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.

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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.

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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.

Purchase a 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.

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40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith


Many of us have our "go to" verses. The ones we memorize, post on social media, and hang on our walls. But sometimes we need a fresh word or promise for the season we find ourselves in--something that ignites our faith in the face of fear, doubt, loneliness, insecurity, or overwhelming circumstances.

In this powerful, accessible new book, author and speaker Laurie Short mines the Scriptures, revealing insights and promises from 40 verses we often overlook. Digging in to these "in between" verses, she unearths fresh wisdom, guidance, and encouragement that will help you seek and experience God in new, dynamic ways. From trusting God's timing, to not worrying about the future, to holding on to faith when things look dark, the hidden insights found in these verses will help you navigate the challenges that cross your path, breathe new life into your weary soul, and ignite your faith once again.

My thoughts: This is an excellent book, filled with a variety of verses from the Bible that are both familiar and often overlooked. I enjoyed the thoughts that Laurie shares, and especially liked the questions at the end of the chapters to help the reader reflect on the verse. This is an excellent book to add to your devotions!
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.
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Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Memory House Review and Giveaway!


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new captivating novel of two women whose lives have been destroyed by disaster but find healing in a special house.
“Hauck is a master at weaving together plots from multiple time periods.” —Library Journal

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .
When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that either.
Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.
Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.
"Accomplished Hauck demonstrates genre finesse as she blends inspirational romance with a cinematic style of storytelling, bringing empathic characters to life as they cope with grief in marriage and faithfulness, parenthood and adoption, death and tragedy. Challenging decisions, the blessing of finding love again, and the solace of a beautiful Victorian home all come together in this spellbinding, lovely novel." —Booklist

My thoughts: I enjoyed this story immensely! Beck's life hasn't been an easy one, with losing her father during the attacks on 9/11, her amnesia regarding any memory of him, and now a major change in life that has put everything in a different perspective. When she inherits the home of a woman she can't even remember, she gets a chance to reconnect, both with a childhood crush and with her past. Told along side the story of Everleigh, a 1950's woman who has gone through unspeakable loss, both women discover hope, love, and the grace of God. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and loved the themes of the story! This is one of my most favorite books by Rachel, so I highly recommend picking it up!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:
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About the Author:
Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauc

Excerpt from The Memory House:
When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife. She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life.
And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby.
“Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?”
“I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”
“Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings.
“Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave
them to the architect. What do you think?”
“Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing.
“It’s our house, darling.”
Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.”
“We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings.
I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane.
“Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?”
Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around.
She envisioned an Applegate community.
But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away.
“Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.”
“Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?”

Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect.
“Rhett, sweetheart—”
He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again.
“Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.”
“You sure?”
Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest.
“You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.”
He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length.
“Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”

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

Giveaway!
For a grand prize, Rachel is giving away a copy of The Memory House! Enter here.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

30 Days Hath


Blind Dates Are for Wimps!

At least, that’s what Adric Garrison thinks.

Can you blame him? Thanks to his sister and brother-in-law, Adric is about to embark on a year of month-long, chaperoned, blind dates. Awkward.

He didn’t ask for it. But Adric still finds himself living what seems more like a bad TV reality show than a new life in Fairbury.

Once an ordinary (if prematurely gray and vertically challenged) guy, Adric is now Fairbury’s newest “most eligible bachelor,” and dreams of permanent bachelorhood loom on the horizon.

Will he call it quits before the year is out, or will one of his “girls of the month” change his mind?


One man, twelve women, one happily ever after.

My thoughts: I'm not really into watching a lot of reality tv, but I can see where the ideas are fun, it's just that the results are usually more smarmy than I would like. So, I really enjoyed this fun story by Chautona that takes all the best elements from reality tv dating shows, blind dates, drama, and seeking true love. The characters are delightful and I enjoyed getting to know each of them! This is a fun and creative read that is 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:

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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:
A Silent Truth No One Admits: Blind Dates Are for Wimps
Maybe I’m not the one to talk. After all, I never dated. Not really. My best friend in high school was a guy. We went to the movies. We did things. Still, we were just great friends.
I had what might be considered one date in Lubbock, Texas in 1987. Maybe. I didn’t consider it one, but I suppose the guy might have. Maybe.
Then I went from best friends with the guy I’ve been married to for 30 years to engaged in the span of a few seconds after what might have been a rhetorical question. He’s under orders not to tell me if it was. After all, he’s the fool who went on to say, “I do.” Just sayin’.
Still, in the first decade of the 21st century, I discovered a new “thing” in reality TV. The Bachelor. Though I tried watching it, I couldn’t after a while. It started out reasonably clean, but then it devolved into cat fights, spit-swapping sessions, and drama. Oh, the drama.
But one aspect intrigued me. The focused attention to finding the girl. What if Christians did that? What if we stopped playing the silly game of “pretend we’re not in this to see if you’re someone I could put up with for the next fifty or sixty years…”? Oh, man. What if the church rallied around its members and helped without pushing.
Trust me, you don’t want to push too much. You may discover that the people you’re pushing just get together and talk about it. Laugh at your antics. Mock the ridiculousness of it. Not that Kevin and I ever did that back in the day or anything. (Check out that story HERE.)
That “what if?” spurred an idea.
Sister churches. Chaperones. Not a couple of weeks in a giant house somewhere, but a whole month of real living with someone, day in. Day out. And again, with that chaperone to avoid that “appearance of evil” thing. If you could spend that much time with someone, seeing warts, virtues, best and worst sides… well, maybe you might just be right for each other.
At the least, you’d have a good idea if you even wanted to find out. That’s a healthier and quicker start than two or three months of a date here or there and hoping you’re seeing the real person. Right?
I created a character and ran with it. From giving him less than Hollywood good looks, to an anger problem and a blue-collar job, Adric had lots going for him… and not so much!
Then I tested it out. Acid test. I signed him up for eHarmony.
No, really. I did.
For the record, apparently short, prematurely graying mechanics with anger issues are a hot commodity. It took hours to get it set up, but man there were many women out there for him… supposedly.
And to this day, my Gmail email (that I never use) still says adricgarrison@gmail.com. No joke.
For what it’s worth, Adric learned one very difficult lesson that year.
As I’ve already confessed. I’ve never been on a blind date. I doubt anyone would even consider that I’ve been on a date. Still, after writing this book, I know for one thing. Blind Dates Are for Wimps.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here!

Giveaway!
Grand prize giveaway of a paperback copy of Thirty Days Hath, book cozy, and a $25 Starbucks gift card. Go here to enter!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Beauty in Hiding Review and Giveaway!


Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:
Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her.
Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.
Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something's not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they're trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.
Derrick, Harper's ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.
Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

My thoughts: This series is excellent! I've enjoyed getting to know Harper through it, since she is a tough character with a big heart who has been through a rough season. Just when she thought life might be turning around, she is left to flee for her life. This mystery was hard to put down! Robin does an excellent job of weaving the story together. Her characters jump off the pages as they race to keep ahead of the murderer.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

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About the Author:
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

More from Robin:
I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time.
Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out.
But God… two of my favorite words in the English language.
God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity.
Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of.
Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.
Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ.
Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!! Go here to enter.

Here Now


What if our truest life is the one right in front of us?
Does life sometimes seem to be passing you by? Are you so busy—with email to check, Instagram to scroll through, and friends to be envious of—that you’ve become disconnected from your actual life? You know, the one you are living right here, right now?
With hilariously relatable confessions and profoundly beautiful insights, Kate Merrick invites us to stop running away from the lives we’re living today and instead walk in the peace and fullness God offers moment to moment. She shows us how to
kill your Wi-Fi, put down the tech, and find deeper contentment,
redirect the FOMO so you don’t miss out on your own life, and
go on a diet of fewer choices to discover the blessings of the quiet, the slow, and the intentional.
Only when we look honestly at our hearts and have the courage to live truly present do we receive the gifts of God found in all of life’s seasons—the painful ones, the big and beautiful ones, and even the ordinary ones.

My thoughts: I know a lot of us nowadays struggle with how to balance life and technology, something most of us didn't grow up with a lot of (in comparison). I love that Kate takes on how to draw apart from technology and focus on the things that really matter in life. I needed the reminders. Her writing style is enjoyable and like sitting with a good friend. If you are looking to make more of the moments you have and be more intentional with living, this is an excellent book to pick up!
I received this book from Booklook bloggers. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

RES-Q TYLER STOP review and giveaway!

 




Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for RES-Q Tyler Stop by June McCrary Jacobs with JustRead Publicity Tours!



ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: RES-Q Tyler Stop
 

Series: Tyler Stop, Book 1
 

Author: June McCrary Jacobs
 

Publisher: JMJ Story Stitcher Books
 

Release Date: April 22, 2019
 

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction



It's the summer of 1968 in Sonoma County, California, and eleven-year-old Weston Gregg and his nine-year-old sister, Wendy, are looking for fun things to do during their summer break from school. When they discover some abandoned rabbits, they hatch an idea to make a positive difference for animals and people in their small town of Tyler Stop.



They decide to form 'Rescue Each Species-Quickly', or RES-Q Tyler Stop.



There are challenges to face as they move forward into their new venture, including standing up to someone who is targeting Weston's friends for being different and a painfully bad decision.



Will Weston have to handle these issues on his own or will he learn to accept the advice and wisdom shared by some important people in his life? Join Weston and his family and friends as they share some adventures and learn and grow together in RES-Q Tyler Stop.





PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:



"Adventure has no end in this tale, where a heart for animals inspires and surprises await around every bend. . . . The characters and the situations they face come across realistic, and the scenes develop naturally. Not only does the author keep a nice paced plot rolling along but adds interesting and practical information about animals and ways to handle certain situations along the way. It makes for a fun mix of fiction and fact.



This appears to be the first book in the series, and I’m eager to see where the RES-Q Tyler Stop adventures will head to next." ~ Tonja Drecker, Author of Music Boxes




My thoughts: What a fun book! Set back in the 1960's when life was, in some ways, simpler, this book is a delightful story of children who look beyond themselves and adopt pets. While the time is simpler, there are still themes that will resonate with readers today, such as bullying. The main characters might be a bit hard for middle school kids to relate to, since they are pretty perfect. That said, it is still a sweet story that was a delight to read. I look forward to seeing where this series goes!
I received this book through JustRead tours. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon| Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 'RES-Q Tyler Stop' is June McCrary Jacobs's first middle-grade book. June is a retired elementary school teacher and literacy mentor who is fond of California history and children's literature. She especially loves to write, read, and blog about middle-grade fiction and non-fiction on her 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' blog.



In addition to writing inspirational romance books and stories for adults {A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom, 2013; Robin's Reward, 2015; Handmade Hearts, 2019}, June's original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the past decade.



When she's not writing, reading, blogging, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, visiting art and history museums, and touring historic homes and gardens.



One of her most memorable and thrilling childhood adventures was her ride in the Goodyear blimp as it floated over Long Beach, California. She can still remember the people on the beach waving to her as she zoomed past them.



LOOK FOR MORE TYLER STOP BOOKS COMING SOON!



CONNECT WITH JUNE: Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads Blog | Amazon





TOUR GIVEAWAY



(1) winner will win


  • $20 Amazon gift card (US/International)
  • Signed Paperback Copy of RES-Q Tyler Stop (US only) or Digital Copy (International)
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight April 22, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 29, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.



Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.




Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


Monday, April 22, 2019

Take ten: the first ten books I reviewed on Goodreads

When I was a teenager, I went through a phase where I would write down the title and author of every book I read in a notebook. I have long since lost that notebook (it might be fun to see what all was in there now!), so I will stick with the top ten books that I first reviewed on Goodreads. I feel like I used to read more of a variety than I currently do.;) As usual, if you are interested in learning more about the titles, click the image to go to Amazon and learn more. This post contains affiliate links, so thank you for supporting by hobby.;)

1. Perfecting Kate


2. The Basket of Flowers


3. The Going to Bed book


4. A Chance to Die


5. Pygmalion


6. The Man Who was Thursday


7. The Christy Miller collections


8. Young Goodman Brown


9. Jo's Boys


10. Reconstructing Natalie


What books are on your list this week? I look forward to seeing if others book habits have changed since they started leaving reviews and blogging!
If you would like to learn more about Top Ten Tuesday, go here.

Knight of the Battered Armor review


A beautiful princess is held captive by a monstrous snake threatening to destroy her kingdom if she doesn’t marry him. James, the son of a knight, sets out on the long journey to rescue her. But his own skills aren’t enough to win the fight, and it takes teamwork between two unlikely people to save the kingdom.

My thoughts: My kids are getting old enough that they like to sit and listen to me read them longer books, so the length of this one was perfect! I enjoyed the story of Princess Melina and James. It got a little intense for the kids at time, with the villain, but it is an excellent story of character. It brings up some good discussion points on doing the right thing, even when its tough. This is a great story to read with grade school and middle school age kids. The illustrations were a bit more cartoonish than I prefer, but they are colorful and appealing to my kids.
I received this book from JustRead tours. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy:
This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Love's Rescue Review and Giveaway!


A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

My thoughts: Linda does a wonderful job of bringing the Biblical story of Rahab into more modern times with this WWII story! Rolande is a beautiful character who uses her scorned position to help the Allies out, which would be such a difficult spot to be in. When Simon stumbles into her life, she just may have a chance at being seen for who she really is. This is the first book I have read by Linda, and I was amazed at how she brought the story to life through the characters and her attention to detail. This is an excellent book to pick up!
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:
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

More from Linda:
Dear Reader:
Love’s Rescue is a modern retelling of the biblical book of Rahab. I set the story in Paris during the last weeks of the German occupation of France during WWII. While researching the book, I read numerous memoirs and interviews of folks who lived through the occupation. Two aspects discussed time and time again were rationing and the difficulty in getting food. People with any amount of land at all planted produce to supplement the meager supply in the shops. If they were fortunate and an egg was available, it would be fried to a runny consistency and poured over the top of the dish.
Here is a simple recipe for Ratatouille:
Ingredients
1 whole white onion
1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
1 bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
2 T Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Instructions
Peel garlic cloves. Smash with end of knife, then cut into a small dice.
Cut onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes into a medium dice.
Chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1” cubes.
In a large saucepan or pot, warm olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Warm over low heat. Add the onion to the pot and cook until tender – about five minutes.
Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
Add remaining vegetables to the pot.
Add a generous pinch of salt and a light pinch of pepper.
Add the thyme.
Cover the saucepan or pot with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 40 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and there is little liquid in the pot.
Serve on your favorite platter.

Bon App├ętit!

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a French/WWII themed gift basket that includes a WWII Word Find book by Linda Shenton Matchett, Love’s Rescue – Wartime Brides Book 2 by Linda Shenton Matchett, French-milled soap lavender scent, a Fleur-de-lis ribbon book mark, a set of three note pads with French motif, and a set of cocktail napkins with French motif!! Go here to enter!

Moriah's Wings Review and Giveaway!


She’s just a slave girl. What does she know? Desparity’s life couldn’t have been worse, she thought. However, when she’s captured and sold into slavery, Despairity discovers that things can get worse—much worse. However, her new mistress, Naaman’s wife, gives her a new name. Moriah Asha—a name that means “chosen of God” and “hope.” Moriah now can only pray that her new name will bring a little of that hope to her life. When Moriah discovers a hidden treasure in her doll’s pocket, she discovers a mystery that changes everything. With her faith in God to guide her and complete trust in His goodness, Moriah may be able to do more than be a living testimony to God… she may be able to save Naaman’s life! A fictionalized imagining of what the little servant girl in II Kings may have been like, Moriah’s Wings tells the story through word imagery and stunning illustrations. Discussion questions provided to enrich the reader’s faith.

My thoughts: I love that this is a story based on one from the Bible, but told from a different point of view and for children, though it is enjoyable for all ages. Moriah's Wings is the story of Moriah Asha, a young girl who is enslaved to Naaman. I appreciated the discussion questions that this book provides, and how it focuses on Moriah's story. We enjoyed reading it together as a family, then going to read the story out of the Bible and discussing it. This is an excellent book to pick up!
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:
Iris Carignan’s passion for writing and art finds inspiration through faith and family. She is the author of “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected,” a published poet, and has written several children’s books. “Moriah’s Wings” debuts Iris as both author and illustrator.

More from Iris:
An Author Peers Deeper
As an author, I have learned that writing is a most revealing craft. Consuming a story may fill the reader with insights for their own life, but it may also peer into the heart of the author’s own soul.
If that sounds a little backwards, it probably is. But, for me, writing has always been an overflow of my own experiences, hopes, dreams, and soul-searching wounds. So, naturally, some or all of those may float to the surface of a fluid story. Perhaps that is why my latest book, Moriah’s Wings, reflects so much of my own seasoning.
Most surprising, though, is how my own words sometimes return full circle to me. Just recently, I was struggling with some new tasks and responsibilities that were not resolving. Frustration overflowed as all my best efforts continued to fail. Then I picked up my book, “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected,” and began reading. There, shouting from the pages of my own hand, lay wisdom, inspiration and a reminder of God’s solution to my dilemma. The title of the story-“Keeping the Goal in Sight,” was about how we can reach our goals.
Using the powerful racehorse, Secretariat, in comparison to its jockey, it read:
“I considered how the rider must feel as he becomes one with the horse, experiencing its power, strength, and exhilarating force flow through his spirit…” “What a beautiful metaphor for all believers, equestrian or not, as we ride through life…” “When we become one with the Lord in purpose and goal, we harness His power, like a jockey whose horse takes him to the finish line. Whether we are at the pinnacle of a life changing moment or working our way through everyday stuff, only through His might and strength, will we run the race He has set before us.”
So there is was all laid-out before me, clear as day and speaking back into my own soul. The irony wasn’t lost on me as I began to think about a biography I’d written for “Moriah’s Wings.” Though it wasn’t my first, that particular one unearthed an epiphany. All the puzzle pieces came together as an amazing trifecta. I suddenly realized that it was at the age of nine that three key factors had a profound effect on my life. At nine, I took my first painting lesson, wrote my first book and I came to faith in Christ. All three became my fountainhead as an author, artist and woman of faith.
In many ways, the story in “Moriah’s Wings” is a tapestry of these same experiences. Its inspiration struck as I read II Kings 5 about Naaman and a young girl who was captured and sold into slavery. When I came to the part where she suggests that Naaman go to Elisha for healing, the story began to develop. I visualized what the girl must have felt and experienced. I saw how she served a godly purpose and pictured Naaman’s wife giving her a new and hopeful name. Then, using mental clippings from my own childhood, the story completed its course and message.
So, just as that first book I wrote as a nine year old was based on a true story, “Moriah’s Wings,” has its foundation in a Bible story. Uniquely, though, it brings together truth and fiction creatively illustrating its message.

For a complete list of blog stops, go here.

Giveaway!
To celebrate the tour, Iris is giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon. Go here to enter!