Sunday, July 9, 2017

Praying for Girls

I received a copy of PRAYING FOR GIRLS: ASKING GOD FOR THE THINGS THEY NEED MOST by Teri Lynne Underwood from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  This is what I consider to be a “parenting self-help” book geared to moms and dads with daughters.  Books like this always take me back to my childhood when my mom had one.  I can’t remember the name of it, but I do remember looking through it and thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Nothing felt relatable to me as a teenage girl.

I’m no longer a teenage girl, but reading through this, I found my inner child relating to much of it.  The chapter on being accepted really jumped out at me.  I never felt accepted in school, and many times it would weigh most heavily upon my shoulders.  My thoughts now on being accepted have changed, and they reflect the chapter’s thoughts.  I wonder if reading that back then, or having my mom talk to me like that, would have changed how I felt about school. 

Another section that leapt out to me was the one on relationships.  Normally in books like this, they are about boyfriend-girlfriend relationships.  This section talked about relationships between friends in general.  That would have really helped me growing up.


The best part about this book is that each chapter ends in prayers where you fill in the blanks accordingly.  This will help you in case you aren’t sure what to say, and it will help you to create your own prayers.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Abby's Letters

Author Bio:
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short film performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, releases in June 2017.
She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website www.DanaRomanin.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@DanaRomanin) and her Facebook fan page (DanaRomaninAuthor).

Abby’s Letters Back Cover Copy:
For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.
There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?
Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.

Excerpt from Abby’s Letters:
Clark exhaled. “Anything for you, Janie.”
Oh. He had to pull out the nickname. It crushed her. Asking Clark to lie for her—she had never asked so much of him. It went against everything he believed in. She didn’t believe in all that Christian stuff, but he did. Keeping this secret would mean disrespecting his mother. It meant he would have to go against his beliefs.
Disrespect his God.
But his God wasn’t there for her, and He certainly wasn’t going to save Abby from foster care.
Jane would, though.
She entwined her fingers with his. He was so different than the little boy who’d played hide-and-seek with her on warm summer nights, back when her world was filled with her father’s laughter and her mother’s smiles. Now his muscle twitched in his strong jawline. What happened to the freckle-faced boy she had played G.I. Joe and Transformers with? He even had stubble.
“Thanks, Superman.”
“You’re the only one allowed to call me that.”
“And you’re the only one allowed to call me Janie.”
“This is too much. You can’t do this alone.” His thumb caressed her hand.
“I’m not. I have you.”

Endorsements:
“Heart-wrenching, beautiful, and complex, Abby’s Letters is an exquisitely written treatise on mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, and love. Romanin skillfully tells this fragile family’s story with tenderness and grace, highlighting the interplay of a young woman’s painful past, uncertain future, and unflinching sisterly devotion. Each moment in this novel is a treasure shaped by masterful prose and lyrical storytelling. Do not miss this book. This is a story that should be read by anyone who is a mother or who loves one.”
--Megan Whitson Lee, author of Suburban Dangers and the award-winning novel, Captives.
“Dana Romanin’s debut novel is a poignant tale of love and lives lost, and one girl’s attempt to keep what’s left of her family together, despite all the odds. A wonderful and thought-provoking read.”
--Diana Sharples, young adult author of Running Lean.

Buy Links:


Sunday, July 2, 2017

With You Always

I received a copy of WITH YOU ALWAYS by Jody Hedlund from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  It is the first book in the “Orphan Train” series, and may I just point out that I can’t wait to read book two now. 

As a child, I read a lot of books about the Orphan Train.  It always interested me, but I kind of forgot about it, so to speak, when I didn’t find any books about it on young adult shelves.  This is a book for adults about the Orphan Train, from a slightly different perspective.  This is about a young woman who uses the Orphan Train to go out west as a skilled worker.  I hadn’t know the New York Children’s Aid Society had done this. 


Other than being a gem of historical fiction, WITH YOU ALWAYS explores the romance of Elise and Thornton in a beautiful way.  It helps to bring the west alive for the reader and this is an excellent piece of Christian literature.  I recommend this book in particular to those who were as obsessed with THE ORPHAN TRAIN ADVENTURES as I was during junior high.  (This book also explores the trails of New York City during the 1850s and that’s another topic I loved in middle grade.)