Blog Tour: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham

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I’m so excited to be participating in my first ever blog tour! When I saw this advertised I just knew I had to participate, having loved the previous two books in this series.

Pepper Basham is an awsome author, and I’m pleased to share an interview with her as well as a review of her latest book.

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Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans. To Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of the treacherous internees.
August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing Jessica Ross a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August’s tender pursuit bring Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a “true” enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

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Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

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1-I really love the faith journeys in your books, can you tell me something about your own faith journey? Thank you for saying that, by the way.  I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home in a rural community where my family all lived within a few miles of each other. It was an amazing experience of closeness and love, but as many times happens, circumstances happened as I grew older that sent me into a storm of questioning my faith. Through that heart-searching, Word-seeking, journey, I discovered a deeper understanding of God’s love for me in Christ that really became a stronger foundation. I’ve also had the beautiful experience of having a heritage of strong Christian women in my life who have been examples of God’s strength in the storms of life – I think those examples paired with the beauty of God’s grace, are at the heart of the spiritual elements of my novels. 
2-What would you say to someone who is skeptical of reading Christian books?
I would say, “I understand. I can be skeptical of reading them too sometimes.  But a good story is usually worth your time.” IMO, a good story is ALWAYS worth the read.
 
3-What made you want to write Christian fiction? Has doing this impacted your faith?
I’ve always loved writing – ever since I was a little girl. I still have one of my first ‘long’ stories I wrote (and poorly illustrated) from when I was 10 years old. As I grew up, my faith impacted every part of my life (as it should) and naturally came out in my stories. It wasn’t until I read Siri Mitchell and Mary Connealy that I realized I was actually writing in a market called CBA, but my hope and prayer is that I can write beyond one market and reach lots of readers – just by writing good stories.
 
4-I love historical fiction, particularly the world wars, what made you choose this era?
Hmm….I think they kind of chose me I’d never known much about them until I stumbled upon a book about the Lusitania at a yard sale and once I began researching the time period I was a lost cause. It hit me in the heart and I’ve been in love with it ever since. The clothing, the era, the British/American culture shifts. Absolutely love it!
 
5-What’s the best book you have ever read? Wow, super tough question. I suppose you mean besides the Bible J And in fiction? I’m not sure I have a ‘best book’. I love many for different reasons. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Little Women, and Emma are some of my top favorite classics. 
In more modern fiction I adore Redeeming Love, Courting Morrow Little, She Walks in Beauty, The Cautious Maiden, The Convenient Groom, and A Noble Groom, to name a few.
Sorry, I couldn’t get it down to one. TOOOOOO hard 😉

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As I previously mentioned I loved the first two books in this series. They are Christian fiction books that aren’t afraid to tackle hard topics, real emotions, and the complications they can create.

This book was no different. Jessica has spent the previous years serving as a nurse in the war, and has seen more pain and suffering than anyone woman should ever endure. This has, understandably, left her feeling bitter, and enormous resentment towards the Germans she encounters upon returning home. Especially one in particular.

Although I know most of us will never have to face such an extreme situation, I’m sure we can relate to these emotions, whether in our own personal lives, or in relation to the current political climate of distrust of foriegners.

I know fans of historical romance will love this book, but as it deals with such timeless issues as love and jealousy, I’m sure that other readers will enjoy it too. Just make sure to read the previous two books in the series first! Although this book does stand alone, you would be missing out on a huge treat in avoiding the first and second instalments!

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December 5–Bookworm Mama | cherylbbookblog
December 6–Bibliophile Reviews
December 7–Faithfully Bookish | Singing Librarian Books
December 8–Flowers of Quiet Happiness
December 9–Smiling Book Reviews
December 10–Reading Is My SuperPower
December 11–Red Headed Book Lady | Christian Bookaholic
December 12–Cherry Drop Princess
December 13–Toni Shiloh Soulfully Romantic | Robin’s Nest 212
December 14–Book by Book
December 15–Cordially Barbara
December 16–The Green Mockingbird

 

 

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Great Reads for Autumn 2016

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I’ve recently had to move house and leave my job due to unforeseen circumstances. Thankfully I now have another job in the pipeline, once all the paper work has gone through.

It’s been a tough couple of months, but it has meant that in the last few weeks I have had time to catch up on doing some of the things I love, like reading and crochet!

These are books I have read and enjoyed during this transient time, that I think others will enjoy as well. I am thankful to the publishers and Netgalley for allowing me to read the following in exchange for an honest review. Continue reading

Christian Fiction Challenge: Books set throughout American History

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Within Christian fiction there are a lot of books set during different periods of American history. I guess it is because most of the people who write these kinds of books are American. I found reading some of these books quite interesting as we only studied modern American history in school and it was nice to pick up little bits of information about the country’s history. (I guess that’s a good thing, as I did marry an American!)

Anyway, here are the reviews of the three books I decided to read:

IMG_0338Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

For some reason I am finding this one difficult book to review.

On the one hand it’s a gripping tale of Caroline, young woman thrown into the role of lighthouse keeper, after the unexpected death of her father, and at a time when it was not acceptable for a woman to have this job. I felt the author dealt with this interesting topic in a great way.

But, on the other hand I found it a bit over the top and quite unbelievable. At one point one of the main characters overcame an opium addiction overnight. And despite being a Christian book the faith aspect was minimal. In fact, it seemed to just rely on Caroline just repeating “God is good.” Even though her situation was unbearable: both her parents had died; her younger sister is dying and she’s the sole breadwinner, who’s about to lose her job. Yes God is good, all the time, but I would have liked to see her maybe struggle a little bit more in her faith in that situation. Forgiveness also seems to come easily to her, despite people doing some completely heartless things.

Despite this, I would still recommend reading it, it really was a lot of fun!

IMG_0337The Midwife’s Tale by Delia Parr

I decided to read this book because I love the TV show Call the Midwife, it turned out to be more like Little House on the Prairie or the Waltons though, due to a lack of midwifing action and the American setting.

One of the things I liked about his book was that it wasn’t about your typical twenty or thirty something falling in love, but rather about an older busy-body widow going about her day to day life and facing her problems, including a runaway daughter. This is probably why the book felt more mature and introspective than the other two. There were some parts of the story which were a bit slow, but that didn’t take away from the impact.

There were several plotlines, so it is hard to summarise this book, but the main one was Martha worrying over her daughter who had run off with the circus whilst she kept busy helping a young orphan.

I enjoyed this book, but I guess it was more like a mellow wander through the country side than a ride on a roller coaster. I also liked the prodigal daughter plotline, and the fact that you never really knew which characters you could trust.

IMG_0336My Heart Stood Still by Lori Copeland

This was a fast paced and exciting story with plenty of action and a good splash of romance. When the wagon carrying Anne Marie to jail is attacked, she is rescued by a native American. Soon they are joined by Quincy, a black man, and the adventure really begins. Taking them through shootings, jails breaks and down the bottom of wells the pace never once lets up. I was gripped.

The main character is likeable, but a bit of a loveable idiot at times. It was a lot of fun to read about her, and the kind of slapstick moments that want to make you laugh and groan at the same time. Whilst this book is officially a Christian book, faith is not mentioned a lot, making it suitable for non Christians, but clean enough for even the most easily offended.

I enjoyed reading all these stories, they reminded me a lot of the Little House on the Prairie books I used to borrow from the school library. It would be nice, though. if there were more books set in other times and places in history.

Are there any historical Christian books you would recommend?