Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Heart's Charge By Karen Witemeyer

The Heart's Charge
by Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Hanger's Horsemen
ISBN: 9780764232084

As an avid Karen Witemeyer fan, I was thrilled to be chosen to join her launch team for book 2 in her Hanger's Horsemen series. Just over a year ago I was able to read At Love's Command, the first story in the series. I was sent the book for review.

Summary:

For Years They've Been Nomads for Justice, but a Final Mission May Just Lead Their Hearts Home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

My Review:

Ok, first of all, the cover to The Heart's Charge is amazing! Nothing like a man on horseback! Jonah and Mark start off this story ready to charge in and save the day, but little do they know they're putting their lives in danger to help a woman in labor...who's wielding a gun!

The whole situation of Mark helping to deliver the baby left me laughing as do several other scenes throughout the story. I liked how this baby's birth knocked the rest of the story into place. It's a great way of showing how God can move in the lives of His people.

It was fun to have 2 main characters in this book! I enjoyed how the author gave them a blended storyline while also having individual ones as well. While Jonah and Mark are similar men, their lives have been very different. I liked them getting to know the ladies running Harmony House. Is it sad that I wish they would've been on the cover too? lol

Watching how their lives converged throughout this story made my heart full! Mark and Katherine having left their well bread lives behind as well as their history, but now they come face to face with each other again. Jonah not even considering a future that would include a woman and Eliza whose life is set to run Harmony House with Katherine, have time to get to know each other as the men try to figure out what's happening to boxcar children who might be going missing.

While there's a lot going on in this story, it all flows smoothly and pulls us along throughout. As with all of Karen's books, I appreciated the faith element scattered throughout the story. It was good to see God moving in the story and the character's lives.

I'm thoroughly looking forward to the last although I'm not ready for the series to be over yet!

About the Author:

Voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer(www.karenwitemeyer.com) offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men Audiobook & GIVEAWAY

 <Moms Raising Sons to Be Men JustListen Audiobook Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the JustListen Blog + Review Tour for Moms Raising Sons to Be Men by Rhonda Stoppe, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I was given the opportunity to listen to this audiobook for this review.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Title: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Author: Rhonda Stoppe
Publisher: Christian Audio
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Genre: Nonfiction / Christian Family / Christian Living

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman's life. Drawing from years of ministering to youth and to women and from her own parenting experience, Rhonda provides refreshingly relevant guidance, biblical and contemporary examples, and humorous insights to help each listener discover how to guide a son without hovering and smothering; how every action and choice can serve a godly goal; ways to communicate so a boy will listen and be heard; and God's power and grace to become-and give-her best.

Packed with practical help from parenting experts and other moms, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man. 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christian Audio | Christianbook | IndieBound | BookBub

FACEBOOK SUMMER BOOK CLUB

Listen to (or read) one chapter per week and join Rhonda live on Wednesdays at 11 am Pacific to chat about the chapter & help YOU apply insights to raising your son. Rhonda will answer your questions in the comments too! Join the Summer Book Club Facebook Group.

My Review:

Being a mom of 2 grown boys, I think this is an incredible resource for any mom of a boy(s)! The author make sure every mom knows the most important piece of raising boys - God. Everything we do as moms should point our boys to God. Listen, we're not perfect and that needs to be kept in mind no matter what parenting resource we use.

The author gives incredible examples of men and women of the Bible who either should be given as examples to our boys or as moms we should emulate. Another aspect that I can't say enough about is being surrounded by other believing moms who will come alongside you on this parenting journey. I remember how much I relied on my friends when I was a single mom to help me pray for my children and to encourage me.

There are so many nuggets of wisdom to take away from this book. She has 7 principles that she goes through to help you with raising your sons. Scripture you can turn to, the importance of prayer, your example, and so much more have a profound impact on your son(s). Yes, my boys are grown now, but I STILL put int lots of bookmarks throughout listening to the book. I think this is one of those books we should gift to moms when they give birth to little boys so they can see the importance of starting off right!

As Christian parents we have a duty to raise our kids, not just our sons, to know the Lord. We, as moms, have the most profound effect on our boys. These little boys become men one day and how do we want them to turn out? Do we want them to be thoughtful, kind, loving, etc? If so, we need to start training them up from the start to love God.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe is a popular Christian speaker and author of 6 books. She’s a favorite radio and podcast guest, appearing frequently on Focus on the Family. With over 30 years experience of helping women build a No Regrets Life. Rhonda helps women to discover significance and purpose for their lives, impact the moral fiber of the next generation by raising children with integrity, find victory over people-pleasing, parent without regrets, enjoy a marriage others dream about, build an incredible legacy, and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible.

Join Rhonda’s FREE NoRegretsWoman Community by signing up for her newsletter. To learn more about Rhonda’s books and schedule her to speak at your event visit: NoRegretsWoman.com

CONNECT WITH RHONDA:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men and a code to download the free audiobook
AND
(1) winner will receive a 15-minute boy-mom coaching call with Rhonda Stoppe

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 15, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 22, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Zonderkidz Summer Reading

I have to tell you, I was SO excited for the timing of the two books I am reviewing today. They showed up on my doorstep the day before I was heading to see my granddaughter! What I forgot though was that I have actually reviewed Fiona It's Bedtime before! Ooops. This time it's a board book so in that sense it's different. BUT, what IS different this time is that my granddaughter is here and I was able to read this to her. It's wonderful that she'll be able to enjoy the board book now and enjoy the hardcover when she's a bit older. I just enjoy the Fiona books so much I want them all. I should've done the Early Reader books as well, but she's got quite a bit of time before she's there yet.

Here are my reviews for both books I received!

The Beginner's Bible First 100 Animal Words
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310770633

Summary:

Are you looking for a fun way to teach your toddler about animals? Early readers will learn their first animal words set within classic Bible stories with The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Animal Words.

Presenting child-friendly illustrations, this beautifully illustrated board book offers:

  • Emerging readers ages 0-4 an opportunity to learn words from beloved Bible stories
  • A sturdy format that is perfect for toddlers’ little hands
  • Engaging 3D art with plenty of details to hold a young child’s attention 

The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Animals Words is great for:

  • Birthdays, Easter baskets, Children's Baptism and holiday gifting
  • Road trips, boredom busters, and activity time
  • Home school and Children’s Ministry (Sunday school) use

The Beginner's Bible has been a favorite illustrated Bible with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Followers of this brand should also check out The Beginner’s Bible First 100 Bible WordsThe Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Letters, and The Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Numbers.

My Review:

It was really fun to go through this book with my granddaughter. Yes, she's still a baby, but the illustrations are so colorful! With 100 animals Zonderkidz had a fun array of them to teach my granddaughter about. They used animals and words that you might not find with a traditional book to teach about animals. I mean, how often do you read the word "sand cat" to an infant?

I hadn't thought about how many animals one could learn about through the Bible unless it was the plagues or a talking donkey, BUT, The Beginners Bible did a great job of coming up with a fun selection of them such as the kind the disciples who were fishermen might've encountered!

I would've thought they'd go in order of Biblical accounts, but they had Genesis 1 after Genesis 2. It was strange reading about Adam naming the animals and then reading that God made the animals. Just one of those things that makes me twitchy.

Fiona It's Bedtime
(Board Book)
Illustrated by: Richard Cowdrey
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310767749

Summary:

Join your favorite hippo, Fiona, in this cuddly read-aloud picture book as she says good night to all her animal friends at the zoo before she snuggles up with her mama and settles in for a warm and safe slumber—encouraging your own child to drift off to sleep with their own bedtime routine.

A follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Fiona the Hippo and A Very Fiona ChristmasFiona, It’s Bedtime is the first sleepy time board book starring the adorable internet sensation from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

This board book edition is great for little hands that love to explore. Fiona, It's Bedtime:

  • Features art by New York Times bestselling artist Richard Cowdrey (Fiona the HippoBad Dog, Marley)
  • Takes kids on a nighttime adventure as they get to see how the zoo animals sleep at night
  • Has fun, rhyming text that will engage children while soothing them for their own bedtime ritual

Fiona, It’s Bedtime is the perfect gift for Fiona enthusiasts, birthdays, holiday gift giving, and any animal lover who’s ready for a story that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit cuddly, and a little bit different than other read-aloud bedtime board books.

Check out other titles in the Fiona the Hippo series: Fiona the Hippo and A Very Fiona Christmas


My Review:

There's just something about an adorable hippo getting ready for bed at the zoo that is irresistible! As with the hardcover that I reviewed, this board book is absolutely precious. The illustrations are sweet and soft looking. You may think this book might only appeal to the little ones, but once you turn the first page, as a mama, grandma, daddy, or grandpa, you'll be just as enthralled as they are!

Visiting the animals like the otter family or tortoises, Fiona sees how all of the other animals fall asleep.  How could you not want to hug up to her as she's going to sleep and fall asleep right along with her? The poem on each page is delightful and I think each child will be drawn into the story though each one. This story will make you want to have more of Fiona's experiences at the zoo!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Between The Wild Branches By Connilyn Cossette

Between the Wild Branches
by Connilyn Cossette
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: The Covenant House
ISBN: 9780764234354

Ok, I don't like to play favorites, BUT, when it comes to Biblical fiction, Connilyn Cossette holds a special place in my heart. I had just learned about the "cities of refuge" in the Bible when I read her Cities of Refuge series the past couple of years. She brought that time period to life in an incredible way for me. SO, when I had the opportunity to join her launch team for book 2 in her The Covenant House series, I couldn't say, "No." I was sent her book for review.

Summary: 

Finding a Way to Freedom Might Cost Them Everything

Lukio has spent the past decade as a famous Philistine fighter, achieving every material goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. He's also spent the time burying painful memories of betrayal that he associates with the Levite family that guards the Ark of the Covenant and once adopted him. Now, just as the champion of Ashdod is set to claim the biggest prize of all--the daughter of the king--his past collides with his present. 

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought she'd never again see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to recognize the brutal fighter known as Demon Eyes. 

When their renewed connection threatens to expose Shoshana's dangerous secrets, Lukio must decide how far he'll go to face his past and keep her protected.

My Review:

It's not often that when I start the next book in a series that my mind still feels so fresh from the previous one. Well, with Between the Wild Branches certainly felt like it picked up with my emotions right where To Dwell Among Cedars left off - at least with my emotions towards Lukio.

I wasn't surprised to find Lukio exactly where I expected - in a fight for money. Sigh... it was rough to find him in such conditions, but that seemed to be what he was searching for when he left Kirya-Yearim all those years ago. He really was just a heart broken, lost boy back then. While my heart went out to him, I was also frustrated with him. lol

I think Lukio reminds me of all of us in one way or another to some extent. We're all trying to find our purpose. Some of us are running because we don't know what that purpose is and the running makes us feel safe only to find out we're not where we thought we'd be.

It was such an interesting idea to be drawn into Philistia fictional world. The way we see them in the Bible as so ruthless and following idols, I liked how the author created an idea of what it was like during those times. And for her to bring Shoshana into this difficult world brought the story to life.

To see Lukio now through not only Shoshana's eyes, but also through the eyes of the Philistines was quite the dichotomy. When she first was remembering their childhood together in book one, I felt like I was remembering it at the same time. I could also feel the tension of having lived in two different worlds for Lukio. He can see his future with King Nicaro's daughter, but now he's being reminded of his past.

I loved watching God's hand move throughout this entire story! We know about the Ark and it being sent back to the Israelites, but to get a glimpse of slaves in Philistia and how God uses people to rescue them is wonderful! The way He ties people together to work for His good! So well done!!

Of course, the redemption thread in the story is, to me, the most important one. Also, grace and mercy are shown through a variety of characters in the story. All important ones for us to use as examples in our own lives. Betrayal comes with a price, but when there's a chance to give mercy and/or grace, that we should take the opportunity to do so!

I can't wait to see what Connilyn Cossette has up her sleeve for her next novel, but not matter what, I'll be first in line to read it!!

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, June 7, 2021

Come Back To Me By Jody Hedlund

come back to me
by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Revell
Series: Waters of Time
ISBN: 9780800738433

I am thrilled to have been chosen to be on the launch team for the first book in Jody Hedlund's new series Waters of Time. I jumped in knowing nothing about the book other than time travel was involved! I enjoy the author's writing enough to not know a single thing about a story and want to read whatever she wrote! I was sent the book for review.

Summary:

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That's exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father's quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He's left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he's crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian's rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to? 

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

My Review:

This. Book. Was. Excellent!

I had NO clue what to expect from Come Back to Me other than it was time travel. The cover called my name when the opportunity to join the launch team came up, and I had to respond! I think the cover alone will be a favorite of 2021, but will rank up there as one of my top favorites period.

Jody Hedlund is a prolific writer and I think she could write about a sack of potatoes and it would come out amazing. This time she sends us back to 1381 and you need to join us on this adventure.

We meet Marian who is just your everyday, ordinary research scientist whose mom has passed away, her sister is very sick, and her father is in a coma. No big deal other than the fact that there are so many things wrong with the scenario Marian can't help but try to figure out what's going on.

I really liked her character. Marian is caring yet strong willed; thoughtful yet a force of nature; loving yet determined. This all helps her start to put the pieces together of what her father was working on in England. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse and those pieces start to come together and people start getting hurt.

I loved how the author seamlessly wove the future into the past and brought Marian there to get answers. Leading up to it made my heart start to race. Oh my goodness, I knew I was going to love this story.

And then there's William Durham. You could easily feel the same appreciation Marian had for him as she gazed upon him and then as she got to know him. I mean, imagine a knight in fine fighting form in 1381. Their quick acquaintance leads to a situation neither expected!

Now let me tell you something. If you want romance, to feel it in a palpable way, to feel like you need to find a fan to cool yourself down, but in a way that doesn't cross lines... do. not. miss. this. book. Oh heavens to Betsy, the author outdid herself with Will and Marian's story. Is it cheesy to feel like their love was timeless? And it wasn't really instantaneous. Those tropes annoy the life out of me. No, this was different. There was this connection that you just knew. It wasn't contrived. It wasn't forced. It WAS a force!

Now, I felt for Marian as she was a 21st Century gal who likes her modern conveniences! In 1381, there were nowhere to be found. But, she had to find ways to communicate with the present because she kept having moments where she would come back to the "now" and then slip back to the past. What her father had learned, and she had now learned could be world altering. So many choices to make, but what would be the right one?

I have NO clue what book 2 will be like, but I hope we get to be with Will and Marian again!

About the Author:

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. She loves to imagine that she really can visit the past, although she's yet to accomplish the feat, except via the many books she reads.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Power Play By Rachel Dylan

POWER PLAY
by Rachel Dylan
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Capital Intrigue
ISBN: 9780764234323

I'm always a little sad when the last book in a series comes out. I was excited to be chosen to participate in Rachel's launch team for the book. It's the first time I've been able to partner with her. She sent me her book to help facilitate this review.

Summary:

Trapped in a dangerous game, can she counter the enemy's deadly power play?

When Vivian Steele, an attorney at the State Department, witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event's security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, unhampered by rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, she turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob's reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

My Review:

Ok. I loved Viv's story in Power Play!! I enjoyed how unique each storyline was, but for some reason, I liked Vivian's the best. Maybe I'm just saying that because I just read it, but I don't think so. Viv wasn't a special ops person or have skills other than being an attorney. Unfortunately, that doesn't keep her behind the scenes like she would like. Two deaths at a dinner put her in danger and things spiral out of control from there.

And then, hello, there's Jacob. Brooding and intense former SEAL... he is at the diplomatic dinner for one reason only - security. I liked that neither was keen on each other from the start and he didn't have a favorable opinion of attorneys. hahaha

There were multiple storylines going on and each of them was intense. I liked that they veered off with each of the deaths and that we followed the trail with Delaney/Weston and Jacob/Viv. Oh, did I mention Viv and Jacob end up having to pair up to find answer to the deaths?

While there was a LOT going on, it was incredibly easy to keep up and I never lost sight of what was happening. I know it's easy to get lost in multiple storylines, but because they converge from the same dinner and as a full team, it's simple to keep the dots connected. There was one piece of the story that was easy to guess, but another that had me wondering until the very end. It's funny how you get pulled into what the characters thoughts and reactions are.

I appreciated that the main characters have a shared faith as well as the supporting characters from the previous book. While it's not in your face, it's there and talked about. I think it also plays a part in how Vivian reacts to Jacob as their story progresses.

There was a lot of action and there were twists I totally didn't expect. I actually woke up in the middle of the night thinking about how the story ended and could I have done the things Viv did. lol Yes, it got me thinking. These kinds of books always do. How would I handle these intense situations?

While I'm sad the series is over, I can't wait to get my hands on whatever Rachel Dylan writes next.

About the Author:

Rachel Dylan (www.racheldylan.com) is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade, including being a litigator at one of the nation's top law firms. Her Atlanta Justice series has won the Holt Medallion, the Maggie Award, and the FHL Reader's Choice Award. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Sticks & Stone By David James Warren

Sticks & Stone
by David James Warren
Publisher: TriStone
Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone
ISBN: 978-1954023055

Being on the launch team for this series has been amazing! I've never read any books like these before and I am absolutely HOOKED! I was sent the ebook for review from the publisher.

Summary:

Rembrandt Stone has only made things worse. This time, upon his return, he discovers his closest friendship is up in flames. Andrew Burke’s new scars reflect the havoc Rembrandt has left on his own timeline and he must go back—one last trip into the past. This time he'll save Burke, fix his life and track down a serial killer who possess an uncanny ability to evade him through time. 

When Rembrandt lands in the past and two children disappear into an epic Minneapolis blizzard, he's in a race with time to save the children, his partner, and create a future he can live with.  

Sticks and Stone—the third book in the gripping True Lies of Rembrandt Stone series—starts sprinting on page one and doesn’t slow down till the final words. 

Hold onto your head...and your heart.


My Review:

I would say that these stories just keep getting better, but that would do a disservice to the books that came before. I'll just say the amazingness is continuous. I can NOT get enough of these stories and unfortunately, I devour it so fast I end up wanting the next book NOW!

I love Rem. I love Eve. I love Rem and Eve. Get to know them, and you will love them, too. Trust me, they are one of my all time favorite love stories. Crazy, I know, because of the way this series is going, but Rem's love for Eve deepens and grows with each book. Eve, it's fun (and painful) to watch her love for him grow from the start, but also differently each time.

Listen, these time travel novels are hard to explain my thoughts on because I know the "things". lol And Rem knows this too. He's always talking at us, giving us a hard time, but also inviting us to kind of agree with the choices he's making.

Once again, Rem is trying to not mess with time, but also trying to stop a crime. Unfortunately, changes are changes and time is affected. This story is such a build up for the next one I can hardly stand the wait. I think about halfway through I was already anticipating book 4! It's so hard to wrap my mind around the "real time" happening in Rem's life because when he's back in time days go by!

I can understand why Rem needs an assistant. He, and we, needs someone to keep track of all of the events. HA! I also love how Shelby is becoming more entwined in the story. Burke continues to be one of my favorite characters in the story.

Of course, there are a couple of twists that I hadn't seen coming and now I'm just sitting here trying to take it all in and wondering how book 4 will unfold!

About the Authors:

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He's the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves travelling and telling stories about life, adventure and faith. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he's never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He's grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Windward Shore By Sharon Hinck & GIVEAWAY

 


About the Book

Book:  Windward Shore

Author: Sharon Hinck

Genre: Christian epic fantasy

Release date: May 11, 2020

The island world of Meriel faces an old adversary and a new danger. Will the reformed Order die before it has a chance to blossom?

Storm clouds loom on the horizon as Carya and Brantley struggle to overcome wounds of the past and build a future together. The fragile new Order is on shaky ground, with too few dancers and sparse resources. Then trouble erupts—and now an insidious rebellion and a new foe threaten their entire world.

When she uncovers an old enemy behind all the destruction, Carya realizes the past is not done with her. With conflict tearing apart the dancers and villages, rimmers are soon overrun, and Carya must unite her people by leading the battle to protect the very heart of her world … or lose it all.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

Just when Carya and Brantley think it's safe to enjoy a quiet life on Meriel, things go haywire. As if they're last adventure in Forbidden Island wasn't exciting enough, the next thing they know, more islands have come into view of their world.

In an effort to avoid the unknown of the new islands, Carya and the Order decide to move their world away. Unfortunately, Carya is kidnapped by one of the raiders before the Order has a chance to do anything. I just felt so bad because Carya's life has been a series of captures and hope to find her way home. The gal can NOT catch a break.

And then there's Brantley. He's always on a mission to save someone, and it seems Carya is constantly returning the favor. The one sure thing with them though, is that you can always feel their devotion to each other. I love that even though they've known each other a while, they're still getting to know each other.

I love how the author brings to life the islands and people who inhabit them. It's easy to visualize the setting and why the people are doing what they're doing. She brings this mythical world to life in my mind and I can just image everything going on there.

What I enjoy most is how she uses the story to draw the characters, and essentially us, to God. Through Carya, we can see how when we try to do things on our own, with our own strength, we can be taking away what God has planned. Through the people of the islands we can see what happens when people are lost and fighting amongst each other. The chaos covers any chance of knowing about the Maker. God is so faithful in showing his grace and mercy to not only Carya, but to Brantley, and the islanders.

I would've liked a more personal confrontation between Carya and Salter River in the story at some point. It would've been interesting to hear what her thoughts were and for Carya to give her the opportunity to hear the gift of salvation again.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the conclusion to this series. I'm sad that it's over because I have thoroughly enjoyed this new world!

About the Author

Award-winning author Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us”—stories about ordinary women on extraordinary faith journeys. Known for their authenticity, emotional range, and spiritual depth, her novels include the groundbreaking The Sword of Lyric fantasy series and the imaginative new The Dancing Realms series, which began with the Christy Award–winning Hidden Current and was followed by Forsaken Island. Sharon’s writing has also been honored with three Carol Awards. For this latest series, she drew on her experience as a ballet teacher, dancer, and choreographer.

 

More from Sharon

Windward Shore is the final book in the Dancing Realms trilogy. In the earlier books, Carya and Brantley have already faced down a corrupt Order, a world that has forgotten truth, and a whole new island that has sold its soul. Yet in this new story, old enemies return—at the worst possible time. Confronting the past becomes a vital part of protecting their future.

 

We all face trials in life, seasons that are more challenging than we expected, opportunities to deepen our faith as we lean into God, times that test our courage. But I’ve found that sometimes the most difficult problems are those that I think I’ve already beaten—and then they rise up again. I drew from that experience to shape the new battles in Windward Shore.

 

Q: In the Dancing Realms series, the Maker has given dancers a special gift to serve their world. Why did you choose dance as a means for bringing provision or protection?

 

A: I was a dancer and choreographer for many years before becoming a writer. Dance is a means of communicating with the whole being—heart, mind, and body. So dance became a beautiful way for Carya to connect with her Maker and serve her world.

 

Q: What other interests shaped the series?

 

A: I’ve been studying cults and how people become trapped in lies, and more importantly, how they find freedom. So that concept helped me create the various traps that characters faced in all three books.

 

Q: What is a key theme in Windward Shore?

 

A: Although I write “Stories for the hero in all of us,” I recognize that we can’t always be the hero—at least not in our power. Our determination alone isn’t enough. Our Maker calls us to dependence on Him, and often He asks us to lean on others as well. That’s a key challenge that Carya faces in Windward Shore.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 29

Worthy2Read, May 29

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 31

Mia Reads, May 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 2

Woven by Words, June 2

Inklings and notions, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 4

Blogging With Carol, June 4

deb’s Book Review, June 5

For the Love of Literature, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 9

Simple Harvest Reads, June 9 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 10

Through the Fire Blogs, June 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sharon is giving away the grand prize package of the first two books of the series in hardcover (personalized and autographed), along with a bookbag, several bookmarks (enough to give to friends) and an autographed bookplate to put in their copy of Windward Shore!!

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/10ca3/windward-shore-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Jewel Of The Nile By Tessa Afshar

Jewel of the Nile
by Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1-4964-2875-2

I have become a huge fan of Tessa's Biblical fiction. She has such an incredible gift with her writing. I was so excited to find out she had a new book coming out this spring. I signed up for her launch team and was sent the ebook for review.

Summary:

Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.

Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.

Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.

In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.

My Review:

Once again, Tessa Afshar has written an excellent novel. Her stories always bring to life Biblical times and I feel like I get to know the people from the Bible better, even if it is in a fictional way.

In Jewel of the Nile, love Chariline from the start. I could feel how alone she felt, isolated really, and it made my heart go out to her. Not only that, but I wanted to knock heads for the people who had hurt her and continued to do so! It's easy to get riled up for the main characters in Tessa's books.

And it was wonderful to have Theo in his own story this time. My heart broke for him in Thief of Corinth and when I found out he was getting his own story, I was thrilled. Once again, my heart was crushed knowing his backstory, but was so excited to see how he and Chariline would get to know each other and grow getting to know each other. Because of his past, it's understandable that he tries to protect his heart.

It was so fun to see Chariline's bravery and vulnerability come through as she tries to find the answers to her parents. One of my favorite parts of all of Tessa's writing is how we can see the character's spiritual struggle. I definitely saw myself in Chariline. I didn't think I'd be able to relate to someone in Biblical times like her or someone without parents, but it turns out the "truth" she was believing is something any one of us could believe as well.

I have to tell you, Sophocles is one of my favorite characters as well as Arkamani. He's just one of those rugrats you can't help but enjoy!

The faith that's filled throughout this story is so strong. It's present everywhere, as it should be. It was so incredible to see the Holy Spirit moving when Chariline was with Phillips daughters! That was so palpable of God's presence!

I was so surprised at the end to learn who one of the main characters is! I had to go reread their story in the Bible!

About the Author:

TESSA AFSHAR is the award-winning author of many biblical and inspirational historical fiction books, including Harvest of Gold which won a Christy Award and In the Field of Grace, a biblical fiction on the life of Ruth. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Crazy For You By Susan May Warren & Michelle Sass Aleckson

Crazy For You
by Susan May Warren & Michelle Sass Aleckson
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Series: Deep Haven Collection
ISBN: 978-1953783059

I have loved A Deep Haven Collection so much, there was NO way I was going to pass up joining the launch team for book 3! Smart move because it didn't disappoint!

Summary:

The problem with being related to everyone in town is that there is no one left to date…until now…but will this outsider survive his family?

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the town outsider.

Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist is a peacemaker—he has to be. After he’s related to both of the Deep Haven dynasties – the Zimmermans and the Dahlquists, Deep Haven’s version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Worse, Peter is the holdout vote for a landmark project, which also makes him the loneliest guy in town when both sides demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand his plight is the newcomer in town…his pretty, street-tough paramedic.

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But will his choice cost him the home—and the woman—he loves?


My Review:

I was so happy to be back in Deep Haven with book 3! This time we meet the tough Ronnie who is missing what we like to call "Minnesota nice". I have to admit, I absolutely did NOT like her for most of the book. She was rude, disrespectful, and hurtful to those she was just meeting in this little town. Now, that being said, when you get to know her background, you get an idea of why she's rough around the edges... and maybe a bit deeper. That being said, she still wasn't a character I had warm fuzzies for. 

Well, Peter, Mr. Fire Fighter, got a sampling of her gruffness almost immediately. The one person she needs to win over to have any hope of keeping her new job and she starts off on the wrong foot. Man, I felt bad for him. Everyone loves him, but unfortunately, a lot of people are pushing him in directions he's not sure he wants to go in. The fella is feeling the pressure of everyone around him, mostly his family. This is where Ronnie's no nonsense ways give him the kick in the pants he needs. 

Like Ronnie, I always think sleepy, little towns are quiet pieces of paradise. As the story unfolds, it's a great reminder that you don't have to live in a big city for kids to make poor choices, that families fight, and that they have a lot of the same needs. Tiago, Ronnie's little brother, is a great example of this. It seems like no matter where this boy goes trouble finds him, not the other way around as some of the people seemed to think.

Ronnie and Tiago are sadly, good examples of how hard lives can when they don't have a stable force of loving parents or adults in their lives. Peter, on the other hand, is a good example of what a gift loving parents can be, even when they're most definitely not perfect. The rift between both sides of his family does a lot of damage and is shows how deep bitterness can go.

As always, I appreciate the line of faith that flows through the story. One of my favorite parts is when Pastor Dan gives Peter a pep talk! 

I could definitely feel the thread of all three books flowing together even when they're written by three different authors with Susan May Warren. So many of the characters are carried over and the feel for the town has certainly stayed the same.

About the Authors:

Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at www.susanmaywarren.com. 

Michelle Sass Aleckson lives the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and their four kids. She loves rocking out to 80's music on a Saturday night and getting lost in good stories-especially stories that shine grace. And if you're wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name. Visit Michelle at www.michellealeckson.com.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Simplified Classes By Emily Lex & GIVEAWAY

I remember how much I used to love to do watercolor painting! It was one of my favorite things to do when I was younger. When I heard about the opportunity to learn more about Emily Lex and try out some of her classes, I was incredibly excited! Not only that, you'll see that my son-in-law hijacked my books that I brought with me to MN and he started painting. Needless to say, he loves painting.



Here's what came in my box for review:
  • A watercolor flowers workbook
  • Truth for Today cards
  • Kids Truth for Today cards
  • A brass stand
I was also given access to all 3 of her online classes. I had no idea one of the classes would be on penmanship! THAT was a fascinating series of classes to take. One of the many benefits of taking her penmanship class was learning the difference between that and lettering! AND, I was able to explain that difference to my daughter! I have been wanting to work on my penmanship for years.


So, when you start Emily's classes you might think, "Oh my gosh, why are we starting off with these baby steps. I know all of these things, I'm just going straight to the painting." Wait up! Let me tell you something. She starts off the basics for a reason. Writing or doing watercoloring is like any other skill. You need to understand and practice the rudimentary pieces before you get to the bigger steps.


Her classes are created to be taken in bite size pieces. They're split up into very manageable pieces so you can learn at your own pace. The start of each of her videos is about the items you'll need to get started. Once you're set up to get going, she shows you step by step how each of your items work and why they do what they do. I really never understood the difference of the numbers of the pencil leads! I also liked learning about what pens she uses and why.


With the watercolors, it was fabulous to watch her explain things like, why you should wait for your first color to dry before you start with the next. I mean, not rocket science, but I never would've thought about it. Once you start learning it all starts coming together. I'm absolutely a visual learner so these classes are perfect for me!


And let me tell you, the classes aren't just, oh, here's what you need and here are the baby steps to do them. NO! These classes are robust and teach you SO many things. Like lettering! I had no idea that was even going to be one of the lessons. Seriously, makes me want to go out and buy more than just my dollar store items to get me started products! In fact, now when I'm in art supply stores, those are the things I look at first!


Now, if you have kids, you are going to LOVE her Watercolor For Kids class! Again, she starts off with the basics and her lessons are ones that kids will be able to sit through because they're not too long for antsy kiddos. She knows how to talk to the kids by explaining why they don't want to do things like squishing the brushes or using thick paint. You know how kids are. hahaha


I actually loved her lesson 5 for the color palette! I was fascinated by it and this is where someone like me, a visual and hands on learner will take away so much for the lesson! Emily also uses a couple of her kids throughout this series to show you how easy it is for them.

Learn more about Emily here:  https://emilylex.com/about/  and on IG: https://www.instagram.com/emilylexstudio/

View her shop here:  https://shop.emilylex.com/



Now you have the opportunity to enter this giveaway! Check the website for entry details! 3 people will win from Emily Lex:
  • Farmgirl Flowers Bouquet
  • Truth for Today Scripture Cards + Brass Card Holder
  • Olive & June Nail Polish (3 colors)
  • 1 Canoe 2 Zipper Pouch
  • Linen Tea Towel
  • Rifle Paper for Anthropologie Garden Party Monogram Mug
  • $100 Starbucks Gift Card

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