Friday, April 26, 2013

When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

When The Morning Glory Blooms

(Abingdon Press - April 1, 2013)


Cynthia Ruchti


Cynthia writes stories of hope that glows in the dark, merging her love for storytelling with inextinguishable hope for inexpressible hurts.

Cynthia spends her days diving into words, worship, and wonder and celebrating 40 years of marriage, three grown children, and five outrageously adorable grandchildren. One of her greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she served as the assistant director and a faculty member of the Quad Cities Christian Writers Conference, has served as worship and devotions staff for the Write-to-Publish conference, and teaches at other conferences as opportunities arise. She speaks to women’s groups, at mother-daughter banquets, and for women’s refresher days and retreats. It is her delight to serve on her church’s worship team. Rather than “busy,” she likes the term “active.”

For 33 years, Cynthia wrote and produced the radio broadcast The Heartbeat of the Home. The scripted radio drama/devotional broadcast aired on as many as 50 radio stations and two cable/digital television stations over the years. Cynthia was the editor of the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine, a twenty-page, twice annual publication that reached 5,000 homes, churches, and parachurch outreaches.


Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world.

Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn't know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy's listening ear until the day she suspects Anna's tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They're fragments of Anna's disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can't resist tugging, Ivy records Anna's memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman's emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories. Is Ivy's answer buried in Anna's past?

Becky, Ivy, Anna--three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.

If you would like to read the first chapter of When The Morning Glory Blooms, go HERE.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Healing Heart

(Abingdon Press - April 1, 2013)


Angela Breidenbach


Angela Breidenbach is a speaker/coach in mental and physical health, author of A Healing Heart April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance, and Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guideposts, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister (worship/prayer leader) for her congregation in Missoula, MT. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom’s brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital.


Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence.

She’s not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack. While Mara recuperates, she revisits the choices she's made that led to this physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt?

My thoughts:

Superman to the rescue! Who doesn't love a book with a larger than life hero? Joel Ryan is a seemingly flawless character who shows up just in time to save the day for the Keegan family...but unfortunately he has a history with mom and business CEO Mara. Can she trust him as he commits to helping her business survive while she faces unexpected health issues?

I really enjoyed this story. Well-written characters fill the book - Maya, full of angst with Joel, overwhelmed by the promises made to her late husband to make their business a success; her three kids (Marisa, Toby, and Cadence) searching to find normalcy after their father's death; neighbor Mrs. Calder, whose motherly (and grandmotherly) guidance keeps the household going during Mara's recovery; Joel, whose superpowers seem to work wonders on everyone...except Mara; and even lovable Louie, the talented and charming family pooch.

Mix these great characters with a heartwarming story...with both drama and levity...and this book is a winner. This has been one of my favorite Quilts of Love stories so far (and they've all been good) and is definitely a book not to pass up.

My sincere thanks to CFBA and Abingdon Press for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Healing Heart, go HERE.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Christy Award Nominees 2013

Congratulations to all the Christy Award nominees for 2013.

The 14th Annual Christy Awards for Excellence in Christian Fiction will be presented at a dinner to be held Monday, June 24, 2013, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Mo.

Contemporary Standalone

The Air We Breathe - Christa Parrish (Bethany House)
Borders of the Heart - Chris Fabry (Tyndale House)
Not in the Heart - Chris Fabry (Tyndale House)

Find out more on the web:
Christa Parrish
Chris Fabry

Contemporary Romance

The Breath of Dawn - Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House)
Lethal Legacy - Irene Hannon (Revell)
Wildflowers from Winter - Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah)

Kristen Heitzmann
Irene Hannon
Katie Ganshert

Contemporary Series/Sequel/Novella

Two Destinies - Elizabeth Musser (David C Cook)
You Don't Know Me - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House)
Waiting for Sunrise - Eva Marie Everson (Revell)

Elizabeth Musser
Susan May Warren
Eva Marie Everson

First Novel

Into the Free - Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)
Tangled Ashes - Michele Phoenix (Tyndale House)
Wedded to War - Jocelyn Green (River North)

Julie Cantrell
Michele Phoenix
Jocelyn Green


Flame of Resistance - Tracy Groot (Tyndale House)
Wedded to War - Jocelyn Green (River North)
A Wreath of Snow - Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah)

Tracy Groot
Jocelyn Green
Liz Curtis Higgs

Historical Romance

Against the Tide - Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House)
Be Still My Soul - Joanne Bischof (Waterbrook/Multnomah)
Love's Reckoning - Laura Frantz (Revell)

Elizabeth Camden
Joanne Bischof
Laura Frantz


Downfall - Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
The Last Plea Bargain - Randy Singer (Tyndale House)
Rare Earth - Davis Bunn (Bethany House)
Submerged - Dani Pettrey (Bethany House)

Terri Blackstock
Randy Singer
Davis Bunn
Dani Pettrey


Daughter of Light - Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press)
Soul's Gate - James Rubart (Thomas Nelson)
Starflower - Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House)

Morgan L. Busse
James Rubart
Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Young Adult

Child of the Mountains - Marilyn Sue Shank (Delacorte)
Failstate - John W. Otte (Marcher Lord Press)
Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words - Rachel Coker (Zondervan)

Marilyn Sue Shank
John W. Otte
Rachel Coker

Find out more on the web:
Christy Awards
Bethany House - A Division of Baker Publishing Group
David C Cook Publishing
Delacorte Press - A Division of Random House
Marcher Lord Press
Revell Books - A Division of Baker Publishing Group
River North Publishing - An imprint of Moody Publishers
Thomas Nelson
Tyndale House Publishers
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Zondervan Publishing - A Division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Josiah's Treasure by Nancy Herriman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Josiah's Treasure

(April 16, 2013)


Nancy Herriman


Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She has been writing for longer than she would like to admit. Her work has been a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests and she won the 2006 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense. In 2009, she was an ACFW Genesis finalist. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When she is not writing, or gabbing over lattes about writing, she is either watching history shows on cable TV or singing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons, and wishes there were more hours in the day.


In 1882, Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah's son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house, place Sarah's life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man's heart-and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.

My thoughts:

Both Sarah and Daniel have their sights on Josiah Cady's estate, and both have noble goals guiding their pursuits, but what lengths will each of them go to claim it as their own. As they move toward a suitable solution for all involved, we find that it's not what you have but what you give that makes a fulfilling life.

I've not read any of Nancy's books before but found this to be an engaging story with lots of great characters, a bit of suspense, and even a few chuckles. If you are a fan of historical fiction be sure to get yourself a copy of this book.

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and Worthy Publishing for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Josiah's Treasure, go HERE.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Guardian

(Bethany House Publishers - March 26, 2013)


Beverly Lewis


Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life.

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects is to find a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears. Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs. But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak a word of English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no closer to learning her identity. Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow--and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?


I instantly connected with this book, and especially Maryanna, as I unknowingly lost my then three-year-old daughter in the middle of a busy theme park. We were separated for maybe all of twenty minutes but to a frantic mother it seemed like an eternity. We both had a happy ending with a safe return of our children, but to this day I still have thoughts of what it could have been like to not have found her.

Jodi is facing hardship of her own...the loss of her sister and her beau heading to a foreign country to teach for a year...and has put God at arms' length. She is taking time away at her cousin's house in Lancaster County to regroup and prepare for her return to teaching in the fall. Her path changes in the course of a day, when she goes for a run to clear her mind and finds a missing child instead.

Jodi being at the right place at the right time seems providential in the return of young Sarah, and I love how Maryanna says this, "The Lord knew all about this day long before Sarah was even born - and all the many prayers God heard and answered." Little does Jodi know that her being a "guardian angel" for Sarah and meeting the Esh family have put her in a position not only where she is an answer to prayer, but other's prayers for her may be answered as well.

Amish fans will once again be delighted as Beverly Lewis returns them once again to Hickory Hollow. Even though there are some recurring characters, this series doesn't have to be read in succession, so even if readers haven't read "The Fiddler" or "The Bridesmaid" they won't miss a thing if they pick up this title first.

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and Bethany House Publishers for generously providing a copy of this novel for my review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Guardian, go HERE.