Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz And Giveaway

Book Blurb

Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

My Review

Not only is Janell Butler Wojtowicz a new author to me, but Embracing Hope is her debut novel. However, you would never guess this is a debut novel, as she writes like a seasoned author.

The two main characters are Drew McKinley, dean of a Christian college and Allison Bennett, a graduate student and new hire for the dean’s office. In addition, there are various other significant characters. The book is written in a realistic, true to life form and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to some unusually heavy topics. Alcoholism, child abuse, assault and the loss of a spouse are among the horrific issues that leave us reeling.

Written in an authentic, no-holds-barred manner, Embracing Hope allows us, as readers, to experience the emotions and lives of the individuals in the story.  Wojtowicz portrays her characters’ actions and reactions to what life and God mete out in a realistic and genuine way. They question God, become angry at Him and angry at others and they wonder if life is worth living at all. Reading Embracing Hope, we, too, think and feel the thoughts and emotions that all but extinguish hope.

Hope is not extinguished for Drew, Allison, and others we meet and come to love. Biblical gems and lessons are interspersed throughout the book through the wise counsel of friends and pastors. We listen to their conversations and we hear God calling us to forgive and come to terms with our anger.

*****Disclaimer*****

I would caution that Embracing Hope contains some violent scenes some will find tough to read and process. I did. I had to skip through several pages that were too triggering for me. I have old memories of an assault and recent memories of an injury-laden fall, and this book is truly evocative of real life.

I received this book from Reads & Reels & R&R Book Tours. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

GIVEAWAY

To help promote Janell’s fabulous novel, R&R Book Tours is giving away one (1) eBook copy of Embracing Hope. Click the link below to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f24/? 

Purchase Links

 Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes Noble Nook

kobo

Janell’s Social Media Sites

Twitter

Blog

Author Facebook

Author Amazon Profile

Goodreads

 Author Bio

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. She wrote stories for her own enjoyment, including a short story about a teenage drug addict—something of which she knew nothing about. Her cousin illustrated the cover using Halloween orange paper featuring a hypodermic needle.

Janell attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in, naturally, Written Communication, adding a Journalism Emphasis. She returned to Iowa where she worked as a reporter/editor at three small town newspapers for 10 years.

Janell left the small town Iowa life when she married, Frank Wojtowicz, a family friend who lived in Minneapolis. (By the way, her Polish last name is pronounced “Why-tow-vitch.) She worked in public relations at her alma mater, the University of Northwestern; Leadership Foundations, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Christian ministries; and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Today, Janell owns a freelance service, A Portrait in Words, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Much of Janell’s writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” The idea for the novel came after watching a BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007. That night she dreamed the beginning, pivotal scene in the middle and the ending of “Embracing Hope”, and began writing it the next day. Unlike her first story, she was very familiar with the setting of “Embracing Hope”: a Christian college campus.

She and Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.

Blog Tour: Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Schedule

Dec 18th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Love Books Group (Excerpt) http://www.lovebooksgroup.blog

The Christian Fiction Girl (Interview) https://christianfictiongirl.blog

Dec 19th

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) http://muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) http://www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

Dec. 20th

Captive Dreams Window (Review) https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/

Reading is My Superpower (Promo) http://readingismysuperpower.org/

Dec. 21st

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.com

Tenntwo Musings (Review) https://tenntwo.wordpress.com/

Dec. 22nd

Literary Dust (Excerpt) https://literarydust.wordpress.com

Discerning Lillies (Review) http://discerninglillies.wordpress.com

Dec. 23rd

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review)  https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

Book Lover in Florida (Promo) http://bookloverfl12.wordpress.com

 

Advertisements

Runaway Romance by Miralee Ferrell

My Review

Miralee Ferrell’s book, Runaway Romance, is not only an interesting story about actors and actresses, but it’s going to be a movie on UP TV, too!

Ann Stanway thought life couldn’t be any better. She and the love of her life, Scott Adson, starred in the blockbuster reality show, Life with the Adsons. However, things aren’t as rosy as they seem, leaving her reeling. Hurt and confused she takes a trip to get away and ends up in a charming Amish community in Cave City, Kentucky.

The juxtaposition of a Hollywood lifestyle and an Amish way of living is striking. Ann’s turmoil over what was real and what her perception of reality was creates an intriguing dichotomy.  As she tries to navigate her way through a quagmire, some of her own making, she begins to realize her real problem is not being true to her faith.

The characters run the gamut from sweet and endearing to cruel and calculated, making you love some of them and be repulsed by others. The novel is well-written, and the characters well developed. The plot is unique and out of the ordinary, with not just romance, but a small touch of mystery, too.

I received Runaway Romance from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

When a reality TV star meets the reality of life, will it be her downfall or her salvation?

Ann Stanway had it all—a starring role in a reality show, an adoring boyfriend, and a sparkling future with limitless possibilities. Until the rules changed and the life she’d thought was real no longer existed. Leaving L.A. seems like her only option, and she lands in Kentucky at a quiet Amish inn—as far removed from her past as possible. Now she knows what was missing in her life–peace, true friendship and, dare she hope, a man who accepts her for who she is–or at least who he thinks she is.

Hunter Lewis is intrigued by the new woman staying at his friend’s Amish inn. Annie appears to be what she claims, but she’s secretive and won’t open up. He’s been burned by a woman before and can’t tolerate deception. But his interest in Annie is growing, and the attraction seems to be mutual—until something happens that makes Hunter question everything he’d thought was real. Dare he risk his heart, when he’s certain Annie is keeping secrets?

Can their new romance withstand the pressure, or will Ann choose to run again?

Hope by Fay Lamb (Ties that Bind Series Book 3)

My Review

Hope, Hope, Hope! Oh, my. What can I say, my how the mighty have fallen!

Fay Lamb’s story of Hope Astor is gut-wrenching, to say the least. Hope is reaping what she sowed, and it definitely isn’t pretty. However, her friends love her and are there for her in every way possible, up to and including providing her a home and covering her medical expenses.

Hope has endured many things in her life, most caused by her own catastrophic mistakes, but she’s facing a situation now that she didn’t create. Her only prospect of things getting better rest in the Lord’s hands. Can she let go and trust in Him and the trials she is facing, or will she give up and give in to her angst and pain.

Fay Lamb’s story of bad girl Hope resonates with faith, expectation, and possibility. In her previous books, Hope was the one you loved to detest. In spite of this, as you read Hope’s story, you begin to ache for the little girl inside her that is hurting so much and start to cheer for her as she grows and matures in her faith.

I received Hope from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

(I heard a rumor there will be another book written highlighting Judge Delilah James! I can’t wait to read it, yet I dread it too, because I don’t want to leave these wonderful friends!!)

Publisher’s Summary

****The author is donating 100% of her royalties from this book to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.*****

Hope Astor is literally a starving artist, living off the good graces of her friends as she seeks help for the fatigue that has plagued her for over a month. Dr. Daniel Duvall is a noted oncological surgeon whose life hasn’t been the same since losing his sister in a car accident the year before.

When Hope receives her diagnosis, she understands that her carefree artist’s lifestyle has left her without any options to save her life, but her friends try to convince her otherwise. They persuade Hope to seek treatment from the best doctor she knows.

Trouble is, Hope is the reason Daniel’s sister is dead, and she doesn’t think saving her life is on his list of priorities.

 

Libby (Ties that Bind Series Book 2) by Fay Lamb

My Review

Can I just say, I LOVE Libby? Fay Lamb has done an extraordinary job of writing about an adorably sweet, somewhat reserved young lady.

Libby is your typical girl next door. She has a hard time believing she is attractive and works at proving she’s not. However, everyone she meets knows she’s a diamond in the rough and just needs a little help to push her into the lovely woman she is.

I appreciate Libby’s love for the Lord and her relationship with Him. She endures so many sad situations, and yet she’s there for all her friends when they need her, she also prays for them mightily when they think they don’t need her or her guidance in all things of faith.

I laughed and cried when reading Libby. There are some circumstances in her past that broke my heart, as well as hers, and left her questioning her worth. Nonetheless, Fay Lamb was able to take these events and create a unique, loving person in Libby. Reading her story helped me to realize no matter how tragic or hurtful things in our past are, we can overcome.

I received Libby from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

****The author is donating 100% of her royalties from this book to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.

Libby Overstreet can’t see herself as anything but shy and socially awkward. She’s nearing thirty, and she’s never even been on a date. Then she meets the man of her dreams, but Libby knows he would never be interested in a wallflower like her. All she wants to do is to buy that garden nursery on the outskirts of town and settle down with the life she has always dreamed about. Evan Carter has been watching the sweet woman in the coffee shop for weeks when his friend tells him that the object of his affection plans to buy a garden nursery and needs Evan’s expertise as an architect/contractor. When they meet, Libby is more enamored of Evan and even more convinced that he would never look at her as anything but a friend. However, that’s far from the truth. Evan would love to get to know the innocent beauty God has placed in this path. Trouble is, he fears that a lovely flower like Libby will wilt under the sins of his past, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep that from happening.

Charisse by Fay Lamb

My Review

I started reading Fay Lamb’s books in The Tie that Binds series, and was unable to put them down!! I read Charisse, and immediately went to Libby, then Hope.

Charisse is recently widowed and trying to stay above water not only for her sake but also for her young son, Vance, Jr. (V. J.) Her only hope is to go to work as the clerk for Judge Gideon Tabor, the man that releases the monster who killed her husband.

I ran the gamut of emotions reading Charisse’s story. I could understand her anger and feelings of wanting to avenge her husband’s death by remaining cold and distant toward Gideon, even though she had a crush on him in high school. I could also understand how his kindness could throw her off and make her vulnerable. I fell in love with her son, V. J., and wished I could take on his pain. I alternated between righteous indignation and cheering for Gideon. I also wanted to shake some sense into another judge, Delilah James, more than a few times!

Fay Lamb has a real, rare gift for placing you right smack in the middle of the action and making you feel as if you, too, are one of the key players.

Her portrayal of the Christian faith displayed by the characters in the book is authentic and uplifting. It is written in a natural, relatable way, woven expertly and seamlessly throughout, giving us a feeling of optimism and promise.

I honestly would love to have Charisse and V. J. as neighbors and friends. I’m also very excited that there are two more stories!! I am dreading the end of the series, as I love the characters.

Fay Lamb’s story Charisse is well-written, relatable and endearing.

I received Charisse from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Review

****The author is donating 100% of her royalties from this book to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.****

Charisse Wellman’s husband has been gone a year, and she’s about to lose the only home her son, V.J., has ever known. She’s quit law school, but the money just isn’t there. Her only option is to work as a law clerk for her ex-friend, Gideon Tabor. The only problem: Gideon is the judge who let her husband’s killer go free, and Gideon doesn’t know the connection.

Gideon Tabor can’t believe that the woman interviewing for the job is the girl he loved in high school. Charisse is hesitant about accepting his job offer, and when she does, Gideon makes every attempt to apologize for his relationship-ending blunder in high school. Charisse accepts his apology, but she keeps him at a distance. When Gideon learns that Charisse’s anger actually stems from his release of the man who ran down her husband, he tries to explain, but Charisse doesn’t want Gideon’s excuses or the love he has to offer. She wants her husband’s killer to pay.

To Gain a Bodyguard (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson

My Review

Life is hectic for agents Madi Reynolds and Brice Johnson. When you throw in Madi’s brother’s wedding (scheduled around Christmas no less), Brice’s struggle with PTSD, issues concerning human trafficking and then top it all off by a threat on Madi’s life, then things go from hectic to frenetic in no time! To Gain a Bodyguard introduces us to the two ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents with feelings for each other. Both are afraid to show, or even admit to themselves, for a myriad of reasons, their true feelings.

Tanya Eavenson always manages to pack a lot into her novellas, and she does so again this time. Yet, you don’t feel lost or bewildered in the short story. There are many endearing moments, along with some scary situations. I began to care about each of the main characters, riding on a roller-coaster of emotions with them, hoping things would turn out well for everyone. I also appreciated the strength they drew from their faith. There’s a slight cliff-hanger at the end, leaving me with the hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Madi and Brice!

I was delighted to be able to catch up with Amabelle and Patrick too, whom we met in Eavenson’s previous books, To Gain a Mommy and To Gain a Valentine. Don’t worry if you haven’t read either of them, as each story stands alone.

If you are looking for a short, atypical romance story, then look no further than To Gain a Bodyguard, (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson.  (It is also part of the upcoming box set of Christmas romance novellas, titled Winter’s Kiss by multiple authors).

I received this book from the author, Tanya Eavenson. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

Undercover ICE agent Madi Reynolds has spent years infiltrating a human-trafficking ring, but when her life is threatened, she is forced to walk away and advised to leave the country. Undeterred, she continues her plan to attend her brother’s Christmas wedding, with her partner assigned as her bodyguard. But after seeing Brice care for her niece, she finds it’s more than her life that needs protecting. Is there really any defense for the heart?

War Veteran and ICE agent Brice Johnson has been defending his country and American lives for as long as he can remember. Now, he faces the biggest assignment of his life–protect the woman he loves. He’s never been one to run from a fight, but when an old flame butts in expecting a second chance with Madi, and crippling visions of war call out to him, he begins to wonder if surrender is an option after all.

You’re Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

My Review

I love reading a book where you feel as if you are catching up with old friends. Robin Lee Hatcher does a magnificent job of capturing this feeling with her newest work of fiction, You’re Gonna Love Me. A tale about life in Thunder Creek, Idaho, it’s a sequel that acts well as a standalone. (However, I did read the first book, You’ll Think of Me, and I recommend it as well.)

I identify with Samantha Winter’s fears having suffered from PTSD and anxiety myself. Nonetheless, I felt she needed to loosen up just a little. Then again, who can blame her for her fears? Her grandmother, the reason for her trip to Thunder Creek, suffers multiple broken bones after falling off a horse. The circumstances in her life, such as witnessing her father’s death, transpire to keep her fearful. So, the last person Samantha expects to see in Thunder Creek, of all places, is her daredevil ex-boyfriend Nick Chastain.

The last time Nick saw Samantha was when they broke up, in Beaverton, Oregon. Among all the questions he has, the biggest one is why is she in Thunder Creek?

The novel, You’re Gonna Love Me, richly portrays life in small-town America, a place where neighbors help neighbors and everyone becomes your friend. The portrayal encompasses a peaceful lifestyle in a tranquil and idyllic setting.

Nick and Samantha discover wonderful examples of God’s faithfulness through lessons of trust, forgiveness and second chances, all while learning to rely on Him.

You’re Gonna Love Me is a pleasant read. The characters are easy to care about and well developed. All in all, a great story to curl up with on a warm autumn day.

I received this book from the author, Robin Lee Hatcher. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Who knew fate could twist a tragedy into a second chance at love?

Samantha Winters lives her life the way a good accountant should—measured, deliberate, and safe. After watching her father die in a tragic skiing accident, she decided never to allow risk into her life again. But she didn’t count on falling for Nick Chastain, who embodies everything she doesn’t want in her safely constructed world.

Against Samantha’s warnings, Nick plans a dangerous kayaking trip over spring break. Furious that he’s so careless with his life, she ends their fledgling relationship with harsh words.

Two years later, Samantha is desperately in need of a change. When she learns her grandmother has had an accident and is in need of a caretaker, Samantha quickly packs her bags and heads to Thunder Creek, Idaho. But nothing could prepare her for the surprise awaiting her in her grandmother’s hospital room . . . Nick.

With the charming backdrop of small-town friends, beloved cousins, and a whole church congregation rooting for them, can they set aside the disastrous ending of their first try at love? Has Nick changed enough to meet Samantha in the middle—and can she realize that a risk in love might be worth taking?

Book Spotlight: A Semi-Sweet Summer by Jan Elder


About the Book:

Name of book: A Semi-Sweet Summer

Author: Jan Elder

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 18, 2017

Cassidy Cooper never wanted to set foot in Crystal Falls again. Ten years earlier, she’d given her heart to a boy who’d, in turn, humiliated her deeply. Now, back in town as the sole beneficiary of her sister’s estate, she’s determined to make her sister’s dream of an upscale chocolate truffle shop, come true.

Hunter Gray is very intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it’s not quite the first impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the nagging suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart at every opportunity.

With the object of her unrequited love living within shouting distance, Cassidy prays for strength to forgive and forget. And Hunter? He just wants to get back to his own dream to grow his farm and get to know the pretty girl next door. If she’ll let him.

Click here to purchase your copy of Jan’s wonderful book

About the Author


Jan Elder is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.

Happily married for fourteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

Guest Post from Jan Elder

How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?

When I first parked myself in front of my laptop, preparing to write A Semi-Sweet Summer, I was waxing nostalgic. Shortly before that, I joined a Facebook group, people from a church I had attended when I was a teenager. Memories flooded through me and a myriad of feelings, some quite strong, rose up to assault me. There were a great many pleasant remembrances, but what I recall the most about being in those “stuck in the middle” years was that there was a great deal of anxiety, the sensation of being so very different—certainly not part of the “in” crowd.

A large part of this book harkens back to my teenage years, my thoughts swinging to a boy I had the biggest crush on in high school. He was three and a half years older (I still remember his birthday) and he was definitely in the “elite” segment of our church youth group—the cool kids I so longed to be a part of. Sorry to say, I followed him around like a puppy, learned all of his favorite foods, chosen hobbies, etc. I try not to think I actually stalked him, but I was very aware of his presence, and searched for ways to be near him.

In A Semi-Sweet Summer, I tried to transfer some of that raging angst into fodder for Cassidy’s discomfort in finding her unrequited love living right next door. Cassidy never really fit in, hardly that enviable cheerleader, not a person that anyone would notice. Rather, she sees herself as sort of an ugly duckling. Now she’s back ten years later and it’s a tough situation. By this time, my characters have grown and changed from the people they were in high school. They are well on their way to the path God has set before them. And by the end, they are very different—kinder, gentler folks who have learned a bit more of what it means to truly love.

I like to think that God can use our experiences to help others through similar situations. Maybe this novel will provide some hope or closure for those who have been in the same boat, and spur them on to get past the pain. And hey, who doesn’t love a good story about baked goods, happy cows, and chocolate truffles?

As for me? The funny thing is, my husband has the same first name as my first love. He even has the same color hair, the same easy grin as that other guy. I guess one could say I am attracted to a certain type. But oh, my sweetheart is so much better. My guy is the man God had waiting for me. The other was only a pale imitation, just practice for the real thing.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 12

ASC Book Reviews, October 12

Have A Wonderful Day, October 13

Avid Reader Book Reviews, October 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 15

Red Headed Book Lady, October 16

Remembrancy, October 16

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, October 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 18

A Greater Yes, October 19

Carpe Diem, October 19

autism mom, October 20

Redeemed Hope Dweller, October 21

Inklings and notions, October 22

Quiet Quilter, October 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 23

Karen Sue Hadley, October 24

Through the Open Window, October 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25 (Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away a 12 piece box of Godiva Chocolates and a Kindle Fire HD Tablet with Alexa (Valued at over $100)!!!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/c1fd

The Gift of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

My Review

Cindy Woodsmall and her daughter-in-law Erin, have written a poignant, sometimes heartbreaking story.

My heart ached for Hadley Granger. Cruelly evicted from her foster home when she was 17, not understanding, nor being given any information, she devises a plan to meet her boyfriend, Monroe Birch. He promises to help, but never shows up. In addition, to make matters worse, she’s arrested and forced to deal with a rough life, both behind and ahead of her.

Years later, she and her best friend from her foster home days, Elliot “Ellie,” are finally getting their lives together when they are tested to the limits of their beliefs.

I appreciated how Hadley’s past made her a more compassionate and caring individual, willing to stick her neck out for the underdog, sometimes to her own detriment.

Each character in the story is well-written, making it easy to cheer for the underdog and feel disdain for those who act before thinking, never weighing the consequences or searching out the truth.

Miss Woodsmall and Erin’s story of heartbreak and betrayal richly illustrates God’s love, redemption and healing for all His children.

I received this book from the authors, Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?