A Brighter Destiny: The Blog

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

Read more

This post uses affiliate links.

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

Read more

{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

Read more

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

Read more

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/?

Read more

Hello, friends! 🙂

By special request today, I’m featuring 10 books – that’s about 1 for every week of the sticky summer season – that your 11-14-year-old girls will love to read… and for which you won’t have to worry about the content! 🙂

Please Note: Books that made it to my list for this age group may contain some light descriptions of violence, thought-provoking (but age-appropriate) themes, and a smidge of romance (Little-House-on-the-Prairie-style). If you have any questions about content, feel free to e-mail me! 🙂

1. This is a beautiful, historically-researched account of Pocahontas that especially highlights how she came to believe in the Living God. Highly recommended!

2. A heart-pounding tale of how a young Jewish man finally forgives his enemies… by the power of Yeshua.

3. I loved this series when I was in late elementary and middle school! They remind me of a mix between Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. Be sure to check out the rest of the books in the series – There’s one for every age!

4. One of my favorite books when I was in middle school! I also love the sequel to this, The Golden Road. {I loved these more than the Anne books by the same author!}

5. What is not to love about Beverly Lewis? Her stories are solid Biblically, and no one can quite tell a tale like she can! This is a great series for this age group and even a bit older. I love how the publisher has now grouped the series of 10 books into 2 large 5-in-1-volume books.

6. I recently re-read this as an adult and see with fresh eyes how excellent this simple, sensitive, and honest novel is for young teens. This is the first book in a series, but it can definitely be read alone as well. {For those of you who love Love Comes Softly, this book is about one of Marty’s granddaughters!)

7. One of the best Christian-themed fairytales I have ever read, this will remind you of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia! There is also a sequel: The Princess and Curdie, which just simply gets more lovely the older you get!

8. I love Amanda Tero’s short stories and am looking forward to the release of the second book in her faith-influenced fairytale novella series! Girls will love this fresh, interesting take on Cinderella.

9. You can trust Michael Phillips for an excellent story, fine writing, relatable characters, and worthy Biblical themes woven throughout! I highly recommend this wonderful series, starting with this book:

10. This is an out-of-print series {as far as I know}, but it is well-worth snatching up what copies are available! In Colonial America, Sarah learns about her family, her God, and her world in deep, enriching, and engaging ways in these beautifully-written books. Highly, highly recommended!

So there you have it! I hope that you’ve found some good books to bless the girls in your life with this summer. Do you have any other suggestions? Please leave them below ~ I’d love to hear them! And join me again soon for another reading list – this one aimed at boys 11-14! 🙂
Grace and peace,
Alicia

You may find this post at the following link-ups: 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, Homemaking 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

Read more

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis

When a well-to-do family asks Sallie Riehl to be their daughter’s nanny for the summer at their Cape May, New Jersey, vacation home, she jumps at the chance to broaden her horizons beyond the Lancaster County Amish community where she grew up. Sallie has long dreamed of seeing more of the world, but her parents are reluctant for her to put off baptism yet another summer, and the timing is unfortunate for Perry Zook, who has renewed interest in courting her.

Though she loves nannying, Sallie has free time on the weekends to enjoy the shore. It is there that she meets Kevin Kreider, a marine biology student who talks freely about all he’s learning and asks about her interests, unlike most of the guys she grew up with. Time with Kevin is invigorating, and Sallie realizes she’s never felt quite this alive around Perry. Then again, Kevin is Mennonite, not Amish.

Sallie tries to brush aside her growing feelings for Kevin, but she fears what her parents would think about her new friendship. Just as concerning, however, is Sallie’s realization that her time in Cape May is increasing her desire to see the world, challenging her plans for the future. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will Sallie only find what her heart is longing for back home in Paradise Township?

My Thoughts:

Wow! This was a beautiful book in many ways, straight from its ethereal, ocean-splashed cover down deep into its strong, hearteningly Biblical message. Friends, you know how eagerly I await each new Beverly Lewis release – always with bated breath, always with a slight feeling of trepidation that maybe this new one won’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from this gifted author.

The Ebb Tide was not a disappointment! Lewis draws life-like characters, from our main character Sallie to her Mamm and Dat to her would-be beau Perry.  My favorite character of all, though, was Cousin Essie – a single older Amish woman full of life and true wisdom. In Essie, the author truly depicts a woman of dignity and strength.

I also really appreciated the way Lewis shows that sometimes God calls someone to move outside the sphere into which they were born ~ and yet she manages to depict this without giving her heroine a headstrong, rebellious streak. Instead, Sallie – with the guidance of her elders and not without error at times – begins to listen not to her own heart nor to the voices of everyone around her, ultimately, but to the Lord God Himself.

Lovers of the ocean {I’m smiling myself here!} will really enjoy Beverly Lewis’ descriptions of Sallie’s days at the shore – They are so realistic that I could nearly taste the salty sea! 🙂 Along with this, Lewis adds details to the everyday lives of her characters that many authors skip — and so she adds a strong feeling of authenticity to the novel. I really loved that!

Though it is written for adults, The Ebb Tide seems appropriate for readers 14 and up to me ~ Young adult readers will love it just as much as older readers!

Find The Ebb Tide HERE.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a review copy of this novel. I was not required to provide a positive review ~ As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 🙂

You might find my posts at these link-ups: 

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, Homemaking 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

Read more

I love birthdays, don’t you? 🙂 Doesn’t it give you so much joy when the birthday girl or boy opens the gifts and finds delight in them, when the deliciously sugary cake is cut, and the celebratory song is sung over the person of honor?

Today, we’re celebrating a birthday here, and the honored guest is… {drumroll, please} The Sound of Emeralds, the third novel in Rachelle Rea Cobb’s Reformation-era Steadfast Love series. Read on to learn more about this enticing historical trilogy and its talented author, as well as to enter a lovely giveaway!

About the Steadfast Love Series

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

About the Author

Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago–her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She’s a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South. She is also the author of Write Well, a guide for writers, which released on March 4th!

Find out more:

Websitehttp://RachelleReaCobb.com/

Facebookhttp://facebook.com/RachelleReaCobb

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RachelleReaCobb

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/RachelleReaCobb/

Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Rea/e/B00RZHIL1Q

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144149.Rachelle_Rea_Cobb

And Now for the Giveaway! 🙂

Enter below for the opportunity to win *all three* of the Steadfast Love series, signed by the author. {Softcover giveaway is open to continental U.S. residents only; however, one international entrant will win the entire series in e-book format.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more

I have a recommendation for a much-loved book today for you, friends… and a giveaway! 🙂

A Woman Named Damaris by Janette Oke

From the back cover: 

She was almost fifteen on the night she dared for the first time to think of what life might be like away from home. Pa again had come home drunk and mean; the trauma of the subsequent scene had been repeated as long as Damaris could remember. The idea that she no longer needs to tolerate this, that maybe she’s old enough to manage on her own, is planted in her mind and begins to grow. She must plan her escape carefully, but she must get away from him.

When the opportunity comes, Damaris carries with her the strength of her mother’s love. Two treasures hidden for years from her father her grandmother’s lacy golden brooch and her grandfather’s lovely watch are Damaris’ only legacy from her past. That and her name. Her mother said it came from the Bible and had a special meaning that she can’t remember anymore. What difference might it make?

But Damaris can’t escape the “aloneness” that haunts her life or the bitterness she feels when she sees others suffering, particularly children. Ultimately, she must come to terms with her past, learn to live in her present circumstances, and trust her future to another Father.

A Woman Named Damaris is perhaps my favorite Janette Oke novel… yes, even eclipsing the Love Comes Softly series. 🙂 I only read it because I enjoyed that series {The Love Comes Softly series} and another one of Oke’s series {the one beginning with the book The Tender Years}, and to my great delight, I found out that A Woman Named Damaris was connected to those series through a character who is a minor one in those and the main character in this one. {Connected series are wonderful! You get to keep going and learn more about characters you didn’t get enough of in the last series.} So, I got my hands on a copy – Actually, I think I bought it originally for my sister, who loved The Tender Years even more than I did!

What a beautiful story Janette Oke has crafted in this unadorned, simple story of a young girl who runs away from her ugly past… and runs into the refuge of love and grace God has prepared for her. Each time I read this novel, my heart rejoices with Damaris as she learns the “secret message” of her name and then goes on to extend the great mercy she has received from Christ to others. A Woman Named Damaris shows how God pours out His love upon us – not because we are deserving, but because He is gracious – and how He in turn makes us gracious.

I’m giving away a copy of this wonderful novel – Enter below, and please feel free to let others know about the giveaway as well!

{Note: This novel is out-of-print currently – sadly! – and so the giveaway copy is a pre-loved one. 🙂 }

To enter, do ONE or MORE of the following

  1. Leave a comment, letting me know if you have a favorite Janette Oke book.
  2. Subscribe to updates from this blog – You’ll hear about each Friday Reads giveaway as they occur. I love sharing about books that I love, so thanks for subscribing to hear about them! 🙂
  3. Let someone else know about this giveaway by sharing it in some way.
Each action = 1 entry… Please be sure to let me know in your comment what you did so that I can give you credit for your entries! 🙂

Giveaway ends on 3/17/17. Winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 2 weeks to respond.

 

All comments are moderated and may take a couple of days to display. 🙂

 

Read more

Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink / illustrations by Fermin Rocker

From the inside flap:

It is the fall of 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression. Thirteen-year-old Minty Sparkes is already aware that she has a large responsibility for her family’s well-being, for although she loves her poetry-quoting father, both he and she realize that his verses and charm will not feed or house them and Eggs, Minty’s younger sister. 

How the Sparkes family manage during this penniless winter – and the unusual experiences they have – make a story that young girls will read with understanding, sympathy, and delight. A double-surprise ending adds to the reader’s pleasure, and the handsome drawings by Fermin Rocker capture the feeling of the characters and the locale.

My thoughts:

This is the sort of book that I want to hug when I’ve finished it. Though written for middle-grade children, Winter Cottage holds a story so lovely and timeless and sweetly simple that it is appropriate for all ages. Indeed, though it will enrich a child’s imagination and mind and heart, this book may become even more dear to older readers than to younger.

I first read this book just last week. Though I loved Carol Ryrie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn as a child, I didn’t know Winter Cottage existed until I stumbled across it on a below-eye-level shelf in my tiny local library. The sturdy hardcover has obviously seen a good deal of joyful wear-and-tear over the years, and on the pocket inside (the one that holds the “date due” card), someone has noted in red pen, “Shelve with Wisconsin books.” I really enjoy reading good children’s books (As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.” 🙂 ), and so I didn’t hesitate to add this one to my TBR stack.

One night after supper, I peeked inside – started reading the first chapter – and couldn’t stop! Winter Cottage enchanted me. Minty Sparkes (who was named Araminta after her great-aunt, in the vain hope that this would secure a share of that aunt’s inheritance) and her sister “Eggs” (named by her sentimental and poetry-quoting father “Eglantine,” a “name worthy of the poets”) began by securing my concern for them when – stranded in the northern Wisconsin wilderness with their father, their rickety car breaks down. What will they do? Where will they go?

Then they come upon a “summer cottage” – abandoned by its rich owners until the next summer season, nearly 9 months away. Surely, no one will mind if the Sparkes live there and take care of it? Surely, they can earn the rent to pay for their stay – even though they have no permission to stay at all? Eggs and Pop optimistically believe this; practical-minded Minty isn’t so sure…

But there’s nowhere else to go, and so an adventure ensues – one that hums with the molasses-sweetness of childhood, that makes your mouth water for one of Pop’s secret pancakes (after all, as he says, pancakes are the only thing he’s ever been successful at!), that inspires you to try a shadow play for yourself one of these snowed-in winter days.

And the ending! Though everything wraps up well, you will long for a sequel (there isn’t any 🙁 ) — which I take as the sign of a very good book, indeed. 🙂

If you’ve enjoyed Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn, or All-of-a-Kind Family, you will love Winter Cottage! Unfortunately, it is out-of-print, but many libraries still carry an old copy – as was my happy discovery. 🙂 (There are some  old copies for sale in various online stores, but they are expensive, so I’m not even going add a link to them.) This is also a great, great book to read aloud to the entire family.

Happy reading, friends!

Grace and peace,

Alicia Ruggieri

Read more