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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Review of Murder of Convenience

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Often I find myself reaching for books from specific periods in history – and most recently that period revolves around World War II.  So when I found about this book, I knew I wanted to read it.  It did not disappoint.  With a lot of action, intrigue, suspense and yes – even murder, this book delivers.

Geneva Alexander, suffering from severe tunnel vision and facing the loss of her sight, inspires and amazes the reader with her dedication and determination to find a killer, despite putting herself at risk.  Plot twists and turns abound throughout the story, including some that  I felt were coming along with some I could not see coming.

Throughout the book, I thought I might know who the real killer was but still was not sure until the end.  I loved how Geneva found many old acquaintances along the way and always demonstrated her love of Christ.  Despite her limitations because of her sight, Geneva still manages to find a way to serve by becoming part of the USO.  Her ability to sing is truly a gift.  Her friends (old and new) who come beside her to support her and help prove her innocence provide an important backdrop for the story.  I also love how the detective investigating the case strives to prove her guilty and innocent at the same time.

Devon Royal, the stage manager for the USO, proves to be a worthy protector and defender for Geneva.  The two of them make a perfect pair for getting into mischief and finding themselves in harm’s way while investigating the murder. After all, who better to prove one’s innocence besides one’s own self.

I appreciate the amount of time and effort it must have taken to do the research to make this a believable story.  So check out the first book of the Women of Courage series for yourself and let me know what you think about it.

 

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About the Book

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Book: Murder of Convenience

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Historical Mystery

Release Date: October 15, 2018

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in Linda Shenton Matchett’s exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

Guest Post from Linda

World War II is my favorite era about which to read and write. What I find most fascinating about the time period are the stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, especially women, who until this time, had been provided for and protected.

A woman was typically insulated from difficulties or frightening things, and her husband or father took care of just about everything. When the war took millions of men away, the women had to learn how to take care of themselves in addition to filling the job vacancies.

Yes, there were Rosie the Riveters: women who worked in the factories building weapons, ships, vehicles and all kinds of war materiel, but there were also Land Army girls, many of whom didn’t know how to drive, who learned to operate all kinds of farm equipment so they could bring in crops to feed our nation as well as our Allies. Others donned uniforms to serve in the WACS, WAVES, SPARS, WASPS, Marines, Army Nurse Corp, and Navy Nurse Corp. Millions boosted morale through the USO and Red Cross or served in myriad ways with Civil Defense. Some went overseas to cover the war as journalists. A few even signed on as spies.

The driving force with most of these women was the realization that their country needed them. They put their own needs and desires aside to help win a war they didn’t ask to be part of. And many did it while single-handedly running the household because their husband was somewhere across the globe – ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

My latest release, Murder of Convenience, explores themes of service and sacrifice intertwined with the question of how to respond when God says no. It is my hope that the novel honors the women who lived during WWII in some small way.

Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Bigreadersite, December 1

Just the Write Escape, December 2

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Pause for Tales, December 5

Connie’s HIstory ClassroomDecember 6

Multifarious, December 7

Have A Wonderful DayDecember 8

Bibliophile Reviews, December 8

Blogging With CarolDecember 9

Texas Book-aholic, December 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

The Lit AddictDecember 12

Maureen’s Musings, December 13

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Janices book reviews, December 14

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a World War II themed gift basket!!

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/d6d3/murder-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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Review of “Secrets” by Beckie Lindsey

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About the Book

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Book: Secrets

Author: Beckie Lindsey

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: February, 2018

Every girl has a secret she hopes the light will never find–but the demons already have.

Four girls. Four sets of secrets. Four searching for answers.

Mackenzie is the shy, awkward new girl at school, depressed and desperate for a real friend. When she stumbles upon the deepest secret of a sarcastic, angry-at-the-world track star, Krystal, they become instant enemies-especially about the flirtatious baseball player, Bryce.

Tammi, a gloomy singer/musician who couldn’t care less about what others think of her, meets Sadie, a dancer and a people-pleaser with a cotton candy disposition. They have nothing in common until their lives begin to collide in more ways than one.

As the girls’ worlds begin to converge, their secrets rather than their similarities draw them together. Meanwhile, all that’s kept hidden has left them vulnerable to a battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep the girls chained to their pasts while angels of light work to free them.

Can good ever come from evil? Can beauty ever arise from ashes?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Beckie Lindsey is an award-winning poet, author, 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

By Beckie Lindsey

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

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

Inklings and notions, November 14

Genesis 5020, November 15

Multifarious, November 16

Blogging With Carol, November 16

Carpe Diem, November 17

A Baker’s Perspective, November 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Robin Is Bookish, November 20

Remembrancy, November 20

The Becca Files, November 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 22

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, November 22

One Emergent Life, November 23

amandainpa, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Janices book reviews, November 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Bigreadersite, November 26

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Beckie is giving away a grand prize of a $30 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/d56f/secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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What if you were a teenage girl who had experienced severe abuse, assault or other devastating horrors as a child and was currently living under attack from those experiences?  In the book Secrets by Beckie Lindsey, the author explores these exact circumstances.

I found it difficult to become interested in the book at first.  The story jumps from characters to characters, including the four teenage girls the story revolves around, the supporting family members, friends, and church members along with angels and demons.  But once I did get into the book, I wanted to keep reading.

The way the author jumps from storyline to storyline about the different girls made it difficult for me to stay interested.  It basically took until the end of the book to know how everything and everyone tied together.  But even so, I was not really satisfied with the ending of the book.

Like I just said previously, I take issue with this book because for me, I did not feel the book came to a satisfactory conclusion.  If one does not continue reading the series, I found the book lacked cohesion.

I would recommend if you have any past experiences with rape, incest, bulimia, or even bullying, this may not be an appropriate book for you to read.  But all in all, I found the book worth reading.

 

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Review of Chosen People

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About the Book

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Book: Chosen People

Author: Robert Whitlow

Genre: Legal Drama

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

Bestselling author Robert Whitlow dives deep into the legal ramifications of a tragic event half a world away and how it affects two lawyers in Atlanta from vastly different backgrounds.

When Hana Abboud walked into the conference room, she was unprepared for the images of a horrific terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But after watching a courageous mother sacrifice her life to save her four-year-old daughter, Hana knew she needed to help attorney Jakob Brodsky represent the family’s pursuit of justice against those who perpetrate acts of violent jihad. As an Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, Hana is uniquely qualified to step into the gap.
But they need a third partner, an investigator on the ground to help them unravel the snake pit of connections between the terrorists and an organization or company that can be sued in the American courts. Hana returns home to Israel and meets with investigator Hamid Hasan who quickly becomes more than a crucial part of the litigation team.

As Jakob and Hana investigate the case in the US, he is stalked on the streets of Atlanta by affiliates of a terrorist organization. Their pursuit of truth can only be resolved where it began: the streets of Jerusalem. But who can they trust? How deep does deceit go? Can two lawyers and a shadowy investigator impact the kind of violence and terror that has become common in our broken world?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. Website: robertwhitlow.com, Twitter: @whitlowwriter, Facebook: robertwhitlowbooks

Guest Post from Robert

Inside the Story

Chosen People—a title that reflects both the Biblical designation for the Jewish nation as well as converted Christians—opens during a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her young daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child.

Whitlow’s many trips to Israel and his in-depth research into the culture and laws of the Holy City are evident throughout the story. Furthermore, his experience as a lawyer gives him keen insight into the mind of his main character Hanna Abboud, an Arab Christian Israeli lawyer working in Atlanta.

“This book provides a unique perspective to this region and its peoples through the eyes of an Arab Christian who believes that the faithfulness of God and truths of the Bible are unshakable realities,” says Whitlow. “This viewpoint is rarely expressed, yet it is one that needs and deserves to be heard so that it can become part of our framework for understanding this vital part of the world and the people who live there.”

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, November 8

Genesis 5020, November 8

Multifarious, November 9

Real World Bible Study, November 9

The Power of Words, November 9

The Becca Files, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 10

C Jane Read, November 11

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, November 11

Book by Book, November 11

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 12

By The Book, November 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 13

Painting with Words, November 13

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 13

Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Robin is Bookish, November 14

Texas Book-aholic, November 15

Moments, November 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Janices book reviews, November 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 18

Christian Bookaholic, November 18

Carpe Diem, November 19

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, November 19

A Baker’s Perspective, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 20

Bigreadersite, November 21

For The Love of Books, November 21

Giveaway

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, HarperCollins is giving away a grand prize of three finished Robert Whitlow books (to be chosen by the publisher)!!

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/d73a/chosen-people-celebration-tour-giveaway

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I have to admit as I opened this book after receiving it, I was somewhat intimidated by the size.  This is a book that is precisely the type of book my second son would choose because of the substantial number of pages.  However, as a busy wife and mom of four who homeschools two of our four children, I was somewhat concerned if I would be able to find the book.  Yet, as someone who once thought about going to law school, the idea of reading about lawyers caught my attention.

I found the characters captivating and the storyline believable.  Twists and turns help keep the reader’s attention.  Terrorism abounds across the world, and this book helps drive that point home.  The people of  Israel and especially Jerusalem live with this kind of threat daily.  Robert Whitlow does an excellent job of addressing the feelings and thoughts that must pass through the minds of those living with this type of terror daily and more importantly, those who unfortunately find themselves missing those who terrorism kills. So check out this book for yourself.

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Book Review – The Kitchen Marriage by

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About the Book

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Book: The Kitchen Marriage

Author: Gina Welborn & Beccan Whitham

Publisher: Kensington Publishers

Genre: Inspirational romance/Historical America set in the old west

Release Date: September 25, 2018

A bright future awaits the women of courage and faith who boldly chase their dreams across the wide-open Montana Territory, prepared to embrace adventure and forge their own destinies . . .

When French immigrant Zoe de Fleur is forced out of her position as household cook for a high society New Yorker, the pretty and talented chef seizes an unexpected chance to head west for a new beginning. She pursues what she thinks is a prestigious job in the frontier’s “finest kitchen,” but instead finds herself in a matchmaker’s agency . . .

Isaak Gunderson is one of Helena, Montana’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s too focused on running for mayor and his family’s business to think about a wife and family. His twin brother, Jakob, is supposed to be too busy as well, yet sends for a mail-order bride anyway. Isaak doesn’t want to fuel an ongoing rivalry with his twin, but this tempting newcomer can’t be ignored. If only she’d come to Helena a different way and loving her wasn’t a betrayal . . .

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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GINA WELBORN is the bestselling author of sixteen inspirational romances. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers, and serves on the ACFW Foundation Board. Sharing her husband’s passion for the premier American sports car, she is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five children, several rabbits and guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn’t realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Visit her online at GinaWelborn.com.

BECCA WHITHAM (WIT-um) Multi-published author, paper crafter, and Chai tea lover, Becca and her twelve-foot-long craft cabinet follow her husband of more than thirty years to wherever the army currently needs a chaplain. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories of faith that touch the heart. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a Genesis Contest finalist. Connect with her online at BeccaWhitham.com.

Guest post from Gina & Becca

Dear Reader,

What’s better than fulfilling a dream? Why…taking the journey with a friend, of course. And we have the army to thank for it. Gina, whose father spent most of his army career at Fort Sill, had just moved back to Lawton, Oklahoma when Becca’s husband received orders to Sill. We were both looking for friendship and found a kindred spirit.

When we first conceived the Montana Brides series over Frappuccinos (Gina) and Chai Tea Lattes (Becca) at our local Starbucks, we set out to make our make our mail-order bride stories different.

The first thing we decided on was setting our series in Helena, Montana because, in 1888, the city boasted the most millionaires per capita in the United States. We liked the idea of a former mining town grown into a cultured city and that it wasn’t the usual isolated ranch setting for a Western.

We also wanted to create stories of mail-order bride romances gone wrong. In fact, our original series title was Mail (Dis) Order Brides. We brainstormed all the ways a mail-order bride story could go sideways and settled on our top three: a widow before a wife; two brothers, one bride; and a deceitful—though well-meaning—matchmaker. The Kitchen Marriage is the second book in this series and puts our heroine, Zoe de Fleur, between twin brothers, Isaak and Jakob Gunderson. Like our first bride, Emilia Stanek (The Promise Bride), Zoe shows up in town knowing no one. Does that sound familiar? As a former military kid and current military wife, we are very familiar with needing to start over, forge new friendships, and make strangers into family.

Thank you for taking a journey into the past with us. We pray you find our stories filled with hope, humor, and happily-ever-afters.

Sincerely,

Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, November 1

Christian Centered book Reviews, November 1

Carpe Diem, November 1

Cultivating Us, November 2

Remembrancy, November 2

Inklings and Notions, November 3

The Becca Files, November 3

Stories By Gina, November 4

A Baker’s Perspective, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

KarenSueHadley, November 6

Luv’N Lambert Life, November 6

Maureen’s Musings, November 6

cherylbbookblog, November 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

SusanLovesBooks, November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Janices book reviews, November 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day, November 9

A Rup Life, November 10

Baker Kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 11

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, November 11

Britt Reads Fiction, November 12

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 12

Bigreadersite, November 12

Daysong Reflections, November 13

Vicky Sluiter, November 13

Singing Librarian Books, November 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 14

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her their tour, Gina and Becca are giving away a copy of The Kitchen Marriage to ten lucky winners!!

Be sure to comment of the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d772/the-kitchen-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

Zoe de Fleur, a kitchen cook, finds herself without a job when a male chef takes issue with her and forces her employer to fire Zoe.  Without any recourse, her young friend Nico convinces Zoe to go west to become a chef at a hotel.  Because Zoe is French and cannot read English well, she embarks on a journey laced with deception.  Rather than sending her to become a chef, her actual destination involves matrimony.  Also, Nico fails to mention that he plans on coming west as well.  Living in today’s time, I felt incredible sympathy for Zoe being forced from her job as well as her home only because a man decided she needs to go.

Isaak and Jakob Gunderson are twin brothers who are nothing alike.  Both are strong-minded and determined.  Unbeknownst to Isaak, Jakob sends for a mailorder bride, namely Zoe de Fleur.  Isaak’s immediate dislike for Zoe is understandable, but not appreciated by his brother or Zoe.  Of the three characters, I have to say I liked Zoe the best.  She was down-to-earth, charming and incredibly giving.

From the moment Jakob comes into the story along with Isaak, I felt that Jakob was the wrong man for Zoe.  The story seemed to slow down at parts while capturing my interest and attention at other parts.  I found Jakob to be somewhat petulant, irresponsible, and at times annoying.  At the same time, I found Isaak to be condescending and rude to Zoe.  Once it became clear Isaak and Zoe were meant to be together, I could not wait for them to realize that fact.

One of my absolute favorite things in this story is reading about Zoe cooking and her use of herbs and other items in her cooking.  I also enjoyed reading about Zoe’s relationship with her father before he died.  The attention to detail in these sections captured my attention and my heart.

By the end of the story, I had fallen in love with the idea of Zoe, Isaak, and Nico becoming a family.  But I found myself distracted by the extra characters in the background plotting, scheming and otherwise attempting to cause problems without having any real details about what was actually going on.  Having not read the first book in this series, I have to wonder if I would have benefited from reading it first.  This book is definitely not a stand-alone book, I feel anyone reading it needs to read any and all other books in the series to truly grasp what is going on with the overall story.

I do recommend reading this book, but I recommend reading it in context. Otherwise, you may find yourself as frustrated as I did about not knowing the whole story.  Still, I have to say the authors did an excellent job capturing the mood of the time and the potential difficulties and traumas that could result from choosing to order or to become a mailorder bride.  So check this book out for yourself and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Disclaimer

Review of YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then & Now – C.S. Lewis

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited to review Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis, one of the books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book.  Back when we first starting homeschooling many years ago, when we attended our first homeschool convention one of the first companies to capture my attention was YWAM Publshing.  Through the years, we have collected quite a few of the titles from their Christian Heroes: Then & Now series.  Our family loves books and this company has found a special place in our homeschool library.  So when we had the opportunity to select another book to review for this company, the only problem our daughter had one problem – deciding what title to select. Finally, she decided on CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller.

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Our 15-year-old daughter is the one who actually read the book.  I started to read the book also, but then life happened.  From my own experience, I have to say I felt like the book started off slower than other books we have read from YWAM Publishing.  Given that the book is about a “master” storyteller, I felt like it deserved a better beginning.

Our daughter had this to say about the book.  She found it interesting for facts about his life.  They include details and facts about his life that others may have overlooked.  These include things like details about his interactions with other writers and his family along with his background and his roots – meaning where he came from – intrigued her.  She found it easy to read and definitely found it to be informative.

However, she did not seem to be as excited with this book as I would have liked her to be.  She stated while she would remember some of the facts from the book, she was not sure it was one she would necessarily quote information from.

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Due to circumstances in our lives at this time, we did not get a chance to actually use the study guideas much as I would have liked. However, I love the depth and breadth of material included in the guide.  We received this as a downloadable product.  The study guide includes: an introduction, key Bible verses, Display Corner, Chapter questions, Student Explorations, Community Links, Social Studies, Related Themes to Explore, Culminating Event, along with supplemental information included in three Appendicies.

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The display corner (which would included items collected and then displayed from the country the book takes place in – so for this book it would be items from England.  This would have been something interesting for our daugther to do since my husband has actually visited England.

There are six chapter questions for each chapter where the first 3 questions are geared to younger learners and the last three questions are more difficult.  Due to circumstances in our life right now, I decided to have our daughter answer the questions for the chapters orally to me.

 

There are also student explorations which include a variety of activities to suit a variety of learning styles.  I plan on our daughter possibly creating a diorama depicting an important event from C.S. Lewis’ life.  I also plan on  having her draw a sketch of C.S. Lewis based on his own description or making a story quilt using her drawing table that connects to the computer.  We will have to see if we can fit in time for her to do both projects.  It may be something we do later when life settles down.

 

 

For this review, if she had to select a second book, she would have chosen Heroes of History – Theodore Roosevelt.  She felt like she would have enjoyed learning more about his life.

In June of 2017, we had the privilege to review another book from YWAM Publishing, we reviewed Christian Heroes Then and Now Betty Greene,  Wings to Serve.  If you would like to read our review of this title, click here or on the graphic below.

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You can connect with YWAM Publishing on social media using the following links:

If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew on this book or others, click here or on the image below.

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Review of Carole P. Roman Books

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Children’s books like those written by Carole P. Roman can be such a fun way to explore history, or culture or even practice reading.  We received 3 more books from the Carole P. Roman books and collections to add to our home library.  We loved every one that we have received.  This time we received:  “If You Were Me and LIved in… Renaissance Italy“; “If You Were Me and Lived in… the Middle Ages” and “IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN… ISRAEL A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World“.

Carole P. Roman has written books that are perfect for ages 2 to 15.  So if you have children in this age range, you are sure to find something to suit your family’s interests.  There is the Cultural series- good for ages 4 ish- 8, but can be read aloud to various ages.  Then there is the Historical series, for ages 8 to 15 and that is crammed full of interesting facts and gorgeous illustrations.  Next, there is the Captain No Beard series for ages 3-8 and that series was written about Carole P Roman’s grandchildren.  Or you can choose from the bedtime series, the “Oh Susannah” series, the “Rocket-Bye” books and more.

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The first book I want to discuss is “If You Were Me and Lived in…Renaissance Italy“.  This book examines what life was like during the Renaissance period in Italy. My daughter loved looking at the various outfits in all of the illustrations.   The pictures of the architecture of the period are stunning.  We loved how we were told what possible names during the period might be including Dolce or Lisabeth for a girl or Lorenzo and Cosimo for a boy.  The descriptions of what the life of the people was like captured our interest and imagination.  The description of illustration of what the home of a merchant might have looked like made us feel like we were actually there.  The descriptions of how children learned and what they studied were also interesting.  Our daughter found it fascinating to read how the education of males and females differed in the subjects they studied and the goals of their education.  For example, as a girl, our daughter would have learned how to be an effective housewife, but still would have had classes in art, music, dancing and other subjects such as embroidery.  In the back of the book, the pictures of artwork from the period really pulled our daughter in and captured her attention.    There is also a list of famous people from the period along with a glossary of terms.  So there is plenty of information to build upon.  Here are some pictures from the book.

 

 

 

Next, I would like to review “If You Were Me and Lived in the Middle Ages”.

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Once again this book captures the imagination with the information and illustrations provided.  The illustration of what a village might have looked like gave a very good visual to associate with the period.  Carole P. Roman provides excellent information about what life would have been like for both girls and boys.  The importance of the church and religion during the period is stressed.  Also, what children learned and how they were taught was explained.  Finally, she gives important people from the period and a glossary of important terms.  Here are some pictures from the book.

 

Finally, “IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN… ISRAEL A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World” concludes our book selections.  This book happens to be for a younger audience than our daughter.  But we have friends with children who would be the perfect age for this book.  So I chose to review this book myself.  The book speaks to a level younger children can understand with fewer words on a page, wonderful illustrations and descriptions to keep the child’s interest while reading or listening to the book.  The combination of illustrations of people with what looks to be almost realistic photographs in the background strike a vivid picture.  I loved how she gave the names children would have called their mothers and fathers.  The discussion of typical things like shopping and extra activities the children might be involved in created a good mental picture of what life would have been like.  Here are some pictures from this book.

 

So if your family loves books, check out the  Carole P. Roman books and collections that can be such a fun way to explore history, or culture or even practice read. If you would like to read more reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

 

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Book Review – More Than Just Making It

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I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.

Review of YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then and Now : Betty Greene – Wings to Serve

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited to review Christian Heroes- Betty Greene, one of the books from YWAM Publishing.  YWAM Publishing quickly became one of my favorite sources for quality books when we began homeschooling eleven years ago.  Over the years, we have collected quite a few of the books, so it was wonderful to find one that was new to our family.  Since we have a fourteen-year-old daughter, and her father spent some time in the Air Force, I felt Betty Greene would be a perfect match for our family.

I absolutely love books and every one that I have picked up from YWAM Publishing have blessed our family.  Betty Greene proved to be another success.  For this review, I decided to simply read the book myself and then have my daughter read the book by herself.  Although she has not finished the book at the time of this review, she definitely plans on reading it all.

Betty Greene tells the story of a young woman who discovered a passion for flying along with a passion for Jesus Christ.  She lived in Lake Washington, and with her parents’ support became a World War II WASP pilot.  Through her service during World War II, she met some men who eventually founded the Mission Aviation Fellowship.  The goal of this ministry was to provide aircraft support to those serving in the mission fields.  I loved reading about Betty Greene’s encounters with other individuals whose stories can be found in the Christian Heros series.


I loved reading about Betty Greene’s adventures while flying and how her faith never wavered or faltered.  She appeared to have an amazing ability to remain calm under some unbelievable circumstances, including a crash and flying in horrible conditions like an extraordinary sand squall known as a harmattan.  She exemplified the life of Jesus Christ in everything she did and said.  Her heart belonged to Jesus Christ and to her mission of flying.  Throughout her life, she demonstrated the heart of a Christian.

 


When I talked with my daughter about the book, she was probably about a third of the way through it. She thought the book was fun and interesting so far.  She liked the fact that Betty Greene and her twin brother had different interests from the other. She found it interesting that Betty Greene decided to take up flying.


One of the best parts of the YWAM Publishing titles is that many of them come with the option to also purchase a study guide to use along with the book.  The study guides can be found at this link.  These study guides offer additional resources to go along with the book.  The study guides offer key Bible verses, chapter questions, student explorations, community links, related themes to explore along with appendices that include books and resources to use, answers to chapter questions, and social studies reproducibles.  These guides include ideas involving history, geography, essays, creative writing, reading comprehension, drama, and art.  Using these guides along with the list of books and resources, a homeschooling parent could easily create an incredible unit study involving this book.

 

 

We decided to focus on the key Bible verses and work towards memorizing them during the review period.  Some of the key verses for this book include Mark 9:23b and Proverbs 18:15.  I also had our daughter orally answer some of the discussion questions. from the chapters as she completed them in the book.  Upon completion of the book, I plan on having her create a project involving a visual display, creative or essay assignment along with mapwork, and other relevant content.

I find the Christian Heros: Then & Now series to be a worthwhile investment.  These are books that the whole family can enjoy reading.  Another feature I love is that many of the titles are available as audiobooks, which is perfect for families taking long distant trips.  I know our family will be listening to Betty Greene and other titles from YWAM Publishing the next time we travel.

If you want to read more reviews about Betty Greene or other titles from YWAM Publishing, click here or on the image below.

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