Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for Just a Train Ride

Just a Train Ride FB banner

About the Book

Book: Just a Train Ride

Author: Elizabeth Wehman

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: September 1, 2017

She was born during the Great Depression, dated a soldier shipped across the world into the upheavals of war. Despite the haunting scars of battle, she married that soldier when he returned. After the loss of her husband of sixty years, an annual trip to visit her grandson in Chicago always helped ease her loneliness. Yet in the face of ailing health, Callie had boarded a train and now needed to make her way back home to Michigan. She’d made the same trip many times before, yet this time it was clear to Callie it would be her last. That’s when she met Blaine. The young, agitated woman appeared to be seeking an escape which inspired Callie to remember her own struggles in life and love. Had their lives merged for a reason? They had a train ride from Chicago to Lapeer to find out.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Just a Train Ride is one of those books that captured my attention from the beginning.  Callie’s story intertwines with Blaine’s in a way I did not necessarily expect to happen.  As Callie told Blaine about meeting her husband for the first time, the details of how their relationship developed captured my imagination.

The characters were well-developed and interesting to read about as the story progressed.  Because Callie was telling her story to Blaine, the changes from present to past and back again were clear and easy to follow.

The details of living and loving during the time of World War II truly were interesting to read about. The relationships between Callie, her parents, and her sisters during their initial meeting and courtship were incredible in depth and breadth.

The descriptions of the train station created stunning pictures in my mind. I could picture the details in my mind. I also have to say I loved how the majority of the story took place during the train ride Blaine and Callie took together. I wanted Blaine to come to the realization of who God is and why He matters. I also wanted Blaine to realize how important is to find the right person to share the rest of her life with since it is supposed to be forever.

So check this book out for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wehmand

Raised in Michigan, Author Elizabeth Wehman loves to incorporate cities in the state for her inspirational fiction. Famous Michigan flowers adorn the back covers of her books from peonies to lilacs and apple blossoms. Her first novel, “Under the Windowsill,” reflects the tranquility and hidden treasures of Mackinac Island for a much-needed hideaway for Kenna, a young girl raised in Iowa. This coming-of-age story uses the growing pains of a quiet, country girl to reflect the dangers and unknowns of breaking away from family and security. From the frustrations of trying to make it alone, Kenna’s experience cements a permanent trust of the goodness of her past and a true hope for the future. Elizabeth’s second novel reflects the tumultuous relationship between sisters in “Promise at Daybreak.” Two elderly sisters are forced together by illness which leads them to fulfill a pact they made at their mother’s grave. The story reflects the storms of dealing with dementia and the results of fulfilling a promise, despite its drawbacks. The setting for this novel is Elizabeth’s hometown, Durand complete with its historic depot and the thunderous noises of a train town. Both novel settings share historical and distinctive aspects of both Michigan cities. Elizabeth’s third novel, released the summer of 2017, and will be entitled, “Just a Train Ride.” All of her novels are clean reads, with a clear inspirational message for her readers. Elizabeth’s home is in Owosso. You can find more about Elizabeth at www.elizabethwehman.com or on her Facebook page – Elizabeth Wehman/Author.

 

More from Elizabeth

Just a Train Ride is a fictional version of my parent’s love story from the 1940’s. My father fought in WWII and he returned from his fighting experience after having a nervous breakdown. He suffered repercussions of that throughout his entire life. My mother sent off a different man than the one who returned home to her, but she was faithful to her promise to marry him. Their story and his experiences were a private matter, so I waited until after his death to write their story. Some of it is based on facts, other parts are just my imagination…filling in the details. I included the train ride as a major part, due to the fact that my mother had gone on a train to see my father just before he shipped off to war. My main purpose in writing JATR was to show how you can be faithful in marriage, despite the setbacks, sorrow, and fateful events that can ravage even the best of marriages. This is my third inspirational novel.

 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, May 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 26

Just the Write Escape, May 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 27

Retrospective Spines, May 28

janicesbookreviews, May 28

Stephanie’s LIfe of Determination, May 29

Mary Hake, May 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

Bigreadersite, June 1

A Reader’s Brain, June 1

For Him and My Family, June 2

Inklings and notions, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 6

Texas Book-aholic, June 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elizabeth is giving away a grand prize of a Michigan-themed basket!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e1c2/just-a-train-ride-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for The Inn at Hidden Run

The Inn at Hidden Run FB Banner

About the Book

inn-at-hidden-run_cover-197x300

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family TreesMeri flunks out of medical school—and runs from her parents. Genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy’s digging traces the family long tradition of doctors to an ancestor saved during a yellow fever outbreak in Memphis in 1878. As Meri’s family closes in, Jillian gets the final puzzle pieces in place just in time for them all to learn the truth. The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click here to purchase your copy!

MY THOUGHTS (1)

I would love to be able to say I loved this book, but I can not.  The general story of the book is one that intrigued me.  A woman whose family has a long history of being doctors fails out of medical school.  Meri runs as far away from her family in Tennessee as she can, and escapes to Canyon Mines, Colorado and takes a job at an inn.

Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan are both genealogists who come to Meri’s aid.  The part of this book that I did not care for was how it jumps back and forth through time.  I understand the pressures parents and family members can place on having the right job in the right field.  If my father had been able to convince me, I would be some kind of engineer today.  But instead, I followed my own path.  So I was rooting for Meri to succeed at following her own path.

This is the first book in The Tree of Life Series.  While I did not enjoy the jumping back and forth in time, I did enjoy the rest of the story.  So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for your fair and honest review.

About the Author

OliviaNewport

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

More from Olivia

Of Family Lines and Family Lore

I suppose it all started in a cemetery.

Once, while a group of relatives were visiting a cemetery, one of my cousins and I wandered off and looked at all sorts of graves, speculating about the names we read and the lives they represented. We were duly scolded both for separating from our families, which caused some consternation, and for being disrespectful—though I think the second accusation was a false one!

Just because we were young children didn’t mean we were disrespecting the dead. Quite the opposite. We were respecting lives long forgotten with our curiosity about who they were and what legacies they left.

These days a lot of people are interested in genealogy. Entire TV series spin around the theme, and DNA kits show up in Christmas stockings. Lost branches of family trees find the main trunk—sometimes with big surprises.

My new Tree of Life series is set in the backdrop of a lovely Colorado mountain town I hope you’ll want to visit often, where a father-daughter genealogy team link present to past on family trees and characters learn about who they are, where they come from, and their unique faith journeys as they discover their own Tree of Life.

It all starts with The Inn at Hidden Run. When Meri arrives in Canyon Mines because she wants to run away from her family, true answers come from understanding the past that generations have forgotten—the accounts from another time and place no longer handed down but that still form the backbone of the family’s story.

What’s the backbone of your family’s history? How is it shaping your own future?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 18

The Avid Reader, May 18

The Power of Words, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 19

Texas Book-aholic, May 19

Through the Fire Blogs, May 20

Lighthouse Academy, May 20

A Baker’s Perspective, May 21

To Everything A Season, May 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 22

Pause for Tales, May 22

Hallie Reads, May 22

Bigreadersite, May 23

By The Book, May 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Maureen’s Musings, May 25

Seasons of Opportunities, May 25

Inklings and notionsMay 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 26

Godly Book Reviews, May 27

janicesbookreviews, May 27

Retrospective Spines, May 28

Mary Hake, May 28

Quiet Quilter, May 29

A Reader’s Brain, May 29

Remembrancy, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

Just the Write Escape, May 31

Moments, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Inn at Hidden Run!!

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/e1c1/the-inn-at-hidden-run-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Science

Review of Supercharged Science’s e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum

img_3362

Homeschool science can be so intimidating for moms to teach but Supercharged Science makes it easy with their fun e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum. With a sixteen-year-old daughter who is not a fan of the majority of homeschooling science textbooks, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make science come alive for her.  I have been following Aurora Lipper’s science videos for a number of years. However, when I saw she now offered the ability to go through either grade-level courses or to go by topics, I knew we needed to try this online homeschool science material.

img_3400

Supercharged Science is the creation of Aurora Lipper, who is a mechanical engineer.  Because my father was a draftsman and designer when I was growing up. her background impressed me.  The company offers science education to both families and teachers and helps people have fun while learning science.

 

There are two main ways to use this program:  first is by topics – so families can pick and choose what information they wish to study or second is by grade level.  Supercharged Science takes all the guesswork out of what to cover and arranged the material into appropriate grade level courses.  All of the high school materials are consolidated into the “Advanced Topics” section for the grade level material. 

The materials may be used as a stand-alone science curriculum or used in conjunction with your existing science materials.  In the case of using the material with an existing science material, deciding to use the topic arrangement will probably work better for your family.  However, if your family is using this program as a stand-alone product, then deciding the use the appropriate grade-level choice might be a better selection.

img_3401

With videos, worksheets, experiments and more this curriculum has something for everyone for K-12.  Because we are in the midst of finishing up our science curriculum for the year, for this review, we decided to select topics that interested our daughter.  I loved the fact the material is meant to be self-directed, so it required little preparation or oversight from me.  I love how this online homeschool science curriculum can be used by students of all ages.

img_3404

The videos included are of high-quality. We loved the variety and abundance of experiments to choose from for all of the topics.  However, I believe the sheer number of experiments could be overwhelming to many parents.  I love the advice of starting with an experiment or two to hook the students before moving into the videos and workbook pages.  We loved the advice of keeping a Science journal and taking pictures while completing the experiments.

Our daughter was more interested in watching the videos to gain scientific knowledge rather than doing the experiments.  Because we were using this as a supplement to our existing curriculum, I was fine with that decision.  She primarily concentrated on the Sound and Light units along with the Life Science units.  My plan is to have her do more of the experiments this summer when her father has more freedom and flexibility to do them with her.  Science and math are two subjects she prefers to do with her father rather than me.

img_3405

We are including pictures and videos for two of the experiments.  Our daughter wanted to make a lava lamp, but we ran into some difficulty because we had to improvise for the food coloring.

img_3430

The second experiment we are sharing is the Bull Roarer from the Sound unit.  For this experiment, we did not have any cotton string, so we tried some nylon string as well as some cotton yarn.  Here are some photographs from our experiment.

img_3431

My one wish for this curriculum would be the option of having the ability to complete the worksheets online rather than having to print everything out.  Because we are a military family and every pound counts when we move, I am trying to make our homeschool as digital as possible. So the idea of having to consistently print things out somewhat bothers me. I understand the logic behind having a notebook to use as reference material or to demonstrate what material was covered, but I would prefer to be able to keep those records digitally so our family does not have to worry about anything happening to the pages. For right now, our solution was to have our daughter answer many of the questions orally rather than writing them out.

img_3403

You can find Supercharged Science on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/superchargedsci/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aurora_lipper
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/superchargedsci/supercharged-science/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/auroram42/videos

 

This online science program is definitely hands-on and offers a large variety of choices for students and parents to choose from as well as a variety of ways to approach the material.  So if you find the idea of teaching science to be intimidating,  Supercharged Science makes it easy with their fun e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum.for yourself.

If you would like to read reviews of this program by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

#hsreviews #homeschool #homeschooling #homeschoolscience #homeschoolmath #sciencelessons #homeschoolavtivities #homeschool #AuroraLipper #SuperchargedScience #STEM

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for On a Summer Tide

On a summer tide FB banner

About the Book

on-a-summer-tide-cover-194x300

Book: On a Summer Tide

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Christian Fiction Romance

Release Date: April 30, 2019

Sometimes love hurts—and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island—a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals—and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

suzanne woods fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including Mending Fences, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

For quite a while I have enjoyed reading books by Suzanne Woods Fisher, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review On a Summer Tide.  As someone who is estranged from her own sister, the message of this book resonated with me.  I loved watching how the sisters and their relationships developed in the story.  I also loved the idea of buying, restoring, and renovating a camp for both children and families.

With a father who was obsessed with his job, I could relate to the girls’ thoughts about their father being gone while they were growing up. Cam’s obsession with her job and trying to juggle the care of Cooper, the son she received when her best friend died, pulled me into her story. From juggling teaching in a public school and trying to raise three children with the help of my husband, I cannot imagine trying to do it on my own.  I really wanted Cam to wake up and put her son first as well as her family by helping to develop her father’s vision for the island.

Maddie’s obsession with protecting Cooper among other things made her my least favorite character.  I felt like she was causing many of the issues Cooper suffered from throughout the story.  I also intensely disliked her “fiance” and his mother for trying to dictate their wedding plans.  I felt like they were overbearing and irritating on many levels, even though they were not in the story that much.

The so-called “quirks” of Cooper intrigued me.  As a teacher and now a homeschool mom, I loved the approaches and methods Seth Walker used to teach the students.  Those methods truly followed the ideas of Charlotte Mason to have students explore nature for themselves.  Blaine’s abilities and skills in both organizing and in the kitchen helping Peg with the lunch counter brought a tremendous amount to the story.  As the younger sister, I could relate to the reactions and responses she received from her sister.

I have to say, I truly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend reading it.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

More from Suzanne

Oh-So-Maine Blueberry Buckle

 

Summer in Maine means plump, tart blueberries are everywhere. Here’s a family recipe that is nearly fool-proof….and so delicious! Especially with a scoop or two with vanilla ice cream.

 

Ever wonder how it got the name Blueberry Buckle? While the batter rises as it bakes, but the blueberries and crumb topping weigh it down. This causes the surface of the cake to buckle…hence the name.

 

 

Batter:

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup soft butter

1 egg

½ cup milk

2 cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups drained blueberries

 

Crumb Topping:

½ cup sugar

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup softened butter

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Mix sugar and butter with egg. Stir in milk Sift together and stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully blend in blueberries. Put on topping before baking. Pour in a greased and floured 9” square pan.

 

Bake 45-50 minutes.

 

 

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, May 23

The Avid Reader, May 23

The Power of Words, May 23

Blessed & Bookish, May 23

The Morning Chapter, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Carpe Diem, May 24

Cultivating Us, May 24

Godly Book Reviews, May 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 25

Mary Hake, May 25

For Him and my Family, May 25

C Jane Read, May 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 26

Blossoms and Blessings, May 26

Daysong Reflections, May 26

Lighthouse Academy, May 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 27

Empower Moms, May 27

Remembrancy, May 27

Wishful Endings, May 28

Simple Harvest Reads, May 28

Spoken from the Heart, May 28

SusanLovesBooks, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 29

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 29

Chas Ray’ Book Nerd Corner, May 29

Hallie Reads, May 29

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 30

Maureen’s Musings, May 30

Library Lady’s Kit Lit, May 30

Inspiration Clothesline, May 30

Living Life Free in Christ, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 31

Pause for Tales, May 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 1

A Reader’s Brain, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Have A Wonderful Day, June 2

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 2

Quiet Quilter, June 3

2014 and Beyond, June 3

By The Book, June 3

She Lives to Read, June 4

Texas Book-aholic, June 4

janicesbookreviews, June 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 4

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 5

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 5

Inklings and notions, June 5

 

Giveaway

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/e540/on-a-summer-tide-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for The Pages of Her Life

The Pages of Her Life FB Banner

 

About the Book

Book: The Pages of Her Life

Author: James L. Rubart

Genre: Christian fiction – suspense

Release Date: May 21, 2019 Pages of Her Life cover

Award-winning and bestselling author James L. Rubart explores the way our memories shape us . . . and how they affect our beliefs.

Allison Moore has no idea why she got out of her car on that rainy March afternoon and picked up the soaked journal laying on the side of the road. Brought it home. But she did. It was empty. Except for two lines scrawled in the front, too washed out to read. And a Jesus emblem inside the back cover. Something about the journal compels her to start writing in it, capturing thoughts about her newly acquired job that she thought would be heaven, but has turned into hell. Then one day, she finds words in the center of the journal. Words she didn’t write: Mene mene tekel upharsin. After her heart stops hammering, Allison Googles the phrase, and reads the story of Belshazzar’s Feast, where a hand from God writes on the wall, and the king is slain. Fear grips her, certain God is coming after her for what she did twelve years back. What she’s done wrong her whole life. She vows to make things right. Then she discovers more phrases appearing underneath each of her journal entries. Those phrases take her on an emotional roller coaster that forces her to look at everything she believes about her past in a new light, and opens her eyes to a supernatural realm of staggering consequence.

The Pages of her life quote

 

MY THOUGHTS (1)

The Pages of Her Life contains characters that made me want to read more.  The idea of having a journal that took the words I had written and personalized them with a message especially for me intrigued me.  In some ways, I found this book hard to get into at times.  While other parts made me want to keep reading.  I think this is one of those books that even if you do not find it completely enjoyable to read has something that every reader can take away from the book.

Even though my own dad and mom divorced, I can relate to Allison having to help her mother adapt, adjust and start living again.  While I can not say I give this book a “5”, I still think it is a book worth reading.

About the Author

Rubart JamesJames L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of Days, The Chair, Soul’s Gate, Memory’s Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. Website: www.jameslrubart.com Twitter: @jameslrubart Facebook: JamesLRubart

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 21

Spoken from the Heart, May 22

Godly Book Reviews, May 23

Genesis 5020, May 23

Bigreadersite, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 24

Through the Fire Blogs, May 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

amandainpa, May 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 28

Hallie Reads, May 28

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 29

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, May 30

Inspired by fiction, May 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 31

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 1

For Him and My Family, June 2

janicesbookreviews, June 2

Maureen’s Musings, June 3

Inklings and notions , June 3

Mary Hake, June 4

Texas Book-aholic, June 4

Retrospective Spines, June 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, June 6

Blogging With Carol, June 7

Just the Write Escape, June 7

For The Love of Books, June 8

Remembrancy, June 8

All 4 and About Books, June 9

Livin’ Lit, June 9

A Reader’s Brain, June 10

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, James is giving away a finished copy of The Pages of Her Life!!

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/e4f2/the-pages-of-her-life-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for The Printed Letter Bookshop

The Painted Letter Bookshop FB Banner

About the Book

the-printed-letter-bookshop-cover-197x300

Book: The Printed Letter Bookshop

Author: Katherine Reay

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.

When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Jessica and Courtney; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.

After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Jessica has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Jessica pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Jessica feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.

After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Courtney arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Courtney taps into strength she didn’t know existed-or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

The Printed Letter Bookshop looks at life, death, family relationships and more.  When families become estranged from one another, it provides the basis for numerous unexpected paths to be taken.  Divorce, estrangement, and difficult family relationships all play a role in this book, but my favorite part is the bookstore itself.  It seems to be the type of place to build community in its heyday, while being the stuff heartbreak comes from in later years.

When Madeline inherits her estranged aunt’s bookstore, she initially wants only to sell it.  As a highpowered attorney, she only has dreams of making partner.  But when she is passed over for that promotion, she decides to manage the bookstore while preparing it to sell.

Jessica has faced divorce and more.  Courtney has her own family problems as well.  But can these three women save the bookstore?  Read the story to find out for yourelf.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the AuthorReay Katherine

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.

More from Katherine

Don’t you love bookshops?

Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure.

Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base. It reflects the personality of its owner and staff. It carries the aura of the stories it offers to us.

And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing.

There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time with in the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 14

Godly Book Reviews, May 14

The Power of Words, May 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 15

Carla Loves To Read, May 15

Pause for Tales, May 15

Maureen’s Musings, May 16

Bigreadersite, May 16

By The Book, May 16

Inspirationally Ever After, May 17

Reading Themes, May 17

For The Love of Books, May 17

Lis Loves Reading, May 18

Emily Yager, May 18

Living Life Free in Christ, May 18

For HIm and My Family, May 19

Retrospective Spines, May 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 19

Girls Living For God’s Glory, May 20

As He Leads is Joy, May 20

To Everything A Season, May 20

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 21

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Creating Romance, May 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 23

Wishful Endings, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 24

Just the Write Escape, May 24

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 25

Lighthouse Academy, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Inspired by Fiction, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 26 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Inklings and notion, May 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 27

amandainpa, May 27

A Reader’s Brain, May 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a paperback copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop to one lucky winner!

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/e4f1/the-printed-letter-bookshop-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Remi

Remi FB Banner

About the Book

remi-cover-194x300

Book: Remi

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 3, 2019

It isn’t within man to guide his own steps—or a woman. Caught between a wagon train and the deep blue sea, Agnes Remington Dalrumple, Remi for short, chooses the overland journey west over crossing the Atlantic with her mother and step-father. She decides to go to California and try to fine the father she’s never known though she’s never been on her own. Thwarted at every turn, almost every effort is dashed until a widower’s thirteen-year-old daughter intervenes on her behalf. How can the headstrong woman place herself under the responsibility of the young girl’s father, a perfect stranger? But if she doesn’t, her journey ends right there in Saint Joseph, Missouri. On the Oregon/California trail, will her pride and independence deter her from the destiny God has prepared for her?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Remi is the second book of the Prairie Roses collection, and I have to say I enjoyed reading this book as much as I did reading the first book, Uniquely Common. The brief glimpse of Remi in this book captured my imagination and made me want to read more.

This book tells the story of Remi – Agnes Remington Dalrumple.  As a book that chronicles the difficulties of traveling on the Oregon Trail, it also includes the element of finding love.  As someone who gets terribly seasick,  Remi decides to not sail with her mother and stepfather, but instead to go across the Oregon Trail so she can find her father.

Because no self-respecting woman travels alone Remi engages Edwina Blaine as a traveling companion.  Unfortunately, the Wagon Master has a policy of not allowing any women to travel alone, so they have to find a male to travel with or be forced to stay behind.  Fortunately, the daughter of one the male volunteers on the wagon train becomes involved in convincing her father to help the two women.  The book is definitely worth reading to find out how the story turns out.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Caryl McAdoo

For research in December, Caryl McAdoo hit the trail—literally, the Oregon / California Trail—beginning in St. Jo, Missouri with the Napa Valley being her destiny. No wonder readers enjoy her novels so well! She prays her story brings God glory, and He blesses the award-winning, best-selling novels with a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings! With forty-three titles (thirty-three in the last four-and-a-half years), it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her. (Listen to a few at YouTube.) Celebrating fifty years being married to Ron, her high school sweetheart, she counts their four children and eighteen grandsugars life’s best blessings. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

More from Caryl

Remi, my May ‘Prairie Roses Collection’ story, picks up where Uniquely Common, my April ‘Lockets and Lace Collection’ story ends! Well, actually it backs up a bit to Remi’s decision to go west! In Uniquely Common, you meet her after she’s already in Saint Jo, trying to join the wagon train.

I fell in love with this semi-introvert, lover of literature, highly intelligent young lady, and felt the cover captured her exactly! (Thank you, Chautona Having, my new amazing cover designer! I am so blessed!)

Remi, short for Remington—her middle name as she hates her first name Agnus—is an only child reared by a single mother. Her father left years ago; she’s never met him and decides to go to California where his last letter was postmarked to do just that. It’s a long way from New York City, but better than sailing across the Atlantic.

And she can’t stay there with nowhere to live since her newest stepfather is whisking her mother overseas to his villa in Southern France. They invite her of course, but she hates boats and gets frightfully seasick! It seems the perfect time to go west and meet her Daddy. Riding in a prairie schooner would be a lark!

Researching for the covered wagons heading west led my dear husband to ask if I wanted to drive the Oregon / California Trail. Yes, yes, yes, I assured him! What could be better than seeing the rivers my wagon train had to cross, the amazing sights my characters would experience, and the terrain they navigated for ourselves?

What an opportunity God put before me!

Two weeks and forty-three hundred-plus miles later, we got back home to Clarksville, enthralled with our journey. That trip has made this story so much better for me! I hope it will make it all the better for you, too! I praise and give glory to the Lord for His many blessings and high favor.

I’m so grateful for the stories He gives us, His divine appointments—like with Sandy Barela, the founder of Celebrate Lit, all her amazing bloggers and reviewers—the doors He opens, my new cover designer Chautona Havig and all the fictional characters He introduces me to and allows me to share with you!

♫♪*`•. I’m just so excited.•*♪¨*about what the Lord is doing!•♪♫*`•. I’m just so excited Lord!! ♪♫•*¨♪ for what I know♪♫¸¸.•*♪ He will do!!*•.¸ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸♫♪*`•. I’m just so excited!!•.¸.• ✿And He is delighted ღ(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ✿♫♪*with my anticipation ♪♫•* ♫♪ of what I know He will do. •*♪♫•!♪♫¸•*♪ And I get to be a part ♫♪*`of what the Lord is doing!•♪♫*`•. I get to be a part! ♫•*♪¨♥ •♪♫ of what I know♪♫¸.•*♪ He will do!!*•.♫♪ I get to be a part ♫♪*♫•*♥ and He has a good plan!♪*•.✿♫♪*`•. He’s called me for His purpose!.•*♪¨ ✿♫♪*`• I have a role to play! ♪♫•*¨♪ (hear this new song on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKnU8JWXRlU )

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 20

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 20

Blessed & Bookish, May 21

Quiet Workings, May 21

Retrospective Spines, May 22

For HIm and My Family, May 22

Maureen’s Musiings, May 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 25

KarenSueHadley , May 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 26

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, May 27

Through the Fire Blogs, May 28

Emily Yager, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 29

Bigreadersite, May 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 31

janicesbookreviews, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, June 1

A Reader’s Brain, June 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away

Grand Prize – $50 Gift Amazon Card

1st Prize – Signed, Paperback copy of CHOICE of all my books

2nd Prize – Signed copy of Remi

3rd Prize – eBook copy of Remi

4th Prize – eBook copy of CHOICE of all my books!!

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/e516/remi-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for

About the Book

image1-190x300

Book: Act of Valor

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational romantic suspense

Release Date: June 1, 2019

A True Blue K-9 story …When airline employee Violet Griffin encounters several suspicious passengers, she’s thrust into the crosshairs of a drug smuggling operation. NYPD officer Zach Jameson and his drug detection beagle, Eddie, can tell this is no small-time threat. Someone’s gunning for Violet, and after recently losing his brother, Zach refuses to lose her, too…especially now that she’s gone from friend to the woman he’s falling for.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Act of Valor is full of suspense, danger, and relationships.  It is truly a book worth reading. When Violet notices some suspicious activity at the airport she works in, she finds herself in danger of being killed.  Zach Jameson, a childhood friend of Violet, rushes in with his K-9 partner to try and save her life. As the story moves along, Violet continues to be in danger while becoming more than friends with Zach, as well as in danger of losing her life. 

Violet demonstrates a tremendous amount of faith and courage, and faith is something Zach desperately needs after his brother had been killed.  Having not read the first story in this series, I can say there was quite a bit I missed. Can Zach’s relationship with God be restored? Can Zach and Violet find a way to build their relationship into more than friendship?  So I definitely recommend reading this first book in this series before reading this book.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Barbour, and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

 

More from Dana

Cops and killers and beagles, oh my! It was a ton of fun writing the second book in the new True Blue K-9 Continuity series. First of all, I had the honor of working with some AMAZING authors. (It’s challenging creating a world together and keeping all those details straight!) I had the privilege of following the amazing Lynette Eason, so that’s always a plus! Second, I learned all about the astonishing world of beagles!  Those critters are just amazing. For instance, the original beagles were tiny, only 8 inches tall and could be carried in a pocket, which is why they called them Pocket Beagles. I need one of those! The name beagle comes from the French, which is translated “wide throat” or “loudmouth.” This is well earned by Eddie in my story, who will occasionally let loose with the trademark baying. The beagles small size, general friendliness, and ferocious scent drive, make it the perfect dog to sniff around airports and get into compact spaces. Eddie enjoys doing just that with Zach, his handler and best friend. He earns those gourmet treats that Zach bakes up for him. Best of all, Eddie was rescued from death before he became a canine cop star! It’s just awesome when you can twine fact with fiction to come up with a tail wagging suspense story! I hope you enjoy the second installment in the series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 16

Genesis 5020, May 16

Multifarious, May 17

Through the Fire Blogs, May 17

Lighthouse Academy, May 17

Reading Is My SuperPower, May 18

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 19

Carla Loves to Read, May 19

Wishful Endings, May 20

EmpowerMoms, May 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 20

Remembrancy, May 21

Blossoms and Blessings, May 21

Simple Harvest Reads, May 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Hallie Reads, May 22

Among the Reads, May 23

Moments, May 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 24

Just Your Average reviews, May 24

Real World Bible Study, May 25

Pause for Tales, May 25

Ashley’s BookshelfMay 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

Bigreadersite, May 27

janicesbookreviews, May 27

Inklings and notions, May 28

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of the book, a beagle coloring book, and an 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/e012/act-of-valor-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Electives, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs

Review of EdAlive’s Maths Invaders Online and Typing Tournament Online

img_3340

We received two one-year subscriptions for a typing tutor program called Typing Tournament Online and a fun math practice program called Maths Invaders Online from EdAlive.  With our children who are still being homeschooled being 16-years-old and 18-years-old, I was more interested in the typing program than the Math Invaders Online.  In these days and times, I believe that every person needs to have above average typing skills.  So I felt our children definitely could benefit from this program.  In addition, I felt my husband and I both could benefit from improving our typing skills as well as using this online program.

Because EdAlive is an Australian-based company, some of the language used will be British English rather than American English. However, our family did not find this to be a problem when utilizing this program.  We found logging in and beginning to use this problem to be quick and easy.  Their website states, “We believe that every child is special and that education gives them the best opportunity to live life to the fullest. That’s why our software and web sites make the highest quality resources available for all children to help them reach their learning potential”.

img_3357

With the Maths Invaders Online program, students work on essential numerical skills that are vital to every child’s success.  The program is designed for students ages 5 to 15.  It allows students/players to tackle a large number of problems in minutes.  It helps to develop automatic recall of important numerical math facts.  It is designed to be intrinsically motivating.  Players are able to select from a group of levels to find problems that fit their level.  It is designed to make learning fun.

Students select from the Galactic campaign, Space Rescue and practice.  By using the keyboard, players attempt to answer math questions correctly to achieve their objectives.  We found the graphics to be of high quality and fun to look at while playing.  Printable worksheets are also available as well.  From the menu, parents and players can see the leaderboards, the App library, tools and reports, help screen and more.  Students can compete against other players or the computer making it more interesting.

img_3350

Typing Tournament Online is designed for those ages 6 to adult.  I loved the fact that even adults can benefit from this program.  It allows players to begin at their current skill level and gradually introduces the whole keyboard.  Players move through the program at their own pace through 128 lessons, games, and drills.  The medieval tournament theme is highly engaging.  Our family appreciated being able to actually select a goal to reach by the end of the course and how it actively promotes using correct fingers on the right keys.  I know it easier to type faster when using proper finger placement.

Our family found this typing program to be worth using as well as being fun to practice.  The bright colors, the tournament concept and more makes this program fun to use.

Here are some pictures of the instructions for proper posture and more.

You can find EdAlive on social media at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdAlive/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/edalive
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/edalive/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edalive.education/

 

So if you are looking for great interactive programs for reinforcing math facts and/or typing skills, check out EdAlive’s Maths Invaders Online and Typing Tournament Online for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these two online programs this week so click here or on the graphic below to read additional reviews.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway of Past Forward by Chautona Havig

Past Forward FB Banner

About the Book

past-forward-cover-200x300

Book: Past Forward

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense

Release Date: April 19, 2017

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

For quite a while, I have enjoyed reading books by Chautona Havig.  She creates memorable characters, believable plot lines, and pulls her readers into the worlds of her stories.  And Past Forward is no exception.  Imagine growing up with only your mother around, never really using electricity or other modern conveniences including a phone.  So when Willow’s mother dies unexpectedly Willow finds herself thrust into a world she cannot relate to and is content to basically keep going in the same way she has always done them.

Chad Tesdall, as a law enforcement officer, finds himself given the task of taking Willow’s report about her mother’s death.  Then he finds himself unexpectedly being thrust into the role of protector and more for Willow.  He finds himself drawn into her life through no effort on his part.

I love the simplicity of Willow’s life.  The journal’s of Willow’s mother create a memorable and interesting look at Willow’s childhood.  Personally, I would love to be able to actually hold the journals in my hand and read them in their entirety.

As Willow experiences many firsts, both of doing things herself at her home and by attending places like church and going to the city, Willow’s world expands in many ways and yet also stays the same.  She is unwilling to compromise what she believes in and what she holds true.  Chad provides the perfect support, encouragement, and strength Willow needs.  Watching Willow grow and come into her own makes this book worth reading.  But watching Willow and Chad’s relationship grow makes it even better.

So if you want a story that does not dwell on traditional modern life, but instead offers a glimpse of what a simpler life could look like, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of the audiobook for this for my fair and honest review, and I have to say, the audiobook is fantastic.

About the Author

Chautona

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

 

More from Chautona

HOW DID MY WEIRD HIGH SCHOOL YEARS INSPIRE THIS BOOK?

December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.

Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.

For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.

I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.

On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.

We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:

  • Turn on water.
  • Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
  • Turn it off.
  • Lather up.
  • Shampoo hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Work conditioner into hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Get out.
  • Try to stop your teeth from chattering.

For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.

Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.

We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages

For the curious, summer was blistering hot.

No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.

Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.

I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.

If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…

What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?

Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.

I disagree.

We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.

I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.

If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.

Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.

Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.

Just sayin’.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 15

A Reader’s Brain, May 15

Godly Book Reviews, May 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 18

Bigreadersite, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Aryn The Libraryan, May 21

Quiet Workings, May 22

Retrospective Spines, May 22

Inspired by Fiction, May 23

Carpe Diem, May 24

For Him and My Family, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 26

Rebekah’s Quill, May 27

Inspiration Clothesline, May 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e319/past-forward-celebration-tour-giveaway