Category: books

The Son of the House Book Review

In The Son of the House, the lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they’re kidnapped, held captive, and forced to await their fate together.

About The Son of the House

In the Nigerian city of Enugu, young Nwabulu, a housemaid since the age of ten, dreams of becoming a typist as she endures her employers’ endless chores. She is tall and beautiful and in love with a rich man’s son.

Educated and privileged, Julie is a modern woman. Living on her own, she is happy to collect the gold jewellery lovestruck Eugene brings her, but has no intention of becoming his second wife.

When a kidnapping forces Nwabulu and Julie into a dank room years later, the two women relate the stories of their lives as they await their fate.

Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what still remains a man’s world. 

My Thoughts

In The Son of the House, two women who are from two classes and social walks of life are brought together by a kidnapping and as the story unravels we learn just how connected these two women really are.

The story starts in the present with the kidnapping but we are soon brought back to the beginning of their personal stories and learn the personal stories of each of the women. Reading their journey left me in awe – their stories are powerful and moving. Each journey, while different, has similar elements. The women have struggled, suffered, and despite it all keep moving forward, day by day.

Nwabulu is a bright woman, who was full of promise – she was smart, hard working and determined. She balances her role as housemaid, caregiver for her young charge with her studies. Her downfall? A young, rich man who promised her the world but left and denied her when she needed him the most. While her dreams begin to unravel, she remains her dignity, strength and courage. I was in awe of her strength and determination, despite the way she was treated by those who should have protected her.

Julie, in so many ways is the opposite – a young modern woman living on her own and infatuated with a married man. She is independent and does not want to settle down and get married. All of this changes when she loses several people close to her. She sets herself down a very dangerous path of lies in the pursuit of happiness and honouring her family.

I loved every moment of this novel – learning about the history of both women, the path their lives took, their resilience and how their lives were connected. I have to admit, I did not see the twist coming at all! But it fit perfectly in the novel. The story is full of hope, forgiveness, pain and the impact of family and cultural beliefs can have on our journey. The Son of the House is a must read novel for both young adults and adults – you will not want to put this one down.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic, and writer. She holds a doctorate in law from Dalhousie University and works in the areas of health, gender, and violence against women and children. Cheluchi divides her time between Lagos and Halifax.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Safe Harbour Book Review

In Safe Harbour, as far-fetched as her father’s plan sounds, sticking to it is easy for Harbour — until it isn’t.

About Safe Harbour

Fourteen-year-old Harbour is living in a tent in a Toronto ravine with her dog, a two-month supply of canned tuna, and an unconventional reading list. She’s not homeless, she tells herself. She’s merely waiting for her home — a thirty-six-foot sailboat — to arrive with her father at the helm. Why should she worry when the clouds give her signs that assure her that she’s safe and protected?

When her credit card gets declined, phone contact from her father stops, and summer slips into a frosty fall, Harbour is forced to face reality and accept the help of a homeless teen named Lise to survive on the streets. Lise shows Harbour how to panhandle and navigate the shelter system while trying to unravel Harbour’s mysterious past. But if Harbour tells her anything, the consequences could be catastrophic.

My Thoughts

Safe Harbour is a powerful book that touches on several important topics including homelessness, child welfare system and mental illness told with compassion, understanding and sensitivity.

Fourteen year old Harbour has found herself living in a Toronto ravine in a tent with her dog Tuff Stuff while she waits for her Dad to join her on his sailboat. As we learn, this is not unusual – Harbour has had a very interesting childhood. She has been homeschooled in an untraditional manner – learning more about real life application about topics close to her Father’s heart. Harbour is kind, thoughtful and independent. She is used to being on her own and making do, this time getting by on cans of tuna and crackers. But this time, something is not quite right as the days turn in to weeks waiting for her Father. She develops a friendship with a young woman named Lise, who helps show her how to survive on the streets of Toronto especially as fall is closing in quickly and the weather is changing quite quickly. She also helps her to realize and support her when it appears something bad has happened to her Father and he may not be coming.

This was a beautifully written book that many times had me in tears over the kindness and compassion that Harbour finds in Lise. Being witness to their struggles on the streets of Toronto hurts, hearing the stories of the youth, their struggles with the system breaks your heart because you know that these stories hold true for so many of our youth. Lise approaches life with caution but with humour, getting by by trusting her instincts and the people who have been there for her judgement free. Both young women are trying to get through each day looking for food for themselves and Tuff Stuff, to keep warm and clean, and to find a way to move forward while facing extreme weather, mistrust of the system and being judged by society. While the ending may not be an ending that all youth will experience, it warmed my heart and helped bring the story full circle.

Safe Harbour was an incredible read from start to finish that I could not put down. It is perfect for all age groups and covers some very important topics with compassion. Safe Harbour is a definite must read novel this summer!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Christina Kilbourne is the author of Safe HarbourDetached and the award-winning Dear Jo. Her writing has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Ukrainian. She lives in Bracebridge, Ontario.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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To Find Her Place Book Review

To Find Her Place is set in the midst of WWII and Jane is at a crossroads – can she discern the path to true happiness?

About To Find Her Place

In the midst of WWII, Jane Linder pours all her energy and dreams for a family into her career at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. As acting directress, Jane hopes for a permanent appointment so she can continue making a difference in the lives of troubled children. But if anyone were to find out she is divorced, everything would change.

Garrett Wilder has been hired to overhaul operations at the Children’s Aid Society. He hopes to impress the board members with his findings and earn the vacant director’s position. A war injury ended his dream of taking over his parents’ farm, but with the security of the director’s job, he’d be able to contribute financially and help save the family business. 

Despite their competing interests, feelings begin to blossom between them. But then Jane’s ex-husband returns from overseas with an unexpected proposition that could fulfill her deepest desires. Suddenly at a crossroads, can Jane discern the path to true happiness?

My Thoughts

Jane is a bright young woman who has risen quickly in the Children’s Aid Society from social worker to acting directress, especially at a time when women were not viewed as capable of handling all of this. She has balanced her Mother’s illness, her home life and hidden the secret of her divorce all in the hopes to secure the Directress position to provide her with financial security and the hopes of a family.

Garrett returned from the War with a severe injury that could end his life at any time – an injury that he refuses to speak about and one that has caused him to give up hopes on a future and happiness. His job with the Children’s Aid Society is to find where Jane has gone wrong and if someone is stealing money. This puts the two of them at odds despite the budding attraction and their both very obvious love of the children and protecting them.

I loved this well written novel. Jane is just this wonderful woman, who has a heart full of love and kindness – you can’t help but love her and want to be her friend. She has had a difficult past, and you want to continuously protect her throughout the novel but these are things that she must learn to forgive and move past, if she ever wants to have happiness in the future. Garrett has his own troubled past – one that he also has not come to peace with and while he is perfect for Jane, both of them struggle with letting go and their own insecurities in order to find happiness in the future.

This is a definite must read novel that will inspire you, give you hope and belief that we should always follow our hearts.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Susan Anne Mason’s historical novel Irish Meadows won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA as well as the Christian Retailer’s Choice Award for Debut Novel. A member of ACFW, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.net.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sustaining Faith Book Review

In Sustaining Faith, a white lie the sisters used to protect some orphans has resulted in an official complaint and a letter revoking the sisters’ permission to manage their little children’s home. 

About Sustaining Faith

A white lie the sisters used to protect some orphans has resulted in an official complaint and a letter revoking the sisters’ permission to manage their little children’s home. And unexpectedly, Walter, the young man who has won Lillian’s heart, departs for a job in the oil industry without leaving any hope for their future, making her confused and lonely.

With more children on their way from England needing caring homes, Lillian and Grace must use every ounce of gumption to keep their mission alive. But when startling information about the past surfaces and a new arrival comes via suspicious circumstances, they’ll have to decide what is worth fighting for and what is better left in God’s hands.

My Thoughts

Sustaining Faith is a novel that touched my heart – from the young orphans whose lives were completely upturned at such a difficult time in our history, to the people who tried to do everything they could to protect them and to ensure that they felt the love and family that they deserved.

Two sisters, each with their own past and ties to the orphanage, run a small children’s home where the children come to on their way to their forever homes. Lillian and Grace show the children love and hope at such a difficult time in their lives and they are also there to protect them from those who will abuse them. It is this protective nature of theirs, that ends up potentially getting them in trouble. Further complicating matters, is the suspicious arrival of a young child and how they should handle this matter.

This is a touching novel as the characters have to make important decisions based on their personal beliefs and their own faith in God. My heart broke learning about the young children that were sent overseas from England and the struggles they faced and the adults who were not always kind to them (there is not enough time spent in school learning about this part of history). It was nice to read about some glimmers of hope and love at such a darker period of history while encouraging you to learn more. Sustaining Faith is a lovely read from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Janette Oke is celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry. Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies, and she is the recipient of the ECPA President’s Award, the CBA Life Impact Award, the Gold Medallion, and the Christy Award. Janette and her husband, Edward, live in Alberta, Canada.

Laurel Oke Logandaughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of several books, including Janette Oke: A Heart for the PrairieDana’s Valley, and the Return to the Canadian West series, cowritten with her mom. Laurel has six children and seven grandchildren and lives in Illinois.

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Dinos vs. Machines

Have you ever wondered if a velociraptor could outsprint a motorcycle?

Learn more in Dinos vs Machines, as 10 dinosaurs face off against 10 machines.

About Dinos vs. Machines

In this book, you will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each dinosaur and machine. Discover the pointy horns of the triceratops, the scorching speeds of a motorcycle, the bat-like wings of the pterodactyl, and the digging power of the bulldozer and so many more. Then, turn the page to discover what a showdown between the two giants would look like. Each battle is sure to get your heart pounding and put you on the edge of your seat.

But pay attention because you will decide the winner! Experts share their winners at the back so that you can check your answers to find out if and why you’re right.

Our Thoughts

In this epic, brightly designed children’s book Dinos vs. Machines, Team Dinosaur faces off against Team Machines. Top Team Dinosaurs include Spinosaurus, Argentinosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Stegosaurus and T.Rex, while our Top Team Machines includes tank, motorcycles, snowmobile and monster trucks.

Each battle between the dinosaur and machine has two pages dedicated to the battle stats for each of the battles and a two page spread that depicts their battle. The winner? While you can guess who will be the winner while reading the book together, the winner results can be found at the back of the book.

We loved learning about the stats – I actually learned about a few new dinosaurs (Argentinosaurus – I have never heard of this one before!) and it was neat to learn about things like when they lived, their heights and weights. The battles were appropriate and well matched together, because your first thought was like how could these two groups battle together being so different? Our favourite battle was between Ichthyosaur vs submarine, as they dove together and battled in the depths of the ocean. The illustrations were beautiful, bright and we loved the comic like design of the battles and illustrations. It really helped to bring to life the battles and the strength of both the dinosaurs and the machines. Dinos vs. Machines is a great, fun book for young children who are fans of dinosaurs and machines as they get a chance to learn about both and look at them from a new perspective. The book gives children the chance to choose the winner, and I love this interactive feature as it encourages them to use what they know and apply it to crown a winner (or to go with what their heart believes!).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About the Author

Eric has written over a dozen books for children, such as the #3 New York Times best seller Disney’s Descendants: The Novelization, which he wrote under pseudonym (and anagram) Rico Green. He was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey, and earned a creative writing degree from the University of Miami. He lives in Los Angeles.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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