Posted in Uncategorized

Love Her Well – Review and Giveaway

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence and joy changes to doom and gloom as moms are told “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” and handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.

Love Her Well is a realistic yet optimistic guide to help mothers connect with their teenage daughters through the challenges of adolescence. Written by a mom of four girls and an author for teenage girls, it is packed with powerful insights, relevant stories, timeless truths, and common mistakes made in the mother-daughter relationship. By building a connection with your daughter as you parent her, you’ll gain a voice in her life that allows you to offer guidance, wisdom, and emotional support. Let’s change the narrative that leads moms to parent girls with a spirit of defeat – and instead parent them with a spirit of strength, especially during the critical teenage years.

I have a daughter who is about to turn 18 this year, so I definitely want to find joy and connection with her. I remember how close my mother and I were during my teenage years, and I want that with my daughter. Yet I also realize she will not be in the house long. This book does an excellent job of exploring how to love our teenage daughters well. You should read this book with a Bible and journal handy.

This book makes me want to sit down with either a cup of coffee or tea with Kari and talk for hours about life, daughters, and God. If you have pre-teens or teenage daughters or know someone who does, you definitely should check out this book. The evidence Kari has spent a lot of time researching this book comes through the pages as I read it. So check it out for yourself.

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

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is an author, blogger, and national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups and church groups to empower girls through faith.

Kari’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, TODAY Parents,Yahoo! News, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, and other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting http://www.kari kampakis.com or finding Kari on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

You can find Kari on Instagram – @karikampakis

You can purchase your copy of this book by clicking here.

#LoveHerWell #LoveHerWellBook #KariKampakis #Liked #10UltimateTruths #UltimateTruthsGirlsShouldKnow

Posted in Uncategorized

The Gentleman Spy – A Review and Giveaway

About the book
 
He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life
 
When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.
 
But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.
 
Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

The Gentleman Spy is the second book in the Serendipity & Secrets series. I love how the characters in this series are not perfect but instead have flaws that make them seem human. Charlotte and Marcus’ story drew me in and make me want to read the third book having already read the first book.

Charlotte’s parents attempt to marry her to any man willing to do so, regardless of his age or anything else. When Charlotte and her mother encounter the mistress of Charlotte’s father, her life and that of her half-sister forever changed. Marcus serves as a spy, but has also been forced to assume the title Duke of Haverly after his father and brother are killed in a carriage accident.

Marcus sets out to marry Charlotte after encountering her once as Hawk and then at a party they are both attending. I love how Charlotte speaks her mind and looks at the heart of people rather than just the surface. Marcus eventually recognizes he cannot neatly compartmentalize his life, and instead must embrace his new life with a wife who can support and encourage him.

Charlotte demonstrates through her words, actions, and prayers how to exemplify a life well lived for Jesus Christ. While the Christian themes are definitely present in this book, it is done in a way that illustrates the power of prayer and faith.

So if you like books set in England in the 1800s that examine being a spy and dealing with prostitutes who are there only because they have no where else to turn, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the author
E

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.  
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

Click here to enter the giveaway to win your own copy of The Gentleman Spy.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

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Maybe because our family lived in Texas for several years, I was interested in reading this book.  A CIA agent becoming an Evangelical preacher caught my imagination.  As I began reading this book, I quickly found myself caught up in the storyline.  The characters grabbed my attention.  Truth has its place and trying to find it can lead to unintentional consequences.  This book is the second in a trilogy and I definitely recommend reading the first book before reading this one.

Family members can complicate the romantic lives of other members, and Christine and John find this out.  I am looking forward to reading the last book in this trilogy to find out how things end.  So check it out for yourself.

 

An Interview with Andrew Huff,

Author of Cross Shadow

All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. There’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid the truth. Given his prior life, he thinks hiding the truth can protect those he cares about. A journalist out for the truth and a pastor avoiding it sounds somewhat backward, but that’s where Christine and John find themselves in Andrew Huff’s Cross Shadow (Kregel Publications), the second installment of the Shepherd Suspense series.

When Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, she vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. Christine wants to investigate on her own, but when John arrives, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of intrigue, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation and in trouble far deeper than they expected. A chain of events reveals a bigger conspiracy than either could have imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.

With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive. In the face of danger, will John’s former instincts kick in? Will he turn back to his old ways?

Q: For those who may not have read A Cross to Kill, tell us a little bit about John Cross and his past.

CIA assassin John Cross found himself at a crossroads in his life during a covert operation in Spain. He walked in on a Catholic Mass at a historic cathedral while tracking his target and couldn’t help but get caught up in the majesty of the building. Instead of fulfilling the requirements of the mission, John found an English Bible at a local bookshop and spent the night reading it. Convicted by his sin, he gave his life to Christ and resigned from the agency.

In an effort to pay penance for the targeted killings he was personally responsible for, John embedded himself in a small church community in rural Virginia and served the various needs of its members night and day. Impressed by his commitment to caring for them, and in need of leadership, the congregation offered him the chance to be their pastor. Thinking it might be another step toward paying the price of his past sins, he accepted, though he continues to hide the truth about who he used to be from the members of the church.

Q: How did John and Christine, the leading lady of Cross Shadow, meet?

On occasion, John would accept the call from the CIA to participate in rescue missions during his off time from serving the church. He was dropped into Amman, Jordan, on one such mission only to discover that the person he’d been sent to exfiltrate was Christine Lewis, a beautiful American journalist about to be executed by her captors. Using only a stun gun and his hand-to-hand combat skills, John stayed the execution and escaped with Christine. After he disappeared and all knowledge of his existence was denied, Christine made it her mission upon returning home to locate the man who saved her life.

Through a contact in Washington with mysterious ties to the intelligence community, Christine was given a hint to John’s true identity in the form of an address. She’s instructed to go there on Sunday, and when she arrived, she found John preaching a sermon in the small country church. John’s instinct was to run, but something caused him to trust her and reveal his story. Christine wanted to protect his secret, but forces beyond her control appeared, and she was caught in the middle as a choice from John’s past came back to haunt him.

Q: What are some of the relationship challenges John and Christine contend with? Why does Christine seem to be second-guessing their dating relationship?

Throughout the events of A Cross to Kill, John and Christine are drawn to each other like two magnets. After Christine gives her life to Christ, they decide to see if a dating relationship will work. What they find, however, is that neither is sure what such a relationship should look like as new believers. While the chemistry is still strong, their dates are consumed by John’s compulsion to train Christine in survival skills. Christine loves the small community of Rural Grove Baptist Church, but blossoming spiritual relationships and potential job opportunities keep her tied to New York City. Christine begins to wonder if her connection to John was anything more than an infatuation with his story.

While both are struggling to separate their identity from each other, the biggest challenge in their relationship comes from the lack of communication, both in the sense of the distance between them and also a lack of trust. John struggles to reveal more of who he really is for fear of driving Christine away while Christine struggles with planning her life around John for fear his plans might not align with hers. The tension in their relationship stems from their hesitancy to be truthful with one another when simply sharing their feelings would bring many of these struggles to light.

Q: Both John and Christine seem to have a problem with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Why does this keeping popping up as an issue throughout the story?

John’s life prior to Christ was built on one lie after another, and he’s been oblivious to how that has continued to be the case, even in the wake of his conversion. For him, there’s also an objective to the lie, because he is convinced that he needs to deceive others in order to protect them. John thought his only lie was hiding his past from the members of his church when in reality he’s been lying to himself about who he is and what he should do about it. Finding forgiveness for the lives he took was only the first step of John’s journey toward becoming the new man God has called him to be.

Christine has less of a problem telling the truth and more of a problem obsessing over it. To her, there’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. Sometimes, however, she finds herself willing to bend the truth in order to get at the truth on something else. New to Christianity, Christine is still learning about the balance between grace and truth, too often erring on the side of the latter at the expense of the former.

Q: Without giving away too much, can you tell us about the situations they encounter this time around in Cross Shadow?

With the first story, A Cross to Kill, we were introduced to the characters and saw what happens when John’s cultivated small-town life clashes with the fallout from his previous career. For the second book in the series, I wanted us to spend more time with Christine and see how her past might draw them back into a world of danger. Only now she sees the world from a new perspective based on her relationship with John.

On her way to an interview with a new network, Christine spots a suspicious character on the subway who turns out to be a suicide bomber. With the aid of an off-duty NYPD officer, Christine “defuses” (not literally; John didn’t train her to do that!) the situation and is thrust into the spotlight a second time. As if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of it all she learns the shocking news that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Dallas, Texas. Christine vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. But when John arrives to shadow her, it starts a chain of events that reveals a far deeper conspiracy than either could’ve imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.

Q: Christine is a national news reporter and in Cross Shadow has some opinions of her coworkers and how the network covers certain stories. What do you think her take would be about the current news of the day and coverage of events?

Before her kidnapping in Jordan, Christine felt at home among her colleagues at the network news division she works for. But upon her rescue and return, she can’t help but feel like most of the work happening in news is less about presenting truth and more about shaping it. I think she’d sense the same in the way news is covered currently, and she would be bothered by that. At the same time, she’s committed to the profession, and I think she would want to work to effect change from the inside.

When I created the character of Christine, I saw her as someone who went into the job believing she was an agent of change in the world, only to be stripped of her idealism by her captivity. Rather than turn cynical, the experience grounds her in reality and opens her eyes to the possibility that human beings can’t fix what feels broken about the world. That’s how her journey leads to John, then ultimately to Christ. She’s searching for something truly good and right. I think because of that, she’d be less interested in the sensationalism of today’s news and more in understanding the reality beneath the headlines.

Q: Trying to protect Christine from danger puts John in the middle of some moral quandaries. How does he handle himself mentally and spiritually in those situations?

The battle waging in John from the beginning is the tension between who he is now and who he was trained to be. His focus has been singularly placed on the act of killing. But what he’s suddenly faced with as he pursues a relationship with Christine and continues to serve as the pastor of his church is that the instincts drilled into him carry other moral prices as well. The more the situation in Dallas unravels, the more out of control John begins to feel with his own mental and spiritual status.

At the same time, he’s committed to protecting the innocent and preserving life, so he works to redirect his instincts to achieve those two goals. That’s what complicates his relationship with truth. If he’s convinced that what he’s doing is for the greater good, he’s quick to compromise on deception and manipulation. This is a struggle I have and have seen in others. By lying to ourselves about our intentions, we can sometimes make choices that are inconsistent with what we say we believe.

Q: Does John’s prior profession and the choices he made ever come back to haunt him?

Oh, all the time. The truth about the Central Intelligence Agency is that you never truly leave the Central Intelligence Agency. So, John keeps getting pulled back in, even when he says he doesn’t want to. The only problem is that he was really good at what he did. And not just the assassination part. Which begs the question: Should he go back? Was he only running from guilt when he decided to leave?

In Cross Shadow, we also examine his choice to accept the pastorate at his church despite being young in his faith and untrained for the ministry. From the outside looking in, he doesn’t seem like the best candidate to truly lead the church toward growth. Those were real questions that not only were present when I was writing the first book but have also been asked by readers afterward. I can’t wait for you to see how the story continues for him.

Q: What kind of research goes into writing about a CIA agent?

It does get tricky, especially when writing about members of the Special Activities Center (the CIA’s division for covert operations). The most important thing for me about writing these characters is to never make it feel like they’re learning any of it for the first time. Since we’re often in their perspective, there are certain actions they might take or things they might say that need to be second nature to them. That needs to be balanced with making sure the reader can follow along. This means I need to know my stuff!

A lot of my research comes from scouring the internet. (I’m sure the CIA knows how many times I visit their website.) But I also research movies and books too; other writers before me have done their homework, so I love to learn and be inspired by how someone else might have crafted the world of the United States Intelligence Community. A great book specifically on the CIA’s targeted killing programs is called Surprise, Kill, Vanish by Annie Jacobsen. It didn’t come out until 2019, so I didn’t have it as a resource for the first book, but I surprised myself with how accurately I was able to write some things with the then more limited knowledge about this particular aspect of the CIA.

Q: How long have you been working on the Shepherd Suspense series, and have you always wanted to write?

I worked on A Cross to Kill for several years beginning in 2014. The series didn’t start to take shape until two years ago after I signed with Kregel Publications for the book to be published. I originally wrote A Cross to Kill as a stand-alone novel, though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already thought about what I might do to continue the story with the characters. What I found most helpful in planning out the series was asking myself what lingering questions I had from the first story, and there were enough that the plots for the second and third books came relatively easy.

While I didn’t start attempting to write until I was an older teen, my passion for storytelling has been a part of my life from an early age. One of my favorite pastimes growing up was to tell stories using action figures (mainly to myself, but often with my brothers). I was also into art and would occasionally adapt those stories into drawings. I even made some short films based on stories I would write. In some ways, novels feel like a more recent addition to my repertoire of formats to tell stories in.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise for you as a new author following the release of your first book?

The biggest surprise has been the season following the release. I looked at the specific date of release as something akin to a movie’s opening weekend and expected there to be a lot of excitement over it immediately. I don’t know if you know this, but a book is very different from a movie, and while the release day was exciting, it’s been really fun to watch new readers discover the book over the months following its debut last October. I’m still getting reviews and messages about it (which is probably laughable for other authors to hear, but hey, I’m still new at this).

Another surprise has been how much I enjoy hearing the varied aspects of the book that different readers enjoyed. Of course, I know and love that each reader is their own unique person, but as an author, you are always trying to reach as vast of an audience as possible. And while many readers have let me know how much they love similar things, it’s been a lot of fun to hear the personal connection each individual has to certain themes or characters.

Q: What can readers expect from the final installment of the Shepherd Suspense trilogy, Right Cross?

A Cross to Kill featured a small-town setting with international intrigue. In Cross Shadow, I flip the script, and we get to go with John and Christine to a bigger city to solve a personal mystery. With Right Cross, both the locations and plot go big. I like to try and write the thrills of a Mission: Impossible movie onto the page with my novels, and the final book in the Shepherd Suspense series is the most M:I of them all.

At the same time, the characters have grown. They’re no longer wrestling with questions of identity and purpose. With a newfound confidence in their standing before God, they get a chance to be who they were ultimately created to be. And I’ve had so much watching that unfold. I can’t wait for readers to do the same!

Learn more about Andrew Huff and the Shepherd Suspense novels at http://www.andrewhuffbooks.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@huffwrites), Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff) and Instagram (@andyhuff).

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Direct Threat – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Direct Threat

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 1 2020

One little girl.

Two bodyguards.

Only one chance to guard their hearts.

Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety?

Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc.

When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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A child in danger, parents who want their child protected, a company that provided protection come together to make a spellbinding story.  Carissa Jones is a bodyguard and along with her partner Frank, she works to keep her client safe.  But Marc, Frank’s friend/brother enters the picture, and sparks begin to fly between Marc and Carissa.

A friend of Marc’s enters the picture and causes more questions than answers about why he is actually there.  Carissa’s childhood friend Julie keeps coming around, but does not set off red flags.  Yet the team knows someone is after Olivia.

Olivia demonstrates all the headstrong tendencies of a 9-year-old who is too smart for her own good.  Initially kept in the dark about what is going on and why Carissa is there because of Olivia’s parents, Carissa comes to the point where explaining to Olivia why she is really there is the only option.

Linda, the girl’s grandmother, resents the intrusion in her home, to begin with of the security team.  But based on certain things that happen, she recognizes the need for them to be there.  The love Linda and her husband have for their granddaughter shines through pages of the book.  I would love to read more books about this team of bodyguards.  I have a feeling there is a lot more stories to be told.

This book illustrates the power of faith and family.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

 

 

More from Kimberly

Direct Threat is the first book in the Protection Inc. series. The series follows a group of bodyguards who are all either former cops or military police. They are on location in Lincoln City on the Oregon coast in book one, but their business is based out of Seattle.

 

I’ve been to Lincoln City more times than I can remember, but I took a research trip there with my husband, specifically for this book.

 

While in Lincoln City my husband and I walked the same beach my characters walk. I studied the access points to the cliffside homes from the vantage point of the beach, as this was an important aspect in the story. We also visited the ice cream shop mentioned in the book. You’ll understand significance of the shop when you read the story.

 

My writing career has taken some twists and turns. When I first began writing in 2006 I wrote romantic suspense. Then switched over to writing contemporary romance, which turned out to be the genre of my first contracted book and many more after that. After writing several romantic mystery novels for my publisher, I decided to dust off my romantic suspense manuscripts and publish them. Direct Threat is one of those manuscripts.

 

I absolutely love reading and writing suspense as well as romance, so joining the two together comes naturally for me. I hope you will read and enjoy this story.

 

You can learn more about Kimberly Rose Johnson and her books at https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 26

A Baker’s Perspective, July 27

Texas Book-aholic, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Because I said so – adventures in parenting, July 29

Quiet quilter, July 30

Inklings and notions, July 31

Maureen’s Musings, July 31

For Him and My Family, August 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Daysong Reflections, August 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 4

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Mary Hake, August 5

Simple Harvest Reads, August 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Betti Mace, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 7

Blossoms and Blessings, August 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize 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/fe34/direct-threat-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

The Seer – Review and Giveaway

The Seer Celebration Tour

About the Book

Book:  The Seer

Author: Erin R Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: February 27, 2018

FC-The-Seer---LargerViktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.

For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.

Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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If you enjoy YA Fantasy, you should check this book out.  Viktor is a demon with one mission to kill the last Seer before she realizes who she actually is and what she is actually capable of doing. His estranged Matthias is an angel who also has one primary job – to keep the last Seer alive.

This story of brothers against brother is not a new one, but when they are forced to work together in order to save the Seer and Viktor’s life at the same time, this book takes the reader on an interesting journey.

Viktor has come to realize he made a mistake when he fell from grace and wants to end his life of torturing and killing people.  Matthias has to recognize he needs to help his brother in order to get all of them out of Bethesda – a sanctuary city.

The world-building in this story makes it one worth reading.  I loved reading Thea and watching as she comes to recognize she is able to see the Spiritual Realm.  It shows the effects secrets can have on a family.  If Thea has known about her gift earlier she wonders what her life would have been like

Truly this book illustrates the ramifications of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and the battle between good and evil.  So if you like Young Adult Christian fantasy, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

 

Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.

 

 

More from Erin

If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I’m still not a fan of change. It’s always been hard for me to transition from what I know, to the unknown, and then find a new normal. Let’s be honest. Stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge and stretch our faith. And as a result of stepping out, we hope that we will learn and grow.

I love messy characters, because life is messy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. It’s full of changes and situations. The characters in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, are no different. Each character has unique challenges. For some, they didn’t ask for change, and for others, they are stepping out on their own.

Here’s a little bit more about The Seer. The first book in The Kalila Chronicles:

For thousands of years, Viktor has carried out his orders from Lucifer faithfully. But after a recent demotion in rank, he has grown weary of the bloodshed. His latest order is to kill Thea, a seventeen-year-old Seer before her gift manifests, and she can see into the spiritual realm. However, his estranged angel brother, Matthias, intervenes on his plans. Seeing this as his way out, Viktor proposes that in exchange for leaving Thea alive, Matthias must escort him to the sanctuary city of Bethesda. Although, getting through the portal isn’t as easy as Viktor thought, and now he has to work with Matthias to protect the very girl he was ordered to kill.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 21

For the Love of Literature, July 22 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 22

Through the Fire Blogs, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25

Just the Write Escape, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Artistic Nobody, July 28 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 28

For Him and My Family, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30 (Author Interview)

April Hayman, Author, July 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 2

Emily Yager, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Seer, a Behind the Story Booklet of The Seer, and a $25 Amazon 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/fe2f/the-seer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Bible Studies, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network – A Review

The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network - A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

 

We are using The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network for Bible instruction.  With a husband who is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher, I am always on the lookout for new resources for our family to use for Bible study time, since I know the importance of spending time in God’s Word.  We can not develop a deeper relationship with Him unless we spend time reading the Bible and praying.  So when we had the opportunity to review this six volume set, I was excited to examine it.

According to their website, The LIFE Network’s mission is, “The LIFE Network is dedicated to the production, publishing, presentation, and provision of Christian learning resources.”

Allen L. Elder is the author and the founder of The LIFE Network.  Perhaps because he is from South Carolina, and I called South Carolina home for a number of years or perhaps because he is an ordained minister, I felt a connection with him and therefore his resources.

All of us as Christians are called to fulfill the Great Commission of going out and creating disciples of God.  I can remember my husband’s paternal grandfather (and an ordained minister) repeatedly stating to us that he was told to go out and tell God’s People what God had done for Him and I strongly believe in that ideal.  As a parent, I want our children to be able to commit to that idea as well.

This set of 6 physical volumes are meant to be interacted with and used for your family’s own unique experience.  The six volumes include the following:

  • VOLUME 1 – THE BIBLE’S STORY: GENESIS 1-11
  • VOLUME 2 – ABRAHAM AND ISRAEL
  • VOLUME 3 – THE STRUCTURE OF THE BIBLE
  • VOLUME 4 – THE LIFE OF JESUS ON EARTH
  • VOLUME 5 – THE CHURCH
  • VOLUME 6 – YOUR PART IN THE STORY

Here are pictures of each volume along with pages from inside them.

The LIFE Plan Volumes

 

Since our family has gone through the story of Creation and the book of Genesis numerous times, I decided we would skip to Volume 3 instead and look at the structure of the Bible first.  My intention is for our family to go through these books at a pace that allows us to dive deeper into ideas that capture our attention or that we desire to learn more about from any lesson.  I love that all you need to use these materials are the workbooks, a Bible or Bible App, some type of paper, pencils or pens, and I would recommend highlighters.

Each volume has 36 chapters.  So theoretically a family could go through one volume per school year.  Or if your family choses to do it year round, you could do it quicker than that.

Each lesson includes the aim of the lesson, background information, Scripture pages to read, outlines, a lesson glossary, and questions to complete.  At the end of each volume the answers are provided.

Our youngest child is 17, so I allowed everyone to do the reading and the questions on their own.  Then we came together to discuss the background, discuss the answers to the questions, and add any additional thoughts any of us might have had.

I appreciate that only the Scripture references are given too families can use the Bibles of their choice. Here are some pages from Volume 3 along with some pages we have completed.

VOLUME 3 - THE STRUCTURE OF the Bible

You can find The LIFE Network on Social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-LIFE-Network-107086190833458/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUTsUJO23JGLPF1oi3lRZZg

So if your family is looking for a Bible curriculum designed for disciple-making check out        The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network for yourselves.  It is worth examining.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts and experiences with this product this week, so click here or on the graphic below to read more of their reviews.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Still Small Voice

About the Book

Book:  Still Small Voice

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: July 24, 2020

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Because of their faith, twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, prevailed in the battle for the Tower of Light. But their victory did not stop the Dark One. Darkness continues to spread across Zoura’s frontier.

Now, in a vision, Mother tells them to light a second tower in Blooming Glen. Before they can set out on their journey with the Knight Protector, their Uncle arrives with a different set of instructions. He doesn’t trust the Knight Protector or the Mighty Mercenaries and believes the children should go to grandma’s house instead.

Unyielding in his belief, Uncle unknowingly leads the children off their path. And a misguided acolyte follows them. Lurking in the shadows, he strikes at every opportunity as the dark forces prepare to descend.

Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan are Zoura’s last defense. Can they convince their Uncle of the truth—that he must listen to the still small voice—and make it to Blooming Glen before the Dark One’s forces overtake them?

 

Click here to buy your copy!

 

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Still Small Voice is the second book in the Tower of Light series that chronicles the adventures of twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan.  These three children are still on a quest to find their parents and overcome the darkness threatening their land.  These three children with their animals with gifts along with weapons such a sword courageously put on the “Armor of God” to do what is right in God’s eyes.

With the help of the their uncle and the Knight Protector, they face danger head on through the power of the Holy Spirit.  At times I wondered about the uncle’s intentions, but by the end of the book I appreciated him as a character. This book illustrates how if we take the time to concentrate and listen, we are able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us in the right path.

At the same time, evil lurks around us because of the fall of man with Adam and Eve.  We need to overcome the power of darkness and step into the power of the light.  When we truly reflect God’s glory those around us who do not believe initially may step into the light themselves.

So if you enjoy fantasy novels, check out this book for yourself.  It is definitely worth reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. Follow his endeavors @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and http://www.brokken.net. Your children can grow their own faith and love of God by following the adventures of Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan (plus their pets!) at instagram.com/towersoflight.

 

 

 

 

More from Allen

Still Small Voice is the much anticipated 2nd book in the Towers of Light series.  We will be launching the book with a Celebrate Lit tour on July 24th.  Come on the tour to learn about some of the places author Allen Brokken visited to research the unique frontier setting for the series.  Five of the tour stops are interviews where he shares what he learned at different historical locations as well as his inspiration for the second book which focuses in listing for the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.

As defenders of the light, three children embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.

Louder than ever before, the message of listening to the holy spirit’s still small voice resonates with an urgency that demands action.

“Still Small Voice by Allen Brokken is an adventure of a lifetime! Filled with mystery, action, family bonds, and a healthy dose of animal friends this second book in the Tower of Light Series is a fantastic continuation of the journey of siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan. Their quest to spread the Light as Darkness creeps across the land is a faith-filled adventure worth joining. ~Katie Clark, author of the Enslaved Series”

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 23

For the Love of Literature, July 24

Artistic Nobody, July 25 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Vicky Sluiter, July 28 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

A Baker’s Perspective, July 31 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, July 31

deb’s Book Review, August 1

A Reader’s Brain, August 2

Through the Fire Blogs, August 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, August 4

My Devotional Thoughts, August 5 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe32/still-small-voice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Math, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

CTCMath 12-Month Family Membership – A Review

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Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

 

My son loves the math lessons in CTCMath’s full math curriculum and I love that he has access to all grade levels with the 12-month Family membership.  Several years ago, we decided to explore the option of using CTCMath for our math curriculum for our youngest two.   I love how we have access to all grade levels, limited work or effort is required on my part.  The videos and exercises are relatively self-explanatory at the high school level.  Plus, all grades are essentially collected for me.  For this review, our son was completing his Geometry course and beginning Algebra II.

CTC Math - Algebra II

The Algebra II course begins with:

  • Linear Sentences with One Variable
  • Segments, Lines, and Regions
  • Linear Sentences with Two Variables
  • Polynomials
  • Factoring Polynomials
  • Rational Expressions
  • Relations and Functions
  • Polynomial Functions
  • Radicals
  • Quadratic Equations and Systems
  • Conic Sections
  • Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
  • Sequence and Series
  • Matrices
  • Extensions

Some of the key benefits of this online curriculum is that it is for children in grades kindergarten to twelfth grade.  It goes all the way through Calculus, so for students who require higher level math it is the perfect fit.  It is perfect for students who need to catch up, or need to just keep up, and even for those who want to move ahead.  As a former math teacher, I love how students are allowed to learn at the their own pace rather than someone else’s pace.

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Each lesson contains a video that includes sample problems, online problems to complete as well as a worksheet.  The material is broken up into units, which is then broken down into lessons.  Our son appreciates having the ability to go through lessons multiple times since I require mastery rather than speed to move through the lessons.  As a former math teacher, I know math builds upon itself, so it is important to ensure understanding.  As students work through the online problems, once they press the enter button they know immediately if they got the question right or wrong.

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Another feature I love about this program is that it shows the students step-by-step how to work out the problems.  I require our children to work out their problems on paper so they can easily find where they made any mistakes at if they get the problem wrong.

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Parents have their own login information and can monitor what their children are doing.  Each week, I receive a detailed report that shows what my children have done during that week.  Depending on the child’s scores, they can earn award certificates that they can print off to keep.  Also, notification of these awards are able to be emailed to the parent when the award is earned.

Here are the Social Media Links for CTCMath:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctcmathofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ctcmath/?hl=en
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/ctcmath/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWn5e6974bpIEAe46VnovZw

So if you are looking for an inclusive Homeschool Math curriculum for your family, I suggest checking out CTCMath’s full math curriculum and their 12-month Family membership.  It is definitely worth looking at for an online Homeschool Math program.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts and experiences with this program this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

#hsreviews #CTCMath #Homeschool #Math #Curriculum

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Hands-On Activities, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Review of the High School STEM Innovator Pack from Pitsco Education

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Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If you are looking for a homeschool STEM project, you’ll want to check out the High School STEM Innovator Pack from Pitsco Education. This pack is designed for grades Grades 9-12.  The kit comes with all the necessary materials and printed instructions for five kits your student can create.  The instructions are designed for the student and limited involvement from the parents are to be expected.  According to their website, “Our scalable resources enable students to practice the future-ready skills they’ll need no matter their path after school – all while integrating STEM disciplines in real-life, practical scenarios.”

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This kit contains supplies for making catapult, a Trebuchets, a Kite kit and a solar car. Perhaps if her oldest brother still lived at home and she could have made these projects with him, she would have been more interested.  I have to say these projects are perfect for those with patience for doing sometimes tedious work or work that requires hand strength.  Hand strength is something my daughter and I do not have.  In addition to the supplies to make the items, pamphlets are included to provide additional instructions, information, and activities for the students to complete.

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I also must admit we had to look up the definition of a “trebuchets”.  From the picture, I could tell it was some kind of catapult, but I was not sure exactly what it was used for. When we did a Google search, here is what we discovered.  A Trebuchet is a type of catapult utilizes a long arm to throw a projectile. It was commonly used as a weapon until gunpowder came to be.  When we tried making this project, again a lack of hand strength coupled with the thin string we were supposed to use prevented us from completing this project.  The goal is for her father to help her with this later this week.

As I said before this kit would have been perfect for our oldest son when he was in high school.  he would have taken the kit and gone off and built everything in it.  However, my daughter was not so inclined.

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However, I must say from our family’s experience, our daughter required assistance from her father.  I wish I could say she loved this product, but I can not.  When building the solar car, her dad had to basically build the car because he had the strength to put pieces together that she and I were unable to do. Here are some pictures while making the car.

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My husband enjoyed building the car for the most part and was excited to see it run.  He appreciated how the instructions could be downloaded if the instructions became lost or damaged.  We also appreciated how all of the kits came in one box that allowed everything to be kept together until we were ready to use it.

Here is a video of the car going on our driveway.

 

You can find Pitsco Education on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PitscoEducation/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pitscoed
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pitscoed/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pitscoeducation/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PitscoEd

You can enter here for your chance to win your own High School STEM Innovator Pack

So if you are looking for hands-on learning opportunities check out Pitsco Education and their homeschool STEM projects for your family.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts on this product as well as other products from Pitsco Education this week, so click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

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#hsreviews #handsonmindson #PitscoSTEMatHome #ThePitscoExperience #BuiltwithPitsco

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

A Very Austen Romance – A Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Title: A Very Austen Romance

Authors: Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, Mandy H. Cook

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: June, 2020

A Very Austen Romance - Ebook finalA Very Austen Romance features a delightful medley of novellas, each set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Your friends from Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, enjoy new adventures in this lovely collection of stories by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy Cook, and Chautona Havig.

Be treated to prequels, spin-offs, and sequels of Austen’s novels, along with original and supporting characters in starring roles. If historical romance is your preference, you’ll love these well-crafted stories written by beloved authors in the genre.

Click here to get your copy!

 

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Several years ago we attended a Home School drama production of Jane Eyre and I became captivated by all things related to Jane Austen.  Then, Istarted reading anthologies based on the works of Jane Austen and fell in love with them as well. So when I had the opportunity to review this book, I was excited, especially since Chautona Havig was one of the author’s in this book.  I could not wait to read her story.  However, in typical fashion for me, I had to read other selections in this book for first.  Each story made me fall in love with the characters, the plots, and the settings.

The first story in the collection tells the tale of Kitty, Elizabeth’s younger sister.  Kitty comes to life on the pages of this book and shines in her own right.  Sometimes we are granted our heart’s desire even when we do not believe we deserve it.

Then we jump to Laura Hile’s story entitled “You’ve Got to Kiss the Girl”.  I have to say as I began reading this story all that occupied my mine was Sebastian’s voice singing a song titled the same from The Little Mermaid.

This collection includes a story where Lady Catherine, Mr. Darcy’s aunt schemes to have her nephew Mr. Darcy and her own daughter Anne abducted and left at a property she owns thanks to her late husband, so Mr. Darcy will be forced to marry her.  Only Elizabeth is taken by mistake instead, and the two fall in love.  So it illustrates the points, the plans of mice and men are often gone astray.

The next story is “A Step Too Far” by Wendy Sotis.  I enjoyed getting to know John and Isabelle.

Finally , I made it to the story I had been waiting and wanting to read, “Charming Miss Dashwood” by Chautona Having and it did not disappoint.

The final story in the collection is “In the Looking Glass” by Mindy H. Cook.  I also enjoyed reading this book.

All of these books took beloved or memorable characters and created stories that captured my imagination.  I can not wait to see if more of these anthologies are written.

So if you enjoy reading historical books that utilize characters from Jane Austen’s books, check out this collection for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Authors

Robin HelmRobin Helm‘s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.

Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy; the Yours by Design series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours; Understanding Elizabeth;  More to Love; and Lawfully Innocent. Ms. Helm also contributed stories to A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine.

She plans to publish Maestro in 2020.

Her life in (usually) sunny, small town South Carolina is busy, but affords time for writing, reading, teaching piano, and playing games on her phone. (Would you believe she’s an elder in a war game?)

 

 

Laura HReaders are loving Laura Hile‘s joyous Regency novels. Her signature style—with intertwined plots, cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud humor, and romance—keeps them coming back for more.

The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with teen students!

Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a collection of antique clocks.

Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.

 

Wendi SotisWendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed of an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping(with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.

The Marriage Pact, and some of Wendi’s works-in-progress, have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge Series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together again and again in an unusual manner.

 

Barbara CornthwaiteBarbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

 

 

Mandy Helms CookMandy Cook was an RN for over ten years, half of which she served in the Navy, living in far-flung places, enjoying experiencing the world while following her calling. Just before she and her handsome Marine were both deployed to different places, they married. They now have three children, ages five and younger.

She previously published The Gifted, using her nursing experience to lend accuracy to her story about an ER nurse who is handed a gift that changes her life forever. Adversity, and a long history of secrets, constantly battle against her natural instinct for truth and justice, but will the truth be worth the dare?

Mandy also contributed a story to A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1.

 

 

Chauton HavigChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

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Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the A Very Austen authors are giving away the grand prize 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/f5be/a-very-austen-romance-celebration-tour-giveaway