If you shop through my Amazon link for anything, I'll earn a small percentage. Thank you so much. :) Christian Books and Bibles

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Guest Post: The Healing Role Animals Can Play in Our Lives by Lynn Austin, Author of Long Way Home

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.


I'm excited to share this guest post from Lynn Austin with you all today. She is the author of many novels, most recently Long Way Home. Below you'll find her article as well as more info on her new book and links. Hope you enjoy!

---

The Healing Role Animals Can Play in Our Lives

Anyone who has ever adopted a pet knows the comfort, companionship, and love these faithful friends offer us. Animals have an uncanny understanding of their beloved owners’ hearts and can respond in amazing ways when we’re hurting. Whether it’s a therapy dog making a hospital visit, horses helping autistic children, or petting farms for adults and children with special needs, animals are well-recognized for the healing roles they play.

I was remembering some very special pets in my life when writing my newest novel, Long Way Home. A stray dog named Buster is one of the novel’s main characters, playing a healing role in the life of his heartbroken owner, Peggy Serrano. Here’s her story in her own words:

The bedraggled stray showed up out of nowhere nine years ago when I was eleven, barely a week after Mama’s funeral. . . . If you could have seen that dog back then, you wouldn’t wonder why everyone in town chased away his mangy hide. But I cleaned him up, took care of him, and fed him, and he turned out to be a real nice dog. . . . Buster and I became best friends. He was all I had, really, in the way of friends. I liked to think Mama was looking down at me from heaven and that she sent Buster to me.

In writing about Peggy and Buster I thought of my younger sister and her cocker spaniel, Lady. The little dog joined our family after being rescued from an abusive owner and was very shy at first. Not long after we adopted Lady, my mother became ill with tuberculosis and needed to be hospitalized for nearly a year. My two sisters and I went to live with our grandparents and were not allowed to visit Mom. My younger sister, who was only three years old at the time, grieved terribly for her mommy. But Lady seemed to understand her sorrow and quickly became her constant companion, always by her side, comforting her when no one else could. The special bond between them lasted long after we were happily reunited with our mother, and we never forgot that very special dog.

The stray dog Buster has another healing role to play in Long Way Home. He and his owner, Peggy, have a longtime friend, Jimmy Barnett, who lives in the house across the street. Jimmy served as an Army medic during World War II but suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning home. He is admitted to a veterans’ hospital after attempting suicide and doesn’t respond to anyone. Peggy is desperate to help her friend and decides to sneak Buster onto the hospital grounds with the help of Jimmy’s Army buddy Joe. Peggy tells us what happens next: 

I was shocked to find Jimmy seated in a wheelchair this time. I crouched in front of him. . . . “Hi, Jimmy. It’s me, Peggety. I thought we could go outside again, okay? I have a surprise for you.” It turned out that the wheelchair made it easy for me to maneuver Jimmy to the rear of the little park by myself. I spotted Joe and Buster sneaking their way along the edge of the hospital grounds and hoped that none of the orderlies did. I parked Jimmy’s chair at the very end of the sidewalk and turned it so Jimmy could see them coming, then crouched beside him. . . . [Joe] let go of Buster’s leash and the dog bounded toward us in his lopsided, zigzagging run. He went straight to Jimmy, planted his front paws on his chest, and licked his face as if it was covered with ice cream. Jimmy made an odd, strangled sound and I tried to pull Buster away—then realized it was laughter! Jimmy was laughing!

“Down, boy. That’s enough,” I said after a few moments. Buster calmed down enough to sit at Jimmy’s feet with his head on his knees, while Jimmy stroked him and scratched behind his huge ears.

It was a wonderful, breakthrough moment for Jimmy, made possible by the love of a faithful dog. Our pets have that soothing, healing power. A few years ago, my daughter and her husband adopted a rescue cat named Dexter. Their patience and love transformed him from an aggressive, nearly wild cat into a much-loved family member. When my granddaughter Lyla was born, we all wondered how this rambunctious cat would adapt to a newborn vying for his owners’ attention. We needn’t have worried. This once-unlovable animal soon became Lyla’s steadfast friend and guardian.

I babysat for Lyla when her parents went to the hospital to give birth to her younger sister. Lyla awoke in the night, crying inconsolably, and I couldn’t calm her. Then Dexter jumped onto her bed, rubbing against her and purring like a motorboat. Amazingly, the cat was able to soothe Lyla’s tears. She lay down again, hugging Dexter like a teddy bear, and fell asleep.

I’m guessing any pet owner could tell a dozen stories like these. But my own special memories have convinced me that animals like Dexter and Lady—and my fictitious dog Buster—have the ability to bring comfort and healing when we need it the most.

About the Author

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan. Visit her online at lynnaustin.org.


About Long Way Home:

In this gripping portrait of war and its aftermath from bestselling author Lynn Austin, a young woman searches for the truth her childhood friend won’t discuss after returning from World War II, revealing a story of courage, friendship, and faith.

Peggy Serrano couldn’t wait for her best friend to come home from the war. But the Jimmy Barnett who returns is much different from the Jimmy who left, changed so drastically by his experience as a medic in Europe that he can barely function. When he attempts the unthinkable, his parents check him into the VA hospital. Peggy determines to help the Barnetts unravel what might have happened to send their son over the edge. She starts by contacting Jimmy’s war buddies, trying to identify the mysterious woman in the photo they find in Jimmy’s belongings.

Seven years earlier, sensing the rising tide against her people, Gisela Wolff and her family flee Germany aboard the passenger ship St. Louis, bound for Havana, Cuba. Gisela meets Sam Shapiro on board and the two fall quickly in love. But the ship is denied safe harbor and sent back to Europe. Thus begins Gisela’s perilous journey of exile and survival, made possible only by the kindness and courage of a series of strangers she meets along the way, including one man who will change the course of her life.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Review: Long Way Home by Lynn Austin

About the book:
In this gripping portrait of war and its aftermath from bestselling author Lynn Austin, a young woman searches for the truth her childhood friend won’t discuss after returning from World War II, revealing a story of courage, friendship, and faith.

Peggy Serrano couldn’t wait for her best friend to come home from the war. But the Jimmy Barnett who returns is much different from the Jimmy who left, changed so drastically by his experience as a medic in Europe that he can barely function. When he attempts the unthinkable, his parents check him into the VA hospital. Peggy determines to help the Barnetts unravel what might have happened to send their son over the edge. She starts by contacting Jimmy’s war buddies, trying to identify the mysterious woman in the photo they find in Jimmy’s belongings.

Seven years earlier, sensing the rising tide against her people, Gisela Wolff and her family flee Germany aboard the passenger ship St. Louis, bound for Havana, Cuba. Gisela meets Sam Shapiro on board and the two fall quickly in love. But the ship is denied safe harbor and sent back to Europe. Thus begins Gisela’s perilous journey of exile and survival, made possible only by the kindness and courage of a series of strangers she meets along the way, including one man who will change the course of her life.


My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Long Way Home was a very moving story with some sad moments, as well as joyous ones. I felt for the characters deeply. I couldn't imagine living Gisela's life and experiencing what she did. It was heartbreaking to read certain parts of this story... even more so because I knew that it wasn't entirely fiction.

The characters were great. It felt like they were real people and they all had different journeys to go through.

All in all, Long Way Home was a great read and one that I recommend. I just wish that the ending wouldn't have come so quickly and we would have had a bit more time with the characters. I look forward to seeing what Austin's next book is going to be about.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Review: Turn To Me by Becky Wade

About the book:
His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey's life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke's release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he's hidden. Worried that she won't be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke's promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke's help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return--by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he's long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He'll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who's going to shield him from losing his heart?

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Turn to Me is the final book in Wade's Misty River Romance series and a long-awaited story for me. :) I was eager to read Luke's story and it was amazing!

I loved how Turn to Me was not just your average romance novel; Luke and Finley embarked on a fun (and sometimes dangerous) treasure hunt that made me eager to keep reading to see how that would turn out. It didn't go completely how I expected and I loved that.

The romance was good and I liked how the characters grew in the story. I also really enjoyed the secondary romance story (Ben's).

All in all, Turn to Me was a great read and I can't wait to see what Becky Wade writes next.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Weekend Wrap-Up (May 29th, 2022)



Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)

-
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

~

Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
Powered by Blogger.