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

Review and Giveaway for Starla’s Christmas Conundrum

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About the Book

Book: Starla’s Christmas Conundrum

Author: Carol E. Keen

Genre: Holiday Romance

Release date: July 5, 2018

In the greatest conflict of her life, can she figure out who to trust?

Starla Devaroux is at the peak of her music career. Life as a popular Christian music artist is good. This Christmas she finds herself at the crossroads of several life-altering choices. It’s quite a conundrum; the path she takes this time will not only define her future but alter the lives of others as well.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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Living in Texas during the summer means dealing with hot weather!  So reading a Christmas book that includes mentions of snow and Gatlinburg, Tennessee provides the perfect escape.  For two years, I attended college at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  One of our favorite day trips was to Gatlinburg.  So I loved the primary setting of this story.

Starla, a Christian singer superstar, feels the need to escape from the stress of performing and more.  However, her manager (caring on the surface) wants Starla to keep performing and more.  From the beginning, I knew I did not like the manager.

However, when Starla meets the star of a Christian Rock Band, the two instantly connect.  The scenery in the story is described in breathtaking detail.  Having been to Gatlinburg myself, I felt like I was back there through the pages of this book.

The characters are well-developed as is the storyline.  This book is the perfect summertime read to escape the heat or the perfect book to read during the Christmas holiday season.  So check it out for yourself.

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

About the Author

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Carol E. Keen enjoys fresh coffee, hot tea, and a good book. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses.
She is the author of The Beauty Series and The Corandira Station, to name a few of her works. She currently resides in the South with her husband and family and spends her time writing, reading, working in photography, and being with her much loved critters.

More from Carol

This book started off in an anthology and now is its own ebook. Christmas and romance go well together, and so I set forth to create a book that could meet that challenge. When I started thinking about writing this, it made me want to use one of my favorite locations as the main setting for this book. When you read it, I hope you will feel like you had a mini-trip to that area. (It’s beautiful there!) I also wanted to include writing about things that I’m very involved in or know a great deal about. Music is one of those things. I hope you enjoy Starla and Mason’s story and the things that God brought about in their lives in this book.

Blog Stops

My Devotional Thoughts, July 6

Artistic Nobody, July 6 (spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

Godly Book Reviews, July 8

Retrospective Spines, July 9

Splashes of Joy , July 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 10 (spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 12

Texas Book-aholic, July 13

janicesbookreviews, July 14

Through the Fire Blogs, July 15

A Reader’s Brain, July 16

For Him and My Family, July 17

Inklings and notions, July 18

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 19

Power of Words, July 19 (Spotlight)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away a grand prize of a $10 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/e53f/starla-s-christmas-conundrum-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Christmas, family, Fresh Produce, Holidays, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Band, Uncategorized

Monday Musings

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So last week was a very busy week around our home.  We were preparing for our Band and Strings concert.  Our youngest son was supposed to have a tennis class.  Plus, my husband and I went on a partial weekend date to San Antonio – primarily so we could pick up a produce order from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning before we rushed home to play in the concerts.  Here are some pictures of our Bountiful Baskets produce.

But before I write more about the concert I have to talk about our date weekend.  This weekend we went someplace we had never been before – which is Wimberley, Texas.  This place amazed and astounded us.  Having moved to Texas from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the views and scenery around Wimberly took our breath away.  Even though it rained and was cloudy, we were still able to take a short walk to see the river/stream in Wimberley.  Here are some pictures.

 

The problem with all of our family members being in the band and strings groups is that it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Also, because I am one of the moms who helps coordinate things like the food for after the performances, it is even harder to get pictures of our whole family.  This time I failed completely at getting any pictures at all.  Here is one picture another mom took of us during the beginner strings performance.

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So now the Homeschool Band and Strings program are both on break until after the first of the year, but Nathan, Dennis (my husband) and I still have two performances this coming Saturday with the Community Band.  So be watching for updates next week about how that goes.  This Thursday we have a Christmas party for the tennis group as long as the weather cooperates.  Then Dennis, Nathan and I will be heading to Austin/Round Rock to go to Ikea and more.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the image below.

Posted in Christmas, family, Holidays, Uncategorized

What a Couple of Days

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This verse is very appropriate for this past week.  Our family was supposed to take part in our Christmas skit at our church.  Initially, the four children were supposed to participate.  Then, my husband and I were asked to portray Mary and Joseph.  But then, every single member of our household – from my daughter, our three sons, myself, my mother (who lives with us) and my husband became sick.  Our oldest wound up not participating in the skit.  So my husband took his role.  Our director found new people to play Mary and Joseph and I became an observer. Then to top it all off, we had adventures with our plumbing.  It was not the way I thought our Christmas weekend would go.  Here is a picture of my husband and two of our children playing Carolers, while our youngest son played a cookie.  All in all the skit went amazing.

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With everyone sick, we decided to have a quiet day at home for Christmas.  We had a good dinner.  And then spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Today, I am glad to say the plumbing is fixed.  Some members of the family are on the mend.  So we will pray the new year begins better than the way 2017 is going out.

So how was your Christmas?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Christmas, Church, Holidays, Homeschool Band, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Holiday Stress and Amazing Grace

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Holidays bring a lot of different things along with the happiness and joy that should come with the time of the year. Celebrating our Savior’s birth brings along numerous events, activities, practices, performances and more.  Last week, we had play practice for our Christmas program at church, band rehearsal for our Homeschool Band concert on Thursday and then the actual band performance Saturday night.  Along with the concert itself, which my middle two children, myself, and my husband played in the band, I had to help coordinate the food for the reception afterward.  Afterall, if we wanted people to attend our concert, the moms felt the people should be fed afterward. All of this brings a certain amount of stress.

But, then something happens to remind us of the joy of the season.  As all the moms entered the church, a remarkable thing happened.  All of the moms and especially the five moms who were playing in the band showed up wearing red tops and black bottoms.  Prior to the event, none of us communicated with each other.  So it was truly divine intervention.  Then some levity also happens, such as us all agreeing on what the color combination should be for the spring concert.  Or when everyone who attended the concert said how much they enjoyed the concert.

Now this week, we had play practice this evening, dress-rehearsal Saturday morning and then the actual performance during the Christmas Eve evening service.  Y’all, we have six, count them, I said six members participating in the program.  This means four children plus the two parents, who need not only costumes but also to learn line positions and more.  Our youngest son is playing a Christmas cookie, our other three children are playing Christmas carolers while my husband and I are playing Mary and Joseph.  By the time Christmas morning gets here, I think we will all be glad to sit back and enjoy the quiet Christmas Day we have planned.

But this is the things Christmas memories are made of and I know next year we will look back fondly on them.  It does not matter if everything is perfect.  It matters that we spent time as a family, participated and remembered that Jesus Christ was born, lived and died to save us all from our sins.

So how does your family handle stress at the holidays?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read more posts from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Homeschool Review Crew Posts

Our Holiday Traditions

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So our family is still getting ready for Christmas.  We have several traditions that we try to keep every year.  The first tradition is starting to decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  Usually, our tree goes up first.  Every year we try to buy the children a new ornament with significance to that particular year.  For example, this year I will be on the hunt for a saxophone for our youngest son and a baritone for our second son.  They have both started playing in our local homeschool band along with their father and me.

Another family tradition is going to a Candlelight Church service on Christmas Eve.  Being military, we have moved several times in the last eight years, so that does not necessarily work all the time.  Fortunately, this time last year, we found a new church that does have a Christmas Eve service.

Finally, another tradition our family enjoys is driving around to look at Christmas lights in the area where we live.  So of course, we have to put up Christmas lights outside ourselves.

What are some traditions your family enjoys at Christmas time?

This post is part of the Homeschool Review Crew’s look at our family traditions.  If you would like to check out some other posts, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Christmas, family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Getting Ready for Christmas

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So as has been the tradition of our family for a number of years, the day after Thanksgiving marks our movement into Christmas decorating.  Up until about two or three years ago, my husband took care of putting the lights on our tree.  But the banner has been passed to our oldest son.  The most crucial part of putting lights on our tree is that it has to pass the “Mom” test.  If I do not approve the person stringing the lights must improve upon it.  This year our son did a decent job with the light.

Here are some pictures of the tree going up and being decorated.

Here are some more pictures of the tree.

And here is the final product of our tree for 2017.

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Stay tuned to see the decorations for the outside of our house and the rest of our indoor decorations including our Nativity scenes.

When does your family decorate for Christmas?  I would love to hear from you.

 

 

Posted in Christmas, family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Getting Ready to Resume

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So our Christmas break is just about over.  For the last several years, we have elected to resume school the day of Martin Luther King Junior day.  We do this because my husband typically has a lot going on with work with all of the end of quarter reports, annual training preparations going into high gear and just other things that go along with the calendar year changing.  So we wait to take down our Christmas tree and put away our decorations when he has a four day weekend.  In the past, we had always left everything up until January 6th, or “Old Christmas”.  But now we go a little longer.

So as this week winds down, I will be making preparations for my three high school students to go back to school.  I really do not feel about this schedule, especially since we have moved to Texas.  I know during the summer, Dennis will be gone to annual training and the weather will be exceptionally hot, so doing schoolwork in the cool temperatures of air conditioning will be appreciated.

So what is going on where you are?  I would love to hear from you.