Posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction

The Plans We Made – A Review

About the book:
When past secrets hold the only key to hope for the future…

Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations.

Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart.

Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that life doesn’t always go according to The Plans We Made.

Everyone makes plans for the future. But the future often dictates its own terms. This book contains such a fascinating story. The illness of a child causes one family’s future to change in this book. This book shows how God often puts us in the right place at the right time for something meaningful without us recognizing that fact.

I found the storyline and characters to be interesting. I could not put this book down. It provides an excellent book to read over a weekend or when you need something that grabs your attention.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and could not put it down. Containing elements of faith, forgiveness, and more, I found it worth reading. So check it out for yourself.

About the authors:
Kathryn Cushman graduated with a degree in pharmacy from Samford University. After hanging up her lab coat, she shifted her focus toward writing. Her previous works have received multiple nominations for both the Carol Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. The Plans We Made is her tenth published novel.

Learn more at kathryncushman.com. Follow Kathryn on Facebook (@authorkathryncushman) and Instagram (katiecushman1)

Lauren Beccue graduated from Holy Cross with a BA in English and now lives with her family in Santa Barbara. She writes about faith and family, with an emphasis on agricultural passages of the Bible. This is her first novel.

Learn more at laurenbeccue.com. Follow Lauren on Facebook (@beccue.lauren) and Instagram (@lauren_beccue).

Here is a trailer about the book:

MAKE YOUR PLANS IN PENCIL! 

Now, go buy your copy of The Plans We Made online or at a local bookstore, then be sure to head to Lauren’s website to claim your bonus freebie!

THREE CUSTOM PENCILS:

  • Make Your Plans in Pencil
  • The Plans We Made
  • Proverbs 19:21

Just contact Lauren with your name, address, and where you purchased the book, and she’ll send you a set. That’s it! (US only and get ’em while they last.)

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Apprentice – A Review

About the Book

Book: Apprentice

Author: Kristen Young

Genre: Christian Science Fiction

Release Date: October 20, 2020

The Love Collective is everywhere.
It sees everything.
Be not afraid.

Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy—home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.

Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?

Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.

Click here to get your copy!

Apprentice represents the first book in the Collective Underground series. The inclusion of a government who captures, imprisons and brainwashes children represents a terrible direction for governments to take. In the Christian Science Fiction genre, this book deals with some potentially dark topics. The idea of children being taken from their families and then having no memories of those families devastates me as a parent.

Kerr begins having memories of her past, but believes them to be nightmares. Kerr’s dream is to find a place to belong and to be someone important. But when faced with the biggest test, Kerr refuses to betray a friend. An intense book throughout my biggest complaint comes from the “lack” of an actual ending. I probably will read more in this series just to discover where the author takes her readers on this journey. So if you like Christian Science Fiction, check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

Kristen Young is an Aussie children’s and youth worker who always has a notebook on hand to catch ideas for her fiction and non-fiction. She loves hanging out with her family, watching movies with subtitles, and chocolate.

More from Kristen

An interview with Kristen Young

Q: How long have you been writing?

I was the kid who used to create little booklets and puzzle magazines for the family. So writing is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. It wasn’t quite publication-worthy back then, but it was fun. I had to practice a little more before people outside my family wanted to see it.

Q: Where do you write?

Anywhere I have access to a laptop or a pen. I have a desk at home where most of the writing happens, but I usually carry a notebook in my bag in case inspiration hits when I’m out. People think I’m a little eccentric when I’m madly scribbling in the middle of the supermarket. But I have to get that scene idea down before I forget!

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distractions. For me, writing preparation is a little like building a house of cards — that process of getting my thoughts in order and working out the story direction. Distractions are like the gust of wind that knocks the whole construction over. I usually wear noise-cancelling headphones to try and keep me focused on the process.

Q: Where’s your favourite story setting?

I’m still looking for that wardrobe with a door to Narnia.

Q: What’s the first book that made you cry?

I’m not sure if I can share that without giving spoilers! But I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web. When I read that as a child, it had me wrecked for ages.

Q: Have you read anything that totally changed your idea of the way fiction could be written?

There are a couple of books that totally changed my view of fiction. The first was Margaret Atwood’s novel The Blind Assassin. I was totally captivated by the way she mixed newspaper articles and other media with the narrative sections. It was mind-blowing at the time.

Jasper Fforde’s series that started with The Eyre Affair was also pretty amazing. It took a whole pile of literary references and completely messed with them. It was enormous fun.

Q: So why set something in a world called the “Love Collective”?

I like words, and I’m fascinated by the way people often play with them, or even weaponise them. I kind of wanted to explore this word ‘love’ and what it means. In English, we have this one word to refer to so many different kinds of concepts. I wanted to write an exciting story, so it seemed right to have this concept as a backdrop behind the action, where you’re asking, “What does this mean?”

Q: Your main character never forgets anything. Is she like you?

No way. I think Flick’s memory is a bit of wish fulfilment from me. It was so hard writing her, because I forget so many details! In some ways forgetting is protective. But in other ways I’d love to have her memory.

Q: What can we expect in the rest of the Collective Underground Trilogy?

I can’t tell you the whole story, that would ruin the fun. But in the first book, Flick’s world has started really small, and she’s going to broaden her horizons. She’ll get to explore more of this Love Collective. There also might be some more danger, too. Or more love. We’ll see…

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Blogging With Carol, November 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 2

Texas Book-aholic, November 3

Inklings and notions, November 4

April Hayman, Author, November 4

For Him and My Family, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6

deb’s Book Review, November 6

Worthy2Read, November 7

Woven by Words, November 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 8

Emily Yager, November 9

Artistic Nobody, November 9 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 10

Simple Harvest Reads, November 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 11

Adventures of A Travelers Wife, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 12

Splashes of Joy, November 13

Inside the Wong Mind, November 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kristen is giving away the grand prize of a $100 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/102f1/apprentice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Refrain Within – A Reviews

refrain within-banner

About the Book

Book: The Refrain Within

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: WWII Fiction

Release Date: September 29, 2020

the refrain within cover

To save a life, would you betray everyone you love?

Hungary in 1944 is a dark place. The Nazis have invaded and turned the country upside down, their evil making its way into every life.

Clarinetist Eva Bognar is engaged to conductor and composer Patrik Kedves, happily planning her wedding. At first she doesn’t think the war will affect her directly; everyone around her can be trusted to do the right thing. Then her Jewish best friend and sister-in-law Zofia goes missing–and instead of the Gestapo being to blame, a friend says it was Patrik who led Zofia away. Has he betrayed Eva and everything the family stands for?

When the rest of the family’s lives are directly threatened, Patrik’s secrets must come to light. The Bognars flee for the border in hopes of getting out of the country to the safety of Palestine. Eva must put her life and the lives of everyone she loves in the hands of the very man who betrayed her–and they may not all make it out of the war alive . . .

Click here to get your copy!

The Refrain Within comes as the third book in the Music of Hope series. Set during the time of World War II, this book represents an excellent third installment of this series. Because my husband plays the clarinet and our youngest son plays the bass clarinet, the idea of a main character playing the clarinet grabbed my attention. The story line kept my interest and the pace moved along well.

This novel of faith and endurance deserves to be read. The inclusion of Jews and Christians working together increased the faith-based aspect of this book. I had to keep reading to see how the story would end. So check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

Liz Tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

More from Liz

This is the third book in a series all set around music. The first heroine, Anna in The Melody of the Soul, was a violinist. The second heroine, Natia in When the Heart Sings, sang beautifully. So what did I choose for this heroine?

When I was in fifth grade, the band teacher from the middle school came to our class and encouraged us to join. She brought instruments with her for us to try. I really wanted to play the flute. I thought it was very feminine. But all the girls wanted to play that, and I would have to be really good to get a good chair. So I decided on the clarinet. I played all through middle school and high school, making first chair a couple of times. I participated in marching band and in solo and ensemble contests, earning a couple of first places in state competitions. Even after my “career” ended, I continued to play from time to time. I still play in church. I love the rich, full sound of the instrument. When played well, the clarinet is beautiful. It can be playful and happy or dark and sad. It can skip and it can cry. I’m very glad now that I chose the clarinet instead of the flute.

That’s why the heroine of The Refrain Within plays the clarinet. In fact, she comes from a family of clarinet makers, and her family stamp on the barrel of a clarinet means a great deal to her. As God would have it, my editor, Janyre Tromp, is also a clarinet player. Between the two of us, we worked hard bring out the unique aspects of playing clarinet, like the callous that forms on the inside of your bottom lip.

Eva is a special character to me because we share this passion for the clarinet. There have been many times throughout my life that my clarinet has skipped with me and plenty of times when it has cried with me. Music is God’s beautiful gift to us, and I thank Him for the opportunity to share some of that with you in The Refrain Within.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 23

Among the Reads, October 23

Maureen’s Musings, October 23

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 25

deb’s Book Review, October 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, October 25

By The Book, October 26

lakesidelivingsite, October 26

A Baker’s Perspective, October 26

Inklings and notions, October 27

CarpeDiem, October 27

Mary Hake, October 27

For Him and My Family, October 28

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 28

Emily Yager, October 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 29

Older & Smarter?, October 29

Genesis 5020, October 29

Betti Mace, October 30

Christian Bookaholic, October 30

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 30

Artistic Nobody, October 31 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 31 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Rebecca Tews, November 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Connie’s History Classroom, November 2

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, November 2

Splashes of Joy, November 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 3

As He Leads is Joy, November 3

Bigreadersite, November 3

Pause for Tales, November 4

Hallie Reads, November 4

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 4

Amanda Tero, author, November 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 5

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz 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/102a9/the-refrain-within-celebration-tour-giveaway