Monday, December 9, 2019

NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls


Created especially for girls ages 8 to 12, this beautiful Bible provides ample space for young artists to express themselves through coloring and journaling.
Girls can get creative with the detailed, ready-to-color line art surrounding the hundreds of inspiring verses in the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls. This Bible is a perfect gift for a special young girl in your life and will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.
Features include:
Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art
Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections and art
Complete text of the accurate, readable and clear New International Version (NIV)
Easy-to-read black letter text in single-column format
Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
Ribbon marker
Beautifully designed Leathersoft-over-board cover featuring screen-printing and other cover embellishments
8-point type size
Using the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) text makes the Bible accessible and easy-to-read for kids. The NIV is the result of over 50 years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, who oversee the efforts of many contributing scholars. Representing the spectrum of evangelicalism, the translators come from a wide range of denominations and various countries and continually review new research to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance, and authority. Every NIV Bible that is purchased helps Biblical. translate and give Bibles to people in need around the world.

My thoughts: My daughter latched on to this beautiful Bible as soon as it was opened at our home! She is loving having such a lovely Bible to read out of, and the gorgeous coloring pages are a huge bonus! I love that she has had some of her friends color pages and sign them, making the Bible even more special! I highly recommend this Bible for the young girl in your life. It makes a wonderful gift and is such a fun way to get girls into the Word.
I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls from Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) for this review. This post is sponsored by Zondervan.

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Made for Brave


From the testimony viewed over 100 million times on the internet:
“I am so sorry I have to deliver such awful news.” Shaking his head, the doctor muttered, “You are both so young.”
A young woman in her twenties with a future and a plan for her life comes up against a tragic nightmare when her handsome and otherwise healthy husband is suddenly diagnosed with a rare inoperable cancer. As her husband’s beliefs grow stronger, Alyssa’s dreams evaporate, and her faith slips away when the worst happens.
Experience soul-searing pain and miraculous moments of joy in this poignant true-life account. Journey with Alyssa as she grapples with life and death, faith and unbelief, disappointment and hope in a search for answers that takes her beyond grief to peace and a surprising new love.
Along the way, you’ll find answers to the questions you may be asking in your own life:
Where is God when it hurts?
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
Can God make something good come out of bad?
Does true love ever strike twice?
Made for Brave is a striking example of how God can create overwhelming good from even the worst of life when we choose to partner with Him.

My thoughts: This book hit closer to home than I realized it would when I first signed up for the tour! No, I am not a widow, but we lost my sister in law to a brain tumor over 18 months ago. I could relate to some of the feelings that Alyssa goes through when she finds out her husband is diagnosed with cancer. I love that her story, while going through the stages of grief (some of which are not pretty), shows how she came through it to be a stronger person with a stronger faith. This is an excellent book to pick up for those who have had to face difficult situations in their lives.
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:
Alyssa Galios is a writer, speaker, social media influencer, and coach. Founder of the #MadeforBrave movement and CEO of the Made for Brave Company, Alyssa is known for helping countless people create better lives through faith, family, and fitness. Her life story has been featured on sites like Yahoo News, Christian Post, Fox News, HuffPost, and Viralized. Alyssa and her husband Jay run their business out of their home north of Seattle, where they happily raise their daughters. For more information, visit alyssagalios.com.

More from Alyssa
Some people come into your life as bright as shooting stars. They zip across your horizon then, all too soon, drop back into the blackness. Though you can no longer see them, you are forever changed by their brilliance. This is just as it was with Nicholas Magnotti. Six beautiful years changed the person I will always be.

Before my strapping, young and handsome 25-year-old husband got sick, I missed a large part of the point of living. I was a workaholic mainly; a worry wort often; and I got really good at playing the comparison game. As such, I spent the first three years of our marriage living in selfish fear. Nick’s presence in my life taught me something I won’t ever forget… It taught me that every single moment counts and that what we do in love for others is the only thing that truly makes a lasting impact. And, eventually, the strong faith he exuded through his trials would cause me to question and rebuild my own faith.

The day that I said yes to a blind date with a gorgeous man I had never met… the God of the universe set into motion a series of miraculous events that I couldn’t have possibly ever predicted. He didn’t cause the bad parts of my story. Not at all. But, He saw those parts, from way off in the distance and game-planned so that it would all still work together for good and for His glory. You’ll be amazed at all the good He was able to create. And, the craziest part? He is so not finished yet.
Made for Brave: A Journey Through Devastating Loss to Infinite Hope is an uncommon love story and, at times, a harrowing journey but, more than that, it’s my true life journey that I know I have been called to share. I hope you will walk it with me and come away knowing you have always been made for brave, too.

For complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Alyssa is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon Gift Card & a signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

The Melody of the Mulberries


This sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams.
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.
Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.
When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.
Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

My thoughts: I loved the history of this story! I really liked that Tonya Jewel Blessing weaves the Appalachian folk lore into the chapters at the beginning of each one, which adds to the historical aspect. This book is not a stand alone, so it should be read after The Whispering of the Willows. Readers will enjoy reading what happens to the characters in the first book and seeing how Coral, Emerald, and Ernest have grown up and changed. This is an excellent 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:
More about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.

More from Tonya
Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing
The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious.
The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan.
In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek.
The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart.
It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes.
If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”. This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy!
Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

Finding Joy Review


“No matter what complications life throws your way, search until you find something to be joyful for.”
Elisabeth Davis has lived by these words for most of her eighty years. Through good times and bad, this mindset has served her well, and she hopes and prays that her grandchildren will carry this sentiment forward when she is gone.
But Max has heard his grandmother say this so many times, he is almost oblivious. And while he understands her point, putting it into action is not always easy.
When his girlfriend demands he make a choice between her and his best friend—in the same week his grandmother has a stroke!—Max struggles to find joy anywhere. He is forced to reexamine his life, his relationships, and even his faith in this heartwarming story of coming of age and leaving a lasting legacy.

My thoughts: A sweet story of the legacy that one lovely grandma leaves her grandson and granddaughter. Life hasn't been easy for Elisabeth, with outliving her husband and child, though her grandchildren have brought her comfort. When she suffers from a stroke, she has the chance to see her grandchildren learn to find joy in the struggles. I enjoyed the characters, especially Elisabeth! I also enjoyed Sam as well. This is an easy story to get through and was a sweet book!
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:
J.C. Lafler has always enjoyed writing and dreamed of being published, but it wasn’t until she retired in 2015 that she realized her dream. J. C. and her husband, David, live in Battle Creek, Michigan—except in winter, when they escape to sunny Texas. Along with writing, she enjoys public speaking, reading, puzzles, traveling, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.
Finding Joy is J. C.’s fifth novel to date. Her other books, also released through Redemption Press, include Lost and Found, Amazing Grace, Hope Everlasting, and Leap of Faith.

More from J.C.
“Finding Joy” by J.C. Lafler is a story about the challenge of finding joy in life’s most trying circumstances, and corresponding verses in the Bible that lead us to choose joy. This story came about because of a comment made by one of my children, who’s middle name just happens to be Joy. She (Lynsey) made the comment to me one day that her middle name reminded her that every day it is up to her to choose joy. Jokingly telling her that “Choosing Joy” would be a great title for my next novel, I let it go for a couple of months. While preparing to began said novel, I wrote “Choose Joy” at the top of the page and started writing. During editing I changed the title to “Finding Joy,” but the whole story developed around the idea of choosing to find a bit of joy every day, no matter what is happening in your life.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!To celebrate her tour, J.C. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of her book with a matching mug!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Having Tried Everything and The String Theory


Having Tried Everything
Sleep often eludes. We try this and we try that. Still, the night gives a wake up call we'd rather not answer. "Having Tried Everything" is the story of a terminally lonely insomniac who does answer. Stepping from the rut of routines and rituals, moving from the known to the unknown, she discovers not only mercy and abundance but who she is and the travesty and redemption of what it means to be human. "Having Tried Everything" is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicably true. The "YOU" in the story is both the reader and the writer. The very act of embracing this narrative provides the first step toward the wonderland of connection, acceptance and gratitude. Where words abbreviate the astonishment of God's signature on creature and creatures, the illustrations enhance and annotate. Suitable for all dreamers and courageous pragmatists.

The String Theory
The String Theory Beginning With Me is an illustrated prose poem tracing the journey to freedom from an internal landscape of chaos and fear. Using specific images from the natural world, this story condenses and simplifies a very slow, methodical transformation indicative of those who consistently seek the larger experience of living both in and beyond the here and now. Because of its metaphorical language and its delicate presentation, The String Theory Beginning with Me, has a universal appeal and is an ideal gift for both contemplatives and the spirited.

My thoughts: These books are beautiful! I enjoyed the poems that were in each of them, as well as the lovely artwork. I haven't read a lot of poetry since I took lit in college several years back, so it was fun to read through these and be reminded of what I like about poetry, how one can look at it through their unique lenses and take something different to heart than another reader might. I really appreciated that these have a spiritual base to them, adding another meaning to the poems. These are beautiful books to read through and keep on display.
I received these books 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:
While I was still feeble in my selfness and narrow in my horizons, I became a collector of words. Words often come and go all on their own. I do my best to arrange them in beautiful order. This particular arrangement is called Having Tried Everything: An exploration of redemption, hope and possibility through the eyes of a terminally lonely insomniac. It is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicable. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and myself as the writer/artist. Thank You for stepping into this with me. The weight of this truth is surprisingly heavy and less accessible than I would like it to be. Divine Love and His intervention is the hope I often forget to cling. The Lie: You are alone and will end alone, has subtly confused me without my knowledge or consent for a very long time. My ability to escape its debilitating effects is in direct proportion to name it as a lie. The miracle of being designed for relationship with the living God despite my frailties continues to astound me. My value as a human being is not predicated on my good behaviors or bright countenance, but rather by God’s compassion and mercy. The unshakeable truth of my wealth given freely to me by nature of my design and God’s generosity is not mine alone. Thus, the You in the story is ours together. God bless you as you consider with me the miracle of God’s unmerited favor towards us based on nothing we’ve worked for or earned.

More from Tonia
On Labor Day morning, I woke up to an email reminding me I missed a deadline.
This is not the kind of message that incites creativity.
And now sitting here in my front garden, trying to imagine the sound of the neighbor’s leaf blower as that of a vigorous wind warming up to deliver an epic end-of- summer storm, I am face to face with a wordless me wondering how to communicate the enormity of what I want to be say…after all, what happens in these two little, tiny, shrunken, abbreviated, synthetic replications of what actually occurred in the chronological space of history crosses into speculative territory. And I haven’t even met you.
If you dream of traveling but time, money or fear has held you back, The String Theory Beginning with Me is a story boat meant to sail you safely into the intergalactic waters of your own lonely soul. If you worry about failure, Having Tried Everything is an illustrated syllabus developed from a rubbing pressed against the gravestone of a dream, carefully framed by God’s healing light. Both books are designed to give you a holiday from clock watching and move you into a space of heart throb time.

A complete list of the blog stops can be found here!

To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of each of the books!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Heart of a Royal



Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna's presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers - that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?

My thoughts: This book is every bit as beautiful as it's cover! While parts of the story took a while to gain speed, I still enjoyed the story tremendously. Peverell is a country reminiscent of fairy tales, though there are some unexpected secrets that come out as the story goes on. Both old fashioned and modern, the setting is beautiful and is a place I wish I could visit! I enjoyed getting to know Mackenna, Princess Alina, and Prince Thoraben as they navigate royal life as changes appear on the horizon. I look forward to seeing where the rest of the story takes the country and characters!
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:
Aussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at www.hannahcurrie.com.

More from Hannah
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia.
I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!].
The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.
But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title.
Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.
Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there.
Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.

For a complete list of the blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.

An Amish Christmas Bakery


From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious novellas perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.
Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston
As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters-and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle.
And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.
Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman
As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source-childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.
Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller
Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.
Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin
Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.

My thoughts: This is a delightful collection of Christmas stories to pick up this holiday season! I loved the bakery theme to the stories, since I use to work in a bakery (and yes, this time of year could get crazy with all the special orders!). While all the stories and characters were lovely, I think I loved the message of Cookies and Cheer the most, since it was such a great reminder to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season, to remember what is really important.
This is a collection of novellas you won't want to miss!
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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Read an excerpt of An Amish Christmas Bakery here.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!