Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Straight Reading from the Library: Hands Full of Ashes by Kim Hotzen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kim Hotzon will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Olivia promises her dying husband that she will spread his ashes around the world. Landing in Africa, Olivia begins volunteering at an orphanage. After a weekend excursion viewing mountain gorillas, Olivia is unaware of how drastically her life is about to change. Love was never part of her plan . . .


This is an interesting look at Olivia and her life after the death of her husband. She is a character that shows some growth, but in many ways she is acted upon, rather than acting on her life. There were times that I wanted to shake her, but I was entranced enough by the book to follow the story. I wanted to find out what happened to her and how things turned out for her. I do wish she had made another choice at the end of the book, but I can understand why she made the decision she did.

I loved the descriptions of her time in Africa--Uganda and Rwanda were both very much another character in this story. Along with the beauty of the area, the author shows us the hard part--the danger and heartbreak war and fighting has caused. It takes a special breed of people to decide to leave their known lives and move to a land like Uganda and Rwanda to help others--thank goodness there are people like Jan and Olivia.

I enjoyed this author's writing style and will be looking forward to more works by her.

4 stars.


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.


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.

You can get in touch with Kim by visiting her website or follow her at:



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  1. 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?

    1. I agree - characters must have conflicts, thus a more interesting plot. As for myself, there have been many life experiences which required problem-solving in order to save my skin. My memoir, When the Cherry Blossoms Fall, provides several examples of this!

  2. Thank you Librarian Judith for reviewing and hosting my book, Hands Full of Ashes.

  3. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

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

  5. The excerpt was amazing! This sounds like a fascinating book! Thank you for the great post and contest!

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

  7. Great excerpt, sound good. Entering under the name of Virginia

  8. Great excerpt, sound good. Entering under the name of Virginia