Book Review: A Future for His Twins

Happy Monday, Reader Friends!

I hope you had a great weekend. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Susanne Dietze’s A Future for His Twins. Have you read it? If not, check it out.


About the Book

Will these children get their greatest wish?

A battle over a building

could lead to a mother for his twins.

Tomás Santos and Faith Latham both want to rent the same building in town, and neither is willing to give up the fight. But Tomás’s young twins want a new mom—and they’re sure Faith’s the perfect fit. Can these little matchmakers inspire Tomás and Faith to put their differences aside and become a family?

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My Thoughts

This was my first Susanne Dietze read and just as sweet as the cover. Tomás Santos and his twins are adorable and have some scene-stealing moments. I also liked the heart and kindness in the heroine Faith Latham.

Both Tom and Faith want to enhance their community but can’t see how they can do so without crushing the others dreams. And there may even be a secondary character or two who don’t want to see them together.

This book was an adorable read and a great way to pass the afternoon.


About the Author

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s an award-winning, RWA RITA®-nominated author who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama.

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Book Review: Target For Revenge

ABOUT THIS BOOK

The North Korean regime is seeking revenge…

When Sun Lin’s old school friend Mack Remington shows up unexpectedly, she’s both surprised and suspicious. But when she learns he was attacked by members of the North Korean Regime, and the possibility they are seeking revenge against her mother for defecting years ago, Sun can’t ignore Mack’s dire warning. Unfortunately, she’s in the middle of a case, searching for a suspected North Korean nuclear bomb that has allegedly been smuggled into the city. She also doesn’t know where her mother is, to warn her. Despite her secret childhood crush on Mack, she reluctantly accepts his help.

Macklin Remington has always considered Sun a friend, they’d bonded during the years of Mensa boarding school. Seeing and working with her now, brings his protective feelings to the surface, along with an intense longing for something more. Working together, they fight assailants around every corner, while trying to track a small nuclear bomb, targeted for the upcoming presidential inauguration. The clock is ticking. Can Mack keep Sun alive, find the bomb, and convince her how much he loves her, before it’s too late?

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

I love reading suspenseful stories. Target For Revenge drew me in right from the straight as Sun encounters Mack, her friend from the boarding school they had attended, who was attacked by members of the North Korean Regime who are after Sun and her mother. Sun’s mother has secrets of her own and she does her best to try to protect her daughter. Laura Scott added a couple of surprises in Target For Revenge that kept me reading and guessing until the end.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m often asked when I started writing and I have to be honest, I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. I loved books as a kid and like many authors I ran out of stories that I liked to read so I began to make up my own. I wrote my first teen novel when I was thirteen and my first romance when I was seventeen. Of course neither manuscript was very good, but I never gave up and after I finished Graduate school I decided to take some time for myself and get back to my writing. I’m so glad I did!

I grew up reading faith based books by Grace Livingston Hill so writing for Love Inspired Suspense is a dream come true. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband of thirty-three years. My daughter Nicole is married to a wonderful man named Mike and my son Jonathan is a Registered Nurse at the same hospital where I work. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful family. 

I’m a dog lover and had to put my Westie named Mac down a year or so ago. I still miss him but now have a chance to dog sit for my sisters and brother. I try to incorporate pets in my my stories as much as possible

In May of 2017 I was the humble recipient of the Wisconsin Romance Writers Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m blessed to be a member of such an amazing group!

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Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Throwback Thursday — The Angel Tree

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a middle-grade contemporary holiday novel with a mystery element which highlights friendship, community service, and kindness.

 

About the Book

A heartwarming Christmas mystery and friendship story! 

Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, a tree appears in the town square–the Angel Tree. Some people tie wishes to the tree, while others make those wishes come true. Nobody’s ever known where the tree comes from, but the mystery has always been part of the tradition’s charm.

This year, however, four kids who have been helped–Lucy, Joe, Max, and Cami–are determined to solve the mystery and find out the true identity of the town’s guardian angel, so that Pine River can finally thank the person who brought the Angel Tree to their town.


This is a heartwarming Christmas mystery, full of friendship, discovery, and loads of holiday cheer!

‘PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY’ REVIEW:
“Full of the type of warmth and good cheer found in favorite holiday movies, author and PW reviewer Benedis-Grab’s lively tale spotlights the time-honored tradition—and can-do citizens—that make a small town great, even in the face of financial struggle. Nobody is certain who is behind the stately Angel Tree that appears in the Pine River town square each year, but everyone knows that when people tie notes containing their Christmas wishes to the tree, the wishes are granted. This year, middle-schoolers Cami, Max, Lucy, and Joe (all of whom have benefitted from the Angel Tree’s bounty) try to uncover the tree’s benefactor and thank him or her. As the kids puzzle through clues, they discover things that bring them closer to their families, neighbors, and each other—all in time for a satisfying, celebratory reveal. Ages 8–12.”

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I saw this book on the fiction shelf in the children’s section of the local public library a couple of weeks after Christmas last year. Since I love to read holiday fiction and non-fiction year round, I grabbed it, checked it out, and took it home.

This is a heartwarming story about four diverse middle-schoolers who make it their common goal to discover who the beneficent organizer and underwriter of the town’s Angel Tree and annual charitable holiday acts is. The person’s identity has been a mystery for over three decades, and these children want to do something wonderful to celebrate this person’s generosity.

The group of four–five if you count Lucy’s guide dog, Valentine, who is helpful in discovering some important clues–is made up of Cami, an talented African-American musician who is being raised by her grandmother because she is an orphan; Lucy, a blind Chinese girl adopted by her American parents when she was a baby; Valentine, Lucy’s guide dog that is facing a serious health challenge of her own; Joe, the new kid in town who has a bad attitude and a secret; and Max, the class clown who has some serious family problems on his plate. Of note, Joe and Max are living in poverty due to familial circumstances; their relationship did not get off to a good start when Joe came to town.

Despite their differences, under the leadership of Cami the four of them work through their issues with each other and pull together to solve the mystery of the Angel Tree.

The story includes several instances where each character is facing an individual challenge. This was one of the things I liked the most about this book — it wasn’t a fairy tale with a happily ever after ending. The main characters dealt with realistic problems and obstacles on the pathway of life in order to improve their lives and the lives of their family members and the community. The group’s dynamics were also believable and enjoyable.

Oh, did I mention the cover? The magical Christmas tree with the silhouetted main characters on the cover perfectly portrays the inner beauty revealed throughout this story.

I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.

Highly-recommended as a family, classroom, and youth group/church group read-aloud book.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.


About the Author

AUTHOR PHOTO

Daphne is the author of middle grade books Army Brats, (nominated for the Louisiana Reader’s Choice Award) Clementine for Christmas, The Chocolate Challenge and The Angel Tree (nominated for the Triple Crown Children’s Book Award), and the young adult books The Girl in the Wall (an ALA Quick Pick) and Alive and Well in Prague, New York (a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2008).  Her short stories have appeared in American Girl Magazine.  She earned an MFA at The New School and is an adjunct professor at The New School and McDaniel College, as well as a former high school history teacher. She lives in New York City with her husband, kids and cat, and is currently studying at to become a librarian.

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First Line Friday: Forever In My Heart

Happy Friday everyone! You know what that means…it’s time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books. Grab the book nearest to you and share the first line!

Today we are featuring the first line of Forever In My Heart by Dionne Grace. And the first line is…

Sherry Palmer listened to the gentle rustle of the trees and green foliage in the distance.


About the Book

Sherry’s God-given gift allows her to see far beyond the naked eye, just not what He has planned for her.

Throughout Sherry’s life, there was only ever one man. Adrian Chase. She fell deeply, and when they made plans to marry, she thought her life was set.
Strong in the Lord, she has a gift to see into the spiritual realm. But when unforeseeable, uncontrollable circumstances change the course of their lives, the only man she has ever loved ends up with someone else.
Years on, plagued with memories of their past, she is left in limbo and has given up the possibility of ever seeing Adrian again.
All it takes is one fateful weekend and one look into his soulful brown eyes to undo the years of work it has taken to bury the pain that now threatens to tear her apart all over again.

Plagued by her past and the love in her heart, can she move forward with her life?

Amazon | Goodreads


What’s the first line of the book you’re reading?

Post by Contributor Toni Shiloh

Throwback Thursday — Indian No More

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a middle-grade historical novel based on the life of the late Author Charlene Willing McManis, a member of the Umpqua Nation in Central Oregon.

 

About the Book

Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle-Grade Book!


Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

This moving story, based upon Author Charlene Willing McManis’s childhood, reminded me of how I felt after reading Author Lauren Wolk’s ‘Wolf Hollow’ and Author Kirby Larson’s ‘Dash’. These stories all remained on my mind for a long time after I finished reading them because they are so powerful . . .

‘Indian No More’ describes, in great detail, events in American history which I knew nothing about prior to picking up this book.

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed Public Law 588. “The law said the government didn’t need to provide for our education, health care, of anything else as promised in the treaties. The government declared us only Americans now instead of our own nation. We didn’t need a reservation anymore.” (page 20)

In 1956, Congress passed the Indian Relocation Act. “This removed many more Native people from their reservation homelands and relocated them to big cities like Chicago, Minneapolos, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The government promised moving costs, jobs, higher education, and housing.” (page 180)

The Petit family in the story moved to Los Angeles. They moved into a diverse neighborhood with black and Cuban families. I shed tears at the many ways in which these diverse groups were treated unfairly and unkindly in the community, in the schools, and in society, in general.

One of the uplifting scenes in the book that I could personally relate to was when Regina’s grandmother taught her to sew. They worked together from start to finish on remaking a man’s jacket into a jacket for one of the neighbor boys. Regina’s grandmother taught her how to draft patterns, cut out the fabric pieces, sew the garment together using their Singer sewing machine, and then handsew the finishing touches.

This brought back so many happy memories of my Grandma McCrary and I sewing together in the summer before I began sixth grade. Grandma shared all of her knowledge and expertise with me, but I know I enjoyed the love and time she shared with me even more.

The Back Matter is excellent — Definitions; Author’s Note; Photographs of the author’s family and significant locations mentioned in the book; Co-Author’s Note, Editor’s Note; and the text of an Umpqua story mentioned in the novel, ‘The Beaver and the Coyote’, are included.

There are so many layers to this book. There is the historical perspective of what the government did and effect it had upon these native peoples. There are the feelings of prejudice experienced by these diverse groups. Most importantly, since the story is told by an eight-year-old girl, we are given the insight of the magnitude of these two laws and the ensuing events they caused from the perspective of an innocent child.

I highly-recommend this book to children and adults. This book would make a great classroom or family read-aloud. Many events in the story will require open discussion about sensitive topics. There are a lot of emotions and issues to digest, but I felt richly-rewarded by having read this book.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.


About the Authors

— The late Charlene Willing McManis (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2016, Charlene received a mentorship with award-winning poet and author Margarita Engle through We Need Diverse Books. That manuscript became the novel Indian No More, which is based on her family’s experiences after their tribe was terminated in 1954. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.

Traci Sorell writes poems as well as fiction and nonfiction works for children and teens featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies—the type of books she sought out in her school and public libraries as a child.

Traci’s debut nonfiction picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, was awarded a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Picture Honor. Illustrated by Frané Lessac and published by Charlesbridge Publishing, it also received four starred reviews (Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness). An audio book is available from Live Oak Media.

Her debut fiction picture book, At the Mountain’s Base, is illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre and published by Kokila/Penguin.

Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located and her relatives still live. Find out more about Traci at www.tracisorell.com.

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Book Review: Undefeated

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today’s book review is Undefeated, book 1 in the Against All Odds series, by C.D. Gill. Undefeated released today. Happy Release Day!


ABOUT THE BOOK

You’re innocent, but you just spent 5 years in prison. Would you be okay with never learning the truth?

Former soccer coach Xander Reinerman barely made it out of prison alive with scars and panic attacks as souvenirs. Five years ago, someone framed him for steroid sales and drugging his university soccer players. Now he’s out to show the world especially his family that he isn’t the monster the media made him out to be. Doing that in a new town with no money, no friends, and a felony record will take every weapon in his arsenal and what’s left of his shredded hope.

After Golden’s philanthropist Gia Carter offers shelter to the mysterious dark-haired stranger in town, her life begins to unravel at breakneck speed. Someone’s out to ruin her and they won’t stop until she’s headed back to her parents in a body bag.

Can Xander and Gia keep shambles of their lives together long enough to name their enemies, get justice, and learn to trust along the way?

Buy your next adventure today! Readers of Nora Roberts, Charles Martin, and Khaled Hosseini will enjoy C.D. Gill’s latest suspense novel!

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

C.D. Gill is a new-to-me author. I truly enjoyed reading Undefeated, which has suspense in it. Gia has some skeletons in her closet but also knows how to protect herself and is determined to make her own way into the world, even though she comes from a wealthy family. Xander, without his family’s support, has been released from prison and is looking for answers to prove his innocence. I adore their growing relationship with each other as they work together to find the answers to whoever framed Xander and who is trying to destroy Gia’s new life she is building. I’m looking forward to reading more of C.D. Gill’s books. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As most authors, I have been writing since I was a little girl. Stories and ideas were written on any type of scrap paper that made its way into my clutches.  Aside from the folders filled with such papers, spiral-bound notebooks could be found strewn about the house with a range of stories from fanciful fiction to autobiography. I had written the first chapter of a fanciful fiction story about the adventures of pants and pantyhose long before Pixar came out with “Toy Story” and “Cars.” My story was similar to “Homeward Bound,” just with a textile twist. What can I say? My overactive imagination was ahead of the curve.

My imagination has matured, and I now have the attention span to sit down and flesh out a story idea before starting another one. My inspiration comes in many forms, but Jesus, travel, cultures, languages, and justice are passions of mine that I love to study and pursue.

There’s a big wide world out there beyond what I have seen. There are stories that deserve a spotlight and lessons we can learn, if not through experience then through fiction. Join me in exploring places, hearing stories, and meeting people that will change our path forever!

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Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Throwback Thursday — Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a new-to-me historical picture book which documents events that rocked Memphis, Tennessee — and ultimately the world — in the winter and spring of 1968.

 

MEMPHIS, MARTIN--COVER

About the Book

This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

In February 1968, two African American sanitation workers were killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee. Outraged at the city’s refusal to recognize a labor union that would fight for higher pay and safer working conditions, sanitation workers went on strike. The strike lasted two months, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called to help with the protests. While his presence was greatly inspiring to the community, this unfortunately would be his last stand for justice. He was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon in Mason Temple Church. Inspired by the memories of a teacher who participated in the strike as a child, author Alice Faye Duncan reveals the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose.

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I was thrilled when I saw this title come up in our library’s online catalog. Late last year we watched an American Experience show on PBS about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Memphis in April, 1968. I learned so much from the documentary, and I was anxious to read this book to see how this tragic event was handled in a book written for children.

The main character, nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, is based upon a teacher in Memphis who participated in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike with her parents when she was a child.

The conflict began in January, 1968, when two black sanitation workers were killed by a malfunctioning packer blade on an old and poorly-maintained garbage truck. Echol Cole and Robert Walker worked with Lorraine’s father.

$1.70 per hour — this was the average pay of a Memphis sanitation worker. The workers formed a labor union with the hope of gaining better pay, better treatment on the job, and improved safety. Memphis’s mayor, Henry Loeb, would not grant a pay increase, and he refused to acknowledge the workers’ labor union.

Beginning on February 12, 1968, and lasting for sixty-five days, 1,300 men went on strike. They marched to City Hall carrying signs. The workers and their families sacrificed greatly during this strike. A group of preachers in Memphis organized and used church donations to help the striking workers pay their bills. “The NAACP organized boycotts to support the strike.” (page 9)

The workers attended rallies each night. They sang freedom songs and listened to preachers. “The mayor railed NO! to every labor request, and my daddy kept right on marching.” (page 11)

The excitement described by the narrator, nine-year-old Lorraine, when it was announced that Martin Luther King, Jr., would be traveling to Memphis in March to try to assist in the sanitation workers’ cause was palpable. When Dr. King arrived on March 18th, he preached, and then made a plan to march with the workers on March 22nd. Except the march didn’t happen that day because an unusual amount of sixteen inches of snow fell in Memphis.

The march was rescheduled for March 28th on Beale Street. Six thousand women, men, and children attended. Unfortunately, instead of a peaceful march, some militant individuals created a riot. In response, Mayor Loeb called in four thousand National Guard troops and set a 7:00PM curfew. 

Dr. King left Memphis, but he promised to return . . .  Dr. King did return to the city on April 3rd. He spoke to the sanitation workers with passion that evening. The next day, Dr. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

The final chapters of the book are about Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the termination of the Memphis Sanitation Strike on April 16, 1968. The book includes several poems.

Back Matter includes a detailed ‘Memphis Sanitation Strike–1968–Timeline’, information about the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Sources, and Source Notes. 

Words cannot express the profound affect this book had on me. Its poignant retelling of this part of our nation’s history is powerful. The author’s well-chosen words are fully-supported by the illustrator’s beautiful paintings.

Highly-recommended to teachers, librarians, and families. This book will open up important discussions about civil rights, respect, tolerance, perseverance, and determination. 



Alice-Faye-Duncan-333x500
Alice Faye Duncan

About the Author

On the author’s website you will find information about her books along with a set of lesson plans designed for several of her books.

Bonus Content:

Here is a link to a movie of ‘Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop’ made by the Memphis Public Library:  https://youtu.be/MrbGrqynB_g

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R. GREGORY CHRISTIER. Gregory Christie

About the Illustrator

Gregory Christie received a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He is a three-time recipient of The New York Times’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year Award, a six-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration, and a winner of the Boston Globe­–Horn Book Award, the NAACP’s Image Award, and the Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award from the Museum of Tolerance. Visit Mr. Christie’s website at Gas-Art.com.


 

Book Review: Deadly Connection

ABOUT THE BOOK 


Hidden enemies can be deadly.

But the Brooklyn K-9 Unit is on the case.

On her way to question US Marshal Emmett Gage about a DNA match that implicates his relative in a cold case and a recent murder, Officer Belle Montera’s attacked. Now she and her K-9 partner must team up with Emmett to find his cousin and the person after Belle. But can they figure out who’s targeting her without becoming murder victims themselves?

AMAZON  |GOODREADS 


MY THOUGHTS 

Deadly Connections by Lenora Worth is part of the K-9 True Blue unit series set in Brooklyn. Belle comes from a big family while Emmett is a loner. Belle, who is on her way to meet Emmett regarding DNA found related to a 20 year old murder case, is attacked, but Emmett rescues her. The plot is suspenseful and kept my attention from the start. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

A member of both the RWA and ACFW Honor Rolls, Lenora Worth writes romance and romantic suspense for Love Inspired and also writes for Tule Publishing. Three of her books finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards and several have been RT Reviewer’s Choice finalists. She also received the RT Romance Pioneer Award for Inspirational Fiction. “Logan’s Child” won the 1998 Best Love Inspired for RT. She is a NY Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling writer and a 2019 Rita Finalist. With eighty-plus books and novellas published and millions in print, she enjoys adventures with her retired husband, Don. Lenora loves reading, baking and shopping … especially shoe shopping.

WEBSITE |FACEBOOK |TWITTER|GOODREADS 


Post by contributor Allyson Anthony

Throwback Thursday — Code Word Courage

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing one of my favorite WWII historical fiction novels by Author Kirby Larson. This exceptional book features the Navajo Code Talker program of WWII and diverse characters from the Navajo Nation and Mexico.

 

CODE WORD COURAGE

About the Book

Billie has lived with her great-aunt ever since her mom passed away and her dad left. Billie’s big brother, Leo, is about to leave, too, for the warfront. But first, she gets one more weekend with him at the ranch.

Billie’s surprised when Leo brings home a fellow Marine from boot camp, Denny. She has so much to ask Leo — about losing her best friend and trying to find their father — but Denny, who is Navajo, or Diné, comes with something special: a gorgeous, but injured, stray dog. As Billie cares for the dog, whom they name Bear, she and Bear grow deeply attached to each other.
 
Soon enough, it’s time for Leo and Denny, a Navajo Code Talker, to ship out. Billie does her part for the war effort, but she worries whether Leo and Denny will make it home, whether she’ll find a new friend, and if her father will ever come back. Can Bear help Billie — and Denny — find what’s most important?
 
A powerful tale about unsung heroism on the WWII battlefield and the home front.

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I was drawn to this book by a review I read. This book has three elements I always look for in middle-grade books before I begin reading them:  Historical fiction–this one is set during World War II. Diverse characters–this one features Navajo and Mexican characters portrayed positively and in important roles.Animals as inspirational supporting characters–this one has a dog.  

The other component I look for as I am reading the book are the feelings of empathy and compassion and the maturing of a character through lessons learned. These elements can only be garnered by a skilled author. 

This book possesses all of these traits. 

What sets this story apart from others is Kirby Larson’s awesome writing style. She seems to flawlessly place the right words on the page at just the right tempo and in just the right order. Her setting and characters are well-developed. Her novel is obviously well-researched from my reading of non-fiction about this time period.

I particularly liked the way the main character, Billie, reached beyond her lonely, mournful life to touch others through her kindness and friendship. In particular, she forges a friendship with a boy from Mexico whose father works on Billie’s great-aunt’s ranch. Tito is wise beyond his years, in my opinion, when it comes to his emotional intelligence regarding being bullied by the so-called popular kids in school.

Another exceptional aspect of this book is the World War II depiction of military life and the battle scenes the author so carefully researched.  Billie’s close relationship with her older brother, Leo, is admirable. 

Finally, the inclusion of Denny, a Navajo friend of Leo’s, and the abandoned dog he brought home to Billie’s house enrich the plot ten-fold. The tribute to the ‘Navajo Code Talker’ program in WWII and the courageous men who participated in this ground-breaking mission was intriguing.

I believe this is a story that should not be missed by middle-grade readers. It would also make a worthwhile read-aloud in class or during a family’s reading time. So many great life lessons are taught in its pages.

Highly recommended to middle-grade readers, fans of historical and military fiction, fans of animal-centered fiction, and fans of literature which includes diverse populations as strong characters.

I borrowed this book from the Children’s Section of the local public library.

Below is a link to the Goodreads page listing all four installments in the ‘Dogs of World War II’ series by this author with links to their book blurbs.

LINK TO ‘DOGS OF WORLD WAR II’ SERIES ON GOODREADS


Kirby Larson

About the Author

Kirby Larson went from history-phobe to history fanatic while writing the 2007 Newbery Honor Book, HATTIE BIG SKY. Her passion for historical fiction is reflected in titles such as THE FENCES BETWEEN US, THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL, as well as the sequel to HATTIE BIG SKY, HATTIE EVER AFTER, and her two latest titles, DUKE–which was nominated for 5 state Young Reader Choice awards as well as being a finalist for the Washington State Book Award– and DASH–which has garnered two starred reviews, a NAPPA Gold Award and a Capitol Choices nomination.

In 2006, Kirby began a collaboration with her good friend Mary Nethery resulting in two award-winning nonfiction picture books: TWO BOBBIES: A TRUE STORY OF HURRICANE KATRINA, FRIENDSHIP AND SURVIVAL, and NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE AND A MIRACLE.

Kirby lives in Kenmore, Washington with her husband, Neil, and Winston the Wonder Dog. When she’s not reading or writing Kirby enjoys beach combing, bird watching, and traveling. She owns a tiara and is not afraid to use it.

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Book Spotlight: Time to Need

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Today I’m sharing a book spotlight on Dionne Grace’s  Time to Need. Looks like a great one to add to your TBR pile!

Happy reading!


About the Book

Fabien is offering Diane a future filled with love, but with her past, will she ever trust again?

Diane Tyler knows Fabien is everything a woman could ever want in a man.
If men weren’t off her agenda for the foreseeable future, he would be perfect. He’s her best friend’s brother, single—unlike two years ago—and has all the attributes that would have any woman swooning at his feet.

Despite her best efforts, convincing Fabien that they aren’t meant for one another has become more of a challenge than she bargained for, and just when she thinks she’s safe behind the wall she’s painstakingly built, Diane finds herself being pulled into something she believes she can’t have, leaving her desperately trying to hold on to the pieces of the barrier falling apart around her.

Fabien Reynolds thought his marriage would bring him everything he wanted—a wife, children, and the perfect home—until he discovered his wife wasn’t the woman he thought. Separated and on the brink of divorce, he finds himself surprisingly drawn to Diane, and it isn’t long before she captures his heart. Now divorced, he has unfinished business, and he isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

Unfortunately for Fabien, his powers of persuasion don’t seem to be working: the teasing, mischievous woman he’s wanted for so long is no more. Still, despite the defences she tries to raise, he knows it’s love. He wants her in his life and is not going to let her push him away, even though he’s aware she’s hiding something.

Diane may have her secrets, but Fabien is looking forward to revealing every one of them.

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About the Author

Dionne Grace is a romantic at heart.  She loves reading books, which in her early teenage years enhanced her vivid imagination. She would often invent fascinating love stories to entertain her school friends involving famous pop stars.  She used to scribble notes on the back of school books while her teacher’s backs were turned! Her friends loved it, and remind her of it to this day!

She loves to write and when she is not writing, she is reading and juggles this with her full-time job.

She writes sweet romances, about couples in relationships who have a passion for each other.  Sometimes this passion leads them into situations where they lose themselves, taking them down a path which possibly they should not have gone down, or in contrast, through life’s experiences; they reject the love that is offered, not having the faith or forgiveness to trust it.

Her books are intentionally thought-provoking, and real life. A message about a discovery of how the scars of life can be healed, no matter how difficult this sometimes seems in this imperfect world. And ultimately, through God’s divine intervention he imparts a revelation of what his purpose was all along.

As you must have guessed, she has a love for God and everything spiritual; she hopes this shines through in her books.

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh