Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: King's Shadow by Angela Hunt

About the Book

Two women occupy a place in Herod's court. The first, Salome, is the king's only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless--both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

Angela Hunt has not written anything I have not fully enjoyed, and this book is no exception.  She took a tumultuous time in history, filled with power-hungry politicians, and made sense of it to the reader, even garnering compassion for some characters.

This fourth book of The Silent Years series gives insight as to what it would be like to live under King Herod's reign as a citizen of Jerusalem, and especially his court.  I had heard that he was a madman, and Hunt brought to life the horror, uncertainty, and dread associated with being close to the king.

Much of the time I liked Salome, the king's sister.  She was a rock for Herod to depend on.  She was smart, and fiercely loyal to her family.  The story is chronicled in the first person, from Salome's perspective, and also from that of her handmaid, Zara.  Although Zara served Salome each day and lived in the palace, she remained connected to her Jewish heritage and faith in Adonai.

Fans of historical and Biblical fiction will certainly want to read this book.  It gives insight into the political and religious climate at the time of Jesus' birth.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over five million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 180 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Book review: The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

My Review

I had no idea what to expect as I began reading, but this was a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  The many characters were so unique, and I loved all the surprising twists and nuggets of history throughout the book.  It took place in 1900, and Gray had been a child during the Civil War.  His perception was clearly influenced by abuses his family suffered during that time.  The plot and the characters had many layers, which was what made this book so interesting.

International spice trade, food processing, D. C. politics, and agriculture are among the many topics about which readers will be enlightened as they read this book.  I recommend it.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in gilded age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Book Review with a Giveaway: Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher


About the Book

Book: Stitches in Time
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction
Release Date: October 1, 2019


Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .
New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

Click here to get your copy!
My Review
There was so much to love in Stitches in Time, the second installment of the Deacon's Family series by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  First of all, the ending.  It made me want to jump, and shout, and celebrate!  Know that this was a great book, from beginning to end.  It takes place in Stoney Ridge, a fictional town in Lancaster County, PA.  That place is a community that feels like home when I pick up one of Fisher's books.  There are stories to remember and characters to regain an acquaintance with each time I read a Stoney Ridge book.
There were some characters to meet for the first time, and others whose stories make me love them even more.  They made me laugh with them, and appreciate kindness, and experience longing with them in a book that was comfortable and easy to read.  Yet for all the nostalgia, this book does work as a stand-alone.
As the story moved along, I found myself drawn to the good advice that the characters sought from their mentors. "I start every morning with a question-'Lord, what do you want me to do today?'"  More than once throughout the book I was spiritually encouraged.  From beginning to end, this was a great book, and I highly recommend it-even if Amish fiction isn't your thing.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Revell, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.
About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.



More from Suzanne
Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent?

On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly.

There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news.

Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).

Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled.

Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.

Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate.

Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.

Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent.

Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.

Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers.

Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.

Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs.

Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.

Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen.

Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.

Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family.

Truth:
Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.

Myth: You can’t adopt foster children.

Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.

Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here: www.casaforchildren.org.

Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There’s many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, September 26
The Becca Files, September 26
SusanLovesBooks, September 26
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 27
Through the Fire Blogs, September 27
Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, September 27
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 28
Inspiration Clothesline, September 28
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
Book bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 29
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29
Blogging With Carol , September 29
Hookmeinabook , September 29
The Avid Reader, September 30
Mia Reads, September 30
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 30
janicesbookreviews, October 1
My Devotional Thoughts, October 1
Maureen’s Musings, October 1
CarpeDiem, October 1
For Him and My Family, October 2
Stories By Gina, October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Reader’s Brain, October 3
EmpowerMoms, October 3
Wishful Endings, October 3
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 3
Carla Loves To Read, October 4
Pause for Tales, October 4
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 4
Inklings and notions , October 5
Quiet Quilter, October 5
Vicky Sluiter, October 5
Hallie Reads, October 5
Blossoms and Blessings, October 6
For The Love of Books , October 6
For the Love of Literature, October 6
Bigreadersite, October 7
By The Book, October 7
She Lives to Read, October 7
Moments, October 8
Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 8
Girls in White Dresses, October 8
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 9
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ec6a/stitches-in-time-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Cover Reveal: Thirst by Jill Williamson

About the Book


The end of the world is only the beginning. A waterborne disease has contaminated the world’s fresh water, decimating the human race. Seventeen-year-old Eli McShane and his friends flee the chaos and violence in Phoenix and journey north toward the rumored location of a safe water source. They add several to their number, including the mysterious Hannah, who is being hunted by a dangerous man. Desperation brings out the worst in many of the travelers, infecting even those closest to Eli. When division comes, will he be able to hold his group together or will each fall victim to their own thirst for survival?

Join some old friends from Glenrock and Jack's Peak in this thrilling first book of the Thirst Duology. Best-selling author Jill Williamson has brought back the breathtaking suspense of the The Safe Lands series in this chilling prequel that will leave readers panting for the next installment.

Here is the link to preorder this book:  http://jillwilliamson.com/thirst

My Thoughts

Having read and enjoyed The Safe Lands trilogy, I'm excited to read this prequel series!  If Jill Williamson is a new author to you, this is a great time to pick up her book and experience her amazing stories.

About the Author

Jill Williamson writes fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. She grew up in Alaska, staying up and reading by the summer daylight that wouldn't go away. This led to a love of books and writing, and her debut novel, By Darkness Hid, won several awards and was named a Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror novel of 2009 by VOYA magazine. She loves giving writing workshops and blogs for teen writers at www.GoTeenWriters.com, which has been named as one of Writer's Digest's "101 Best Websites for Writers." She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.  Visit her at www.JillWilliamson.com

#thirstduology #jillwilliamson #coverreveal #coverlove #yabookstagram #ireadya #createexploreread



Saturday, September 21, 2019

Book reviews: Always and Evermore by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

A strong, handsome knight and a beautiful lady-in-waiting, thrown together to flee and protect the infant princesses?  Yes!  The prequel to Jody Hedlund's latest YA series, The Lost Princesses, is an exciting book!  I loved the story and was disappointed when it ended, but it gave the necessary back story for the series.  In spite of its length, this novella gives its readers well-developed characters in a medieval world, and lots of action!  It's a clean read, appropriate for its audience, and I recommend it for readers of medieval romance and Young Adult literature.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Book

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

This book is available here.

My Review

Book One of The Lost Princesses series, Evermore, is another great YA novel by Jody Hedlund.  Adelaide has grown up in a noble family, and her education has included combat skills as well as book learning, all to make her strong and well-rounded.  It was easy to like her, because she had a keen sense of justice and kindness.

Like the prequel, this book was action packed, with knights and fighting, a quest and pursuit, betrayal and loyalty.  Yet it was also pensive in that the characters had to find whom they were in new roles and in relationships redefined.

Young Adult readers will enjoy this book, told from both Adelaide's and Christopher's perspectives.  Anyone who appreciates a clean medieval romance will want to pick this up.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

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

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

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


Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: Of Fire and Lions

About the Book


The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she'd perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. Now, as Daniel's wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she's safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear--until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili's tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

My Review

What a great book! This was the first book I've read by Mesu Andrews, and I am impressed. I was totally engrossed in the book the whole was through.

This book is why I love Biblical fiction. Even though I am familiar with the Biblical account, it is so amazing to walk through the story with the characters. To experience the horror of bloodshed and captivity, the hopelessness of servitude, and still live their lives to the fullest spoke highly of Daniel and Belilli. To watch with them God's miraculous care for His followers was faith-building for this reader. God was faithful throughout, and worthy of their devotion.

The story was epic as it followed the group of friends friends from 12-year-old captives being led out of Jerusalem, to the lives they established in Babylon. I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of Biblical fiction and historical fiction.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author


MESU ANDREWS is the Christy Award-winning author of Isaiah's Daughter and numerous other novels, including The Pharaoh's Daughter, Miriam, and Love Amid the Ashes. Her deep understanding of and love for God's Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy, and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

Book Review: Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

About the Book

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again--this time for love...and to someone safe.

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can't help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of "what if" at bay?

My Review

This book takes place in 1890s Boston among the wealthy upper-class, and I thought that the writing style and dialog embodied the setting well.  It embraced the formality of that time and place.  I found that this novella read a little slowly because of that.  I also realized that author Dawn Crandall is highly skilled in describing the attraction between a man and a woman.  The tension between the two main characters was palpable, yet the novella always stayed clean and appropriate.

The main characters, Nicholette and Cal, were quite likable.  I especially enjoyed being in Nicholette's head (as it was written in first person) as she discovered areas of her life in which she needed to grow.

Enchanting Nicholette is a continuation of the Everstone Chronicles.  Although it mentions characters and events from the previous books, it stands alone.  Fans of historical romance will enjoy this novella.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Dawn Crandall's debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, "The Hesitant Heiress," was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader's Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader's Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, "The Bound Heart," received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She's been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the first four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book Review with a Giveaway: Waiting For God by Xochitl Dixon

About the Book

Book: Waiting for God
Author: Xochitl Dixon
Genre: Non-Fiction, Devotional
Release Date: August 7, 2019


Inhale God’s Word. Exhale in prayer. Rest in God’s love.

If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer.

Conquer your fears and frustrations as you inhale God’s Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God’s love. Live a life of deeper connection and immediate communion with God that can lead to contentment in His constant presence, no matter what your days hold or how long God’s deliberate delays may last.

Xochitl Dixon writes each chapter with heart-touching transparency and vulnerability, as she shares her own story as well as the stories of others who are trusting God through waiting seasons with no apparent end in sight. As a woman who lives with chronic pain, Xochitl understands constant struggle yet chooses to put God on the throne of her life.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I have been reading devotions written by Xochitl Dixon in Our Daily Bread for quite a while, so when the opportunity came to read this devotional book written by her, I was excited.  Reading through Waiting For God has been a wonderful way to get to know this woman of God and be encouraged through her writing.

The devotions in this book are not to be worked through quickly.  Each one gives a portion of Scripture to be read, then a thoughtful discussion of that Scripture before prayers and application questions.

I really appreciated the theme of this devotional book.  Life is hard, but God is there.  All of us are suffering in one form or another, and Dixon's devotions tackle this truth head on.  They are not light, easy reads, but rather meaty pieces of truth for us to savor and ingest.

This book is appropriate for Christian men and women, and I recommend it.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Discovery House, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Xochitl (So-Cheel) E. Dixon has a heart for loving God and people. She’s passionate about intercessory prayer, nurturing spiritual growth, and the prayerful study and application of Scripture. Through her daily struggles with chronic pain, due to an upper back injury she endured in 1992, she writes with transparency, ministers to the hurting, and inspires hope through worshiping God in all circumstances.

She serves as a regular contributor to Our Daily Bread (www.odb.org), a ministry devoted to making “the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.” Her devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Discovery House Publishers) is available for pre-order and releases August 7, 2019. She is a contributing author for the upcoming Our Daily Bread devotionals: What Really Matters (August 7, 2019), And He Walks with Me (October 2, 2019), and Moments of Peace for Moms (October 2, 2019).

Her devotions have also been included in All God’s Creatures (Guideposts, 2019), God Hears Her (Discovery House, 2017), Our Help (Discovery House, 2017), and This Far by Faith: Legacies of the Black Church (Discovery House, 2017). Her nonfiction has been published in My Amazing Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2018), Second-Chance Dogs (Revell, 2018), LIVE Magazine (2019), and Church Health Reader (2019).

She followed God from California to Wisconsin and is enjoying Midwest adventures with her best friend and husband of over 25 years, Dr. W. Alan Dixon, Sr. She loves their sons, A.J. and Xavier, spoils her service dog, Callie, and likes serving as a speaker, traveling, photography, reading, singing, sketching, studying Scripture, and nurturing authentic relationships.

Xochitl connects with readers and shares encouragement devotions, prayer, and Scripture-based memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog at www.xedixon.com. You can also follow her Author Page on Amazon’s Author Central.

More from Xochitl

“Never pray for patience.”

My friend’s warning pricked at the back of my mind. Without realizing it, I began lacing my prayers with fear, doubt, and caution. I couldn’t risk being thrust into situations that would force me to develop patience, so I did everything in my power to avoid asking the Lord to help me be patient.

But even when I didn’t ask Him to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in me, I always seemed to end up in circumstances that stretched my faith as much as my patience.

When my agent challenged me to write the book I had to write, I pitched Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

I thought I’d be sharing tips about how to persevere through trials and endure suffering with grace. But after I signed the contract and received a deadline for my manuscript, my husband received an unexpected job offer.

We followed the Lord from California to Wisconsin.

Writing became a challenge as I suffered a setback in my healing journey. I endured high levels of pain and fatigue. My husband and I struggled with frustration as we adjusted to life in the Midwest during one of the coldest winters in history.

And God changed my perspective on waiting for Him, which has nothing to do with patience.

I’ll be sharing my answers to the end-of-chapter questions on my blog (www.xedixon.com). I’m excited to invite you to join the adventure.

I look forward to growing with you as we wait for God, inhaling His Word, exhaling in prayer, and resting in His love as we trust daily in His plan and pace.

Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 2
April Hayman, Author, September 3
Genesis 5020, September 4
A Diva’s Heart, September 4
Through the Lens of Scripture, September 5
AndreaChristenson, September 6
Kelly Harrel, September 7
Mary Hake, September 7
For the Love of Literature, September 8
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 9
Just the Write Escape, September 10
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11
Texas Book-aholic, September 12
A Reader’s Brain, September 13
janicesbookreviews, September 13
Inklings and notions, September 14
Cultivating Us, September 15
God is Love, September 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Xochitl is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Waiting for God, and a copy of God Hears Her (Our Daily Bread 365-Day Devotional)!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/eaef/waiting-for-god-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Book review: Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble



About the Book


Book: Strands of Truth
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Suspense
Release Date: September 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

Author Colleen Coble really is a master of suspense.  There were so many twists and turns in this book and so many pieces to the puzzle that didn't go together until the very end.  This was a page-turner that I thoroughly enjoyed.

While I was reading this book, it was like being in a different world, in lakeside Florida.  There was much to learn about ocean micro-biology and life near and in the ocean.  Readers will also be exposed to discussions about the current topics of DNA testing and embryo adoption.

Harper and Ridge were great examples of living with integrity, but most importantly, of being willing to forgive past mistakes and move forward with relationships through reconciliation.  While the author spent plenty of time helping the reader to know Harper and Ridge, the supporting characters were well-written and believable as well.  

I highly recommend this book to readers of suspense, both male and female, and to those who love ocean life.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

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





Read a Premium Excerpt

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, September 3
Inspired by fiction, September 3
EmpowerMoms, September 3
Blogging With Carol, September 3
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 4
My Devotional Thoughts, September 4
Christian bookaholic, September 4
KarenSueHadley , September 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 5
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5
Susan Cornwell, September 5
Inside the Wong Mind, September 5
Godly Book Reviews, September 5
Through the Fire Blogs, September 6
Emily Yager, September 6
Older & Smarter?, September 6
Blessed & Bookish, September 6
Andrea Christenson, September 6
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7
Avid Reader Nurse, September 7
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 7
The Becca Files, September 8
Blossoms and Blessings, September 8
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 8
Mary Hake, September 8
Spoken from the Heart, September 9
Betti Mace, September 9
Back Porch Reads, September 9
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 9
Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , September 9
Moments, September 10
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 10
For Him and my Family, September 10
Bloggin’ ’bout Books, September 10
Texas Book-aholic, September 11
Retrospective Spines, September 11
Daysong Reflections, September 11
Christian Bookshelf Reviews , September 11
SusanLovesBooks, September 11
Remembrancy, September 12
Worthy2Read, September 12
Just the Write Escape, September 12
Southern Gal Loves to Read, September 12
Bigreadersite , September 13
janicesbookreviews, September 13
As He Leads is Joy, September 13
Livin’ Lit, September 13
To Everything A Season, September 13
Simple Harvest Reads, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
For The Love of Books , September 14
Living Life Free In Christ, September 14
A Reader’s Brain, September 15
Quiet Quilter , September 15
Hallie Reads, September 15
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15
Inklings and notions , September 16
By The Book, September 16
Real World Bible Study, September 16
Patiently Waiting, September 16


Monday, September 2, 2019

Book Review: No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

About the Book

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans--but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God".

My Review

Author Carrie Turansky has penned a hope-filled novel, in spite of the difficulties the characters faced.

There were many scenes in which the heartbreak, or suffering, or anger was so real.  The romance was sweet, and the characters were likable.  Not everything was neatly tied up at the end of the story, so I'm looking forward to the sequel.

I especially enjoyed getting to know fourteen-year-old Katie.  Until recent events, she had had a happy childhood, but circumstances brought her into some undesirable placements.  She remained hard-working, loyal to her family, and committed to the truth.  Her older sister Laura was equally hard-working and dedicated to her family.

Readers of historical fiction will be sure to enjoy the story of the McAlister family in their quest to reunite.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Multnomah, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Book

Bestselling Inspirational Author Carrie Turansky writes historical and contemporary novels set in England and the US. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the International Digital Award. Readers say her stories are: "Heartwarming and inspiring! I couldn't put it down!" . . . "Touching love story. It captured me from the first page! Rich characters, beautifully written" . . . "My new favorite author!" Visit her website and sign up for her email newsletter at Carrie Turansky.com. Follow Carrie on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Book reviews with a giveaway: Middle grade books by Melody Carlson

About the Book


Book: Zoey: Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls
Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019


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

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

Click here to grab your copy.

My Reviews

Meet the Misfits
The first book of the Being Zoey series, Meet the Misfits, was easy to enjoy.  For being a middle-grade novel, it was a pleasant read for this adult.  Why?  Because the first-person narrative worked.  It was especially important to get inside Zoey's head.  Secondly, Zoey was a believable character.  She was a pretty upbeat, down-to-earth girl, who appreciated beauty and authenticity, and was willing to try new things.  She reacted to good and bad events in a way that is expected of someone her age.  The final thing that I especially appreciated was that even in the midst of plenty of conflict, the story did not get too angsty.  The reactions of characters were always age-appropriate.

Author Melody Carlson gets her audience, and I highly recommend this book for tween readers.

Odd Girl Out
In this continuation of the Being Zoey series, Melody Carlson continues to write a story with its pulse on today's middle-school culture.  Events from the previous book were filled in, so it can be read as a stand-alone, but I enjoyed being able to read about Zoey's continued adjustments to her new town.

What I especially liked about Zoey in this novel was that she had a solid sense about herself:  "I'm good at sports."  "I'm not a techie!"  "I don't want to be a cheerleader."  That made it clear to the reader that something was wrong when her actions deviated from her true self.

There is a theme of bullying and cyber bullying in this book-how easily it can happen, and how damaging it is to a person.  This was done naturally over the course of the story.

I recommend this book to middle grade readers, especially girls.

I received e-ARCs of these books from the publisher, WhiteSpark Publishing, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.
About the Author

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





More from Melody

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

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29
Blogging With Carol, August 29
Andrea Christenson, August 30
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30
Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 31
Christian Bookaholic , August 31
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 1
Remembrancy, September 1
Older & Smarter?, September 2
Artistic Nobody, September 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3
Back Porch Reads , September 3
Through the Fire Blogs, September 4
Just the Write Escape, September 5
amandainpa , September 5
A Reader’s Brain, September 6
Patiently Waiting, September 6
Godly Book Reviews, September 7
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7
Texas Book-aholic, September 8
For the Love of Books , September 8
Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 9
Vicky Sluiter, September 9
Hallie Reads, September 10
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10
janicesbookreviews, September 11
Inklings and notions , September 11

Giveaway

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

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e809/meet-the-misfits-odd-girl-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, August 16, 2019

Book review with a giveaway: The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken


About the Book


Book: The Yellow Lantern
Author: Angie Dicken
Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense
Release Date: August, 2019

Josephine Is Forced to Spy for Grave Robbers

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime


In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill, though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

This author really knows how to get a reader's attention!  Without sharing any spoilers, I will say that the opening scene was really, really weird!  And totally not the kind of thing that I am used to reading.  Once the book got going, it normalled out for me, and became very readable.  But, being that it was about crime, there were plenty of other scenes that creeped me out and were quite exciting, in an icky sort of way.   All this to say that the author did a good job of giving me a story that I could read, but certainly made a point about the heinousness of the crime.

The darkness of the criminal activity was pervasive throughout the novel, but Josie and Braham's characters were points of light.  Josie used her knowledge of herbal remedies to heal the sick, and Braham was a wonderful factory manager who cared for the well-being of his workers more than profits.  The other characters were well-written, and sometimes it was difficult to know who was good and who was bad, until the end.

Many readers will consider the crime scenes trivial, compared to other books they have read.  Other readers (like me) may be a little more squeamish.  This book is an interesting read, and I recommend it, especially for those who like historical romance with some criminal activity thrown in.

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher, Barbour, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15
Seasons of Opportunities, August 15
All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15
Bigreadersite, August 16
Emily Yager, August 16
Inspired by fiction, August 16
The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 17
Daysong Reflections, August 17
Retrospective Spines, August 18
Spoken from the Heart, August 18
Kathleen Denly, August 19
Through the Fire Blogs, August 19
Christian Bookaholic, August 19
Maureen’s Musings, August 20
For the Love of Literature, August 20
Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Godly Book Reviews, August 21
A Reader’s Brain, August 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22
Betti Mace, August 22
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22
Hallie Reads, August 23
Mary Hake, August 23
Inklings and notions, August 23
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24
For Him and My Family, August 24
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24
Connie’s History Classroom, August 25
Pause for Tales, August 25
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26
amandainpa, August 26
Blossoms and Blessings, August 27
Texas Book-aholic, August 27
janicesbookreviews, August 27
Back Porch Reads, August 28
Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the series!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71c/the-yellow-lantern-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book review: Core 52 by Mark E. Moore

About the Book

Build your Bible IQ and Christian worldview in just fifteen minutes a day! Over the course of a year, Core 52 will help you master the 52 most important passages in the Bible.

“You will gain the tools you need for living the life God has called you to.”—Kyle Idleman, pastor and author of Not a Fan


“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”—1 Timothy 4:8

Most of us want to know the Bible better, but few reach our goal, often because we’re too busy or we don’t know where to start. Core 52 removes both barriers, offering a common-sense solution that fits into our busy lives. Respected Bible professor and teaching pastor Mark E. Moore developed this proven process from thirty-five years of helping people grow deeper in God’s Word.

Each week features a brief essay, memory verse, Bible story, trajectory verses, and practical ways to put what you’ve learned into practice. An optional “Overachiever Challenge” offers the chance to memorize the top 100 Bible verses by year’s end.

This simple approach allows you to become familiar with the big ideas of the Bible in less time and with less effort than other reading plans. In one year, you can master the core of the Bible—focusing on topics from God’s will to worry, happiness to holiness, and leadership to love. These fifty-two core passages are lenses through which you can read the rest of the Bible with clarity and confidence.

My Review

I appreciated the concept behind the book-that there are fifty-two core verses in the Bible that form a foundation for what the entire Bible teaches.  That could be overwhelming-to tackle that in one year, but I found this book to be very user-friendly.  It's set up to explore each topic for five days, but in easily "digestible" bits and pieces.

It works for me.  The essays are interesting to read, and the Scripture reading is appropriate.  One of the assignments each week is to memorize the key verse, and I have embraced that challenge as I work through the book.  For those who struggle with memorizing Scripture, following this plan and reviewing often makes it doable.

Full disclosure:  I have not read through the whole book yet, but from what I have worked through, I recommend it.  I've found the content to be theologically sound and applicable.  This book is good for individual use, and would be a great tool to use in a small group, Sunday School class, discipleship, or for an entire church.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, WaterBrook, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

Here's a Video


More Cool Stuff to Go With It




About the Author

Mark E. Moore is an acclaimed author and teaching pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. He previously spent two decades as a New Testament professor at Ozark Christian College. Whether by helping people make sense of Christianity or teaching students to understand the Bible, Mark’s life passion is to make Jesus famous. Mark and his wife, Barbara, reside in Phoenix, Arizona.