Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett

Beyond the Ashes



MY REVIEW:

 After reading the first book in Karen Barnett’s The Golden Gate Chronicles, I have eagerly anticipated  “Beyond the Ashes”. I love most genres of Christian fiction but Historical novels hold a special place in my heart and books like Karen’s fuel the fire (no pun intended).

When this story begins, San Francisco is in the process of rebuilding after its devastating earthquake. Many are still homeless and live in government provided huts in city parks. Doctors Gerald Larkspur and Robert King have continued their research into cancer treatment with radiation. Although they have seen some positive effects, none of their patients have survived and apparently Gerald has suffered a severe burn from the x-ray equipment they use.

Robert’s older sister Ruby has been alone for two years after the death of her husband in an accident. Encouraged by her cousin and good friend to find something useful to do, Ruby decides to face her fears, leave her home in Sacramento, and go to San Francisco to use her nursing training to help those in need. Ruby is not prepared for what she finds when she reaches San Francisco, especially the attraction she feels for her brother’s partner.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of “Beyond the Ashes”. The early history of radiation treatment for cancer was eye-opening  considering how much we take it for granted now. Details about the organized recovery efforts after the earthquake were also of interest and made me wonder if today’s population would work together as well if faced with a similar disaster.

I enjoyed spending time again with Robert, Gerald, Abby, and their families from “Out of the Ruins” and loved getting to know Ruby and Patrick and hope to see more of them and the rest in the next novel. Ruby was stronger than she realized and proved that fact in the way she took on challenges many women would not even consider. Her beauty and her caring heart won her more than one admirer but only one of them threatened to capture her lonely heart. I did get a bit aggravated with Gerald’s determination to ignore his injury for so long and his refusal to allow Robert to treat it before it became so serious.

“Beyond the Ashes” is a wonderful book with a strong theme of turning your future and your dreams over to the Lord. I very much recommend it as well as “Out of the Ruins”. Can’t wait for book three in this series.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes?

Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed.

Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they’re striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen BarnettKaren Barnett is the author of “Beyond the Ashes,” “Out of the Ruins,” and “Mistaken.” Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing novels, she loves speaking at women’s events, libraries, and book clubs.

Find out more about Karen at http://karenbarnettbooks.com.

On Shifting Sands by Allison Pittman

On Shifting Sand



MY REVIEW:

 “On Shifting Sand” is a difficult book to read but not because it is poorly written. In fact, in many ways it may be a literary masterpiece. The difficulty is the way Nola gets under your skin and forces you to look at yourself and what drives you – possibly more closely than is comfortable.

There are many who probably should not read this novel because it will not meet their standards of what should constitute a “Christian” novel. After all, the primary character sins repeatedly and for some reason, quite a few readers want their books to be sweet and perfect. So if you are one of those, please don’t bother reading “On Shifting Sand”. It is too down-to-earth and contains what might be offensive to you.

Yes, Nola was messed up and she brought many of her problems on herself. Every time temptation came calling, she fooled herself into thinking she was strong enough to handle it but she rarely succeeded. In fact, there were times that she even went looking for trouble, mistakenly thinking she could set things right. It would be wrong to lay the blame entirely at Nola’s feet or to be so foolish to blame it on the devil. Our enemy does seem to know our weaknesses and is skilled at exploiting them. But Nola was broken emotionally by her upbringing and had such low self-esteem that she needed someone who “saw” her. Her husband Russ, loved her but was so wrapped up in his little congregation that Nola often felt invisible. In her own way, Nola also tried to let Russ know that there was a problem but he never understood.

“On Shifting Sand” is set during the depression and dust bowl era and Pittman’s description of life in Oklahoma during that time is so eloquent that I came close to getting lost there and was almost surprised to look up from my book and find myself in my own air-conditioned home.

I could probably write my own novel about all the impressions I gained from this book. I suggest that if you aren’t afraid of a gritty, realistic book, go ahead and pick up a copy.

 

This book was provided for review by The Book Club Network, Inc..



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Long before anyone would christen it “The Dust Bowl,” Nola Merrill senses the destruction. She’s been drying up bit by bit since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by a father who withholds his affection the way God keeps a grip on the Oklahoma rain. A hasty marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn’t bring the escape she desired. Now, twelve years later with two children to raise, new seeds of dissatisfaction take root. When Jim, a mysterious drifter and long-lost friend from her husband’s past, takes refuge in their home, Nola slowly springs to life under his attentions until a single, reckless encounter brings her to commit the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. For months Nola withers in the wake of the sin she so desperately tries to bury. Guilt and shame consume her physically and spiritually, until an opportunity arises that will bring the family far from the drought and dust of Oklahoma. Or so she thinks. As the storms follow, she is consumed with the burden of her sin and confesses all, hoping to find Russ’s love strong enough to stand the test.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

AllisonPittmanAs far as I know, I have always been a writer. Before I could put words to page, I would dictate stories to my mother. I have always lulled myself to sleep by crafting stories–a new chapter each night. When God called me to write, I was thrilled to answer His prompting. And so it was, after a long conversation with my husband, I left a 20-year teaching career to pursue a new direction. It called for a HUGE step of faith, but God has kept me and our family safe. I count every single one of my readers as one of God’s blessings in my life, and I like to think of my stories as being the first step in a conversation. Please visit my website, www.allisonpittman.com and send me an email. It is one of my greatest joys to hear from you!

Old Fashioned DVD, Novel, and Devotional Giveaway

Old Fashioned GiveawayI have one gift pack of Old Fashioned that includes a copy of the DVD, the novelization, and “The Old Fashioned Way, a devotional based on the film.

If you would like to win a copy, please comment on this post no later than Friday, July 3rd.

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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Old Fashioned, Novel, and Devotional Review & Giveaway



MY REVIEW:

I wish I had read the novelization before I watched the DVD for “Old Fashioned”. The narrative really fleshed out the story better and it was easier to understand the viewpoints of both Clay and Amber and what really made them tick. The book itself was easy to read and contained content that was not included in the movie. In particular there were several quite amusing scenes that involved David’s significant other and their daughter. The “Old Fashioned” novel is both entertaining and educational and would be an excellent books for parents to share with their teens.

“The Old Fashioned Way” devotional is written in a manner that immediately caught my attention. Each chapter focuses on something from the movie and leads to a deeper examination of key elements that should help initiate discussion when used in a group setting or could help individuals to think more seriously about their own approach to courtship. Again, I highly recommend this book for teens and preteens.

This book was provided for review by FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network.



Old Fashioned Novel
ABOUT THE NOVEL:
Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to turn an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town….and to purse lofty and outdated theories on love and romance.  But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can’t help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.  Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love.  They say opposites attract, but can Clay and Amber move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an “old fashioned” courtship?
 
Old Fashioned Devotional
 
ABOUT THE DEVOTIONAL:
Contrary to popular opinion, being “old fashioned” doesn’t mean you’re dull or unromantic.  In fact, a true old fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you’ve ever experienced!  So what does it mean to do things the old fashioned way?  Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs, and taking things slow.  But a true old fashioned romance goes much, much deeper than that.  Inspired by the motion picture Old Fashioned, this book will show you how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing you to romantic love as God intended it.  Regardless of your past mistakes, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifetime!  As you work your way through this forty-day journey of inspiring readings and questions for reflection, you’ll discover all the unique and amazing benefits of doing things the old fashioned way.  And before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to creating a love story for the ages.  
 
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
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