Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

My thoughts: I wasn't sure what I would think of this book, since I have read mixed reviews on it. I know that some others thought that the book didn't live up to it's potential, but those other reviewers have read a lot of books set in old England. I haven't. I thought that this book was interesting and feel like the next book will truly cement how I feel about the series. I feel like this one was a good start!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Things I wish I'd known before we became parents

Dr. Gary Chapman has helped millions prepare for marriage.
Now he helps you prepare for kids.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents has one goal: prepare you to raise young children.

Dr. Gary Chapman—longtime relationship expert and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages—teams up with Dr. Shannon Warden—professor of counseling, wife, and mother of three—to give young parents a book that is practical, informed, and enjoyable.

Together they share what they wished they had known before having kids. For example: children affect your time, your money, and your marriage—and that's just the beginning. With warmth and humor they offer practical advice on everything from potty training to scheduling, apologizing to your child, and keeping your marriage strong… all the while celebrating the great joy that children bring.

From the Preface: "Our desire is to share our own experiences, as well as what we have learned through the years, as we have counseled hundreds of parents. We encourage you to read this book before the baby comes, and then refer to its chapters again as you experience the joys and challenges of rearing children." — Dr. Gary Chapman

My thoughts: I wish I had read this book before I became a parent, since I think it would of helped me prepare a bit more for the changes that you don't even think about happening when you become a parent. Of course, I had heard some of the advise that Gary Chapman gives, and it still isn't the same as experiencing it for yourself. I think that one of the biggest changes, at least recently, is noticing just how different my two are. I know that no two children are alike (something that is covered in this book), but I guess I just assumed that they would be more similar then they are.;)
I love all the examples and information in this book! It makes a great addition to one's library, whether you are hoping to become a parent or already have children. It would make a great baby shower present.;)
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Where Does Love Hide

In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God's love. In life, children hear the words "I love you" repeatedly, often beginning before birth. However, because love is an abstract concept and young children are concrete thinkers, they must gradually learn to understand love by what they experience. In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action and learn what love looks like. .

My thoughts: This book is an adorable little book that shows children the many ways that they can show love to those around them and how love can be shown to them. I like that it ties in being helpful and kind to others. Each flap reveals who they can show love and a scripture that ties that thought in. The illustrations are colorful and fun for kids. My daughter is loving this book!
I feel like this one is better suited to toddlers, since it isn't very long and doesn't have a whole lot written on each set of pages. So, it works well with a short attention span. It could be a good conversation started for kids that are a little older.
I like the note at the end of the book.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Waiting on Wonder

Waiting for Wonder: Learning to Live on God’s Timeline (Abingdon Press, November 2016)

What if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

It’s easy to believe God when a promise is new. It’s hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It’s even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God’s character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.

Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.

My thoughts : This book is beautifully written! I love how Marlo makes the reader think, using the story of Abraham and Sarah and their long wait to have a child. This book was a wonderful reminder of how things happen in God's time and on His timeline, but how He invites us to wait with Him. To seek Him. I highly recommend it for all walks of life, since we have all been in a position of longing for something, but having to wait.
Be sure to check out the giveaway associated with this book!
I received this book from lit fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Junie B. Jones first ever musical edition!

Junie B. Jones The Musical is a hit! Listen to the full cast album and the audiobook of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!).

Being in first grade means having to get used to a whole new classroom. And a whole new teacher. And a whole new bunch of strange children. But here's the worst thing of all: When Junie B. tries to read words on the chalkboard…she can’t! Is it possible that Junie B. needs glasses?

This special audiobook edition of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) contains all the songs from Junie B. Jones The Musical. The musical is adapted from the books Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at Last!); Junie B. Jones, Boss of Lunch; Junie B. Jones, One-Man Band; and Top Secret Personal Beeswax, A Journal by Junie B. (and Me), by Barbara Park. © 2001, 2001, 2002, 2002, 2003 by Barbara Park.

Song list:
1. Top Secret Personal Beeswax
2. Lucille, Camille, Chenille
3. You Can Be My Friend
4. Time to Make a Drawing
5. You Need Glasses
6. Show and Tell
7. Now I See
8. Lunch Box
9. Gladys Gutzman, Queen of Snacks
10. Kickball Tournament
11. Sheldon Potts’ Halftime Show
12. When Life Gives You Lemons
13. Kickball Tournament (Reprise)
14. When Life Gives You Lemons (Reprise)
15. Writing Down the Story of My Life

My thoughts: With a toddler, I feel like this is just the start of books like Junie B. Jones making it into our home!;) This audio book is so much fun. I know that Junie B. Jones is a huge hit with kids, so new and old fans alike will enjoy this audio book and the music that is included. This is such fun!
I received this audio book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Take ten: books I would like left under the tree.

1. The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall

2. The Captive imposter by Crandall

3. The Caution Maiden by Crandall
I enjoyed the first book in the series, so I would love to read 2-4 as well!

4. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Biscof
This one looks like a book I would enjoy!

5. Ravenswold by Charity Bishop
I've enjoyed everything I have read by Charity, so I need her recent ish release. ;)

6. Rescue Me by Susan May Warren
I liked the first one, but I think I will love the characters in this one!

7. Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson
I enjoyed the first one, but really took to the character that will be the heroine in this one!

8. The Inn of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen
My sister raves about this one, so I think it's one I need.

9. From this Moment by Elizabeth Camden
How did I miss this one?!

10. Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler
This one looks adorable and it's about a baker. Enough said. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Shattered Vigil

Victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they've been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. Jorgen, the member of the Vigil assigned to Frayel, has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms' ability to defend themselves.

Just when the Vigil thought they had quenched the menace from their enemy in Collum, a new threat emerges: assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it's too late. The orders of the church and the rulers of the kingdoms, fearing the loss of the Vigil's members altogether, have decided to take them into protective custody to safeguard their gift. On Pellin's orders, the Vigil scatters, leaving Willet to be taken prisoner by the church in Bunard.
In the midst of this, Willet learns of the murder of an obscure nobleman's daughter by one of the unseen assassins. Now he must escape his imprisonment and brave the wrath of the church to find the killer in order to turn back this latest threat to the northern continent.

My thoughts: It took me a bit to get around to this one, since it's quite a thick book and I knew I would want to just sit and read it.;) It's a shame that I need to sleep at night. lol.
While this book was wonderful and an interesting continuation to the Darkwater Saga, I was a bit disappointed with some of the adult themes in the book. It would make me hesitant to give the book to younger readers, even though it wasn't explicit.
Overall though, the book is interesting and I enjoyed the pace of the story. I look forward to seeing where the next book takes the Vigil!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Bible Origami

Keep your children’s hands busy during church services with Bible Origami. Instead of folding the service programs into paper airplanes, they can fold Noah’s ark, an oil lamp, or Joseph’s coat! As you develop the unique skill of creating these simple-to-intermediate origami designs, you will find opportunities to use them with all ages for lessons, activities, crafting, and everyday fun!

My thoughts: I am enjoying the book and the creativity that ensues when one opens the pages! My children are still a bit small to enjoy this book on their own, but we are having fun doing the origami together! I like that this book has easy to follow instructions. I have tried origami in the past and only succeeded a few times in making my paper turn out like the picture.;)
If you are looking at a fun way to keep your kids busy, then this book is a must!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author: Todd Huisken is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the counseling manager at LDS Family Services in Fountain Valley, California. He attended Brigham Young University and the University of San Diego and has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. Todd has served as the assistant director of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He has worked with victims from the San Diego fires, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, and spent two weeks in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He was an early morning seminary teacher for six years. He is the author of The Dating Directory and the founder of Process and Content, a graduate program newsletter at the University of San Diego. Todd has been married to his beautiful wife for twenty-one years and they have three daughters and a son.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm review and giveaway

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream-reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayans for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work with the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family's undoing...

My thoughts: Poignant and sad, this book is a must read! While the book is about a missionary family and what it is like to be a MK (missionary kid), the themes are ones that a lot of us can relate to. This book is just wonderful! I look forward to reading more by Michelle!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Boy Called Christmas

Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.

Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .

Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.

My thoughts: This one is kind of a fun little story, even though it is nothing like the actual legend of St. Nick.;) Written in the style of Lemony Snicket, I recommend this story for readers who are a wee bit older, since some of the humor strikes me as being for older children, like 9-10 on up. If you enjoy A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you will love this story of a boy who holds on to hope and kindness even when the world disappoints.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Giver of Wonders Review and Giveaway


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

About the Author

My thoughts: This story is an excellent one to read this holiday season! I love how Roseanna brings the story of Nikolaos to life through the Visibullis family. It made me rethink the traditions of Santa Claus! I highly recommend picking this book up this holiday season.
I received this book through Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at


Guest Post from Roseanna White

I was fed up with Christmas.

Or, no. I was fed up with the Christmas the world kept shoving at me. The one that was all about presentes. I’d always enjoyed gift giving and receiving, but I began to wonder: What was it I really valued—my Savior . . . or the stuff? We all say the right thing when this question is brought up. But we also all talk about “giving people Christmas” who can’t afford it. About how disappointed our kids might be if they wake to few packages under the tree. And you know, that belies our claims that it’s all about Jesus, doesn’t it?

And of course, when one thinks of gifts at Christmas, a jolly old elf springs to mind. So I started thinking that if I wanted my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, it might be time to pull the plug on the embodiment of the commercialism: Santa Claus.

But I’m a historical novelist, and I believe in looking at the real history before making decisions. So one morning before our homeschool day began, I sat down and did some online research about Saint Nicholas. About the traditions he began that persist to this day. Who was he, before the Victorians turned him into the figure we know today as Santa?

I read. And I was awed.

Within fifteen minutes, I realized that St. Nick wasn’t the problem with Christmas. This was a man who was committed, above all, to honoring Jesus. Who believed in giving anonymously, so that all the glory went to God. Who performed miracles. Who healed and shepherded a flock under persecution.

St. Nicholas was a man who deserves my honor and respect. Who should be my inspiration for what Christmas is really about, not my scapegoat.

Nicholas gave generously—and in secret. It wasn’t until after his death that the stories started making their rounds about the many times he quietly gave of his wealth. But for centuries afterward, whenever someone wanted to give a gift anonymously, they would sign it from St. Nicholas—it was like saying, “This is because God loves you.”

Why are we giving? Is it to give God glory . . . or to please ourselves and our families? Would you still give if you got no credit for it? If no one even knew it was from you?

That day I read about St. Nicholas, I also decided I’d write a book with him as one of the main characters. A novel that brings one of our traditions—gifts coming down chimneys, stockings stuffed with goodies—to life. And so, we have Giver of Wonders.

Is it a Christmas story? It is. But not like the others out there.

Is it about Santa Claus? It is, but not the version you see all over your TV. Is it about giving? It is. But not about presents wrapped and put under the tree. It’s about sacrifice. And it’s about Jesus. And it’s about what He really asks of us, and what He really did for us. And what we’re willing to give for love of Him.

Because that, my friends, is Christmas.

Blog Stops

December 7: A Greater Yes
December 8: Book by Book
December 9: Stuff & Nonsense
December 10: Blogging With Carol
December 10: Giveaway Lady
December 11: New Horizon Reviews
December 12: Genesis 5020
December 13: Daysong Reflections
December 14: A Reader’s Brain
December 14: Pause for Tales
December 16: Baker Kella
December 17: Bibliophile Reviews
December 18: Henry Happens
December 18: Bigreadersite


[Insert Giveaway Picture Here]

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a stocking full of wonder! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Take Ten

Top ten books I am most looking forward to releasing in the first half of 2017.

1. Rescue Me, January 2017

2. An Uncommon Courtship

3. The Mark of the King

4. Justice Delayed

5. A Harvest of Thorns

6. The Illusionist's Apprentice

7. If I'm Found

8. A Lady in Disguise

9. The Memory of You

10. King's Blood

Restoring Christmas

Ariana Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing—not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer—is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this novella tremendously! It is such a fun story about two people trying to prove to the world that they have been restored and changed through the power of Christ. I loved getting to know Ariana, Gabe, and Elsie. It was interesting to uncover the mystery surrounding the old home that Ariana is seeking to restore. This is a wonderful story to read this holiday season! I love the theme of restoration. The humor and depth of the story was amazing too!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scripture Doodles

ScriptureDoodle: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, October 2016)

With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.

Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.

More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle.

Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader's imagination and helps integrate God's Word into everyday life.

My thoughts: These books are a wonderful new way to do personal devotions! I love that they give thoughts and scriptures for the reader to take off with. I usually just read my Bible, so this was a fun way to mix things up and look at things in a fresh perspective and get out of my comfort zone. I loved how April starts off with some basics on coloring and lettering, then lets the reader take off with doodles. I love the subjects as well-everything from speaking life to all things made new, prayer to hospitality. These books would make a wonderful gift! Check them out here
I received copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Miscarried Joy review and giveaway

Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith (Nyreepress Publishing, October 2016)

Faith over fear. Patience over frustration. Pain with a purpose.

In Miscarried Joy, Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. However, her journey through the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth and Naomi, revealed quite the opposite—God had allowed her pain for a much greater purpose. Each of these women had something in common: they learned to surrender their will and trust God’s plan beyond the pain. They were pushed to a posture of prayer that led them from questioning God to have total confidence in Him. Tanika discovered that this season of waiting didn’t show up simply to challenge her, but to change her.

With biblical depth, heart-filled transparency and a voice of passion, you will:

—Understand God’s heart in the midst of incredible pain
—Discover the importance of trusting God’s plan over your own
—Arm yourself with the strength to let go of bitterness and comparison to appreciate the beauty of your story
—Learn and implement spiritual principles and strategies to walk boldly in faith
—Embrace God’s delay and birth contentment in your season of waiting

What have you miscarried? What purpose have you had difficulty conceiving? Is it a calling you fear stepping into? A vision that has not yet come to pass? Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God’s delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

My thoughts: We don't always understand why we have to walk difficult paths in this life. In Miscarried Joy, Tanika opens her heart to readers about the pain she has felt from miscarrying, but the incredible hope that can be found. I think that this book fills a much needed void, as she mentioned that most of the resources she came across after miscarrying were by women who went on to become mothers. This book is a must read for those struggling with a miscarriage or infertility.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Miscarried Joy Tanika Fitzgerald

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Royal Wedding review and giveaway


To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book


Genre: Christian Romance/Christmas


Release Date: October 18, 2016


Book Format: Paperback & Ebook


Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

My thoughts: I love this series! I think that there is something in most of us that just enjoys a good fairy tale with princes and princesses. The story of Avery and Colin may very well be my favorite out of the series to date, since I loved the old tradition of the bell being rung as a proposal and how the history ties into the story of a modern day couple. This one is such a fun book to read this holiday season! I highly recommend it.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author


Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.

The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.

That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.

The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.

I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.

Here’s his introduction:


Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.

I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.

When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?

But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.

In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.

I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?

If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.

Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.

So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”

Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.

Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”

When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!

I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops


December 9: Book by Book
December 10: Pause for Tales
December 11: Quiet Quilter
December 12: Splashes of Joy
December 13: Neverending Stories
December 14: The Power of Words
December 14: Counting Pinecones
December 15: Genesis 5020
December 15: CTF Devourer
December 16: Lighthouse Academy
December 17: God is Love
December 17: A Simple Life, really?!
December 18: A Holland Reads
December 18: The Scribbler
December 19: By The Book
December 19: Karen Sue Hadley
December 19: Southern Chelle
December 20: Faithfully Bookish
December 21: ASC Book Reviews


[Insert Giveaway Picture Here]

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Take Ten: New to me authors in 2016

While it seems like I read a lot of new authors, I had a harder time coming up with this list! Here are ten authors I tried (and loved!) for the first time this year.

1. Victoria Bylin

I had heard a lot about this author, and even got one of her first books on my Kindle through Netgalley. I'm glad I finally read one of her books, since she is a fabulous author!

2. Sara Ella

I was super excited about this book! It was great, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

3. Becky Thompson
I'm not really one to follow blogs, unless they are people I know or feel like I know through something like this. So, I didn't read anything by Becky until I got a hold of Hope Unfolding. It's a wonderful book on parenting!

4. Ruth Logan Herne

I've enjoyed both books in this series, and look forward to going back and reading some of her other books, since she writes some deep characters and tackles difficult subjects.

5. Janet Ferguson

I adore this author! She does a marvelous job of writing fiction and bringing important topics into her stories (like modern day slavery).

6. Rachelle Rae Cobb

I'm not even sure how I first found Rachelle's blog, but I was thrilled to finally read her first book!

7. Liz Johnson

She had me at Prince Edward Island.;)

8. Kristen Welch

9. Catherine West

10. Candace Calvert

Radical Beauty

Feel more beautiful, healthy, and energized than you have in years! Now, a revolutionary new way of helping you realize the true beauty that is your birthright!

Deepak Chopra, a leading pioneer of integrative medicine and New York Times bestselling author of What Are You Hungry For?, and Kimberly Snyder, a Hollywood superstar nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, offer an exciting and practical program to help transform you from the inside out. Through six pillars of healthy living that focus on internal and external nourishment, sleep, living naturally, avoiding excessive stress, and better understanding the relationship between emotions and inflammatory foods, the authors offer practical tips, tools, innovative routines, and foods that will allow you to achieve your highest potential of beauty and health.

Here is the latest information on foods to support your metabolism and how to best promote circulation of beauty-boosting nutrients; the use of the most effective skin-care ingredients coupled with traditional Ayurvedic medicine; and how to work with your skin to balance your nervous system, thus slowing aging. Further, Chopra and Snyder will show you how positive emotion-based living and peace foster natural and timeless beauty. All of this comes together to help you in developing a more healthy body and mind, increasing your natural glow, magnetic presence, and radiant vitality.

With powerful DIY home skin care and beauty remedies and treatments to address everything from acne to dry skin and wrinkles, techniques to promote your natural beauty by syncing with the power of rhythms found in nature, strategic dietary tips, and delicious recipes, Radical Beauty will help you feel more confident, achieve more beautifully smooth illuminating skin, healthy hair, bright eyes, and—perhaps best of all—the ability to tap into and be in touch with the true beauty that is already within you.

My thoughts: This book is interesting! I like the combination of information in here. There are recipes, exercises, and information what vitamins to take to help one's health and appearance. A lot of the information was new to me, like dry brushing and massaging muscles to help move toxins out. I look forward to incorporating more of this book into my routine!
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Getaway with God

What if a simple day away could transform your life?
Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there’s simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.
Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life’s pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must–for your sake and for your family’s.
With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it’s a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration. You’ll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you’ll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.
No matter what your season in life, the time for retreat is now!

My thoughts: This book is excellent! I've been to retreats with different groups, from young singles (when I was classified as such!) to family, women's to family, but I never really thought about the benefit of planning my own quiet retreat from the world, so I could communicate with God. With young children, this will be hard, but I look forward to implementing this book in my life!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.
Getaway with God Letitia Suk

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!

A new VeggieTales board book about the true meaning of Christmas
In this festive VeggieTales book, the Veggies are celebrating Christmas—decorating the tree, singing carols, and exchanging gifts. But in the middle of all the activity—though it’s so much fun to give and receive presents—the Veggies all know that the greatest gift of all was God’s gift of Jesus, his Son. Children will love the colorful art featuring their favorite Veggie friends. Parents can use this book to introduce little ones to Jesus’ birth as the reason we rejoice at Christmastime.

My thoughts: My daughter was thrilled to get this book in the mail a while back! She loves Veggie Tales, so we have read this one just a few times.;) I love the message it has, how it is simplistic and easy for young ones to understand. The book is done in classic Veggie Tale fashion, so kids of all ages should love it. Since it is a board book, I think it is geared more towards babies and toddlers.
If you love to give books during Advent, this one would be a fun one to add to the pile!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Pursuing Gold

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.

With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.

My thoughts: This story was so interesting! I loved the historical depth to it. While there is a lot of interesting historical details, the characters don't get lost in the story. I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing how their story intertwined. I find Civil war era history and stories fascinating, so I am thrilled to add this to my bookshelf.;) I had fun with this one and seeing how banking has changed over the years.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.