Review: Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Paper Wishes by Lois SepahbanPaper Wishes
Lois Sepahban
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

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Ten year-old Manami loves her home on peaceful Bainbridge Island. Then her family and other Japanese American members of the community are forced to relocate to internment camps. Manami tries to smuggle her family’s dog, Yujiin, into the camp, but is forced to leave him behind. The foreign circumstances and grief over her lost dog cause her to stop speaking. Instead, Manami expresses herself through drawings she creates every night. She draws memories of Yujiin and writes asking him to find her family. She will only find her voice again if she can work through her guilt over losing Yujiin.

This realistic debut tackles a dark moment … Continue reading

Review: Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard

Lucky Strikes by Louis BayardLucky Strikes
Louis Bayard
Henry Holt and Co Books for Young Readers
Available July 5, 2016

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Fourteen year-old Amelia’s mother dies, leaving her and two siblings alone in the world. Amelia’s determined to run the family gas station and keep her siblings together until she comes of age. When the town learns of her mother’s death, Amelia and her siblings face being split up in foster care, and Harvey Blevins, who owns all the other gas stations in the area, sees the chance to snatch that last station he covets. What she needs is a parent figure, and the moment the bum falls off a coal wagon, she hatches a plan. If … Continue reading

Review: When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell

whenmountainsmoveWhen Mountains Move
Julie Cantrell
David C. Cook / Thomas Nelson

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Millie and Bump set off for Colorado and a new life together. Leaving Mississippi is all Millie ever wanted, but it seems the dark memories she thought to escape have followed her. With the memory of what Bill Miller did still hanging over her, Millie isn’t sure she can ever accept her husband’s love, and she’s not sure the past will stay buried long enough for her to try.

As Millie’s new life begins to unravel, her Choctaw grandmother arrives. She anchors Millie with the roots of family and tradition and teaches her the healing power of forgiveness.

Just like Cantrell’s debut, Into the Free, this … Continue reading

Review: Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

intothefreeInto the Free
Julie Cantrell
Thomas Nelson (first published in 2012 by David C. Cook)

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Millie has grown up watching the Romany travelers make their yearly trek through her Mississippi town and on into the free. She longs to leave her abusive father and poverty-stricken life behind and follow them, but who would care for Mama if she goes? When tragedy swallows Millie’s family, she’s left with only the memory of her mother’s faith to guide her. A window into her father’s secret life opens to Millie, and she finds an unexpected community among his friends. As the day draws near for the Romany to return and the one person Millie has counted on to save her … Continue reading

Review: An Uncertain Choice by Jodi Hedlund

An Uncertain Choice by Jodi HedlundAn Uncertain Choice
Jodi Hedlund
Zondervan

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As Rosemarie’s eighteenth birthday nears, she prepares to fulfill the sacred vow her parents made and become a nun. She struggles to accept this role even as her kingdom is in turmoil at the hands of a sheriff who enforces cruel punishment and unexplained plagues that ravage the poorest citizens. Then, one month before her birthday, an old family friend rides into her kingdom with news: Rosemarie may have another option. If she can find and marry her true love before midnight on her eighteenth birthday, she will not have to enter the convent. Three knights accompany Rosemarie’s advisor. She must find out if one of … Continue reading

Review: The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

girl-in-the-blue-coatThe Girl in the Blue Coat
Monica Hesse
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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In 1943 Amsterdam, Hanneke is the girl who can help you find things like coffee, meat, kerosene. But when a lonely widow asks Hanneke to find a missing Jewish girl, Hanneke at first refuses to get involved. Locating a Jewish girl and trying to rescue her is far too dangerous.

On the other hand, maybe danger is exactly what Hanneke needs to distract her from the aching grief of her boyfriend’s recent death. Reluctantly, Hanneke agrees to investigate the girl’s disappearance. Her search throws her in the path of a well-organized group of resistance workers who beg Hanneke to help them. … Continue reading

Review and Author Interview: Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti

Anaiah Press Blog Tour for Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti

 Jacqueline by Jackie MinnitiJacqueline
Jackie Minniti
Anaiah Press

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When Jacqueline and her mother receive news that her father, a French soldier in World War II has been shot down, she refuses to give up hope that he’ll return home. She studies hard, prays to the saint in the book her father gave her, and visits the train yard where wounded prisoners arrive. As the Nazis who occupy her small French town begin to remove local Jews from the neighborhood, Jacqueline and her mother hide a boy in their home. Soon the Americans come to liberate France from German control, and Jacqueline befriends an American … Continue reading

Review: Li Jun and the Iron Road by Anne Tait

Li Jun and the Iron RoadLi Jun and the Iron Road
Anne Tait
Dundurn

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Working as a servant to help her family becomes unbearable when Li Jun’s lecherous master makes it clear he plans to take advantage of her. As a Chinese woman in the 1880s, Li Jun has few other options. She makes a daring escape by disguising herself as a boy and living as a street urchin. When she hears of an opportunity to travel to British Columbia to work on the railroad, she realizes this could be the chance she has longed for: to follow in her father’s footsteps and discover what has kept him from returning home.

As Little Tiger, Li Jun befriends … Continue reading

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer DonnellyThese Shallow Graves
Jennifer Donnelly
Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s

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When news of Jo’s father’s sudden death rips her away from school, she returns home to her grieving family. Unable to accept the story that her father accidentally shot himself, she teams up with Eddie, a local reporter who worked for her father’s paper, to uncover the truth about his death. As each clue leads to more questions, Jo and Eddie quickly realize that the uncovering the truth could destroy everything her father once built. Jo also realizes she may be falling for the handsome reporter, but to surrender to her feelings would mean turning her back on her family.

I first fell … Continue reading

Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Some Notes on What Happens in Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Jean Louise returns to her home in a small southern town to visit her ailing, aged father and his protege, Henry, also her beau. During her visit she discovers that the man she’s admired and trusted all her life as the most fair and just man has somehow shifted into someone with whom she deeply disagrees. Her once peaceful town has become a place where races are deeply divided, and where respect for one another has evaporated. The change throws her into despair and agony, and she fights to be understood and to understand what has happened.

So the story goes something like this: Once upon a time, Harper Lee wrote a manuscript and … Continue reading

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