Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Meghan’s Choice

meghans-choice-fb-banner

 About the Book

meghans-choice-cover-finalist-197x300

Book: Meghan’s Choice

Author: Donna L. H. Smith

Genre: Christian Historical Western Romance

Release Date: November, 2017

Meghan Gallagher complies with her father’s demand that she work on her own for a year by choosing to tutor eight children in a wild Kansas railroad town. But she had no idea just how wild it was until she was rescued by a local dance hall the day she arrived, and soon after hit by a stray bullet. In short order, she meets a dark, handsome cowboy and a wholesome, attractive doctor who both vie for her heart. As things heat up around town, Meghan’s love life catches fire as well. Is she scandalous to allow both men to court her at the same time? And—how close a relationship with God does Meghan want? Will she draw near?

Meghan’s Choice (pre-published) was named a semi-finalist in the 2014 Operation First Novel by Jerry B. Jenkins and an honorable mention for the Golden leaf Award in 2015. Since publication, Meghan’s Choice was a Selah Award finalist and also in the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

Published in connection with Hartline Literary Agency, serving the Christian book community. Visit us at www.hartlineliterary.com.

Click here to grab your copy.

 

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Meghan’s Choice is one of those books that pulls you into the story. Meghan elects to go west in order to comply with her father’s demands that she work on her own for a year.  He wants her to learn to manage money, which I find a worthy desire for a father.  The story illustrates just how wild the west can be.  Meghan attempts to decide between two men, while also examining what type of relationship she wants to have with God.

Oh, and I think one of the most interesting parts of the story is when Meghan gets shot.  Truly, it shows what happens when someone is in the right place at the wrong time.  This book was easy and quick to read.  I definitely enjoyed this debut novel.

So if you like stories set in the “west” and ones that contain a number of interesting characters, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

donna-smith-300x288

Donna L.H. Smith is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Lancaster County, PA. She is a graduate of Christian Writer’s Guild Craftsman program and holds two college degrees, both B.S. and M.A. in Mass Communication. She’s been married to a wonderful man named Kirby for thirty years. Her debut novel, Meghan’s Choice, made the finals of both the Selah and Will Rogers Medallion Awards. Rose’s Redemption, the sequel, was just released. She blogs, speaks at workshops and retreats and although she is at an age where many begin slowing down, she wouldn’t think of it. Recently, she took on the role of Managing Editor of Almost an Author.com, and serves as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Mid-Atlantic Zone Director. She is also a member of AWSA’s Protégé program (Advanced Writers & Speaker’s Association).

 

More from Donna

Back in 2012, I wrote “Zorro” stories for Fan Fiction. I had an awful lot of fun with them, and people seemed to really like them. So, the thought came, what could I write for ‘real?’ I contemplated, prayed, and after a couple weeks or so, an idea came floating across my brain.

“Gunfight at Hyde Park.” Huh? I thought about it, and realized it was an obscure history lesson from my hometown in Kansas. I had Google it to get the details. I thought, well, I’m not gonna write a Christian romance novel just about a series of gunfights that killed and wounded more people than the OK Corral.

But I did think that the beginning of the gunfights could be the climax of the story.

Now, who should my heroine be? And the hero?

I started with that and took Christian Writer’s Guild’s Craftsman and the novel was completed in 2013—but only published in late 2017.

I’m proud of Meghan’s Choice. Pre-published it made the semi-finals of the last Operation 1st Novel that CWG held and placed in a couple of smaller contests. Last year, it made the finals of the prestigious Selah Awards for published books through the BRMCWC, and the finals of the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

My hope is that you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, August 12

Creating Relationship, August 13

Connie’s History Classroom, August 13

Moments, August 14

For Him and My Family, August 14

Godly Book Reviews, August 15

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 15

Emily Yager, August 16

Through the Fire Blogs, August 16

My Devotional Thoughts, August 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 18

Vicky Sluiter, August 18

Inspired by fiction, August 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 19

mpbooks, August 20

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 20

Pause for Tales, August 21

For the Love of Books , August 21

Older & Smarter?, August 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 22

Texas Book-aholic, August 23

A Reader’s Brain, August 24

Real World Bible Study, August 25

janicesbookreviews, August 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Donna is giving away the grand prize of a copy of her book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e5a3/meghan-s-choice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Warriors with Holy Hands

warriors-with-holy-hands-fb-banner

About the Book

warriors-with-holy-hands-cover-209x300

Book: Warriors with Holy Hands

Author: Peter Toeg

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: February 3, 2017

Warriors With Holy Hands  is the story of a young woman who finds herself lost in time and whose life over a period of three years is spiraling downward. Ruth Falk is stricken with an inexplicable illness and then orphaned. With only a distant relative in her life now, Ruth faces a life of debilitating pain and infirmity. She determines to look to the past for answers she believes her bloodline may reveal.

Searching through diaries and records, Ruth discovers blood relatives and others who lived far away over the course of a century.  We follow their lives across three generations culminating in the revelation of indisputable connections that are created—words and actions with lasting results.

Ruth learns that a curse spoken by one ancestor may have had a devastating domino effect, one whose beginning also engaged her prayer-warrior grandmother in a pitched spiritual battle to break. A challenged believer herself, Ruth grows in the faith of her predecessors who faced ominous situations.

The rich symbolism of Judaism provides a backdrop for the saga with traditions and meaning sprinkled throughout the story.

When she faces increasing paralysis, Ruth and a birth friend in the faith journey to the Southern Highlands of Tennessee where it all began. Here in the span of seven days—over ten months—all that has unraveled in recent years comes together. Life as she knows it will never be the same.

God reveals himself to Ruth and others in remarkable ways along a tortuous path that comes full circle.

Warriors is a mystery that is finally, stunningly, revealed as serendipitous fruit from the branches of a family tree. It is a story of encouragement and life that empowers those who seek God and believe.

 

Grab your copy here.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Warriors with Holy Hands features many twists and turns in the storylines and jumps around in time.  From murder to lost family members and more, this story captured my interest until near the end.  I felt like the epilogue went on far too long and I almost think the story could have stood on its own without it.

Ruth, David, Jacob, and their parents provide quite the tapestry for this story. At times, I found myself having to remember who I was reading about and what period of time I was in exactly.  But I still found the book worth reading.

With a husband who serves in the military, I appreciate the details included in this story.  I love how the story comes full circle.  The connection between God, Christians, and Jews caught my attention and kept my interest.  I also appreciate the emphasis on God’s power to heal through those living on the earthly plane.

So if you like stories about the military or those with multiple timelines, check out this story for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

peter-toeg-199x300

Peter Toeg was a technical writer for over twenty years and a trained journalist who taught communication and media writing for fifteen years at a small Midwestern university. A believer for thirty years, he has roots that extend both to Iraq and Judaism, two themes in Warriors.

He writes full-time now: mostly memoir and short stories with several published. Writing is his avocation.

 

More from Peter

 

 

I’ve always been fascinated with connections, whether family or circumstances. As a memoirist, I have been granted a wonderful perspective on my life filled with connections. Warriors With Holy Hands is a family saga in that vein. Exploring our roots and bloodline. In Warriors, a young woman receives a wonderful gift from the grandmother she never knew and learns the power of prayer.

Ruth Falk, the main character faces two problems: an illness that is robbing her of her mobility and, as an orphan, little knowledge of her past. She wonders whether the two are connected: her background and her illness. So begins her amazing search. In her debilitating condition, time is not on her side.

As often happens in a family, we discover more than we expect. I did forty years after being orphaned myself. I learned that my father rescued his own sister and mother, spiriting them to safety with him when he emigrated from a hostile land to the United States. The grand deception was revealed in documents I’d tucked away. I’d never been told the story.

Ruth Falk also crosses paths with a man on a spiritual journey and another mysterious soldier-warrior, who is mentally gifted—and also her rescuer.

Spanning one hundred years and populated by a dozen remarkable people and a few miscreants, Warriors With Holy Hands is a mystery and adventure with wonders and rich spiritual truths. And maybe a miracle or two. It was quite a trip for me in the writing as I trust it will be for my readers.

Peter Toeg

 

Excerpt from Warriors:

“Tell me why you’re here, Jacob,” I said through the chorus. We sat at angles to each other in wicker chairs, the vantage of direct face-to-face lost. A candle on a small table before us illuminated considerably more than our plastic glasses and now-soggy paper plates.

“Everybody has to be somewhere, sis.” A quick response.

I pressed. “What are you looking for here? I have reasons—that you’ve hammered me with. What about your family? Are you taking the genealogy route?”

Jacob finished his wine. A loud swallow. I caught him looking at his stump, the prosthetic he’d removed before we came out. He’d rarely been this quiet in my presence this long, the flight excepted. Then he placed the drained glass down, stood, and, with his hand, moved the table to his left, pulled his chair more directly opposing me, and sat down. Military posture, his arms on the chair arms. He looked kindly at me with wine-softened eyes.

“I’m here to help you, Ruthie.” He looked into the night and back at me. “I confess I do have some unfinished business. You’re smart enough to know that—and what it is.” A sad smile formed, genuine emotion breaking out.

I saw hurt in his eyes brewing deep down. “Your father. You have a bridge to cross.” I touched his hand with mine and withdrew it after a moment. “Over a river.”

Jacob looked away longer now, and then back, but he said nothing.

“I can carry you, Jacob,” I said confidently. “You’re not alone.”

Jacob looked at me, a little surprised and pleased at the same time, his eyes damp. “We are kin, are we not? Covenant. A covenant of three.”

I nodded, looked at his stump and then down at my legs. I lifted up my plastic glass and looked at Jacob through its prism with a squint.

“Your father’s spirit is not at the river, but God is… Look for Him and you’ll find your father.”

He nodded. “As much as we think what happens is about us, it’s not, is it?”

I shook my head.

I had momentarily seen Jacob’s face distorted through the glass by the candlelight. Now, the glass removed, his face was almost radiant. “It is said the mystic knows God by contact of spirit with spirit; cor ad cor loquitur. He has the immediate vision…he hears the still, small voice speaking clearly to him in the silence of his soul.”

“And what is the translation?” Jacob perked.

I felt at rest in the moment after a day on the road had awakened nerve pain in my limbs. Gone now. “It means ‘heart speaks to heart.’ Some Catholic theologian. Some say that the origins of the heart speaking are in music—a crystal voice, the sounds of the night, the call of a bird—rushing water.” I waved my hand in a sweeping motion at the darkness before us that was filled with sound.

Jacob nodded then returned to his usual playful self. “So, you’re going to carry me, eh kid?”

“We all need to be carried.” (p. 123)

Blog Stops

Inspired by fiction, August 8

Godly Book Reviews, August 9

Betti Mace, August 10

Blogging With Carol , August 11

CarpeDiem, August 12

Mary Hake, August 13

Artistic Nobody, August 13 (Spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 19

A Reader’s Brain, August 20

Inklings and notions , August 21

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Peter is Giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e7c1/warriors-with-holy-hands-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Disclaimer

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Jewel’s Gold

jewels-gold-fb-banner

About the Book

jewels-gold-194x300

Book: Jewel’s Gold

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: July 20, 2019

Can a tangled web snare two hearts and point them true north?

A Papa’s girl from the start, Jewel Jones remembers all the things he told her. Wealthy, but far from being a snob, she finds Boaz Branson both irritating and intriguing. How can she know if the handsome confidence man truly turns from his wicked ways, or if his interest only in her gold? Papa said let God’s peace lead her.

Only by God’s grace can Boaz escape the deceptions he plans to perpetrate on the beautiful heiress. While his head wants to flee the entanglement, his heart bids him stay.

Are Jewel and Boaz building on sinking sand, or have they found the golden nugget they seek?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

From the very first paragraph of this book, I was hooked.  Jewel is a strong, determined, and devout Christian.  She seeks to continue her earthly father’s work even though he died years ago, while also working to do the work of her Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.

This book is full of adventure, faith, and more.  I could not stop reading it.  I found it worth reading.  This historical Christian fiction book takes place primarily in the goldfields of Alaska.

Boaz’s salvation is one of the high points of the book, while the murder of Ned broke my heart, The way Jewel and Boaz come together despite initial intentions of Boaz’ parents makes the book more real. So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review,

About the Author

caryl-cabo-beach-225x300

Award-winning, hybrid author Caryl McAdoo prays her story gives God glory! That is why she writes, why she breathes. Her forty-fourth novel has just launched, joining her best-selling title list! Besides writing, she loves singing the new songs the Lord gives her. (Listen to a few at YouTube.) Ron, her husband of 50+ years shares four children and eighteen grandsugars—life’s best blessings, Caryl says. 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.

 

More from Caryl

Jewel’s Gold, my July release and book four in the Gold Diggers Collection, begins in San Francisco in 1895 and moves quickly north to Alaska on Troublesome Creek where Jewel’s papa has a gold mine. My husband Ron was on Troublesome Creek in 1993 seeking the Lord. While there, he also did a little prospecting.

To mention gold is to speak of wealth as gold is the most sought-after metal in the world. It’s found on every continent, and I’ve discovered it can be located our bodies as well! Mostly in our blood! Small traces have also been extracted from eucalyptus leaves, a favorite snack of Koala bears!

Jewel Jones is the daughter of Joshua Jones, son of Moses and Lanell introduced in SINS OF THE MOTHERS, book three in the Texas Romance Family Saga. Truth be known, little Joshua was in fact a Wheeler, not as Jones, though Moses reared him as his own son.

His real father was Caleb who married Mary Rachael Buckmeyer and talked her into running off to California. So, this book may also be classified as a ‘Companion Book’ to that highly acclaimed historical romance series.

Ron has always wanted to go back and show me Alaska, and one day we most likely will go north . . . but only in the summer! Who doesn’t love leaving Texas for northern, cooler temperatures in the summer?
This story has a little mystery along with the romance and history. When we drove the Oregon/California Trail last December, we visited the site of Sutter’s Mill where the gold rush of 1849 was born. That last place we went before turning south and east back to Texas was an unexpected stop.

On the American River, the park and museum offered an amazing place to visit, and knowing this book was on the schedule made it all the more interesting! I also believe that place will add to the genuine feel of Jewel’s Gold.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 13

Power of Words, August 14 (Spotlight)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 15

Emily Yager, August 16

For Him and My Family, August 17

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, August 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 19

Simple Harvest Reads, August 20 (Spotlight)

Blossoms and Blessings, August 21

Texas Book-aholic, August 22

janicesbookreviews, August 23

Artistic Nobody, August 24 (Spotlight)

A Reader’s Brain, August 25

Inklings and notions , August 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl 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 the link below to enter the giveaway.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71d/jewel-s-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for The Story Raider

About the Book

the-story-raider-cover-194x300

Book: The Story Raider

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

Genre: Christian YA Epic Fantasy

Release Date: July 23, 2019

Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game.

Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret—Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse.

As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone—least of all herself.

The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent.

 

Click here to grab your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

This young adult novel is one worth reading.  As a homeschooling mother, I appreciate having the opportunity to read and support works by other homeschooling parents.  This second part of The Weaver’s Trilogy is worth reading.

Queen Braith assumes the throne after her father dies, but assuming a throne is not always easy.  Queen Braith finds her title in danger.  The storyline is artfully created and spun to maximize the effect.  I love how everything comes together.  Even though there is one more installment to this story, I felt it concluded in a way that left me satisfied.

It includes adventure, danger, and more.  The characters are interesting, and the storyline kept my attention.  I love the idea of color playing a major role in a story.  The Story Weavers add intrigue to the story as well. I found it difficult to put this book down.  I am looking forward to reading the third installment of this series to find out how everything ends.

 

About the Author

Lindsay A. Franklin is a best-selling author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following. You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.

 

More from Lindsay

I often get asked how I came up with the idea for The Story Peddler, book 1 in The Weaver Trilogy. It’s a dangerous thing to dig too deep into a fantasy novelist’s imagination (it’s pretty weird in here, you guys), but the short answer is I was sitting in a workshop at a writers’ conference, and an acquisitions editor made a comment—something like: “I have to peddle your stories to executives. At the end of the day, I’m just a story peddler.” When I heard that phrase, my imagination exploded. I thought of what a “story peddler” might look like if we added a little wonder and a sprinkling of fairy dust to the equation. Then Tanwen emerged as a character who might be a fun vehicle for this story-peddling process, and I imagined a story that would suit her. The Story Peddler was born.
But someone recently asked me why I visualized the supernatural art of storytelling in the way I did—as strands of color, light, fabric, or glitter coming out of the hands of the person telling the story, then crystallizing into a solid object for her to sell. And I have no real answer for that, except, again, “It’s pretty weird in here, you guys.” The Weaver Trilogy is a celebration of creativity and art, and that gave me reason to think about what other types of strand-weavers in this story world might look like.
If you’re new to the series, here’s a primer on the weavers you’ll find in these books.
Storytellers: Strands pour from their hands as they tell stories. When they reach the moral or ending of the story, the strands come together to form a crystallized sculpture. A story peddler then sells the sculptures to make her living.
Songspinners: Strands are lighter, airier, and come from their mouths instead of their hands as they sing. Songspinner strands are emotive and speak to the hearts of the hearers. Once the song is over, the strands disappear.
Colormasters: Strands are like streams of paint, ribbons of fire, or jets of water. When they hit a solid object, they create an image on the object. Colormasters seek to reflect the beauty of their surroundings, capturing the physical world exactly as it is or simply as it feels.
Stoneshapers: Their hands light up as they manipulate rock and stone with their fingertips. They create beauty by molding something that already exists and releasing the art trapped inside.
If that sounds like fun, welcome to my weirdness! Tanwen can’t wait to weave a sparkling adventure for you.

Giveaway

 
To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, The Corsyth custom Story Peddler candle from Novelly Yours, The Cethorelle custom Story Raider candle from Novelly Yours, choice of two tea tins from the Adagio Story Peddler Tea Shoppe, “Hedgenibblers, fluffhoppers, mountainbeasts, oh my!” mug
Story Peddler book sleeve, Story Raider enamel pin, and assorted bookmarks, stickers, and art prints.
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Daughters of the Northern Shore

daughter-of-northern-shores-1

About the Book

daughters-of-nother-shores-cover-197x300

Book: Daughters of Northern Shores

Author: Joanne Bischof

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the Norgaard orchard after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade, where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s—which is already imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

MY THOUGHTS (1)

I have to say this book captured my interest and attention at times, but other times, I found it difficult to focus.  This book has many characters, several settings, but Joanne Bischof does a good job of integrating those strands into one cohesive storyline.

Aven demonstrates incredible strength and character.  Thor, though deaf, personifies the protector.  But when a mysterious illness takes his health, others have to step up and help protect their family.  One of these individuals is his prodigal brother Haakon, who has returned to the family.

I think out of all the characters Aven was my favorite.  She has overcome incredible heartbreak in her past – including being orphaned and widowed prior to meeting and marrying Thor.  She overcomes Haakon attempting to take advantage of her.

While set in the present, I appreciated the explanations about the family’s past that help set the stage for the story.  So if you like historical fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

bischof-joanne-215x300

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com; Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof; Instagram: @JoanneBischof.

 

More from Joanne

One of the questions I receive most often is “How do you get it all done?” As a single, homeschooling mom, I’ve long-since learned that there would be easier ways to have a day job than being an author, but God has been gracious in providing abundantly in so many areas. Here are four that I am most thankful for as I look back over the last few years, including this season of writing Sons of Blackbird Mountain and Daughters of Northern Shores.

 

Togetherness

Now, most authors would agree that “togetherness” isn’t exactly conducive to quality writing time – especially when kids are involved! And while I do need quiet focus to be able to work through a scene or chapter, what I’ve been thankful for is the chance to share story and research discoveries with my children. It’s created more unity around the stories. Instead of needing to usher the kids away, isolating them from the novels I’m writing, I’m able to invite them into them. For the Blackbird Mountain series, I walked them through the Pinterest boards, showing them the different characters. Then we did a history unit on Vikings since that’s the Norgaard Family’s background. We had a blast and it helped make “the story that Mom was working on”, something that they were more aware of and interested in. For my current work-in-progress, we just recently finished an all new history unit including visits to a few local museums and stories that the kids wrote on their own!

 

Patience

I used to want to write, write, write all the time. And often, that’s what I did! Well, I still would love to write as often as I can, but God has been teaching me something oh-so-important: patience. As part of this, I set aside certain parts of the week for writing office hours. These slots of writing time typically occur on Tuesday evenings, and include a few additional 1 ½ hours slots during the week, once homeschooling is done. In this manner, I am able to carve out some quiet writing time while still making sure the kids are having a great and productive day. But for any writer or working mom, we can agree . . . that’s not a lot of time when added up! In God’s wonderful provision, though, He seems to extend much richness to those little snatches of time. They might not be many, but they are mighty! It’s been a prayer of mine for several years now, that by keeping my writing below these other priorities, that God would help me fill in the cracks of time and energy—and He has been so faithful to supply. I still have my moments when I feel frazzled,  especially when deadlines are near, and that’s why I am thankful for this next lesson that God has been teaching me . . .

 

Communication

The thing about living with a writer, is that you often find them staring at a computer screen. That doesn’t look all that productive, does it? But what we’re doing on the other side of that screen is weaving a story-world of plot, characters, purpose, and heart. Typing words onto the page that we hope will touch lives, digging through old articles for research, or jotting down messy plotting notes that we pray will somehow amount to a story one day. By communicating with my kids (like sharing with them about the story and characters) I’m able to help them see what I’m doing and why. And since kids can be rambunctious and full of life (and questions, and needs for snacking, and ideas, and messes . . . *wink*) and since this writer works well with quiet, I have a little chalkboard that I hang on my doorknob when it’s one of my “office hour” slots. I jot down my start time and end time for that 1 ½ hour block, add a heart or smiley face, and often make note of what our next task will be like preparing a meal or doing an activity together. Then I shut my door and the little sign dangling from the knob outside helps the kids remember what I’m up to. It reminds them that I won’t be tucked away for long, but that I do need to focus for a little while. They’re always allowed to come knocking if a need arises, but for the most part, they’re happy on these afternoons with their own projects. When the hour or so is up, we reconvene and go back about our day, usually slipping into something fun that we do together. By having these slots of time in the week, and by communicating carefully with them in a way they can understand, it helps to bring us all what we need.

 

Grace

There are days when I blow it, and days when I need a lot of grace. Maybe I’ve spilled iced tea on one of the research books (don’t worry, this is a hypothetical example 😉 ) or maybe I didn’t save a scene properly, or just feel stuck and exhausted with a plot thread. These days can certainly tamper with the harmony, which begins with my heart and the need to remember the reason for why I write these stories: for God’s glory. When I begin to lose my calm, or grow frustrated or weary with the challenges afoot, I know it’s time to circle back to what it’s all for. It’s for the readers, it’s for my children, it’s for my joy, and most of all, it’s for God’s glory. By me being harried or stressed, very little of this is being accomplished! God has used the writing process to speak to my heart in ways that have reminded me of what I can surrender, and more and more of the ways that I can look to HIM for guidance. The lessons aren’t always easy, but through each season, and through each book, I have come to see more and more all the ways to be thankful.

Blog Stops

Retrospective Spines, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 6

KarenSueHadley , August 7

Batya’s Bits, August 7

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

By The Book, August 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 9

Adventures of a travelers wife, August 9

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 10

Betti Mace, August 10

Connie’s History Classroom, August 11

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 12

Moments, August 12

Simple Harvest Reads, August 13

Connect in Fiction , August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 13

Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 14

Bigreadersite , August 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 15

Daysong Reflections, August 16

Living Life Free In christ, August 16

A Reader’s Brain, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17

Inklings and notions , August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 19

LifeofLiterature, August 19

As He Leads is Joy, August 19

Disclaimer

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Full Circle

full-circle-celebration-tour-banner-1

About the Book

full-circle-cover-188x300

Book: Full Circle

Author: Athena Dean Holtz

Genre: Memoir

Release Date: February 11, 2017

Athena’s driving desire for affirmation and attention pulled her away from her family, husband, and children into what she thought would bring happiness. Deceived by Scientology, forays into mysticism, and twelve years in a restrictive and legalistic cult, she lost everything—her marriage, relationships, home, business, money, and reputation.

This is the candid and inspirational story of how her eyes were opened, how God restored what had been lost, and gave her the desires of her heart, including a new love.

 

Click here to get your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

Full Circle is a powerful and compelling book about what happens when someone tries to make their own path by allowing work to take over his or her life.  From the moment I picked the book up to read, I was captivated.  From a broken childhood, a dysfunctional start to adulthood and more, this book has a lot of examples of what not to do.

Athena Holtz experienced numerous lows and highs in both her personal life and her professional life.  She went from having it all to losing everything.  She illustrates the danger of cults and the damage they can do in all aspects of someone’s life.

At the same time in the second part of the book she does an incredible job of illustrating God’ love and mercy. Through God’s Grace she escapes two cults, restoration with her family, and a second chance in publishing.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of your this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Authors

athena-holtz-199x300

Athena Dean Holtz has been at the forefront of Christian custom publishing for the last 30 years. The co-founder of WinePress Publishing, she now leads Redemption Press. Author of three previous books, and a highly-rated personal blog, she serves as president of the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association, is a president’s club member of the Christian Women in Media Association, and a member of Advanced Writer & Speaker Association. She recently retired as host and interviewer on “Always Faithful Radio,” KCIS, Seattle. Married to Ross Holtz, pastor of The Summit, Athena enjoys her grandchildren and time spent sailing. The couple makes their home in Enumclaw, Wash.

Inger J. Logelin is a freelance writer, author, and senior editor of Redemption Press. Ministry experience includes pioneer church planting among the Inuit, and a wilderness camp for First Nations youth of Canada, as well as short-term missions around the world. She and her husband make their home on Whidbey Island, Wash.

 

More from Athena

When people hear about my Job-like experience with the modern-day Cinderella story ending, I often hear remarks like “WOW, that should be a movie!” It has been six and a half years of full-on redemption and restoration and, honestly, I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming this!

After 12 years of spiritual abuse that left me a shell of a person, devastated and distraught, I began a breathtaking journey of healing for all the loss I’d endured. The loss of my 18 year marriage, destroyed relationships with my adult children, the death of my well known publishing company and destruction of my career, along with the fatality of my credit score as I lost my home, my income, and all material things that meant anything to me. Those 12 years of deception cost me big time, but we serve a Romans 8:28 God who uses all things, even that, for good.

I’m on the other side now, healed and restored, proclaiming the faithfulness of a God who used what the enemy meant for evil … for good! I love the creativity He uses in the redemption process … to think He would allow me to be a pastor’s wife now … hand-picked by my pastor-hubby’s late wife of 49 years … with restored relationships with my adult children and grandchildren … to be a radio show host interviewing authors whose stories ring of the faithfulness of God … to steward well another publishing endeavor called Redemption Press … so many full circles where God’s sovereignly connects the dots and brings insight that mends my soul.

I’m excited to share my story with you, to be authentic and transparent, and to reflect the glory of God. I pray that you’re encouraged by all that God has done, and that you’re left with a healthy dose of hope in His faithfulness and His ability to bring good out of bad, every time.

And now, I’ll leave you with an inviting peek into some trivia about my life…

My Uncle Skeeter is a famous actor, James B. Sikking. Known for his part as Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues and Doogie Howser’s Dad.

When I was 14 years old, I owned 7 horses and showed most of them in horse shows across the country, with my last official show being Madison Square Gardens.

I absolutely LOVE Vizslas…also known as Hungarian Pointers…I’ve had 2 of them over the last 14 years and am addicted. They are THE COOLEST dogs!

I used to work for Helen Reddy, as an administrative assistant to her manager/husband, and before that, for the manager of Rufus & Chaka Khan when they recorded their first hit, Tell Me Somethin’ Good.

My Grandma’s house overlooked the Santa Monica beach and originally belonged to the silent movie star, Mary Pickford.

When I was five years old, my grandma, Dr. Sue Sikking, was the honored guest on the popular TV show “This is Your Life” with host Ralph Edwards. I was part of the cast when our family surprised her with our attendance, and fervently tugged on Mr. Edwards suit jacket to try to get his attention!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 10

CarpeDiem, August 10

Artistic Nobody, August 11 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 12

Texas Book-aholic, August 13

Girls in White Dresses, August 14

Power of Words, August 15 (Spotlight)

A Reader’s Brain, August 16

Inklings and notions , August 17

Just the Write Escape, August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 19

Simple Harvest Reads, August 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Athena is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and  signed copy of her book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71a/full-circle-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for The David Years

the-david-years-fb-banner

About the Book

the-david-years-182x300

Book: The David Years

Author: Lillian Duncan

Genre: Woman’s Lit

Release Date: August 2, 2019

Nia looked at her aunt and asked, “So what am I ‘spose to do now?”

“Have you ever heard of King David from the Bible?”

“I guess.”

“There were a lot of years between the time David was anointed as the king and he actually became the king. It’s a time for you to grow in your relationship with God.”

“And then later I get to be king?” Nia giggled.

“I meant that figuratively not literally but these are your learning years–your David Years.”’

“My David Years. I like that.”

Nia Johnson has spent the past four years developing a closer relationship to God. She wants to believe she’s still anointed to become a healer at Puzzle House but as each year passes, she has more and more doubts.

Now that she’s graduated from high school and is an adult she is sure it’s time to take the mantle of healing Rachel passed to her so many years before. But the harder she tries, the more it eludes her.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

 

cropped-add-a-heading.png

What if like King David you were told as a young person you were anointed by God for a special purpose.  What if that anointing came after you had been healed by God from leukemia?  What path would you take?  This is exactly what happened to Nia. At Puzzle House, she was healed and then told she was anointed to be a healer in her future.

I think one of my favorite characters in this entire story is Nia’s aunt.  She loves her niece and does anything she can for her.  Her aunt took her in when her own mother did not want her.

Another person I really appreciated in this story was Bart.  After his mother dies unexpectedly he questions God’s purpose and plans for his life.  I can not imagine losing my mother when I was a senior in college.  He demonstrated how even the strongest supporter of Jesus can have doubts but then brought back into the fold.  Nia’s college advisor showed love, mercy, and compassion for both Bart and Nia.

Sunny is the only person I really did not like in this story.  I had a feeling she was not the person she claimed to be.  When I read about her giving Nia a crystal, I was sure there was something more to her story.  I was glad when Nia elected not to move in with her.

The idea of having “David Years” where you know you have a purpose, but you still are living your normal life until God’s time for you to act comes kept me interested in this story.  I have to say this story ended perfectly for Nia and Bart.  Now I would just like to see what happens with Keisha and Tanya (especially Tanya after she came to a relationship with God).

So if you want to read an inspiring story, check out this book for yourself.  I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

lillian-duncan-238x300

Lillian lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband. She writes the types of books she loves to read. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that demonstrate God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things.

She was a school speech pathologist for over 30 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease.

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.com.

 

 

More from Lillian

The David Years is the second novel in the Puzzle House series. In Puzzle House, Nia was anointed to become a healer. The David Years starts out where Puzzle House stopped.

Nia looked at her aunt and asked, “So what am I ‘spose to do now?”

“Have you ever heard of King David from the Bible? There were a lot of years between the time David was anointed as the king and he actually became the king. David was tested many times during those years. Those years were very important to David’s growth as a man so that he would be the king God wanted him to be when the time was right.”

“So what are you saying, Auntie?”

“I’m saying these are your David years.”

And so the story begins. Most of the book takes place after Nia’s high school graduation during her first year in college. She’s impatient to begin her time as healer and tries to make that happen in her timing—not God’s.

But God will not be rushed and whether Nia likes it or not, she’s still in her David Years—her learning years. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘we learn from our mistakes.’ Well, Nia learns a lot that year. In other words, she makes a lot of mistakes.

My college years are long, long past so I thought it might be hard to get into the mindset of a college student, but it really wasn’t. I thought back to all the mistakes I made during my college years and the story took off from there!

Even though Nia is a college student, her story will resonate for anybody who’s facing changes in their life, no matter the age. We all have learning years throughout our lifetime—our very own David Years.

Life changes whether we want it to or not. A new marriage. A baby. A divorce. A new job. Retirement. No matter what age we are, we all struggle with finding our place in the world, especially when life changes. The good news is that as Christians, we may not have all the answers, but we know where to find them.

Blog Stops

CarpeDIem, August 3

Book Love, August 4 (guest post from Donna Cline)

Artistic Nobody, August 5 (Spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 6

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 7

Power of Words, August 8 (Spotlight)

Just the Write Escape, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 11

Texas Book-aholic, August 12

Bigreadersite , August 13

janicesbookreviews, August 14

A Reader’s Brain, August 15

Inklings and notions, August 16

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lillian is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the choice of one of her eBooks!!

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/e57c/the-david-years-celebration-tour-giveaway