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.

In Black and White Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: In Black and White

Author: Maryann Diorio

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: November 1, 2019

A white woman. A black man. And their forbidden love.

Can endurance and faith sustain the love between a white woman and a black man, threatened by rejection, guilt, and racial injustice? Can love alone reconcile their starkly different worlds, lighting the way to a bright future together?

When graduate student, Tori Pendola, a white American woman, and Ghanaian exchange student, Jebuni Kalitsi, heir to his tribe’s chieftaincy, fall deeply in love, they must face not only their own inner demons of rejection and guilt, but also the demons of societal hatred bent on destroying their relationship. Will their love survive the cruel and bitter attacks against them, or will hatred and prejudice gain the upper hand?

In Black and White is a deeply moving story of the power of God’s love to restore all that is broken in our lives.


Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author of compelling, page-turning fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She is the author of the popular trilogy titled THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES, set in 19th-century Sicily. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature. She is also a Certified Life Coach and a Licensed Minister. MaryAnn and her husband Dom, a retired ER physician, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the blessed parents of two wonderful adult daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn enjoys painting, playing the piano, and making up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn and her writing at https://www.maryanndiorio.com

More from MaryAnn

 

Greetings, awesome readers and friends!  It’s great to have you with me on this tour. I trust you’ll be blessed and have lots of fun.

We writers are a strange breed.  While we know what we are writing, we often don’t fully understand what we have written. Does that make sense? If not, let me explain.

Before I started writing In Black and White, I prayed. And I prayed hard. The idea for my story came to me back in the 1990s. Yes. You read that right! But it first came to me as a seed that the Lord planted in my heart. The seed would need time to grow, sprout, and blossom. So, back in the 90s, the Lord told me it wasn’t time to write my story yet.

So, I watered and waited as the seed began to do its thing. At the beginning of 2018, the Lord said, “It’s time.” And I instantly knew what He meant. It was time to start writing In Black and White.

So, in January of 2018, I started writing In Black and White. For almost two years, I wrote. The story took many twists and turns and was finally completed in August of 2019.

I mentioned earlier that we writers don’t often fully understand what we have written. What do I mean? I mean that often, for me, it is after I write the story that I recognize the theme of the story.

It’s like this: A seed doesn’t really understand what its Maker is doing. It just follows the plan. When I write, I don’t fully understand what Holy Spirit is doing. I just follow His lead.

Amazingly, the theme that I recognized in my latest novel is the same theme that appears in virtually all of my fiction. What is that theme? It’s forgiveness.

It seems as though the message of forgiveness is the spiritual trademark of my fiction. Why? Perhaps because I’ve had to do a lot of forgiving during my life—and a lot of asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the reason Jesus came to earth. He died to forgive us. If we want to be like Him, we, too, need to forgive.

So, as you read my story, I pray that it will stir you to forgive anyone and everyone in your life who has hurt you in any way. And, if need be, I pray that my story will encourage you to ask forgiveness of those whom you have hurt.

Our heavenly Father is the Great Forgiver, May we become like Him by making forgiveness the theme of our lives.

With love and blessings,MaryAnn Diorio

Recipe for Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs from MaryAnn Diorio’s novel, In Black and White. This is my late Italian mother’s recipe, straight from Italy.

Enza’s Authentic Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

            MEATBALLS 

1 lb. ground meat (beef, veal, pork, turkey, or chicken, or a mixture of two or all three in any proportion)
1 large egg (not beaten)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (preferably the flat Italian type, but the curly kind will do)
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (peppercorns ground in peppermill)
Salt to taste (Use 1/8 teaspoon for first time making this recipe and adjust, if needed, next time.)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon milk (whole, 2% or fat-free)

  • Prepare a baking pan (or oven-proof dish) by coating it lightly with any kind of olive oil.
  • Set oven on “bake” and temperature at 350º.
  • Place all recipe ingredients in large bowl.
  • With clean hands, mix all ingredients together until blended.
  • Fill 1/2 cup measuring cup with blended meat mixture ragù.
  • Remove meat mixture from 1/2 cup and roll mixture gently between palms of hands until meatball is shaped.
  • Place meatballs on oil-coated baking pan.
  • Continue measuring meat mixture, shaping it into meatballs and placing meatballs on oil-coated baking pan. NOTE: BE SURE TO LEAVE SPACE AROUND EACH MEATBALL TO ENSURE EVEN COOKING.
  • Bake meatballs for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of meatball comes out clean.

NOTE: Any drippings left in pan may be used as basis for homemade pasta sauce (“ragù” or “gravy”). If so desired, cool drippings, place in freezer-proof container, label contents of container, and freeze.

SPAGHETTI

  • Cook pasta of choice according to package directions.
  • Serve with meatballs and your favorite spaghetti sauce.

ENJOY!!!
 

 

Author Interview

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I never wanted to be a writer. I simply never considered it. Up to that point, I had studied and prepared for a career teaching foreign languages at the university level. Prior to that, I had not considered writing as a profession except for a fleeting thought about studying journalism when I was 15. But the instant I walked into my first French class, my heart was smitten with the language, and I went on to earn the PhD in French.

But at age 30, I began to have an unusual desire to write.  As the desire intensified, I asked the Lord if this desire was from Him. Through a series of miraculous situations, He confirmed that it was. So, totally clueless, I stepped out in faith and began to write for newspapers and magazines. I did this for several years and then, in 1989, published my first non-fiction book, You Were Made for Greatness. It is a book about the Christian's true identity in Christ and the authority and power we have through Him and in Him.

As the years passed, I began to experience an increasing desire to write fiction. The Lord confirmed that He was moving me in this direction when He said to me, "Non-fiction transforms the mind, but fiction transforms the heart. The world needs a transformation of the heart." So I have been writing fiction ever since.



What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 

I have an innate tendency to write by the Rule of Three, often placing the third element of a construction on a separate line for emphasis.


For example, here is an excerpt from Chapter 15 of In Black and White where I use three adjectives in a row and place the third one on a separate line:

What would he find when he got there? Would the trip turn out to be futile? Confrontational?

Unproductive?



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

I am very disciplined in my work schedule. I treat my writing as a job and report to my office at 9:00am five days a week. If I am on deadline, I write on Saturdays as well. I write faithfully from 9:00am until 2:00pm, sometimes until 3:00pm.  Afterwards, I spend an hour or two on marketing, answering emails, and posting on social media. I never write on Sundays.

I am able to follow this schedule now because my children are grown. When they were small, I wrote in tiny snippets of time. For example, I would write in my car while waiting for a red traffic light to turn green. The person behind me always let me know when that happened.

 

 

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)?  Why?

 

I am especially drawn to the 19th century Italian Risorgimento period, perhaps because I have my personal roots in that period.  My great-grandparents were born during the Risorgimento and my grandparents followed in the late 19th century. These latter were among the first Italian immigrants to America. My trilogy, The Italian Chronicles, is based on incidents from the lives of my great-grandparents and my grandparents.

 


Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

People are my biggest inspiration. I love to observe people, to study them, to see what makes them tick. There is a joke among novelists that it is okay to listen in on the conversations of strangers. For the novelist, this is not eavesdropping; it is researching.


Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Older & Smarter?, March 6

By The Book, March 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9

For the Love of Literature, March 10 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, March 11

Pause for Tales, March 12

All 4 and About Books, March 13 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

CarpeDiem, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 16

 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
Forks in the Road Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Forks in the Road

Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genre:  Christian Western

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Orphans, Outlaws, and Redemption in the Old West!

(Looking for a prairie romance? Don’t look here!)

A classic Western tale of Joshua and Jonathan Jackson, brothers orphaned during the Civil War. They needed someone to give them a chance, but the war-torn countryside and people had little to spare.

After the war, the teen brothers headed West to find their fortunes and escape their past. Instead, they found a hard land and nobody willing to lend a hand. At every fork in the road, fear, grief, or pain prompted them to choose the wrong path.

By the time they were grown men, they had traveled so far into trouble, there was no way out except prison or death. They had one chance for redemption. Would they take it?

If you’ve read LOST IN THE STORM, you met Jed Jackson – this is the story of what happened to Jed and his brothers.



Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

 


Award winning author Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. Alice’s NotionsRed Sky Over AmericaLost in the StormResurrection of Hope, and Soldier’s Heart are among her published works.

 Tamera been married for 40 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

More from Tamera

 

I have always loved westerns. As a child, I remember watching shows on television like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Maverick, Big Valley, Alias Smith and Jones, and many others. I also loved the great western movies such as High Noon, The Quaker and the Bad Man, Three Godfathers, and Stagecoach. My favorite were the stories with an element of redemption in them. There is no better redemptive story than a man’s man out on the trail realizing he needs God.

Three Godfathers with John Wayne is my favorite movie. I first watched it when I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my first child. John Wayne plays an outlaw who, with his two friends, robs a bank and escapes into the desert. The outlaws happen on a wagon where a woman is giving birth. She dies shortly after. They have a choice. Either they risk their lives and freedom saving the child, or they leave the child to die and get away with the loot. I highly recommend it.

When I decided to write Forks in the Road, I wanted to capture that redemptive spirit in many western novels. Joshua and Jonathan are brothers who were orphaned at the ages of 10 and 12 when Quantrill’s raiders ravaged Lawrence, Kansas. They headed west to make it on their own, but at every fork in the road, they made wrong choices. They grew up and became outlaws, but they never became hardened or callous toward others. Even so, God had a plan of redemption for them. Would they take it?
 

My Review

 

An evocative, tragic, and ultimately triumphant character study, Tamera Lynn Kraft’s “Forks in the Road” relates the story of Joshua and Jonathan Jackson, brothers of Jedidiah Jackson, a Union soldier from the author’s “Lost in the Storm: Ladies of Oberlin Book 2.” At the beginning of the story, they are 12 and 10, young boys with a loving family who are baptized and accept the Lord into their hearts mere days before tragedy turns their lives upside down and leads them to forsake the straight and narrow. Set partly during the Civil War, there is a double aspect of loss and of marching through the flames, and with it the danger of either being consumed or of emerging. This is symbolically underscored by the presence of a monarch butterfly multiple times throughout the narrative; in my mind, it took on some aspects of the phoenix.

As Joshua (JJ) and Jonathan (Kid) attempt to navigate through their grief and make a way for themselves, time and again they are let down and forsaken by Christians. Hence it comes as no surprise that a loss of faith is a major theme, and at the same time it is a call to action for all Christians to truly embody the spirit of Christ by loving each other. As Kraft so sorrowfully demonstrates, once embarked upon, the slippery slope of sin is very difficult to rise from. A compromise here, a little lie there, and suddenly the enemy holds sway. “Forks in the Road” depicts how easily one can fall away, and my heart went out to these brothers as they experienced one hardship and tribulation after another, with seemingly no end in sight. Unbeknownst to them, their older brother Jedidiah lives, and, symbolic of the Good Shepherd who willingly leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one that is lost, so does Jed embark on a journey to save his brothers from the wrong path they have chosen and from themselves, declaring, “It might take a miracle to find them, but he served a God who did miracles.”

Time lapses emphasize how quickly and subtly circumstances can change and habits can form. While there are multiple time jumps as Joshua and Jonathan grow up, Kraft handles them well, and they are not jarring but rather fit well into the narrative. With a resounding message of hope and an appeal for truly living as Christ followers in actions as well as in words, “Forks in the Road” leads each of us to consider which way we will take in our own lives.

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


Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway


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

 

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Will the Real Person Please Stand Up?

Author: Gail Porter

Genre:  Non-Fiction/Personal Growth

Release Date: Oct 1, 2018

Does fear of rejection hold you back from letting people see the real you? Are you tired of hiding?

Gail Porter lived with this kind of fear during her childhood and most of her adult life. When God revealed her bondage to the power of fear, she was set free to come out of hiding and become who He’d created her to be. What she learned grew into a passion to help others experience the same freedom.

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up? offers much-needed hope to those who long to be set free from the fear of rejection and become their authentic selves. In this life-changing book you will read Gail’s own experiences, stories of real people, and input from those in the medical field. Gail walks you through the process of identifying and acknowledging what holds you captive so you can live in freedom rather than in fear.

With God’s help, you can walk out of your self-made prison, break strongholds, and taste the freedom that will allow you to become who God made you to be. Get ready to stand up and say, “This is the real me.”

“Gail teaches her readers how to embrace the present without encumbrances of the past. With practical, action-based steps, we learn to climb mountains with new determination and anticipate our futures with joy.” Jeanne LeMay, author of Dear God I’m Desperate: Women Have Issues, God Has Answers.


Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


Gail Porter graduated from Oregon State University and spent fifty years serving with Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ. She is the author of Life through Loss: Facing Your Pain, Finding Your Purpose and two co-written books. Gail lives in Orlando, Florida, where she enjoys ballroom dancing and her favorite role of aunt to her nieces and nephews.

 

 

More from Gail

  • Do you hide from others because you’re afraid they won’t like what they discover about you?
  • Are you holding back from walking through God’s open doors because you don’t think you’ll perform well enough?
  • Have you allowed past experiences or personal fears to keep you from becoming the person God intended you to be?

Join me on a journey to escape the bondage of your fear of rejection and experience the freedom to become the Real Person God created you to be.

I spent many years in bondage, subconsciously building walls, designing masks, creating a false identity, and striving for perfection—all attempts to fill my longing for love and acceptance. Through my experience of coming out of hiding, breaking barriers with the help of God, and tasting true freedom, I discovered a passion to help set others free.

You will learn about my journey to freedom in my book, Will the Real Person Please Stand Up? Rising Above the Fear of Rejection. I’ll walk you through the process of identifying and acknowledging what holds you captive, breaking barriers, and taking that first step to freedom.

As you read my personal story, as well as the stories of many others, you will discover how much God wants you to step on the path to freedom. Say yes to God, and let’s travel this road of freedom together! Then we can all stand up and say, “This is the real me!”

Thank you for being part of this blog tour! I’m excited about the way God will change your life as you allow Him to lead you to His path of freedom where you can let go of your fear of rejection, become your authentic self, and experience life fully.
 

Author Interview

 

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

 

Leigh McLeroy – The Beautiful Ache, The Sacred Ordinary



Describe your book in five words.

 

Escape from captivity, experience freedom.



Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

 

Sitting at my dining room table, which overlooks my inviting screened-in porch and the green grass, towering trees, and beautiful flowers of my backyard, inspires me, revives me, and relaxes me as I write. 

 

 

What are your hobbies?

 

Reading and ballroom dancing! Reading a good book gives me a mental break from my own writing. Dancing energizes my body and chases away the daily cares of life.

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

Attend writing conferences and workshops where you will receive input to help you make progress on your writing journey. You can’t expect to know it all; let experienced writers show you what works and what doesn’t. After you return home, focus on implementing only one or two suggestions so you don’t become overwhelmed. 


Blog Stops

 

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 4

Texas Book-aholic, March 5

SPLASHES of Joy, March 6

Rebecca Tews, March 7

Inklings and notions, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 9 (Author Interview)

Betti Mace, March 10

For Him and My Family, March 11

Lukewarm Tea, March 12 (Author Interview)

Create! Teach! Inspire!, March 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

Wishful Endings, March 15 (Author Interview)

 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
An Amish Picnic Book Review
 

About the Book

 


Book:  An Amish Picnic

Author: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman

Genre: Amish; Christian Romance

Release Date: March 3, 2020

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.
 
Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston
 
Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.
 
Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.
 
Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin
 
Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.
 
Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with 
love along the way.
 
Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller
 
Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.
 
Her plans to share her feelings go awry, and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.
 
Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman
 
Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.
 
Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

 



Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.



Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.



With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.



Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.
 

My Review

 

Comprised of four love stories from four well-known authors, “An Amish Picnic” makes for a charming book perfect for spring, summer, or any time you want to pack a novel in your basket and escape for a while. Each story contains discussion questions for group or individual reflection, and there is a very helpful glossary at the beginning of the book, which is something I’ve often wished for when reading Amish fiction. I did not realize, as the note at the end of this reference states, that the Amish people’s German dialect is not a written language, and this piqued my curiosity. It’s something that I never thought about before, and as a lover of languages, I find this fascinating.

The four different romantic journeys featured in this collection are refreshingly distinct and un-formulaic. Despite being under 100 pages each, they manage to be satisfyingly complete, which is a rarity for short stories and is the reason I typically tend to avoid them. Of the four, I particularly enjoyed three because of each one’s premise, which held elements besides romance. Amy Clipston’s “Baskets of Sunshine” for instance, deals with pursuing one’s dreams and trusting God to help accomplish them even in the face of possibly losing one’s job or, more critically, one’s heart.

“Candlelight Sweethearts” by Kelly Irvin is one of the more unique Amish stories I’ve read, as it features two characters with limitations. Esther has a very noticeable speech impediment, which causes her to stand out when she would rather carry on her work without people’s pity and frustration. Jasper, the owner’s son, winds up running the store where he and Esther both work, and through challenging circumstances they learn teamwork and the value of coming together when it’s always been easier to be  alone.

“Picnic and Prospects” is, I think, my favorite of the four stories. Vannetta Chapman writes a tale of light mystery in which one of the main characters suffers from claustrophobia. I loved the inclusion of the puppy, as well as the dated letters and how they played a role in the main couple’s rekindled relationship.

All-in-all, I enjoyed these four stories. “Reeling in Love” is, admittedly, my least favorite, not because of any deficiency on the part of author Kathleen Fuller but rather because the subject matter did not appeal to me. I have never been fishing, and the strained and problem-ridden romance trope does not interest me personally. Nevertheless, I did have fun reading each of these stories. They are ideal for springtime and each contain subtle lessons in trusting God and demonstrating our love for one another.

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


Read an Excerpt

 

Read an excerpt HERE.

Blog Stops

 

The Power of Words, March 6

Batya’s Bits, March 6

The Avid Reader, March 6

Older & Smarter?, March 7

For Him and My Family, March 7

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Bigreadersite, March 8

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Quiet Quilter, March 10

Through the Fire Blogs, March 10

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 11

Inklings and notions, March 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 13

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

The Collaborative Press, March 14

Splashes of Joy, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 15

She Lives To Read, March 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 16

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 16

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Books, Life, and Chrst, March 17

Artistic Nobody, March 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 18

EmpowerMoms, March 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 19

 

Review
5 Stars
The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Runaway Bride

Author: Jody Hedlund

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Release Date: March 3, 2020

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need--a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?



Click HERE for your copy!

About the Author

 


Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
 

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 http://jodyhedlund.com/ and on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

My Review

 

“Her heart swelled with the ache of wishing for something better, for a world where no one had to be undesirable. Could she, in her small way, be a part of making that happen?”
 
 
Book two in the Bride Ships series, “The Runaway Bride” manages to be even more compelling and breathtaking than its predecessor, “A Reluctant Bride.” Author Jody Hedlund has a gift for writing captivating historical romances that not only satisfy the heart and the soul, but also shed light on unique occurrences and issues that continue to remain relevant today. Whereas book one concentrated on Mercy Wilkins, a young woman from London’s slums, this sequel focuses on an upper-class gentlewoman named Arabella Lawrence, demonstrating that social class is not necessarily equivalent to contentment and morality.
 
 
One of my favorite parts of reading a series is the Russian nesting doll effect; each subsequent book pulls a minor character from the book before it and brings them to the forefront to tell their story. In this way, each novel can stand alone, but reading them chronologically offers a chance to grow alongside the characters while experiencing their world through their eyes. Arabella was introduced in the first book as a quiet and timid woman, and the reason for her behavior forms the foundation of “The Runaway Bride.”
 
 
Arriving in Victoria, British Columbia on the first bride ship, Arabella brings with her the torment and fear that sent her fleeing from England. Two men, one a respected Navy Lieutenant and the other a common baker, seek her affection, but is her heart ready to trust again? Her backstory is skillfully revealed piece by piece via flashbacks throughout the narrative, adding suspense while explaining Arabella’s thought process. Entrenched in the prejudices and models of behavior that define the social classes, the city of Victoria provides an often stark glimpse into the treatment of the rich and the poor, the upper and lower class, as well as the treatment of local natives. It is both fascinating and tragic to learn about the misconceptions many harbored, and this read is very timely given the outcome of the smallpox investigation in the final section of the book.
 
 
My favorite character was Mrs. Moresby. She appeared in book one, if memory serves, and here in “The Runaway Bride” her progressive and eccentric personality truly shines forth. She is delightful in every scene in which she appears, with a pragmatic approach to obstacles and no fear of defying convention in a society that places importance on one’s outward bearing: “Somewhere in Scripture, it says, ‘Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should too.” Without her guidance, Arabella’s future may have been very different. Between the godly wisdom and counsel of Mrs. Moresby and the aforementioned Mercy Wilkins, Arabella’s courage begins to blossom, and she comes to realize that “She might not be able to eradicate every prejudice around her, but she had to start somewhere to make a difference. And the best place for that was with herself… one by one she’d been cutting away the tangle of propriety so that with each thread she cut loose, she was slowly finding the freedom to be herself and not someone else’s version of who she ought to be.” This is what makes “The Runaway Bride” so memorable, because at one point or another everyone questions who they are and who they should be. The good news is that, just as Arabella eventually comes to realize, the Lord has the answers in His Word, the Bible, and He already loves us with an everlasting love, desiring that we invite Him into our hearts. Seek Him!

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
3 Stars
Welcome to the Shivoo Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Welcome to the Shivoo

Author: Laura Bartnick

Genre:  Inspiration/Christian Living/Education

Release Date: January 1, 2020

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A CREATIVE, A WRITER, A MEMBER OF THE MAKER COMMUNITY?
 
In the beginning, God created. Should this matter?

Do you find incredible value in your creativity, that is, a reason for being and doing that you could never imagine giving up? Okay then. This book will inspire you to join a spiritual party like no other.

Perhaps you’ve heard that the impulse to create is a reflection of the Creator’s image in you and His will for you. Your impulse to create is paramount! The chapters in this book will provide you pages of new perspectives for evaluating your craft. It will help you communicate what you experience with others. It will transform your creative future. Motivation. Spiritual Gifts. God’s own blessing.
 
 
Click HERE to get your copy.
 
 

About the Author


Bartnick has been a youth counselor with Youth for Christ, and a worship musician for many years. She is the managing partner of Capture Books, a small but mighty boutique Christian publishing group. She loves creativity and words. She loves to explore the deeper meaning of the things we casually say to one another, the things we write down.  She earned a double degree in Bible and Composition from Montana Bible College and Colorado Christian University and is a truth-seeker and recipient of God’s love.
 
 
 

More from Laura

 

ARE YOU A WRITER OR PART OF THE MAKER CULTURE?

This beloved book explains why it matters that “In the beginning, God created.”

A reader coined this title, “The Creator’s Manifesto.”

When you need to find the place of belonging as a creative, look no further than the heart of God. He’s the One Who formed you to be creative in talent, and adventurous in the wild unknown.

Welcome to the Shivoo! This party belongs to Someone bigger than you. Because you are created in God’s image and given specific creative gifts and a life of purpose, you are very special to Him.

Many creatives feel that there is a monkey on their backs, and sometimes that nagging feeling includes the doubt that maybe the terrible distraction is God Himself not wanting them to succeed as a writer or artist. Nothing is further from the truth.

This book is a party and a prayer for the creatives in town.

In Welcome to the Shivoo! creativity begins with the priorities of the greatest Creator, and in that sense of wonder, it moves us into a place of gratitude and thanksgiving.  Creativity always begins with a sense of wonder and awe, even a sense of meekness, “Can I do this?  I have to try…”  In Welcome to the Shivoo!, I try to show that God is the center of a creative’s world, and because of His love and goodness, we have a home and a place to belong. Creativity erupts from that place.

From there, the book shows how there is a Biblical theology for being creative and a means to thrive in creativity. It challenges Christians to be authentic, to focus, to communicate, and to transform.  It explains how there is a kingdom language we are charged to learn, as believers, and to use not in a sloppy way, but responsibly. And, it sends us off with an exuberant blessing to go create something and enjoy the process!
 

My Review

 

This book is one that I am honestly not sure how to rate, nor am I sure what my reaction is after reading it. In order to fully derive all of the information from it, it needs to be read slowly and deliberately, so I do not think that it is an easy read. However, it is an interactive book, addressing the reader with questions for them to answer along the way. There are colorful pages and questions in text boxes so that they will stand out. From a grammatical standpoint, there is an overuse of commas, which slows down the narrative.

Overall, the language of “Welcome to the Shivoo” seems academic, to the point that it might serve as a deterrent. I appreciate, to a certain extent, Laura Bartnick’s wisdom that she is attempting to convey and teach, and I enjoyed her references to many other Capture books. I have read all of the ones that she mentions, and I look forward to the newest offerings. A combination of two quotations sum up the main message of “Welcome to the Shivoo”: “Creativity came prior to salvation, to evangelism, to preaching, and teaching. The Son was God’s creative power expressing His heart for a story and a place of belonging for the first flesh…In whatever depiction, creatives are called out to reach out to others with what they understand of God’s glory in every situation.”

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Journey to Twilight Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Journey to Twilight

Author: Charmayne Hafen

Genre: Action Adventure Christian Fantasy for intermediate grade students

Release Date: November 1, 2019

Sam and Lorna’s bike challenge becomes far more than a neighborhood race in this action-adventure fantasy for middle-schoolers. Riding over a cairn at sunset, Lorna surfaces in Twilight, where she is given three impossible tasks to complete before her heart’s desire is granted.

Story Line: Avid fifth-grade mountain biker, Lorna Thompson, moves to Arizona  after her parents’ divorce. Unpacking boxes, Lorna begins seeking a way to fit into the neighborhood crowd when a girl named Ally knocks on her front door.

Splashing in the pool at Ally’s house, Lorna learns about the Crestwood Challenge, a bike race created by a scar-faced neighborhood legend, Samuel Black. She hears herself boasting that she can take on Sam Black in his own race and win. Lorna’s words quickly come back to bite her.

Although none of the kids will root for the new girl, an ancient cairn opens to the Land of Twilight giving Lorna an opportunity to win anything her heart desires.

Illustrations are by award-winning artist, Brianna Osaseri.

Thematic: Fantasy ages 9-12; Female protagonist dealing with parents’ divorce finds confidence and friendship in conflict and opportunity; Celtic; Jamaican; Multi-racial; Action-Adventure; coming of age fantasy for pre-teens with some paranormal, mystical places and events.
 
 
 
Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Charmayne Hafen is a graduate of John Brown University and has her masters in counseling from the Denver Seminary. She’s not only gifted in creative writing, but  uses skills in organization, facilitation, and administration in the company she and her husband started 18 years ago.
 
Her love of Celtic mythology inspired her to write her debut chapter book, Journey to Twilight, for ages 9-12. In 2011, she lost her younger brother, and she dedicates this first book to Tim. When she’s not writing, Charmayne is running counseling groups for adults and a therapeutic photography group for children. She has run a grief support group for several years.  She is a member of a novel book club, and she is an avid fan of the author, Stephen Lawhead.
 
She has written several short stories for children, teens, and adults, as well as the current fantasy series, The Land Of Twilight, being published in 2020 by Capture Books.
The first book, Journey To Twilight, is about the heartfelt needs and choices of a child of divorce. It also wrestles with what it is like to be a newcomer in a town and school. Charmayne relates personally to these themes as a child of divorce who moved consistently throughout her elementary and middle school years. She believes stories can provide not only a way of escape for kids, but also teach them how to handle difficult issues. As the characters in The Land Of Twilight struggle through different challenges, they come to understand that life requires more than what we do with what can be seen. To truly live, there must be faith in what has not yet come, in what is unseen.
 
Charmayne has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and psychology as well as a Master of Arts degree in counseling. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband John and her two chihuahuas, Pepe and Frida.
 

More from Charmayne

 

Welcome to Journey To Twilight, the first book in the Land Of Twilight Trilogy, where Lorna and her friend, Sam, begin a journey that will lead them to discover the true meaning of friendship and faith.
 
In a world that can only be accessed by what is known in Celtic mythology as a cairn, Lorna is shocked to find herself in the Land of Twilight where the real adventure begins. She must learn some important lessons in her quest to have one wish granted and Sam is part of her greatest challenge.
 
The adventure continues in Return To Twilight, where Lorna meets a new girl that proves to be a bad influence. She and Sam are at odds and things aren’t the way they were back in sixth grade. Middle school is an entirely different scene. Faith becomes a central theme in this book along with the ongoing exploration of friendship. Can Sam help Lorna remember her faith with the help of Twilight?
 
Trouble In Twilight, the third book in the Land Of Twilight trilogy, will be published early next year. This has been my most challenging book to write as the characters travel through time to discover the basis of faith and the philosophy at work against faith in the Savior. The Land of Twilight is in jeopardy and it’s up to Sam and Lorna to help restore what is slowly fading away.
 
It is my hope that my readers will come away from this trilogy with a deeper appreciation for the power of faith and friendship. I pray it will lead many to faith in the Savior and be an enjoyable ride in the process. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these important topics and the stories that shed new light.
 

Author Interview

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I began writing when I was ten, keeping a journal about love and loss in my fourth-grade class. My mom and dad bought me a typewriter and I went around the neighborhood, pretending to be a reporter. I wrote two books in fifth and sixth grade and had a poem about divorce published in the local newspaper in seventh grade. As long as I can remember, I have felt more comfortable communicating through writing.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

Stephen R. Lawhead has most influenced my writing in Journey To Twilight. His fiction is what drew me to Celtic mythology and gave me the idea for this story.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m so glad you asked this question because you gave me a way to discuss what I call the “Discipline Of Creativity,” the necessary steps to create a lifestyle of creativity. One of the points in my lecture is a discussion of the ritual I like to create before I write. This ritual includes five minutes of coloring before writing while listening, each time, to the same soundtrack.

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

I continue to listen to the soundtrack while writing for 25 minutes. I sometimes write twice in one day but usually just 25 minutes a day. I write about one and a half books a year although this year I wrote two books in less than a year.

Describe your book in five words.

A journey into true friendship.

 

Blog Stops

 

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 27

Texas Book-aholic, February 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 29

Blossoms and Blessings, March 1 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Aryn the Libraryan, March 4

For the Love of Literature, March 5 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Artistic Nobody, March 8 (Author Interview)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 9

Blogging With Carol, March 10

Wishful Endings, March 11 (Author Interview)

 

Giveaway

 


To celebrate her tour, Charmayne is giving away the grand prize of silver bicycle necklace like you suggested along with a signed hard cover copy of both books!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
His Unexpected Amish Twins Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  His Unexpected Amish Twins

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: February 28, 2020

When Micah Miller’s brother and sister-in-law are killed in a buggy accident, he’s devastated, but he fulfills a promise to raise their seven-year-old twins, Abby and Isaac. While struggling to deal with the twins’ grief and Abby’s anger toward God, he discovers an Amish farm offering horse therapy for grief. And he’s thrilled to find the owner cares about and prays for the twins.

Hope Graber had to find a way to save the family farm after her daed’s unwise decisions. Even selling off many of the horses didn’t cover all the bills. After deciding to use the remaining horses for animal therapy, she brings on Logan Russell, an experienced trainer, to help her. Together they not only start paying off the debts, but they also make positive changes in children’s lives.

Hope loves helping each child, but she takes a special interest in the twins and determines to help them heal both emotionally and spiritually. As she gently guides Abby back to God and makes the little girl smile again, Hope also makes Micah’s life brighter. As he emerges from his depression, he longs to make them one happy family, but only God can overcome the many obstacles in their path.
 
Click HERE for your copy!

About the Author

 


USA Today bestselling author RACHEL J. GOOD writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.
 
Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling Love & Promises, Sisters & Friends, Unexpected Amish Blessings, Surprised by Love (2021), and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in many anthologies, including Love’s Thankful HeartLove’s Christmas BlessingsPlain Everyday Heroes, Love’s Truest Hope, and the forthcoming Amish Christmas Twins (Fall 2020) with Shelley Shepard Gray and Loree Lough.
 

More from Rachel

 

Phobias and Faith
 
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27b KJV)
 
In every book I write, I like the hero and heroine to experience character growth. I think it’s important that they change and become different. So, in His Unexpected Amish Twins, Micah faces several life-changing events. First, his life is turned upside-down when he becomes the guardian of his niece and nephew, seven-year-old twins. Although he loves the children dearly, as a young, single man, he isn’t quite ready to handle his lively, rebellious niece and his silent, withdrawn nephew, especially not when he’s grieving himself.
 
But with the help of horse therapist, Hope Graber, Micah puts aside his own pain to concentrate on caring for the twins. But Micah is also hiding a deep-seated phobia.
 
As a child, he had a terrible experience, one that scarred him for life. One that still haunts him and terrorizes him. One that may destroy his future relationship with Hope.
 
Getting over fear is never easy, and Micah prays for strength. But it isn’t until he’s forced to make a choice – give in to his fear or save a life – does he push past that fear.
 
Like Micah does, we often go through life hiding our fears. We make excuses not to do something that frightens us. When a fear turns into a phobia, it can become paralyzing.
 
For me, public speaking was my greatest fear. I managed to avoid it until I was asked to do a simple two-minute introduction each month for the Christian Women’s Club. I didn’t have to answer right away. They asked me to pray about it, and let them know my answer in a few days.
 
If they’d asked for an answer right away, I would have made an excuse. I had four small children and an ill husband. But the truth was – I was scared. Not just scared, but petrified. Petrified about even standing in front of an audience.
 
When I discussed this opportunity with my father, he suggested God might be giving me a chance to get over my fear because He had something greater for me to do in the future. My first thought was that it had better not have anything to do with public speaking.
 
Dad encouraged me to take a speech class, so I signed up for one. Eight people attended this informal course in the teacher’s living room. The first night we had to give a two-sentence introduction of ourselves. We didn’t even have to stand up.
 
I went last. My turn came, and my mind went blank. I couldn’t even remember my name. With prompting, the teacher got me to stumble through my name and hometown.
 
Our assignment for the following week was to prepare a three-minute demonstration of one of our hobbies. We could use notes and props. I mumbled through the speech, rushed out the door to my car, and vomited in the street. Yes, I was that frightened by public speaking.
 
I told my father I planned to quit the class, but he encouraged me to continue. And several months later, I stood in front of the women’s club. My eyes blurred, and I couldn’t see the people in front of me. I hurried through my memorized two-minute introduction clutching my note cards in case I forgot the words. I had no idea what I said, but several people mentioned that they liked it. And I went on to do it every month for two years.
 
And my father was right. God did train me for a future job. Wouldn’t Dad be surprised to know that, as an author, I speak in front of audiences around the country? He died before my first book was published, but I suspect he’s up in heaven cheering me on. And I could never have done it without God’s help.
 
Micah and I both had to learn to trust God’s promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1: 9 NIV)
 

My Review

 

Rachel Good never fails to deliver a compelling, soul-searching Amish novel. “His Unexpected Amish Twins” has become my new favorite, and admittedly part of the reason I chose to read it is because it had twins in the title; twins have always fascinated me, and I always wanted to be one. Of course, being familiar with the author’s works, I also knew that it would be a good read, and I was not disappointed!

This novel provides ample indications of how God works out so-called coincidences, and how He makes good out of even the most devastating of circumstances. Hope Graber just happens to stumble upon a collision between an Englischer car and an Amish buggy, and her actions have lasting repercussions, both for her and for her father and her loved ones. This brings up another aspect of Amish life that I hadn’t really considered before, the tip for being gracious and kind regardless of circumstances or personal feelings for those, even among the Amish themselves. The Amish struggle with temptation is ultimately no different than ours.

I love the use of hippotherapy in this story, and it fits into the plot and direction of the novel so well. Both horses and dogs can help people heal, as can other animals, and I am delighted to read about horse therapy and find it explored in a novel, particularly an Amish novel. Not only that, but the fact that adults and children both can benefit from equine therapy. It demonstrates the versatility of equines and how important they are to both Amish and English alike.

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Blessing on the Run Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Blessing on the Run

Author: Alana Terry

Genre:  Christian Suspense

Release Date: December 16, 2018

Danger she can’t escape.

Temptation she can’t ignore.

And the secret that could destroy everything …

Blessing’s worked hard as a single mom. Caring for her son, struggling to pay the bills, and straightening out her life after years on the street … It’s the hardest job she’s ever loved.
Until her ex-boyfriend reappears with a secret that could cost her freedom, her family, even her very life.

Blessing promised herself never to return to the hell she escaped from. But that was before she had a child to worry about.

A child who will die if Blessing makes the wrong choice …

Or the right one.



Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author


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

More from Alana

 

Are you afraid of anything? Maybe you have a phobia, like a fear of spiders, heights, or (if you’re weird like me) fish. (That’s a story for another day!)

When I was pregnant with our first son, I had some weird nightmares which fueled my fears. One night I woke up my husband in a panic to tell him to pray for our baby because we were being chased by a demonic cheese grater (yes, you read that right – a demonic kitchen appliance!). Regularly in my nightmares, I dream that someone or something is after my kids (and they’re usually not possessed cooking utensils, by the way).

One way I work through my fears as a mom is to turn them into stories. And even though I haven’t found a way to work a demonic cheese grater into my novels, you can read about a mother’s worst nightmare in this novel, Blessing on the Run.

 Blessing has worked hard to turn her life around after a rough life on the streets, but in this exciting suspense novel, her past it about to catch up to her.

Join Blessing and her parents (if you’re a fan of the Kennedy series you already know who they are!) for an adrenaline-packed thrill ride you won’t soon forget.
 

Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, February 19

Inklings and notions, February 20

A Reader’s Brain, February 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 22

For Him and My Family, February 23

Betti Mace, February 24

Simple Harvest Reads, February 25 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, February 25

Bigreadersite, February 26

Emily Yager, February 27

 Artistic Nobody, February 28 (Author Interview)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 28

Blogging With Carol, February 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

For the Love of Literature, March 3 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 3

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
The Vault Between Spaces Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

 


Book:  The Vault Between Spaces

Author: Chawna Schroeder

Genre: Young adult Christian Fantasy

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Every legend must start somewhere…
No prisoner who enters the gates of HopeWell ever leaves. But from the moment Oriel sets foot inside Anatroshka’s most formidable prison camp, she unsettles both commandant and prisoner alike with eyes that see beyond the surface and music that trails her everywhere.

Petite and delicate though she appears, Oriel bows before neither threat nor punishment. Moreover, she makes no attempt to hide her intention: Oriel plans to escape the inescapable HopeWell.

But when facades are stripped away and myth becomes clothed in flesh, what begins as a prison break becomes a mission to stop the invasion of evil itself.



Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


Chawna Schroeder is Minnesotan writer who enjoys snow, chai tea, and playing “what if?”—even if that game occasionally gets her into trouble. She also loves stretching both her imagination and her faith to their limits and helping others to do the same. As a result, her writing explores the vastness of God, His multifaceted nature, and the potential of a life lived with Him. This means both learning the boundaries He created for our protection as well as demolishing the human boxes that restrict both God and people.
When she isn’t reading or writing, a variety of other activities fill her “free” time: practicing piano for church, preparing Sunday school lessons, studying the biblical languages, or working on one of her handwork projects while
enjoying a movie.
 
Chawna’s other books include Beast, a coming-of-age fairytale for teens and adults, and the Bearing the Sword curriculum, which teaches the basics of discernment to teens through in-depth Bible study and media analysis. You
can connect with Chawna through her website (www.chawnaschroeder.com), blog (www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/ChawnaSchroederAuthor/).
 
 

More from Chawna

 

Beyond Reality

Life can seem so drab and dreary, clouds of monotony graying the days and the chill of trouble piercing the night. It is not the world we would choose to live in, yet it is the world we often find ourselves trapped within, imprisoned by circumstances beyond our control.

Perhaps that is why myths and fairy tales carry such strong appeal. They promise what we see is not all there is. They infuse the world with possibility. They dare us to believe that now isn’t forever. They offer us hope.

Yet many myths and fairy tales are so far removed from our normal world, we end up dismissing them as irrelevant, the stuff of children and starry-eyed idealists. For no sensible person would believe in seven-headed dragons or wing-footed messengers, in fairy godmothers and cursed spinning wheels. Yet the magnetism of such stories remains.

Which is where The Vault Between Spaces comes in. We begin with a recognizable world. Chain-link fences and cars, umbrellas and guns—these are things we know. More than that, the world feels familiar: drab, monotonous, inescapable, hopeless.
Then one lone girl steps into that world—our world—and changes everything, challenging us to question all that we thought we knew. Could there be more truth to those childhood tales than we ever dared believe?
 

My Review

 
Alas, another stunning Christian fantasy! If there are more books like this one, I may have to start calling myself an aficionado of the genre! When choosing books to read either for review or leisure, part of my decision is often motivated by the cover because I don’t read synopses before reading the book itself, and the cover for this book is gorgeous. Thankfully, the story itself is just as much so.

As I read, it became apparent that with “The Vault Between Spaces”, Chawna Schroeder represents a compendium of story ideas that blend seamlessly together into a fascinating tapestry of intrigue and mystery. Part allegory, the story follows Oriel into the prison camp and beyond, with unlimited imaginative effects. The prison camp reminded me very much of the concentration camps of the Holocaust, with that same undercurrent of hopelessness and helplessness. The main message implores readers to remember who they are. Fans of Sharon Hinck’s “Hidden Current” will not want to miss this one.

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

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Chawna is giving away a themed basket including autographed copy of the book, $10 iTunes gift card (since music plays a dominate role in the book), embroidered bookmark, and embroidered denim book bag!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
2 Stars
Jesus Promised Victory Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Jesus Promised Victory

Author: Ken Gould

Genre:  Non-Fiction, Christian living

Release Date: October 15, 2018

Are you frustrated with trying to live the Christian life?

Do your struggles with sin discourage you?

Have you been taught you can’t ever win the battle . . . that as long as you are living, you will fall short?

Jesus told people to sin no more. Rather than tell them the struggle with sin and Satan would be difficult, He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus doesn’t ask us to do the impossible.

Ken Gould rejected distorted teachings about God and was an atheist for twenty years, until God revealed His existence to him. Afterward, he recognized Christianity wasn’t something to be taken lightly. His highest priority became to know God and understand His counsel.

Gould says, “It is possible to live a godly life in victory. What we believe about God affects our ability to live a victorious life.”

In this guidebook on living in God’s victory, learn:

  • How to cooperate with God to attain the victory He has for you.
  • How our definition of sin can remove frustration and allow us to live a godly life.
  • How believing lies about God keeps us from escaping our rebellious, sinful attitudes.
  • The interaction between natural laws and sin.
“God’s truth sets us free from Satan’s slavery and it’s lies about God that keep us trapped.”



Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


Ken Gould has a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Houston, as well as a professional engineering license. His career has included shift supervision, management, technical support, process development, and projects. He and his wife Kaneeta live near the confluence of the great rivers in the heartland of America where he enjoys being out in nature and sailing.

 

 

More from Ken

 

What’s Taught in Church Doesn’t Work.

Nearly everyone when asked readily admits, that what churches teach doesn’t work. People know this from personal experience and observation. Many are aware behavioral scientists find church members are just as likely to abuse their spouses as the unchurched. Spouse abuse isn’t the only bad behavior that is just as prevalent among church members as the unchurched, other bad behaviors include pornography and child abuse.

In John 8:31 and 32 the Apostle John records Jesus telling the Jews that believed in Him if they hold to His word or His teaching depending on the translation. They are truly His disciples, they will know the truth and it will set them free. Verses 34 to 36 make it clear, Jesus is talking about sin’s slavery. Is it fair to say Church members engaging in these bad behaviors are slaves to sin? Of course. Then these church members aren’t holding to Jesus teachings, aren’t His disciples and haven’t been set free. Put another way the teachings of the church aren’t any more likely to make disciples than the teachings of the world.

This isn’t the only scripture expressing the idea that Jesus came to set us free from slavery or captivity. Luke 4:18 and 19 also expresses the same idea. I like to refer to it as Jesus mission statement. Luke records Jesus selecting it to read when handed the book of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18, 19 NIV)

After reading it Jesus told them “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Let’s focus on proclaiming freedom for the prisoners and setting the oppressed free. What prisoners did Jesus set free and who did He set free from oppression? Did Jesus set John the Baptist free from Herod’s prison? No. Did Jesus set the Jews free from Roman oppression? No. So what prisons and oppression did Jesus set people free from? Satan’s prisons where people are enslaved and oppressed by sin.

Where are Satan’s prisons or strongholds and what are they made of? The Apostle Paul tells us about Satan’s strongholds or prisons in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Here the Apostle Paul tells us Satan’s strongholds or prisons keep the enslaved from knowing God. Can we say Satan’s strongholds and prisons are lies about God?

Since Satan’s prisons and strongholds are lies about God, where do lies get their power? Lies get their power from people who believe them. So we empower Satan’s prisons and strongholds by believing his lies about God. Where are Satan’s prisons and strongholds they located? In our minds.

The character assassin, Satan, imprisons and enslaves us on the road to destruction with lies about God. Truth about God destroys Satan’s lies, freeing us from enslavement in his prisons and strongholds, putting us on the road to life.

How important was the truth about God to Jesus? Jesus tells us in His prayer just before they crucified Him, recorded in John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Jesus tells us the knowledge of God or the truth about God and Himself is the key to eternal life. How often is this important truth taught in church?

What do the churches teach is the key to eternal life? Don’t churches teach the key to eternal life is forgiveness? Jesus told us He separates people, into two groups, like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats when He returns. Most of us are familiar with it, it’s found in Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus also tells the difference between the two groups, the saved and the lost. What does Jesus tell us is the difference between the two groups? Are the two groups the forgiven and the unforgiven? No. The difference between the groups is how they treated the less fortunate, or their actions.

Is Jesus telling us it’s our actions or works that determine our destination? Didn’t Martin Luther discover we are saved by faith not by works? Yes he did. The Apostle John tells us we are judged by our works in Revelation 20:12 and 13. How can we be judged by our works and not saved by them? Our works reveal our character. The Christlike are kind to the less fortunate. The Satanic are mean, hateful, and cruel to God’s children. Our works reveal the condition of our heart.

In church there is much talk about a conversion experience, and often the focal point is the sinner’s prayer. Many times those promoting the sinner’s prayer stress asking for and accepting forgiveness. People often remember when they said the sinner’s prayer and point to it as when they were saved. However, if after praying the sinner’s prayer, we don’t seek God and His ways, our motives, attitudes, or desires won’t change. It is when we come to admire and desire Christ’s motives, attitudes, and desires, that we experience conversion and the process of character transformation begins.

Jesus Promised Victory: Why Does It Seem so Elusive? explains what works, what doesn’t, and why.
 

My Review

 
When I picked this one up to read, I was anticipating an inspirational book about victory in Jesus, but the red flags started popping up immediately. I persevered and finished the book, and I’m glad that I did, although I can’t recommend it for reasons that I will explain in this review. As with some Christian nonfiction works, sadly, there are nuggets of truth here, but they are overshadowed by misinterpretation and false teaching.

Before I get into that, however, I do want to comment on what I did like about “Jesus Promised Victory.” Author Ken Gould summarizes his points during each chapter and also recalls material that has been discussed in prior chapters, which is very helpful for putting things together and remembering what has been presented. This is not to say that I agree with everything he writes, but I do appreciate this writing style in nonfiction books such as this one. Appendix B: Egyptians and Their Firstborn is insightful and interesting with regard to the Levites and to the Egyptians and their false gods.

As for the issues that I had with this book, many are attributed to interpretation of Scripture and the author’s wording. There are some instances in which I think that he might be correct in his statements, but because of ambiguity with the phrasing, I am uncertain. In other cases, I outright disagree. Twice in the first chapter, the words of John in Scripture are credited to Jesus. I feel that, throughout this book, the author’s views are contradictory, stating something and using Scripture that would seem to nullify the point to support it. Again, some of the wording puzzles me, such as saying that we “cooperate” with the Holy Spirit, who is our “accomplice.” I personally feel that the author in general ascribes too much power to Satan; he also writes that Satan pretends to be Jesus or God, but the saved shouldn’t be fooled, as the author suggests they are, because they will know Jesus. I do not agree with the Seventh-Day Adventist belief in annihilationalism, which I do not find supported in the Bible. All things considered, I feel that the author is putting the onus of victory on us, but the truth is that the victory is already won through Christ’s sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection. For instance, early on in the book, the theory of “the great controversy” says that “In the conflict between Christ and Satan or the great controversy as we’ll see, God is the accused.”

While I can’t recommend this book due to content inconsistent with God’s Word, it does spark debate and call for a further examining of Scripture, and it does show our dependence upon Jesus.

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

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 25

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

Artistic Nobody, February 27 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, February 28

For the Love of Literature, February 29

For Him and My Family, March 1

Betti Mace, March 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 3 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 4

Mary Hake, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 7 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 8

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate his tour, Ken is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Vestige of Hope Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Vestige of Hope

Author: Sara Blackard

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: December, 2019

Does his future lie in the past?
 
Thrown out of his element into a time not his own, he must overcome his doubts to save the life he never knew he wanted.

Soldier, Hunter Bennet, is always in control…

…control of his missions.
…control of his life.
…control of his emotions.
 
Until he hesitates on an important mission, leaving a child orphaned. Chased by the demons of failure, he finds himself thrown back in time. Why has God called him here?
 
Viola Thomas’s idyllic life in the new state of Colorado is shattered when her father fails to return from his winter trapping trip in the Rocky Mountains and a man tumbles into her life from the future. Threats from an unwanted suitor who has pestered her for years jeopardize all she holds dear. Now she must trust a man from a world far from her own.
 
Hunter must reach through the shadows of doubt to save his future but in doing so will he fail in the most important mission of all?



Click HERE for your copy!

About the Author


I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember being able to hold a pencil. In elementary school, I had journals full of short stories and poetry. While it’s always been a passion of mine, I didn’t think I could write for a living until I told my kids their only limit is the limit they put upon themselves. With that little piece of encouragement, I had to obviously show them I was right. Now I’m enjoying the adventure of writing and diving into the publishing world. I love to write romantic stories full of adventure and weaved with God’s message of love.
 
Between school and my launch into authorship, I’ve been busy having and homeschooling five children, moving to the wilderness of Tok, Alaska, serving in different ministries, building a house ourselves, and purchasing multiple businesses.

More from Sara

 

I’ve always had a fascination with speculating on how I would react if I suddenly ended up in another time. Growing up, I’d daydream about finding myself in a field of heather in medieval Scotland, waking in the back of a wagon traveling across the prairie, or walking through the wilderness with the colonials. I loved reading and wanted desperately to jump into the scenes I experienced while turning the page of a cherished novel. Of course, there’s no real way a person can time travel, so my dreaming was just that, dreaming … or was it?

A few years ago, I was doing a Kid’s Club Bible lesson at the local school about Philip and the Ethiopian and had my mind blown. In that event, God transported Philip to a town about twenty miles away. It was like Scotty beaming Kirk up and placing him where he was needed. I’d read that story before, but for some reason skipped right over that little nugget of information. Now here’s the part that got my mind spinning, if God could move someone in the blink of an eye across miles, why couldn’t He move someone through time? Time travel was now not only feasible, but God revealed a greater depth of Himself to me.

My mind started exploding with a story of a family in the middle of Colorado at the cusp of its statehood. What would cause God to throw a person in the middle of the wilderness? What would it reveal about the journey each person had to take to find their identities in who God created them to be? Hours, months, and years passed as the characters and story grew until they spilled upon the computer screen in a river of words.

One small sentence tucked within the middle of Acts opened my heart to a new dimension of God’s magnitude and released the dream of writing I had buried within me. I love how God does that, opens the well deep in us, nurturing the desires hidden there to reveal bit by bit who we are in Him. With Him nudging me along, my childhood fantasy of becoming a writer and transporting people to another time and place has become a reality with my debut novel Vestige of Hope, the first book in the three-book series Vestige in Time. My prayer is that my writing shows the traces of hope God leaves in my reader’s own hearts and lives. I pray God will ignite passions as He reveals himself one small sentence at a time through His word.
 

My Review

 
An auspicious start to the Vestige in Time series by Sara Blackard, “Vestige of Hope” is a twist on the time traveler trope. Opening in the present day with Hunter, a US Army Delta Force officer on compulsory time off after a tragic outcome on a mission, his storyline very quickly merges with that of Viola Thomas and her sisters in 1877. The Thomases are anxiously awaiting the inexplicably-prolonged return of their father from the winter trapping season. When their paths merge, sparks fly in more ways than one.

I am not typically a fan of time travel stories or books that feature them, but I was pleasantly surprised by “Vestige of Hope.” Blackard manages to achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary for readers to enjoy this novel, while maintaining a realism that anchors her work firmly on the foundation of faith. Hunter begins this story with “his own demons of failure stalking just over his shoulder”, and as his faith matures he slowly comes to see beyond his failures to the realization that he is not meant to carry his burdens alone. Viola struggles to keep a positive outlook in her own situation, and having David stumble into her story opens her eyes and her heart to the beauty of miracles. She tells David, “I know God will bless you wherever He takes you, Hunter.” As the two grapple with their own obstacles to unashamed faith, God’s grace and mercy become ever more apparent. The lesson remains true for all of us: God is faithful, and He will take us through the storms of life, no matter how upending, in order to bring us closer to Him.

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

Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

For the Love of Literature, February 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 28

Betti Mace, February 29

Artistic Nobody, March 1 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 2

Inklings and notions, March 3

For Him and My Family, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 5 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales , March 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 8

My Devotional Thoughts, March 9 (Author Interview)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, March 10

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour. Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Vestige of Hope & Vestige of Legacy!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
“When we search for manna in our life, we can see God’s hand, whether we are in want or plenty.”
In Want + Plenty: Waking Up to God's Provision in a Land of Longing - McDaniel,  Meredith

Whether you are currently walking through the desert place or not, Meredith McDaniel’s “In Want + Plenty” will speak to your heart. Subtitled “Waking Up to God’s Provision in a Land of Longing”, it gets to the heart of the matter, because we are all longing for something, and the only One who can satisfy us is God Himself in the person of Jesus. This book is unique and interactive, taking readers through the book of Exodus on a journey to recognizing and drawing sustenance from God’s provision. The author’s compassionate heart and counseling background shine through and coalesce as she guides readers through the Israelites’ journey, which our own lives mirror in so many ways. This connection focuses on manna: that which God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness and that which we receive today. McDaniel explains that “God’s willingness to enter in and hear the hearts of his people is a form of manna. He is God and he does not owe us that gift of his presence, yet he offers it constantly.” Indeed, this is our blessed assurance, that “when we surrender to trusting Jesus and enter a relationship with him, recognizing him as the ultimate Manna in our life, we do find peace.” Regardless of our circumstances, God is always there, “making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

“In Want + Plenty” has an integrative format perfect for either group or individual study. Its arrangement reminded me of a devotional. There are nine sections interspersed with questions for personal reflection, as well as re:story questions for journaling at the end of each section and a re:sound, a song meant to heal. Highlighted phrases throughout the text and quotations pulled from the text and placed in the margins appear in green and draw the reader’s attention to them while summarizing the valuable skills. Each section begins with an exploration of the Exodus journey, followed by personal stories from the author that are germane to the Biblical story and to the focus of that section. This is a great arrangement because it teaches how the Old Testament is still vitally important to our faith. Furthermore, “In Want + Plenty” demonstrates that our own journey through the desert will lead us, also, to a land of milk and honey if we accept the Manna that God sent for us in the person of Jesus.

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

Review
5 Stars
An Introduction to Anxiety Disorders
Managing Worry and Anxiety: Practical Tools to Help You Deal with Life's Challenges - Holthaus,  Jean

Ubiquitous in our twenty-first century society, worry and anxiety are a plague driven by busyness, the struggle to succeed, and an increasingly secularized culture. In a scholarly yet highly readable book, Jean Holthaus uses a combination of medical science, psychology, and Christian theology to give readers insight into what causes anxiety, how to identify different types of anxiety, and how to seek help. Whereas most self-help books promote a certain protocol or fad diet routine, Holthaus takes a multilayered approach. She not only allows for but also discusses how mental illness affects the body and mind. I appreciate that she discusses prescription medication without discounting natural remedies, as different people respond to some treatments better than others.

Graphics and charts enliven “Managing Worry and Anxiety” and make the text easier to comprehend. Even the scientific phrases and data are able to be understood by the average adult.

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

Review
5 Stars
Onward and Upward!
Saints: Becoming More Than "Christians" - Bevere,  Addison

I'll be honest, when I first saw the cover of "Saints", I made the assumption that it would be a compendium of revered figures in Church history. Then I saw the subtitle, "Becoming More Than 'Christians'", and decided to investigate further. I was sufficiently intrigued to request it for review, and I am glad that I did! Rather than a tedious monologue, I discovered an engaging and stimulating call to return to our first love, Jesus. 

With "Saints", Addison Bevere sets forth a timely exegesis of what that term actually means within the Bible's context and how we can and should strive to apply it to our lives so that it becomes ingrained into our identity. As Bevere explains, saints are those who have faith in Christ and are in a continually-deepening relationship with God through Him; "a saint is someone who brings a future reality into the present." As a language buff, I appreciate how he expounds upon the semantics of the Bible's use of the term "saints" over "Christians." Furthermore, I find his open acknowledgement and explanation of seemingly contradictory facts or statements in certain Bible passages, such as those relating to fearing the Lord and also not being afraid, wise; as such, I would recommend this book to nonbelievers, especially those with an agnostic bent. 

Bevere is in tune with today's society and its Gospel needs, accurately pinpointing some of the most prominent areas of spiritual dearth and pointing readers toward the source of abundance: Jesus. He makes it clear that while nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38-39), we can separate ourselves from God's grace because “Pride is the grace blocker.” I love how he progresses from the Old Testament to the New Testament because so many focus only on Jesus in the New Testament. "Saints" is truly where the rubber meets the road of our faith journey, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take their faith in Christ to the next level. Onward and upward! 


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

Review
4 Stars
From Sky to Sky Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  From Sky to Sky

Author: Amanda G. Stevens

Genre:  Christian Suspense/ Fantasy

Release Date: February, 2020

Zac Wilson can’t die.

Daredevil Zac Wilson isn’t the first celebrity to keep a secret from the world, but his might be the most marvelous in history: Zac doesn’t age and injuries can’t kill him. What’s more, he’s part of a close-knit group of others just like him.

Holed up in Harbor Vale, Michigan, Zac meets two more of his kind who claim others in their circle have died. Are their lifetimes finally ending naturally, or is someone targeting them—a predator who knows what they are?

The answers Zac unearths present impossible dilemmas: whom to protect, how to seek justice, how to bring peace to turmoil. His next action could fracture forever the family he longs to unite. Now might be the time to ask for help. . .from God Himself. But Zac’s greatest fear is facing the God he has run from for more than a century.



Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now she writes speculative fiction. She is the author of the Haven Seekers series, and her debut Seek and Hide was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist. She lives in Michigan and loves trade paperbacks, folk music, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and white cheddar popcorn.
 
 

 

 

 

More from Amanda

 

For years, the theme of immortality has intrigued me. I love the Elves of Middle-Earth, the “happiest and saddest” of the peoples Tolkien created as they watch the ages pass. I love the exploration of aged sorrow in Tuck Everlasting. I’ve stuck with TV shows which shall remain nameless (but, ahem, a few feature vampires) because I’m always wondering how did this writer tackle immortality? Anything new? Are the characters convincingly old and young at the same time?

The thing is, while some of these fiction works satisfy me more than others, I’m always left with a tug of incompletion. Eventually I figured out this tug was a story in my own head and heart wanting to come out, a contemporary story that included the gospel. What might God’s plan be for those whose earthly days seem unnumbered? How would their age affect their interactions with humanity and with faith? These questions were the springboard for the No Less Days series, and of course the answers vary with the individual. Ultimately this is why I write: to explore people, their inner selves, their relationships. My goal is always to create characters that breathe from the page.

In From Sky to Sky, we get a look into the head and heart of Zac Wilson, who has been on the run from God longer than any of us could imagine: a full century playing the prodigal. I always try to be honest about how much life can hurt, “even” for the Christian; if we had triple the number of years to accumulate hurt in this broken world, we’d have a lot of it. That’s true of all my ageless characters, including Zac. To scratch the surface, this man fought in two world wars and has outlived all his children.

But the sum of Zac is much more than his collected wounds. He is a deep-feeling, fun-loving, generous guy. He enjoys music and physical activity. He has an insatiable sweet tooth and a need for open spaces. He’s not afraid to laugh at his own expense, and he has a boundless love for people and the stories of their lives.

My hope is that readers will grow to love this young old guy as they journey with him through some dark times toward redemption and light.
 

My Review

 
While “No Less Days” immediately captured my interest and never let go, this sequel was not quite as intriguing. I was thankful that the prologue replayed a scene relating to the ending of book one to refresh my memory, but the rest of the narrative proceeded at a pace that I personally feel is too slow for a book categorized as suspense. The opening chapters were not that interesting to me, so my anticipation dropped quite a bit. While there is an element of suspense regarding whether this group of near-immortals are finally reaching the end of their long lifespans or are being hunted down, I was not very engaged with the plot and was not dying to know what would happen next.

Where “From Sky to Sky” truly does shine, however, is in the faith element. Calloused by a century of avoiding God, Zac Wilson must surrender his heart back to the One whom he has run from for so long. With other longevites dying, Zac’s unique family is threatened, and in a beautiful display of the redemption and promise of Romans 8:28, Zac is finally at a seminal point in which both his life and faith journeys intersect. This is where the story becomes most readable, and to witness the longevite’s and his family’s response to the Gospel and what it means to and for them makes this a worthwhile read.

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

Blog Stops

 

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Texas Book-aholic, February 22

Inklings and notions, February 23

Inside the Wong Mind, February 23

Through the Fire Blogs, February 24

For the Love of Literature, February 25

deb’s Book Review, February 25

For Him and My Family, February 26

Mary Hake, February 26

Older & Smarter?, February 27

Blogging With Carol, February 28

Life love writing, February 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 29

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, March 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 2

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 2

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 3

Hallie Reads, March 3

Simple Harvest Reads, March 4 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Bigreadersite, March 6

 

Giveaway

 

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