Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow (Review)

The Waiting
by Cathy LaGrow
Non Fiction / Christian / Memoir
Available May 2014
Tyndale House
336 pages

About the Book
An unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.

In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets. 

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
When I heard the premise for this book, I knew I had to read it. It was every bit as good as I anticipated! After Minka is raped as a teenager, she discovers she is pregnant and gives the baby up for adoption. This incredible story goes on to tell of Minka's life and reunion with that baby 77 years later.

I was shocked time after time at how different life is now than when Minka was growing up 100 years ago. Her difficult circumstances were heartbreaking, but she was strong despite them. I appreciated, especially, that she grew closer to God in the midst of these challenging times.

The writing is tender and moving, which only adds to the beauty of the story. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was quite emotional. What a wonderful gift the Lord gave both Minka and "Betty Jean"! And what a wonderful gift Minka's family has given all of us through the telling of this story. It was simply delightful. One of the best books I have read this year.
[5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Cathy LaGrow first fell in love with books as a young girl, when she often chose to lose herself in a story rather than play outside. That love has never waned. She estimates that she's read more than two thousand books, and she habitually collects new titles much faster than she can read them.

Her previous writing endeavors include her blog, Windows and Paper Walls; a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul titled "A Good Mother"; and a weekly column for All the Church Ladies on a website created by journalist Karen Spears Zacharias.

In 2006, just after the birth of her first baby, Cathy and her family learned the secret her grandmother Minka Disbrow had been carrying for almost eighty years—that at age seventeen, she'd given up a baby for adoption. Cathy's mother is Minka's second child, born nearly eighteen years later. Cathy began working on The Waiting in early 2012.

Cathy has been married to her high school sweetheart, Dan, for almost twenty-five years. She is a licensed, nonpracticing US Customs broker and a piano teacher. She lives in Oregon, where she's often found in the kitchen baking or curled up in a chair reading. An avid runner, she sometimes runs literal circles around her two small boys at the neighborhood park. Nearly everything fascinates her.
This is Cathy's debut book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin (Blog Tour + Review)

In Perfect Time
by Sarah Sundin
Wings of the Nightingale series, Book 3
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available July 2014
416 pages

About the Book
Two hearts are about to learn the rhythm of love
Bold, sophisticated, and coy, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer. Can they overcome the fears and misunderstandings of the past in order to take hold of the future?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts 
In Perfect Time is the third and final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series. What an incredible read it is! This series follows a group of female flight nurses in World War II. I love how each book builds on the last. (You don't have to read them in order, but I would definitely recommend that you do!) By the time I got to the end of this book, I felt like the characters were friends, and I was so sad to turn the last page. 

There are three things that really have hooked me on Sarah Sundin's books. First, she gives readers characters that are interesting, realistic, and emotional. Even though her stories are set during WWII, I feel like I can relate to the people. Second, she makes history come to life. For whatever reason, there aren't a ton of books set during WWII. It's a fascinating period in history, and I love reading about it. Sundin brings interesting and sometimes obscure facts and features them in her books. I've totally enjoyed reading about female flight nurses during this series! Plus, I felt like I was in the midst of the action throughout this book in particular. Finally (and most importantly to me), faith is always a central theme throughout her books. She definitely doesn't do "cheesy" but God is a primary focus of the characters. I appreciate how she handles this and weaves it throughout fairly effortlessly.

I'm in a phase right now where I'm not as interested in historical fiction as I've been in the past. BUT I knew I had to read In Perfect Time. I mean, it's the final book in the series after all! Sundin wrapped up the series beautifully and gave Kay and Roger a beautiful story. I highly recommend this series and look forward to reading whatever she gives us next! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Sarah Sundin Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 | Sign Up & Goals

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 11.0 starts TOMORROW! I haven't gotten around to signup yet (eek!), so it's better late than never, right?!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. — From the Bout of Books team

I'm hoping that this will give me a chance to make some great progress on my summer reading goals, but with several other things on the calendar for the week, we'll just have to see how it goes!

The Goals ...
Read at least 1 hour per day
Read 1000-1500 pages

The Books ...
Not sure which of these I'll start with (or perhaps I'll add others to the mix!), but these are next up on my TBR list. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cover Reveal | How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

It's time for another cover reveal from none other than blogger friend Amber Stokes! Amber has teamed up with cover designer Lena Goldfinch again to design the cover of her newest book How a Star Falls, which will be available in November. I don't know about you, but I think the results are stunning! This cover is different from Amber's other books—because the book is going to be different than her other books. I actually think it might be my favorite so far!

About the Book
How does a star fall?

Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he’ll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it’s far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won’t stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she’s crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can’t just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

About the Author
Amber Stokes works as a content writer for Harvest House Publishers and writes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, the next step in her career lies in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. Learn more about her indie-author adventure at

About the Cover Designer
Lena Goldfinch writes fantasy and romance for teens and adults. She's a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing something light and contemporary. Learn more about Lena, her books, and her cover designs at

To celebrate this cover reveal, Amber is giving away a $10 gift card! You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Blog Tour & Review)

The Butterfly and the Violin
by Kristy Cambron
A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Historical
Available July 2014
Thomas Nelson
336 pages

About the Book
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.

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
It's not often that I pick up a book that strikes such a powerful chord within me. The Butterfly and the Violin tells a moving story of Adele, a young woman living in Austria and later as a prisoner at Auschwitz during World War II. However, the story also bridges the gap between past and present by introducing us to Sera and William in the present day as they search for an obscure painting of Adele that holds great meaning for both. It's often difficult to span two time periods and tell two stories at once, but Cambron does an amazing job at representing both well.

The characters are amazing. The stories are simply beautiful. And I found it difficult to stop reading for mundane tasks such as going to work or sleeping! I am eagerly anticipating the remaining novels in this series and highly, highly recommend this book!   [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
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.

Kristy Cambron Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?!

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week  ...
Yay! I remembered to post this week. Perhaps I'm getting back into a routine? Well, regardless, this is what I read last week. 

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read Next ...

I'm taking it a day at a time right now, but there are some great books on my list! Hoping to get to quite a few in the next few weeks ... before the summer is completely over!

That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?
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