Review and Giveaway for Love’s Christmas Blessing

About the Book

Book: Love’s Christmas Blessings

Author: Laura V Hilton, Rachel J Good

Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish, Christmas

Release Date: November, 2018

Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing

Winter’s Treasure

Paris Kauffman believes she is about to embark on her family-tradition birthday treasure hunt, but for the first time ever, her daed is sending her to various businesses and homes in the community. Little does Paris expect that when she enters the bakery to collect her gift, the bus will drop off none other than her old crush, Aquila Stutzman, the man she’d done everything except cartwheels and handstands to get his attention. And failed. Of course, Quil doesn’t remember her.

Quil was offered employment working on his grandparents’ new tree farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he’s recovering from a broken heart when his longtime girlfriend Priscilla up and married his cousin, a move Quil never saw coming, he decides to take the job. This will give him time to separate himself from the hurt and maybe, eventually, move on.

Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love?

Mistletoe and Miracles

Daniel Graber has spent years caring for his aging parents. Now Daed’s in rehab with a broken hip and a bad case of irritability. He snaps at the workers and complains about doing physical therapy, so Daniel is grateful for the new aide, Fern Chupp, who uses her sweetness and charm to convince Daed to cooperate. Turns out, Daed isn’t the only one she charms.

As a widow, Fern is grateful for her new job at Fairview Rehab Center, even though it meant relocating to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, with her nine-year-old daughter, Lyddie. But Lyddie is grieving the recent death of her grandfather and dislikes leaving her Ohio home. Lyddie’s shyness also makes it difficult to make friends or recite school lessons.

When her class goes to the rehab center to interview patients, Lyddie’s too scared to do her assignment, so she runs away. During the hunt for her missing daughter, independent Fern learns to accept and appreciate Daniel’s help and support. By the time they discover Lyddie, she’s made a very unusual friend, and Fern and Daniel have developed a . Can four lonely heart create special bonds to make it a Christmas to remember?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Authors

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Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

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Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.

To learn more about Rachel, visit her at www.racheljgood.com.

Coconut Potato Fudge Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain, mashed potatoes, either instant or one medium potato, cooked

1/8 cup finely chopped (or crushed) almonds (optional)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
give3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Beat powdered sugar and coconut into warm potatoes; then add the vanilla extract and almonds.

Press into a lightly-greased 8-inch square pan; set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over top of the potato mixture.

Refrigerate until set and then cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, November 11

The Avid Reader, November 11

Bigreadersite, November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Wishful Endings, November 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 13

Britt Reads Fiction, November 13

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 14

Maureen’s Musings, November 14

Quiet Quilter, November 15

Blossoms and Blessings, November 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 16

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, November 17

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 18

Splashes of Joy, November 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Miss Tina’s Amish Book Reviews, November 20

Just the Write Escape, November 20

Moments, November 21

Bukwurmzzz, November 21

Blogging With Carol, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Janices book reviews, November 23

Carpe Diem, November 24

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away

Grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card

1st place: Paperback copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings

2-4th place: eBook copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings!!

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/d8a0/love-s-christmas-blessing-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

This book contains two different stories – the first is Winter’s Treasure and the second is Mistletoe and Miracles. Of the two stories, I have to say I prefer the second one to the first one.

In Winter’s Treasure, I loved the idea of Paris’ parents sending her on a birthday treasure hunt. I know the memories she experienced were ones worth treasuring. Quil also demonstrates an amazing ability to show self-control and remarkable restraint. The back story of the two knowing each other when they were younger captured my interest and my heart. More importantly, I loved Quil’s grandparents.

I have to say I also found a deep respect for some of the other “youngies” meaning people who were Paris’ and Quil’s ages. The bishop and his wife provide great wisdom throughout parts of the book. I loved the bishop’s off-hand comments that sometimes caused Paris to wonder what he meant.

In the first story, I immediately and unapologetically developed an immediate dislike for Paris’s “supposed” best friend, Sarah. Sarah demonstrates her ability to manipulate people and her disregard for how people think or feel constantly. She consistently shows how fake and phony she is. Without Sarah, I realize the book would have lost something, but it does not mean I disliked her character any less.

The second book had no characters I disliked. Having a grandfather who lived for many years after my grandmother died and who could be quite a grump at times, I could relate to Moses. My heart broke for Fern and Lyddie, who had lost everyone they loved including Fern’s father most recently.

The setting of the rehabilitation facility captured my attention since my oldest son currently works as a Certified Nursing Assistant. The individuals at the facility in the book seemed incredibly realistic and caring to me. When Lyddie goes missing, the fact that everyone searches for her pulled at my heartstrings.

I also loved when Daniel provided snacks to both Lyddie and Fern without knowing they were mother and daughter. The Christian love demonstrated in the book pulled me in and kept me reading to find out how the story ended.

I recommend this book. I would love to hear from you if you decide to check it out for yourself.

Disclaimer

Review of The Light Before Day and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book: The Light Before Day

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 2, 2018

“Henry, this . . . fortune, this sudden wealth . . . I fear it will change our lives. And I don’t want my life to change.”

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when each should marry and whom—a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side—and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Click here to purchase your copy!

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About the Author

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Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Phoebe’s Light and Minding the Light, as well as the Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She has also written several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. Fisher lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow her on Twitter @suzannewfisher and Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.

Guest Post from Suzanne

The Mortgage Button

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In each story of the ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series, there’s a reference to a mortgage button in the newel post of a stairway. Phoebe Starbuck, the main character in Phoebe’s Light, made a point to notice it in the captain’s house on Orange Street, the famous residences of sea captains. In Minding the Light, Daphne Coffin touched the mortgage button on the newel post of her horrible mother’s grand house each and every morning. Hitty and Henry Macy were well aware of the absence of their childhood home’s mortgage button—and all that its absence symbolized—in The Light Before Day.

Mortgage buttons meant something to each of those characters. It made a statement to anyone who walked into a house.

Have you ever seen a mortgage button? It’s a very Nantucket-y tradition. In fact, some say the mortgage button originated on Nantucket Island, thirty miles out to sea.

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Supposedly, when a house’s mortgage was fully paid and there were no liens against the property, the homeowner drilled a hole in the newel post of the main staircase, rolled up the mortgage document, put it inside, and capped the hole with a decorative plug of scrimshaw.

Scrimshaw is a term for an American folk art developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling in New England was an industry that lifted Nantucket Island to become the world’s wealthiest port. After a whale’s oil was rendered, the ship’s captain would give his crew the sperm whale’s teeth or bones to carve during long tedious hours at sea. Whaling had its exciting moments, but they were far and few between. As a pastime, sailors carved all kinds of useful gifts to bring home to their loved ones: needles, combs, games, clothespins, busks…and mortgage buttons.

But let’s jump back to the mortgage button. Some legends say that the actual mortgage papers were ceremoniously burned and the ashes stashed inside the drilled hole before sealed with the button. However, as appealing a thought as that might be, it is most likely a myth. There’s never been any evidence of ashes or even hidden mortgages found in salvaged newel posts. Still, mortgage buttons are common among Nantucket homes, and the tradition has spread to other parts of the country. In southern states, for example, they’re called brag buttons. Whether myth or truth, today it’s more a matter of a charming nostalgic custom than a nod to your healthy (or…not so healthy) net worth.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, November 4

Just the Write Escape, November 4

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Godly Book Reviews, November 5

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Among the Reads, November 8

Blossoms and Blessings, November 8

Blogging With Carol, November 9

A Baker’s Perspective, November 9

Mary Hake, November 10

Connies history classroom, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11

Carpe Diem, November 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 12

Simple Harvest Reads, November 12

Inspiration Clothesline, November 13

Janices book reviews, November 13

Captive Dreams, November 14

Bigreadersite, November 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 15

By The Book, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 16

Book by Book, November 16

Have A Wonderful Day, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

 

 

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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/d773/the-light-before-day-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

My Thoughts

The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third installment in the Nantucket Legacy Book series.  In this book, Henry and his sister Hitty find they have inherited the estate of their grandmother, Lillian Coffin, who is a cold-hearted, manipulative, self-righteous individual.  In the terms of her will, she dictated who they should marry (only a Quaker in good standing) and of the two fail to follow the terms of the will, the two lose the inheritance to their thieving cousin and father’s ex-business partner, Tristram Macy.

From the beginning of the second book, I developed an intense dislike for both Lillian Coffin and Tristram Macy.  Both of these individuals do everything in their power to manipulate and destroy the lives of Henry and Hitty’s father, mother and aunt-turned-stepmother.

I loved watching how Henry and Hitty strive to satisfy the terms of the will, while finding their own true path.  Throughout the books, there are excerpts of the journal of Mary Coffin Starbuck, so even though the books can be read alone it is better to read them all.

I found this book to offer a satisfying conclusion to the series.  Check out the book for yourself.

Disclaimer

 

Review of Christmas Love Year Round

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About the Book

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Book: Christmas Love Year Round

Author: Elaine Stock

Genre: Christian romance, sweet romance

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Cami Richardson is good at chasing away the men in her life: first Gavin Kinkaid, a former classmate she’d helped to bully, and later, her husband who left her widowed and a single mom. Now all she wants is to bring a smile back to her eight-year-old son. What she doesn’t expect is for Gavin to become her new neighbor.

Gavin wants to settle down after serving in the Air Force and mend the separation between him and his dad. What he didn’t count on is his changing feelings when he sees Cami as a kind woman instead of his former adversary.

When Cami’s son blindsides them both during the Christmas season, is their reunion at risk or will it grow stronger?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Elaine Stock is the author of the novels Her Good Girl, winner of the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category, and Always With You, which won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. And You Came Along, a novella, released in December 2017. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

Guest Post from Elaine

To love someone with all of your heart is the only thing that matters in this world.

Readers often ask the origin of a story idea. When I wrote my first published novel, Always With You, I was asked if my husband was a white supremacist. No! When Her Good Girl released, the questions of whether my mother practiced Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy popped up as well. Although my mother unfortunately did suffer another mental illness, it wasn’t MSP. And now Christmas Love Year Round, Book 1 of the Kindred Lake romance series, is on sale. What does fuel my writing? What is a connecting theme between the stories I write?

Love.

Love is the most essential relationship we must share between all…between family members, friends, neighbors…between strangers, enemies, those who live differently than us, and foreign countries.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Yet, isn’t honest love the hardest thing to do? Perhaps it is also the most difficult virtue to teach and the most vexing passion to express.

Imagine this scenario: You’re a widowed mom with an impressionable eight-year-old son. Your conscience is riddled with the worry that you might have pushed your husband toward his death, and that’s on top of the weight bearing down on you from your childhood days of participating with others to bully a particular family in town.

Then, the one boy who was part of that picked-upon family, now a grown man and stirringly handsome purchases the house across the street from you. You’ll likely see him every day.

And, with a gulp, you realize…that you want to see him. That actually, despite all that transpired between the two of you back in high school, you’re Attracted to him with a Capital A.

Might that magnetism between the two of you be mutual?

This is the set-up between Cami and Gavin in Christmas Love Year Round. Will these two former adversaries forgive not only each other but themselves as well and take loving one’s neighbor to the next step of falling in love and making amends into amens?

May each of you be blessed with love and joy year round!

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, November 3

Inklings and notions, November 4

Christian Centered Book Reviews, November 4

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 5

Cultivating Us, November 6

Quiet Quilter, November 6

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 7

Singing Librarian Books, November 7

Moments, November 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 9

Robin is Bookish, November 9

Remembrancy, November 10

Vicky Sluiter, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Carpe Diem, November 14

Janices book reviews, November 15

godly Book Reviews, November 16

Bigreadersite, November 16

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away

Grand Prize: Winner’s choice between print (US only) or Kindle of Christmas Love Year Round, Kindle of And You Came Along (companion novel to Christmas Love Year Round), and a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

1st and 2nd Prizes: a Kindle edition of Christmas Love Year Round!!

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/d5c6/christmas-love-year-around-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

This book is the first in the Kindred Lake Series of books, and from the very beginning, Cami Richardson, her son, and Gavin Kinkaid captured my heart.  With tales of bullying when they were younger, I could relate to what Gavin and his siblings experienced.  At the same time, I could understand what position Cami was in at the time.  The fact that Cami owned and operated an incredible daycare center stole my heart.  She seemed to have such an incredible love for children.

If you have ever felt starved for love, Cami’s relationship with her parents will tug at your heartstrings.  The loss of her husband and Danny’s father prompted Danny to participate in a program similar to Big Brothers, Big Sisters, but when his mentor leaves the area and Gavin strives to fill the empty spot, Danny has to come to terms with that fact.  Also, Gavin and Cami, along with their families have to come to terms as well.   So if you have ever been bullied or been then one doing the bullying, this book is for you.  It demonstrates how true Christian love in the spirit of Christmas helps move people past their  prior behaviors and feelings and find love again.  So check out this book for yourself.

 

Review of Little Girl Crying

1

Here is a description of Little Girl Crying by Belinda Rose.

I’ll bury the pain deep, deep down

So deep that it can’t be found

It will not see the light of day

If it seeks release I’ll purge it away

I’ll starve the life right out of it

And lull the pain a little bit

I’ll beat the pain … the anger … fear

‘Till ‘It’ or ‘I’ just disappear.

2(1)

Abused at home, bullied relentlessly at school, and raped by someone she loved and trusted, Belinda Rose found her emotional pain too much to cope with, and thus began the fight of her life against two dark adversaries: Anorexia Nervosa and Depression.

For nearly 38 years, she found herself locked in a life and death battle with an eating disorder intent on destroying her mentally, physically and spiritually. Near death multiple times, and at one point hospitalized 13 times within the span of a year and a half, doctors all agreed she’d never overcome the eating disorder and would likely die from it. It would take nothing less than a miracle for her to find the recovery that seemed impossible. She felt lost, alone and at the mercy of an illness intent on her destruction. All hope seemed gone, or was it?

As a small child, Belinda had found comfort and sanctuary from those that abused and bullied her in the arms of her imaginary friend, Jesus. It would be the deep love and devotion she’d felt for Him since childhood that would lead her on a journey of prayer to an incredible spiritual experience that would miraculously still the Voice of Anorexia, lift the darkness of depression and transform her life setting her on a new path.

Little Girl Crying is a story of survival. It’s a story of God’s love, mercy, and amazing grace, that affirms God is with us even when He is silent. But most of all, it is a message of hope and encouragement to all that suffer that says – never give up, because our God is a God of healing and miracles!

 

With over 40 beautiful and original black and white illustrations, inspirational poetry, prayers, and Bible verses that open and close every chapter, Little Girl Crying is not just another memoir, but a sense evoking and uplifting experience. Little Girl Crying is a wild ride on an emotional roller coaster, and yet, a spiritual journey full of hope and miracles that speaks to perseverance, faith and the power of prayer amid unspeakable suffering. While it takes the reader deep into the heart of suffering, it also gives insights into why God allows such unspeakable suffering, and how we can find the blessings in it. It is no wonder Little Girl Crying has been called a modern day, Pilgrims Progress.

My Thoughts

Having known people with eating disorders, when I saw the opportunity arise to review this book I knew I wanted to read it.  It addresses some really tough issues in a way that both brings them to life and challenged the way I thought about certain things.  Everyone desires to be loved, heard and understood.  I know I definitely feel that way.   The story reflects how we can find miracles all around us if we just take the time to look.  Everyone can benefit from reading this book and then sharing it with those you love.  She illustrates how healing comes through faith.

As she wrote about attempting to take her own life, I found myself fixated on a time in college when a friend of a friend attempted suicide.  It devastates me to think someone would feel so alone that he/she decides taking his/her own life is the only solution.  I also loved how each chapter and section began with a passage of Scripture.  More importantly, it touched my soul how the Scriptures related so well to the topic for that chapter.

So if you are the victim of abuse, had thoughts of suicide or been bullied, or even know someone who has, check out this book for yourself.

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Book Review – The Kitchen Marriage by

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About the Book

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Book: The Kitchen Marriage

Author: Gina Welborn & Beccan Whitham

Publisher: Kensington Publishers

Genre: Inspirational romance/Historical America set in the old west

Release Date: September 25, 2018

A bright future awaits the women of courage and faith who boldly chase their dreams across the wide-open Montana Territory, prepared to embrace adventure and forge their own destinies . . .

When French immigrant Zoe de Fleur is forced out of her position as household cook for a high society New Yorker, the pretty and talented chef seizes an unexpected chance to head west for a new beginning. She pursues what she thinks is a prestigious job in the frontier’s “finest kitchen,” but instead finds herself in a matchmaker’s agency . . .

Isaak Gunderson is one of Helena, Montana’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s too focused on running for mayor and his family’s business to think about a wife and family. His twin brother, Jakob, is supposed to be too busy as well, yet sends for a mail-order bride anyway. Isaak doesn’t want to fuel an ongoing rivalry with his twin, but this tempting newcomer can’t be ignored. If only she’d come to Helena a different way and loving her wasn’t a betrayal . . .

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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GINA WELBORN is the bestselling author of sixteen inspirational romances. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers, and serves on the ACFW Foundation Board. Sharing her husband’s passion for the premier American sports car, she is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five children, several rabbits and guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn’t realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Visit her online at GinaWelborn.com.

BECCA WHITHAM (WIT-um) Multi-published author, paper crafter, and Chai tea lover, Becca and her twelve-foot-long craft cabinet follow her husband of more than thirty years to wherever the army currently needs a chaplain. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories of faith that touch the heart. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a Genesis Contest finalist. Connect with her online at BeccaWhitham.com.

Guest post from Gina & Becca

Dear Reader,

What’s better than fulfilling a dream? Why…taking the journey with a friend, of course. And we have the army to thank for it. Gina, whose father spent most of his army career at Fort Sill, had just moved back to Lawton, Oklahoma when Becca’s husband received orders to Sill. We were both looking for friendship and found a kindred spirit.

When we first conceived the Montana Brides series over Frappuccinos (Gina) and Chai Tea Lattes (Becca) at our local Starbucks, we set out to make our make our mail-order bride stories different.

The first thing we decided on was setting our series in Helena, Montana because, in 1888, the city boasted the most millionaires per capita in the United States. We liked the idea of a former mining town grown into a cultured city and that it wasn’t the usual isolated ranch setting for a Western.

We also wanted to create stories of mail-order bride romances gone wrong. In fact, our original series title was Mail (Dis) Order Brides. We brainstormed all the ways a mail-order bride story could go sideways and settled on our top three: a widow before a wife; two brothers, one bride; and a deceitful—though well-meaning—matchmaker. The Kitchen Marriage is the second book in this series and puts our heroine, Zoe de Fleur, between twin brothers, Isaak and Jakob Gunderson. Like our first bride, Emilia Stanek (The Promise Bride), Zoe shows up in town knowing no one. Does that sound familiar? As a former military kid and current military wife, we are very familiar with needing to start over, forge new friendships, and make strangers into family.

Thank you for taking a journey into the past with us. We pray you find our stories filled with hope, humor, and happily-ever-afters.

Sincerely,

Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, November 1

Christian Centered book Reviews, November 1

Carpe Diem, November 1

Cultivating Us, November 2

Remembrancy, November 2

Inklings and Notions, November 3

The Becca Files, November 3

Stories By Gina, November 4

A Baker’s Perspective, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

KarenSueHadley, November 6

Luv’N Lambert Life, November 6

Maureen’s Musings, November 6

cherylbbookblog, November 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

SusanLovesBooks, November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Janices book reviews, November 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day, November 9

A Rup Life, November 10

Baker Kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 11

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, November 11

Britt Reads Fiction, November 12

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 12

Bigreadersite, November 12

Daysong Reflections, November 13

Vicky Sluiter, November 13

Singing Librarian Books, November 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 14

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her their tour, Gina and Becca are giving away a copy of The Kitchen Marriage to ten lucky winners!!

Be sure to comment of the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d772/the-kitchen-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

Zoe de Fleur, a kitchen cook, finds herself without a job when a male chef takes issue with her and forces her employer to fire Zoe.  Without any recourse, her young friend Nico convinces Zoe to go west to become a chef at a hotel.  Because Zoe is French and cannot read English well, she embarks on a journey laced with deception.  Rather than sending her to become a chef, her actual destination involves matrimony.  Also, Nico fails to mention that he plans on coming west as well.  Living in today’s time, I felt incredible sympathy for Zoe being forced from her job as well as her home only because a man decided she needs to go.

Isaak and Jakob Gunderson are twin brothers who are nothing alike.  Both are strong-minded and determined.  Unbeknownst to Isaak, Jakob sends for a mailorder bride, namely Zoe de Fleur.  Isaak’s immediate dislike for Zoe is understandable, but not appreciated by his brother or Zoe.  Of the three characters, I have to say I liked Zoe the best.  She was down-to-earth, charming and incredibly giving.

From the moment Jakob comes into the story along with Isaak, I felt that Jakob was the wrong man for Zoe.  The story seemed to slow down at parts while capturing my interest and attention at other parts.  I found Jakob to be somewhat petulant, irresponsible, and at times annoying.  At the same time, I found Isaak to be condescending and rude to Zoe.  Once it became clear Isaak and Zoe were meant to be together, I could not wait for them to realize that fact.

One of my absolute favorite things in this story is reading about Zoe cooking and her use of herbs and other items in her cooking.  I also enjoyed reading about Zoe’s relationship with her father before he died.  The attention to detail in these sections captured my attention and my heart.

By the end of the story, I had fallen in love with the idea of Zoe, Isaak, and Nico becoming a family.  But I found myself distracted by the extra characters in the background plotting, scheming and otherwise attempting to cause problems without having any real details about what was actually going on.  Having not read the first book in this series, I have to wonder if I would have benefited from reading it first.  This book is definitely not a stand-alone book, I feel anyone reading it needs to read any and all other books in the series to truly grasp what is going on with the overall story.

I do recommend reading this book, but I recommend reading it in context. Otherwise, you may find yourself as frustrated as I did about not knowing the whole story.  Still, I have to say the authors did an excellent job capturing the mood of the time and the potential difficulties and traumas that could result from choosing to order or to become a mailorder bride.  So check this book out for yourself and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Disclaimer

Sanctified Sunday – November 4, 2018

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Our family tries to set apart Sundays as a day for our family. However, we have days like today where my husband has be at the Army Reserve Center for what we used to call drill weekends but are now called Battle Assemblies. Plus, we are moving into the realm of our children moving on with their own lives (i.e. our oldest son now has a job), so today he is at work. So the rest of us are left behind. Plus, our 12-passenger van needs some work done to it (which will happen on Wednesday – thankfully). So I do not really want to drive the distance to the church we are currently attending. It is not a very happy van right now. So instead my husband has the van and I am driving our truck to take our son to and from work.

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So for the rest of us, this means a somewhat quiet weekend, well as quiet as it can be when our youngest son is practicing the alto saxophone. This particular child seems to thrive on instruments that are not necessarily quiet, including the alto saxophone and the bass clarinet. Right now, the only quiet instrument he practices is the electric keyboard because he can plug in headphones while practicing.

So I am using my time this morning to do my Bible study, work on blogging, listen to podcasts and work through some courses I am currently enrolled in to help with blogging.

What do you choose to do on Sundays?  I would love to hear from you.

Weekly Wrap-Up for the week ending on November 4, 2018

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So this past week provided the close of another installment of Write 31 Days.  While I did not manage to get everything posted exactly on time, I did manage to write 31 posts for the month.  The posts were not necessarily as detailed as I wanted them to be, so do not be surprised to see me revisit some of them in the months to come.

This week also saw our family move into a new realm.  We became the proud owners of a Pioneer Woman Instant Pot, even if it did take two tries to get it right.  When we brought the first one home Wednesday night and took it out of the box, a large dent marred the otherwise beautiful perfection.  So we returned it the next day for another one, which we made sure to check in the store.  So even though we have not actually used it yet, we are excited to own it.

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This week also saw our youngest son enter the realm of tennis.  He joined a local homeschool class for tennis.  Even though it was his first time playing, he really enjoyed himself and was glad he had the opportunity to participate.

So what has been going on with your family?  I would love to hear from you.  Also, if you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review are posting about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of “30 Days to Understanding the Bible: Unlocking the Scriptures in 15 Minutes a Day” by Max Anders

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As a Christian and as a mother, I recognize the importance of having Bible study reference material on hand that present the Bible in a way that prompts comprehension.  For many years, one of my favorite resources has been 30 Days to Understanding the Bible:  Unlocking the Scriptures in 15 Minutes a Day.  So when I had the opporunity to participate on the launch team for the latest version of this book, I was thrilled with the opportunity.

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Dr. max Anders authored over 25 book including the bestselling 30 Days to Understanding the Bible as well served as the general editor of the 32-volume Holman Bible Commentary series.  Teaching at both the college and seminary level, he also is a veteran pastor.  He provides resoures and discipleship strategies at his website http://www.maxanders.com all to assist people in their spiritual growth.

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Regradless of what you want to learn about the Bible, you will find something to captivate your interest in this book.  Designed to take 15 minutes a day, the material is broke down into manageable size pieces.  The guide is designed to be simple and easy to use.  For over 30 years, this book has bee recommended by both Bible teachers and pastors alike.  This expanded thirtieth anniversary edition includes many features previously removed from the original edition.  It has been restored and updated for the readers of today.

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With tables, charts, fill-in-the-blanks and more, this book provides a wealth of information for those wanting to learn more about the Bible.  I love the length of the lessons and the resources provided.  One of my favorite resources is the 13-week plan  that helps teachers with an effective tool for teaching the Bible in 30 days.  Obviously this book is not meant to be a complete and comprehensive, in-depth study.  However, it does an excellent job of providing a wide scope of information.

The book includes sections on:

  • the Old Testament
  • the New Testament
  • the Great Doctrines of the Bible
  • NanoSummary of the Bible
  • How to Master the Bible So Well that the Bible Masters You
  • Teaching Plan
  • plus Bonus Chapters

The bonus chapters include:

  • A Comparison of the Four Gospels
  • The Parables of Jesus
  • Miracles of the Bible
  • Messianic Prophecies
  • Passover and the Lord’s Supper
  • The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • Distinctiveness of Christianity
  • Different Literary Forms in the Bible

These additional sections provide a wealth of information that is worth reading.  This book is perfect for anyone desiring to learn more about the Bible without having to devote hours a day to the process.  With the interactive nature of the book, it provides a great guide for basically people of all ages.  As a homeschooling mother, I feel this book is perfect for both individuals and families alike who want to learn more about the Bible.  So if you are looking for a wonderful resource to help with Bible study, check out this book for yourself.

 

Review of Lisa Tanner Writing’s Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Lisa Tanner Writing provides work at home mom productivity tips in her Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course.  While I do not have my own business yet per se, as a member of the Home School Review Crew and being a military wife in addition to being a homeschooling mother and a member of several book review teams, I knew this course potentially could provide fantastic information and insights for my life.  This online course offers valuable information for anyone who already works at home along with anyone who desires to work at home.

Lisa Tanner provides amazing tips for time management for busy moms. Her work at home productivity tips truly resonated with me on a personal level.  Lisa Tanner states on her “About Lisa” page of her blog, “I’m a homeschooling mom of 8 who uses freelance writing, virtual assistance, and blogging to help pay the bills.”  I love she uses her own experiences with her own family to demonstrate how her family utilizes her suggestions and ideas.  We have four children – three sons and a daughter.  Our youngest (and only daughter) just turned sixteen, and our oldest son is twenty-two plus we have a twenty-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old son who also live with us.  So finding time for everything is imperative.

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Lisa breaks the course up into seven units, which are broken down into smaller lessons.  Action steps for each lesson provide bite-size pieces to help organize every part of your family’s life.  From setting goals for your business and home to meal planning and involving your family in the business and more compelled me to really think about what business at home should look like.  The units include:

  •   Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
  •  Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions:  The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity
  • Closing Thoughts

One of the areas I had been working on before starting this course involved meal planning.   We have a son who works now plus is lactose-intolerant in addition to several nights we have band and strings practice.  If I do not have a plan for dinner, it makes our lives difficult.  So meal planning has become my friend and close companion.  So the suggestions and tips from this section were constructive.  I loved how Lisa Tanner provided 5 years of her annual meal plan in the course.  This plan helped generate ideas for meals for us.  This weekend I plan on devoting time to making out a yearly meal plan. Indeed, meal planning provides untold blessings both to our family and to our finances.

 

 

 

One of the most compelling parts for me involved the use of my phone/iPad.  Recently I read a story online about a family who made it a point to unplug when they went out for dinner.  As a result, an older couple sitting near them paid for their meal unexpectedly.  In turn, this action prompted their family to do the same to pay it forward.  I really loved this idea.  As our family shops and goes about our daily lives, I continuously find it amazing to see parents allowing younger and younger children using technology primarily as a means of promoting good behavior.  So I know I personally desire to unplug from electronics more and plug into my family more.

 

 

The other section I really found informative and thought-provoking involved ways to include our children in an at-home business. Obviously, with our children ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-two, some sections did not apply to me, but the ones for involving teens really reflected many things I already do with our children.  For example, my third child and youngest son have been helping for roughly the past year with learning coding along with learning photography using our DSLR camera (although we have not put that into actual practice yet). I also plan on developing free items and items to sell eventually, which I plan to have our sixteen-year-old daughter, who is incredibly artistic, provide illustrations and graphics for in the future.

Some of the key points I will take away from this course include:

  • Just because I can do something, does not mean I should!
  • Let my children be a blessing to my business!
  • It is essential to begin and end my day well.
  • I can not DO everything, and that is okay!
  • Communication is key
  • My priorities will change.
  • I need to remember God made each of us unique.

You can find Lisa Tanner Writing on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/lisatannerwriting
Instagram: https://instagram.com/lisatannerwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisatannerwrite
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/lisatannerwrite

Because my husband is only a few years from retiring, I know I want to come up with some type of at-home business now that will be able to supplement my husband’s retirement income, so this course has definitely been a blessing to take.  So whether you already work from or whether you would like to start your own business/blog, check out Lisa Tanner Writing and Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.

Click here or on the graphic below to read additional posts by members of the Home School Review Crew about Lisa Tanner Writing and her course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines.

 

Review of Miles from Where We Started

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About the Book

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Book Title: Miles from Where We Started

Author: Cynthia Ruchti

Genre: Christian Romance/Family life

Release date: October 16, 2018

These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip—and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events. She serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences across the country. She married her grade school sweetheart, and the two live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

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Guest Post from Cynthia

I have a confession to make. I heart millennials.

My other novels have had a few millennial characters. Some even played starring roles. But I knew there was more to the heart of millennials than I could gain from listening to the often unfair sighing or comedy routines about that generation. As a person, I wanted to know them better—what are they really like? What challenges do they face with which previous generations saddled them? What strengths to they offer our culture?

Until now, I hadn’t written a story about a millennial couple whose marriage was in crisis. Like, serious crisis. I-don’t-want-to-be-married-to-you-anymore. That kind of crisis.

As any good novelist knows, part of what we do to our characters is make the situation worse. So, millennial couple, approaching their one-year anniversary, ready to call it quits because “This marriage thing is really hard. Is it supposed to be so much work?” But what if…? What if they were forced to be together for three weeks…in a micro-camper…on America’s backroads…with an 11-year-old foster boy troublemaker…and both the husband’s AND the wife’s jobs depended on the trip’s success?

Plot idea in hand, I set off to write Miles from Where We Started, not entirely sure when I began the journey where they would end up or how they’d get there. It was an education for me in so many ways. The impact of the turning point of the story? In the words of my millennial friends, “That’s lit!”

Side note: I’m a big fan of a young teen musician at our church. The boy has mad skills as a keyboard artist. He approaches life as if it’s an endless game of Ninja Warrior. Why walk when you can vault into the room? Why walk up a flight of stairs when you can hop four at a time? He also sports a perpetual smile and is famous for his kindness, but his eyes give away that a little mischief may be hiding behind that smile. I asked Judah’s permission to use his name (and a little bit of his personality) as the foster child character in Miles from Where We Started. I can’t wait for him to read the part he inspired.

Can’t wait for you to read it, too.

Hemmed in Hope,

Cynthia

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25

The Power of Words, October 25

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 26

Lighthouse Academy, October 26

Real World Bible Study, October 26

Quiet Quilter, October 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, October 27

Christian Bookaholic, October 27

cherylbbookblog, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, October 28

Godly Book Reviews, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

By The Book, October 29

Maureen’s Musings, October 30

Spoken from the Heart ,October 30

SusanLovesBooks, October 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, November 1

Book by Book, November 1

amandainpa ,November 1

Pause for Tales, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 2

Just Commonly, November 2

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 3

Baker Kella, November 3

Two Points of Interest, November 3

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 4

Inklings and Notions, November 4

Bibliophile Reviews, November 4

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

Janice’s Book Reviews, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

A Baker’s Perspective, November 6

A Diva’s Heart, November 7

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away a grand prize of the Adventure begins” large tote bag, “This way to adventure” travel notebook, “Home is Where We Park It” metal wall hanging, a teardrop camper birdhouse, PLUS a $50 gift Visa gift card…to start your adventure fund!!

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/d4ea/miles-from-where-we-started-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

My Thoughts

 

Mallory and Connor Duncan have not even been married a year, but their marriage seems headed for divorce.  But then circumstances force the two together on a trip of  a lifetime along with a 11-year-old boy named Judah.    Imagine traveling in a tear-drop trailer that really only fits two people, but there are three people who need to sleep.  They are taking this trip because Connor and his partner in a marketing firm represent RoadRave, the company making the camper.  The partner Nathan (and Judah’s uncle) unexpectedly gets summoned for jury duty, so Mallory and Connor plan to take the trip together before going in their own directions.  Connor feels he has a certain death sentence for his health and refuses to make Mallory go through the trauma of losing of watching him die.  On top of it, they agree to become temporary foster parents for the 11-year-old and agree to take him with them. The book is down-to-earth and easy to read.  I had a hard time putting it down.  I really loved all the adventures they had while traveling, including having only twenty dollars a day to feed the three of them.

One of my favorite parts of this book comes from the incredible people they meet along the journey.  From the older gentleman whom Judah believed was keeping the ashes of his dead wife on his fireplace mantle.  Instead they discover the ashes from cookies she had burnt on the numerous times she cooked them.

Another favorite part of mine was when they met the large family with the restaraunt and Mallory ended up helping deliver her baby because there was no time to get to the hospital.  I love how the family worked together and demonstrated their love for each other.

I also loved how they wound up in a tiny house community and ultimately found their way back to each other, while Judah stayed with a man and his father after Connor broke his leg.  All of the people, the three ran across in their adventures caused Connor to reunite with his parents and helped him realize he wanted to stay with Mallory.

Because of my own difficult relationship with my own father, I could appreciate Connor”s dilemma in dealing with his father.  Because I do not know whether my own father is dead or alive, I was glad Connor had the opportunity to make peace with his father.  Both Mallory and Connor come to the realization of what is important and where their focus needs to be.  I love how they are able to set aside their difficulties and focus on the future.

So if you are looking for a book with a grand adventure, check out Miles from Where We Strarted for yourself.