The Best Place by Tyler R. Tichelaar

974510_10151663791848201_608006594_n COVERWhat do King Arthur, Lyla Hopewell, and Marquette, MI have in common?  (Answer to follow)

Lyla Hopewell is full of spunk, spitfire, and is as tough as they come.  Sometimes growing up in an orphanage will do that to someone.  And, sometimes, when the pain is really deep, from let’s say . . . losing your family, that spunk and spitfire can burn inward until there is nothing left but empty bitterness.  Lyla’s journey to finding herself and learning the mysteries of her past is a long one.  People think that when you reach a certain age that you can no longer learn anything.  Lyla can tell you a different story because she doesn’t stop learning in 2005 when she is 77-years-old.  That whole year blossoms into something beautiful from one single, quiet closed-up life.  And, all the time that Lyla is learning to live her best friend Bel is experiencing her own difficult times, and this sets a bit of a small wedge between the life-long friends.

Now, I can’t tell you what happens between the girls because I’ve still got about 40 more pages to read.  I didn’t want to spoil the ending for anyone and I knew I might just do that—so I stopped short.

What I can tell you is the character development in this story is excellent.  Each person has strong definitive lines that are kept within in their own personality traits.  And, I don’t understand how the author can live inside a little girl’s head, go through the pain that this woman went through for 77 years, and then little by little as that magical year of 2005 passes by, all the bitterness starts to melt away, and she finally realizes what her life has meant and what wonderful possibilities she has in front of her.  How can someone who is absolutely crazy about King Arthur, and Marquette, MI possibly know what goes on in the life of an old woman?  Wait!  I forgot . . . it’s not one old woman–I forgot Lyla’s friend, Bel.  Not only that, but he absolutely nails the personality of the snippy, smart aleck 14 year old, and the 25 to 35 year old who is in love with the son of Lyla’s one-and-only pitiful romance from year’s past.

Now, no one gets murdered in this book, there’s no bloodshed to speak of, and really no violence going on—well . . . there would have been if Lyla could have gotten her hands on that little smart aleck, Josie.  She sure tried hard enough to catch her—and, for a 77 year old woman she sure gave that little girl a good chase.  So, if you don’t mind missing all the gory stuff and would just like to cuddle up with a really good story—then, this is your book.  Look at it this way–anyone who can write about King Arthur and Marquette, MI and still write a really great book about a woman’s life has got to be a very well-rounded, talented author.

Thank you Tyler Tichelaar for this lovely copy of your book “The Best Place,” and for the opportunity to give you my honest opinion of what I read.  I can’t wait for what you have in store for us next time.

 ♥  Read an excerpt from Tyler’s book. . . .

THE BEST PLACE–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 738 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Marquette Fiction; 1 edition (June 10, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DFKMUHS
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Spirit of the North by Tyler Tichelaar

1291646_10151663792218201_1120710923_n SPIRITIt’s time for bed and I’ve been reading a bit of this story every night.  I just reached for the book and realized I finished it.  What a letdown.  The characters were part of my bedtime routine, but they are all busy in their own world within the pages of the book.  I wonder how Barbara and Adele would be doing now.

This is the second book I’ve read by Tyler Tichelaar.  I have to say, that it was as equally charming and quaint a tale, of days gone by, as “The Only Thing That Lasts,” which was the first book I read.  What really caught me up in the story was the daring and tenacity that these two girls showed by trying to live in their uncle’s abandoned Michigan cabin for a winter.  There’s something that touches my heart about women who brave the odds and stick out the hardships of surviving against nature as if it were no more difficult than missing a bus and walking to work.  However, for Barbara and Adele, it was not very easy—yet, they did survive.  Of course, they had a bit of help from time to time from some local loggers who turned out to be a bit more intriguing than the first blush of fascination young girls have for young men when they meet.

Somehow this story reminded me most of “A Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter, and I’m trying to figure out why.  The two stories had nothing to do with each other except perhaps the years the stories were set in.  I think, that maybe it was the comparison of Elnora in “Limberlost” with Barbara in “Spirit of the North.”  They were both fighting battles, and in a slim way, both were fighting to stay alive and succeed with nothing more than their wits and good common sense.  Elnora had to survive her mother’s mental illness and the two girls, Barbara and Adele had to survive their dead uncle’s mental illness and how it affected their survival and happiness.   The women had grit and spunk and determination—so much so—that nothing was going to stop them, not illness, not love, not isolation/fear/money.  These are all the traits women had to have to survive around the turn of the last century.  And, I think, this is why I’m so drawn to that time period.

Overall, the story was a fun read and I really enjoyed it.

My thanks to the author for this lovely copy of “The Spirit of the North” and to Review the Book.com for this opportunity to review the book.

 

SPIRIT OF THE NORTH–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 686 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0979179068
  • Publisher: Marquette Fiction; 1st edition (March 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MTPFDE

The Only Thing That Lasts by Tyler R. Tichelaar

1080472_10151663791618201_1297244887_n ONLY THING

An Endearing Tale of a Simpler Time

 “A true library inside a home!  To possess a library was the only reason I could think of for why anyone would want to be rich.”

Okay . . . I’m hooked!  How could I not fall in love with a boy (or anyone) who loves books that much?  Just getting to page 85 to see the excitement on Robert’s face as he sees all those beautifully embossed books lining the shelves in that massive library and knowing that as a solid defining moment in his life is worth the five stars to me.  Life was so different around a hundred years ago, and without television, telephones, computers, gadgets–I imagine to a young boy who wanted to find adventure and the mysteries of life, books would seem to hold the magic keys to the world.

Some people have compared this story to Twain’s scallywags Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.  I don’t see that here.  This reminds me more of a story like  Little Women with all the homespun charm of the Little House books, except from a boy’s point of view. For this, I’d like to thank Tyler Tichelaar’s brother for requesting an “old fashioned story.” (Dedication page)  And, I’m a sucker for this type of tale.  It is so refreshing to not have all the people being murdered, being put into jail, doing drugs, or plotting revenge tactics.  This is just an easy story about a young boy’s fictional life in historic Marquette, Michigan.  Robert has more than his share of hardships and emotional adjustments for a young teen during the war, (and, as a young man) yet, he always seems to find the bright spot in things even if it is only for a short period of time as is evidenced in this passage, “And so, whenever life has felt close to falling apart, I think back on that day and think of the blue and the green, the two colors that made my soul leap up in me, that made me feel like I had a deeper, inner life I was only beginning to understand.” (P. 139)

Sprinkled throughout the book were historical facts about Marquette and Mackinac Island. It was so much fun to look up these places on the Internet.  I have to agree with the author that the Grand Hotel is the most impressive hotel I’ve ever seen.  It looks like an amazing place as does the island itself.  All this history added so much enjoyment to the story and made it really come to life.

The Only Thing That Lasts was such an enjoyable read that I’m certain I’ll be enjoying other works by Tyler R. Tichelaar.

I’d like to thank the author for this lovely copy of his book and also Review the Book.com for this opportunity to review this book.

 

THE ONLY THING THAT LASTS–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 881 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Marquette Fiction; First edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0023RRRJU

Time and Again by Deborah Heal

Time AND Again Kindle

 

“Time and Again”–Charming!  Quaint!  Clever!

Time and Again is a good, wholesome, old-fashioned story with a modern twist.  This charming tale touches upon many of the hard issues that kids have to face today—depression, bullying, weight issues, absentee parents, abandonment, self-esteem, and young love.  It is written in such a way that these issues, which seem so momentous at first, gently blend into the background and simply melt away as the relationship between Abby and Meredith develops and they become fast friends.

Both girls are embarking on new adventures in their lives.  Abby just graduated from college, has taken a summer job—her first job, as a live-in tutor.  Meredith recently moved to the lonely, empty little town of Miles Station with her mother to an old historic home she inherited.  Determined to make a new life for them, her mother must work all sorts of crazy hours, which leaves Meredith with nothing to do.  She is feeling angry and dejected, and the last thing she wants is a babysitter hanging around, pestering, her all day long.

Naturally, the story does not end there . . . the old house promises some mysterious, quirky surprises for the two as they delve into its history and of the presently defunct town of Miles Station.

Ms. Heal did a marvelous job in addressing some of the confusion that children have in growing up while trying to understand the adult world.  In this, the book turns an enjoyable story into a chapter by chapter mini life-lessons book for teenagers.  Her teaching style is crafted in such a way to make you think you are just reading a fun story.  She offers so much in the way of learning history, relationships, people, and in surviving the turbulent teenage years, that you will want to read it time and again.

Note: I would like to thank Deborah Heal for this lovely copy of her book, and to Review the Book.com for the opportunity to review it.

 

TIME AND AGAIN–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 1044 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BMUQAR4

 

Unclaimed Legacy by Deborah Heal

Another Great Book by Ms. Heal!

Unclaimed Legacy_Kindle_v1


“Time and Again”
was a great introduction to Abby, Merri, John, and all the others living about in the Miles Station’s neighborhood.  By the time I had turned to that last page I felt like I had made some new friends.  “Unclaimed Legacy’s” genuine warmth and down home spirit turned those new friends into my old friends–people I’d grown up with in my old neighborhood. You know . . . the ones who make you feel like you were a part of their family.  And, what is more fun than having a summer adventure with your pals from the old neighborhood?  This time, Eulah and Beulah need to solve a long-time mystery in their family tree and there is only one way that Abby, Merri, and John can help them.  Of course, by now . . . you know what that is from reading “Time and Again.”

“Unclaimed Legacy” really has great character development and character interaction. There is a little love-play tension between Abby and John throughout the book.  The history of Eulah and Beulah’s bloodline dances around a great mysterious tale that only can be solved through the odd and quirky computer program that has intrigued our three friends from the beginning.  Adding the new characters gives a bit of depth and suspense to the mystery.

But, I really appreciated the way this author weaves all the history of the area into the story.  I’m not a great history lover but in this book there is nothing glaring or boring with dull facts that will cause you to nod off.  I was almost through reading the whole book before I realized how many historical tidbits were presented.  With the little I know of the third story and my experience with the first two, I am really excited to get into the last one of the trilogy.

It is so refreshing to just have a good story to kick back, relax, and unwind from a trying day.  Every night I read it before hitting the hay and the worst part of that is the book is done. It was really something to look forward to in ending my day. The good news is I have the last book of the trilogy left to read.  And, I can’t wait!

I’d like to thank Deborah Heal for this beautiful copy of “Unclaimed Legacy” in exchange for an honest review.

 

UNCLAIMED LEGACY — AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 1485 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0092GZ0WG

Every Hill and Mountain by Deborah Heal

Every HIll and MountainAn Entertaining Mystery!

 

Deborah Heal considers herself a Christian fiction author.  Right there, for a lot of people, that would wave the red flag: “Stop!  Do not enter!” “This will contain over-zealous subject matter meant to weave a certain message into the story in which to enlighten or prescribe the author’s beliefs.”  I almost passed up the chance to read this fun trilogy because of this worry.  Through the first book, I turned every page with much trepidation that a preacher would jump out of page 25, 137, or 192 to scream at me about his way to see the light.  In certain times and places I find this acceptable, but not when I am reading for enjoyment and to relax.

I was so wrong!  In all three books–nothing like that happened at all.  As a matter of fact, Ms. Heal did an excellent job of writing a great three-part story that young adults on up can enjoy.  The first book was an introduction to Merri, Abby, and John and the Beautiful Home computer program.  The second book took us on another adventure with the cheerful trio and their neighbors to seek out a puzzle of heritage.  This last book delved further into Illinois history as Merri, Abby, and John used their unique computer program to help Kate, (Abby’s roommate from college) find an ancestor by the name of Ned Greenfield from Equality, Illinois.

Their arrival to Equality gave them an unexpected surprise.  Everyone they met was hometown friendly in a down-home sort of way.  The streets were crowded; and it wasn’t until they met the local sheriff that they learned it was the annual Salt Days celebration to commemorate when the village was founded in 1735.  The area was the hub for salt mining in the United States after the Indians surrendered the “Great Salt Springs” to the US government by treaty way back when (Wikipedia).  The story continues with little tidbits of local history to amuse and entertain as is the author’s penchant for sneaking in lessons without our being consciously aware we’re being taught.

With all the information they try to find out about this Greenfield relative of Kate’s, the farther down the family tree he seems to slip.  These friendly villagers start to clam up and the true hunt begins.  This tale tells of a salt baron’s ruthless rise to success, slavery—the likes of which you’ve never heard before, a spooky third floor in a mansion, and a ditzy old woman who has the answers, but takes to having “spells” when questioned too much.

On the social scene, John and Abby’s crush deepens as Abby (figuratively) pulls the petals off the daisy one-by-one “He loves me. . . . He loves me not.”  This couple prefers to follow the old-fashion values of genteel courtship until marriage; whereas, Abby’s friend, Kate, was lured into a more complicated, serious relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan. The subject of sex is mentioned in the book, but it is handled with intelligence and decorum.

Now that the trilogy is over, I look back and shake my head when I think I almost missed a great opportunity to learn so much about our history and the history of Illinois.  The information was presented in a unique mystery story that was fully entertaining and enjoyable.  I liked the books so much that if I had my druthers, I’d like Ms. Heal to drop the trilogy and just continue the storyline into a lengthy series.  I enjoyed the characters so much that I could imagine them on more adventures of this kind, and as long as the program is willing—why not?  If more of us hungry readers are so inclined to persuade her, perhaps we can change her mind about this being the last book.  I’m certain that the state of Illinois has many more hidden tales to tell that the Beautiful Home computer program could bring to light.

I’d like to thank author Deborah Heal for this lovely copy of Every Hill and Mountain in exchange for my honest review.

 

EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 2276 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1482609169
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BUQ1NGI

Penny Necklace by Kathrine Grey

Penny Necklace Cover

Oooh!  This was just like fine candy.  I so needed a break, a rest, a nice long train trip.  Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack.  The train runs down the track. . . .

I tried hard to parcel out this story.  You know . . . take a little time to enjoy and savor.  I did pretty well, too, until I got to the middle of the book.  Then, I couldn’t stop.  It was too much fun!  I had to eat up the rest of the whole story all at once.

This was a romance with a dream; a dream a 15-year old girl would have when she met a boy that drove her to distraction.  He was an older boy–just passing through town—decided to stay a while and woo a pretty young girl.  It was that summer that Aisley Sullivan fell in love with a boy who wouldn’t tell her his name; he just said, “Call me David.”  Little did she know she would be dreaming of that summer for most of her young adult life.

And, what was so good about this book, what it had that captured me–is that it was all believable.  It wasn’t the mushy, sappy type of romance that makes you either swoon or puke.  It was more nostalgic; the kind of story that brings sweet remembrances of a time long ago when your emotions are so strong and alive and everything is brilliant like the sun.  It kept reminding me of the risky things I did at that age, like having a boy/girl slumber party and everyone told their parents that they would be at their “friend’s” house for a sleep over.  It was dangerous and exciting—well, exciting back then . . . but all we did was play music, kiss, and everyone kept their clothes on.  We thought it was dangerous and exciting, though.

Somehow Katherine Grey knew what I did when I was a young girl of 15.  She knew how I felt, and how powerful a brand new love can be at that age. She’s managed to take me back there tonight and has put a smile on my face with her simple sweet story.

Thank you Katherine Grey and Review the Book for this complimentary copy of Penny Necklace. It was so nice to get away for a little bit. . . .

PENNY NECKLACE

  • File Size: 453 KB
  • Print Length: 215 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477655123
  • Publisher: Kathrine Grey (June 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EKVRTQ

♥-♥ ♥ About Kathrine Grey ♥-♥ ♥

Kathrine Grey holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. All of her story titles are contrived from R.E.M. lyrics (ever more avowed since their disbandment). When she is not writing, she manages a popular Italian restaurant near Lake Michigan. She is graciously allowed to live in Mishawaka with her husband and their kitten by the two adorable bunnies who rule the house.

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