ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET By Judy Blume

 

Rating 5 out of 5 stars. Margaret is eleven years old and going into the sixth grade.  Her family just moved to New Jersey from New York City.  Nancy from next door just came over and invited Margaret to run thru the sprinkler at her house.  She notices that Margaret is still small busted.  Nancy has lots of makeup in her dresser drawer.

When Margaret prays she always starts out with “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.”Margaret’s parents could never settle on one religion so they don’t go to church at all.   Margaret, Nancy, and Janie formed a secret club.  They all have to wear a bra.  Whoever gets her period first has to tell all the others how it is.  They are to have a list of who each of their favorite boys is and it changes every week.

Margaret visited her grandma in NYC.  She asked her if she can come to Jewish Temple with her to see what it is about.  Margaret plans to write a paper for school about trying to find her own religion.

Join Margaret as she begins her teen years and explores different religions.  I read this book when I was in sixth grade and have loved it ever since. Judy Blume is an awesome coming of age author.#areyoutheregod?itsmemargaret #judyblume #teen #books #comingofage

TREASURED GRACE By Tracie Peterson

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Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson is the first book in Heart of the Frontier series. It is late October in 1847 on the Oregon Trail. Grace Flanagan Martindale has just lost her husband, Right Reverend T.S. Martindale. Grace is not exactly sorry that he is dead. It was a marriage of convenience on both their parts (they did not share a bed). Grace wanted to go west with her two sisters, and Martindale wanted to go to the mission fields. The timing, though, is imperfect. The trail is no place for a widow and her two younger sisters especially when winter will soon be upon them. It is suggested that Grace, Mercy, and Hope spend the winter at the Whitman Mission (especially after she refuses the proposal of Nigel Grierson). Grace agrees and hopes that she will be able to earn a living with her healing herbs, nursing skills, and midwifery. Dr. Whitman, though, does not appreciate or trust Grace’s skills with herbs. The local Indians, though, could use Grace’s help after illness strikes them thanks to the settlers. Fur trader, Alex Armistead helps Grace get over her fear of the Indians by showing her that they are just like her. Grace receives a letter from Mr. Browning, her friend Eletta’s husband. Eletta is ill and needs her assistance. While away helping Eletta, the Indians attack the mission. Hope and Mercy are at the mission and the Indians take them captive. Can the sisters and the other hostages be rescued? If so, will they ever be the same again? Join Grace and her sisters on their journey to Oregon in Treasured Grace. #traciepeterson #missionary #book #blog #heartofthefrontierseries

NOT A PERFECT FIT By Jane A. Schmidt

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Rating 5 out of 5 stars.  Jane is a newspaper columnist for a local paper. She lives in Wisconsin.  She lives out in the country and her neighbors are miles apart.  So she doesn’t always get to know them well.  One of her neighbors asked her if she had noticed an ambulance go by. She later found out that her elderly neighbor Elsie had passed on.  She made a mental note that she needed to get to know her neighbors better.  Jane has two one-year-old goats, a puppy, some ducks, and geese.

It was fathers day and she was remembering her dad. There was a looming rainstorm when she went into the house.  All of a sudden the bright sun came out.  She then went on a hike for four miles and got lost.  But Jane came upon a country road and a man drove her back to her car.

Jane wanted a house in a small town. Some friends helped her find one. It was a white house that needed some work.  It had an outhouse and an outdoor shower.

There was a Mickey Mouse toy along one of the trails Jane walked in preparation to go to the Grand Canyon.   She took the toy. She brought it with to the Grand Canyon and took pictures of it at various places along the trail.  She then sent the pictures to the neighbor who had put Mickey Mouse on the trail in the first place.

Jane has a knack for telling her life in funny stories thru out this book. I really got a chuckle out of it. I also recalled a lot of my childhood memories, things like camping in our neighbor kids yard, playing board games, living out in the country. #janeaschmidt #notaperfectfit #funnystories #book #blog

WISH ME HOME By Kay Bratt

Kay Bratt is the author of eleven full-length novels and two children’s books. Her writing became her solace and support while she navigated a tumultuous childhood, followed by a decade of abuse as an adult. After working her way through the hard years, Kay came out a survivor and a pursuer of peace—and finally found the courage to share her stories. A wise man once told her to “write what you know,” which resulted in Kay’s pet project and her bestselling series, The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters.

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When Cara and her twin sister Hana were seven they got sent to foster care after their parents passed away.  They’re from Sandy Springs, GA.  They felt unwanted.  Reno was their golden retriever and they loved him a lot.  Their foster mom was jealous of this dog so she refused to let them spend time with him.

Right now Cara was homeless and there was a dog who was white and resembled a lab with a limp that was following her.  She hated being away from her sister Hana.  She decided to hitchhike to Key West, FL.  She had left her phone in her backpack back in her car on purpose.  Her car had needed repairs. She left it in the Burger King parking lot.  She didn’t want to be traced by her phone.  Cara enjoyed sharing her tuna and crackers with Hemi.  She named the dog after Ernest Hemingway.

Cara was walking along the interstate and she walked past a cop that had a car pulled over. He asked her to stop.  Then he asked her where she was going. She said she didn’t’ know.  He offered her a ride to a shelter. On the way, the officer took her to a Chicken and Biscuits restaurant.  His mom worked there.  She let Cara and Hemi take a shower. Then they ate a hearty supper.  Also, they got to stay overnight in her spare room. It was so heavenly to have a real bed to sleep in.  Cara spent the next day working at the diner helping to make biscuits.  She was happy when Miss Maisie prayed for her and Hemi.  Miss Kim and her husband gave her a bike with a trailer for Hemi to ride in.  Miss Kim also gave her some extra food.

One of Cara’s goals was to see the ocean. She went to Amelia Island where there’s lots of Victorian houses and bed and breakfasts.  On their ride out of Amelia Island, she went over a hill and crashed her bike.  A stranger named Lauren takes her to her apartment to stay overnight while her brother fixes her bike.

Find out why was Cara separated from her twin Hana? Does she get to go back where she’s really from? Why is she so afraid to meet new people and form any attachments to them? This is a really interesting book. #wishmehome #kaybratt #book #blog #hitchhiker #bicycle

FOREVER By Judy Blume

Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, NJ, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places, doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults, as well as children, will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Superfudge; Blubber; Just As Long As We’re Together; and Forever. She has also written the best-selling novels Wifey; Smart Women; and, Summer Sisters. More than 75 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into twenty-six languages.
She receives thousands of letters each month from readers of all ages who share their feelings and
concerns with her.
Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year that American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. She has won more than ninety awards, none more important than those coming directly from her youngest readers.

215slo3cnll-_bo1204203200_Rating 5 out of 5 stars.  17-year-old Katherine meets Michael at a fondue party.  Michael has red blonde hair and a small mole on his left cheek.  The next day Michael came over to get his stack of records.  He took Katherine on a car ride.  They went down to the lake and went on a walk.  Katherine and Michael shared a warm kiss in the car.  They went on a second date to a movie.  Before the movie, Michael met Jamie who is Kathy’s younger sister.  She was working on a latch hook rug with their parents.  Her many art creations and latch hook rugs created a colorful wall at their house. Kathy is wearing her new bell bottom jeans with the mushrooms embroidered on them.  Kathy and Mike go to the show.  Then to a local diner to get a burger.  Kathy talked to Mike and told him her parents prefer her to bring boys to their house rather than parking in a car as it’s safer.  So they went to her house to the den.  There’s a fireplace with a latch hook rug of a lion above it.Also a tan sofa.  They made out some.  He kept his hands over her sweater.  Mike asks if she’s a virgin. She said yes.

Mike and Kathy went to see their friends Artie and Elizabeth in a school play.  They went to the party afterward where Mike gives Elizabeth a hug and kiss. Kathy gets jealous and they leave the party. They go back to the den at her house.  Mike is feeling around under her skirt.  she tells him no she’s not ready for sex just yet.

Mike invites her on a skiing trip to Vermont with his older sister and her husband.  They get there and eat supper then his sister goes to bed.  Kathy and Michael have separate rooms upstairs but they share a bathroom.  Kathy has her period. Mike comes into her bed and they spend the night just sleeping side by side.

Join Kathy and Michael as they learn about their bodies and teenage romance. This is a great coming of age book for teenagers. #teenromance #blog #judyblume

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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER By Robert P. Halpert MD

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Rating 5 out of 5 stars. This book starts out by going over the various causes of the start of the civil war.  Things such as Harper’s Ferry with John Brown in Virginia. The secession of the southern states starting with South Carolina.  Mr. Pendleton was a soldier who joined the Southern Military Guard out of the University of Virginia.  His unit was sent to Harper’s Ferry to secure the arsenal.  Mr. Pendleton did not go as his father advised him not to.  He next enlisted as a second Lieutenant in the Provisional Army of Virginia and was then assigned to Harper’s Ferry.  Pendleton was interested in a new brigade under General Thomas Jackson.  Jackson taught at the Virginia Military Institute.  He also had experience in the American-Mexican war.  He was now forming a formidable no-nonsense combat unit.  Jackson liked Pendleton and offered him a position on his staff  His first battle was in Falling Waters, VA. He was also in the Battle of Manassas under General Thomas Jackson.  They were victors in this battle.

Winchester, March 5, 1862.  Mr. Pendleton was posted on a hill by the old Henry house.  General Jackson was directing a cannon when his finger got shot.  He had to ride thru the battle with his hand held up to stop the bleeding.  General Bee called him Stonewall Jackson after this battle because of his coolness and determination in battle.  In October General Jackson got promoted to Major General and was joined by General Richard Garnett. Mr. Pendleton got promoted to first Lt.  The Stonewall Brigade and WW J. Loring’s division were united to form the Valley Army.

During the Mexican-American War, General Jackson fell in love with a Mexican lady named Maria.  He wanted to marry her but her father said General Jackson would have to learn the Roman Catholic Faith first.  He began taking classes on this.  He Found peace and comfort in their faith.  He thought about his battle strategies wondering if boldness and speed could change the course of the battle.  He saw that religion had to be a thing that was worth living and dying for.  He met with the Archbishop to discuss his many questions about the Catholic religion.  He left unimpressed with the Arch Bishops answers.  He then met Colonel Frank Taylor to discuss religion.  They spoke about how Taylor awoke at 430 daily to pray.  Taylor described how God and discipline had changed his life.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins it was a miracle.  Jackson accepted Jesus into his heart and life.  General Jackson always tried not to get into battles on a Sunday.  He saw Sunday as a day of rest and a time to read the Bible.  General Jackson proved to be a fearless leader as cannons went off overhead in the Battle of Winchester.  He was convinced that only thru the Holy Spirit can change be made to the hearts and minds of men.

General Robert E. Lee liked his officers to use their own discretion on the battlefields.  General Jackson enjoyed working in that manner. Jackson prayed for hours before each battle for God to help him in decision making.  there were rumors that if he had another great victory he might be asked to step up as President of the Confederacy.  Jackson was friends with General Stuart. They were both serious Christians.  He received a gift of a Lt. General’s uniform.  At first, he was going to turn it down as he thought it too fancy.  By he accepted it from his troops.  General Lee and General Jackson attended worship services with their men. A lot of Jackson’s men became born again Christians.

Toward the end of the book, they cover the infamous Battle of the Wilderness.  Jackson had his left arm amputated after a bullet shattered his arm.

Sunday morning, May 10, 1863.  General Jackson was having sharp pains in his right chest.  Sunday afternoon May 10, 1863.  Dr. Tucker came in and examined Jackson.l He then spoke to the other doctors. He noted there was fluid filling his pleural cavity.  This made it hard to expand his lungs.  His wife Anna spoke to him and told Jackson that he only had a few hours left until he would meet the Lord.  He then said “I’ve always wanted to die on the Lord’s day”1.  The last thing Jackson said was ” Let us cross over the river and rest beneath the trees.”1.

I found this book fascinating. It was so well written . Especially the difficult battle scenes were well done.#civilwar #blog #generalstonewalljackson #thewilderness

Footnotes

  1. General Thomas Jackson

 

 

 

 

P.S. I LOVE YOU By Barbara Conklin (A Sweet Dreams Romance #1)

16-year-old Mariah has just finished her sophomore year in high school in Laguna Beach, California.  She is looking517cwnexnl-_sx308_bo1204203200_ forward to this summer.  One of her goals is to write a romance book and to be famous by her senior year in high school.  Mariah’s mother announced they’re moving to Palm Springs to house sit for the summer.  Her mom is a teacher and needs the extra summer income.

Her mom read in a letter that Paul Strobe was going to be one of their handymen for the summer.  He is 18.  When they got to Palm Springs she noticed how good looking he was with his blonde hair and blue eyes. He gave them a tour of the magnificent Spanish mansion.  It had six bedrooms upstairs and three bedrooms downstairs.  Paul showed them the gazebo that he and handyman Jim are building.  Mariah chose a beautiful upstairs bedroom with a pool view and with a window seat so she can write her novel.  Later in the day, Mariah brought Paul a Coke and they sat by the aqua pool visiting about his work and how he planned to go to the University of California Berkeley that fall for architecture school.  Mariah finds out that he lives in the mansion next door to them.  Jim and Paul come over for hamburgers and hotdogs the next night.  Paul tells Mariah how he’d like to show her some of the canyons.

A few days later, Mariah and her sister Kim, Paul and his friend Joe tour one of the five major canyons.  Joe tells them some of the histories of the place.  They eat a chicken dinner they brought with while sitting next to a lovely waterfall.

On the way back Paul mentions to Mariah that he’ll be going into the hospital soon. Paul’s dad is a writer.  He encourages Mariah to write what she knows and to have faith in her writing.

Join Paul & Mariah for a beautiful summer in Palm Springs. #p.s.iloveyou #barbaraconklin #teenromance #blog

SHINE LIKE THE DAWN By Carrie Turansky

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Rating 4 out of 5.

August 22, 1899-Margaret Lounsbury was boating on Lake Tumbledon with her family, her parents and her two sisters Olivia and Violet.  Violet was two years old. The boat capsized and Maggie swam to shore while holding up Violet.  They are the only two survivors of the terrible accident.

April 1903-Maggie and Violet are now living with her grandmother Hayes.  Grandma is teaching Maggie the art of millinery, making handmade hats for rich people.

Nathaniel Harcourt is just returning to Heatherton via the train.  He has just completed four years on a naval commission.  He is walking down the street and he yells for Violet to move but the 6-year-old shrieked as she got hit by an automobile.  Her leg was broken.
Nate had been searching for several years to see Margaret.  Maggie was disappointed that he had taken so long to find them.  Nate stopped by to see how violet was.

When Nate’s father is dying he asks Nate to pay off an old debt to the Lounsbury family.
Lili is Maggie’s housemaid. They’re good friends. She’s planning to marry Rob. However, their plans keep getting postponed.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her mad at Nate—and making peace with God? Will she get closer to Nate or will they continue to drift apart?#shinelikethedawn #carrieturansky #book #blog

WRITTEN IN LOVE(An Amish Letters Novel) By Kathleen Fuller

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Kathleen Fuller is a best-selling author of Amish fiction.Also a wife, mother, crafter, coffee and chocolate addict.

Rating 5 out of 5. Phoebe and Jalon are Amish young people.They begin writing to each other from a letter that got sent to the wrong person.  Phoebe is living with and helping out her great Aunt in Dover. She comes from a family of eleven children. Jalon works doing construction and there are three kids in his family.  He lives in Birch Creek.  Phoebe loves to draw pictures of birds.  She’s planning to put up some bird feeders so she’ll have more birds to draw.

Phoebe and Jalon are both going to spend Christmas with their families.  Phoebe and her Aunt make quilts to give away to the needy for Christmas.  Sometimes Phoebe bakes things and sends them to Jalon. Four-year-old Malachi lives with Aunt Bertha as well.  He is very cute and likes to get into trouble.  He got caught peeling paint off the siding and got two hours of time alone in his room. Malachi has helped her bake some of the Christmas cookies they sent to Jalon.  Phoebe doesn’t want to reveal her secret past to Jalon.   Aunt Bertha was too firm with Malichi making him follow her rules.

Jalon’s parents had left him alone to run their farm after failing to make a living there.  Jalon has a past history of alcohol use.  Jalon’s father wants to sell him the farm as he needs the money.  He stops his urges to drink by reading Phoebe’s letters and the Bible as well as praying.  Jalon sends Adam payments for an unknown monthly debt.

Phoebe has to quit writing to Jalon per her Aunt’s request.  Jalon waited for three weeks to get a letter from Phoebe. When He still has no letter he gets a driver to bring him to Dover to see her. When he gets there he was surprised to meet Malachi as Phoebe hadn’t mentioned him in her letters. Jalon played in the snow with Malachi and helped him build a snow fort.  He observes her Aunt being controlling. Her Aunt gets upset with Phoebe for having Jalon in her house.  She packs up Phoebe and Malachi’s things and puts their suitcase on the doorstep.

Phoebe and Malachi go to live at Jalon’s house. There was the whole farm there with horses and cows.  Malachi loves this. Jalon stays in the dawdii haus while Phoebe stays in the main house with Malachi.  Phoebe cooks them good dinners like pot roast with veggies and Hunan chicken. Jalon taught Malachi how to do some yo-yo tricks.  The cat Blue loves to follow Malachi around and to sleep by him too.

In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen. #Amish #books #review #writteninlove #kathleenfuller

A CANDLE IN THE DARKNESS (Refiner’s Fire) (vol. I) By Lynn Austin

51oguqkoznl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Lynn Austin resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We’re Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal as their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005.

Rating 5 out of 5 Stars. I can see why this was the Christy Award winner in 2003 for best North American Historical. Not only a richly detailed novel of Richmond’s role in the Civil War, it is also an inspiring tale of conviction, transformation, and faith.

1864 Richmond, Virginia.  Caroline Fletcher tore down a sheet of wallpaper in her library so that she might have the paper to write on.  Wartorn Richmond had no paper and no meat.  And so she begins to tell her story.

1853 Richmond, Virginia. Caroline’s mammy Tessie has a son named Grady that was just taken away in a wagon.  He had been sold by his master.

Caroline grew up in a house with a mother who was often depressed because she had several miscarriages in the past. Her parents want her to attend the Richmond Female Institute.  A place for wealthy young ladies to go to school.  Eli drove her to school daily and would tell her stories about Jesus and David and Goliath.  Eli taught Caroline that you don’t have to be kneeling to pray.  If Jesus is your friend you can talk to him anywhere.

Cousin Jonathon came to visit and eat supper.  Caroline went with her father to visit her grandparents plantation.  Her Mammy Tessie’s family was from there.  She toured the plantation and saw slave row where most of the slaves lived.  She was shocked to see such poor living conditions.

Jonathon went on a long walk with Caroline.  He told her how pretty she is and that he’d like her to stay on at the plantation all summer.  Eli was preaching deep in the woods to a group of slaves one night.  Caroline and Jonathon snuck up to the group to watch and listen.  Eli delivered a powerful sermon about freedom.

Jonathon was starting to go to drill with the Virginia Militia.  Meanwhile, Caroline was helping a grandma babysit for four little slave babies who had the measles.

Caroline moved to Philadelphia for 2 years and spent time with her northern cousins Julia and Rosemary. She attended antislavery meetings on a regular basis. She saw Frederick Douglas speak once.

When Harper’s Ferry happens her father comes to bring her back home to Richmond. Caroline meets handsome dark haired n blue eyes Charles St. John at a Richmond ball she attends with her father.  Caroline begins spending time daily to teach Tessie how to read.

Caroline Fletcher was brought up in a family and a state that believed slavery was a biblically-tolerant designation. In her world, the slaves were more like members of her family. She loved them unconditionally and received that same type of love in return. In some instances, they were more like kin to her than her own parents.

Her world is shattered at the beginning of the civil war.  This is an excellent civil war novel.  I’ve always enjoyed reading about the war between the states. This is a  very well written.#lynnaustin #acandleinthedarkness #civilwar #theblueandthe grey # book #blog