Whose Waves These Are

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Dykes, Amanda. Whose Waves These Are. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
With a storyline centered around twins Roy and Robert Bliss, Whose Waves These Are tells the tale of family, truth, hope, faith and forgiveness over years of time. Using rocks as a foundation to build something great, Robert Bliss needs to finish before it is too late. Years later, called home by her GrandBob (Robert), Annie Bliss finds herself back home in Ansel-by-the-Sea, discovering mysteries revolving around stones, a poem, and family. Working to uncover the history involved, Annie stumbles upon much more than she imagined…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Full of beautiful imagery and skillful writing, I so appreciated the manner in which this book was written. Through the word choices, the deep visualizations, the dual timeframe, and the eloquence of speech, author Amanda Dykes had me from the first few pages with her debut novel, Whose Waves These Are. Surrounding the theme of water and waves, the quote “Every wave…is a story” is carried throughout the book, resulting in a seamless circle-style story. Savoring this book while at the same time not being able to put it down, it was touching, heartwarming, sensitive and moving. Definitely a book I will recommend as well as an author I will read again.

RATING: 5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Whose Waves These Are from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Anchor In The Storm

Sundin, Sarah. Anchor In The Storm: Waves of Freedom Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

*anchorinthestorm

SUMMARY:
Set in the darkest days of World War II, Lilian Avery is determined to withstand the pressures, both physical and mental, to gain her independence and succeed as a pharmacist in Boston. With a developing friendship with her brother’s best friend, Ensign Archer Vendenberg, Lilian soon realizes there is more to her role as a pharmacist than previously believed and the same may be true of her friendship with Arch. Can Lilian and Arch work together to solve the mystery surrounding the crew’s strange behavior or will their entangling hearts prevent a successful conclusion?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read the first book in the Waves of Freedom series, I was ready to catch-up with the characters and watch the relationship grow. Full of history and romance, the two blended perfectly for an engaging read. I am already looking forward to Book 3 in the series, due out in spring 2017. Even more than the actual story, I really liked the correlation between the author’s book dedication and real life. Priceless.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Anchor In The Storm from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Hiding Place

Ten Boom, Corrie. With Sherrill, Elizabeth and John. Abridged by DuPont, Lonnie Hull. Illustrated by Foley, Tim. The Hiding Place: Young Reader’s Edition.   Bloomington, MN: Chosen Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
tenBoomBeginning in WWII and continuing on in hearts until current day, Corrie Ten Boom and her family are still considered real-life heroes. With Jews being hunted, captured and tormented, Corrie and her family take the chance of hiding Jews in a nearby building. Once betrayed, Corrie and her family must endure the Nazi concentration camps while keeping their faith in God and humanity…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such a bittersweet, heartbreaking story yet one filled with hope, peace, courage and love. Though a well-known story, this Young Readers’ Edition makes this story accessible for even younger children/ readers. With easier to understand language, relevant pictures and sketches, interesting dialog and an engaging writing style, The Hiding Place is definitely a book to be read and shared by both young and old. Of particular interest, the authors (Elizabeth and John Sherrill) knew Corrie Ten Boom personally, making for a more intimate story.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Hiding Place from Chosen Publishing for my honest review*

A Sparrow In Terezin

Cambron, Kristy. A Sparrow In Terezin: A Hidden Masterpiece Novel. Nashvilee, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2015.

SUMMARY:
sparrowPresent and past collide in this hauntingly beautiful yet heartbreakingly sorrowful novel. In 1942, Kaja Makovsky escapes Prague to begin life anew in London; however, she decides to return to save her parents left behind. In present day, Sera James hastily marries William Hanover, accused of a crime he may not have committed. With strong emotions, strength of character and unceasing faith, Kaja and Sera blend their stories through a small Holocaust survivor and a sparrow in Terezin…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Emotionally stirring, perpetually moving and ceaselessly gripping, A Sparrow In Terezin left me with thoughts of sadness, sentiment, hope and remorse. Though at times difficult to read, I enjoyed it as much as the previous novel in the series, The Butterfly and the Violin. (Though connected to that novel, this novel works as a stand-alone too.) I found the juggle between present day and past to work very well, luring me deeper into the storyline to reveal the link. Carefully titled, the sparrow is strong, quick, free and full of the hope necessary to survive.  Beautifully written…very well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Sparrow in Terezin from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Thief of Glory

Brouwer, Sigmund. Thief of Glory. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
sigmundSet during WWII during the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Dutch East Indies, life changes for ten- year-old Jeremiah Prins quickly. When his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the family, Jeremiah finds himself the protector of his mother and younger siblings in the concentration camp. Through fear, faith, love, hope and marbles, Jeremiah must grow up and face coming of age in very difficult situations…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As the author of many, many books, Sigmund Brouwer is still a new author to me. Not an easy read by any means, Thief of Glory was so well written, I found myself cringing, grimacing and cheering for the characters as the pages turned. A mixture of fact and fiction, it was a piece of history I never realized but will now never forget. I found the perspective of first-person writing to be extremely effective in this book as well as the continuation of the marble playing/ collecting throughout the story. Based on the personal relationship of his parents, Sigmund Brouwer drives the story straight to the heart.  (Just as a word of caution…some difficult content may be intense for some readers.)

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Thief of Glory from WaterBrook Press/ Blogging for Books for my honest review*

In Perfect Time

Sundin, Sarah. In Perfect Time. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
timeArmy Air Force WWII flight nurse, Lt. Kay Johnson, is charming, attractive and bright; however, due to her past, it is difficult for her to overcome her fears and uncertainty. Straddled with his own past burdens, pilot Lt. Roger Cooper finds himself just as scared of a relationship. Will helping the injured bring them together? Will finding God and faith have an impact? Is there even a chance for the relationship due to their pasts? Perhaps…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A new author, a new series, a new time-frame and a new topic all played out in this one book for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was more than I expected. With an exciting storyline, vivid descriptions of aircraft and the period in history, intense scenes and of course, a bit of sweet romance all mingled with finding grace from God, In Perfect Time was truly a treat. Part of the Wings of the Nightingale series, this is the third installment. Although it could be read as a stand-alone as I did, it piqued my interest enough (and I enjoyed Sarah Sundin’s writing enough), to return to the two previous novels in the series to peruse.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of In Perfect Time from Revell Publishers for my honest review*

Out Of The Depths

Harrell, Edgar. Harrell, David. Out Of The Depths. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
outofthe depthsHaving survived one of the worst catastrophes at sea, the author, Edgar Harrell, USMC, lived to tell about it. In 1945, his naval ship, the USS Indianapolis, has a 1,196 man crew when it is targeted by no less than six torpedoes racing towards it. For five grueling days and nights, the shrinking crew battles sharks, salt water, dehydration and fear. Were it not for the strong faith encouraged on the open waters, perhaps no one would have survived…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard the story before of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, I was intrigued to read the story from a narrative point of a survivor. Written in a compelling and gripping manner, the crew’s unquenchable faith was apparent. For what must have seemed an eternity, those five days spent on the sinking ship and waters must have been sheer torment. By the grace of God, the author lived to recount his story of courageous survival and determined faith with others. Definitely a book to absorb and share.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Out Of The Depths from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

One Holy Night

Hochstetler, J.M. One Holy Night. Elkhart, IN: Sheaf House Publishing. 2008/ Revised 2013.

SUMMARY:
oneholynightFrank McRae, still haunted by his experiences during WWII, faces events in his life which bring out bitterness in him. Frank’s son battles in the Viet Nam War and marries a Buddhist Asian woman which causes him to be disowned, his own wife fights terminal cancer, he stumbles in his belief in God, and on one holy night must make a decision about forgiveness, grace and peace…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover, intrigued by the stained glass picture on the back, and absolutely absorbed by the story. I found this novel to be a very powerful one in many ways. The characters were well developed and genuine in their thoughts, feelings, actions, and faith. Even though I had an idea of where the story line was headed, I couldn’t put the book down (thus, reading it in less than a week)! I also appreciated the creative element in this story which incorporated the Nativity into a contemporary yet emotional message that still has me reflecting. This was my first experience reading a novel by J.M. Hochstetler and I have appreciated the opportunity. Be sure to take the time to read the Acknowledgements at the end of the book for interesting tidbits about the front cover and stained glass piece from the back.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Holy Night from the author and Sheaf House Publishing for my honest review*

The Christmas Star

Collins, Ace. The Christmas Star. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2012.

SUMMARY:
christmasstarFor Jimmy Reed things have changed…life has become harder, he is angry at the world and he has no interest in Christmas…ever since his father gave his life for his country. While his mother puts up the Congressional Medal of Honor atop the tree each Christmas to remind herself of his bravery, all Jimmy can see is anger and betrayal. His father’s fellow soldiers, a mystery letter, an unexpected failed plan and mentoring all give Jimmy hope, as well as a refreshed look at life and events.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The Christmas Star was very appropriately named, not only for the physical medal but what it all represented. Taking place during WWII, this story is also relevant today with all the families involved in loved ones missing Christmas. I enjoyed watching Jimmy work through his feelings/thoughts/ actions while finally coming to terms and accepting events of life. Jimmy learned the life lesson of giving which should be so prevalent at Christmas time (as well as throughout the year). Per his biography, Ace Collins is a very successful author whose books I will definitely consider reading in the future.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Star from Abingdon Press for my honest review*