Book Buzz: The Power of Love, Not Love Stories

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An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
Return to Quail Crossing
by Oklahoma author, Jennifer McMurrain
The Boy Who Carried Bricks: A True Story of Survival by Stillwater author and minister, Alton Carter

Book Buzz: The Power of Love, Not Love Stories

How much of yourself will you give up for the people you care about? When they are threatened, where do you find the strength to defend them? Love’s powerhouse lies in the human soul of an individual. One person, not a couple. It fuels romance and the ability to love, yes, but this month’s books bring out love’s awesomeness. In the face of adversity, love kicks butt.

Young Adult Fantasy

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Under the brutal Martial Empire, 12-year-old Laia and her older brother, Darin, wouldn’t dare make any trouble. They’ve seen entire families of those who rebelled suffer for the disloyalty of one. So when Laia finds Darin’s notebook filled with sketches of the Martial weapons facility, she’s furious. When legionnaires bang on the door, she’s terrified. And when they threaten her grandparents, the people who have loved, cared for and protected them since the death of their parents, Laia gives them the one thing she thinks will save Nan and Pop, the sketchbook. It doesn’t save them.

But even as Darin is beaten and taken away to be tortured, he creates an opportunity for Laia to escape. She can never forgive herself for taking it.

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. The moment Darin called out—that was such a moment. It was a test of courage, of strength. And I failed it.”

This story kept me fully engaged from page one. I dislike books written in present tense, but loved it anyway. I’m annoyed by stories written from multiple perspectives, but couldn’t put this down. So many YA fantasy stories center on romance, but this one centers on a different sort of passion: the love between siblings.

The best part is watching the central character, Laia, using her own weakness as a foundation for magnificent strength. Highest recommendation with a warning: you must clear a sizable chunk of time before starting it.

Christian Fiction

Return to Quail Crossing by Oklahoma author, Jennifer McMurrain

When Evalyn Brewer returns to her 1940s Texas hometown, she has a new baby girl, Joy, in tow. She has no husband. And she’s pretty sure that most of the town outside of her adopted family will have a problem with that. Then Mr. Robert Smith, a man she knows to have impeccable character, offers a solution:

“Let’s call a turnip a turnip, shall we? You need a husband. Joy will never be accepted fully into this community without a pa, and we both know it. And I need a wife … not in the Biblical sense. I need help on the homestead.”

What Smith doesn’t realize is that Evalyn has another secret. A secret that might tear them both apart at the heartstrings.

This book is filled with people who don’t always do what you think they will do. It’s sort of like going to a genteel family gathering, swaying on the porch swing, and sharing secrets. Don’t mind the old goose. He only bites. I recommend it highly.

YA Autobiography

The Boy Who Carried Bricks: A True Story of Survival by Stillwater author and minister, Alton Carter

Some children are born into stable homes filled with love and hope, others into the absence of both. We don’t know what causes some of them to overcome abuse and others to become our worst nightmare.

Alton Carter lived through his own abusive family and multiple foster homes, including one where he carried bricks until he dropped. But this story is about rising. Carter clung to the tiniest shreds of hope even when his dignity was stripped away.

If you read to discover new ideas, new worlds to broaden your own, you may find that this one from Edmond’s Roadrunner Press does something even greater. You’ll hate the story so much you can’t stop reading. But when finished, you just might set down the book with the unavoidable desire to reach out and love a child. Recommended to share with a young teen.

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