Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One of my favorites!

Athol Dickson’s Winter Haven is a modern mystery with a deliciously chilling, classic gothic mood. As heroine Vera Gamble struggles to resolve the bizarre mystery behind her brother’s death, she is threatened by Winter Haven’s hostile inhabitants, her own vulnerabilities wrought by her tormented past, and by the mist-shrouded island itself, which is imbued with sinister legends.

Dickson’s artistry with words brings Winter Haven’s characters to life, and his research is evident in all the fascinating peculiarities and inconveniences of existence on a small Maine island. Vera’s dead brother, Siggy, is particularly touching as he appears in the memories and letters of those who loved him—an autistic adolescent, unable to reach out to others except through biblical verses—filled with a heavenly spirit despite the limitations of his earthly existence.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Dream Comes True!
J. M. Hochstetler has been working almost non-stop since 2006, bringing her dream to life: Sheaf House Publishers. J. M., also known as Joan, has kept a written diary of her Sheaf House journey. You’ll find all her musings and business notes on her blog at:

For the past two years, I’ve been checking on Joan’s progress, praying for her dream and marveling at her gumption. (Okay, okay . . . if you don’t like the word “gumption” then I’ll change it, dear readers, as soon as one of you can offer a word which merges down-to-earth practicality with true courage and sincere faith. :) Joan’s first Sheaf House publication is ONE HOLY NIGHT: A Contemporary Miracle Story.

I was delighted when Joan contacted me and asked if I would read One Holy Night, which depicts a family in crisis during the Vietnam years. The family’s father, Frank McRae, has unwillingly bid farewell to his only son, Mike, who is heading off to the war. Memories of WWII still haunt Frank, and a series of devastating losses only add to his deep-set bitterness and his resentment toward God. One Holy Night is poignant and amazingly relevant, as we are daily reminded of the controversy and the battles our soldiers are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I rarely cry when reading books, but one scene—can’t reveal it because it’s near the end—moved me to tears. Grab your hankies when you curl up with this one! Blessings, k.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Publisher’s Description:
“Isabelle Gayarre, fleeing a life of servitude, refuses to be owned by anyone, yet soon finds her heart in danger of being possessed by the godless Captain Josiah Carter. Can Isabelle trust him to help her escape without losing her heart? Josiah Carter, running from demons of his own, is stirred by the presence of the beautiful woman seeking refuge on his ship. Realizing that a runaway slave can never be his, legally or otherwise, a storm begins to brew within. Will their love ever reach a safe haven, or is it doomed to wreck upon the jagged reefs of the Fairweather Keys?”

Born a slave, Isabelle Gayarre has been raised with the expectation of becoming the mistress of a powerful and wealthy man, in an arrangement known as placage. But Isabelle’s deep faith and strong sense of moral goodness compel her to resist the arrangement and risk her life in a desperate bid for freedom. Hoping to find sanctuary among abolitionists in England, Isabel bargains for passage aboard the Jude, forcing her to trust an equally desperate person, the Jude’s captain, Josiah Carter.

Beloved Castaway’s first few chapters are initially confusing, but the captivating plot and setting lured me to turn page after page, seeking answers from Isabelle and Josiah’s past as they struggle to survive and to protect their growing but forbidden love. By the end of the book, author Kathleen Y’Barbo’s characters drew me into their story and left me looking forward to the sequel, Beloved Captive. Enjoy!