50 Books in a Year

She’s Twelve Going on Twenty by Kim Camp

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This was one of my first “daughter” books to read. I have read several books on raising boys, but not as many on girls. Kim Camp gives a good overview of a young girl’s life. She divides the book into 3 sections: your daughter’s spirit, your daughter’s soul, your daughter’s body. It is well-organized and has wonderful ideas to put the ideas into practice and make it part of your everyday life, instead of just a bunch of ideas you’re not sure how to apply!

The spirit section covers what your daughter believes about God, and how you help her in that area. As she grows up, she will likely have questions about other types of religions, and even difficult questions about God’s existence, and about the Bible. She may make other friends who believe differently. The author wisely suggests never “shooting down” her questions, but to approach her gently and go to the Bible together to discover why we believe what we believe, and why we wouldn’t participate in other religions.

The soul section has chapters on friends, boys, and peer pressure. It has a wide array of stories of others who have gone through difficulties, and how different teen girls approach certain situations. Again, there is much practical advice.

The body section talks about drugs, sex, and even eating disorders. Our girls are faced with so much in the media and entertainment today, and it is easy for her to get a false image of how she “should” look. I loved the author’s advice for you and your daughter to make lists of what the ideal woman should act and look like. Then you can compare them and see which ones are really important.

One of the resounding themes throughout this book is listening. It is SO important to listen to our daughters. They have so many emotions and feelings, and they need you to help them work through them. There is also mention of a “safe box.” When you employ this ideal you simply draw a square on a piece of paper and tell your daughter that no matter what she writes here, she will be safe. She will never be belittled because of this. It is a great way for her to open up and tell you things she’s been afraid of.

I definitely recommend this book and will probably pull it back off the shelf for a second read when my daughters get older!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Under a Blackberry Moon by Serena B. Miller

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This is the sweet story of a young Chippewa woman who finds love in more ways than one. Moon Song married a white man, much to the dismay of her elderly grandmother. Years earlier, Moon Song’s own mother had also married a white man and he had broken her heart, causing her early death. After Moon Song was grown and married to her own white man, she was widowed, and being far from home, she stumbled into a logging camp with a tiny newborn. She meets kind Christian people who help and love her. But she can’t stay forever. It’s time to go back to her own people.

Skypilot, nicknamed for his profession, agrees to see that Moon Song gets home safely, so they board a steamer and head up the Great Lakes. But tragedy strikes, and the two of them find themselves in the wilderness, struggling to survive.

Will this bring them closer, or drive them apart? There’s definitely a spark between them. But they have different faiths, and completely different cultures? Will Moon Song come to know the true God? Can Skypilot accept the ways of her people?

This is a fascinating read. Though the book is fiction, I was saddened to know that some of its contents were based on true stories. And the Indians were faced with very harsh treatment time after time.

The love story ends as one would suspect, but there is a twist at the end that makes the story so precious. Great book!

On sale now in your Revell bookstore, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

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He Wins She Wins by Willard Harley

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This was one of the most interesting marriage books I’ve ever read. The subtitle “Learning the Art of Marital Negotiation” gives a little hint to the bulk of the book.

Marriages are failing. It is so sad to see that those who actually do decide to marry, instead of just live together, have little chance of having a happy marriage, or even a decent marriage. With every passing generation, it seems that individuals are becoming more selfish. And that shows in their marriages.

Mr. Harley introduces a new method of solving arguments. Most of the time, the advice given to married couples is to compromise when it’s not “too important,” or to sacrifice because you love your spouse. But the method you will find in these pages both wowed me, and puzzled me!

He says you should BOTH reach an enthusiastic agreement to each and every problem that arises in your marriage. The main point is that if you both HAVE to be happy about the way the problem is solved, it will teach you to think of the other’s feelings, and not just your own. And that is good.

The down side to me is this: every now and then, I like a moms’ night out with some friends. My husband is not thrilled about spending an evening home with the children without me. But because he knows it is good for me, he agrees. Now, I know he is happy, but his happiness is only for me, not for himself. The author says this is not good for marriage because the spouse will eventually get tired of “sacrificing.” There are also things like this, that my husband does away from home. I am never “enthusiastic” about him being away, but I know it’s good for him. So, that is why I am puzzled. I just don’t see how it’s possible to agree enthusiastically about everything. I think some sacrifice and compromise is occasionally necessary in marriage.

However, the book targeted several problems in marriage: finances, kids, in-laws, etc. It was full of very good advice, and I feel it would greatly benefit any married couple.

On sale now in your favorite Revell bookstore, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

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When Avery gets handed a new case, a young Asian girl who was murdered, it hits close to home. Though she’s been a detective for several years, it’s always harder when a teenager is involved, since her daughter Tess is close to the same age. Jackson, the medical examiner is a great help to Avery in her cases, but lately there has been more than just work between them.

Could a serial killer be on the loose? That seems to be the case as they dig deeper. Until one night when Avery’s home is broken into, and Avery comes close to being killed.

It just isn’t adding up. Avery has had trouble letting go of the death of her brother, who was also an officer, working undercover. Could the two be connected? Or is the killer just trying to get Avery sidetracked?

The story was good here, but I think the author could have made everything clearer in the end. I’m still a little unsure as to her brother’s death, and the person she suspected of his murder all throughout the book. But even without the perfect clarity, this was still a good plot that held my attention through to the end.

On sale now in your favorite Revell book store, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport

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Sarah’s world changed when she was a little girl. When she arrived home from school one afternoon, she learned both her parents had been killed. She was immediately sent to an orphanage where she finished out her growing-up years. Simon Tewell, the young administrator, sees something special in Sarah. But can Sarah see it?

When Sarah, now grown and employed as a parlor maid, is out for the afternoon, a young society lady begins speaking to her. As they converse, and the young lady asks her name, “Serena Cuthbert” pops out of Sarah’s mouth. Thus begins the alternate life of Sarah. Since the family she works for is away for the summer, Sarah is able to befriend Lillie as Serena, and have a fun summer of outings and pretending.

But the plot thickens. Serena meets a young eligible bachelor. He is rich, and well-to-do. He is very interested in Serena. He can give her all she has ever hoped for. But are his intentions honorable? Will he find out her true identity?

Meanwhile, St. Andrews Orphanage is in trouble. Simon wants to get closer to Sarah – she has so much to give. Will Sarah see the truth? Will she be able to invent who she truly is?

This was a good read, from start to finish, with a classic happy ending.

On sale now in your favorite Revell book store, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

 

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Trapped by Irene Hannon

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“When Laura Griffith’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help. Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways – just forty-eight hours can mean the different between recovery and ruin.” Reads the back of the book.

This started out as most “missing-person-mystery-suspense” novels. Darcy runs away and you see glimpses into her brief time on the street. Those she befriends, choices she makes, as she waits out the mega-blizzard that just hit the city, preventing her from leaving as quickly as she wanted.

Laura is worried sick and hires Dev, a PI, to find Darcy. Sparks fly as they spend time together working on the case. But of course, a client is off-limits as a romantic interest, so that part will have to wait.

When Mark enters the plot, you know something is not right with him. But he is so kind and generous, and the man runs a day-care center for crying out loud! The story takes a completely shocking turn with Mark! Prepare to be completely and utterly stunned! This one is not as predictable as many other Christian suspense novels I’ve read.

I will not spoil the ending, but I was happy with it. 🙂

On sale now in your favorite Revell book store, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Promise by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

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Written by two great authors, this was a romance novel different than any other. In most novels, two people meet and fall in love, and the story ends there. Instead, this one picks up in the middle, with a marriage well underway, complete with children, and the stresses of life. Tom has a dark secret he feels he can’t tell Jean. So on it goes, month after month. He knows he needs to tell her, but he just can’t bring himself to do it. All the while, Jean feels she is losing her husband and maybe he is being unfaithful. But she has a little secret of her own which can only complicate things.

As the story goes on, you see a family’s love. You can see how they have all made past mistakes and are trying to undo the bad legacy they have created with a new one filled with hope, and of following God.

This was a sweet story, and one I could more relate to since it’s the middle of a marriage, not just the starry-eyed newlyweds. A very good read!

On sale in your favorite Revell bookstore now!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin

Set during World War II, this romance will keep you reading from start to finish!

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Georgie is a country girl from a farm on Virginia, but she followed her best friend into nursing school, and into the military to be a flight nurse. She knows her job, but she has trouble during a crisis, and it causes problems more than once. If only she could do it right! She knows she can, but when she no longer has her friend, will she have the guts to keep going?

Hutch is a pharmacist with the medical group on the battlefield. He knows his job and is very good at it. The army looks down on pharmacists, and thinks any medical personnel can do a simple prescription. But over and over again, they are proven wrong. Pharmacists are needed. But can Hutch and his father help America, and the Army see it before too many are hurt?

As the battle rages, lives are lost. Friends are forever gone. Georgie and Hutch meet each other, and form a great friendship. But both are engaged to loved ones back home. They both have a deep faith, and commitment to God and their loves, so they try to ignore the sparks flying between them. But as time goes on, that will change…

I loved this book and loved the time period. It gave me even more of an appreciation for the military, and for each person who does their job to keep our country safe. And the romance here is timeless! Definitely a winner!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Man in the Making by Rick Johnson

“As your son grows toward manhood, you can instill in him the values and character traits he will need to succeed. Highlighting famous men throughout history and the character trait that made each an outstanding model of manhood, parenting expert Rick Johnson gives you strategies to help mold your son into an honorable man. Johnson describes the lives of men such as

  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Benjamin Franklin

…and more,” reads the back of the book.

 

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Mr. Johnson has a very unique approach to this book. I love how he uses specific people and shows their character, and then follows through how each man learned the character trait and used it to succeed in life.

I must say, right off the bat I was disappointed in the introduction when Mr. Johnson said, “…I did not discuss [in this book] developing faith or spirituality within your son. Again, not because I do not believe it is vitally important, but because I wanted this book to be one that will reach parents of all faith walks and belief systems. I wanted the focus to be on raising sons to become good men, not necessarily ‘religious’ ones.” So, I felt like he shot through everything in which he preceded this comment. He said faith is vitally important, and was very visible in each of these men’s lives. Also, as a Christian, I am not at all interested in raising my sons to be “good,” but to be “godly.” So, that said, on to the positive!

I really enjoyed reading super-short biographies of each of these men who greatly impacted history. It was amazing to see how far some of them came, and how they “beat the odds” and made a difference in the world.

I was particularly interested in the chapter on Compassion and Empathy, highlighting the life of George Muller. In this chapter, the author tells us that he believes hunting is one of the greatest way to teach sons about compassion, and appreciation for life. Think about it, many boys today never set foot in the woods. They spend their days playing violent video games. These games create a very false perception of life and death. Because young men may never see what real life is like, and what it’s like to take it, they become more violent. But let the boy shoot a deer or a squirrel, and see it die. It will help him appreciate life, and see a true picture of what happens when you shoot a gun, or a bow and arrow.

I also really loved the chapter about David, and how he was a Warrior-Poet. He was such a tough man, doing battle, killing thousands. But all you have to do is read through the Psalms and you see his tender side. It is not bad to let boys participate in the arts, or in music. It is good for them. They need to create, and learn that it doesn’t mean they are sissy. But let them be rough-and-tumble. The book mentioned that society has become so feminized that often in schools, instead of two boys scuffling on the playground, they are forced to go to their superiors (usually a woman), to solve the problem. Not that we want to encourage them to be violent! Or to be bullies! But let them grow up to be men!

I think a really, really good point of this book is that the author points out that neither men, nor women are superior in our culture. God set man as the head of a home, and the pastors of churches. But women have seen such a need to be equal, that they have gone completely overboard! They make masculinity out to be brutal and uncaring, just to make women look better. But really men don’t have to be downgraded to help women feel more equal. Both contribute greatly to life, family, and society in many different ways. Don’t make boys think it will be bad to grow up and be a man.

This was a longer review than I usually write. I really feel there was a LOT of good content here that would benefit any parents of boys!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Big Year for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher

 

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This is Book 3 in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series for girls ages 8-12. It is the second in the series I have read. I have enjoyed the simple fun the children have in both volumes I have read.

Lily is the oldest of four children in an Amish family. She has all brothers and life seems so unfair in her young life. I have to laugh at her distress over things that seem so silly. But then I think back to her age, and realize that most “small” problems were larger than life to me, as well!

Lily is growing up and changing. She is upset when her teacher announces she will be getting married, and will no longer be teaching. She has a misunderstanding with her cousin, her best friend, and the two are constantly disagreeing on the character of Aaron Yoder. The schoolhouse burns down, and Lily mourns her very own box of 64 crayons that perished in the fire.

These chapters are short and cute. It would make great reading aloud with families. Lily learns so many lessons about obedience, jumping to conclusions, and simple kindness. This volume is filled with morals we all want our children to learn.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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