Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sleeping in Eden

Book Review

Sleeping in Eden by Nicole Baart is a beautifully written book with an unusual format. The book is really two stories with parallel, alternating chapters written about a character Lucas followed by a chapter about a protagonist Meg. For most of the book there is no hint as to if there will be an eventual connection between the two stories. About half way through I begin to see a possible clue; but quite honestly it seemed that I was simultaneously reading two disparate stories.

I felt that both the stores of Lucas and Meg were engrossing and I became so caught up in them that I resented the end of the chapter and the switchover to the other story. As the book progressed I felt this way even more strongly. I really wanted to continue. The time did come though, when I began to see the thread of a possible connection.

My emotions were very close to the surface; the concern of a mother and father, the despair of a couple whose marriage was in trouble and the longing to find something good about a negligent, abusive parent. Some parts of the novel were light-hearted and joyous like the founding of a girl’s football league and the strength of sisterhood.

Sleeping in Eden is a book that leads the reader to continue until completion. It is well written with a complex plot. The characters become real and at times it is difficult be a part of what happens. As said, it is a novel that will keep you reading until the end. I strongly do recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book

She knew what he wrote . . .

One little word that made her feel both cheated and beloved.

One word that changed everything.


On a chilly morning in the Northwest Iowa town of Blackhawk, Dr. Lucas Hudson is filling in for the vacationing coroner on a seemingly open-and-shut suicide case. His own life is crumbling around him, but when he unearths the body of a woman buried in the barn floor beneath the hanging corpse, he realizes this terrible discovery could change everything. . . .

Years before Lucas ever set foot in Blackhawk, Meg Painter met Dylan Reid. It was the summer before high school and the two quickly became inseparable. Although Meg’s older neighbor, Jess, was the safe choice, she couldn’t let go of Dylan no matter how hard she tried.

Caught in a web of jealousy and deceit that spiraled out of control, Meg’s choices in the past ultimately collide with Lucas’s discovery in the present, weaving together a taut story of unspoken secrets and the raw, complex passions of innocence lost.

About the Author

Nicole Baart is the critically acclaimed author of After the Leaves Fall, Summer Snow (a 2009 Christy Award finalist), The Moment Between, and Beneath the Night Tree (February 2011). She writes literary, hope-filled fiction about beauty in brokenness.

Baart lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the mother of three young sons and awaiting the homecoming of a five-year-old daughter. After the adoption of her second son from Ethiopia, Nicole discovered a deep passion for global issues and co-founded a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, that works alongside a series of churches and an orphanage in Liberia. An accomplished novelist, she was a 2009 Christy Award finalist for fiction. Nicole is also the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Snow Angel. Her upcoming release, Sleeping in Eden, is a Midwest Connections pick for May.

Friday, August 30, 2013

On Distant Shores

Book Review

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin is a story with a setting during World War II in the South Pacific. It is a love story between two soldiers on active duty, Lt. Georgiana Taylor (Georgie) and Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Several things were interesting to me. It showed the contrast between being an enlisted soldier and being an officer. Taylor was a nurse and an officer; and while she certainly was exposed to danger, her best friend was killed, it seemed that she had the time available to go to the beach and have picnics. She was not allowed to associate with Hutchinson who was enlisted. Hutchinson had a degree in pharmacy and was skilled at what he did; but the army did not treat pharmacists well. They were not automatically sent to officer candidate school. It seemed arbitrary.

The love story takes a pattern that is familiar. Two people meet and are attracted. A misunderstanding happens and they draw apart. Then they are brought back together and express their love for each other. When they meet Georgie was engaged; and I was glad that she did not marry her fiancé from that period. The match was better with John Hutchinson.

This is a story that is worth reading. World War II generally makes for an interesting read. I realize that the gap between officers and enlisted is historical and has been around for centuries; but I found it to be very unfair. I came away with a great deal of respect for the doctors, nurses and pharmacists who were under fire.

I do recommend this book. I received a copy from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions are my own.

Purchase a copy for $11.48

About the Book

About On Distant Shores: Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace---and a love that remains true.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie's cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made?

With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more.

About the Author

Meet Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of "With Every Letter" and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A "Memory Between Us" was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Visit for more information.

Give Away

Sarah Sundin is celebrating the release of her latest novel, On Distant Shores, with a Romantic Weekend Getaway giveaway!


  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (good for a perfect couple's getaway)
  • With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 2nd. Winner will be announced September 3rd at the "On Distant Shores" Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Weekend Getaway, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at the next book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.

So grab your copy of On Distant Shores and join Sarah on the evening of September 3rd 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!)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom

Book Review

Reading stories set in other countries is usually an interesting, pleasant experience. The first half of Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman, is set in Melbourne, Australia, an unfamiliar setting for me. After reading this book, I put Melbourne on my “bucket list” of places I want to visit.

The book is the story of Lily Winter, a widow who has one child, a daughter, Julie. Julie, a new college student, is leaving her mother with an empty nest. At first I was a bit irritated with Lily because she continually referred to her daughter as “My Julie.” Maybe a bit overly possessive? However, I soon began to enjoy the story, observing Lily change from a timid, colorless individual to a self-assured, interesting woman.

This is story with wonderful character portraits. Lily’s mother shows that redemption is a possibility with most anyone; and it was fascinating to see God work in her life. Lily’s identical twin sister Camille also flourished as the story progressed; and I enjoyed watching Lily, Camille and Julie interact. Marcus, Lily’s love interest, also was a fascinating individual.

Winter in Full Bloom is worth reading. Higman is a new to me author; and I would definitely read more of her work. As stated, the book is an appealing travelogue, giving an informative view of the culture and beauty of the vibrant city of Melbourne. This is an inspiring look at how God continually draws his children to Himself; and we get to observe the spiritual growth in several of the characters. It is also a lovely story that follows the intertwining lives of Lily and Marcus – a true love story. That, with the well-drawn characters, makes this a memorable book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

About Winter in Full Bloom: Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her---a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades---Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily---with her fear of flying---boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

Purchase the Book for $11.46

About the Author

Meet Anita: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Connect with Anita at:


Anita Higman's latest novel, Winter in Full Bloom, has just released. She's teamed up with her publisher, River North Fiction, for a fun giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party on August 29th.

  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD
  • Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 28th.Winner will be announced August 29th at the Winter in Full Bloom Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Anita will be hosting a book chat, talking about family, announcing the winner of the Kindle Fire, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at her next book.

So grab your copy of Winter in Full Bloom and join Anita on the evening of August 29th 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!)


Friday, August 23, 2013

Whispers on the Dock

Book Review

This book is a return to the Misty Harbor Inn, the third volume in the series. Whispers on the Dock by Evangeline Kelley (Collaborators Patti Berg, Pam Hanson, Barbara Andrews and Camy Tang), continues the story of sisters Caroline, Gracie and Sam and their inn on Nantucket Island.

The story offers more insight into relaxed, laid-back island life and the process of running a bed and breakfast. I found that I love reading about places like this – where there is a true sense of community and people care for each other. The inn has come together now – renovations are over and the sisters each know their role and things run smoothly.

I enjoyed the various guests who present a kaleidoscope of personalities. I especially liked becoming acquainted with Doris (and yes, you do become acquainted with these characters). Doris lived in the inn as a child because her parents worked for the family that owned the estate. She was able to provide additional information for the sisters regarding the history of their lovely home and even give them a clue about their deceased mother. I think Doris will come back for many visits to the Misty Harbor Inn.

Some story lines continue in this book with former themes. Sam still loves to bake but has a crisis that she is maybe not very talented and should maybe go back to teaching. Gracie still struggles with the issue of selling her former home and Caroline is getting married. Caroline is sad about moving out of the inn and purchasing a home with her husband after she is married. I felt from the beginning that the answer for Caroline and her new husband was so obvious but I had to wait until the end of the book for the problem to be solved. There also is closure on the mystery the sisters have been working on.

This book does take you in and you feel involved in the characters lives – especially if you read all three books. The series are just a relaxing, enjoyable read that will transport you to an idyllic community – a place where busy, complicated lives just seem to slow down. I do recommend this book, especially for an enjoyable, easy read at the end of summer. I received this book from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book

About Whispers on the Dock: Three sisters. A charming inn. Hints of mystery and romance. And a gorgeous seaside setting. Escape to Misty Harbor Inn.

As Nantucket reaches the pinnacle of its summer glory, and the Marris sisters welcome guests at Misty Harbor Inn, youngest sister Sam Carter enters her mother's cobbler recipe in the Summerfest baking contest. But she faces a formidable opponent, a past winner who is determined to keep her title even if it means stooping to dirty tactics. Can Sam's newfound faith help her rise above the fray and reach out to this lonely woman? Meanwhile, an elderly guest arrives who knows the inn's history, and the sisters are stunned to learn that their late mother lived there as a child. But she told them she'd never been to Nantucket until her honeymoon! Through the woman's reminiscences and photos, the sisters make an intriguing discovery --- not only about the mysterious Hannah Montague, the young woman who disappeared from the house in 1880, but also about their own family history.

Readers will delight in the inviting Nantucket setting and be enthralled by the adventures of these sisters who reunite to bring their mother's Misty Harbor dreams to life.

About the authors

Evangeline Kelley is the pen name for the writing team of Patti Berg, Pam Hanson & Barbara Andrews, and Camy Tang, the four authors who collaborated to create Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn. Each of them has published novels individually, but this is their first series together.


Book three in the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series, Whispers on the Dock(Guideposts Books) is now availableCome back to Nantucket and be enthralled by the final installment of the cozy intrigue of Misty Harbor Inn.

Enter to win the entire set of Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn.
Three winners will receive:
  • Seaside Summer, Sunflower Summer and Whispers on the Dock by Evangeline Kelley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. All winners will be announced September 2nd at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 2nd to see if you won one set! (Or better yet, subscribe to our blog (via the box in the top right sidebar) and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rosemary Cottage

Book Review

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble is part of the Hope Beach series. This is a romantic, exciting novel that is the whole package. I have loved other Colleen Coble books I have read and once again Coble does not disappoint.

Have you ever dreamed about living in a quaint, charming beachfront cottage? That also is located in a vibrant, colorful, beachfront community? Hope Beach on North Carolina’s outer banks, the setting for this story is just such a place. The descriptions of the food made me wish I was there – especially the fresh seafood. And as each chapter went by, the vibe of the community drew me in completely.

Besides the sheer joy of becoming part of this delightful community, the story is also an exciting page-turner. In the beginning we learn that the two protagonists, Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland, each had a sibling die within a few weeks of each other. The prologue began what amounted to a sense of foreboding and this continued, growing stronger with each page as I read through the book. Even with this sense of premonition, I was blindsided by the ending. I felt like saying, “Who could have seen that coming?”

Coble also does a wonderful job of fleshing out her characters. The protagonists are not perfect but still likeable and the villains’ flawless appearances (Yes, there were villains) began to crack, losing their perfect façades as the novel continues. Amy’s joy in her chosen career as a midwife is inspiring and the descriptions of her birthing experiences are beautiful. The excitement of Curtis’s job as part of a Coast Guard rescue team is fascinating.  There are many good reasons to read this book and I highly recommend it.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

About Rosemary Cottage: Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there's a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island . . .

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She's even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It's always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben's disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.

Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine's father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can't help being drawn to Hope Beach's new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.

Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other . . . and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

Purchase a copy for $12.08

About the Author

Meet Colleen: Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Learn more about Colleen:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Bride For All Seasons

Book Review

A Bride For All Seasons is a collection of four stories by authors Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher. They are divided into spring bride, summer bride, autumn bride and winter bride. (Hence the “for all seasons.”)

The stories do follow a formula and become predictable. However, in spite of this and even though there are no surprises, the stories are good. It is an interesting period in the history of the West, where young, unmarried women traveled across the country to marry a man they only know through letters. I do know that many of these women arrived to find a difficult situation. They had clearly been misled and unfortunately, many did not have the resources to leave. The brides in this book were more fortunate. Each one of them answered an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue creatively titled “The Hitching Post.” Each one of their letters, along with the letters from their grooms were revised and made more appealing by the owner of the catalogue, Melvin Hitchcock. This created some difficult but funny outcomes.

Each one of the women was different. I especially liked Megan, the winter bride, who relocated to a ranch in Wyoming. I loved the cozy, beautiful ranch house and I loved her feisty, Irish personality. The other three women were described as exceptionally beautiful. Megan was described as pretty and petite with her Irish corkscrew, red hair; but she had a big personality, was funny and had a strong faith.

I also thought the spring bride, Mary-Jo, was also appealing. She was beautiful and a talented seamstress. She came into a difficult situation when she arrived in Kansas as a bride-to-be. She was not well educated and had not been raised with “proper manners”; but I found her to be talented and spirited – very likeable.

The other two brides were enjoyable also; but I was struck by the courage it must have taken to get on the train and move to a brand new area of the country to marry a man who was basically a stranger. It s a part of our history along with the orphan trains that moved parentless children to new lives in the West. Like some of the brides, their new lives were horribly difficult while others thrived. I am glad that there are books being written about this historical period.

I recommend this book. If you enjoy historical fiction this is a good pick. I received this book from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book

It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue . . .

Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn't dishonest---not exactly. If he tweaks his clients' applications a bit, it's because he's looking out for their best interests.

This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

"And Then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley

Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she'd travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!

"An Ever-After Summer" by Debra Clopton

Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks---and just the girl he needs.

"Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher

Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there's no money to send them back. . .

"Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy

David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone---nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

Purchase a copy for $12.08

About the Authors:

Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. @margaretbrownley

Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. Her books often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher

Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner, an a RITA, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. @MaryConnealy

Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra has her first book coming as a movie starring LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton


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