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   http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=222106

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 http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=202773 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: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/tag/be-still-my-soul/

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 http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/tag/one-glorious-ambition/

Download Chapter 1, or pre-order at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=204725

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Wishing On Willows" by Katie Ganshert

Have you met Katie Ganshert? No? Then you should.  You don't have to meet her in person.  You'll find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and her blog, BUT even if you never visit social media, you will still find her.  Her personality and her love for her family and the Lord spill over into the pages of her books.  She has a real heart for the grieving.  I felt it in her first novel, and I can certainly reaffirm that from the second.

"Wishing On Willows" is Katie's second novel. It is due to be released March 19, 2013.  Her first, "Wildflowers From Winter", has since been deemed "my favorite read of 2012".   "Wishing On Willows" takes us back to the town of Peaks, a struggling riverbank community in Iowa.  "Single motherhood. A ministry to save. A struggling cafe. And a businessman all too eager to knock it down." (p.76) It's Robin's story.  A widowed mother, trying to navigate life through grief and fear.  Striving for the new, but unable to release the old.

The characters are people who you would expect to find in any small town.  They're your neighbors, your community workers, the businessmen passing through.  All with stories of their own.  All with their own griefs to bear.  They will find their way into your heart, and leave you with the desire to meet with them again.

You are invited to come and meet Robin by way of an excerpt available online. Go to www.katieganshert.com and click on "books" then "Wishing On Willows". Read the sneak peak, and when you are done and are looking for more, click on the tab to pre-order.  When you pre-order, you will also receive a free set of devotionals also written by Katie Ganshert. These are ONLY available for pre-orders. You can also get information via podcast through Waterbrook Multnomah       http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/2012/11/13/podcast-wishing-on-willows-by-katie-ganshert/ 
I'd love to have you join my Facebook event as well, at https://www.facebook.com/events/318852898225415/?fref=ts  Share the event and be entered to win a free copy of either of Katie's novels!  There will be a book signing in Davenport, Iowa, on March 23, 2013. If you're in the area, come and say "hello"! https://www.facebook.com/events/391827337578079/?fref=ts

Want some extras?  Go to the "Wishing On Willows" Pinterest page to meet the cast of characters and get recipes from the Willow Tree Cafe  http://pinterest.com/katieganshert/wishing-on-willows/

"Wishing On Willows" was provided to me free of charge by Author, Katie Ganshert and Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Clearing In The Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick

Here in rural America, it's a big deal when the UPS truck pulls up out front. Which then leads to a dive for the front door to see who the package is for. "Boooook!", we yell. "We" being my fourteen year old daughter, and myself.  Never mind that it's "mine". If it has words and she beats me to it, I'm sunk. And so it was that said daughter got to read "A Clearing In The Wild" first.

Based on a true story, it follows the journey of young and spirited Emma Wagner as her life unfolds among the people of Bethel, Missouri.  Never one to "conform", Emma was the only woman in a party of ten sent out as a scout to find a new home for her communal society in the Oregon wilderness.  Very well researched, it sent me scurrying to the internet to learn more about who Emma Wagner Giesy was, and what happened later on in her life.

That was after my daughter had had her turn with the book. Which went something like this:  "ummm, I don't really like this book, she marries some old guy". "Then why are you reading it?".  "ummm, because I want to see what happens between her and the old guy"?

I enjoyed "A Clearing in the Wild", plus it made for a nice discussion between my daughter and I after we had both read it. I'm always encouraged to know that there are good books out there that are "clean" enough for me to share with my fourteen year old daughter. Bravo, Jane Kirkpatrick!

"A Clearing In The Wild" is available from www.waterbrookmultnomah.com
Read an excerpt at:  http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=93262

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