adventure, army, Back By Sunrise, birds, book review, Brooke, children, children's books, deployment, enemies, families, freedom, friendship, grief, grief management, Justin Sloan, Love, magic, magic necklace, mice, middle grade, military, pigeons, rats, teamwork, war
Book Review: Back by Sunrise, by Justin Sloan
When Brooke’s dad is deployed and later killed in action, she and her family must deal with their grief. Brooke can’t understand why her dad had to leave. But then she finds a magic necklace that her dad left her. When she puts on the necklace, Brooke is transformed into a small, red bird. At first she enjoys the freedom of flying, but when her mother shuts her out of the house and an evil raven steals the necklace, she fears she will never be reunited with her family again. As Brooke makes friends and goes through one adventure after another to recover the necklace, she learns the meaning of friendship, working together, and loyalty, and she finally comes to understand why her dad had to go. This is a sweet story that children and the middle grades will enjoy. It was well written, with an exciting plot, a strong main character, and a serious theme beneath the magic and fun of the story. The cover art is beautiful. I can see this book becoming a movie.
adult fiction, arcade games, book review, contemporary YA fiction, Crusader, disfunctional families, Edward Bloor, families, growing up, identity, investigative reporting, journalism, Love, loyalty, murder mystery, neglect, Roberta Ritter, teenage problems, truth, violence, YA fiction
Book Review: Crusader – by Edward Bloor
Roberta Ritter’s world centers around her journalism class at school and her work in her uncle’s arcade, located in a Florida mall. She plods through life never feeling anything, just trying to get by. Her one dream is to become a journalist. She thinks that her life is normal.
But gradually Roberta becomes aware just how abnormal things really are. Although she is opposed to violence, she numbly accepts the arcade, which features violent simulation games like Crusader. She was told that her mother died of a heart attack years ago, but she discovers that her mother was murdered, and the murderer was never caught. Her uncle, who owns the arcade, isn’t paying the bills. Hate crimes are on the rise at the mall, and she suspects that the wrong person is being accused. Her father is seldom home, preferring to spend time with his girlfriend. Her only friends are the people who work in the mall, including some high school kids who have some serious hangups. When she discovers that a local politician plans to tear down the mall and the nearby senior complex to make way for a golf course, Roberta decides to embark on her own crusade. She not only resolves to find out the truth about the hate crimes, her family, and her mother’s death, but she is determined to save the mall.
I sympathized with Roberta, and I enjoyed watching her personality and character grow as she took charge of her life. Her caring personality comes through as she takes time to listen to people and help them. She rises above her circumstances and her dysfunctional family, and she uses her journalistic talents to solve the problems facing her and those she cares about. This book is more than a murder mystery with a teenage heroine. It is a deep, complex story about the courage to live, recover from trauma, and to follow one’s dreams. I enjoyed reading it.
adoption, angst, Chile, Christian, conscience, death, Dennie, families, fiction, forgiveness, grief, healing, honesty, LDS, Love, lying, Marcie Anne Jenson, peer pressure, teenagers, Thes, truth, Whispers of Hope, YA fiction
Book Review — Whispers of Hope, by Marcie Anne Jenson
Dennie and Thes, orphans from Chile, are adopted by an American LDS couple, and for many years all seems well. But Thes is haunted by his painful past, and when he dies mysteriously, his family is devastated. Dennie’s conscience is burning a hole in her that makes it increasingly difficult to live with the many lies she and her friends have told to keep the truth from coming out. Something has to give, because Dennie can’t stand herself anymore. This was a touching story. I cried for Dennie’s pain, and I cheered as she slowly began to reach out and trust someone enough to tell the truth about her brother, and find healing at last.
Book Review — Glimmer of Hope, by Sarah M. Eden
Abandoned by her husband, Miranda Harford flees to his English country estate where she struggles with health problems and a broken heart for three long years. When her politically successful, wealthy husband, Carter, shows up at the estate to throw a holiday party, he and Miranda are shocked to see each other. To avoid scandal, they pretend to be a happy couple, but they are both suffering from heartache. Carter’s mother plays to perfection the part of evil step-mother as she makes life unbearable for Miranda. As the unhappy couple begin to talk to each other, it soon becomes apparent that someone has been manipulating them, and nothing about the past is as it seems.
This Regency romance was darker than other books written by Sarah M. Eden, but I enjoyed the unfolding story, which showed just how badly things can go when there is a lack of communication, and when others conspire to drive a couple apart. Never fear, there is a happy ending in store for the main characters. Glimmer of Hope is definitely worth reading, and YA and Adult audiences will both enjoy it.
ancestors, Books, Canada, Canada Day, Canadians, Carlton, Catherine Hayes, Catherine Helena Wall, celebration, families, family, family history, family stories, farmers, Farringdon Hants England, fireworks, friends, genealogy, gratitude, heritage, immigrants, John Wall, learning, March, Navan, Ontario, Ottawa, Richard Bickerton, Sophia Eames, teachers
To all you Canadians out there, Happy Canada Day. I hope you have a great time with your family and friends, barbequing, swimming, playing games, and all your other activities.
I am thankful for my Canadian heritage, for my ancestors who came to Canada seeking a fresh start, freedom, and adventure. Some were farmers and fishermen; one was a sea captain. Many of them were teachers with a deep love of music, books, and learning. One of these was my great-great grandfather, Richard Augustus Bickerton, who was born in Farringdon, Hampshire, England in 1840 to Richard Bickerton (a builder’s clerk) and Sophia Matilda Eames (former lady in waiting to the queen). Alexander, Sophia, and Frederick soon followed. His mother died in childbirth when Richard was 8 years old, and his father remarried to Charlotte Christmas, who had one daughter, Charlotte. Richard went to school, learned the carpenter’s trade, read books, and played the violin. His father died in 1854, and Richard and Alexander stayed with their Uncle Samuel, working as carpenters until Richard was 21. Then Richard immigrated to Canada and became a teacher. He secured a position as the teacher for the town of March, Carleton Co, Ontario. One of the families he stayed with (John and Catherine Wall, immigrants from England and Ireland, and their eight children, all born on the farm in March) had a beautiful daughter named Catherine Helena Wall, and the two were soon in love. Her mother wanted Catherine to marry a lawyer (so she could escape the rigors of farm life), and she was not happy about their romance. She even offered to pay Richard’s way through law school, but Richard’s dream was to have his own land and farm. So Richard and Catherine eloped. They were married on July 24, 1863 at Christchurch Cathedral, Ottawa (then known as Bytown), Ontario. They then went to Navan (Cumberland Twp, Russell Co.) and, using the inheritance from his father, Richard bought land to start the farm. It turned out to be a good choice for them. Richard and Catherine had 15 children, all of whom grew to adulthood. Richard and Catherine were respected members of their community, and Richard was on the school board. Richard helped to build the church in Navan, contributing money, labor, a handmade pew, and a stained glass window.
A few years ago, my sisters and I traveled to Ontario. We went to Christchurch Cathedral in Ottawa and saw the marriage record for Richard and Catherine. We visited the farm in Navan. The current owners were kind enough to show us around and let us see inside the house. We were impressed with the thick walls of the house (necessary for those cold Canadian winters) and the beauty and orderliness of the farm. We also saw the church our great-great grandfather had helped to build in Navan, as well as the cemetery where many of the family members are buried. It was a wonderful trip and reinforced in me a deep connection to my ancestors, who passed down to me their love of learning, music, gardening, family stories of the past, and books. I am grateful for them.