Tag Archives: Liz Tolsma

Book Review (+Giveaway): When The Heart Sings

29 Nov

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Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

When the Heart Sings-FINAL-front_cover_020518a-HRTitle: When the Heart Sings
Series: Music of Hope #2
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Natia has a secret, and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose…

The Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their Polish farm to a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear— but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

liz tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

CONNECT WITH LIZ: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

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MY IMPRESSIONS:

One of the highlights of this year was my trip to Poland in April. The experience was wonderful as we encountered beautiful cities, countryside and people. When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma brought all of that back to me, but through a different perspective. The novel set during WWII captures the beauty of the human spirit and its resilience in the face of extreme persecution. Just as my trip introduced me to a country with a strong cultural heritage in spite of the many hardships the people faced over the centuries, this book brought to life the ordinary people of Poland that survived the invasion of Nazi Germany. Powerful in its message and beautifully written, When The Heart Sings is a very highly recommended read.

When The Heart Sings is a small story — small in that it is set in a small town, with a small forced-labor factory, with a small cast of characters. But it certainly is not small in message. Everything about it seeks to put a face on what the people of Poland endured during the dark days of occupation. The characters could be you or me. A young couple displaced from their farm and forced to work under unimaginable circumstances, really slaves to the Nazis. A doctor who against all odds is left to live and practice medicine and do what he can to undermine the efforts of the regime. A young, naive German woman who despite indoctrination and abuse, knows deep down the right thing to do. And the cruel face of evil in the very real form of a Nazi officer. The book also examines the small actions that we can take that have big results.  And under, around, and through all of the drama of the novel, God is not only present, but in control. As one of the character states: “We look at our circumstances and see things as not good. But we don’t see the picture clearly, as the Lord does. He knows what is going on.. Things happen just the way he has planned they will.” (p. 258) A hard truth to accept sometimes, but truth nonetheless. Where is God? is a question asked repeatedly, and in the end the characters and the readers know.

As you can probably guess from the title, song has a large part in the narrative. The music and words of lullabies, love songs, classical works, and hymns encourage, comfort, and help to keep sane those who find themselves in impossible situations. There is an especially moving scene in which song softens the heart of a brutal captor. Even if you have a tin ear (like me 😉 ), you will love the way Tolsma incorporates music.

I absolutely loved When The Heart Sings. It is part of a series, but the books are only connected through theme and setting and can be read as standalones. It is definitely a book you are going to talk about — great for book clubs or friends/family who love to read together.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Gilead Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 


when the heart sings blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only)

  • a print copy of When the Heart Sings
  • Just One More Chapter’ throw pillow seen HERE

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 26, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 3, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Top 10 Tuesday — Halloween Randomness

30 Oct

As a blogger/reviewer of Inspirational and Clean Fiction it is a challenge to come up with a Halloween theme each year. I’ve racked my brain this year and have come up with not much of anything. I have already done Halloween Cozies, Spooky Christian Fiction, and even Reformation Reading. Yes I was reaching with that one. 😉 So this year I am opting for Halloween Randomness — covers that remind me of October days, covers that are ominous, and some good old fashioned supernatural fiction. I have read a few of these books; others are at the top of my TBR. I hope you find one you will love!

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl where I am sure you will find some Halloween fun much more clever than mine!

Halloween Randomness

 

Fall-ish Covers

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear

The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

Ominous Covers

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

 

Good Old Fashioned Supernatural Thrillers

The Windy Ridge Legal Thriller Series by Rachel Dylan

 

If You Liked The Sea Before Us . . .

29 Jun

My book club was unanimous in its approval of The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin. Although many of us have enjoyed lots of great books by Sundin, this was the first time we have read as a group a novel by her. It won’t be the last! In fact the only thing we didn’t like about the book was the fact we have to wait until next year for the next installment of the Sunrise at Normandy series, The Sky Above Us. So what should we and you read in the meantime? The following are my recommendation for WWII novels that feature strong women actively engaged in the war, either in official capacities or as a part of an underground network. Hope you enjoy!

 

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey.

It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers’ adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on – and the runners are playing for keeps.

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot.

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause. D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma.

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

Top 10 Tuesday — I’ve Only Just Begun

26 Jun

While this week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is all about series readers decided not to finish, I am again bucking the system. It is officially Opposite Day here at By The Book. My list features series that I haven’t finished because, well, they have just begun! Book 1 of each series is read, and I am eagerly awaiting the publication of book 2. For some series the wait is short; others require a bit more patience. All are series that I know I will love, love, love! (The links are to the reviews of book 1 in series.)

To discover what other bloggers think about finishing series, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Series I Began This Year

Blue Justice by Lynette Eason

Called to Protect (release date 7/31/18)

 

Bucklin Family Reunion by Debby Mayne

Fit to Be Tied (release date 8/28/18)

 

Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

In Too Deep (release date 11/6/18)

 

Lavender Tides by Colleen Coble

The House at Saltwater Point (release date 7/3/18)

 

Music of Hope by Liz Tolsma

When The Heart Sings (release date 10/9/18)

 

Nantucket Legacy by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Minding The Light (release date 7/3/18)

 

Sunrise at Normandy by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us (release date 2/5/19)

 

The Sugar Baron’s Daughters by Lisa T. Bergren

Verity (release date 4/2/19)

What series have you just begun?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — War Torn Worlds

29 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is book worlds that readers do/do not want to live in. I love that authors take me away to times and places I could not and would not dare to visit. I want to know what actual people went through, but I would never wish to have those experiences first hand. My list is all about the sieges, battles, and internment camps of war time. The books on my list are rich in detail and capture the times perfectly. They authors created worlds I am so glad I visited from the safety and peace of my favorite reading spot.

Make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bookish worlds.

 

Top War Torn Book Worlds

The Civil War

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Andersonville Prison Camp)

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green (Battle of Gettysburg)

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green (Sherman’s March to Atlanta)

 

WWII

The Butterfly And The Violin by Kristy Cambron (Auschwitz)

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma (Fall of Berlin)

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart (Ukraine)

 

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot (Dunkirk)

Remember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma (Philippine Internment Camp)

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (Dutch East Indies Internment Camp)

 

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?

Top 10 Tuesday: Another Time, Another Place

27 Mar

This week’s prompt for Top 10 TuesdayBooks Set in Other Countries — could go a lot of different ways. I decided to feature historical fiction because even if time travel was a thing, I wouldn’t want to take the risks involved in traveling to foreign countries as they experience turmoil, war, disease, persecution, etc. You get the picture. 😉 Books, in this case, really are the only safe and realistic way to visit another time and another place! There’s a little something for everyone in these books — history, romance, suspense, and mystery. I hope you enjoy the trip!

Make sure you travel over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers and their favorite books.

 

Top Historical Novels Set in Another Country

 

Canada, 1910s

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever — if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

 

Czechoslovakia, WWII

Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

 

Ancient Egypt

The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives — women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan — for them all?

 

France, 1600s

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

France, 1685. Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?

Virginia, present day. Renee Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine’s, is fascinated by the document that’s been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look — and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she’s forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?

From the authors of the Christy Award-winning The Amish Midwife comes an epic story of two women, centuries apart, each discovering her own hidden bravery, standing for what she believes in, and finding love in unexpected places.

 

The Galilee, Palestine, 1st Century AD

Madman by Tracy Groot

If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher’s servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one . . . one is a madman.

From Christy Award–winning author Tracy Groot comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness: the story behind the Gerasene demoniac of the Gospels of Mark and Luke.

 

Greenland And Iceland, 900-1000s 

Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother. Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland. But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland . . . and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened. In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence — her own heart. Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life.

 

 

Nevis, 1770s

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

 

Scotland, 1800s

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be–captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s ever had about the haughty English.

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a Gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty–both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts.

 

South Africa, post-WWII

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

 

Ukraine, WWII

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.