Wednesday, April 24, 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.

My Thoughts:

I have found over the last couple of years, that I enjoy stories that contain a story within a story.  When I was given the opportunity to read and review Cynthia Ruchti's When the Morning Glory Blooms I found not one story tucked inside the beautiful cover of this book but three.  All three stories take place in different time periods, 2013, 1951 and 1890, and they each tell a story of women dealing with pregnacy issues.

We are first introduced to Becky Trundle who in 2013 finds herself caring for her precious grandson, Jackson, born to her daughter out of wedlock.  Her daughter, Lauren, still a high school student living at home tends to rely a little heavily on her mom to do what she really should be doing as a mother to Jackson.  Becky feels she might be doing too much in taking care of Jackson and that maybe she should try to help Lauren understand her role as mother.

The next woman we are introduced to is Ivy Carrington, who in 1951 finds herself pregnant but is unable to let her boyfriend, Drew Lambert, know before he is sent off to war in Korea.  She writes to him but decides not to tell him about the baby for fear it will distract him from the war and he might get injured.  Ivy works at a nursing home where she meets Anna Grissom, a resident of the nursing home.  Anna is afraid she is losing her memories and asks Ivy to write them down for her.  At first, Ivy feels they must just be ramblings from an old lady but she soon learns that there is more going on in Anna's stories, that they aren't stories at all but her memoirs.

We are then taken back to 1890 where we meet the young Anna Carrington.  Anna's dream was to establish a home for young women who found themselves pregnant and basically disowned by their families.  Anna finds her prayers are answered when she inherits an old house from her aunt that is in desperate need of repair.  With the help of Puff (I loved this character) the house soon starts taking shape.

When the Morning Glory Blooms is Ms. Ruchti's second novel and I found that her prose was lyrical to the point of reading like music.  She took these three stories and wove them together like a patchwork quilt, sharing warmth and pleasure along the way.  I truly enjoyed this book.

This book is a story of hope and God's grace that is given to us in the face of adversity.  I would suggest having a box of tissues available and one or two tears will most likely be shed.  I would highly recommend this book.

On a 5-Star scale - 5 stars!

I would like to thank the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my copy of When the Morning Glory Blooms.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. - a review

What would you do if your everyday life was disrupted by you being accused of crimes you didn't commit.  Well that is the basis of Dr. Mabry's newest novel, Stress Test.  This is his first novel with Thomas Nelson publishers and I'm sure it won't be his last.

Dr. Matt Newman, a general surgeon, has decided to give up surgery in order to teach.  Unfortunately his plans are disrupted when he is kidnapped and finds himself locked inside the trunk of his own car.  Through ingenuity, Dr. Newman is able to escape but later ends up in the ICU where he undergoes brain surgery.  The police show up wanting to ask him questions but his doctor boots them out so his patient can begin his road to recovery.

Sandra Murray is enlisted to be Dr. Newman's defense attorney.  She was hesitant to take his case as she had just broken up with the neurosurgeon who performed Matt's surgery.  But she believes in Matt's innocence so she decides to take his case.

Within the covers of Stress Test the reader is taken on a non-stop, thrill packed adventure.  They also watch as Matt draws closer to God and learns that He is real and there when times are tough.  Because of the 'thrill-a-minute' ride that you will receive when you read this book, I cannot tell you anything more about the plot or it will spoil the whole journey.  I will say that you will be surprised over and over again.  Just when I thought I figured things out, Dr. Mabry took me in another direction.  So fasten your seat belts for a wild enjoyable ride!

If I were to say anything negative about this book it is the cover.  I don't like it at all.  No, not at all.  If I were to peruse a book shelf and saw this book would I pick it up?  If there was someone else's name on the book that I did not know, NO.  But, because I have read everything Dr. Mabry has had published to date, I chose to read it.  I also found it hard to connect with the two main characters until the end.  But I did finally connect and even if I hadn't the story itself was worth the ride.

Would I recommend this book?  You bet.  But because of some of the violence I would suggest it to adults and mature young adults who enjoy Christian Suspense.

On a 5-star scale - 4 1/2 Stars.

I would like to thank Litfuse Publishing and Thomas Nelson for my review copy.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Richard Mabry is celebrating the release of Stress Test with a Nook HD Giveaway! Enter today.

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Nook HD

  • A $15 gift certificate to

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 27th. Winner will be announced on 4/29/13 at Richard's blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Publicity blurb about Stress Test:

They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life.

Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans-they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is escape. He does so, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.
Sandra Murray is a fiery, redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.
Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a murderer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth-and the faith to keep going-will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.
Purchase a copy:

Meet Richard:
 A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Learn more about Richard at:

To learn more about this book please go to this link: 

Smiles & Blessings,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer - a review

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a talented author that creates believable characters that pull you into the story, make you cry, make you laugh and then unfortunately you have to say goodbye to them.
But isn't that what a good book is supposed to do?  Yes, dear reader it is exactly what they are supposed to do and Kim Vogel Sawyer does exactly that in her newest release, Sweet Sanctuary.

The story is set during Word War II in 1944.  The setting moves back and forth between Queens, New York, the home of Dr. Micah Hatcher and Boston, Massachusetts, the home of Lydia Eldridge.  These two people first met in Hawaii, five years prior to the start of the story.  They are brought back together when Micah receives a letter from Lydia's father accusing him of being the father of Lydia's young son Nicky.  Micah knows it is impossible because he and Lydia were only acquaintances. But he decides he needs to follow up on the accusation and he gets on a train to confront his accuser face to face.

Lydia is raising the young son of her very best friend who died in child birth.  She and her parents are living in fear that the biological father will find them and demand they give him Nicky so he can sell him to support his Morphine habit.  Micah is drawn into their concern once he meets the adorable Nicky.

The story will touch your heart at so many levels as you grow to love these characters.  I don't know if Ms. Sawyer plans a second novel with these characters but I sure hope she brings them back to let us know what happens after the War is over.

Sweet Sanctuary  is a story of love, hope, and salvation.  I found myself saddened because of the atrocities of the War.  I cried because of the situations Nicky was put into and I laughed because of an adorable little boy of four years teaches a little three year old from Poland how to speak English.  This part is at the very end of the book and I laugh long after I turned the last page.

If you want to read a good clean Christian story Sweet Santuary is a must read.

On a 5 Star Scale = 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for my review copy of Sweet Sanctuary.  I received my copy of free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

* * * * * * * * * * 

To celebrate the release of  Sweet Sanctuary Kim Vogel Sawyer is giving away a Cupcake Club membership (monthly cupcake delivery!) from the amazing Magnolia Bakery in New York and hosting a Facebook Author Chat party {4/30}!


One "sweet" winner will receive:

    • Cupcakes from NYC’s Magnolia Bakery delivered to your door every month. (Eat them all yourself or share!)

    • Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer for you and four of your friends. (Start a book group — cupcakes and a "sweet" read!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Sweet Sanctuary" Author Chat Party on 4/30. Connect with Kim, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be fun giveaways - gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Sweet Sanctuary and join Kim on the evening of April 30th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

Smiles & Blessings,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Four Paws from Heaven by M.R. Wells, Kris Young, and Connie Fleishauer - a review

As I am sure you can tell from the picture of our 'little boy' in the sidebar, I love dogs.  So when the opportunity to read and review Four Paws from Heaven came up, I couldn't resist.  After all, look at the precious puppy on the cover.  Adorable!

Four Paws from Heaven is a devotional for dog lovers written by M.R. Wells, Kris Young, and Connie Fleishauer. While I'm sure dog lovers will love it,  I believe even those people who don't particularly care one way or the other about dogs, will enjoy reading this devotional too.  I laughed and I cried as I read this precious book.  Of course it has helped me while I have been nursing our little dog back to health after major surgery a few weeks ago.

This book is contains five parts, "Heart to Heart", "Obedience Training", "Meal Choices", "To Heel or Not to Heel" and "Master Knows Best".  Within each part are chapters with short little 'stories' about an incident in the author's lives surrounding their dog.  After sharing the brief story they tie it into something we can all experience in our walk with God.  I really enjoyed the format of each chapter.  They begin with a short saying and they end with Scripture and thoughts to consider.

There are three authors of this devotional book and in the very front of the book they introduce you to their wonderful dogs that the stories are about.  Not only do they tell you about them but they include pictures as well.  By the time I arrived at the end of the book, I found myself feeling as if I knew these dogs personally.

While I read this book through, for the purpose of my review, it is really meant to use as a daily devotional.  So, I will be doing just that.

I would highly recommend Four Paws in Heaven to every dog lover and even those who aren't.  It's just that good.

On a 5-Star Scale - 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Harvest House Publishers for my review copy.  I received my review copy for free in order to read it and give my honest opinion, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang - a review and giveaway

It is time for another giveaway and the book I have chosen to pass on to one of my reader's is All in Good Time, Maureen Lang's second book in her "Gilded Legacy" series.  Her first book in the series, Bees in the Butterfly Garden, is one I haven't read yet, but soon will (I have it on my Kindle).

The story is about Dessa Caldwell, a young woman who has a dream to carry on the dream of a dear friend who has passed away.  That dream is to open up Pierson House, a home where former prostitutes can find refuge along with women down on their luck.  When the story begins, she has secured donation promises but she needs more money in order to purchase a house in which she hopes to start Pierson House.  She has been turned down by several banks but when she ventures into Hawkins National Bank she finds a friend in the bank manager and soon, much to the dismay of Henry Hawkins, the bank owner, secures the needed loan.

Henry Hawkins cannot believe his uncle Tobias, his bank manager, would grant a loan to anyone wishing to buy a house in the bad part of town.  An area where women were sold, gambling and drinking ran rampant and opium beds could be found.  Tobias, offered the loan with the hopes that Miss Dessa Caldwell could break through the armor that his handsome nephew had built around himself.

Both Dessa and Henry have secrets they are keeping.  Secrets they both fell cannot be shared without losing the respect of the other.  In time, they find themselves at a point where they have to confess things from their youth and find that through the grace of God they can forgive and move forward.

This book was an enjoyable read, but I found it moving a little too slow for me.  I kept wanting to 'fast forward' so that the romance could bloom a little earlier than it did.  However, I did enjoy the characters of Dessa, Henry and even Tobias.  I enjoyed the way Ms. Lang allowed Henry's faith to grow and how each character learned about themselves.

Due to content, I would recommend this book to adult readers who enjoy reading romance novels with a strong Christian thread.

On a five star scale = 4 stars.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for my copy of All in Good Time.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review which I have done.

* * * * * * * * * 

************ GIVEAWAY RULES  ************

1.  Giveaway is open to US and Canada

2.  No PO Boxes please.

3.  You MUST be a Google Friends Connect follower of my blog (please be sure to leave the name you follow under in your comment)

4.  For extra entries you may do one or all of the following:
    -- become an email subscriber +1
    -- invite a friend to become a follower of my blog.  If they become a follower & mention your name, you will both receive 2 extra entries

5. Include an email address where I can reach you if you are selected as the winner of this giveaway.  Please enter your email address in this format    winner[at]yahoo[dot]com

To make sure your entry counts, please answer the following questions:

Who is your favorite author and what one book of their's is your favorite? 

Giveaway will run through April 30th and the winner will be selected using Random.Org

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Dance by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley - a review

For those of you who frequent my blog by now you should know that I am a HUGE fan of everything Dan Walsh writes.  When the opportunity came to read his newest book, The Dance, I jumped at the chance.

The Dance is the first book in "The Restoration Series" by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley.  It is the story of Marilyn and Jim Anderson, a couple that has been married for 27 years but Marilyn isn't happy.  She is tired of always being the perfect wife who does everything just as her husband demands.  She finds she just can't do it anymore and chooses to leave Jim.  I don't want to spoil the story by telling you anything more about the actual story line as it might ruin it for you.  Just know that the combination of Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley is magical.  Dan's prose and Gary's relationship expertise were woven into a wonderful cathartic book.  The more I read the more peace I felt within myself.

I started reading The Dance on a Friday night and my first thought was, 'I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy reading about a 27 year old marriage that is crumbling'.  The next day I sat in my office, curled up on my love seat and dove deeper into the book.  At first I thought maybe the authors would take us back in time, to a better time in the marriage, but it didn't happen.  I kept waiting for that special two-in-one story, that Dan Walsh is noted for, but it never happened.  What did happen was an unveiling of a beautiful love story.  A story of healing and forgiveness .  I found myself reaching for the Kleenex on more than one occasion, especially when their daughter got married.  I loved it!  I am anxiously awaiting The Promise, the second book in "The Restoration Series"

I would highly recommend The Dance for anyone who loves a good clean read.  It would also be a great book to pass on to anyone who might be experiencing troubles within their own relationships.  It has a powerful message even for those of us who are happily married.

On a 5-Star Scale = 4 1/2 stars.

I would like to thank Donna Hausler and Revell, a division of Baker Publishing for my copy of The Dance.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review which I have done.

** Available April 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

Smiles & Blessings,