Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher, © 2014

A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin. A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past. An arduous trek toward justice – or redemption.

A Western! At the opening of the story I expected Silver Matlock to jump on the horse as she rounded the corner, and ride off. But... she didn't ~ yet. A little bit Bonnie and Clyde, but the good guys, I enjoyed this novel that happened cross-country rather than in a small town. Silver gets left at the altar and sets out to find the absent groom. He is gone and so are the contents of her parent's safe including their mortgage pay-off money.
The Heart's Pursuit (May 2014)
It's here! Robin Lee Hatcher's new novel, The Heart's Pursuit.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room
for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is
Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
   --Romans 12:19
Jared Newman is standing on the corner with his prisoner getting ready to mount their horses to continue on their way to Denver. A determined bride comes running toward them, throwing her veil aside.

Jared walks in as Silver is at the sheriff's office in Denver to hire someone to track her former fiancé, in recovering her family's losses. The sheriff recommends Jared as a bounty hunter. One part she leaves off. She is going too because she can identify him, with the scant description she is able to give.

Fast moving and uncertainty of happenings, it was hard to leave them behind when I needed to close the book. I liked the interaction and private thought throughout the story. In an unusual circumstance for both of them, Jared has his own motive, tracking another man he has sought for years. Silver is unaware of this parallel search. She is certain he is leaving her in the middle of nowhere and not returning for her. She takes off on her own to continue her search. The author is very descriptive of their travels through three states in the hot months of 1873. Sleeping on the ground, a lame horse, sparseness of food and hunting for game, constant travel in the heat, brings the story alive as they press forward. The drive is so great with Silver, to regain what she feels is her fault for her family's financial loss. Jared has lost his family by the man he is tracking. Both, unknowingly, pursuing healing in their hearts.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Robin Lee Hatcher's 71st novel ~ The Heart's Pursuit. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Check out the Blog Tour Schedule here! http://litfusegroup.com/author/rhatcher The Heart’s Pursuit | Enter to win a $200 “Romantic Weekend Getaway” from @RobinLeeHatcher.

Robin Lee Hatcher's latest novel, The Heart's Pursuit, is receiving critical praise: "The Old West lives again in this inspirational romantic adventure. . . . Themes of forgiveness, justice and mercy dominate the story and add to the characters' depth. Hatcher treats readers to a rich sensory experience—you can taste the desert dust and smell the smoke and stench of a crowded gambling hall." (Publishers Weekly)

Robin is celebrating the release of her novel by giving away a $200 "Romantic Weekend Getaway."

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (Get away for the weekend with that special someone!)
  • The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 8th. Winner will be announced June 9th on Robin's website.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on June 8th to see if you won.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti, © 2014

Back cover:
A new identity can’t protect Becca from a past that refuses to go away.
Where do you turn when changing your name doesn’t give you the anonymity you want? When running hundreds of miles away isn’t far enough? When your search for a place to belong lands you right back where you began?
    One phone call destroys all hope Becca Morrow has for a life beyond the shame of her past. Further discredited by the death of her elderly, ailing patient—the mother of the influential businessman, Isaac Hughes—Becca’s new life is shattered and her longing for love slips away. Working to clear her name, Becca must learn to see the beauty in the ugliness of dying, to accept the precious tenderness in forgiveness, and—at last—discover that where she belongs isn’t as much about her family history as it is about her faith in the One to whom she’ll always belong.
Hope delayed makes the heart sick;
longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
   ––Proverbs 13:12
~*~ be-longing ~*~
I love looking at words within words!
The last sentence of the author's Acknowledgments ~ I am forever Yours, my Belonging Place, the Source of all my longing.

I am eager to begin this story. Cynthia (Ruchti = ROOK-tee, she pronounces for us) is a new author to me.
How do you live in the shadow of what someone else has done? Treated as if you have a contagious disease? Discomfort for others? Offered a fresh start, Jayne takes it. Her father has been convicted of murder and is imprisoned. Changing her name, "Becca" becomes a caregiver for her friend's sister, Aurelia, in a faraway state. With one-third of nurse's training, Becca's hopes of returning to school withers until she has the funds to continue. Her father's selective killings have put her life on hold for many years. As an eye-witness to the last victim, she reports him to the authorities. Life isn't easy when it is right. Decisions that are freeing when not held in bondage. Neglect and emotional poverty have brought her to care for those who cannot help themselves. In caring for Aurelia, she in turn receives the care she has needed herself ~ to be recognized, cared for, appreciated.

This story is not glossed over or full of glamour. It is restoration of a life in need of rescuing ~ from despair, guilt, blame, to embrace truth and worth.
Arriving to her destination, finally, after being interviewed over lunch by Aurelia's son, Isaac, Becca has a restful night. Walking to the grocers the next afternoon, eight long blocks that felt more like miles and miles carrying back plastic bags that cut into her circulation, shifting from hand to hand. What did it matter? The weight was the same. Forethought next time to have some conveyance.

After temporary caregivers have come and gone, Becca settles in to make it simpler and environmentally sound for Aurelia. Moving her to the sunroom where she could look out on upon the gardens and be enveloped in the scent of flowers she had loved, as well as having music cascade through the room to lighten her days, would spare her from being captive in an unmotivating room away from the activity of the home.

Can a life become new, without despair? Will Becca become real without having to hide her past that brushed up against her and did not begin with her?

Abingdon Press ~ author Cynthia Ruchti
Cynthia Ruchti is the author of the critically acclaimed Where the Morning Glory Blooms and They Almost Always Come Home. After 33-years as writer/producer of the daily 15-minute radio broadcast, The Heartbeat of the Home, Cynthia served a two-year term as president of American Christian Fiction Writers and currently serves as ACFW's Professional Relations Liaison. In addition to writing novels, devotionals, and magazine articles, she speaks for women's events and writers' conferences. Cynthia and her plot-tweaking husband live in Central Wisconsin, where she creates stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark. Find Cynthia on the web at CynthiaRuchti.com.

***Thank you to Lifuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Cynthia Ruchti's novel ~ All My Belongings. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

All My Belongings | Enter to win a $200 Visa Card from @CynthiaRuchti & RSVP for 6/11 LIVE Webcast Event

Cynthia Ruchti asks what it takes to overcome your past and become who you were meant to be in her latest novel, All My Belongings. Cynthia has woven a heart-wrenching tale of forgiveness, grace, and learning what it means to truly belong.

Cynthia is celebrating the release of her latest novel with a fun giveaway and a live webcast event!
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the All My Belongings LIVE webcast event on June 11th. Connect with Cynthia for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Cynthia will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of All My Belongings and join Cynthia and friends on the evening of June 11th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma, © 2014

Women of Courage series, Book 2

Daisies Are Forever

The second book in the Women of Courage series, Daisies Are Forever, released May 6, 2014. Set in East Prussia and Berlin at the end of the war, American born Gisela Cramer must stay one step ahead of the Russian troops. Her task is complicated by an escaped British POW, two old women, two little girls, a wounded German soldier and a young woman with big dreams. When they reach Berlin, will they really be safe? And ... what about her heart?

Trusting their mutti and opa will follow, young Annelies and Renate Reinhardt join cousin Gisela Cramer "on an adventure" as they flee to safety. Would they see each other again? Two years earlier, in 1943, Gisela had left her parents to travel to East Prussia from Berlin. The war had caught up with her again.

Gisela: Opa has handed me a daisy pressed in his Bible from Oma's and tells me to put it in my Bible at Isaiah chapter 43. "A reminder of God's pureness and holiness when the road gets hard," he tells me.
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee."

Taking her precious memories of her mother's parents with her, Gisela with cousin Ella's young kinder enter the cold air, in the bursts of light cast by the exploding bombs coming closer to them. By morning the Russians would be there. No escape. Cousin Ella staying with the Red Cross and many refugees, and Opa too ill to travel, they must trudge on ~ to whatever safety they could find far from them.

British soldiers, Mitch Edwards and Xavier McDonald, have escaped their German captors in the stalag a few days earlier, walking against the tide of refugees going the opposite direction. Are they walking in circles? Seeking shelter for the night, they bring lice with them. With hopes of blending in with the German refugees, they could make it to the Allies. Stopping at a farmyard for the night for encampment, Mitch, in his stolen German greatcoat, seeks something to go with Spam over their campfire. Finding two small frozen potatoes, they will have a meal. Approached by a woman inquiring why they are not fighting for the Fatherland, Xavier answers in response in German learned in their five-year captivity ~ with their British accents. Followed! Sprinting, they rush to cover amid the pines and oaks at the edge of the field as Wehrmacht officers are approached by the woman.
Exhausted, Gisela continued to pedal the bicycle as the girls slept on in the cart. Her thoughts staying to the little house in Heiligenbeil and Ella and her Opa. Waiting for neighbors, Herr Dietrich Holtzman and his elder, addled, sisters to catch up, they stop at the side of the road. Not far off, is the farmhouse of Frau Becker and husband, Heinz, as she opens their door in recognition of their friend Dietrich. With many refugees already sheltered, they spend the night in rest, thankful rest.

Returning, Mitch and Xavier are rescued at dawn. They are saved from the same woman's wrath by Gisela who hears and approaches, claiming them as kin ~ her "husband," Mitch ~ now "Josep Cramer," and "brother-in-law," Xavier ~ now "Siegfried Munchen." With their bicycles stolen, these two men will be helpful pulling their carts.

Now begins the story of their companionship.
It's the real story of two very courageous women. I've taken the true accounts and fictionalized them, but much of what happens in the book did happen. I cannot imagine living during that time, either on the run for my life or hiding for my life. Wondering if each breath would be my last. Praying that the bombs would stop falling while praying at the same time that they would keep falling. I hope the story touches you the way it touched me.
   --author Liz Tolsma

A story of bravery and survival, this ancestral story is written with truth and example of God covering us in our lives. Very well written and documented. Crossing the frozen Frische Haff, the lagoon to the narrow split of land, Frische Nehrung framing the Baltic Sea, brings more disaster and increase to their hope as they continue forward.

God provides trucks on the road to Danzig as they arrive at just the right time to advance to a westbound train. He will not leave them. There are added burdens as they mesh with others. This is a story of courage that happened. It also portrays who you listen to ~ a divisive rattling in your ear from another, or the Truth spoken in your heart of hearts. So important not to assume, but to ask the One to whom your heart beats.

Recreating memoirs of two women living through the atrocities of war, Daisies are Forever portrays the continued reliance and realization of the sheltering of God in their lives. Keeping on reassures dependence and trust, putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next thing. Beginning the next leg of their journey, nothing seemed the same with shifting landmarks.

The trek worrisome and uncertain, air-raid sirens blaring a warning to get to shelters as the bombings began again, keeping them cloistered in tight enclosed space until the all-clear signal sounded.

Book 1 in the Women of Courage series ~ also written modeling a true story ~ is Snow on the Tulips. I can just see this story as a movie! Excellent. I am looking forward to continued writings by this author. The third book in the series, Remember the Lilies,  releases this winter and is set in the Philippines during the war and focuses on an American woman detained by the Japanese at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp.

author Liz Tolsma

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Liz Tolsma's novel ~ Daisies are Forever. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

DAISIES ARE FOREVER | Enter to win a Kindle HDX from Liz Tolsma!

 Liz Tolsma's latest WWII historical fiction novel, Daisies are Forever, is getting rave reviews. 

". . . compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses. . . ." —Library Journal

"Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read." —CBA Retailers + Resources

Liz celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway!
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 31st. Winner will be announced June 2nd on Liz's website.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's website on June 2nd to see if you won.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell, © 2014

Clothes Casual Outift for • teens • movies • girls • women •. summer • fall • spring • winter • outfit ideas • dates • school • parties Polyvore :) Catalina Christiano   Janie Winslow. Janie Winslow. I needed to become Janie Winslow. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that being Janie would be as difficult a role to play as I'd ever had. Usually I played characters people paid attention to, but Janie had never been very remarkable. She was never noticed because she really wasn't very noticeable. So as long as no one noticed me, then they wouldn't notice I wasn't her, and I'd succeed at playing the toughest role I'd every had!
   --Love Comes Calling, 92-93

Maybe this is too modern for a Hello Girl ~ definitely too out there to be unnoticed.
 New Arrival: Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell  
Love Comes Calling is an interesting read about the 1920's haves and have-nots, as our protagonist, Ellis Eton stays back for a two-week sprint covering for her friend Janie Winslow as a hello girl at the phone company while her family begins their summer sojourn to the beach away from the sweltering city temperatures.

What opportune timing! Ellis is not doing so well at college and decides she is hopping a train to Hollywood instead of returning to the autumn session. However... she needs a little cash of her own to get her there. Not hopping a train as in boxcar, but needing to buy her ticket without her family money. Janie's mother, who had been the Eton family's cook, has passed away and Janie asks Ellis to fill in for her at the switchboard. How hard can that be? With Ellis's father being chairman of the board of the telephone company, she doubly has to be incognito. As children, she and Janie were always being mistaken for each other ~ a little blackening of eyebrows and they could still pass for each other.
   "My board only has a hundred and twenty telephone numbers. They're all marked. If a call comes to you, then it has to be one of them."
   --Ibid., 80
   "I'll return on Sunday. I'll meet you here when I get back into the city in case there's anything you need to tell me before I go back to work."
   --Ibid., 83
And, our story begins...

Can you just imagine this girl ~    

or this one??
As an operator B, connecting the calls, how hard can it be? Remembering to "sound" like Janie and keep a low profile, time will fly!
With her head in the skies, Ellis takes on this acting job with gusto. Except... with several calls coming to her board at once, she forgets to flip the switch after connecting two calls together, and unexpectedly overhears the conversation to injure her next-door neighbor, Griffin Phillips ~ and... she reprimanded them before leaving the line. A policeman comes calling to see what she remembers, as he was one part of that call coming through her board's telephone numbers. He proceeds to socially take her to a speakeasy where she runs into her previous college roommate, Irene. Overcome by expectations, Irene needs rescuing each time Ellis sees her. And, of course, ... Irene calls her Ellis instead of Janie, as Officer Jack Feeney knows her by. Quick thinking, she tells him they had been in a play together and that is what her role name was.

Love Comes Calling is a story set during Prohibition in the 1920s and the bending of the law ~ depending on who your contact was; mobs, corruption within the ranks of looking the other way, or consumption in the home or clubs ~ like Hernando's Hideaway ~ knock three times.

Ellis has her hands full with her new job and trying to keep Griff safe without telling him why she is coming back and forth between their homes at odd hours. Impulsive and uncertain at times, Ellis continues her pursuit in finding out the other caller's identity. Brave and caring, she stumbles naively into dangerous surroundings.

Siri Mitchell has written over a dozen novels, three of which were named Christy Award finalists. I have read eight of her books. As she is a varied interest author and I am a historical fiction genre reader, I look forward to her writings. As a business degree graduate of the University of Washington, she has worked in many levels of government, and lived on three continents. Siri and her family currently reside in the D.C. metro area. Learn more at sirimitchell.com about these stories of American heroines written in first person. Siri also writes under the pseudonym Iris Anthony, irisanthony.com, with these novels set in France, interweaving in earlier time periods, written with more character point of views. Here is an interesting interview with Siri on her different style writings ~ http://christianreads.blogspot.com/2014/04/author-interview-iris-anthony.html.

***Thank you to author Siri Mitchell for sending me a copy of Love Comes Calling to read as part of her review team. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***