Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Taming Julia ~ A Review and Giveaway

Taming Julia

About the Book

Book: Taming Julia

Author: Jodie Wolfe

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: November 2011

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In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

Click here to get your copy!

Imagine you have only had your older brother raising you, and then he decides you should become a mail order bride. But he fails to inform you, he wrote letters pretending to be you. Such circumstances happen to Julia Walker, known as Jules.

Drew Montgomery serves as pastor in the town in Kansas that his father founded. His need for a bride to keep his job causes him to seek a mail order bride. Even though Jules fails to meet his expectations, she proves to be the perfect match for him.

I loved watching Jules interact with Drew and his family, as well as the puppy Drew gives to her. This story captures the period perfectly. I loved getting to know the characters. The author created a story that made me want to keep reading.

If you want to read a book with non-traditional characters. So if you enjoy stories set in the old west with sweet romance presented in a pure fashion, 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

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Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania.

More from Jodie

I love mail-order bride stories, so I wondered what would happen if a pastor advertised for a genteel woman and the opposite showed up instead. I thought I could further complicate things by having the couple marry by proxy before she even arrives. Just that scenario alone made for a fun story to write.

My heroine, Jules Walker moved to Kansas from Texas to be a mail-order bride, even though she didn’t know what that was at the time. For most of her adult life, she’s helped her brother track outlaws in Texas as part of his job as a deputy US Marshal.

As part of the story, she has to come to terms with a traumatic event in her past. I won’t share more so I don’t spoil it for you, but I needed somewhere in Texas for this incident to take place. Because my husband’s aunt and uncle live in Texas, they were a wealth of resources when it came to accurately describing the area. One place in particular is called the Narrows and it’s situated close to them, but it’s on private property.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to travel and visit them. We received special permission to go on the private ranch and see the Narrows. It’s an unexpected area with sharp limestone rocks, and a deep cavern carved out by the Blanco River. Most times, it’s a sleepy waterway, but when the area has a flash flood, water rushes through the cavern and often to the top. When this happens, you can hear the water gushing from far away.

I so enjoyed being able to see the area first-hand. There are places where the water is shallow and others that are extremely deep pools. It has such a distinct beauty. At some point I hope to use this setting in another book.

That’s a small snapshot into how Taming Julia came to life. I hope you’ll enjoy the story of two unlikely people who are thrown together.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, May 25 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 25

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, May 28

deb’s Book Review, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Inklings and notions, June 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 5

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, June 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away the grand prize of an audio CD of 12 historical novels and novellas. Stories of chivalry, adventure and romance!!

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/1e36a/taming-julia-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Bride of the Rockies ~ A Review and Giveaway

Bride of the Rockies

About the Book

Book: Bride of the Rockies

Author: Angela Breidenbach

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 1, 2022

Bride of the Rockies Option 2.2.1 FRONT

For botanist, Bettina Gilbert, mining is an offense against God’s green earth. With the shortage of women in Montana, Luke travels to Chicago to manage the Montana mining exhibition hoping to also find a wife. Only that pretty botanist keeps disrupting his mining presentations … and his chances of meeting the right woman! A city girl who despises his way of life would be the worst choice for a miner’s wife, wouldn’t she?

Uplifting, wholesome romance set in the Gilded Age during Chicago’s World Fair. Written by bestselling author and professional genealogist, Angela Breidenbach. Accurate to history while entertaining, inspiring, with a lovely ambiance of hope.

Click here to get your copy!

As the next story in the Queen of the Rockies series, this book focuses on the story of Bettina Gilbert, a botanist, and Luke, manager of the Mining Exhibition at the Chicago World Fair. This book illustrates how sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants even if it fails to make sense. Set during the Gilded Age, this book captured my attention. I love Bettina’s strong will and determination.

Combining historical events with fictional characters helps bring this period to life. I found myself unable to put this book down. Truly, the author does a masterful job of creating a story filled with realism and believable moments.

Also, I appreciate how the author manages to constantly have the two run into each other and interfere with each other plans. I think the epilogue forms the highlight of the story, but I refuse to ruin the ending for you. So I will just say you must read 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

BreidenbachAngela-Headshot (1)

Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, conference speaker, bestselling author of eighteen books, and screenwriter. Angela lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also. Catch her show and podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach!

More from Angela

Rabbit trails. The paths that draw a writer away from her planned research. That’s what happened when I started researching Queen of the Rockies. I hopped down a rabbit trail that took me into an entirely different story. Here I was writing about the beginning of Montana as a state, the real people, and the unusual stories of the Gilded Age. Then a thread of the Chicago World’s Fair kept popping up like little bunnies in the middle of the field that darted here and there.

Well, those little rabbit trails captured my fascination. I couldn’t stop chasing them. I wanted to know more about why people who were busy carving out a new state would want to travel halfway across the country and live in Chicago for five months. Why would they care? What were their goals? Who were these unusual people? So, I did the smart thing. I started a new document to think about writing a later story.

The more I researched the first book in this series, Queen of the Rockies, the more I found tidbits of names that reappeared in newspapers. Then I followed a few of those names just to see what had become of them. I found a lot more than I expected. From the social pages in newspapers to club minute books to journals the stories of some really interesting women came to light. Their goals were much more than for one family or one town. These people found a cause bigger than themselves. They found a bond in forging a state that held respectability in the world’s eyes. These people were tired, and offended, of the constant slur — the Wild West. And they were going to change that erroneous misconception!

The rest of civilization didn’t understand how modern, elegant, and valuable Montana was in the 1890s. But the people of Montana were about to prove their infant state was the shining star on the American flag. She was no infant. This beautiful state, whose capitol was fully electric already, could hold her own among the elegant countries slated to be at that fair in 1893.

Come turn the pages of Bride of the Rockies and find out what these people, and especially the women, did to put Montana in the world headlines. See why they stunned with never before seen discoveries displayed in their pavilion during the Columbian Exposition. Can you imagine being given 10% of the budget while the men had 90%, in essence set up as the underdog, and blowing the world away with what you do with it?  Walking away with the win? Not just one win…seven!

Bride of the Rockies took me on a fabulous rabbit trail of research. I hope this story will be fun for you, too!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 18

An Author’s Take, May 19

Blogging With Carol, May 19

Betti Mace, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 21

Mary Hake, May 21

Inklings and notions, May 22

For Him and My Family, May 23

Pause for Tales, May 23

deb’s Book Review, May 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 27

Spoken from the Heart, May 27

Bizwings Blog, May 28

Connie’s History Classroom, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize of a pair of beautiful opal earrings set in fair trade sterling silver!!

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/1db54/bride-of-the-rockies-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Run with the Wind ~ A Review and Giveaway

Run with the Wind

About the Book

Book: Run With the Wind

Author: Judy DuCharme

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: 2016

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Linney Merritt loves her life in the Florida scrub where she assists her Pa in raising and taking cattle to market. The new cowman, Cyrus John, appreciates the chance to start over. Marrying holds no interest for either, but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. And then, just before Christmas, they find themselves fighting together to save the life of a calf, all while discovering the One who can remove fears and provide forgiveness.

Click here to get your copy!

Set in the Florida scrub around raising cattle, this work of Christian fiction drew me in to the story quickly. I loved getting to know Linney, Cy, and the other characters in this book. Because Linney’s mother died in childbirth while having her, Linney decides to never marry or have children.

Her father, cousin, and the other cowboys who work with them along with the cattle, she believes are enough. Cy blames himself for the death of his wife so he believes he will never remarry. But our plans often fail to connect with God’s plan, and such circumstances befall Cy and Linney.

This story touched my heart and I desired a happily ever after ending for the pair. This sweet story kept me reading until the 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

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Judy DuCharme is a crazy Packer fan and would rather be walking near the water than at any shopping mall. She is smarter than a fifth grader, having taught them for 22 years, specializing in fun, hands-on, basic science. In case anyone wondered, the cutest grandson in the world belongs to her. And he’s smart, too. Judy descended from the family that founded the first Mennonite/Amish congregation in this country in the mid-1700s. So, with such a heritage, she loves the Lord, loves to worship, and loves to teach Bible studies

More from Judy

Have you ever watched You Tube videos of cows giving birth? Well, I have. And that’s because Linney Merritt helped birth the calves in the late 1800s in mid-Florida. And that’s why she had no interest in giving birth herself. So when the new hand arrived, it turned her plans topsy-turvy, but she was not going to budge. With humor and tenacity, Linney and Cy learn to work together on her pa’s ranch and consider other possibilities.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 18

Texas Book-aholic, May 19

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 20 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 21

deb’s Book Review, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Vicky Sluiter, May 25 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 27 (Author Interview)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Judy is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and 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/1df18/run-with-the-wind-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Miracles in the Middle ~ A Review and Giveaway

Miracles in the Middle

About the Book

Book: Miracles in the Middle

Author: Debbie Milam

Genre: Christian Living, Inspirational

Release date: December 8, 2021

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Do you need a miracle? You are not alone.

Some seasons of life can be so difficult. You may be in the middle of uncertainty, loss, grief, or anxiety.

You and your loved ones may be in the middle of chronic illness, financial issues, relationship struggles.

Whatever you’re struggling with, God knows.

And in the middle of your circumstances, God is there and He’s still creating miracles.

Miracles in the middle of fear.
Miracles in the middle of grief.
Miracles in the middle of unwellness.
Miracles in the middle of relationship struggles.
Miracles in the middle of suffering.

Most people talk about seeing God’s miracles when they have a breakthrough, receive healing, are freed from an addiction, or are victorious on the mountaintop. But what about the miracles that happen in the valley, in the middle of your storm, to in your difficult situation?

That’s where God does extraordinary work. That’s where God’s greatness amazes us when we need it the most.

In my newest book, Miracles in the Middle: I invite you to witness the astonishing miracles that happen in both seasons of blessings and in the depth of suffering. These true stories of God’s presence, power and love will reignite hope and help you develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord.

Click here to get your copy!

Always in the middle of everything we do, say, or experience we find God if we seek Him. Debbie Milam captures those feelings in Miracles in the Middle. This book contains stories, Parables, poetry, as well as prayers. This book illustrates power that comes from trusting and relying on God. I appreciated every word in this book.

If you wish to read a book that opens your eyes to the miracles around you, check out this book for yourself.

I found myself caught up in this book. It touched my heart and my soul. I love how Debbie Milam captures God’s strength, mercy, love, and grace. You may find yourself unable to put this book down.

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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Debbie Milam is an award-winning occupational therapist, author and past syndicated columnist for United Press International’s Religion and Spirituality Division.

She is the author of Miracles in the Middle, Overtaken by Grace, And God Said and Lord Show Me You Are Here.

Debbie’s ground-breaking work has been featured in First for Women, the Miami Herald, Elle, and Ladies Home Journal, and on the Hallmark Channel, PBS, and WebMD.

Through her 501(c)3 Grace Love Well Foundation, her mission is to inspire people to the beauty, love, power, and presence of God. As an organization we have donated thousands of books to churches, missions work, prisons, pastoral counselors and prayer teams.

For more resources to deepen your intimacy with God and find peace in His presence, visit us online at gracelovewell.org or YouTube/Debbie Milam

More from Debbie

January of 2020, I began a journey of catastrophic health issues as I faced four life-threatening infections, including COVID, which led to being placed on Hospice care. While facing my mortality, I cried out to God and experienced one miracle after another.

Although my body was growing weaker and weaker, my faith, relationship with God, and desire to bring hope to others grew stronger and stronger. While battling severe health issues, I was able to publish this book by God’s grace and a great publishing team.

So many Christians are battling hopelessness, anxiety, and overwhelm. I understand all these feelings and I invite readers to witness the astonishing miracles that happen in both seasons of blessings and the depth of suffering. My true stories of God’s presence, power, and love will reignite hope and help readers develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 19

Inklings and notions, May 20

For Him and My Family, May 21

Texas Book-aholic, May 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 24

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Splashes of Joy, May 26 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, May 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 28

Christina’s Corner, May 29

Blossoms and Blessings, May 30 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 31

Spoken from the Heart, June 1 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Debbie is giving away the 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/1df19/miracles-in-the-middle-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Night Songs ~ A Review and Giveaway

Night Songs

About the Book

Book: Night Songs

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Women’s Christian Fiction/ Romance

Release date: April 12, 2022

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What’s a girl to do when her life sounds ripped from the lyrics of a country music song?

Charlotte Van Cleave’s hissy-fit reaction to her husband’s infidelity sours her world like a pot of boiled chitlins. She’s left with no husband, no job, and no home—well, besides the dilapidated farmhouse inherited from her nana.

But Charlie learned early that southern girls dig deep when things go sideways. She’d climbed out of the mire when her missionary parents were killed in Congo, endured two late-term miscarriages, and survived the death of her nana and papaw. Too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash, Charlie follows a new path with her interior design skills.

Derek Daniels spent his life serving his country until a helicopter accident ended his military career. Now back home on the family farm, he’s stuck between his philandering brother, Nicky, and the only girl he’s ever loved—sweet Charlie Van Cleave. Unwilling to cross a line, he vows to keep his feelings to himself. Easier said than done when Charlie discovers a mystery surrounding her parents’ death and asks him to help investigate.

What’ll Charlie and Derek have to do to turn those lyrics into a country hit?

Click here to get your copy!

Maybe because my husband served in the military, Night Song captured my imagination. Charlie, otherwise known as Charlotte Van Cleave, discovers her husband’s infidelity that spirals into losing her job into hiding out in the house her nana left her. Derek Daniels served in the military, and it cost him his chance with Charlotte. She married his brother, but all he wats is to protect her.

I love how this story revolves around determining God’s will and moving on from the past. The cast of characters in this book help the story jump to life including a dog filled with personality. So if you enjoy books about prior military, country music, or filled with chances to get things right, 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

Jennifer-Siennes

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

I love everything about the South. The seasons are more vibrant, the pace is slower, and the hospitality warmer than what I’ve previously experienced. I wasn’t born and raised here, but I’ve always felt an affinity for it. When my husband and I relocated from Northern California to middle Tennessee over three years ago, I was happier than ol’ Blue layin’ on the porch chewin’ on a big ol’ catfish head. Yes, there are times we need a translator, but we’re quick studies.

Setting is an important element of storytelling, whether it’s fictional or true. I will be the first person to tell you, I don’t have much imagination. I don’t read or write fantasy or sci-fi because I can’t picture myself in the story. I am in awe of writers who are able to create an alternate world in their minds and then share it in a story. Me? I need to see it to write it.

For that reason, I was very excited about how this move from the only place I’ve ever known to one I’d dreamt about most of my life would impact my novels and novellas. We landed here in the middle of July to magnolia trees with waxy leaves as big as my head and sweet-smelling white blossoms I couldn’t enclose in both hands. Mockingbirds chattering all hours of the day (and a lone guy at night), bright red cardinals flitting from tree to tree, and even an armadillo or two lumbering across our yard.

The character of Charlotte Van Cleave (Charlie) was born out of my imagination. Why I can create fake people but not fake settings is anyone’s guess. Her nana and pawpaw’s dilapidated farmhouse is a real home that had been abandoned outside the city limits of Shelbyville, Tennessee—in Bedford County, which is also the title of the series. I saw the house through a real estate website, and fortunately for me, it was empty. My husband and I snuck around the perimeter looking through broken widows to get a feel for the place. It didn’t hurt that there were several photos on the website, as well.

The rest of the story came in fits and starts. I first decided on Charlie’s personality, because if I know that, it’s easier to trip her up with all manner of chaos. If you’re familiar with the enneagram personality indicator, she’s a three—the Achiever. The other main character, Derek Daniels, is a six—the Loyalist. Throw in missionary parents, sibling rivalry, and southern culture and a story was born.

While I was working on Night Songs the mockingbirds were particularly active. They’re the Tennessee state bird, so they’re always around, but it’s only during the mating season they are vocal. I was lying awake in the middle of the night, and I heard one of them singing. I’d only ever heard them during the day, so I was surprised. Why would a lone mockingbird be singing at night? What I learned after a little research is that only those who are mate-less will do this. It made me sad to hear the little guy over the next several nights, pouring out his heart. Not unlike Charlie Van Cleave. Thus, a title was born.

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, May 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17

Daysong Reflections, May 18

Genesis 5020, May 19

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Inklings and notions, May 21

Susan K. Beatty, Author, May 22 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 22

deb’s Book Review, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 25

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 26

Miriam Jacob, May 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 28

Back Porch Reads, May 29

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/1db53/night-songs-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Presence – The Story of Adel ~ A Review and Giveaway

Presence

About the Book

Book: Presence-The Story of Adel

Author: Lana Wetzel

Genre: Inspirational Fiction/Women’s Fiction/Religious Romance

Release date: April 27, 2021

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Adel Davis knows something has to change. Living with her parents after her husband left isn’t working out, especially where her son Noah is concerned. Ever since he arrived eight months earlier, Adel has been longing for space and independence. She longs for the family that God has written on her heart.

When Adel learns that she has inherited her grandparents’ old apple orchard in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, she knows exactly what she wants to do. She and Noah leave her parents’ home in San Francisco to discover a new life at Sweet Valley Farms.

What will she find when she gets there? Will living alone on a rural apple farm be more than Adel can bear? What about the attention she begins to receive from a few local men? As Adel learns what it means to run the orchard, she also discovers what it means to have a people, a place, and a home. A girl can start a new life; she just can’t do it alone.

Click here to get your copy!

Sometimes, a change of scenery requires us to spread our wings and fly alone for a bit. As the mother of four, I find it hard to fathom the idea of running from everything familiar and my family to the other side of the country with a baby. But being a mi,Italy wife, I had to do that several times. Fortunately, I was blessed to have my mother move with us.

I live the setting of this story in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia. I loved watching Adel come into her own as a mother, a Christian, and in relationships. Truly, this book pulls you in and makes you want to read more. Baby Noah provides the perfect addition to the story. Nathan and his family as well as other characters bring this story to life.

So if you enjoy sweet Christian romance stories, 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

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As a writer of inspirational fiction and singer/songwriter, Lana offers a unique gift in service to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Characterized by her experiences growing up in rural Northeast Georgia and now as a wife and homeschool mother of four, her works reflect an honesty and a gentle natural beauty that is often missed and sorely needed in a culture saturated with transient entertainment and consumerism. Whether making meals, lesson plans, story arcs, or song lyrics, Lana is listening for the still quiet Voice to draw her nearer to where even messiness and failure can become a redeemed work of art.

More from Lana

When the pace of life is set at break-neck speed and the pressure is on to sacrifice self and family for the sake of achievement, I find joy in writing stories that show a hint of something else: something simpler, something slower. A world where people stop and get to know one another (and themselves). A world where people literally “stop to smell the roses”. Where they hear the birds sing and notice the flowers bloom in the springtime. A world where family and friends and place matter. Where traditions yield comfort and joy. Where home means more than just a house you return to at the end of a long day. Where delight and wonder can be found in the commonplace of everyday life. Where friendships flourish and love blossoms. A place where life happens, and it’s never boring!

In “Presence – The Story of Adel”, Doris Jones takes Adel under her wing and teaches her about life. One of the special memories they share is making blueberry muffins together. Here’s the recipe:

Doris’ Blueberry Muffins:

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup milk

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 Tbsp. sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Gently blend in the milk. In a separate bowl: mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add blueberries and stir only until well dusted. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture with a spoon and place into muffin cups or a well-greased muffin tin. Bake 10 minutes then sprinkle extra sugar over the tops. Bake 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 15

Texas Book-aholic, May 16

Inklings and notions, May 17

lakesidelivingsite, May 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 19

Pause for Tales, May 20

For Him and My Family, May 20

deb’s Book Review, May 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 23

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 26

Guild Master, May 27 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, May 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lana is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 amazon gift card with a hard 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/1db4e/presence-the-story-of-adel-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

If You Really Knew Me ~ A Review and Giveaway

If you Really Knew Me

About the Book

Book: If You Really Knew Me

Author: Alison Cheah

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: December, 2021

Cover full 1101 - If you really knew me_Front

Tommy is glad of friendships which make him forget the situation at home. His father’s illness makes his behavior so unpredictable that the whole family must tip-toe around him for fear of becoming the butt of his anger.

Elise wishes her twin sister didn’t think being champion swimmers was an adequate goal for their lives. She has her own dreams to fulfil.

Carrie hides a secret, avoiding other students so nobody will ever find it out. But Tommy and Elise both look to Carrie to save them from their situations.

Until she disappears.

Tommy’s protective instinct kicks in, and Elise reassesses her priorities so she can help keep Carrie safe.

Click here to get your copy!

As someone who homeschooled our four children, I always enjoy finding Biblically sound books for my children. Middle School ages provide a time of trying to fit in while noticing all the things that are different or cause us uncertainty. In If You Really Knew Me, Alison Cheah captures all the feelings of wanting to belong while feeling like we do not.

Carrie, Tommy, and Elise all harbor secrets and doubts they eventually must face and move forward from in one way or another. I love how the characters in this book all search for something, and eventually recognize that God is love. The Gospel message in this book shines through the story. It illustrates how God sees and knows us as we are and loves us still the same.

So if you are looking for an excellent book for middle school ages dealing with family dynamics, friendship, and finding the truth about God, 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

alison-cheah-high resolution 1

Alison Cheah worked at Youth for Christ for five years and volunteers with her church youth group. One of her favorite activities is preparing Bible Studies and seeking how to connect the stories of the Bible with her students’ own stories.

As a child she was always to be seen with her nose in a book, and nothing has changed. One of her favorite authors was Patricia St. John. Her characters are people you want to know, and you are rooting for them to overcome their problems, but for Alison, the added dimension was that each person discovers their answers in Jesus. She saw that the faith she had grown up with had applicability in real life.

Her prayer is that this story has the same result for you.

More from Alison

I spent five years working at Youth for Christ with middle school students like Tommy, Carrie, and Elise. They are not based on kids I met, but they are inspired by my experiences then.

My friend and mentor in youth ministry was Anna-Marie Valles who is also a character in Tommy, Carrie and Elise’s story helping them to make sense of some of the questions they have.

We don’t get to know her well in the book, but I had a chat with her recently about youth ministry and here is an extract from that conversation. I think you will enjoy getting to know her better.

Alison: In the story, Elise shares her problems with you. Do you find teens want to talk to an adult about their problems?

AMV: Kids are hungry to be able to unload their stories on people who are willing to listen. I remember in one club a student said that all day, adults were telling him what to do. But club was a space where people were asking him, “How are you feeling? “What are your thoughts on this?” He was shocked.

Alison: You were only eighteen when you started in youth ministry. After all these years, how do you stay current so kids still want to talk with you?

AMV: If you come to kids with a willingness to learn, you become relevant. Say to them, “Tell me what’s going on?” Don’t pretend you have all the answers. I find that has worked for me. “I don’t know your culture like you do. But I’m willing to see through your lens if you’re able to share that with me.”

Age is interesting. I always worried I would age out. At my application interview for seminary I said, “I always thought if I aged out of youth ministry, I’d be a chaplain.” And the professor called me out on that. You never age out because kids still need that safe place where someone is willing to listen.

Alison: The profits from this book will be used to send kids to camp. Why is this important to you?

AMV: Youth ministry is all relational. But trust can take a while to build. The beauty of camps is that you can create a bond in one week that could take two years without.

And at camp they hear the gospel presented in different ways by different speakers. Other people’s creativity and presentation may reach my students in a way that I haven’t been able to.

What saddens me is not everyone can go because camps are costly. My desire is that every student who wants to go will have the opportunity to do so.

For more of this conversation, see alisonrcheah.com

(Interview transcribed by https://otter.ai )

My prayer is that the story of Tommy, Carrie and Elise will be one of those different speakers Anna-Marie talked about, helping kids to begin their own relationship with Jesus.

Thank you.

Alison

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 14

Texas Book-aholic, May 15

Beauty in the Binding, May 16 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 16

For Him and My Family, May 17

Inklings and notions, May 18

Blossoms and Blessings, May 19 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 22

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living , May 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Guild Master, May 26 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alison is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and 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/1db4d/if-you-really-knew-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Knowing and Following ~ A Review and Giveaway

knowing and following

About the Book

Book: Knowing and Following

Author: Jeannine Bennett

Genre: Christian Nonfiction, Women’s Bible Study Format

Release date: December 12, 2021

BookBrushImage-2021-12-12-18-2320eBook

What do you do when you realize God is love? Do you remain stuck in a life of bondage, or do you follow His ways to live a life of freedom?

Imagine how easy life would be if everything happened by chance simply to give each of us our heart’s desires. It sounds pretty amazing until you realize not all individuals have the same innocent aspirations as we might. Some individuals would inevitably rise to the top while others would fall to the bottom forever, stuck in the rut of life. Chaos would flourish. It actually sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?

In Knowing and Following: Living a Life of Freedom, the third and final book in the God’s Way series, Jeannine Bennett shares a better option: recognizing that we have a mighty God who does not do anything by chance. There is freedom in knowing that we do not have to wait around, hoping good things will happen for us. In this book, Jeannine shares more about our Creator to help you grow in your knowledge of Him and what He does. God is love, and freedom comes from knowing Him and following His ways.

Click here to get your copy!

The third and final book in the God’s Way series emphasizes the freedom that comes from recognizing that God desires good things for us. Although I recommend reading all three books in order, you could read this one alone.

I love how each chapter contains commentary, Scriptural references, and questions to ponder. I recommend taking time to meditate on each chapter. This book illustrates how taking time to know God allows us to follow Him more.

So check out this book for yourself if you are looking for a devotional to help you know God better and follow Him more.

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

About the Author

Jeannine Bennett Author Pic

Jeannine Bennett is wife to Hayden, mom to four children, and grandmother to eight grandchildren. Her children are Sandra, Brittany, Camryn, and Zachary. Her grandchildren are Colin, Lilyana, Cooper, Willow, Savannah, Winter, Hope, and Everest. She is the founder and CEO of Vision to Purpose, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business for Liberty University Online, and an executive coach for The Honor Foundation.

To those who know Jeannine, she is simply a woman who loves Jesus, is devoted to her family, and struggles with life’s challenges like the rest of us. She is not immune to bad hair days, weight gain, or sleepless nights. She loves learning and sharing her acquired knowledge to help others learn, too. Her favorite ice cream is a toss-up between butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. And although she has lived in Virginia for more than thirty years, she still calls a water fountain a bubbler – a term she grew up saying in her hometown of Racine, Wisconsin.

More from Jeannine

I wrote Knowing and Following: Living a Life of Freedom to close out the God’s Way Series. My intent was to share more about God our Creator, to help people grow in their knowledge of Him and what He does for them so that they can live a fulfilled life of freedom in following Him.

A pattern unfolded in the first two books in the series, Broken to Beautiful: Brokenness is Not the End of Your Story and Blessed and Transformed: Living the Life God Intended. In Broken to Beautiful, I shared my testimony of brokenness—lots of brokenness. I then purposefully conveyed the blessings that resulted when I finally embraced God.

The second book, Blessed and Transformed, further detailed those blessings in my life. It was exciting to realize that God does not have a one-and-done mindset regarding blessings. Instead, He continues to bless us beyond what we could ever imagine. I felt it was essential to testify that a relationship with God transforms us. Through our transformation we begin to appreciate just how loved we are by Him, and we start to live the life He intended for us.

Finally, in Knowing and Following, I focus on the freedom God gives us. We solidify our knowledge that the God of the universe is love. There is no one more intelligent, powerful, or present. His ways are beyond our ways. Yet, despite His greatness, He loves us and gives us the power to overcome the obstacles of this world that keep us stuck in a life of bondage. With spiritual perseverance, He helps us finish the race of our earthly life well. In knowing Him, we are drawn to our calling to live a meaningful life of service.

In following His ways, we begin to understand why it is better to embrace His will over ours, use good judgment, lift others up, and not concern ourselves with the fears of this world. Instead, we can choose to lead with humble hearts, connect with and care for others, and embrace the importance and power of forgiveness.

It is my absolute honor to share God’s Word with you in this final book of the series. I pray that you will be blessed by what you find.

In Christ,

Jeannine

Blog Stops

Guild Master, May 12 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 12

Inklings and notions, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 15 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

deb’s Book Review, May 18

Through the Fire Blogs, May 19 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Lights in a Dark World, May 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jeannine is giving away the 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/1db4c/knowing-and-following-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Then Judgement ~ A Review and Giveaway

Then Judgement

About the Book

Book: Then Judgement

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Biblical fiction

Release date: April 8, 2022

Then Judgement ebook

A story of the three days Jesus did not spend in the tomb.
The Son of Man was made sin, cast away from the presence of the Great I AM’s presence, and condemned to Hades to face judgement. What exactly happened during those three days from the Lord’s lifeless body of flesh being placed in the tomb and His glorious resurrection? Hints throughout the Scriptures give clues to what transpired—how He got to Paradise to be with the thief on the cross that same day. One thing is certain! He rose on the third day and now lives forever more seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father! Hallelujah!

Click here to get your copy!

Examining the time between the Crucifixion and Resurrection, this book based around the verse, Hebrews 19:27 explores what could have happened during those three days. Dodi, tasked with a terrible but necessary job helps bring this story to life. I love reading books by Caryl McAdoo. This book, though quick to read, contains excellent Biblical background and Scriptural references,

So if you enjoy Biblically-based fiction with a powerful and amazing message, 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

Jan 2022

Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over sixty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-one grandsugars (three are greats), Caryl and Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty-three years, live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl

As many of you know, my husband Ron and I write together. When Simon and Schuster released our tenth title, the editor requested one name for the cover and since it was a historical romance, preferred a female’s. The arrangement worked so well for us that we continued only my name being on the cover after we went Indie!

Anyway, we have been talking about writing this book for years, coming across little clues for the story in Scripture studies now and again over that time. At last, God released us to write THEN JUDGEMENT based on the twenty-seventh verse of Hebrews, nineth chapter: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

I love searching the scriptures and telling a story that strictly adheres to God’s Book, His Living Word, the Holy Bible. I love His stories and so understand that His Word is bread to our souls, feeding us wisdom and knowledge of our Creator and His everlasting, never-ending love for us!

Creating Biblical fiction tales carries a lot of responsibility that I truly enjoy taking on, being a guardian of the Truth. I love to bring characters from those days gone by so long ago to life on the pages of my books! I do feel a bit like John when he said this, writing of our Savior.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:27

Biblical fiction could easily become my favorite genre—if it isn’t already. I do write more historical romance stories set in the 1800s (a favorite time period) in Texas (my favorite state)! And as much as I love that research . . . nothing compares to digging into the Word!

I pray you will enjoy living through the three days that Jesus did not spend in the tomb! May my story cause you to dig a little yourself, checking out our theory! I know this to be Truth: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

Hallelujah! Glory be to His Holy Name! The righteous run into it and are saved! There is no one like unto Him! He alone it the Great King over all the earth! Worthy to receive glory and praise!
As always, I’m ‘Praying my story gives God glory!’
Blessings, y’all!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, May 11

Connie’s History Classroom, May 12

deb’s Book Review, May 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15

Inklings and notions, May 16

Texas Book-aholic, May 17

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Splashes of Joy, May 22

Mary Hake, May 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 24 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the 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/1db49/then-judgement-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews

Boulevard of Confusion ~ A Review and Giveaway

Boulevard of Confusion

About the Book

Book: Boulevard of Confusion

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release date: May 10, 2022

Boulevard of Confusion (1)

In times of war, is anything as it seems?

Her aunt’s invitation to Richmond is just the change Beatrice Swanson needs after her brother’s release from a Union prison. Bea’s father agrees to the trip with a condition—one that tosses her emotions into swirling confusion.

Though Jay Nickson wants to serve his country as a Confederate soldier, his work is too important to the government. Bea’s interest in his job, which includes secrets that would benefit the Union, arouses his suspicions. Is she spying for the North? His growing feelings for her are hard to squelch.

Though she participates in activities to benefit Confederate soldiers, Bea struggles with her own loyalties and her father’s demands. Where does her cousin, Meg, go on her solitary errands? Bea’s own growing love for Jay, a Southerner, only adds to her confusion. Tensions escalate in Richmond as the Union army approaches, drawing her into more secrecy. Where does her allegiance lie? And how will she be forced to prove it?

Nothing in war is simple…especially when the heart becomes entangled.

Click here to get your copy!

This historical story captures the emotions of conflict that many endured during the War Between the States. Continuing the story of Beatrice and her family, Beatrice Swanson receives permission to visit her aunt in Richmond, providing she completes an errand for her father.

Jay Nickson wishes to serve the Confederacy as a soldier, but his work proves too necessary to the southern cause. As the two become closer, the conflict Bea feels between the two sides causes her to examine her true allegiances.

The characters and their relationships make this book worth reading. Although you can read this book by itself I recommend reading Avenue of Betrayal first, Dealing with familiy relationships,spies, and warttimes, this book creates a wonderful continuation of a series about spies during the War between the States.

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

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart photo

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Boulevard of Confusion, Book 2 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, two people in love—one supporting the North, one supporting the South—struggle to rise above their differing loyalties.

In my book, the hero is a Virginian who supports the South. Though Jay hates slavery, he cannot turn against his state. His job at Tredegar Ironworks supplies the Confederate army with artillery. They develop new weapons and technology, such as submarines, that must be kept secret even from Richmond residents.

Our heroine is from the North. Bea has Southern ties and her brother, a Confederate officer, was recently released from a prison camp. Bea’s understanding of both sides of the conflict tosses her into confusion, especially in light of her growing feelings for Jay.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Richmond museums. One display in particular at the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar made me want to do a little dance. (If you followed me around on my museum visits, you’d witness my enthusiasm for historical people and events and how they impact my stories. Perhaps you share my love of history. 😊)

Anyway, this particular display was a painting of Julia Ann Mitchell, who lived in Richmond at the start of the Civil War. She was from a well-to-do family that traveled often. On one of these trips, she met and fell in love with Frederick Coggill, a New York City resident. Though they loved one another, the couple was divided in their loyalties.

Sadly, Julia’s brother, who fought for the Confederacy, was killed in battle. This probably added to the conflict between Julia and Frederick.

I’m happy to say that the couple seemed to enjoy a happy ending, for they were married in 1863.

I didn’t yet know my characters when I read this display, for the stories ferment in my imagination as research reveals the history. I tucked it away in my mind and it later inspired me.

Boulevard of Confusion isn’t Julia’s and Frederick’s love story. Not at all. It’s simply that history’s record of them overcoming their differing loyalties to marry proves that it happened. That’s all I needed to know.

Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion is set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.

Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.

I invite you to read both Avenue of Betrayal and Boulevard of Confusion. And please watch for Book 3, Byway to Danger, which will soon follow!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 10

Texas Book-aholic, May 11

Inklings and notions, May 12

Betti Mace, May 13

Books, Books, and More Books, May 13

For Him and My Family, May 14

deb’s Book Review, May 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 17

Connie’s History Classroom, May 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 20

Blososms and Blessings, May 21

Pause for Tales, May 22

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 23 (Author Interview)

Of Blades and Thorns, May 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the 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/1d738/boulevard-of-confusion-celebration-tour-giveaway