Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review for An Amish Christmas Bakery

an amish christmas bakery FB bannerAbout the Book

Book:  An Amish Christmas Bakery

Author: Various Authors

Genre: Amish Fiction, Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

Amish Christmas BakeryFrom bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious novellas perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston
As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters-and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle.
And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman
As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source-childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.

Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller
Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.

Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin
Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,  So combining that with stories about the Amish set in bakeries makes for a book completely worth reading.  I love how the characters, settings, and stories all come together.  Set in different bakeries in different parts of the country the stories weave together into one unforgettable story.

I think the first story sets the stage beautifully for this book.  The idea of having a metalworker create Nativity scene inspired cookie cutters to create a Christmas display for a bakery leads to incredible scenes in my mind.  Alyssa Byler finds herself so caught up in work that she loses sight of what is most important at Christmas – her family and her boyfriend.  The story captured my attention.

Then to have a story about a young woman trying to run her family’s bakery alone while her mother recovers from surgery demonstrates how we sometimes miss what is directly in front of our face. It is easy to get caught up in doing what seems to be easy rather than doing what is right and true.

Truly this is a book worth reading.  So check it out for yourself.

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

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of An Amish Christmas Bakery here.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 7

The Avid Reader, December 7

Chas Ray’ Book Nerd Corner, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 8

Books, Life, and Christ, December 8

preciousbitsandmusings, December 8

Quiet Quilter, December 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Life as Lanhams, December 10

Britt Reads Fiction, December 10

D’S QUILTS &BOOKS, December 10

Emily Yager, December 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 12

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

Older & Smarter?, December 13

Miss Tinas Amish Book Review, December 13

janicesbookreviews, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 14

Batya’s Bits, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 15

Lighthouse Academy, December 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 15

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 16

Nighttime Reading Center, December 16

EmpowerMoms, December 16

My Devotional Thoughts, December 17

Blossoms and Blessings, December 17

Hallie Reads, December 18

Inspiration Clothesline, December 18

Mary Hake, December 18

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 19

A Reader’s Brain, December 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 20

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review for The Camera Never Lies

The Camera Never Lies FB Banner About the Book

Book:  The Camera Never Lies

Author: David Rawlings

Genre: General fiction/allegory/magical realism

Release Date: December 3, 2019

cover Camera Never LiesDavid Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler, returns with another probing story: what would you do if your secrets were revealed to those around you?

Daniel Whiteley is a successful couples counselor who regularly puts families back together, helping them face up to the things in life they hide. But his own marriage is falling apart.

His wife, Kelly, knows Daniel is hiding something from her, but she doesn’t dare probe for fear her own secrets will be revealed.

When his grandfather dies, Daniel inherits an old SLR camera from a time when cameras pointed away from the person taking the photograph. On the camera is an inscription: “Use this camera wisely and remember, regardless of the picture you think you took, the camera never lies.”
When Daniel first uses his new camera he finds someone has already filled the roll of film. Annoyed, he processes the film and finds photos of a secret that he’s been hiding from his wife and daughter.
He has no idea who took them.

Now every time he uses the camera, the photographs reveal another secret about himself the he is desperate to keep-as well as those of his wife, which he is desperate to uncover.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Imagine having secrets from those you love and should share everything with all the time.  This situation is exactly what happens to Daniel and his wife Kelly.  The secrets they are keeping from each other could potentially devastate each other and their daughter.  But then Daniel’s beloved grandfather dies and leaves him a camera.  Daniel begins to experience strange things, such as an entire roll of film being taken by someone other than him.  But even stranger, when the pictures are developed Daniel sees things that never happened.

When a marriage counselor and his wife are having marital problems, who can they turn to (especially when the marriage counselor is a best-selling author who has secrets of his own?  I love how the story slowly winds its way through unexpected twists and turns.  Millie, daughter of Daniel and Kelly, is one of my favorite characters.  She sees everything and only wants her life to return to normal.

The book ends on a note I was happy with, but then an epilogue enters the scene that makes me want to read more about the characters in this book.  I feel there are so many more stories that need to be told.  So check out this book for yourself.  It is definitely worth reading.

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

About the Author

headshot-david-rawlingsDavid Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

 

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of The Camera Never Lies here.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 5

amandainpa, December 5

Older & Smarter?, December 6

Through the Fire Blogs, December 6

Blogging With Carol, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

For Him and My Family, December 7

Christian Bookaholic, December 8

Emily Yager, December 8

Splashes of Joy, December 8

As He Leads is Joy, December 9

Mamma Loves Books, December 9

Vicky Sluiter, December 10

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 10

Robin’s Nest, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

Genesis 5020, December 12

Remembrancy, December 12

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 12

Pause for Tales, December 13

A Reader’s Brain, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Seasons of Opportunities, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15

To Everything There Is A Season, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 15

Just the Write Escape, December 16

janicesbookreviews, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Hallie Reads, December 17

My Devotional Thoughts, December 17

Quiet Quilter, December 18

Literary Reflections Book Blog, December 18

Godly Book Reviews, December 18

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Breath of Joy! Winter Whispers

Winter whispers FB BannerAbout the Book

Book: Breath of Joy! Winter Whispers

Author: Kathy Joy

Genre: Non-fiction, Gift Book, Picture Book

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Winter whispersThe final book in the series, Breath of Joy, Winter Whispers speaks of the deep quiet earth movements that echo human proving grounds and transitions during rest. Photo Art and Prose. Three everyday celebrations on every page spread are not commercially Christmas but rather interrelational and spiritually poised. This is simply, because in Winter when the earth’s axis is the farthest away from the sun, people warm themselves and grow in the wonder of darkness, where God still sees us, breathing life.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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This book is amazing in both the words on the pages and the photographs and other images combined to create a beautiful image in the reader’s mind.  As I turned through the pages of the ebook, I recognized this was a book I would prefer to hold in my hands.  It is a book that could and should be displayed for others to read and enjoy.

The pictures and words flow seamlessly together.  As someone who loves the winter months and enjoys the snow, living in southeastern Texas for almost the past four years has created a longing to be back where snow is again.  This book fulfilled that longing.  Although I have not read the other books in this series, I now can say I definitely plan to get the series as physical books to have and to enjoy throughout the year.  Truly this is a book to be reexamined and pondered.

So check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

Kathy Joy's Publicity Photo E (Winter)Kathy Joy enjoyed being a popular Christian radio D.J. in Colorado for many years. When her husband wanted to move to Pennsylvania to take over the family farm, Kathy Joy accompanied him with their two young daughters. Four years later, Kathy Joy found herself a widow raising two teenagers. To stave off despair, she began writing three every day celebrations in a journal. Friends on Facebook began prompting her to write a book, and so the beginning of the Breath of Joy series began. Kathy Joy now works in human services, speaking wonder on the weekends to grief therapy groups, motivational corporate meetings, and women’s retreats. Some of her topics include Vision Board workshops, Being a Harbor Pilot, Mirroring the Savior, The Fifth Season, and A Christmas Tea.

 

More from Kathy

I’m so excited to join Celebrate Lit for this first real blog tour of my Breath of Joy series!
 
As a collector of celebrations, curating pithy delights and sharing them with my readers, I do hope you enjoy the visual experience and personal comfort offered in my Winter Whispers book.
 
Wintertime, especially Christmas and Valentine’s day, can be some of the toughest times of the year for people who have experienced trauma, or significant loss and grief. I’m one of those people.  Collecting three everyday celebrations for me was a means of refocusing on common joys in my life. They were a means of turning my despair into faith. Now, by publishing four books in less than two years, I have encountered another ladder of faith and I continue to face fear in order to live the adventure that God has for me.
 
Don’t you know, the Lord gives us many different kinds of gifts, and some of those gifts we would rather return to Him?  However, my seasonal “Breath of Joy!” books helped me not only to be thankful for the phase of life in which I found myself, but writing these books also built depth into my relationship with my real self, not my public persona, and specifically with the real God of the Bible.
 
It brings joy to my heart to collect snapshots of life and give my readers an opportunity to experience simple blessings in fresh, new ways. My books were borne out of sudden loss and grief when my husband of 23 years died of a massive heart attack. Gathering up my will to go forward, I remembered he always encouraged me to collect “beautiful moments” and write them down.
 

Now, when people connect with me, they say things like, “I couldn’t sleep, and so I picked up your book, and it gave me a new perspective that has helped me go on. If you can do it, so can I.” / “I went to one of Kathy Joy’s vision board making workshops. When I posted my board on the refrigerator, I had no idea how much I would rely on it to get me through the next year.  I am writing this to thank you for helping me stay out of the hospital for a full year.” /

“Just downloaded your file/book. Absolutely beautiful. I thought you wrote prose/poetry. Forgive me for putting you off. I loved perusing the pages. I went through it too fast. I need to sip it. I will peruse it again tomorrow. Totally different from what I thought it’d be. Hmmm. It’s more than a coffee table book. Gift book. Calming book. Nice, very nice.  Let me sit with it and ponder it. Lovely creation.
These kinds of receptions make my day. They let me know that God still has adventures for me to take and purposes for me to speak wonder into other people’s lives.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a copy of the book in reader’s choice of format!!

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/f1fc/breath-of-joy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books

Review and Giveaway for Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage

About the Book

Book:  Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage

Author: Gil Stieglitz

Genre: Christian Non-fiction

Release Date: November 2019

Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage: Pre-Marital and Marital Habits
It’s no secret that couples in great marriages do different things than couples in bad ones.
But what are those things and how do ordinary folks start doing them? How can couples take a struggling marriage or even one that is “pretty good” to one that is, quite frankly, ridiculously great?
Based on thousands of counseling hours and personal practice, Gil Stieglitz spells out the 15 essential habits found in great marriages that aren’t found in difficult ones. Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage provides the short and dirty version of what it takes to have a marriage that is so great, other couples will stand up and notice—they might even call it “ridiculous.”
This book is a real game-changer for engaged couples just starting out, couples who are struggling, or couples who just want to take their marriage from good to ridiculously great. It is also a terrific resource for pastors, ministry leaders, and counselors who work with couples for pre-marriage and marriage counseling.

 

Click here for your copy.

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Okay, I need to start off by saying the title of this book grabbed my attention.  I do not necessarily think of “ridiculous” as being a good way to describe a marriage.  But as I began reading Dr. Stieglitz explanation about “ridiculous” in terms of  marriage, I found myself caught up in his explanation.  After all, my husband and I have been married for over 27 years, and I want to be able to say that we have a “ridiculously great marriage.”

As I look back on the marriage of my husband’s paternal grandparents, I can honestly say they had a ridiculously great marriage.  The type of marriage they had is the type of marriage I want to have with my husband.

This book does an excellent job of providing guidance for steps to take to protect, strengthen, and nurture a marriage.  While I know our children will always be our children, I also recognize the fact that our children range from 23 to 17 and will eventually leave our home. I want to know my husband and I have taken steps to create a lasting, meaningful, and Biblically-based marriage that will stand the test of time.  This book provides tools and techniques for doing exactly that.  From things such as spending time alone together to scheduling a weekly “Staff meeting’, the ideas are ones that any couple can do (even those without a lot of extra money floating around.

So if you are looking for a book to strengthen and enrich your marriage, check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

Dr. Gil Stieglitz is a prolific author, engaging speaker, and insightful pastor who has spent thousands of hours helping, coaching, and strengthening marriages. Gil has written over twenty-five books on marriage, parenting, soul development, and spiritual warfare, including top-seller Becoming a Godly HusbandGod’s Radical Plan for Wives, and Marital Intelligence. He speaks to thousands of people each year about the wonders of God’s principles. Gil now serves as Discipleship Pastor at Bayside Church, a dynamic multi-site church near Sacramento, CA. He is on faculty with Principles to Live By, a nonprofit organization that helps people connect to God’s principles in everyday life. He and his wife, Dana, enjoy a ridiculously delightful life in Northern California. For more information, visit ptlb.com.

 

More from Gil

After thousands of hours counseling couples for marriage and pre-marital issues, I had a few couples who just wanted to know the very basics of what they needed to do differently to have a much better marriage. These concepts, coupled with some pre-marital counseling I was doing at the time, allowed me to develop a quick and dirty list of the top ten habits couples should develop if they really wanted a terrific marriage. I asked them to trust me in what I was telling them, and they did what I requested. The results were amazing.
For the purposes of this book, I have added five more habits great couples do to make the material even more robust and effective, and I included the exercises I used in my counseling sessions for couples to practice and work out. Think of this book as the low down of what makes a marriage “ridiculously great.” This is the kind of marriage that will constantly surprise you with delight, love, growth, energy, longing, and connection. It is beyond the norm—where you feel like you lucked into this great relationship with this amazing person.
If you showed up in my office and asked me to give you the bottom line, these are the things I would tell you to do. Many people know what they are doing is not working, and they just want to know what to do. These fifteen things are what work…no joke.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Holly Jo Morris, December 7

Spoken from the Heart, December 8

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 9

Mary Hake, December 10

Stories By Gina, December 11

Artistic Nobody, December 12 (Author Interview)

Discipling4Life , December 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 13

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

janicesbookreviews, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 16

Inklings and notions, December 17

A Diva’s Heart, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 19

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Gil is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card plus a signed copy of Gil’s 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/f23b/building-a-ridiculously-great-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Heart of a Royal

Heart of a Royal FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Heart Of A Royal

Author: Hannah Currie

Genre:  Young Adult/Royalty

Heart of a Royal coverBrought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?

 

Click here to get your copy!

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Many little girls dream of being a princess.  Mackenna received that opportunity when she was little.  But when she gets older she faces the reality of being sent back to the common roots she was from originally.  Falling in love with a prince does suit the personal plans of the king.

Trying decide who’s to trust and what to believe can be hard. Mackenna faces that decision.  Her struggle is worth reading about.

The characters are interesting and the story is captivating.  This first book in this series is definitely worth reading.  Check it out for yourself.

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

 

About the Author

Hannah currieAussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at http://www.hannahcurrie.com.

 

More from Hannah

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia.

I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!].

The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.

But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title.

Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.

Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there.

Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.

Blog Stops

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 28

CarpeDiem, November 28

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 28

Hallie Reads, November 28

Emily Yager, November 29

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Through the Fire Blogs, November 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 30

Back Porch Reads, November 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Books, Life, and Christ, December 1

Mia Reads Blog, December 1

Bigreadersite , December 1

Kathleen Denly, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

She Lives To Read, December 2

Texas Book-aholic, December 2

A Baker’s Perspective, December 3

Livin’ Lit, December 3

Kat’s Corner Books, December 3

The Becca Files, December 4

Becka Jiménez , December 4

HookMeInABook, December 4

janicesbookreviews, December 4

Blossoms and Blessings, December 5

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 5

Just the Write Escape, December 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 6

Avid Reader Nurse, December 6

For Him and My Family, December 6

A Reader’s Brain, December 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 7

Moments, December 7

Simple Harvest Reads, December 7

Remembrancy, December 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8

Pause for Tales , December 8

Inklings and notions, December 8

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

For The Love of Books, December 9

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 10

Just Your Average reviews, December 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 10

Living Life Free in Christ, December 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 11

Batya’s Bits, December 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1a8/heart-of-a-royal-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Having Tried Everything & The String Theory Beginning With Me

String theory and Having Tried FB Banner

About the Books

Book: Having Tried Everything & The String Theory Beginning With Me

Author: Tonia Colleen Martin

Genre: Coffee Table Gift, Adult Fairytale Illustrated

Release Date: July, 2019

Having Tried Everything

Having tried everything coverSleep often eludes. We try this and we try that. Still, the night gives a wake up call we’d rather not answer. “Having Tried Everything” is the story of a terminally lonely insomniac who does answer. Stepping from the rut of routines and rituals, moving from the known to the unknown, she discovers not only mercy and abundance but who she is and the travesty and redemption of what it means to be human. “Having Tried Everything” is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicably true. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and the writer. The very act of embracing this narrative provides the first step toward the wonderland of connection, acceptance and gratitude. Where words abbreviate the astonishment of God’s signature on creature and creatures, the illustrations enhance and annotate. Suitable for all dreamers and courageous pragmatists.

 

The String Theory Beginning with Me

Sting Theory coverThe String Theory Beginning With Me is an illustrated prose poem tracing the journey to freedom from an internal landscape of chaos and fear. Using specific images from the natural world, this story condenses and simplifies a very slow, methodical transformation indicative of those who consistently seek the larger experience of living both in and beyond the here and now. Because of its metaphorical language and its delicate presentation, The String Theory Beginning with Me, has a universal appeal and is an ideal gift for both contemplatives and the spirited.

 

 

Click here to to get your copy of Having Tried Everything and here to get your copy of The String Theory Beginning with Me.

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Have you ever looked at the beautifully illustrated books for children’s picture books and thought you would like to have a picture book of your own.  These two illustrated books combine the best of text that will make you think with colorful illustrations.  They are the type of books that would be captivating to have sitting on a coffee table.

The text will cause you to think and reflect on what is important.  There are times you try everything and nothing comes out the way it should.  Having Tried Everything will help you reflect on relying on and turning to God when all else has seemed to fail.

The String Theory Beginning With Me is a wonderful poem with beautiful illustrations.  The focus on God makes this book worth reading.

So check out these two books for yourself.  These hardback books truly are worth reading.

I received copies of these books for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

Tonia Colleen MartinWhile I was still feeble in my selfness and narrow in my horizons, I became a collector of words. Words often come and go all on their own. I do my best to arrange them in beautiful order. This particular arrangement is called Having Tried Everything: An exploration of redemption, hope and possibility through the eyes of a terminally lonely insomniac. It is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicable. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and myself as the writer/artist. Thank You for stepping into this with me. The weight of this truth is surprisingly heavy and less accessible than I would like it to be. Divine Love and His intervention is the hope I often forget to cling. The Lie: You are alone and will end alone, has subtly confused me without my knowledge or consent for a very long time. My ability to escape its debilitating effects is in direct proportion to name it as a lie. The miracle of being designed for relationship with the living God despite my frailties continues to astound me. My value as a human being is not predicated on my good behaviors or bright countenance, but rather by God’s compassion and mercy. The unshakeable truth of my wealth given freely to me by nature of my design and God’s generosity is not mine alone. Thus, the You in the story is ours together. God bless you as you consider with me the miracle of God’s unmerited favor towards us based on nothing we’ve worked for or earned.

 

More from Tonia

On Labor Day morning, I woke up to an email reminding me I missed a deadline.

This is not the kind of message that incites creativity.

And now sitting here in my front garden, trying to imagine the sound of the neighbor’s leaf blower as that of a vigorous wind warming up to deliver an epic end-of- summer storm, I am face to face with a wordless me wondering how to communicate the enormity of what I want to be say…after all, what happens in these two little, tiny, shrunken, abbreviated, synthetic replications of what actually occurred in the chronological space of history crosses into speculative territory. And I haven’t even met you.

If you dream of traveling but time, money or fear has held you back, The String Theory Beginning with Meis a story boat meant to sail you safely into the intergalactic waters of your own lonely soul. If you worry about failure, Having Tried Everything  is an illustrated syllabus developed from a rubbing pressed against the gravestone of a dream, carefully framed by God’s healing light.  Both books are designed to give you a holiday from clock watching and move you into a space of heart throb time.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Just Your Average reviews, November 30

Simple Harvest Reads, December 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Texas Book-aholic, December 3

All 4 and About Books, December 4 (Author Interview)

janicesbookreviews, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Just the Write Escape, December 6

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, December 8

Inklings and notions, December 9

Andrea Christenson, December 10 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, December 11

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of each of the books!!

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/f1b7/having-tried-everything-and-the-string-theory-beginning-with-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for The Melody for the Mulberries

The Melody of the Mulberries FB BannerAbout the Book

Book: The Melody of the Mulberries

Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing

Genre:  Historic Southern Romance

Release Date: September 16, 2019

Melody of the MulberriesThis sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams.
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.

Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

 

Click here to get your copy!

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The Melody of the Mulberries is the second book in the Big Creek Series and takes place in the 1920’s.  It is a perfect book for anyone who loves and appreciates Appalachia lore along with West Virginia history.
Having spent time in West Virginia because my sister lived there for a while and having friends from the state, I recognize the unique qualities and traits of the people who live there.  This story examines traditional Christianity along with inter-racial relationships.  The book includes themes of family, faith, friendship, and the need to forgive.  It is a book I enjoyed reading.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book was reading the excerpts of Appalachia Folk Beliefs at the beginning of each chapter.  These excerpts add insight into the culture and ideas of the people who live in this area.  So check out this book for yourself.
I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Tonya BlessingMore about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.

More from Tonya

Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing

The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious.

The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan.

In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek.

The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart.

It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes.

If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”.  This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy!

Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27

For Him and My Family, November 28

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 29 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

Older & Smarter?, November 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 1

For the Love of Literature, December 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3

Pause for Tales , December 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5

Texas Book-aholic, December 6

janicesbookreviews, December 7

Betti Mace, December 8

A Reader’s Brain, December 9

Inklings and notions, December 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!

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/f19f/the-melody-of-the-mulberries-celebration-tour-giveaway