Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Priceless

About the Book

Book:  Priceless

Author: Vickie Burns

Genre: Devotional/Cookbook

Release Date: November, 2019

Front cover Priceless

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is a Bible study and cookbook combined. The author, Vickie Burns, takes the reader verse by verse through Proverbs 31, showing them how precious and loved they are. At the end of each day’s study, meal suggestions and recipes are provided to fill their homes with tantalizing aromas and great food. Even young children can help with meal preparation so they learn that dinner doesn’t just magically appear on the table.

For women who’ve read Proverbs 31 and felt inadequate, like they could not possibly live up to God’s description of the perfect woman, Priceless reveals that they have more in common with her than they ever imagined.

“Today’s busy mom rarely finds time to steal a few moments of peace and quiet to spend with the Lord each day,” Vickie says. “On top of that, she most likely does not take the time to flip through endless sections of cookbooks to plan a unique evening meal. Priceless encourages women to view their tasks as God’s call to an abundant life, empowers them by providing a daily word from Proverbs 31, and eases their minds by providing a full menu for the evening meal each day.”

 

Click here to get your copy.

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As a wife and mother of four – three sons ages 23, 21, and 19 along with a daughter who is 19 who all live with us still, I am always on the lookout for books that will help me bring our family together.  This book includes devotions and recipes to strengthen your relationships with God and with your family.  The book does an excellent job or reminding us how priceless we are to God.  He created us in His own image.

All the devotions in this devotional cookbook correspond to Proverbs 31 – a chapter that challenges and inspires me.  In addition to the devotion, six questions are included to help you connect deeper with what you are reading.  Finally, a menu for an evening meal is provided.  The menus vary from ones to help you teach your children to cook to ones for date nights.  As a busy homeschooling military family, I loved the ones designed for busy families.

I connected with the devotionals in a meaningful way.  So if you are looking for a devotional that also provides meal ideas or not, you should check out this book. I definitely recommend it.

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

About the Author

Vickie Burns is passionate about showing women how to love and live the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers. Through Bible study, public speaking, and writing inspirational cookbooks, Vickie inspires women to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength; to see and love themselves as Christ does—PRICELESS; and to love others through genuine hospitality. She lives in Texas with the love of her life, Todd Burns, and they have two daughters.

 

More from Vickie

This book, Priceless, is not my story but it was birthed from it. I was raised in a single-parent Christian home after my parents divorced. I watched my mom handle everything: cooking, cleaning, bills, homework, a full-time job, etc. I had no idea until I became a wife and mother all that she must have been through while raising three children on her own. I do know that she had a strong relationship with the Lord and that she had friends and family support.

Today, I look back at my childhood with renewed respect for my mom. My husband, Todd and I did our best to raise our two girls to honor the Lord while we went to school for our master’s degrees and tried to keep our household running smoothly. I had the help of a husband and was still overwhelmed while working as a teacher, trainer, coach and administrator in public education. On top of that I was still a wife, mother, friend, sister, chef, chauffer, nurse and more. Over the years, as I have gotten to know other women, I realize that I am not alone. We all long for ways to balance work and family, cooking and cleaning, physical busyness and spiritual warfare.

As my heart broke for the busy women in my life (to whom I totally relate) I longed to try and make life a little easier for all of us. I began to study God’s Word for answers. As I studied, I learned that God created us for relationship with Himself and with others. I learned that sharing our burdens with one another is His design. I found out that love should drive every word and action as we relate to others. I discovered that the crazy life that we are trying to balance is actually our ministry to our families and communities. I also realized that hospitality isn’t just something that was dreamed up by Martha Stewart. God ordained hospitality from the beginning when He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the garden of Eden. God touches the heart of mankind with a piece of His own. There are examples of this throughout scripture. The biggest deposit of God’s heart within us is the gift of His Spirit. This gift is what makes genuine hospitality possible today. When we touch another person’s heart with a piece of our own, we are showing hospitality, sharing the love of Christ, and making connections that impact our world. This revelation was the birth of my ministry. I call it The Heart of Hospitality. Through my writing and speaking engagements, I share with women how to see the tasks and responsibilities of our daily lives as a calling from God. Beyond that, I help women understand that viewing their lives in this way is what Jesus meant when He said He came to give us “abundant life”.

My prayer for you, as you read this book is:

  • that you will be touched with a piece of God’s heart.
  • that hospitality will come to mean something new to you.
  • that each devotion in this book exposes your pricelessness in Christ.
  • that you will know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are rare, unique and have significant meaning to your Creator.

May God richly bless you and your household.

 

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, January 1

For Him and My Family, January 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3

Jacquelyn Lynn, January 3

Older & Smarter?, January 4

Texas Book-aholic, January 5

Mary Hake,January 5

janicesbookreviews, January 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Inklings and notions, January 8

Blossoms and Blessings, January 9

For the Love of Books, January 9

She Lives to Read, January 10

Quiet Workings, January 11

Godly Book Reviews, January 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 12

A Rup Life, January 13

Emily Yager, January 13

KarenSueHadley, January 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Vickie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Priceless and a $50 Amazon 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/f425/priceless-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for A House with Holes

A House with HolesAbout the Book

Book:  A House with Holes

Author: Denise Mast Broadwater

Genre: Christian Memoir, Marriage

Release Date: October, 2019

Hole in the brick wall shaped as a heart
Hole in the brick wall shaped as a heart

Seasoned renovators Greg and Denise Broadwater dream of owning and restoring a historic home in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. What follows are six years of unimaginable challenges and successes concerning the renovation of their condemned 1920s Charleston Cottage, their place in a transitional neighborhood on Congress Street, and their thirty-year marriage.

In a community that struggles to feel like home, alongside normal stressors of full-time work and family weddings, the heightened tension taxes the Broadwaters to the brink. Nothing is left untouched in their hundred-year-old cottage full of architectural and historical details, from the rotted floorboards to the hole in the roof and the knob-and-tube wiring that causes a fire. But through Denise’s fascinating memoir, A House with Holes, the Christian author and therapist shares how she and her craftsman-architect husband strengthened the holes in both their home and their relationship during this wearying time in order to survive and thrive.

Using Broadwater’s counseling experience, marriage principles have been woven seamlessly into the text, demonstrating ways to maintain relationships in the midst of struggles. Reflective questions close each chapter so that readers may ponder their own relationships with growth and understanding.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Having lived in South Carolina, and also having parents who attempted to completely renovate a historic home in Salisbury, North Carolina when I was in high school, I knew I had to read this book.

This book combines the best of the realism of home renovation along with marriage advice.  Seeing how my parents interacted as they worked to renovate a historic home that had to be gutted provided me with a unique perspective as I read about Greg and Denise Broadwater’s adventures and experiences with renovating a historic home.

I loved how real she was throughout the book.  I found her words to be inspiring.  So check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

Denise BroadwaterDenise Mast Broadwater is a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina, treating anxiety, depression, life adjustments, and marriages. She began her career as a family therapist working with at-risk families and youth. Previously, she was an elementary teacher in private education. She is a wife and the mother of three children and recently became a grandmother. She enjoys rowing at the gym, cooking new recipes, sewing quilts, and blogging at Life Lights Blog(emptynestmarriage.com) and Charleston Renovator Blog(www.freedmanscottagerenovation.blogspot.com).

 

More About A House With Holes

Marriage comes with the struggle of making life work—but with a promise of home, a place to rest, to be who we are in all our mess, to feel loved and accepted in the truth of who we are. Opening up our mess means adjusting to our anxieties, habits, and struggles.

We all know marriage can be tough. Marriage requires commitment and flexibility, allowing for each spouse to develop his and her own gifts, to work together through challenges, and to communicate in a way that draws the couple closer through any issues that arise. The same can practically be said for renovating a house—especially an old house.

In A House with Holes: One Marriage Journey in a Charleston Renovation, author and therapist Denise Broadwater shares the challenges and successes of the restoration she and her craftsman-architect husband embraced after their purchase of a 1920s Charleston Cottage that was slated for destruction. Oddly enough, the project began to mirror the ups and downs of their empty-nester marital relationship.

Through this intriguing memoir describing the architectural style and details of their historic home on Congress Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Denise shares her struggles and disappointments during the six-year upheaval. They lived with open holes in the floors and roof, wild critters, and in an old neighborhood that was unsure of their intentions. As her attitude changed with her living situation, Denise discovered her marriage rising to meet the challenges they faced and this struggling community opening to become a place of belonging.

“All marriages have holes—that’s a given,” Denise says. “The holes are places you disconnect: a container for selfishness, for disappointment, and for addictions as people try to find alternatives for unmet needs. Intimacy opens up the holes. Growing means making small movements toward each other, coming together to reduce friction.”

Principles and questions about marriage have been worked seamlessly into each chapter so that readers can “shore up” their own relationships and grow in understanding while

vicariously watching the progress of the Charleston Cottage through the eyes of a seasoned DIY renovator.

The Broadwaters’ experience of doing life in the midst of a major house renovation demonstrates marriage recovery, and her expertise as a counselor shapes lessons for married people everywhere in an honest, easy-reading, and relatable telling.

I have read more than my share of books about relationships, but A House with Holes is refreshingly different. Reading this book feels like binging on a Netflix series because you have to see what happens next. Denise is a therapist who has an in-depth understanding of relationships, and she has invited you to have a front-row seat to view what it took to create an amazing marriage while undertaking an almost impossible renovation.

—Dr. Larry Wagner, PhD, professor of counseling,

Columbia International University, Columbia, South Carolina

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 30

Cultivating Us, December 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, January 1

Artistic Nobody, January 2 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 4

janicesbookreviews, January 5

Through the Fire Blogs, January 6 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 7

Lots of Helpers, January 8

Texas Book-aholic, January 9

A Reader’s Brain, January 10

For Him and My Family, January 11

Just the Write Escape, January 11

Inklings and notions, January 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a framed piece from a famous Charleston artist, Jim Booth!!

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/f389/a-house-with-holes-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Focused Backstory

About the Book

Book:  Focused Backstory

Author: Carol Alwood

Genre: Non-fiction, writing resource

Release Date: June 26, 2019

Focused backstoryLearn how to write characters readers will love.
Has an industry professional told you not to dump character history at the beginning of your story? If so, you aren’t alone. But what’s the solution to this common advice? Most writers take the time to design interesting characters with troubled pasts. They long for readers to care about the characters’ lives. However, the sad truth is on page one, readers don’t care—yet. That’s why industry gurus tell writers to stop overusing character history, also called backstory, at the beginning of stories. Have you ever wondered… How to use backstory correctly? What are the ways other writers successfully incorporate backstory into their work? Do tools exist to help writers better plan stories so the backstory isn’t such a problem? In Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys, you’ll find answers to these questions and more. You’ll learn how to avoid the dreaded info-dump and instead, harness curiosity so readers keep turning pages. This resource breaks down focused backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story no matter what genre or length. Worksheets, tables, questionnaires, and templates will help you plan an engaging story with deep characters. Examples from popular stories will help you understand this method.
You’ll learn how to
• design a character around a troubled past.
• create additional characters around the main character.
• weave interesting sub-plots within a characters’ journey toward healing.
• design proper obstacles which interfere with characters’ goals.
• guide readers’ emotions so they have a satisfying reading experience.
No matter what kind of writer you are, if you take the time to analyze the use of backstory, it will enhance your style. Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys is the missing gadget in your writing tool kit.
Click here to get your copy.
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If you have ever dreamed of writing a book, then this is a book you need to read.  Carol Alwood provides information, insights, examples, and exercises to help you develop characters and stories that will pull your readers into the world you are creating.
I feel this is a book anyone writing a book with people (real or imagined) can benefit from reading.  I feel you will benefit from having some way of recording your thoughts and completing the exercises as you read this book.
Personal experiences provide wisdom and examples to follow.  The worksheets allow the reader to connect with their characters in a way that does not create an “information dump”, but instead allows the character’s story to develop in a way that develops connection.
So if you are looking for a book to help with the backstory development for your book, you want to write or just want to learn more for your own information, check out this book for yourself.
I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

carol alwoodCarol Alwood has an unending passion for fiction, and she can’t think of a better way to spend her life than writing books for young adults and teaching about techniques she has learned along the way. With a Master of Education, experience as a content editor, and over a decade of establishing and working with critique groups, she is an excellent resource. An award-winning author, Carol finds joy in helping writers find the right tools to plan, draft and revise their novels so they can achieve excellence in storytelling.

More from Carol

Focused Backstory resulted from a personal quest to please industry critics who suggested I keep character history out of the first pages of my novels. My initial questions to this advice were: What? Why? I searched for resources to figure out how to write a more powerful beginning without relying on the past but found little help. On a mission to find answers, I studied popular books, television and movies to abstract what made stories work and — boom! I found it! We can break down backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story without compromising artistry. This book provides definitions, examples, worksheets, templates, and comics to help writers study the art of using powerful character histories to keep readers turning pages. I’m so excited to offer this resource and hope it will empower your writing as it has mine.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28

Holly Jo Morris, December 28

janicesbookreviews, December 29

CarpeDiem, December 29

Jacquelyn Lynn, December 29

For the Love of Literature, December 30

Mary Hake, December 30

Blogging With Carol, December 31

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 31

Genesis 5020, January 1

April Hayman, Author, January 1

Pause for Tales, January 1

Through the Fire Blogs, January 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3

Emily Yager, January 3

Remembrancy, January 4

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 4

A Reader’s Brain, January 5

Spoken from the Heart, January 5

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 6

Godly Book Reviews, January 6

Blossoms and Blessings, January 7

With a Joyful Noise, January 7

Inklings and notions, January 8

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 8

A Diva’s Heart, January 8

Artistic Nobody, January 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

Stories By Gina, January 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol 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/f384/focused-backstory-celebration-tour-giveaway