412 Teens: Are We Supposed to Let Go and Let God?

New Post: Are we supposed to “let go and let God”?


2018 Reading List

  • Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  • Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
  • Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman
  • Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
  • Cheyenne Sunrise by Janalyn Voigt
  • The Bride Wore Constant White by Shelley Adina
  • Dreams of my Heart by Barbara J Scott
  • Zeroes: A Novel by Chuck Wendig
  • Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett
  • The Sleuth’s Miscalculation by Kimberly Rose Johnson
  • Boundaries by Harry Cloud and John Townsend
  • Carrick House by Shelley Adina
  • Island Refuge by Kimberly Rose Johnson
  • The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler
  • Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
  • The Redemption Road by Christa MacDonald
  • A Caffeine Conundrum by Angela Ruth Strong
  • The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
  • The Dancer Wore Opera Rose by Shelley Adina
  • False Security by Angela Ruth Strong
  • One Word by Jon Gordon, Dan Briton & Jimmy Page
  • Where will you be five years from Today?
  • Where Theres a Will by Amy K Rognlie
  • Witchy & The Beast by Charity Bishop
  • The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson
  • Stagecoach to Liberty by Janalyn Voigt
  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Selwyn Place by Shelley Adina

Book Review: Stagecoach to Liberty

I read this book in about 2 days. The first thing I have to say is be sure you have read the first two books first or you will have no idea what is going on. The author picks up the story and doesn’t slow down. Which you should read those books anyway because they’re great.

Again, Janalyn Voigt takes us on a journey through a snippet of a the past and I came away with a smile and feeling like I learned something. She gathers up the characters from the previous books and introduces a couple new ones, specifically a young German woman Elsa. Elsa came to America to better herself and send back money to her family and the contract that she signed isn’t what she thinks it is. She finds herself in a situation she needs to get out of asap and along the way encounters Con Walsh.

Con is just trying to get home, but he can’t sit by when a young woman is in trouble. And once he has decided he is going to do something, nothing is going to stop him. I will never tire of stories that are “yep, you’re one of us now” and that is what this is.

I feel like this overarching story is building to the end and the stage was set in Stagecoach to Liberty and I look forward to seeing how Janalyn Voigt ends this series.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: The Plum Blooms in Winter

Where do I even start. First things first, be sure to read the Author Note at the beginning and at the end of this one. Even if this book wasn’t exceptionally well done, I would give it a high rating just for the Authors Notes. Linda Thompson introduces her book with an explanation of why she did what she did and touching on what she is lifting from history and what is a fictional invention. And then at the end of the book, she takes a deep dive into dividing this is what happened in this time in history and this is a character she made up. And she goes into detail, I have such respect for this lady, everything is so deeply researched and has historical precedence.

Now to actually talk about The Plum Blooms in Winter. The story is split in two, half taking place shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the other half 6 years later in a Japan that is living in a post WWII world. The during WWII part follows a (fictional) pilot, Dave Delham, from the Doolittle Raid who was forced to bail out over occupied China and was captured by the Japanese and spent the rest of the war as a P.O.W. The post WWII part follows a (fictional) Japanese woman, Miyako Matsuura, who lived through the bombing of Osaka and became a prostitute to survive. She finds out that one of the pilots who bombed Osaka will be speaking near her and vows to kill him to avenge the death of her brother.

This book, is not an easy read. And not just because of the subject matter. Thompson has mastered the art of “fade to black” and not pulling punches. I was told she was really good at that, but you guys- she is really good at it. The story is relentless, she covers intense subject matter. The pilot is a prisoner of war in that time and place and it was a brutal reality. And she adds at the top of each chapter how many days he and his men have been captive and it goes on for years. Miyako Matsuura is near the bottom of the social ladder, and her life is tragic. Her entire world was shattered with Japan losing the war. (What blew me away the most was the author writing the character of Miyako in such a way that I completely believed western life was utterly foreign to her.)

So far I believe I’ve made this book out to sound like an excellent historical fiction to educate you and leave you wanting something to cheer you up. The first half is true, and go read it for that reason alone, but this is a story of faith. And a clash of world views. And it is powerful. I don’t use that lightly, go discover this new author and download her book to your kindle. And be prepared to stay up until almost 1AM reading and forget mostly everything you were supposed to bring the next day.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: The Awakened

I have a rule of thumb that I always review a book within a few days of reading it. It keeps me accountable to not be late and the story is freshest in my mind.

That said- it has been much longer than a few days since I had the opportunity to read The Awakened. Which means it already feels like it has been forever that I have been waiting for the second book and why is it not here now.

I had serious doubts about this book. End times fiction? Flashbacks that are essentially Biblical fiction? The author having Christ as a character in the story and having fictional scenarios? Why don’t we just throw in an adultery plotline and we can have all my least favorite things. The cynicism was high people. I am making such a big deal about this because I was less than 10 pages in when I had to stop and marvel at the grace and skill that the story in front of me was being handled. I got a lot of joy out of when my sister was reading it and she’d periodically text me and go “you’re right. This is amazing.”

The concept is: what if Lazarus didn’t die again. And what if there are a chosen few believers throughout history who were raised from the dead to stand against evil until Christ comes again. The story is told both through flashbacks to Bible times and modern day.

Confession time: the concept of writing historical fiction featuring people who actually lived terrifies me. This is because I know how hard I am on the genre. History isn’t just a playground for us to take pieces and put them together as a puzzle for our amusement. These are actual lives of people who once lived, just as you or I. And my personal conviction is the standard is even higher when your playground is events from Scripture. The respect Richard Spillman clearly has for Scripture is some of the best in fiction I’ve ever read. I’m still not entirely sure how he did it.

That alone would be enough for me to give this book high praise. But everything, the characters, the scenarios, the author is clearly well researched and gives humanity to situations that would be very easy to just slap on in the background. I kept getting blown away with how well done everything in this book was.

Count your blessings, you can go buy this today and you will have less a wait for the second book than I have had to wait thus far. If you like good, well researched, grace filled fiction that is going to make you pause and be like I didn’t know you could do that and it work, read this book.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.