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Showing posts from 2019

Our Castle by the Sea

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            I have been blown away by Lucy Strange. Our Castle by the Sea is her second novel and all I can think about after I've set this book down is that I hope she writes forever. I want to read everything she writes and I'm 26. How lucky the newer generations are to have an author like her!  Our Castle by the Sea , like Lucy Strange's first novel The Secret of Nightingale Wood , is again listed as juvenile fiction for 8-12 year-olds, but again like the first novel, I think any one older than that would find enjoyment in reading and learning what war is like from an 11 year-old girl's perspective.  Autumn 1939 -- "On the very first day of the war, Mags came home with a split lip."And after this, everything in Pet's life changes. WWII has barely started, but the people of Stonegate feel it. Anyone of German decent is arrested, including Pet's mom, and Pet can't imagine that anything could get worse, but it does. Growing up in a lighthouse,

Birds of Pray

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We have a new reviewer in the house! Twelve-year-old Logan Klassen, grandson of Barb, (she's been here for over 20 years!) who loves to read, has wanted to review some books for us and we're very excited about that! Some things to know about Logan are: he goes to Abbotsford Christian School and is in grade 7. He LOVES sports and dreams of one day being a sportscaster (I've heard he's very good at it already). He's involved in ball hockey, basketball, volleyball, cross country and track! "In 2017, when the Eagles (being the underdogs), won the Super Bowl, the team had many Christians on their team and they prayed regularly as a team. The team grew closer because of their faith. This book is good for sports fans who would like to read how faith and prayer can have a positive effect on a team." -Logan Klassen- For more information on Birds of Pray by Rob Maaddi, visit us in store or visit our website here .

Camp Average

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Why be number one when you can be number two?   Sports summer camp Camp Average (officially Camp Avalon) loves to boast about being in second place. Their team chant is “we’re number two!”. They never win at any sport, and Mack and the other boys of cabin 10 are quite happy with it that way. But this summer is different. This summer, they have new camp director, and this guy is hyper competitive and has one goal for their camp: to win. In an attempt to reclaim their easy going summer routine, Mack tries to lead the whole camp in a rebellion of utter failure. The boys will have to work together, and push through the torturous training Winston insists on putting them through in order to win back their Camp Average fun.   I picked up this book at the recommendation of a customer, and it was well worth it. Craig Battle, a Canadian author who has written for OWL magazine and has worked as a camp counselor, writes a great story. While I am in no way a sports fan, I found myself getting p

Far Side of the Sea

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Colin Mabry was briefly introduced in Kate Breslin's other WWI novel Not By Sight as the brother of Grace, that novels' heroine. In that story, he goes missing in action in the chaos of the European front. Picking up several months later, we find Colin attempting to come to terms with his new reality as an amputee; having lost his left hand in a tunnel collapse and haunted by memories of the terror he experienced. Colin is tasked with decoding messages delivered by carrier pigeons from France and he is shocked to receive a missive from Jewel (the woman responsible for once risking her life to save his, and one he long thought lost). Gathering the tattered remnants of his courage, Colin returns to France, determined to keep his youthful promise to rescue Jewel from the horrors of war. But instead of Jewel, another woman awaits him in Paris--Jewel's half-sister Johanna, who is determined to find her long-lost sister with the help of the soldier who had once captured

Within These Lines

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How can someone be loyal to a country that has cast him out? How can love survive when all the odds stand against it? How can goodness prevail when those fighting for freedom also violate the virtue they've gone to war to protect? In 1941, Evalina Cassano is an Italian American teenager living in San Francisco. Her family owns a very successful restaurant and she has a bright future ahead of her after being accepted to attend Berkley. But the heart wants what the heart wants and hers belongs to a young Japanese American boy named Taichi Hamasaki, the son of the produce farmers that help supply her parents’ restaurant. The relationship is difficult enough as it is, but on December 7th, the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor and overnight America develops an anti-Japanese sentiment. As the days continue, his family volunteers to go to Manzanar Internment Camp for the duration of the war. Communicating via letters, they at first seem sure their love will survive the separation. But Tai

Of Fire and Lions

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A little fun fact about me: I absolutely love the book of Daniel. Everything about that wonderful little book gets me so excited. Seeing how Daniel resolved to follow God in chapter 1 and seeing that same choice to have faith throughout the whole book despite everything that happened to him and his friends, inspires me to be like Daniel and have a faith like his. And it is so chock-full of God's sovereignty and his goodness and mercy towards Israel and Babylonians alike. It's just so great (even those prophesies)! I also just got done doing a Precept study on the book of Daniel. So imagine my excitement when I found out that Mesu Andrews' new book was about Daniel! Mesu Andrews (or her publishers) did such a good job at summarizing and leaving one wanting to know more on the back the book without giving anything away. So I'm just going to put that here for you because I don't want to give anything away either! "Belili wears her children's disdain like

Between Two Shores

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"She has always moved between worlds, but now she must choose a side..."  Jocelyn Green's third novel again follows the french theme. But this time taking place in North America in 1759 Montreal during the Seven Years' War between Great Britain, France, and the native tribes surrounding the Montreal and Colonies area. I've really enjoyed her previous books and I couldn't wait to pick this one up as well. Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral than to pick a side. Trading to both the French and the British, Catherine is suddenly thrown into the war when her ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, shows up and is taken prisoner by her father. Claiming to have information that could help end the war, Samuel asks Catherine for her help to escape since she knows the way to Quebec, but she's hesitant. Conflicted on whether or not to help the man who broke her heart, Catherine knows that New France is starving and cannot survive another winter with no food, Catherine

The Log Driver's Waltz

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I was so excited when I saw they had made a picture book version of the Log Driver's Waltz. I grew up listening to the playful, whimsical song from the 1979 original short film, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. The story is about a young girl whose parents want her to marry someone respectable and well-to-do - a doctor, a merchant, or a lawyer - but she is in love with a log driver, who woos her with his talent for dancing - a talent he has developed driving logs. It is a charming, lighthearted story that brings history to life. Jennifer Phelen has outdone herself with the illustrations. Her style combines elements of the 1920's - both city and country - and the 1970's, when the original film was created, and the pictures perfectly match the style of the song. There are some precious details that add an extra sweetness to the story, like the log driver checking his reflection in a waterfall before the dance. While this picture boo

Maid

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   Stephanie Land almost broke my tear ducts with her memoir. Maid is a crucial, desperate, important installment in showing that people in poverty are some of the hardest working, least appreciated, most disadvantaged people in our society. The next time I hear someone say people in poverty are lazy, I hope I can recommend this book to them.    Maid : Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive    Stephanie Land is a single mother struggling to escape domestic abuse, to keep custody of the child her partner never wanted but fights her for at every turn, and to provide enough for her daughter so they can at least survive. She narrates a messy, belittling, dehumanizing journey of food stamps that never provide enough food, homeless shelters that can't offer proper shelter, and low-income housing that could be ripped away at the merest threat of a $50 emergency.    "Struggling to make ends meet" is probably the most passive, deplorable, understatement o

The Curse of Misty Wayfair

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   Questions of identity, family conflict, wondering whether God cares, and ghostly apparitions popping up in windows to scare your socks off...    I love Jamie Jo Wright. She writes creepy in a truly wonderful way.    Much in the style of her debut novel, The House on Foster Hill (read my review on that here ), The Curse of Misty Wayfair is written split between two timelines - 1908 and present day. Between Thea Reed, lonely orphan and postmortem photographer on the search to find her mother, and Heidi Lane, visiting her own mother who struggles with dementia, Jaime Jo Wright spins another brilliantly frightening novel. The curse of Misty Wayfair is an unexplained phenomenon lingering over a place called Pleasant Valley, where both characters seem to find their way home. An old, questionable asylum in the woods and sightings of a woman long-believed dead - in both timelines - make for a chilling and terrific tale of mysteries, relationships, mental illness, and old fam

Before We Were Yours

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"Did you know that in this land of the free and home of the brave there is a great baby market? And the securities which change hands...are not mere engraved slips of paper promising certain financial dividends, but live, kicking, flesh-and-blood babies."  --From the Article "The Baby Market ," The Saturday Evening Post, February 1, 1930. This book made me feel A L L the feels.  I can't believe this book is based on fact. I had never ever heard of Georgia Tann, the woman who pioneered child trafficking in America during the Great Depression, and all that she got away with...makes me so angry and breaks my heart all at once. Although the children in this book didn't actually exist, their stories are based on real stories from real survivors of Georgia Tann's children's home. The book follows present day Avery Stafford and twelve-year-old Rill Foss. Rill and her four younger siblings: Camellia, Lark, Fern, and Gabion, grow up on the river i

Educated

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You know it was a great book when, after you finished it days ago, you find yourself still thinking about it. I'm at a loss for words. It has been ages since a book has affected me like this emotionally. I've got no flowery language, no qualms, nothing. All I really have to say is wow. Educated is the memoir of Tara Westover, who didn't step foot into a classroom until she was seventeen. Born to survivalist Morman parents in the mountains of Idaho, she grew up preparing for the end days by sleeping with a "head for the hills" bag and spending summers canning anything they could. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a nurse or a doctor. Serious injuries were treated at home by her mother, a self-taught midwife and herbalist. And because they were so isolated from anyone, there was no one to intervene when one of her older brothers became violent or when her father became even more extreme in his beliefs.  Then, lacking any formal education, Tara beg

The Color of Lies

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   Far be it from me to sneer at a title where they spell [colour] without the 'u'. Unusually enough, it wasn't the title of this one, or even the cover, that drew me. It was the concept.     Ella Cleary has a rare medical condition known as synesthesia, which messes with her brain and senses, allowing her to read people's emotions based on the colour that appears around them whenever she looks their way. So when a stranger approaches her exuding no colour at all, and calling her by the name "Nora" which she hasn't used since she was three years old, she has every right to be confused. Cautious.    Downright suspicious.    Even more unnerving is that he wants to ask her about a murder she's certain she never witnessed. She's not even sure she believes it happened, because first of all, her parents died in a fire--there was no murder involved, just a freak accident. And second of all, she wasn't ever there to see it.    C J Lyons evokes

Racing to the Finish

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    This isn't the sort of book I would expect myself to read. Not because women can't enjoy NASCAR, but because I thought I'd had enough of NASCAR to last a lifetime. My brother, who is 5 years younger than me, spent a few years, a decade and more ago, obsessed with the sport. He could name every driver's stats, and not just NASCAR, but Formula 1 and IndyCar as well. There was always a race on TV, and so the names and locations found their way into my world as well. Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson were household names. While I would occasionally watch with him, and had my favourite (Jeff Gordon), NASCAR was not my favourite thing in the world. It may have had something to do with the fact that the Daytona 500 often fell on my birthday, and there was no way my brother was missing the Daytona 500.    As I began to read Racing to the Finish, it felt like I was going back in time and back to my childhood, as names and places I'd forgotten were in the forefront of the

Hidden Among the Stars

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This book is a wonderful story that sees Callie, a bookstore owner in small town America, being given an old copy of Felix Saltern's classic children's book "Bambi". Inside she finds the original owner's name, Annika, and also a list amongst the pages, written in German. The list seems to be of valuables such as ruby bracelets, candelabras and the like, but why are they in an old children's book? And who exactly was Annika?   We go back in time to Austria in 1938, where Annika is a caretaker, along with her father, of an estate in the lake region of Austria. The castle is owned by a wealthy Viennese family as their summer house. Annika is in love with the owner's son, Max, but does he share her love? Or is there another that has captured his heart?   We slide between the two stories as Callie, aided by university lecturer Josh, try to find out what happened to Annika, and what the list is for. She also wants to find any remaining members of Annik