Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rosemary’s Cottage by Colleen Coble

Amy Lange returns to the family’s summer cottage on Outer Banks, North Carolina, where she and her brother, Ben, used to surf. Instead of looking forward to time with Ben, she’s there to investigate his death. Curtis Ireland lives down the road in the house he shared with his sister, Gina. Now he’s the caretaker of his orphaned niece, Raine. What appears to be a love story between two heartbroken people quickly turns into a smart tale of deceit and mystery.

Mourning their siblings and searching for answers throw Amy and Curtis together in a pool of turmoil and stress. Colleen paints an inviting picture of the North Carolina coast as the backdrop for this suspense filled read. The ebb and tide of the ocean reflects the rhythm of the relationship between Amy and Curtis as they try to find answers. Not far into the story a whirlpool of trepidation pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the final, unexpected twist.

If you pick up a copy of Rosemary’s Cottage, expect to lose some sleep. Once I met Amy and Curtis, I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading until I found out the truth.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices

By Cynthia Ruchti

When I purchased Ragged Hope, I assumed that I’d be reading stories that might help me as I am challenged by the pitfalls from the poor choices of the people around me. I’ve been there. Most likely, we all have.  Instead, I learned how to better serve others who are in emotional, physical, and spiritual pain from the consequences of other people’s choices. The part of the book that I appreciated the most and prayed about even more, is the section after each story where she says, “If you know…”, where the author shares tips on ministering to those who need hope. I’ve never read a book like this that offers such good ideas on how to reach out to the hurting. Because her words brought the realities to life, I found myself praying for the people in the chapters.

Cynthia shares stories of tragedy, pain, and rebellion. More than that she reaches into the heart and examines how the person survived. I love how she reckoned hope to a baby’s blanket, where the satin edges were worn and tattered, yet the blanket brought comfort and hope.  Some stories brought tears while others called up empathy. But most of the testimonies sounded familiar. In fifty-six years, I’ve seen many of the same struggles and lived the same desperate cry for Jesus’ hope.

This is a must read for anyone who ministers to others and wants to offer the hope of Jesus to a hurting world. Every church and public library should have this book on the shelf. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lifeline by Christy Barritt

In Lifeline, Julianne Grace doesn’t want to ask Bradley Stone for help. But desperation propels her toward him. He’s not sure he can help. Too much hurt and baggage weigh him down. Trouble is… a relentless predator won’t let them rest.

The author delves into the ugly truth of physical and mental abuse in this fast paced, edge-of-your-seat suspense. Packed with emotion, the story leads the reader through fear and horror as the characters fight for their lives. What I like about Christy’s books is that she always weaves in a thread of hope. Even as my heart fluttered and I shuddered at the terroristic circumstances that surrounded Julianne and Bradley, relief washed over me as their faith kept them calm and guided their path.

As Julianne faces unexpected and close to impossible circumstances, I love seeing her change from frightened and fragile to strong and courageous. In the midst of these incredulous conditions, Barritt knits in a story of love and respect between two injured hearts.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti weaves together the stories of women, across decades, who experience heartache, hope, and joy. In the 1890s, Anna steps out in faith to protect and nurture women no one else wants. Ivy makes a choice in the 1950s that will change her life forever. Move to 2012, Becky’s frustration with her daughter Lauren leads her down a path she never planned to travel. To complicate matters, she must find a way to show love to her friend Monica, whether she wants to or not. One element ties their stories together, hope.

The picture paintings that the author creates make this book stand out. As I read, I worked beside Anna and Puff as they scrubbed and repaired the old homestead where Anna planned to take in unwed mothers. I sat with Ivy as she poured over letters she tried to write to her baby’s father. With Becky, I wanted to comfort her as she struggled with caring for an unexpected grandson from her teenage daughter, Lauren.

Cynthia shows heartache, friendship and new life through the eyes of one who knows what it is to love fiercely. I met Cynthia and talked with her about her story. She writes as one who offers hope that glows in the dark. In the midst of stress, she turns to God and seeks His guidance. This shows in her writing. She’s a woman who’s experienced life and knows what it means to trust God.

I highly recommend When the Morning Glory Blooms. Not long after I finished the book, I saw morning glories along the road. They now remind me of God’s love and the hope he brings to my life. Pick up a copy of this book, you’ll be glad you did.

You may also want to read Cynthia’s latest nonfiction release, Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices.

What are you reading?