Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn't anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.  

My thoughts: This was such a beautiful, heartbreaking story of loss and love! I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and their stories. One set in WWII, the other set in the early 2000's, this is a lovely story about sacrifice and grief, and how we deal with those emotions. I highly recommend this story!
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Sweet on You


Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

My thoughts: I really wanted to like this book, I really did. I loved the first two stories in this series, about Britt's older sisters. Honestly though, I just felt bad for Zander and how clueless Britt is to his adoration, and yet how she kind of sabotages his dating chances. I liked the mystery that was attached to the story and I liked Zander.
I recommend reading this series in order, since this one gives away spoilers from the previous two stories.
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Truth Plus Love

Imagine what our world might look like if Christians became known for remarkable love, as well as life-giving truth.
The stakes are high and the need is great for Christians to represent Jesus to a watching world. And today, we have more influence than ever before--for better and for worse. We are among the first generations to have access to a global megaphone through social media. But it's not enough to speak truth louder to a noisy culture. To counter the reputation Christians have earned, our love must be just as loud.
Ask evangelist Matt Brown, and he will tell you Christians today are facing a crisis of influence. In our rush to speak truth to today's tensions, cultural issues, and trending controversies, it becomes all too easy to focus on proving our points rather than extending God's grace. Conversely, when we seek only to love yet never proclaim a better way, we short-circuit God's plan.
Truth Plus Love invites you to rediscover the biblical framework for engaging culture as ambassadors of Christ. Through biblical insight, cultural analysis, and practical principles, Matt Brown outlines how to champion truth without compromise, how to love unconditionally, and ultimately, how to step into this great adventure of representing God to the world. It's hard, it's messy, and it's the unfinished project of a lifetime, yet here we find our great adventure: representing God to a watching world

My thoughts: This book is excellent! I thought that Matt's thoughts were extremely relevant and I appreciated how he presented his thoughts on the important discussion of how to show love as Christians while sticking to the truth and Christ's teachings. This is a great book for people in all stages of life to pick up. I highly recommend picking this book up!
I received this book from Booklook bloggers. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Dear Daughters


With Dear Daughters, Susie Davis creates a bridge between two groups of women–dear daughters and spiritual mamas. Dear daughters are young women in search of spiritual guidance and spiritual mamas are women just a little further down the road with age-old wisdom to share. Each group has valuable insight for the other and the hope is that the reader will invite someone to come alongside them, pore over the included letters together, and pass along wisdom and advice that will make both lives more beautiful, wherever they are in their God story.

This book, ideal for a gift, is a casebound hardcover with ribbon.

My thoughts: This book is wonderful! I love that Susie has written it in such a way that you feel like you are sitting down with a mentor who encourages younger women in all walks of life. I really enjoyed her thoughts on traditions and how they should be contributing to the health of a family and not causing stress, since I feel like I am one to hold to traditions. So, that is some advise that I will be storing away for future reference. I loved this book and found it so encouraging!
I received this book through the publisher. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Heart and Home Review and Giveaway!


Our home and its design can encourage spiritual growth in our hearts.

Heart and Home is a short devotional book with daily devotions for 90 days. The devotionals seek to draw clear connection between the basics of interior design and scripture that encourages spiritual growth within our hearts. The devotionals inspire women to have a captivating heart and home. Included in each devotional is an applicable design tip and photographs. Example devotional topics include unity and harmony, negative space, flow, focal point, and balance.

This devotional includes four-color photographs of home interiors throughout the book.


For more information about the series and for links to purchase, visit https://www.abingdonpress.com/victoriaduerstock.

My thoughts: I wouldn't say I am very good at putting my home together in a truly beautiful way, so I was thrilled to receive this book! I love how it is broken up into different thoughts on how to make your home the best version of itself, all the while encouraging the reader to be the best version of themselves. I love how this book is set up! The devotions are just the right length, making them easy for busy women to add to their days. This is an excellent devotional to pick up!
I received this book from the publisher. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.


As a writer, teacher, and speaker with a busy work and family life, Victoria Duerstock understands that all the tasks of the holiday season can make it easy to forget the true joy that Christmas can bring. In Heart & Home for Christmas, Duerstock brings her mission to inspire hope for God's purpose, and her 20 years of experience in the furniture and design industry together, connecting Scripture with design elements and easy decorating tips in a way that reflects the true spirit of Christmas. The devotions and holiday decorating tips will encourage spiritual growth and inspiration to have both a captivating heart and home at Christmas.

Click here to view a sample of the book.

Releases September 17, 2019

About the Author:

Victoria Duerstock is a writer, blogger, teacher, and speaker. Her mission is to inspire hope and ignite bigger dreams for God’s purpose in each of our stories. She has a master’s degree in music, but ended up working in the furniture industry for more than twenty years and loves to make connections between our home environments and our spiritual lives. Victoria writes at Encouraging Women Today, Everything’s Gravy, Creative Corner, and Serious Writer Academy and also has contributed to devotionals for Worthy. She lives in Nesbit, Mississippi, with her husband, and they have three children.

Learn more about Victoria at:
www.victoriaduerstock.com



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Moments We Forget Review and Giveaway!

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book immensely! Getting to know Jillian better after her appearance and unexpected marriage in Things I Never Told You (which was more about her sister, Payton) was very enjoyable. I think that this is a wonderful story for people to read who has a loved one going through the aftermath of cancer, since I know that it opened up my eyes more to what my sister in law went through with her battle with cancer. I also like that it continues Payton's story, and gives readers a chance to get to know Johanna a bit, the perfect sister who was hard to relate to in the first story. I look forward to reading the next book in this series!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. Thus is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.


About the Author:
Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018.
Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly‘s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.
An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

More from Beth:
A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life.”
Deborah Tannen (1945-), sociologist
I’m launching Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, and I’ve just turned in the final book in the series. I’d love to share book three’s title with you, but I don’t know what it is. (Of course, book three might have a final title by the time you read this—that’s part of the fun of prerelease deadlines.)
One thing I do know: the theme of “Little Women gone wrong” is woven through all of the books . . . thanks to the Thatcher sisters: Payton, Pepper, Jillian, and Johanna.
Sisters, be they real or imaginary, can be complicated.
Of course, there are sisters who have close relationships. They “get” each other and love doing life together.
But then there are the sister relationships that are like mismatched socks. Or those expensive jeans you loved in the store, but when you bring them home, they never quite live up to those moments in the dressing room.
Such are the Thatcher sisters. Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper grew up in the same family. They’re all tall. They love Broncos football and board games. But in so many ways their lives are like different movies because they each made different choices. Choices that changed and separated them. Moments We Forget continues to explore whether the Thatcher sisters can find a way to understand each other enough to bridge the distance between them.


Blog stops:
For a list of the blog stops, go here.

Giveaway! Grand prize winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card plus a softcover copy of Moments We Forget. Go here to enter.

Past Forward Review and Giveaway!

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.
The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.
When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.
From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.
The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

My thoughts: Another wonderful book/series from Chautona! I enjoyed getting to know Willow as her life changed drastically. I can only imagine going through the shock of seeing how different the world is compared to the one that you are had been raised in! She is a delightful character who comes alive through her story! I look forward to finishing this series and seeing where her story goes.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

About the Author:
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona:
How Did My Weird High School Years Inspire This Book?
December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.
Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.
For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.
I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.
On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.
We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:
Turn on water.
Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
Turn it off.
Lather up.
Shampoo hair.
Turn on water.

Turn off.
Work conditioner into hair.
Turn on water.

Turn off.
Get out.
Try to stop your teeth from chattering.
For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.
Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.
We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages
For the curious, summer was blistering hot.
No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.
Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.
I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.
If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…
What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?
Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.
I disagree.
We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.
I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.
If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.
Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.
Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.
Just sayin’.

Blog stops:
Go here for a complete list of blog stops!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter!

Surrendered Review and Giveaway!

Her father’s will is clear; do what he demands, or lose everything, including guardianship of her younger sister. But there’s a force at work–an evil set on destroying her and her sister. If only she knew whether the enigmatic man helping them is friend–or deadly foe…

After the reading of her father’s will, Tess O’Shay’s panic attacks return. In death, Sean O’Shay is attempting to accomplish what he couldn’t do in life—force Tess to finish her education, a dream she abandoned after being raped on campus. Unless she complies with her father’s wishes, she will lose all claim to the only home she’s ever known as well as to the family business. Worse, she’ll have to give up guardianship of her younger sister to Jake Holland, a secretive man fleeing from his past. Fine! She’ll show Jake and her father. She’ll muster whatever meager energy and strength she has, get her degree, and keep what matters most to her.

No matter what.

Then the man who assaulted her reappears, shattering what little strength she has left. Now she must dig deep to find the remnants of her mustard-seed faith…because that’s the only way she can face the past and right a wrong in order to secure the future.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this story, with it's secrets and surprises! A little bit hard to follow at times, with being in first person and going back and forth between the characters, I still enjoyed how Tess must go back to school in order to fulfill her father's will. It was an unusual story, and her father put Jake in a tough spot, putting him in charge of things until Tess finishes! This is an enjoyable story to pick up, well worth reading.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

About the Author:
Jennifer Sienes holds a degree in both psychology and education but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, writing and romance and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

More from Jennifer:
Since I was twelve years old, I’ve been writing stories. I even wrote fan-fiction before it was a thing—a Happy Days episode, which I’m sure dates me. I took every creative writing class I could, starting in high school, and even declared journalism as my college major until I realized I like fiction a whole lot more than truth, because I can create the characters any way I like.
Tess O’Shay, the main character in Surrendered, came by way of accident. She was a minor character in my first novel (which will be the last published in the series) and my critique group loved her. They wanted to know if she would have more scenes. She did not. In fact, she was deleted with the rewrites. But I couldn’t get her out of my mind—it was like she’d become a real person and refused to be ignored. I loved writing Surrendered because Tess O’Shay and Jake Holland ran away with the story and it was everything I could do to keep up.
The first two novels I wrote were inspired by actual events—my brother’s suicide in the first and my daughter’s near-fatal car accident in the second. These are dark themes, yet I wanted to present them with humor and hope—both of which have gotten me through some tough circumstances. I strive to create characters my readers can connect with—three-dimensional and human—but also fall in love with. I think the best books are those that leave us wanting more.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
Up for grabs is a $25 gift card to Amazon! Go here to enter.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tongues of Fire Devotional Review and Giveaway!

A fifty-day devotional for Pentecost featuring the words and teachings of writings of faithful men and women of God, both classic and contemporary authors, regarding the miraculous power available through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Includes excerpts from Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, William Seymour, Aimee Semple McPhearson, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Andrew Murray, E. W. Kenyon, R. A. Torrey, John Wesley, Mary K. Baxter, Guillermo Maldonado, James Goll, Bill Johnson, and many more. Let this collection of charismatic classics help you to celebrate the wild tongues of fire that signified the coming of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and be filled anew with the powerful presence of God.

My thoughts: I didn't realize when I first received this book that it was geared towards Pentecostal members. That said, I still got a lot out of this devotional! I enjoyed the melding of modern and historical devotions and thoughts. I feel like, a lot of times, we over look the Holy Spirit and the amazing ministry that it can have in our lives. While I didn't agree with some of this devotional, I still enjoyed it and appreciated the way it made me think more outside the box.
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 book here.
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For a complete list of the blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
One $20 giftcard to Starbucks in up for grabs! Go here to enter.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Shine the Light Review and Giveaway!

Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She's stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she's even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life.

Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings.

But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?

My thoughts: I love that this story is about Shannon, who appeared in the first book about her friend Amber. April does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life and dealing with shining the light through difficult situations. Shannon's story is an inspiring one that I enjoyed whole heartedly! I can now highly recommend both this one and Hold the Light.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.


About the Author:
April McGowan loves to read and write inspirational fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her ‘mews’ (three cats!), live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, homeschooling her son, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

More from April:

Writing About Tough Subjects—with Hope
I began writing over twenty years ago. And technically I wrote long before that as well. But those pieces were ‘just for fun.’ However, as I look back on my short stories, blog posts, and now my published work, there’s a definite theme: overcoming. Overcoming childhood abuse, overcoming an abusive marriage, overcoming loss—physical and emotional. And those overcoming stories were not about overcoming through our own strength, which is so often flawed and lacking, but by relying on the One who can heal us from every wrong, every hurt, and every loss.
After my first novel, Jasmine, I asked my readers what they’d like me to focus on in my next books—what subjects were overlooked in fiction today? The overwhelming consensus was adoption, loss, and mental illness.
As a contemporary fiction author, I stay current on social issues, so that wasn’t a huge jump for me. My readers saw a gap, and I did, too.
Not that it’s wrong to simply read for entertainment—shoot, I do! But I’ve always loved gripping stories with people I could identify with who were overcoming obstacles I’d faced, or watched a loved one face—stories that offer real hope in the face of tragedy.
So began my journey. In book one of this series, Hold the Light, I wrote about sight loss and adoption. I wrote about best friends who were solidly there for each other in the face of great hardship and pain. And in book two, Shine the Light, I’m doing the same—with a twist.
There’s a lack of representation and writing concerning mental illness and how it affects the sufferer and those around them. There is a stigma that is significantly changing, but it’s something we’re still hesitant to discuss. Myself and many I know are deeply touched by this issue, and I think we’re long past due letting those that suffer from mental illness and their families know that they are not alone. Or if they are, that they don’t have to be.
Book two, Shine the Light, is about Shannon’s life. Her love for the downtrodden, the lost, and the injured. Her passion for the underdog. How she became the stalwart friend she is to Amber in Hold the Light, the obstacles she’s overcome, and those she has to continue to grapple through with God’s help.
As with all of my books, I’ve vetted this story with people who have faced these situations and am very careful to respect their stories as well as staying true to my characters. I hope you’ll dive in and find Shannon to be a deep and real and identifiable character. I hope you’ll discover in her a friend.
I know you’ll grow to love her as I do.
The giveaway: Many of my books are set in Portland, Oregon, and as a celebration of that, I’m offering a giveaway celebrating two of my favorite things about the city: Powell’s books and super good coffee! Also cats…but I can’t give one of those away in a contest! Well…I could try, but I’d probably fall in love with it and never send it to you…so for now, books and coffee!

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

Giveaway!
Grand prize giveaway of $20 Powells Gift card, Powells Coffee Mug, and Stumptown Coffee. Go here to enter!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Gone Too Soon Review and Giveaway!


An icy road. A car crash.
A family changed forever.

Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.

Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.

But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?

My thoughts: From a mother's point of view, this was a hard story to read, since I can only imagine how hard it would be to recover from the death of a child! The story is wonderfully written, about a young woman's struggle to come to grips with her sister's untimely death and the different ways her family has handled the loss. When she finds Hannah's diary, she begins to feel closer to her sister than she has in a long time. As she discovers what really happened the last year of her sister's life, she begins to discover herself.
This was a well written story with memorable characters!
I received this book from the publisher. This is my honest review.

Purchase a copy:

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About Melody:
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

More from Melody:
I think I’ve written about a hundred or more teen novels, but Gone Too Soon, a rather serious story, is a bit different. There’s no denying I’ve covered a bunch of gritty issues—everything from self-harm to suicide to murder—but I’ve never written a novel quite like this one. For starters, I wrote it from two viewpoints. Both the teenage daughter and her mother express themselves in this story. And because the premise involves an untimely death, the family is torn apart. As a result, there’s a lot of guilt and blame and confusion going around. They’re all in pain.
I’ve been asked several times what “inspired” this story. And I’m sad to say that it’s simply a case of “art imitating life.” I live in a small community where too many young people have died “too soon.” These untimely deaths—for a variety of random and unexplainable reasons—are devastating. I know more than a dozen families (some very close friends) who have tragically lost a child. So I’ve seen up close how it can tear a family apart. It’s truly heartbreaking, often leaving friends and family without words of comfort or explanation.
But that’s not the only reason I wrote this story. My hope is that teens (who often feel invincible) will be reminded that they are mortal and that this earthly life is temporary. Hard as it sounds, death is inevitable. And it’s not that I want everyone to be obsessed about dying, but we do live in a culture that practices denial about the end of a life. No one really wants to talk about it. My hope is that readers will take a hard, honest look, peel back some layers, and face death for what it is—a part of earthly life. And I hope readers will close the book with a little more understanding . . . and hope.

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize of paperback copy of Gone Too Soon and a matching journal!! Go here to enter.

Uniquely Common


Steel sharpens steel, but will its sparks ignite unfailing love?
Instead of living a pampered life on the civilized east coast with a new husband, rejection compels Christina Adams westward with her widowed brother and his two daughters. Harboring ulterior motives, Ethan Cord, the man her brother hires to accompany the family, is more a match for her, and he appears almost perfect, but how could she possibly trust her instincts about him when she’d been so wrong about her previous fiancĂ©? Will her past ruin her future?

My thoughts: Caryl writes another enjoyable, historical read with Uniquely Common! I love how Christina winds up leaving the safety of the East Coast to travel to California with her family. I enjoyed her story, as she got to know Ethan, and then the additional stories of her niece and widowed brother. This is a wonderful book to pick up and enjoy!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
Click here to purchase your copy.


This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author:
Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling novels—over forty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. Sharing four children and eighteen grandsugars with Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty years, she lives in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl:
I’m so excited about this year’s Lockets and Lace story! I’ve fallen in love with its characters. Asher and his sister Christina, his girls Samantha and Patricia, and his friend, Ethan Cord is certainly a man’s man though he has a checkered past to overcome.
His wife dies in childbirth, leaving him with two little girls, then when his parents pass, too, what’s to tie Asher Adams to New York?
His younger sister Christina is about to be settled into her new life, married and well cared for, so there’s nothing holding the wine merchant back from his dreams of owning a vineyard in the Napa Valley. He decides a new life in the west is the best thing for him and his daughters.
Then at the last minute, the family is turned upside down when the rogue engaged to Christina dumps her and calls the wedding off. Asher’s already sold the brownstone. She suddenly has nowhere to go and no one to watch over her if he leaves.
She never wanted to, but he insists her only choice is to go with them, accompany him and her nieces and make her new life in California . . . and he knows the perfect man for her, too!
One thing I love about this book is that as it draws to its end in Saint Joseph, Missouri, a new young woman is introduced, Remi, and her book—my May ‘Prairie Roses Collection’ story REMI—continues with the Adams family and segues into a new romance!
I hope readers will love that as well, praying my story gives God glory!

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away
Grand Prize $50 Amazon Gift Card
1st Place – Print copy of UNIQUELY COMMON
2nd place – eBook copy of UNIQUELY COMMON
3rd place – Choice eBook of Caryl’s FORTY+ titles!!
Go here to enter!

Issac's Ice Cream Tree


Isaac loves the sugar maple in his yard, and he can't help but feel bad for it when its branches are winter-bare. He decides to give it a gift...and is surprised when the tree returns the favor in the new morning snow, presenting him with balls of...ice cream!

But how long can the magic last with spring on the horizon?

This magical exploration through the colors of the rainbow, the days of the week, and some of our favorite fruits is sure to delight readers of all ages!

My thoughts: My kids and I love this book! It is such a fun story about a young boy who figures out that his tree can make ice cream on it's own, which livens up the winter and makes him want the cold weather to last! This is such a fun, imaginative story for young readers. My kids enjoyed this story and wish that they had a tree just like it.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.



God doesn't have a favorite color...
God made fish, bugs, birds, and kids in many different shades. All colors of kids are wonderful, and you are one of His fantastic colorful children! In the picture book When God Made Color, the wonders of Creation are spread out before you in all the glories of the rainbow: the deep purples and blues of night, the bright yellows of day, and the pinks and oranges of flowers. And of course, the colors of all the creatures...including us! The brilliantly-colored illustrations will inspire parent and child alike as together they explore the wonders of God's incredible universe. The paintings and text interact visually, creating a heartwarming Listen-Look-Locate experience.

My thoughts: This is a delightful book on creation and when God made colors. My children enjoyed this storybook, though we were surprised at how many words there are for such a short book. If you have real young children, it may take them a while to grow into this story. That said, we enjoyed it tremendously and can use it when working on colors.
I received this book through Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Purchase a copy:

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About the Authors:
Angela Henderson resides in Dallas, Texas, where she teaches middle school English Language Arts & Reading and is a mother of three. Exploring children’s books for twelve years with her own children during numerous “story times” at the local library and reading hundreds of books to her children, her passion for quality children’s literature led her to write her own work. After creating her blog and Facebook page, Kidsbook Friends, and her Instagram, Instabooks, she’s been able to share her love of literature with over a thousand followers by featuring authors and books. She’s thrilled to introduce her own creative story where magical moments lead to positive perspectives.



Sheri Carmon seeks to incorporate the beauty of the Lord’s heart, His ways and His love in her writing for children. As an author, her goal is to shine His light through stories. In the past she has published poetry and inspirational compositions with both Blue Mountain Arts and The Group Publishing. Sheri has always cared for the individual needs of families and spent fifteen marvelous, fast-paced years in real estate, specializing in family friendly homes. She and her husband have helped facilitate whole church Bible-reading programs in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. They make their home in Colorado, on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, where they’re surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation every day.


More from Angela:Why children’s books? After all, I teach young teens. Well, my reasons:
I love art, and reading children’s books is like looking at an artist’s showcase of creativity!
* Shout out to my amazing illustrator, Rachael Koppendrayer!
I love to dream up the impossible, and you can make anything happen in a children’s book!
I love togetherness and nothing brings a family together like a good book.
As I read picture books with my kiddos, the teacher in me wanted to instruct too. I created a blog (www.kidsbookfriends.com) so teachers, librarians and parents could have little lessons to help them “make friends” with the characters in the stories I featured. Surrounded by such inspiration from these books and my kiddos, I started writing my own manuscripts when my kids were all under age five, mainly sketches of thoughts until I had segments of time where I could construct stories.
After several years of attending SCBWI conferences; connecting with writers; creating manuscripts & editing and revising, editing and revising (you see a pattern?!); and submitting them to publishers, Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree was accepted for publication and was released January 15, 2019, by Whitefire Publishing! (It’s a process!!!)
The message embedded in this colorful, magical story expresses a very real part of my heart as it’s our family motto: “Always remember to look for the rainbow.” My kids and I both literally and figuratively practice this principle, rushing out after every rain to see if the sky is painted with a bow as well as trying to find the good that comes through the storms of life.
Through my journey, I’ve experienced much loss through moving many times, caring for my mother during her dying days, and losing my husband through divorce. Yet in it all, God redeems and uses each pain and joy like brush strokes on a canvass, reminding us of His unfailing promises while creating a masterpiece.
Creativity, imagination, inspiration . . . make magical moments.
Gather together. Dream the impossible. Embrace the colors. . . as I introduce you to a new friend, Isaac! Excited to share this story with you. . . and my next one . . . and the one after that. . . until we have many new kindred spirits . . .together.
Click here for a fee printable coloring page.
Click here to learn the story behind the story.
More from Sheri
A child asks, “Who am I?”
Creation Vs. Evolution – The big battle. Many public schools are presenting Evolution as fact and not theory. They leave no room for the concept of Creation. Our little ones are not creatures descended from animals, they are Children of God, created in His image. This is our identity and our children’s Identity and it makes all the difference in how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we engage in the world. Our identity is made clear in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV. As Christian parents and grandparents, we are charged with teaching, encouraging and bringing forth our family line for the LORD. The new picture book When God Made Color, with its awe inspiring illustrations, is about our true identity and about the joyful, loving God who created us and the whole universe – a universe that is still expanding – Isn’t He just amazing?
Click here to view a special video.

Giveaway!
To celebrate their tour, Angela and Sheri is giving away a grand prize of The Great Color Giveaway Package that includes a$25 gift card from Amazon, Rainbow ice-cream cups with colored spoons, a paperback copy of Issacs’s Ice Cream Tree, a $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble,
Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint – 12 count original and glitter paint (see attached image), and a paperback copy of When God Made Color!! Click here to enter.

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations review and giveaway!


Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she'll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what's left of their family's legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she's forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother's renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

My thoughts: I loved this story! Getting to know Apryl and Courtney through this book was such a fun journey, I loved that they are twins who stick together despite being very different. Apryl is a gem, with her quirky sense of humor and devotion to her grandmother. This is a fun summer read to pick up!
I received this book through Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author:
Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterationsand a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

More from Joy:

I’ll confess something to you guys.
For about a year, I hated these characters. Like I vehemently hated them. For their refusal to bow to my will, I counted the ways I could take revenge against them for my own sadistic pleasure, and I seriously considered printing the manuscript just so I could burn it in an oil drum while I laughed like a Disney villain. I’m told my “Ursula laugh” is uncanny.
Some of you may be laughing. Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Some of you may be gasping in horror at the thought of an author killing her beloved characters. Or some of you may smirk and say, “I’ve been there, only I did kill my characters.”
I dove into the story with a wide-eyed innocence that came from thinking I was in charge of the story. My characters slapped that doe-eyed look off my face, letting me know I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I knew the basics… They start off arguing, then fall in love… I had a couple great kiss scenes planned… Worth in God would be explored… Jokes would be made… But I could not get these stubborn characters to cooperate, and I was pulling my hair out by the roots trying to force them to get on board with my excellent program! I didn’t understand them, and their actions didn’t make any sense. Then my computer crashed…and died…taking over twelve thousand words with it. (A part of me thinks Apryl was behind it.) Suddenly, I was at square one, but I was actually a little relieved. Now I could start over.
Cue muffled sobs here.
After the untimely demise of my computer, I went to the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. At that conference, Ted Dekker said something in one of his keynote sessions that changed everything for me.
“Write to discover yourself.”
I still get chills when I think about this, and it has nothing to do with the below zero temperatures in my neck of the woods.
My writing changed after that. I made myself vulnerable, pouring my heart into Apryl and Chance’s journey like it was my personal journey. And as my literary world started to blossom, my literal world felt like it was being scorched by an exploding sun of heartache. And when that nasally (or does it only sound that way in my head?) voice whispered that I was worthless, God’s declaration of love was a big, bold font across the pages.
Through Apryl and Chance, I rediscovered my own worth to my Father.
And I hope you can, too.
I hope you laugh (the seagull scene is a favorite of mine). I hope you swoon (Apryl and Chance Forever!!). I would be especially pleased if you had to look up one or two pop culture references because I’ll just feel cool. But more than anything I hope you can rediscover your worth in our Father’s eyes, whether it’s for the first time or the seven hundred and eleventh time.
Our worth isn’t defined by our jobs, our mistakes, our families, or the plans we have. Our worth is in a loving God who calls each of His children by name. Our worth is in our Father.
Set to the tune of a romantic comedy, there are a lot of little truths sprinkled throughout Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, but our worth in God is the glue that holds it all together – at least for me! This was the truth I wanted to convey in Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations all along. But until I started to understand this (I definitely haven’t mastered it!) in my own heart, how could I write about it?
I hope you guys enjoy Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations. I hope this truth touches your heart in some way.
And I hope you laugh. A lot.
Hugs,
Joy Palmer

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Joy is giving away a grand prize package that includes a signed copy of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations,
a signed copy of Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, a Hand-Carved Reading Willow Tree Figurine, a Character-Inspired Locket,
a Custom Roaring Twenties Book Sleeve from The Cozy Life Etsy Shop, an Anne of Green Gables Mug Rug from Bookish Star Designs Etsy Shop, and a Chai Latte Soy Candle in a Vintage Mug from Joplin House Cafe!! Go here to enter!

Shadow Among Sheaves Review and Giveaway!


A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

My thoughts: This is such a creative retelling of the story of Ruth and Boaz! I loved the historical aspect of it, how it dealt with prejudice in England after the uprising in India back in the 1800's. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, though I would of liked a bit more depth to some of them. I thought that this story was excellent, over all, and look forward to reading more by Naomi in the future.
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:

This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author:
Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi:
A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz
The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.
Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.
Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves:
She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.
Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.
“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”
Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”
Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.
As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Bar¬ric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.
She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”
“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”
Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”
Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.
“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.
“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.
Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”
Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us, if that is what you are asking.”
“The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”
“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”
“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”
She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tra¬dition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stew-ards, even tenant farmers and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.
“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.”
“I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”
At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”
But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?
Did he want to dance with her?
This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”
When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.
He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”



Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.

Haven's Fire


When Dade re-emerges from the wilderness and settles in Seattle, intent on establishing a powerful cult following, Haven, Petter, and Jesse must protect their new friend, Thea, from his evil plans.
Haven Ellingson has been stalked, kidnapped, and beaten by Dade. After her escape, he continued to torment her through threats and constant pursuit. Again she was able to break free, thinking the man had finally perished.
But he’s back, now intent on destroying the life of another young woman and countless, misguided followers.
And Haven is having none of it.
Sometimes you hide from your attacker; sometimes you stand and fight.

My thoughts: This book is hard to put down! I enjoyed returning to Haven's story (I highly recommend reading this series in order) of how she deals with finding out that Dade/Father Michael is still alive after being kidnapped and beaten by him. Finding out that he is still alive is a shock, but sends her into fight mode to ensure that he isn't able to hurt others like he has her.
This book introduces other characters and has more than one story going on, which I really enjoyed. It's a chilling story of cults and the power they have. Dena does a great job at making this story realistic through the power of Dade and Thea's background, which is why it's so hard to put down!
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:

This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author:
Dena Netherton has always loved the thrill of suspense-filled fiction. One day it dawned on her she could actually put down on paper her own action-packed stories and life-threatened characters that had been knocking around inside her head for decades.
When she’s not writing, Dena loves to play piano and guitar, read good books, spend time with people, and hike the Cascade Mountains.
Dena is active in her church as a musician, leader in Women’s Ministry, and director of a women’s prayer ministry. She also volunteers at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
She and her husband live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Find out more about Dena’s books through her website and newsletter: denanetherton.me

More from Dena:
Haven’s Fire is the third and final installment of the suspense trilogy, Hunting Haven. In the first book, Haven’s Flight, I introduced Jesse, a teenaged boy, living with the delusional Dade Colton and his common-law wife, Mama. He’s a sweet and handsome young man, but just like Haven, he’s a victim of the two abusive adults who keep him imprisoned in a remote mountain cabin, far from the influence of church or friends or schools. He puts his life on the line to help Haven escape from Dade, and as I was writing the book, I fell in love with his courageous, unselfish character. So I vowed that I would give him a bigger role in the third book. (He’s still secondary in book two, Haven’s Hope.) And since Jesse wasn’t destined to be Haven’s love, I knew I had to find a girl for him, someone worthy of him, but someone who was dealing with her own dark past. In Haven’s Fire, we get to see Jesse, now a student living in Seattle, struggle to forgive Dade and Mama for the abuse they dealt out, and to help his girl, Thea, escape the dangerous leader of a cult who is bent on controlling and abusing her. In this suspense-filled book, it will take all of Jesse’s new-found faith, his prayers, and the support of Haven and her friends to rescue Thea from walking blindly into a world of intrigue, deception, and even, murder!

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Dena is giving away a grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Go here to enter.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

She Dreams Blog tour (with a giveaway!)


Every woman was born to dream—to live a life of beauty, passion, adventure, and purpose. Our dreams, no matter how big or small, push us to become women of courage, grace, and grit. In His goodness, God breathes new dreams within our hearts and revives the dreams that have died, inviting us to trust Him as we follow impossible dreams that only He can bring to pass—because God not only gives dreams; He fulfills them.

In She Dreams Tiffany Bluhm encourages you to discover and follow your God-given dreams as you consider how dreams take shape through practices such as reflecting, collaborating, lifelong learning, pursuing passion, counting the cost, praying, holding onto hope, and trusting God. Looking to the biblical story of Moses, who lived out the God-sized dream given to him, she exposes the ancient wisdom God offers every woman with a dream within her soul. Through the encouraging account of God’s heart and hand in Moses’ life, as well as the examples of ordinary women, she dares you to say yes to the dreams the Lord is stirring in your own heart, trusting Him to bring them to pass as He breathes blessing and hope into your soul.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book, mostly because we can all relate to dreaming and having some of those dreams crash and burn, causing us to become more cautious. This book was just the gently push I needed to remind me that "When we move forward towards our dreams, taking the lessons we've learned from our broken moments with us, we are stronger, not weaker." (page 32) I love the personal stories that Tiffany shares and the encouragement to listen to God, the creator of dreams, and start working towards those dreams.
I received this book through Reading with Audra. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

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Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tinderbox


With her Amish parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise--the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia's bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda's relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia's recent engagement to the preacher's grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

MY thoughts: First off, this book should come with a warning that it is the first part, so there isn't a lot of conclusion when you get to the end. The second part will come out in September, so if you don't want to deal with a cliffhanger, then I would recommend waiting until then to read this book.
That said, I enjoyed this story of secrets coming to light and a family that must deal with the aftermath. I like that there is more going on then just the story of the tinderbox, since there are several parallel stories. Fans of Beverly Lewis will be thrilled to return to Hickory Hollow!
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

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Monday, April 29, 2019

A Life of Creative Purpose



"You'll come away with a clearer understanding of how you are uniquely gifted to contribute to the world, and why it's imperative that you honor your creative calling." ~Michelle DeRusha, author of Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runway Nun and a Renegade Monk

"TH Meyer delivers on her promise to help people embrace uniqueness, explore boldness, and encourage faith." ~Amy Young, author of Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service

What might be sabotaging your uniquely gifted contribution to the world around you? Discover the obstacles and barriers standing between you and your God-given purpose. In this book, you'll learn how to identify ways to strengthen your calling that'll encourage you to confidently operate in the gifts and talents that God designed you to do. Through the lens of T.H. Meyer’s own journey, you’ll recognize the universal struggle in embracing your whole person as she encourages you to live a life without regrets.

For the individual reader looking to examine more deeply their life purpose or a group seeking to collectively spur each other toward their God-given gifts, talents, and life. This book can be used as a 12-week, 6-week, or 4-week study guide, with exploratory questions at the end of each chapter the assist you in listening to God's voice and revealing your unique purpose, path, or direction.

My thoughts: A great book about all of us having unique gifts that we can share with the world around us through pushing through fear and realizing that God made each of us to be part of His plan. I enjoyed the thought provoking questions that T.H. provides with each of the chapters. This is a thought provoking book.
I received this book through Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

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About the Author:
“T.H. Meyer enjoys sunsets, porch dates with her husband, and Sonic tea. Her family built a home on their Texas farm in 2011 where their two mini-Australian shepherds share the couch and ice cubes from the fridge. Tammy is a Purpose-Focused life coaching strategist who authored A Life of Creative Purpose and co-authored A God of All Seasons. She is a mother to three beautiful kids and grandmother to one. You can find her at her website: www.thmeyerauthor.com “

More from the Author:
A Purposeful Life & the One Thing that Trumps Fear
Most my life, I’ve been afraid of failure. However, I might’ve been even more afraid of success. For too many years, I was immobile because the magnitude and pressures, or vulnerability, required to do what God had called me too, paralyzed me.
I’ve written a lot about this. I even originally named my blog, The Art of Fear Not. I decided on that title because God always told His people to not fear just before sending them into battle.
Armies Against Us
Even though His people were informed that they’d win the skirmishes, most times they were still afraid. I can’t say I blame them. They were up against sword-wielding armies that were willing to cut a man down and spill blood.
We may not have the same scenario, but we don’t need the threat of hand-to-hand combat to experience fear. Our own thoughts can attack us with feelings just as real a danger. I know mine did.
The enemy uses fear to hide us or blind us from our God-purpose. He’d prefer to lock us up and throw away the key. The enemy attempts to bully us. His demonic realm would prefer to rip out our vocal cords or cut off our hand from writing or burden us with every insecurity until we began to believe our worth was lower than the dirt itself rather than seeing us live our God-given purpose.
But bear in mind, when you’re in bondage, suppressed, oppressed, silenced, or held back, it also holds back blessings too—our blessings through your God-given contribution of gifts and talents.
Fighting Back
Several years ago, I decided to tackle my own issue with fear, head on. I looked in the mirror and met with God on my internal mess. And I also asked questions like, “Was it me or God who wanted to do a such-n-such thing? And if it’s God, why am I hamstrung with fear?”
After spending time in prayer, and laying down a good dose of self-preservation, a clear path emerged. I then decided I’d follow wherever it led. Not that the path was open and wide or easy for traveling. No, this was more of a narrow thicket where I couldn’t see ‘round the next corner—making the journey less about self-reliance and more about placing one steady foot in front of the other.
Don’t get me wrong. Fear didn’t entirely flee on this trek with God. There were times it tried to gore me like daggers from a thorny locust. But instead, I chose to trust and move forward anyway.
I fought back too.
A Warrior’s Call
During that time, anxiety would creep in only for me to replace it with intercession. I meditated on scripture. I bombarded my mind with worship music and reflected on His beautiful handiwork in creation.
I took opportunities to reverse fear into faithful action. I’m sure the devil didn’t take kindly that his demonic attacks turned into prayers, worship, and a yielding to the sword of the Spirit inside my heart. But that’s what fighting does—the good fight—positioning myself for a (God) purposeful life.
But oh how we also need to be each other’s champion for freedom too!
Power & Purpose
I continue to be amazed at the power of prayer. Prayer moves mountains, y’all. And sometimes those mountains are skyscrapers inside us. I’m not perfect at prayer or even at instantly returning to it, but when I finally do—why did I wait so long?
When we receive God’s wisdom, we become bold like lions, warriors ready to rise above insecurities, frailties, or fear and charging into battle in order to advance His kingdom.
I want to live in obedience to Christ, despite trepidation of what it might require of me.
Which also means, I need the Holy Spirit to help me get over myself.
Truth That Sets Free
We all need each of you. We need you to press into your God-purpose. Except, we don’t want to be something you’re not. You should be exactly what God’s called you to be and nothing more. No pressure to run off and save the world.
None of us in this Body of Christ are too small and Lord have mercy, none are too big and important either.
Instead, we pursue our God-purpose whether it’s raising our family or speaking on a stage. Or writing a book called, A Life of Creative Purpose.
And let’s not allow our muddied past to undervalue our worth inside God’s kingdom. I’ve done that. I once disqualified myself for many of God’s ministries because of condemnation and shame. Learn from my mistake.
Truth be told, the spirit of fear is afraid of you—afraid of the Spirit inside you, the same Spirit that sets you free.
Courage Rises to the Top
The enemy knows your God. The ruler of this world attempts to draw away your attention with clanging gongs, hoping you’ll never notice how big God really is.
Scripture says that God’s perfect love casts out fear. And that means, we have to first let God love on us, receiving it. Once we do that (& never stop), courage rises to the top.
Let’s make this a year where we pay attention and live with more intention.
God’s gifted you beautifully unique.
Don’t grow weary of the fight.
What might God be asking of you? How might He be challenging you to change or step out or persevere this year? What are your biggest struggles or hurdles right now?

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
Grand prize giveaway of $100 Amazon gift card and a copy of A God of All Seasons. Go here to enter.

The 49th Mystic


Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams.

They are wrong. In the small town of Eden, Utah, a blind girl named Rachelle Matthews is about to find out just how wrong.

When a procedure meant to restore Rachelle's sight goes awry, she begins to dream of another world so real that she wonders if Earth might only be a dream experienced when she falls asleep in that reality. Who is a simple blind girl to have such strange and fantastic dreams?

She's the prophesied one who must find and recover five ancient seals--in both worlds--before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, both worlds will forever be locked in darkness.

So begins a two-volume saga of high stakes and a mind-bending quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?

Dream.

My thoughts: I haven't read The Circle series, which I think wound up being mostly in my favor, since then I was able to just enjoy this book without comparing it to the original series. It's an action packed story that is hard to put down! Though I don't always agree with Ted's theology, I do appreciate the message of being beloved by God that is prevalent throughout this story. I look forward to reading the next book!
I received this book from Revell. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

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The Refuge


When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

My thoughts: Wow, the history of this one! I have looked at the Shakers faith and often wondered how people wound up joining, since it is one where all members agree to be celibate and so is in need of constant converts. After reading this book, I can see how it was a haven for some people. Ann brings the time period to life through the struggles of Darcie and some of the others living among the Shakers. This is a fascinating historical read with a dash of romance.
I received this book from Revell. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

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The Heart of a King


King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you'll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you'll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon's wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

My thoughts: To be quite honest, I wasn't sure about this book when it first arrived. I wasn't sure if I would like a book about a man and his many loves/marriages, even though he is from the Bible. That said, I enjoyed it immensely! Jill does a wonderful job of bringing the reign of Solomon to life through the story of him and four of his wives. I thought she did a wonderful job of writing tastefully about his life, drawing from the scriptures and history. This is an interesting read!
I received this book from Revell. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

This post contains affiliate links.