Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Review of Books: The Silent Governess

I had read at least one other book by Julie Klassen, so when I saw The Silent Governess at my local public library, I was excited to read it.

I wasn't disappointed. The book begins with the heroine in a desperate plight, and the tale never loses the reader's interest.

Olivia Keene is a lovely, gracious and sympathetic heroine, and Edward is an attractive but subtle love interest.

This summary from

"When Olivia Keene arrives home to find her father strangling her mother, she picks up the nearest blunt object and bashes him on the head. Fearing that she will be charged with murder, Olivia, with her mother’s help, flees. While en route to a potential position with an old friend of her mother’s, Olivia finds herself caught up in a series of dangerous adventures culminating in her arrival at Brightwell Court, where she accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation between Lord Edward Stanton Bradley and his father, the Earl..."

Initially speechless due to an injury, Edward hires Olivia to help in the nursery, but demands she remain silent about what she knows, even when her speech returns.

This story has fully enough romance, suspense, and Gothic atmosphere to please any Jane Eyre fan, and I am certainly that!

One of the many things I love about Julie Klassen's writing is that her characters AND her narrative have a voice that's authentic to the period she's writing about. You won't find Klassen's 19th-century characters poppping up with any modern-day slang, and not only the dialogue, but the narration, use language befitting the era.

Klassen also seems to find a way to put an extra twist or two into the story to make sure it's not a cookie-cutter tale.

This is the perfect book to snuggle up with on a chilly fall evening with a cup of hot tea or cider. I highly recommend it!

To participate in Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books, click on the icon!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Club Sandwich: My 2005 Interview with Lisa Samson

Lisa Samson is one of my favorite writers, and I had the pleasure of interviewing her a handful of times during my radio career.

In June 2005, Lisa was promoting her then-latest book, Club Sandwich.

If you've never read anything by Lisa Samson, you must. Her books are infused with a quirky humor, fresh originality and disarming transparency. She is definitely one of the most authentic voices in Christian fiction, and her books are always immensely readable and engaging.

Go here to read my 2005 interview with Lisa Samson.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flashback: My 2005 Review of Liz Curtis Higgs' Whence Came a Prince

"Higgs' sensitive empathy with her characters brings them to life and makes us feel their pain, their joy, their faith, transporting us into their world to the point that we're sad when the story is over and we have to close the book"

Continuing my practice of flashing back to my reviews and interviews about some older, but still perfectly worthy books....

I've already posted here my interview with Liz Curtis Higgs about the first two books in her Lowlands of Scotland series, Thorn in My Heart and Fair is the Rose,so you know I'm a huge fan of this amazing author.

In April 2005, I reviewed the third book in the series, Whence Came a Prince.

Go here to read my review of this wonderful book.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do you participate in the Saturday Review of Books?

To be honest, I haven't yet, but I'm going to!

Sherry's Semicolon blog is one I've been following for years. She posted this about her Saturday Review:

If you’re not familiar with and linking to and perusing the Saturday Review of Books here at Semicolon, you’re missing out. Here’s how it usually works. Find a review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week of a book you were reading or a book you’ve read. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can just write your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review.

Go here to read more about Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books.

I plan to start participating in the review myself. As Sherry says, "After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read."

What a great idea!

I'm going to go ahead and link to the Saturday review to let others know about this book blog...if you're followed the link here, scroll down and enjoy some of my flashbacks to older reviews and author interviews.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback: My 2004 review of The Poisonwood Bible

" far as Christian missionaries go, I've had a great deal of experience with them. The vast majority are gentle, sacrificing souls who have devoted their lives to bringing Christ's love to others. They have done an immeasurable amount of good, much of which will endure for eternity, and they are true heroes of the faith, in my opinion." --from my review of The Poisonwood Bible

I rarely publicly review secular books, although I read plenty of them. However, The Poisonwood Bible struck a nerve with me, and I felt a strong urge to respond to the book.

It had already been out for quite some time by the time a read the book by Barbara Kingsolver, and while I found it fascinating and Kingsolver a truly gifted writer, I had serious problems with the book.

You can read my review of the book here, and read reactions to the review here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tagged: 15 Authors in 15 Minutes

My friend Linda tagged me on Facebook with something titled "15 Authors in 15 Minutes." I'm assuming this is supposed to be a list of 15 of my favorite authors, so here goes!

By the way, I'm going to be doing this completely off the top of my head, in no prticular order...

1. Charlotte Bronte--Jane Eyre is my second favorite book of all time, after the Bible.

This is the cover of the paperback of Jane Eyre that I wore out in high school and college

2. Emily Bronte--for Wuthering Heights, of course.

3. Jane Austen--mainly for Pride and Prejudice, but I've read most, if not all, of her other books. (Interestingly, Charlotte Bronte couldn't stand Jane Austen's writing!)

A scene from the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice

4. Charles Dickens--mainly for Great Expectations, but he's pretty much incomparable.

5. C.S. Lewis--first fell in love with the Chronicles of Narnia, but love everything else I've read by him.

6. Rosamunde Pilcher--she just has a way of making you completely at home in her stories.

7. Maeve Binchy--ditto.

8. Mary Stewart--for everything she ever wrote, except for her Merlin books, which I never read.

One of my favorite Mary Stewart books, which deftly combined suspense and romance in breathtaking settings

9. Victoria Holt--AKA Elinor Hibbert, Jean Plaidy, Philippa Carr--yep, I'm not real sophisticated. I loved these books as a teen, and they were romantic and suspenseful without being offensive.

10. Francine Rivers--for everything she's written, and I've read all of it.

11. Jane Kirkpatrick--her beautiful writing transcends the limits of Christian fiction.

12. Liz Curtis Higgs--ditto.

13. Madeleine Brent--I devoured "her" books as a teen, not realizing that Madeleine Brent was a pen-name for an author who was actually--a dude!

14. Agatha Christie--I went on a spree of reading her books several years ago, and now I don't remember which ones I have and haven't read...bummer.

15. B. J. Hoff--especially for her Emerald Ballad series, which made Irish history come alive for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flashback: An interview with the inimitable Liz Curtis Higgs

When I did a radio interview with Liz Curtis Higgs in March 2004, she had already written two very engaging contemporary novels, and was now launching into an amazing venture into historical fiction that would keep going for quite some time.

When I first started reading Thorn in My Heart, it didn't take long for me to think, "OK...wait a minute...this story sounds VERY familiar."

Who but Liz Curtis Higgs would think to set the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel in 18th-century Scotland? And not only make it work, but make it riveting?

Go here to read my interview with Liz, and go here to find out all about her and catch up with the many wonderful books she's written since then.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flashback: Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley's Redemption

In February 2004, I read and very much enjoyed the first book in the Redemption series co-authored by Gary Smalley and Karen Kingsbury.

The two went on to co-author four more books in that popular series--Remember, Return, Rejoice and Reunion.

Go here to read my February 2004 review of Redemption.

More Booky Stuff

One of my favorite bloggers, Debra at As I See It Now, writes about finding some treasures at a church book sale. Check it out.

And don't forget...

If you're reading this and have a book-related blog, please let me know so I can include you in my sidebar blog list!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flashback: Nancy Moser

...and another great give-away to tell you about!

Continuing with my practice of re-visiting some terrific older books (meaning, going back to when I first started blogging in 2003), I'm flashing back today to another favorite author of mine, Nancy Moser.

When I interviewed Nancy, she was in the middle of her Sister Circle series, co-written with Vonette Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ. The premise of the books is that a widowed woman, Evelyn, opens her home to boarders, and the women bond and become friends through their diverse circumstances.

Nancy told me at the time, "...You know, women really have a capacity to bond that men don't understand and that men don't want to do (laughs) ...we can bond with the lady in front of us in Wal-Mart while we're waiting to check out. And so, it's about this wonderful bonding that we are capable of doing."

The Sister Circle books has actually prompted women across the country to form their own Sister Circles for friendship and support.

Nancy Moser has written several more books since then--some of which I haven't had a chance to read yet, but I definitely want to do so!

Go here to read my January 2004 interview with Nancy Moser, and don't forget to check out her website to get updated on everything she's written since then.

And now, another terrific give-away to tell you about...

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of The Waiting, book two in The Lancaster Secrets Collection. In The Waiting Jorie finds herself caught be two loves and two lives in this compelling page turner about complex people living the simple life.

The Waiting is the next stand alone story in The Lancaster Secrets Collection and follows in the footsteps of the best-selling, The Choice. The Waiting is in stores now and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle preloaded with Suzanne Woods Fisher titles and a gift certificate! The Prize Pack (valued at over $185.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, Free 3G, 6", Latest Generation

* The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* A $15 dollar Gift Certificate

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 28th at Suzanne's Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party.

Join Suzanne for the Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party on October 28th! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Waiting and The Choice, and giving away copies of both books and HEAPs of readerly prizes! Be sure to join us on Thursday, October 28th at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page. 

Flashback: Jane Kirkpatrick

...and a terrific give-away to tell you about...

Jane Kirkpatrick has written many wonderful books since 2003...most of which I've read. But in October 2003, when I started my blog Notes in the Key of Life, she was promoting A Name of Her Own and Every Fixed Star, the first books in her Tender Ties series.

The series is based on a remarkable, real woman named Marie Dorion, who was the first mother to cross the Rocky Mountains and remain in the Northwest.

Now, I must tell you that I adore Jane Kirkpatrick, both as a writer and as a person.
Back in 2003 I wrote:

"From the time I picked up Jane's book, A Sweetness to the Soul ,I realized that here was a very remarkable Christian author. Her beautiful,lyrical writing style would grace any writing genre. Probably my favorite Kirkpatrick book,though, is Love to Water my Soul. Few authors possess such a gift of evoking a mood or capturing a description sheerly through finely crafted wordsmithing and absorbing storytelling."

As a radio host, I had the privilege of interviewing Jane several times. I remember once, her home phone was dead, and she had to drive to the top of a mountain to get cell phone service to do the interview. I love that!

If you haven't read anything by Jane Kirkpatrick, do yourself a favor and get one of her books today.

In the meantime, read my October 2003 interview with Jane:

Part One

Part Two

And be sure to check out Jane Kirkpatrick's website for an update on her latest writings.

And now for that give-away!

Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.


To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Resurrecting my book blog!

Hi everyone!
This blog, Cindy's Book Club, used to be attached to an actual book club. For a few months, a few years ago, I hosted a book club as part of my radio job with 101QFL.

The book club was eventually discontinued, but this blog site remains...and I've decided to do something with it. This will be a site where I put my book reviews, book discussions, and pretty much anything to do with books.

Initially, I think I'll bring some of my older author interviews (which are transcribed--not in audio form) to this blog.
These books are no longer new--in some cases they go back as far as 2003, when my other blog, Notes in the Key of Life, began--but they are certainly worthy of some new publicity!

I'll also use this blog to link to reviews on other blogs and sites.
Happy reading!


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