Books and Adventures: The Cherry Harvest


I received an email from HarperCollins Publishers this summer announcing the publication of The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna. More often than not these email press releases speak right to my literary heart, as was the case with this novel.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know World War II is one of my favorite subjects to read of the historical fiction genre. My friends are no longer surprised (or interested I’m starting to think) when they ask me what I’m reading and I respond with “A book set during World War II…”

Usually these books take place overseas, but Sanna tells a war-era story from a different perspective.

The Cherry Harvest tells a story from the home front in a Wisconsin farm community where German POWs are put to work to assist with the harvest while all the local boys are off to fight.

The Christensen family welcomes the assistance of the POWs to help them with their cherry harvest with their son fighting in Europe, but it comes with a price. Secrets develop amid a forbidden romance…

My adventure:

Living on a cherry farm would definitely have its perks. More than once a fresh baked cherry pie was written into this story. I set out on a search for a locally-made cherry pie but I live in rhubarb pie country. Instead I did the next best thing: I baked!

I have never made a pie from scratch and I still haven’t, but thanks to this simple recipe I found on Pinterest, I made mini cherry pies. Unfortunately I chose to do this baking quest late on a weeknight and forgot to take a photo of the finished product. You’ll have to trust me they were delicious (a la mode of course).


Books and Adventures: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

The tastiest book adventure to date: ice cream party!

My sweet friend Tami and I have similar literary tastes. She recently recommended The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman, because of its historical-fiction genre and also because it would make for a tasty adventure.

But first, about the book:

Spanning 70+ years, The Ice Cream Queen is the life story of a young Russian immigrant girl, Malka Treynovsky, who arrives in New York with her family in 1913. A Goodreads review stated this novel suffers from “Chick Lit Cover Syndrome.” And I have to agree. This 501-pager is most certainly not chick lit.

Malka’s life and rise to ice cream tycoon is linked to historical events: Ellis Island, child labor laws, prohibition, World War II, the polio epidemic, to name a few…

Malka eventually becomes Lillian Dunkle, and as she discovers her successful business model, eventually the ice cream queen. At times, it is difficult to love her because of her brash personality, but as you learn more of her story you start to sympathize.

Now, for the adventure:

Ice Cream Social in Tacoma serves handcrafted ice cream made from natural and local ingredients.

Tami discovered Ice Cream Social, located on Tacoma’s eclectic 6th Ave. Sharing a block with a tattoo parlor and a hot dog joint/bar, Ice Cream Social had a steady stream of people in and out during our visit for their handcrafted ice cream made from natural and locally-sourced ingredients.

On the menu were unique flavors like peanut butter + jelly, lavender, ginger and pancake porter. With Tami’s family and me and my husband, we were able to sample a wide-range of the menu.

On our way to Ice Cream Social we drove through Tacoma’s Orchard Street, which was the ice cream on the cake for this adventure (see what I did there?).

Thank you Tami for sharing this adventure with me!

Books and Adventures: The Bookseller

My latest book adventure took me to King’s Books, the largest new and used independent bookstore in the Tacoma area.

If I could snap my fingers and have any profession I choose, I would own an independent bookstore. My store would be nestled in a coastal town (like a North Carolina scene imagined by Nicholas Sparks), or would be in a bustling downtown like The Shop Around the Corner made famous by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.

Because of my bookstore fantasy, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson instantly caught my eye. Set in Denver in 1962 and 1963, Kitty Miller is content with her spinster lifestyle. She owns a quaint bookstore with her lifelong best friend, and has a special bond with her parents.

But in Kitty’s dreams, she’s lives a life happily married and a mother to three kids.

In movie terms, think Inception meets The Family Man. This psychological thinker is a glimpse into what might have been, if life’s events had taken a different course.

My book adventure led me to King’s Books, the largest new and used independent bookstore in downtown Tacoma. With about 150,000 books housed in 5,500-square feet, I spent a recent afternoon aimlessly looking at a rows and rows and rows of books.

Country Girl sighting!

I have to use this moment to give a shout to fellow Coug, Sarah Reijonen, author of Country Girl: Letting Love and Wanderlust Take the Reins. I was happy to spot the bright yellow cover in the Memoir section.

What I’m Reading June 2015


I felt ambitious at the library last month and took home five books (still working on the final two). With a holiday weekend and staycation in July, I figured I would have some free time. And I think that free time has been spent very wisely, making sure I avoid library fines.

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

I know very little about Niagara Falls. In fact, when I think of the Falls, I think of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and Pam and Jim in The Office.

This novel broadened my narrow horizon on the dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls starting in 1915. The author was born and raised in Niagara Falls and weaves the lore of William “Red” Hill, Niagara’s most famous riverman, in this work of historical fiction.

My task: Niagara Falls is quite a distance from me, so to experience the water, I plan to visit a local waterfall. Photo evidence to come soon, or it didn’t happen.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

My sister-in-law’s sister-in-law picked this book for their book club and let me in on their secret (thanks, Emily!). I was a fan of Sullivan’s The Engagements, and was interested to see her other work.

All families have their drama, but nothing compares to the Kelleher family. The story is told through three generations, and more can be understood of their present day attitudes after learning of their past, but there’s so much dysfunction it’s hard to sympathize with anyone. It’s a fun beach read, or more like a vacation read because it’s a little on the long side. After wading through all the heartache and drama, I do have to say I was very pleased with its ending.

My task: To experience the New England food, I’m on the hunt for a lobster roll, Pacific Northwest style.

A Girl Like You by Maureen Lindley

I was looking for something a little light to read around some heavy historical fiction, and my eyes were attracted to this cover.

Of World War II, one of the topics I could never tire of learning more about are the Japanese internment camps set up under Executive Order 9066. It’s crazy to think my family would have been interned had we been here during that time. My grandmother lived through the war in Japan.

I was hoping for light read, but this was anything but. The story is centered around a half-Japanese teen, who suffers more loss before the age of 20 than most anyone suffers in a lifetime.

About 350 pages in, hope is finally introduced! And it certainly ends well.

My task: I’m planning to attend the Asian American Journalist Association’s national convention in San Francisco next month with my dad!

Have Book, Will Travel (sort of)

Standing next to a replica of the Husky Clipper.

I had a recent conversation with a fellow booklover, and ever since I have been thinking and re–thinking about how she described why she loves to read.

You can go anywhere without having to travel.

I favor the historical fiction genre because I love to learn about historical people and places through the author’s imagination. I can experience my favorite decades (1920s-50s) and favorite places (Europe and Asia) through interpretations, without having physically been there.

To better experience what I read, I’m stepping up my game. With every book I finish (non-fiction and fiction), I will take something from the story and create an experience, visit a new place, try something new, that I was introduced to in the story.

The UW Conibear Shellhouse.

For example, after reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, my husband and I visited the UW Conibear Shellhouse, to physically place what I loved reading about. I was able to picture the scene set in the 1930s.

Often times stories I read take place further out than driving distance. I recently finished Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan and will follow up with a lobster roll to experience New England in the Pacific Northwest.

Each story will introduce me to an experience that will get my nose out of the book and into our world in a more tangible way. A subject featured on the Humans of New York Facebook page said, If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens.

It’s time to go outside and see what happens.

Blog Tour: Summer’s List


Two things caught my eye when the press release for Summer’s List by Anita Higman arrived in my inbox: 1, I (kind of) share the name of the title character; and 2, said character manages an independent bookstore (hello, dream job!).

A third thing that caught my attention was the book’s author, who stopped by A Writer’s Purpose when her novel A Marriage in Middlebury was released in November 2013.

I wasted no time to request a review copy from Litfuse Publicity Group and upon the book’s release in early June, the book was in my mailbox.

Summer lives a life of selflessness, putting the needs of others before her own. She passed up college to care for her dying parents, and she took over her grandmother’s bookstore when age and health prevented her from working. Her path was determined by the decisions to care for others, with little thought to herself.

But Summer’s sacrifices did not go unnoticed by her grandmother, who presents her granddaughter with a list (Summer’s list) of adventures and goals to complete. There’s a catch: Summer has to complete the bucket list of sorts with an old childhood friend, Martin, who she hasn’t seen since they were much younger.

This work of Christian fiction includes a cast of characters with many hurts, and while it’s a story of forgiveness and second chances, there’s also a sweet love story beneath the surface.

Summer’s List is a perfect read for the season.

Do you have a list?

What I’m Reading Wednesday

Sarah Sundin’s Wings of the Nightingale series wraps up beautifully with the finale, In Perfect Time (released Aug. 1). World War II-era fans will appreciate Sundin’s attention to detail from Lt. Roger Cooper piloting a C-47 in enemy territory to Lt. Kay Jobson’s role as an Army Air Force flight nurse.

Sundin’s latest series centers around a trio of flight nurses who become friends and find love while serving during the war. After touching briefly on Kay’s character in the previous two novels, In Perfect Time delves deep into a past in which she was constantly put down and disappointed by her father.

Kay runs away to a life of servitude as a nurse and freedom from her cruel family. But Kay believes she’s in control juggling multiple boyfriends, never letting a relationship develop further than dating.

Meanwhile, Roger has also escaped a past that disappointed him and left him to believe he was of little value.In-Perfect-TimeThe two broken people find the encouragement and love in each other, but life goals and misconceptions keep them apart and fighting against God’s will for their lives.

While the story focuses on Roger and Kay’s relationship, the novel is also rich in historical detail. Sundin writes of the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, as well as an incident based on the true account of 26 flight nurses and medics of the 807th MAETS who crash-landed in Nazi-occupied Albania in late 1943. Sundin aimed to highlight some of the unsung heroes of World War II.

Sundin has stopped by A Writer’s Purpose a few times the last couple of years to promote past novels. Check out this Q and A after the release of the first novel of the Wings of Nightingale series, With Every Letter.

Sundin is celebrating the release of In Perfect Time with a fun giveaway. Check it out!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy of In Perfect Time. For more information about Sundin, visit her website.

One Year Later

A Writer’s Purpose turns 1 today! It’s hard to believe an entire year has come and gone since I launched this blog. I’m so grateful for the opportunities this blog has created for me in the past year and I’m so thankful for you who read what I write. Thank you for sharing my thoughts and my words with me.

When I first created this blog last August I did so to create a platform to pen my thoughts. As time went on my love for words and books created a network of authors and book publicists. My hobby of reading has turned into a freelance opportunity to help promote authors and their work.

I looked back over the 77 posts I made and wanted to highlight the top 10 most visited. Here’s a look back on what happened on The Writer’s Purpose:

10. Looking for a Photographer?

I am so grateful for my friend and former co-worker Ingrid of Grit City Photography. She is crazy talented at making photos and she snapped the pics of me you see on this site. Seriously, if you’re in need of a photographer look her up! She will not disappoint!

9. Inspiring Justice: In Bethany’s Words

Day 235.

After attending The Justice Conference 2012 in Portland I had the initial spark to launch this blog. I wanted to write about things that needed attention, like justice. As a way to build up to the conference 2013 in Philly I started a weekly series “Inspiring Justice” to network with people all over the world and create a dialogue about what they were doing in the justice movement. Through this I met Bethany, who wore the same dress for 365 days to raise awareness for human trafficking. She is now working on a book about that year. Bethany, you are awesome!

8. Sarah Jio Giveaway

One of my absolute favorite authors is Sarah Jio. The Seattle-based author is getting ready to release her fifth novel but as she was launching No. 4 I had the privilege to interview Sarah for As part of the post I gave away a copy of “The Last Camellia.”

7. Book Exchange Book Club

It’s so difficult to not only 1, start a book club, but 2, decide the first book to set the tone of the group. So when I gathered together a group of my book-loving friends we all brought a book wrapped to exchange. It’s a great way to introduce people to books they normally wouldn’t read.

6. She’s A Country Girl


Helping to promote authors is my hobby, but when I have a personal connection with a budding author it means a lot to me to help them spread the word. A high school and college classmate of mine, Sarah Reijonen, traveled the world for seven months with her husband and lived to write about it in her debut memoir. The girl can write and I just love how sassy she is! Seriously though, if you haven’t read “Country Girl” yet, you really should!

5. A Cardinals Family

My job as a journalist at a military newspaper had granted me so many opportunities to connect with some of the most inspiring people, including Teresa Maggart and her son, Blake. Teresa’s husband was serving in Iraq when he was killed in action a few years ago. I have had the privilege to write several stories about Teresa’s everlasting devotion to honor her husband. The family is from Missouri and when former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa visited the base for a book signing I made sure Teresa knew about it. La Russa stood Blake on the autograph table and posed for photos while he wore La Russa’s World Series rings.

4. Princess Fiona Ramona

Pug mug.

Last Halloween was a heartbreaking one, in that our pug Fiona passed away. She was the first dog my husband and I had together and she really was part of our family; my best friend really. I paid a tribute to her by writing this post and sharing what she meant to me. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to adopt Fiona’s mom after her passing, and since then have adopted a second dog. While sometimes I see glimpses of Fiona in her mama, La Di, she truly was a one of a kind.

3. What I’m Reading Wednesday — Julie Kibler’s Calling Me Home

Twitter has put me in touch with so many authors and keeps me up to date on soon-to-be-released books. Thanks to Twitter I was put in touch with Texas-based author Julie Kibler. She was getting ready to release her first novel and I was able to read an advanced copy and feature her with a Q and A interview. Her emotional novel has really taken off and is being translated into several different languages.

2. Celebrate With a Book Exchange Party

Thanks to Pinterest this creative party post has continued to spread! Online searches direct book exchange party planners to this post almost daily, which prompted me to launch a book exchange book club (see No. 7).

1. What I’m Reading Wednesday — Ken Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice

Ken Wytsma Headshot (3)

As part of Wytsma’s book launch team, I featured the pastor’s debut book, “Pursuing Justice” with a Q and A interview. The book was released in February and since then the founder of the The Justice Conference has seen his book used as course text in more than five colleges. I had the opportunity to meet Wytsma in Philadelphia after a break out session of The Justice Conference.