Almost Home


Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Almost Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2019.

Owning a boardinghouse in Blackberry Springs, Alabama, Dolly and Si Chandler welcome guests into their home as America enters into World War II. With a mixture of boarders from different locations, varying ages, diverse beliefs and various backgrounds, the dinner table tends to be full of numerous lively conversations. As friendships grow and healing takes place, a mystery is uncovered from the past. As a historical romance, Christian fiction and heart-warming novel, author Valerie Fraser Luesse writes a story which makes everyone feel Almost Home

Instead of a fast-paced novel, Almost Home took time to reveal the characters, create emotions and provide that cuddly, homey feel. I enjoyed meeting the characters and learning their stories, watching where the mystery might lead, and sipping my hot chocolate while I lingered through the book. Though not necessarily my favorite time-period to read, I found the guests interesting and the home-owners delightfully charming. A slower read yet perfect for the coziness of winter, I read this book at just the right time of year. Definitely a warmhearted book, I may continue to watch for this author in the future. (I did also like her previous book, Missing Isaac.)

3.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Almost Home from Revell Publishing for my honest review*


Missing Isaac

Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Missing Isaac. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2018.

In the deep South during the 1960s, different people came from very different worlds depending on social class and color. When Pete McLean experiences a tragedy in his life, farmhand Isaac steps in to fill the void. Friends despite the color difference, Pete is devastated when Isaac disappears one evening. Without much help from the community, Pete sets out to learn the truth about Isaac’s disappearance and by chance, meets a girl. Together they grow, changing the social dynamics of the South along the way.

As a debut novel for an author, I was surely impressed. With strong characters, raw emotion, a powerful definition of friendship, and a style true to the South, Missing Isaac is a story of a young man growing to adulthood and developing his morals, integrity and character. Along with a mystery, a bit of faith, and heart-felt emotion, author Valerie Luesse writes an honest novel, perhaps one even appropriate as a movie storyline. Definitely an author I will watch for and read again.

4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Missing Isaac from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Fast Freddy

Mancini, Lee Ann. Sharp, Dan (illustrator). Fast Freddy: Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2014.

freddyFreddy, a new student in class, is a bit different…he has the head of a shark and the body of an octopus. Feeling like a fish out of water in his new school, Freddy struggles to get along with the other children until he is asked to join the Catfish Cruisers Swim Team. Accepting the challenge, he soon learns that being unique is a true gift with many blessings…

A simple yet complex story on friendship, uniqueness, God-given gifts, and acceptance all coupled with amazing colorful pictures, I truly enjoyed the message and stunning presentation of Fast Freddy. Definitely a book to be shared with children, even adults will gravitate towards this story. Complete with a hidden Jesus-fish symbol on each page, the lessons on kindness and friendship run deep. As the author of the Adventures of Sea Kids series as well as having completed several theological degrees, Lee Ann Mancini pairs well with illustrator Dan Sharp, artistic creator for Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbara.   A Benjamin Franklin Award book…well done!

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fast Freddy from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*