Friday, May 31, 2013

When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cythnia Ruchti


Author Cynthia Ruchti and I share a few life-story details.  She and her dear husband live in Wisconsin's heartland.  So do my sweetheart and I.  They are the parents of three grown children; so are we.  Luckily for her, the much loved five grandchildren live nearby.  We, too are so lucky, but I must admit that our little brood is now at six.  While I believe my gifts have been used as intended in the home, classroom, library, and now in volunteer efforts and this blog, it is clear that Cynthia's gifts have taken her into the world of speaking and writing.  Her newest novel When the Morning Glory Blooms presents multiple stories of hope a midst darkest trials.  The strength of unselfish sacrifice and love push aside society's harsh judgments to offer second chances.  Just as the shriveled, dry morning glory seeds burst into life giving vines, tender new beginnings grow from the hardest circumstances. 


Pump Up Your Book Presents When the Morning Glory Blooms Virtual Book Publicity Tour
Cynthia RuchtiRuchti has told a story that SO transcends the message in any predictable romance or mystery.  Three distinct, but intertwined stories revolve the common subject - unplanned/unwanted pregnancies and society's reactions.  Whether it is Anna's story of her home for single mothers in the 1890's, Ivy's 1950's decision not to tell her Korea-bound boyfriend about her pregnancy, or Becky's need to hold her family together when her teenage daughter becomes a mother, you will shed tears as you read, but will also rebound with joy and hope.  As Anna learns in her early midwifing days - there are no children born unloved, as God loves each one.  Each unwanted pregnancy or birth into difficult circumstances gives us an opportunity to manifest that love in ways acceptable to him.

This is a skillfully told work.  In books with multiple plot lines, I am often bored with one, or unwilling to hop from one time period to another.  I never had those feelings while reading When the Morning Glory Blooms.  Each story is as solidly developed as the others, characters and their dilemmas fit their time period, yet all three mesh into the same tale of self-less love.

Check out Cynthia Ruchti's website to learn more about her career and writing.
I am the last person on the blog tour for this book.  Check back for other reviewers' opinions.


When the Morning Glory Blooms Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, May 6 – Book Spotlight at Cheryl’s Christian Connection
Monday, May 6 – First Chapter Reveal at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, May 7 – Interview at You Gotta Read Reviews
Wednesday, May 8 – Interview at Examiner
Thursday, May 9 – Character Guest Post at Literarily Speaking
Friday, May 10 – Book Spotlight at My Cozie Corner
Friday, May 10 – First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn
Saturday, May 11 – Book Review at A Peek at My Bookshelf
Sunday, May 12 – Guest Blogging at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, May 13 – Book Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 14 – Book Spotlight at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Tuesday, May 14 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind The Book
Wednesday, May 15 – Book Review at Melina’s Book Blog
Wednesday, May 15 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, May 16 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Friday, May 17 – Interview at Blogcritics
Friday, May 17 – Book Spotlight at The Book Connection
Saturday, May 18 – Book Review at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, May 20 – Book Review & Book Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, May 21 – Book Review at A Year of Jubilee Reviews
Wednesday, May 22 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, May 23 – Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at 4 the Love of Books
Thursday, May 23 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Friday, May 24 – Book Spotlight at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem
Friday, May 24 – First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books
Sunday, May 26 – Book Spotlight at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Monday, May 27 – Book Review & Book Giveaway at Create With Joy
Tuesday, May 28 – Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Thursday, May 30 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Thursday, May 30 – Book Review at Lighthouse Academy
Friday, May 31 - Book Review at Thoughts From Mill Street
I received a copy of this title from Pump Up Your Book for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

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For the first time since I retired, I was able to substitute at my old librarian job on Monday.  It was a wonderful day and I even had two of my granddaughters in classes.  I had not told my five year old granddaughter that I would be at school, as I wanted to see her reaction when her class came to the library and I was there.  Her older cousins and brother had told her a while ago about how I was always there when they came to the library and how much they liked that.  She later came to me, and in her sweet little girl voice told me she wished I still worked at school so she could see me. She sees me after school almost every night, but those words melted my heart, as did her face on Monday when she first realized I was in the library.  How could the day be any better?

Miss M. had left a new nonfiction book on worms for me to read, pairing it with this delightful favorite, Diary of A Worm by Doreen Cronin.  Cronin has the most wonderful sense of humor and her illustrators always add to its impact.  In Diary of a Worm, you can actually learn something about worms as the little worm boy goes through his day, but everything is told with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.  You can't help but smile at the sweetness and silliness of the story.  When the worm forgets his lunch, he gets so hungry that he eats his homework. Then his teacher makes him write out on paper that he will not eat his homework, but of course, he eats that paper, too.  Although, I love all of Doreen Cronin's books, Click Clack Moo will remain my favorite. Who wouldn't love cows who threaten to strike if they don't get electric blankets?   If you are not sure if you or your children have read any of Cronin's works, wander over to her her website to check out all the titles.  If you're curious about Diary of a Worm, watch this video version of the story http://vimeo.com/17563063   And my recommendation for anyone feeling slightly down, head to your local library and ask the librarian for the best humorous picture books they have.  Let yourself be a kid again and enjoy.  I guarantee you will feel better

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock

Truth-Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock
Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock is the first book in her new Moonlighter series.  Cathy Cramer, former lawyer, has dedicated her life to crime victims after her police officer fiance was murdered and the shooter was acquitted on a technicality.  Now her crime blog often stings with sharp words and critical observations.  Although she has thousands of followers, it is obvious she has earned enemies and possibly stepped over acceptable bounds at times.  As she leaves the court of a highly visible trial, she finds an intimidating note on her windshield warning that her "safe" life is about to change.  Within hours she learns that her sister-in-law has been found murdered in the bathtub and Cathy's brother Jay is the prime suspect.  While the police focus all their efforts on Jay, Cathy and her two sisters work with PI Michael Hogan, brother of Cathy's former fiance, to find out the identity of the real killer.  Could it possibly be the "clown" whom Jay says was leaving the his wife's house as he arrived?  And why would anyone want Annalee dead?  Truthfully, Jay, in the midst of a nasty custody battle with his soon-to-be ex-wife, seems the only possibility.

Terri Blackstock is the Christian author that first introduced me to the Christian thriller/mystery genre.  For a while I never missed any of her books.  I am delighted that she's returned with a new fast paced series.  The sisters are distinctly different and each brings her own strengths and struggles to the story. Clearly there are conflicts ready to be explored in future books.  A note from the author at the end of the book gives perspective on the author's character development and God's hand in our own lives.  Professional reviewers call this book crisp, suspenseful, and a hit.
I thoroughly agree.



   
                                            



Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl with April Henry

Former prosecutor, current legal analyst and Fox News panelist, Lis Wiehl is also a successful author of both fiction and nonfiction.  Her newest book A Matter of Trust written with April Henry begins a new legal thriller series.  Mia Quinn, newly widowed mother of two, returns to her old job as a county prosecutor a midst personal financial woes.  Just beginning to balance the demands of single parenthood while assuming a full time job and moonlighting at the local law school, Mia finds her emotional world jolted once again when a colleague is murdered - while talking to Mia on the phone.  Soon Mia is assigned the murder case which involves working with Detective Charles Carlson, a person Mia both admires at the same time she questions his methods.  Plot twists keep this story moving, so the reader never has time to lose interest.  The family thread is strongly developed with enough room for a continuing saga of our talented prosecutor.  I am sure thatWiehl and Henry are already fleshing out the next installments; hopefully, the next volumes will further develop the relationship between Mia and her long, estranged father, who it appears has found a sound foundation for his remaining years.

As a parent,grandparent, and former secondary school teacher, I was drawn to the very realistic bullying side story present in this novel.  What I found most powerful was Detective Charles Carlson's reaction to the bullies.  Another example of realistic fiction, including the long standing mystery genre, giving readers new perspectives on the problems our society faces everyday.  I received an e-copy of this title from NetGalley for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti - a blog tour

Pump Up Your Book is hosting a blog tour for Cynthia Ruchti's new book When the Morning Glory Blooms.  I am one of  the blogger/reviewers on this tour  I've already finished the book and would LOVE to tell you about it, but unfortunately I am the last person on the tour.  So for now, I am posting
the blog tour banner and the links to other postings.  Just remember to come back on May 31st and read my review

When the Morning Glory Blooms banner



When the Morning Glory Blooms Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, May 6 – Book Spotlight at Cheryl’s Christian Connection
Monday, May 6 – First Chapter Reveal at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, May 7 – Interview at You Gotta Read Reviews
Wednesday, May 8 – Interview at Examiner
Thursday, May 9 – Character Guest Post at Literarily Speaking
Friday, May 10 – Book Spotlight at My Cozie Corner
Friday, May 10 – First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn
Saturday, May 11 – Book Review at A Peek at My Bookshelf
Sunday, May 12 – Guest Blogging at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, May 13 – Book Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 14 – Book Spotlight at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Tuesday, May 14 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind The Book
Wednesday, May 15 – Book Review at Melina’s Book Blog
Wednesday, May 15 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, May 16 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Friday, May 17 – Interview at Blogcritics
Friday, May 17 – Book Spotlight at The Book Connection
Saturday, May 18 – Book Review at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, May 20 – Book Review & Book Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, May 21 – Book Review at A Year of Jubilee Reviews
Wednesday, May 22 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, May 23 – Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at 4 the Love of Books
Thursday, May 23 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Friday, May 24 – Book Spotlight at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem
Friday, May 24 – First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books
Sunday, May 26 – Book Spotlight at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Monday, May 27 – Book Review & Book Giveaway at Create With Joy
Tuesday, May 28 – Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Thursday, May 30 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Thursday, May 30 – Book Review at Lighthouse Academy
Friday, May 31 - Book Review at Thoughts From Mill Street

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Doc by Mary Doria Russell

After his death, John Henry Holliday joined a select few who became legends of the American West, men and women whose actual lives are forever altered by the stories, rumors, and outright lies that others told.  In her novel Doc, Mary Doria Russell constructs a more truthful look at J.H. Holliday, the young dentist from an aristocratic Southern family, who makes his way west in an attempt to live life at its fullest before his consumption robs him of all energy and hope.  At age 27, he finds himself in the wild cattle town, Dodge City, where he and his mistress alternate between living a life of momentary luxury and a hard scrabble effort to just survive.  While classified as historical fiction, this book is well researched and told with a masterful touch.

M. D. Russell's flowing narration reveals the complicated contradictions that define "Doc."  The frailness caused by his consumption and the lisp remaining from his childhood cleft palate (one of the first to be successfully surgically repaired) leave him forever self-conscious and may help explain his strong desire to continue his dental practice despite its financial failure and its negative effect on his own health.  Living in one of the most unsophisticated and crude towns in the whole country, "Doc" never leaves behind his love for the finer things, including his great love for European classical music. And while others quickly judge others on their immediate behavior or occupation (prostitute, gambler, or quasi-lawman) or their race (Indian, Negro, mixed), Doc makes no hasty judgments, but instead focuses on what may have led the person to their current life.

As the author tells Doc's story, she is also introducing readers to the back story of the others who will become famous at the OK Corral Shootout - Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and the other Earp Brothers.  I listened to this book, all 16+ hours of it, and felt I learned so much not only about these men and their women, but also about the real west.  This is not the "cleaned-up" west of the small screen or romance novels, nor is it a shoot 'em big screen production which leaves you turning the bad guys into heroes.
Having given readers a more realistic look at the background of Doc, Masterson, and the Earps, Mary Doria Russell purposely ends the book in Dodge, saying that the story of the shootout itself has been told enough times.  However since the release of Doc, the author has been working on a sequel tentatively called Epitaph which will be published in 2014.  I plan to read this follow-up.  Actually, I think I will listen to it.  Some stories just beg to be "told."  Check out Russell's website
for more about the new book and her other writings.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebration Events

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebration Events: Last night all ten of us met at House of James where we were warmly welcomed by Lando Klassen and staff Seeing two books displayed so...


It has been my personal policy to only blog about books I have read completely.  However, I am posting a link to this post because I have followed the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog for several years.  I would love either of their cookbooks, but have restrained myself, partly because I can see so many of their recipes on the blog.  If you've never seen their blog, check it out. and consider getting one of the their books.  Monies earned go to charities.

A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman

Vannetta Chapman writes both Amish romance novels and Amish mysteries.  Her Shipshewana mystery series intrigued me because they revolve around a quilt shop which the "English" Callie who has inherited her aunt in Amish country.  Having made friends with the married Amish Debbie, Callie and her new friend seem to find themselves amidst one mystery after another in the northern Indiana countryside.

The juxtaposition of secrets, crimes, and unidentified bodies to the peaceful, routine lives of the Plain People seems an unlikely match for good fiction, but Chapman has succeeded.  Readers will not easily figure out why Reuben refuses to cooperate with the authorities after his arrest when he clearly had nothing to do with the woman's body found in his pond.  And when Chapman seemed to add a side story about a little girl who disappeared fifty years ago, I wonder if the story was falling apart.  I was wrong and as the pieces fit together, Chapman shows readers that even in tragedies are there opportunities for unexpected grace, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
The only criticism I have for this book (and actually other Amish novels I've read) is that there seems to be an abundance of young widows and widowers, something I find quite unrealistic.  I believe this is a fictional license needed so stories can be woven with more "mature" characters.  In contemporary novels, these characters might be divorced or never married, but that does not fit the Amish/Mennonite settings.  Just an observation!

Check out Vannetta Chapman's website here.  Don't miss the video trailers of her books and her blog.  I downloaded this book from Wisconsin Public Library Consortium for my Nook.
This is my 250th posting!  Wow!!