Late Winter TBR List!

img_6704I am always happy to start another group of novels, especially when there are so many for me to choose. And the cold, cozy days add an extra incentive to curl up and read.

Currently, I am devouring A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor 1) by Kristi Ann Hunter. England 1816 the author presents a topic rarely spoken about in Regency novels. What happens to the children of society young women who are not allowed to keep their children born out of wedlock? Interesting. I’m on page 57 and very much intrigued.

Uncharted Journey is book six in the Uncharted Series by Keely Brooke Keith. The characters exist in the Land, an isolated place separated from civilization and any contact with the rest of the world.

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings sounds interesting: When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever. That’s all I know! I’ll let you know what I think.

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron is a Lost Castle novel. I read the first one, The Lost Castle, and I just know this one will be as captivating. The past and present collide with unanswered questions and quests. Did I mention Ireland?

Jen Geigle Johnson is a new author for me. Scarlet is set in France and England 1793. This is no ordinary woman for she is the notorious Scarlet Pimpernel, known for her bravery and cunning during the French Revolution. I would love to move this to the top. Patience, I say.

Back to Ivy Hill, England, 1821 with The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen. The author continues with the lives of the women of this quaint village with all their daily challenges in a changing time.

What are you reading? I’d love for you to share your literary finds here.

Happy reading….

Off-season Strategy

January has become a month of semi-hibernation for me. About ten years ago, I found myself a bit depressed and unresponsive in January. One year I decided to counteract those feelings with a new strategy. What if I pulled out of a few obligations for that month only. I couldn’t quit my teaching job or ignore my children, but I decided a few organizations and commitments could survive without my presence.

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DeGray Lake Resort

I took a leave from choir, civic organization committee meetings, and Sunday school teacher. During those four weeks, I read, exercised, and caught up on some projects like writing and photo albums. When February arrived, I was ready to plunge back into my place in outside activities.

img_6510I travel as often as I can. Most of the time it is during tourist season since I am a teacher. Spring break and summer are the most opportune time for me to get away, along with everyone else. This year I tried something different. I used my strategy of doing something out of the ordinary.

Two days after Christmas, my husband and I spent three days at an Arkansas lake resort—yes, in winter. A resort known for lake activities, horseback riding, golf, hiking, nature watching, offered a warm place to sit in front of a fire, drink hot drinks, eat well, watch movies, and relax. The off season brought a few families to gather around beautiful Christmas trees and shiny winter decorations. There was no hustle and bustle in the towns or at the resort. I enjoyed the calm, semi-hibernation existence.

I give 5 stars for off-season resorts and for my January reclusive lifestyle (especially if normalcy is just around the bend). February will be here soon enough.

img_6530I’m enjoying reading and writing. And, I have 100 prints to put in my France photo album. Do you enjoy anything about an off-season vacation or time in your life?

 

My Review and Giveaway for This Homeward Journey

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

 

Title: This Homeward Journeythis-homeward-journey-195x300

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release date: January 1, 2019

After her husband’s death, Rachel Gray is finally free from the turmoil his addictions caused. She wants nothing more than a new life with her twelve-year-old son. If she can reach her brother in the wilderness of the Canadian territories, they’ll have help to start over in peace. She knows better than to put her life in the hands of another man, but she never expected the Montana mountains to be so treacherous. When two brothers invite her to join their small group traveling to the same area, she refuses. After she and her son narrowly escape a bear attack, she’s forced to admit they need the safety of numbers in this untamed land. If the men prove dangerous, she can always leave with her son and strike out alone again.

Seth Grant has made some bad choices in his life, but God healed him from the addiction that mired him in his sins. Now, he’s determined to live the life God called him to, starting with a journey northward to see the Canadian mountain both his brother and sister have fallen in love with. When he discovers the woman and boy who plan to travel the same mountain trail, he can’t fathom why she refuses to join in the safety of their larger group. Though her decision seems unwise, he has no other choice but to pray God provides her protection.

Despite Rachel’s best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction to the Seth—until a secret from his past proves he’s not at all the man she thought. When a new peril threatens her son’s life, she must choose between trusting in what she can control, or the man who her heart says is trustworthy, no matter his previous sins. The path she chooses just may determine whether she can step into the new life God has in store for them all.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My thoughts and review:

I enjoyed being a part of Rachel Gray’s journey in 1866 through the Montana Territory to Canada, seeking a new start, family, and a promising future. She doesn’t count on joining the brothers, Seth and Samuel Grant, as they travel north to their other siblings living in Canada. Yet, safety demands this decision. Rachel carries years of mistrust of men in her heart and in her outward actions. Her son Andy hasn’t had a good father role model and is a bit leery of these men.

God is able to forgive bad choices, as well as heal fears, pain, and heartache.  Beller’s tale deals with a treacherous journey that many of us today would not even take the first step. Courageous men and women faced life and death situations daily. The book made me question my ability to put my trust in God for all areas of danger, perhaps not physical danger, but all areas in my life. I try not to live in fear but in hope that God has a plan, a perfect plan, if I will listen and follow.

This novel in #5 in Heart of the Mountains series. I will definitely read the other ones to find out more about these courageous adventurers of the past.

I give This Homeward Journey 5 stars.

About the Author

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven misty-300x271with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Guest Post from Misty

Why Christian Historical Romance?

I don’t know about you, but my life can get crazy…busy…chaotic. Historical fiction gives me a haven, allowing me to immerse in a simpler time and place. Add in remote mountain settings—log cabins and horses and snow…what could be better? Sometimes I wish God had let me live a couple centuries ago, but then I remind myself He knew exactly what He was doing. I don’t do well without a shower every day. 😊 And He even lets me go back to that simpler time through stories!

If you’re reading this, you probably enjoy immersing yourself in a good book, too. Story can be such a powerful thing! Becoming an intimate part of the characters’ lives, feeling their struggles—the desperation, the elation, the emotions, the love.

I enjoy reading and writing Christian fiction because it provides a place where I don’t always have to be concerned about inappropriate language or too-graphic love scenes. It’s a “safe zone” where my imagination can escape, living out exciting times and experiencing God-orchestrated happily-ever-afters—without having to clean-up at the end of the day. Can you relate?

I’m excited to share my latest Christian Historical Romance story with you, and hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!

 

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 29

Through the Fire Blogs, December 29

Carpe Diem, December 30

Splashes of JoyDecember 30

A Baker’s Perspective, December 31

Mary Hake, December 31

Pause for Tales, January 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 1

Simple Harvest Reads, January 2 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Connie’s History Classroom, January 2

Among the Reads, January 3

For The Love of Books, January 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 4

Connect in Fiction, January 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace. January 6

Bibliophile Reviews, January 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Creating Romance, January 8

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Janices book reviews, January 9

Wishful Endings, January 10

Cafinated Reads, January 10

Bigreadersite, January 11

Blossoms and Blessings, January 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away a grand prize of a $50 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/d9bc/this-homeward-journey-celebration-tour-giveaway

Don’t forget to comment on my blog here. Have you read any of Misty’s books?

New for 2019

Snow Years EveI can’t believe I just wrote 2019! I’ll have to get used to that. I really don’t know where 2018 went. Yet, I am excited to step into the new year. Are you?

As I write my novels, I think about what the character feel about the new years they stepSurround Me front (1) toward. Of course, I know, since I write historical fiction, what they are facing. But they don’t. In my Revolutionary Faith series, Louis and Elizabeth see 1773 through the eyes of the pre-revolution full of questions and hopeful outcomes; 1774 with the consequences of their choices looming but hazy; 1775 battle lines drawn, and a backward path blocked forever; and 1776, well we all know about the difficult walk to independence. I doubt they wanted any of that at the beginning, but each year brought challenges–some difficult, some full of joy.

2019 is just the same! Well, I hope there is not a revolution. I don’t know when I pass from 2018 to 2019 what changes I will have to make or difficulties I’ll have to face; but, I know God has plans for me and mine that I haven’t dreamed of yet. I can’t wait to share with you what I find out in the new year.

Here are a few of my goals (although they might change as life intervenes):

  1. Re-release of Surround Me, Jan. 1.
  2. Release of Bring Me Near, Feb.!!! So excited!Bring Me Near rough (3)
  3. Finish writing Draw Me to Your Side
    (Revolutionary Faith Book Four)
  4. Help build a deck.
  5. Travel with my husband to someplace adventurous. Banner Day

Here we all go whether we want to or not…..2019 awaits.

Do you have any goals or dreams for this year?

Last-Minute Details

 

 

Are you a last-minute shopper, decorator, or Christmas card sender? I will admit years ago I was the one who had everything done and in order by the first week of December. Yet for the last few years I have become more of a last-minute shopper and wrapper. Therefore, today, the Saturday before Christmas I wrapped, baked cookies, and watched Hallmark movies. I loved every minute of it. It doesn’t matter that Christmas is in three days.

IMG_6356What happened to make me change? Life happened and there have been other priorities. My life is simpler, and the gifts have taken a back seat to the real meaning and purpose of Christmas.

 

 

So, at this busy time of year, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I want you to enjoy the celebration of Jesus–his birth, his life, his gift of salvation to each of us.

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

       Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!!!

Catching Christmas Review and Giveaway

I am very excited to offer my review of Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas. I have read so many of her intriguing mystery and suspense novels. This one looks and reads and feels like Christmas. In addition to the tour giveaway, I am giving away one copy of Catching Christmas to someone who comments on this blog.

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Catching ChristmasCatching-Christmas-210x300

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 My Review

I have followed Terri Blackstock and her writing career since I lived in the same city as she did over twenty years ago. I even attended a workshop she taught. This novel shows a different, upbeat, feel-good side of her writing skill. If you want mystery and suspense that you usually find in many of her other books, Catching Christmas offers a different experience.

The festive cover features a little yellow taxi cab with gifts on top. This is definitely a book offering a gift of love, hope, second chances, and forgiveness through acts of giving and sacrifice.

I must admit I laughed and smiled a lot while curled up with this novel. Thank you, Terri, for a delightful Christmas–and life–tale.

I give Catching Christmas five stars.

About the Author

Terri-Blackstock-200x300Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

From Terri Blackstock

 

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

1e998299-1dd7-470d-9237-3d8e3cf18173To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

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/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Also, when you comment here, I will enter you in an additional giveaway of Catching Christmas from me.

Merry Christmas!

I Know the Plans Review and Giveaway

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: I Know the PlansI-Know-the-Plans-188x300

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Romance

Release Date: October, 2018

All the plans Tiffany and Brad made for their lives as individuals were thrown to the wind the moment they met. Now, after almost a decade of marriage, they spend more time apart than together. Though plans remain unfulfilled, their hearts seek to remain steadfast and connected.

After Brad returns from his latest tour in Afghanistan, it is evident that the man Tiffany married is no longer the same. As Brad struggles with reacquainting himself with his life, Tiffany questions how it could be part of God’s plan. Have the sins of their past finally come back to haunt them? No matter how much support they have in their family and friends, the choice is still theirs. Will they continue to trust God with their lives or will they choose their own course?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I Know the Plans challenges the reader to consider the reactions and choices we make on life’s journey. Plans change as circumstances and events creep in silently or with a bang.

This story involves a married couple who have decisions to render that will change their lives no matter what choice they make. Isn’t that the way in our lives? We cannot avoid a decision, but the choice can have a devastating outcome or a joyous resolution. As in Melissa’s novel, the challenges and paths ring with the truth that God knows the plans He has for each of us.

I appreciate the truths the author develops as harsh reality descends on her characters. Brad and Tiffany are vibrant, hurting individuals who have choices to make, none of which are part of their original plans. I enjoyed connecting with these real-life characters.

The whole series is worth the readers’ time. I give the novel 5 stars.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in the quaint town of Owosso, Michigan with her husband and Melissa-Wardwell-200x300their three teen aged children. She began her writing journey in August of 2014 with her debut novel “What God Brings Together”. She decided to give writing a try after she shared a story that nagged at her with a friend. Unsure in her own abilities to craft a story she plunged ahead anyway. After reading the first draft of that first book, she then understood that God had a much bigger plan. “God does not give his children a desire just so that it can go to waste.” Since then, she has added three more novels and taken part in two anthologies. Melissa also has a review blog and is a contributing blogger for Heart”wings” Blog.

Being a mother and wife herself, Melissa understands the importance of taking care of yourself from time to time. So, all her stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of their own.

To see the full list of her work, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

Guest Post from Melissa

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This verse has been my “Go To” verse since the day I married. It is a constant reminder that no matter what struggles I endure, God has a plan. I may not be able to see through the fog, I may not like or understand the journey, but it is all part of a plan. All I can do is trust God’s design for my life and be willing to move when He tells me to.

God used the writing process of “I Know the Plans” to remind me that He has a plan for me and book and I need to just trust the process. This book has taken me over a year to complete. If it wasn’t one thing to keep me from committing to it, then it was another. I don’t begrudge the events that kept me away, but as soon as I would begin to grumble to God about not having the energy or the brain power to write, I would get this preverbal reminder that I was not the one in control. If I am going to write faith lessons in fiction, I need to trust the Master Author.

In “I Know the Plans”, Sergeant Bradley Jones and his wife, Tiffany, are hit with one whopper of a plot twist that leaves them wondering if they can get through some major medical issues, PTSD, and infertility in one piece. Their family and friends do their best to support the couple but sometimes, trusting God’s plan is all they can do. Something we all try to learn to do in our own lives.

Due to the military thread in this book, I asked my veteran friends what charity they hold in high esteem. Almost every single one of them suggested “Wounded Warrior Project” and offered rave reviews of their humanitarian efforts in the military community. So, a portion of my royalties from this book will be going to “Wounded Warrior Project” in honor of their service and the service of thousands of others.

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

There is another group of people I wanted to honor. Those who fight with infertility. I know many who have fought the battle to have children of their own. Some eventually find success, while other have not. Some have even taken the route of adoption and have saved the lives of young ones who needed all the love in the world. Then there are some that just choose to embrace the fact that children of their own was not going to happen and have given all their love to others. All of these groups of people fight a battle that is riddled with pain, confusion, endless medical procedures, and thousands of dollars. There isn’t one group or anther that could support these people as much as our love, prayers, and thoughtful kindness can. So, I encourage you to embrace those around you and shower them with love. Sometimes what they need is just a friend that will listen and not try to mix the problem. Just as you have received the Father’s love, now you can give it away.

Finally, I want to thank the CelebrateLit blog team for signing up for this tour. I am honored that they choose to read this story and offer their honest opinions on this book. As always, I pray it ministers to the readers as much as it ministered to the author. “You all are amazing!”

Blessings,

Melissa Wardwell

Blog Stops

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 13

Real World Bible Study, December 13

Connect in Fiction, December 14

Inklings and notionsDecember 14

Godly Book Reviews, December 15

Blogging With Carol, December 15

Blossoms and Blessings, December 16

Mary Hake, December 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 17

Carpe Diem, December 17

Maureen’s Musings, December 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Christian Bookaholic, December 20

cultivating us, December 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 21

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

A Baker’s Perspective, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 24 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, December 25

The Becca Files, December 26

Bigreadersite, December 26

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away a grand prize that includes an “I know the plans” coffee mug and print copies of books 1, 2, & 3 from the Promises From Above Series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d76f/i-know-the-plans-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please comment here on this post.