Blue Ribbon Trail Ride Series by Miralee Ferrell

#1

A Horse For Kate

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A horse of her own would be awesome. But Kate figures that might be a long way away, especially since she had to give up riding lessons and move to her late grandfather’s farm. Besides, it would be a lot more fun to have a best friend to ride with. When Kate discovers a barn on their new farm that’s perfect for a horse, and a dusty bridle too, she starts to think that her dream might come true. Then she meets Tori at school, who is totally the best. So when they discover a thoroughbred that appears to be all alone, could it be the answer to her prayers? Maybe. If she can convince her dad … and figure out what’s going on with that horse.

#2 Silver Spurs-

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Kate’s dream of owning a horse has finally happened. But now her best friend Tori has no money to buy a horse. So Kate comes up with a plan—she’ll raise money by boarding horses and hosting a show in her family’s barn.

It seems the perfect solution until Melissa, the girl who disses Kate and Tori at school, shows up to board her horse, determined to compete in their show and win the silver spurs. Will their plan be ruined—or does God have something better in store for them all?

#3- Mystery Rider

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In the third installment in the Horses and Friends series, thirteen-year-old Kate Ferris already has one problem. Snooty, well-to-do Melissa is boarding her horse at Kate’s family stable. When Melissa suddenly turns nice, Kate is shocked … and suspicious.

The last thing she needs is more trouble. So when a hooded rider appears—and then disappears—on a stunning black horse outside her home, Kate isn’t sure if Melissa is playing a trick or something more dangerous is going on. Either way, Kate and her friends will need an extra measure of faith and courage to solve this mystery.

#4-Blue Ribbon Trail Ride

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Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

 

My Review:

I don’t know if every young girl is this way, but when I was younger, even though I didn’t really want to ride horses all the time, I wanted to read about them. Well, that and nurse stories. Gail’s Golden Filly, Green Grass of Wyoming, and Silver Birch were books that we sought out and read over and over.

But sometimes even the tamest of horse stories don’t always have the best of morals in them for young boys and girls. It is not so with these books. Miralee Ferrell has a great combo in these stories. These are family stories. The children are not perfect, they struggle, but they love one another. Kate’s brother has autism, they deal with a unfriendly people at school,  and learn the consequences of real life in a level appropriate for ages 8-12. Some younger readers will enjoy the stories as well as older. I mean, obviously, I enjoyed them as an adult! I often think that a well written YA or middle school age book should interest adults as well.

If your boys or girls enjoy stories about horses with a little mystery in them, pick these up. They will be some that the whole family will enjoy!

 

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Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the Book:

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions—for which he has little regret.

Evelyn has to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close—and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse—his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

My Review:

This book grabs you from the beginning, as you meld your mind into Evelyn’s story. Like strong female characters? You will like this one, even though she appears to be weak in the beginning.

The struggle with the book was more a realism one, of the realties of a wife that is abandoned, cheated on and mocked all over a small town can be real life for many believers in this day and age.

This book will stir many questions in you, the topic of divorce and remarriage may come up, forgiveness, standing by your man, abuse, or other such topics. For me, I felt this book handled some of them with grace and poise, much like Evelyn’s character in the book. Looking for a Gilmore Girl’s type story, where the good guy gets the girl? You will enjoy this story. If you are looking for a story that debates doctrine, look elsewhere.

The story of the paper hearts are continued in this book, so in order to understand that, you will want to read book one.

This book was given to me for review by Tyndale. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy here… Change of Heart 

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Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won’t be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can’t help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him.

Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she’s the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

My Review:

In this continuing story with the theme of lighthouses, we follow Tessa. I was intrigued by the story line, the rich history that Ms. Hedlund wove throughout the story made this a delightful book. The romance, well, for me, it seemed overdone or maybe a bit over the top when it came to describing eyes, body characteristics, and other mannerisms. I loved Tessa, and some of the other secondary characters.  I have to say, I fell in love with Samuel and really wanted to follow his story a bit more. Ms. Hedlund did bring so many of these characters to life for me, and I did really enjoy the book. I wished the romance would have been better, but over all, it was really a good book.

The history of the mines, lighthouses, and other area features was a huge perk of reading this book and something that I think many historical fiction lovers will enjoy. I remember visiting a mining museum and seeing pictures of the long ladders that were in the mine that the miners, young or old could slip and fall off of while working. It sent shivers down my spine.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

My Review:

I have long been a fan of Melanie Dickerson’s books. Every Christmas for the last approximately five years, I have bought her books to read on Christmas day. So, when she varied from her normal genre of fairy tale rewrites to write Regency, I was wondering if I would enjoy it as much as her other books. I should not have doubted.

Wow. While this book is geared towards adults, it would still be appropriate like her other reads for teens. It was a genuinely amazing Regency story, that will remind you of the famous Regency authors of old with twists that will have your heart slightly racing. I enjoyed, not only the light romantic story, but the mystery of the spying with historical facts throughout. The end result, Melanie Dickerson hits the high notes again. This book is another “must buy” book.

This book was provided for me by NetGalley and the author for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy available for pre-order here. It releases February 9th, 2016

 

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The Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

When the illustrious India Hartley is accused of murder, she has to uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone in the world after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

 

 

My Review:

It took me a bit to get into this story, similar to the Bracelet, which I also felt similar about. The storyline was fascinating, the theater experience, details of the history in the area. But, I struggled to figure out where the story was going at times. It seemed to drag or lag at times. I did like that the romantic story took awhile to develop and was more realistic in that way. I wondered about the court systems in the time period that it was set, so that was interesting to see how it worked. I will be looking up to see what was truthful in history!

 

 

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Trim and Healthy Mama Plan by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Based on the New York Times bestselling, self-published book Trim Healthy Mama comes a simplified, practical guide to starting and succeeding this unique fad-free diet that teaches readers to stop cravings and boost energy while losing weight quickly and getting healthy.

My Review:

I had read some of the original ginormous Trim and Healthy Mama book, and since I didn’t feel the need to follow a diet plan at this time in my life, got quickly overwhelmed with the idea and set it aside.

However, with my mom following the plan and several other friends, my interest was piqued to look into it more. I recently reviewed the cookbook, which was great. As I read this guide to a different way of eating more than a diet plan, I was amazed at how delightful they could make food sound. No matter what type of eater you are, there is a plan in here that will work for you. Some readers complained lightly that they couldn’t follow it without speciality foods or mixes, but after observing my mom do it for  more than a couple of years, I would say it is highly possible.

Some of their mixes that they sell for sweetener and baking mixes can make life simpler and are not priced badly for what they offer.

Throughout the book, the easy going, friendly tone is worded more like a conversation with a friend than a professional author. It is that tone that I believe has made this book a top seller. It worded in an easy to read format, not like a traditional “diet” book, which this is far from being. I don’t know any diet that tells you to eat bacon and says carbs are not the enemy as well as encourages you to eat dessert.

While the authors that wrote this are not health specialists, their ideas are working to improve the health of many, many families while also helping them to maintain healthy weights, without depriving themselves of yummy food. Not everything will work for everyone! But this is one of the ones that I have seen work for more people that I personally know, than not. The other plus is that you feel good on it!

Unlike its thick original guide, this book is straightforward and to the point. It is easy to follow and if you get lost, it might be because you are thinking about the yummy food and need a snack.

The book is available for sale online through their website and on Amazon here.

Trim and Healthy Mama Plan

 

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Anchored by Kayla Aimee

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Book description:

You count a pregnancy by weeks and Kayla Aimee had only ticked off 24 of the 40 when she unexpectedly went into labor. She thought her church upbringing had prepared her for every circumstance but when tragedy struck and threatened to take the life of her newborn daughter, it felt as though once solid ground had turned to glass beneath her feet, destined to shatter everything she held sacred.

For anyone who has felt their faith in God falter, Anchored extends a gentle invitation to join her as she uncovers a hope that holds.

My Review:

If you ever wonder what it is like for some mothers that experience early birth, life in the NICU and the daily fear that goes with it, this book will bring you through the midst of it. I found myself reliving the days I spent beside my niece’s bed as if it were yesterday. Her little one had a very complicated life beginning, but she spins a tale in this easy to read book of raw encouragement, without holding back any of the hard hitting punches.

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Prayers that Changed History by Tricia Goyer

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description

Twenty-five stories of historical figures who prayed to God and as a result, history was changed.

One prayer can change everything.

Martin Luther. Sojourner Truth. Helen Keller. St. Patrick. We read their stories, and of other people like them, in history books, and hear about the amazing things they did to change the world. But one part of the story is often left out: Each one of them wouldn’t have accomplished what they did without prayer.

In this book from bestselling author Tricia Goyer, the stories of twenty-five notable people are presented along with the major prayer that changed their lives and changed history. Following each historical example is a biblical story that ties to that person’s life and actions, as well as ways you can use the power of prayer in your life as well. Because God isn’t done changing the world yet, and he would love to use you to make history.

My Review:

As I read through this lovely little book over the past while, I was impressed at how each story, it brought it back to prayer. Each person depicted in this book may not have been the world’s greatest person. Some of them may have truly done other things that we do not extoll, but their prayers, we can always praise.

Each story has daily life applications that can be used in your homeschool, daily devotions or just family time of discussion. You will read about the person, a biblical person, and life applications and questions.

I found myself wishing this book was included and scheduled in many of the yearly cycles of My Father’s World as it will go perfectly with it. There is much to learn in this little book!

 

 

To Purchase a copy, you can find it available here!
Prayers that Changed History

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Two decades ago, Not Without My Daughter (a global phenomenon made into a film starring Sally Field) told of the daring escape of an American mother and her six-year-old child from an abusive and fanatical Iranian husband and father. Now the daughter tells the whole story, not only of her imprisonment and escape but of life after fleeing Iran: living in fear of re-abduction, battling recurring nightmares and panic attacks, taking on an assumed name, surviving life-threatening illness—all under the menacing shadow of her father.

This is the story of an extraordinary young woman’s triumph over life-crushing trauma to build a life of peace and forgiveness. Moving from Michigan to Tehran, from Ankara to Paris, Mahtob reveals the profound resilience of a wounded soul healed by her faith in God’s goodness and his care and love for her.

My Review:

I was in my teens when I first read Betty Mahmoody’s story and it stuck with me. When I viewed the movie, I was struck by how they had downplayed the abuse for the movie. When I read Mahtob’s story, I was once again struck by it. What brave women!

These two women, experienced horror. They survived. But not only survived, they became conquerers through it all. They did not allow it to embitter them, but instead sought out to enrich others lives. Mahtob became a mental health professional, while her mother fought to change policy and promote safety for others in her position.

As much as I hated to see their experiences, this book is amazing! The letter at the end was one that I would say was a work of art. She is the prime example of forgiveness, love and care, yet she never spoke to her father again.  She was able to remember the things she loved about him, the culture, the food and yet reject the evil narcissistic and abusive behavior that separated her from him. She, despite his evil and the harm he did to them, conquered and went on with her life.

I loved how she pointed out that it didn’t mean that they were healed because they forgave. It did not mean they had a relationship with her father, even as she prayed for him. Most of all, I loved seeing the relationship with God that grew through her years afterwards.

This is only my third book of 2016, but I can tell you now, it is going on the top reads of the year already. What an incredible, life changing story! If you have not read “Not without my daughter”, check it out as well, but don’t miss reading this incredible book as well.

Available for sale from Amazon or where books are sold.

My Name is Mathob 

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2016 Reading Challenge

I have seen some great reading challenges on Facebook, GoodReads, and on blogs here and there. However, I thought I would try my own.

January :

Read one Series that was a Favorite in the past.

(For myself, I am thinking one of these)

The Daughter’s of Boston Series by Julie Lessman

Wings of Glory Series by Sarah Sundin

February:

Read a book by an author that I have never read before. This one is going to be a bit hard on me.

I am thinking about this one.

The Sound of Diamonds Series by Rachelle Rea

or This one.. From Dishes to Snow by Kathy Howard 

March

Read a Book that is only available on an eBook.

I was looking for one that fit this on my wish list.

A Month in Cologne by Felicia Rogers

Match Made by Erynn Magnum 

 

April

Read a non-fiction book that is on my Amazon wish-list

I was looking at these ones.

In My Defense by Leigh Ann Bryant 

The Blue Cotton Gown: A midwife’s Memoir- Patricia Harman

May

A Fiction novel with travel in it. They can travel in the USA, but they have to travel.

Any suggestions?

June

Read a book that is spring colors- pink, green, yellow, or the like…

Love Finds you in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson 

 

July

We always end up doing church camps or camping in July. For this month, I am challenging myself to find a book that has camping in it.

August

Read a book about couples that are already married….

September

Read a book with childbirth in it: either fiction or non-fiction

October

Read a book about gardening- Fiction or non-fiction

November-

Read a non-fiction book that is self improvement

I am thinking about a writing book!

December

It would seem normal to read a Christmas book, but I was thinking of a cookbook. =)

 

 

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