Favorite CDs

img_6809.jpgI’m quick to share about my favorite novels, old friends that occupy so much of my time. But I also love to listen to music while writing, cleaning, cooking, driving, etc. Do you have favorite musical artists? Some of mine go way back and remain an inspiration or an encouragement.

My all-time favorite since the 80s is Celine Dion. I have most of her albums (CDs) even the ones in French. Each album seems to get better and better. I’ve only seen her in concert once, in San Antonio with my daughter. Spectacular performance.

img_6810.jpgOne of my most-recent favorites is Adele. What a voice and a presence. I turn her music up in the car or the house and join my voice with hers. I look forward to whatever she creates next.

img_6811.jpgI can’t forget the impressive “boy” group Il Divo. I saw them in concert in Kansas City years ago. No longer do I have to imagine their blended voices apart from their gorgeous sophisticated presence.

I still want to see Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Bublé in concert. Their love songs and hypnotic voices make me sing and dance.

My new Christian inspirational singers include anything by Lauren Daigle and Francesca Battistelli. If you haven’t listened to the words to some of their songs, I promise you will be blessed indeed.

Share some of your favorite musical artists.

What’s in a Cover?

Do you buy a book because of the cover? Or does it influence you only a little bit? I love covers, but all book covers do not have to have the same style for me to like them or to buy them. Here are the latest two covers for my Revolutionary Faith books. The cover artist is Roseanna White. I think she does an awesome job bringing my heroine to life. What do you think?

Of course, I am going to admire my own covers! Yet, there are so many more than I can study and appreciate for their own beauty. I do like an idea of what the author wants to portray about the heroine or the hero, as in Keely Brooke Keith’s Uncharted series or Tamara Leigh in her Middle Ages novels. The colors, costumes, houses, flowers, hair styles all draw me to participate in a visual image. Also, I can formulate my own picture through the author’s words.

Here are two other favorites: one takes me into the fairy tale world in Melanie Dickerson’s The Orphan’s Wish and another into the 2nd century in Lynne Gentry’s Healer of Carthage. In both I obtain a glimpse of the foreign worlds and times.

Does the cover have to be a photograph or realistic drawing with a person or people for you to enjoy the cover? Not for me. An example is Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle novel with a view from an old stone window. Diana Gabaldon’s early covers for her Outlander series did not have the photo of Jaime on the cover for them to sell. I would buy anything by her no matter what was on the cover.

Other books, especially older ones or ones focused on an image the reader would conjure in his/her imagination, include Jane Austen’s novels and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

I love a nice aesthetic cover, but the words are what truly mesmerizes me.

What do you like to see in a cover?

 

 

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?