Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance

Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance
Escape to a romantic period where love endured, grew, and flourished despite a Civil War.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is a touching, beautifully written story published by Zondervan, copyright 2010. It's 320 pages with discussion questions that make it possible to use the novel for a study group. I smiled, laughed, and cried my way through it and didn't want to put it down.

Holden Harris is eighteen years old and locked away in a prison of autism. Ella Reynolds is a popular cheerleader who seems to live the ideal life and have everything a girl could want down to the football hero, until she catches him bullying and breaks up with him.

She's drawn to Holden, and his love of music and drama makes her decide to reach out to him. She discovers they're old friends while spending time with the family photo albums. The same music they shared as young children bring them together again, after a decade of being torn apart by their families. Ella and Holden's mothers were best friends until his autism drove their friendship apart. Ella and Holden's dads were friends until the same wedge planted itself between their relationship. Ella's mother and father grow apart. Holden's father finds escape on a shrimp boat in dangerous seas and risks his life to avoid a son he's unable to reach. Holden lost his Ella, but their relationship wasn't the only one lost.

Ella reaches out to a special-needs student at her school and finds the childhood friend who left her a decade earlier. He's never forgotten her, and music and drama bring them together again. Can Holden break the chains that hold him in his own private prison? Will Ella and the music he loves be the keys to unlock Holden Harris for the world?

This novel will rip your heart in two as Holden Harris transforms from the beast of autism into a prince. Bullying, suicide, and marriages falling apart are handled in such a way to make this a truly life-changing novel, and it's Holden Harris who changes lives and becomes an inspiration to so many. It didn't take Ella long to realize who the true prince of Fulton High was.

Though the disability in this book is autism, anyone who loves a child with special needs will enjoy this novel. It's a great adult and teen read. Ella wonders what happened to her family and discovers they all lost with Holden's loss, but God works a miracle and Holden is the instrument He uses to renew hope and bring these families together again. Their lives are unlocked with music, drama, Holden, and love, the type of love that despite all odds never goes away. Even when one mother pushes them all apart, the hearts carry that love locked away inside for over a decade, and Ella realizes Holden wasn't the only one who needed unlocking.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A World of Chocolate: The Sweetest Place on Earth

A World of Chocolate: The Sweetest Place on Earth

by Barbara Russell-Robinson

Discover the sweetest place on earth. Visit Hershey’s Chocolate World Visitor Center, Hershey Park, and Zoo America and take a simulated tour of the Chocolate Factory on the Chocolate Ride. Stroll through a tropical jungle where cocoa beans are harvested. View the chocolate-making process during the ride and receive a free sample at the end. Explore the gift shops and restaurants and have ice cream Hershey style.

View the Really Big 3D Show and get a glimpse of the history of Hershey’s chocolate. The show is designed and produced by Landmark Entertainment, the group who designed Universal Studios “Terminator 2/3D," and free candy samples make the show even sweeter.

Take in 11 acres of wildlife, included with park admission, of Zoo America. The most amazing adventure for some will be Storm Runner in Hershey Park. It's the first hydraulic launch coaster with inversions and speeds off at 72 miles per hour. Discover the thrills of Great Bear, an inverted coaster with four inversions--vertical loop, camelback twist, and wing over that gives the sensation of flying through the air as your feet dangle.

Take lots of great pictures, even some of Hershey Kiss traffic lights. The streets are named after Hershey candy. Jolly Rancher candy is also a Hershey product, though it's not chocolate. White chocolate Hershey bars with almonds and white Kit Kat bars, which are so hard to find, are all available. Like they say, Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the sweetest place on earth; it's a world of chocolate right down to the traffic lights.

The above-captioned piece was written after a summer vacation a few years ago. A slightly different version was published in a local newspaper.