Thursday, June 17, 2010

Love on a Dime ~ by Cara Lynn James

If you’re looking to add to your summer or beach reading list, this book should definitely be on it! Author Cara Lynn James has written a positively delightful debut novel, and Love on a Dime is the first in the Ladies of Summerhill series. It was fun, light, humorous and easy, but it was also well written and had great object lessons. The characters were well-developed and likeable. The story was charming and intriguing, and moved along at a comfortable, yet quick pace.

Love on a Dime was thoroughly enjoyable. I simply did not want to put it down. I really liked the characters and was even a bit disappointed when it ended, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. I can’t wait to meet them again in the other books of the series, and am eagerly anticipating the release of the other books in the series! Cara Lynn James is definitely an author to keep an eye on for future good books. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical, Christian, romantic fiction. I assure you, it does not disappoint!

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Love on a Dime

Cara Lynn James

Turn of the century novelist Lilly Westbrook learns that being faithful to her calling means more than just putting pen to paper.

It's the summer of 1899 in Newport, Rhode Island, and Lilly Westbrook is struggling to conceal her career from family and friends because of the stigma attached to dime novels. Lilly feels good about her secret—after all, she’s enlightening working class girls with her books and honoring God by using her talents to His glory.

But her secret is threatened when Jackson Grail, a former suitor, becomes Lilly's new publisher. He's determined to revive his floundering publishing house by maximizing their most promising--and most secretive--author. His plan? Find “Fannie Cole” and convince her to go public.

When a gossip columnist discovers Lilly’s true identity, she finds that being faithful to her calling involves more than just putting pen to paper. It requires that she stand up for her faith and for herself, no matter the consequences.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home ~ by Cynthia Ruchti

This is a blog tour of a fantastic book, by first time novelist Cynthia Ruchti. They Almost Always Come Home is a stellar debut novel. It is deep, thought provoking, humorous and wonderfully complex. It is one of those rare books that is a page turner and it will stay with you long after you finish. I highly recommend They Almost Always Come Home and look forward to more books from this talented author.


About the Book:

(Wausau, WI) – At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness. When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

About the Author:

Cynthia Ruchti writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.

The Interview:

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Something Extra From the Author’s Heart:

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal:

Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill.

Read the rest of the story at the KCWC BLOG


There is a giveaway drawing to be held for this blog tour. Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. The blog tour giveaway includes:

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (lime)

Day Runner journal

Canoe Brand wild rice

Canada's brand blueberry jam

Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit

Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament

Six original photography notecards from video trailer

"Hope" hanging ornament

Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Raising a Modern-Day Princess ~ by Farrel and Hanna

As I go about the daunting task of raising my daughter, I am grateful for sound, moral and godly advice that I can glean from others through various resources. The book Raising a Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna is just such a resource. It tackles the importance of training up our daughters to be strong and principled, full of purpose, grace, kindness and good self-worth. We are encouraged to raise them up confident in the knowledge that they are our much beloved daughters, and also much beloved daughters of the King.

The author’s do a great job of sharing stories from their own lives, and also share stories from the lives of others. They expound key concepts including how valuable the father-daughter and mother-daughter relationships are, but in different ways, the significance of mentors, and how important and special a “coming-of-age” celebration is to a young lady.

Raising a Modern-Day Princess is a great resource for those who have daughters, for fathers and mothers, or for those who work with, spend time with, or want to have a good influence on girls (teachers, youth leaders, family members, neighbors, etc.) Got girls? Get this book!

This book was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers.


Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna

In the same tradition as Raising a Modern-Day Knight, this book is designed to equip parents to cultivate strong relationships with their adolescents. Raising a Modern-Day Princess stresses the importance of creating a rite of passage for teen girls—a defining moment in which girls can be blessed by significant adults in their lives, and a call for their families and communities to celebrate and support them as they enter womanhood. This book offers practical help in raising a generation of women to see themselves as God sees them—as daughters of the King.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shattered ~ by Frank Pastore

This was a great book! I must confess, I’d not heard of Frank Pastore previous to being offered to review his book Shattered, but it looked interesting so I took it. It’s a memoir, sports story, inspirational book, self-improvement manual and romance novel all rolled into one! Travel with Frank as he journeys from brokenness to wholeness, from pudgy and awkward boy to professional athlete, and from success to failure and back to success again. The journey is filled with drama, betrayal, dysfunction, love, joy, peace, excitement, hard work and do-over’s. It is a thrilling ride from life in professional sports, to life in ministry, to life in radio.

Shattered will speak to anyone who’s been hurt by family, in school, by friends, in ministry, or simply in life. It will resonate with anyone who’s been broken and beat down by life, then lovingly and beautifully restored by God. It is an easy read, a bit of a page turner, and thoroughly enjoyable.

This book was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers.


Shattered: Struck Down, but Not Destroyed

Frank Pastore

With Ellen Vaughn

Like its author, Shattered is “fun, fast, and real” and an intriguing mix of paradoxes. Frank Pastore was a physically awkward kid who became a professional athlete. An okay student who goes on to earn two masters degrees in philosophy. A former atheist who ends up hosting the biggest Christian radio talk show in America.

Shattered is part sports book, because you’ll go on road trips, enter clubhouses, and walk on the fields of professional baseball. It’s part romantic novel, because you’ll journey with two young kids who fall in love and eventually elope, evading not only her family, but the law as well—for she was only 16.

It’s also a story of brokenness, betrayal, and burn-out. If you were raised in a dysfunctional family, if you’ve ever had your dreams fall apart, been betrayed by close friends, or hit the psychological “wall” in your professional career, this is your book too. But, most of all, this is an uplifting story of how an unpredictable God can surprise any of us with His goodness and love when we allow Him to make beautiful the shattered fragments of our lives.