Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Comfort and Joy - The Christmas Lights Collection 2018 (Book Review and Giveaway)

About the Book


Book: Comfort & Joy
Author: The Christmas Lights Collection: Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Christmas

Release Date: October 16, 2018
The third-annual Christmas Lights Collection is pleased to present: Comfort & Joy–four Christmas Novellas. From contemporary romance to cozy mystery and suspense, this diverse collection celebrates the comforts and joys of Christmas.

Click here  to purchase a copy 
of this awesome book.

Story 1: Frost Heaves by Alana Terry

"A single mom. An Alaska state trooper. And more to fear than just the cold …When Jade’s daughter turns up missing, all suspicions point to the cult Jade escaped from when she was just a teen.Are members of Morning Glory retaliating against Jade’s child? Or are their intentions even more sinister than simply revenge?A fast-paced thriller set in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness from award-winning Christian suspense author Alana Terry."
Alana has written a beautiful story of love, hope, and faith, seen through the eyes of Jade, an African American, single Mumma of daughter Dezzirae. This fabulous story had me at the edge of my seat right the way through, as I encountered the treacherous actions of some of the characters. An absolute 'must read' if you enjoy romantic-suspense-thriller stories. I would give this story 5 stars! 



About the Author

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



Story 2: Deck the Shelves byToni Shiloh

"Kendall Jackson is the proud owner of Heartfalls’ bookstore, The Cozy Shelf. Her life is one straight out of the pages, except she’s missing that leading man. Although she has a crush on the handsome auto mechanic, Quinton Hendricks, Kendall wants an old-fashioned type of romance—the stuff swoon-worthy romance books are made of. But Quinton seems to need a little prodding.Something about Kendall sparks hope in Quinton Hendricks that love could be his again. Only being abandoned by his ex-wife has made him cautious to the point of non-moving. Can two people hesitant on second chances find love as they Deck the Shelves?"
Here we have two lonely hearts, too shy to show or admit to their true feelings for each other. This is a sweet contemporary romance which would be enjoyed by any age group. Toni has developed her characters well, and as you read you can visualize them to the point where you feel you've known them for years. Both characters have a story as to why they find it difficult to be more trusting of each other. But will these two precious souls find the love they are looking for? You'll have to read the story to find out. Four Stars!


About the Author

Toni Shiloh: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. You can find her at tonishiloh.wordpress.com
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.


Story 3: The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson

"Scrap quilts, bridal gowns, an old Swedish farmhouse and a hidden family heirloom. What more you could you want in a Minnesota Christmas romance?Penny Anderson has a dream – she’s going to be an exclusive bridal gown designer, and she won’t be held back by dyslexia, a rural location or the doubts of others. Brian Michaels has waited seven years for Penny to see him as man instead of just a childhood friend. Can he work up the courage to speak before the tall, dark and handsome business consultant sweeps her off her feet?Aunt Violet is interested in only two things: Genealogy and quilting. As she chronicles the family history in a series of patchwork quilts, she comes to peace with her own past."



The title of this story didn't draw me in, however, once I got started I couldn't put it down. Cathe Swanson has weaved an interesting story here. We have romance, intertwined with family heritage and genealogy, and a young woman's dream to go out on her own and establish her own business, even though she battles with the frustrating complexities of dyslexia. I really enjoyed reading this story, and now I think I need to find more books by this author. A definite 5 stars!

About the Author

Cathe Swanson: Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years, and the long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again. You can find her at catheswanson.com


Story 4: The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig

"Mitchell Bogaert hasn’t done much with his life in the four years since college, to which his negative-digits bank account and credit score will attest. So when news of an inheritance from a man he hasn’t seen in years arrives on the same day as his eviction notice, Mitchell considers the odd terms of the will to be a no-brainer.Sure, he’ll move into a building in the tourist village of New Cheltenham. Of course, he’d be happy to live there for a year as a condition of inheritance. And yes, he’ll suffer the humiliation of creating, entering, and presenting at the annual Dickens Ghost Story Competition. Free room and board for a year plus a rather substantial inheritance to boot? Who wouldn’t?But someone either doesn’t want him in New Cheltenham or doesn’t want him to receive that inheritance, because the more he works on his story, the more convinced he is that a ghost resides in the narrow building he now calls home.What’s a guy to do when the ghosts of his past converge on his Christmas present?"


Yes indeed, 'What’s a guy to do when the ghosts of his past converge on his Christmas present?' Chautona has once again, nailed it! You wanted thrilling suspense and intrigue - well, here you have it. I enjoy so many books by so many authors, but Chautona Havig is an author to be reckoned with. You think you've seen it all (or read it all) in terms of plot and structure, character arcs etc. but with Chautona's books, you often don't see what's coming next. This is a wonderful story as are the other three. 5 Stars, but only because there aren't more to give!

Each one of these books/stories would do well out there in the marketplace, and they are also perfect as they are in this fabulous collection. I haven't read any of the other Christmas Lights Collections, but I think that I just might have to now.


About the Author

Chautona Havig: Amazon bestselling author of the Aggie books and Past Forward, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave desert where she uses story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.






Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Why Do So Many Christians Love to Celebrate Christmas?
“We don’t celebrate Christmas because we were ordered to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We were never commanded to celebrate His birth.”
Something about that statement didn’t sit well with me, but I was honest enough with myself to admit that it might be because I happened to love Christmas and the idea of not celebrating it didn’t sit well with my twelve-year-old mind.
No, I didn’t go in for the Santa thing. I never had. As later my children were taught to say, Santa wasn’t “invited to our family celebration.” But still, the family, the joy, the music, the spirit of the thing moved me.
So, I did what I always did when I didn’t understand something. I asked Dad. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”
If I recall correctly, Dad took a sip of coffee and watched me for several long seconds before he said, “What is Christmas?”
Ever the teacher, Dad had to put on his Socratic robe and make me work for it. I answered. “What we call the day Jesus was supposedly born. His birthday.”
“Okay. So, we celebrate Christ’s birthday on Christmas—on Christmas.”
“Yes.”
He gave me that slight smirk that always meant something good was coming. “And what did God do when His Son was born?”
Dad stumped me there. I blinked. “I don’t know.”
“He sent out the biggest birth announcement ever known to man—a star, angels, music.” Then Dad continued his leading questions. “He…”
I got it. “Celebrated the birth.”
“Yes.” Sometimes Dad was a man of few words.
But I couldn’t be satisfied—not yet.
“So, why do we give presents to each other if it’s Jesus’ birthday? Isn’t that backward?”
“Isn’t all of Christianity backward to the fallen mind?” When I didn’t answer, he smiled again. “What does Christ say about doing things for others?”
It wasn’t word-for-word Scripture—not even close. Just as he would have prompted again, I remembered Jesus’ story of the man who was fed, clothed, and given a drink. “When you do things for others, it’s like you’re doing them for Jesus.”
Dad shrugged then. “Maybe it’s just justification for continuing a beloved tradition, but it brings me joy to give you gifts. And Christ had something to say about how fathers love to give good gifts to their children.”
That brought me back to the original question.
“What about the fact that we’re told to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus? We aren’t told to celebrate the birth. Does that make it wrong?”
This time, Dad’s jaw hardened. I saw it twitch, and prepared for a blasting. After all, I had kind of argued with him. I hadn’t meant to, but I could see how it might be taken that way.
“Chautona,” he said, “don’t ever put rules on yourself that God hasn’t. We may not be commanded to celebrate Christ’s birth, but we aren’t forbidden, either. We have God’s example to emulate, and we have this truth.” His voice gentled when he saw he’d startled me. “We would never have been able to celebrate Christ’s death if He had not been born. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.”
What does all that have to do with Christmas novellas (or “noellas” like I prefer to call them)?
Well, people ask me all the time. “Why do you write so many Christmas books? Why do these Christmas collections? Why focus so much on the birth of Jesus and the trappings of cultural Christmas when it’s inferior to the “big thing”—the Resurrection?”
Dad’s answer is mine. Because it points to it. It draws attention to it. And because Christmas is one time of year—the only time of year in which you can walk into almost any building in America and still hear praises sung to God at some point. They slip in between love songs about giving away your heart at Christmas and rocking around Christmas trees to “Jingle Bell Rock.”
And even the more “secular” versions that aren’t an outright praise to God like “Silent Night” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” sometimes throw in Jesus anyway because they can’t quite leave out, “Merry Christmas” in some place or another.
So maybe our Christmas books are inferior to what “Easter” books could be. Maybe they are. But if Christmas trees, caroling, and “ghost stories” keep Jesus at the forefront of someone’s mind in October, November, or December, then I think that’s a pretty cool thing.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for coming!


Giveaway




To celebrate their tour, the Christmas Light Collection is giving away a grand prize of a 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!
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/d62a/comfort


Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, November 29
Multifarious, November 30
Bibliophile Reviews, December 1
Britt Reads Fiction, December 1
Vicky Sluiter, December 2
Remembrancy, December 2
Among the Reads, December 3
A Reader’s Brain, December 3
KarenSueHadley, December 4
Inklings and notions, December 4
Quiet Quilter, December 5
Lots of Helpers, December 5
Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, December 8
Janices book reviews, December 9
Carpe Diem, December 10
Bigreadersite, December 10
Kat’s Corner Books, December 11
Texas Book-aholic, December 11
Aryn The Libraryan, December 12



Friday, November 30, 2018

Ruth: Redeeming the Darkness (Hope Rising Bible Series Book 1) by Andrea Thom (Book Review and Giveaway)




About the Book


Book: Ruth, Redeeming the Darkness

Author: Andrea Thom

Genre: Non-Fiction; Bible Study

Release Date: November, 2018

An in-depth, gospel-centered bible study on how Christ redeems even the worst forms of darkness lurking within and around us.

RUTH: Redeeming The Darkness uses God`s truth to touch our daily realities:
Fractured relationships
Processing feelings of bitterness, confusion, and doubt
All-in Christianity
Our response to the faithfulness and sovereignty of God

Have you ever felt like God has left you? Struggled with feelings of bitterness or doubt? Hopelessness? Ruth’s message is not presented as a five-point sermon but as a spectacular, romantic drama. Its story woos us into a relationship with its characters and storyline, yet is also true, living history. This workbook-style bible study approach tackles important life topics including fractured relationships, all-in Christianity, God`s faithful devotion, and rightly processing bitterness and doubt.

Ruth is unlike any other book of the bible because words like love story and theatrical are accurate descriptors of its text alongside being historical, and gospel-centred. She’s small enough in her four chapters to rest as a cute hardback on your coffee table, yet profound enough to explode hope and redemption into your darkest pain and everyday frustrations. It is not only magnificent because of its breath-taking storyline between a man and a woman, but because God sovereignly orchestrated and sealed it within the scriptural canon so that we can experience Him as the ultimate lover of our souls. Ultimately, Ruth conveys the love story of Christ coming to redeem His people. Christ is coming for you. The host has ripped your ticket for Ruth’s next performance and you’ll be sitting front row centre as His guest of honor. Come expectantly and settle into your seat prayerfully. The orchestra is cued, and the curtain is pulling back for Act 1…

Can God be kind and all-powerful when the world is filled with despair?


About the Author


Andrea Thom is a wife, mom to three great kids, and a therapist. Known for being both deeply reflective yet quick-witted, she`s the parent on the sidelines yelling a little too loud for the home team, but also the one who loves to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea on a rainy day…or any day. She loves. Her family and friends – the whole messy lot of them. She loves unexpected belly laughs. Putting on warm clothes straight from the dryer. The colour blue. Efficiency. Reason. Tidy cupboards. Easter. Quietly gleaning through scripture’s pages at night before exhaustion folds her into her pillow. That`s a special space – it`s just Jesus and her there – – a hallowed, secret union that is theirs alone. She wants to live with eternity in mind and be consumed with what she’ll be enjoying forever – Jesus. That’s why she loves God’s word so much. Jesus is the only trustworthy One to offer real hope and redemption for our eternal futures and everyday realities.


Andrea has presented us with a well-researched bible study. Ruth and Naomi aren’t too dissimilar from any of us. We can see our own struggles and tribulations through them. Andrea has constructed her book in a relatively easy to follow format. Personally, I found this book difficult to get through, however, it would make an excellent bible study in a group setting, which is its purpose. I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by the author via CelebrateLit. These thoughts are entirely my own.

Purchase your copy here


Guest Post from Andrea


The Bible is not a book about God, it is God actually speaking! In fact, throughout history, Scripture is the primary and most trusted way that Christ reveals Himself to the world. Ever notice how our experiences become more powerful when understanding runs alongside the experience? A sports match is more exciting to watch when we know the rules of play. The theatre is more captivating when we comprehend the dialogue. Music can impact us more deeply when the sweep of the notes collide with lyrics that we actually grasp. The power of our experience of Jesus is connected to the depth of our understanding about who He actually is!

No matter what you’re like or who you are, the same Jesus who spoke creation to life wants to speak life into your circumstances now through His Word. Pursuing biblical depth is not just reserved for the academically elite who are into that sort of thing. We consume food to survive, but we consume His Word to truly live! So grab some friends to join your Bible study journey because the pursuit of truth through His Word is essential, doable, and awesome. Come – just as you authentically are – and prepare to meet Jesus for who He actually is…

Looking for a new Bible study series with FRESH commentary and RELIABLE gospel-focus?


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“I have completed a lot of bible studies over the years, but few have grabbed my attention as quickly and held it as powerfully as ‘Ruth: Redeeming the Darkness’. Andrea guides the reader through the book of Ruth and takes them straight to the cross. This study will grow your appreciation for the Word of God, increase your competency in handling the Word of God, and bless your heart. It is my joy to recommend ‘Ruth: Redeeming the Darkness’ as a powerful tool to aid you in your study of God’s Word.” Bible study participant

“Using beautifully descriptive, poetic language, Andrea does a masterful job of plumbing the depths of both the historical context and modern-day parallels and applications. Its message is both surprising and incredibly encouraging to those of us who find ourselves much like Ruth – pursuing ordinary lives in the midst of God’s great Love Story.” Bible study participant

“As the vivid picture of Naomi reveals your own feelings of hopelessness, bitterness, and despair, you will be captivated by a love story that becomes your own.” Bible study participant.



RUTH’S EASY HOMEMADE HONEY-WHEAT BREAD


(No Bread Machine Required)

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups warm water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp active dry instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3-5 cups all-purpose flour



METHOD:

· Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Work all-purpose flour in gradually.

· Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in an oiled bowl. Turn several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

· Punch down the dough. Shape into two loaves, and place into two greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Allow to rise until dough is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above pans.

· Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Blog Stops

Midnight Bookaholic, November 24
Bibliophile Reviews, November 25
Texas Book-aholic, November 26
Janices book reviewsNovember 27
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 28
Genesis 5020, November 28
Multifarious, November 30
More Of Him, November 30
Mary Hake, December 1
Moments, December 3
whispering the Word, December 4
Godly Book Reviews, December 5
A Diva’s Heart, December 5
Carpe Diem, December 6
Inklings and NotionsDecember 7
BigreadersiteDecember 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away a grand prize “Loving the Word” theme basket that includes a gorgeous writing journal with Scripture at the bottom of each lined page, 6 stunning magnetic book page markers,“Be still and know that I am God” Bible verse key chain, Highlighter/ Pink post-it note, Old Testament Bible Reading Checklist by LOVE the Word | LIVE the Word, & RUTH-Redeeming The Darkness Bible Memory Companion Sheet!!
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/d62b/ruth-redeeming-the-darkness-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, September 3, 2018

Smart Girls Don’t Wear Mascara By Cecily Anne Paterson



About the Book



Abby Smart is planning to have the most awesome year ever.
She's the leader of the Smart Girls Club and after winning the talent quest, her dream to be a musical singer looks like it might come true.

And then Stella turns up, fluttering her mascara eyelashes.

She’s way too cool for little old Kangaroo Valley. Worst of all, she’s making Abby’s friends like ridiculous things such as makeup and new music! Abby’s plans to have a great year are being turned into dog food. Will Abby follow her friends, or follow her dreams? Because she can’t have both.

After all, Smart Girls don’t wear mascara!


Click here to purchase copy 😊

Another fabulous book from Cecily.

It took me a while to completely get into this book, probably because I have been reading a lot of thrillers lately. *smile*
However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Abby’s struggles with change. Abby came across as being a tad bossy, but more than anything she was a natural leader. Her undoing came about when people, things, and circumstances began to change around her. Poor Abby was merely going through the myriad of changes that naturally occur around the age of twelve or so, when most of her friends would be marching towards young adulthood, planning their immediate futures, looking forward to high school, experimenting with make-up and boys etc. The thing was that Abby didn’t want to grow up; she didn’t want to wear make-up. While her friends marched, she dawdled. Abby wanted her friends to stay the same.

Cecily’s portrayal of Abby’s character is spot on. She addresses the issues of this age group perfectly. Abby has to learn a hard lesson about being true to herself and who she is, while still being able to be a good friend to others. We all grow and develop at different rates, but growing up is never easy.

I would recommend this book to any age group. Admittedly it is aimed at the ten to fourteen year old group, but I think anyone would enjoy reading it.

Well done Cecily, and thank you for providing an Advanced Readers Copy of this beautiful book.





About the Author



Cecily Paterson
writes ‘brave-heart’ stories for girls aged 10-14, which puts her books at the very youngest end of the YA spectrum. Her novel, Charlie Franks is A-OK won the CALEB Prize in 2017. Find her at CecilyPaterson.com


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Chasing Embers (Heart Ranch, Book 2) by Rachel Skatvold {Spotlight and Giveaway}



About the Book

Book Title: Chasing Embers (Heart Ranch, Book 2) 

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Romance / Contemporary Western

Release date: August 20, 2018



ANNABELLE HART thought owning the family ranch would be everything she ever dreamed of and more. The Montana wilderness has always flowed like blood through her veins, but she can’t understand why her heart feels so empty inside.


Three years after leaving Montana to become a wild land firefighter, COLTON BROOKS still dreams about the girl he left behind at Hart Ranch. He prays for her happiness, believing she deserves someone better than him, but doubts he will ever love again.

When their paths intersect again, will the embers of their past romance be rekindled, or will an unexpected disaster change life as they know it forever?


About the Author

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the second book in her new Hart Ranch Series. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons.



Click here to purchase your copy!


Guest Post from Rachel

Chasing Embers is a sequel I have been excited to write since the release of Escaping Reality over two years ago. To be honest, while writing book one, I thought it would just be a standalone story and not part of a series. However, Logan’s strong-willed little sister, Belle, was determined to have her own story and I’m thrilled that she is finally getting one!

One of the theme verses from Chasing Embers is Ephesians 3:20, which says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” In the story, the characters go through some trials that seem impossible to overcome. In order to keep their loved ones and the ranch safe, the Hart family must cling tightly to their faith and trust that God always keeps his promises. The events of the story also serve as a reminder that God can do mighty things through us if we allow him to.

Chasing Embers is a heartwarming tale of lost love, second chances and choosing to love even when it is difficult. Be prepared to laugh, cry and rejoice with Belle and Colton as you read their love story. To find out more about Chasing Embers by Rachel Skatvold, read the summary above.


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d1f3/chasing-emberscelebration-tour-giveaway



Blog Stops


Reading Is My SuperPower, August 23

Among the Reads, August 23


Christian Author, J.E.Grace, August 24


The Christian Fiction Girl, August 25


Blossoms and Blessings, August 25


Bibliophile Reviews, August 26


Janices book reviews, August 27


Kat’s Corner Books, August 28


Daysong Reflections, August 28


Luv’N Lambert Life, August 29


Remembrancy, August 29


Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 30


proud to be an autism mom, August 31


Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Texas Book-aholic, September 1

Carpe Diem, September 2

A Baker’s Perspective, September 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 4

Bigreadersite, September 4