gas. I loved driving it. It was my baby. But on that trip, I realized there are far more important things in life. Of course, I knew living for God was the most important thing. I was a Christian and faithful church worker. I was the junior captain on my church bus route. I worked for our radio station on Saturdays as a volunteer. So I at least had that priority right.
Anyway, back to my Mustang.
I drove it to D.C. myself. Seems the bus had room for all but one person, so I volunteered to drive.
On our third day in D.C., we had to vote on where we wanted to go, the Pentagon, or the White House. Knowing President Bush was out of town, I voted for the Pentagon. That was the tie-breaking vote—mistake number 2. I drove behind the bus and parked in the visitor’s parking area. We got out and entered the building and toured the center of military operations. It was terrific, and I got to talk to serval servicemen while we were there.
We had just walked out the door. I reached into my pocket for my keys. I heard a motor blaring in my ear, and the next thing I knew, I was struggling to pick myself up off of the hood of a Dodge Ram Pickup Truck. My friend Ray was on the ground, screaming. I jumped down and knelt next to him. He was bleeding from his head, and his leg was broken. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, so my pre-college study came in handy.
When I finished with Ray, I turned around and saw that the Pentagon was on fire, and there were many people with injuries. I did not know at the time that a terrorist had purposely flown a plane into the building. The teachers were doing their best to round up all the students, and I went from person to person doing what I could. An injured soldier was brought to my attention, and I began to work on him. He was in bad shape, and to be honest, I knew as soon as they brought me to him, he wouldn’t make it.
He knew it too. He looked up at me, and my throat went dry. He wasn’t much older than me. “Take my place,” he whispered. “The World Trade Centers were attacked today by Terrorists. I’m pretty sure they did this too. Either way, we’re heading for war. Please, take my place.”
“Alright,” I said, “I will if you let me tell you about Someone else who wants to take your place in another way.” I proceeded to tell him about Jesus Christ taking his place and wanting to forgive him of his sins. I was privileged to hear him ask the Lord to save him.
“Remember,” he coughed. “You promised to take my place.” Mistake 3.
We didn’t get to leave the parking lot until late that evening. It was then I saw what had happened to my Mustang. It had been smashed by flying debris. I was perturbed, but the thought hit me: I had almost gotten into my car before being blown across the parking lot. I would have been killed. God had spared my life. Students were admitted to the hospital, and I was checked over for injuries. All things considered, we were blessed. A police officer deemed me a hero. I just shook my head.
Our bus was in good shape, but there was no way I could fit in there. We had too much stuff, plus crutches and wheelchairs. We weren’t sure how I was to get home. A Lieutenant in the Army found us discussing the problem. “You’re the boy who helped out the day of the trauma,” he said matter-of-factly. When it was confirmed, he said, “My aide and I will drive him home. We’re heading back to Ft. Bragg this afternoon.”
On the way home, we talked about the incident and expressed our outrage. The aide was a Corporal, not too much older than me. Of course, they talked about recruitment with me. I listened intently, remembering my promise to the dead soldier. Cpl. Bean talked up the army big. Out of the clear blue sky, the Lieutenant said, “You should be a combat medic. You’ve got guts. I saw you go into the danger zone twice to rescue people.”
I shrugged. “I couldn’t just stand there.”
“Yes, you could have, but you didn’t,” Lt. Michaels reminded me.
Upon reaching home, every Marine in the vicinity tried to recruit me. I steadfastly refused to join them. I’d made a promise. As soon as I graduated that April (I challenged the exams to get out early), I left for basic training. I was the youngest guy there. And who should be my junior drill instructor but Cpl. Bean. He didn’t take it easy on me. Instead, he pushed me harder. By June, I was deployed to Afghanistan.
That was nineteen years ago, and I’m still serving. I have a wonderful Christian wife, five kids, and twins on the way. I’ve been able to make a difference in more ways than one. I’ve been able to save physical lives and see spiritual lives saved by my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve even led a few locals to the One Who can give true peace and Joy. At the present time, I have no intention of stopping…I think I’ll be here until this war ends or they kick me out.
I drive a medically equipped convoy through the deserts.
I’m keeping my promise.
I’m taking his place.
I’m serving my country and my Savior.
Looks like those “mistakes” weren’t mistakes after all…
So that’s why I don’t drive a Mustang.
“Duty. Honor. Country.”
But the attack on September 11th, 2001, wasn’t the only historical event that took place on that day in history. 11 years later, on September 12th, 2012, another heinous crime occurred.
The Benghazi Massacre.
I’m not going to go into great detail on this. It hurts too much, knowing we had options at our disposal that would have given this event a vastly different outcome…and they were not used. (We need to pray more for our leaders to make Godly decisions!)
On September 11th – 12th, 2012, The U.S. Embassy in Libya was attacked by Muslim Terrorists. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Diplomat Sean Smith were killed in the attack. Ret. Navy S.E.A.L.s Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods gave their lives, the only ones who stepped forward to defend them.
War was not declared on Libya or on the Islamic group that attacked them. Instead, our then president apologized to the terrorist for a film that offended them, triggering the attack (or so they claim). No action taken. Just an apology from the man currently representing the victims’ country. Another person responsible for sending them help (and didn’t) has thus far been let off the hook.
Justice has not been done in the murder of these innocent men. For the most part, they have been forgotten. We all have heard of Benghazi…but did you know the names of the victims?
I’ll confess that before I wrote this, I only knew one: Glen Doherty. In May 2018 at the NCHE Homeschool Book Fair, I met a man selling multiple history/military books. (Anyone surprised?) I bought three from him (for research purposes 😊) and one was a suggestion from the seller: Navy SEAL Sniper (not a recommendation. I haven’t read the whole thing yet.) This was the 2nd, and very special, edition. It hit the press in 2013. One of the co-authors was Glen Doherty. It was through reading the intro pages that I learned about his sacrifice on September 12th, 2012. I encourage you to read up on Benghazi. We must not forget the 2nd 9/11…and we must not forget the men who gave their lives. I haven’t forgotten.
I’d like to thank all the girls who pitched in to help with this tour! Please stop by their blogs today for more great tributes to the heroes and victims of both 9/11 tragedies.
Have a blessed day… And Never Forget…
Happy September, and welcome to our Seventh missions spotlight! Guyana is September’s focus country, and I hope you enjoy our little trip to this South American nation! So without further ado, let’s take off!
Country: República del Guyana
Continent: South America
Population: 786,552 (2020)
Largest City: Georgetown
Motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny
National Anthem: “Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains”
Current Leader: Irfaan Ali
Bordering Countries: Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela.
Religions: (As of 2012) Hindu (24.8%); Pentecostal (22.8%); Other Christians (20.8%); Roman Catholic (7.1%); Muslim (6.8%); Seventh-Day Adventist (5.4%); Anglican (5.2%); Irreligious (3.1%); Other (2.6%); Methodist (1.4%); Jehovah’s witnesses (1.3%). Nearly 75% of the population is involved in false religion, and probably more have never heard a clear Gospel presentation from the Bible.
Animals of Interest: Jaguars, Caimans, Sloths, Howler Monkeys, Horses, Anteaters, Coatis, Ocelots, Geckos, and Giant Otters, just to give a sample!
Famous Foods: Pepper Pot (Slow cooked Stew of meat, Caribbean peppers, cinnamon and cassava root sauce); Metemgee (stew of yams, plantains, cassava, and coconut milk curry broth); Fried Bora (a Chinese green bean, fried in a garlic soy sauce glaze).
Fun Facts: Kaieteur Falls is the number waterfall in the Worldwide Waterfall Database! Guyana is the only South American Country with English as it’s first language! Guyana means Land of Many Waters!
Missionaries: (Subject to Additions!)
Prayer Requests: Pray that the light of the Gospel will reach this nation and turn it around from an idol-worshiping nation to followers of Christ. FBN is heard in this country, so please pray that God will bless the broadcast and that the Guyanese people will hear the Gospel. And above all, pray for laborers to go and serve!
Don’t forget to check your list of missionaries at your church for Missionaries to Ecuador! Encourage your family to pray for them and perhaps send them a note of encouragement!
Have a blessed week!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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