Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Giveaway - Week One









As always, I will contact the winners by email however thanks to the nefarious ways of the Internet my email might land in your spam folder so keep your eyes peeled! :-) If you haven't heard from me by Monday evening please email me your snail mail address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca From time to time winners and I don't seem to connect, so I have a month time frame. If I can't reach you within four weeks your win will be forfeited.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS:


Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Girl From the Train

 

GIVEAWAY

JOUBERT, IRMA
THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakob Kolwaski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakob fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl's unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakob discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can't say with him forever. Jakob sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families -- so long as Gretl's Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakob and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can over come.

My Review:

I have a certain fascination for World War II stories and I especially love it when I find one with a unique angle. The Girl From the Train is just such a book. I didn't know a lot about the political climate of Poland before reading this book -- both during the war and afterwards with the rise of Communism. And I knew absolutely nothing about the relocation of German orphans to South Africa after the war. These tumultuous events form a fascinating backdrop to this compelling story.

Gretl is a survivor --  a chameleon who makes herself over to accommodate each new situation she finds herself in. Unpacking all those layers in order to discover the real woman within makes for a fascinating read as we follow her from a frightened six-year-old to a confident young woman.

Jakob a Polish patriot with a deep love for his country, wrestles with relentless demons. One of them is the situation that brings Gretl into his care. He is both courageous and foolish in his ardent pursuit of a united homeland.

This is an emotional read and an eye-opening one. It's a story rich in hope for humanity and in the everlasting power of love.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  The Girl From the Train please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 1 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Claiming the Single Mom's Heart

GIVEAWAY

KAYE, GLYNNA
CLAIMING THE SINGLE MOM'S HEART

Sunshine Carston is looking for more than beautiful scenery when she moves with her daughter to Hunter Ridge, Arizona. She's looking for answers. According to family legend, her ancestors were cheated out of their land by the Hunter family. But when she meets Grady Hunter, Sunshine's mission is endangered -- how can she investigate the Hunters when she is falling for one? When Grady's mother becomes ill, Grady steps in to help her run against Sunshine for town council. But what will Grady say when he finds out about Sunshine's investigation? To rise above the past and forge a future together, they'll need a love stronger than any feud...

Hearts of Hunter Ridge: Finding true love in Arizona mountain country

My Review:

This is the kind of story that keeps you mildly uncomfortable (in a good way) because you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I just wanted to sit Sunshine down and give her a good talking to. Explain how she's jeopardizing her future happiness by carrying on with her underhanded dirt digging on the Hunters. Deception never ends well and the author gave me some agonizing moments. I'm a tad hoarse from shouting warnings that fell on deaf ears.

This is the second book in the Hearts of Hunter Ridge series. Love the family interaction -- great scenes filled with teasing and laughter and sometimes angst. They are a force to be reckoned with. Grady is grounded in his roots while Sunshine is busy digging for hers. A really interesting contrast between the two. And yet they are similar in other ways -- both harboring distrust from wounded pasts -- both reluctantly attracted to the other with no hope of a future until they learn to let go and let God.

And sweet little Tessa is adorable. There are some heart-melting hero moments between Grady and Sunshine's daughter. I'm a puddle of goo just thinking about that little girl trust in the big tough outdoorsman. A blissful read for the discerning contemporary romance lover.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Claiming the Single Mom's Heart please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 1 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Son's Vow

GIVEAWAY

GRAY, SHELLEY SHEPARD
A SON'S VOW

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?
  

My Review:

A poignant start to an exciting new series by one of my favourite authors. Gray knows how to get to the heart of the matter and, in the process, turn my dedicated reader's heart inside out!

Darla finds herself in the midst of so much angst and uncertainty at a time when fresh grief makes everything more unbearable. She's trying to cope on her own but Lukas is determined to change that.
Gray knows how to portray real life in all it's messiness so be prepared for a tumultuous read.

I sank into this story -- savouring the sweet essence of a lifelong friendship and the hope of using that as a foundation towards something much deeper. But, oh my goodness,  the obstacles -- both physical and emotional that stand in their way!

The viewpoints of two secondary characters heighten the tension and add to an already angst-riddled plot. The inspirational message of grace and forgiveness took my breath away. So expertly woven into the fibre of the characters and their stories but not in a preachy way. An uplifting and heart-stirring read.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  A Son's Vow please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 1 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Protect and Serve

GIVEAWAY

REED, TERRI
PROTECT AND SERVE

Person of interest...

When rookie K-9 officer Shane West and his German shepherd partner find the lead police dog trainer murdered, he's determined to bring the killer to justice. But then he discovers Gina Perry hiding nearby -- a pretty junior trainer who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill her boss. Gina insists her troubled brother is the real murderer...and this isn't the first time he's killed. And when Gina's brother comes after her, Shane is assigned to protect her and uncover the truth. Suddenly, Shane -- a cop who always hoped to join a big city force -- vows to stay by Gina's side as a murderer lurks in the small-town shadows.

Rookie K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.

My Review:

Sqqqueeeallll! New continuity series centred around K-9s....and this one has puppies!!!!! Don't know what has me more in a tizzy -- the canines or the hero. That's a good conundrum for dog lovin' bibliophile to be in. Reed does a great job of setting up the intrigue for the series. There's more than one mystery to solve and some suspense threads will carry over into the next books though there's closure for Gina and Shane in this one. Love the even blend of romance and suspense. Both build to an exciting conclusion and while I'm blissfully satisfied on behalf of Gina and Shane's happily ever after, the author has given me a lot to think about where other characters are concerned. Can't wait to read their stories and see if my amateur sleuthing skills are up to the task of solving the major suspense thread.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Protect and Serve please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 24 2016 . Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Song of Silence

GIVEAWAY

RUCHTI, CYNTHIA
SONG OF SILENCE

Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they're committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career...until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith's song has gone silent too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens her silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees -- and hears -- everything.

My Review:

Oh. Mercy. If ever there's a book that should be made into a movie, this is it! Profound. Stirring. A real slice of life with all the accompanying grit and absurdity that goes with it. I laughed, I cried...and cried...and cried. Lucy's story really spoke to my heart. I felt it deeply, partly I think, because I could relate so completely to all the unexpected upheavals in a carefully planned life. Been there. Done that. Still there.

Lucy is living through a Jonah season that tests her faith, her relationships and even her belief in herself. Song of Silence is told entirely from her perspective. Flashes of droll humour and sarcastic wit mesh with the kind of raw grief that cuts all the way to the bone. I could see myself in her at the strangest times. Like this unassuming shower scene: "How many prayers had God heard over the years? How many of them came from shower stalls? And how many were wordless like hers?" p. 58 That sense of loss, of emotions that overwhelm a body into a complete stupor. Haven't we all been there a time or two in our lives?

But Ruchti isn't cruel enough to leave Lucy floundering along this bumpy road alone. There is a wonderful cast of strong women who walk along side of her, holding her up when necessary but holding her accountable as well. A celebration of sisterhood that brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

And then there's poor Charlie. Why do I visualize him as an over eager puppy, so desperate to please but rarely getting it right? There were times I wanted to hug the stuffing out of him and even more times when I wanted to give him a slap up the back of his head Gibbs style. Bless his heart, he can't help it. It's a husband thing. And, on my goodness, Lucy's inner thoughts during those scenes brought about side-splitting laughter thanks to the subtle nuances of a very dry wit.

One of the most intriguing things about this novel is that I never knew where it would take me. I was blindsided often. Unexpected highs and lows and all the in-between stuff. The author kept me off-kilter which made those sharp jabs of emotion all the more powerful. Honestly, I lived inside Lucy's skin for the duration of this read. Such a powerful story of healing and hope and the sovereignty of God.

My thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for providing me with a copy of this book.


GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Song of Silence please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 1 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

The author is also doing a Music Themed Giveaway. To enter it follow the link below.

song of silence - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of Song of Silence
A $150 Visa cash card

One second place winner will receive:
A copy of Song of Silence
A music-themed prize pack filled with goodies hand-picked by Cynthia
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 9th. The winners will be announced May 10th on Cynthia's blog.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Inheritance

GIVEAWAY

PHILLIPS, MICHAEL
THE INHERITANCE

Change is coming to Whales Reef

The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grand-nephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investory who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island -- and its traditional way of life -- hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor...

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.

My Review:

A sweeping family saga set in Scotland. There are things I adore about this book and other things I struggled with. First for the adoration:

Love the descriptive prose, the way the author immersed me in a different culture. He uses dialect in measured doses which really created a special ambiance. (I began to think in a Scottish brogue for a while!) Love the complexity of the story -- the way seemingly random scenes eventually meshed together into something of epic proportions. And David, solid, dependable, decent -- I loved all his interactions. A truly noble man facing a tide of trouble with grace and faith.

The slow reveal of Loni's past intrigued me. She's at a crossroads in her life -- feeling like she doesn't quite belong anywhere and on the verge of making decisions that will affect her future. On opposite sides of the Atlantic, David and Loni are connected by an inexplicable thread that runs through generations. And I do so love an ancestral story steeped in mystery!

But having said all that, I struggled with a few aspects of this book. First is the point of view.  It read like an oral storytelling which, while lending a certain Scottish charm to the tale, made me feel more like an observer than an active participant. I much prefer slipping into the skin of a character and feeling my way through a story.

 Second, I found the pacing quite slow at the beginning of the book. A lot of short scenes with a myriad of characters, places and names to remember. Most of them seemingly not related to the others. That's sorted out much later in the story and I ravenously read a huge chunk of it at the end, when things started to pull together. But alas, just as I reached the point I'd been waiting for with bated breath it was over. Which brings me to my third lament. That last chapter could have actually been the first. This isn't a cliff hanger. It literally stops mid-stride.

I was some miffed, let me tell you, but intrigued enough to search out when the next book releases. The Cottage comes out in October of this year and the back blurb has me salivating for more because it promises what I thought The Inheritance would deliver. So frustrating but I'm committed to the Tullochs enough to make sure I get a hold of a copy of Book Two in the fall.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  The Inheritance please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 1 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!