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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#hsreviews #julienaturally, #juliepolanco, #faithjourneys

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Bells of New Cheltenham – A Giveaway and Review

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About the Book

Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: October 15, 2020

Bells of New Cheltenham-sm

Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?

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

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

“But what do the words mean?”

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

More from Chautona Havig

3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing

I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.

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

That’s when it happened.

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

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

The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.

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

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

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

What makes your heart sing at Christmas?

Blog Stops

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

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 9

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

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 10

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

Blogging With Carol , November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

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

Inklings and notions, November 13

Batya’s Bits, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Worthy2Read, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Aryn the Libraryan, November 18

Lots of Helpers, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

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

Mary Hake, November 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10359/the-bells-of-new-cheltenham-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

All that Glitters

About the Book

Book: All That Glitters

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Holiday Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

Sometimes what glitters truly is gold.

Click here to get your copy!

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

More from Jennifer

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 11

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

deb’s Book Review, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

Batya’s Bits, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

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

Vicky Sluiter, November 20

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 23

Captive Dreams Window, November 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away  the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1035a/all-that-glitters-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Mountain of Peril – Review and Giveaway

Mountain of Peril banner updated

About the Book

Book: Mountain of Peril

Author: J. Carol Nemeth

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 25, 2018

Mountain of Peril

When Molly Walker graduated from college, she was thrilled to be hired on as a ranger at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She arrived ready to begin her career and to enjoy all the aspects of her new job, but the one thing she hadn’t counted on was the local poachers and their illegal shenanigans. Molly and fellow ranger Jake Stuart try to put a stop to the escalating poaching problem while protecting the animals. In the meantime, Molly finds the handsome ranger, who is also a local, is a great partner to have on her side. She also finds she’s losing her heart to him when she’d planned to stay focused on her career. Can she give her heart and have a career? She and Jake find themselves in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Molly and Jake are in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Click here to get your copy!

Mountain of Peril represents the first book in the Faith in the Parks series. The suspense aspects of this book kept me reading. I think one of my favorite interactions came as the beginning of the book when Molly tries to get directions from two men who are apparently hard of hearing. Perhaps because my own mother often has difficulty hearing, I could appreciate Molly’s difficulties. Or perhaps the setting of the Great Smoky Mountains captured my attention since I attended college in Asheville and I call North Carolina home. Or maybe its because I had a friend who thought about becoming a Park Ranger, I found myself unable to put this book down.

Having a husband who serves in the Army, I appreciated that J. Carol Nemeth served in the Army and calls North Carolina also grabbed my attention. Wildlife and more make appearances throughout the story. I also appreciated the dynamics of Molly being brand new to being a Park Ranger and the enthusiasm she brought came alive throughout the pages.

The dynamics between Molly and Jake drew me into the story. I found the story to be realistic and worth reading. So if you like books set in the mountains or ones that examine women struggling with having a career or having a relationship, check out this book for yourself. It definitely deserves your examination.

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

About the Author

Carol Nemeth

A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to. She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy. After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church. They have a son, Matt, who serves active duty Army, a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves active duty Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black Lab, loves traveling in their RV, and when they pack up to go, she’s waiting inside for them to head out.

More from J. Carol

I worked for the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park many moons ago before I met my husband. The setting for Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks Book 1 is in that park. I met a lot of interesting people and there was never dull moment. Something was always happening. I was either helping trap wild boar, riding horse back for back country patrol, or doing search and rescue for missing persons. I used several of my own experiences in the story, tweaking them a bit here or there to fit with the flow of the narrative. This book is near and dear to my heart just as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is. Working there was the best job I ever had, other than writing of course, and I loved it. I hope my love of the park flows through my characters and spills out for readers to experience and enjoy.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 4

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 6

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 7

For the Love of Literature, November 8

Artistic Nobody, November 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J. Carol is giving away the grand prize 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/10330/mountain-of-peril-celebration-tour-giveaway