Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Begin Again


What happens when life begins to trip us up and failure starts creeping in? Many of us just keep on doing the same thing, hoping for different results. Some of us look for escape, to find a way out of the mess we feel that we've created. But neither enduring nor escaping is ultimately what we need.

The answer is to allow ourselves to begin again, every day, in every part of our lives. Through engaging, lyrical prose, Leeana Tankersley shows women how to forgive themselves, develop new and healthier patterns of living, and do away with resentment and regret. Her life-giving words will free women who are feeling stuck and allow them to clear out the debris to make room for what God wants to do in their lives. To begin again is to open the window, even a crack, to let the breeze of grace come in. It is a call to stop running from our fears. To take one small step toward becoming the brave women we were made to be.

My thoughts: This book was an interesting look into surrendering. I thought that Leeana had some wonderful thoughts on taking time to take of yourself and upkeep once you get rid of hurts. I also found she had some excellent thoughts on the things we use when we are in survival mode (I know I am guilty of that by picking up my phone and playing on it!). This is an excellent read that is easy to get through.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.


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Breaking the Fear Cycle



It seems there is more to fear now than ever, but fear and anxiety are nothing new to human beings--or to God. The Bible calls us to not be afraid on many occasions, and of course we all want to live without fear. But just how is that accomplished when every news item seems designed to get us wringing our hands?

Using her own story as a catalyst, Maria Furlough shows readers how to overcome fear for good. She calls readers to make a list of their fears, to choose to bring those fears to God rather than acting on them, and to trust God with the future. She shows how when we give God full control over our lives, choosing his sovereignty over our own ability, we can break the cycle of fear, grow through suffering, and trust God to fulfill his promises of protection and peace.

Anyone who is filled with anxiety over their personal circumstances, the state of the world today, or even their fear-clogged social media feeds will welcome this hands-on journey from fear to freedom.

My thoughts: This book is excellent! My family has recently been through several tough experiences that have caused me to face some of my fears head on. So, this book was exactly what I needed! Grounded firmly in scripture and seen through the lens of a woman who has had to face her greatest fears, this book is just incredible. The reminders to surrender fear to the Lord and fully live, since tomorrow is in His hands, were the reminders I needed to hear. I also really appreciated her thoughts on praying faith filled prayers and accepting the answer, even if it isn't the one we would of hoped for. I highly recommend this book!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.


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101 questions you need to ask in your twenties


Adulting got you down?
Whether you just polished off your college graduation cake, are in your twenties or thirties struggling through a quarter-life crisis, you're simply trying to figure out how to become all grown up, or you're a parent looking for that perfect college graduation gift or Christmas gift for your twentysomething, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties is the book for you.
To find important life answers in your 20s, you need to start with good questions. Author, speaker, and blogger Paul Angone has dedicated the last 12 years to helping twentysomethings and in this book he culminates his work to give readers wisdom through major life questions like:
What’s the best way to know if you’re actually ready to get married?
Where’s the future of work headed and what does having a successful career look like today?
How do I make a choice when I don’t know what to choose?
How do I stop networking and start “relationshipping”?
Why do some people have great marriages while others have complete wrecks before they even make it to the highway?
Am I seeing the other side of people’s Instagram photos (you know, the side they’re not exactly posting pictures of)?
What are the Pivotal Plot Points of my story?
Do I have anyone on my "Dream Team"?
After his success with 101 Secrets for your Twenties and connecting with millions of twentysomethings around the world through speaking engagements and his blog AllGroanUp.com, Paul Angone captures the hilarious, freakishly-accurate assessment of life as a modern-day twentysomething (and thirtysomething) facing real Millennial problems, but now he’s digging even deeper.
If you’re drowning your anxieties in Netflix and ice cream, are afraid you’re failing, going crazy, or both, or are just longing for a little guidance to get past “just getting by,” grab this book and start thriving in the most "defining decade" of your life.

My thoughts: This was a fun book to look through! Now that I am a couple of years into my thirties, I thought that this would be an interesting read, which it was. I love the reminders to make your day meaningful, staying committed to your marriage (the myths on marriage were eye opening!), and being a well behaved parent. No matter what your walk is in life, there is something for you in this book. The questions about dreams and work are excellent!
I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


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Monday, April 23, 2018

Top ten words commonly found in classic literature

The first time I attempted to read a classic as a young teen, I kept a running list of words to look up and figure out the meaning of, since I was having a hard time following the story line.;) Here are a few words that are just fun to use that where more common in the classics.

1. Vex
-disturb, especially by minor irritations
"It would vex me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's pretended regard."

2. Rapture
-a state of being carried away by overwhelming emotion (we don't usually use it in this context)
"Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose," said Mr. Bennet; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife.

3. Surmise
-infer from incomplete evidence
They attacked him in various ways--with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas.

4. Supercilious
-having or showing arrogant superiority to
For, though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody.

5. Pedaantic
-marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning
Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she had reached.

6. Reverie
-an abstracted state of absorption
"I can guess the subject of your reverie."

7. Stricture
-severe criticism
What would I give to hear your strictures on them!"

8. Trifling
-not worth considering
People do not die of little trifling colds.

9. Solicitude
-a feeling of excessive concern
When breakfast was over they were joined by the sisters; and Elizabeth began to like them herself, when she saw how much affection and solicitude they showed for Jane.

10. Impute
-attribute or credit to
"I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through yesterday.
Impute
-

Sunday, April 22, 2018

936 Pennies


Make the Most of Your Time with Your Children

On the day of their baby dedication, Eryn and her husband were given a jar of 936 pennies. The jar contained a penny for every week they would raise their child until graduation, and they were instructed to remove one penny each Sunday as a reminder, placing it into another jar as an investment.

At some point every parent realizes time is moving swiftly, and they ask themselves, How am I investing in my child? Through personal stories and biblical examples, 936 Pennies will help you discover how to capture time and use it to its fullest potential, replacing guilt and regrets with freedom. Meanwhile, your kids will see how simple choices, like putting the cell phone down and going on a family hike, will make all the difference. Together you will stretch time and make it richer.

Craft a family legacy in tune with God's heartbeat as you capture a new vision for your children and learn the best ways to spend your pennies.

My thoughts: This book is an excellent way to look at parenting! I know it's so easy to get caught up in the day to day motions and forget that time is passing quickly, even when it seems like it is going slowly. I love Eryn's thoughts on finding peace with parenting and overcoming fears for the unknown. This is an great book to pick up and help parents become more intentional with the time they have with their children.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.


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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Love, Amy review and giveaway


She came to China with a lesson plan. What she found was a new sense of purpose.

Amy Young traveled to China in the mid 1990s to teach English to educators. But she never expected the profound way they would enrich her soul. With the influence of the enchanting country and its extraordinary everyday people, Amy extended a two-year assignment to nearly two decades far away from home.


Starting shortly after her arrival, Amy shared her stories and her unique perspective through a series of letters. Her nine years of correspondence demonstrated a country going through growing pains: from political unrest to the SARS epidemic to budding prosperity. Amy battled language barriers, cultural faux pas, and invasive mice with nothing to lose. She even fought for her life with a potentially deadly illness, unsure if she’d survive to share her tale.


Throughout her journey, Amy drew strength from God and came to appreciate the beauty and power of an ordinary life lived well.Love, Amy: An Accidental Memoir Told in Newsletters from China is one woman’s deeply moving journey of self-transformation. If you like humorous anecdotes, immersions in Eastern culture, and honest stories that aren’t afraid to dig deep, then you’ll love Amy Young’s heartfelt tale.

My review: I wasn't sure what to expect when I first picked this book up, but I found it to be a delightful collection of newsy updates on one young woman's journey to a foreign country. I love traveling and would of enjoyed doing something like teaching English overseas, so I had fun reading Amy's insights on adapting to a country very different from her homeland. I loved seeing how she adjusted, seeing how much she did so when her parents came to visit and where surprised by different customs or every day life there.
Not only did I enjoy reading the experiences, but I also loved Amy's sense of humor. This is an excellent book about another culture.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.


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About the author:
Amy Young is a writer, speaker, and advocate for embracing the messy middle of your one glorious life. Author of Looming Transitions, Twenty Two Activities for Families in Transition, and The Looming Transitions Workbook, she also created the blog The Messy Middle (www.messmiddle.com), has been a part of Velvet Ashes, (an online community for missionaries) from the beginning, and contributes regularly to A Life Overseas. Amy enjoys nothing more than being with her people, wherever they are in the world. She also enjoys cheering on the Denver Broncos and Kansas Jayhawks. After nearly twenty years in China, she returned to Denver and much to her shock, discovered she enjoys gardening.

Guest Post from Amy:
The tug for a life that is “Anything but Boring”
When I was in college the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Sarah Plain and Tall changed my life. You’ve probably seen it and been moved too. Sarah, a spinster by the standard of her day, moves from Boston to the fields of Kansas to consider marrying a widower and help him raise his children and work his farm. Her brother could not understand why Sarah would move from so-called civilization to the middle of nowhere. But the longing she felt for her life to matter resonated deeply with me.
I was in the liminal space between adolescence and adulthood. Like Sarah, I knew I could stay where I was and live a good life, but I wanted more. And so I moved to China.
Our world is one that loves big, change-the-world stories. I love them too. I remember reading The End of the Spear, the story of Jim Elliott and his friends who were martyred for their faith. I also lost myself in the stories of Gladys Aylward, William Carey, Lottie Moon, and Amy Carmichael. I remember reading about a missionary that had some worm pulled out of his stomach that was the size of a large snake. Disgusting! Fascinating! All for the gospel! The life of faith was exciting and God was on the move all the time! While it is true, the life of faith is exciting and God is on the move, it is also ordinary, boring, disappointing, and confusing. When I started compiling the letters I wrote from my days in China, I was embarrassed by what “first year Amy” said. She was so clueless, so uninformed, so willing to display her lack of cultural knowledge. I wanted to put my hand over her mouth and ask her to please pipe down because she did not really believe what she was saying. But she did, “first year Amy” could not know what “fifteen year in China Amy” knew.
These change the world stories I love? Turns out they have been more sanitized than I realized without showing the cultural and ministry progression that must have taken place.
Even now, knowing what I know, part of me wishes my newsletters contained miracles and throngs coming to Christ because of my work. I thought throngs and miracles were what a “real” cross-cultural worker would do. I thought that would show that my life mattered, like Sarah’s when she moved to Kansas. Don’t we all want our lives to matter? I believed that mattering was measurable. By compiling and writing this book the lesson Love, Amy has taught me is that too often we confuse size with significance. I still hear the whisper that says, “Amy, really? You wrote about the cultural beliefs that influence standing in line and you think that is worth people giving of their prayer, money, and time?” Part of me is reluctant even now to publish these letters because they are common. In truth, I am happy with my life and the contributions I have made. Of course I have regrets and wish I’d handled certain situations differently. But if all we hear are the spectacular stories, we can miss the gift our beautifully ordinary lives can be.
Who made it into the Gospels? A widow and her two mites. A boy and his few fish. She is described as offering out of her poverty. His common lunch was used to feed more than he could have imagined. Jesus did not tend to elevate those in power or those who seemed impressive.
My first year, a fellow teacher in China told me, “You’re lucky you’re still in your first year. Wait until your second year and you have told all your stories. You’ll have nothing to say in your newsletters.” Isn’t that the heart of what we fear—that we will have nothing to say with our lives? The secret to combating this fear is not that secretive. Show up and be present. Taken individually, these letters don’t add up to much, but put them together and much to my surprise, month after month I wrote an accidental memoir.
As ordinary as it is, I do have to say, life in China was anything but boring! If you love memoirs and want to hear stories that will make you laugh or cringe (and sometimes both), join me on a college campus in China.

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Giveaway!
Grand Prize: A letter writing basket that includes a $25 Amazon gift card. (follow this link: )

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Hidden Side


New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

My thoughts: I was immediately drawn in to this story, though it was with a sense of foreboding, since I knew where it was going and that it would be a hard story to read. Heidi does a wonderful job of tying the past and present together through the stories of Mercy, Nathan Hale's grieving fiancé, Natalie, and Maelynn. I thought it was interesting to not only have the past and the present, but to also have the added story of the Abbott's teenage daughter as she navigates the halls of high school and the aftermath of a school shooting.
This book covers some difficult subjects, but Heidi handles them wonderfully. The story will have you thinking long after finishing the last page.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.


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Friday, April 13, 2018


Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her.

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

My thoughts: I loved the historical detail in this story! Houdini was a favorite of mine to read about when I was a kid, so it was fun to read a bit more about some of the elements I didn't know much about, like his distrust of spiritualist/mystics and how he got started as a kid. It makes me want to pick up another book about just him!
This story has so many layers, with the mystery in the 1920's of a man brought "back" from the dead to collapse and die on stage and then the mystery of why Wren wants to keep her real name a secret. I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.



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Things I Never Told You


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It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

My thoughts: This book was so hard to put down! I love how the story is written from Payton and Jillian's point of views. Beth does an excellent job of dealing with some hard subjects, like how the family had dealt (or not dealt) with the death of Pepper 10 years prior and how they react to the news of Jillian's health scare. This book hit home for me.
I enjoyed getting to know the sisters and look forward to reading more about them in the next book!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Who Do You Say that I AM?


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Do you know Jesus as He really is?
We can speak in abstracts all day long. We can ponder who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him. But he wants our confession. He wants to know, “Who do you say that I AM?”
How we answer defines our lives both now and forever. This study in the “I AM” statements of Jesus will help women move from knowing about Him to knowing Him personally. Guiding them through significant questions Jesus asks in the Gospels—and the answers He himself provides—it will help readers:
Realize the truth of who Jesus really is
Grow in their ability to trust God and rely on Him fully
Find the calm and peace promised in Scripture despite life circumstances
Becky Harling has years of experience as a Bible teacher and women’s ministry leader. She empathizes with women and knows how to make Scripture come alive. Who Do You Say that I AM? will draw women deep into the Word for a true encounter with Christ, helping them become more confident, calm, and courageous in the faith.

My thoughts: I love how this Bible study is set up, going 5 days a week for 8 weeks, and the topic. The subject of "I AM" in the Bible came up in a sermon a while back, and I loved the opportunity to dig in even deeper with this book. I love how Becky uses scripture verses and reflection time, along with music and even some artistic creativity to speak to readers from all walks of life. I highly recommend this study!
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Coach Wooden's Forgotten Teams


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Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is known for his record-breaking run of NCAA championships and for working with some of the best players in the sport. His principles for success have been used by not only coaches and athletes, but also business leaders, entrepreneurs, and others. But his reach stretches even farther than most people know--into the hearts and lives of the people who learned the game of basketball on one of Coach Wooden's forgotten teams.

For nearly twenty years, John Wooden ran scores of summer youth basketball camps in California and other states, imparting wisdom and teaching skills to thousands of boys and girls between the ages of eight and fifteen. Most would not grow up to play professional or even college ball, but all of them found their lives changed by their interaction with the greatest coach who ever lived. In those camps, Coach Wooden also impacted hundreds of camp counselors and assistant coaches. This one-of-a-kind new book shares their inspiring stories and six fundamental lessons for a life of success and an unforgettable impact on others.

My thoughts: This book is a fun way to look at the wisdom of John Wooden and the influence that he had with younger generations through summer basketball camps. The book is easy to get through as it covers the six fundamentals, things like following instructions, being organized, and teaching wisdom.
Not only is this book a great one for basketball fans, but the insight is applicable for all walks of life.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Pelican Point


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A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

My thoughts: I have enjoyed the wide variety of books that Irene Hannon writes, starting with her suspense stories and now reading this heartwarming series based in a small town on the coast. I loved the lighthouse that was introduced with this story, and the history that surrounded it. The characters were fun to get to know too! I highly recommend this delightful series.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Revolutionary


Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.
Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of an underground smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag only she can pay, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy back in the dizzying politics of Crystal. There, she learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions. No one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She desperately wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?
Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

My thoughts: Beware, this series is a page turner! I also highly recommend reading the first book before picking up this one, since you need it to give you the backstory.
I love the messages of this story and how things play out. The characters are well written and there are plenty of plot twists to keep the story going and the reader on their toes! Two thumbs up, as it is very imaginative as well. I just wish the next book was out already.;)
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

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About the Author:
Kristen Hogrefe is a multi-published novelist and teacher who challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.
Her publishing journey began in 2010 with the first book in her young adult (YA) suspense trilogy Wings of the Dawn. She completed the trilogy in the fall of 2014, and in 2016, contracted with Write Integrity Press for a new YA dystopian trilogy: The Rogues.
Kristen also has the heart of an educator and mentor. She teaches secondary language arts for Alpha Omega Academy and served in youth ministry for many years. Through Word Weavers International, she encourages aspiring writers and acts as president for an online writing group. She enjoys speaking events that allow her to connect with readers and other writers.
A lifelong Florida resident, Kristen loves adventuring outdoors and running with friends. Connect with her online at KristenHogrefe.com.


Guest post from the Author:
Identity, Coffee, and a Sprinkle of History in The Revolutionary
The primary purpose of fiction is to entertain, but I think good fiction goes deeper by teaching us something about human nature, something about ourselves.
The Revolutionary begins three months after Portia arrived at a satellite prison camp. She feels forgotten by her brother and friends who promised to rescue her. Deeper than the physical pain of starvation, she battles the emotional rawness from the dehumanization of her identity. A number replaces her name, and the Wasps who mistreat prisoners mockingly call them “rabbits.”
When a two-faced smuggler helps her escape, her identity struggles continue. She dons multiple aliases to survive and help the Brotherhood launch a daring plan to destroy the satellite camps and oust the ruling Friend and Dome.
The theme of identity is one I hope will resonate with teens and adult readers alike. At some point, we all ask ourselves, “What defines me?” Is it our friends, an academic program, a relationship, or a job? While those things describe our day-to-day lives, they themselves shouldn’t define us. The source of our true identity must come from somewhere deeper. That’s the question Portia has to wrestle with, and one I hope readers will consider.
A Cup of Joe
Confession: One aspect of characterization I enjoy is giving my characters a small piece of myself. One of my early readers for book one, The Revisionary, remarked, “Let me guess. You like coffee.”
I laughed and replied, “How could you tell?”
Maybe lines like this one gave the fact away: “I start a pot of coffee. At least the aroma makes life smell better” (Portia, The Revisionary).
In book two, I incorporate the memory-association of coffee for Portia as she thinks back to simpler times (like dorm life with Lydia). Coffee also serves as a catalyst for an important scene where Portia, in disguise, serves her enemies and in turn learns of their disturbing plans for the satellites.
What about you? Are you a coffee drinker? If you are, I hope you’ll enjoy a giveaway opportunity for a Starbucks gift card. After all, coffee does make life smell better.
A Sprinkle of History
Two summers ago, my brother and I had the opportunity to visit the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. It’s the historical site for the “shot heard round the world” that ignited the American Revolution.
In book two, Portia and the Brotherhood launch their own threadbare revolution. Though the odds are against them, they’re determined to stop the abuses by those in power.
My own visit to this famous site helped inspire Portia’s journey of discovery and the Brotherhood’s fictional parallels to the American Revolutionary War. Writing the scene where she rediscovers this birthplace of liberty was one of my favorites, because I walked the North Bridge and poured over books researching what happened that fateful day. I hope the scene comes alive for my readers and quickens their interest in history and its relevance for us today.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Take ten: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read

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This one is an easier topic for me, since I don't care to re-read a lot of books, since I have so many on my TBR list. That said, there are a lot of excellent books that are worth re-reading but I will never do so.

1. A Cast of Stones

This was an incredibly well written fantasy series that was excellent, but involved, so I will probably just leave it on my favorites list.

2. King's Folly

This one is another incredible fantasy series! The books are huge and worth the time to dive into, but would be hard to take the time for a re-read.

3. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

A wonderfully written Regency era series that will forever be a favorite.

4. The Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister

One of those series I loved as a teen, but will probably never pick up again. Sometimes the memory of a book may be even better, or it was what you needed at that time. I was all into wanting to be a journalist, so this series was perfect for me when I was a teen!

5. The Sierra Jensen collection

Another series that I identified with as a teen.

6. A Table by the Window


7. The Splitting Storm

I feel like I can't re-read mysteries.

8. Cuts Like A Knife

Another well written mystery that won't be re-read.

9. Mark of the Lion

This one was a well written historical series (the third book took a different course, so it could of stood alone, but it was still good).

10. Leota's Garden


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Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Most Noble Heir


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When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father's demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

My thoughts: I thought this book was delightful! I loved getting to know the characters and their unique struggles, with being thrown into a world that they weren't raised for and having to figure out how to thrive in it. A little dramatic at times, this book is a fun read. If you enjoy historical stories, then I recommend it!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Red Sky Over America



William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America's classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

My thoughts: My uncle attended Oberlin, so I knew a smidge about the college's history with the underground railroad. So, I very much enjoyed this story of the abolition movement from many of the sides involved. I look forward to reading more of the series, since this one was well written and thought provoking.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Click the image to go to Amazon's website. This is an affiliate link.

A thrilling chapter book about a brother, a sister, and a mysterious scroll that hurtles them through time to the Israelites' escape from Egypt
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series follows siblings Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank, as they discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history.
In The Great Escape, Peter, Mary, and Hank journey to the pyramid-studded desert of ancient Egypt. When the trio become friends with Pharaoh's daughter, they witness first-hand as Moses petitions Pharaoh for the Israelites' freedom. Plagues wreak havoc as the group races to decode the scroll, gets chased by a panther, and battles Pharaoh's cunning advisor, the Great Magician. Young readers will anxiously follow along as Peter and Mary's thrilling adventures bring the biblical story of Exodus to life. Age 6-9.

My thoughts: We enjoyed reading this one together as a family! The kids and I read the first two book aloud, so we were thrilled to get the newest addition to the series. I loved the adventure that Mary and Peter go on in ancient Egypt and how they make friends with the Pharaoh's daughter. This book deals with some tough issues, like the Israelites being slaves to the Egyptian, well. For that reason, it is probably better geared towards the 6-9 age range, but my preschooler still enjoyed the story and pictures.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Did you miss the first and second books?



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Heart's Appeal review and giveaway


Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?


My Review: While I enjoyed the first book in this series, that of Julia's older sister Rosayln, I think I enjoyed this one even more! I found the historical aspect of the story interesting and loved that Julia is dedicated to the medical field, serving others, and serving God. The book is well written and flows nicely. I look forward to reading more of Jennifer's books!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase a copy here:

This is an affiliated link.



About the Author:
Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest post from Jennifer:
Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Take ten: books that take place in another country


I do believe some of my most favorite stories take place in another country, so this is an easy list for me.;) If you would like to learn more about the book, just click the image to go to Amazon. This post does contain affiliate links (thanks for supporting my book habit!;))

1. Close to You

I loved this one! I mean, it's set in Hobbiton (in New Zealand, in cause you aren't a nerd married to a nerd. lol)and has a gorgeous romance, need I say more?;)

2. Then There Was You

I related a lot to Paige, and love that she travels to Australia, a country that has a piece of my heart.;)

3. Harvest of Rubies

This one is set in ancient Persia.

4. Garden of Madness

I loved the books I read in this series, since it is about the Seven ancient wonders of the world. This one featured Solomon's handing gardens.

5. Emma

Because my list isn't complete without an Austen on it.;)

6. The Bronte Plot

I loved that this one is not only set in England, but also has the characters go on a literary tour!

7. The Hawthorne House series

This one is just an excellent Regency series set in England. I could of made this more challenging and limited myself to one book per country, but I may not of been able to come up with 10.;)

8. The French Twist series

Granted, it has been a while since I read this series (and yes, the cover of this one is not set in another country, I realize that;)), but I really enjoyed the baker having a chance to live in France.

9. The Giftsnatcher

This one makes a lot of my lists, because it was so incredibly well written and totally out of my normal genre, with having elements of magic in with the story of Jack the Ripper.

10. There You'll Find Me

Set in Ireland, this is a humorous, yet deep, YA story.

Just because:
Harry Potter


The Chronicles of Narnia

They are kind of in England.;) I just had to fit them in!

So, that's my list for the week! I look forward to seeing what you all have on yours!