Posted in Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review for Strands of Truth

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About the Book

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Book: Strands of Truth

Author: Colleen Coble

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Strands of Truth kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it.  I found it difficult to put down and basically read the entire book in one sitting.  Harper quickly became a character I wanted to get to know and learn more about.  Orphaned on the day of her birth, she first lived with her grandmother and foster homes that both left Harper searching for someone to love.  Oliver, Harper’s mentor, and friend, became the perfect father figure for Harper, even though his own two children felt otherwise.  At first, I did not care for his son or daughter.

But as I kept reading and began to understand where Ridge and Willow were coming from in their opinions.  However, I never learned to like Ridge and Willow’s mother.  She seemed to be a cold and hard woman who basically poisoned the mind of her daughter.

Annabel, Harper’s half-sister, comes into the picture and I was glad they both had each other.  Annabel’s children, especially her son who was a police officer, added authenticity to this story.  He provided an interesting angle to what I was reading.

Trying to discover their father leads Harper to meet interesting people from her mother’s and Annabel’s mother’s pasts.  I wondered several times who was behind everything, but until almost the end I was not able to decide anything for certain.  The only thing I knew for sure was I wanted Ridge and Harper to become a couple.

This book is full of intrigue, danger, and suspense.  Why is someone trying to kill Harper, Oliver, and Annabel?   Who is behind the actual murder attempts?  The flashbacks to the past about

Truly, this is a book worth reading.

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

About the Author

colleen-coble-headshot-smallColleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.

 

Read a Premium Excerpt

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” –DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

“As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf.” –Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble’s latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn’t let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” –Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” –Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” –Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” –Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, September 3

Inspired by fiction, September 3

EmpowerMoms, September 3

Blogging With Carol, September 3

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 4

My Devotional Thoughts, September 4

Christian bookaholic, September 4

KarenSueHadley , September 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5

Susan Cornwell, September 5

Inside the Wong Mind, September 5

Godly Book Reviews, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 6

Emily Yager, September 6

Older & Smarter?, September 6

Blessed & Bookish, September 6

Andrea Christenson, September 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7

Avid Reader Nurse, September 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 7

The Becca Files, September 8

Blossoms and Blessings, September 8

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Spoken from the Heart, September 9

Betti Mace, September 9

Back Porch Reads, September 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 9

Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , September 9

Moments, September 10

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 10

For Him and my Family, September 10

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, September 10

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

Retrospective Spines, September 11

Daysong Reflections, September 11

Christian Bookshelf Reviews , September 11

SusanLovesBooks, September 11

Remembrancy, September 12

Worthy2Read, September 12

Just the Write Escape, September 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, September 12

Bigreadersite , September 13

janicesbookreviews, September 13

As He Leads is Joy, September 13

Livin’ Lit, September 13

To Everything A Season, September 13

Simple Harvest Reads, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

For The Love of Books , September 14

Living Life Free In Christ, September 14

A Reader’s Brain, September 15

Quiet Quilter , September 15

Hallie Reads, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions , September 16

By The Book, September 16

Real World Bible Study, September 16

Patiently Waiting, September 16

 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Zoey Meet The Misfits and Zoey Odd Girl Out

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About the Book

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Book: Zoey:  Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls

Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019

Zoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannaba-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”

When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

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I love reading books from Melody Carlson.  As someone whose family moved around a lot when I was growing up, I was excited to read these two books.  While they are geared for middle school girls, there are points we can all learn from.  I have to say these two books did not disappoint.

As someone who did not feel like I belonged growing up, I can appreciate these stories.  Being the new kid is hard.  Being around mean kids (and some kids are just mean) makes it even harder.  I feel like Melody Carlson did an excellent job of conveying the feelings a preteen girl might have when she is the new kid.  These two books work hand-in-hand to tell the story of Zoey.

Making enemies always makes things more difficult.  Plus, enemies have a way of constantly showing up.  These two books illustrate that point.  Many children/preteens/teens do not like new kids entering their territory.  I have experienced it firsthand.  I feel Melody Carlson did an excellent job of connecting the two stories into one overall story that is worth reading.

So if you are looking for excellent books about the preteen years, check out this series for yourself.

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

About the Author

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Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

More from Melody

Being a tween these days is more complicated than ever. With our culture’s fast pace, social networking, peer pressure . . . growing up is hard to do. So I wanted to create a relatable character with some tough challenges. And Zoey Petrizzo definitely gets more than her fair share. About to start middle-school, Zoey is forced to relocate her life with her less than conventional grandparents. And it’s not easy! My hope is that readers will either relate to Zoey, or develop more empathy for ‘misfit’ kids like her.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29

Blogging With Carol, August 29

Andrea Christenson, August 30

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 31

Christian Bookaholic , August 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 1

Remembrancy, September 1

Older & Smarter?, September 2

Artistic Nobody, September 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3

Back Porch Reads , September 3

Through the Fire Blogs, September 4

Just the Write Escape, September 5

amandainpa , September 5

A Reader’s Brain, September 6

Patiently Waiting, September 6

Godly Book Reviews, September 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7

Texas Book-aholic, September 8

For the Love of Books , September 8

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 9

Vicky Sluiter, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10

janicesbookreviews, September 11

Inklings and notions , September 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize package of Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out, Sketching Pencils, and a Sketchbook!!

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/e809/meet-the-misfits-odd-girl-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Termination Dust

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About the Book

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Book: Termination Dust

Author: Alana Terry

Genre: Contemporary Christian Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: March 15, 2019

An abusive father. A devoted sister. When danger strikes, she’ll walk through fire to protect her family.

Despite years of trauma, Kimmie’s faith has never faltered. And after her mom’s unexpected death, Kimmie risks everything to save her autistic brother from a life of neglect and abuse.

Caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous dilemma, she dashes out with her brother into the bitter Alaskan night. With the devil in pursuit and the law on her stepdad’s side, Kimmie must brave the perils of the freezing wilderness in a desperate attempt to finally reach safety.

Can Kimmie survive the daring escape, or has she doomed both herself and her brother to a frozen grave?

Termination Dust is a standalone novel in the unforgettable Alaskan Refuge Christian Suspense series. If you like determined characters, harsh landscapes, and faith under fire, then you’ll love Alana Terry’s riveting novel.

Buy Termination Dust to dive headfirst into a gripping adventure today!

 

Click here to grab your copy.

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Termination Dust captured my attention from the moment I began reading the book.  My heart broke for Kimmie and her brother Pip.  With the death of their mother and an abusive father, I knew they needed to escape.  Alana Terry did an excellent job of bringing the characters and story to life.

Full of danger, mystery, and more, this book has a lot to offer readers.  Kimmie demonstrated faith and dedication to keep her younger brother safe.  Mystery surrounds the death of their mother and people come along to support and help them.

The one person in the story I was not sure about was Kimmie’s older sister Meg.  She seems to be the unknown quantity in the story.  Flirting with State Trooper Taylor Tanner, she lost my respect since Meg is married.

But all in all I enjoyed the book.

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

About the Author

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Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

 

More from Alana

Something some of my fans may not know about me is while I grew up in the continental United States, I have made my home with my husband and children in Alaska for many years now. I have grown to love Alaska, which is probably why I was so excited to write this series about the Alaskan wilderness to share a bit of my favorite parts of Alaska with my readers.

In Alaska, we have a phrase that perfectly describes the fall season: Termination Dust.

That’s when the first snow falls on the mountains, signifying the end of summer. Fall in Alaska is beautiful. Orange on the tips of the trees lend a splash of color against the backdrop of unending green. For the first time since May, it gets dark enough to see the stars. If you brave the cold and happen to be awake at 1 am, you might even see some shooting stars.

I hope you enjoy reading about Kimmie and her autistic brother as much as I enjoyed writing their story. As with all my suspense novels, if you like determined characters, harsh landscapes, and faith under fire, get ready to dive headfirst into a gripping adventure today!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 27

Stories By Gina, August 27

Retrospective Spines, August 28

Betti Mace, August 28

Genesis 5020, August 29

Carla Loves To Read, August 29

Quiet Quilter, August 30

Emily Yager, August 30

Inspired by fiction, August 31

Life as Lanhams, August 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 1

Anne Rightler, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 2

Blogging With Carol, September 3

Livin’ Lit, September 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 5

Mary Hake, September 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 6

Texas Book-aholic, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 7

A Reader’s Brain, September 7

The Becca Files, September 8

janicesbookreviews, September 9

Inklings and notions , September 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card.

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e5a5/termination-dust-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review for State of Lies

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About the Book

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Book: State of Lies

Author: Siri Mitchell

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Months after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.

With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next Secretary of Defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains. Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too.

The more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Not her friends.

Not her parents.

Maybe not even herself.

 

Click here to grab your copy.

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Let me start off by saying this book is rated PG, and I feel like the book would have been fine without the bedroom scene at the beginning.  Being a military spouse, I liked the idea of reading a book by another military spouse.  However, I was disappointed there was not a strong Christian message in this book given that it is from a Christian publisher.

I can not begin to imagine the terror, horror or other emotions that would race through my mind if I found law enforcement officials at my door saying my husband had died.  I felt like Siri Mitchell did an excellent job of handling that part of the story.  At the same time, I felt like the jump from Georgie finding out her husband had died to the next scene skipped a lot of material that could have been worth reading.

Murder, mystery, intrigue, and political drama play a major role in this book.  Things are really bad when a person does not even know if he or she can trust his or her own parents.

The idea of not knowing who Georgie could trust helped keep the book interesting.  I also liked the general pace of the book.  All in all, I feel like the book is fairly good, especially for people who like or love reading books dealing with political espionage.

So check this book out for yourself.

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

About the Author

Siri Mitchell is the author of 14 novels. She has also written 2 novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri is a big fan of the semi-colon but thinks the Oxford comma is irritatingly redundant. Visit her online at sirimitchell.com; Facebook: SiriMitchell; Twitter: @SiriMitchell.

 

More from Siri

A Sense of Place

I’m so excited about the release of State of Lies! Among the many reasons for my excitement is the fact that I set the story in my own home town: Arlington, VA. Here are some things you might not know about Arlington:

 

  1. Arlington was originally included within the borders of Washington, DC.
  2. Arlington isn’t actually a city – it’s a county. We’re the smallest self-governing county in the nation.
  3. Arlington regularly takes the top spot as the most educated place in the country.
  4. Arlington LOVES books. I count at least a dozen different little libraries in my neighborhood alone.
  5. Our region often has a hurricane warning or two every hurricane season. Can you guess where I’ve seen the longest lines when people start to make last-minute preparations? It’s not the grocery store; it’s not the hardware store. It’s the library! (Why wouldn’t you stock up on books too?)
  6. We host Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial, and the Pentagon.
  7. We are home to the very first Five Guys hamburger joint location.
  8. We are also home to the headquarters of over a dozen national agencies as well as organizations like Rosetta Stone and Nestlé.
  9. People who attended our high schools include Sandra Bullock, Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Katie Couric, and Patch Adams.
  10. The thing I love most about Arlington? Its people. Countless government contractors members of the federal workforce live here. I number them among my friends and neighbors. I’ve never met a group more dedicated, more informed, or more determined to put their expertise to good use. And guess what? My heroine, Georgie Brennan, is one of them!

 

The Pentagon and Washington, DC

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 20

Among the Reads, August 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 20

Blogging With Carol, August 21

CarpeDiem, August 21

Josephine Anne Writes, August 21

Fiction Aficionado, August 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 22

Genesis 5020, August 22

Andrea Christenson, August 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Pause for Tales, August 23

Through the Fire Blogs, August 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 24

Inspired by fiction, August 25

Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , August 25

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, August 25

For Him and My Family, August 26

Rebekah Jones, August 26

Betti Mace, August 26

As He Leads is Joy, August 27

Wishful Endings, August 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 27

Moments, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

Remembrancy, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 29

Simple Harvest Reads, August 29

Hallie Reads, August 30

Bigreadersite , August 30

Living Life Free in Christ, August 30

Connect in Fiction, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

janicesbookreviews, September 1

A Reader’s Brain, September 1

Inklings and notions , September 1

Life of Literature, September 2

Real World Bible Study, September 2

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Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Daughters of the Northern Shore

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About the Book

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Book: Daughters of Northern Shores

Author: Joanne Bischof

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: March 12, 2019

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

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

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

 

Click here to grab your copy!

MY THOUGHTS (1)

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

 

More from Joanne

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

 

Togetherness

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

 

Patience

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

 

Communication

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

 

Grace

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

Blog Stops

Retrospective Spines, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 6

KarenSueHadley , August 7

Batya’s Bits, August 7

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

By The Book, August 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 9

Adventures of a travelers wife, August 9

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 10

Betti Mace, August 10

Connie’s History Classroom, August 11

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 12

Moments, August 12

Simple Harvest Reads, August 13

Connect in Fiction , August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 13

Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 14

Bigreadersite , August 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 15

Daysong Reflections, August 16

Living Life Free In christ, August 16

A Reader’s Brain, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17

Inklings and notions , August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 19

LifeofLiterature, August 19

As He Leads is Joy, August 19

Disclaimer

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Full Circle

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About the Book

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Book: Full Circle

Author: Athena Dean Holtz

Genre: Memoir

Release Date: February 11, 2017

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

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

 

Click here to get your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

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

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

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

So check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Authors

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

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

 

More from Athena

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 10

CarpeDiem, August 10

Artistic Nobody, August 11 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 12

Texas Book-aholic, August 13

Girls in White Dresses, August 14

Power of Words, August 15 (Spotlight)

A Reader’s Brain, August 16

Inklings and notions , August 17

Just the Write Escape, August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 19

Simple Harvest Reads, August 20

Giveaway

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

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

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

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review for Knights in Shining Apron

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia. Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing. Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top-notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play? And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?

You can purchase the book here.

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Knights in Shining Apron combines domestic violence, cooking, music, ice-skating, and British royalty into one unbelievable book.  Starli brings a depth to the story through her brokeness from domestic violence and her determination to ensure her restaurant succeeds.  She managed to make me love her from the very beginning.  I wanted to see her open her heart to love and find true happiness.

Sir Joel Peterman-Blair enters in a dramatic fashion when he is accidentally mistaken for a new dishwasher for Starli’s restaurant.  He demonstrates compassion, determination, and cooking skills throughout the pages of the book.

Starli’s friends help bring the story to life.  They provide encouragement, support, love, and even tough-love when necessary.  This story continues tales of other characters previously introduced.  Truly, this is a book worth reading.

Bio:

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Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 

Social Media:

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427898838&sr=8-1

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carole-brown

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/browncarole212/?hl=en

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/carole-brown-79b6951a/

Google+:    https://plus.google.com/u/0/113068871986311965415/posts

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/