Thursday, September 22, 2022

Tethered

 


Perfectionistic librarian Jacqui Penn is ripped up by the roots when she’s dumped by her longtime boyfriend. She is drawn two thousand miles west across Canada to the last place she ever thought could offer stability—the old homestead where her father grew up.

Renovating the derelict house soon becomes a personal battle as it stubbornly resists her efforts. While Jacqui struggles to renew the home, she spends time with the family Pops bitterly resented. Her hunger for roots grows stronger as she fights to discover the long-buried reasons her father fled the house as a beleaguered teen. But will she ever find the belonging she craves?

 My thoughts: When Jaqui gets the courage to leave a toxic relationship, she finds herself going back to her roots and the property that she inherited. I liked that this story was a bout new beginnings and family mysteries. The author doesn't shy away from some difficult subjects, tackling them fairly well. I didn't always love Jaqui's voice, but that is just a personal preference. This book has some of the characters from Eleanor Bertin's other Mosaic stories, so fans will be thrilled to catch up with them. This story works well as a stand alone.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy! This post contains affiliate links.

 

About the Author

Eleanor Bertin loves books, people, and the sweeping skies of the Canadian Prairies where she was raised.

She studied Communications in college and returned to writing after raising and home-educating a family of seven children. The author of LifelinesUnboundTethered, and the memoir, Pall of Silence about her late son, Paul, she lives in central Alberta with her husband and youngest son where, much like Jacqui, they are coaxing to life a century home.

 

More from Eleanor

Long before Jacqui came to be, I had the title Tethered, drawn from the first book in the Ties that Bind series, Lifelines. I was taken by the rope imagery that played so well into biblical themes of God drawing people to Himself. The second book, Unbound, deals with the way cables of guilt and fear can keep us in bondage to legalism.

But ropes have positive uses too. Tethered explores how ties of family and home provide the roots and grounding we all crave. Through each of the books, we see Anna, a widow of deep trust in God. She may seem insignificant, but her influence is powerful. Through her Jacqui, who’s been raised by Anna’s bitter brother, finds the foundation on which her family history is built, and makes it her own.

One of my favourite scenes in Tethered is where Anna teaches Jacqui to bake pie. It’s a piece lifted from my own life. My mother, now 94, was renowned for her pies, which she often gave to the bereaved or struggling. Like Anna, she generously taught her techniques and tips to the women of our family who carry on the tradition.

Here’s where Mom’s tips make all the difference. We don’t freeze whole pies. Instead, we freeze pie crusts already rolled out to size, layered between parchment paper, or better still, the plastic liners from cereal packaging cut to size. (Mom was “green” long before it was fashionable.) Making a batch of skins ahead of time saves space in the freezer compared to fully assembled pies, yields a fresher result when baked, and saves so much time. Whenever you want a pie, pull out a couple of the prepared crusts. While they quickly thaw, prepare your pie filling, assemble, and bake! Even our menfolk have been able to proudly say they baked a pie themselves.

Here is the recipe we use:

Pie Skins

 

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

In mixer, mix dry ingredients together. Then, a half cup at a time, cut in (with wire whips):

1 lb. lard (vegetable shortening will not give the desired flakiness)

Cut into flour mixture until crumbled to the size of peas. Do not overmix!

In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat:

2 eggs until frothy

Add:                2 Tablespoons vinegar

Add enough cold water to the liquid to make 1 cup. Then add to flour/lard mixture.

Using dough hooks, mix gently just until dough forms and will hold together. Again, do not overmix.

Divide dough into six or seven balls.

On each floured piece of cereal box plastic, roll out pastry from the center outward to just over 1/8-inch thickness. Keep flouring the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Cut the crust to size of pie plate with ½ inch extra all around. Re-roll the scraps into the next ball of dough.

Freeze skins in a plastic pie keeper or even in a zippered plastic bag on a flat surface.

Bake pie on bottom rack of oven, 450F for 15 minutes, then 375F until golden brown (another 10-15 minutes). No pale, anemic pies for us!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

deb’s Book Review, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

lakesidelivingsite, September 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Guild Master, October 1 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

For the Love of Literature, October 3 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Eleanor is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21aad/tethered-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Vermillion Riddle

 


“To enter Faerie’s blessed demesne
four secrets must be found:
the land unbound by time and space
opens only to the one who knows
the Light, the Song, and Mortal Gate.”

In the sheltered town of Carmel, women do not have a future outside of a good marriage. That future is threatened when Leah Edwards’ father gambles away the family’s livelihood and estate. She and her sisters must hurry to find husbands. Then August Fox, a Guardian from Cariath, comes to town and purchases a supposedly haunted manor. Charged to keep the peace between mortals and Faerie, the Guardians are the stuff of legend. After he stuns her with a marriage proposal, Leah reluctantly journeys to Cariath, discovering there is more to August and the legends than she guessed.

Nimrod and his Oath-breakers betrayed the Guardians, seeking to solve an ancient riddle that would unlock the Faerie realm. Not all his followers share his desire for conquest. Benedict Fox, his second-in-command, has different motives. But as he continues fulfilling Nimrod’s plan, Benedict hurtles towards a choice between saving his family and settling a personal vendetta.

For Leah, August, and their allies, it is a race against time to solve the ancient riddle before the Oath-breakers, and reunite the Guardians to save the mortal realm. The war is never really over, and this time, the battle lines cut through blood ties and brotherhood.

 My thoughts: While I like fantasy style stories, I am never quite sure how I will like a new author who has written in that genre. I am happy to say that this one wound up being delightful! The author did a wonderful job of world building and bringing her characters to life. I felt like I was dropped into the story as Leah tries to figure out who August Fox really is. This is an enjoyable book to pick up! I look forward to reading more by the author.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy! This post contains affiliate links.

 

About the Author

Dana Li is a software product manager by day, and a novelist by night. She holds an MS in management science and engineering from Stanford University and a BS in computer science from USC, but she’s always been better at writing stories than code. Her writing misadventures began with a dozen now-deleted Star Wars fanfiction tales. She loves good fantasy/sci-fi, classy cuisines, and roller coasters (but not all at once). Dana currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and The Vermilion Riddle is her first novel.

 

More from Dana

Two of my favorite fiction authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen. Besides both being British, their works are worlds apart, literally – one wrote epic, sprawling stories of the battle between good and evil, while the other wrote of small town families, romance, and culture in the Regency era. If Tolkien’s heroes failed, death and darkness would sweep across the land. If Austen’s heroes failed, a lady would be single at thirty. (The horror!)

As different as they are, I had a desire to blend the best of both genres. I didn’t think it’d be the most marketable book, but then, I also thought no one else would write this. That concept sparked the genesis of The Vermilion Riddle. I wanted an epic fantasy that was also character-driven and intimate. I love how Austen deftly explored familial and romantic relationships in the framework of her society, and I was curious to see how that would unfold in the context of a traditional fantasy. I shamelessly drew influence from the Regency era for parts of my story’s culture, simply because it’s got that quaint, cozy vibe, stored inside a broad, sweeping world.

This is a snippet of what I wrote in my original query letter for The Vermilion Riddle: 

“While the novel evokes elements of classic fantasy—quests, duels, and the battle of good versus evil—it thrives on character exploration. The plot hums to the beat of a cosmic conflict and climax, though the struggles within a family—between fathers and sons, brothers by blood (and not), husband and wife—forms its core melody.”

When it came to the characters and relationships in the story, three questions framed my writing.

What makes a strong, relatable, and feminine heroine?

What happens to brothers who are pitted against each other ideologically?

What does a love story that happens after marriage look like?

I did not know, concretely, the answer to any of these when I began, and Riddle was going to be my way of exploring them. In retrospect, I was in over my head. I’m not sure if I ever found totally satisfactory answers, but as I worked on the novel over the years, I felt the story mature quietly alongside of me. There were nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from life and other people that made their way into the story. There were also surprising insights that emerged from the characters as I was writing.

In the end, I wanted to write characters who, though born into another world, were achingly human. Though they chase ancient secrets and face the fury of the faerie-kind, they aren’t wrapped in an air of mythology that makes them feel far removed from us. They are the sort of people who could be legends – but a legend is usually formed in retrospect. They are like Merry and Pippin, hobbits who felt like useless baggage for much of their journey before they were hailed as heroes.

That’s what I strove for, at least – a story that’s epic yet intimate, that’s far-flung and yet close to home.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 20

Blogging with Carol, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Inklings and notions, September 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 24

Holly’s Book Corner, September 24

Christina’s Corner, September 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 26

Rebecca Tews, September 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 29

For Him and My Family, September 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 1

Pause for Tales, October 2

Artistic Nobody, October 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of The Vermilion Riddle (e-book for those outside the US)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21816/the-vermilion-riddle-celebration-tour-giveway

Monday, September 19, 2022

Honor Bound

 


It may seem odd to seek peace by moving to a war-torn African country, but for medical missionary Dr. Cynthia Myers, it provided a way to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye as vice president of the United States. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of a local warlord's mortally wounded son.

As part of the Army Special Forces "A-Team" on a mission to capture and subdue the warlord, Captain Rick Norton is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia's life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia tries to hold on to her anger--but an unwanted attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he's beginning to think they just might overcome their differences and be able to make a life together.

My thoughts: This book was an interesting story about two very different characters who are thrown together when a horrible encounter in a war torn country puts Captain Norton and his team in the small village Cynthia Meyers has found refuge in. I didn't care for the doctor at first, since I thought her pacifism was out of place in a war torn country where the fruit of doing nothing in the face of war lords allows the destruction to continue. I did think that the author did a good job of having the characters talk about their opposing views and growing as a result. 

This is an interesting story with a lot going on. I look forward to reading the other books in this series!

I received this book from Revell. This is my honest review.

Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

Texas Wildflowers

 


Raise up your children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will will not depart from it.
Getting them old is the key! Maisie Lowell and Rayne St. Laurent, both as beautiful as a wild Texas prairie rose, were born to privilege, reared in the fanciest hotel west of the Mississippi, and used to having their ways. In 1875 Dallas, Texas, the best friends determine to choose their own life paths to peace, love, and joy regardless of what their parents consider right or wrong. Do their choices and what their parents think have to be so different?

 My thoughts: Another wonderful, historical read by Caryl McAdoo! I love how she weaves her stories together with a theme of faith and forgiveness. I enjoyed Maisie and Rayne's stories, as they sought to find young men to marry. Both stories have some surprising twists as the young women get to know their young men. This is a delightful addition to the other stories I own by the author!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get 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 stories—over sixty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen to a few on YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-four grandsugars (six are greats), Caryl and her high-school-sweetheart-husband  of fifty-three years Ron live 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

As I write this, Texas wildflowers adorn hills and pastures and create beautiful ribbons along highways and byways! I love flowers! I love Texas! And I love Texas wildflowers! In my new novel by that name, the dear best friends, Maisie Lowell (Morgan and Charity’s third child and only daughter) and Rayne St. Laurent (daughter of Quincy, and stepdaughter of Priscilla, both of QUINCY & PRISCILLA fame) are growing up and becoming intensely interested in boys—or men as they see it.

It’s so fun when I think of it, because they are seventeen, and Ron and I were sixteen when we met and fell in love. Things are so different today. My oldest grandsugar-daughter married last year at the age of 30, and a grandsugar-son at the age of twenty-six. By then Ron and I had three children and eight years of marriage under our belts!

Isn’t it fun to think that only a hundred years ago, daughters were treasured and when men were ready to find a wife, they came courting, never spending any unchaperoned time alone with the young woman he wanted to get to know. My how things have changed as the Spirit of Anti-Christ is loosed in our world, and love, romance, and families have certainly suffered for it.

This is one reason why I love writing historical Christian Romance, telling tales of sweet and modest young girls with parents who watched and ruled over them until they married. At twenty-four or five, a young lady loomed close to being a spinster! I had so much fun with Maisie and Rayne in TEXAS WILDFLOWERS!

I think you will love them, too! TEXAS WILDFLOWERS is book eight in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga, and I believe you’ll enjoy books one through seven just as much! In all my books God is highly praised and ways for us to live abundant lives as He promises are included for readers.

My author’s motto is “Praying my story gives God glory!” If that doesn’t happen, I’ve failed my Father, but do I worry about that? I do not! God is on the throne and in control. He’s the one who gives me such wonderful, fun stories to share with you all! Enjoy TEXAS WILDFLOWERS and be blessed!

Anyway, we have been talking about writing this book for years, coming across little clues for the story in Scripture studies now and again over that time. At last, God released us to write THEN JUDGEMENT based on the twenty-seventh verse of Hebrews, nineth chapter: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

I love searching the scriptures and telling a story that strictly adheres to God’s Book, His Living Word, the Holy Bible. I love His stories and so understand that His Word is bread to our souls, feeding us wisdom and knowledge of our Creator and His everlasting, never-ending love for us!

Creating Biblical fiction tales carries a lot of responsibility that I truly enjoy taking on, being a guardian of the Truth. I love to bring characters from those days gone by so long ago to life on the pages of my books! I do feel a bit like John when he said this, writing of our Savior.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:27

Biblical fiction could easily become my favorite genre—if it isn’t already. I do write more historical romance stories set in the 1800s (a favorite time period) in Texas (my favorite state)! And as much as I love that research . . . nothing compares to digging into the Word!

I pray you will enjoy living through the three days that Jesus did not spend in the tomb! May my story cause you to dig a little yourself, checking out our theory! I know this to be Truth: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

Hallelujah! Glory be to His Holy Name! The righteous run into it and are saved! There is no one like unto Him! He alone it the Great King over all the earth! Worthy to receive glory and praise!

As always, I’m ‘Praying my story gives God glory!’ 

Blessings, y’all!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 14

Texas Book-aholic, September 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 16

deb’s Book Review, September 17

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 18

Connie’s History Classroom, September 19

Inklings and notions, September 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 21 (Author Interview)

“To Every” BOOK “There is a Season”, September 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 22

A Baker’s Perspective, September 23 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

For Him and My Family, September 25

Pause for Tales, September 26

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 27 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, September 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21811/texas-wildflowers-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Ezekiel's Song

 


A prophet’s heart broken, a woman’s joy gone. What does Yahweh have planned for His people?

On the brink of Jerusalem’s demise, devoted priest, Ezekiel, sees the insincerity of Judah’s worship. Despite his efforts to call the people back to true worship of Yahweh, priests, artisans, valiant warriors, and royals are exiled to Babylon. When God gives him messages of continued judgment for the people in his homeland, his heart breaks. How can he minister to the people from so far away?

The presence of the Lord is tangible when Shiriel sings in the temple, and her voice prepares the hearts of many to worship. When she is exiled to Babylon, her faith is shaken. Does the Lord’s presence extend beyond Jerusalem and His holy temple?

Ezekiel is struck mute and paralyzed as he begins his prophetic ministry, and Shiriel devises a plan to get the Lord’s message back to the unfaithful people of Judah. Shiriel struggles with discontentment as serving the Lord looks nothing like she’d imagined. Can she provide for her family and carry out her husband’s ministry when her joy is gone, and her own dreams are placed on hold?

How will Yahweh save His people from themselves? Find out in Ezekiel’s Song!

 My thoughts: I love the perspective that Biblical fiction can give us, shining new light one the stories we have grown comfortable with. I enjoyed this story of Ezekiel the prophet and how is wife and relationship with her are portrayed in this story. I come from a family of musicians, so I could especially appreciate the music aspect of this story. This is a wonderful, faith filled story that I highly recommend!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy! This post contains affiliate links.

 

About the Author

SONY DSC

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.

 

More from Naomi

What do you recall about Ezekiel?

The wheel within the wheel?

The dry bones living.

Ezekiel 4:9 bread?

Did you know the Lord asked him to prepare his food over human dung? Or that he was paralyzed for about 14 months? What about mute for seven years?

There are so many bizarre prophecies and symbolisms in the book of Ezekiel. So many prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. Raise your hand if you tend to skim through these parts of God’s word.

I do.

But when I read Ezekiel a couple years back, the story really jumped of the page.

What about the people who lived with the prophecies and symbolisms?

Ezekiel saw the Lord, and the message He gave was one of Jerusalem finally meeting their just reward.

Only problem is Ezekiel is already in Babylon.

Oh and there’s the whole paralyzed and mute thing.

How is a man who is physically and geographically bound able to get this message a world away?

What was it like to live on rations of war (contrary to how today’s scientists have discovered the right combination to make nutrient dense, protein packed super bread?) in a land that wasn’t suffering from famine or scarcity.

How did the prophet respond when the people who heard the message in Babylonia and Jerusalem brushed it aside as inconsequential?

Ezekiel’s Song explores the lives of those affected by the prophecies. You’ll meet Ezekiel–in the priestly service, turned prophet, Shiri—the Bible states Ezekiel had a wife, her name and her backstory is my imagination, and Gilead—a fictional valiant warrior from Jerusalem.

Discover the book of Ezekiel like you’ve never seen it before!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Holly’s Book Corner, September 19

lakesidelivingsite, September 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

Books I’ve Read, September 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 28

She Lives To Read, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21815/ezekiel-s-song-celebration-tour-giveaway