What Dreams May Come Review and Blog Tour

My brother and I bounced along in the back seat of the truck. Praise music was turned on fairly loudly in the front, and every once in a while one of us would look back to check on our load and make sure everything was staying in place. Already, we had stopped five or six times to try to tighten up straps enough to keep the tires on top of the things packed underneath them on the loaded trailer. It was a chore to make sure that they didn’t jiggle too far out—at one point, we had ended up with a tire dragging on the road, which isn’t very optimal in a high-speed zone!

However, by now, two and a half hours into our journey, things seemed to be settling down a bit. We were all heaving a tentative sigh of relief, especially since the last stop for a check had revealed that the most recent tighten-down and re-threading seemed to have worked. Finally able to relax some, and ready to enjoy the scenery, I checked the two chickens perched right behind our heads one more time. They seemed to be doing fine, with their cage securely fastened by a few bits of twine string to the bars across the back window of the truck. Their feathers were being blown around some, but not as much as they had been before we wrapped a coat around the more exposed sides of the cage.

Tugging my Kindle out of my bag, I was excited to finally be able to start the book I’d been waiting for several months to read, What Dreams May Come. And as the native bush, creeks, the occasional waterfall, and rivers slid by outside (and the chickens and tires stayed in place behind us), I lost myself in the story.

What Dreams May Come Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

I don’t quite remember what I expected when I started reading What Dreams May Come, aside from a fascinating story, but it did not disappoint in the slightest!

About the book:

What Dreams May Come by Alana TerryShe’s got her heart set on becoming a missionary. He’s determined to recruit her for the job.

But is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Susannah’s convinced that God has called her to the mission field. That’s why she’s serving him with single-minded focus in Orchard Grove, waiting for the day when she can leave her small town to take the gospel to the nations.

Is falling in love with her missionary recruiter part of God’s plan for her life or a distraction from the real goal?

Scott loves his life. Traveling the globe, offering spiritual support to missionaries around the world offers enough excitement that the loneliness hardly ever gets to him…

Until he receives an application from a young girl with a heart for the mission field as large as his own, a young girl he finds himself falling for even before they get the chance to meet face-to-face.

Unfortunately, a promise Susannah made to her family may tear her and Scott even farther apart than the miles that separate them.

Book one in an inspirational sweet romance series by award-winning Christian author Alana Terry, who has won awards from Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, Grace Awards, and several others, What Dreams May Come is based off of the author’s own experiences falling in love with (and eventually marrying) her missionary recruiter.

My thoughts:

Oh, this book. I hope I can get it in print one day—I really enjoyed it!

The thing that most caught me off guard, I believe, was the fact that this story deals with an immense amount of pain—Susannah faces not only losing a parent, then a boyfriend, but the loss of a pile of dreams because of one commitment that could not be put off. Although this dealt with some pretty heavy subjects, it never came off as too much (although it was agony to have to stop part-way through!), nor unrealistic. I loved it.

There were times that I was almost crying with Susannah as she faced supporting her sister while somehow dealing with her own loss. Things came crashing around her more than once, and each one was so realistic.

Then, too, there were times I was laughing out loud due to different circumstances—whether from comedy, courtesy of a very curious but somewhat confused child (Woong is absolutely adorable!); or sheer relief that the things I thought might happen didn’t.

What Dreams May Come Quote

Pain, hope, and love mix to make this book a one-of-a-kind romance (well, in my experience, which is admittedly not as informed as it could be!). However, in the experience I do have, this book struck a deep chord with me.

I, too, like Susannah, have had hopes and dreams dashed when I was least expecting it. The struggle—the agony of loss—came through in this story without the hype often found in other books. And Susannah’s struggle, not only to come to grips with the past but try to make sense of the future, were ones I’ve faced in the not too distant past. So in some ways, this story felt like my story—so the solutions and hopes expressed in this felt like mine to claim too.

One of my favorite quotes was:

He is the God who finishes what he begins. He is the God who brings it to completion. … He doesn’t place a calling on your life and fail to bring it to pass.” —Grandma Lucy

In all, I came away from What Dreams May Come feeling immensely encouraged, eager to find the next book in the series, and grateful to have had the chance to read this. If you’ve ever faced loss or want a sweet romance with a bit of the deeper struggles of life thrown in, I think this might be a good choice for you!

Note: I received this book for free from the author, and chose to share my opinions of the book.

Buy your copy here.

Alana Terry Author PhotoAbout the author:

Alana is a pastor’s wife, 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 on her website at AlanaTerry.com.

Guest post by Alana Terry:

The cat’s out of the bag! Back in 2016, I wrote What Dreams May Come, a novel that was based on the way my husband and I fell in love … fourteen months before we ever met! It wasn’t until just before Christmas that I told Scott the romance novel I’d been writing was actually our true-to-life love story, and he was even more surprised than I hoped he’d be! Watch the video to see his reaction.

Christian Book.com GiveawayGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a $50 CBD gift card!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

A Baker’s Perspective, February 8
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 8
Reading Is My SuperPower, February 9
Bigreadersite, February 9
Blogging With Carol, February 10
Zerina Blossom’s Books, February 10
Bibliophile Reviews, February 11
Purposeful Learning, February 11
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, February 12
C Jane Read, February 12
The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 13
Maureen’s Musings, February 13
Mommynificent, February 14
Texas Book-aholic, February 14
Mary Hake, February 15
Remembrancy, February 15
proud to be an autism mom, February 16
Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 17
Janices book reviews, February 18
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 18
Carpe Diem, February 19
margaret kazmierczak, February 19 (interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20 (guest post from Mindy)
Pursuing Stacie, February 20
God is Love, February 21
Joy of Reading, February 21

Let’s discuss: What do you enjoy reading on long trips? Or do you do something else then? What’s one book that has encouraged you in an area you had recently struggled in?

‘Tis so Sweet Book Review (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

I knew it was possibly a little foolish to sign up for yet another blog tour so close to our moving date, but I really couldn’t resist last week. I loved Faith Blum’s last release, All the Way the Savior Leads, and ‘Tis so Sweet was a novella, I figured it would probably be safe.

So one hot afternoon after the author sent it to me, while Dad drove our family out to the ocean to cool off, I read. Then, my little sister and I played in the surf and got ourselves thoroughly soaked, having the time of our lives. When we were done cooling off (and trust me, even the cold south Pacific feels good on hot days!), and everyone else had had a good swim, we headed home again—and Dad took the longer, scenic route to get back. Which gave me just enough time to finish this book.

I loved it. A whole book (hey, a novella counts, right?) plus a nice hour at the beach? Just perfect.

'Tis so Sweet Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

About the book:

'Tis so Sweet by Faith BlumTrusting God is hard.

Eleanor Miller has never lacked for anything, but she wanted to become a schoolteacher anyway to instill the love of learning into other children. Unlike what happened with her brother, Grover.

Grover hated school and authority. He rebelled any change he could. When he almost killed a man, their family was torn apart and he was disowned.

Eleanor understands her father’s decision, but she worries she will never see Grover again. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything no matter what happens or will she stop trusting Him completely?

Available now on your favorite eBook platform.

My thoughts:

The historical setting of this book was probably the first thing that drew me in. Although the language used felt almost too modern, I loved the Laura Ingalls feeling to the story, what with old-time school teachers and the like. After that, the story itself grabbed me. I instantly felt sorry for Eleanor and Mr. Miller, when they’re trying to deal with Grover. And the poor boy, not directing his life correctly…I probably felt most sorry for him.

The story progressed fairly fast, and there were quite a few time gaps, but the characters grew through that time, which was good to see. The overall theme—that of learning to trust the Lord whatever happens—is an important one, and I appreciated how that was brought out as well.

I did struggle with one part, where someone was hung…the emotions there, while fairly realistic, did feel “off” somehow. I don’t really know how to describe it. But since I’ve gone through something similar with my brother, my sense of “off” there could simply be due to the fact that it’s hard for me to read about anything related to that kind of a death. It just struck me as not being quite accurate. However, even in that, the theme came through pretty well, and I appreciated the way it was applied.

In all, this short book was a lovely companion to the series (or at least, the amount of them I’ve read!). It follows the same general theme of making a song the driving point of the book, and the song appears in different pertinent situations to help illustrate the main theme. No matter what happens in life, we still need to trust Jesus. And as we all know, that’s not very easy—but it’s so worth it! I think this story brought that fact out beautifully.

I received this book for free from the author, and chose to share my opinions about it.

Buy your own copy here!

About the author:

Faith Blum, AuthorFaith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and spend time with her husband. She lives in Wisconsin in a small town with her husband and cat where she can write to her heart’s content during the day. Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ.

Giveaway!

Giveaway!

Faith is offering three prizes:

  • Grand prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1st Prize: eBook of ‘Tis So Sweet
  • 2nd Prize: Prize: eBook of ‘Tis So Sweet

Enter here!

Preorder opportunity:

He Hideth My Soul by Faith Blum‘Tis So Sweet is a companion novella to Faith’s next novel, He Hideth My Soul. Faith is excited to announce that He Hideth My Soul will be published on February 26th! And it’s now available for preorder for just $0.99. Reserve your copy today!

Other tour stops:

January 26
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Inksword – Author Interview
Wildflower Acres – Book Spotlight

January 27
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Spotlight
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections – Special post from the author

January 29
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Book Spotlight
Purposeful Learning – Book Review

January 30
Janice’s Book Reviews – Book Review

January 31
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

What song has challenged you lately in an area you need to grow in? What song has encouraged you lately?

A Song Unheard Review and Blog Tour

Who was the girl laying on her bed reading this afternoon instead of doing the cleaning and sorting she really should have been working on in preparation for moving in a couple weeks?

Me. Unashamedly, me. Because, “I only had eight chapters left…” and please don’t mention the fact that I wasn’t even to the three-quarter mark yet!

Ahem. Yup. I didn’t even take time to move my planner from my nightstand to my desk, like I always do every morning. Turns out, I spent most of my day thinking about the story and wishing I could get back to it instead of reading—which, of necessity, meant I didn’t get much else done either.

But that’s okay, in this case, because I needed to get it read and reviewed and the review scheduled so I didn’t have to think about it later. It was one of my goals for this week. Promise.

A Song Unheard Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Oh, this book. I expected to enjoy it, but also to get annoyed with it (both of which were true about the previous book in this series, A Name Unknown). While A Song Unheard didn’t quite hit the five-star mark for me—I’m trying to only use that for the books that completely blow me away!—I still loved it immensely. And one day, I hope I can sit down and re-read the entire series. Just because they’re lovely books, with sweet stories set in an intriguing historical time period.

About the book:

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

My thoughts:

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. WhiteHistorically speaking, A Song Unheard dragged me in and wouldn’t let go. White did an incredible job building her story in such a way that you almost feel like you’re there, and I didn’t find anything that took me out of the setting, once in it, either. I loved getting to see another side of World War I through this story, too—as the author pointed out near the end of the book, there are few stories set in this time period, so that made it more intriguing. And definitely lovable.

I loved all the characters—even the villains!—each was very well developed. Margot probably won the most laughs from me, though. Her almost too-smart attitude, combined with her knowledge and the fact that she had a hard time controlling her tongue were all endearing and humorous to observe. My most favorite quote probably came from her, too:

“How old are you, anyway? Thirteen? Fourteen?” [he asked.]

“Two hundred and thirty. I look young for my age.” (She was fourteen!)

The romance ended up quite sweet and loveable, and I didn’t gag like I thought I might. That, too, was nice.

In the end, I really enjoyed the chance to read A Song Unheard. The writing style was poetic, and the suspense and mystery were just perfect—not too much to be too concerning, but enough to make me keep turning pages in the hope that maybe I’d get it figured out in the next chapter! The Christian element, too, was there, and very well done. One statement one character made (or implied) confused me a little—that of the Methodists and Catholics being on similar ground. From a historical standpoint, that did make me question the opinion a little (although my idea of what Methodism looked like in the early 1900s may be skewed as well). Otherwise, this seems to be a well-researched book, so if you’re looking for a cozy historical fiction with a splash of romance, this might just be down your alley!

I received this book for free from the publishers, and chose to share my opinions of the book.

Buy your copy here.

Author Roseanna M. WhiteAbout the author:

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

A Song Unheard GiveawayGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

Fiction Aficionado, January 11
History, Mystery & Faith, January 11
Genesis 5020, January 11
Bookworm Mama, January 11
A Simply Enchanted Life, January 11
Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 12
Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 12
Blogging With Carol, January 12
Multifarious, January 12
proud to be an autism mom, January 12
Faithfully Bookish, January 13
Christian Bookaholic, January 13
Karen Sue Hadley, January 13
Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
Remembrancy, January 14
Blossoms and Blessings, January 14
Just the Write Escape, January 14
Connie’s History Classroom, January 14
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
A Reader’s Brain, January 15
Rachel’s Back Talk, January 15
Smiling Book Reviews, January 15
Cordially Barbara, January 15
Pursuing Stacie, January 15
The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 16
Kat’s Corner Books, January 16
The Artist Librarian, January 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 16
Bigreadersite, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Seasons of Opportunities, January 17
Moments Dipped in Ink, January 17
Baker Kella, January 17
Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, January 17
God’s Little Bookworm, January 18
allofakindmom, January 18
The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18
Inklings and notions, January 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18
Pause for Tales, January 19
Have A Wonderful Day, January 19
Just Commonly, January 19
Bibliophile Reviews , January 19
Janices book reviews, January 19
Radiant Light, January 20
The Power of Words , January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
Faery Tales Are Real, January 21
A Baker’s Perspective, January 21
margaret kazmierczak, January 22
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Romances of the Cross, January 23
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Rachel Scott McDaniel, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Simple Harvest Reads, January 23
Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, January 24
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24
Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 24
Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 24

Let’s discuss: What’s one historical fiction that you’ve really enjoyed recently? What is the most unusual historical setting you’ve read about before (as in a time period there aren’t many books about, etc.)?

Book Club Beginnings

Somewhere near the beginning of the year, I came across Tim Challies’ reading challenge. I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen it before, but when I saw the list—and imagined how much it would stretch my current reading habits!—I thought it might be worth a try. Just once.

After all, if I do finish even one portion of the list, I’ll have read some books I wouldn’t have normally read before, so that’s worthwhile in itself!

Some of the books in the challenge will be pretty easy to do, like biographies, or books published in 2018 (for the last few years, I’ve often had the chance to read to-be-released books, or recently released ones, so this shouldn’t be a problem!).

Book Club Beginnings 01

However, other books, such as one about current events, might be a bit trickier. I’m thinking of looking up one by Eric Metaxas, John Stonestreet, or maybe even Ravi Zacharias (you can tell by the first two that I listen to Breakpoint every once in a while!). Not sure yet about any of these, but we’ll see what I can find. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

The first one I’m working on is one that is a bit more challenging for me: A book about theology. Although I really enjoy studying theology to a certain extent, I also can tend to get a little annoyed with it after a while, as many (at least seem to) end up being “better than you” kinds of thinking. Or else I’m just ready to move on to something more applicable to real life!

I ended up deciding on a book that is somewhat theological, although it actually deals more in apologetics, which is another fascinating subject. It’s Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, and some of the facts and observations he brings out are extremely fascinating!

My second-oldest brother has joined me in reading Cold Case Christianity, as we happen to have both the adult and children’s versions. So in a sense, we’ve created a book club. Each day, we compare notes on what we’ve read, as the subject matter in each chapter coincides well. So far, it’s gone really well, and we’re both learning a lot!

What have you been reading lately? Have you ever participated in a reading challenge?

When Christmas Plans Go Awry (Christmas Embers Review + Blog Tour)

After sitting down to write this blog post, I turned on my writing music playlist and the first song that came up was Take My Life and Let it Be by David Nevue. And somehow, in a strange, yet wonderful way, it feels fitting.

Right now, whether I like it or not, I’m going through a season where each day I have to choose to follow and trust the Lord in the direction He’s leading. It’s tough. So, so tough. In some ways, I’m starting to freak out a bit about a few (big) things that need to happen in the next four weeks…and yet I still have no idea when they’re going to happen! But each day I just have to lay it down and say, “in Your time, Lord. You’ll reveal all in Your time.”

In some ways, it feels like our Christmas plans have gone awry. I never thought we’d have to move so soon in the new year, but that’s what it’s currently looking like. And with the Lord, it’ll be okay. I know it will.

“…ever, always, all for thee…”

Christmas Embers Tour Banner

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links help support this site—thank you!

Last year, I was part of Chautona Havig’s launch team, and followed along with the progress of her 2016 Christmas novel as she wrote it. She said it was the hardest writing project she’d ever had—and I believed her, especially when I had the chance later to read the book.

And today, I’ve got the privilege of participating in a blog tour for this book!

Wow. Christmas Embers is an incredible story. Heart-wrenchingly terrible, and yet so true and in the end somewhat—can I say it?—almost beautiful.

About the book:

Christmas Embers by Chautona HavigBook Synopsis: It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.

Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.

Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose—find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?

As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father—a Rockland area pastor, no less— Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.

Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time—if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this—an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.

A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?

Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

My review:

Emily has undertaken an interesting project as a feature for her blog for Christmas: Interviewing children in her daughter’s class at school, and asking them what they’d like most of all to receive for Christmas. However, she isn’t prepared for the result when Joey says that out of all the things he could choose, he hopes his dad will come to live with them, so he can get to know him.

But does Emily really want to know the answer to Joey’s question?

When Joey’s mom is on her deathbed, will Emily be able to find her answer in time—or at least figure out how to temporarily help provide for this little boy?

Christmas Embers Quote

This book is such a tough story. Adultery in any form is just awful, and Ms. Havig does an excellent job bringing it out. She doesn’t mince facts, although despite the subject matter, I am impressed at the level of cleanliness in this book—things aren’t washed over, but they aren’t necessarily in your face, either. This isn’t your typical Christmas story, but it beautifully illustrates the reason why Jesus came. And SPOILER ALERT! the ending is absolutely wonderful. It isn’t perfect—no good story usually is—but it’s very well done. END SPOILER ALERT!

In all, I’m thankful to have had the chance to read this. It’s one of those superb books that you never really forget, because it’s so good. It’s tough going in some ways. But it also contains an extremely pertinent message in today’s day and age. And the children in here? Adorable!

I haven’t faced anything nearly the same as what the characters in this book had to work through. But even if Christmas isn’t the happiest holiday for one reason or another, remember: God’s still there. He’s still in control. And He still loves you, wherever you are.

Buy your copy here.

Chautona Havig ProfileAbout the author:

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

Christmas Embers - TruthGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

Carpe Diem, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 6

Daysong Reflections, December 6

Fiction Aficionado, December 7

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 8

The Power of Words, December 8

Bigreadersite, December 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 9

A Greater Yes, December 9

Radiant Light, December 9

Just Jo’Anne, December 10

For The Love of Books, December 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Aryn the Libraryan, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 12

Books, Books, and More Books., December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Seasons of Opportunities, December 13

Christian Book Devourer, December 13

Allofakindmom, December 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Pursuing Stacie, December 14

Pause for Tales, December 15

Reader’s cozy corner, December 15

margaret kazmierczak, December 15

Red Headed Book Lady, December 16

Purposeful Learning, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Christian Bookaholic, December 17

Karen Sue Hadley, December 18

Remembrancy, December 18

Blossoms and Blessings, December 18

Let’s discuss: Have you ever read a book before that exposed sin for what it is? What was the latest novel you’ve read that challenged you deeply on a physical or spiritual level?

What Happens When an Author has a Large Family?

…she writes a story about them!

I’ve participated in several launches for Sarah Holman’s books in the past, but I’m thrilled to be able to help promote this book this time. I’ve always enjoyed what she wrote, but (just between you and me!) it’s gotten even better in the last year or so as she’s gotten a professional editor to go over her books as well.

LaughterBlogTour

I’ve followed this story from almost its inception when she first started planning and writing it. It’s completely different from anything she has put out before, since it is non-fiction, but it’s also a beautiful snapshot of a lovely family.

Note: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links does not cost you anything extra, but helps keep this blog going.

There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman

Description

What do you get when you mix two parents who grew up in the city, six kids who have always lived in the country, and add homeschooling? You get a whole lot of laughter!

Homeschool graduate and author Sarah Holman shares stories about her family that range from thought-provoking to side-splitting. She shares both hilarious mistakes and heartbreaking moments in her family. In this collection of stories, she endeavors capture some of the answers to the questions people have often asked her about growing up in a conservative homeschool family as well as some of the wisdom she has gleaned along the way. Sarah invites you to open up this scrapbook of memories. She hopes that you come away encouraged, inspired…and laughing.

LaughterQ3

My review

Well, today I’m supposed to be participating in the blog tour for There Was Always Laughter in Our House, but I realized yesterday that I had barely read past a quarter of the story! (I’m choosing to blame NaNo for this.)

Full of a mixture of funny and somewhat challenging instances where plans went awry or the family worked together on unit studies (and many, many other stories!), There Was Always Laughter isn’t your typical biography. I’d classify it more as something of a memoir, but it isn’t organized the way you’d normally expect one to be written. It’s somewhat of a random jumble of different odd facts and tales about Sarah Holman’s family, and even though the chapters might not have one continuous thread of “we did this, and then we did that, and then when we were a bit older we did such-and-so”, it’s an engaging read and one that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

I love the little glimpses into Sarah and her sisters’ relationships. They work at fighting evil together, they play together, they drive their brother batty and he makes them go crazy. It’s real life, and she’s got a lot of things spot-on in here.

Such as:

“My brother was a very manly man, even when he was small. He would rather dig in the dirt than play with his sisters. Every stick became a sword, gun, or club.”

(That’s my brothers, summed up perfectly in three sentences. I love it!)

Or:

“One of the issues with Christian homeschoolers is that the Bible is a book that the child becomes so familiar with early. It often leaves them feeling bored in most Sunday schools and even church services. […] Boredom breeds a large amount of misbehavior and annoying conduct. The best way to rout it out? Do what my parents did, and what Mr. and Mrs. Kline did. They didn’t punish me, they challenged me. ‘You already know that? Great, then try learning this.’

(I’ve found this very true in my own life—and Sarah finally put it into words for me! Yes, thank you, Miss Holman!)

Okay, I won’t bore you with more quotes, but I did think those two, especially the last one, was worth a little pondering. In all, I’m loving this story, and can’t wait to get back to reading.

Preorder your copy now for $2.99—price will be going up after launch day, which is next Friday, the 24th! (Paperback should be available in time for the launch as well).

LaughterQ4

Sarah HolmanAbout the Author:

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined. You can find out more about her at her website www.thedestinyofone.com.


Free book!

Father Forgive (free)

Father, Forgive Them, an Easter story, is free right now! Claim your copy here, or click the image above.

Blog tour stops

November 16
Reachel — What stories are you going to include, Sarah?
Grace Pennington — An interview
Esther Filbrun — A review
Tarissa Graves — A review

November 17
Leona Ruth — A review
Chloe — A review

November 18
Kaylee — A review
Alexa – A Thanksgiving Story

November 19
Liv K. Fisher — Short Girl Jokes
Kelsey Bryant — A review

Where Dandelions Grow: My Review

It’s one of those brilliant blue spring days outside. My brothers are mowing—I hadn’t realized how long the grass had grown in the last couple weeks since the last mowing! The mound of clippings beside the greenhouse is pretty tall now.

The spring daffodils are pretty much done now, and the apple trees are in full bloom. They’re the last of the fruit trees to bloom, if I remember right. The dandelions are also just starting to bloom. Another week or so, and there will be hundreds of them all over the yard and down the roadsides. So pretty!

Mowing

And speaking of dandelions, I’m excited to share with you a new book I’ve had the privilege of reading recently: Where Dandelions Grow! It’s written by one of my favorite bloggers, Lydia Howe, and it released today!

Note: Some of the links today may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links will not cost you any extra, but will help keep this blog going.

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up the story for the first time, but I knew I really appreciated what the author blogged about, and I had great hopes for a good book. I wasn’t disappointed. This book blew me away in some aspects, and overall, I loved the story.

Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia HoweDestiny isn’t quite sure what to expect when she decides to go against her mom’s wishes and go back to her roots—back to Swallow Ridge, where she was born. And had lived, until she was ten, when for some inexplicable reason the family up and moved away. She didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to her three best friends—her cousins. Now, she’s heading back, hoping against hope to be able to track her family down and find answers to the questions she’s been silently asking all these years. She’d also really like to prove that for once her mom is wrong: That she can write a book, and that she can do it well. Will her move prove fruitless in the end? Will she ever be able to figure out what happened so many years ago—and even if she can, is there any way she or her cousins can help to bring healing to their fractured relationships? And how is she even supposed to start looking, when all she knows are first names?

I loved the fact that while this is a young adult novel, it didn’t have the stereotypical triangle of love interests—or any romance in it at all, for that matter. That fact both shocked and delighted me, not because I don’t like romance, but not having it in the story (especially since in this case it wasn’t needed) was a refreshing change. The story also wasn’t fantastical fiction (is there such a thing? the characters certainly didn’t attempt to do things that under normal conditions would be impossible), rather, it felt fairly believable and the characters were delightfully relatable. I read the book in close to one sitting, and thoroughly enjoyed the pacing—it wasn’t too fast, but fast enough to keep me interested. In all, if you’re looking for a clean book—not necessarily hold-onto-your-seat fiction, but gripping enough to keep going—with a good theme, I’d recommend checking out Where Dandelions Grow.

Note: I received this book for free from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Now for a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

Where Dandelions Grow Quote 01

Where Dandelions Grow Quote 02

There’s a giveaway going—enter here!

And join in the fun over at Lydia’s blog here.

(Psst…Where Dandelions Grow is still $.99 as of this writing right now. I’m not sure what the “normal” price will be, but I believe it will be going up after a while.)

Top Ten Books on My To-Read List

A week or two ago, I set about trying to make a list of all the books I’ve been given for review or borrowed over the past four months. I was prepared for a decent-sized list, but I admit I did have to gulp a little when I saw the full extent of it. I’m a little more behind than I thought. However, since making this list, I can see progress! My hope is that by November, I’ll be mostly through this stack. There are thirty-two books altogether there so far, with fourteen of them being physical copies and the other eighteen being ebooks, mostly “e-review” copies, which means most of them were given to me in exchange for my honest review (and, obviously, the authors hope that I’ll get it done in good time!).

Top 10 To-Reads

My want-to-read list, however, isn’t just contained on this page. If I would write out all of those, I’d easily have somewhere between 1 and 500 books written down!

However, the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading over the next couple months are as follows:

Note: Some links are affiliate links. Your purchases through these links will not cost you any more, but will help support this site—thank you!

#1. Love Lifted Me by MarJanita Geigley. Borrowed from my aunt’s shelf, this is a story of two people from tough pasts finding the Lord. I love salvation stories, and I think I’ll love this!

#2. Savior, Like a Shepherd by Faith Blum. I read the sequel, All the Way My Savior Leads, and participated in the blog tour back in May. When I was sent the latter book, Faith kindly included Savior as well, and I can’t wait to read it. I really enjoyed All the Way!

#3. Such a Tease by Chautona Havig. I read the prequel to this story, Sweet on You, back when it was released—and got this one to read and review at this one’s release, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Seeing as it’s written by one of my favorite authors, and I loved Sweet on You, I can’t wait to read this as well!

#4 and #5. None So Blind and Will Not See by Chautona Havig. I’ve been eyeing the first book in the Sight Unseen series for months now, and just this last month the second book was released! Which is so exciting, but now I’ve got two stories to read instead of one (yay!). Next time I’m ready to lose my afternoon to reading, I’m planning on picking one of these up.

#6. The Last Jew of Rotterdam by Ernest Cassutto. World War II story? Jews? Hope in the midst of despair? Yes, please! Another book borrowed from my aunt, I can’t wait to dive into it!

#7. They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? by Natalie Vellacott. I’ve been following this author’s blog for a while, and wanting to read her books, and I was absolutely delighted when she contacted me one day after I added several to my Goodreads want-to-read list, asking if I’d like to read them. What? YES, PLEASE! Can’t wait to pick these up!

#8. Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman. Although this hasn’t been my most favorite series by Holman, I do enjoy getting to read her books, which are generally very clean and family-friendly. According to my brother, who happened to read this before me this time, it’s very good.

#9. Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. I’m really wanting to improve my writing, especially in the plotting/outlining area. To that end, I’ve started reading this book, and also bought the workbook to go along with it. Although I’ve only made it part-way through the second chapter so far, it’s excellent!

#10. The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Content Creation by Karen Banes. I’m always looking for ways to better my knowledge of writing, online basics, etc., and I’ve sort-of followed along with Karen Banes for quite a while. I can’t say I’ve learned a lot from her (yet!), but I’m looking forward to what I can learn from this book!

And a bonus: #11. Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe. Okay; I admit—I just finished reading this book Monday. But before that, it was at the top of my list. This book was so good. A young adult book without a romantic element, a family story without being too ridiculous or tedious, and a Christian story with a fairly good Christian element without feeling preachy or too “fluffy”—one character, especially, was excellent this way. Overall, I loved it. Can’t wait to share my thoughts about it at the end of the month when the book releases!

Although it’s hard to choose what my top books are, these are the ones that I believe I’m most looking forward to at the moment. Five fiction, three biographies or biographical-type books, and two non-fictions. The non-fiction titles will probably be the hardest for me to get through, but I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn from them. And if I mix them up with the other books, it’ll definitely be doable!

What books are on your to-read list right now?

Book Review of A Name Unknown

We sat there, Mom and I, in the too-clean feeling hospital room, with the stiffly starched sheets and the stinky hand cleaner. I’ve always read that hospitals have an awful “clean” smell. I submit that perhaps it’s just the overall too-clean feeling. We were both reading, trying to pass the time until the ward doctor came by for one last check on Mom before we were given her discharge papers. It’s hard to focus on reading when you’re anxious to get out to fresh air, green grass, and blue skies again—even if the stay was pleasant enough, and not nearly as long as other people’s! (Now, I’m not complaining—I am thankful for modern medicine, hospitals, and all that. I’m just a terrible homebody!)

“It’s hard to focus on finishing a book,” I sighed to Mom as I set the book aside, “when you’re tired of reading and you already know what the ending will be.”

She agreed with me, but went back to reading. There wasn’t much else to do between those four walls with several curtains designed to give each patient a little privacy!

(This blog post contains affiliate links. Your purchase through these links does not cost you anything extra, but it helps keep this website going. Thank you!)

Several months ago, a book came up on a book reviews site I follow, and it immediately piqued my curiosity. Roseanna M. White is a co-author of the Go Teen Writers blog, and as such when I saw her most recent release available in exchange for review, I decided to try it. I was really interested to see what kind of writing style she had, so I was glad for a way to find out! I did know that the book was a romance, so thankfully that wasn’t a surprise.

What I Thought of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White:

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. WhiteI loved this book! And…in some ways, got quite annoyed with the story, but that’s a side point right now. I loved the setting. I can’t remember when the last time was that I read a historical fiction about England right before the First World War, so that was extra special (probably partly because I’ve always had a bit of fascination for English history anyway!). I loved the tension as it built between the different characters as they tried to prove (or disprove!) one of the main character’s loyalties—whether to the Crown, or to the enemy, the Germans.

I also loved the fact that this felt like Oliver Twist retold in some ways. Different, of course, but some elements were very striking in that area. And since I loved Oliver Twist when I read it for school several years ago, this naturally felt like meeting an old friend once again.

The whole librarian thing is, of course, an intriguing element for me since I love books as well. And I LOVED the fact that one of the main characters was a writer! It gave an interesting, sometimes humorous twist to the story—and one that’s all too relatable! At one point, he got distracted with an idea for his story, and ended up ignoring someone for about five minutes. I couldn’t help laughing! Been there, done that!

Despite all the fun parts, though, the history, the semi-classic feel, the fun characters (some really made me crack up!), the bookishness (if that’s a word!) of the story, I was disappointed in some ways. The romance was actually okay—only one kissing scene made me gag a little, and I’m thankful that was confined to just over a page. Overall, though, it wasn’t icky. I appreciated that.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT) My main gripe with the book lies in its predictableness—or, at least, what felt like that when I was reading it. I knew from the first page who would marry whom, and what the ending would be—down to some of the less important parts—and that kind-of ruined the ending for me. I’m not sure I would have even finished the book once I got past the climax, except for the fact that I wanted to finish for the review’s sake. I also didn’t like the fact that the villain (or supposed villain) didn’t actually end up bad in the end. It was understandable, but disappointing. (END SPOILER ALERT)

In all, while I did enjoy this book, I don’t see myself coming back to read it again very soon, which I find to be somewhat disappointing. However, I do hope I’ll be able to read more of White’s books in the future, because I loved the rhythm and wording she used. In many ways, this book was a cozy, relaxing read for me—some parts were outright funny, some sad, and overall it was a good story.

There were two things that I learned from A Name Unknown I thought noteworthy: First, have you ever heard of these landscaping things called ha-has? I hadn’t, until I encountered it in chapter thirteen—and had to look it up. Very neat idea! (You can find out about them here.) I was glad, this week, I had taken time to look it up—while I was listening to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, a ha-ha was mentioned several times. Never would have picked up on that otherwise! Second, I enjoyed the mention of New Zealand cabbage trees, of all things, being in Cornwall back in the early 1900s—and looked that up as well. Apparently there are places in the UK that have them. So I did find it neat to have two different minor things confirmed as being realistic parts of the setting.

White 2

About the Book:

She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

The Secret Slipper (Author Interview & Blog Tour)

Today, I’m stopping in again just for a bit to tell you about another book that I loved recently. I actually read The Secret Slipper quite a while ago, but thoroughly enjoyed it, and today I’m bringing the author onto the blog for a quick interview as well! But first…

Tour banner

About the Book

The Secret Slipper coverBeing a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

Hello, Amanda! And welcome!

What was your first inspiration for “The Secret Slipper”?
I had finished “Befriending the Beast” (a spin-off of Beauty and the Beast) as a stand-alone when an author friend asked, “Hey, have you ever considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” And that is exactly where the inspiration started. I prayed about it, and the Lord supplied the full story.

You’ve written quite a few short stories and novellas; which ones are your favorite and least favorite? Why?
“The Secret Slipper” is my favorite. 😉 Really. It has the most intricate plot of anything I’ve written so far. When it comes to short stories, “Coffee Cake Days” would be my favorite, just because it was so close to my heart and personal experiences. As for least favorites…that is a tough question. If I didn’t like it at least a little, I wouldn’t publish it. That being said, Journey of Choice would have been my least favorite if I published it last year. But I’m tweaking it to be better, so hopefully by the time it gets to publication, it won’t fall in that category anymore. 😉

Do you have any pets? Have these ever featured in your stories and/or affected portions of your books?
I’m not a big animal fan. I enjoy having them around and our family has several animals (chickens, German Shepherds, a Siberian Husky, rabbits, a cat). I have animals in my story and some of them have been influenced by animals I’ve hung around, but none in particular.

I know you have a fairly good-sized family. Have you ever included experiences from times with your family in your books? If so, could you please share an example?
“Coffee Cake Days” is one of the stories that most strongly includes my personal experience with my family and an important lesson I’ve learned. I also use my siblings to influence some of my characters—it is commonly assumed that “12 kids” are all alike. Oh my, how very different we are!! It helps to give some character diversity.

What is your favorite part of having the title “author”?
Honestly, my favorite is to connect with readers and other authors. It gives me a great place to form friendships with the common interest of books—and often, the common thread of salvation.

What is the most interesting response you’ve gotten when you’ve told people you write books?
Hmm…probably the assumption that I’m popular.

I’m curious: What stories are you working on right now? Could you please share a little synopsis (or maybe even a favorite quote) from your most recent work-in-progress?
My current WIP is Journey of Choice. I am still figuring out the entire synopsis as the rewrite is changing the first draft about 50%. It is the first Orphan Journeys novel about a teen, Nat, who is brought from the streets of New York against his will, taken in by a family against his will, and eventually, enlisted in the army against his will. With so much in his life that has happened against his choice, will he continue to turn his back on God or turn to Him in time of need?

About Amanda

Amanda Tero Profile PicAmanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again—starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda:
Email (amandaterobooks@gmail.com)  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Blog  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

My Review

Well, I’ve actually already reviewed this book over on the main reviews website. So here’s a portion of it, but I hope you won’t mind if I refer you there to see the full version!

When looking through the books I’ve read lately, I was surprised to see how many of them dealt with tougher issues—the Revolutionary war, identity, and growing up being some of the more recent stories. So I was happy to see a slightly “lighter” story in the mix, The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero! If I remember correctly, near the end of last year the author asked for a few beta-readers, so that is how I got to read this story. This is a fun book, one that I classified after reading as “the kind of book I dream of writing.” (Read the rest here.)

Giveaway!

The Secret Slipper Giveaway

U.S. Giveaway: Enter to win the set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper” (ENTER HERE)

International Giveaway: Enter to win the eBook set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper” (ENTER HERE)

Final Tour Stops:

May 31
Jesseca @ Whimsical Writings for His glory | Spotlight, Review
Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae | Spotlight, Review

June 1
Kellyn @ Reveries Reviews | Review
Victoria @ Victoria Minks Blog | Spotlight, Review
Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook | Spotlight

June 2
Hanne @ RockandMinerals4Him | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Erica @ Roxbury Books Blog | Spotlight
Janell @ Views from the Window Friend | Review
Crystal @ Crystal’s Adventures for Christ | Spotlight, Review, Interview

June 3
Alexa @ Verbosity Reviews | Spotlight
Faith @ Chosen Vessels | Review
Melissa @ Clothed with Scarlet | Review, Interview, Giveaway

Thank you for following along! I know blog tour posts can get a bit tedious, but thanks for taking time to read and please check out the posts from other participants over the next few days (for a list of the previous stops on the tour, go here!). And hopefully sometime soon, I can work on normal blogging again. For some reason, though, taking a trip seems to sap a lot of brain energy even before it happens—not sure how that works. Anyway, until next time, keep serving the Lord!