Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blog Tour: Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Format: Trade Paperback
320 pages
On Sale: September 15, 2009
Price: $13.99

From the Publisher: "In Stray Affections, the last thing that Cassandra expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home—even if means wrestling another shopper for it!
The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw , Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange—flurrious, as Cassie deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.
“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

"With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances."

My thoughts: *Sigh* .... Oh, I just loved this whole book, but what was most endearing to me was the change in the relationship between Cassandra and her mother, Betty. Since childhood Cassandra called her mother Bad Betty, "our lady of the no wishing, wanting or being" whose favorite admonishment to Cassandra was, "No crying!" As an adult, Cassandra still had issues with her mother and their relationship was strained at best, but when long remembered childhood hurts took on adult perspective, the gift of forgiveness became possible. The inexplicable incident with the snowglobe was the catalyst for change in a lot of lives.

Although Cassandra is the main character, her mother Betty has her own remarkable story fraught with a deep sadness that turns to intense happiness. The book would not have been complete without Betty's story. Baumbich does an amazing job letting the reader into Betty's head. The reasons for all her past actions and how they affected her entire life and Cassandra's life become crystal clear. I reveled and rejoiced as Betty found the way to let go of the past and find contentment and joy again. With her new found love of life, she also found a sense of humor that astounded her family.

There are many more delightful characters (loved Sam the butcher) in the book but I want you to experience them for yourself. Suffice it to say, Stray Affections is a wonderfully written, warm -the- cockles -of -your- heart kind of story. All the characters are so well fleshed out, I feel as if I really know them. Baumbich sure knows how to get to the heart of her characters' hearts! Every emotion, whether painful or joyous, is believable and felt by the reader. 4****

The book is categorized as contemporary fiction but it does have a Christian overtone to it. Not a preachy, beat- you- over- the- head tone, but you know it is there. Interspersed throughout are many humorous incidents.This book would make another candidate for book clubs as there are many topics that could be discussed. In fact, at the end of the book there is a readers discussion guide.

To see Charlene on video talking about the book, visit the following links:
The video is available on facebook and/or YouTube.

Author Bio: Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn , Illinois . She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

For more information on Stray Affections, please visit Waterbrook/Random House here.

A big thank you to Ashley at Waterbrook/Random House for a review copy and the invitation to participate in the tour.


  1. And another title has been added to my TBR list - nice review, Kaye : )

  2. Sounds like a nice feel good book. Great review.

  3. Aww it sounds really good, i do wanna read it now. Thanks for the review

  4. It's on my wish list! I just can't wait to read it...great review!

  5. This is a sweet book - my review will be up tomorrow.

  6. Hi Kaye. You have an award waiting for you on my site


  7. I wanted to let you know that I have your 2 giveaways all ready for my tomorrows Giveaways Of The Day post. I had already signed up for the chair but I hadn't for the book. They will both be listed tommorrow. :)

  8. Simply wonderful book and fabulous review. I too just loved the change in Betty and Cassandra's relationship. :) Well done!!!!

  9. Kaye,
    I am extremely grateful for your detailed overview (without giving too much away), especially since you hit on so many of MY favorite elements of the Stray Affections journey--from the author side of the book. And the fact you began with a sigh ... Well, THAT sure touched my heart.

    I love the way you talk about childhood hurts taking on adult perspective. While I was writing, I kept thinking, "Oh, there is a beautiful life-lesson here. Thank you, Betty and Cassandra, for showing up in my head and dealing with it!"

    As for Bad Betty Kamrowski, her character arrived as a complete surprise to me. Thank you, God.

    I'm grateful you mention book clubs. I do believe Stray Affections offers gritty fodder for discussions. THANK YOU! And thank you again.

    Peace and grins,
    Charlene Ann Baumbich,
    Author, Stray Affections
    (Book #2 in the series coming fall 2010)

  10. I have Mr. Linky on my review and invite you to link up


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.