For the Love of Literature

For the Love of Literature

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

Review
5 Stars
Refresh Your Faith Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Refresh Your Faith

Author: Lori Hatcher

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: May 2020

Unfamiliar verses. Uncommon insights. Unlimited possibilities.

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

Praise for Lori Hatcher’s writing . . .

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



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


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

 

 

 

 

Read a Teaser from Refresh Your Faith

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

 

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

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
The Good Shadows Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Good Shadows

Author: Carol Alwood

Genre:  Young adult romance with a supernatural twist

Release Date: January 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

When her life falls apart, where will she turn?

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



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


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

More from Carol

 

Magic isn’t a new topic for Christian fiction.

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

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

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

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

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

My Review

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
Avalanche Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Avalanche

Author: M. Liz Boyle

Genre:  Christian YA

Release Date: September 27, 2019

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

Click HERE for your copy!


About the Author

 


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

More from Liz

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review

 

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
A Life Renewed Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  A Life Renewed

Author: Olivia Rae

Genre:  Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2, 2020

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

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

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

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



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


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

More from Olivia

 

The Challenge in Writing About a Real Historical Person

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

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

My Review

 

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

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
5 Stars
God Sees Her Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  God Sees Her

Author: Our Daily Bread

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: March 3, 2020

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

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

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



Click HERE for your copy.
 

More about God Sees Her

 

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

My Review

 

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Ponder This Scavenger Hunt Author Interview with Linda Widrick

 

About the Book

 

 

Title: To Complicate Matters

 

Author: Linda Widrick

 

Series: Ponder This

 

Blurb

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  

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

 

 

About the Author

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Author Interview

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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


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

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

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

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

 

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

Review
5 Stars
Mortal Sight Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Mortal Sight

Author: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Genre:  Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: April 14, 2020

When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

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

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


Click HERE to get your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


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

More from Sandra

 

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

My Review

 

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

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

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

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

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

 
 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Bitter Honey Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Bitter Honey

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: March 23, 2020

With God, all things are possible.

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

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


Click HERE for your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


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

 

More from Caryl

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Interview

 

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

 

 

Describe your book in five words.

 

Tragedy. Hope. Love. Mentors. Truth.

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

     

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

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

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

 

 

What are your hobbies?

 

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

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



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

 

 

Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, April 23

deb’s Book Review, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

For Him and My Family, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 27 (Author Interview)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 28

Texas Book-aholic, April 29

Betti Mace, April 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 1

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

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

Connect in Fiction, May 5

Lukewarm Tea, May 6 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

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

 

 

Blurb:

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Selling stories is a deadly business

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Book Purchase Links

 

Amazon

 

Christianbook

 

 

 

Author Bio:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links:

 

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

 

https://twitter.com/enclavebooks

 

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

 

 #TheWeaverTrilogy #TheStoryPeddler #EnclaveEscape  #EnclavePublishing

 

 

 

 

 

My Review:

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

Return to the Fierce Land Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Return to the Fierce Land

Author: N.C. Bolton

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Release Date: March 31, 2020

The Fierce Land…

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

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

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

He should have faith, as they do.

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



Click HERE to get your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


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

You visit her website HERE.
 
 

More from N.C. Bolton

 

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

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

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

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

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



Describe your book in five words.

 

Journey between doubt and faith.



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

 

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



What are your hobbies?

 

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



Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

 

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

 

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 30

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

Texas Book-aholic, May 2

Through the Fire Blogs, May 3 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 4

Inklings and notions, May 5

For Him and My Family, May 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 8

Wishful Endings, May 9 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 11

Artistic Nobody, May 12 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

About the Book

 


Book:  House at the End of the Moor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre:  Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2020

An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.



Click HERE for your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
 

 

More from Michelle

 

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.
Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.

In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?

You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.

What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.
 
 

My Review

 

I am convinced that Michelle Griep cannot write anything less than a 5-star story. She is one of the truly exceptional authors who can draw readers into the world of her books so completely that everything else fades into the background and the reader walks alongside the characters. Historical fiction is my favorite genre to begin with, and Griep manages to elevate it to another level. Her prose is Dickensian, which is another reason that I love it so much, and it perfectly reflects the Victorian time period of her most recent novel, “The House at the End of the Moor.”

Set in England in March 1861, the first two chapters are introductory, presenting the two primary characters. Chapter two opens with my favorite line in the book: “Nights like these, when the wind shivers the bones of the great old house, ghosts of my past waft about unmoored.” This is another favorite of mine: Griep’s ability to beautifully describe a scene in a way that seems old-fashioned but is nevertheless still entirely concise. In “The House at the End of the Moor”, Margaret “Maggie” Lee and Oliver Ward enter into each other’s world, and different though they appear, as the plot progresses, readers realize that they have more in common than they realize.

Indeed, despite their many differences, Maggie and Oliver share something in common: both are running away. Maggie from her successful but emotionally distressing former career, and Oliver from a wrongful conviction. The conditions and ill treatment of Dartmoor Prison described in this book are appalling, but they are written respectfully and with sensitivity. Furthermore, this book contains a shifting narrative viewpoint between these two characters, with Oliver’s story told in the third-person and Maggie’s in the first-person. While this can be a challenging undertaking, it works well here. It distinguishes the two characters while simultaneously highlighting their similarities, both of which play an important role in the story. A sinister plot links them together, and with the enemy at the door, they must trust not only each but, above all, God, because He promises to be with us always and to never forsake us.

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

 

Batya’s Bits, April 18

The Avid Reader, April 18

Life of Literature, April 18

The Power of Words, April 18

For Him and My Family, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 19

Among the Reads, April 20

My Devotional Thoughts, April 20

As He Leads is Joy, April 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 22

Inklings and notions, April 22

Remembrancy, April 23

Hookmeinabook, April 23

Christian Bookaholic, April 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 24

Britt Reads Fiction, April 24

Emily Yager, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Stories By Gina, April 25

Adventures of a Traveling Wife, April 25

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

Splashes of Joy, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, April 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Blessed & Bookish, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27

Pause for Tales, April 27

Through the Fire Blogs, April 28

Hallie Reads, April 28

Faery Tales Are Real, April 28

To Everything There Is A Season, April 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Bigreadersite, April 29

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 29

Genesis 5020, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, April 30

By The Book, April 30

For the Love of Literature, April 30

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 1

Bookishly Beverly, May 1

Daysong Reflections, May 1

Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free 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.
 
Hope Lies Ahead Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Hope Lies Ahead

Author: James & Geoffrey Banks

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Christian living, family and relationships

Release Date: April, 2020

No prodigal is beyond the reach of God
 
 Every inch of my body was in pain and my skin was crawling. I couldn’t think straight or even form coherent sentences . . . How did I end up like this? –Geoffrey Banks
 
Geoff’s situation seemed hopeless: a heroin addict going through a nightmarish detox on the floor of an overpopulated jail cell. He had made a mess of his life.

His parents felt their son slipping away. They loved him so much and felt so powerless. And so they prayed—through the hurt, the questions, the frustrations. And through it all, God walked with them.
 
Hope Lies Ahead shares Geoff’s prodigal journey and James’s perspective as his father. Each man writes his own story and candidly addresses the spiritual and practical challenges families with prodigals face. As someone who loves a prodigal, you’ll know you are not alone and that there is hope!



Click HERE to get your copy
 

About the Authors

 

 
Dr. James Banks is the author of Prayers for Prodigals, Prayers for Your Children, Praying the Prayers of the Bible, Praying Together, and Praying with Jesus. Through books, blog posts, and magazine articles, he regularly encourages people to pray. Dr. Banks has been a pastor and church planter for more than twenty-five years and lives with his wife, Cari, in Durham, North Carolina. They have two adult children.
 
 
 
 
Geoffrey Banks serves as the high school coordinator at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He loves reaching students where they are and helping them walk with God. He is an avid surfer and skater. Geoffrey struggled with heroin addiction throughout his teens and early twenties before coming to know Jesus and having his life radically change. Now he is host of the podcast Too Many Christians, which explores beliefs in the pursuit of ultimate truth.
 

 

More from Geoffrey and Dr. Banks

 

From James

My son, Geoff, and I chose to tell our story in Hope Lies Ahead because we believe it’s what God would have us do. So many families suffer in silence when their loved ones go down prodigal paths, and we want them to know they are not alone. God truly offers hope when it seems like none can be found.

Geoff and I could only write this book because of God’s kindness to us. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal, “My son was lost and now is found,” and I’m still celebrating. Geoff is so much more than his past sins and mistakes. He is a new creation, made stronger in the broken places by God’s amazing love. Today God uses him to reach people in ways that would not have been possible had he not been down such difficult roads. God wastes nothing—redemption is a precious, priceless thing.

God never gives up on us. He goes to lengths that defy reason to save us and love us back to Himself. Even when our children make choices that break our hearts, God doesn’t abandon them. He loves our prodigals even more than we do.

Jesus is still “a friend of sinners.” No one is beyond God’s reach. When answers to prayer are long in coming, He Himself is the best answer. In the rough and raw places where we feel numb or even nothing at all, God is able to meet us with help and healing as we cast our cares on Him.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep loving, keep praying, and keep the lines of communication open. God can empower us in love beyond what we think is possible, and give us the wisdom and direction we need to face each day.


From Geoff

Substance abuse is so prevalent in our world right now. There is no specific socioeconomic class, community, or age that struggles with it, it is everywhere. With that being the reality, there is a lot of negative stories out there. All over the news you hear of overdoses, arrests, and other things related to this topic going on. My heart behind writing Hope Lies Ahead is that people will find some hope in the midst of an incredibly difficult time.

It is an up close and personal book for both my father and I, and that is on purpose. We looked at both of our failings, our strengths, and where we could have done things differently. For us it was an honest dialogue about what our journey through substance abuse as a family was like and how we came out on the other side. I hope that it can be the start of an honest dialogue for a lot of other families as well that will point everyone involved toward our one hope—Jesus.

As you read through Hope Lies Ahead, you will see a little bit of yourself in both of us. At times I am pretty hard on my father for some of the things that he did. The thing that I want to remind the reader of is that even when he made mistakes, it was done out of love. He wasn’t the religious Bible thumper I sometimes make him out to be but rather was driven by a deep love for his kids that sometimes got expressed in the wrong way. I think that his perspective is so unique because now he recognizes those moments for what they are and is able to help other people not fall in those same traps. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents, and this experience ended up sharpening both of us.

Based on what we learned going through this experience, I would say to a parent of a prodigal  above all else, maintain relationship. Let them know you love them even when they make huge mistakes. Let them know that if they ever want help you are right there waiting. Make sure they are aware of their options as far as treatment goes and when the opportunity arises to get them there, jump on it. Do it immediately. Don’t wait.

I think we often find ourselves wanting to preach. Addiction can be an infuriating disease to experience, whether you are the one who is addicted or a family member is. In the midst of that anger and frustration, we need to be reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Your war isn’t with that person, it is with the sin that is dominating their life. Don’t exchange your relationship with them for an off handed comment or a sermon about their behavior. It isn’t worth it.

My prayer is that people reading this book will be encouraged in their situation and that they turn first to Jesus. I believe that ultimate redemption looks like Jesus on the cross. It is when something meant for evil gets turned around and used for good. There are many stories of people going through addiction and then using their experience to help others out of it. There is nothing more beautiful than a giant struggle becoming an incredible strength.
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I have been fascinated with stories since a very young age. Whether it was video games, movies, or books, I always had my mind wrapped up in some sort of story. In school I flourished in creative writing and literature classes. I am not sure it was ever a conscious decision, it was just something I’ve always been drawn to, so when the opportunity arose to put my own story on paper it was an easy choice. I am fortunate to have a father who is an accomplished author that helped pave the way for me.



Which author has most influenced your own writing?

 

I am a huge Flannery O’Connor fan. The depth of her characters is incredible and she does an amazing job of keeping everything morally grey. Just when you think one person is the “good guy” she flips it around and you are left unsure. That is so similar to the real word, so when I was writing this book, I kept that in mind and tried to show the good sides and the bad sides of everyone. There are no heros or villians. Just people.



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

 

I have a full time job outside of my writing so most of my writing takes place at strange times. I am a night owl and often don’t sleep well so I found that my best writing was done at 2:00 am when my mind was racing with thoughts and ideas. Outside of that, I try to squeeze it in the mornings on the weekend. I am not much for scheduling and just try to get it when I can.

 


Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

 

My front porch. I live in Wilmington, NC and we have a pretty mild climate 75% of the time. I love sitting in a chair on my front porch on a sunny day and writing there. Something about being able to hear the birds, cars, and general sounds of life just seems to keep me focused. The tan I get is just a bonus.

 


What are your hobbies?

 

I am a total hobby guy! I have so many it is hard to list. I am totally a jack of all trades and an ace of none. My main things that I do most consistently are surfing, skateboarding, and mountain biking. Honorable mentions would be hiking and spearfishing. I love getting outside in nature and taking advantage of what the world has to offer. There is something about it that is just so freeing.

 

Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Andrea Christenson, April 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 27

For Him and My Family, April 28

Genesis 5020, April 29

For the Love of Literature, April 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 1

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

A Reader’s Brain, May 3

Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Through the Fire Blogs, May 6

Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate their tour, James and Geoffrey are giving away the grand prize package of Hope Lies Ahead, Prayers For Prodigals and $10 Amazon Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

The Multicultural Church Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Multicultural Church

Author: Dan Willis

Genre:  RELIGION / Christian Church/Growth

Release Date: February 21, 2020

Despite the progress our country has made in Civil Rights over the past century, Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated times in America. It seems like the only people striving to lead in the area of racial reconciliation are politicians, activists, and celebrities. Pastor Dan Willis wants to know… Where is the church? What can the people of God do to become leaders again and not just be Johnny-come-lately followers? The art of bringing harmony to the masses lies in the love all should see in the church of God. If the church is to make a difference and return to relevance in this world, the only option is multicultural ministry. If leaders are not prepared to minister to this growing culture, then American Christianity is in danger of becoming nonessential to the body of believers. For years, Dan Willis has led a growing, multicultural Christian community in the suburbs of Chicago. In The Multicultural Church, Dan shares what he has learned, the mistakes he has made, and what can be done to successfully minister to a diverse culture.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


As a boy, Dan Willis’s dreamed of becoming a neurosurgeon until the fateful day when, at age sixteen, he was called to “temporarily” take over as pastor of a local church. Dan took that small ministry of sixteen people and nurtured it into the largest multicultural church on the south side of Chicago, consisting of over five thousand members. Today, Dan still serves as senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations, in Alsip, Illinois. The driving force of Dan’s ministry has always been one of uniting the races. To look out over the congregation during a typical worship celebration, you will see men, women, and children from over seventy-two different nations. Dan is also a gifted singer, musician, and producer. He founded a community choir called The Pentecostals of Chicago, bringing together black, white, Hispanic, and Asian singers from over twenty Chicago area churches. This group, now known as The All Nations Choir, has six albums to its credit and has performed with artists from Celine Dion to Kirk Franklin, and has served on missionary trips to the orphanages of Kingston, Jamaica.

A celebrated television host, he created and hosted the Emmy-nominated shows Inspiration Sensation and I’m Just Sayin’. Dan has traveled the country ministering and teaching men and women through the Starting Line Prison Fellowship organization and has also been a national and international speaker on the topics of music, ministry, racial reconciliation, leadership, and community development. Dan is the author of Freedom to Forget and most recently, Praise Is My Weapon. Dan continues to live in Alsip with his wife, Linda, and is father to four grown children and eight grandchildren.
 

More from Dan

 

I have led a successful and growing multicultural congregation in the Chicago suburbs for over twenty years. I wanted to write a short book packed with practical information sharing my personal stories of successes and failures in cross-cultural ministry.
 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

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

 

Review
4 Stars
Ranger to the Rescue Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Ranger to the Rescue

Author: Renae Brumbaugh Green

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Amelia Cooper has sworn off lawmen for good.

Now any man who wants to claim the hand of the intrepid reporter had better have a safe job. Like attorney Evan Covington. Amelia is thrilled when the handsome lawyer comes courting. But when the town enlists him as a Texas Ranger, Amelia isn’t sure she can handle losing another man to the perils of keeping the peace.

Evan never expected his temporary appointment to sink his relationship with Amelia. Or to instantly plunge them headlong into danger. But when Amelia and his sister are both kidnapped, the newly minted lawman must rescue them—if he’s to have any chance at love.
 
 
Click HERE for your copy!

 

About the Author

 


Renae Brumbaugh Green is a city-girl-turned-country-diva. She’s married to a handsome country boy named Rick, and she’s mom to four nearly-perfect, nearly-grown children, two rowdy dogs, and some ducks. They live in rural Texas where Renae wears overalls, western boots, and bubblegum pink nail polish. She’s a bestselling author of over 30 books, an award-winning humor columnist, and an online English teacher. In her free time, she can be found leaping tall buildings and rescuing kittens from trees. Or, she’d like to do those things, if she had free time.

 

 

 

More from Renae

 

Every once in a while, when writing a character, I become vaguely aware that in many respects, I am that character. In those moments, I also become aware that God is the author, and he’s teaching me something through this particular character’s journey. After all, it’s a lot easier to learn through someone else’s mistakes than to recognize our own mistakes – especially if that someone else is a fictional character.

Amelia’s journey is one of fear and anxiety, which is something I’ve dealt with a lot. Like Amelia, I appear composed and confident on the surface. Like Amelia, I’m often a mess on the inside, scared to death of what will come, scared to death of how it will all turn out.

While writing this story, while dealing with Amelia’s anxiety, I (all-knowing author that I am) wrote that fear is the opposite of hope. Fear is the belief that something bad will happen, while hope is the belief that something good will happen. The Bible tells us that ours is a God of hope (Romans 15:13). When we truly trust Him, we can let go of fear, knowing He has good things in store for us.

At one point in the book, Amelia has this revelation:

”And suddenly, it was as if a haze lifted and she saw herself clearly for the first time. She’d let herself be ruled by fear, and in so doing had confined herself and clipped her own wings.”

Those words, disguised on the page as Amelia’s thoughts, were actually my thoughts. I hope you enjoy Amelia’s journey. And as you read, I hope you’ll remember these words from Isaiah 41:10: ”So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God bless, and happy reading!

—Renae Brumbaugh Green
 
 

My Review

 

Book two in The Texas Ranger series, Renae Brumbaugh Green’s “Ranger to the Rescue” is a sweet, short read that contains a sufficient element of danger without being too daunting. Because the story opens on the heels of “Lone Star Ranger”, this series is best read in order, but it is not required. In this sequel, Evan Covington is establishing his law practice when he ends up reluctantly working with reporter Amelia Cooper on a case. Their friendship develops into affection, but all hope seems lost when Evan unexpectedly becomes sworn in as a Texas Ranger. As is still the case today, working in law enforcement is a dangerous business, and not every woman is cut out to be or wants to be a lawman’s wife.

“Ranger to the Rescue”  is an enjoyable Western tale that makes for a light romantic read. Overall, I liked the story, and I appreciated Amelia’s character the most. She is an intelligent woman making her way in a predominantly male profession, and she is not afraid to take risks in order to get the story because “[s]omehow, she’d thought being a writer was a gentle profession, and she’d fight her battles with a pencil and notepad.” This fortitude, however, does not extend to relationships with men in law enforcement, for personal reasons stemming from her past. She acknowledges early on that “God really was a God of second chances”, and this fact proves ever more true as the plot progresses. I love that Green incorporates sign language into the story, providing a unique element. There are quite a few tropes used in this story, which make it predictable but pleasant nonetheless. One thing that bothered me was the occasional use of modern phrasing by the narrator, which disrupted the flow for me. All in all, however, I recommend “Ranger to the Rescue” to historical fiction readers who enjoy drama and who may be looking to overcome fears of their own. As Amelia learns, “when God offers abundant grace, He also requires abundant faith. From those who claim to be His, He demands a dangerous, rugged devotion. But with that kind of reckless faith come God’s bountiful blessings.”

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

 

Genesis 5020, April 16

Inklings and notions, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 20

deb’s Book Review, April 20

Betti Mace, April 21

Books, Life, and Christ, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 23

Becka Jiménez’s FB, April 23

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

Vicky Sluiter, April 25

Bigreadersite, April 26

Hallie Reads, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 27

Splashes of Joy, April 27

For the Love of Literature, April 28

Daysong Reflections, April 29

Artistic Nobody, April 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Renae 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
One Hundred Valleys Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  One Hundred Valleys

Author: Bonnie Leon

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: March 15, 2020

After the death of her mother, Emmalin Hammond discovers she is not the heiress she’d always assumed she’d be. The revelation exposes her fiancé true intentions when he withdraws his marriage proposal, leaving Emmalin heartbroken and humiliated. When she discovers the father she believed to be dead is still alive and living in the Oregon Territory she decides it is time to meet the man who has been hidden from her all of her life.

Accompanied by her Uncle Jonathon she sets out for the Oregon Territory in search of answers and hoping for a renewed relationship with her father. When tragedy strikes, she confronts the terrifying challenge of completing her quest alone. Faced with few options, she entrusts her life to a mountain man named Jacob Landon who agrees to transport her to a small settlement in Southern Oregon called Deer Creek, a place also known as the Land of One Hundred Valleys.

Emmalin is not prepared for the hardships of life in the Oregon wilderness. Each day presents a new challenge. Newfound friends, including the reserved Jacob Landon, come alongside to help her adapt and she gradually finds her way. Yet, she feels out of place. Should she brave the arduous journey back to Philadelphia and the life she once knew or remain and hope for something better in the Oregon wilderness?
 
 
Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-two novels, including the recently released Return to the Misty Shore, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons. Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, Poland, and even Africa. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and mentoring up and coming authors.

Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
 
 

More from Bonnie

 

Why this story?

In the spring of 1980 my husband and I, our two-year-old son, and our infant daughter left city life in Washington state and moved to Southern Oregon. We gave up our community of friends and family along with my husband’s reliable and well-paying job. Our friends thought we were crazy, but we were determined that Oregon was where we belonged. We were scared but not deterred.

I think the change in my own life as a young woman had a lot to do with why I wrote this story of Emmalin Hammond. To be sure, Emmalin’s level of difficulty and danger is distinctly different than mine, but there are similarities. We both experienced adventures, joy, and, yes, even danger.

Oregon has been my home for forty years now, and I am glad my husband and I made the decision to move here. We’ve had a good life in this wild and beautiful country. Sometimes I wonder about the women who made that choice during the nineteenth century. Emmalin set out on her harrowing journey to Oregon in the spring of 1855. Many who began that journey did not make it across the plains and deserts of America.

When I put down roots in Douglas County, Oregon I was thrilled to be here, but the changes weren’t all easy. The old farmhouse we lived in had more broken windows than intact ones. It was mouse infested. The plumbing needed major repair. And yet I loved it. The countryside was lush and green, and the rolling hillsides were dotted with farm animals, wildlife, and broad-limbed oak trees. There were wild blackberries sprawling along the farm’s fences and fresh fruit in our orchard. It looked much the same as the Oregon Emmalin discovered in my story, One Hundred Valleys.

I loved hard work and spent a lot of time splitting logs for our only heat source—a wood burning stove—felling trees on our new property, and working alongside my husband in our vegetable garden.

I had run-ins with things like poison oak and skunks, but that did not dampen my enthusiasm as a new Oregonian. I loved picking wild blackberries, fishing the high mountain lakes, hiking mountain trails, and fishing the North Umpqua river. I cherished those days as a farm wife and mother. Those were the best years of my life. I have never regretted our move to the beautiful land of one hundred valleys in Southern Oregon.

I am thankful for the early explorers who challenged the wilderness in the Oregon Territory more than a century ago. It is their courage and determination that made it possible for me and my family to live and thrive in this beautiful place.
 
 

My Review

 

“Her father was her only chance at a new beginning—if she could find him.”

Growing up, I was an avid reader and fan of “Little House on the Prairie” and anything about pioneers, with a special fondness for Oregon Trail stories. Although I’ve broadened my reading horizons since then, the nineteenth century will always be my first love, and I remain on the lookout for opportunities to read and review historical fiction whenever possible. From the first time I glimpsed the cover of “One Hundred Valleys”, I knew I had to read it; I didn’t even read the synopsis, although I was thrilled when I found out it was set in Oregon in the mid-1850s. No matter how many historical fiction books I read, I never grow tired of them, and this book is a great example of diversity within the genre.

From the first page of “One Hundred Valleys”, it became apparent that this was going to be a different kind of pioneer adventure. Author Bonnie Leon creates a unique story by merging common elements in a distinctive way. Rather than an Oregon Trail account, although details of the journey are scattered throughout the narrative, Emmalin Hammonds’ story opens in Oregon City after she and her Uncle Jonathon have made the trek. Moving on from a tragic past in search of the father she had been told was dead, Emmalin ends up making the last leg of the journey alone with a hired guide named Jacob Landon. For Emmalin, the travails of the journey are becoming more and more overwhelming as she finds everything stripped away from her.

Emmalin’s character is interesting in and of itself. I have to admit that initially I found myself unimpressed with her, and at times downright annoyed. However, Leon writes her this way for a reason. Back in Philadelphia, Emmalin was a member of the upper class and led a privileged life, which made her completely unprepared to live in a rather uncivilized wilderness. She seems quick to judge and complain, but then she surprises readers with her strength and determination. As her newfound friend Margaret tells her about courage: “It’s being afraid and trusting God enough to do whatever it is He’s called you to do that shows how brave you are.” She slowly softens her heart toward people and things that seem absurd compared with her old life, including the issue regarding the Indians, whom she has previously considered to be lower class. Her journey demonstrates how we all tend to categorize people, yet to God none of those things matter; He loves us all and yearns for us to enter into a personal relationship with Him. As Emmalin’s time of spiritual deliverance unfolds, it is worth noting that no matter how far away she felt God was, He never left.  

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

 

A Baker’s Perspective, April 15

Through the Lens of Scripture, April 15

Texas Book-aholic, April 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 16

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 16

For Him and My Family, April 17

Read Review Rejoice, April 17

Inklings and notions, April 18

Bigreadersite, April 18

Emily Yager, April 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 19

Lis Loves Reading, April 19

Stories By Gina, April 19

Betti Mace, April 20

Pause for Tales, April 20

My Devotional Thoughts, April 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 21

Splashes of Joy, April 21

deb’s Book Review, April 21

Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

To Everything There Is A Season, April 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 23

Worthy2Read, April 23

Daysong Reflections, April 23

Older & Smarter?, April 24

Through the Fire Blogs, April 24

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

janicesbookreviews, April 25

For the Love of Literature, April 26

Vicky Sluiter, April 26

Mary Hake, April 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 27

Genesis 5020, April 27

Artistic Nobody, April 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

With a Joyful Noise, April 28

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Bonnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $15 Amazon Gift Card and Vintage Oregon myrtle wood porringer bowl!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Beauty for Ashes Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Beauty for Ashes

Author: Kathleen Neely

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Nathan Drummond’s actions at the age of eighteen had devastating consequences. Writing became therapeutic, leading him into a successful career as a mystery writer. With seven novels to his name, Nathan is rapidly becoming a household name.

When family responsibilities force him to return to his home town, he meets Angie Hernandez. Nathan doesn’t count on falling in love, and certainly not with a woman who has the power to shatter his peace.

Being at home pushes him too close to painful memories, and as guilt threatens and panic attacks set in, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly.

Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret and threaten his future?



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Kathleen Neely is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, and The Least of These.  She is a former elementary teacher. Following her years in the classroom, she moved into administration, serving as an elementary principal at Eden Christian Academy in Pittsburgh, PA and at Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, SC. Kathleen is an alumnus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Regent University in Virginia.

Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. She continues to speak to students about writing. Kathleen is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

She resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.
 
 

More from Kathleen

 

I’ve always been an avid reader, but began writing at a period in my life when I didn’t have time to commit. While raising three sons, I also worked full time as a teacher, then later as an elementary principal. That left little time for writing. I’d plug away at my manuscript then neglect it for months. Those months became years. Every now and then, I would pull it out, re-read it, then add a little to it. When retirement approached, I thought of that old, abandoned manuscript. That’s when I began to take writing seriously. I joined a writing group, attended conferences, and met with two other writers weekly to critique and be critiqued. That manuscript is now a published novel.

I truly love writing. I can get lost in my own thoughts when planning a story. Characters become real and take on their own personality, sometimes different than I originally intended. Nathan, the protagonist in Beauty for Ashes, is a novelist. This excerpt is scripted from the book as he attempts to explain his trade with Angie. His explanation describes my approach to writing.

Excerpt: “They’re real people. I have to make myself become them. My mind lives out each scene. What would they feel? How would they react? I’m an actor playing a role, except that I have to play each role, each character. I immerse myself completely, then find words to capture it.”

I hope you’ll visit the pages of Beauty for Ashes and meet Nathan. He loves writing as much as I do, but hides a deadly secret. His past triggers challenges that leave him with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Writing has always been a balm for Nathan—until he writes his own story.
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I’m an avid reader. For me, writing was a natural extension of that love. I was a wannabe writer for years, but first I was a mother of three, a teacher, and later a school administrator. I couldn’t fit writing into that schedule. I dabbled, but didn’t put dedicated time to the task until I retired. At that point, I dug out an old unfinished manuscript, honed up my skills, and won first place in the fiction category in a Fresh Voices contest.

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There are so many things that helped me on my journey to becoming an author. Here are three tips for aspiring novelists.

  • READ NOVELS – Don’t stop reading just because your time is committed to writing. Consider it an investment of time. I learn so much by reading. It’s a free and effortless element to your education.
  • SEEK ADVICE FROM SEASONED WRITERS – I’ve discovered that writers love to share tips of the trade. They’re the most generous coaches. Seek a local writers’ group. Read trade books. Attend conferences. Glean from those who have experience.
  • CREATE A SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT – Every writer hits that slump period where nothing seems to work. It’s easy to neglect the manuscript. Here’s a hint that I heard from another author. When you sit at your laptop and nothing seems to come together, commit to 500 words. Often the ideas will begin flowing. If they don’t, then take the day off. That’s been good advice for me.

 

What are you reading right now?

 

I like to vary my reading genres. I believe it helps authors to experience a wide range of reading materials. I’m primarily a writer of contemporary fiction, but I’m currently reading Claiming Canaan, the third in the Daughters of Zelophehad series. Author Barbara M. Britton adds this Biblical fiction to her other Tribes of Israel series. I admire her ability to transport readers to a different time and place. Her research is evident in the details and she does an excellent job of maintaining the voice of a different culture.

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

Print books, e-books, or audio? The answer is yes! There’s a right time for all of the reading mediums. My primary choice is to hold an old-fashioned print book, but I frequently download digital novels. Some perks of digital include the ability to access it immediately, larger font for when my eyes fatigue, and typically lower cost. Audio has advantages but I like looking at the words, often re-reading portions, mulling over a phrase. But audio is great for car trips.

 

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 

Sometimes I write out of order. Nathan, the protagonist in Beauty for Ashes, is a novelist. He explains to Angie what it’s like to develop characters and plot; how he plays the role and lives out each scene. That happens to me, and when I live out a scene, I will frequently write it, even though it’s chapters away. When you read Beauty for Ashes, here are a few scenes that were written when my over-active brain lived them out: the police scene at Carlos home, Angie playing a selection from La Boheme for her audition, and when Nathan and Elizabeth rush to Renee’s home to protect her baby. How’s that for a little teaser? I hope you enjoy reading Beauty for Ashes as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

Blog Stops

 

Emily Yager, April 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 23 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

For the Love of Literature, April 26 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 28

Through the Fire Blogs, April 29 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, May 1

Blossoms and Blessings, May 2 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, May 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, May 4

 
 

Giveaway

 

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