Tag Archives: Deborah Raney

Book Review: Home at Last

9 Mar

Why did their differences matter so much?

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.

All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite — well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

DEBORAH RANEY dreamed of writing a book since the summer she read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and discovered that a Kansas farm girl could, indeed, grow up to be a writer. Her more than 30 books have garnered multiple industry awards including the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, Carol Award, Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The novel inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title and continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences and serves on the executive board of the 2700-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas –– the setting of many of Deb’s novels –– for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They often travel to teach at writers conferences across the country, and to visit their four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at http://www.deborahraney.com.

 

My Impressions:

Deborah Raney creates highly readable family dramas that are not afraid to tackle tough issues. Her Chicory Inn series has looked at infertility and infidelity, among other things. In the fifth and final book in the series, Home at Last, racism is explored in an honest manner. Home at Last made me think and re-think the issues surrounding race relations and my own expectations and attitudes. A great ending for a great series.

Link Whitman, the only surviving son in the Whitman clan, is the focus of Home at Last. At twenty-nine his life has settled into a routine, and he is wondering if he settling for a life that is somehow less. Shayla Michaels is struggling to raise her niece and help run her father’s business and doesn’t have time for superficial flirtations. But there seems to be something different about Link. Obstacles abound in their new-found love, not the least are objections from family and differences in how they view the world.

First and foremost, Home at Last is a well-written story that makes the reader care about its likable characters. Main characters Link and Shayla have a lot going for them and a lot going against them. Raney doesn’t sugar-coat the real problems that face biracial couples. This reader’s eyes were certainly opened. Faith is naturally woven throughout the novel with characters struggling to keep believing in the face of hardships that pile up. I loved the support that Link provided Shayla and the way they faced the future with realistic expectations, but with a big dose of hope.

You don’t have to read the other books in the Chicory Inn series to enjoy Home at Last. But I would suggest you start at the beginning. You won’t want to miss this excellent series. And with this one being the last, you can binge read without  having to wait for the next installment!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Litfuse and Abingdon for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — What’s Up Next in The TBR Pile

28 Feb

The folks at the Broke And The Bookish are taking a short and well-deserved break this week. Six years of hosting this great meme! Our hats are off to you! So that means bloggers are coming up with their own topics. I’m taking the easy way out and sharing what I will be reading in the coming weeks. Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think.

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Top 10 Books in The TBR Pile

By Cat or By Crook by Patricia Fry

Doctor’s Dilemma by Richard Mabry

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

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Exit Katrina by Chris Link

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Home at Last by Deborah Raney

A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

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Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

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What book is next up for you?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Looking Forward to 2017!

13 Dec

I can hardly believe 2016 will soon be ending. I have had a great year of reading! But now it is time to look forward to the hot new books to be released in early 2017. To find out what books other bloggers are looking forward to, visit The Broke And The Bookish.

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I only made it to March releases before finding my top 10 of early 2017! So many great books that will soon grace my shelves. Many are the next book in favorite series, so those are very much anticipated. I have a good mix of historical and contemporary, with plenty of suspense and a bit of romance. All are from favorite authors who never cease to satisfy. So without further ado, drumroll please . . .

Top 10 Anticipated Books of Early 2017

Home at Last by Deborah Raney

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

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Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

Moving Target by Lynette Eason

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith

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Still Life by Dani Pettrey

A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah Ladd

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

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What books are you looking forward to?

 

Book Review: Another Way Home

16 Nov

Another-Road-Home-252x384Sometimes God’s ways are not at all what we expect . . . and exactly what we need.
Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight.

Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.

DRaney-254Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas — the setting of many of Deborah’s novels — for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahraney.com.

 

My Impressions:

A recent commenter on a FB page stated they were tired of reading books that were only about the chase — romances focused on the action leading up to happily-ever-after. She wanted to know were there any books featuring the rest of the story — doing life together. If you are like that commentator, someone who wants real life stories featuring couples facing life’s struggles and doing it God’s way, then be sure to check out Deborah Raney’s latest book in her Chicory Inn series, Another Way Home. This touching novel is a recommended read.

Danae and Dallas Brooks want children, but their quest is just not working out for them. It seems like everyone is having babies but them. As Danae faces frustrating and discouraging fertility treatments and Dallas buries the hurt from his own adoption story, they see their marriage deteriorating from stress. When God seems to be saying no, they face the task of remaining faithful and grateful.

Another Way Home again features the Whitman family — a large, close-knit and multi-generational family. This time the Whitman’s second daughter and husband are the focus of a story that is relevant for so many families today. Infertility is pain-filled, and no matter how supportive friends and family are, it is an incredibly lonely journey. Raney creates real and relatable characters in Danae and Dallas. She feels inadequate and empty; he worries he is not enough for her. Added to the infertility, is Dallas’ deeply buried scars from the rejection of his birth mother. But as Danae seeks to live a life marked with more gratitude than petitions (p 105), the Brooks marriage changes and strengthens. Danae realizes that God seemed to be assigning her exercises in generosity in an effort to teach her an attitude of gratitude (p 106). In a process that often is centered on the end results, Raney’s message is the gift of children. I loved that. There are lots of twists, turns and emotional highs and lows in Dallas and Danae’s story, but God proves Himself ever faithful. You are going to love the scene when Danae discovers the timing of God’s answer to her prayers.

Another Way Home is a wonderful book. I laughed and cried along with Danae and Dallas. And when the last page was turned, I was extremely satisfied. This one is another winner from Raney. I can’t wait for more from the Whitman family.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse and Abingdon for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Two Roads Home

23 Jun

Two-Roads-Home-252x384What if it’s too late for dreams to come true?

Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman’s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans’ son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington’s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless—and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk.

With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

 

DRaney-254Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deborah on the web at DeborahRaney.com.

 

My Impressions:

No one does real life like Deborah Raney! Filled with real and relatable characters and real-life experiences, her novels are always sure to hit the right note. Two Roads Home, book 2 in the Chicory Inn series, is no exception. For an honest read that blends God’s truth and grace, look no further.

Audrey Whitman may be an empty nester embarking on a new career as innkeeper, but she still frets over her brood of 4 grown children. In Two Roads Home, oldest daughter Corrine is facing threats to her marriage both from the inside and the outside. Her husband Jesse is accused of harassment at work and wants a change. But the dream he pursues may sideline Corrine’s own dreams.

Raney does a good job of portraying a real marriage in Two Roads Home. Corrine and Jesse let petty disputes and sparse communication undermine an otherwise good marriage. They have been operating on two different agendas for awhile and it has taken away from true intimacy in their marriage. Add into the mix a manipulative other woman and you get a recipe for disaster. But Raney uses prayer, God’s word and teamwork to bring them back together. Characters’ emotions and actions ring true in this novel as do the issues explored. Questions of priorities, contentment and marital fidelity make this one great for a book club!

While Two Roads Home could be read as a standalone novel, I would recommend beginning with book 1, Home to Chicory Lane.  And I am definitely looking forward to more from the Whitman family!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to LitFuse and Abingdon Press for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Home to Chicory Lane

3 Sep

769691Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband Grant are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast, just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

 

 

DRaney-254Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deborah on the web at DeborahRaney.com.

 

My Impressions:

Deborah Raney is a favorite author of mine. I love her writing style as well as the realistic characters she creates. Real life circumstances bring out the best and worst in her characters just as it does in us. But her overall faith message gives the situations and the reader hope. You will find all of that in the first book in a new series, Home to Chicory Lane.

An empty-nester, Audrey Whitman has just achieved her dream of turning her family home into a bed and breakfast inn. She and her husband, Grant, have sacrificed to come to this point, and she is worried about failure. The shiny wears off the dream quickly as she deals with fussy guests and the return of youngest daughter Landyn. Newlywed Landyn is hurt by her husband’s decisions that bypassed her. So when she shows up unexpectedly at the inn, her future seems very uncertain.

Home to Chicory Lane is a family drama. The large Whitman family is featured here and in future books in the series. Being an empty-nester myself, I enjoyed the interaction between Audrey and her husband as well as the struggle of parenting adult children. Audrey is in transition, balancing the support of an adult child with allowing personal choice and freedom. Landyn’s character is extremely annoying at first. Her immaturity grated on my nerves. But at the end of the book, she has grown. Raney also explores the importance of hopes and dreams in relation to God’s will and purposes. Some of God’s direction just doesn’t make sense, but we need to trust that He is in control.

Overall, I liked Home to Chicory Lane. It was a bit slow in places, but towards the end I was turning the pages as fast as I could. I also want to know more about the other children in the Whitman family, so I am eagerly awaiting book 2.

Recommended

Audience: Adults

(Thanks to Abingdon and LitFuse for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Face of The Earth

10 May

599975_w185When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one autumn morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. Her conference in Kansas City is only a few hours’ drive from their little town of Sylvia, Missouri. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.”

Mitch sets the table with their best china and lights some candles, looking forward to their first weekend as empty nesters.

But at eight o’clock, the candles have burned to stubs and Jill still hasn’t shown up. Mitch tries her cell phone only to get her voice mail over and over again. Their two college kids haven’t heard from their mom either.

At midnight, Mitch’s irritation turns to dread. And later, when the police and Missouri Highway Patrol have turned up nothing, the Kansas City hotel calls to say they’ve found property belonging to Jill in a hotel maid’s possession.

Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, and together they search for clues to Jill’s disappearance. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer––and decidedly complicated with Jill as the tie that binds them together. Just when Shelley decides to finally reveal her feelings for Mitch, a clue to Jill’s whereabouts is uncovered. But every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.

DRaney-136Deborah Raney is the award-winning author of several novels, including A Nest of Sparrows and the RITA award winning Beneath a Southern Sky and its sequel, After the Rains. Deborah’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was the inspiration for World Wide Pictures’ highly acclaimed film of the same title, which in December 2004 aired on prime time network TV for the second time. Deb’s novella, Playing by Heart, was a National Readers Choice Award winner and a 2004 Christy Award finalist. Her novel for Howard/Simon & Schuster, Yesterday’s Embers, appeared on the ECPA Christian fiction bestseller list. Known for her sensitive portrayal of family struggles and relationships, Deb has also written nonfiction books and articles and often speaks at women’s retreats and writers’ conferences around the country. She and her husband, illustrator/author Ken Raney, have four children and make their home in Kansas. Find out more at DeborahRaney.com.

My Impressions:

Deborah Raney has done it again — written a story filled with tension, desperation, waiting, doubt and, above all, hope. Her novels always involve realistically drawn characters the reader comes to love, life situations that ring true, and a message of God’s love, provision and promises fulfilled. And that’s what you get in her newest novel, The Face of The Earth.

Mitch and Jill have a great marriage, an almost perfect marriage. So when Jill goes missing following the conclusion of a teacher’s conference, no one is more surprised, hurt and confused than Mitch and Jill’s best friend, Shelley. While Jill’s disappearance rocks the family and small town, the days that stretch into months without word becomes a wound that many cannot fathom or share. But Shelley is always there for Mitch and becomes much more to him than Jill’s best friend. So how long is enough to hope for Jill’s return and how long will God ask Mitch to hold to his vows?

I have to say that I felt the tension of Jill’s disappearance from the opening pages of The Face of The Earth. The situation was real, almost too real, and I felt right there in Mitch and Shelley’s sorrow and grief. The doubts that the characters experienced were also palpable. Just how could someone just disappear without a trace? And the struggles with guilt that Mitch and Shelley encounter also ring true. Recent news of the woman who returned after 11 years of being missing and presumed dead, was just a reminder that this could really happen.

If you like a book that examines the feelings and emotions surrounding real life and the message of God’s faithfulness through it all, then you need to pick up The Face of The Earth.

Highly Recommended.

(Thank you to LitFuse for a copy of this book to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read other reviewers thoughts, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

 

Deborah is celebrating with a fun “Date Night” Giveaway (win a $200 Visa Cash Card!) and an Author Chat Party on Facebook! {5/30} 

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One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one – your spouse, friend, sister, mom … whomever!)
  • The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 29th. Winner will be announced at the “The Face of the Earth” Facebook Author Chat Party on May 30th. Connect with Deborah for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Deborah will also be sharing a sneak peek of her next book and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Face of the Earth and join Deborah on the evening of May 30th 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!)

 

 

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAYTELL YOUR FRIENDS VIA FACEBOOK OR TWITTER AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 30TH!