Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

I fell in love with Lori Benton's writing style while reading her debut novel "Burning Sky".  Always skeptical about a writer's second novel, I picked up "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" expecting to be disappointed.  Ten pages in, I was so drawn into the story and it's characters that I spent the next six hours reading every last page.  I must admit to having several favorite authors, but I do believe Lori Benton has just advanced to the level of "favorite" favorite.  I adore historical fiction, and "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" is incredibly well-researched.  The characters grab you by the hand and yell for you to hide from the Indians. They wrap you in a warm wool cloak as you flee your pursuers in the snow and ice.  They squeeze tears from your eyes as romance unfolds.  I couldn't ask for more when looking for historical romance worth reading. I was sorry to see the last page, and hope for many, many more novels from Lori Benton!  Well done, and wishing I had an extra hand so I could give her three thumbs up.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. It is currently available for pre-order with a release date of April 15, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

I don't tire of Joanne Bischof's writing style.  She gives you a pair of sturdy shoes and sends you out into the hills with her characters.  For those who have been looking forward to book three in the series, this will not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I love Kim Vogel Sawyer's books, and I am a great fan of historical fiction, but I had a terrible time getting into "What Once Was Lost" to the point of being unable to finish it.   I found the story to be way too far from anything that could truthfully have happened in the era she writes about.  I could not envision a single woman running a house for the poor, or her ability to place several of those from the poorhouse without difficulty after a fire destroys most of the property.  Especially one of the main characters, a blind boy left with a single man in town who forms a friendship with him as the story progresses.  My apologies to Kim Vogel Sawyer.  I hate to leave any author a less than stellar review, because I know how much of themselves they pour into their work.  I take full responsibility for not loving Kim Vogel Sawyer's newest book. 
This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wow! "Burning Sky" by Lori Benton

Yes, I know the title could be a bit more creative than "Wow!", but that is exactly the thought that came to mind when I started the book, and when I finished it. Wow!  Are we sure this is a debut novel? Wow! Incredibly well researched. Wow! The characters will walk across your heart and mind in ways you never expected.

An incredibly heartbreaking tale of love gained and lost, and of resiliency in the face of unimaginable pain.  I salute you, Lori Benton! And then I humbly request that you write me another book to read ASAP.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.   Purchase a copy of your own, read more details, meet the author at

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

"The Pirate Queen" takes your hand and pulls you in before you ever know what happened.  The characters are so real that you'll wish you could give a few of them a piece of your mind.  From the philandering husband to the mother who organizes the pantry alphabetically, you're bound to find one of your own relatives in the mix.  I loved it!  Can't wait to go buy some more of Patricia Hickman's books!

Want to know what it's all about? Visit to read the details, find an excerpt or two, and meet the author.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

Books take me to thousands of places around the world. This week I traveled to Patrick County, Virginia, with the characters of Joanne Bischof's debut novel "Be Still My Soul".  I dug my bare feet into the side of the mountain, and felt the cold wind whip at my shawl. I heard the gruff voices of the back country men, and watched as the women scrubbed their floors with creek water and sand.  I lived briefly with gracious hosts, Lonnie and Gideon, Jebediah and Elsie.  Lonnie told me the story of her abusive father, and of her forced marriage to Gideon. How she and Gideon never thought they would be happy, as each longed for love in their own way.  She shed a few tears as she described the birth of her children, and the loss of her baby girl.  Gideon, Jebediah, and Elsie sat quietly in the cabin kitchen as she spoke. Pipe smoke drifted around the men, and Elsie fanned it away from the sleeping baby in her arms.  I asked Lonnie what it was that she would tell the world, if she could, and she said "tell them His eye is on the sparrow. That's what my Aunt told me, but it took a lot of hurtin' to truly understand."

Grab some coffee from the wood stove, there's a tin mug or two up on the shelf, and sit down at the table with "Be Still My Soul". Lonnie and Gideon will put aside their chores for a little while. They want you to know what God has shown them. "There's a lesson to be learned in this...but you ain't learned it yet" (p.127)

Read the first chapter, listen to the podcast by Joanne Bischof, or order the book at:

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick

I am a total history nut.   Don't let that get back to my assorted History teachers from past years, the ones who listened to me complain on a daily basis about how much I hated their assignments.  It's different when you don't have to write a paper on it, people.  Anyway, before or shortly after I start a historical fiction novel, I go do a Google search about the topic. It's important to me to know the facts before I delve into the fiction.  It's with that knowledge that I applaud Author Jane Kirkpatrick for the incredible amount of research she must have done for her newest book "One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix".

"One Glorious Ambition" drew me right in. While I appreciated the writing style, and the flow of the narrative, it was the topic that I enjoyed the most.  After working for five years as a psychiatric nurse with the institutionalized mentally ill, I could definitely relate to Dorothea Dix and her crusade to bring "moral care" to the suffering masses.  I was unaware that it was Miss Dix who turned the system of mental health care upside down. One woman, traveling thousands of miles, stepping outside her "position" as a woman in 19th century society and opening doors to humane treatment for so many.

While I loved the book, I also found it exhausting. How one woman could experience so much pain and loss,  interspersed with long periods of devastating illness, and still travel around the world seeking to do God's will in her life wore me right out.  I almost couldn't finish reading.  It was as if I traveled with her.  Thank you, Author Jane Kirkpatrick, for a job well done.

"One Glorious Ambition" is due to be released on April 2, 2013. A pre-launch copy was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.  You can learn more about the author's goals in writing this book via a podcast at

Download Chapter 1, or pre-order at