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“Below the Surface” by Tim Shoemaker

New Blog Location: http://bookreadingtic.com/

 Book Cover Below the Surface

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“Below the Surface” by Tim Shoemaker

Chills, Excitement, Mystery & Fun

This is the story of four teenagers, one girl and three boys.  They are all good friends who, along with their families, are taking a lake vacation together right before starting their first year of high school.

The action starts right at the beginning, and a mystery develops involving a missing girl who might have died–or she might not be missing at all.  There is a mix-up over the girl’s identity.  The teenagers in this story are immediately thrown into the middle of the confusion and possible danger.  Much of the story has the lone female teenager, Hiro, convinced that foul play has taken place, while the rest of her friends waver between partially believing her, to complete disbelief.

This is a real page-turner that involves lots of suspense and mystery along with believable dialog and situations.  Although this is the third book in a series, the story definitely stands on its own.  There is a small amount of referral back to earlier books, but it is easy to understand the story-line, and is not confusing.  I have not read the other two, but did not have trouble following Below the Surface.  The author states this is the end of this series.  I hope not, because I would like to revisit these characters after they have had some high school experiences.

I was pleased with the way the author handled the book’s characters that had fears which ran the gamut from swimming under water to doubts about fitting in.  Also, at the end of the book, the author has some great advice about fear, and what should be done when one experiences it.  I appreciated that this was a clean story written from a Christian point-of-view.  Although this book is supposed to be geared toward young adults,  the story and characters are so well-done that adults would like this tale as well.  I certainly enjoyed it, and highly recommend this 5-star book to adults, young and old alike.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Zonderkids/Thomas Nelson Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.

Author information:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTimShoemaker

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/TimShoemaker1

Website:  http://www.timshoemakersmashedtomatoes.com/

More Information:  http://www.zondervan.com/below-the-surface.html

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“Smoking Springs” by Robert C. Mowry

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 Book Cover Smoking Springs

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“Smoking Springs” by Robert C. Mowry 

Trails West

This is a fictional tale that takes place during the Civil War in The New Mexico Territory.  There is lots of action and adventure as the story unfolds of Texan Judah Ward who joined the Confederate cause with his cousin, Sam Houston McCoy.  At this time, the Confederate army is a rag-tag group that is almost starving, and is out-numbered.

This book follows Judah through military battles, shocking betrayal from a fellow soldier, Indian attacks, and dealing with sometimes deadly weather.  Judah also suffers horrible wounds that are so serious, it is doubtful he will live–and if he does, Judah will lose part, if not all, of a limb.  His Cousin Sam sticks by Judah through battles, and searches for medical care and help for him.

This is a clean story that has lots of twists and turns.  The tale also includes mining for gold, a small amount of romance, and a dysfunctional parental relationship.  There are many diverse characters, and they are well-developed.  The situations and people are believable.  I especially enjoyed the parts where individuals questioned God’s existence, and the conclusions that were drawn.  Also, I really appreciated the underlying theme of the story which was everyone deserves fair treatment.  A good example of this was Judah’s statement about how Bones should be compensated towards the end of the story–and the gift Judah gave to him.   I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys tales of the Old West or the Civil War.

The author provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.   All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest review. I have not been compensated in any other manner.

Author’s Website:   http://rcmowry.com/

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

TV Show Signed Sealed DeliveredSigned, Sealed, Delivered is a new family friendly television series on the Hallmark Channel.  It will be shown on Sunday nights at 8 pm, 7 pm Central time.

The show features lost letters that were meant to be mailed but for some reason have not been delivered.  There is a group of four people, postal employees, whose job is to locate the person the letter should have been mailed to and make the delivery.  These employees, two men and two women each have unique personalities and some quirkiness that adds interest to the show.

The show centers around the results these found letters have on people’s lives.  Detective work and mystery can be involved while searching for the true owners in these stories.

Martha Williamson, the creator of Touched by an Angel, is the creator and executive producer of this series. The show is planning on featuring scripture in its episodes and The American Bible Society is offering a Bible study that goes along with the series.  There is a sign up here:  http://www.americanbible.org/features/signed-sealed-delivered

I watched the segment that was aired on Sunday, May 25 2014. The show featured two individuals with Down Syndrome, and the effect a found letter had on their lives.  The show was very sweet and engaging. It didn’t have any objectionable language or scenes.  The end of the program had “The Wedding Song” (There Is Love) playing in the background, which has references to God.  I enjoyed the show, and believe people of all ages would like it.  It would be a great for a family to watch it together.  I highly recommend this 5-star program, and hope everyone tunes in Sunday nights to watch it.

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising):  I received a complimentary link from FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network to watch this show ahead of time.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest review. I have not been compensated in any other manner.

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If You Were Me and Lived In… Australia by Carole P. Roman

Book Cover If You Were Me and Lived in....AustraliaThis is a 24 page, soft-paper-bound book, with beautiful, bright colors and pictures throughout.  It is geared toward three to eight-year-old children.

The author covers a large range of topics.  She included information about some of the differences, and similarities, between America and Australia.  This included using mummy for mommy, however, dad is the term used in both countries.   She noted that the seasons are opposite, January is warm there, not cold.  Both countries use paper money, but American and Australian money are completely different.  At the end of the book, there is a page that lists Australian words that were used in the work along with pronunciation.

The author presents interesting information about Australia in a creative way.  I especially liked the Great Barrier Reef section.  Australia is a very big country to try to cover in a small book, so realize not everything could be included.   I do wish it had something specifically about the Aborigines, and had included kangaroos.

Since there is such large developmental difference in three-year-olds to eight-year-olds, it would be difficult to create a book that would interest children in that age range.  This book does try to do that.  There are lots of large, colorful pictures, and the topics included would be of interest to the targeted ages.  The vocabulary, though printed in a large font, is at a level that, I think, would be hard to read by the oldest children in this age range.  That would make this 5-star work a read-to-me book for everyone else.

I’d like to thank the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review, as well as, some goodies that represent Australia–pencils, Australian flag, blow-up globe, key chain and mini ball.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest review. I have not been compensated in any other manner.

Author’s Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/CarolePRomanAwardWinningAuthorAndBooks

Author’s Website:     http://caroleproman.com/

Author’s Blog:    http://caroleproman.blogspot.com/

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“A Table by the Window” by Hillary Manton Lodge

Book Cover A Table By The WindowThe story-line in this book immediately pulls the reader in, and then keeps the interest going to the very last page. The main character, Juliette, is from a family of restaurant owners and cooks.  Her French-Italian family is passionate about eating, cooking and each other.  Every Sunday night, Juliette’s parents have a family dinner.  This is a time for them to all connect with each other, but it can also be a time when this loud and boisterous group meddles in each other’s lives.  Secrets aren’t easy to keep with this group, and everyone has opinions they aren’t afraid to passionately share. 

Juliette works as a food writer and restaurant critic for the local paper.  Her brother wants her to help launch a new restaurant, but Juliette doesn’t know if she can juggle two jobs.  She also wonders about the conflict of interest that could develop as a food critic and owning a restaurant herself.  A nice inclusion in the book are recipes for some of the dishes prepared in this story. 

Recently, their beloved Grand-mère (Grandmother) has passed away, and her entire family is grieving, especially Juliette and her mother.  While looking through Grand-mère’s cookbook, Juliette discovers an old picture of a man hidden beneath the book’s cover.  This man is unknown to her, but he is the spitting image of her brother.  Thus begins the quest for  Juliette to find out who this mystery man is, and who he was to her Grand-mère.

After a long dry-spell in her love life, Juliette has started a relationship with Neil.  Although she cares deeply for him, this romance has some problems.  The main one is that Juliette lives in Portland, Oregon, while Neil lives in Memphis, Tennessee.  She doesn’t know if she can survive this long-distance arraignment.  In fact her brother is strongly encouraging her to give up on Neil, and go out with a local man he wants her to date.  

It has been a long time since I liked a book as well as I like this one.  The French-Italian heritage adds a richness to the story-line, the recipes sound wonderful, and the characters are believable and very endearing.  There is even a romance and a bit of a mystery–so the story is very interesting.  There are two things I disliked.  The first was the light amount of faith in a book that is Christian fiction.  However, I was happy the romance was kept clean and sweet. 

The other thing I didn’t like was the ending.  It seemed to stop suddenly.  That is when I discovered that this is the first book in a series.  I was glad to see that there is more to the story, but wished the ending wasn’t so jarring.  Despite that, this work does stand on its own, it is a 5-star read and I enthusiastically recommend it.   

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner.

Author’s Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/hillarylodge

Author’s Website:   http://hillaryonwriting.blogspot.com/

Twitter the Author:  https://twitter.com/hillarylodge

 

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“Alone Yet Not Alone” by Tracy Leininger Craven

Book Cover Alone Yet Not Alone

This is the true story of the Leininger Family, devout Christians, who had immigrated to America from Germany.  The Leiningers purchased land from the Indians, built a cabin and began farming.  The family often talked of the hardships faced in Germany before coming to this new land.  They gave God the credit for getting them through the difficulties they faced.  Their father told the children everyone has trials in their lives, but the thing that would help them, and could never be taken from them, was their faith in Jesus Christ.  Every evening the family memorized a Bible verse, and  they often sang hymns.  One of their favorites was “Alone Yet Not Alone.”  The entire family liked to sing, but they called Regina, the youngest, their “little song bird” since she loved to sing.    

This book takes place in 1755 during the French and Indian War.  At that time, the Native Americans had sided with the French, and because of that, believed all the agreements with the white settlers were over.  The Indians began systematically burning cabins, killing the adults and taking the children as slaves.  That is what happened one fateful day to the Leininger family.  Their mother and son, John, had gone to the mill when the cabin was attacked.  Their father and oldest son, Christian, were killed in their home, while sisters, Barbara and Regina, were captured and drug away by a band of warriors.

The book recounts the mistreatment the girls suffered at the hands of their captors.  They were made to be slaves, and ultimately the sisters were separated.  The many stolen children were divided up between the warriors who were from different trips.  Barbara, the oldest, was taken by the son of an Indian chief back to his village.  It was a trip of hundreds of miles that was all done on foot.  Regina was taken away by a Native American from another tribe.  Barbara fought to keep her sister with her, but to no avail.  The last thing Barbara told Regina was to keep her faith in Jesus.  She also told her to never forget that or Regina’s favorite song, “Alone, Yet Not Alone”–to keep them always in her heart.

The story tells of the trials and hardships faced by Barbara, as well as that of the other white people who had been taken captive.  The Native Americans forced them to rub black walnut juice on their skin and hair so it would not be obvious they were white people.  The lack of food caused the white captives to often go to bed hungry, despite working hard all day.  Barbara prayed constantly for Regina and her to be reunited, and for a way for them to escape.   As the years went by, Barbara kept her faith, but then she discovered that the Indian brave who captured her was planning to make her his wife in the spring.  Barbara was in a panic because she knew if she became his wife,  her chance for escape would probably be over. 

This book is based on a true story, and is very exciting to read.  It is an uplifting saga of Barbara keeping her faith, and holding on to her conviction that eventually she would make it back home.  This work is the heritage of author who is a descendant of  the Leininger family. 

A movie with the same title as the book will be released in June 2014.  I received a CD of the film’s soundtrack as well.  The theme song of the movie, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” is brilliantly sung by Joni Erickson Tada.  Although the book is geared to eight-year-olds and up, anyone who likes action, adventure or true stories should like this 5-star tale and movie. 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): This book was published by Zonderkidz.  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book and CD free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  Limit to USA & Canadian addresses only.

 

Author’s Information:  http://www.aloneyetnotalone.com/theauthor

Movie’s   Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/aloneyetnotalone

Author Interview:  http://drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=a42c5ae3-d4d2-47b5-930b-6425efe17437


 

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