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review 2020-07-31 04:34
Lifeboat 12
Lifeboat 12 - Susan Hood

Audience: Grades 4 & up

Format: Audiobook/Library


I shouldn't do it.

- first line

This book is based on a true story of kids that were travelling on the SS City of Benares to Canada to escape the Nazi bombing of London. When the ship is torpedoed, Ken (13) and other survivors are left on Lifeboat 12 in the middle of the ocean. It's the little details in this book that make it so impactful. Ken was supposed to be on a different lifeboat, the young woman who makes up stories for the boys, the one sailor who acts crazy to make everyone laugh.
The story is told in verse, so I recommend reading a written copy more than the audio (or maybe both together). The audio is very well done and I could hear the emphasis and lyricism in the narrator's voice. The story is compelling and shows the importance of believing in yourself and each other and joining together to survive. Highly recommended. A 6-8 Sunshine State nominated book for 2020-21.

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review 2020-07-17 13:19
The Takeaway Men
The Takeaway Men: A Novel - Meryl Ain

Aron and Edyta Lubinski have survived the horrors of Poland during World War II. Edyta risked her life to relocate children and then hid Aron away in her attic. After the War, Aron and Edyta don't feel comfortable in Poland and find their way to a Displaced Persons Camp where Edyta converts to Judaism and gives birth to twin girls, Bronka and Johanna. Aron and Edyta find a way to the United States where they live with Aron's relatives, Izzy and Faye. Once in America Aron delves deeper into his religion and attempts to forget about the horrors of his past, never talking about his story. Dyta strives to be the best Jewish wife she can be while Johanna and Bronka find their place in American culture. The girls grow up knowing they are Jewish, but without any knowledge of their parent's past. As Communism stretches into their neighborhood, the family witnesses a Jewish neighbor being arrested for ties to Communism and Aron is immediately reminded of his time in Poland. His fear transfers to his daughter Bronka who yearns for the full story while Johanna takes a more carefree approach to life. When the truth of their parent's past comes through, Bronka and Johanna are shocked while Aron and Edyta must finally come forth with the secrets of their family. The Takeaway Men is an insightful and heartfelt look into the experiences of Jewish immigrants after World War II. Aron and Dyta's experience was unique, although no less harrowing than many of their Jewish neighbors in New York. It was interesting to see the different approaches to dealing with the trauma that each family experienced during the War from constantly telling everyone they meet their experiences, to trying to enact revenge, and trying to hide their experiences from everyone. The effects of Aron's fear and shame was apparent through Bronka's panic attacks and showed just how lasting trauma can be. It was really thought provoking to see the similarities drawn between the arrests for Communism in America and for being Jewish in Europe. The story was told from the third person point of view in order to incorporate everyone's very different experiences; however, through this lens, I didn't feel like I connected with anyone. At the end, I was happy that the truth had come out, but I did wish that I could see the effects of this on the twins. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2020-07-08 18:34
L’énigme des Blancs-Manteaux by Jean-François Parot
L'Enigme des Blancs-Manteaux - Jean-François Parot

Series : Nicolas Le Floch #1


I should write this in French but I don’t feel like it. Overall it was ok but not great, and the series has potential. My main issue with this book was that it took forever to read. It may have only been just 300-some pages, but it felt like almost a thousand. Now, I don’t know whether it was the long chapters or the fact that I was reading it on my ereader and it might have gone better had I opted for print…maybe I’ll try to get a physical copy of the next in the series. Or maybe I should read the next one when I haven’t just bought some new computer games.


There were also some rather convenient coincidences and a tendency for prisoners to die by suicide while in custody. Admittedly, it wasn’t always convenient when they died, but as a wrap up it felt weak. I’m not sure I’d call it predictable but I did guess right in several instances.


Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy reading this as a buddy read! I just wasn’t too impressed by it and hope the next one is better fleshed out.


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review 2020-07-08 02:55
Once in a Blood Moon
Once In A Blood Moon - Dorothea Hubble Bonneau
Alexandra de Gambia has lived a dual life on Heaven Hill plantation.  Her mother is concerned about social appearances and keeping up with the white world that she desperately wants to stay a part of.  Her father lives a traditional farming life among other free blacks on Heaven Hill's grounds providing a healthy profit for his family.  However, many people are not happy about the de Gambia's household, they believe that a black family should not hold land and will do anything in order to push them off their land.  When it finally happens, Alexandra's father is prepared to protect her and her brother, Jimmy as the heirs to Heaven Hill.  Things quickly turn sour as Jimmy and Alexandra are captured.  Alexandra is sold to a master and hidden away in a tower.  The tower is filled with the music of the master's son who dreams of being a composer.  Alexandra commits the score to memory and impresses the master's son, Peter with her knowledge and talent. 
Set in the early 1800's before the Underground Railroad, Once in a Blood Moon presents an intriguing historical fiction about the very unique situation of Alexandra de Gambia.  Alexandra's family are black land owners and slaveholders in South Carolina that descended from a group of slaves that joined with the indigenous Cofitachiqui people who rebelled and freed themselves.  Alexandra's character was caught between two worlds, but only wants to do what is right for her family.  I was fascinated by the very different lives that her mother and father led as well as her willingness to please both.  While Alexandra might not be a real person, the story of her ancestors is true and was amazing to learn about. I was equally absorbed in the fact that there were freemen that were slave owners as well.  Alexandra's story quickly becomes perilous and absorbing as everything falls out from under her and her life changes in an instant.  I was captivated by Alexandra's journey as a captured slave.  I knew of the dangers, but still found it hard to read at many points.  Alexandra's friend, the indentured servant, John Fowler also captured my attention and I was pleasantly surprised to see that John Fowler was a real person and an ancestor of the author.  With an amazing ending, Once in a Blood Moon is an amazing story of an even more amazing group of people. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2020-07-04 06:00
The Green Dress Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: June 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.

As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author


Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.




More from Liz


We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

—Liz Tolsma

My Review


Get out of the house.

There’s a fine line between providing enough detail and delving into the realm of the macabre when relating a horror story, especially when that story is true. The True Colors series by Barbour Publishing focuses on historical tales of true American crime, written as fiction but based on actual events. Often the main character is invented by the author to serve as an eyewitness to the crime, which makes for an interesting interpretation because while the narrative becomes biased according to that character’s viewpoint, it also increases the mystery as readers experience everything alongside the protagonist.

This was certainly the case for me as I read Liz Tolsma’s “The Green Dress.” So far, this is the only book in the series about a crime that I was not at least somewhat familiar with already, which was exciting in and of itself. I will admit that I figured out the crime and the whodunit by chapter two, and I was concerned that I would lose interest, wondering how the book could go on for 26 more chapters. However, my fears were unfounded, and I read almost all of it in one sitting. Tolsma’s talent shines through in this fact alone, as well as in the necessarily redundant nature of the tale’s occurrences. I was never once bored! I did, though, want to shout at the characters a few times so that they would see things that seem blatantly obvious to us as vicarious readers.

 What I appreciated most about this story is how Tolsma weaves together the historical truth, the faith element, and the color theme into one seamless tapestry. Everything coalesced and worked together well, which is no easy task when writing with so many elements already fixed in place from the outset according to the series parameters. One particularly touching moment in the story addresses Harriet’s concern about whether she is good enough to go to heaven, to which Michael replies, “Did He love you enough to send His Son for you? He did, didn’t He? Then that’s all you need to know. No more fear. Because, though I pray the Lord gives you many more years here, when it is your time to leave this earth, you can have assurance of where you will spend eternity. It’s not what you did. It’s what He did.” I love that this is included in the story because so often we forget that we are saved by grace, not by anything that we do. May our faith, like Harriet’s, grow and increase as we experience the magnificent power of the Savior’s love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops


The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)




To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


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