Aunt Ida Clare By Michele McCarty

Children are bombarded with so much negative in the world. They are faced with bullies and unkind kids at school.  Media programs that make them feel they don’t measure up in many ways. Even adults in their life unthinkingly make statements that can undermine their value in their eyes.  They have little encouragement or teaching them to show how truly special they are.  These comments stay with their impressionable minds and hearts for life. I know some of the remarks made to me in my youth have stayed with me all these years. (And trust me that is a lot of years!) Because of these things, too many children have a “can’t do” rather than a “can do” mind set.  

This book is a wonderful, fun way to encourage and turn about a child’s thinking.  It centers around the importance of words.  And after all that is where it all begins isn’t it, with the spoken word?

All of us have that crazy aunt.  Well Aunt Ida was definitely one of those!  She has just moved to town near the children and is called upon to babysit them.  At first they are skeptical but are quickly caught up in her excitement, positivity and quirkiness.  There are lots of unusual fun, descriptive words.  (Personally my favorite word is bodacious but much to my disappointment it is not in the book).

Aunt Ida quickly turns the children’s negative thinking around.  Two things I especially liked about is one, it center’s around the Bible and God’s perspective on our words. Secondly I loved the object lesson she uses to get this across.  It is unforgettable and easily applied to your children’s lives.  Not telling what it is because I don’t want to be a spoiler!

I will not only read it with my grandchildren (more than once) but also use it as a lesson in my Sunday school class.  I also plan to get each child the item used in the object lesson! A much needed powerful little book that I see being a real game changer in children’s lives! Thank you to Michele McCarty for giving me a copy of this book.  The opinions in this review are my own.

Under the Bayou Moon  By Valerie Fraser Luesse

I have some close friends from Louisiana that are so in love with their state and the life they had there.  I have been there briefly once but otherwise knew little about it.  After reading this book I understand what they are talking about.

The time is 1949.  Ellie Fields wants to break out of her family’s preconceived ideas about how her future would be and have some adventure!  That opportunity comes when she is offered a teaching job in the Bernadette, Louisiana.  She sets off alone from her comfortable home in Alabama in her 1939 car she has named Mabel. 

What she finds is a far cry from what she expected.  She finds she will be teaching 12 grades alone.  The children are terrified of teachers due to some abusive discipline the school board wants enforced when children speak their native language, French.   The housing she is provided is only accessible by a fairly long boat ride and her home has no electricity or indoor amenities.  She is really out in the boonies alone! Such a culture shock! Ellie is determined to stay and do the very best job she can.  I loved her fearlessness, grit and determination to face challenges head on and to be a part of the community. Raphe Broussard, a lifetime resident, becomes a source of encouragement and guidance she needs to settle in.  He is trying to raise his orphaned nephew.  A job he definitely feels unqualified for.  Little do they know a powerful politician has evil motives to do harm to the sleepy community to clear the way for his financial advancement.

The characters and town were delightful.  The deep caring and commitment they had for each other is something I wish was everywhere.  Their lives were poor and even backward, but they were so content and happy!  I was swept away by the author’s beautiful descriptions of the bayou, and the simple lifestyle of the people.  I felt so peaceful and relaxed, and pictured myself sitting on their front porches, looking out at the water, no TV, phones, or internet to distract.  Pure pleasure!  I felt a longing to go and experience it.   I learned so much about the Cajun heritage, traditions and personality!   One surprising thing about the book was that when most would end, this one was just beginning.  I enjoyed the excitement and mystery!  I either couldn’t put the book down because I was caught up in the beautiful moments or because I had to see what happened next!  A book you want to read!

I received this book from Revell Books in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

Beyond the Tides By Liz Johnson

I was drawn into this unique story immediately!   It checked all the boxes:  Mystery, humor, romance, inspiration, and faith!

Oliver had been helping Meg’s father in his lobster business for many years.  Both men had love, respect and close working relationship.  The unusual thing is that Meg had a deep seated resentment and bitterness against Oliver for something that happened 10 years ago in high school.  You could even say she loathed him. She had moved away and had a teaching job she loved.

Her mother’s health takes a frightening turn for the worse. This forces her father to sell his business so he can take care of his wife.  The logical one to buy it is Oliver, who desperately needs income.  Meg has never worked the business and get violently sea sick even standing on a boat.  Her grudge spurs her to tell her father she wants it.  Oliver has the skills and loyalty and it is Meg’s legacy. Which should he choose and how?  To resolve the problem, he decides Oliver and Meg work side by side on the boat for the fishing season and then he will pick one of them to own his business.    Talk about pouring gas on the fire!  With gritty determination they both take the challenge.

What transpires is beautiful.  The constant act of working together brings about miraculous changes in both their lives.  God begins to work in both their lives in unexpected ways and does what is seemingly impossible.  There are lots of surprises along the way for the reader and so many really funny moments. 

I so enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next one in this series 2

I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.