Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Review With a Giveaway: Broken Promises by Melody Carlson

About the Book


Book: Broken Promises
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Middle Grade
Release Date: December 15, 2019

A school play sounds like fun…for some.

As she settles into life in the middle school of her new hometown, Zoey agrees to audition for the school play to encourage Louisa. Isn’t that what a BFF does? But she’s none too sure it’ll actually be fun—especially when she’s cast as a dog! Louisa really does need her support though when some of the older girls get upset at a sixth grader landing the lead role. Zoey does her best to be supportive and finally begins to feel really at home with her grandparents and at school.

Until someone pulls the plug on all her dreams.

Click here for your copy.

My Review

I loved this continuation of the Being Zoey series!  It definitely stands alone, but knowing what Zoey has been through makes this one all the better.  

The things that Zoey has been through have shaped her into a girl who knows who she is, and that's what I love about her.  She is a loyal friend, an industrious student, and a girl who is looking forward to a bright future.  And when she does not agree with the decisions made for her by some adults in her life, she is still respectful and obedient, even though it hurts.  It's wonderful that she has gotten to the point where she will pray about difficulties and trust God for the outcome.  There was also a theme throughout the book that highlighted how hurtful it is when people don't keep their promises.

Author Melody Carlson really knows how to write for this age level.  The plot, characters, and dialog are spot on for today's middle grade readers.  I highly recommend this book and the others in this series for middle grade girls.

I received an ARC of this book from Celebrate Lit 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

For many tweens, middle school is a jungle of insecurities, mean girls, and disappointments. As usual I gave Zoey plenty to deal with. Including a BFF with high expectations and an absentee mom who still hasn’t grown up. Even though some people let her down, Zoey keeps plugging along, even playing Sandy the dog in the school play. And through her struggles she changes and matures — kind of like real life.

Blog Stops

Library Lady's Kid Lit, January 18
janicesbookreviews, January 19
Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, January 20
For Him and My Family, January 21
deb's Book Review, January 22
Texas Book-aholic, January 23
Locks, Hooks and Books, January 24
Older & Smarter?, January 25
Mary Hake, January 25
Christian Bookaholic, January 26
Inklings and notions, January 27
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28
Blogging With Carol, January 29
Remembrancy, January 29
Vicky Sluiter, January 30
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Broken Promises and the classic Annie movie (DVD or digital download, winner’s choice)!!

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/f4a1/broken-promises-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Book Review with a Giveaway: The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

About the Book


Book: The Gray Chamber
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Genre: Christian Historical / Suspense
Release Date: January, 2020

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?


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

On Blackwell’s Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late parents’ fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. And Edyth fears she will never be found.

At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

The next installment in the True Colors series, The Gray Chamber,tells a beautiful, yet disturbing story.  Author Grace Hitchcock set up the story well, and presented a main character that was easy to like and have compassion for.

Edyth Foster has chosen a past time that doesn't  fit in with society's expectations for a young woman of her class-fencing.  That has made her physically and mentally strong.  She is well-educated, brave, and well-spoken, but she continues to be haunted by the tragic deaths of her parents.  Edyth does have her idiosyncrasies, but she is a thoughtful person.

Edyth's best friend Bane, is the owner of a fencing club.  He is honest and hardworking.  I enjoyed Edyth and Bane's story.  It was well-developed before Edyth's troubles began.

This book was well-written throughout.  The descriptions of vile treatment and dialog of depraved people was authentic, but not overly graphic.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy historical romance and historical fiction.  Anyone who has been following this series will not want to miss The Gray Chamber.

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

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.



More from Grace

I am thrilled to share with you my second novel in the True Colors series, The Gray Chamber, which is set in New York City in 1887. I loved writing about Edyth Foster, our cat-rescuing, spunky heroine who spends her days painting, fencing with her dreamy instructor, and avoiding society at all costs, which as you can imagine, comes back to haunt her before the end. I’ve never written about a character who despised reading, so that was a new one for me. Edyth just doesn’t like to sit still long enough to finish a book, but you’ll find out why later.

I am pretty certain the librarians at my local branch are wondering what in the world my hobbies are, judging from the stacks of fencing books for beginners, histories of New York crime in the 19th century, and Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House, and more that I have continuously checked out since moving back to Louisiana.

The inspiration for this book came from Nellie Bly’s scandalous exposé for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, The World. In reading Nellie’s articles, I was shocked at the grounds by which the asylum would commit women and that’s when I discovered a tiny mention about an heiress with family members who had her tucked away so they could have her fortune. . .and Edyth Foster was born.

I hope you will enjoy reading about our eccentric leading lady and her fencing master hero, Raoul “Bane” Banebridge. If you are interested in seeing pictures of the asylum and to see what I pictured the characters looking like, check out my Pinterest board here.

Thank you for joining the fun for the Celebrate Lit tour! Join my author newsletter for more bookish news and to find out what is coming next! Just enter your e-mail address and name here. Happy Reading!

“With beautiful description and shiver-worthy scenes, Grace Hitchcock has penned an incredible fiction story based on true history. The Gray Chamber was a fascinating and chilling read. Edyth’s story had me glued to the pages. But as I journeyed with the heiress and her eccentricities, the greed of her family which saw her locked up in an asylum against her will made me grateful for the freedoms I have today. And made me pray that my voice would never be silenced. The nightmare was brought to life so vividly that I found myself holding my breath and then cheering on Bane as he never gave up on Edyth. This is a story that will stick with me for a long time…”     ~Kimberley Woodhouse – Carol-Award winning and Best-Selling Author of more than twenty books, including: MissTaken Identity, The Express Bride, The Golden Bride, The Patriot Bride, and The Mayflower Bride.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s Brain, January 20
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 20
Texas Book-aholic, January 20
Emily Yager, January 21
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 21
Older & Smarter?, January 21
Bigreadersite, January 22
Inklings and notions, January 22
For Him and My Family, January 22
Genesis 5020, January 23
deb’s Book Review, January 23
Blogging with Carol, January 23
Christian Bookaholic, January 24
KarenSueHadley , January 24
Mary Hake, January 24
For the Love of Literature, January 25
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 25
Godly Book Reviews, January 26
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 26
The Becca Files, January 26
Through the Fire Blogs, January 27
Daysong Reflections, January 27
Back Porch Reads, January 28
Robin’s Nest, January 28
Connie’s History Classroom, January 28
Betti Mace, January 29
Rebecca Tews, January 29
Vicky Sluiter, January 29
By The Book, January 30
Hallie Reads, January 30
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 30
Blossoms and Blessings, January 31
A Baker’s Perspective, January 31
Remembrancy, February 1
To Everything There Is A Season, February 1
With a Joyful Noise, February 1
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 2
Pause for Tales , February 2

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of The Gray Chamber!!

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/f4a2/the-gray-chamber-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Review With a Giveaway: Babel by Brennan S. McPherson



About the Book

Book: Babel
Author: Brennan S. McPherson
Genre: Biblical fiction
Release Date: July 29, 2019


A sweeping, epic retelling of the story of the Tower of Babel. . .

More than a century after the worldwide flood, Noah, now the forefather of the living world, works peacefully in his vineyard until tragedy tears apart his relationship with his son, Ham.


Years later, dark prophetic dreams inextricably link him with a young man carrying scars from a painful past, and a young woman who longs for acceptance yet harbor secrets darker than either of them imagine.

Will Noah face the role he played in the slow unraveling of his family? Or will everything collapse when they meet the evil attempting to swallow the world at. . . the Tower of Babel?

Read today to experience biblical fiction that helps you think biblically and feel deeply.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Babel, the third Fall of Man series novel by Brennan McPherson, is definitely worth the read.  It was compelling, with Biblical truths woven into the story.  As I read the first couple of chapters, I wasn't sure I would like it.  But as the characters and story got more complex, I enjoyed it more and more.

An overarching theme of the book was time.  As a man hundreds of years old, it still took Noah much time to recognize the error of his ways.  And after God had proven Himself to the characters of Aran and Zillah, it took them a long time to trust Him and give their lives to Him.  Once those characters got right with God, their time on earth was much more joyful and meaningful.  On the other hand, it didn't take much time after Noah and his family left the ark to begin again in a clean world, for evil to once again become rampant.

I enjoy Biblical fiction, and this book was set in a time that I haven't read much on, so that made it enjoyable.  There are author's notes at the end, in case a reader wonders where the author was coming from on certain topics.

This book was well-paced, with plenty of suspense and action.  I recommend it for men and women who enjoy Biblical or historical fiction.

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

About the Author


BRENNAN S. MCPHERSON writes epic, imaginative biblical fiction with heart-pounding plots and lyrical prose, for readers who like to think biblically and feel deeply. He lives with his wife and young daughter in the Midwest, and spends as much of his spare time with them as possible. Find out more about him at brennanmcpherson.com.



More from Brennan

10 Facts You Might Not Know About the Story of the Tower of Babel

When I first heard the story of the Tower of Babel as a kid, it was hard for me to take it seriously. A guy named Nimrod builds a tower that he thinks is going to reach to the heavens (what a nimrod) and God punishes him? That’s pretty humorous sounding.

But is that really the whole story?

Upon closer look, we see that’s not quite what happened! And neither is the story any laughing matter. So, let’s dive through 10 facts you might not know about the story of the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis:

1.  The entire account of the Tower of Babel is in Genesis 11:1-9, but additional details and references are found from Genesis 9 through Genesis 11:26. There’s WAY too much here for just one point, so suffice it to say that to get a true understanding of the events in Genesis 11:1-9, you have to dig deep and cross-reference the surrounding Scripture text heavily. Because Genesis is written as what seems to be a poetic historical account, the events of the flood in Genesis 6-9 directly impact the events of the Tower of Babel. As do the troubles between Noah and his children, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. In addition, the text of Genesis 9 through Genesis 11 is not perfectly chronological. Noah’s death is talked about in Genesis 9, and yet Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. This is part of the reason why we have to read carefully, and cross-reference often, to make sense of the nuanced details in the story.

2.  The story of the Tower of Babel wouldn’t have happened without Noah getting drunk in Genesis 9. In Genesis 9:18-29, we are given a general overview of the breakdown of Noah’s family, and the end of Noah’s life. Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk, then gets naked (a little strange), and his son Ham sees him naked and ridicules him to the family. Noah wakes up, hears what happened, and curses Ham’s lineage instead of directly cursing Ham, because as a prophet of God, Noah doesn’t presume to curse whom God has blessed (Genesis 9:1). This curse splits the family, and Noah’s failure to be a spiritual leader in his family is part of what allows the events of the tower of Babel to happen, because the Tower was most likely a religious structure made to aid in the worship of the celestial bodies (i.e. sun, stars, moon). If Noah had not allowed a schism in his family, he would have been more capable of speaking against occurrences of idolatry. Seeing this connection, along with the next point, was what gave rise to the plot for my full-length novelization of the story, BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Man.

3.  Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel. In Genesis 9:28-29, we’re told that Noah lived 350 years after the flood, and died when he was 950 years old. If we flip ahead to Genesis 11:10, we find several VERY interesting clues that help us piece together a reasonably accurate timeline. Shem’s son Arpachshad (I don’t know how to pronounce that either) was born two years after the flood. If we assume that every descendant afterward is a father-son relationship (meaning that there’s no skipping generations—which we see in other genealogies in Scripture), we end up finding out that a man named Peleg was born 101 years after the flood. We’re also told Peleg lived 239 years, so he died 340 years after the flood (ten years before Noah died). We’re also told in the mirrored genealogy in Genesis 10 that the earth was “divided” in Peleg’s lifetime. We know that this doesn’t refer to a continental divide, or the flood, because the flood happened 101 years before Peleg was born, and a continental divide would have caused worldwide flooding again (which God promised to never do). The only other divide we’re told about in Scripture is the divide in languages and countries from the events at the Tower of Babel. Thus, we can pretty safely conclude that Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel.

4.  Abram could have been alive during the events of the tower of Babel, and was definitely alive during Noah’s lifetime. Following the timeline given in Genesis 11 (along with the assumption we already talked about in point 3 above), we see that Abram was born 292 years after the flood. This is 58 years before Noah died, and 48 years before Peleg died. It’s therefore reasonable to assume that Abram could have both known about (or been present at) the Tower of Babel event, and that he could have been directly discipled by Noah himself, learning about the beginning of the universe and the world’s greatest cataclysm from someone who had experienced the violent baptism of the world first-hand. In addition, Noah’s father, Lamech, could have known Seth (Adam’s son), and gotten a second-hand account of the garden of Eden. Not hard to see how an accurate oral tradition about the beginnings of the universe could have been passed down to Abram’s lineage and written in some form in his day (because they definitely had Semitic cuneiform writing back during the Tower of Babel days).

5.  The Tower of Babel story could have happened anywhere from 101 years after the flood, to 340 years after the flood. This is interesting for several reasons. The closer the events were to the timing of the flood, the more we question what in the world Noah was doing during the events of the Tower of Babel. Why wasn’t the prophet of God stopping the world from gathering in rebellion against God with blatant idolatry? This was the provocative “What-if” question that gave rise to my novel, BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Man, which is (you guessed it) largely about Noah’s involvement (and failure) in the events at the Tower of Babel. But in addition to that, we can also see that the population size could have varied widely, from a thousand or so people, to tens of thousands of people.

6.  Just like the hundreds of flood myths in myriad cultures around the world, there are countless myths about the confusion of the world’s languages. Many of these language myths arose through oral tradition in areas that were untouched by the biblical text, which strongly indicates that there was a real event that spawned the disparate accounts. Some of the accounts include an Australian myth that attributes the language split to cannibalism, an African tale where madness struck people during a famine and they all spoke different languages and scattered, and a Polynesian tale that talks of a God who, in his fury, scattered the builders of a tower, broke its foundation, and made the builders speak in many different languages. Pretty crazy, right?

7.  It’s possible that Nimrod didn’t build Babel OR the Tower, though he was likely involved in the process. We’re told in Genesis 10:9 that Nimrod was primarily a hunter (a man of violence), and that the “beginning of his kingdom” was Babel, among other cities, before he went and built Nineveh, among others. If he built Babel, it likely would’ve said so there (though this is, of course, still up for debate). In addition, the actual account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 cites that the people communally said to one another, “let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens.” There was no one person who was commanding the building, but rather a group deciding in unison. Again, Nimrod could have been involved in this process. Or, he could have come to power afterward.

8.  The trinity was involved at the events of the Tower of Babel. Traditional interpretation of Genesis 11, and God’s words saying, “Let us go down and see the tower” that mankind had built, is that Jesus, God (Yahweh), and the Holy Spirit were present and involved in the event. This makes sense with our New Testament understanding of the trinity for several reasons. First, Jesus is the Word, and his relation to God’s spoken revelation is inseparable throughout Scripture. Second, the world was created through Jesus (John 1:3), so he and the Holy Spirit are shown as involved in everything God has done from the beginning (“Spirit hovered over the face of the waters”). We also know the Holy Spirit’s involvement in human speech is profound from the account at Pentecost in the Book of Acts, which seems to be a sort of divine symbolic reversal of the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel. Furthermore, if God was speaking in the plural to beings unified with him and who needed to be involved at the Tower, he could only have been speaking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If God took a physical form in some way, traditional interpretation says that it would likely have been as a humanoid prefigurement of the Christ. Now we’re getting kind of “out there,” but this is important because we can see Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in this ancient, Old Testament story, along with links to their work in the New Testament church and the covenant we have with God under Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Because Noah was a type of Adam. The world began anew with Noah through the baptism of the world. And we know that Christ is the last Adam, the undoing of Adam’s mistakes, and that his baptism is by the Spirit, not by water, which pointed ahead to the baptism we experience through Christ’s blood. Baptism came to represent the death of the old world because of the literal destruction of the old world through water at the almighty hand of God. In this way, we see powerful symbolic connections and importance layered into the Tower of Babel story, and the lives of those involved.

9.  The tower of Babel was likely finished when the languages were confused. In Genesis 11:5, it says God went down to see the city and the tower which the children of man “had built.” In addition, In Genesis 11:8, it claims God spread them out from there over the face of the earth, and that the people left off building the city (but not the tower, which implies the tower was already finished).

10.  For the last time, the Tower of Babel story is NOT about technological advancement. Baked bricks were no new technology. In fact, though modern sociologists who don’t hold the Bible to be trustworthy often say that iron-working didn’t exist until much later, the Bible claims that in the first couple generations of humanity’s existence (long before the flood), humanity was building cities, creating pipe and stringed instruments, forging bronze andiron, and cultivating livestock (Genesis 4:19-22). So, we know that brick-making and using mortar were no great technological advancements. Especially after reminding ourselves that Noah (who was still alive) built the world’s largest wooden boat, waterproofed it with pitch, and survived the greatest cataclysm to ever strike the earth. He had some advanced building skills and would not have been impressed by bricks. The point of the story of the Tower of Babel is to illustrate man’s pride (wanting to make a name for themselves separate from their identity as children of God – i.e. “children of man”), along with man’s tendency toward idolatry, and God’s unlimited power coupled with his mercy and gentleness. The confusion of languages was a brilliant, non-violent way of disrupting their prideful plans. All in all, however, this story is a fascinating view into human nature, family dynamics, mankind’s purpose and ambition, and God’s personhood. If you want a more detailed historical study on the Tower of Babel, check out Bodie Hodge’s book, Tower of Babel, which is a careful study of the historical details, and which is endorsed by Answers in Genesis.

Before working on the full-length novelization of the story of the Tower of Babel (BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Mankind), I didn’t know any of this. This is part of the reason why I love writing biblical fiction. It drives me back to the text of the Bible in a way nothing else does. I hope reading it does the same for you! Blessings, and thanks for reading. And if you want to pick up a copy of the book, you can do so now on Amazon or Audible.

Blog Stops



To celebrate his tour, Brennan is giving away a McPherson Publishing Bundle, which includes paperback copies of Flood, Eden, the Psalm Series, and The Simple Gospel!!

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/f445/babel-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Book Review with a Giveaway: Priceless by Vickie Burns


About the Book

Book: Priceless
Author: Vickie Burns
Genre: Devotional/Cookbook
Release Date: November, 2019


Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is a Bible study and cookbook combined. The author, Vickie Burns, takes the reader verse by verse through Proverbs 31, showing them how precious and loved they are. At the end of each day’s study, meal suggestions and recipes are provided to fill their homes with tantalizing aromas and great food. Even young children can help with meal preparation so they learn that dinner doesn’t just magically appear on the table.

For women who’ve read Proverbs 31 and felt inadequate, like they could not possibly live up to God’s description of the perfect woman, Priceless reveals that they have more in common with her than they ever imagined.

“Today’s busy mom rarely finds time to steal a few moments of peace and quiet to spend with the Lord each day,” Vickie says. “On top of that, she most likely does not take the time to flip through endless sections of cookbooks to plan a unique evening meal. Priceless encourages women to view their tasks as God’s call to an abundant life, empowers them by providing a daily word from Proverbs 31, and eases their minds by providing a full menu for the evening meal each day.”

Click here to get your copy. 

My Review

Like its title, this was a unique and valuable book.  It was written in a warm and welcoming style.  As I read through it, I always felt uplifted and encouraged, even when there were words of conviction there.

Sometimes women's lives as wives, mothers, workers, and family members can get overwhelming.  Author Vickie Burns gives hope and encouragement throughout the devotionals about who we are in Christ-priceless-regardless of our circumstances or stresses.  Knowing this and living in this knowledge helps us to serve our families with more loving attitudes.  Following each devotional read, there are questions to answer and Scripture verses to consult.  There are also journaling pages with prompts.

And to decrease the stress level of the women working through this book, there are meal plans with recipes.  The recipes are very doable, which for me means that the list of ingredients isn't too long, and the prep isn't too time consuming.  The recipes look great, and the one that I tried was just right for our family.  There are beautiful photographs to accompany many of the recipes.

I found this book to be creative, encouraging, and useful, and recommend it for all women.

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

About the Author

Vickie Burns is passionate about showing women how to love and live the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers. Through Bible study, public speaking, and writing inspirational cookbooks, Vickie inspires women to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength; to see and love themselves as Christ does—PRICELESS; and to love others through genuine hospitality. She lives in Texas with the love of her life, Todd Burns, and they have two daughters.







More from Vickie

This book, Priceless, is not my story but it was birthed from it. I was raised in a single-parent Christian home after my parents divorced. I watched my mom handle everything: cooking, cleaning, bills, homework, a full-time job, etc. I had no idea until I became a wife and mother all that she must have been through while raising three children on her own. I do know that she had a strong relationship with the Lord and that she had friends and family support.

Today, I look back at my childhood with renewed respect for my mom. My husband, Todd and I did our best to raise our two girls to honor the Lord while we went to school for our master’s degrees and tried to keep our household running smoothly. I had the help of a husband and was still overwhelmed while working as a teacher, trainer, coach and administrator in public education. On top of that I was still a wife, mother, friend, sister, chef, chauffeur, nurse and more. Over the years, as I have gotten to know other women, I realize that I am not alone. We all long for ways to balance work and family, cooking and cleaning, physical busyness and spiritual warfare.

As my heart broke for the busy women in my life (to whom I totally relate) I longed to try and make life a little easier for all of us. I began to study God’s Word for answers. As I studied, I learned that God created us for relationship with Himself and with others. I learned that sharing our burdens with one another is His design. I found out that love should drive every word and action as we relate to others. I discovered that the crazy life that we are trying to balance is actually our ministry to our families and communities. I also realized that hospitality isn’t just something that was dreamed up by Martha Stewart. God ordained hospitality from the beginning when He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the garden of Eden. God touches the heart of mankind with a piece of His own. There are examples of this throughout scripture. The biggest deposit of God’s heart within us is the gift of His Spirit. This gift is what makes genuine hospitality possible today. When we touch another person’s heart with a piece of our own, we are showing hospitality, sharing the love of Christ, and making connections that impact our world. This revelation was the birth of my ministry. I call it The Heart of Hospitality. Through my writing and speaking engagements, I share with women how to see the tasks and responsibilities of our daily lives as a calling from God. Beyond that, I help women understand that viewing their lives in this way is what Jesus meant when He said He came to give us “abundant life”.

My prayer for you, as you read this book is:

that you will be touched with a piece of God’s heart.
that hospitality will come to mean something new to you.
that each devotion in this book exposes your pricelessness in Christ.
that you will know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are rare, unique and have significant meaning to your Creator.

May God richly bless you and your household.

Blog Stops



To celebrate her tour, Vickie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Priceless and a $50 Amazon Card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f425/priceless-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Book review with a giveaway: Bartholomew: Squire of the Subway by Carol L. Lester


About the Book


Book: Bartholomew: Squire of the Subway
Author: Carol L. Lester
Genre: Children’s
Release Date: December 2019


Bartholomew, an intelligent iguana with brown-and-green mottled, scaly skin, loves riding the New York City subway. The underground railroad, which clatters and whooshes before it takes off, teems with people, but Bartholomew doesn’t mind. He enjoys his escape from his life in a museum exhibit and spends the morning observing other passengers.

On his ride, Bartholomew watches several Regulars and learns about their similarities, their differences, and how they interact or don’t interact with others. Bubbly Becky radiates joy, and she even sits next to Bartholomew. Fred always wears a bright scarf and sometimes hums, but he keeps to himself. Mrs. Hatmer keeps her four children organized, but some passengers are annoyed by the kids. By the end of Bartholomew’s ride, he learns about the value and uniqueness of each person.

Bartholomew, Squire of the Subway includes questions in the back to encourage young readers to explore the lessons Bartholomew learns. Carol Lester’s children’s books spark discussions with adult and school-aged readers alike. With each book, Lester seeks to influence and shape lives, young and old.

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My Review

"This is New York, after all."  Where else would you see an iguana in the subway system?

Bartholomew is a unique picture book in many ways.  First of all, the pictures were perfect.  The bright colors and straight-forward illustrations synchronized perfectly with Bartholomew's personality and the purpose of the book.  Secondly, the character.  Bartholomew is a very well-spoken iguana, fluent in English, who guides the reader on a tour of the subway loop he frequents.  He introduces the reader to the varied passengers he encounters on a regular basis.  Thirdly, I learned something new, which I really appreciate in a picture book.

The purpose of this book is to non-judgmentally look at a variety of people, and Bartholomew does that well.  He doesn't judge teenagers for the color of their hair or their loud music.  He is straight-forward about the man who is always talking to himself.  He does take joy in the positive passengers he encounters.  The great thing about this book is that it opens a child's world to the other people in it without condemnation.  Unless a child grows up in a large city, that great variety could be frightening, and this is a great way to start a conversation about how everyone has been created uniquely by God.  This book can also be used as an amazing tool to help children develop compassion for others, and to see how they can be friendly, helpful, and considerate of those they encounter in public.

Although it is a picture book, I see its usefulness with children and adults in many educational, therapeutic, or church settings.

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

About the Author

Carol L. Lester is a published author and has taught secondary English / language arts for over thirty years. She holds teaching certificates in three states with degrees in education and sport psychology. Carol lives in San Antonio, Texas, and enjoys her role writing children’s stories that educate and delight. She previously published Roo, the Kangaroo Cat.









More from Carol 

I am so very thankful for all opportunities I have experienced thus far in my life, and they have been varied! As an Air Force brat, I traveled the globe and experienced languages and cultures about which other people only dream. I have embraced those times of travel in my adult life as well. For instance, I chaperoned 54 high school students to Europe one summer, and I have served as a missionary in both Ukraine and Kenya. In years past I have taught aerobic dance classes and sign language classes, but I owned my own jewelry business for ten years, too. That involved training other jewelers and marketing and selling my line of accessories. With all those experiences, I have served people from all walks of life.

I am definitely a sports enthusiast, but college basketball is my passion, especially when it comes to the University of North Carolina Tarheels! (I am a Carolina alumnus and was actually named after the university.) I was blessed to serve as sole caregiver for my aging parents and now look forward to serving others in a new capacity as author and “coach.”

I enjoy serving as a member of the Oak Hills Church Singers, but I have been a pianist and percussionist for over 50 years. (I served as the drummer and back-up vocalist for Keith Henderson Presents Elvis in the late 1970s!) My “claim to fame,” as it were, is that I was the first female drumline captain in the Atlantic Coast Conference (1976-78).

Blog Stops


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of both of her books, ROO and Bartholomew, plus 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f45e/bartholomew-squire-of-the-subway-celebration-tour-giveaway