Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Beautiful Mess


Can she love the child who broke up her marriage?

Nearly four years ago, Erin Belden’s happy life became a shattered mess. After her husband admitted to an affair and that a child had been conceived, he left her and their young daughter for his new family. Now, she’s finally ready to put the pieces of her life together. She’s set to launch her own business and even thinks her heart might be open to romance—should the right man come along.

But just when everything seems to be lining up, she receives a devastating call: her ex-husband and his wife have been killed in a car accident, and Erin is listed in their will as their daughter’s legal guardian.

How can she be a mother to the child—let alone love the child—who broke up her marriage? Does she have the courage to start over yet again and turn this mess into a mosaic of beauty?

A single mother’s journey from bitterness to forgiveness.

My thoughts: Poor Erin is really put through the ringer in this story! Left by her husband and childhood sweetheart for another woman, she is still finding it hard to move past the bitterness festering in her heart. When tragedy leaves her as the guardian of the child who symbolizes the destruction of her marriage, she comes to realize that God has a bigger plan at work through forgiveness.
This story blew me away! Brenda does a wonderful job of writing a book that is hard to put down! The reader sympathizes with Erin and all she has gone through, as well as cheers for the poor little girl left without her parents. The story deals beautifully with children grieving (as well as adults) and learning to love again. I look forward to reading more by Brenda!
I received this book from Just Read. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here:

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The Last of the Magi


Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel's promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can't forget and the promise that the world will never be the same

My thoughts: I have read and enjoyed each of Patrick's previous books, so I was thrilled to get this one in the mail from Bethany House! While different from his previous titles, which have been more along the lines of fantasy, this book is still a story of adventure. I loved the characters and how the time period is brought to life. I never thought much about the magi and the political climate of the world outside of Jerusalem surrounding Jesus' birth, so I really enjoyed that aspect of this story. This is an excellent book to pick up and read this holiday season, though it isn't one that needs to be limited to Christmas time.
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

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Before Christmas review!


What’s so exciting about the Christmas story? Why not take a look at the backstory to find out? Journey through the Bible to uncover what it says about the birth of Jesus as you examine . . .
His character as God,
His relationship with the Father—the One who sent Him,
His appearances in the Old Testament, and more.
See for yourself how these pre-Bethlehem facts lead into the very first Christmas and how it all comes together in God’s great story of redemption and rescue. Discover the true excitement of the season, which ignites a greater appreciation and wonder for the Savior’s birth.

My thoughts: This little book is a wonderful one to pick up this holiday season, since I loved how it sets the stage for the message of Christmas and Jesus' birth, because His birth is about way more than just a baby born in a manger. It actually reminds me of a song that was included in the Christmas program at church last year, which was titled "It's about the Cross". I love how he draws from history and personal experiences to weave scriptures together. This is an excellent book to celebrate Christmas with!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here:

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About the Author:
Bill Crowder, who spent over twenty years in the pastorate, is vice president of ministry content at Our Daily Bread Ministries. He is a contributor to Our Daily Bread and the author of nine books, including My Hope Is in You, Seeing the Heart of Christ, and For This He Came. He and his wife, Marlene, have five children.

More from Bill
During my years as a pastor, I found Christmas and Easter to be challenging. Certainly I love those seasons (for very different reasons), but finding creative ways to retell these important stories was often difficult. But, at one such season I realized that the story we tell at Christmas is not really the whole story. By entering the story at Nazareth or Bethlehem, we enter too late. We can’t simply start with the Baby in the manger—we need to go back. Before time began. To the eternal Christ. Unless we seek to understand Him, we’ll never fully appreciate who He was and why He came. That is the Christmas story. – Bill Crowder

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate his tour, Bill is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book, Starbucks Holiday Blend Coffee, and $10 Amazon card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lawfully Innocent


Benjamin Beckett, a handsome young English lord, lacks purpose in his life of privilege. After learning the truth about his heritage, he decides to leave unbearable boredom behind, making drastic changes in his too predictable life. Adventure awaits Benjamin across the ocean, and he embraces the challenges before him.

Can a man who's not yet thirty be strong enough to impact the New World?

Will he find a cure for his loneliness and ennui?

My thoughts: I thought that the premise of this story was interesting, since Benjamin is raised in England, in a very different world than the one he choses when he moves to America and becomes a Marshall. It was also interesting to have him move from a country that had abolished slavery to one that was still very much in the midst of it being acceptable.
The story is short, so it's easy to get through quickly. I liked the message of it as Benjamin does his job while putting his beliefs into practice. It has some beautiful scenes in it!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here:

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About the Author:
Robin Helm’s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy; the Yours by Design series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours; Understanding Elizabeth; and More to Love. Ms. Helm also contributed stories to A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine.
She plans to publish Maestro, Lawfully Innocent, and A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3 in 2019.
Her life in (usually) sunny, small town South Carolina is busy, but affords time for writing, reading, teaching and performing music, and playing games on her phone. (Would you believe she’s an elder in a war game? And she’s writing a book about it?)

More from Robin
I grew up in South Carolina during the 1960’s and 1970’s when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. South Carolina did not comply immediately, so I remember my doctor’s office with two waiting rooms, two water fountains, and two doors, both leading to the same doctor and same examination room. It seemed very strange to me even then. I did not know any African American children, because schools, restaurants, churches, the town pool, the public health center, our neighborhoods – everything – was segregated.
When I was in high school, that began to change. At first, only a few African-American students came to my school. I really didn’t notice, because we all worked together. I have since looked back and realized the bravery of those students. They left their newly built high school, which was much nicer than the very old one I attended, and came to a place where they knew almost no one.
My junior year, our schools and all public buildings were desegregated. Our town handled it very well. Three high schools combined, but everyone kept doing the things they had done. That year, three sets of cheerleaders combined and three of each sports team came together. It was wonderful! We had cheerleaders all the way down the sidelines, and the captain’s position was shared. The school busses were desegregated as well, and I drove a route.
I have no bad memories of that time. There were no fights, no arguments, no violence of any sort.
This story is set in the mid 1840’s in South Carolina, and it addresses what sorts of things had to happen before we could get to The Civil Rights act and desegregation.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

The Bright Unknown Review!


This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship, and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world—if only we’re willing to look.
Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.
Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.
Narrated in Elizabeth Byler Younts's gorgeous style, The Bright Unknown is a sparkling search for answers, family, and a place to call home.
Praise for The Bright Unknown:
“With prose that is luminous and lyrical, The Bright Unknown is a compelling read from the first page to the last.” —Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War.

My thoughts: Where to start with this book? While I didn't care for Elizabeth's writing style, I did find the story line and theme of this book fascinating. I have read some on the practices in mental asylums throughout the years, so some of the elements to the story didn't surprise me. It still breaks my heart to read about the practices, as well as thankful that a lot of things have changed.
Brighton is a unique character, and I loved how imaginative it was to have a character who has been raised totally sheltered from the outside world, leaving her totally unprepared to live out in the "real" world. It got me thinking about all the possibilities that such a person would face! How terrifying or exciting, depending on the first few experiences. The book takes some unexpected twists and turns once she leaves with Angel, and I enjoyed the last fourth of the book the best for those surprises. The conclusion is worth sticking with the story!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here:

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About the Author:
Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

More from Elizabeth
The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.
That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Murder in the Family Review!

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards

Title: Murder in the Family

Author: Ramona Richards
 

Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
 

Genre: Cozy Mystery
 

Release Date: September 17, 2019

 



Greed Poisons Even The Sweetest Well



Storm chaser Molly McClelland must return to her small Alabama hometown when she unexpectedly inherits her hoarder aunt's house . . . and all of its contents.



Despite her suspicions that her aunt was murdered, Molly wants nothing more than to sell everything and get back to the life she loves. Especially once her homecoming reignites the decades-old family conflict that drove her away in the first place. But when Molly uncovers caches of cash, journals revealing secrets-and a body-amongst the stockpiles, she finds herself locked in a cat-and-mouse dance with a deadly endgame.



Molly teams with local sheriff, Greg Olson, to find the truth. But will her determination and his skills be enough, or will the killer-or killers-put an end to their efforts once and for all?


My thoughts: Oh my goodness, this book was hard to put down! As soon as Molly set foot in her childhood small town full of secrets with a hoarder's home as an inheritance, I was hooked. Twenty years before, her family was ripped apart by greed, so she took off and never looked back. When she inherits her aunt's home, all the old wounds are re-opened.
I like that this book has so many different layers, both to the characters and the story that unfolds. How does one become a hoarder? What happens when a crime is committed in a house packed full to the gills? I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that this is a wonderful, suspenseful read to pick up! I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Just Read. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.



 PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christianbook




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ramona Richards

 


Ramona Richards is the associate publisher for Iron Stream Media, the parent company of New Hope Publishers, Iron Stream Kidz, and Ascender Books. She has been an in-house editor for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine, and has freelanced for a dozen other publishers. The author of nine novels, three books of devotions, and numerous magazine articles, she is a frequent speaker for women’s and writers’ groups, and has presented at numerous conferences across the country. Her latest book, Murder in the Family, released in October from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 



CONNECT WITH RAMONA: Website | Facebook | Twitter




TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive two signed copies of Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards (it's Christmas!), a $15 Visa gift card, and a signed copy of one of the author's older books!

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 7, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 14, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Wonderful Yah


What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you know? This intriguing question from the book of Proverbs seems to echo the question in so many of our hearts: Who is God really? Over the past two millennia, people have tried to understand the mystery of the divinity of God using logic and thinking, but it fails every time. The Godhead does not operate or function as people do, and God is not subject to human reasoning. Yet understanding the mystery of the Godhead is both simple and profound when we know how to use the key Jesus gave us.
This book begins by accepting the challenge of some of the most thought-provoking Scriptures in the entire Bible--Proverbs 30:2-4. Throughout the book's exploration of the divinity of God, a power hidden within God's Hebrew name is discovered and then unleashed to answer the question, What is His name, and what is the name of His Son? The mystery of the Godhead is then subdued as God's Hebrew name erupts as the correct foundation on which to discuss the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Scriptural doors that once seemed impenetrable now open easily with a turn of a key, helping you to connect with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a deeper, more focused way.

My thoughts: I feel like this book could of been better organized and done a better job of sticking to the subject at hand. I was excited to learn more about what is God's name and the importance of it, but felt like this book didn't really reach it's full potential. While the study is interesting, I would of liked to not have as many side tracks with it. This wound up being an interesting study on the names of the trinity, but I wish it had been better organized.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.


Purchase a copy:

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About the Author:
After spending twenty-five years working with the severe and persistently mentally ill, Matthew William Marx felt a burden to pray for those struggling to understand Jesus. His prayers led him to a deeper understanding of God, which he is now sharing with his readers. Matthew is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and holds a master’s degree in social work. He is licensed with the state of Michigan, where he lives with his wife, Suzanne.

More from Matthew
Wow! Who would have known? Normally, non-fiction books like Wonderful YaH: The Unveiling primarily focus on: what is the problem and how to fix it. However, wouldn’t it be intriguing if a non-fiction book incorporated some elements of a fiction book such as mystery, suspense, and drama, with the reader bring the drama as they deal with their internal dialogue on how to answer a proposed question to help solve the mystery. Be aware, however, that this type of adventure and journey is not for the timid or light of heart. Taking fiction elements such as mystery, suspense, and drama and placing them in a non-fiction book could produce a real-world reality shift that is different from what the reader has known or experienced—Wonderful YaH: The Unveiling is one such book.
Come and join me on a non-fiction journey and adventure that incorporates some elements of fiction that explore, explain, and solve two of the greatest mysteries of the Bible. The two great mysteries to which I refer are (1) the divinity of Jesus Christ in the Godhead, and (2) how our lives and the choices we make fit into God’s will and divine providence. Many smart and wise people, over the past two thousand years, have tried to explain and solve these two mysteries but have fallen short typically. Wonderful YaH: The Unveiling fills the gaps left by previous attempts to solve these two great mysteries by discovering the hidden power in God’s Hebrew name, then harnessing that power to solve the mysteries.
You might ask, “What is the point of being able to solve these two great mysteries, and what does it have to do with me”? The point is to know the One who created everything and to figure out how our lives fit into His grand scheme of everything. More simply stated, what is our purpose for being on planet earth? Surely, there is more to life than just being born, living for a few decades if you are fortunate, then dying. Isn’t it worth asking: Is our life more than just a blade of grass that is here today then gone tomorrow? If there were an answer to this mystery, wouldn’t it be nice to find the answer to this mystery before we die? People often read fiction for the adventure of mystery and suspense. Why not read a non-fiction book that offers mystery and suspense but with real-life consequences?

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate his tour, Matthew is giving away the grand prize package of the choice of paperback book or eBook, a $75 Amazon gift card, and a $25 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.