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.

Review
4 Stars
The Medallion Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: The Medallion
 
Author: Cathy Gohlke
 
Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)
 
Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.
 
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.
 
Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.
 
Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.  

Click HERE to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy

 

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.
 
The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.
 
The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within ┼╗egota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?
 
Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.
 

My Review

 

This is one of the most difficult books that I have ever read. In all honesty, were it not for the fact that I was reading it for review, I would have set it aside or at least read it in small portions. I took English classes focused on the Holocaust during college and have read a fair amount of literature from and about that time period. However, Cathy Gohlke’s “The Medallion” really struck a nerve. It took me a while to adjust to the alternating viewpoints of the chapters, which eventually converge, because from the very beginning I fell headlong into the harrowing world Gohlke describes and had to reset my mind when the characters changed with the next chapter so that I did not confuse one storyline with the other. Several of the characters in the story are real historical figures, and some of the plotline is inspired by true events. That, coupled with the focus on relationships and hardships both during and after WWII, truly tore at my heartstrings.

Be forewarned: this is not a light, happily-ever-after read. The devastation and horror are compounded by the realization that they are historically accurate. This story raises many tough questions, some of which are addressed in the discussion questions provided at the end of the book. “The Medallion” takes readers from the early days of the war to its aftermath, and the journey is heartbreaking. Sophie Kumiega is not Jewish but encounters the dangers and desolation wrought by the German occupation of Poland, leading her to work for the underground and to take over care of a Jewish toddler, Ania. Through Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich, Ania’s parents, readers witness life in the Warsaw ghetto and what comes after.

Unlike many Holocaust narratives, “The Medallion” does not take place in a concentration camp, save for a brief scene. Learning about the work of the underground and those working within that network to save lives sheds light on the heroics of those who challenged the Nazi agenda. Just as compelling is part two, which takes place after the war ends. It is an important reminder of how unsettled and dangerous the world still was for the refugees. Post-traumatic stress plays a role as well, and I was glad that the author included this because it was doubtless a struggle for all of the survivors, including those who were not Jewish, and obviously the struggle did not end when peace was declared. The fate of the children aided through the underground network and what it meant for their future becomes a key element in the second section.

Although “The Medallion” is heartrending and sobering, I would still recommend it, especially for anyone who is not familiar with the impact of the German occupation of Poland during WWII. The faith element offers both a refuge in the midst of the tragedy and the hope of redemption. One thing that opened my eyes was that the Jewish aversion to Jesus resulted in part because the German oppressors claimed to be Christians. Still, faith in God guides the characters, Jewish and Gentile alike, throughout the trials of war and its reverberations, and it is the same faith that is available to each and every one of us today. This is one of the main messages of the story, that true faith means taking action and putting others before oneself, hopefully causing onlookers to question their unbelief.  

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

 

Blog Stops

 

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notionsJune 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
 
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e50c/the-medallion-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
4 Stars
The Pink Bonnet Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

 


Book: The Pink Bonnet
 
Author: Liz Tolsma
 
Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense
 
Release date: June, 2019  

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child  

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
 
Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.
 
How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?
 
Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 


Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz

 

 

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.
 
In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.
 
How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?
 
Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma.
 
The True Crime Behind the Story
 
Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.
 

My Review

 

After finishing Liz Tolsma’s “The Pink Bonnet”, book two in the True Colors series, my opinions are mixed. This story needs and deserves to be told, and yet the grimness of it is oppressive, truly making it difficult fodder. Prior to this novel, I knew of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by name only, so this story was shockingly enlightening. As with so many appalling events throughout history, this one seems incredulous in its scope and longevity. Targeting victims who were poor and vulnerable forms a sadly effective modus operandi, indicating the ongoing need for reform. In seeking to dispel the evil associated with this organization, the depth of complicity becomes evident and has far-reaching consequences that echo still today.

“The Pink Bonnet” opens innocuously enough, with a mother and her three-year-old daughter struggling to make ends meet in 1933 in Memphis, Tennessee, low on money but rich in love. Almost immediately, however, foreshadowing forms storm clouds on the horizon, and soon events come to a head. Entrusting little Millie to a neighbor for a few hours, Cecile Dowd returns to find her daughter gone, given over to the custody of Georgia Tann, the unscrupulous director of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society. What follows demonstrates the lengths a mother will go to in order to recover her child.

Incredibly pervasive, the extent of the corruption demonstrates the result of crony politics and the danger of being a parent in Memphis during this time period and also serves to remind us that such threats continue now as well. Child trafficking is an insidious business, and in this story Miss Tann is truly diabolical. Because of the guise under which she operates, a moral dilemma emerges: Is the child better off in an adoptive home? If the birth parents find their child and the child has a good life with their adopted parents, who gets custody? Pearl’s and Fanny’s characters offer a good balance by showing both sides of the adoption issue.

Harrowing and sinister, “The Pink Bonnet” merits words of warning. There is very little humor or lightheartedness to relieve tension, and due to the nature of the subject matter, there is mistreatment and physical abuse of a child as well as domestic violence, albeit with no graphic details. As such, I would not recommend this book for everyone. A few unanswered questions raised during the story remain, and the conclusion was more open-ended than I prefer, although part of this is attributable to the historical event itself. Faith in God does not truly become a strong contributing factor until the denouement, a fact which I found disappointing but which does point to the characters’ spiritual growth. One of the characters sums it up best: “The life, welfare, and happiness of children and their parents was priceless. Jesus had already purchased their lives with His blood. They were no longer up for sale.” Thank the Lord that none of us are orphans and that we will always be at home in Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.


Blog Stops

 

Just the Write Escape, June 20

The Becca Files, June 20

Livin’ Lit, June 20

The Power of Words, June 21

Christian Bookaholic, June 21

Godly Book Reviews, June 21

Spoken from the Heart, June 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 22

For HIm and my Family, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 23

Inspired by fiction, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom, June 24

Moments, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

As He Leads is Joy, June 26

Emily Yager, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Carla Loves to Read, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Changed by Him, June 28

Bigreadersite, June 28

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28

Inspiration Clothesline, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Hallie Reads, June 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

janicesbookreviews, July 2

Older & Smarter?, July 2

By The Book, July 2

A Reader’s Brain, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!!
 
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/e331/the-pink-bonnet-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
3 Stars
Small Town Secrets: Book Review of Harbor Secrets by Melody Carlson

 

Blurb:

A Peaceful Coastal Town…Threatened by a Storm of Secrets

 

It's 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it's time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.

 

Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven’t. Anna finds the staff of her father’s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.

 

With Oregon’s new statewide prohibition in effect, crime has crept along the seacoast and invaded even idyllic Sunset Cove. Anna only meant to get to know her father again over the summer, but instead she finds herself rooting out the biggest story the town has ever seen—and trying to keep her daughter safe from it all.

 

Book Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

ChristianBook

 

 

Author Bio:

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) 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.

 

Author Social Media Links:

 

https://www.facebook.com/melodycarlsonauthor/

https://twitter.com/AuthorCarlson

https://www.instagram.com/authormelodycarlson/

 

My Review:

“Maybe it wasn’t the criminals who should be scared right now…maybe it was the folks who were trying to stop them.”

 



Melody Carlson’s The Legacy of Sunset Cove series opens with “Harbor Secrets”, which blends elements from different genres to create a small-town tale from the last century. Set in 1916, this story takes place in the coastal Oregon town of Sunset Cove. Women have been slowly making strides in the fight for suffrage and job opportunities, and the United States has not yet entered into what will become World War I. Sunset Cove seems to be an idyllic place, but there is a growing undercurrent of unease. Small towns are, after all, known for their secrets.

After her estranged father Mac suffers a stroke, widow Anna McDowell and her 16-year-old daughter, Katy, travel to Sunset Cove to spend the summer with him and to reconcile. Being a newspaper woman, Anna is perfectly positioned to take over Mac’s duties as head of the local paper, despite opposition from some of the staff. Before long, she discovers that local crime has infiltrated the town with the prohibition on alcohol, and her desire to pursue the story conflicts with her need to keep her family safe.

 



With an interesting premise and setting, “Harbor Secrets” provides a rather congenial reading experience with light suspense and hints of romance. However, I did have some issues while reading. The slang used at the beginning of the novel seemed to me to be too modern and was jarring, especially as I was trying to step into the setting of the narrative. Family drama and relationships form an integral part of this story, and while I enjoyed some of the characters, to me they seemed somewhat superficial, and I did not feel that I really connected with any of them. The suspense aspect added interest but was very light, and I personally found the last section of the book anticlimactic. The story did come to an end, which I always appreciate, especially in a series, while leaving an opening for book two. As for the faith component, I valued Anna’s praying during times of stress and how clean the storyline is but would have liked to have seen more faith woven into it, as there are numerous scenarios where this could occur. Nevertheless, “Harbor Secrets” offers readers a glimpse into the world of early prohibition and women’s rights in a small coastal town, a fitting book for summertime.

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

Connilyn Cossette Author Interview

 

Until the Mountains Fall, book 3 in the Cities of Refuge series, releases on July 2!

 

You can pre-order your copy HERE.

 

Author Connilyn Cossette has graciously provided answers to some reader questions to explain her writing process and whet your appetite for Rivkah and Malakhi's story. 

 

 

Is there a favorite character or one you’ve felt connected with the most in this book or the series?

 

I think because Moriyah is really the core of the Cities of Refuge series, I’ve felt most connected to her character long term. It’s been interesting to follow a character from the age of thirteen all the way through her life journey until she is a great-grandmother and to explore how her life and witness has affected those around her. I hope that readers see Moriyah as an example of what it is to be a light to the world, even when your influence is relatively small.

 

What was your inspiration for starting this series?

 

I began this series because I wanted to explore what happened after Jericho and found myself fascinated with the Cities of Refuge and what life might have been like within the walls of such a unique place. I also just really fell in love with Moriyah in Wings of the Wind and felt that she was demanding that I tell her story.

 

How do you feel writing biblical fiction has affected your relationship with God?

 

I started writing biblical fiction not because I was all that invested in the genre but because I was so intrigued by my own personal research a story came out of it. I think what writing this type of fiction has done is forced me to place myself “within” the stories in the Word and to deepen my perspective about the people and places that are described within the pages of the Bible. The stories of Israel’s history no longer seem “far away” anymore; I feel like I am a part of them, as if they are part of my own history as well which has given me a greater connectedness to Jesus in many ways. It has also just given me a deeper appreciation for his care and concern for me, because without him sustaining me on a daily basis none of this writing stuff would even be possible.  

 

What’s one thing you wish readers would take away from this book?

 

I hope that readers are reminded that our Father loves us with boundless, everlasting love and that no matter how far off we’ve wandered, He is always waiting for us, arms outstretched, and our names written on his scarred hands.

 

What do you find to be the most challenging when writing biblical fiction?

 

I would say the biggest challenge is the myriad opinions between scholars and archeologists and bible teachers. There are as many ideas and theories as there are people who study the Bible and the world in which its history takes place. There are times when the research is so conflicting and so confusing that I just have to pick a position that works with my plot and run with it, even if its not the most popular opinion. But since I am not writing history books and instead am telling a fictional story with history as the backdrop, if I can create a sense of verisimilitude hopefully readers will forgive any differing ideas or they’ll be so caught up in the tale they won’t even notice!

 

Can you share with us a book you have read recently, are currently reading, or hope to read soon?

 

I recently read A Curse so Dark and Lonely, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that was quite well written and a fresh take on the familiar story. I am currently reading Finale, which is the third of the Caraval Series (kinda weird/unique fantasy but some really intriguing imagery and descriptive language), and I have a number of books up next on my TBR list such as Lori Benton’s The King’s Mercy, The Number of Love by Roseanna White, and Daughter of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischoff and lots and lots more. I’m kind of a moody reader both in genre and in style, so we’ll see what I feel up to reading first. It changes from day to day.

 

What's your preference/describes you best:

 

Early bird or Night owl? Night owl for sure, although my sleep patterns have been shifting lately for some reason and I’ve been waking earlier and passing out before 1am most night which is really abnormal for me.

 

Pepsi or Coke? Coke if I only have the two, but I’m a Diet Dr. Pepper girl when I drink pop. (Yes, I said pop, I’m from the Pacific Northwest).

 

Dogs or Cats? Cats for sure. I enjoy dogs (unless they are slobbery/shedding/jumping on me) but in our family cats are people too and there are usually one or more on my desk at all times. (And yes, there is one here now).

 

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. No question. If there is peanut butter, coffee, or caramel involved with the chocolate, all the better.

 

 

Which part of Until the Mountains fall did you enjoy writing the most?

 

Without giving any spoilers, there is a very distinctive Part I and Part 2 within this story and during the interim my characters do a lot of changing. Some of it for the better, and some of it for the worse. So it was an interesting challenge to work through who they started out as and how they transformed, and then it was fun discovering my hero and heroine all over again after the shift and working through how they ultimately come together in light of the changes within themselves and the circumstances within which they interact.

 

Any scripture verses jump out as you brought this biblical based story to life?

 

Oh there are so many wonderful ones that speak to the Father’s love for our prodigal hearts, but here are a couple that are just perfect for Rivkah.

 

Isaiah 54:8 “In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.

 

And all of Psalms 103 is a great depiction of his mercy and grace, but this verse especially is applicable to UTMF—As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalms 103:13 

 

How do you go about creating a story based on Biblical figures?

 

Since my style of biblical is a little different from most, in that I tell stories of fictional people that interact with non-fictional people, history, and settings, I have a little bit more leeway when it comes to story-building. But I always start with the Word and use its timelines and details as the skeleton of my novels first. Once I have those essentials, I can begin to weave in the characters and plots that I create. If I do slip in actual historical figures my preference is to make those interchanges brief and focus on how my fictional characters might react to those people and their actions. All in all I just do my best to stay as close to the Biblical narrative as I can while using any whitespace or unknowns to stir my imagination.

 

How do you achieve the characterization and how do you decide what the characters should be like?

 

Characters usually develop as I write the story. For the most part I try to know what their general backstory is and what their wounds are before I begin, but sometimes those things shift as I get to know the person on the page. At times it takes me the writing of the entire manuscript before I truly understand the character’s motives and goals and then I have to go back before submission and layer those traits into the story so it flows well and makes a smooth and realistic character arc.

 

How do you decide what themes you will lift from the scriptures to place in your books?

 

With Until the Mountains Fall I’d decided from the beginning that Rivkah’s story would be inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke but usually the themes of my stories develop as I write and sometimes it takes the entire book being nearly finished before I realize exactly which themes floated to the top. To me that is how thematic elements develop the most organically and avoid being “preachy” in the telling because they are related to the growth within the characters and not because I am trying to teach some sort of moral lesson to the reader. 

 

What percentage do you feel you are ancient historian, novelist, story teller, romance writer (or any other “hat” you wear as you write these books)?

 

What an intriguing question! I feel I am about 5% historian because really I am just someone who loves history and I have zero credentials to call myself anything other than a student. I am probably about about equal parts novelist and storyteller, maybe 40% each? Then perhaps 15% romance writer because I do love a good love story but it’s not my main goal as I develop my stories, and then I am about 10% just having a great time playing around with imaginary friends and making up stuff to entertain my own crazy brain. Is that 100%? I certainly don’t know because I am 0% mathematician.

 

As a homeschool mom, how did you start and then balance homeschooling with your writing career?

 

I have homeschooled my kids all the way through (with the exception of one very stressful week of Kindergarten for my son) and now have a 9th grader and a 7th grader (yikes! Prayer appreciated). Balancing homeschool has become a lot easier in the past couple of years because my kids are increasingly independent in their studies, are really intellectually curious, and I have found awesome homeschool enrichment classes that have freed up some time and brainpower for me while giving my kids opportunities to meet new friends and expand their minds.  This year my son is planning to write his own novel over the course of the year for a Creative Writing credit, since he has the perfect built in expert and we are looking forward to seeing how that develops. He’s already showing some intriguing talent for storytelling that I am hoping to encourage! For me the important thing is to schedule out my days well, keep to a reasonable word-count plan as much as possible, but also to be flexible and just know that some days school means spending the day (or a couple of weeks) exploring topics of passion instead of following a set curriculum. We love homeschooling and hope to continue it all the way through!

 

 

How detailed is your research for each of your books?

 

I spent five years writing Counted with the Stars in which I did a lot of detailed research into the ancient world of the Bible. So now with that base in mind, I do my best to mostly research the history, archeology, and the settings that pertain to each specific book as I go along looking at the broad view and then I concentrate on details that are pertinent to my character’s experiences as I write. If I am not careful I can get lost on historical rabbit trails while I am supposed to be writing, so if I have a question about something in particular I mark it with a $ sign in my manuscript and then research it later and plug it in. But I do my best to read as much as possible and spend lots of time on archeological and historical websites soaking it all in. Youtube videos can be super helpful, as can podcasts from great bible teachers and historians.

 

Did anything happen during the writing of this book that changed the trajectory of the story?

 

I had a fairly firm grasp on this story from the beginning, when I was plotting it with my plotting group but I did find some fascinating research about Edrei, which is one of the cities in which a portion of the story takes place. I read about an amateur archeologist and explorer named Gottlieb Shumacher who claimed to have visited the historical site in current day Daraa, Syria well over a hundred years ago with the help of local guides and discovered a series of tunnels and caves below the city. There is of course no certainty that this site he explored is actually the city of Edrei but the description was compelling to me and stirred my imagination. So the scenes that take place in and below that city are because of this captivating bit of information I just happened to stumble across.

 

Did the story change at all during the writing of the book?

 

My stories always shift and transform in the writing because I am not a firm-structure plotter. I begin with an outline and a list of chapters but within that structure I give myself plenty of room to explore. However without giving spoilers I can’t divulge too much of those changes within Until the Mountains Fall, except to say there was a secondary love story that I didn’t plan that just appeared on the page, along with a shift in the outcome for one of the secondary characters involved, and a resolution to a larger-arc thread that became much more prevalent as the writing progressed.

 

Will we see Rivkah and Malakhi again in future books?

 

We will definitely visit these two in Like Flames in the Night, which takes place eight years after the close of Until the Mountains Fall. There is more to tell about Moriyah and Darek’s family so fear not, I haven’t left you hanging without resolution to some of your burning questions.

 

What is your favorite children’s book?

 

My favorite children’s book is probably Anne of Green Gables, since I was fairly enthralled with it when I was young and absolutely wanted to be Anne. Although the Narnia series is of equal value to me, and in particular the Magician’s Nephew, which is my favorite of the bunch mostly due to the enthralling description of Aslan’s Creation of the world with song. To me those scenes had to have been divinely inspired and they give me chills whenever I read them, just as they did when I was a kid.

 

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to write books?

 

Read. Read. Read. Read books that challenge you, that are a little bit tough to get through or are outside the style you might gravitate toward. Explore different genres. Write down and hoard lovely words and lines that capture your imagination. Don’t allow any negative self-talk as you are learning or tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, just enjoy playing with language and write stories and poems and lyrics that you want to read and connect with your own emotions. And don’t limit yourself to writing what is “popular” at the moment. There’s always room for interesting, out-of-the-box writing that breaks the rules or crosses genres. But above all, just write words, every day and in whatever form strikes your fancy. You never know how God will use your passion for writing in the future! I’m proof of that! 

 

Is there a secret to writing an emotional scene that makes the feelings jump off the page?

 

I think the most important thing to know about a character is their wounds. Understanding what hurts they harbor will affect how they perceive the world around them and how they will react in certain situations and if those things are explored effectively, the reader will feel the impact more deeply. Also, I draw on my own emotions as I write. Whether or not I’ve actually experienced a moment like the person on the page, I can always think back to a time I’ve felt pain or grief or joy or frustration or fear and remember the visceral reactions I’ve had to those emotions. Writing is much like acting in that way, so tapping into your own emotions and then applying them to whatever character you are embodying as you write is the best way to make your reader feel those things as they live out the story in their minds. Brain science has shown that we actually feel the emotions along with characters in well-written fiction, so if I find myself crying or laughing or sighing as I write out a scene, chances are my readers will too. And I’ll just tell you, I cried a lot during the writing of Until the Mountains Fall. Fair warning. 

 

Do you get a say in the design of your book cover? What is the process?

 

The first part of the process for me is creating a secret Pinterest Board with all sorts of images that relate to the story I am building. Characters, settings, details etc. When my editor asks for inspiration I can then share that board with her and the cover designer at Bethany House and I also include notes about the story and characters and any pertinent details that might be helpful. And then, I wait. And wait. And wait. And then one day I get an email with the subject “We have a cover!” and I squeal and gasp and hold my breath as I open the attachment and then I spend hours and hours staring at it and thanking the Lord that Bethany House is my publisher. Each one has perfectly captured the emotion of the stories and my heroines and I have adored each one. If there are little details that perhaps don’t quite fit I can always let them know and see if they address it, but honestly I’ve only done that once and I was super pleased with the result afterward. You can tell how much I love my covers because I put them on photo canvas and decorate my office with them, where I will continue to stare at them for years to come.

 

To learn more about Connilyn, get free devotionals based on her books, and join her email list, please visit ConnilynCossette.com and follow her on social media:


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Check out the entire Cities of Refuge series HERE.

 

Review
5 Stars
The Number of Love Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve
 
Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart
 
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.
 
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Click HERE to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author

 

 
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com
 
 

More from Roseanna

 

 

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”
 
I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.
 
I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.
 
The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.
 
I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?
 

My Review 

 

This may have been my first book by Roseanna White, but it definitely will not be my last! From the very first page, I was captivated by this unique story and drawn into the complex plot. In general, I have not read a great deal of historical fiction set during WWI, and never about those responsible for decrypting and encrypting enemy code. There is an enigma surrounding codebreakers, one that brings to mind spies, conspiracies, and scheming. “The Number of Love” has all of that and more, tautly woven into an absorbing narrative.

Employing meticulous pieces that continue to add to the puzzle as a whole, White calculatingly draws the reader into what becomes a multifarious story. Early on in the novel, the setting is relatively serene, and Margot De Wilde had me grinning from the outset. There is so much to love about her character, particularly given the time period in which she lives. Forging a career for herself and defying convention, she is very much an innovative woman in a man’s world. She carries herself with aplomb and a sarcastic wit and is incredibly intelligent, being the only female codebreaker of the confidential Room 40, and only 18 years old at that.

“Mathematics never led her astray.” As an English major and someone whose worst subject was always math, Margot’s aptitude awed me. It was fascinating for me to read how White created this character who thinks and acts in terms of mathematics, whose ultimate goal is to complete her university studies and attain a professorship. Witnessing how Margot implements mathematical principles into all aspects of her life gave her character a stimulating individuality. Another aspect of her character that I really appreciated was her faith in God, demonstrating that the sciences and math do not preclude the existence of God and a personal relationship with Him. I thought that it was very fascinating that God communicates to Margot, and vice versa, through numbers. Also, the insight into the grieving process is well done, including facets of post-traumatic stress and anger toward God. Social anxiety is explored as well, along with various relationships and their consequences. “The Number of Love” provides a tale of intrigue, romance, and faith in the midst of battles both personal and national, a thoroughly engaging novel highly recommended for historical fiction lovers.

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

 

Blog Stops

 

Among the Reads, June 17

Moments, June 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 17

Back Porch Reads, June 18

The Avid Reader, June 18

Stories By Gina, June 18

janicesbookreviews, June 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 19

Inspired by Fiction, June 19

Worthy2Read, June 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19

As He Leads is Joy, June 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 20

Real World Bible Study, June 21

Multifarious, June 21

Emily Yager, June 21

A Reader’s Brain, June 21

Bigreadersite, June 22

For the Love of Literature, June 22

Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

She Lives to Read, June 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 23

Just the Write Escape, June 23

Genesis 5020, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Life of Literature, June 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 25

Just Your Average reviews, June 26

Blogging With Carol, June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Splashes of Joy, June 26

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag!!
 
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/de86/the-number-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
A Taste of Amish Life
Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Gatherings Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Carry-In Favorites with Tips for Making the Most of the Occasion - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Gatherings Cookbook brings a taste of Amish life to your kitchen. Beautifully illustrated with all full-color photos and pages, this cookbook is spiral-bound for easy use and contains over 200 recipes. Each section begins with a short informational page or story from either Wanda herself or Amish friends, followed by a few general tips applicable to that section. Food forms an important part of Amish events and socializing, highlighting the connection between food and fellowship. As such, this cookbook provides fodder for the heart as well as for the stomach.

Thoughtfully organized into eight sections according to food type and including one for beverages as well, this handy cookbook is easy to navigate and offers a glimpse of Amish life. Three indices make it quick and easy to look up recipes by contributor, section, or key ingredients. Each recipe names the contributor and their city and state, with most hailing from the Midwest. The recipes are written for fairly large quantities, given that Amish families tend to be sizable, and the last section is comprised of recipes specifically tailored to cater to big groups. Seeing three designated gluten-free recipes pleasantly surprised me; these include gluten-free skillet corn bread, gluten-free breakfast casserole, and gluten-free angel food cake. Other recipes can be adapted to suit special diets, but overall this cookbook does not address specific dietary restrictions. Furthermore, the recipes are very succinct, such that a basic knowledge of cooking is necessary because there are not hints or extra details in the instructions. While I would not necessarily recommend this to a kitchen novice, for those with any kind of experience cooking or baking, this collection imparts unique recipes with some Amish wisdom on the side.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
4 Stars
Robbing the Cradle
The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime - Liz Tolsma

After finishing Liz Tolsma’s “The Pink Bonnet”, book two in the True Colors series, my opinions are mixed. This story needs and deserves to be told, and yet the grimness of it is oppressive, truly making it difficult fodder. Prior to this novel, I knew of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by name only, so this story was shockingly enlightening. As with so many appalling events throughout history, this one seems incredulous in its scope and longevity. Targeting victims who were poor and vulnerable forms a sadly effective modus operandi, indicating the ongoing need for reform. In seeking to dispel the evil associated with this organization, the depth of complicity becomes evident and has far-reaching consequences that echo still today.

“The Pink Bonnet” opens innocuously enough, with a mother and her three-year-old daughter struggling to make ends meet in 1933 in Memphis, Tennessee, low on money but rich in love. Almost immediately, however, foreshadowing forms storm clouds on the horizon, and soon events come to a head. Entrusting little Millie to a neighbor for a few hours, Cecile Dowd returns to find her daughter gone, given over to the custody of Georgia Tann, the unscrupulous director of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society. What follows demonstrates the lengths a mother will go to in order to recover her child.

Incredibly pervasive, the extent of the corruption demonstrates the result of crony politics and the danger of being a parent in Memphis during this time period and also serves to remind us that such threats continue now as well. Child trafficking is an insidious business, and in this story Miss Tann is truly diabolical. Because of the guise under which she operates, a moral dilemma emerges: Is the child better off in an adoptive home? If the birth parents find their child and the child has a good life with their adopted parents, who gets custody? Pearl’s and Fanny’s characters offer a good balance by showing both sides of the adoption issue.

Harrowing and sinister, “The Pink Bonnet” merits words of warning. There is very little humor or lightheartedness to relieve tension, and due to the nature of the subject matter, there is mistreatment and physical abuse of a child as well as domestic violence, albeit with no graphic details. As such, I would not recommend this book for everyone. A few unanswered questions raised during the story remain, and the conclusion was more open-ended than I prefer, although part of this is attributable to the historical event itself. Faith in God does not truly become a strong contributing factor until the denouement, a fact which I found disappointing but which does point to the characters’ spiritual growth. One of the characters sums it up best: “The life, welfare, and happiness of children and their parents was priceless. Jesus had already purchased their lives with His blood. They were no longer up for sale.” Thank the Lord that none of us are orphans and that we will always be at home in Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
4 Stars
Three Times the Romance
The Brides of the Big Valley: 3 Romances from a Unique Pennsylvania Amish Community - Richelle Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, Wanda E. Brunstetter

Three generations of Brunstetter women pen the three Amish romance tales found in “The Brides of the Big Valley”, which is fitting because the stories themselves have intertwining characters. Furthermore, three Amish communities from the Big Valley region in Pennsylvania are represented: the very conservative and plain white-toppers, the conservative black-toppers, and the more progressive yellow-toppers. This was the first that I had heard about these groups and found it very interesting that despite their differences, they lived in the same general area and intermingled, at least to some extent. Being contemporary, these stories reflect issues that affect not only the Amish, but the English world as well, which makes them easy to relate to and provides insight into the Amish way of life.

In “Deanna’s Determination”, the Amish characters are white-toppers, strictly adhering to a plain and simple lifestyle without indoor plumbing. As a widow with a young son, Abner, Deanna struggles to make ends meet. A friend shows interest in her, but when a tragedy occurs, Deanna’s world is upended all over again. So many can relate to circumstances such as these. What I appreciated most about this story was its inclusion of two central characters with significant disabilities, one of whom I will not mention in order to avoid spoilers. Abner has Down Syndrome, and I enjoyed his cheerful and loving yet sometimes challenging personality. Deanna, in my opinion, was not very determined, at least not during the majority of the narrative, but it was interesting to see how the Amish cope with disabilities.

As the title hints, “Rose Mary’s Resolve” deals with the pull and temptation that the English world can have on Amish teenagers. A black-topper, Rose Mary has grown up in a conservative Amish community. However, she finds it difficult to take a stand, whether that is with dating another Amish boy who is considering becoming English or with a young English man who suddenly appears in her life. Notable in this story is the point of view of an English outsider and the serious decisions faced by Amish young people. This tale reminds me somewhat of Rachel Good’s novel “The Amish Midwife’s Secret”.

“Leila’s Longing” had the biggest impact on me. I could empathize with Leila in not fitting in with others of her age group and with being socially awkward. As a yellow-topper, she belongs to an Amish community that is a bit more progressive. Having experienced bullying as a child, she does not trust people and has not forgiven those who hurt her in the past. When she does begin to connect with a few other young people, they are from the black-top community, which causes some tension that threatens their relationship. Beyond the germane issues of victimization and regrets, this story also deals with heartbreak and family ties.

Following each story is a recipe pulled from the narrative itself, and the alliterative titles further contribute to the charm. One aspect that I would have liked to see is more use of the Pennsylvania Dutch language. Many times, the characters call their parents “Mom” and “Dad”, with an occasional reference to them as “Mamm” and “Daed”. Consistency would add to the atmosphere and further immerse the reader in the stories. Overall, however, these tales are sweet and will appeal to modern readers, especially those who may be curious about different Amish communities and their lifestyles.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and Goodreads and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
A Marvelous Redeemer Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

She knew the decision would change her life. But she didn’t know she’d have to fight to survive.
 
When Amira put her faith in Christ, she knew life wouldn’t be easy. But hiding her conversion from her Muslim family soon becomes the least of her worries.
 
Forced to leave the only home she’s ever known, she travels to the island of Gabeburough, trying her best to make a fresh start.
 
Two escaped convicts and a treasure map. A leafy paradise that becomes her home. Amira begins to wonder, where is her Redeemer when she needs Him the most?
 
Caleb Haddington is prince of Carpathia. Life should be perfect, but he can’t get a certain dark-haired girl out of his mind. Amira was his best friend when he lived in France, but her letters to him have suddenly stopped.
 
Her last letter is filled with terror that her faith will soon be discovered.
 
Only a single hope keeps him alive; when the time is right, he’s going after her. He’ll bring her back and prove to the kingdom that he’s a man.
 
But the journey proves to be more perilous than he’d ever imagined. Ridicule, comfortless days and the threat of a hurricane are just the start of his problems. Lying becomes easy for Caleb until his own life crumbles before him. Brought to his knees under the pressure of his actions, he comes to realize the sweetness of his Savior. Forgiveness, grace, and mercy are granted fully to those who ask. Caleb and Amira soon discover that they don’t just serve a gracious Savior, but a wonderful, magnificent, marvelous Redeemer.

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 

ALEIGHA C. ISRAEL writer of inspirational fiction and poetry is an author of multiple books and enjoys sharing God’s love through the powerful art of storytelling.

Aleigha loves being a Community Assistant at the Young Writers Workshop and teaching writing classes to her talented students.
 
When she’s not daydreaming about a new story idea or playing with her sidekick “Marley” (a Pomeranian mix) she can usually be seen traveling with her family’s gospel bluegrass band, “Fret Not” or making personalized author swag for her business Literary Treasures.
 
She doesn’t have to search very hard for inspiration.
 
Living in the Israel household, it’s guaranteed there’s an adventure waiting around every corner!
 

More from Aleigha

 

I’m beyond excited to finally share Caleb’s Song with you all!!
 
Something I love doing with my stories, is writing songs that become the character’s life songs.
 
I’ve done it for most of my books.
 
In A Marvelous Redeemer, Caleb suffers his way through learning several valuable lessons. But His Redeemer never left his side for a single moment.
 
We don’t have to try and make it through this world alone, because Jesus walks beside us all the way.
 
Through Jesus, we can find freedom, victory, peace, love and forgiveness. We can find ultimate joy in the sweet presence of our gracious, Marvelous Redeemer.
 
I hope you enjoy Caleb’s Song! You can also check out his song on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXykDvOTGVc
 
And read an exclusive interview with Caleb Haddington and more of the royal family on my blog: https://thepenofthewriter.weebly.com/character-fun.html
 
(And even have the chance to ask Caleb a few questions of your own!!)  

Caleb’s Song:  

“A speck on the horizon, nothing big, nothing tall.
Just an ant on this earth,
trying to break down this wall.
A trembling wind, a small ship on the sea,
Understanding this world is not all about me.
 
Trying to fix all my problems, trying to right all my wrongs.
I just need someone stronger to carry me along.
I can build up walls, and hide within,
but the pain is still there, with no way to win.
 
I need love,
I need a Savior,
I need the Prince who was born in a manger.
I need strength, in all my weakness.
I need a light to chase all my darkness.
I need Jesus, I need Jesus.
 
My well is so empty, my spirit is dry.
No relief from this pain, though I try and I try.
I can’t do this anymore, my life is a mess,
I just want to win this battle, nothing more, nothing less.
 
This world offers answers that only appease for a day.
But I’ve finally found my life source, the only One, the only Way.
My burden’s now been lifted, I’ve found a life boat on the sea.
My walls are broken down, I’ve found victory!
 
In His love, in my Savior, in my Prince
who was born in a manger.
He is strength, in all my weakness.
He is the light to chase all my darkness.
I’ve found Jesus, I’ve found Jesus.
 

My Review

 

“Never did I imagine that a single choice could affect my life with such intensity, and why because of one choice, my life would never be the same again.”

The third and final book in A Light for Christ Trilogy, Aleigha Israel’s “A Marvelous Redeemer” skillfully draws the series to a fitting conclusion. One of the best things about following fledgling authors along their publishing journey is witnessing the maturation and development of their writing. This growth is evident here. With each story, the author has added more detail and more complexity, so that this last book is a beautiful compendium of the characters’ journeys.

Whereas book one focused on Anna Haddington’s narrative and book two dealt with William Caverly and Charlotte Porter, “A Marvelous Redeemer” brings them all together to tell Amira Allee’s story. A young Muslim girl who has placed her faith in Christ and been turned out of her home because of it, Amira makes her way to Gabeburough Island, initiating a chain of events that find her involved with dangerous men and a treasure map. Her friend Caleb, now Prince of Carpathia, has been struggling with his faith and is worried about Amira, so he decides to take reckless action, catapulting himself into a perilous situation in which both he and Amira discover the Savior’s incredible redemption.

Despite the use of multiple viewpoints and settings, all of the characters are explicably connected and the writing flows cohesively. Furthermore, the characters are both realistic and relatable. Each has their own flaws, and it is in recognizing and acknowledging their mistakes that they grow in their relationships with one another and with the Lord. The Christian element is very strong and dominant throughout the narrative, with Scripture verses included multiple times and as an appendix at the end for reference, but it does not come across as sanctimonious. Rather, it springs forth naturally and peacefully, an apt counterpoint to the story’s suspense. I highly recommend this novel and the trilogy as a whole to both younger and older generations so that they too can become a light for Christ!  

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


Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Aleigha is giving away a grand prize package that includes “My Foolish Heart” by Susan May Warren, “The Blessing” by Wanda E. Brunstetter, “Hidden Treasures” by Aleigha C. Israel, Song of the Mountains candle by @BookBurnCandles, a $10 Amazon gift card, and chocolate!!
 
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/e2a7/a-marvelous-redeemer-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
The Amish Widow's Rescue Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book: The Amish Widow’s Rescue
 
Author: Rachel J Good
 
Genre: Amish Romance
 
Release Date: May 28, 2019  

The perfect family awaits…if only he’ll risk his heart.

Pregnant and recently widowed, Grace Fisher is determined to provide for her family on her own. Thankfully, her jam business is popular in her Amish community. But it’s difficult keeping up with her work, her farm chores, and her two mischievous children. Especially now that they’ve taken to idolizing their neighbor Elijah. While the handsome farmer is kind and generous, he seems intent on holding Grace and her little ones at a distance…
 
Elijah Beiler has always admired his neighbor Grace. So standing by while she struggles to support her family isn’t an option. Offering to take over her farm duties, Elijah is determined to help while remaining detached. He knows all too well that love only leads to heartbreak. Yet the more time he spends with Grace and her children, the harder he finds it to leave each day. But can Elijah overcome past hurts and open his heart to this ready-made family?
 
”A beautiful story of forgiveness and second chances.” -Shelley Shepard Gray, New York Timesbestselling author, on The Amish Teacher’s Gift

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author 


Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The bestselling author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farms and attending family events. Rachel has more than 40 books in print or forthcoming for both children and adults under several pen names. Find out more about Rachel and her books at her website and by signing up for her newsletter.
 
Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Unexpected Amish Blessings and Surprised by Love series (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.

More from Rachel

 

The story idea for The Amish Widow’s Secret came to me after I’d just finished reading stories to my Amish friend’s children to give her a little break. She was expecting a new baby, and while we sat in their kitchen enjoying a snack, her husband came in.
 
The tenderness in his eyes as they talked made my eyes well with tears. It was obvious how much they loved each other, and they both supported each other. A perfect companionship. Not everyone gets to experience that bond, that caring.
 
It made me wonder what she’d do without him, and the seeds of a story was born. I decided to explore how a widow would cope with a pregnancy and two children alone. In the Amish community, of course, no one is ever left on their own. Everyone chips in to help.
 
So, what if the handsome and reclusive bachelor next door felt obligated to help, but wanted to avoid getting involved? Would he eventually soften his heart toward children and love?
 
As I wrote, I wondered if Elijah Beiler could get over a previous heartbreak. He needed to face his past before he moved forward, so I gave him that opportunity. A surprise visit and unwelcome news force Elijah to rethink everything he believes about parenting and love. And about the person who destroyed his world. He also needs to face the bitterness he’s been harboring.
 
Sometimes learning more about the circumstances or reasons of the person who has hurt us causes us to see the whole situation in a new light, making it easier to let go of the hurt. That’s what happens to Elijah.
 
I hope his journey will encourage readers to consider the places in their lives where they’ve been holding onto pain and reevaluate those experiences in the light of God’s forgiveness and love. To write this story, I needed to do that too.

 

My Review

 

Rachel Good spins another compelling Amish story in book three of the Love and Promises series, “The Amish Widow’s Rescue”. Having read book two, it was nice to see a brief appearance by Leah in this latest installment, which helps connect the stories and increases the overall cohesiveness. “The Amish Widow’s Rescue” made a deeper impression on me because of the main character Grace’s plight and her children. Grace must overcome the unexpected passing of her domineering husband while running her jam business and caring for her two little ones, a daunting task made all the more so by the fact that she is pregnant with her third child. As she moves forward, she learns the power of second chances.

One of this book’s many strengths lies in demonstrating that everyone wrestles with similar issues, even the Amish. Grace finds it very difficult to accept help, which is something that so many of us struggle with. We want to be capable and independent, but the truth of the matter is that God created us for community, and He does not expect or want us to face life alone. We need to not only accept Him into our hearts, but also be willing to allow others to help us when the need arises. And we should do the same for them, following Elijah Beiler’s example in this novel to help widows and orphans in their distress. Furthermore, another point that is made several times throughout the narrative is the importance of going to God first and foremost with our problems rather than trying to fix them ourselves or immediately taking them to someone else.

Miriam is my favorite character. She struggles with her own heartache and jealousy during her aunt Grace’s pregnancy, and although she steps back at times, ultimately she proves to be a selfless teenager. Her former period of rebellion proves advantageous to the present circumstances, illustrating how the Lord works all things together for good. Both Miriam and Elijah grapple with their own past trauma and its lingering effects, but healing comes in unpredictable ways. Seemingly impossible situations attest to the powerful working of God in hearts and minds, giving evidence of His endless grace and mercy and of how He continually rescues us. An intriguing plot combining past and present events and a laudable attention to detail make “The Amish Widow’s Rescue” a touching story that resonates with emotion.

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

 

Blog Stops

 

Quiet Quilter, May 28

A Reader’s Brain, May 28

Maureen’s Musings, May 29

Through the Lens of Scripture, May 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 29

Among the Reads, May 30

The Avid Reader, May 30

janicesbookreviews, May 30

Emily Yager, May 31

Lighthouse Academy, May 31

Bigreadersite, June 1

THE BECCA FILES, June 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 1

Carla Loves To Read, June 2

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, June 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 3

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 3

Vicky Sluiter, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 4

Inspiration Clothesline, June 4

Miss Tina’s Amish Book Review, June 5

For the Love of Literature, June 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Retrospective Spines, June 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 7

Mary Hake, June 8

Inklings and notions, June 8

Pause for Tales, June 8

EmpowerMoms, June 9

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Genesis 5020, June 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of autographed copies of The Amish Midwife’s Secret and Big-City Amish, a copy of an Amish cookbook, and an authentic Amish headscarf!!
 
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/e2ab/the-amish-widow-s-rescue-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 
Review
4 Stars
I Dare You!
The God Dare: Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? - Kate Battistelli

Kate Battistelli, author of “The God Dare”, is the mother of Grammy Award-winning artist Francesca Battistelli, who writes a foreward for this book. Kate puts together a work of love that challenges the reader to put feet to their faith and to trust God through every circumstance and season of life. The God Dare comes when God calls us to step out of our comfort zone and do something that will bring Him glory, something that the world needs and that we are specially equipped to provide. Because a God Dare is not something that we could ever accomplish in our own strength, but rather would be impossible without God’s providing and intervention. When we step out in faith and wholeheartedly pursue whatever God is calling us to, we can rest assured that He will provide for us and make a way forward.

Throughout “The God Dare”, Battistelli explores familiar Biblical figures and their God Dares. These are people who ultimately changed history because they responded affirmatively to God’s call. One of the beautiful facts about their journeys is that each was beset with hardships, some self-inflicted and some not, which provides inspiration and hope for our own God Dares. We can learn from their examples, knowing that “God calls us according to our destiny, not our history,” so no one can be disqualified! The retelling of these Biblical stories dovetails well with the personal experiences which Battistelli shares, emphasizing both a Biblical basis and a continual working of God among us today.

Arranged with an engaging format, this book is useful for both individuals and groups. It can even be used as a devotional study. Each chapter ends with “Scriptures to Think About”, “God Dare Secrets” that summarize the chapter’s content, and “Discussion Questions” that challenge readers to truly immerse themselves in the Word of God. There is quite a bit of repetition throughout the book, but this does help to reinforce the stories and ideas, and I appreciated that Jeremiah 29:11 appears many times. I did have one bone of contention with regard to the section on Job, because I do not believe that God Himself takes away, but that rather He allows the enemy to take things away from us, ultimately for our good and His glory. I would recommend this book to those searching for their place in the world and to those who are doubting, especially those who have dealt with infertility, miscarriage, or abortion.      

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

 

Book: A Reluctant Bride (The Bride Ships #1)

 

Author: Jody Hedlund

 

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

 

Release Date: June 4, 2019

 

Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she's offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love. 

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

 

Buy your copy HERE.

 

About the Author

 

 

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

 

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

 

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

 

Visit Jody online at jodyhedlund.com.

 

My Review

 

“Our whole lives are going to be filled with challenges, and our job is to keep growing and seeking after what God has next for us.”

 



Jody Hedlund ranks among the top Christian fiction authors in my book, and “A Reluctant Bride” is the perfect illustration of why. Her writing impeccably integrates plot, history, characters, and setting to create a stunning journey that sweeps the reader into the story right from the first page and stays in mind long after the last. A seamless coalescing of elements breathes life into each chapter, both informing and resonating with the reader. Fans of such authors as Connilyn Cossette, Tessa Afshar, and Kate Breslin will not want to miss out on Jody Hedlund’s own repertoire, and “A Reluctant Bride” is an excellent starting point.

 



Based on a true story, “A Reluctant Bride” opens in London, England, in May of 1862. While she keeps the narrative clean, Hedlund does not shy away from the gritty details, which is so important not only in maintaining historical accuracy but also for the sake of appreciating the characters’ perspectives and drawing contemporary parallels. This is Dickens’ London, with its rampant disease and strife, its destitute population, and its permeating hopelessness. It is this milieu from which the aptly named Mercy Wilkins emerges, a tenderhearted young woman forced to make her way in the world apart from her family and the life that she has always known. Encountering Lord Joseph Colville, a physician running from the pain of his past, the two would seem to be polar opposites. However, circumstances draw them together and cause them both to examine their lives.

 



One of the best aspects of this novel is the fact that the main characters’ faith is not deeply rooted to begin with but grows and matures throughout their journey as a result of their struggles. Moreover, all of the characters are three-dimensional and authentic, with plausible motivations. Two of the secondary characters, Miss Lawrence and Mrs. Moresby, particularly intrigued me. Given the time period, concerns regarding women’s propriety and social class disparities pervade the story. How Mercy responds reflects her subservient upbringing and serves as a call to action for readers today: “Don’t get stuck thinking you don’t matter or you’re not important enough. God didn’t create some people to be better than others. He created everyone to have equal value.”

 



Infused with a strong faith component, “A Reluctant Bride” encompasses several prevalent themes. The romance is swoon-worthy yet clean, and it does not fall into the typical formulaic patterns of so many love stories but rather embodies a stirring complexity. The story encourages readers to challenge the status quo in a world where compassion and loving one’s neighbor goes against the grain. Helping the downtrodden and putting others before oneself reap eternal rewards and can change the world, one person at a time. As Joseph ponders, “Would not the world be a better place if a man simply lived in humility and loved his brother or sister as himself, regardless of one’s birth?” Most importantly, “A Reluctant Bride” emphasizes surrendering everything to God, a habit that requires continual practice and that brings true peace and contentment. For a thought-provoking, inspiring, soul-stirring read, look no further than Jody Hedlund’s “A Reluctant Bride.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Review
5 Stars
An Ever-Present Help in Trouble
The Noble Guardian (The Bow Street Runners #3) - Michelle Griep

If Michelle Griep wrote it, I want to read it. No questions asked. I first discovered her writing last year, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This is one author whose works I would read regardless of what they were about. “The Innkeeper’s Daughter” introduced me to the Bow Street Runners trilogy, and I was intrigued by the whimsical characters and the undeniable plot tension. I did not think that these details could be matched, but I was wrong. Michelle Griep does it again, and even better, in the trilogy’s conclusion!

Set in Regency England, “The Noble Guardian” turns a cross-country road trip into a breathtaking, spinetingling trek. What would seem to be a rather straightforward journey becomes a prolonged adventure with unrelenting suspense and a beautiful tapestry of faith unfolding throughout. The book cover alludes to this as well. At first glance, the commanding sight of Samuel Thatcher astride a horse catches the eye, but a closer look reveals a carriage enshrouded in a layer of fog. Indeed, within the story itself, circumstances are often not clear-cut, and neither are the characters themselves. The reader is challenged to view things from a different perspective and to learn along the way.

Griep excels in both scenic description and character development. Readers ride along in the cramped, bumpy carriage through rather desolate environs and with occasional stops at roadside inns. The issue of propriety and its importance with regard to a woman’s reputation is a point that is made evident, contrary though it may be to twenty-first-century sensibilities. The villains are ruthless and lend a continuous air of danger, while the protagonists have their own personal issues to work though. A scene at a country fair, reminiscent of a circus, adds some levity and offers a connection between Regency and contemporary society. The narrative progresses via the shared third-person omniscient viewpoint of Abigail (Abby) Gilbert and Captain Samuel Thatcher. Abby is naïve and yet she possesses amazing fortitude and a compassionate heart: “She’d learned long ago while enduring the hurts of her stepmother that only through prayer would she find peace.” Samuel has a jaded worldview shaped by his years as a lawman and culminating in his role of protector. Both experience an emotional faith journey that speaks across the centuries to the hearts of readers today, reminding all of us who “The Noble Guardian” truly is.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
Shadow Among Sheaves Review and GIVEAWAY!

 

 

About the Book 



Book: Shadow Among Sheaves

Author: Naomi Stephens
 
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction  

Release Date: April, 2019  

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz
 
The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.
 
Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.
 
Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author


Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi

 

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz
 
The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.
 
Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.
 
Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves:
 
She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.
 
Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.
 
“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”
 
Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”
 
Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.
 
As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Barric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.
 
She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”
 
“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”
 
Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”
 
Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.
 
“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.
 
“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.
 
Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”
 
Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us, if that is what you are asking.” “The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”
 
“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”
 
“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”
 
She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tradition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stewards, even tenant farmers and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.
 
“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.” “I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”
 
At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”
 
But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?
 
Did he want to dance with her?
 
This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”
 
When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.
 
He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”

My Review


Naomi Stephens’ debut novel, “Shadow Among Sheaves”, is every bit as poetic and brooding as its title. This is certainly an author whose work I will be following! Expecting a gentle love story and perhaps some sappy sentimentality, I was utterly surprised to discover quite the opposite. I am familiar with the poignant Biblical story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and think of it as a stirring example of loyalty and love. However, I have never really considered it more deeply—until now. Stephens taps into one of the main reasons that I love Biblical fiction and retellings: it causes me to explore beneath the surface of the story and to consider the characters in depth and in the context of their historical and social situations. “Shadow Among Sheaves” does just that, focusing on the sacrifice and hardship facing two widows now seemingly alone in the world.

 From the start, this historical retelling made me uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing! It pushed me out of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory, which enabled me to learn new information about England in the 1860s and to empathize with a new character set. The somber tone of the novel never felt too oppressive, as Stephens interjects some relief just when it is most needed without detracting from the gravity of the tale. Culture and religion collide in the aftermath of the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857, and Rena Hawley is caught in the middle. Following an impromptu marriage to a British soldier in her native India, her husband’s and father-in-law’s unexpected deaths cast shadows on Rena’s future, even as she determines to follow her mother-in-law, Nell, to England. There her identity is further obfuscated by prejudice and xenophobia: “In India, she was her father’s daughter, beloved and shrouded; here she was bruised, a worthless girl with foreign eyes whose only wealth was in the abundance of her own grief.”

This eye-opening allegory paints a sobering portrait of life as a foreigner and a destitute widow. Rena is a fascinating character because of her complexity. She is confused by English customs, and I appreciated how Stephens presented the Indian way of life with respect, despite how barbaric some aspects of it sound to our modern sensibilities. This paved the way for a better understanding of the difficulties Rena faces in trying to reconcile her old life with the new one she has chosen. Furthermore, Rena is not depicted as a moral paragon. She struggles and clings to the past, rejecting the faith of both her mother-in-law and former husband, which ultimately makes her journey all the sweeter. The same can be said of Lord Barric. His gruff exterior also serves as a shield against pain and grief, and the impact of his initial encounter with Rena creates a ripple effect that influences both of their reputations and their futures. Impressive secondary characters add to the moving panoply. For anyone on their own journey out of darkness, or who enjoys a though-provoking historical romance and redemption story, “Shadow Among Sheaves” is a must read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.

Blog Stops

 

Godly Book Reviews, April 30

Mary Hake, April 30

Worthy2Read, April 30

Back Porch Reads, May 1

Inspirationally Ever After, May 1

Fiction Aficionado, May 2

Splashes of JoyMay 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 2

BigreadersiteMay 3

Inklings and notions , May 3

Blossoms and Blessings, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

janicesbookreviews, May 4

Just the Write Escape, May 5

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMay 6

For Him and My Family, May 6

Kat’s Corner Books, May 7

Pause for Tales, May 7

Aryn The LibraryanMay 8

Faery Tales Are Real, May 8

Hallie Reads, May 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Through the Fire Blogs, May 10

The Becca Files, May 10

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 11

Older & Smarter?, May 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 12

A Reader’s Brain, May 13

For the Love of Literature, May 13

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!
 
 
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/deb9/shadow-among-sheaves-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
4 Stars
Strike the Mark Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book: Strike The Mark
 
Author: James W. Goll
 
Genre: Christian non-fiction, prayer, spiritual warfare
 
Release Date: May 7, 2019

Prayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled the ultimate answer to all of our prayers, but He awaits our invitation to come into our situations and circumstances. When people of prayer intercede, they create a meeting place between the heavenly Father and His children. God comes upon the person who is praying and moves them from the natural to the supernatural. Empowered by God, the intercessor has the authority to cut down enemy forces and pick out “targets” for God’s lightning bolts of glory, bringing victory and breakthrough.
 
Intercession could be called “extreme prayer” because it links extreme needs with the extraordinary power of God. Inserting ourselves into the gap between God and a need, we call upon the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who is ready to move us from finite ability to infinite ability, take hold of difficult situations, and help accomplish the will of God. We have the great honor of being called to “paint targets” on cities, churches, ministries, family members, contemporary “Sauls” (those who persecute or cause difficulty), and even ourselves. Our believing, persistent prayers will Strike the Mark!

He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark” (Job 36:32 NASB).

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 



JAMES W. GOLL is the president of God Encounters Ministries and has traveled around the world sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. He has recorded numerous classes with corresponding study guides and is the author of more than forty books, including The Seer, The Discerner, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, Passionate Pursuit, The Lost Art of Intercession, and The Lifestyle of a Prophet. James is the father of four wonderful children with a growing number of grandchildren, and makes his home in Franklin, TN.
 

My Review

 

Did “Strike the Mark” hit the mark with me? Yes and no. This reads as more of a regulation handbook, and as such I felt that it has several dry spells and some points with which I did not entirely agree. I was expecting it to be more dynamic and affirming. The author does inject a few personal stories into the narrative, and that does make it more relatable, but overall I honestly had a difficult time staying focused and interested. Much of the language seems to be aimed at a theologically-trained audience rather than the everyday prayer warrior. However, I did appreciate the abundance of Scripture verses and prayers, particularly in the resources section at the end. Also, the prayer at the end of each chapter is a nice summary and pinpoints the focus of that chapter.

In my opinion, “Strike the Mark” is best suited to a church study group. Reading it as an individual detracted from the experience, at least for me. The author’s points make sense, and I understand that prayer is more powerful when more people are involved. However, I got the impression that private prayer was somewhat downplayed. I think that the title should include the word “group” because that is really the main focus. Nevertheless, several parts of the book caught my attention. The author discusses twelve types of prayer that he together categorizes as the “orchestra of prayer”, as well as the various types of intercessors. Confessing generational sin, as exemplified by Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ezra in the Old Testament, encourages us to identify with the sins in our cities and institutions and to act as ambassadors to effect God-honoring change. Another concept mentioned is that of praying at particular sites, be it for blessing or for the extraction of evil. Overall, this small but compelling book is a good guide for groups looking to take their prayer ministry to the next level.

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


Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate his tour, James is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks 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/e2ac/strike-the-mark-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
3 Stars
All Things are Possible to Him Who Believes
Imagine... The Giant's Fall (Imagine) - Matt Koceich

Number four in this Bible adventure series, Matt Koceich’s “Imagine: The Giant’s Fall” tackles some weighty issues. Wren Evans recently lost her mother to cancer and arrives home from school to see her house engulfed in flames. The key Bible verse for this story is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” When Wren suddenly finds herself in ancient Bethlehem, this Scripture takes on new meaning. She meets a shepherd boy named David and embarks on a treacherous journey into the midst of a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, the principle fighter of which is—you guessed it—Goliath.  

Unfortunately, this book fell a bit flat for me. While I understand that this is a kids’ adventures series, I wish that it had spent more time on the Biblical aspect. The overall message about trusting God and having faith is good, but the execution is lacking. Wren definitely takes center stage, and David is just a peripheral character. He has very little role in the story, which surprised and disappointed me. Wren’s venture seems disconnected from David’s narrative, and her time in Bethlehem passes very quickly, without allowing the reader to be truly immersed in the setting. Furthermore, the spiritual warfare aspect of the tale is interesting but again does not fit well with the rest of the story. One of the central figures is a female angel, which is not Biblical, and the end of the story seems to make reference to the book of Revelation, but I was confused with some of the details, which again do not seem to line up with Scripture. Overall, this is an interesting read for young kids and pre-adolescents who enjoy exciting stories, but take note that it is not Biblically accurate.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.