Saturday, December 15, 2018

Who I Am With You (Legacy of Faith #1) by Robin Lee Hatcher













Title: Who I Am With You (Legacy of Faith #1)
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Pages: 320
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Genre: Time-Slip (Contemporary/Depression Era)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

     Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

     Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination.

     When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

     Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

My review:

     I loved this incredible time-slip romance novel!

     The two time periods in this book are contemporary and Depression Era. The main characters in each period are fantastic. Their depth pulled me into both stories and captured my interest and emotions. I was caught up in their difficulties and heartaches. I was rooting for all of them to sort out their problems and move past them as they matured because of them. 

     They grew in their faith and learned to trust God more. The journey to forgiveness was wonderful. It is something that we all struggle with at some time in our lives. We can learn from seeing how these characters progress on their emotional journeys.

     I was captivated by the idea that Jessica was led through her journey partially by reading notes that her great-grandfather had written in his bible. I don’t write many things in the margins of my bible, yet when I received my father’s bible the first thing I did was to look and see if he had.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Comfort & Joy: Christmas Light Collection 2018 + A 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 your copy!

My Review

This is a great novella collection of Christmas stories.

The stories in this book are very different from each other. That is one of the things that I usually enjoy in novella collections. All of the stories were well written and filled with characters that were well developed.

I expected light entertainment when I picked this book up. I was very surprised at the heaviness of the first story, Frost Heaves, by Alana Terry. This was only because of the subject matter it included. I loved Dez’s childlike faith in Jesus and in the power of prayer. 

I was ready for a lighter story when I started Deck the Shelves, by Toni Shiloh. I was not disappointed. This was a charming contemporary romance. Each of the main characters had emotional baggage that they had to work through. Deuce is a delightful little boy and I loved reading about his antics.

Each story has a wonderful child as a very special character. They are all fantastic. In my mind you can’t go wrong having a child placed in the middle of any romance. They are great for comedic effect with the funny things that they all seem to come up with.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the Authors

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 shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. You can find her at alanaterry.com  




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.  




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  



  
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 Jesusbirthday? 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.

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 BrainDecember 3
KarenSueHadleyDecember 4
Inklings and notionsDecember 4
Quiet Quilter, December 5
Lots of Helpers, December 5
Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, December 8
Janices book reviewsDecember 9
Carpe Diem, December 10
BigreadersiteDecember 10
Kat’s Corner Books, December 11
Texas Book-aholic, December 11
Aryn The LibraryanDecember 12

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


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Plum Blooms in Winter (Brands from the Burning #1) by Linda Thompson













Title: The Plum Blooms in Winter (Brands from the Burning #1)
Author: Linda Thompson
Pages: 366
Release Date: December 1, 2018 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink.
Format: eBook
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge—In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

     A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission—Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal. In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness.

     Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him—even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends—only to confront a decision that will change everything.

My review:

     This is a very well written historical fiction book!

     I am amazed at the depth of the characters. I have never read much based on the War in the Pacific during WWII. This book was quite an eye opener for me.

     There are two intersecting storylines. One of them is about a young Japanese woman in Osaka, Japan. The book begins with the bombing raid by Doolittle’s Boys. As an American I have always seen that as a victory. It was great to see it from the other side.

     The second storyline is about one of the young pilots who carried out the bombing raid. I was very interested in the information she included about how the Chinese people helped the men who had to bail out of their planes.

     The best part is the redemption that Dave found in Christ. His portrayal of the forgiveness that God gives is wonderful.

     This book is much heavier in the details given about life from 1942-1948 than I have read before. This made it a difficult book to read for me. I found myself having to take more frequent breaks to give myself time to process all of the my emotions. I’m very glad that I read it and I look forward to the rest of this series.

     I am giving this book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it. I do suggest that you prepare yourself for a deeply moving and heartbreaking story.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette + A GIVEAWAY


About the Book

  
Book: Shelter of the Most High 

Author: Connilyn Cossette 

Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction  

Release Date: October, 2018

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan. 

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past. 

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is an incredible biblical romance novel!

The characters were extremely well developed. I felt like I connected with many of them. I have read about the cities of refuge in the bible. I never took the time to really think about what it would have been like for a manslayer who was stuck living inside one city with no possibility of leaving. I felt like I was able to really step into their sandals and feel some of the frustration.

I have never read any books by Connilyn before. She did a marvelous job of describing life in the early years in the Promised Land. I really enjoyed seeing how Moriyah ran her household and welcomed outsiders into her home. I will be reading more of her books.

The development of the plot and the danger that Sofea and Prezi are put in more than once is great. I was able to fell their fear right along with them.

The journey that Eitan goes on to mature and work through his past is fantastic. He definitely has some struggles that he faces and personal faults to overcome.

I loved seeing how she wove actual Biblical figures into her fictional story. It made everything feel even more real. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

I have decided to give this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars. I’m highly recommending it.

About the Author


Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.


Guest Post from Connilyn

Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself. 

So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact it just went way too fast! 

One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there). 

Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe. 

One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall. 

Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista. 

Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing. 

Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities. 

Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long. 

Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn. 

Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 20
Among the Reads, November 21
Gensis 5020, November 21
Book by Book, November 22
Remembrancy, November 23
Inklings and notionsNovember 23
The Becca Files, November 24
Baker Kella, November 24
Bibliophile Reviews, November 25
By The Book, November 26
Aryn The LibraryanNovember 27
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27
Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Janices book reviews, November 29
The Lit Addict, November 30
Texas Book-aholic, November 30
Connect in Fiction, December 2
Bigreadersite, December 2
Purposeful Learning, December 3
Carpe Diem, December 3

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away

Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter. 


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*