Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cynthia Ruchti and her debut novel, set in WI and the boundary waters


Abingdon Press
ISBN-13: 9781426702389

Publication Date: May, 2010
Author: Ruchti, Cynthia
Retail Price: $13.99

From the publisher:
When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

My review:
The premise, “She would leave her husband…if she could find him” is best heard in Cynthia’s droll tone. I was privileged to hear her tell about her debut novel at a recent conference. As a fellow Wisconsinite, I looked forward to reading this story.

After a family tragedy, Libby and Greg Holden find more spaces in their marriage than woven threads. Libby cannot get over the loss of their daughter and Greg cannot fill the empty places or fix their broken hearts. And that’s really the theme: seeking and leaning on the Lord – the only one who will never leave us or forsake us no matter what struggles we face.

Greg not only loses his youngest child but blames himself. The loss is the final straw in a life of futility. Always the good provider, Greg has given his life to make sure his family has what it needs, even at the cost of his dreams. How can he tell Libby how desperately unhappy he is and that he’d like to pursue a different career when she’s shut him out?

When Greg takes a typical vacation in the wilderness but doesn’t return on time, Libby has to decide what she really feels about her faith, her marriage, her losses and herself. With the help of her best friend and her father-in-law, a wild search and rescue week in the wilderness she’s always shunned forces Libby to face all her demons head-on.

Cynthia’s grumbly-chic tone was a hoot. Half the time I felt like I was reading myself. And I like camping. But I’ll think twice about it after this story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review of Lisa Lickel's Meander Scar by Shawna K. Williams

I truly loved and appreciated this book. Every bit of it -- story, plot, writing, setting and characters! I'll be honest, sometimes I get tired of reading another romance with a formulaic feel. (Boy meets girl, they hate each other for some reason, but they can't stop thinking about each other. They get together and everything is great for awhile, but either boy or girl has some dark secret that threatens to tear them apart. It does, but then they work it out and everybody lives happily ever after.)

Okay, it's not that there's anything wrong with that. There are plenty of entertaining stories that are molded around that setup. But since I do read so many, when I come across a well written book, where the story is molded around characters and events on several different levels, I'm hooked. I'm not just hooked, I'm enamored.

And I'm enamored with Meander Scar.

Everything about it was unique. And I don't mean weird. The story had its own individual mold and that's because the pacing and drama was completely controlled by the characters. This gave it a true to life feel with plenty of depth, complexity, and total believability. And it took me on an emotional journey -- which was heart-wrenching in places -- but also moved me on a deep level.

From the very beginning Lisa Lickel gives the reader something to think about by introducing Ann's situation, where her life is in a state of limbo. From there, we get to chew on the controversy of romance and age difference. There are lessons in grief, lessons in letting go, lessons in closure and forgiveness – lessons in faith. I just loved this book.

One of the most touching parts in the story is near the end, when Mark discovers a diary of Ann's It's a journey of her feelings and insecurities from the moment he came back into her life, and when he read it, I wanted to cry.

If any of you have read Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember, you may recall that it ends with a single, powerful line. There's some speculation as to what actually happens, but that line offers the reader tremendous hope. The ending to Meander Scar has a similar feel. I thought it was perfect.

Shawna K. Williams - Grace-Inspired Fiction

No Other, May, 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing
In All Things, Nov., 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing
Orphaned Hearts, Dec., 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Meet Andrea Boeshaar - Best-selling Romance Writer!

Andrea Boeshaar has been married for more than 32 years. She and her husband Daniel have three adult sons, one lovely daughter-in-law, and two precious and precocious grandchildren (and two more on the way!).

Andrea attended college, first at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied English, and then at Alverno College where she studied Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn’t until 1991, after she became a Christian, that she answered God’s call to write exclusively for the Christian market. Since then Andrea has written articles, devotionals, novellas and full-length novels, many of which have made the CBA Bestseller List. Her latest novel “Unwilling Warrior” has just been released. It’s Book One in her Seasons of Redemption series (published by Realms Fiction).

For more on Andrea and a list of her published works, visit her web site at:

The review:
Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar
Paperback: 291 pages

Publisher: Realms; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599799855
ISBN-13: 978-1599799858

c. 2010
Retail: $10.99, also available at Walmart!

Veteran best-selling author Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar returns to historical romance with a new series titled Seasons of Redemption. The first book, Unwilling Warrior is set in Louisiana and Missouri during the Civil War.

Valerie Fontaine, a young lady of 1861 New Orleans society, lost her mother to illness six months previously, and apparently is losing her father, too—to drink, or weakness, as Valerie sees it. He doesn’t even welcome her surprise return from boarding school at Christmas. Her father announces the arrival of a houseguest on New Year’s Eve, someone McCabe, but instead of welcoming him, leaves Valerie and her escort for the event, long-time friend and potential fiancĂ© James Ladden, to bring him along to a party.

Benjamin McCabe is the son of a Missouri preacher who has connections to the Fontaine family’s pastor. He is a neutral freelance photographer whose brother, a chaplain, is missing in action. Ben and his partner search for him while they photograph and write news articles about the war.

Life has changed dramatically for Valerie after the death of her mother. Even James has turned into an unsavory character who has little appeal as a husband. As Valerie and Ben become better acquainted, he encourages her to get to know her pastor’s family where it is painfully obvious that the pastor’s daughter Catherine has set her cap for Ben.

Tragedy and mayhem lead to a quick marriage between Ben and Valerie followed by immediate separation as Ben must send Valerie away to keep her from being arrested for treason. Escape from New Orleans to Ben’s family in Missouri is complicated further when Catherine decides to join her.

Boeshaar’s story is filled with episodes of delightful conversation as Valerie and Benjamin get to know one another. Although decidedly southern, Valerie’s sympathies lie with the affects of the conflict. Ben’s family is divided, as his oldest brother fought on the side of the side of the Confederacy. Boeshaar did a good job with her research into one of several photographic processes taking place during that era. Her use of period detail and summation of battles and their results add to the adventure without smacking the reader over the head. I enjoyed the side story of Mama’s Psalm 55 soap and the confusion Ben and Valerie portrayed as they explored their relationship, both together and apart. I look forward to the next tale in the series.

Submitted by Lisa Lickel originally in late winter 2010

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Wisconsin Author Review is a new site dedicated to readers and writers. With the distinct flavor of Wisconsin, we will feature both Wisconsin-based authors who write about nearly anything, as well as books that are set in Wisconsin. We'll showcase books and authors, have occasional interviews and interactions, and share book club information as well. Let us know what kind of information you're looking for.