Monday, February 20, 2017

Door to Freedom


"It's rough and it's smooth. It's dark and it's light. It's a masterpiece. It's us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition."

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister's sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedomthe freedom that only comes when you trust God's sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers' line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

My thoughts: While this book is exceptional, I think I liked the first one the best, since it really showed the sacrifice that Muslims have to make when they accept Jesus as their Savior. That said, this one was wonderful and I did appreciate the message of serving God even when persecuted. Jana does a fantastic job of bringing her characters to life, their struggles and joys. I enjoyed the taste of what it would be like to live in modern Sudan and what an adjustment it is to be in a different culture. I highly recommend this series!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Amish Wanderer





 


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book




 



Book: Amish Wanderer

 



Author: Laura V. Hilton

 



Genre: Amish Romance

 



Release Date: February 14



Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.



Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.



When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem naïve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?



My thoughts: This book is fascinating! Quite different from the normal Amish fiction, since it is partially based on real events. I appreciate that Laura tackles difficult subjects in this story, and does so with grace. I look forward to reading more of her stories!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author




 



Laura V. Hilton



Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.



Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.



Guest Post from Laura Hilton


I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.



But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.



So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:



For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)



And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?



I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.



The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.



I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.



When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.



And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.



My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.



Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.



Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.



Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.



Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?



How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.



The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.



You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.



For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)



Blog Stops

February 15: A Rup Life
February 15: Lane Hill House
February 16: Daysong Reflections
February 16: Blogging With Carol
February 17: Bigreadersite
February 18: Rhonda’s Doings
February 19: A Greater Yes
February 19: A Holland Reads
February 21: Mom Is Forever
February 22: Splashes of Joy
February 23: Carpe Diem
February 24: Pause for Tales
February 24: Quiet Quilter
February 25: Donna’s BookShelf
February 27: Giveaway Lady
February 27: Autism Mom

Giveaway

[Insert Giveaway Picture Here]

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1),
a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and
Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Top Ten: favorite boy next door/letter writing romances


My favorite type of romance is the one where the boy next door or good friend suddenly sweeps a girl off her feet. It's only fitting, I suppose, that I wound up with my own story of a guy I viewed as a friend sweeping me off my feet.;) But, I digress. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Emma and Mr. Knightley

One of my all time favorite love stories, since I love how Emma and Mr. Knightley go from friends to sweethearts.

2. Katniss and Peeta

I was always team Peeta.;)

3. Ron and Hermoine



4. Rose and Mac


5. Jake and Lyndie



Favorite letter exchanging romances (since there is just something romantic about writing letters to one another! And yes, I did make my husband write me letters when we were dating.;))

6. Dear Mr. Knightley


7. It Started With Goodbye


8. Shop Around the Corner


9. Daddy Long Legs


10. Dear Enemy

Long Days of Small Things


Rich, soul-inspiring practices for moms who have neither quiet nor time.
Dirty laundry, crayon-smeared bills, and smashed crackers . . . And there’s your Bible—buried under a pile of diapers. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, without a moment of peace and quiet, you wonder if the spiritual life you crave is even possible. But God sees you. He designed this parenting journey, after all. He understands the chaos of motherhood. And he joins you in everything—whether you’re scrubbing the floor, nursing a fussy newborn, or driving to soccer practice. Catherine McNiel invites you to connect with God right here, in the sacred mundane of every mothering moment.

My thoughts: This book is just what I needed! Within the last year, we made the switch to my staying home full time with our two little ones, and it was a harder transition then I thought it would be! While there is always a lot to be done, sometimes I feel like I'm not making much headway. This book was an excellent reminder of how important those little things are when raising children. I loved how open Catherine is, since I think most of us have imperfect moments during our journey of motherhood.;) This is a must read for mothers, especially those who have small children or are just starting out on their journey as a mother, though this book is not limited to those two groups. This book is a beautiful reminder of how motherhood can refine us and teach us important things, like implementing the fruits of the spirit.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Full


Can the Bible help me with my food struggles?

Have you ever felt stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of overeating, yo-yo dieting, and obsessive thoughts about food?

Whether you feel defeated by your lack of self-control or overwhelmed by thoughts and longings for food, the answer to our food fixation does not lie in the $500 billion global diet industry.

This is not a diet book and it’s not a healthy eating plan. Because at the core, our problem is not really what we eat. It’s why we seek fullness in something that will never satisfy.

Join Asheritah Ciuciu as she shares honestly about her own battles with food and reveals the path to freedom. You’ll discover the joy of living free from food fixation so you can experience deeper satisfaction in Christ, gain a renewed sense of purpose, and yes, even enjoy good food (without regret).

A healthier relationship with food through a stronger relationship with Christ—that’s the goal of Full.

Includes a quiz to help you find out if you have food fixation, plus practical strategies for overcoming it.

My thoughts: This book was the perfect choice to read at the beginning of a new year, with wanting to stick to my new years resolutions of eating healthier and being better about exercising. I appreciated how thorough this book is and how many different personal stories are shared throughout the book. If you battle food fixations or think you have an unhealthy view of food, then I highly recommend this book!
I received this book from Moody publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Dog Who Was There


No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.

He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

My thoughts: This was such a fun read, since it was a totally different perspective of Christ's life and the times He lived in! I enjoyed how different this story is from most out there.

Two Suitors for Anna review and giveaway


 


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book





Book: Two Suitors for Anna

 



Author: Molly Jebber

 



Genre: Amish Historical Romance

 



Release Date: January 31, 2017

 



In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for and a new, very different future…



Since Anna Plank moved to Berlin, Ohio, with her widowed mamm and two schweschders, she’s found a real sense of belonging. As soon as her beloved Noah Schwartz proposes, they’ll begin a new chapter here together. But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves.



Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share…

 

My thoughts: This story was a delightful, charming tale of a young woman trying to figure out who to spend the rest of her life with. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters, as well as some of the secondary characters, since Molly does a wonderful job of bringing them all to life. This is a sweet tale!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.



Praise for Molly Jebber’s Change of Heart



“Endearing characters and a delightful story make this a keeper for fans of Amish romance.” –Emma Miller



“This is a wonderfully written historical romance with Amish and Englisch characters who are loveable and considerate of others. The storyline is believable and heartwarming. Jebber is a talented author.” –RT Book Reviews

 


About the Author





Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.



She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!



Guest Post from Molly Jebber


What prompted Two Suitors for Anna?

Have you had to choose between two men you love? Or maybe a friend? I gave Anna this dilemma and added to her turmoil by throwing in a bundle of twists and turns to the story.


Noah proposes to Anna, and he takes her rejection as hesitation and leaves town. Daniel moves to Berlin and offers her friendship which is blossoming into something more, when Noah returns and asks her forgiveness and another chance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blog Stops


January 31: cherylbbookblog
January 31: Giveaway Lady
February 1: A Greater Yes
February 2: Lane Hill House
February 3: Just Commonly
February 4: Bigreadersite
February 5: Quiet Quilter
February 7: Pause for Tales
February 8: Splashes of Joy
February 11: Carpe Diem
February 12: Donna’s BookShelf
February 13: autism mom
February 14: A Holland Reads

Giveaway