For the Love of Literature

For the Love of Literature

As a bibliophile, my passion for books coalesces with a love of writing, and writing book reviews allows me to share literature with the world.

Heart of the Ajs Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Heart of the Ajs

Author: T.E. Bradford

Genre:  Fantasy / Sci-Fi blend

Release Date: September 16, 2019

She has magic she cannot use…

He has a secret she must uncover.

THE SIX WORLDS OF BAQA

ASFAR, first planet from the sun is a desert planet steeped in superstition and tradition. Nafisa el Faruz is the princess, defender of the sun and champion of her people. Hers is the most powerful magic—zaman, holder of time.

TRINITOS, third planet, is home to the sky gate and the wicked man who controls its use, the Ajs An’hlj. He is yunfah—a wind walker, one who can control the air itself. The only thing he covets more than control is power, and he has his sights set on Nafisa.


Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Tracy is the author of the Divide Series, Six World Sagas, and International Bestseller: Kindled Legends – Written in the Stars.

When she’s not busy writing, she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family, snapping photos, or giving voices to her son’s stuffed animals. She reclines her feet in Upstate New York with her very own grumpy kitty, the husband God made just for her, and the son who is her forever best story.
 

More from Tracy

 

 

A large part of the plot for Heart of the Ajs stemmed from a conversation I had with my son. He’d asked me why he still had bad dreams, even after praying for God to take them away.

I searched for the words to explain why God doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes he says no. Or maybe. Or wait–which for me is the hardest answer of all. I thought of an example from when we’d been looking for a new house and didn’t get the one we’d been hoping for. We were so disappointed. But God had a better house in mind for us. We just didn’t know it yet. And at one point my job became very toxic, when after seven years of work I got pregnant and suddenly managers who’d promoted me several times were telling me I wasn’t cutting it. God had a better job in mind for me. I just didn’t know it yet.

I started to wonder if I could weave this truth into a story I’d been working on about a girl who didn’t feel her father or God were listening. She couldn’t see a way out, or understand how anything good could come from where she was.

Yet our precious Heavenly Father always has a plan. A perfect, incredible plan far beyond our wildest imaginings. One He is faithful to reveal with perfect timing.

Even if we may not know it yet.
 
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I’m not sure I ever did decide. I was always torn between music and writing, thinking I had to pick one or the other. It took years for me to realize I could do both.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 

Hah! Great question. I would say I have this thing about revealing info. I love to start a story or chapter, and only reveal to the reader later who it is they’re seeing or hearing. For me, it’s part of enhancing the impact. But I drive my editor crazy.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 

Have you ever had a late-night snack, like a sandwich piled with every leftover in the fridge? My writing schedule is like that. Family-Job-Write-Job-Other-Family with a dollop of writing on top.

If you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

 

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Mostly because great books usually also have terrible events or villains. Narnia is beautiful, but set during WWII. Not sure I’d want to experience that first-hand. I’d have to pick the happiest, most peaceful book ever. So I pick Sand and Foam, by Kahlil Gibran.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you love writing, just do it. Don’t get caught up in the weeds. No one is perfect right out of the gate. We all learn, and grow, and mostly by making mistakes. Don’t put so much stock in what other’s say that it paralyzes you. People all have their own opinions, and while constructive feedback can be helpful, you have to be able to let the rest go. Write because you love it. Because it’s how you cope with life. Because it’s who you are. But mostly because it makes you happy.

 
 
 

Blog Stops

 

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 22 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 23

Blossoms and Blessings, May 24 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, May 25

By The Book, May 26 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

For the Love of Literature, May 28 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 29

Wishful Endings, May 30 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

deb’s Book Review, June 1

A Baker’s Perspective, June 2 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, June 3

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, T.E. is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of my book Child of Prophecy, a piece of raw onyx, and a genuine Jasper stone heart necklace!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
The Socialite Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: The Socialite

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.
 

More from J’Nell

 

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out.
 

My Review

 

Historical fiction has always been my favorite genre, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. One of the time periods that I tend to gravitate toward is WWII, and I’ve read fairly extensively within that category. As such, there aren’t many storylines that I haven’t encountered. This book, however, brings some interesting twists that make it distinguishable, and I have a feeling that it’s one read I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Also, since the author is new to me, I am delighted to be able to add to my list of must-read Christian authors.

As an introvert, the title “The Socialite” honestly makes me a bit nervous, and the obvious opulence displayed by the forward—facing woman on the cover is also polar-opposite to my nature. Looks can be deceiving, though, and that could function as a tagline for this story. With a diverse panoply of characters, author J’nell Ciesielski takes readers into Nazi-occupied France in 1941, as the Fuhrer is continuing to establish his control throughout Europe. Where the novel becomes unique is in its focus, exploring the lives of two sisters whose paths have diverged. Ellie is more of a free spirit, no longer wanting to be tied down by her demanding parents, whereas Kat has always been the model older sister, obedient and yielding. Thus it falls on her to retrieve Ellie from the very heart of the Nazi regime in Paris, where Ellie is living with and romancing a Nazi officer named Eric von Schlegel. Of course, that is very much easier said than done, and a bar owner and important member of the Resistance, training fighters underground, arrives on the scene.

Needless to say, “The Socialite” is brim-full of action and adventure, as well as romance and the whole gamut of human emotions. An exhilarating read, I love how it engages the reader by taking situations that were plausible for the time and not only allowing readers to feel that they are experiencing events right along with the characters, but also to witness the characters’ thoughts. By doing so, readers realize that courage is not always strong and mighty, but more often a determination to succeed against the odds with the Lord’s help, by the grace of God. Another point that this book reinforces is that there can be some good in even the seemingly most evil people and events, and that sometimes we hide inside our ivory towers to try to escape what is happening when in fact God is calling us to suit up and march into battle.  

Fans of Kate Breslin’s “For Such a Time”, especially, and any Christian historical fiction and historical romance books will want to meet and read “The Socialite.” There is still much that we can learn from history, starting with the reminder that God goes before us and behind us, protecting and guiding us through every obstacle.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 22

Emily Yager, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Back Porch Reads, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 23

Breny and Books, May 23

Stories By Gina , May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Life, Love, Writing, May 25

Livin’ Lit, May 26

Robin’s Nest, May 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 26

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Betti Mace, May 27

Maureen’s Musings, May 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 28

Book of Ruth Ann, May 28

Remembrancy, May 28

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Quiet Workings, May 29

Mia Reads, May 29

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

deb’s Book Review, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Books I’ve Read, May 31

Batya’s Bits, June 1

Blossoms and Blessings, June 1

Splashes of Joy, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Moments, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

Andrea Carmen, June 3

Just Your Average reviews, June 3

To Everything There Is A Season, June 3

Fiction Aficionado, June 4

Lis Loves Reading, June 4

Hallie Reads, June 4

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 

Review
4 Stars
Quintessential Romantic Suspense
Standoff - Patricia Bradley

What originally attracted me to this book was the cover, followed by the series title: Natchez Trace Park Rangers. As a lover of the outdoors, that was enough to reel me in, and since this is book one, I did not hesitate to sign up for a review copy. Thankfully, I did not look at the synopsis (a habit that I have adopted so as not to spoil any part of the plotline), because doing so would most likely have deterred me from wanting to read the book. Anything relating to drug cartels and the like just doesn’t appeal to me. As soon as I picked up this novel and realized what I was getting into, I began wondering if I had made a mistake.

However, my fears were quickly allayed as I settled into Patricia Bradley’s swift, engaging writing style. “Standoff” comes out of the starting gate with a shot (literally) and never lets up, forging ahead relentlessly to the last page. Short chapters also facilitate this, giving the impression of a staccato beat that fits how the plot plays out. While I enjoyed that the story never lagged, I have to admit that the abundance of characters is overwhelming. Each of the first several chapters is about a different person, all of whom are critical to the narrative, and because the story remains in the third-person, I personally had a very difficult time keeping track of who was who. Brooke Danvers is the only character who stood out to me, being the female lead. I understand that the profusion of characters is necessary for the storyline, but I think that it would be very helpful to perhaps have a character list, one that would be brief so as not to give any spoilers, but with just a few words to help readers keep the characters separate from one another.

Quintessential romantic suspense, “Standoff” lives up to its name in more ways than one. There is, of course, the drug ring, which becomes the concentric circle surrounding the characters, two of whom are vying for a serious relationship with Brooke while others want her dead. Add in family drama and personal conflict, and the stage is set for an exhilarating Natchez excursion, grounded in the truth that God is always with us and that He sees the end from the beginning.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Assessing Your Prophetic Self Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: Assessing Your Prophetic Self

Author: Paula A. Price PH.D.

Genre:  RELIGION / Christianity/Pentecostal & Charismatic

Release Date: April 17, 2020

The Prophetic Primers are a series of smaller books based on the best-selling The Prophet’s Dictionary and The Prophet’s Handbook that will bring clarity, discovery, and definition to the training of prophetic gifts. In Assessing Your Prophetic Self, Dr. Paula A. Price provides diagnostic tools, as well as language and knowledge, to discern, measure, and encourage the gifts of novice prophets. Readers will receive links for an online prophetic assessment test. Dr. Price also sets specific and measurable objectives, goals, and outcomes for the formation of a prophetic ministry. Also includes an introduction for the seasoned prophet looking to mentor others in the ministry.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Paula A. Price is quickly becoming the international voice on the subject of apostolic and prophetic ministry. She has founded and established three churches, an apostolic and prophetic Bible institute, a publication company, a consulting firm, and a global collaborative network linking apostles and prophets together for the purpose of kingdom vision and ventures. Although she has written over twenty-five books, manuals, and other course material on the apostolic and prophetic, she is most recognized for her unique 1,600-term The Prophet’s Dictionary, a concise prophetic training manual entitled Church Prophets, and her follow-up, The Prophet’s Handbook, a tool for establishing prophetic ministry in the church. Paula is host of her own program, Let’s Just Talk: Where God Makes Sense. She has a D.Min. and a Ph.D. in Religious Education from Word of Truth Seminary in Alabama. She is also a wife, mother of three daughters, and the grandmother of two. She and her husband Tom presently pastor New Creation Worship Assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 

More from Paula

 

My previous books, THE PROPHET’s DICTIONARY and THE PROPHET’s HANDBOOK have sold extremely well and have offered guidance and wisdom to many. This new book, ASSESSINGG YOUR PROPHETIC SELF is the first of The Prophetic Primer Series that will bring more clarity and discovery to your training in the prophetic.
 

Blog Stops

 

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Spotlight)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 22

Book Love, May 23 (Spotlight)

For the Love of Literature, May 24 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 26 (Spotlight)

For Him and My Family, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 28 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, May 29

Andrea Christenson, May 30 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Through the Fire Blogs, June 1 (Spotlight)

 
 

Giveaway

 


To celebrate her tour, Paula is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
4 Stars
I'll Take the Lie Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  I’ll Take the Lie

Author: Nancy E. Wood

Genre:  Christian YA

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Does the truth really set you free?

Paige Hall doubts it, after her boyfriend Justin tells her he’s over it, leaving her with a broken heart and crushed dreams. When Justin disappears, she can’t help but try to find out what happened to him. But when the more she searches, the more problems arise, she can’t help but wonder if it would be better to just accept the lie…



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Nancy E Wood was born into a missionary family and lived in Hungary until she turned twenty. Her whole childhood, she loved reading and stories, writing some of her own, but never believing she actually had the talent to be an author. Speaking multiple languages, she never thought she would be good enough in any to become a wordsmith.

Her senior year of high school, she was encouraged to write short stories, one of which turned into Perfect, a novel that couldn’t stay short. After sharing it with a few people, she decided to get it published a couple years later. She went to college in Florida, where she studied English and Music. After graduating, she married and moved to California. She published her second standalone book, I’ll Take the Lie, in the summer of 2019 and is currently working on a sequel to Perfect. She also runs a blog for young women, where she writes relatable and motivational posts that point to God. She has also done some speaking in different Christian schools and youth groups, encouraging teens to pursue Christ through some of the most difficult years of their lives.
 

More from Nancy

 

What’s truth? Why is it important? Does everyone have their own kind of truth or is there only one?

Those were questions I was dealing with in my college Apologetics class while I wrote I’ll Take the Lie, and I thought that theme would fit so well into the story.

The idea came to me a long time ago. I was really into The Great Gatsby at the time and wanted to write a story from a bystander’s point of view. Originally titled What’s Wrong with Alex?, Paige, the worried sister of Alex, who drastically changed over his first semester of college, wants to find out what happened to him. But the deeper I went into the story, the more Paige’s character shone through, and she soon became the protagonist with her ex boyfriend’s mysterious disappearance. The whole theme tied into what I was studying about apologetics and truth, so the messy pieces all came together into a solid plot.

Paige isn’t a believer, and she doesn’t really care about the idea of truth and spirituality until she gets dragged into it. It’s my hope that this book story helps young adults like me think deeper and question their beliefs. We get so caught up with our own happiness, we don’t always want to accept the hard truth. But, like Paige, we need to think about whether we can keep living pretend lives or if the truth really does set us free.
 
 

My Review

 

“Who would’ve known that saying yes to the hottest football player would lead to me sitting in a police station alone, waiting to be questioned in his disappearance?”

After finishing this book, I feel as though I’ve just watched a program on Investigation Discovery, and that’s not a bad thing. I found this story to be quite compelling and easy to read as far as comprehension is concerned. Despite figuring out the solution to the mystery fairly early on, I did not want to stop reading until that last page was turned. I’ve always enjoyed mysteries, so it’s a treat when I have the opportunity to get a review copy of one.

As indicated by its title, “I’ll Take the Lie” features a first-person narrator, high school senior Paige Hall, whose ex-boyfriend goes missing at the outset. Author Nancy Wood does a commendable job of introducing Paige’s backstory, as well as that of the other characters, at a measured pace that keeps things interesting. By withholding some information, she sets readers up for surprises later on, a technique which I personally find enjoyable in this genre. In my opinion, there were not many likable characters in this story, but I did like Freddie for his loyalty and kindness. Amy is likewise endowed with patience and the love of Christ, which stands in stark contrast to the majority of Paige’s family.

In fact, it’s the family and relationship dynamics that bothered me about this book. While bearing in mind that of course no meaningful relationship is without its conflicts, those in “I’ll Take the Lie” are destructive and dysfunctional. From the Hall family itself to each member’s personal lives, there are multitudinous issues which those involved attempt to ignore or brush away, leading to tragic consequences. As Paige begins to question, “Justin had been the best thing that had happened to me. But had he also been the worst?” This is a story that remains true to life because Wood portrays young people as they can be in real life, with the partying, cheating, and getting drunk and high. In spite of this, however, she does keep this an otherwise clean book, with no profanity or bedroom scenes. The faith element remains very subdued, and only in the final chapters does it start to truly shine through, revealing that God has a purpose for each of us, and for our pain. Don’t settle for the lie; trust the Lord and see Him at work in your situation.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Nancy 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.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Seeing Voices Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Seeing Voices

Author: Olivia Smit

Genre:  Contemporary Young Adult

Release Date: April 15, 2020

Skylar Brady has a for her life—until a car accident changes everything.

Skylar knows exactly what she wants, and getting in a car accident the summer before twelfth grade isn’t supposed to be part of the plan. Although she escapes mostly unharmed, the accident has stolen more than just her hearing from her: she’s also lost the close bond she used to have with her brother.

When her parents decide to take a house-sitting job halfway across the province, it’s just one more thing that isn’t going according to plan. As the summer progresses, Skylar begins to gain confidence in herself, but as she tries to mend her relationship with her brother, she stumbles upon another hidden trauma. Suddenly, she’s keeping as many secrets as she’s struggling to uncover and creating more problems than she could ever hope to solve.



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Olivia Smit loves baking, visiting small towns, and writing stories that face hard truth with hope and encouragement. Olivia has an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing, English Language, and Literature and lives in Canada with her family. Seeing Voices is her first novel. Learn more at https://oliviasmit.ca/.
 

More from Olivia

 

Although “Seeing Voices” is not the first book I ever wrote, it is the first one that felt like it held a little piece of my heart. Skylar and her older brother, Mike, popped into my head one afternoon, both coping with the aftermath of a car accident in totally different ways. It took me ages to figure out what kind of story they belonged to, but right from the beginning I knew it would be a story about siblings and families, pain and guilt, and also (perhaps most importantly!) togetherness and love.
 
In so many ways, “Seeing Voices” was for me, before it was for readers. I wrote the rough draft when I was 18, fresh out of high school and still figuring out a few tricky situations within my own family. As I wrote about Skylar and Mike, I poured a lot of my own confusion and emotion into the pages, trying to make sense of my own feelings of responsibility, frustration, and ultimately, hope. Words from the book still float through my mind when I’m in certain situations, little reminders of lessons I learned once and need to hang onto with both hands.
 
I prayed my way through the writing process, trying (and failing) to find a story that fit with Skylar and Mike, who felt so much like real people. I prayed through querying, trusting that if God wanted this story out there in the world, He would find it a home … and if He wanted Skylar and Mike to be a story just for me, I would be okay with that, too. In so many ways this process has been a team effort, and I feel convinced that this isn’t my story, after all — it’s God’s, and I’m just doing my part to help tell it.
 
 

My Review

 

Every now and then a book comes along that just surprises you in such a delightful and unexpected way that you read it almost straight through in one sitting. I try not to look at the synopses of books that I intend to read so that I don’t enter into the story with any preconceived notions, good or bad, and so that I don’t end up piecing together the plot threads too quickly. Approaching this particular book, the first thing that came to mind was synesthesia because of the title. As it turns out, that is not what it references, but it is still apropos and very insightful; someone who loses or is lacking one sense instinctively adjusts as well as possible by strengthening their other senses. I find this intriguing, so I was engaged with the story from page one, and I can happily say that it only gets better!

“Seeing Voices” may be written primarily for a young adult audience, but I guarantee that anyone older than that will enjoy it immensely also. Olivia Smit writes a stunning debut novel that deals with challenging real-life issues without being too heavy, taking on strained relationships, the effects of trauma, and the ebb and flow of grief. This is all set against a quiet yet powerful backdrop of faith, as exemplified by one of the major secondary characters, Cam. Because the tough situations are not tidily swept up with easy answers and happily-ever-after moments, the story, and thereby Cam’s faith in God, is all the more realistic and relatable. I love that Cam is so sincere and compassionate, yet does not merely spout Bible verses or platitudes but instead truly lives out his faith. My favorite monologue in the book is Cam’s heartfelt response to Skylar’s pain: “I don’t know why the accident happened to you, Skylar. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. All I can say is that I know God isn’t punishing you, and He isn’t safe, not like a helmet or seat belt. His love for you isn’t easy or comfortable, but it is strong. His love for you is so strong.”

Part of what makes this novel so eloquently compelling is its basis in relationships. Skylar Brady’s post-accident life is scarred by the changes in her relationship with her older brother, Mike, as well as with her closest friends. During the transformative summer in which the story takes place, she forms new bonds with new friends while also trying to mend those from her prior life. Even how she interacts with her parents has fundamentally changed, and I obtained a newfound respect for those living with hearing loss. I realized that it’s not as easy as using hearing aids, which amplify all sound, including wind and background noise, and which may still require the person to lip-read, as with Skylar. She comments that it’s “Like there’s a haunting magic in the noise of it all, and when you take that away, get rid of the Pied Piper, there’s not a whole lot of reason to run along with the others.” Her spiritual awakening unfolds slowly, and along the way more trials occur. Skylar’s story, told in her own voice in the first-person, becomes all the more captivating because it meets readers where they are, especially those who are unsure about God. Circumstances in our lives may change, but God never does.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize package of coasters and a book sleeve!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 
Review
5 Stars
Refresh Your Faith Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Refresh Your Faith

Author: Lori Hatcher

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: May 2020

Unfamiliar verses. Uncommon insights. Unlimited possibilities.

Move from biblical doldrums to dynamic discovery! While your favorite Scripture verses or stories may bring you comfort, if you’re feeling monotony in your time with God it’s time to shake it up a bit. Each of these 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions—one from each book of the Bible—spotlights an unusual verse or passage and takes only five minutes to read. If you have more time, you can dig a little deeper with an uncommon thought to ponder, unusual faith action step to take, and an unfamiliar passage suggestion that invites you to further explore the Bible’s hidden gems.
You’ll be challenged to think deeply, step out boldly, and grow dynamically, transforming your devotional time—and your life!

Praise for Lori Hatcher’s writing . . .

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Lori Hatcher is a blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbia magazine, president of Columbia Toastmasters, and regular contributor to magazines such as Christian Living Today and websites like Crosswalk.com. Her book Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, won the Christian Small Publisher 2016 book of the year. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at lorihatcher.com.
 

 

 

 

 

Read a Teaser from Refresh Your Faith

 

The dirty little secret in Christian circles is that many of us are bored with our devotional time. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. It’s important to read our Bibles every day. After all, it’s God’s Word, the source of truth, and life, and hope.

While some have successfully built the discipline of Bible reading into their lives, others struggle. Even those who regularly read their Bibles find it a bit dry at times. Many of us also read devotionals, not to take the place of Bible reading, but to help us discover unfamiliar passages and stories and benefit from a godly writer’s perspective.

I wrote Refresh Your Faith because I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read. They seemed to focus on the same basic verses I’d memorized with my children twenty years ago. John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Psalm 23, Matthew 3:5-6. Same with the Bible passages and stories. I treasure the familiar verses and stories. I’ve held them close to my heart during some of the darkest times of my life.

But I knew there was more to the Bible than these well-worn favorites.

I reached a point in my spiritual life when I needed something new. If something didn’t change, my spirit was going to wither up. My time with God shouldn’t be something I did out of duty. I wanted to delight in God and His Word.

So I asked God to help me. I needed something to refresh my faith and energize my Bible reading. Wow, did He answer. I’d been reading through the Bible every year for more than a decade, but all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to passages I’d never noticed before.

These uncommon verses sparkled like gems. The more I read, the more I spotted them, tucked into obscure stories and buried under genealogies and census reports. I found some hiding out in plain sight—golden nuances and nuggets in the shadows of the more familiar stories.

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step.

I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”
 

 

My Review

 

There are a plethora of Christian devotionals available these days, in print format and online, and while finding one is relatively easy, finding the right one for you based on your spiritual needs is crucial and  can be overwhelming. As someone with this same struggle, I try to check out and review devotionals whenever I can in the hopes that at least one of them will speak to someone’s heart. With that in mind, I can highly recommend Lori Hatcher’s new devotional book, “Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible.” This is one of the most interesting devotionals that I have had the pleasure of reading.

“Refresh Your Faith” consists of one devotional for each book of the Bible, each written to take 5 minutes to read and reflect upon. An aspect of this book that I appreciate, and one that I’ve mentioned before in previous reviews, is that there are no chapter numbers or days pre-assigned to the readings. Instead, the chapter heading is comprised of the Bible book about which it is written, a title that gives insight into what the reading will be about, and a corresponding Bible verse. Following each reading is an Uncommon Thought that summarizes that day’s lesson and an Unusual Faith segment that brings the teaching home through personal questions and suggestions about how to accomplish what the Lord is calling us to do through that examination of Scripture. Each chapter concludes with listing a chapter or two from the Bible to look up and read. I like this setup because closing with Scripture allows readers to end with God’s Word fresh in their minds, and hopefully with a greater understanding of it.

Taken as a whole, this devotional uniquely provides an overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This is what I find most unique about it, and this is what especially attracts me to it. Because of how it touches upon every book of the Bible and thus gives a general overview of the Bible itself, this is an ideal choice for a devotional for both seasoned Christians and newcomers to the faith. In fact, since it focuses on the lesser-known Biblical figures and stories, this is a great resource for all Christian women!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Lori is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of Refresh Your Faith!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
The Good Shadows Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Good Shadows

Author: Carol Alwood

Genre:  Young adult romance with a supernatural twist

Release Date: January 10, 2020

She believed him when he told her some Shadows were good.

When sixteen-year-old Violet Blackstone seeks to belong outside of her Christian community, she opens doors to a dark world she doesn’t understand.

Her parents’ secret separation and conflict at church fuel her desire to find something more. She sneaks out to a party at Chuckanut House and meets Dakota Selby, the mysterious new guy at Bellingham High School who reads her tarot cards and tells her she doesn’t belong. When she discovers his family owns Chuckanut House, she plans to hold her parents’ twenty-fifth-wedding-anniversary party there to reunite them in the beautiful mansion surrounded by forest and ocean—and to spend more time with Dakota to prove she fits into his world.

Violet works her way into Dakota’s life and must face the secrets and Shadows buried deep within Chuckanut House and her own family’s past. Entrenched in darkness, Violet searches for light and love as she battles Shadows threatening to capture her soul.

When her life falls apart, where will she turn?

Winner of the 2016 Orange County Christian Writer’s book proposal contest.



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Author Carol Alwood grew up in the green haven of Bellingham, Washington, the setting of The Good Shadows series. Now living in Southern California, she misses the raindrops on maple leaves, so when she isn’t home for a visit she writes stories that take place in her hometown. Carol adores fiction and is the author of the novelette, Ghost of a Girl. She also wrote Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys, a newly released writing-craft book.
 

More from Carol

 

Magic isn’t a new topic for Christian fiction.

Many readers of this genre often enjoy spell-filled stories that take place in faraway lands because they know the narrative involves make-believe creatures and battles. But what if by becoming used to magic in stories we have allowed a gentle pathway for magical ideas to trickle into our lives? What if in one sudden moment (in the same way other things have become acceptable overnight) magic, a.k.a. magick, touched our fingertips in the real world, and we felt compelled to wield its power? Could it be that magic is already here? All one has to do is check online for tarot card readings, potion recipes, and steps for casting spells. What if while we scoffed at the thought of magic as something more than the stuff of fantasy our children stumbled upon it? From this logic, The Good Shadows was born.

Violet Blackstone is a sixteen-year-old pastor’s daughter who struggles to feel whole. Her parents hide their secret separation, she feels like she doesn’t fit in at church, and she meets a Wiccan priestess’s son who shows her another way of thinking. Nestled in the shadowy forests of the Pacific Northwest, Violet sets out on a new pathway that leads toward love and magick. Meanwhile, she uncovers disturbing information about her own family’s past. Her friend Owen tries to stop her from heading down this dark path, but she’s drawn in by a boy with forest green eyes and the desire to exercise control over her crumbling life.

What will it take for Violet to realize she has opened doors to a dark world and there are shadows are after her soul?

This award-winning book is available on Amazon in paperback and as an ebook (Kindle Unlimited). The Bible study at the end is ideal for small groups or individuals to enjoy an in-depth study on magick and sorcery. Don’t miss Ghost of a Girl, a novelette in The Good Shadows series, and The Dark Shadows (book two coming out June of 2020).

Carol Alwood is also the author of Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys and the book’s corresponding workbook. Both are available on Amazon. While Carol lives with her husband and two daughters in Southern California, she loves visiting her hometown of Bellingham, Washington, where The Good Shadows takes place. The road to Chuckanut is a real place with stunning views and inviting forests. Check out her website for a virtual hometown tour and to read chapter one of The Good Shadows.
 
 

My Review

 

This is not a book that I would normally read, and in most cases I would have stopped reading it early on for reasons that I’ll discuss later. However, I read Carol Alwood’s nonfiction book, “Focused Backstory”, a few months ago and enjoyed it so much that I decided to take a chance on this fiction story. With any author, there is no guarantee that they can write proficiently in more than one genre, or that the reader will necessarily enjoy their different works. Therefore, I went into this venture with some apprehension, but I am so glad that I took advantage of this opportunity!

First off, “The Good Shadows” is a novel about Wicca and magick and how they attract impressionable people under the guise of innocence. The main character is high school student Violet Blackstone, a pastor’s daughter who begins dabbling in the occult as a means of fitting in and seeking acceptance. Because she wears a nose ring and dyes her hair pink, she feels as though she does not truly belong in the Christian community. Her parents have their own significant issues, which contributes to her rebellion and search for love. This is one way in which this book provides valuable insight into some of the problems within the church. We can’t pick and choose those whom we deem worthy because none of us is worthy; it’s by God’s grace alone, demonstrated ultimately in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that we can enter into a relationship with God.

Given the fact that by its very title it clues the reader in to some of what to expect, there are some very creepy scenes, and I will say that overall I found the story disturbing. Nevertheless, this is a clean read insofar as there is no profanity or sex, and as Alwood points out in her author note, the “good shadows” do not exist. For those who read and believe in the Bible, witchcraft and its related practices are forbidden. At various times throughout the narrative, Violet suddenly recalls a Scripture verse that fits her situation, although often she ignores these promptings. While it is easy to sit back and condemn her for making bad choices, it is far better to understand what led her to that point and to remember that no one is without sin. These are issues that are daily becoming more prevalent, and we need to reach out to the lost with the love of God and the truth of His Word.

Due to its controversial subject material, I would recommend this to mature young adults and adults. At the end of the book, there is a Bible study that explores some aspects of the novel in light of the Bible and offers a six-week guide with questions pertinent to teens today. I love this, especially because I believe that it is so important to have spiritual discernment and to be able to recognize when someone is heading down a dark path. As Owen tells Violet, “It’s never too late to turn things around.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize package of a signed paperback copy of The Good Shadows & $10 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Avalanche Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Avalanche

Author: M. Liz Boyle

Genre:  Christian YA

Release Date: September 27, 2019

When fifteen-year-old Marlee Stanley joins her two sisters and the sons of their family friends on a secretive hike in the middle of the night, she is thrilled and nervous. Battling her conscience, she prays that the hike will go flawlessly and that they will return to the safety of their campsite before their parents wake. The start of the hike is beautiful and wonderfully memorable.
 
In a white flash so fast that Marlee can barely comprehend what has happened, an avalanche crashes into their path. Buried in packed snow, Marlee is forced to remember survival tips learned from her dad and her own research.
 
This group of friends, ages eleven through seventeen, is about to endure bigger challenges than many adults have experienced. Digging out of the packed snow is only the first of many challenges. Injuries, cold, hunger, fatigue, aggressive wildlife and tensions in the group make this a much bigger adventure than they ever imagined. As the kids strive to exhibit Christian values throughout the trials, they learn numerous life lessons. But they are nearly out of food, and their energy is waning quickly. How will they ever reach help?
 
 

Click HERE for your copy!


About the Author

 


Liz is an author, the wife of a professional tree climber and the mom of three energetic and laundry-producing children. She received her Associate’s of Arts at the University of Sioux Falls, where she received the LAR Writing Award for her essay entitled, “My Real Life Mufasa.” Liz once spent a summer in Colorado teaching rock climbing, which she believes was a fantastic way to make money and memories. She resides with her family in Wisconsin, where they enjoy hiking and rock climbing. Liz and her husband have also backpacked in Colorado and the Grand Canyon, which have provided inspiration for her writing. She likes making adventurous stories to encourage others to find adventures and expand their comfort zones (though admittedly, she still needs lots of practice expanding her own comfort zone). She has thoroughly enjoyed working on her first novel, Avalanche, and the sequel Chased, which will release in the summer of 2020.
 

More from Liz

 

Have you ever been tempted to take a risk even though your conscience was screaming at you? Were you able to justify the pursuit of the thrill, actually convincing yourself that what you knew to be the unwise decision made perfect sense?

I did. So did my sisters. And so did Sawyer and Marshall Miles. When Sawyer first proposed the idea of the moonlit summit on our families’ annual backpacking trip, I was terrified. But I was also hooked. Sawyer convinced us that we would be fine, and we would be back to camp before our parents woke up with the sunrise.

Hearts racing and hands trembling, we five kids snuck away from camp in the middle of the night. Hiking toward the peak, the full moon was breathtaking, the wildlife abundant, and the experience unreal.

It became a whole lot more unreal when an avalanche, roaring, white and enormous, thundered into our path. Buried in the packed snow, I would have given anything to go back in time and change my decision to go along with this foolish idea.

Digging out of the cemented snow was the first of many challenges in the coming days. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, we were all pushed to our limits.

I had always loved hiking Colorado’s peaks. But, of course, I had never had to evacuate my own sister. I had always trusted Dad’s orienteering. Now I had to trust Sawyer, who, by the way, was the brain behind this dilemma. I usually slept best while backpacking. But, mountain nights are warmer when spent in a sleeping bag. But I can’t let my mind go there. I must keep a positive outlook and trust God to bring us to safety. That’s easier said than done.

Avalanche is a Christian teen and young adult novel. This engaging journey, told by fifteen-year-old Marlee Stanley, captures a timeless sense of adventure. The five young adults strive to exhibit godly character throughout their escapade, but they have not been in such a dire situation before. It will take immense strength and cooperation to hike out of this mess.
 
 

My Review

 

The first book in the Off the Itinerary series, M. Liz Boyle’s “Avalanche” may be written for a young adult audience, but with its adventuresome approach it will appeal to readers of all ages. This is exactly the type of book that I sought out when I was younger, and I still enjoyed it, despite now being an adult. Not only does it impart godly wisdom, but it does so in a real-life manner that younger readers will understand and be able to apply to their own lives. The characters are all steadfast in their Christian faith, which sees them through the trials that they face, and I appreciate the fact that the author does not portray them as saints but rather allows the reader to experience their weaknesses and mistakes. The story is narrated in the first person by 15-year-old Marlee Stanley, who is on a secret overnight hike with her sisters Ellie and Lydie and their friends, Sawyer and Marshall Miles. When they are caught in an avalanche, their fun turns into a battle for survival.

“Avalanche” surprised me with its depth. Boyle writes to a young audience, and she keeps the story simple enough to be easily understood, all the while adding in details that make it a learning experience. I think that this book would be a great option for reluctant readers for this reason. Boyle also displays keen insight into teenage behavior and adolescence, when kids are beginning to become aware of the opposite sex. The hiking and wilderness survival skills are fascinating, and there is a small glossary at the end of the book for a few of the terms that may be unfamiliar to readers. I certainly learned a lot! In my opinion, though, the best part of this story is the strong faith element. Each character demonstrates a stalwart faith in God, even in the face of disaster and even though they are afraid. This is what makes this a 5-star read for me, as the kids battle against despair and negativity yet still cling to prayer and encourage each other. It would be easy for this to come across as sanctimonious and false, yet it doesn’t because Boyle shows readers how the characters truly struggle to maintain a resolute faith. The beautiful part of it is that we all experience the same conflict at one time or another, and when we hold fast to God and put the needs of others above our own, we can know that He is working within us and fighting for us. As Marlee comments, “Each moment is an opportunity to achieve greatness with God.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, M. Liz is giving away the grand prize of a gift basket with the items pictured above!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
A Life Renewed Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  A Life Renewed

Author: Olivia Rae

Genre:  Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2, 2020

In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, “The Nine Days’ Queen” was executed for high treason.

But what if, instead of feeling the blade on her neck she secretly survived?

Escaping execution, Lady Jane hides as a peasant girl in a principality in Germany. She loves the simple life and never wants to return to England. But her benefactor, a power-hungry German prince, wants to march on London and place her on the English throne again, thereby increasing his dominance in Europe. If she doesn’t agree to his plan, her beloved childhood nurse will be put to death. Desperate for help, Jane must put her trust in the mysterious spy Asher Hayes.

Asher Hayes is done rounding up Protestants for “Bloody Mary” and wants nothing more than to live a quiet life as a farmer and expunge the blood of many from his hands. Except Queen Mary isn’t done with him yet. She throws his father, mother, and sister into prison on false charges in order to force him to accept one last mission – find and kill Lady Jane Grey. But when Asher discovers Lady Jane isn’t a threat to the throne as he believed her to be, he faces a devastating decision – does he sacrifice his family for the woman who reigns in his heart?



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Olivia Rae is an award-winning author who spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town next to a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world.
 

More from Olivia

 

The Challenge in Writing About a Real Historical Person

I like creating a story out of a kernel of information. The idea of my new book, A Life Renewed came when I took a trip to England and learned about the tragic life of Lady Jane Grey. Her life was so disastrous, I just wanted to give her a second chance at happiness. So that’s exactly what I did when she escaped her execution instead of dying as she did in real life.

My greatest challenge in writing this book was picking a heroine that actually lived. I had to do a lot of research in Lady Jane Grey’s life and her family. It was very interesting. Lady Jane was what we would call a progressive protestant. The conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants (The beginning of The Church of England) was very real and very deadly at that time. What many people don’t know is that Henry VIII was actually against many other Protestant religions (Calvinists, Lutherans, etc.). He feared their religious influence as much as he did the Catholic’s. His son Edward was more progressive, like Jane. If he would have lived, Jane’s outcome would have been totally different. After Jane’s death, Queen Mary went on a mission to turn England back to Catholicism. In her reign she killed over 300 Protestants. Hence later in history she was known as “Bloody Mary.”
 
 

My Review

 

One of the most interesting questions to ponder is “What if?” After all, this query forms the basis of literary fiction. Adding in an element of truth serves to enhance the fascination, and thus the historical fiction genre exists. This is one of the many reasons that I love this genre and never become bored with it. While I favor the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I enjoy reading and learning about other time periods as well, and this book is my first foray into the 1500s, at least for reviewing purposes. An era that has never particularly attracted my attention before, I must say that this was an excellent novel to pave the way!

Olivia Rae’s “A Life Renewed” kicks off her Secrets of the Queens series with a captivating tale of an alternative version of Lady Jane Grey. Instead of being beheaded, she escapes and ends up living as a peasant girl in a small German princedom, a simple life that she loves. However, Prince von Hoffbauer has other plans for her, intending to further his own cause, and English spy Asher Hayes is on an assigned mission to bring her head to Queen Mary in order to save his own family. With intrigue and romance, sixteenth-century Tudor England comes alive in this thrilling story, along with its turbulence and bloodshed. Of all the characters, I think that my favorite is Otto Werner; he wants to do God’s will but allows himself to be sidetracked, as happens to several other characters as well. As such, all of the characters feel genuine, because they each exhibit less-than-admirable qualities at times. Rae does include some Messianic imagery in the story, as when Asher says of Lady Jane, “She was either a lamb for the slaughter or a lion sent to tear all apart.”

The hatred and calculating animosity between the Catholics and Protestants calls to mind the current political landscape in America between the Democrats and the Republicans. If the seeds of division can be sown, they reap disastrous results for everyone. Author Olivia Rae does not appear to take sides when discussing the religious affiliations of those in “A Life Renewed,” and it is Lady Jane who gives the impassioned speech that so perfectly targets the heart of the issue, both then and now: “How can we profess to believe in Him if we curse one another? How can we profess to be His children if we are maiming and killing each other? How can we profess to believe in Him if we do not love our enemies as He has taught us?”  How, indeed? We should come together in Christ and strive to demonstrate His love to everyone, seeking to live together in peace whenever possible. Having been given a renewed life in Jesus, we need to extend to others the same grace and mercy that we have received, a necessity for all time periods, Tudor and contemporary alike.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize packaged of an autographed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
God Sees Her Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  God Sees Her

Author: Our Daily Bread

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: March 3, 2020

Following the overwhelming success and rave reviews of God Hears Her, we’re bringing you another devotional written by women for women to reassure you that God is with you. God Sees Her is a beautifully styled gift book containing 366 meditations with accompanying Scripture that speak to the heart of women.

The title comes from a story in an Old Testament book of the Bible—Genesis—where Hagar is on the run, alone in the desert with nowhere to go. The angel of the Lord finds her and calls her by name. After this encounter, Hagar exclaimed, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). Women today need this same assurance . . . God sees you, God knows you by name, and God cares about every detail of your life.

Let these short Our Daily Bread devotionals written by women like you wash over your soul and remind you each day that God is near. The handy size, ribbon marker, and decorative cover make it perfect for gift giving to your girlfriends too.



Click HERE for your copy.
 

More about God Sees Her

 

This is a follow up to the successful 365-devotional, God Hears Her. So far, it’s moved more than 200,000 copies.
 
 

My Review

 

Timely and inspiring, “God Sees Her” is a collection of 365 short daily devotionals written by women for women and compiled by Our Daily Bread. Because a variety of women have contributed to this book, the writing style fluctuates, offering the benefit of different perspectives. As indicated by the title, the overarching theme of this devotional compilation comes from Hagar’s story in Genesis 16, in which she refers to God as El Roi, the God who sees me. Several of the devotional readings directly reference this name, and all of them emphasize the fact that God always sees us, even when we feel unacknowledged, and that because of this, we do not walk alone.  

“God Sees Her” is set up in the typical devotional style, with a brief reading for each date throughout the year. Each has its own title, below which is the Bible passage to read and a Scripture verse that correlates with the reading. Half of the reading discusses a personal story or observation from the author, then segues into the Biblical application. Those familiar with the Our Daily Bread devotionals will recognize this format, and it also matches that of the companion devotional, “God Hears Her.” These are suitable for women on the go, especially since the books are small and compact, and they provide a spiritual boost for the day. As such, this is a good devotional to supplement daily Bible reading, because spending time in God’s Word is essential every day!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate their tour, Our Daily Bread is giving away the grand prize package of a God Sees Her hardcover, God Hears Her leather-like, God Hears Her journal, God Hears Her CD, God Hears Her pen, and God Hears Her Scripture & Encouragement cards!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Ponder This Scavenger Hunt Author Interview with Linda Widrick

 

About the Book

 

 

Title: To Complicate Matters

 

Author: Linda Widrick

 

Series: Ponder This

 

Blurb

 

Angelica Dunn, baker extraordinaire, is weary of living from one pie season to another. When she slips on the floor under a bucket of custard crème, a handsome stranger comes to her rescue. Instantly, she’s smitten. 

 

CIA agent, Thaddeus Wright, is drawn to the dimple-cheeked beauty. He adores Angelica’s spunk and the fact that she isn’t pushy like other women. But, how can he tell her he’s not the computer repairman that she assumes he is?

 

To complicate matters, Angelica mistakenly leaves a message on Thadd’s home phone. To what lengths will she go to intercept the embarrassing evidence that’s certain to squelch all hope of a future with Mr. Wright?

 

A comedy of errors and ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time catapults Angelica into a battle between right and wrong.

  

Will Angelica choose to do what’s right, even when things get complicated?

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Linda Widrick is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed pantser who works well under pressure and excels when she binge writes.  A graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group, Linda’s first novel Through a Shattered Image [Pelican Book Group] was released in 2017.    

 

Linda pulls her inspiration for stories from snippets of everyday life.  She enjoys kayaking, traveling, treasure hunting, and connecting with family and friends over a good, strong cup of coffee.  Linda is an active director on a mission board that reaches out to the needy and lost in third world countries.  She and her husband, Keith, enjoy vacationing on their property in the Tug Hill region of upstate New York, the setting for much of her first novel.   Linda lives in southwest Florida where she is an executive assistant by day and a writer by night.  For more info, you may visit her at www.LindaWidrick.com.

 

 

Author Interview

 

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

 

I am a part time writer.  My full time job takes precedent over my schedule.  Binge writing on the weekend works best for me. When I have a deadline, everything gets shifted.

 

 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

 

In To Complicate Matters, my heroine’s character is based on a living, breathing person who is very dear to me. But the storyline is purely fictional.

 

 

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

 

Absolutely.  I write by the seat of my pants. As I sit down to write, a scene will unfold and I just let it happen.

 

 

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

 

Great question, and yes, I do.  Who doesn’t like a good cameo?  In my first book, Through a Shattered Image, my mother-in-law showed up in a scene. In To Complicate Matters, there are several secrets that I imagine a handful of people will pick up on.

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Start early and dive in all the way. What do you have to lose?   Think it’s too late? It’s not. Start now!

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

Grand prize: Two people will receive a framed print of Philippians 4:8 designed by CreativeSteph13 Art, and framed in an acrylic freestanding frame. Size 5x7.

1st place: Five winners will receive the entire series—all eight stories—in the e-format of their choice.

 

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa94/ponder-this-series-scavenger-hunt

Review
5 Stars
Mortal Sight Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Mortal Sight

Author: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Genre:  Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: April 14, 2020

When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can’t explain, Cera’s world turns upside down.
 
Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she’s not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?

In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?


Click HERE to get your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


Sandra Fernandez Rhoads is a Cuban-Colombian born in Queens, New York but currently lives in Dallas, Texas. Her previous experience includes earning a M.A. in her 17th century crush, John Milton, writing scripts and performance pieces, directing theater, acting, and running an employment consulting and marketing company. As an AFA-NIET National Finalist in Public Speaking, she welcomes an audience and dreams of playing the theme to Jurassic Park on her cello, named Lysander. Mortal Sight is her debut novel.
 
 

More from Sandra

 

I am so excited to share this story. The original story seed for Mortal Sight came from the premise: what if someone never felt like they belonged in this world because they really didn’t? They were born for a place they didn’t know existed, an unseen realm. And if so, what things in our everyday world would shout out this truth, point to this other world, and try to get their attention to let them know that the restlessness is intentional and they were called to something bigger than themselves. The use of art and literature throughout the story comes from my own love for art and the artist community. The unique way artists look at the world could point to this other realm. I chose Milton’s Paradise Lost, in particular because the poem speaks of things invisible and unseen wars. I have a deep love for artists and the creative community and love encouraging others to tell stories through art, whether it’s visual, music, poetry, dance, writing, etc. It’s in art’s narrative that we see broken pieces of ourselves. This story came from the idea that art could create common ground, kickstart community, and maybe even change the way we see ourselves, others or even the world.
 
 

My Review

 

“Hesperian is the closest to family I’ve ever felt. I want to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. No matter the cost.”

Sandra Fernandez Rhoads’ “Mortal Sight” is a fantastic example of why as readers we should step out of our comfort zones once in a while and try something new. Fantasy is not one of my preferred genres, generally speaking, although I will say that this year it is starting to grow on me a bit after reading several incredible books, and when I realized that this particular story is urban fantasy, I confess that I groaned. I am all country; the city holds no appeal for me whatsoever, and now I was faced with a tale that was not only metropolitan but also fantasy? As far as I can recall, this is the first work of urban fantasy that I’ve ever read, and to my surprise, I not only enjoyed it, I loved it!

Had I not known that this was a debut novel, I never would have guessed. Rhoads captures the emotional angst of teenagerhood and builds a fascinating and unique world, a second realm where evil creatures roam. “Mortal Sight” is narrated by main character Cera Marlowe, about to turn 17 at the book’s opening, whose mother keeps her away from people and moves them annually. When Cera runs into Maddox one fateful day, the truth about who and what she is changes her life forever, demonstrating that we all have gifts and talents, whether we realize it or not. Each person has their own skills, and as this novel teaches, we need to use the gifts we’ve been given and not be jealous of or covet what others have.

While not overtly Christian, “Mortal Sight” is a clean young-adult novel that is also fitting for older readers as well. John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” figures prominently in this story, forming a foundation for Rhoads to build upon in her own twenty-first century way. There is a very clear connection to spiritual warfare and what we see and what we do not. I was engrossed from the very first page and did not want to put this book down! I recommend it to those looking for a clean book that will keep you captivated from the very first page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 
 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize package of Mortal Sight hardback with exclusive signed bookplate, plus bookmark/Sticker/Button, $30 Amazon gift card, hardback copy of Paradise Lost, and writing Journal of Pierre Auguste Cot’s The Storm!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Bitter Honey Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Bitter Honey

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: March 23, 2020

With God, all things are possible.

But can lost love be found again or two wounded hearts knitted together?

Young love, sweeter than honey, is separated by a natural disaster and turns bitter. After five years, a miracle reunites Samantha Adams and Silas Mercier, but it seems it’s too late. Will love prevail?


Click HERE for your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


Praying her story gives God glory, award-winning author Caryl McAdoo continues prolificity with her new Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series. Readers around the world enjoy her best-selling novels and shower them with 5-Star ratings galore. With forty-eight titles—and counting—her love for writing is obvious; the lady loves singing the new songs the Lord gives her as well! (Check out YouTube). Caryl gave Ron four children and the couple shares eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, the seat of Red River County, in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
 

 

More from Caryl

 

Are you ready to revisit the Adams and Corbin families (from UNIQUELY COMMONE and REMI)? Five years have passed, so it’s 1853, and life has gone on.

Samantha, only fourteen back then, wrote faithfully to Silas back in New Orleans as she traveled west on the Oregon/California Trail. She expected a tall stack of letters waiting on her at the General Store in Napa, but alas there were none.

BITTER HONEY is a story of puppy love time tries to dissipate, but Samantha never forgot Silas—or forgave him either! Though she had no way of knowing what tragic events had kept him from mailing the return missives, he never quit thinking of the beautiful girl who’d written of her love for him.

However, each day that passed only made it harder for him to write. Until he decided only a face-to-face talk would suffice, he worked with the man who’d always loved his mother, Claude, to rebuild his family’s vineyard, catching gators on the side.

This story has a second love story, that of Claude and the prostitute he rescues Odette, so there’s plenty of action to keep readers flipping pages. A story of first love and late, second-chance love with a taste of the Cajun life in Louisiana, BITTER HONEY is about restoration and following God’s will.

I hope you enjoy BITTER HONEY and all the other Lockets and Lace stories!
BLESSINGS!
 
 

Author Interview

 

Thank you so much, Sarah, for inviting me to visit your blog! I’m blessed for the opportunity to share my new release BITTER HONEY with your friends and readers!

 

 

Describe your book in five words.

 

Tragedy. Hope. Love. Mentors. Truth.

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I often answer this question with a story about when I was in the seventh grade in 1962. The teacher assigned an essay on what we’d be in the year 2000. I wrote about being an intergalactically famous author jetting from planet to planet to sign books.

So writing was a dream that far back. But NASA let me down. What can I say?

 

But your question is aimed at the decision, and I believe I’d have to fast forward to the boom-and-bust 1980’s. My asphalt and concrete paving company boomed with over a million in sales our third year in business then busted the next year when we closed the doors.

The IRS came calling, wanting to audit us. I’d hired accountants but they were no longer employees, so I did my best coming up with all the information the agent wanted. He ascertained there’d been no fraud (good thing) but that we owed FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS (bad thing).

 

WHAT! The CPA had said we’d get money back . . . oh well, they couldn’t get blood out of a muppet. We’d already closed the doors on the company . . . To avoid garnishment of wages—that’d leave our family nothing to live on—my husband took a job that paid cash daily and started driving a taxi.

 

This gave him a lot of reading time, sitting in queues waiting for his next fare. He read a book called NOAH, and it was awful. He said it should’ve been named Joe and the Big Boat as the story had nothing to do with the Biblical super hero. He thought is that woman could get published, we could. He and I talked about it, and that’s when we decided to write.

We hand wrote (didn’t own a computer then) a 387-page novel we named IN THE BEGINNING with Enoch as our main character. New York publishers rejected it over and again. It’s never been published.  

     

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 

Though only my name is on the cover per the advice of our NY agent and Simon & Schuster editor, it’s no secret Ron—my dearest husband of fifty-plus years—write together. He gets up at three or four o’clock every morning, prays an hour or so, then gets on the computer.

He checks Amazon (sales and pages read the previous day), plays spider solitaire (he’s like a grand master), and then writes on our work-in-progress. When I wake, after my first cup of coffee in bed, I go to his computer and catch up. From Chapter One to the end of the story, we write back and forth like that, always going over what the other one did then adding to the story.

So, we usually write every morning first thing, then sometimes, go back to it of an afternoon or night, Whoever wrote last tells the other, “You’re behind.” 

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

If I ever got started, I believe audio would be my favorite because I could listen to the story while I did something else. I’m not one to sit down and curl up with a book. I’ve enjoyed doing that at times, but I’m a go-go-go doer. I like to get things done, and there’s always so much I want to do.

When we were rearing our grandsons, I had sitting time—at doctor or dentists appointments or sports practices (and games. Don’t tell them I said that!)—and I used that time to read. Paperbacks are favorite, but I do have a Kindle.

 

 

What are your hobbies?

 

Hobbies are activities you spend a lot of time doing because you get to, you can. For that reason, I’m listing a new “hobby”! I take a lot of pictures and enjoy editing them—usually with my iPhone, although my husband bought me a 35mm Nikon a few years back.

I also enjoy cooking—as a hobby, not a chore. Evidently, I’m really good at it, but I don’t do it often. Ron is the main provider of food in our household, day in, day out. But I’ll get to wanting a certain dish and cook it up. There’s always leftovers because I can’t make a little of anything, so I share it with neighbors or at bridge club! 



Thanks again for inviting me to come visit! I appreciate you choosing to participate in my BITTER HONEY Blog Tour with Celebrate Lit! Blessings to you and your readers!

 

 

Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, April 23

deb’s Book Review, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

For Him and My Family, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 27 (Author Interview)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 28

Texas Book-aholic, April 29

Betti Mace, April 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 1

For the Love of Literature, May 2 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

Artistic Nobody, May 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connect in Fiction, May 5

Lukewarm Tea, May 6 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Caryl 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.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Book Review of The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin

 

 

Blurb:

 

 

***2019 Carol Award winner, Debut***

 

***2019 Realm Award Book of the Year***

 

 

Selling stories is a deadly business

 

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

 

 

 

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too.

 

 

 

 

Book Purchase Links

 

Amazon

 

Christianbook

 

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Lindsay A. Franklin is a best-selling author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman.

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links:

 

https://www.facebook.com/enclave.publishing/

 

https://twitter.com/enclavebooks

 

https://www.instagram.com/enclavepublishing/

 

 #TheWeaverTrilogy #TheStoryPeddler #EnclaveEscape  #EnclavePublishing

 

 

 

 

 

My Review:

 

 

“Many people’s lives were stories with mysterious endings. Mine was a story with a beginning I could never make sense of. It was like fifty different unrelated strands I couldn’t weave into a solid crystal.”

Fantasy is not the first genre that I go to when looking for a book to read; I enjoy fiction, but I suppose it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of realistic writing, as historical fiction is my favorite category. However, once in a while a fantasy book will appeal to me, enticing me to give it a chance. I’ve heard so much about the Weaver Trilogy and found the covers to be enchanting, so I was eager to start reading. My impressions on the first book? A solid debut.

With “The Story Peddler”, Lindsay Franklin opens her Weaver Trilogy in the land of Tir. Tanwen is a young girl living in absolute poverty. Her neighbors have helped take care of her and, now that she is almost 18, still provide some food for her due to the fact that she lives alone and must provide for herself. The neighbor’s son, Brac, intends to marry her because they have grown up together and are very close friends. Tanwen, however, has her own dreams. At the abrupt termination her job, Tanwen, in fear for her life for unwittingly committing treason during a storytelling tour, begins to find answers to questions and customs that have eluded her for years. Furthermore, her story intertwines with that of Princess Braith, with each chapter marked to denote which young woman is the focus.

 

 

I love the concept behind this book. Franklin does a nice job of combining literature and art to form a new realm in which dictatorial rule threatens the well-being of the citizens. Full of danger and action, there is plenty here to keep readers engaged. Tanwen’s struggles with committed relationships and being tied down to rural life when her dream is to serve the King as a royal storyteller echo similar strivings that we endeavor to fulfill today. While not overtly Christian, it definitely has strong underpinnings based on Christian teaching and the Bible. “The Story Peddler” is a story that speaks to young adults and grandparents alike, as well as everyone in between.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Return to the Fierce Land Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Return to the Fierce Land

Author: N.C. Bolton

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Release Date: March 31, 2020

The Fierce Land…

His escape from there still haunts his dreams with snatches of terror and the smell of blood. Dreams that jolt him awake, his heart pounding a frantic pace in his chest.

No longer a frightened, grieving child, Rikk has a duty—a mission. Myla, Rikk’s little sister, now grown herself, remains trapped in that harsh land.

Can she possibly know he survived his escape, and now, years later, prepares ready to travel back to find her? The village elders and the rest of his adopted people have such confidence in his ability to make the journey. Yet his heart is still divided, and fearful.

He should have faith, as they do.

But dread lurks below the surface of the calm face he shows.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


N.C. Bolton is a wife, mother, grandmother, jewelry maker, crochet crafter, and of course: a writer! She lives in upstate New York in a lovely scenic region known as The Fingerlakes. Widowed last year, she is comforted by her five sons, two grandchildren and a marvelous array of family and other loved ones. She loves the creative process, and puts her whole focus into the stories she writes. May you be entertained and uplifted by them!

You visit her website HERE.
 
 

More from N.C. Bolton

 

I’ve always been drawn to the miraculous aspects of life and creation. I think almost all children experience this, but over time we become so busy and distracted that we lose the awareness of how miraculous life really is. I’m no different. Modern life is pretty demanding!

I love good movies, and I realized over time that there were a great many super-hero movies and movies with Messianic-themed heroes. It made me aware of how human beings hunger to reconnect with that sense of awe we had as children. We all need a relationship with God, not just for His abiding love and hope, the promise of eternal life, and help with the challenges of this mortal life, but to be connected to the Author of the miraculous.

That’s what inspired me to write the Fierce Land series. The scriptures are full of miracles and interventions as well as the heartfelt prayers of humans trying to learn God’s ways and overcome their own internal struggles. And that’s what this series explores, within the framework of a world that is not modern but faces many of the same issues people have always faced. I hope the story is a blessing to those who read it, and that it helps to remind us that our lives are full of miracles.
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I remember an assignment in elementary school when I wrote a poem about Abraham Lincoln and in the process became quite moved at how words could express the way I felt. It opened an awareness in me and a curiosity about the effect that words have on the writer, and the reader.



Describe your book in five words.

 

Journey between doubt and faith.



Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

 

Rikk does, because he has endured trauma and experienced grace, yet still struggles with his own emotions and fears.



What are your hobbies?

 

Writing, of course! And I love to crochet and make jewelry.



Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

 

Jesus was and is. He fascinates me, inspires me, breaks my heart and lifts me up. He’s my shepherd and my beloved friend. I’m honored to have the opportunity to be His follower.

 

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 2

Through the Fire Blogs, May 3 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 4

Inklings and notions, May 5

For Him and My Family, May 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 8

Wishful Endings, May 9 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 11

Artistic Nobody, May 12 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, N. C. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon card & eBook copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.