Monday, July 27, 2020

Quirky Story with a Thread of Redemption

The best word I can use to describe The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is "quirky." The characters, the town, the story -- all fit that description.

If you are looking for a story that is somewhere off the beaten path, filled with out-of-the-ordinary characters, this just might be the one for you. There are some special friendships among the Paradise residents that drive the events, in spite of much past hurt and ongoing misunderstandings. Besides the assortment of human residents, there are talking snakes, the ghost of Elvis, and a not-so-quiet Venus who play important roles.

While the story had an intrigue all its own, I can't say it was one of my favorites. It was hard for me to to make a real connection with the characters, and the pace of the story was often slow and repetitive. There are a couple of twists, though, that add an element of surprise. One of the strengths of the story is the thread of forgiveness and redemption that shows somewhat throughout and especially toward the end of the book.

I would give The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

Thanks to the publisher through the I Read with Audra blog tour for providing a copy of the book. The thoughts in this review are my own.

About the Book:

Literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can't go on--so he doesn't. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel's ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis's ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.

Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town--and his good friend Gomez Gomez--and Father Jake can't just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

Read an excerpt from Kregel by clicking here

About the Author:

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around
the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the
Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle
Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.
Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.
Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at He can
also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor), Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and
Instagram (@buckstorm).

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 3, 2020

Intriguing Mystery -- The Green Dress

About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: June 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend
Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton. As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?
Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

The Green Dress is an intriguing mystery, especially so since it is a fictional account based on actual history. Liz Tolsma has taken the horrible true account of multiple deaths in the Robinson family and crafted it into a spine-tingling story. 

Many of the characters and events in this story were drawn directly from historical accounts from Boston in the 1800s, and others were added to flesh out the fictional story. All of the characters, though, were well-developed, and each added much to the story. Although there were clues along the way pointing to the final resolution of the mystery, I wasn't certain of the answer until the end. And the title "character" of the book -- the green dress -- was hinted at along the way, but its chilling meaning was not fully revealed until near the end of the story. 

Fans of historical fact-based fiction involving mystery should enjoy The Green Dress. And you just might find it hard to put the book down!

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz
We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.
That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.
I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

—Liz Tolsma

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26
deb’s Book Review, June 26
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26
A Reader’s Brain, June 27
Rebecca Tews, June 27
For Him and My Family, June 27
Texas Book-aholic, June 28
Back Porch Reads, June 28
Inklings and notions, June 28
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29
Genesis 5020, June 29
Emily Yager, June 29
Christian Bookaholic, June 30
Robin’s Nest, June 30
To Everything There is A Season, June 30
Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30
Blogging With Carol, July 1
Bigreadersite, July 1
Read Review Rejoice, July 1
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2
Life of Literature, July 2
Connie’s History Classroom, July 2
Betti Mace, July 3
Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3
Stories By Gina, July 3
For the Love of Literature, July 4
Remembrancy, July 4
Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4
Godly Book Reviews, July 5
Splashes of Joy, July 5
Vicky Sluiter, July 5
Older & Smarter?, July 6
Through the Fire Blogs, July 6
Daysong Reflections, July 6
amandainpa, July 6
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7
Pause for Tales , July 7
Just the Write Escape, July 7
Hallie Reads, July 8
Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8
Blossoms and Blessings, July 8
Spoken from the Heart, July 9
With a Joyful Noise, July 9
Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.