Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Freerunner – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Freerunner

Author: Kathy Cassel

Genre: YA fiction

Set against the backdrop of the sport of freerunning, Kia must decide whether she will continue running or face her past abuser in order to save another child.

Night is Kia’s favorite time, when she freeruns to outdistance the memories of abuse she suffered as a young child. But when former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at their school as the new head track coach, things begin to change in unpredictable ways. Kia tries out for the team to fit in, but just as she’s gaining a new sense of normal, her abuser steps back into her life. Not only that, but being on the track team causes even more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much? As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Kia realizes she has to choose between running from her past or saving a child from the same sort of abuse she suffered. But will she have the courage to do so?

Click here to get your copy!

Freerunner packs intensity with moments of finding courage, finding friends, finding answers, and more for young adults. While this story explores an adult behaving inappropriately with a child, I felt the author wrote it in a way that deals with the emotions and consequences rather than shoving the actual act into your face. Kia’s grandfather took inappropriate liberties with Kia when she was younger. Now she deals with his actions every day in her mind and emotions.

I appreciate how this story developed and concluded. The friendship between Thorn and Kia touched me. I also appreciated how Thorn’s grandparents assisted Kia in the story. Not knowing freerunning, I think the author did an excellent job of explaining what this looks like.

The book illustrates how sometimes the most courageous thing a person does comes from standing up for someone else. It allows for healing to begin.

So if you want a story dealing with hard topics meaningfully, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Kathy grew up in northern Indiana, lived in three different continents while her husband was in the USAF, and now lives in the Florida Panhandle. She and her husband have eight children, five of whom are adopted, three from Haiti and two from the United States. They also have four grandchildren. Kathy’s favorite activities are those that involve traveling and adventures that include her children and grandchildren.

In order to better relate to the characters in her stories, Kathy has done things such as whitewater rafting, certify in scuba diving, and get her motorcycle endorsement. She draws the line at sky diving.

More from Kathy

Meet the cover model for Freerunner.

I asked a friend if I could photograph her daughter to give the design team an idea of what I envisioned for the cover of Freerunner. I took action shots and mood shots (and even have some fun bloopers). When I sent them to the design team, they actually chose to use one of my photos for the cover. Now one of my friend’s daughters is on the cover of my first teen fiction book. She’s an amazing young lady, so it’s special to me to have her as the cover model.

The cover model is fifteen–year-old Larissa (fourteen when the cover photo was taken), who is part of an adoptive family that has twelve children. She and her brother were adopted as toddlers, and while Larissa doesn’t share Kia’s story, she has had struggles of her own. To accommodate some medical issues, she is homeschooled. She is involved in modeling, dance, musical theater and singing. The amazing part about Larissa performing is that because of the trauma of spending three years in foster care she struggled with selective mutism, not able to talk to anyone outside of her family. Amazingly she has been able to overcome it and is now able to express herself verbally as well as through music and dance. Larissa’s newest interest is photography, and she loves llamas and collecting realistic dolls.

Here are a few fun facts about Larissa:

Favorite color: Purple

Favorite sport: dance

Favorite Bible verse: Proverbs 3:5

Favorite Bible character: Noah

Favorite activity: singing and dancing

What do you want to be as an adult? Performer and photographer

What one thing do you want to do more than anything else? Walk a runway in Italy

What advice would you give a girl in Kia’s situation or in any abusive situation? Pray and ask an adult for help. You are the victim, it isn’t your fault.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 15

Library Lady Kid Lit, November 16

Wishful Endings, November 17 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, November 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 18

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 20

Stories By Gina, November 21 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million 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/103e1/freerunner-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

An Amish Christmas Wedding – A Review

an amish christmas wedding banner

About the Book

Book: An Amish Christmas Wedding

Author: Vannetta Chapman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Amy Clipston

Genre: Amish Christmas

Release Date: October 6, 2020

An Amish Christmas Wedding

From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings.

Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston

Ryan Lapp had promised to marry Lorene Bontrager as soon as he was able to build them a house, but the day never came. Ryan moved away. Five years later, Lorene has settled in to her old maid role, and she’s shocked when her younger sister announces her quick engagement to Ryan’s younger brother. As they rush to plan the wedding, Lorene is constantly around the family she almost joined. Worse, she’s forced to face Ryan himself, who has returned to town. As both Ryan and Lorene examine their own feelings, they must decide if they can find grace with each other—and the young people they once were—this Christmas season. There just might still be love in their future.

Holiday of Hope by Kelly Irvin

Henry Lufkin is one of four bachelors who lived in the West Kootenai, Montana, cabins that were destroyed by wildfires. He’s the only one of them who hasn’t since married, but he likes his solitude. Then an old friend asks him to care for his son, and Henry has to share his small cabin and his life with bewildered and rebellious ten-year-old Tommy. When the child encounters trouble at school, Henry reaches out to Tommy’s teacher. Leesa Yoder never expected to find herself single and teaching sixteen young scholars, and she certainly didn’t anticipate an inexperienced bachelor telling her how to do her job. Amid the flying sparks, can Henry and Leesa see that there might be hope and love in this unexpected situation?

Wreathed in Joy by Kathleen Fuller

Mary Wengerd and Jakob Mullet have been best friends since childhood. Pressured by friends and family, they decided to date—with disastrous results. When they break up, their friendship is ruined. A year later, Mary is baking her Englisch friend’s wedding and groom cakes for a Christmas Eve wedding. Mary loves the Christmas season, and had always dreamed of marrying during that time. Now she wonders if she’ll ever marry. After she and Jakob form a tenuous new friendship, Mary breaks her arm. As he steps in to help her with the cakes, Mary is inexplicably and suddenly falling for him. But they’ve already dated, and that ended so horribly. Could it be better this time?
A Christmas Prayer by Vannetta Chapman

Widower Micah Miller runs the Amish Tour Company, offering Englischers a glimpse of a simpler life as well as tea at Rachel King’s. Rachel has never married and has recently lost her parents. When Micah comes across an abandoned and injured dog, he gives it to Rachel for company. As Rachel is charmed by the dog and shocked by news of the existence of family she never expected, her heart and mind bend toward the possibilities of change in her life—even toward the possibility of love.

Click here to get your copy!

I love reading stories about the Amish, and this collection did not disappoint. From stories about second chances to stories about friends falling in love to families created through a family created when a you g boy loses his parents, this collection captures the spirit of Christmas.

While each story stands alone, the collections weaves together beautifully. I think my favorite story was the final story because I love how the couple falling in love are older and that it involves a dog finding a new family.

So if you love Amish books and books set at Christmas, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors

vannetta-chapman

VANNETTA CHAPMAN

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.

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KATHLEEN FULLER
With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller.

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KELLY IRVIN
Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.

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AMY CLIPSTON
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.

Read an Excerpt from An Amish Christmas Wedding

Want to read an excerpt from An Amish Christmas Wedding featuring four of your favorite authors?

You can find more information about the book and the excerpt here!

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 9

The Avid Reader, November 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 10

Inklings and notions, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 11

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 12 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

lakesidelivingsite, November 12

For Him and My Family, November 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 14

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 14

Texas Book-aholic, November 15

Simple Harvest Reads, November 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

deb’s Book Review, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Older & Smarter?, November 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 17

Artistic Nobody, November 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 18

Splashes of Joy, November 19

EmpowerMoms, November 19

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 20

Blossoms and Blessings, November 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 21

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 21

She Lives To Read, November 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 22

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Taking Chances – A Review

About the Book

Book: Taking Chances

Author: Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 12, 2020

Friendship always seemed like the safest bet, but the possibility of love may make theirs a chance worth taking.

Almost from birth, Andrew Wolfe knew the majority of his life would be spent healing people. It’s a passion that he embraces with all of his being until a dark-haired, gray-eyed girl looks up from a pile of books between them and challenges the space in his heart for his first love.

Unsure if he can have Pietra along with the life he’s been destined, Andrew remains friends with Pietra for years without revealing his true feelings, but love won’t be denied forever.

Those who’ve met Pietra Rivera think she’s a shy but kind and generous woman with intelligence to rival the best minds in medicine, and they would be right.

They also believe that the ideal man for her would be an equally nice guy, with like ambitions who would move mountains for her and again they would be correct. But is Andrew that man or is she headed for heartbreak?

Will either of them take the chance at more than friendship with the other or will lifelong expectations and obligations keep them in the friend zone?

Click here to get your copy!


The characters in this book seem to come to life. I love their interactions and how the story progresses. Pietra possesses such an incredible spirit.. I love how the relationship between her and Qndrew grows. The bonds both have with their families shine through the words in this book.

It also illustrates how sometimes it takes patience to get things right. I love how the story concluded. As part of a series, I can not wait to read the next book in this series. My only desire will be to revisit characters I have already met.

So if books about close-knit families and friendships that develop into more grab your attention, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to create worlds, as well as, to communicate with God. A native of Los Angeles, California, she grew up attending United Methodist Church under the leadership of a pastor whose heart was for youth. Once she finished college she found herself at a loss. She felt caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. She surrounded herself with saints and volunteered her services as a graphic artist. Through the early-morning prayer, all night Friday prayer and 3-day shut-ins she started on her journey toward her most desired gift, an intimate relationship with God.
She began writing to publish in 2011 and enjoys writing stories that provoke thought and evoke emotions. Her desire is to draw readers into the lives of her characters and share messages of God’s love, His faithfulness and peace. The messages in her books speak to her way before they speak to her readers.
Traci lives in San Diego with her husband, David. When she isn’t writing she does some light traveling or assists people with their physical fitness, creates graphics, designs pretty things for her jewelry business and swag for authors.

 More from Traci

Thank you for joining my blog tour. I am so happy you have decided to participate in this part of the journey with me.

I have had the story of Andrew Wolfe and Pietra Rivera in my heart from the moment Pietra’s roommate, Meagan considered the sometimes awkward, silences between her two best friends. Even as I finished other books and series whose characters yelled louder to be heard than Pietra and Andrew I could sense them waiting patiently for their turn.

Almost from the moment I put the proverbial pen to paper I saw their personalities and characteristics form them into people I would have loved to have as friends. Coming from such different backgrounds I wondered if their upbringings would work for or against them as they interacted with one another. One would think it unlikely that Pietra, who was raised by her Mexican father and uncles after the death of her mother, and Andrew who grew up under the tutelage of his grandfather, the tribe’s medicine man, that these two would have anything in common, let alone become the best of friends, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, until the third person in their group of the ‘Three Amigos’ gets engaged, leaving them without the buffer they’d grown accustomed to.

For once, I thought I would get to type out a story with a straight line from start to finish, but these characters had a couple of twists and turns to send me through, so I sighed and strapped in for the ride.   You didn’t think I was in charge, did you? I’m just the messenger, carrying the stories of extraordinary people across the border between fiction and reality.

So join me in the small town of Chance, Virginia, where a handsome, yet awkward, NFL player does everything but move mountains to make sure his grandmother is safe and happy, and an incredibly good looking neurosurgeon searches for the answer to where holistic healing fits into a world designed to treat one cause at a time. Oh yes, and the women who, with the grace of God, give them a chance at love.

Chances Are…, Book One in the Chances series is the story of Tony Cahill and Meagan Rowe. Taking Chances, Book Two is the story of Andrew Wolfe and Pietra Rivera.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 14

Artistic Nobody, November 15 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, November 15

Inklings and notions, November 16

deb’s Book Review, November 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 18

Betti Mace, November 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 22

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 23

Kathleen Neely Blog, November 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Traci is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!

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/1039c/taking-chances-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Uncategorized

Spotlight on Harmful Haven

About the Book

Book: Harmful Haven

Author: Emily Yager

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: August 5, 2020

Everyone has secrets…Yet not everyone has lives depending on them being kept.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Inessa Jo Ellingson, a trained
nurse, uses her home as a secret safe haven for abuse victims. When
unusual incidents start to turn into threats, Inessa works diligently
to protect her secret and the safety of those who depend on her.

Retired Marine Sergeant, Torian von Arx, hired to find a missing
person meets the stubborn Inessa who seems determined to stall his
mission. As trouble brews, he feels compelled to protect her against
the secret that threatens to destroy them both.

Will they be able to trust each other in time to save the others?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Emily Yager Inspirational Romance and Inspirational Romantic Suspense
novels set among the lakes, rivers, and north woods of Minnesota.

When Emily is not writing, she is collecting plants, listening to
music, searching for a new history book to explore, or dealing with
the dramas of a bi-polar prima donna canine and writing puppy
sidekick, Xian. She lives on the family farm in northwestern Minnesota.

More from Emily

As with all my stories. I love to integrate as much of my characters heritage as possible within the story. The main character in Harmful Haven – Inessa Jo Ellingson, and her family are of Russian descent. A bit of Russian traditions are woven in throughout the story.

Of all the little traditions that there are. One in particular makes an appearance more than anything else. A source of conversation and comfort.  More often complaints from some to the other characters.

“What did you make?” Nikolai asked. “Something chocolate?”

“No, Honey mousse.”

“Ugh, again.” Her brother groaned. “Two nights in a row. Honestly. Why can’t you enjoy normal desserts like brownies and ice cream?”

Honey Mousse. A traditional Russian dessert. Its sickly sweet. Those in my family who have a major sweet tooth, even found it too sweet for their own taste. This old dessert is definitely an acquired taste.

Go ahead and whip yourself up a batch. Sample it right along with Torian von Arx as he tries it for the first time in the story.

Enjoy it with a hot cup of Bengal Spice Tea (Or as it is known in Harmful Haven – Tiger Tea).

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11

Pause for Tales, November 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 14

deb’s Book Review, November 15

Splashes of Joy, November 15

Quiet Quilter, November 16

Betti Mace, November 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 23

For Him and My Family, November 24

Bizwings Blog, November 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Emily is giving away the grand prize package of a signed Paperback copy of Harmful Haven and a set of BootBling!!

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/10369/harmful-haven-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts

CrossTimber Name Products- A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If you are looking for personalized gifts for this holiday season, be sure to check out CrossTimber’s 8×10 Plaque print; and AmazingName Print Activity Sheets. With so many options to choose from, deciding what to order may be the hardest part of the process. It excited me to determine what plaque to order.

CrossTimber offers a variety of products and choices to select from including their 8×10 Plaque prints, bookmarks, Activity sheets, music boxes, mugs, NameCards™ and more. Once you decide on what type of product want, a variety of choices face you.

For this review, we received an 8×10 Plaque print with one of the new, printable activity sets.  For the print, we could select from one, two, or three names. Because our children are all 18 and up now, I ordered a print for my husband and myself. I thought it would go along beautifully with a crocheted piece with our last name on it that my sister-in-law made several years ago. Eventually, when we get our “forever” home, this print could find a prominent place in our living room.

The website provides detailed instruction on the options available and the steps for ordering. As a military family, I appreciated how they included instructions for shipping to military addresses overseas besides the instructions for ordering in the United States.

Once I determined I wanted to order a plaque with two names, I easily located the tab for “Multi-Name” plaques. Once there, I browsed the different options available for specifically for couples. A variety of backgrounds including ones for Faith & Encouragement, Castles & Lighthouses, Butterflies, and more are available.Finally, I determined I wanted the print with two hands. I easily input our names, checked to make sure it was correct, and then placed my order. Options are available to simply have them send a PDF of the plaque, a printed copy of just the plaque (which we received), or to have it framed. A variety of frames are available if you elect to order your print framed.

You also can elect to pay for them to send you a preview to make sure everything appears correctly before printing. In the rare instance something goes wrong, they also provide step-by-step instructions for dealing with the various issues that may arise, such as receiving the wrong item, damage during shipping and so forth.

When we received the plaque, it included our names, the meaning of our names along with the origins of our name. Two verses of Scripture appear on the bottom. The colors are rich and vibrant. I look forward to framing it and displaying it in our home.

For the AmazingName Print Activity Sheets, I elected to use our daughter’s name. We received a variety of pages including printing sheets, cursive sheets, mazes, crossword puzzles, word searches and more. The pages appear to be on quality paper with color and more. I definitely could see our daughter loving these pages when she was younger.

You can find CrossTimber on social media on Facebook and Pinterest.

For me, I find the company seems to do everything possible to provide an excellent customer experience. I found the site easy to navigate and the company a pleasure to order from with the items arriving on time and as expected.

So if you are looking for personalized gifts including name meaning gifts, framed name meaning prints, bookmarks, and more, check out CrossTimber‘s 8×10 Plaque print; and AmazingName Print Activity Sheets. With so many options to choose from, I am sure you will find something to satisfy your shopping needs.

Other members of the Home School Review share about the plaques, bookmarks, and their experiences with this company this week. So click here or on the graphic below to read more of their reviews.

#hsreviews #personalizedgifts #namemeaninggifts #amazingname #crosstimber #meaningfulgifts

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Secret Sisters Club – A Review

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About the Book

Book: The Secret Sisters Club

Author: Monique Bucheger

Genre: Mid-grade, blended family, horses

Release Date: March 18, 2012

The Secret Sisters Club

Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, want to be sisters. Ginnie’s widowed dad plus Tillie’s divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie come up with the perfect scheme to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ (aka OSS). After all, if they can’t get Dad to move on, Tillie can’t move in.
Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and her dad doesn’t talk about—if Dad doesn’t take them away.

Click here to get your copy!

Imagine having either having only a mother or a father. Then imagine your best friend has only the other one. This situation faces Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor find themselves in together. So what are two 12-year-old girls to do? They work together to get their two parents together so they can be sisters for real.

Full of the scheming, plotting, and shenanigans of Ginnie and Tillie fill the pages. They believe they are secretly going about their exploits, but the surrounding adults are more intelligent and observant than the girls give them credit for, apparently.

I love how this book takes the reader on a journey of not just the present, but also dives into the past. With Ginnie’s brother, her dad’s brother, and her great-uncle, things jump to life. I understand how someone who lost the love of their life may be reluctant to talk about them. But I love how Ginnie finds her mom’s journal, which helps start a conversation between her father, her brother, and herself.

So if you are looking for an excellent young adult novel, check out this book for yourself. I really enjoyed it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Monique

When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.

Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, twelve granddarlings, too many cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books in three series and hopes to write many more.

More from Monique

Hello everybody!

I’d like to welcome you to the first book in my Ginnie West Adventures Series: The Secret Sisters Club.This series has been a fun journey that started longer ago than I care to admit. 

As a tween, Ginnie West was my imaginary friend who gave me courage. Since then, I have written her story through four novels to each become a #1 Amazon Best-selling novel.

The Secret Sisters Club is the story of 12-year-old BFF’s (Ginnie and Tillie) who want to become sisters. However, The Secret Sisters Club is more than a scheme (AKA: OSS: Operation Secret Sisters) to get Tillie’s divorcee mom to fall in love with Ginnie’s widowered dad. 

The Secret Sisters Club is a contemporary, middle-grade novel about: belonging, overcoming hard things, finding joy in the journey of your life, and finding the courage to change your own stars when you don’t like the hand you have been dealt—and realizing that ‘real’ family can be friends you have chosen when the people in the family you were born to are missing because of choices they made, death, divorce, and circumstances beyond your (and sometimes their) control—and these themes are shared in an uplifting, empowering, age-appropriate way.

Because Tillie was abandoned when she was six years-old by her birth dad, six years before The Secret Sisters Club starts, she longs to for  a “whole” family: with a mom, a good dad, a sister, and a brother. Tillie has always been timid, but Ginnie helps her feel brave. Tillie, in turn, helps Ginnie realize that she has a lot to be grateful for.

Ginnie has never worried about what her family looks like—because it has always “felt” right. She lives in a 3-generation farm family composed of her great-Uncle Ben, his two kids, her dad , Todd, and his brother, Uncle Jake–who were raised by Uncle Ben because they were orphaned as young tweens, as well as Ginnie’s twin brother, Toran.

Ginnie’s mother died in a tragic accident when she was 3 ½ years old, leaving Ginnie with very few memories of her mom. Which hasn’t been a problem for her—UNTIL she finds a box of her dead mom’s journals and starts reading one.

Then Ginnie realizes that she really missed out—her mom was pretty amazing: creative, energetic, courageous, funny, a nationally ranked beauty queen (which Ginnie couldn’t care less about) but also a nationally ranked equestrian and trick rider—which Ginnie cares VERY much about. And more than that—she realizes that her mother truly understood her. And while her dad loves her very much—Ginnie is constantly tossing him out of his comfort zone as he struggles to balance her need to be independent with his need to keep her safe.

The Secret Sisters Club explores the journey of two BFF’s finding strength to overcome adversities, humor in day-to day life, and courage to make hard choices as they grow up together, embracing their differences as well their similarities, to make life a totally awesome sauce adventure.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 8

Captive Dreams Window, November 8

Through the Fire blogs, November 9

Texas Book-aholic, November 10

For Him and My Family, November 11

deb’s Book Review, November 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 13

Artistic Nobody, November 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 15

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 16

Vicky Sluiter, November 17 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Monique is giving away the 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/10355/the-secret-sisters-club-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Help From heaven – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Help from Heaven

Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers

Genre: Christian Nonfiction

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Experience the heart-pounding drama of real-life emergencies. Veteran EMT and physical therapist Andrea Jo Rodgers shares this all-new collection of accounts from her 30-plus years as a volunteer with her town’s local first aid and emergency squad.

Arrive on the scene with Andrea and encounter…

  • Lou, a dedicated war veteran who is granted a new tour of duty from God.
  • A fearful flock of ducklings that slip down a storm drain during a false alarm.
  • Everett, a resilient older man who goes for an unexpected ride on the hood of an intoxicated driver’s car.
  • Jenna, a young woman whose dangerous heart condition is both physical and emotional.
  • Frank, a husband whose nasty fall down a flight of stairs earns him instant angel status from his devoted wife, Doris.

As you discover these and many more unforgettable stories, you’ll be reminded that miracles do happen, whether it be through the heroic efforts of first responders, the Lord’s divine intervention, or, often, both.

Click here to get your copy!

Help from Heaven combines Scriptural references, real-life experiences, and even prayers recounting some experiences of Andrea Jo Rodger, an EMT. Andrea Jo Rodgers combines the real-life experience of the victims along with the team who responds to the calls and the apparent divine intervention of angels.

Perhaps because we have friends who serve as EMTs and volunteer firefighters, i appreciate this book and how it brings to life the work of EMTS and law enforcement officers. Involving heart issues, hit-and-runs, and more, the author details not only the incidents leading up to the situation but also the care provided to the victim along with events following the experiences.

So check out this book of real-life experiences of an EMT and her team.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.

More from Andrea

I’ve been blessed to volunteer as an emergency medical technician for more than thirty years and to work as a physical therapist for more than twenty-five. Help from Heaven: True Stories of Miracles, Rescues, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder  relates inspirational and memorable first aid and emergency calls from my years on the rescue squad. First responders have a unique opportunity to assist people in moments of crisis when they walk along a tightrope between heaven and earth. Over the years, I have witnessed miracles in which people have been saved  from danger with what I believe to be divine intervention. By sharing my experiences, I hope to comfort or inspire others.

Have you ever been absolutely scared out of your wits? It happened to me several years ago, when my son and I survived a life-threatening elevator accident. When we escaped death, I decided  we were saved with help from our guardian angels and the Lord. The accident marked the first time that rather than responding to an emergency call, I was the 911 call. After working through the pain and fear, I realized something good came out of the accident, for it inspired me to start writing. As a result, my first book, At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue,  was born.

I live in a small town. Without a doubt, I can say that some of the most precious moments in my life have occurred precisely when I was volunteering to help others. Participating in the rescue and  resuscitation of fellow community member is an incredible blessing. Seeing people I’ve helped biking, shopping, or receiving a text from them makes all the nights of broken sleep and  interrupted family gatherings worthwhile.

I’m currently the Lieutenant and training officer on my squad. Facing the COVID-19 crisis  has catapulted us into unprecedented times. The outpouring of love and support from our community helped my fellow squad members and I to hang in there, face our fears, and do what we need to do to help those in need of assistance. As a first responder, all I can say is thank you! I hope you enjoy reading Help from Heaven. Maybe it will inspire you to find a way to volunteer in some capacity.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 7

Texas Book-aholic, November 8

Inklings and notions, November 9

For Him and My Family, November 10

deb’s Book Review, November 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 13

Artistic Nobody, November 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Mary Hake, November 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 16

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 18

Splashes of Joy, November 19

Spoken from the Heart, November 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue and Help from Heaven: True Stories of Rescues, Miracles, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder as well as a $25 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/10357/help-from-heaven-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Bible, Bible Studies, Home School Review Crew Posts

Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and Faith Journey Bible Study Series: Philippians from Julie Naturally – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Julie Polanco of Julie Naturally has two new bible studies for women: Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Philippians.  I elected to start by using the Romans study for my personal Bible time.  For quite a while, I have followed Julie Polanco’s blog and am pleased to take part in this review. For this review, I received access to the Romans’ Study Bundle, which included a downloadable stud of the PDF, Memory verse cards, coloring pages, and videos Julie Polanco created to go with the study.  For my purposes, I primarily elected to complete the pages on my iPad.  Here is an example.  I love being able to just take my tablet and Bible rather than having to take more things with me.  

Julie Polanco grew up in the Lutheran church, but she gave her life to Christ while in college.  Throughout the years, she has served in various areas and roles including  Children’s Ministries, VBS, worship leader, deaconess, small group leader, and as a Titus 2 mentor.

Throughout the pages of these studies, her heart for God shines through every word.  These studies are perfect for older students and homeschooling mothers.  The Romans study takes 8 weeks to complete with 6 days of lesson per week.  I elected to begin each week watching the video for the lesson.  From there I began doing a lesson a day, including studying the memory work for the week.  Then on Sundays, I completed the coloring page for the lesson.

The studies require reading passages of Scripture in the Bible, along with answering open-ended questions.  I feel this study would be perfect for the moms who attend a homeschooling group together to complete.  I also think it would be perfect for moms with older daughters to complete together. Having three sons and a daughter, I easily would have used this with my sons before they graduated.  I even think husbands and wives could complete the studies together.  Although I am not sure if all men would want to complete the coloring pages.

These lessons require thought and meditation rather than just filling in blanks.  I appreciate this.  However, I wish she provided some insight into how she would answer the questions personally.  Sometimes I struggled with a desire to know my answers were correct.

While I enjoyed the messages of the video, those individuals who require perfect or professionally done videos may have some problems with these videos.

I think the coloring pages provided an excellent feature in this study.  Some coloring pages included designs and patterns while other pages included words.

Families may complete the Philippians study in 4 weeks.  Again, the study material includes daily sections to complete.  Coloring pages, memory verses, and open-ended questions need to complete.  On the first day, the first requirement involves watching the video.  Then comes reading the passage of Scripture along with answering questions.   Again,  hide God’s Word in your heart using the included memory verses.  You can decide for yourself how to go about memorizing those passages.        

You can find Julie Polanco on social media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/julienaturally
Instagram: instagram.com/successful.unschooler
Pinterest: pinterest.com/julienaturally
YouTube: youtube.com/c/julienaturally

So if you are looking for a Bible Study for women, I suggest exploring Julie Polanco’s Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Philippians for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew share their experiences with these studies this week. So click here or on the graphic below to read more of their reviews.

#hsreviews #julienaturally, #juliepolanco, #faithjourneys

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Bells of New Cheltenham – A Giveaway and Review

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About the Book

Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: October 15, 2020

Bells of New Cheltenham-sm

Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?

Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.

Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.

“But what do the words mean?”

Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.

He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.

Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.

Click here to get your copy!

I love reading books from Chautona Havig and I love reading books set at the holidays. The descriptions and imagery describing the town of New Cheltenham cause me to wish it was an actual place I could visit. Chautona Havig consistently creates books and characters that come to life and jump off the pages, and Justine Driscoll and Ken Torsney live up to that expectation. I love how Ms. Havig allows her readers to experience what her characters are thinking.

One of my favorite parts comes from reading that Ken had a Pinterest board full of “fail-safe” recipes to cook for Justine. His desire to convey the message of Jesus’ love and salvation grabbed my heart. As someone who loves reading the stories behind great hymns, Justine writing a short story based on one of those hymns brought me joy.

Having characters reappear from previous books adds to the delight of this story. So if you enjoy Christian books set at Christmas or ones that go into the writing process, check this book out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

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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 at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona Havig

3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing

I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.

The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down.  This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.

The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection.  Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.

Still, I tried to be responsible, you know?  After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already.  Bookers on the RocksThe Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.”  And those didn’t include anything wanted to write in spring or summer.

Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme.  That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?

The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections.  She sent a list of those that had already been claimed.  I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.

No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”

That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.

All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea.  I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?

That’s when it happened.

There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination.  My favorite moment.  And it hit me.  What if the theme for the collection was my story idea?  My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.

And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh!  Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest.  And then… well…

The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.

If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone.  However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited.  Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to chautona@chautona.com, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”

But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.

  1. The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
  2. The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
  3. The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.

What makes your heart sing at Christmas?

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 10

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

Blogging With Carol , November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, November 13

Batya’s Bits, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Worthy2Read, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Aryn the Libraryan, November 18

Lots of Helpers, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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/10359/the-bells-of-new-cheltenham-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

All that Glitters

About the Book

Book: All That Glitters

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Holiday Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2020

Like Christmas ornaments, good-looking men are all glitter and no substance. Right?

Julia Metcalf tries to be content with her life in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, despite secretly yearning for more. Raising her son as a single mom might be tough sometimes, but with friends, family, and a job she enjoys, Julia has a rich life. Risking her heart again—not a good idea. Especially with a guy like Marty.

The guy is too handsome and funny for his—or her—own good.

But when Julia’s ex-husband disappears and puts her and her son in danger, Marty steps in to help.

Sometimes what glitters truly is gold.

Click here to get your copy!

Sometimes we have plans for how our life will go and those plans fall through, and such a place finds Julia. A single mom through divorce with a son to raise causes Julia to be hesitant to become involved with someone else. Yet Marty also shows up and provides any type of help she needs.

Julia’s ex-husband irritated me from the beginning. He cannot take the responsibility of his son and then put his wife and son in danger. Yet Marty shows persistence and faith throughout the story.

I think one of my favorite parts of the story results from the dynamics between Julia and her ex-mother-in-law. Initially tense, things move to a better place. Maybe because I just listened to a TEDX talk dealing with mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws, I could appreciate these dynamics more.

The friends and family in this book help bring it to life. With a brand new baby, a Christmas and holiday setting, and clean romance, I found myself caught up in this story. But then it ended, and I do not mean ended with an ending that left me satisfied, but one that left me asking if that was all. I desired to read more and find out more of these characters. So check it out for yourself and see what you think.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

More from Jennifer

As a fiction author, the characters I create become as close as friends by the time my novels are complete. Maybe it’s because I spend weeks delving into their personality traits, emotional wounds, and spiritual needs. My husband recently asked me if I ever get them confused with each other. A good question, since the list grows with every story I write, but the answer was a definitive no. There is no one, except my husband, I interact with more while I’m writing a novel than my characters.

Have you ever noticed some friends are with you for only a season or two? This could be unique to me, but those I’m closest to are those who are connected by mutual experiences. When my children were young, I was the community 4-H leader, so I was surrounded by other parents with small children. Later, when I completed my degree and started teaching, it was other teachers I hung out with. Now, it’s church family or fellow writers. As we move through our lives, some of those friends dissipate as if from a long-ago dream forgotten in the light of day. The same is true for my characters.

When my publisher asked me to write a Christmas novella, I jumped at the chance to revisit my old friends Julia and Marty from Surrendered, Book 1 in my Apple Hill Series. Although they didn’t take center stage in the novel, they played a significant role in the lives of main characters Tess and Jake. I purposely left their stories unfinished and let my readers draw their own conclusions. But it appears Julia and Marty weren’t satisfied with that ending. Another example of my characters taking on a life of their own.

All That Glitters was a pleasure to write, although visions of all things Christmas were a challenge in the heat of summer. It was like hanging out with old friends for a short time. I hope you enjoy your visit with Julia and Marty, whether it’s your first introduction to them or you previously met them in Surrendered.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 12

deb’s Book Review, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

Batya’s Bits, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Vicky Sluiter, November 20

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 23

Captive Dreams Window, November 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away  the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & 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/1035a/all-that-glitters-celebration-tour-giveaway