Review and Giveaway for Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

Hannah Claires Wilderness FB Banner updated

About the Book

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Book: Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Right after she marries in 1970, love carries Hannah Claire to Nigeria, following her husband David to the mission field—for only two years, she thinks. Miracle upon miracle brings five-year-old African orphan Adaolisa into the young wife’s life and she becomes a mother. Can the love for a child keep her where she doesn’t want to be? The children of wickedness threaten to make her a widow; they threaten everything, and danger abounds! Only by obedience can Hannah and her revivalist husband survive and prosper in a land torn by violence.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

As I picked up Hannah Claire’s Wilderness to read, I was not sure quite what I was going to think about the book.  However, I have to say the characters and storyline pulled me into the book.  From the very beginning when Hannah woke her husband up to tell him they had to go get their daughter (and then was able to speak the native language fluently) through all the ensuing drama and excitement in the book enthralled me.  I found the story miraculous and realistic at the same time.

From being able to speak in tongues to making deals to speaking with the people around them, divine intervention constantly follows them.  Adaolisa adds an element of levity, sincerity, and faith to the story second only to her father, David.  The belief and faith in God flow throughout the pages of the book.  Yet at the same time,  the realism of human nature and typical responses are present as well.

Another fact I love about the book is Hannah’s willingness to follow her husband and live as a missionary.  She demonstrates extreme faith and courage throughout the book. Yet, she also shows normal human emotions of doubt and a desire to go home to the familiar.  She tries new things and along with David accomplishes incredible things that are only possible through God.

I have to say my absolute favorite experience was when Hannah’s parents and in-laws arrived to visit and Jocko, the monkey,  exited the car with them.  So if you want a book to make you laugh, cry, shake your head in amazement and more, check this book out for yourself.  I received a copy of the book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Caryl McAdoo

Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory which is what she lives to do. Her award-winning, best-selling novels enjoy a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings from Christian readers around the world. With forty titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage June 22, 2018 and share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

Guest Post from Caryl

Have you ever thought you heard from God, and acted on that in obedience—oft at great sacrifice—only to doubt that you heard Him at all when things don’t go as you’d planned? Actually, everything almost goes just the opposite, and your world is turned upside down.

Did you really hear Him?

That’s what my heroine Hannah Claire faces, when a two-year stint looks like it’s turning into a lifetime commitment. Though I’ve never been abroad to the mission field, I’ve faced much the same thing as Hannah, believing I heard Him and then nothing happening as expected!

Personally, I’ve been waiting over thirty years, but have found great peace in that waiting and trusting God—knowing that He is on the throne and in control. I will never doubt that the vision He’s given, the call He’s placed on mine and Ron’s lives WILL come to pass, just as it did for Abraham.

Hannah doesn’t have to wait that long, but her experience takes her to the depths of fear and depression before she comes to know her Heavenly Father is altogether trustworthy. The Shepherd walks her through the valley of the shadow of death and makes her to lie down in green pastures. He stills the raging waters and leads her beside them.

Book three, King David’s Tabernacle, coming sometime in 2020, will bring the reward and give you glory bumps every step of the way as God makes Himself known in a mighty way, but first . . . there’s the refining. Gold is passed through the fire seven times to be purified.

Silver as well, until the smith can see his reflection. Followers of Christ are all being made into the image of God’s Beloved Son, and we can rest in the fact that He who began that good work in us at salvation will be faithful to complete it until His coming again.

I pray you will enjoy your journey through Hannah Claire’s Wilderness.

 

Blog Stops

The Becca Files, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 21

Through the Fire Blogs, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 28

Texas Book-aholic, March 29

janicesbookreviews, March 30

Bigreadersite, March 31

A Reader’s Brain, April 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 2

Real World Bible Study, April 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away

Grand Prize – $50 Gift Amazon Card

1st Prize – Signed, Paperback copy of CHOICE of all my books

2nd Prize – Signed copy of Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

3rd Prize – eBook copy of Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

4th Prize – eBook copy of CHOICE of all my books

5th Prize $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

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

 

Review and Giveaway for “The White City”

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About the Book

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Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

Click here to order your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

As I picked up The White City, I was very intrigued by the idea of a book set during the time of the World’s Fair in Chicago, and this book did not disappoint.  Between kidnappings, courting, meddling relatives and intrigue, this book has something for everyone.  With a police officer for a father, Winnifred Wylde appears to be unable to avoid the opportunity to investigate some activities on her own, especially when she sees a young woman get kidnapped.

Winnifred’s father obviously loves his daughter but wants what is best and safest for her.  Of course, Winnifred’s aunt believes that marriage to a suitable wealthy husband is best for everyone.  But Winnifred caught up in the world of penny novels, finds herself searching for more action and adventure Even when Winnifred’s father acts like he does not believe his daughter’s account of the young woman’s disappearance, he appoints one his top detectives to keep her safe.

While keeping Winnifred safe, Detective Jude Thorpe has secrets he is keeping as well and his own mystery to solve.  But do not expect to find all the answers to all your questions in this book.  Some things still remain a mystery after the last words are read.  But enough questions were answered to satisfy my basic curiosity.

When Winnifred goes undercover, Jude is never far from her side.  More importantly, Jude remains constantly in Winnifred’s thoughts.  This book offers intrigue, family, friends, adventure, excitement and more for the reader, so check it out for yourself.

About the Author

grace hitchcock

Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

Guest Post from Grace

True Colors—Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

The Real Criminal Behind the Story

While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notionsMarch 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!

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/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review and Giveaway for “The Arrow Bringer”

About the Book

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Book: The Arrow Bringer

Author: Lisa Mayer

Genre: Allegorical Fantasy

Release Date: March 19, 2019

Evie could’ve saved Aletheia. Now it might be too late.

Evie Lewis has just been diagnosed with leukemia at sixteen. Then, a powerful being called the Arrow Bringer offers her a choice: spend her last days in peace or save Aletheia. She stays. But then Shawn Lawrence—the closest person she has to a friend—goes in her place. Now Evie must save Shawn and race to fix her mistake as a shadow falls over Aletheia. Even as leukemia consumes her body, a new enemy and more imminent perils pursue her. And she must endure all and save Aletheia while keeping her darkest secret:

that it’s all her fault.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

The Arrow Bringer is the first book in The Aletheian Journeys series.  The book starts off on an emotional rollercoaster with Evangeline and her family receiving the news that she has leukemia.  Shawn is her best friend in school and the only one she really allows to get close to her.  Although Evangeline knows she is adopted, she knows very little about her biological family.

Aletheia is a mythical place that Evie (Evangeline) believes is just in her dreams, but she discovers it is much more than that.  The Arrow Bringer is a powerful being who offers Evie the chance to help save Aletheia or spend her last days on Earth.  Unbeknownst to Evie, she is actually from Aletheia, and both Shawn and herself get pulled into attempting to save this mystical place.  Even as leukemia rages in her body, Evie fights to save her land and maintain her secrets at the same time.

Truly this book had my attention from the moment I started reading.  If you like fantasy books like C.S. Lewis wrote, check this book out for yourself.  The characters are wonderfully rich in depth, and the story moves along at a pace that kept my interest.  So check this book out for yourself.

About the Author

Lisa Mayer recognizes, far better than most, the power of words. She also understands that what people need to know about Jesus is that His love is unconditional, His mercy is unending… and that there are no lengths to how far He’ll go to save His people.

Jesus melted Lisa’s hard heart through words. Now, she hopes to use her words to do the same for others. She loves Jesus and His people and you won’t find a judgmental bone in her body. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Rich, and her furbaby, Scooby. She loves writing, and in her free time, you’ll find her curled up in her superhero pajamas binge-watching her favorite movies and TV shows.

More from Lisa

The Lamp Post

The inspiration to write a book often starts with a dream. Mine started with a lamp post.

I had no idea that after watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in December 2005 my life would never be the same. From that moment, I read every Narnia and C.S. Lewis book I could get my hands on. I searched for Narnia in every wardrobe and ended up finding it deep within my heart… and that’s when I knew I wanted to write a modern Christian-fantasy series inspired by Narnia. And the first book of The Aletheian Journeys came to life—The Arrow Bringer.

I’d like to say that my first draft was pure magic. But my journey was only beginning, and I had a lot to learn. Writing is an art and requires the patience of a sculptor. I began with a large block of marble and a vision, and then sculpted away until I discovered the beauty underneath.

In truth, it wasn’t just the writing in and of itself that makes The Arrow Bringer special to me. It’s about what The Arrow Bringer reflects—that as I became a better writer, in a way I also became a better person. I learned who I am and accepted myself, my characters taught me to be strong, and I fell more in love with Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. I want The Arrow Bringer (and the six following novels in The Aletheian Journeys) to make it—make an impact, make a difference, make straight His paths. C.S. Lewis changed the world with Narnia. Anyone who reads it knows what it is to love Aslan better here by knowing him first in Narnia. And yet all of us still hunger for something that we can’t explain—and that is Jesus Christ.

At its heart, The Arrow Bringer is a love story. The story of the love of the Arrow Bringer for this people, for friends and family struggling to save Aletheia, and a story of love between us and Jesus. The story is meant to inspire, to bring hope, and to remind you of how much you matter. I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that you will find the Arrow Bringer not only in Aletheia… but in every chapter of your life.

It wasn’t just my writing journey that began with a lamp post… but my journey with Christ. By coming further up and further in, I found more than I ever could have dreamed. I hope the spark from that lamp post will fuel The Arrow Bringer, honoring the legacy of C.S. Lewis, and inspiring a new generation. Within The Arrow Bringer, I hope you’ll find joy, romance, friendship, and adventure. Most of all, I hope you discover that Jesus’ mercy has no end… and He loves you far more than you could ever imagine.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

Stephanie’s Life of DeterminationMarch 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 21

Multifarious, March 22

Texas Book-aholic, March 23

janicesbookreviews, March 24

A Reader’s Brain, March 25

Inklings and notionsMarch 26

Aryn The LibraryanMarch 27

The Becca FilesMarch 28

Through the Fire Blogs, March 29

Artistic Nobody, March 30 (Spotlight)

Real World Bible Study, March 31

Just the Write Escape, April 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away a grand prize of a Narnia gift basket that includes a signed copy of The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer, the entire The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on Blu-ray and a movie companion booklet, and two of Lisa R Mayer’s favorite Narnia reflection books in pristine condition from her personal collection: The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God Here By Finding Him There by Thomas Williams and Believing in Narnia: A Kid’s Guide to Unlocking Secret Symbols of Faith in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia by Natalie Gillespie!!

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

 

Review and Giveaway for Vivir el Dream

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About the Book

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Book: Vivir el Dream

Author: Allison K Garcia

Genre: Christian Latino Fiction

Release Date: May 19, 2017

The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?

Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.

Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.

After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.

Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?

Click here to purchase your copy.

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This book deals with the issues of illegal immigrants and the issues that surround them.  I was hoping I would enjoy this book, but I could not handle the way Allison K. Garcia seemed to glorify the illegal immigrants over actual United States citizens.  I believe the Dream Act does an injustice to those immigrants who follow the letter of the law in order to come legally to the United States.

I found the constant use of Spanish to be distracting and made it difficult to read.  But if you know Spanish you will enjoy this book.

About the Author

Allison Garcia

Allison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo.

Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018.

Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

More from Allison K. Garcia

Authenticity and Love

When I wrote my debut novel Vivir el Dream in 2012, I never imagined that it was going to win five awards, that I would be invited to churches and universities and NPR to speak about it, or that it would be taught on a college campus. That’s not why I wrote it. Sure, I hoped that people would read it and love it, but I never imagined the impact it would have and the book’s relevance seven years later.

There were two main reasons I wrote Vivir el Dream: authenticity and love.

They go hand-in-hand, but I shall tell you a little about how God sparked the story in my heart.

In 2011, we had three church members deported, and one of them was a dear friend—a good man who loves his family, greeted the congregation at the door, helped take the collection every Sunday and set up the tables and chairs for special programs. To see our friend, and hermano en Cristo, treated in a way that traumatized his children and nearly tore apart up his family, was something that broke my heart. But what broke it worse was seeing how the media spoke about undocumented people and sadder yet, having conversations with other Christians who spoke anger and hatred towards “illegals.”

God spoke to my heart about this. How could my brothers and sisters in Christ be so unkind and uncaring? Hadn’t they read The Good Samaritan? Didn’t they remember about loving our neighbors? It happened again and again, and I realized, with God’s help, that one of the challenges was that people didn’t understand the real story. They were fed a certain stereotype by the media, an image of a tattooed person in a gang or a drug dealer.

They hadn’t actually met anyone undocumented. Or at least they hadn’t realized they had.

In my life and in my job as a counselor, I had met tons of undocumented immigrants, and I had known them the great majority to be kind, hard-working people who wanted the best for their family and were willing to risk it all for the chance at the American dream. I saw love, I saw bravery, I saw strength, I saw faith. And I believe that God showed me those things so that I could reflect that in my novels.

A wonderful thing happens when we’re reading a book. We jump into the shoes of the main character. We understand their plight. Their hopes are our hopes. We feel their story, their dreams, their love, their anguish, their joy. That is one of the great things about reading. We escape our own lives for a while and experience a new adventure, gain a new understanding. We go places and meet people and do things we would never be able to in our own lives.

So that is what God placed on my heart to share with the world: an authentic experience of a mother and daughter who are undocumented Christians.

It’s controversial, but then so was the Gospel. What is more controversial than Jesus’ teachings? To love those who hate us. To turn the other cheek. To give away all possessions to join Him. I mean, what is more controversial than being asked to believe that a man born over 2,000 years was the Son of God and was risen from the dead after three days and that giving one’s heart over to Him will save one’s soul so as to live for all of eternity with God in Heaven?

And yet, that is the very heart of the Gospel.

To love God and to love others.

So, in the spirit of loving God and listening to Him, I wrote Vivir el Dream and published it even when the world pushed against it and continues to do so, perhaps more now than in 2012. All the more reason to love our neighbor more and to hold tighter onto God and His teachings.

I hope you enjoy my book. I hope it takes you on a new, heartwrenching adventure that carries you from the anguish in crossing a desert with your three-year-old daughter on your hip to the freedom in cooking tamales in the kitchen while swaying to cumbia, from the stabbing fear of living in a country that doesn’t want you to experiencing the joy of first love, and from the desperation of staring down an empty barrel to the understanding of truth for your fellow man.

God bless. And happy reading.

Blog Stops

Multifarious, March 16

100 pages per hour, March 17

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

janicesbookreviews, March 22

A Reader’s Brain, March 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

The Becca Files, March 26

Real World Bible Study, March 27

Power of Words, March 28

Just the Write Escape, March 29

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes 4 Christian novels, secret recipes for some of the Mexican cuisine described in Vivir el Dream, and authentic arts and crafts from Guadalajara, Mexico or by preference, a $40 Amazon gift card!!

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

 

Review and Giveaway for Uninvited – the second book in the Beauties from Ashes series

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About the Book

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Book: Uninvited

Author: Beckie Lindsey

Genre: YA

Release Date: 9/16/2018

Every girl has a secret she hopes the light will never find—

but the demons already have.

Battles between unseen forces of good and evil have made unlikely friends out of high school juniors Krystal, Mackenzie, Tammi, and Sadie, who share similar secrets from their traumatic pasts.

As Krystal’s lifelong friendship with Bryce grows into something more, her new friendship with Mackenzie is tested.

While Tammi and Sadie heal from their injuries caused by a horrific accident, their deeper wounds fester as tension grown between them.

When a handsome nurse and a sultry singer join the group, things become even more tangled.

Will the relationships survive the epic spiritual battles raging around them? Or will the demons keep them chained to their secrets?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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Uninvited by Beckie Lindsey is the second book in the Beauties from Ashes young adult series of books.  I have to say I would not recommend reading this second book in the series without reading the first book, Secrets.  This series does contain issues and subjects that may be difficult for some readers to handle.  So you may want to use some discernment about reading this book.

Everyone has a secret or secrets they wish to remain secret and that is definitely the case for the young ladies in this series. Because of how the first book left off, I was anticipating reading this second book.  The book contains good characters, unlikable characters, angels and demons.  There are also family issues, relationship issues, and other issues that surface in the book.  At the same time, examples of faith and support from those who believe in God play a major role in this story.  The characters are very realistic and are dealing with many issues a lot of young people face.

Just like the first book in this series, Beckie Lindsey does a fairly good job of tying the story and plot lines together despite a large number of characters involved.  So if you want to read a book that will make you think and deals with some issues young people of today are facing, check out this book for yourself.

About the Author

Beckie Lindsay

Beckie Lindsey is an award-winning author, poet, blogger, and the editor of Southern California Christian Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, a national news syndicating agency. She is a major coffeeholic and enjoys a good book with a cat on her lap. She also loves to hike and hang out with family and friends. Beckie and her husband, Scott have three adult children, two adorable cats and live in California.

 

Guest Post from Beckie

Why I write YA and the BFA series

 

I believe a teenager still exists inside each of us.

 

We hear a familiar tune from our “glory days” and are instantly tapping our toes. Mentally, we’re back in high school —poofy bangs, scrunchie, neon off-the-shoulder sweatshirt — and all. Oh, wait. That’s me back in the ‘80s!

 

Ah, yes. There is something wonderfully awful about those coming-of-age years.

 

From the first kiss to the first breakup, there are memories we cherish and some we don’t care to ever revisit. Being a teen can be exciting, confusing, painful, joyous, or even all of those things at once!

 

No matter how different your teenage experience was from mine, one thing is true for us all: these years have an enormous impact on who we become as adults. We can all sympathize with the plight of puberty and the longing for independence and acceptance. Yeah, there’s still a teenager in all of us!

 

These are the reasons I write YA.

 

My hope is to use the power of storytelling to move past barriers and open hearts to accept how much God loves and desires a personal relationship with us.

 

At every age, we all need the grace and love of Jesus.

 

In the Beauties from Ashes (BFA) series, I write about relatable characters with difficult issues and traumatic pasts to enlighten readers about the unseen spiritual battle referred to in Scripture. Each character has a secret that has left them vulnerable to the battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep them chained to their pasts and angels of light work to free them.

 

The characters and their issues are complex, just like real life. In fact, some of the topics are often considered too taboo to talk about openly. But what is left in the dark, festers and grows. It is only in the light that we can be free. In the BFA series, readers experience the character’s quest for truth, love, grace, and freedom while hopefully finding the same for themselves.

 

Blog Stops

Real World Bible Study, March 12

Through the Fire Blogs, March 13

Blogging With Carol, March 13

Genesis 5020, March 14

Seasons of Opportunities, March 15

Godly Book Reviews, March 16

Remembrancy, March 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 19

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 20

The Becca Files, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

janicesbookreviews, March 22

Bigreadersite, March 23

A Reader’s Brain, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Beckie is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

 

Review and Giveaway for The Watch on the Fencepost by Kay DiBianca

 

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About the Book

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Book: The Watch on the Fencepost

Author: Kay DiBianca

Genre: Christian Mystery / Suspense/ Romance

A WATCH THAT REVEALS MORE THAN JUST THE TIME . . .

A mysterious gold watch propels 27-year-old Kathryn Frasier into a quest to prove her parents’ recent deaths were not an accident. Following a trail of cryptic clues, she encounters a remarkable cast of characters, including an actress with a talent for disguises, a politician with a dark secret, and a handsome businessman who shows a sudden romantic interest in Kathryn. Can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Click here to purchase your copy.

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The Watch on the Fencepost is Kay DiBianca’s first novel, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery.  The story begins with a prologue about a car wreck that is so vividly described, I felt like I was there. Chapter One begins our introduction to Phil Warren, an owner of a car repair shop.  Initially, I did not know what I thought about Phil, especially given his reaction to Kathryn Frasier, the female lead in the story.  Kathryn Frasier, we learn lost her parents in a tragic car accident she believes was an accident.  But as the story unfolds, the reader will discover it was no accident.

Kathryn learns she has an older half-sister she never knew about, and who was adopted by incredible people.  CeCe, the half-sister, is an actress who is a master of disguise which allows her to play an important role at the end of the book.  Kathryn is reserved and shy around men, but CeCe helps to push her out of her shell in order to discover the possibility of love.

As part of her impending birthday, her father (prior to his death) set up a series of clues as part of an overall puzzle for Kathryn to solve.  This puzzle/treasure hunt has no apparent ending in sight, but through careful thought, Philip and CeCe along with CeCe’s parents, Kathryn’s lawyer and other individuals help Kathryn eventually solve the mystery.

The book kept me interested and wanting to read more until I finished the story.  The imagery described in the book is incredible, as is the attention to detail. I loved the description of the watch Kathryn finds on the fencepost and how the watch keeps showing up in the story.  The person I thought was going to be the guilty party turned out to be innocent, but another person I eventually thought might be involved turned out to be guilty.  The twists and turns this book took fascinated me.  I only hope Kay DiBianca follows this book up with a sequel because I can tell there is so much more for this cast of characters.

So if you love a good mystery, check The Watch on the Fencepost out for yourself.

 

About the Author

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Kay DiBianca holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in the IT departments of several major organizations, including IBM, UNC Chapel Hill, International Paper, and FedEx. She has an instrument rating in single-engine aircraft and competes in the Senior Olympics track events. She is a U.S. representative for Bridges for Peace, an international organization whose mission is to serve the people of Israel. She and her husband, Frank, live in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, visit kaydibianca.com.

Guest post from Kay

WHY I WROTE THE WATCH ON THE FENCEPOST

I’m a runner. I spend a lot of time on the treadmill, at a local track, or running in a park near my home. When I’m outdoors, I usually listen to podcasts or audio books to keep my mind occupied.

Several years ago, I was listening to a mystery novel while running on a trail, and I began to put together a story in my own mind. Over the following weeks and months, I had created the characters of Kathryn and Cece, and I could see them in my mind’s eye.

On another long run, I passed an old fence post and a plot began to form itself. Other characters seemed to materialize out of nowhere, and soon I had the basic outline of the book in my head. Before long I was ignoring the audio book voices coming through my earbuds and just adding to my own story. That’s when I decided to write it down.

In the next few months, my story grew from a general outline to a narrative that stretched to over 60,000 words, and I loved the little surprises that popped up along the way. Although I had intended the book to be a straight mystery, I found some of the characters writing their own scenes, and soon there was romance!

As I chiseled away the extraneous parts and added detail and nuance, the important story elements of love, faith, and family rose to the surface. I delighted in Kathryn’s discovering more about herself and Cece’s unfailing wisdom and humor.

I spent over a year working with an editor to revise and strengthen the book. With every change in a word or addition of a plot twist, the story got better. It’s been three years since that first run in the park that got me thinking about the story. Now Kathryn, Cece, Phil, Mike, Tommy, and all the others are ready to tell their stories to the world.

I think I’ll go for a run tomorrow to see what Kathryn and Cece are going to be up to next.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 2

Through the Fire Blogs, March 2

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Godly Book Reviews, March 3

Josephine’s Bookshelf, March 4

Mary Hake, March 4

Girls Living For God’s Glory, March 5

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, March 5

For Him and My Family, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Maureen’s Musings, March 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 7

Emily Yager, March 8

Andrea Christenson, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

janicesbookreviews, March 11

A Reader’s Brain, March 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 12

Inklings and notions, March 12

Real World Bible Study, March 13

Older & Smarter?, March 14

By The Book, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 15

The Becca Files, March 15

Giveaway

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

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

Review and Giveaway for “The Secrets of Paper and Ink”

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About the Book

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Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

Click here to purchase your copy.

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As an avid reader and bookstore fan, I could not wait to begin reading The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel.  The idea of casting aside normal responsibilities and settings to move to England and live over a bookstore intrigued me.  I found myself wanting to read more about Sophia, Ginny Rose (the bookstore owner) and Emily Fairfax (the governess whose journal Sophia finds).  Even though Emily lived over 150 years ago, the chapters dedicated to her kept my interest and desire to read more.

The book is broken down with chapters devoted to Sophia, Ginny, and Emily.  The chapters were long enough to keep me wanting to read more.  The characters were realistic and the inclusion of domestic violence/abuse were well-written.  The death of Sophia’s abusive fiance a year earlier causes her world to crumble.  Having witnessed scenes of verbal abuse myself, I can not imagine dealing with physical abuse followed by the death of the abuser.  The scene where Sophia returned to work seemed to indicate a massive change was going to be necessary.

Ginny’s story of wanting to save her marriage by saving the bookstore reminded me of my parents and their marriage and eventual divorce.  I truly believe many marriages can be saved, but I also believe some marriages are destined for divorce.  I will not spoil the story for you by telling the outcome of Ginny’s marriage.

Finally, the story of Emily intertwines with Sophia in a way that made me feel as though I was actually there both in the present and the past.  I loved reading about her life.  I can only imagine what it must have been like for her to be in love with someone wealthy who society would view as being above her social status.

As someone who loves reading and firmly believes that with a book I can never be alone or bored, I could understand and relate to Sophia’s use of books as a means of escape and getting through the days.  I have a number of books I love to turn to when times get hard.  So if you are looking for a book about overcoming life’s circumstances and finding the strength to go on, check out this book for yourself.

About the Author

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Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at LindsayHarrel.com.

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances.

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life.

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself.

And that, to me, is the true power of story.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26

The Avid Reader, February 26

The Power of Words, February 26

Carla Loves To Read, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Inspirationally Ever After, February 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27

Real World Bible Study, February 28

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 1

Andy Carmichael, March 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Just Your Average reviews, March 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3

Emily Yager, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Genesis 5020, March 4

Reader’s Cozy CornerMarch 4

Stories By GinaMarch 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 6

Inklings and Notions, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Pause for Tales, March 7

Book by Book, March 7

Living Life Free in Christ, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

To Everything A Season, March 8

The Lit Addict, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10

Janices book reviews, March 10

Bigreadersite, March 10

Henry Happens, March 11

Godly Book Reviews, March 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11

amandainpa , March 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of Lindsay’s first book The Heart Between Us!!

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

 

Review and Giveaway for “The Essence of Humility”

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About the Book

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Title: The Essence of Humility

Author: Lynn U. Watson

Genre: Devotional

Release date: January, 2019

We live in a culture overwhelmed with disrespect, egos, entitlement, rudeness, and offense — lives focused on self, rather than God or others.

The Bible defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Every descriptive word included in the list whispers humility.

Patience — humility Kindness — humility

Not rude — humility Not arrogant — humility

Rejoices in truth — humility No envious or boastful — humility

Not irritable — humility Keeps no record of wrong — humility

Jesus entered our world and walked among us. He placed no importance on rank or position. Jesus life reflected love because it reflected humility, and He invites us to live and love like Him.

Journey with our hostess, Cinnamah-Brosia and her friends at The Coffee Cottage. They lead us on a journey to meet real life people — our contemporaries and those on the pages of God’s word, who encountered the same real life challenges you and I face each day. Learn the blessings of a life lived like Jesus lived —- with love and humility.

Click here to purchase your copy!

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My first thoughts I feel I need to share about this book is the fact you must read the Introduction since it sets the stage for the rest of the book.  Without it, you may miss some important facts that help give context to the book.  This third volume of Cinnamah-Brosia Coffee Cottages & Cafe Shop series examines the concepts of living and loving as Jesus did.

Personally, I found the idea of reading about living and loving like Jesus did to be an intriguing one.  I read this book without the context of reading volumes I and II.  With the information included in the introductory pages, including information about Cinnamah-Brosia (or C-B, as she is also known), I found the book understandable.

Because our family recently started using essential oils and learning more about them, I found the tidbits relating to essential oils very useful and worth reading.  Also, because our family enjoys gardening the parts about the fruits and plants was interesting as well.  Finally, I love to cook and include many spices in what I am cooking, so the references to spices also interested me.

I found the balance of fiction, facts, Biblical references and real-life experiences retold in fictional ways to be fairly enjoyable to read. I also enjoyed reading the Scriptures of the Day and the Songs of the Day.  One of my favorite songs, “You Lift Me Up” by Josh Groban was included.

So if you are interested in reading a book that includes fiction, facts, essential oils, songs, Scripture and stories, check this book out for yourself.

About the Author

Lynn Watson combines many years’ experience in women’s ministry, love of essential oils, and her passion for God’s word to bring her readers freshly inspired encouragement for their walk with Jesus. Her devotional, The Essence of Courage, was recognized as a ‘must read’ by regional publishing industry leaders. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve have filled their Bartlett, Tennessee home with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren. Aromas of freshly baked bread often fill Lynn’s kitchen. Jasmine, her tuxedo kitty, enjoys sleeping in Lynn’s lap while she writes.

Guest post from Lynn

My first lesson in humility for Volume 3 of Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection came from an assumption. Right. Those are never a grand idea.

When God spoke to me about writing this book, he clearly gave me the subject: Love. I immediately headed to 1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter of the Bible. Of course the book’s title would be The Essence of Love. The end material of The Essence of Joy announced the new “Love” title coming in 2018.

And God laughed. I read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again. It whispered “humility” over and over again. I called my dear friend – the one I consult with on every one of these books – and said, “You know what? Listen to this. Love is patient – humility. Love is kind – humility. Love is not arrogant – humility. You get the idea. Every single line of this beautiful passage comes down to the barest bones: humility.”

We both laughed a little, too. And we thanked God He clarified His instructions.

To live and love like Jesus requires us to humbly trust God and to humbly serve others.

In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul presents a lengthy discourse on the humility of Christ. It begins like this:

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

~Philippians 2:1-4 (HCSB)

The title morphed to The Essence of Humility. I placed the focus on common everyday botanicals and plants – those familiar to us today – for this third volume in the collection. The fun came as I dug the plants from Scripture. I pray you enjoy the connections as much as I did uncovering them and connecting them to Jesus’ life, and to a whole list of characters who lived on the pages of the Bible, along with our contemporaries here in the 21st century.

Thank you for choosing The Essence of Humility. So very many titles out there shout to be read. I am humbled for you to spend time with me here. I have prayed for every one of you.

Copyright 2018, Lynn U. Watson

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, January 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 25

Splashes of Joy, January 25

A Reader’s Brain, January 26

Bibliophile Reviews, January 27

A Baker’s Perspective, January 28

Creating Romance, January 29

Mary Hake, January 29

Aryn The Libraryan, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

Older & Smarter?, January 31

The Becca Files, February 1

Godly Book Reviews, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 2

Janices book reviews, February 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 4

Through the Lens of Scripture, February 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 6

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Lynn is giving away a grand prize of a wire basket that includes a hand-stamped “Gratitude, Kindness, Humility, Love” spoon necklace, Hillhouse Naturals fresh Linen hand lotion, locally hand-crafted Lavender-Eucalyptus body and foot scrub, embroidered “Love One Another” hand towel (nice ‘n soft), cozy Chamomile herbal tea, and a paperback copy of The Essence of Humility!!

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/d93b/the-essence-of-humility-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Review of “Sabotaged Christmas: An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery” by Carole Brown

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About the Book:

Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions—all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s been receiving.

Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubling history—but the first man in years who’s interested her—is building to a peak. Yet Perrin’s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way.

Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business may ruin Christmas for Toni’s employees as well as her own happiness.

Will a mysterious person succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen? And will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?

About the Author:

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Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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At Christmas time everything should bring joy to the world, but for Toni Deluca everything is not joyous.  Someone is trying to sabotage her father’s construction company that Toni now owns.

Perrin Douglas, a writer and widower, has come to Appleton, WV to work on his book.  He intends to hire Toni’s company build an addition on his house, but believes Toni is a man.  Perrin’s son, Blake, likes Toni and is impressed she is running her own construction company.

I found myself wanting to read to the end to find out how the book ends.  So if you love Christmas, mysteries and romance, check out this book for yourself.

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Review of Comfort & Joy by The Christmas Lights Collection

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About the Book

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Book: Comfort & Joy

Author: The Christmas Lights Collection: Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Christmas

Release Date: October 16, 2018

The third-annual Christmas Lights Collection is pleased to present: Comfort & Joy–four Christmas Novellas. From contemporary romance to cozy mystery and suspense, this diverse collection celebrates the comforts and joys of Christmas.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Authors

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Alana Terry: Pastor’s wife Alana Terry is a homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. You can find her at alanaterry.com

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Toni Shiloh: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. You can find her at tonishiloh.wordpress.com

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

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Cathe Swanson: Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years, and the long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again. You can find her at catheswanson.com

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Chautona Havig: Amazon bestselling author of the Aggie books and Past Forward, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave desert where she uses story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Why Do So Many Christians Love to Celebrate Christmas?

“We don’t celebrate Christmas because we were ordered to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We were never commanded to celebrate His birth.”

Something about that statement didn’t sit well with me, but I was honest enough with myself to admit that it might be because I happened to love Christmas, and the idea of not celebrating it didn’t sit well with my twelve-year-old mind.

No, I didn’t go in for the Santa thing. I never had. As later my children were taught to say, Santa wasn’t “invited to our family celebration.” But still, the family, the joy, the music, the spirit of the thing moved me.

So, I did what I always did when I didn’t understand something. I asked Dad. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”

If I recall correctly, Dad took a sip of coffee and watched me for several long seconds before he said, “What is Christmas?”

Ever the teacher, Dad had to put on his Socratic robe and make me work for it. I answered. “What we call the day Jesus was supposedly born. His birthday.”

“Okay. So, we celebrate Christ’s birthday on Christmas—on Christmas.”

“Yes.”

He gave me that slight smirk that always meant something good was coming. “And what did God do when His Son was born?”

Dad stumped me there. I blinked. “I don’t know.”

“He sent out the biggest birth announcement ever known to man—a star, angels, music.” Then Dad continued his leading questions. “He…”

I got it. “Celebrated the birth.”

“Yes.” Sometimes Dad was a man of few words.

But I couldn’t be satisfied—not yet.

“So, why do we give presents to each other if it’s Jesusbirthday? Isn’t that backward?”

“Isn’t all of Christianity backward to the fallen mind?” When I didn’t answer, he smiled again. “What does Christ say about doing things for others?”

It wasn’t word-for-word Scripture—not even close. Just as he would have prompted again, I remembered Jesus’ story of the man who was fed, clothed, and given a drink. “When you do things for others, it’s like you’re doing them for Jesus.”

Dad shrugged then. “Maybe it’s just justification for continuing a beloved tradition, but it brings me joy to give you gifts. And Christ had something to say about how fathers love to give good gifts to their children.”

That brought me back to the original question.

“What about the fact that we’re told to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus? We aren’t told to celebrate the birth. Does that make it wrong?”

This time, Dad’s jaw hardened. I saw it twitch, and prepared for a blasting. After all, I had kind of argued with him. I hadn’t meant to, but I could see how it might be taken that way.

“Chautona,” he said, “don’t ever put rules on yourself that God hasn’t. We may not be commanded to celebrate Christ’s birth, but we aren’t forbidden, either. We have God’s example to emulate, and we have this truth.” His voice gentled when he saw he’d startled me. “We would never have been able to celebrate Christ’s death if He had not been born. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.”

What does all that have to do with Christmas novellas (or “noellas” like I prefer to call them)?

Well, people ask me all the time. “Why do you write so many Christmas books? Why do these Christmas collections? Why focus so much on the birth of Jesus and the trappings of cultural Christmas when it’s inferior to the “big thing”—the Resurrection?”

Dad’s answer is mine. Because it points to it. It draws attention to it. And because Christmas is one time of year—the only time of year in which you can walk into almost any building in America and still hear praises sung to God at some point. They slip in between love songs about giving away your heart at Christmas and rocking around Christmas trees to “Jingle Bell Rock.”

And even the more “secular” versions that aren’t an outright praise to God like “Silent Night” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” sometimes throw in Jesus anyway because they can’t quite leave out, “Merry Christmas” in some place or another.

So maybe our Christmas books are inferior to what “Easter” books could be. Maybe they are. But if Christmas trees, caroling, and “ghost stories” keep Jesus at the forefront of someone’s mind in October, November, or December, then I think that’s a pretty cool thing.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for coming.

Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, November 29

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 29

A Baker’s Perspective, November 29

Multifarious, November 30

Blossoms and Blessings, November 30

Bibliophile Reviews, December 1

Britt Reads Fiction, December 1

Vicky Sluiter, December 2

Remembrancy, December 2

Among the Reads, December 3

A Reader’s BrainDecember 3

KarenSueHadleyDecember 4

Inklings and notionsDecember 4

Quiet Quilter, December 5

Lots of Helpers, December 5

God’s Little BookwormDecember 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Mindy Houng)

Captive Dreams Window, December 7

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9

Janices book reviewsDecember 9

Carpe Diem, December 10

BigreadersiteDecember 10

Kat’s Corner Books, December 11

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Aryn The LibraryanDecember 12

Josephine’s Bookshelf, December 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, the Christmas Light Collection is giving away a grand prize of a 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!

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

Click here to enter the giveaway.

You can purchase the book here.

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Out of all the books in this collection, I have to say that “Deck the Shelves” by Toni Shiloh was my favorite.  This novella captured all the charm and holiday spirit I want from a Christmas book.  Being a book lover, this one was one I could really appreciate.  A touch of romance adds just the right Christmas delight to this book.  Also, Toni Shiloh does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the story.  I found the idea of a men’s accountability group something I think men in the real world could use – especially as the mother of three sons.  Kendall and Quinn make a great couple, and I enjoyed getting to read about them.

My next favorite book would have to be Cathe Swanson’s “The Christmas Glory Quilt” because I have aspirations to quilt. Cathe Swanson does an excellent job also of pulling the reader into the story.  Having read other books by Cathe Swanson, I have to say this one did not disappoint.  The misadventures of Penny Anderson and Brian Michaels add a fun dimension to this story.  I also loved Aunt Violet, she added such fun to the story.

The quirks and mystery in Chautona Havig’s The Ghosts of New Cheltenham also captured my attention.  The idea of someone inheriting a house and having to enter a ghost telling story in order to keep the inheritance is intriguing.  Mitchell is a storyteller, but is afraid of ghosts, so that adds an interesting dimension to the story.  The idea that everyone in the community has to decorate for Christmas and abide by certain guidelines brought even more to the story.  Lauren, the younger sister of Brenna appears to be able to cause mischief and mayhem.  This story truly did not disappoint.

Alana Terry’s story, Frost Heaves, deals with some very intense topics including a cult-like group, abuse and more.  It is definitely the most intense story in the collection, so in some ways, I was glad it was the first book in the story so I could finish on a lighter note.

All of these stories were well-written and I definitely enjoyed this third book in the Christmas Lights collections.  I always look forward to reading these collections at Christmas.  So check these out for yourself and let me know what you think.

 

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