Liftuse’s Blog Tour of Sarah Sundin’s On Distant Shores

About On Distant Shores:Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace—and a love that remains true.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more.

Purchase a Copy: http://ow.ly/nIVWC

Meet Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of “With Every Letter” 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. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Review

I was so excited to get my hands on this novel because I so enjoyed Georgie’s character from With Every Letter. And this novel was so good! First off, as a history buff, I love everything WWII, but I also love how Ms. Sundin (who so far has written strictly WWII novels) has been able to write about different avenues of the same war without making it boring. Another thing I like is how she gives the main characters specific flaws that they have to learn to deal with throughout the course of the book.

First, you have Georgie who is introduced in the first novel of the series. Georgie is bubbly and fun, but she has a hard time making decisions. In my opinion, Georgie was a wonderful heroine. She may have had a hard time making a decision, but when she made it she went all the way. She is very loyal and devoted not only to her friends, but to God. Reading her story was a real joy.

Then you have Hutch. Hutch, what can I say? His struggle was real. I could identify.  And I learned so much about pharmacist in the war I felt like a mini expert (without feeling like I was in school). There were times when he came off a bit more of a Beta male than most male heroes, but that really only made him seem more real.  He did make some decisions that made me want to say “Nooooo”, but watching him grow was so beautifully done that the ending was all the sweeter.

As for the romance, sooo romantic. I know, they’re both already in relationships, but that just means that their friendship is so much the sweeter. No insta-love here. You’ve got that slow development that simmers underneath and leaves you sighing. You won’t be disappointed!

Spiritually, both Hutch and Georgie have a relationship with God, but like any Christian, they have areas that they have to trust God with and Ms. Sundin really shows how you, the reader, can go to God can certain needs and desires met.

If you liked any of her other novels, you will absolutely enjoy this one!

Romantic scale: 9.5

Posted in Historical, Uncategorized

Elizabeth Camden’s Into the Whirlwind

 

About

As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox’s future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago’s finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city’s most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he’s accustomed to getting exactly what he wants–until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack’s character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?

Review

Ms. Camden provides such a fresh outlook for historical romances and when I heard this one was about the Chicago fire (yes, I am a Chicagoan) I was very excited to read it. Her characters are rich and interesting and the book is page-turning. But I had just one problem, which I will get to in a second.

First off, when I read a novel by Ms. Camden, I tell myself be ready for the unexpected. In this novel, it was Zack. Loved Zack. I cannot think of better qualities in a hero that what Zack had. From the first few pages of his introduction until the last page of the novel I loved Zack. I think he is Ms. Camden’s best hero (yes, even rivaling Bane). His love for Mollie knows no bounds and the way he is willing to sacrifice for her again and again unsure of any payoff is just amazing. And therein lies the problem. Because I did not like Mollie.

When an author creates an amazing hero, the heroine had better deserve him. I don’t think Mollie did. Time and time again, I found myself asking Zack what on earth he saw in this woman. There was more than one scene where she said something to Zack and I wanted to say leave my man alone! It’s not that I did not see where she was coming from, it’s just that Zack was so amazing and Mollie was not. And then a love triangle was tossed in and I was like what is so great about Mollie!

Historically, the novel was rich. You will learn about so much more than the Chicago Fire and not even realize it.

Spiritually, the main characters were Christians and they prayed. There is even a secondary character that is encouraged to turn to the Lord since he is so fearful, but otherwise, the novel is a bit light on spiritual things.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I kept telling myself to put it down and go to sleep. But I had to turn just one more page! Furthermore, I dare you to read this and not fall in love with Zack.

** I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Romantic Scale: 9

Posted in Historical, Mystery/Suspense

Julianna Deering’s Rules of Murder

About

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew’s stepfather’s company come to light and it’s clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer–and trying harder to impress Madeline–Drew must decide how far to take this game.

Review

Let me start with what I loved about this book. I loved the era. It’s rare that you read books that take place in the early 1900s. I loved that it was in England on an estate. It was almost like regency England got a makeover. Same country, same titles, different times. In fact it was reminiscent of Downton Abbey, though I know this story is supposed to take place years later than the time of the show.

What I didn’t quite appreciate: this is a straight-up mystery, Agatha Christie style. If you loved Agatha Christie, you will love this novel. It is very much detective work. I, though, generally like romantic suspense aka, would-you-like-some-mystery-with-that-romance genre. In this novel, there is romance, but its put together so nicely before you even get half-way through the novel. It is clearly not the focus of the novel. That said, the mystery is well thought out, and I was guessing who done it for most of the novel, I will say that the body count got quite high.

I did appreciate Drew. He was humorous, and very British and a character I enjoyed turning the pages for. Madeleine came across as a perfect foil for him. Usually, in detective novels you can either have a good detective or an annoying one. Drew is a good detective and a character you can have faith will make the right decisions.

Spiritually, I thought Ms. Deering handled the subject of faith very well. You could see Drew beginning to open up to the fact that God is still alive today and you could see how Madeleine’s strong faith persevered in troubling times.

I would not rate this novel that high only because when I put it down, I had no real desire to pick it back up and yet, every time I did, I enjoyed it. Confusing? Yeah, to me too. If you like die-hard mysteries you will enjoy this book,  and I kind of want to see what happens on Drew’s next adventure myself.

Romantic scale: 7

*I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…The Value of Christian Fiction

Christian fiction is incredibly valuable. I have heard people particularly knock romance novels, even Christian romance novels, saying that they are not good for Christian women to read. But they are wrong. I have found Christian novels to often times meet me where I am at spiritually and to be just that right word of encouragement that I need when I am going through some tough times. Christian novels are not just methods of creation, but often labors of love to our Lord and Savior Jesus and furthermore fictionalized accounts of real life learned lessons. There are so many authors out there that have been a blessing to me, and I hope that this blog is a blessing to you. So go out there and grab you a Christian fiction novel!

 

Are there any authors out there that you find particularly valuable?

Posted in Interview

Interview of Tessa Afshar

Welcome back, Tessa!

Thank you for asking me back! It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you and your readers, Embassie.

1.      What made you decide to write a series based on Nehemiah?

Nehemiah repaired the ruined walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days. For over a century, these walls had lain in ruin, reminding everyone of Judah’s defeat at the hand of Babylon. Jerusalem, once a thriving city, had diminished to a pathetic town, undefended against marauders and ridiculed by its neighbors. Nehemiah managed to rally his countrymen out of their fear and apathy to do a work no other man had managed to accomplish. Without the help of slaves, or paid workers, or military personnel, and with only volunteers as his workforce, he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem while under constant attack.

Our lives are similar to Jerusalem. We too are under assault in a spiritual sense. We too have crumbling lives that need repair. I wanted to tell a story full of action and motion and danger that would help the reader come away feeling encouraged. Feeling like she too could do the impossible with the help of God.

 2.      When writing this series, which one was the hardest to write? Harvest of Rubies? Or Harvest of Gold?

I had to have two surgeries while writing Harvest of Gold, and my dad ended up in hospital with double pneumonia. I was writing about overcoming the battles of life, and my own life had turned into a battlefield. Writing was hard, but God helped me through every page, and suddenly, those scenes depicting Jerusalem’s struggles became very personal.

3.      There’s a bit of a mystery in this novel, was any of it based on facts or was it all fiction?

There is a plot to kill the king of Persia, Artaxerxes, which would have left the empire weak and in great disarray. Historically, Artaxerxes did have to deal with several assassination plots during his lifetime, the last one of which succeeded. My plot is not historical, but the details of the plan, which include a poisoned dagger and a tattoo, are based on events that actually took place.

4.      I found Roxanna and Lysander to be two very interesting secondary characters. What was your inspiration for them?

I wanted to create two new characters that the reader could connect with and have them play a supporting role to Sarah and Darius. They are both complex people with fascinating backstories, most of which the reader doesn’t know. Harvest of Gold is a more serious novel than its prequel due to its subject matter. Roxanna and Lysander bring a little lightness to the story. You never know. One day, I might give them a book of their own, especially since a lot of readers have been prodding in that direction.

5.      Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

I am writing a book based on the life of Ruth. It’s fast turning into one of my most favorite Old Testament stories. I am only halfway done, however. So lots of work still remains. My favorite Boaz quote so far: “Life is like a pomegranate. You can only enjoy it if you learn to deal with the seeds.”

Author bio:

Tessa Afshar was voted “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award (formerly known as the Gold Medalion) in the fiction category and won the Grace Award for best Women’s Fiction in the same year. World Magazine chose Harvest of Rubies as one of four notable books of the year. Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last fourteen years in full-time Christian service in New England.

It’s been a pleasure to be with you. Please feel free to visit me on my webpage at: tessaafshar.com, tweet me @tessaafshar or join me on my FaceBook Author Page at:page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tessa-Afshar/337761827820?ref=ts.

Posted in Historical

Jody Hedlund’s Rebellious Hearts

About

In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she’s ever wanted, except one thing: an education. Because she’s a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She’s determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.

Ben Ross grew up a farmer’s son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he’s drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna’s decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben’s growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.

Review

From the first page, I was immediately immersed in eighteenth century America. I found this novel to be captivating. First off, I loved Ben. He was a complete character with both strengths and faults. I particularly liked how he came across as so passionate about his beliefs and what he was doing. Susanna was, for the most, an equally likeable character (though there is one scene that I made me almost throw my hands up). But what I liked most about Susanna is that you could see her change throughout the novel. It was subtle and yet profound. The best thing about this book? The romance. Sometimes you are just in the mood for a romance and this book had it. It was slow, but intense (the best kind) and by the time the book was over, the reader could be assured that Ben and Susanna were a good match.  Also, I found that the rest of the novel kept me on my toes. I found myself worried for several of the characters even as I told myself it would all work out in the end. Spiritually, I like how Tom teaches Susanna about letting go of the fear because fear will control you. Such a good book. Highly recommended!

**I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Romantic Scale: 9.5/10

Posted in Historical

Lori Benton’s Burning Sky

About

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

Review

I was drawn to this book because I heard such good things about and I just love the time period. It completely delivered. Burning Sky is a winning novel because it felt real and rooted in history while delivering fascinating characters that made you want to know more and more about them. Willa is a very strong female and one that I could appreciate. I will say she does have her moments that made me want to shake her a few times (this had to do with her romantic interest), but there is a reason for that and everything works out in the end. There are two possible male interests in this novel (which I’m not a fan of), but it does become pretty clear by the middle of the book as to which guy will win. The only sad part is that I liked them both and I almost hope that the guy who had to walk away gets his own book. I will say, that towards the end a lot kind of happens, but it’s nothing that the story has not already been building up to. Spiritually, all the (main) characters have a relationship with God that involves constant talking to Him and trusting Him. I felt that this was beautifully shown in their lives and it felt authentic. This novel is an absolute joy to read. Believe the hype. If you like Laura Frantz, you will thoroughly enjoy this novel.

Romantic Scale: 9