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Hello, friends! Thanks for coming over for another Friday Reads! I have a treat of a book for you today!

The Book:
The Back Cover:

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Thoughts:

The first Roseanna M. White book I’ve read, I found myself in for a real treat! 🙂 The author immersed me in the time period immediately with just enough, but not too much, detail ~ I really enjoyed the amount of WWI history – and an “everyday” type of history – that peppered each page. From the way Roseanna described the scenes and characters, I was able to “see” them in my mind, as if a film played – lovely! – which made it hard to set the book aside when reading time was over for the day! 🙂 Though the novel takes place in the 1910s – same as Downton Abbey – the feel of the book is a little more gritty and less escapist… For one, our heroine/villainess is a “street rat” turned thief-for-hire, rather than a lady of noble birth.

Which brings me to an intriguing twist the author chanced – and which, for me at least, as a reader, worked. Rosemary Gresham is not only the heroine; she is also the villainess. Her goal throughout is to take down our hero, Peter, proving him a traitor (whether he is or not)… but not everything works out as planned. 🙂 Actually, Rosemary’s dedication to working against Peter throughout much of the book made it a little difficult to connect with her as a reader at first. (*spoiler!*) However, as her spiritual sensibilities waken, Rosemary becomes a much more sympathetic character, and by the end, I was rooting for her just as much as for Peter. 🙂

For in Peter, Roseanna White has crafted one of the best Christian fiction heroes I have ever met… To put it succinctly, he reminds me of Daniel Deronda ~ who, of course, we all know, is one of the best heroes ever to live within the pages of a book. 🙂  {If you don’t know this, you should grab a copy of Daniel Deronda and devote the next couple of days to finding this out! Haha! 🙂 } I think that what stood out to me most about Peter – though his virtues were many – was the deep integrity that filled his thoughts, actions, and motives. While he was by no means perfect, Peter’s sincerity and dedication to living out Biblical truth was unusual, yet entirely believable, and his discipleship strongly touches the hearts and lives of those around him.

I loved the way that the romance is somewhat restrained throughout much of the novel. This felt very life-like, given the characters and time-period. I also really appreciated the way that the spiritual journeys of the Peter and Rosemary provided the backbone of the novel… This is getting rarer and rarer, and so what a joy to see!

You may want to know that, while Peter doesn’t make a verbal commitment to Rosemary until she has become a Christian (which scene I loved – beautifully written and expressing the heart of the Gospel so well!), he does clearly express romantic feelings toward her and acts on those feelings by kissing her before that time, which I felt a little iffy about (and which actually seemed to be a rare out-of-character moment for him as a committed Christian man). 

On another note, fellow writers are going to love the little story within-the-story that happens, as Peter is writing a novel somewhat inspired by his experiences with Rosemary. His writerly quirks and habits amused me and felt so life-like ~ lots of fun! 🙂

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series, and I recommend A Name Unknown to older teen and adult readers who like historical fiction with suspense and romance.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

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Hello, friends! 🙂

Have you heard about this lovely, big giveaway? Yours truly 🙂 is participating in it, along with many other authors, from Suzanne Woods Fisher to Caryl McAdoo to Alana Terry ~ lots of variety! 
There are two winners: one gets a $50 gift card {which I would use to buy books if I could! Haha!}, and the other will receive all 30 titles {either as ebooks or softcovers!}.
{If you’re curious, my contribution for this giveaway is The House of Mercy, a tale of betrayal and love in Arthurian Britain.}
Enter by clicking the giveaway graphic below, which will take you to the giveaway page! 🙂 


See you Friday with a review for a great book! 🙂
Grace and peace,
Alicia G. Ruggieri

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Hello, friends! Welcome to another Friday Reads! 🙂

Today, I have the very great pleasure of sharing this space with my author-friend A.M. Heath… and her newest release, Out of the Ashes, which happens to be one of my favorite books of this year thus far. First, we’ll have an overview of this Civil War/Reconstruction novel, followed by my thoughts on it ~ Then we’ll pour a cup of tea {or coffee, if you prefer!} and chat with A.M. a bit ~ Last, but not least, is the giveaway! 🙂

The book:

Sometimes peace is won through battle.

Haunted by the memories he can’t escape, Ralph Williams wants to be left alone to lick his wounds. He doesn’t understand why he’s forced into the company of the one woman he least desires. Can God bring him healing through such uncomfortable circumstances?

Frank Harper thought he had left the war and its turmoil behind, but the home to which he has returned is anything but peaceful. When racial tensions arise in Maple Grove, Frank finds himself on a battlefield once more. He’s desperate for peace, but at what cost?

When George Chandler heads off to wed his beloved bride, things don’t go as expected. Just as George starts to get comfortable with what he believes is God’s new plan for his life, history threatens to repeat itself. Will he fight for the woman he’s come to love, or will he let her go?

The War Between the States has destroyed more than just a nation. In four years, it has damaged bodies and wounded souls until the people think that nothing is left. Will they find the healing they so desperately need from the God that loves them?

My thoughts:

Out of all three {thus far – two more are coming!} Ancient Words novels, this one was my favorite – which is saying something, since I really liked the other two, as well. In this third book in the series, A.M. Heath brings satisfactory closure to the storylines of characters who left my heart aching for them in the last book, In the Shadow of Thy Wings.

There are so many things to adore about Out of the Ashes, but just a few of them are:

  • The seamless way the history is woven into the fictional story.
  • The clear yet unforced Christian themes thoroughly woven throughout, not just “tacked on” ~ I love how A.M. does this in every novel, and this one is no exception: The title comes from the overall theme that God does and will bring beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
  • The well-developed supporting characters ~ each one rich and full in motive and background.
  • The multiple storylines that ended up intertwining at the end and throughout.

A.M. Heath is gifted at bringing flawed characters to life… By the end of these first three books, I felt as if I truly knew the characters, as if they had really lived. (Actually, when I came across a nonfiction history book about the area they lived in recently, I immediately thought, That’s where the Harpers lived! as if they might appear in the pages of the book!) If you love historical fiction, especially Civil War fiction, this series is a wonderful one to read. It is also great for high school age kids, in my opinion. While there is a good amount of “romance” in the storyline of some (not all) of the characters, it is carefully and organically included and steeped in the context of the story. The Ancient Words series effectively and creatively blows the dust off the historical account of the Civil War. At the same time, it convincingly helps us to see God’s hand at work in the midst of individual tragedy during that time.

From what I understand, Out of the Ashes brings the main historical section of the Ancient Words quintet to a close, and the first three can (at this point, in my opinion) be read as their own series ~ though I am, of course, anticipating the release of the final two books eventually! 🙂

Recommended for:

Young adult (14+) and adult readers, both men and women. The Ancient Words series would be a great literary complement to history classes and homeschooling. This series also makes wonderful gift for unbelievers who love historical fiction – The Gospel is very clear throughout all 3 books, yet, as I’ve noted above, not “heavy-handed.”

Now, would you like to pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or coffee milk, for you Rhode Islanders!), and we’ll visit with the author of Out of the Ashes?

How did you come to write fiction?

A.M. HEATH:

For my part, it was an accident. Lol I started a campfire story game with a group of friends online. The idea was to tell part of the story and take turns, creating something quirky and fun. But oddly enough, there were only 3 ladies involved in the story even though there were well over 20 active women in the group. And in time, it was clear that the story we had crafted was anything but quirky. It was actually pretty good. And I was hooked. I began plotting out the direction I would steer the story in and the characters became a part of me in a way that fiction authors can relate to. In time, the Lord broadened my horizons and my ideas.

That is fascinating! And how did the idea for Ashes come to you?

There were two different legs of this idea. The first was the fact that Ralph’s story wasn’t complete at the end of In the Shadow of Thy Wings. He needed a happy ending. I had an ending in mind, but at the time I was planning to publish it as part of a spin-off series, but one of my critiquers recommended that I bump it up and write it next. So I did!
As for Ralph, his story came through my own experiences. My oldest son occasionally sleep walks. It’s amazing how they can move and talk and yet not know what they’re doing or remember it afterward. Then there’s my youngest son who was prone to nightmares whenever he was sick. He used to call out for me in his sleep but when I went to him, he wouldn’t respond. He had no idea I was there because he wasn’t awake at all. And lastly, there is my husband who grits his teeth in his sleep. I used to nudge him to get him to stop, but one night, I learned that I had only to lay my hand on him and he’d stop immediately. One particular week, all three of my men were active in their sleep and I was mulling these things over in my mind when the idea of a haunted soldier in need of a gentle hand came about. And I knew just the haunted soldier for the role too. 😉

I’m one very glad reader that you didn’t wait to give poor ol’ Ralph his happy ending! 🙂 Now, can you let us know a bit about what your goal is for the series?

The overarching goal of the series is to draw people to Christ. For those who know Him to grow closer to Him during their seasons of struggle. But also for those who don’t truly know Him at all to become saved. The first, fourth, and fifth books are more evangelical, while the second and third feature lessons on trusting God with your fear and pain.

That’s something that I love about this series: There is food for both believers and unbelievers in it.

What was your favorite part of Ashes to write?

The epilogue!! I have walked the trenches with these characters in a very special way. As you can relate to, having just finished a continuous series yourself, I have watched them struggle with God and come out on the other side. It was a blessing to me to sit back and type out the epilogue showing a complete healing for this family. Fun Fact: Where Can I Flee begins with a prologue from Olen Harper’s perspective. In this prologue, Olen is shaking his fist at God over his wife’s grave. It seemed fitting that I should end it from his perspective, only this time with joy in his heart. His circumstances didn’t change because his wife remained dead, but his attitude toward God had changed and that made all the difference. He could now look around and count the blesses where as before he could only count the injustices as he saw them.

What do we have to look forward to in the next two books of the series?

PLENTY! Although I plan to take a break before finishing the series, I’m looking forward to continuing the tale in Maple Grove. In the last two books of the series, we’re going to fast forward 150 years. It’ll be 2012 the next time we revisit Maple Grove. Allie Redman is the “main” main character of the remaining books. She finds and reads the letters written by Claire and Frank during the war and Claire’s message to Frank will impact Allie. Allie will also get a hold of Rachel Chandler’s diary and Rachel’s lesson on forgiveness will touch Allie’s life in the 5th book.

I can’t wait! But I must! 🙂 But back to the 1860s for now: Was there anything that surprised you when you researched for this series?

There were so many, many, many surprises. One of the things that surprised me was how the Lord had expanded my mind and enabled me to learn about things that I didn’t think was possible. I spent a lot of time reading first-hand accounts via letters, journals, and such. There were so many strange but true tidbits I had come across. But one of the most remarkable things was proof of a spiritual revival that took place in Bragg’s army while they camped out right here in my county. Bragg, himself, was reaffirmed at one of the churches in my hometown. As a Christian, it comforted my heart to know that God was moving in the hearts of these men who many of them would die within the following two years. But it was a fun fact that tied local history into what I was already doing in my book.

In future writing endeavors, do you see yourself coming back to the Civil War era?

ABSOLUTELY!! I think the 1860s would probably be my pet era. I love how you don’t need to create drama because the war itself brings it onto the page. I love that you don’t always know what’s going to happen next. War fiction, in general, doesn’t always “play by the rules” of Christian fiction and I find it refreshing. Fellow Civil War fans will be happy to know that I have a rather large Civil War series in development. Only the Lord knows when we’ll see any of these come into publication, but, at the moment, I’m planning to begin them after the Ancient Words Series is complete. Keep in mind that I’m about to venture off with a brand new series so it’ll be some years before Ancient Words is complete. But the upcoming Civil War series is 100% stand alone and will focus on the different aspects of the war: slavery, plantation life, nursing, spies, smuggling medicine, and carpet bagging to name a few.

Well, I simply must ask, for those of us who grieved at the untimely death of a certain character… {*spoiler alert for those who haven’t read Where Can I Flee} will Eddie come back from the dead in the sequel?

LOL Sadly, no. He won’t be. But I have some new charming heroes coming up that know a thing or two about being noble. While no one could replace Eddie Chandler, hopefully, you’ll find some more leading men to appreciate. 😉

Quick Answers from the author:

1. Book you’re reading right now?

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin. Now here’s a grand example of a war fiction author that doesn’t “play by the rules.”

2. Favorite fiction book you’ve read?

Hmmm. You said this would be quick but you didn’t promise it’d be easy. 😉 That’s such a hard question. I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and Persuasion has always been a favorite of mine. Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer also comes to mind. I read it twice in a year’s time so I’m pretty sure it qualifies.

3. You can go back to any time period and any place. Where would you go?

Oooo. Another toughie. Well, being a Civil War novelist, I’d really love to go back during that time, but I know this wouldn’t be an easy visit. On the upside, it’d be great for research! Lol

4. A Scripture verse close to your heart?

Proverbs 4:14 “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.” As a new Christian, this verse had taught me a lot about separating myself from sinful activities that I had once enjoyed.

Find A.M. Heath and chat with her {She loves chatting with readers!} at these places online:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AMHeathfanpage/
Blog: https://amheathblog.wordpress.com/

She’s also on Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest {check out her Civil War boards!}, but she’s most often found on her blog or FB. 🙂

In celebration of the release of Out of the Ashes, A.M. Heath is hosting a giveaway! 🙂 Please click the picture below to learn more and enter:

If you would like to purchase the books in this tremendously uplifting series, here are the links that will bring you right to them:

Book 1: Where Can I Flee?

Book 2: In the Shadow of Thy Wings

Book 3: Out of the Ashes

That’s it for today, friends! 🙂 Have a lovely and blessed weekend in Christ our Lord!
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

***

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I’m headed off on a mid-summer adventure :-), but before I depart, I thought I’d sum up what I’ve been reading this summer, in the midst of finishing/editing A Holy Passion.

Among the books I’ve read so far this summer are:

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

My thoughts: A breathtakingly beautiful and unique depiction of redemption, The Last Sin Eater ranks up with Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Trilogy. Not only is the premise both captivating and heartbreaking – a little girl needs to find the man dubbed “the Sin Eater” so she can be released from her intense guilt – but the story is written with many “layers” – Just as you think you have it all figured out, another aspect comes to light that you weren’t expecting but fits perfectly into the puzzle the author has created. Anyone who loves Catherine Marshall’s Christy will adore this, as the setting and time period are very similar to those in Christy, though the story itself is very different. 

Courageous Faith by Charles Stanley

My thoughts: Charles Stanley’s sermons and walk with God have strongly influenced my outlook on life in general, as I’ve heard him preach since I was a little girl… My mom listened to his sermons on radio and cassette while she did housework and drove – such a blessing! (Even if your children don’t seem to be listening, I really believe, from my own experience, that hearing godly teaching is so beneficial to their walk with God as they get older.) So, when I heard that Dr. Stanley was writing an autobiography, I was thrilled. This autobiography was not a disappointment, either — Like he always has, in his autobiography, Stanley continues to give God all the credit for any “achievements” and continually points his readers to “obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.” If you are looking for incredible encouragement from a man who has withstood – by the grace of God – incredible trials in his walk of faith, pick up this not-too-long-to-read autobiography. 

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Read the description HERE.

My thoughts: I’ve never read anything by Karen Witemeyer before, but others have long recommended her books to me. So when the option to review one came up, I thought that I would give it a try. 🙂 I loved the cover of this novel – the heroine looks like she is brimming with a very happy secret and the telegraph equipment intrigued me.

Overall, I enjoyed this easy-reading story and learned *a lot* about late 19th-century telegraphy ~ That unique historical backdrop of Heart on the Line really kept me interested. The author also includes an unorthodox hero – a “nerdy”, bicycle-riding fellow telegrapher who flirts in Morse code – which was a humorous touch that I enjoyed. Funny enough, since I could figure out what would happen with Grace and Amos fairly early on, it was supporting character Helen’s story that ended up really piquing my curiosity – I wish we had gotten to have a whole book for her! 🙂

Witemeyer has a deft touch with words, and her story is tightly-woven ~ The reading itself is really enjoyable (even apart from the story) as a result. Grace and Amos are distinctive individuals who truly felt like living, breathing people. I would have liked the Christianity of the characters to be even more involved in the storyline, but I appreciated that it was included. Taking everything into account, Heart on the Line was a fun story with a solid message of appreciating the way in which God makes us each unique.

A copy of this book was provided by Bethany House to me, and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

Currently Reading:

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection by Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert, Jocelyn Green, and Maureen Lang

9 Things a Leader Must Do by Dr. Henry Cloud

Next up:

Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman

The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

What are you reading this summer, friends?
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And we arrive at the last one of the “Summer Reading” lists! 🙂 Thanks for following along, friends. If you haven’t yet read them, you may want to check out the list for teen boys HERE, for teen girls HERE, for boys 11-14 HERE, and for girls 11-14 HERE, and the list for family read-alouds HERE.

Of course, there is a little give here regarding ages. 🙂 Older children will enjoy many of these books as well – After all, the best kind of stories are the ones that resonate differently but well with every age. 🙂

Every family has different expectations for what is appropriate for different ages… and, sometimes, even within the same family a book may be appropriate for one child at one age and not appropriate for another child at the same age. I encourage you to seek and listen to the Lord about reading material for your children ~ and if you have any questions that you think I might be able to answer, please feel free to ask! 🙂

Some of these books may be a little more geared towards boys’ interests, some more toward girls’ interests, but most of them are “gender-neutral” ~ both boys and girls will love them. 🙂

1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

2. Stuart Little by E.B. White

3. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis ~ 6-8-year-olds may find some of the Chronicles a little scary, so you may want to read them together – They are *wonderful* books!

5. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

6. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor ~ There are several books in this series, and each is *great*!

7. Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink ~ This is out-of-print currently (!), but see if you can find it in your local library because it is one of the most charming books ever written for this age! 🙂

8. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ~ Sweet and funny!

9. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ~ Another one with lots of good, old-fashioned humor!

10. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater ~ Simply a delightful story of Mr. and Mrs. Popper, who take their performing penguins on the road!

11. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary ~ Oh, Beverly Cleary, you had such an imagination! There are a couple of books about Ralph S. Mouse; be sure to get them all!

12. The Impatient Turtle by Janette Oke There are several others in this non-sequential series – They are all wonderful!

13. The Best of Woof by Danae Dobson ~ Lovely, fun stories centered around a dog named Woof.

14. In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson ~ Entertaining and funny, often with strong but gentle themes that reinforce Christian character.

15. The Bracken Trilogy by Jeri Massi ~ The Bridge is the first in this George-MacDonald-like trilogy, set in a medieval fantasy world – well-told stories!

16. The Adventures of Lily Lapp by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fischer ~ This series is great for modern kids to learn about the more-simple Amish lifestyle through Lily Lapp’s fictitious life.

17. The Green Ember by S.D. Smith ~ Kids will gobble up this fantasy series full of adventure. Best for 8+.

18. The Seven Sleepers series ~ This is a solid series that mimics C.S. Lewis’ Narnian Chronicles in some ways. Best for 8+, due to some scary scenarios.

19. The Spirit Flyer Series ~ Oh, this is one of the *best* series to teach kids about the very real spiritual battle in which we are engaged! Due to some scary elements, it’s best for 8+ or for a read-aloud.

20. God’s Good News Bible Storybook by Billy Graham ~ An excellent Bible storybook! My niece and nephew’s one fell apart from use!

21. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl ~ This is a very comical, imaginative story about a fox who outwits a trio of farmers. (Please note: I do not recommend all of Roald Dahl’s books. God gave him an incredible imagination, but please use discretion when choosing which of Dahl’s books your children read.)

22. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ Clever and imaginative, this one gets better every time you read it. 🙂

23. The Complete Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary ~ These are lovely, funny books, good for both boys and girls. Also check out her Henry Huggins collection, etc.!

24. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot ~ Sweet stories that help sensitize children to God’s creation. Inspired by Herriot’s own veterinary career.

25. The Borrowers by Mary Norton ~ This is the first in a very creative, old-fashioned series about a family of very tiny people who inhabit the houses of “big people.”

There are a lot for this age group! 🙂 I hope you’ve found some fun ones to add to your child’s to-read list this summer. May they be a blessing to you!

Grace and peace,

Alicia

I may happily share this post at: Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

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If you are new to this summer reading series, you can find a post brimming with suggestions for teen girls HERE; one for 11-14-year-old girls HERE; one for 11-14-year-old boys HERE; and one for families to read aloud HERE. 🙂 This post is intended for boys 15+, give or take a little. *However*, teen girls will also like many of these books ~ and teen boys may like some of the suggestions on the teen girls list as well. (Personally, I have read all of the suggestions and loved them all!) However, many of the books on this list do concentrate on manhood and its meaning, so keep that in mind. 🙂

As always, please keep in mind that different families have different expectations for what is appropriate for reading at different ages. 🙂 I encourage you to seek to listen to how God is leading you regarding reading material for your children and young adults – and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! 🙂

As usual, all covers are clickable affiliate links and will take to their “buy” page, where you may learn more about each book.

1. A Separate Peace by John Knowles ~ This is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel that takes place just before and during the early years of WWII. This would be a great book for a parent and teen to read separately and then come together to talk about what the story means. (Note: I do *not* recommend watching the film version of this book.)

2. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis ~ A comical but ultimately deadly serious conversation between a junior and a senior devil on the art of temptation. Highly recommended!

3. The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ~ A creepy, fast-paced, thought-provoking classic.

4. I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah by Ravi Zacharias ~ Excellent for those interested (admittedly or otherwise!) in developing a romantic relationship that pleases God. (Another good one for guys is Joshua Harris’ Sex Is Not the Problem – Lust Is, which can be found HERE.)

5. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle ~ Two 16-year-old boys get whisked back to the time of Noah and the Flood… and find themselves having to make very difficult decisions as a result. (Note: This is a strongly fictional take on the historical Flood account; L’Engle uses the fictional aspect to bring to light parts of the story we might never consider… such as, did Noah have other children? And what happened to them?)

6. Night by Elie Wiesel ~ The true account of a Jewish youth who endured the Holocaust, this book helps modern readers understand the plight of the Jews in the world, as well as helps them to see how God has preserved the Jewish people.

7. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ One of the best adventure/quest stories ever penned, this is full of inspiring heroism and self-sacrifice in cause of Truth.

8. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot, edited/compiled by Elisabeth Elliot ~ One of the missionaries who died at the end of an Auca spear, Jim Elliot’s diary is as vivid, honest, and forthright as the person he was – wonderful insight into sacrificial living, true manhood, purity, the call and will of God on one’s life, and more! Highly, highly recommended!

9. The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun ~ If your son wants a true story of God’s grace in one’s Chinese believer’s life when he stood against satanic powers and endured torture and miraculous deliverance, read this autobiography of the man known to his own people as “the heavenly man” because he is so close to God.

10. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel ~ An investigative journalist looks into the claims of the Bible – well-written and researched. When read and used prayerfully and sensitively, this is a great tool for evangelism and apologetics.

Bonus! 🙂

11. From the Dark to the Dawn by Alicia A. Willis ~ The exciting and often heartbreaking tale of a Roman captive who becomes a Christian and attempts to win his master to Christ. A well-told story that has the feel of a 19th-century classic with the readability of a contemporary novel.

I hope this list has given you some good ideas and will be a blessing to your family! Next up, Lord willing, is a list for children 8-11. 🙂
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

I may happily link this post up at:

Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

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At the time of this writing, summer is almost officially here! 🙂  If you missed last week’s family read-alouds post, you will find it HERE; book recommendations for boys 11-14 are HERE; and book recommendations for girls 11-14 are HERE. Obviously, these lists are only a starting point ~ There are lots and lots of wonderful books out there, but I’ve created these lists to give some (possibly) fresh ideas and/or to get you started. 🙂
Below, you’ll find some recommendations for wonderfully refreshing, edifying, captivating books for girls 14 and up ~ I’ve selected these books very carefully, weeding out books too full of fluff and romance inappropriate to the age group, and I’m hoping that this list will be a blessing to you and the young ladies in your life this summer! 🙂

As usual, the book covers are clickable.

If your daughter likes Biblical or ancient historical fiction, try…

1. Counted with the Stars (Out of Egypt, Book 1) by Connilyn Cossette

If your daughter is fascinated with the Puritans, the Quakers, or early New England, try…

2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare {This book is about those whom others accuse falsely of witchcraft, not about actual witches.}

 

If your daughter has a love for missions work, turn-of-the-century life, or the series When Calls the Heart, try…

3. Christy by Catherine Marshall

If your daughter likes to read true-life stories that are very down-to-earth and well-told, as well as inspiring, try…

4. Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada

If your daughter likes to read about WWII, the Nazis, and the triumph of Christ in the midst of terror, try…

5. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

If your daughter enjoys family sagas with fascinatingly interwoven plots and mysteries to untangle, as well as Amish life, try…

6. Abram’s Daughters series by Beverly Lewis

If your daughter loves contemporary fiction and you want her to see how faith works in everyday teenage decisions, try…

7. The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn

If your daughter enjoys Little House on the Prairie, try…

8. A Prairie Legacy series by Janette Oke {also on my list for 11-14}

If your daughter wants to learn more about a God-honoring way to navigate the tricky waters of young adult/early adult romance, try…

9. When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy {note that I have not read the expanded edition that is linked here 🙂 }

If your daughter is fascinated with Scotland in times of old, there’s nothing better than…

10. The Poet and the Pauper (adapted for modern readers from the classic Sir Gibbie} by George MacDonald {Teen boys will also enjoy this one. :-)}

May this list bless you and your young ladies, my friends!
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

I may happily link up at these places this week: Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

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{This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.}

After I started the summer reading series {which you may find here and here so far}, a couple of folks have asked if I could to put together a list of really interesting, multi-age-appropriate family read-aloud chapter books – the sort of book you can pull out and read through as a family and everyone – from the parents to the youngest child – gets something out of it.

This is perhaps my favorite list of all! There are *so many* really wonderful books that are hard for children to wade through on their own, but they love when they are reading together as a family. One of my favorite memories from my childhood comes from when I was around maybe 3, all gathered together with my sisters on my parents’ bed, with my mom reading Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. I can still recall the picture that formed in my mind of that runaway prince taking refuge in the forest with a badger. 🙂 At 3, I could never have read Prince Caspian on my own, but my mom could read it to me – and I loved it.

May I encourage you to read together as a family? Even if you cannot do it at a scheduled time every day or every week, just try to do it together sometimes. Even if one parent doesn’t care to participate, the other parent should do it anyway. Reading aloud is invaluable in so many ways… It opens up the pathway of the imagination, it gives good fodder for talking about our faith in Christ, it encourages family closeness, and it warms the children’s hearts toward good literature.

So pack a book this summer along with your tent :-), and plan to read by the family campfire — even if it is indoors! Here are 10 wonderful, multi-age-appropriate suggestions for you ~ As usual, click any cover to learn more about the book:

1. This beautiful story is told from the perspective of the horse – yes, you read that right – the horse. 🙂 This highly-accurate account of animal care and abuse recounted in a fictitious way brought about heightened sensitivity and reform for carriage horses in 19th-century England ~ and we could all use heightened sensitivity toward our God’s creation. 🙂 After you’ve finished reading this one, you may want to watch THIS film version of it – really good!

2. What is a family read-aloud list without The Chronicles of Narnia on it? 🙂 If you’ve not read these together yet, pop some corn, melt some butter, and settle in to read! Equally good when read before the air-conditioner and before the fireplace. 🙂 If you want a wonderful Radio Theatre version of it to take along on a road trip, Focus on the Family produced THESE – I highly recommend them… and I usually cry during The Last Battle. 🙂

3. Who doesn’t love Anne once they’ve been introduced? There are no books like L.M. Montgomery’s to whet the imagination. 🙂

4. The Little House books are well-worth reading together and talking about the characters and their decisions ~ I am so thankful for these books!

5. One of my absolute favorite fantasy books! Every single person in your family with an open heart will gain something from valuable from The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, a 19th-century poet, preacher, and novelist… sometimes called the father of children’s fantasy literature.

6. This is one of four beautiful, big books by Yorkshire vet James Herriot… The TV series from a few decades ago cannot compare to these wonderful tales of life in the 1930 & 40s as a rural vet. Each chapter reads as a separate story with some characters running throughout. (Note: There are a *very few *”off-color” stories mixed in… We just skip those. 🙂 )

7. Oh, The Wind in the Willows! If you’ve not read these with your kids, you are in for a treat and a half! 🙂 Perfect summer reading for that 1/2 hour at the beach when everyone still needs to air-dry. 🙂

8. John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is a must-read and has been for centuries… In the 18th century, often a family would own two books: The Bible and The Pilgrim’s Progress. If you haven’t read this one yourself, you will be delighted and challenged as you work through it with your children. I’ve linked an original-language version below because that’s the one I prefer (I like the depth that the Scripture and old-fashioned language adds.), but there are several very good “revised” / modern language editions available. If you only read one book together this summer, read this one. 🙂

9. When read aloud, Dickens is absolutely hilarious and heart-wrenching in the same story. (I’d argue that he’s equally good read silently. 🙂 ) Do not – I repeat, do not – hesitate to pick up Oliver Twist because it’s long or because it belongs in that sometimes-frightening category of “classic literature”. You and your children will love this fascinating glimpse into 19th-century London, guided by one of the most gifted English writers.

10. Ah, The Secret Garden! What better time to read this than in summer? Though sometimes folks think of this as a “girly” book, *it is not* – It is a wonderful story of how love and kindness heals the hardest of hearts – The story can be linked to the Gospel in many ways. (Note: There is a scene in which the children play at magic/believing in the power within oneself that you may wish to either skip over or just read and discuss why you disagree with it Biblically. The book as a whole is excellent and edifying, so I would just take that little part as an opportunity for discussing something with kids… another great reason to read-aloud! 🙂 )

Looking forward to getting more summer reading lists up soon, friends! 🙂 I hope this has been helpful for you.
Grace and peace,
Alicia

I may happily join link-ups here:

Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

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Ever since I posted 10 Fun Summer Reads for Girls Ages 11-14, folks have been asking me if I’m planning to post one for boys. Here it is, friends, a couple of weeks later than I’d thought to post it, but better late than never 🙂 – 10 books that your boys will enjoy and benefit from and which you won’t have to worry about handing off to them. (As a side note, girls of the same age will probably enjoy some of these, too, but they are a little more geared toward boys’ interests, in my opinion. 🙂 This list was hard to make — not because of the *lack* of books, but because there are so many great ones for this age group! I can’t wait to get to the next few lists for younger and older readers, as well as the read-aloud list.

{As with the list for girls, all the book covers are clickable affiliate links.}

1. This historical fiction adventure involves a young boy named Johnny who finds courage in the midst of a revolution. Really excellent, exciting, and thought-provoking reading!

2. This book has a really interesting (well, to me, anyway!) character at the forefront: Pocahontas’ son, who returns to America. It is well-researched and adventurous!

3. Another Colonial American one, this is the first in a series that goes through American history. This series is great for kids even a little younger than this age group, but it’s also entirely appropriate for 11-14-year-olds.

4. This is just a fun, slightly scary adventure – and a classic!

5. Usually, when I think of Lousia May Alcott, Little Women comes to mind – classic girls-oriented literature. But this gifted author also wrote an equally wonderful novel for boys (well, girls may read it, too! 🙂 ) — and this is it! 🙂

6. Oh, Marguerite Henry! You wrote such engaging books! For any horse-loving boy in your family, this is a great read… and there are lots more Marguerite Henry books, too, if he likes this one!

7. Such a beautiful heartfelt story of a boy and his dog! (There are sequels to this as well.)

8. This one found its way to the girls’ list, too… It is just too good for either gender to pass up! A Jewish teenager in the first century joins a rebel Israeli band in order to defeat the Romans… but he finds that he must conquer the hatred in his heart, instead.

9. A medieval story how a lame boy discovers the “door in the wall” that God provides so that he might fulfill his father’s wishes.

10. This is the first in Frank Peretti’s Cooper Kids series — They are all well-written and exciting, besides strongly portraying in a biblical way the spiritual battle in which we are engaged. Highly recommended! (Note that these have some pretty intensely frightening moments.)

11. Yes, here’s a bonus one! 🙂 I completely forgot about this series and really wanted to include it because it is so good for boys in this age-group. If your young man likes sports, friends, and mystery, then this is a super series for him. It starts with this book, but you can pick up anywhere in the series:

 

So that’s 10 – er, 11! I hope that this list is a helpful resource for you, friends. 🙂 Next up will be a list of books appropriate for family read-alouds, whether around the campfire or cozied up together inside.
Grace and peace,
Alicia

 

I may be happily sharing this post at: Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

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The Secret Slipper {Tales of Faith, Book 2} by Amanda Tero
From the back cover:

Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

My thoughts:

What a lovely and unique twist on the classic story of “Cinderella”! Often, fairytale retellings feel a little forced, trite, or unoriginal to me, relying too much on the original story to capture the reader’s interest… and bringing a cringe or a yawn when I read them.

However, Amanda Tero’s new novella The Secret Slipper is not forced, trite, or unoriginal. It hinted just enough at the original fairytale to bring a smile to my face when I made connections  between this story and its inspiration, yet it had such an independent, confidently-told plot of its own that The Secret Slipper held my interest until the very last page.

One of the most unique twists to this story involves Tero’s switch of the usual “Prince Charming” {a romantic character} for Lord Raoul, who is Lia’s father. This causes the emphasis of the story to rest on the personal character growth of these two main characters {Lia and Raoul}, rather than upon a romantic relationship, which was incredibly refreshing to see! It also makes the book appropriate for a wide range of ages. I enjoyed it as an adult reader, and I know that my 12-year-old niece is going to love it, too! 🙂

Purchase The Secret Slipper HERE

Or Purchase Signed Copies HERE (U.S. only)

Purchase Befriending the Beast {Tales of Faith, Book 1} HERE

Keep reading for the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!
About Amanda Tero

Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda

Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com

Website: http://amandatero.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaterobooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amandaruthtero/

Blog: www.withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmandaTero

Now for the GIVEAWAY! 🙂

To celebrate The Secret Slipper‘s release day {hooray!}, Amanda Tero is giving away BOTH current titles in the Tales of Faith series! {Please note that this is a multi-blog giveaway.} Enter through the links below, and feel free to share! 🙂

U.S. Giveaway: Enter to win the set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper”

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/483ac2ab21/?

International Giveaway: Enter to win the eBook set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper”

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/483ac2ab22/?

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