Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Journeys to A New Life

12 Jun

My husband and I seem to have caught the travel bug. After 33 years of marriage in which we raised 3 kids and grew a business, we are now in the position to do a little traveling. An empty nest and a wonderful staff have made it doable. But our travels are short-lived and, except for the occasional blip, very routine. Not so for those who left everything to travel to a new place and a new life. I cannot imagine the anxiety people had in stepping out into the unknown. Whether by choice, or necessity, or through force, the characters in the following books stepped out in faith in their travels. These books are both historical and contemporary, but all of them share the desire for new beginnings.

For more traveling books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Journeys to A New Life

 

By Boat

Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

 

By Train 

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

 

 

By Wagon

All Together in One Place by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

 

On Foot

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

 

Taxis, Buses, Planes, Boats, You Name It!

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

The Heart Between Us by Lindsey Harrel

 

Have you ever taken a journey of faith?

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Baby Names

22 May

Do you ever click on the FB links that promise adorable, unique, vintage, or clever baby names. Yeah, me neither 😉 . Well, maybe sometimes, once in a while, always. I love those click-bait posts and always hope for the best. This week Top 10 Tuesday is talking bookish names, so I came up with my top picks for baby names you just have to use. Most are very unusual and won’t occur ten times on your kids class roll. I have tried to find the meaning of each name; in some cases it is very subjective. Let me know what you think of my picks.

Make sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover more great bookish names.

 

Top 10 Names You Need To Give Your Baby!

Girls

Adisa (the clear one) from A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Anniston (resurrection) from How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

Aurelie (golden) from Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Politano Davidson

Fairlight (the fair light of Christ) from Christy by Catherine Marshall

Isola (island) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Kaine (tribute) from The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Keturah (fragrance or sacrifice) from Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Pearl (gem of the sea) from A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

Persomi (no meaning found) from Child of The River by Irma Joubert

Vienne (life) from A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Boys

Ace (unity) from Out of Circulation by Heather Day Gilbert

Aldric (wise ruler) from A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Boone (blessing) from Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble (Boone is the name of my niece’s youngest son)

Dawsey (sweet or pleasant) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Noble (illustrious) from Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Qwill (scribe)  from Gathering The Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Race (clean shaven) from Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Roman (a citizen of Rome) from The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Ryland (island meadow) from Life on The Porcelain Edge by C. E. Hilbert

Zane (gift from God) from Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Which one would you choose for your baby?

 

Happy Book Birthday! Where Hope Begins

22 May

 

Happy Book Birthday, Catherine West! Her newest contemporary novel, Where Hope Begins, is now available. Let the reading party begin!!

 

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Her most recent novel, The Memory of You, released March 2017 and Where Hope Begins releases in May 2018. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

Top Ten Tuesday — Highly Anticipated Books!

1 May

This week’s TTT theme is Books I’d Slay A Lion to Get Early. Well . . . I am definitely a book fanatic fan, but not sure I would do bodily harm to anything to get my hands on a coveted book. That’s mainly because I still have a huge stack of unread books from the last list of highly anticipated reads. I have all intentions of reading them, but in the meantime I am content to hold and gaze adoringly at them. LOL! So I will just list ten of the most anticipated books of the next few months.

Make sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to find out what other bloggers are willing to risk mayhem to acquire.

10 Highly Anticipated Novels of June, July, and August 2018

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

The Captured Bride by Michelle Greip

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Minding The Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Patriot Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

 

What books are you anticipating?

 

 

If You Liked The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers . . .

30 Apr

Every month I endeavor to come up with a list of books to recommend if you liked BTB’s monthly book club selection. Some months are easier than others, with this month’s list a real head scratcher. You see, Francine Rivers is really in a class all her own — few authors compare. So I am going to go the easy way out and recommend some of her older contemporary fiction novels that my book club also loved. If you haven’t read them, I recommend you put them at the top of your TBR pile!

And The Shofar Blew

In the Old Testament, God called His people to action with the blast of the shofar, a ram’s horn. He still calls His people today.

In this relevant and timely novel, dynamic young preacher Paul Hudson is committed to building his church―but at what cost? When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well. If only his wife, Eunice, could see it that way. Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn’t right . . . and it hasn’t been for a long time.

The more Paul’s zeal and ambition builds, the more he loses sight of the One who called him. As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will and God’s plan.

Leota’s Garden

Leota’s garden was once a place of beauty, where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn’t understand her silent sacrifices.

Now, eighty-four-year-old Leota Reinhardt is alone, her beloved garden in ruins. All her efforts to reconcile with her adult children have been fruitless, and she voices her despair to a loving Father, her only friend.

Then God brings a wind of change through unlikely means: one, a college student who thinks he has all the answers; the other, the granddaughter Leota never hoped to know. But can the devastation wrought by keeping painful family secrets be repaired before she runs out of time?

The Scarlet Thread

Two women, centuries apart, are joined through a tattered journal as they contend with God, husbands, and even themselves . . . until they fall into the arms of the One who loves them unconditionally. Sierra Madrid’s life has just been turned upside down when she discovers the handcrafted quilt and journal of her ancestor Mary Kathryn McMurray, a young woman who was uprooted from her home only to endure harsh conditions on the Oregon Trail. Though the women are separated by time and circumstance, Sierra discovers that many of the issues they face are remarkably similar. By following Mary Kathryn’s example, Sierra learns to surrender to God’s sovereignty and unconditional love.

 

What is your favorite book by Francine Rivers?

Throwback Thursday — The Butterfly And The Violin by Kristy Cambron

19 Apr

Today I am making my way to Europe! I am so excited! I will be in Krakow come Sunday and will be visiting Auschwitz while there. I imagine it will be an overwhelming experience for me. In honor of my trip, today’s featured book is The Butterfly And The Violin, Kristy Cambron’s beautiful debut novel. If you haven’t read it yet, you really must!

A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

My Impressions:

Sometimes the books that make the biggest impression on me are the ones I have the hardest time reviewing. They blow me away, and I just can’t find the words to express myself. Bear with me as I try to explain why The Butterfly And The Violin, Kristy Cambron’s debut novel, is a MUST READ! This beautifully written novel grabbed my heart at the start and still has not let go even after the cover has been closed.

There are two stories in The Butterfly And The Violin. Sera James is an art gallery owner searching for a painting that she glimpsed for just moments as a child. It made such an impression, that years later she is obsessed in finding it again. Adele Von Bron, the subject of the painting, was a young, talented violinist in Vienna at the start of WWII. It is Adele’s story that Sera and the reader are really searching for. Filled with unforgettable characters, moving images, and faith challenging moments, The Butterfly And The Violin is more than a romance or an historical novel. If you like those two genres, you will like this book, but its story of survival and hope in the midst of the darkest darkness is why you really need to read it.

Cambron uses a unique structure for telling the women’s tales. Sera’s story is told in chronological order. Although important to the progression of the novel, it almost provides a respite from the wrenching images and emotions that make up Adele’s story. Adele’s story does not follow a strict chronological order, but it really works in depicting the motivations of the characters and the time in which they lived. Much of Adele’s story takes place in Birkenau, part of the infamous Aushwitz concentration camp. Cambron manages to capture the beauty of that experience that most would overlook. One quote sums up Adele’s feelings of her time there — “The God-worship of every life — this was the art of Auschitz”. The treatment of the prisoners by the Nazi regime is horrifying and almost unbelievable, even though very, very real. And while the book cannot be described as a quick read, I just could not put it down.

And there you have it — my poor attempt to tell you why you really need to read The Butterfly And The Violin. Gripping, emotionally wrenching, and challenging, Cambron has written a masterpiece.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather’s stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorites of 2018 (So Far)

17 Apr

This week That Artsy Reader Girl of Top 10 Tuesday is letting bloggers have a Freebie. After much thought, I finally settled on sharing the Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. The books on this list all were given a Highly Recommended rating by me. Covering a variety of genres, these books offer realistic and endearing characters, are beautifully written, and share messages of hope, healing, and grace. I loved them, and I think you will too. If you have read any of them, let me know if you agree with my assessment.

 

 

 

 Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

On This Foundation by Lynn Austin 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey

What book is your favorite this year?