Friday, March 27, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Digital 3/17 and Blu-ray 3/31

I'm pretty positive the timing couldn't have been any better. As soon as we started having everything shut down around us I received my copy of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker! We saw it in the theater and couldn't stop talking about it for days. To find out I had the opportunity to review it on Blu-ray... that couldn't be passed up.





BURBANK, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2020) — Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams’ riveting, inspiring conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, electrified audiences around the globe, earning more than a billion dollars worldwide. Soon fans can complete their collections when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and via Movies Anywhere on March 17, two weeks before it lands physically in 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on March 31.

Bonus material includes a feature-length, making-of documentary, which goes behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and explores the legacy of the Skywalker saga. Bonus features also dig into the film’s Pasaana desert scenes, including the thrilling landspeeder chase, and the ship in which Rey discovers family secrets as well as a new little droid named D-O. Plus, fans will hear from Warwick Davis, who reprises his role as Wicket the Ewok, as well as the creature effects team that created a record 584 creatures and droids for the film. Digital consumers will receive an exclusive feature highlighting legendary composer John Williams, who has scored every episode in the Skywalker saga.


Bonus features include*:
  • The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
Digital Exclusive:
  • The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.


The ninth and final episode in the Skywalker saga welcomed the return of original characters Luke Skywalker, General Leia Organa, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Emperor Palpatine and Lando Calrissian, along with the latest generation of heroes and villains, including Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Maz, Rose, General Hux and Kylo Ren. Newcomers include Jannah, a new ally of the Resistance; Allegiant General Pryde of the First Order; and smuggler Zorii Bliss.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is packaged several ways to ensure fans get the most out of their at-home viewing experience. The Multiscreen Edition includes Blu-ray and a Digital copy, giving viewers the flexibility to watch the film on different devices. Those with 4K Ultra HD capability may opt for a 4K UHD Ultimate Collector’s Edition, including 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a Digital copy. 4K Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of HD paired with fully immersive picture and sound and Dolby Atmos audio, allowing viewers at home to practically feel the Force.

On March 31, coinciding with the physical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, eight Star Wars films are being released on 4K UHD for the first time: Star Wars: The Phantom MenaceStar Wars: Attack of the ClonesStar Wars: Revenge of the SithStar Wars: A New HopeStar Wars: The Empire Strikes BackStar Wars: Return of the JediStar Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS:
FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 142 min.
RATING: PG-13 in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF
ASPECT RATIO: 2.39:1          
AUDIO:
4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus
Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD = English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (some platforms), English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
HD Digital = English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
SD Digital = English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
SUBTITLES:
4K UHD Blu-ray = English SDH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and French
Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French
DVD = English SDH, Spanish and French
Digital = English SDH, French, Spanish (some platforms)

SOCIAL MEDIA:      
Website:
https://www.starwars.com/films/star-wars-episode-ix-the-rise-of-skywalker
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/starwars
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/starwars
Instagram:
http://instagram.com/starwars
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/starwars


ABOUT STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Richard E. Grant (General Pryde), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Keri Russell (Zorii Bliss), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), with Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian).

The film is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. Callum Greene, Tommy Gormley and Jason McGatlin serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams and the story is by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio, based on characters created by George Lucas. Composer John Williams, who has scored every episode in the Skywalker saga since 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, returns for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

ABOUT LUCASFILM LTD.
Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company's activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California. Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. ©2020 & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.



MOVIES ANYWHERE (MA)
Movies Anywhere simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Movies Anywhere brings together the movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers are iTunes. Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNOW. Movies Anywhere offers a library of over 7,500 digital movies, including new releases, and will continue to expand the consumer experience as more content providers, digital retailers and platforms are added. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can connect their Movies Anywhere account with participating digital retailers and enjoy their favorite digital movies from the comfort of their living room and across multiple devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Apple TV; Chromecast; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Roku® devices, Windows 10 and Xbox devices; and popular browsers. Consumers can also redeem digital codes found in eligible Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD packages from participating studios and enjoy them through Movies Anywhere.


ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
For over 95 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today it brings quality movies, episodic storytelling, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. The Walt Disney Studios encompasses a collection of respected film studios, including Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Blue Sky Studios. It is also home to Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, and Disney Theatrical Productions, producer of world-class stage shows.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Runaway Bride By Jody Hedlund

The Runaway Bride
by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232961

Once again I've gone and read a book out of order. I'm happy to say that it's been several months since I've done that! Bethany House sent me book 2 of The Bride Ships series for review.

Summary:

Haunted by Mistakes in Her Past, Will She Ever Again
Trust Her Heart to Another?
Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need--a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

My Review:

This was my first book by this author as well as reading a story based on bride ships. I knew based on the summary that this was going to be a fascinating book with a lot happening at once. What I wasn't expecting was needing my own fan for some of the "almost" romantic scenes.

The Runaway Bride starts off with us meeting Arabella as the bride ship is pulling into Victoria. You can sense her concern right from the start. You definitely get the feeling she's wondering what she's gotten herself into. I appreciate that the author gives us glimpses throughout the story as to why Arabella was on this ship in the first place.

At first I was a bit annoyed with Arabella's constant thoughts of how she should behave. Like, who seriously thought that way? Then it was made clear that her stepmother drilled it into her time and time again what society expects from women of her status. That would've been enough to put me on a bride ship!

It was easy to like Lieutenant Drummond at the start. Being a gentleman in the Navy, he understands high society and status. He seems to be be drawn to Arabella like moths to a flame. Then there's Peter Kelly. He's definitely low society, but he doesn't care one whit about society standards. You kind of want to pull for him from the start.

One of the elements I like the most about this story was how descriptive the landscape was. When Peter would go out in his canoe, I almost felt like I could imagine the scenery. I was really transported to this little village through the writing.

Of course one of the most important pieces to this story are the Native Americans who are displaced and treated so terribly. I didn't realize in Canada they had been pushed out of their land with smallpox to decrease their numbers. I thought that only happened in America. It was heartbreaking to read, even in a fictional setting.

Now, things do get hot and heavy when it comes to the romance. Nothing inappropriate happens in the story, but whew mama is the romance strong. lol If you enjoy historical fiction with a heavy dose of romance, you will hit both nails on the head with The Runaway Bride! I already ordered book one before I even started this book so I'm looking forward to reading it next.

About the Author:

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the author of over 20 novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy Award, Carol Award, and Christian Book Award. She received a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Dream Horse Adventures Series By Susan Count

Dream Horse Adventures Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for Dream Horse Adventures series by Susan Count, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Mary's Song Title: Mary's Song
Series: Dream Horse Adventures #1
Author: Susan Count
Publisher: Hastings Creations
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Release Date: October 13, 2016

A young artist falls in love with a foal that is lame, just like her. The expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct the problem. Still Mary plots and conspires to raise money to save the horse, even as time runs out.

She sacrifices what she holds dear - the trust of her papa, to gain her heart's desire. But she could lose everything in her struggle to save the foal.



PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository


Selah's Sweet Dream Title: Selah's Sweet Dream
Series: Dream Horse Adventures #2
Author: Susan Count
Publisher: Hastings Creations
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Release Date: December 15, 2015

Twelve-year-old Selah’s quest to be equestrian superstar is impossible without a horse. Then she spots buzzards circling in the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They’re stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope. But the mare she rescues might be a bigger challenge to her dream than not having a horse at all.

An old friend of Grandpa’s and a world renowned horse trainer offers to work with the wild and defiant mare. Selah jumps at the opportunity. She trains with a fierce determination to equal the equestrian talent of the deceased grandmother who instilled the love of horse in her. But when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility, he sends them home. Selah must gather her courage and face up to the trainer or watch her dreams gallop away

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository

Selah's Painted Dream Title: Selah's Painted Dream
Series: Dream Horse Adventures #3
Author: Susan Count
Publisher: Hastings Creations
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Release Date: May 7, 2018

Unless thirteen-year-old Selah can convince Grandpa she should live at the farm, her life is ruined. She'll be forced to move hours from her horse and abandon her equestrian dreams.

Determined to stay, Selah must distract Grandpa from his new sweetheart. She searches for a painted dream horse from Grandpa's past. But, Selah finds his old equine partner neglected and near death.

Then Grandpa reveals his life changing decision that tramples Selah's plans. Will the one thing that stood in Selah's way become her saving grace?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository

Selah's Stolen Dream Title: Selah's Stolen Dream
Series: Dream Horse Adventures #4
Author: Susan Count
Publisher: Hastings Creations
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Release Date: October 13, 2016

One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat.

Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Count

Susan Count is a life-long equestrian and owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse that is kind hearted enough to take her on long forested trail rides. She adores grandchildren, horses, and bunnies. 

Instilled with the need to create, she loves building projects and writing adventure stories. She writes at an antique secretary desk that occupies a glass room with a forest view. Fittingly, it once belonged to the grandmother who introduced her to the love of reading via Walter Farley's horse books. That desk has secret compartments which hold memories, mysteries, and story ideas.

Susan has published four books in an equestrian series. As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Texas Association of Authors, she takes studying the craft of writing seriously. Revision is her super-power.

 She says the only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories and she invites you to saddle up and ride along. You can learn more about Susan's work by visiting her website!

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest



TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of Selah's Secret Dream, Selah's Painted Dream, and Selah's Stolen Dream plus a $25 Amazon gift card!

Dream Horse Adventures JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 5, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on March 12, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Continental US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Like Flames In The Night By Connilyn Cossette

Like Flames in the Night
by Connilyn Cossette
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764234330

I am so thankful to be on the launch team for Connilyn Cossette's newest release! I was sent Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette as part of her launch team.

Summary:

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander's kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached--strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam's thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he's come to love?

My Review:

I have fallen in love with biblical fiction thanks to this series! Connilyn's gift of bringing the Old Testament to life is breathtaking!

I was surprised at how different Like Flames in the Night is from her other 3 books while staying true to the overall theme of the book. Each of the stories have had strong women in them, but this time, Tirzah is in a league of her own!

Her ability to convince her brothers to send her into the viper's den shows her tenacity and wit! We also see how young she still is with choices she makes. I was also surprised by Liyam as a character. You immediately feel for him with the great loss he's had in his life. It felt so right to have him connect with Tirzah's family after all they've been through.

It didn't surprise me at all how attached I became to even supporting characters. You can feel the relationship the main characters have with them, so it helps the reader become more infused with the story.

At times I found myself holding my breath not knowing what's about to happen as well as smacking my head talking to the book and say, "What are you thinking?" You know my reading is going splendidly when that happens. As a "bystander" I appreciated how the author brought Liyam and Tirzah together. Of course, I was rooting for them to be brought together, all the while knowing Liyam's heart was bent towards vengeance.

Like Flames in the Night was a book I wanted to devour while at the same time slowly enjoy ever morsel of the story knowing that when I reached the end the series would be finished and I'd have to put Darek and Moriyah's family behind me. One of my all-time favorite leading men will always be Darek.

About the Author:

Connilyn Cossette (www.connilyncossette.com)is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas, their home.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Ishmael Covenant By Terry Brennan & Giveaway

Ishmael Covenant
by Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 9780825445309

I haven't read Terry Brennan before and have heard fantastic things about his writing. Because of that I was thrilled to be part of the book tour. I received the book for review from I Read with Audra!

Summary:

His marriage in tatters and his career ruined by lies, Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney is at the end of his rope. Banished to Israel as punishment by his agency, he's assigned to guard a US ambassador and an insignificant box. Little does he know that this new job will propel him straight into a crisis of global proportions.

Inside the box is a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world. And a dark enemy known as The Turk and the forces of evil at his command are determined to destroy the box, the prophecy, and the Middle East as we know it. When Ambassador Cleveland gets in the way, his life and his daughter's life are threatened--and Mullaney must act fast.

Now agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed. And a traitor in the US State Department is leaking critical information to a foreign power. It's up to Mullaney--still struggling with his own broken future--to protect the embassy staff, thwart the clandestine conspiracies, and unmask a traitor--before the desert is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

Fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Steven James, and Ted Dekker will relish the deadly whirlpool of international intrigue and end-times prophecy in Ishmael Covenant--and will eagerly await the rest of this new trilogy.

Read an excerpt from Kregel by clicking here!

My Review:

Wow, I can see why people have recommended Terry Brennan before. He is a very in-depth writer! Now, I have to say, I don't typically read books with this much detail. I'm at a loss for keeping the factions straight in the Middle East. I've never learned a lot about the different empires and how they're so different, how far back the rift has gone, etc.

The author's research and understanding of the conflict in the Middle East was mind boggling to me. Honestly I felt like I should've probably kept notes as I read the book! At least when it came to which faction was which. In the end, the prophecies were the most important factor for me to focus on. As I read the book, I kept thinking of my father-in-law who loves books like these. Then I recommended it to one of our elders when I found out that he enjoys government thrillers. This would be right up their alleys!

I was absolutely sucked into the story with the prologue! I did appreciate the author's inclusion of the cast of characters since there are so many to keep track of. One of the characters I liked the most throughout the entire story was Tommy Hernandez. He brings levity to the story, but is the guy I'd turn to to get me somewhere safe!

On the other hand, the Turk is a terrifying character! He'll probably go down as one of my most disliked aka well written villains. Imagining the one that is being restrained now, but waiting to be released is really freaky!

Like I said, I was sucked into the story from the start and it's a very intense one! Terry's writing will definitely appeal to people who like current international events. Readers who are into end times prophecy will really be into this story! If you like these types of stories, Ishmael Covenant is NOT to be missed!

About the Author:

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA)Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless,  both in New York City.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, CT.

More on Brennan can be found at www.terrybrennanauthor.com. He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan)and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).

You can enter to win this book via the link below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Cry Of The Raven By Morgan L. Busse

The Cry of the Raven
by Morgan L. Busse
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232244

Having read book one of The Ravenwood Saga at the end of 2018 I was glad my son received book 2 for Christmas. The timing was impeccable as book 3 came out in February and I was offered to receive The Cry of the Raven by the author! There was NO way I was going to say, "No," to that offer!

Summary:

Wife. Warrior. Lady of Two Worlds.
As War Looms, Will Her Power Be Enough to Save the Ones She Loves? 
Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker--a power greater than any in history. She embraces her new role as Nightwatcher, able to intercede for her people in the dream world, but the dark shadow of war draws ever closer. 

Working together, the Great Houses come up with a plan to secure the borders from the approaching Dominia Empire. But dissension, conflict, and suspicion threaten to destroy their tenuous treaty, and as the empire burns a path across their lands, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire's attacks. 

The only one who can keep the Great Houses unified and restore her husband's power is Selene. But it will require that she venture deep into the dream world to confront the enemies of her past who will do anything to stop her power. Will it be enough, or will both worlds fall under the empire's might?

My Review:

I have to admit, closing the page on book 2 and opening page one with book 3 was a seamless move and one I would suggest for anyone reading this series!

The Cry of the Raven. This was such an excellent final installment of The Ravenwood Saga. To me, the spiritual aspect of the stories ramped up in beauty with each book. Their faith deepened and became more relevant to the story as it progressed. As you read the story you'll understand what I mean.

Watching Selene grow throughout the series has been incredible. I went from giving her the side eye in book one to really cheering for her in the last two books. And of course there's Damien who I'd say readers (at least I) have loved from book 1. But what's a guy to do who's carried the weight of the kingdoms on his shoulders?

It was incredible to get to know the other kingdoms better during book three. So many secrets revealed. Stories of the past that come to light threaten to tear them all apart. The way Morgan L. Busse wove the story together that has you invested in the choices they make.

The family dynamics and Selene's growing strength in the dream world carries through the entire story. How the author brings the whole story together with the faith element beautifully solidified this book and this series as one of my top favorites and this book specifically will get a 5star rating from me.

Now on to read ALL of Morgan's other novels!

About the Author:

Morgan L. Busse (www.morganlbusse.com) is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. Mark of the Raven won the 2019 Carol Award and the 2019 INSPY Award. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. She and her family live in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Off The Hook By Dana Tibbitts & Patti Goldberg

Off the Hook
by Dana Tibbitts & Patti Goldberg
Publisher: Hidden Manna Ministries
ISBN: 978-0-985097837

I was sent this book from FrontGate Media for review. I know I don't often review non-fiction, but forgiveness is such a vital part to our walk with Christ I wanted to check this one out.

Summary:

SO YOU THINK YOU'VE FORGIVEN? THINK AGAIN. Is there something you’ve inadvertently picked up along the way that’s sucking the life out of you? Stealing your peace? Has you stuck? Stuck happens. Much as we think we’ve moved on, hard things have a way of taking root in the heartscape of our lives. Off the Hook shares real life stories of real people who had no idea they were still captive to past hurts—until they walked through deep forgiveness! This way of forgiveness offers healing and freedom you never thought possible. It’s about the power of truly letting go—taking old pain patterns and people off your hook, for your sake, not theirs. No longer hemmed in by the burden of deep hurt, loss and offense, you are free at last to soar above it. Discover what no one has told you about the forgiveness power tool—what it is, what it is not, and how to do it. Rewrite the ending to your true story by retrieving the wellbeing and destiny God has for you.



My Review:

I was surprised at how in depth Off the Hook was. It was also written in a way that digestible for readers. Forgiveness can easily be a heavy topic to tackle, but the authors do so in a very grace-filled way. I appreciated that for readers such as myself, each chapter is broken down in a way that makes it easy for the reader to take in what's being said, mull it over, and then continue reading.

One of the pieces of the book that I really appreciated were the stories that went along with the segment of the chapter they were covering. I'll admit, the first part of chapter 1 struck a chord with me. I'm not always the greatest at building up my husband and I don't ever want him to look back at our relationship and see me the way their example did to his ex-wife.

We all have to deal with forgiveness. While it's going to be on a different level for each of us, what's shared in this book is practical for everyone. The scripture that they pair with the area of forgiveness that's covered is vital to us understanding the power of forgiveness and what God calls us to. This is a book I'll be suggesting to my book club, because I believe we can all use it in our lives.

Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of the book. You can also get the book with the Kindle Countdown set for February 20-27, starting at $0.99 1st day. (Regular price $5.99)!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Tuesday Ten With Sandra Byrd

It's time once again for today's Tuesday Ten! I know that it's been a while, but life has been NUTS since the start of the year. I'm so excited to have the wonderful Sandra Byrd on my blog today!



Q1: If you could go to any location in Washington to find inspiration for your next story, where would you go?

Sandra: Happily, my next book is set in Washington, on one of my two favorite places in my home state, Whidbey Island. 

Mimi: In all the years I lived there I never went to Whidbey Island. IF I were a writer I'd probably go to Olympic State Park because it's so stunning!


Q2: We're visiting England together, and you want to take me to tea. Where are we going and what kind of tea do you suggest I try?

Sandra: Oh, Claridge’s, absolutely.  There are many other places to try, in London, but Claridge’s has my heart.  (Scroll down to see the Tea, in this link.) The history behind the hotel is a story in itself—and I do think a book has been written about that—but the tea and tea treats are delightful.

The setting is amazing, and you can eat as much as you like.  I don’t think they counted on my then-teenaged son eating so many plates of dainties one time when we visited. But they were gracious!

Mimi: Oh my word, I'm ready to go there when you are! It sounds absolutely delightful and I'd make the most of the food as well!


Q3: What inspired you to start your tea & coffee mug exchange?

Sandra: When I was a kid, I loved it when my school would set us up with pen pals  - I looked forward to it all year. As a teen, I loved one summer’s month in France, and one in Germany, and how it expanded my understanding of the world, and friendship. 
Later, my husband and I hosted students from other cultures and made lifelong friends.

I love the idea of connecting reading friends I love with other reading friends I love.  I hope your blog readers will join us in 2020!

Mimi: I have enjoyed the two ladies I've done the exchanges with! I appreciate that you created this experience for all who participate!


Q4: You're given the opportunity to dress up and act in character in Williamsburg (or anywhere they have period actors) as one of the characters in your book. Which character would it be?

Sandra: Anne Boleyn, for sure.  I’m a dark brunette, and my husband is a strawberry-blonde like Henry XIII and can grow a huge, bristly beard if he wants to. I suggested he grow his beard, get costumes, and host a party.  He didn’t dig the idea of being Henry XIII. 😊 I know people think about the traumatic parts of her life, and there’s a lot of shaming that doesn’t show the whole woman.  I think she was a powerful – if imperfect – aid to the Protestant Reformation, which eventually led to tightening and strengthening the Catholic church, too.

I think I’d pick a period early in her marriage, though, for obvious reasons!

Mimi: lol I'd go with an earlier period of her life as well! I've been thinking about this, and I don't think I'd want to be a specific character, but maybe someone who was in the upper class so I could enjoy the gowns and parties... even if just for a day!


Q5: If you could go to Israel and visit one spot where Jesus had been, where would you go?

Sandra: Sea of Galilee. I have seen so many beautiful photos, and I can close my eyes and imagine being there with the first-century disciples.  I hope we can go some time.

Mimi: I think I'd want to go to Gethsemane. I've never felt a huge pull to go to Israel, but I know if I ever went it would be more that I could ever imagine.


Q6: What facet do you enjoy most when you're researching history for your period books? Is it the clothing, how they spoke, the setting, etc.?

Sandra: I am an immersive researcher. I eat what they ate (yes, even eels!) and try to walk where they walked. I watch films and read dozens of books.  I listen to YouTubes of dialogue and interview as many people as I can. I care immensely about getting the details right, whether they be cultural, professional, or personal. I hope that when my readers slip into the pages of the book, they are right there – and then – too!

Mimi: I really appreciate that as one of your readers! I definitely feel like the time period comes to life with your books. I can admit that I cringed when I read about you eating eels. 😬


Q7: If you could design your dream library, what would it look like? Would it be big with rows and rows of bookshelves? Would it be small and cozy?

Sandra: I have books in every single room of my house. Honestly, they are friends, and my home would feel naked and soulless without them.  So, I seek to make special places in each room a nook – or a shelf – for books, rather than one dedicated library.

Mimi: My dream would be to have a room with walls of books and there would definitely have to be a sliding ladder! But I'm with you, I like having friends nearby so having them in each room is fantastic! I have them around my house as well!

Q8: Since you do book coaching, do you ever find yourself giving a tip that you realize you should've used in your writing? Can you give us an example?

Sandra: I hope that, when I coach, I help my clients learn from the many years I have been writing, coaching, and editing.  I want to help them avoid potential pitfalls, when I can, and give them skills and tools it took me years to learn.  I wish I would have learned much earlier in my career how important it is to structure a novel a bit before writing it. It would have saved me many long deletions! I show my clients how to structure and create while retaining their voices.

Mimi: So fantastic that you are able to pass on what you've learned over the years from your own experiences.

Q9: What do you do to get into your "zone" as you prepare to start writing your next book?

Sandra: Once I slip into the next book, I am almost always in the zone.  I see things all around me with a view to the story. I take notes on my phone when I’m with my friends or family and something occurs. I cook from the culture or preferences of my characters. All of my reading and much of my tv is geared toward supporting the book. I slip away, as it were, and don’t really emerge until the draft is done.  The time at the computer is just an extension of that.

Mimi: Aside from the eels, I'd love to be around you as you're creating your books where the food is concerned. lol Sounds like you become one with the creation of the book as you're in process. That's incredible!

Q10: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Oh, and it's going to be the setting of your next book! 

Yes, ma’am, it is! Whidbey Island, and I’ll be there in just a few weeks and popping in and out all summer long!

Mimi: Sounds like a fantastic way to spend your days doing research, especially during the summer!


Be sure to keep up with Sandra via her newsletter from her website or on Instagram!

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.