As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, touching on questions such as:
•What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East? •What does Bible prophecy really have to say? •Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled?
Now updated with commentary on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a new foreword by Lynne Hybels and Gabe Lyons, this book offers hope and insight that can help each of us learn to live at peace in a world of tension and terror.
I would love to say that Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour is merely a book full of history, a story of experiences of the past, not of the present, or even the future. I would love to say this book is now irrelevant, that the problems that face the nation of Israel and the Palestinian people are no longer there.
Sadly, Chacour’s book about growing up as a Palestinian Christian when Israel became established as a nation in 1948 holds familiar themes for our world today. Chacour’s book, first written in 1984 holds many of the same lessons and truths we need to be aware of today when talking about the tension and bloodshed between the Israeli and Palestinian people.
Chacour’s story is an eye-opening look at the conflict in Israel but also at those working for peace there. Chacour, now in his 80s, is still working for that same peace, the peace that was lost long before modern history, but especially in the late 40s when the United Nations declared Israel its own nation. Chacour may not have seen peace on a wide scale but at the personal level, he has seen healing and understanding unfold between Jews, Muslims, and Christians in a way he never thought possible as a child who witnessed unimaginable, heartbreaking violence toward his people and others.
As the back of the book says, Blood Brothers is a story about people, not politics and that’s exactly how I found it.
Chacour grew up in a small Paestinian village in Galilee. In 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million were forced into refugee camps. Chacour’s only family was chased from their village and their men were arrested, some of them later able to return, some of them killed. Being called a terrorist was a routine occurrence for Chacour from the time he was a small child and probably even know. He dealt with these these taunts and oppressive comments even as he studied to become a pastor with the Melkite Church. He is now the Archbishop of that church.
Chacour’s personal experience created a struggle within him between the love of the Christ he knew and how humans treat other.
Blood Brothers has become an international best seller, not only because it details Chacour’s experiences, but because it offers hope that healing will come on a personal level, if never on a political level, for the people of Israel and Palestine.
It is a book we all should read before we form or express opinions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and I hope more will do so.
Shirley Davenport is as much a patriot as her four brothers. She, too, wants to aid her country in the war efforts, but opportunities for women are limited. When her best friend Joan informs her that the Coast Guard has opened a new branch for single women, they both enlist in the SPARs, ready to help protect the home front.
Training is rigorous, and Shirley is disappointed that she and Joan are sent to separate training camps. At the end of basic training, Captain Webber commends her efforts and commissions her home to Maine under the ruse of a dishonorable discharge to help uncover a plot against the First Lady.
Saving Mrs. Roosevelt is a great book to get yourself lost in. The story carries you along easily, so easily don’t notice it’s 1 in the morning and you should have been asleep hours ago. It had me biting my nails until the very end.
The characters are intriguing, captivating and people I, for one, would be honored to get to know.
Patterson does a great job of dropping breadcrumbs of information related to the mystery of the book, keeping readers guessing throughout as to who might be involved in a plot to harm Mrs. Roosevelt. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, she sends you down another path full of questions that you know you need the answers to
There is romantic tension in the book, but it isn’t overdone or makes you want to roll your eyes and gag at all. It is subtle and sweet.
If you like historical fiction, light and sweet romance, and intrigue, then this is the book for you.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story. Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart was a 2012 ACFW First Impressions finalist and made INSPYs Longlist for 2016.
More from Candice …
The idea for Saving Mrs. Roosevelt literally came overnight. I had just finished writing a contemporary romance set in Maine, centered around a harbor town where lobstering is prevalent. My agent called me and told me about the Heroines of WWII series and asked if I’d be interested in writing a WWII novel. If so, I needed to come up with a story and proposal fast because spots were limited and filling quickly. My mind was so consumed with research of the lobster industry that I felt I couldn’t clear my brain fast enough to come up with another story on such short notice. That’s when I started wondering how I could take the knowledge I already had and make it work for a WWII novel. I googled Maine during WWII, came across an article that mentioned the SPARs, and the idea for Saving Mrs. Roosevelt was born.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the Nancy Drew deep inside me figured out a unique way to merge lobstering with espionage.
Though the plot is purely fiction, there are some characters and events that are historically accurate that were fun to include as well. I love Maine, but I’m Hoosier born and raised, and in my SPAR research, I discovered that Dorothy C. Stratton–the woman the Coast Guard asked to direct the SPARs–was the Dean of Women at Purdue University in Indiana. She was a woman of true character, grace, and strength. I knew right away she needed a cameo in my story.
Within twenty-four hours of receiving my agent’s call, I had plotted the entire story and sent a proposal. Weeks went by, and as fall ushered in its beautiful colors, my husband surprised me with a trip to Monhegan Island, Maine. We walked the trails, ate amazing seafood, and took in the gorgeous view. While on the island, my agent called again, this time to let me know that Barbour had contracted Saving Mrs. Roosevelt. What a special moment it was to be standing on the very shoreline where the book is set when I received the good news.
Since the book is set in Maine where the heroine works on a lobster boat with her father, I wanted to share my favorite recipe for Maine blueberry pie.
Maine Blueberry Pie
2 Pie crusts
1 quart of fresh Maine blueberries
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
Freshly grated nutmeg
¼ c light brown sugar
¼ c white sugar
¼ c flour
2 tbsp tapioca for thickening (if the berries are juicy)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the berries into a large bowl, add lemon juice, and toss. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until the berries are well coated with the flour and sugars mixture. Line the pie plate with one crust. Put the berries into the pie plate and top with a solid or lattice-top crust. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the berries are bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Songs in the Storm is a moving story about a newly married couple struggling with a difficult diagnosis for the husband. The story walks the reader through the ups and downs, triumphs, and trials in an emotional way.
The characters of this book are so well written that I immediately fell in love with them and wanted to be sure their lives turned out okay. Yes, there was some heartbreak for both of the main characters, but they walked through the heartbreak together. This isn’t a book where the book shows the main characters meeting and falling in love. They are already in love when the book begins but their happiness is threatened when a medical tragedy strikes.
The reader is pulled into Anderson’s story through the vivid characters but also through vivid details which capture the atmosphere of the time period.
I’m not someone who reads a ton of historical fiction, but I have read some, and the books in this genre which capture my interest the most are those which immerse me in the time period they are set in. Anderson did this in such a flawless way and none of the information about the time frame or the characters seemed forced or awkward.
Be prepared to feel a range of emotions in this book but don’t let that deter you because underlying beneath it all is a comforting, sweet buzz of hope that only God can bring even in the moments we think he has left us.
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Description: This is not your typical Christian Fiction story…
The entirety of living civilization stands on the very brink of death. Undead hordes have rampaged across the world. Determined to do his part, Leon Rhise left his wealthy father’s estate and chose to defend the last living kingdom by joining the military. It had seemed to be a good idea at the time.
After his career in the airship navy came to an abrupt end Leon arrived home, hoping for a warm reception. Instead, he was abruptly tossed out. Disowned, unemployed, and friendless. All hope seems lost. Then Leon discovers a mysterious relic, which opens up the possibility of him becoming a Judge: a hero of legend. One that has not been seen for centuries.
As Leon travels the road less taken his destiny converges with newfound companions, each one surrounded by mystery. Advised by strange beings in dreams and visions, Leon learns that the undead onslaught the world has suffered is part of a much larger problem. A solution can be found by learning about the forgotten being known as Adonai. But the world is ending, and time is running out.
Delve into a world that brings a unique twist and interpretation to faith-based high fantasy. With emotional highs and lows, certain peril, dysfunction, and humor; tough questions are asked, and answers will come to light.
Let me get this out of the way first: I don’t read fantasy, Christian or not. I just don’t do it. But I’d met the author of this book in an online writing group, and he seemed nice so I thought I should read it to support him. I dragged my feet on it. I did. I cannot lie. I was like a little child. I folded my arms across my chest, slouched down on the couch and pulled my hood down over my face.
I pushed my lower lip out. “I don’t like fantasy books. All those ridiculous names and magic and sword battles with fantastical creatures.”
I huffed out a breath and grabbed my Kindle. “Fine. I’ll try it, but only because Max is a nice guy.”
Now, after reading The Rhise of Light, I can’t say that I will keep reading fantasy, but I can say I will read more fantasy written by Max Sternberg.
The Rhise of Light is not only full of well-written prose and dialogue and good, smart fun. It is also deeply theological, thought-provoking, and spiritually moving.
I fell in love with the main characters, Leon, Miala, Duame, and Kelleren but then there were even more characters to fall in love with as the book went on.
Creative well-developed characters and his descriptions make you feel like you are right there and all the characters are alive and real – whether they are human, elf, dwarf, dog, or an undead zombie.
Sternberg paints a vivid image of the world Leon and his friends live in, so vivid that sometimes it is a bit scary, considering that when people die they immediately become undead zombies who want to kill everyone else, no matter how nice they were in life or how they died. The only way to kill them for good is to dispatch them a second time and often in a grisly way.
Sternberg doesn’t pull any punches in fight scenes, but he also isn’t overly graphic. He weaves humor in the midst of heavy and serious and touching in the midst of heartbreaking.
Perhaps you’re not a fan of fantasy either. Don’t overlook this one because of your preconceived notions. You might just be as surprised and as enchanted as I was with Sternberg’s debut novel.
With a disposition as bright as her name, Sunny shakes it off the worst day of her life and makes a new start. She’s got the brains that it takes, but she’s more than a little scared. It’s not just her reputation on the line.
Would this cockeyed adventure be the thing her siblings need too?
Pat only wants peace in the family and never dreamed doing a favor for his sister could drop him into so much hot water. Torn between what he’s always wanted and what is staring him in the face, someone is bound to get hurt.
Odds are it will be him.
But then, only the cardinal knows for sure.
Return to 1970 Indiana with Sunny, the first book in The Weather Girls series—get into the miniskirts, bell-bottoms, and Christian family values.
You’ll love Sunny for the music, the fashions, and the hilarious antics, because who can resist a romantic trip down memory lane?
If you are looking for a light read with minimal conflict, then Sunny (The Weather Girls Book One) is the book for you. The story takes place in 1970 with Sunny Day as the main character. Yes, that’s right, her name is Sunny Day, much to her embarrassment. Her sisters are named Stormy and Windy Day and when Sunny ends up starting a new endeavor it isn’t long before she has help from family and a new handsome friend, Pat Whitcomb, of the very well-known Whitcomb family.
I fell in love with the characters, which were well developed, and felt like people I might know myself. Sunny and her sisters supported each other through each trial, showing a close-knit family, but not one without flaws and heartache. There isn’t a large focus on the heartache, though, making this book mostly light-hearted and touching. Humor and romance are sprinkled throughout. I’m a sucker for a book with a meddling grandmother and this one definitely has one and Gramma is one of the brightest spots of the book, besides Sunny herself.
The only aspect of the book which left me a little confused was that there was very little to no mention of a relationship with Jesus throughout the book until it was thrust upon the reader suddenly and in a somewhat awkward way with what I felt was an abrupt “salvation scene.” I don’t disagree with the scene’s content in any way, I just felt it could be written in a little bit more of an organic way. I do not, however, feel that this took away from the book overall and I am looking forward to snatching up a copy of the next book, Stormy, which focuses on the story of Sunny’s sister and is already available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited (at the time this review was written anyhow).
I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest review. I give it a 4 out of 5.
About the Author
Jennifer Lynn Cary likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series and The Relentless series as well as the stand-alone novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café and her recent split-time novel The Traveling Prayer Shawl.
More from Jennifer Lynn
I was born in the 50’s, grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and married in 1980. I relate to K.T. Oslin’s song “80’s Ladies” a little too well. 😉
Though we moved from Kokomo, Indiana in 1972, it always will be my hometown.
A few years ago my sister headed up a plan to have an annual Cousin’s Reunion in Kokomo. Two cousins came from Ohio and my sister and I came from the west to converge on our family who still call Kokomo home. Each trip back reminded me of how much I loved growing up there.
One day Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” came on the Oldies station and caught my attention. Then I remembered the songs “Stormy” and “Windy” and wondered what it might be like for girls with that sort of name—especially if their surname was Day. Would their dispositions match their names? Why would their parents give them those names? The questions kept coming and I fell in love with the whole storyline.
The best part was putting the house I grew up in into the book(s). Yep, as you read the story, Hazel Day’s house is set up mostly like the one where I grew up only I added a den and an extra bedroom upstairs.
Ferguson House is based on the Seiberling Mansion—I love that place and tour it every chance I can when I get back to Kokomo. It’s amazing.
I also included favorite landmarks. Scotty’s Drive-In saw a lot of me in my early teen years. Great for grabbing a coke and not that far from either school or home.
The funny thing about memories is that they can blur and morph over time. Thankfully someone from my hometown has put together a Facebook page where I can ask questions and get more than enough answers.
Many locales I remember no longer exist, so writing about them helps them live on.
I hope you will check out Sunny and 1970 Kokomo and come back for the rest of The Weather Girls trilogy.
The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing collectively as David James Warren.
Title: Blood From a Stone
Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #5
Author: David James Warren
Publisher: TriStone Media
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Genre: Time Travel Detective Series
He fled the future with blood on his hands. Now, he’ll do anything to stop a killer.
Tragedy has yet again taken from Detective Rembrandt Stone everything he loves. Now, he has one last chance to get things right and stop a killer he’s been hunting across four timelines. Instead, he gets tangled in a petty crime that just might cost him his one chance at justice.
With two murders to stop, and thirty-eight lives still in the balance, Rembrandt must play his hand against time just right if he wants to win his future. Play it wrong and his life will stay shattered beyond repair.
What sacrifices will he have to make to come home to his wife and daughter?
The stakes have never been higher in the heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat fifth story of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.
I have loved every book in the Rembrandt Stone series so far and the fifth book, Blood From A Stone, was no exception. There were aspects of this book I didn’t enjoy as much as others, but that was only because certain situations weren’t working out the way I wanted them to. I wanted the parts of the main character’s life that were broken in other books to be fixed. Fixed I tell you!
I was hooked on this series from page one of the first book, Cast the First Stone. I fell fast in love with Rembrandt and his wife Eve and their daughter Ashley and all the supporting characters around them. My fast attachment is probably why I have read these books with a “fist in my gut” as Rem would say. I’m on edge, anxious to know if it will all turn out okay, if the family will be happy again, which isn’t a spoiler if you know these books are time travel thrillers. In time travel there is always a chance things will go wrong, but that they can be corrected again. They can be corrected again, right? Right?! Of course, they can, as long as the author (or in this case authors) want it to. Oh, I truly hope these authors want it to.
Most who review this book, and others in the series, are going to tell you they love the fast-paced action, the way Rem breaks the fourth wall, the characters, the backstories that are woven through the series and I love all those aspects as well. What I also love, though, is how marriage is portrayed in these books. It’s not boring, mundane, or something to get out of. It is passionate, special, something to fight for. The bond between Rem and Eve spans timeline after timeline but each time Rem knows that Eve belongs with him, that without her his life isn’t worth living, no matter how many cases he solves, how many wrongs he makes right.
You rarely find a series of books that can balance suspense, mystery, action, and romance. Thankfully, the Rembrandt Stone series is one of those rare, to-be-treasured finds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://jameslrubart.com/
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award–winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves traveling and telling stories about life, adventure, and faith.
David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he’s never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He’s grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.
(1) winner will receive a print copy of Blood from a Stone and a $15 Amazon gift card!
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 5, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 12, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
I hate advertising on my blog. I just like rambling and sharing and connecting with my blogging friends, but I guess I will mention that you can get my books, The Farmer’s Daughter and Harvesting Hope, free through Kindle on Amazon (so ebooks) today and tomorrow.
If you have read the books and enjoyed them (even a little) and would like to leave a review that would be great, as it helps with sales. I do NOT make a fortune off these books but every little bit helps put money toward feeding my kids and paying for things like heating oil. Reviews don’t have to be indepth. A short little “Hey, I liked it” and a rating are just fine. For those who have read the books, reviewed them, and pointed out improvements I can make for later, thank you so much! I appreciate it more than you could ever know. Truly.
I’m a stickler for books set in smaller towns with a large cast of fun and quirky characters, if you couldn’t tell by the stories I share on here for Fiction Friday.
I mention The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun from time to time and when I do I write that I am reading one as “comfort reading.” I consider them comfort reading because I used to read them when I was a teenager. For me, reading about James Mackintosh Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Koko and Yum-Yum, and the cast of characters around them, feels oddly like coming home.
I call them The Cat Who . . . books because all of the book titles start with The Cat Who . . . followed by something the cat did.
Examples include The Cat Who Played Brahms, The Cat Who Sang for the Birds, The Cat Who Lived High, and The Cat Who Sniffed Glue. There were 29 books written between 1966 and 2007. There were 18 years between the third and fourth book and after reading that in an article while researching for this post, I started to wonder what the delay was all about. What did Braun do in between and what made her pick up the series again? I did some digging and learned there were a few reasons for the break, including the death of her husband and the fact that she was working at The Detroit Free Press as the “Good Living” editor during that time, and for 30-years, retiring in the late 70s. The other, bigger, reason for the break, though, was that when she turned in the manuscript for the fourth book, the publisher said they were interested in books with more sex and violence.
Luckily Braun was able to find a publisher in the future who recognized that not every reader wants books full of sex and violence.
As a writer who has started writing fiction fairly “late in life,” I found it interesting that Braun published her first fiction book at the age of 53. She was 97 when she passed away and her husband told a newspaper that her biggest regret was dying before she could finish her 30th book, The Cat Who Smelled Smoke.
When she did release a new book in 1986, after that 18 year break, it was called The Cat Who Saw Red. It was published under a new publisher and nominated for an Anthony Award and an Edgar Award in the best original paperback category. The new publisher also re-released her other three books.
The books always offer a mystery, of course, usually in the form of a murder or two, but woven within the mystery are hilarious anecdotes about the people of Pixax, the town James Qwilleran, a retired crime beat journalist and columnist, has settled into.
The series started out with Qwilleran working “Down Below”, as the country folk call the city of Chicago. After inheriting some money from an eccentric distant relative (who, if I remember correctly he wasn’t even biologically related to), he ends up moving to the tiny town where many of his mysteries occur, which makes me ask, “how many criminals live in this one tiny town?” That thought always makes me a bit paranoid, since I also live in a small town. After reading one of these books (or watching an episode of Murder She Wrote) I start looking at my neighbors in a different light.
“Do you think Mrs. Smith down the road is capable of murder?” I might ask my husband, but I don’t actually since there isn’t a Mrs. Smith down the road. Or sometimes I think, “What does Mr. So-and-So have in those containers in his back yard? Compost or . . . bodies?!”
Anyhow, back to the books. Not all of them aren’t all winners, a couple of them are stinkers, only saved by the cats and quirky characters. Still, I keep reading them, enjoying the feeling of coming home, in a way, much like I do when I read and re-read the Mitford books.
It isn’t only the quirky characters and pets that captures my interest in the books. Being a veteran of the journalism world, I also find myself drawn to the parts of the stories that involve reporting and the newspaper office. The characters of the small town newspaper are about as odd as some of the people I used to work with, but not quite.
When the subject of reporters and journalists come up in a conversation, I often comment that a newspaper’s newsroom is full of people who are two clicks away from being certifiably crazy. Then I remember I was once one of those people and wonder what that means about me. I guess it means I was the only sane person in the four newsrooms I worked in over my 15-year career.
Braun’s own career in journalism helped her to become a prolific novelist, releasing one or two books a year. She said she was used to continously writing after doing it for 50 years. I can relate to the idea of being used to writing often and a lot, since that’s what I did when I worked at newspapers, but of course I only did it for 15 years, not 50!
When I picture Qwill in my mind he’s a cross between Sam Elliott and a former boss of mine (who incidentally no longer has the mustache he used to have). Qwill is an old school newshound with a passion for digging up the answers to mysteries, even after he stops working as an investigative reporter and knows it isn’t his place.
Getting to the bottom of something was my favorite part of being a reporter. I loved to dig for the news, but I was nowhere near as good at is as my husband is. He’s like a dog with a bone. When he gets a tip, he’ll dig that thing out of the ground and bring it in the light no matter who tries to stop him.
He isn’t as obsessed with it as I am, though. I remember laying awake at night wondering what the local school board or district attorney was hiding from me while he comes home, drops the mystery at the door, picks up a book and doesn’t pick up work things again until the next morning. Usually anyhow. Some nights he does lay there worrying about work things, but not necessarily a story he is working on.
Throughout the books, Qwill ages from his late 40s to his mid-50s. He is a divorced, slightly overweight, former alocholic who now declines offers to drink any alcohol when the books first start. He loses the extra pounds as the series progresses.
Women find him irrestible, Braun writes, and one reason they do is because of his “luxurious mustache.” He also has salt-and-pepper hair, but it is the mustache that is the most intriguing, not only because of it’s appearance.
An excerpt from an article on Wikipedia describes the role of the mustache perfectly.
Whenever Qwilleran gets a suspicion that something is wrong or his instincts are right, he will get “a tingling sensation on his upper lip.” Depending upon the strength of the sensation, he may be seen “stroking it with his fingertips” to “pounding [his mustache] with his knuckles”.
Characters in the books (especially women) are also drawn to Qwill because of his willingness to listen, a skill he picked up in his job as a reporter. It’s a skill I picked up as well. I found that the more I let a person talk, the more they would tell me, without even realizing they were telling me it. Idle chitchat also helped relax the subject of a story or the person I was interviewing. I never felt like I was manipulating the person. I was simply reminding them that I was human too and helping them to feel comfortable with talking to me.
Qwill uses this tactic in his reporting, but also in his sleuthing. It may appear to the reader that the character is simply telling Qwilleran about the new decor in their homes, but Qwilleran might hear something quite different, including the fact that the person who designed the new look for their home new the victim in a recent crime.
Now, I would be very remiss if I did not mention that Q’s cat Koko helps him solve his crimes in unusual and distinct ways. Koko sometimes yowls at the guilty person, flips a book to a page that offers a clue, or leads Q to a clue when they go on their walks, with Koko on a harness and leash.
Koko’s full name is Kao K’o-Kung and he is named after a 13th-century Chinese artist of the same name. He was once owned by an art critic who Qwill used to work with at the Fluxion, a newspaper Down Under. His first owner fed Koko a gourmet diet of lobster, chicken, and other fancy meals, which means he won’t eat normal cat food.
Qwilleran later adopts Yum-Yum, another Siamese, and ends up having to feed both cats expensive food on his sometimes meager salary, which of course expands when he inherhits a fortune and mansion later in the series.
While locals often credit Qwill when he solves a crime, there are some who know Koko is the real brains in the operation, as shown by this exerpt from The Cat Who Played Brahms:
“Qwilleran’s Siamese cat was a celebrity at the Press Club. Koko’s portrait hung in the lobby along with Pulitzer Prize winners, and he was probably the only cat in the history of journalism who had his own press card signed by the chief of police. Although Qwilleran’s suspicious nature and inquisitive mind had brought a few criminals to justice, it was commonly understood at the Press Club that the brains behind his success belonged to a feline of outstanding intelligence and sensory perception. Koko always seemed to sniff or scratch in the right place at the right time.”
In addition to the newspaper angle, I, of course, like the way the books nail the personality of cats, especially Siamese, right on the head. I had a cat that our vet said was part Siamese and he was a very interesting cat, so I relate to the way Braun writes about cats as well as the mysteries.
Being a cat lover, and the owner of two Siamese herself, Braun certainly had first-hand experience about the behavior of cats.
The good thing about these books is that they are fairly simple and straight forward. They aren’t raunchy, have very little to no swearing, and don’t feature grotesque or detailed descriptions of violence. They are almost completely void of romance, other than a very tame, chaste storyline involving Qwill and town librarian Polly Duncan.
I have been having fun snatching books from the series up at book sales but have also purchased a few through my Kindle. I don’t know why, but I prefer reading The Cat Who books as hard copies, maybe because that’s how I started reading them when I would sign them out at the local library.
So, how about you? Do you have a series of books that are like “comfort reading” to you? I would love to hear about the series.
Book Title: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong
Genre: Christian Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Description: How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?
In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?
Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.
When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .
With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.
This is a witty and humorous/light hearted and fun read. The characters are — specifically Meri and Kai, but also Gemma — are immediately likeable.
What I liked about this book was how real and raw it was, mixed in with the humor. I loved how Strong wasn’t afraid to be blunt about issues of marriage without being crass or crude. When the subject of sex in marriage was broached, it was done so in a mature, natural, and to the point manner without descriptions or any kind of detail. In other words, there are zero sex scene in this book, making it very clean; but the subject was discussed in a very appropriate way.
Strong also knows how to get in the head of a man and show how clueless they can be sometimes. I know. That sounds super sexist but let me explain. Men and women are wired differently (obviously). Men don’t often sit and debate issues in their head to death like a lot of women do. Men just go do things and figure it out later.
That’s not always bad, but sometimes, like Kai in this book, it is. I love the differences between men and women and too many female authors write their male characters like they are women — emotional, sentimental, dramatic.
That’s not realistic.
Strong wrote a realistic man in this book, which is why there are many women who aren’t going to like him. I, for one, did. I don’t know if I agreed with some of the ideas that he or Meri had that led to the ending of this book, but it has me thinking and I don’t see that as a bad thing.
I see women reviewers write things like, “I didn’t connect with HIM”, about books like Strongs all the time. The reason for that is because the author wrote a realistic male character, and most female readers want to read a book where the man thinks and acts like a woman. That’s just weird. If I’m not confused by the male character, then I know the author doesn’t know how to write from the point of view of a man.
Bottom line, this was a fun and easy read that I needed and one I have a lot of other people need these days. Yes, it featured some deep thoughts and challenges, especially for Christians, but those deep thoughts aren’t enough to pull the book, or reader, down.
I received a complimentary copy through Audra Jennings Book PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.
She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.
Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.