Wednesday, June 24, 2015

REVIEW: Hands Full of Ashes (+$10 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!)

Title: Hands Full of Ashes
Author: Kim Hotzon
Series: N/A
Pages: 247
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance

Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband's wish - to scatter his ashes around the world. After journeying to Africa, Olivia plans to follow through on this promise while working as a volunteer at an orphanage.

On a weekend trip to see the famed mountain gorillas, Olivia attempts an escape from an ambush by armed rebels. During her recovery, she falls in love with the man who saved her.

As her new love blossoms, Olivia is unaware that the director of the orphanage has fallen in love with her. His attempt to find her coincides with an event that will change Olivia's world forever.
~My Thoughts~
What an interesting story! I love contemporary/romance books that are set somewhere other than the boring old US of A. This was a classic romance with an exotic  twist and Kim Hotzon has definitely made my radar! 

The story begins and there's a somewhat depressing, somber feel to it. Despite beginning an incredible journey, Olivia is somewhat (unsurprisingly) plagued by memories and sadness for her late husband. This entire mission is because she's intent on fulfilling his wishes, she just never imagined how the trip will change her life and her ability to love forever. 

The romance was believable, slow and cautious, just like you would expect it to be after Olivia had just lost her husband. If I have one complaint, it's that I felt it could have been better to have an actual Rwandan or foreigner for her to fall in love with. That would have provided an even stronger contrast to her former husband, and as it was, Jan seemed a little to "white-bread" for my liking despite his having set up an orphanage in Africa. 

I already mentioned the setting, but the sheer beauty of imagery used to showcase the people, the land, the was wonderful, and heartbreaking when we really took a hard look at what was happening in Rwanda. Unless you've got family, friends, or others close to you in and around Rwanda, it's not hard to forget the tragedy of the genocide and violence that occurred there. It's beautiful what the people of Rwanda have evolved into after facing such a situation, and I felt like Kim did an excellent job trying to showcase the people, and the land in a realistic, and wholely believable light. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
In a sea of dark faces, he stood out plainly: a lone white male, tall and thin, with wisps of dark-blond hair framing his face. His chin was square with a prominent cleft defining the center. From her first glance she could see his green eyes sparkled with an endearing combination of amusement and confidence. Jan's skin glowed against the dusk.

He gave her a wide grin. “Olivia!”

“Jan Henriksen?” she asked carefully. “From Helping Hearts Orphanage?”

With a nod, he deftly grabbed both her suitcases and led the way toward his truck. “Welcome to Uganda, my dear,” he said in a thick European accent.

Olivia studied Jan's profile as he drove, wondering why he had chosen to start up an orphanage in the middle of Africa. Olivia surreptitiously observed him, guessing his age to be around forty, maybe a bit younger. Jan was quite attractive, a unique mixture of refinement and ruggedness. He never mentioned being married, and he wasn't wearing a ring. She made a mental note to ask him about this later. She leaned her head back against the vinyl headrest, figuring all would eventually be revealed. She was far too tired to get into a heavy discussion of any kind.

She was jolted awake as the truck rumbled to a stop in front of a number of buildings.

"We're here," Jan announced quietly.

She sat perfectly still, taking it all in, hardly believing this was where she would be living for the next month.
~Meet Kim!~ 
Born in beautiful British Columbia, Kim developed a passion for writing at an early age. Her interest in people led her all over the globe, including a two year stay in Japan and a humanitarian trip to Rwanda.

She loves to write contemporary romance stories that feature strong women who deal with compelling issues. Kim enjoys adding unexpected twists, usually involving a dangerous and dramatic backdrop. Her first novel, Hands Full of Ashes, was inspired by her trip to Africa.

Kim spent many years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and she currently resides in the sunny Okanagan with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found plying the local ski hills, or getting lost in her kayak in the surrounding lakes.

Kim Hotzon will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 


  1. thank you for the chance to win :)

  2. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a good read.

  4. Thanks for sharing the excerpt!

  5. Hi Andra,
    Thanks for your review! The book was a labour of love and I appreciate that you were able to see the beauty of Africa woven throughout the story.

  6. interesting setting

  7. Thank you for the great excerpt.

  8. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

  9. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Amazing excerpt! I am somewhat envious of all of your travels! Thank you for sharing!

  11. "... Born in beautiful British Columbia...." Ah, Beautiful BC....
    I reside in Ontario. My sister and her husband from AB drove their motor home to our place in order to attend our daughter's wedding, and then my husband and I accompanied them on their way back home, taking two weeks to saunter across the US. Am enjoying our time here, with a trip to Banff tomorrow (we've been there dozens of times but can never get enough of it), but I doubt we make it into BC during this trip. Maybe next time. It really IS beautiful in BC!

  12. I really enjoyed the excerpt! This sounds like a terrific book! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!

  14. I love the authors' passion for life in her writing and personal life and bet its invigorating getting lost in her kayak in the surrounding lakes

  15. Olivia seems like such a well-developed character. Can't wait to read her story.

  16. I was wondering what is your favorite character from any book you have read?

  17. This is such an interesting read. I would love to read the whole novel.

  18. Enjoyed the excerpt, and the setting and background of the book sounds really interesting.