Cynthia Ruchti’s ‘A Fragile Hope’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

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About the book:
Hope grows when seeds are planted-even in the muddy middle of life.
Josiah Chamberlain’s life’s work revolves around repairing other people’s marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife’s unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she’s unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.
Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?
 

About the author:
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, nonfiction books, articles and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Ruchti has written more than 20 award-winning novels, novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals. Her books have received numerous awards and nominations, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year nominations, two Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist and a Christy finalist, among other honors. Her latest release is the novel A Fragile Hope.
One of Ruchti’s greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she has served as worship and devotions staff and faculty for the Write-to-Publish conference and teaches at other writers’ conferences across the country and internationally as opportunities arise. She also serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Ruchti speaks frequently for women’s groups and serves on her church’s worship team. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.
Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.
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My Thoughts: This story was very thought provoking and introspective. It follows Josiah, who gives marriage advice for a living but his own marriage needs a lot of repair. He learns some very difficult lessons throughout the book and grows and develops as a person.

I enjoyed the story overall, the beginning and the ending were very interesting but it got a bit slow in the middle. It was a very realistic picture of what a person in Josiah’s position probably goes through. The romance in this book was beautiful. I prefer romance stories that revolve around marriages and this one was very well done.

The character development was very rich…I found myself going from frustration and anger towards a character to admiration and respect.

I highly recommend this book to people who like a good romance story with a rich plot.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia’s Sign of Hope Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.

God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson Review

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About the book:

Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. 
For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie prickles at working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher and her old crush from schooldays, but is even more put out at that the choice of the Dickens’ classic for the holiday performance. When she discovers her estranged father’s involvement her world turns on its head once more. But when Sis and Dustin encourage her to take a deeper look at the story behind A Christmas Carol, Charlie learns about trust, faith, and forgiveness and the needs of people in their own community.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2bUfaqD

About the author:
 
 
Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament, Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.
My Thoughts: I love the cover of this book…it was the main reason I wanted to read it. The story focuses on Charlie, who has hit a rough patch, and is returning to her hometown for Thanksgiving. Her path crosses with her old crush and a romance ensues. It also revolves around an upcoming production of A Christmas Carol. The main story parallels Charles Dickens’ life (the main character’s name is Charlie and she and Charles Dickens both have strained relationships with their fathers, named John).
I found the background information about Charles Dickens interesting but the parallels to the main story seemed a bit too coincidental.
The characters were not very developed and the romance moved very fast. I also found that the main character was over-dramatic about  certain situations.
I liked the theme of forgiveness and the overall message of the story.
Overall, this was a good Christmas story but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I was hoping it would be.
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: “Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

My Thoughts: Wow!!! This book blew my mind! A fun adventure from the first page to the last, my jaw dropped several times while reading this. There were many unexpected moments that I never saw coming. This is the kind of story you want to go into blindly because the revelations make it amazing.

This is the epitome of a thought provoking book…I can’t stop thinking of the plot and all of the things that are presented in the story.

The protagonist, Jason, is very likable and I was rooting for him throughout the story. His wife Daniela was a bit less well known…you only saw her through Jason’s eyes but it was clear how much he adored her.

I appreciated that the author didn’t need to use gore or vulgarity to make the story impactful.

This story crosses several genres…science fiction, suspense, mystery, thriller, romance, and even has some horror aspects. I truly believe that this is the kind of book that would appeal to a large audience of readers.

This book was amazing and I recommend it to everyone. It will live on my favorites list.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Things we Knew by Catherine West Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

My Thoughts: This book had mystery and romance as well as some coming of age aspects to it. Set on Nantucket, the story centers around a family with secrets and some skeletons that are coming out of the closet.

I connected a lot to the main character, Lynette…she is the youngest sibling and is treated as such…her siblings left her to take care of her ailing father and they sometimes treat her as though she is still a child. As the “baby of the family”, I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with some of the feelings Lynette was experiencing.

The secrets are slowly revealed as the story progresses. The pacing is good, the story progressed at a pace that made me want to keep reading.

I love the setting of Nantucket, it’s a very unique place and the type of small community where word gets around fast.

The romance in this book was done very well…there was no inst-love. It was presented in a very realistic way and was very sweet.

Overall, this was a great book. I was surprised by how gritty it was, but in a good way. It would make a great beach read.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron Review

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About the book:

The Ringmaster’s Wife (Thomas Nelson, June 2016)

An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28JxcaK

About the author:
 
 

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

My Thoughts: I have always been a fan of circus stories…something about the circus setting is a lot of fun to read about. This story is loosely based around Mabel Ringling’s life but the main focus is on the fictional characters of Rosamund Easling and Caleb, a worker at the Ringling Brothers circus. The author paints the picture of the story very vividly. I felt like I was transported to the circus while I was reading…this is definitely a great book to escape into.

The characters were well developed. I liked learning about the real people of Mabel and John Ringling but the fictional characters also felt very real. There was some mystery and suspense to the story that added to my enjoyment. There was a moment in the story that really warmed my heart. The pacing was great, it was hard to put down.

My only problem with the story was that the plot was very similar to a movie that I’ve seen. I can’t mention the movie as it would give a lot away. I was a bit disappointed by the similarities because it became a bit predictable.

Overall, this was a great story, definitely one that I’ll revisit in the future when I’m in the mood for a trip to the circus.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson Review

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Plot According to Goodreads: Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben’s visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.

Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past — a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth — but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.

As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery — what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

My Thoughts: After reading mostly thrillers (which are usually my favorite types of books) I was in the mood for something a bit different. This book was definitely unique. It possessed a literary feel with some mystery as well as a bit of romance. Set in the isolated desert in Utah, the author was gifted at transporting the reader to another place.

The characters in this book were extremely well developed. They each had many facets and felt very real. The reader rides with Ben, an independent truck driver, who delivers to people on Route 117, in the desert of Utah. The people who live on this stretch of road are colorful, eccentric characters.

The plot was a bit muddy. If I were to describe this book to someone, it would take a while to explain what it’s about. The story started out strong but seemed to weaken over time. The romance was extremely rushed and felt like insta-love. I wasn’t convinced by the romance, it didn’t feel genuine. The characters that were “so in love” didn’t seem to have chemistry other than the sexual variety. I think this book would have been better, had the story focused on some of the side characters, who were more interesting to me than the characters that were the main focus.

The book was good, I enjoyed the setting and characters as well as the uniqueness, but I didn’t love the plot.

My rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins review

6936382So after reading some dark and disturbing books, I knew that it was time for me to pick up something sugary and sweet. Enter Anna and The French Kiss.

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance

Judging the Cover: I think I’m in the minority based on what I’ve heard, but I really like this cover. I love the font used, the colors,  and the blurred image of the Eiffel Tower in the background. I do think it would have been better if “Anna’s” face was cropped off and only their shoulders and arms were visible. I own the paperback copy and it even has french flaps with scalloped edges…so cute!

Plot: Anna’s dad is making her attend a boarding school for Americans in Paris for her senior year of high school. When Anna arrives, she makes friends and meets a dreamy boy named Etienne St. Clair. The only problem is….Etienne has a girlfriend.

My thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a very fun and entertaining story but the cheating aspect of it is disappointing.

The good: The writing style is excellent, it is a very quick and easy read. Anna was a likeable character and it was fun seeing Paris through her eyes. I was so thankful for the absence of insta-love in this story. The romance develops VERY slowly and I appreciate that. Anna and Etienne develop a great friendship throughout the book and it evoked memories of high school and the excitement of being with someone who makes your heart flutter. There were a few twists and surprises that I didn’t see coming, which made the story more interesting.

The bad: Cheating. I strongly believe that even developing an emotional relationship with someone can be cheating and that is what occurred in this book. It was clear from early on that Etienne and Anna had feelings for each other and at that point, Etienne should have ended his relationship. It just seems to send the wrong message to teenage girls.

My rating: I had a lot of trouble rating this book as I found it very entertaining and fun but I had some issues with it, so I came to the rating of 3/5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a cute, lighthearted contemporary read.