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Posted January 12, 2014
This was the first novel I’ve read by Kathryn Cushman, and as usual when trying a new-to-me author for the first time, I was skeptical. The subject sounded interesting, but I wondered if the story would be. It was. I enjoyed it very much, and I’ll tell you why.
The voice Kathryn used drew me in with its lively feel. Sabrina was interesting, her past cleverly kept secret from the reader as well as the characters trying to uncover just what haunted her. Brandy ended up being one of my favorite characters, though I must admit I wanted to smack her many times. I so enjoyed the grandmothers, and of course Koen was dreamy! All of them felt real to me, as though I could look out my window at 5AM and find Brandy running by while Sabrina looked on. And speaking of running, as a backdrop it was interesting, and as a theme it really was deep, the message encouraging. I felt like cheering when I read the last race, and I loved the epilogue!
I enjoyed the flow of the story, and the characters were real, each with his or her own unique dialogue style and personality. The writing/editing was very good overall. One thing really nagged at my inner editor, and I am pleased to say that it was the only thing that did: the use of “further” instead of “farther” when referring to physical distance. It’s a common enough mistake, but I must admit that it did irk me very much with its recurrence throughout the book. Like I said, though, it was the only thing I picked up on.
All of that to say that I will definitely be reading more by Kathryn Cushman, and I will be recommending this novel to my family and friends!
+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Posted January 12, 2014
This book was different than ones I usually read. Going in with an open mind, it turned out that I liked this style of writing. It was a slower, more reflective story based around the subject of running. One runner who had to quit her dream, and one who didn't have any dreams, but could run. The story revolved around these two characters who were put together and how each grew because of the other person. I liked the flavor of the story, the underlying plot of forgiveness of one self and learning about the forgiveness of God.
Bethany House sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.
Posted December 22, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Christian
When it comes to inspirational fiction I almost always prefer historical or fantasy stories. That being said, I loved this book! It is my favorite Christian contemporary to date.
What it's about:
Sabrina knew what God's plan for her life was from the time she was young. She was going to be an Olympic runner and use her platform to reach others for Christ. Life was going according to her plans until a tragic diagnosis stripped her of her dreams and possibly even her faith. When Sabrina's path collides with a troubled teenage girl, she doesn't want to help her. The girl, Brandy, has an incredible talent for running and Sabrina isn't sure if her heart handle seeing someone else have what she lost.
What I liked about it:
I think that the best part of this book was that it faced issues that are common but not often addressed in Christian literature. A lot of books deal with salvation, faith and trusting God to direct your path. This book had all of those things in it but it also dealt with Christians being judgmental to each other. It is so important to know the facts before speaking negatively about someone and to remember that not everything is on the surface. Everyone has battles we might not know anything about.
What I didn't like:
Sabrina was a bit annoying to me at first but as her faith grew I liked her a lot more than I initially thought.
Who I would recommend it to:
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys inspirational fiction. It is a clean and gentle read with touches of romance.
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Bethany House publishing.
Posted December 4, 2013
I recently had the chance to read a free review copy of Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman. I was really drawn into the character of Sabrina Rice...after watching Chariots of Fire with her mom, she had set her dreams on being an Olympic runner and using that as a springboard to do mission work. As we get to know Sabrina, we learn that her dreams were crushed when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and that she abandoned the entirety of dream, deciding instead to go into PR and put memories of running and thoughts of missionary work behind her. She left the school that she started and is now living with her grandma while attending a new school and working a job on campus, all while doing her best to maintain perfect grades. She is a busy young woman and very focused on school and the future.
Brandy is the granddaughter of one of her grandma's friends. She brings her to dinner one night, hoping that Sabrina can help her out. Brandy's first impression of Sabrina leaves her not wanting to even give her a chance. Sabrina's Grandma convinces her to at least try to help her out, so she reluctantly does. As Brandy gets to know and trust Sabrina, she starts to see her in a new light. Working with Brandy, allows Sabrina to finally reflect on the impact that the RA has made on her life and to revisit what is important to her and what her true aspirations might be. With time, Sabrina and Brandy not only come to learn more about each other but also themselves and they start to develop a true friendship. Brandy realizes that Sabrina believes in her and uses that motivation to keep going - so as not to disappoint and in the process, achieves her own goals.
Kathryn did a great job of weaving in Sabrina's prior reflections on the Children of Israel from her childhood when her dreams were still intact. As Sabrina begins to reflect on where she is now and how her life has changed and what direction is right for her future, she revisits her earlier writings and perspectives and these help her to reflect on what she once thought was her calling and whether her illness had taken it away or only changed it.
I enjoyed reading through a couple of interviews with the author about the book. Through this, I came to learn that this story was in part based on her own daughter's experience of being diagnosed with a chronic illness at a young age. I also learned that she is not a runner, but did train for and run a 5K as part of her research. I really liked the idea that she was willing to do the research necessary to give the story a real perspective from what it took to train and run. She also reflected on the parallel that she was drawing with the Children of Israel and how just because something is God's calling doesn't mean it will be easy.
This was the first book that I have read by Kathryn Cushman, but after reading Chasing Hope, I would be interested in reading more of her books. She has one called Almost Amish, which with my enjoyment of Amish fiction, sounds like a great next book for me. If you are looking for a story of hope and friendship, I think this is a great book to consider.
Posted November 24, 2013
Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman
Sabrina Rice had it all; she was an Olympic hopeful with a promising career ahead of her. She thought she had found her calling from God until everything fell apart with the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Still struggling ten years later she meets Brandy Philip. Sabrina and Brandy are as different as night and day. Brandy has the talent and potential to become an Olympic medalist but has a huge chip on her shoulder. Read this inspiring story to see if Sabrina can reach this troubled teen. See how they face the pain of past hurts that are life changing and drift into a future with endless possibilities.
The author Kathryn Cushman did an outstanding job of brining the characters to life. They struggle with real life issues, fight with dignity and prove that courage and hard work do pay off. I found this book to be inspiring and offers hope for the hopeless. I suffer from RA also and found the information and emotions to be truthful and right on. Her characters are faith filled and their struggles are real.
I give this book and author five stars. This was the first of her books I have read but it will not be the last.
I want to give a high-five to the author Kathryn Cushman and publisher for bringing compelling Christian books that are entertaining and give hope to the reader with stories of faith. I won this book in a contest held at The Book Club Network Inc. and I am so grateful for their generosity.
Posted October 30, 2013
This is book #6 in the Tomorrow's Promise Collection, I have not read any of the previous books. Definitely a stand-alone story.
This book is real, it is full of emotion, emotions that are quite real to most people so you will find yourself quickly connecting with the characters in this story. How many times have things in your life turned out differently than you thought they would? Well, Sabrina has had that happen and although she deals with her pain on a daily basis, she hasn't fully come to terms with it. Brandy drives Sabrina crazy, but yet, Sabrina helps her and they have an amazing journey of healing...together!
This was a great read with a different story line than so many of the books out there
Posted October 11, 2013
Sabrina had it all going for her. Her talent in running had led to a full-ride at the University of Tennesse, and the Olympics didn't seem too far behind. Then something began to go wrong, and Sabrina saw her whole world falling apart. Struggling to find a new direction in life, Sabrina's grandma's friend asks Sabrina to take on her troubled granddaughter Brandy who also seemed to have a talent for running. As Sabrina and Brandy struggle to find common ground, they both find something even better- a new direction in life.
I was very intrigued by the concept of this book, so I really looked forward to reading it. It did not disappoint. The story very quickly drew me in, and I didn't want to stop reading. I found Sabrina to be sympathetic without being too whiny. I really thought that the character of Sabrina could easily cross over in to a really mopey person, but the author managed to find a really good balance between making her sympathetic to the reader but still keeping her as a hopeful person. Brady was another character that could have gone into a caricature almost of a troubled teen, but the author does a great job of making you want to root for her success.
This book was a super fast read. One really interesting aspect to me was the idea of what to do when your life doesn't turn out like you thought it would. Sabrina was so sure she was called to spread the love of God to everyone through her running, but then when she could no longer run she was so unsure about what she had felt. I think all of us feel this from time to time. We are so sure that our life is going one direction, and then suddenly we find ourselves way far away from where we thought we'd be. This book brings out the point that we can find our calling in life in different ways. Just because we think it's derailed does not mean it actually is. Overall this was an inspiring and interesting story. I really enjoyed it, and it will make a great escape while still leaving you with things to think about.
Book provided for review.
Posted October 4, 2013
This is one of those astoundingly inspiring books that is not only a good story, but a phenomenal story that changes your life.
Entertaining, bold, and full of hope.
This story enraptures your heart and gives you the desire to be a better person...
To push forward...with faith.
A very uplifting tale!
Sabrina used to love running. It was her dream. It was her calling.
She was planning on the Olympics.
That is until the day her body deceived her an quit running on her...diagnosis...rheumatoid arthritis.
She had to give up her scholarship and make new plans for her future.
Then Brandy came into her life. Brandy had all the makings of a good runner except discipline.
Brandy was headed for juvenile hall unless someone could help her find some direction in her life.
Sabrina was the answer...
Together they began training Brandy to accomplish what Sabrina was never able to finish.
Maybe running was still in Sabrina's life after all...just in a different way than first planned.
SO AMAZINGLY GOOD!
COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!
A DEFINITE MUST READ!
Posted October 4, 2013
Chasing Hope is the inspirational story about shattered dreams and second chances. Author Kathryn Cushman weaves a wonderful tale that follows the unlikely friendship and mentoring between Sabrina Rice and Brandy Philip. Sabrina was destined to be an Olympic runner, but when a life changing health problem was diagnosed, her Olympic dreams were shattered. With her dreams in the past, Sabrina changed her goals and was in her last year of college when her path crosses with Brandy Philip, a troubled teenage graffiti artist, who was outrunning the campus security. Sabrina realizes the potential in Brandy's running, and reluctantly agrees to coach and mentor the troubled teen. Coming together will ultimately change the course of both of their lives.
This is a story of letting go of the past and its disappointments, and recognizing that God always has a plan for you. It is the inspirational and heartwarming story of redemption, friendship, and helping others. You can't help but get drawn into Sabrina and Brandy's story, it is easy to relate to the problems that they faced in their lives. The author draws upon the reader's compassion and hope as Sabrina and Brandy's friendship developed, and as they learned to overcome the struggles in their lives and succeed to become better people. I loved the mentoring relationship between Sabrina and Brandy, it was such a positive and hopeful relationship that made me smile and believe that through inner strength, courage, determination, hard work and faith, you can rebuild and achieve success in your life.
Chasing Hope is a beautiful story that provides the reader with a positive outlook on life through faith, hope and belief in God's plan for you.
Posted October 1, 2013
Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman is a stand-alone novel that explores the world of competitive running, chronic disease, and times when dreams die and life feels terribly unfair. Kathryn always writes great contemporary fiction that often deals with emotional issues, but I believe this is one of her best. Highly recommended!
Track enthusiasts will especially enjoy this novel, but so will those not athletically inclined, like me - for this is more of a relationship drama between two strong women who are extremely unlikely to ever form a bond. Chasing Hope is about shattered dreams and second chances. Anyone who has grown up in a less-than-perfect home environment will relate to Brandy, and anyone who has thought they were using their talent and ability as God desired, only to have that door firmly shut in their face, will relate to Sabrina.
Kathryn uses two themes that really drew me in, the first of which was Olympian Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire. At the age of twelve, Sabrina watched Eric "drink in God's pleasure as he ran" and felt the same calling on her life. But ten years later, doubts cloud her relationship with God as she struggles to understand why He would take away the means to accomplish that call.
The second theme relates to a devotional Sabrina had written at the age of 17, when all was going well along her career track - a devotional about how the Israelites had been called to a life of freedom, only to whine and look back longingly toward Egypt when life in the desert became difficult. It takes her grandmother's words to help Sabrina see the personal application to her desert journey: "You thought you were going to serve God by Olympic glory. Well, maybe the truth is you are going to serve God because of your running, but through a much more difficult scenario than you'd expected - one involving pain and suffering and loss. Perhaps you didn't misunderstand God's call, perhaps you took some of the details in the middle for granted."
It is a joy to watch both Brandy and Sabrina grow physically, emotionally and spiritually through the pages of Chasing Hope. The ending is realistic and powerful at the same time, and actually had me in tears. Sabrina came to the realization that for Eric Liddell, Olympic dreams were secondary to his desire to follow God in the best way he knew how. And for Brandy, it was the discovery that "maybe sometimes you have to lose almost everything to realize that there is something valuable that you've had in your possession all along."
As I said earlier, please don't pass this book by because you're not into athletics. Chasing Hope is a character-driven drama that offers so much insight into the Christian life. And of course, sports fans will easily relate to its theme and message. It was an honor to review this novel and I highly recommend it to all readers.
A digital copy of Chasing Hope was provided by Amanda Dykes, Amy Green and Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Posted September 27, 2013
It's been awhile since I've read a Kathryn Cushman novel. Her earlier novels tended toward women's fiction, and while I loved her writing, those stories don't grab me as much as others. Chasing Hope grabbed me from the first scene and didn't let go. Sabrina Rice had Olympic size running dreams, then life interrupted and crushed those hopes. Now she's a college senior looking for a job, and wondering if she can hear God since what she'd imagined for her future has been destroyed. Brandy Philip is a teen on her way to juvie unless she gets some help. When their paths cross, I wondered how two such wounded people could help each other. Sabrina has been wounded by her doubts about God, and Brandy doesn't believe anybody could care about her. What happens is a story woven between their perspectives, each seeing something -- even when it's very reluctantly -- in the other that they can't see in themselves. The ending was perfect -- happy sigh worthy. I loved this story and can't wait to read the next by this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2013
What do you get when you cross an Olympic-oriented runner with a teenager who spends her time
running from the law? You get a terrific story of Sabrina and Brandy. Sabrina spent her high school
days making a name for herself as being a first-class runner and someone who is destined for the
Olympics. Unfortunately, health issues cause he to give up her dreams. Enter Brandy who doesn't
have a good history of making right decisions, except for how to run from the police. As a favor to the
grandmothers, Sabrina agrees to coach Brandy and try to turn this wayward youth onto a life that is
filled with potential. Will Brandy let Sabrina into her life enough to inspire her in the right direction?
Pick up your own copy and go BUY THE BOOK!
This book shows us that even when we feel we know His plans, there's nothing ever written in stone.
The author does a great job of weaving the desires of the characters along the story line, giving you insight
into their thoughts. I always enjoy reading books that take the characters on different journeys, once
that lead them far away from where they expect to travel. I enjoy this because it gives me, the reader,
the chance to see how amazing a life can be when we let Him be in charge. The author does a great
job of showing that our lives can be so much more fulfilling when we surrender to Him and let Him guide
us instead of trying to do everything on our own accord.
Is this a guy's book? This book is so much more than how it first appears. While it is not overtly a "guy's
book" because there's not much in the way of adventure, explosions, gun fights or car chases, it is
definitely a book that everybody needs to read. This is the type of book that you should pass along to
everyone that you know, because everyone can get something from this book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Posted September 10, 2013
Chasing Hope is the gripping story of a former Olympic hopeful and a juvenile deliquent. Their paths cross in an unlikely situation and they both try their hardest to make something out of shattered lives.
I really enjoyed this novel. The story was interesting and moved along at a good pace. The issues that each of the characters were dealing with were relateable. They weren't cheesy like many books are . Overall, I definitely recommend this book. Its a fairly light read, but it will still make you think.
Posted September 9, 2013
At first I thought this would be a boring sports novel. Was I wrong! This story sticks with you from beginning to end and will pull at your emotions. Sabrina is an honor student who used to be heading to the Olympics to “run for God.” Her plans changed when she was diagnosed with a juvenile form of arthritis. Dreams crushed and friends gone, she is a bitter young lady. After losing her ability to run like a pro, she constantly thinks poorly of herself. Even when her boyfriend showers her with attention, she pushes him away because she feels he is out of her league. Sabrina’s well being gets even worse when she encounters a young woman who has star running potential but who wastes opportunities by drinking and getting mixed in with the wrong crowd. As Sabrina eventually begins to coach the young hooligan—you’ll have to read and find out how THAT happens—both women begin to admire the other and eventually become friends. The friend parts takes a long while, of course. Overall, this book is very inspirational and will make you wonder about your place in this world and how you can make a difference in someone’s life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2013
It's no secret I'm a huge Kathryn Cushman fan. Which means I also have high expectations for her novels.
Chasing Hope exceeded those expectations.
Sabrina was an Olympic-calibre runner whose career was cut short by a medical condition. She immediately changed focus and poured all her energies into her college major, determined to succeed at her new goal.
Brandy is an at-risk teenager trying to outrun her past and stay out of juvie.
Sabrina's grandmother convinces her to coach Brandy. Sabrina reluctantly agrees, never dreaming how her life will change in the weeks ahead.
Cushman does a great job giving two sides to an issue. Chasing Hope gives us both characters' perspectives on their own athletic abilities. Sabrina loved running and misses it so much that she avoids even watching college sports because it's a stabbing reminder of what she's lost. Brandy sees running as her ticket out of juvie and that's about it. They each grow to see that running is both more and less than an athletic endeavor.
As Sabrina struggles to finish her senior year of college with additional medical challenges, she takes the reader along her journey. We travel out of Egypt with Sabrina and the ancient Israelites. We cross the Red Sea on dry land. We thirst for God. I found myself holding my breath and flexing my legs during the running scenes and thirsty while Sabrina mused about three days without water.
Another reviewer commented that Chasing Hope didn't contain anything explicitly Christian that made it a Christian book. I disagree. I found faith woven throughout the book but so skillfully done that someone who says they "never read Christian fiction" could be converted to loving Inspirational novels.
Chasing Hope wins the gold! I loved it and highly recommend it.
**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Done and done.
Posted September 9, 2013
A beautiful story of determination and hard work to achieve its goals.
A beautiful story about broken dreams, second chance and the determination to achieve its objectives. Very positive and hopeful.
Through the journey of two young women, Sabrina and Brandy, the author speaks of mishaps that happen sometimes without explanation on the life road. How do people manage to get up, to make new plans when their dreams have been shattered. How they find in themself and their entourage the strength, courage and faith to move forward.
Sabrina was a very good runner with dreams of competing in the Olympics. Illness has stolen all her chances. But the girl did not let herself get down. She change her ambitions and create new goals for herself. Only when she crosses paths with a young troubled girl, super talented in the race department, that she is reluctant to become involve with this girl. Too much burried memories and pain.
Brandy has a difficult past and need someone to believed in her. Her entourage encourage her to set goals for her future. By trusting each others and being honest, the two women will learn to rebuild a new future by drawing strength from the past.
A beautiful story of determination and hard work to achieve its goals. This is the kind of reading that makes you want to look at life positively and keep believing in it.
Posted September 8, 2013
Brandy Philip is a natural born runner, but she is chasing trouble. The only running she does well is out running the police that are chasing her.
Sabrina Rice is a driven college student chasing her dream to land the perfect internship at a prestigious company in Atlanta.
God brings these two young women together to learn from each other. The story reveals how Sabrina was a well known runner in high school, but due to health issues had to give up her running dreams. Sabrina agrees to coach Brandy and turn her into a long distance runner. Along the way, Sabrina learns that some of the dreams God gives us may not be fulfilled in ways we understand or expect.
This book spoke to me in a very special way. I am just like Sabrina, finding how God continues to mold and shape my dreams in ways that I do not understand or expect. This book made me take a look at my relationship with God to see that I am still harboring some anger with God for not doing things according to "my plan". Cushman has a great message that comes to the reader in a gentle voice.
My thanks to Bethany House publishers and Netgalley for providing me with the complimentary e-book copy to review.
Posted September 6, 2013
Sabrina Rice was a runner from a young age until something stopped her. Now she lives with her Grandmother and attends a community college. This is where she spots Brandy, running from the campus security with a spay can of paint in her hand. Seeing Brandy brings painful memories back to Sabrina's thoughts, the feeling of sadness, loss, giving up on a dream that meant so much, and while those feelings are easily felt by the reader, we don't actually know what Sabrina has given up on and why.
Sabrina and Brandy run in different circles until Sabrina is enlisted by her Grandma to keep Brandy on the straight and narrow to avoid being taken away by the judge. This is Brandy's last chance to stay with her Grandmother, who is also friends with Sabrina's Grandmother. After some deliberation Sabrina accepts, and approaches the cross country teachers to let Brandy join team.
As you can imagine, Brandy and Sabrina don't start out as the best of friends, but the more time the duo spend together training the more they begin to form a tentative friendship, that seems to get stronger when they each reveal personal secrets.
The journey for this duo is in no way an easy one, with both having setbacks along the way. But on the journey Brandy soon realises how much Sabrina is sacrificing, and how hard she is working to help Brandy. After this revelation we see changes in both of these girls, and see how far they are willing to stretch themselves to the limit.
Chasing Hope was a fantastic read from start to finish. Each page only made me want to know more about Sabrina's past, want to see how far Brandy was willing to go, and most of all would this duos dream become a reality. Chasing Hope is on of those books that instantly draws you in and takes you along for the ride, letting you experience all the emotions along with the characters. I laughed, cried, and cheered for the characters. But Chasing Hope is also about the journey you can take to let go of your lost dreams and put that loss into something wonderful, to help others achieve the dream you once had but also to put your trust in another person so they can help you too. I love how Sabrina and Brandy are completely opposite in every way, yet they manage to work out their differences and form an alliance, enabling Sabrina to work over her own issues, but help Brandy become an excellent runner in the process. A moment that stands out for me, and shows how far the girls have come, is when Brandy stands up to Kayla Ratcli and tells her what she thinks of her badmouthing Sabrina, this part made me cheer and shake my invisible pom-poms for Brandy.
Like in all books, the past is always revealed, and Chasing Hope is no different, except Sabrina's past is a heart breaking one. My heart literally broke for Sabrina, having the talent she has and then not being able to use it, but seeing her carry on, and after some coaxing, even share this talent with others is remarkable and unselfish, and I really don't think if I was in this situation I would be able to do what she does. Chasing Hope is the first book by Kathryn Cushman I have read, but after finishing this one I intend to check out some of her other books.