Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review and Giveaway for Beautiful in His Sight

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About the Book

Book: Beautiful In His Sight

Author: April W. Gardner

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: May 11, 2019

It’s 1917, and Halifax is at war. Silas Quinn, street sweeper and army reject, remains on the home front, shunning God and society as religiously as they shun him. But the night he stumbles across a half-frozen prostitute, his eyes blink open, and his greater purpose is born: preserve and protect.

There’d been a day when shop girl Helen Fraser was desperate enough to believe a few nights in a brothel would cure her troubles. By some miracle, Major Jack Gordon deemed her worth saving, but Helen knows her meticulously recreated identity cannot last. What she doesn’t expect is for its destruction to come about, not by an old john or one of the madam’s goons, but by a force great enough to flatten a city and bury her alive.

Set against the backdrop of the Halifax Explosion, Beautiful in His Sight is a Christian historical romance that explores unequivocal grace and identity in Christ.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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Set during the time of World War I, this book caught my attention from the very first page.  Helen Fraser and Silas Quinn both lack God and purpose for their lives.  So when Silas happens to discover Helen, a prostitute half-frozen, things are bound to get interesting.

Helen, unable to forge a relationship with her half-sister, attempts to create some type of new life for herself thanks to Major Jack Gordon who helps establish a new identity for her.  But when a terrible explosion happens, Halifax is rocked to its core.

However, he has charged Silas Quinn with protecting Helen.  Silas determines to do exactly that by finding her and rescuing her from under a pile of rubble, ensuring she receives medical treatment, and even taking her to her half-sister’s home.

One of my favorite characters was Mr. Hermann.  This elderly German basically blind gentleman brings a lot to the story by providing Helen a job in his shop and basically treating her like family.  He demonstrated Christ’s love even when others were assaulting him because of the war.

This book was full of danger, excitement, and adventure along with hints of what could be between Silas and Helen.  If you want to find out how the story ends, check it out for yourself.

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

About the Author

APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native Tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

April loves to hear from her readers at: aprilgardnerwrites@gmail.com

 

More from April

The Story Behind the Story

My novels are never purely fiction. They are stories constructed around truth, around some segment of the past that’s both stunning and stunningly forgotten. My latest novel, Beautiful in His Sight, is set during the Halifax Explosion, a WW1 event little known in most of the world. For those in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in December of 1917, it literally shattered their world.

That’s the setting we find my characters Silas and Helen struggling to survive, but—as in every good romance—love (and God’s grace!) brings them through.

 

The Story Behind the Setting

By December 1917, Halifax had passed tens of thousands of soldiers and sailors through its railyard and onto the naval vessels in its harbor. With the military came the prostitutes who migrated in droves to the slums. It’s reported that some days, the only passengers disembarking from the trains were women in short skirts. Slumdom’s seams overflowed with carnality, public drunkenness, and solicitations. Prostitution wasn’t the only job to be had for women. With so many men wearing army green, ladies of the proper class and training stepped behind registers and bookkeeping desks and kept Halifax running.

This is the world in which we find our female lead, Helen Fraser, a reformed prostitute desperately trying to start over as a salesclerk.

 

The Story Behind the Explosion

As Silas, the story’s male lead, puts it, the explosion was “a tragic accident, a miscommunication between passing ships.” In short, it was a dozen small decisions that accumulated to one very horrific event. The collision and blast released the equivalent energy of 2.9 kilotons of TNT and instantly obliterated everything within a half-mile radius. The munitions vessel that exploded, the Mont Blanc, rained iron shrapnel all over Halifax. Its 1,160-ton anchor landed 2.5 miles away where it can still be found today.

The numbers: Over 2,000 deaths. Over 1,000 injuries. Almost 300 blinded.

 

The Story Behind the Name

The name Helen Fraser (female lead) is an honoring nod to Helen Clark, a courageous young woman who survived the explosion. This is her story.

Helen Clark, age eight, was beginning her school day at St. Joseph’s when she felt something disturbing. “Like thunder was taking place alongside of you,” she later said, “instead of up in the sky.” She looked to the window and gaped at the glass bowing inward. She flung her arms over her face and ducked an instant before it blew in. Then, in her words, “The ceiling above gave way at one corner and down two sides of the room, hanging like the flap of a great envelope and spilling out children from the room above.”

A nun grabbed her arm and said, “My heavenly God, the Germans have arrived! Get down on your knees girls.” In lieu of prayer, Helen wrenched away and jumped out the second-story window, narrowly missing the debris that, in the next moment, struck and killed the nun. A snow mound broke Helen’s fall. Suddenly very tired, she laid down right there, feeling no cold or pain, and went to sleep.

Eventually, two men approached to see if she was dead. Though she couldn’t speak, she managed to get to her feet. They straightened the bow on the top of her head and told her to go home if she had one to go to. The blood crusted over her eyes limited her vision, but she shambled along best she could, recognizing nothing. She knew her street only by the change to cobblestones under her feet, and her grandmother recognized her only by the bow in her hair.

Quick-thinking and bold, little Helen avoided both death and blindness, and I’m honored to name my heroine after her.

Blog Stops

Simple Harvest Reads, September 9

Emily Yager, September 10

Betti Mace, September 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 11

Avid Reader Nurse, September 11

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 13

Connie’s History Classroom, September 14

JosephineAnneWrites, September 14

For Him and My Family, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 16

A Reader’s Brain, September 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 17

Inklings and notions, September 18

CarpeDiem, September 19

Through the Fire Blogs, September 20

Bigreadersite , September 20

Inspired by fiction, September 21

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

janicesbookreviews, September 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, April is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of her 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/ec01/beautiful-in-his-sight-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Waiting for God

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About the Book

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Book: Waiting for God

Author: Xochitl Dixon

Genre: Non-Fiction, Devotional

Release Date: August 7, 2019

Inhale God’s Word. Exhale in prayer. Rest in God’s love.

If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer.

Conquer your fears and frustrations as you inhale God’s Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God’s love. Live a life of deeper connection and immediate communion with God that can lead to contentment in His constant presence, no matter what your days hold or how long God’s deliberate delays may last.

Xochitl Dixon writes each chapter with heart-touching transparency and vulnerability, as she shares her own story as well as the stories of others who are trusting God through waiting seasons with no apparent end in sight. As a woman who lives with chronic pain, Xochitl understands constant struggle yet chooses to put God on the throne of her life.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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If you want a book that includes Biblical passages, Biblical stories, and personal stories wrapped up into one incredible package, check out this book for yourself.  This book made me laugh, cry, and more as I read the pages.  Let’s face it, at times all of us feel worn down and frustrated.  This book does an excellent job of showing how to face hard times with God’s grace and mercy.

The accounts of  Xochitl Dixon’s experiences with a chronic illness reminded me of my experiences with chronic high blood pressure and arthritis.  I could relate to what she had to say.  Her experiences with her mother dealing with cancer also resonated with me.  This book demonstrates that sometimes we just have to wait on God, but we can find people and experiences to bless us during those times.

The amazing way God often sends people to us at just the right time with just the right words or actions to lighten our burdens also resonate through these pages as well.

I found myself not wanting to put the book down.  So check it out for yourself.

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

About the Author

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Xochitl (So-Cheel) E. Dixon has a heart for loving God and people. She’s passionate about intercessory prayer, nurturing spiritual growth, and the prayerful study and application of Scripture. Through her daily struggles with chronic pain, due to an upper back injury she endured in 1992, she writes with transparency, ministers to the hurting, and inspires hope through worshiping God in all circumstances.

She serves as a regular contributor to Our Daily Bread (www.odb.org), a ministry devoted to making “the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.” Her devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Discovery House Publishers) is available for pre-order and releases August 7, 2019. She is a contributing author for the upcoming Our Daily Bread devotionals: What Really Matters (August 7, 2019), And He Walks with Me (October 2, 2019), and Moments of Peace for Moms (October 2, 2019).

Her devotions have also been included in All God’s Creatures (Guideposts, 2019), God Hears Her (Discovery House, 2017), Our Help (Discovery House, 2017), and This Far by Faith: Legacies of the Black Church (Discovery House, 2017). Her nonfiction has been published in My Amazing Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2018), Second-Chance Dogs (Revell, 2018), LIVE Magazine (2019), and Church Health Reader (2019).

She followed God from California to Wisconsin and is enjoying Midwest adventures with her best friend and husband of over 25 years, Dr. W. Alan Dixon, Sr. She loves their sons, A.J. and Xavier, spoils her service dog, Callie, and likes serving as a speaker, traveling, photography, reading, singing, sketching, studying Scripture, and nurturing authentic relationships.

Xochitl connects with readers and shares encouragement devotions, prayer, and Scripture-based memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog at www.xedixon.com. You can also follow her Author Page on Amazon’s Author Central.

 

More from Xochitl

“Never pray for patience.”

My friend’s warning pricked at the back of my mind. Without realizing it, I began lacing my prayers with fear, doubt, and caution. I couldn’t risk being thrust into situations that would force me to develop patience, so I did everything in my power to avoid asking the Lord to help me be patient.

But even when I didn’t ask Him to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in me, I always seemed to end up in circumstances that stretched my faith as much as my patience.

When my agent challenged me to write the book I had to write, I pitched Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

I thought I’d be sharing tips about how to persevere through trials and endure suffering with grace. But after I signed the contract and received a deadline for my manuscript, my husband received an unexpected job offer.

We followed the Lord from California to Wisconsin.

Writing became a challenge as I suffered a setback in my healing journey. I endured high levels of pain and fatigue. My husband and I struggled with frustration as we adjusted to life in the Midwest during one of the coldest winters in history.

And God changed my perspective on waiting for Him, which has nothing to do with patience.

I’ll be sharing my answers to the end-of-chapter questions on my blog (www.xedixon.com). I’m excited to invite you to join the adventure.

I look forward to growing with you as we wait for God, inhaling His Word, exhaling in prayer, and resting in His love as we trust daily in His plan and pace.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 2

April Hayman, Author, September 3

Genesis 5020, September 4

A Diva’s Heart, September 4

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 5

AndreaChristenson, September 6

Kelly Harrel, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

For the Love of Literature, September 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 9

Just the Write Escape, September 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

A Reader’s Brain, September 13

janicesbookreviews, September 13

Inklings and notions, September 14

Cultivating Us, September 15

God is Love, September 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Xochitl is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Waiting for God, and a copy of God Hears Her (Our Daily Bread 365-Day Devotional)!!

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/eaef/waiting-for-god-celebration-tour-giveaway

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