“Waiting for Sunrise” is the story of a young woman who tragically lost her father at a young age then lived with an abusive step-father until her mother sent her away for her protection. Although her life improved greatly and she met and married the love of her life, Patsy’s earlier life had left her with serious abandonment issues. Her fear that her husband Gilbert would leave if everything wasn’t perfect increased her stress levels until she experienced a mental breakdown. Told primarily through flashbacks, “Waiting for Sunrise” not only relates Patsy’s story but also the story of her half brother Billy who didn’t escape their abusive home but managed to overcome the odds against him.
While “Waiting for Sunrise” was beautifully written with wonderful descriptions of setting and characters, there was just something about it that didn’t sit well with me. I found myself growing aggravated with Patsy for allowing herself to wallow in depression when she had so many people who loved her and wanted to help her. She was so focused on herself that she couldn’t see that she had in many ways abandoned her own children even though she was in the same house. I was unable to generate much sympathy for her at all. On the other hand, I enjoyed Billy’s story and the way he refused to allow his circumstances to bring him down.
“Waiting for Sunrise” is a very emotional story that deals with several serious issues such as physical abuse, mental illness, and adultery. On the positive side, it also illustrates the power of faith to overcome extreme obstacles and is ultimately a testimony of victory through Christ.
This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A rising voice in Southern fiction, award-winning author Eva Marie Everson writes with a large helping of Florida charm. Waiting for Sunrise is a touching story of family, young love and the need for forgiveness. Everson expertly draws out the bittersweet moments of life, weaving them into a tale that envelops the soul.
Life sometimes gets the best of us. For some it’s the daily pressures, for others it’s the shadows of the past. For Patsy Milstrap, it’s both. When she travels to beautiful Cedar Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast in search of healing, she never dreams her past will be waiting for her there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life and Chasing Sunsets. She is coauthor of the Potluck Club books and the Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Florida.
“Available June 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingShort-Straw BrideBethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)byKaren WitemeyerABOUT THE AUTHOR:
a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Karen Witemeyer is a deacon’s wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.
After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master’s degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.
Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.
Learn more about Karen and her books on her Website.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Short-Straw Bride, go HERE.
I have been a fan of Karen Witemeyer’s books ever since I was given the opportunity to review her debut novel A Tailor-Made Bride. Each of her subsequent books (Head in the Clouds and To Win Her Heart) just served to reinforce my fondness for them. So I awaited her newest novel Short-Straw Bride with great anticipation and forced myself to leave it in its proper place in my to be read and reviewed stack. If I allow myself much leeway with my book calendar, I will soon find myself missing deadlines coming and going.
Well the wait was finally over and well worth it. As expected, Short-Straw Bride was just as much fun as Karen’s previous tales. Her heroine, Meredith Hayes is sassy and spunky with a huge heart but somehow sees herself as less than desirable. Hero Travis Archer has spent most of his life fulfilling a death-bed promise to his father and his strict adherence to it has resulted in total isolation of himself and his three brothers from the surrounding community. Meredith’s abrupt appearance on their ranch starts a chain of events that will change all their lives forever.
Each character in Short-Straw Bride had a specific purpose. Some were special people with endearing qualities and others were the kind you love to hate. Then there were a couple who were not exactly bad people but really should have known better. The Archer brothers were great and the story behind their names was interesting. As always, the dialogue was superb. Karen’s trademark humor was also present but possibly a tad more subdued in this novel. Plenty of action, drama, suspense, and yes, romance round out the plot to make it a real winner. A strong undercurrent of faith runs throughout the story but does not detract from the plot. My only complaint is that the book ended too soon and I would really love to know how things turn out for the other Archer brothers.
This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingLove in DisguiseBethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)byCarol CoxABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Native Arizonan Carol Cox has an abiding love for history, mystery, and romance. The author of more than 25 books, she believes in the power of story to convey spiritual truths. Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where deer and antelope really do play–within view of the family’s front porch.
A word from Carol:
As a native of Arizona, I have a longtime interest in the Southwest and its history. My family shares my love of the Old West, as evidenced by this photo taken back in the halcyon days before my son turned to a life of crime and started robbing trains for a living…
Learn more about Carol and her books on her Website.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona.
Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Love in Disguise, go HERE.
Love in Disguise is a historical novel set in Arizona that is jam packed with action, adventure, drama, mystery and suspense plus a generous dose of humor and romance. After losing her job as an assistant to a stage actress, Ellie found herself left with very little money and a trunk full of stage props and costumes. Using her knowledge of using clothing and other items to change a person’s appearance, Ellie secured a trial job as a Pinkerton agent. When her assigned partner backed out, it was left up to Ellie to track down the men responsible for stealing silver from the miners in Pickford. The real fun began with Ellie’s two different roles – as a middle-aged widow, and as her young, attractive niece, especially as she tried to keep her roles straight and coming up with good explanations for why Lavinia and Jessie were never seen together. To further complicate matters, Ellie found herself quite attracted to Steven, one of the mine owners but couldn’t reveal her secrets to him.
Not only was Love in Disguise entertaining and enjoyable, but it raised some pertinent questions such as “Is there any situation that really justifies deception?” – an issue that Ellie grappled with throughout the book. I enjoyed everything about this story and particularly liked that even though at first Ellie’s faith was just for show, it soon became a reality in her life.
I am struggling with trying to avoid spoilers so I will conclude by saying that if you enjoy historical western romance novels as well as some humor and suspense, then Love in Disguise is the book for you.
Second book in Carlson’s Life at Kingston High, “The Best Friend” not only explores the true meaning of friendship but delves into some pretty serious issues faced by today’s teens. Primary character Lishia Vance was feeling pretty left out after her best friend apparently found a new best friend. Not only that but it seemed as though the rest of her friends from church had abandoned her also. So Lishia was a prime target when cheerleader Riley decided that Lishia would be the perfect best friend for her. So, desperate to be accepted and even popular, Lishia allowed herself to be manipulated into doing things she wouldn’t ordinarily do even though she felt uncomfortable doing them. Eventually she had enough but found it difficult to extract herself from the situation – a situation that had even become dangerous to her.
At my advanced age (old enough to have teen grandchildren), it is difficult to imagine some of the things our young people come face to face with every day. It would be nice to believe that they don’t need to be warned about some of the things depicted in “The Best Friend” but I am afraid that would just be denial. I am so thankful that Melody Carlson is brave enough to write about the things most of would like to ignore and that she does so in a manner that teens can enjoy and relate to. I only wish these books had been around when my own daughter was in high school.
This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
With her signature insight into the lives of teen girls, bestselling author Melody Carlson explores the treacherous world of friendship, loyalty and choices girls face in high school in The Best Friend, a Life at Kingston High novel.
Lishia Vance is flummoxed. One day she has friends. The next day everyone has turned against her. No explanation. Just complete social isolation. Even her best friend Janelle isn’t giving her the time of day. When she makes a connection with Riley Atkins, a popular cheerleader, things start looking up. But is Riley really as good a friend as she seems? Or is Lishia better off without her?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington’s, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Melody was selected for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at www.melodycarlson.com.
This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingTouching The SkyBethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)byTracie PetersonABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.
She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max. She’s active in her church as the Director of Women’s Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer’s retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Laura Marquardt first meets Brandon Reid, their encounter is anything but pleasant. But when the two are seated together at a dinner party, they soon find that they share similar interests–Laura desires to educate blacks, and Brandon, as a white officer over colored troops, eagerly supports her cause.
When Laura’s sister, Carissa, marries her Confederate beau, Laura finds herself in a difficult situation when she overhears plots to kill Union soldiers. Though in her heart she feels she should share this information with Brandon, Laura fears she will betray her sister’s trust and possibly endanger her sister’s life. And when Brandon’s motives for pursuing her come into question, her heart is even more conflicted. Where is God leading her?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Touching The Sky, go HERE.
Learn more about Tracie and her books link on her Website.
Using her unique talent with words Tracie Peterson has once again delivered a very readable and enjoyable novel that blends drama, intrigue, and romance perfectly with historical facts. Touching The Sky is set in Corpus Christie, Texas following the Civil War. Although the war is over, the coastal town is still divided between those who supported the Union and those who supported the Confederacy. In fact there are some confederates who are poor losers and are determined to get revenge and keep the war going, if only in Texas. Laura Marquardt and her family find themselves in the very middle of the increasing tension. They had hoped that the marriage of Laura’s sister Carissa to a young Confederate soldier would help bring reconciliation to their town. Unfortunately he is one of the men who refuse to give up the fight. Laura’s developing relationship with Union officer Brandon Reid only serves to increase her brother-in-law’s animosity. Suspense filled pages are in store for the reader as they keep turning the pages to find out what will happen.
I found Peterson’s characterization and dialogue to be natural and believable. Although Carissa seemed to be an unreasonable and spoiled brat, the author didn’t leave her that way but matured her as the story progressed. The romance between Brandon and Laura also seemed genuine as it developed at an unhurried pace. I thought the author also did an excellent job presenting the various points of view, not only those who sympathized with the north or the south but also of former slaves. I did not find that southerners in general were depicted in a negative light – just those few men who refused to give up the fight.
I have enjoyed both of the novels in the Land of the Lone Star series thus far and look forward to the third and final installment this fall.