Bonanza Girl


By Patricia Beatty

Ann Katie is excited when she hears that her family is moving East. Her mother, Katherine Scott, packs them up and moves her two children out to the wild Idaho Territories. Her hope is to find a better life, teaching school for the children of the miners in the gold fields. However, things quickly change when the family arrives in Eagle City. The town has hardly any wooden homes, most of the people live in tents, prices are high, and the food consists of beans, beans, and more beans. Worst of all the town is full of rough gold miners, who if they have families they are nowhere to be found.

On the way the Scotts meet Miss Helga Storkersen, who forces her way into the family, taking on their difficulties as her own. With her help, the Scotts open a restaurant in Eagle City, and things start to look brighter for the Scotts and Helga. However, an unintentionally made enemy still looms in the background of their lives, and it would seem that their troubles are far from over.

Bonanza Girl is based on the discovery of gold in the Idaho territories, in 1883, followed by the discovery of silver a couple of years later. I appreciate the way that Bonanza Girl gave a different perspective on the rough gold mining towns in the Idaho Territory, through the eyes of a young girl and her family. It was a very enjoyable book.


Traveling Light


By Max Lucado

We all carry a burden, some burdens we choose to heave onto our shoulders, and others we drag along without being completely aware of their presence. However, we can usually feel the weight. We might not know what it is the pulls on us, but we are conscious that it is heavy.

Using the twenty-third Psalm Max Lucado shows what burdens, you might be carrying, loads that you were never intended to bear. In eighteen chapters he identifies some of the burdens that we unknowingly carry with us. Each one is connected to a portion of the Twenty-third Psalm. Showing what God intended for you and that he wants you to let him lighten your load and trust in him.

To me, this book was an inspiration and revelation. Max Lucado’s word and opinions are simplistic and refreshing. The book also contains a study guide for each chapter. Although I haven’t used the study guide personally, I would think, after reading the book, that it would be very interesting.

The Family of Jesus


By Karen Kingsbury

The Family of Jesus tells the story of six people who were close to Jesus during his time on this earth. It will take you through the lives of Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, James, and Mary. Each story gives you a taste of the pain, joy, sorrow, and struggles that they encountered in their lives. Told in vivid detail, these Bible-based stories, capture your heart, bringing a new light to the Bible as never before.

I appreciate the way in which Karen Kingsbury brings each person to life, giving them depth and emotion that makes them more imaginable and relatable. Included in the book are five-day Bible studies and group discussions for each story.


God loves to hear and see us worship whether we are dancing, singing, raising our hands, bowing down, or playing instruments. He loves it when we worship with a humble heart that wants to exalt His name.

1 Chronicles 16: 23-25 says, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.”

It is evident that we are meant to worship the Lord not just once and a while but every day. What does this or could this look like in your life? How do you choose to worship Him? Is there a way you love to praise the Lord?

By singing and dancing for Him, playing the piano or any other instrument, by participating in a worship service at church, or even by performing before a crowd, you can praise the Lord.

I love to praise the Lord with my dancing. When I am dancing, I feel closer to Him because I know I am honoring Him. It is the same when I lift my voice to sing praise to Him. True worship comes from the heart. I encourage you to take the time to worship the Lord and in your own way lift His name high.

The Ravenmaster’s Secret


By Elvira Woodruff

Forrest has lived his all his life in the shadow of the Tower of London. He and his raven love to look through his old spy glass and pretend that adventure is on the way. Forrest has always dreamt of a life outside of the castle and a chance to prove his courage. However, there is no time for such games in his work filled life.

When a group of Scottish rebels is captured and brought to the tower, Forrest hopes that something exciting might happen. But he is soon to be disappointed when he finds that the prisoner entrusted to his father is a young girl.

But Maddy is not as pathetic as she could be thought to be. She is a ferocious, noble, and strong Scottish girl. Through the few times that Forrest sees her, he begins to realize that he has come to think of her as a friend. When she is sentenced to be executed, Forrest takes it upon himself to help her escape from the tower.

The Ravenmaster’s Secret tells a story of the choice between right and wrong and the fight between courage and fear. Forrest must choose between the family he loves and the friend he cares about. He finds that courage is not about being fearless, but about being brave when you are afraid.

Dragon’s Gate


By Laurence Yep

All his life Otter has lived in the shadow of is Uncles dreams and just like his father would follow him to the end. However, the time is coming when Otter will realize that his uncle is not the amazing man he is thought to be and that life in America is very different from all that he thought.

In the year 1867, Otter leaves the Middle Kingdom bound for America. His hope is to help his father and uncle in their great work. However, California is much different that he expected. The mountains are cold, rough and covered with thick snow. They work in ground, tunneling to make a path for the Americans trains. The Chinese people are treated poorly and paid less than the American workers. Otter astonished by his father and uncles demoted position finds himself questioning their leadership and decisions on their small team or workers. Can he still bring hope and a future to the people in the Middle Kingdom?

Dragons Gate tells the story of a young boy who after having his dreams and beliefs mislead and crushed, struggles to hold on to the hope of a better future for his people.

In the Dark

When you walk into a dark room, most people’s first instinct would be to turn on the lights. They reach over to the wall and flip a switch; it is no longer dark. Now imagine this you walk into a dark room and reach out to turn on the light, but you can’t find the switch. You are left standing in the dark.

For me, it is often like that with God. Just like I am standing in a dark room, and I can’t find the light switch. I get lost in my circumstances, and it feels like God is nowhere to be found. However, The light switch hasn’t moved. It is still in the same place on the wall. It is just the same with God. God is still in the room. He hasn’t left. He is right there. The lights don’t need to be on to know that God is there. Even when you can’t see Him, He is still with you.

It is easy to feel like you are alone and to focus of the dark, when there is not a speck of light. However, instead of focusing on the dark focus on the one who is with you in the dark. Even when you can’t see Him remind yourself that He is there. You will find He always is.

The Shakespeare Stealer


By Gary Blackwood

All that Widge has ever known is the orphanage where he grew up and the home of the odd doctor to whom he was apprenticed. It was during his apprenticeship that Widge was trained to write in a coded shorthand. It is because of his ability he finds himself is the hands of a new cruel master, with orders to steal a “Hamlet” from Shakespeare’s troupe at the Globe Theater.

However, things do not go as planned and before he knows it, he is tangled in the life of the theater. As Widge falls deeper and deeper into the life of the stage, he grows to realize what it means to enjoy life and have friends. The actors at the Globe have welcomed him in and made him one of them. Widge finds himself torn between the fear of not obeying his master and friends that he has at the theater and the family that he has found.

This book is a fantastic piece of work, filled with drama, emotion, and action. It captures the time of the theater and the life of an actor.

Escape Into the Night


By Lois Walfrid Johnson

Libby Norsted has gone to live with her father on his steamboat. For Libby, life on the river is very different than the luxurious and unhindered life that she led in Chicago. It does not take long for Libby to realize that something is up on the Christina. Caleb, her father’s cabin boy, has a secret. She soon makes the terrifying discovery that he and her father are working in the underground railroad.

As she learns more about the slaves and the way they are being treated, Libby begins to question everything she ever knew about slavery. As she gets more involved with her father’s mission, she realizes how wrong slavery is. However, does she have the courage to face the dangers, challenges, and consequences of being a freedom seeker?

Out of all of Lois Johnson’s books, this one is one of my favorites. Escape into the Night is the first book in a six book series, that follow the journey of Libby and her friends in their fight for freedom. I love how Lois Johnson has tied a Christian message into this suspense filled story. Her books are both thrilling, thought-provoking, and a great read.


For me dreams are precious. However, I have always had trouble believing in my them for fear that they might never happen. For a lot of people, it is hard to believe in your dreams. Why believe in something that uncertain? Why pursue what seems to be impossible? Why would I even think about my dreams? I have definitely asked these questions of myself. However, have you ever asked them of God?

God loves dreams, he creates dreams, and he gives dreams to his people . Have you ever talked to God about your dreams? Have you ever asked him if a dream is from him? Not all dreams are from Him, many dreams are not meant to be.

Have you ever dreamt of something and been so sure that it would become reality? You get closer and closer to your dream and then suddenly it is snatched from your fingers. Have you ever longed for something so deeply, yet known inside that it could never happen? I have.

Something that I try to remember is that God-given dreams happen in God’s timing. Just because a dream didn’t come to pass when you thought it would, doesn’t mean it isn’t from God and it doesn’t mean it never will happen. I find that the worst thing you can do is give up on dreams and the best thing you can do is trust them with the creator of the universe. Let go, let Him take control, and let Him lead you to the dreams that are meant to be.