Historical

The Lost and Found Journal of a Miner 49er

The Lost and Found Journal of a Miner 49er is a collection of tales regarding river mermaids, journeys, boxing kangaroos, love, bandits, acts of valor, and daring escapades. This novel features the brave Miner 49er, also known as Cody Kirschenbaum, and his darling daughter, Clementine. As you read these 17 wild adventures that take place at the time of the Gold Rush, you’ll learn valuable lessons, laugh at Cody’s dry wit and outlandish stories, and enjoy a good, Western fantasy book.

I would recommend this book, written by Jack Dublin, for ages 10+. Well written, humorous, with unexpected twists and fantastical creatures set in Gold Rush California; this book is great for a bit of lighthearted reading. 3.5 out of 5 stars.     

Irena’s Children

Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage, written by Tilar J. Mazzeo and published in 2016 by Gallery Books, Trifecta Creative Holdings, Inc, is a harrowing story of secrecy, sacrifice, bravery, and love in a time of war. This book falls under the biography and WWII genres.

Irena’s Children tells the tale of a heroic woman named Irena Sendler who organized the rescue of over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the German occupation. Working closely with her old college friends, Irena smuggled babies in handbags and older children through the sewage systems, changed their names and identities, then found them new homes either in orphanages or Polish foster families willing to risk their lives and those of their family to help save these Jewish children. Read as Irena and her band of fighters save children, smuggle food and medicine into the Ghetto, stage resistance battles, and narrowly escape arrest. Sometimes, however; their operations didn’t always go as planned, and more than one brave soul lost their life for freedom.

I would highly recommend this book for ages 16+. It’s a well-written, fascinating biography written more like a novel than a history book. There is quite a bit of violence to be on guard for, as well as a few mature themes and some mild profanity. I highly enjoyed reading this book-it’s easily one of my favorite WWII biographies, with accurate representation of the facts and respect for both sides of the struggle. All in all, a masterful book about the German occupation of Warsaw and the horrors, and bravery, that resulted from it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Beautifully simple in its storyline, yet complexly moving in its subject matter-The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, written by John Boyne and published in 2006 by David Fickling Books, is a book well worth the read. It features a lonely boy named Bruno who has to leave his old house in Berlin (which has five floors) and move to a new house at a place he calls “Out-With” (which only has three floors). His father is a high-ranking soldier who must fulfill his duty to his country-although Bruno doesn’t understand why it has to be at this lonely place where the only other people (besides soldiers) are wearing striped pajamas on the other side of a tall wire fence. But after he discovers a friend, life becomes more bearable at Out-With-even though this friend is always hungry, wearing striped pajamas, and on the other side of the fence. This unusual friendship blossoms despite the fence, the soldiers, and the foul weather-but friendships of this sort often result in consequences. And these consequences may be of an unexpected-and devastating-sort.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 13+. It falls under the historical fiction genre and is also labelled as a fable. There are some mature themes to watch out for-this book deals with the effects of war and hatred upon children, and how we’re truly all the same, despite our heritage and looks. One of the most heart wrenching books I’ve ever read. 4 out of 5 stars.

Evidence Not Seen

Featuring answered prayer, bombs, jungle prisons, midnight intrigues, and bananas; Evidence Not Seen tells the first-hand account of missionary Darlene Deibler Rose, the first American woman to enter the Baliem Valley of New Guinea. She trekked the jungles of New Guinea with her husband, was captured by the Japanese during WWII, incarcerated in a horrible prison camp, and forced to sign a false confession while facing execution at the hand of her merciless guards. This book tells of unshakable faith and wonderous miracles that will inspire the reader. Written by Mrs. Rose herself and published in 1988 by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; this book falls under the autobiography, WWII, and Christian biography genres.
I would highly recommend Evidence Not Seen for ages 15+. There is some violence and minor mature themes that might be unsuited for younger readers. All in all, an inspiring read with Godly themes and historical benefits. 4 out of 5 stars.

Ghosts in the Fog

For years, the American government denied it ever happened. Those who experienced it didn’t wish to relive the horrific memories. And so the general public never knew that the Japanese invaded Alaska on June 7th, 1942, or that the native Alaskan people were forced from their homes by their own government, or that one of the deadliest hand-to-hand battles between the U.S.A. and Japan consisted of a strange chain of events that were hidden for years-and some of which are still unexplained. Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII Invasion written by Samantha Seiple and published in 2011 by Scholastic Press tells this story-the one they didn’t want us to know.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 12+. Well written, informative, and easy to read; this book lays out the facts of this battle with clarity and truthful rendering of the facts as they happened. There is no excessive gore or mature language to watch out for. All in all, 4 out of 5 stars.

Romanov

My blood is my crime. *

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov is the youngest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. Her and her family are being kept in captivity, waiting for their sentence to be passed.

If you look at it, it’s still red. If you touch it, it’s still wet. But if you listen to it, it speaks a single name in a pulsing chant.
Romanov *

Nastya is given a task by her father before they are separated-smuggle an ancient spell past the Bolshevik guards. This spell may be her family’s salvation.

Romanov *

In addition to the dangerous task of keeping a spell hidden from her captors, Nastya has the greater challenge of guarding her feelings, as a handsome young Bolshevik soldier emerges on the scene.

Romanov
For that name alone, bound to my blood like a Bolshevik is bound to the Russian Revolution, I am destined to die. *

The stakes are high. Nastya is on one side of a firing squad, the soldier Zash is on the other side. The spell is itching to be released. And the fate of Russia hangs in the balance.

Because not even royal blood can stop bullets. *

Romanov, written by Nadine Brandes and published in 2019 by Thomas Nelson, is a gripping novel with secret romance, hidden spells, and deadly intrigue. This book falls under the historical fantasy genre, and is very loosely based on the true story of the Romanov family.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 15+. There is violence, as well as some intense intrigue and romance. All in all, an excellent read with memorable characters and ancient magic. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*All snippets taken from Romanov, written by Nadine Brandes and published 2019 by Thomas Nelson.

God’s Smuggler

God’s Smugger is an amazing autobiography by Brother Andrew telling of his daring exploits spreading the Gospel behind the Iron Curtain. It was published 1967 by The Penguin Group and would fall under the Christian Biography genre.
Born in the 1920s; Andrew grew up in Witte, Holland with his family. He joined the army in 1946; then was discharged only a few years later because of a foot wound. After spending some time working in a factory; he decided to become an evangelist. He trained for some time in England; then went on a few mission trips into such places as Poland and Czechoslovakia. After seeing the spiritual conditions there, Andrew determined that, police, rule, and customs or no, he would spread the gospel and deliver Bibles to all the spiritually starved people living behind the Iron Curtain.
Thus began the adventure of a lifetime.
I would highly recommend this book for all people 12+. There is some violence and intrigue as a result of the brutality of some of the police behind Iron Curtain; as well as some minor thematic elements. An inspiring story of God’s provision and power. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Story of John G. Patton\Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals

The Story of John G. Paton, or Thirty Years Among the South Sea Cannibals, is an inspiring tale of heroism and faith. Taken from excerpts of John G. Patton’s autobiography and published in 1991; this remarkable true narrative would fall under the Christian Biography genre.
John G. Patton left a comfortable home, family, and rewarding ministry behind him as he and his newly-wedded wife departed from Scotland and traveled to the New Hebrides islands to minister to the cannibalistic heathen in that jungle paradise. Braving sickness, antagonistic natives, and attacks from his own countrymen; Patton perseveres in bringing the Gospel to the Tannese people; even as they reject it again and again. But war is coming. The harbor people and the inland natives are ready fly into battle at the slightest provocation; and the mission house is right in the middle of all the confusion. Patton and the other missionaries must trust in God and rely on His strength and protection; for the darkness is closing in. Will it prove too powerful for even the light of the Gospel to penetrate?
I highly recommend this book for ages 13+. There are some scenes of violence and brutality; and well as some mentions of mature content; but the story is astounding and the message of the Gospel brilliant. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Fawkes

 

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,

It’s England, 1604. There is a silent war being fought in London between the Keepers and the Igniters; the Keepers are convinced that the Igniters are the cause of the Stone Plague-a plague that turns people into stone statues-but the Igniters are positive that the Keepers started it. King James, the Igniter king, once promised sanctity to the Keepers; but he went back on his word. And now the Keepers are angry. Angry enough to commit treason.

The Gunpowder treason and plot…

Thomas Fawkes is a plagued boy without a mask; the lowest of the low. When his father, the famous Keeper soldier Guy Fawkes, offers him a chance to become healed of the Stone Plague and earn his mask, he’s in. Their plan: to blow up Parliament and the Igniter king. Is murder and treason worth healing and honor? Are the Keepers really in the right, and Igniters in the wrong? And will Thomas’ participation in the plot harm the family of the girl he loves?

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ‘twas his intent

November 5th is fast approaching. And when it comes, Thomas’ choices could rule the fate of many.

To blow up the king and Parliament;

Fawkes, written by Nadine Brandes and published in 2018 by Thomas Nelson, is an amazing story of intrigue, swordplay, gunpowder, and love. This book was very well written; the dialogue was excellent and the story flowed fairly well. Fawkes would fall under the historical fantasy genre, and is at a medium reading difficulty.

Threescore barrels of powder below,

I would highly recommend this book for ages 13+. There is some action and intense scenes; as well as some mildly mature elements. A profound story with an outstanding plot and heart-wrenching twists. 4 out of 5 stars.

Poor old England to overthrow…

Airman

“Conor Broekhart was born to fly…” *
It’s the 1890s. Conor Broekhart’s greatest dream is to fly. Born in a hot-air balloon and gifted with a genius for science and experiments, it appears that perhaps he was destined to. That all changes when he is accused of treason and thrown into an under-sea dungeon. How can you fly when you’re trapped by stone walls and forced to fight for your life while trying to mine underwater diamonds? Is there any way out?
Airman, written by Eoin Colfer (made famous by the Artemis Fowl series) and published in 2008 by Disney Hyperion, features a determined boy, a young queen, a blind musician and a power-hungry marshal. Join Conor as he battles against all odds to break out of the Little Saltee Dungeon. Using the walls of his cell as his journal, Conor sketches the designs for his air machines. Flight is the only way off the Little Saltee. The Airman is planning to take to the skies. Will his plan work? Can he make it out? And will the true traitor take over the kingdom before Conor can stop him?
Airman is a fast-paced action novel, filled with fencing, gliders, intrigue, dark dungeons, poison, and treason. Eoin Colfer writes with a good mix of detail and dialogue; and there are almost no dull spots in this book. It flows smoothly and quickly, with new challenges rising at ever corner. Airman is at a medium reading difficulty.
I would highly recommend this book for flight-lovers ages 13+. There is a little bit of mild vulgarity as well as some intense action. Airman is written with a high dose of adventure and courageous tactics, well-written action scenes and enjoyable characters. 3 out of 5 stars.
*Airman by Eoin Colfer-Prologue