Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 2019 Book Giveaway!

Time for the monthly giveaway! This month's prize is Love Finds You in Lancaster County Pennsylvania by Annalisa Daughety. I hope you'll enter the giveaway and consider subscribing by email. Next month's giveaway will be a BIG one as I'm celebrating my ten year anniversary of blogging.

Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Must be a resident of the US, 18 years of age, and legally able to enter. Book will be shipped via Media Mail. No purchase necessary.




About the Book:

Two women with nothing in common except the need for a friend and a fresh start. When Amish-born Lydia Ann Raber and Southern belle Caroline DeMarco discover a shared history of loss, the unlikely duo decides to open a gift shop in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

Lydia Ann is surprised to find herself drawn to handsome woodworker Simon Zook. When God offers her a second chance at love and family, will she take it? Or will the secret Simon harbors cause her even more heartbreak? For Caroline, love comes in the way of newspaper reporter Michael Landis. Their low-key romance is a dream come true for Caroline, a fugitive from an infamous past. Is Michael to blame when the paparazzi start hovering once again, or can Caroline trust him with her heart? a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Book Review: Protecting Your Child From Predators

About the Book:

Keeping a Child Safe Requires More Awareness Than Ever.

Even aware parents often underestimate the dangers their children face. Research indicates that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males are sexually abused before age 18. In most cases, the enemy is not a faceless stranger, it's someone you know and trust--a neighbor, a coach, or even a family member. 

This book provides practical steps to ensure you're doing all you can to reduce the risks of abuse. But since you cannot be with your children 24/7, the authors teach you how to help your child develop awareness and strategies in the face of potential dangers--without making them fearful. 

Dr. Robinson, whose decades-long practice focuses on abused and endangered children, calls on her own case studies to show age-appropriate conversation starters for parents, teaching them how to ask the right questions and provide the right boundaries.

This book will help you move from fear to confidence on this critical topic that is just too important to ignore.


Learn more abour the book and read an excerpt from Protecting your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger on the publisher's website.

My Thoughts:

I recommend Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger by Beth Robinson, EdD, and Latayne C. Scott, PhD, to any caregiver.

Protecting Your Child from Predators was a surprisingly quick read. The authors presented information in a clear and concise manner.  Heartbreaking stories are included for a purpose, not superfluously, but may be triggers for readers who have experienced sexual abuse.

The chapters in Protecting Your Child from Predators do not need to be read in order. However, I do recommend reading it through once as the parts about younger children lay a foundation for the chapters about older children. Because the book is meant for the reader to be able to jump into whatever chapter/topic is needed, certain information is repeated at the end of each chapter.

Although I have already taught my children most of what it recommends for their ages, the book did provide information I wasn’t aware of in the chapters on technology and regarding the common ways a child may be sexually abused by another child.

Protecting Your Child from Predators unabashedly affirms that Jesus hates abuse, especially child abuse, and that you can and should say no to evil instead being overtaken by it. I appreciated the strong stance of the authors. This healthy mindset should be a given for any Christian, but as recent headlines have revealed, sexual abuse not only occurs within churches, but the church sometimes mishandles its response. I appreciated that the book addresses situations involving the church.

This book is written for parents and caregivers who are adept at setting boundaries, being able to stand up and confront someone in the moment. Due to my past history, I really struggle to set boundaries, especially in a situation that is unexpected.  I found myself sometimes wanting more examples on “how” exactly to set those boundaries. So, if you’re like me and struggle with setting boundaries in general, this book will encourage you toward that, but you may need another resource specifically on the topic of boundaries.

I give Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger by Beth Robinson, EdD, and Latayne C. Scott, PhD, 4.5 stars and I recommend it to every caregiver.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Series Spotlight & Giveaway: Mended Hearts by Patricia Lee



Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for the Mended Hearts series by Patricia Lee, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS


 
Title: An Anchor on Her Heart  
Series: Mended Hearts #1  
Author: Patricia Lee 
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink 
Release Date: August 1, 2017  
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Can they keep their friendship pure when their hearts long for more?

McKenna Nichols, a young wife abandoned by her husband in favor of his work, is left alone to raise their autistic child. She promised to love him until death parted them. But when circumstances drive a wedge into their marriage and Dane chooses to escape what life has dealt them, how long can she be strong? Can she remain faithful to her marriage vows when tempted by the friendship of an unlikely stranger?

Rudy Taylor, who senses McKenna's loneliness and understands the difficulty of raising her daughter, struggles to keep his concern for the young woman biblical. Will McKenna’s faith in God and Rudy’s commitment to his Lord be enough to keep their relationship simple until McKenna's husband one day returns?


EXCERPT

“Therefore, God said, let a man leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they will become one flesh. What God has brought together, let no one put asunder.”

McKenna sniffed, holding the camera close to her face to hide the moisture trickling down her cheeks. She needed Dane’s protection, strength, and love. The pastor’s words cut deep, the knife of her pain stemming from Dane’s absence. He only saw the physical side of his responsibility—keeping her fed and sheltered. Emotionally and spiritually, she lived in a state of drought. Her heart ached to be held. Her prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears.

What am I supposed to do, God? I’m so alone. So forgotten. I want to honor my marriage vows by remaining faithful, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough to endure the everlasting loneliness in which I am imprisoned. I need to be freed of these bonds. Please bring Dane home.  Sydney needs a father in her life. Help us. I’m falling apart.
 


 
Title: Love Calls Her Home  
Series: Mended Hearts #2  
Author: Patricia Lee  
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink 
Release Date: March 1, 2018  
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Can a hurting boy help two broken people find their way back to love ?

Lissa Frye returns home from the Navy hoping to find a different future—one which includes a husband, marriage, and a family, until news from her sister impacts Lissa’s personal life and derails her plans.

Kurt McKintrick, having lost his best friend to an IED in Afghanistan, has returned to help the man's mother run a horse rescue ranch. Images of war plague him, and thoughts of anyone else he might love falling victim to an untimely end, distance him from the person most likely to help.

Eleven-year-old Jayden Clarke seeks to fill the ache in his heart from his father’s death two years before. But his life is turned upside down when the rancher who befriended him is found dead, the horses neglected, and the dog missing. When authorities arrive to investigate, Lissa and Kurt, estranged after a former relationship, are forced to meet again. Lissa must confront images from her past and Kurt struggles to live with his present truth.

Will Jayden be the catalyst that draws Lissa and Kurt back together for a happily ever after?


EXCERPT

Kurt did as instructed, stopping the pickup so the hood pointed away from the property. A tall, lithe form popped out from the big barn doors, the image caught in his side mirror. Kurt’s pulse raced.

Every bit as professional and alluring as she’d been in her Navy uniform the day he’d met her, Lissa stood waiting, hands on her hips. She wore a brown shirt and green pants denoting her current position, the trim uniform accentuating every curve. Her hair dangled in wispy curls about her face, the mass of brown she only let down in private, with friends—with him—still captured in a neat bun. He gave thanks she hadn’t worn her hair down today or his resolve would have flown out the window, along with the shreds of his heart.

He licked his lips, lifted his baseball cap, and ran a hand through his hair. Glad he’d taken time to shave this morning, he followed Peggy’s lead as she stepped from the cab. He watched Lissa’s face, waiting for recognition to appear in her eyes. His heart thumped like the foot of an animated rabbit.


 
Title: A Kite on the Wind  
Series: Mended Hearts #3  
Author: Patricia Lee  
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink 
Release Date: October 1, 2018  
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Is Love Strong Enough to Overcome the Walls They Hide Behind?

Left waiting at the altar, Claire Simpson has buried her past and moved on, carving out a life for herself as a teacher on the Oregon coast. When her former fiancé appears, he threatens to unravel the peaceful independence she has worked so hard to achieve after their relationship failed.

Montgomery Chandler has moved to NOAA headquarters in Newport, Oregon to make new, happier memories for his children after his wife died of a lingering illness. Their home in Seattle held nothing but the whispers of their earlier lives. Starting over will help all of them heal, but Monty is resolved not to risk love again.

When the handsome widower enrolls his hurting children at the school where Claire teaches, her determination to remain uninvolved vanishes at the whim of a snowstorm. This family needs her expertise. Can she help them without losing her heart?

 
EXCERPT

She hadn’t grown up on the Oregon coast and assumed the north Pacific was all surf and sand. She’d never have guessed the shore could be covered in white, nor had she seen it this way, even in pictures. Mounds on the beach turned into oversized marshmallows. Driftwood transformed to fanciful fences. Did this happen often? On the sand? In November?

Yet here snow fell—sloppy, fat flakes fluttering down like a curtain of white fairies on a theater’s stage opening night. The quiet drift of the airborne dancers made her pulse race, their presence evoking memories from her past—images she’d tried to forget.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon. Articles to her credit have appeared in Moody Monthly, Power for Living, Expecting and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse as well as in two anthologies— Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and In the Company of Angels. She is part of a team of bloggers who submit short devotionals for FaithHappenings.com. Patricia is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats.

 CONNECT WITH PATRICIA: Website | Facebook | Twitter

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card!


Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight August 19, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 24, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 

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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, August 16, 2019

First Line Fridays: The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first line from The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey:

"Fire ripped through Finn's right shoulder, ricocheting down his arm."

Have you read this book? It released earlier this month and currently is sitting on my tbr stack.

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

A Corpse That Only Leads to Secrets. 
An Old Flame with Danger Written all over Her.
Things Are about to Get Very Complicated.

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.


The already volatile situation is complicated even further by the arrival of Gabby Rowley--Finn's boss's sister and an investigative reporter with unrelenting questions about the crime. Now that she's returned, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.


Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?



First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: Shame Off You by Denise Pass


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: Shame Off You
Author: Denise Pass  
Publisher: Abingdon Press

Shame is an assault on the core of who we are. It assassinates our character, minimizes our worth, and dashes our hope. Like Adam and Eve, we often hide shame, but hiding never heals it. Left unattended, shame can develop into a crippling reality that paralyzes us. Like an infectious disease, shame impacts everyone . . . but not all shame is bad.
Shame can either be an oppressive and powerful tool of worldly condemnation or a source of conviction that God uses to bring his people back to himself. Having the discernment to know the difference and recognize shame in its many forms can change the course of one’s life.
In a transparently honest style, Pass shares of her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. Having lived through the aftermath, she leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations.
Shame Off You shares how freedom can be found in choosing to break the cycle of shame by learning from the past, developing healthy thinking patterns, silencing lies, and overcoming the traps of vanity and other people's opinions.


MY THOUGHTS: 



In Shame Off You, author Denise Pass seeks to empower readers to live a shame-free life. Since reading Shame Off You, I’ve had moments in which I catch myself entertaining certain thoughts (usually something said by someone else) and realize that I don’t have to indulge the shame.  Shame off me. I repeat it out loud and give myself permission to let it go. Shame Off You has helped me become more conscious of the shame and negativity floating in my mind.

In Shame Off You, Denise Pass shares glimpses of her personal story as she addresses her topic. Due to my life circumstances, I expected to be strongly connected with the things she wrote. Chapter one grabbed my attention in a strong start, but I found chapter two confusing. I think this chapter would have benefited by clearly defining certain terms (shame, condemnation, conviction, etc). As it was, I restarted at the beginning of the book in case I had missed something, but didn’t find further clarification. For a few chapters, I felt disconnected from the book. Then, somewhere in the middle, things clicked and I began to absorb the powerful truths presented.

As I mentioned before, I benefitted from reading Shame Off You by Denise Pass. So much truth about human experience lies within the pages and I soaked it in. Denise Pass writes with honesty about many issues that are related to shame (rejection, comparison, sin, failure, etc).  I recommend Shame Off You to anyone dealing with shame and its far-reaching effects.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


BOOK TRAILER:




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Denise Pass, author of Shame Off You, is an award-winning CCM recording artist and singer-songwriter, accomplished writer/blogger, speaker and worship leader at women’s conferences as well as a worship leader on staff at her home church. After a crushing discovery of her former husband’s hidden life as a repetitive sex offender, and surviving a painful divorce, she now shares an inspirational message through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries, about seeing the deeper truth in God’s word when life hurts. Denise also founded and directed a home educational co-op for 12 years and engaged in many educational pursuits, including forming and directing a classical children’s choir. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Denise now resides in Virginia, with her “Kinsman Redeemer” husband and five children.

CONNECT WITH DENISE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid

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Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


 
Title: Lord of Her Heart 
Author: Sherrinda Ketchersid  
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 
Release Date: May 14, 2019 
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

He’s fighting for his future—she’s running for her life.

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite of her conniving ways.

Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives.


EXCERPT

(After Malcolm has rescued a lad (Jocelyn disguised as a boy) from some ruffians.)
Chapter 2, p. 15

Malcolm laid the lad on the ground near his horse. Blood ran from a cut above the lad’s eye, and his swollen cheek promised a colorful bruise. Sitting back on his heels, Malcolm cursed his chivalrous self. What was he to do with this dirty, bruised pile of skin and bones lying before him?

By the saints, he had neither the time nor the energy to care for a scrawny boy. He had a se’ennight before the tournament, and he was not about to miss it on account of a malodorous halfling. This journey proved one ache in the head after another.

The boy stirred, groaning.

Malcolm gathered water from his supply and poured some into the boy’s mouth. Being chivalrous was not always convenient, but ’twas an oath he would not shirk.

The lad vaulted upright, sputtering as he whimpered. “Cease, please!” He rubbed his face, smearing dirt and blood across pale cheeks. As he looked up at his rescuer, his blue eyes grew wide.

Malcolm had to smile. Time spent in the lists honing his swordplay had made his shoulders broad and his arms well muscled. Boys stood in awe of him, men stood in fear of him, and women … well, women wanted him. He had long since been unaffected by the reactions his visage wrought.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside. Sherrinda lives in north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal, she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.  

CONNECT WITH SHERRINDA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Lord of Her Heart, a 9 oz Cozy Day candle, and a personalized hand-lettered Moleskin journal!


Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour is linked below. Giveaway begins at midnight August 13, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 20, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 

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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Author Interview & Giveaway: Shame Off You by Denise Pass


Shame is an assault on the core of who we are. It assassinates our character, minimizes our worth, and dashes our hope. Like Adam and Eve, we often hide shame, but hiding never heals it. Left unattended, shame can develop into a crippling reality that paralyzes us. Like an infectious disease, shame impacts everyone . . . but not all shame is bad.

Shame can either be an oppressive and powerful tool of worldly condemnation or a source of conviction that God uses to bring his people back to himself. Having the discernment to know the difference and recognize shame in its many forms can change the course of one’s life.

In a transparently honest style, Denise Pass shares of her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. Having lived through the aftermath, she leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations.

Shame Off You (available from Abingdon Press) shares how freedom can be found in choosing to break the cycle of shame by learning from the past, developing healthy thinking patterns, silencing lies, and overcoming the traps of vanity and other people’s opinions.

Q: Can you start us off by sharing a little bit of your own story?

I did not realize just how significant of an impact shame had on my life until I started writing this book. I don’t think I recognized all I was experiencing in my life as shame. Shame affected me in profound ways—from worrying to the point of obsession about what others thought of me to shame from my past, present and in the future. Shame was pervasively impacting all of life: how I related to others, processed my perception of myself and responded in social situations. Shame was snuffing out my hope and life, and it felt like I had no way out.

Then in 2007, God revealed to me my (then) husband was a sex offender and some of our children were his victims. This revelation crushed us, and the ensuing shame was crippling. I had waited for marriage and married a Christian man. We were that homeschool family. It did not seem possible. But it was. Through that devastating season, my children and I drew nearer to God, reading the Bible through and clinging to His precious promises. I continued to home educate, and we put one foot in front of the other. Through a five-year long court battle. Through tragic new revelations. Through sorrow up on sorrow and financial woes. God was our God through all of it and the lessons we learned as shame lost its grip on our souls were priceless.

Now, my four oldest are all in college and walking with God, and my youngest son who I adopted from Russia is still home educated by the grace of God. And me? God brought a precious man into my life who I call my Kinsman Redeemer. There’s more about him (my “Bo”—short for Boaz) in the book.

Q: At its root, what is shame, and why is it so detrimental to us?

There are many roots underlying what we call shame.  Shame is the broad term used, but there are so many things interwoven in our culture that we accept as “normal.” Shame is an accusation on our soul that says we are not enough. News flash—we are not enough—but God is. He is our righteousness and removes all of our sin and shame. Shame is peer pressure and the fear of man—we would not have shame if we did not have an audience. Shame is a label or box that imprisons our souls and steals our joy. Shame is detrimental because it gives us a false identity and keeps us from living the abundant life Jesus promises, distracting us from the mission we have been called to.

Q: What are some of the most common underlying sources of shame? Is shame always caused by a sin a person commits him/herself?

Shame is a head game that we do to ourselves most of the time, but there is also plenty of social shaming that goes on—shunning and people condemning one another. While sin invites shame into our lives as a natural consequence, shame is prevalent within our culture. We come by it naturally and so we don’t question it. Expectations cause shame to rise when we don’t meet them. Comparison. Pride. These are huge contributors to the game of shame. The presence of shame in our lives is ultimately a spiritual matter. We feel the truth behind the statement that we are not enough. We accept this condemnation, but it can become our vindication. We are not enough. That’s ok, because Christ is our Righteousness. The enemy of our souls is always accusing us, but our Savior is always interceding for us. 

Q: Shame typically surrounds a situation the public is aware of, at least in the mind of the person walking through it. How can the church community be more supportive of a member suffering with shame?

Great question. We would not have shame if we did not have an audience. It is this fear of man and focus on self that makes us feel so very exposed as we seek acceptance and to snuff out rejection. In my situation, I felt like the church did not know how to handle sex abuse situations, so they didn’t. I was told to be silent. The shame culture thrives in silence. However, being able to talk about it in a God-honoring way and having support instead of isolation would take the sting out of shame and turn it on its head. When we protect the violator and silence the victims, we are propagating and promoting shame.

Q: In what ways do we intentionally or unintentionally heap shame on others?

We live in a society of labels. People try to define one another by false identities based on their performance—good or bad, or their status in this life. When we move away from our identity being in Christ, we find that our identity falls short. Shame was introduced to man in the garden of Eden. We left perfection and chose an insecure, shame-filled culture, instead. Discontent with our lot, comparison and the fear or man have robbed us confidence and plagued us with shame in all of life. Shame is also used as a tool of power by people who seek to subject others, shaming them into submission. And again, shame is in our culture, so it is fairly invisible. We just accept it as part of life, which can cause us to unintentionally continue in the shame culture.

Q: How is Shame Off You set up and designed to be used?

Shame Off You is the story of a girl who shrunk her shame. It is a guide for recognizing the shame all around us and how to rid ourselves of shame Biblically. There is a biblical lens of Truth, Humility and Grace that we view shame through, as well as Cycles of Shame and Redemption, a Shame Spectrum and Shame Quiz so we can evaluate how shame is impacting our lives. There is also a resource guide in the back of the book that covers 40 different common shames we might encounter along with Scriptures to combat that shame.

Shame Off You systematically covers everything from feeling shunned and rejected, to being shy, to worrying about what others thought or said about me to traumatic shame that paralyzes us.

Q: What are the steps to overcoming shame?

Shame distracts us from the mission of God and keeps us from living on mission for Christ. It causes us to focus on self and limits our worth. It hurts our relationship with God and others and causes us to live defeated, discouraged lives. It has to be dealt with. Recognizing shame’s presence is necessary to be able to deal with it effectively.

From recognition, we need to discern whether we are dealing with condemnation or conviction. Condemnation is based on works whereas Conviction is based on relationship. Once we know what we are dealing with, we need to consult God’s word and use a biblical filter to evaluate our shame and then let it go. We defeat shame not by mere words. And hiding shame does not heal it. We have to face shame and deal with it biblically to be set free. We don’t get rid of shame because it humbles us—but because it prevents us from living the abundant life Christ promises, reaching those around us.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Denise Pass, author of Shame Off You, is an award-winning CCM recording artist and singer-songwriter, accomplished writer/blogger, speaker and worship leader at women’s conferences as well as a worship leader on staff at her home church. After a crushing discovery of her former husband’s hidden life and surviving a painful divorce, she now shares an inspirational message through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries, about seeing the deeper truth in God’s word when life hurts.

Denise also founded and directed a home educational co-op for 12 years and engaged in many educational pursuits, including forming and directing a classical children’s choir. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Denise now resides in Virginia, with her “Kinsman Redeemer” husband and five children.

Learn more about Shame Off You at https://shameoffyou.life/the-book. You can also find out more about Denise Pass at DenisePass.com. She can also be found on Facebook (Denise Pass – Author/Speaker/ Worship Leader) and Twitter (@TheDenisePass).




TOUR GIVEAWAY:





a Rafflecopter giveaway





Saturday, August 10, 2019

Book Spotlight: The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


 
Title: The Enlightenment of Bees 
Author: Rachel Linden  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Release Date: July 9, 2019  
Genre: Women's Fiction

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey.

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of Larks, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently, Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage, and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram  


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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, August 9, 2019

First Line Fridays: Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first lines from Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker:

"Cohen Marah clears his throat quietly, more out of discomfort than the presence of any particular thing that needs clearing, and attempts to step over the body for a second time."

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: 

Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.



First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Hope for Tomorrow by Michelle De Bruin

 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour (and Giveaway!) for Hope for Tomorrow by Michelle De Bruin, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


 
Title: Hope for Tomorrow 
Author: Michelle De Bruin  
Publisher: Mantle Rock Publishing 
Release Date: October 23, 2018  
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction

When Logan De Witt learns of his father’s sudden death, he returns home to the family’s dairy farm. During his stay, he discovers his mother’s struggle with finances and his younger sister’s struggle with grief. Concern for his family presses Logan to make the difficult decision to leave his career as a pastor and stay on the farm. As a way to make some extra money, he agrees to board the teacher for their local school.

Karen Millerson arrives from Chicago ready to teach high school but her position is eliminated so she accepts the role of country school teacher. Eager to put her family’s ugly past behind her, Karen begins a new career to replace the trust she lost in her own father who had been in ministry when she was a child.

Logan and Karen both sense a call from the Lord to serve him, but neither of them expected that one day they would do it together.

Can Karen learn to trust again? Will Logan lay aside his grief in exchange for God’s purpose for his life?



EXCERPT


Logan’s heart thundered deep in his chest. He and Karen supported each other, partnered together in so many ventures, and shared joys as well as sorrows. Even more, along the way she’d become the prayer support he’d thought forever gone from his life after the loss of Dad. He stared at the pages in his hands, attempting to read them. His mind spun. In all of Logan’s efforts to stay focused on God, God had actually dropped right into Logan’s life the perfect woman for him.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Michelle De Bruin is a worship leader and spiritual services provider. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two teenage sons. A romantic at heart, Michelle is always looking for glimpses of God’s love through the window of a good story.  

CONNECT WITH MICHELLE: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a prize pack that includes a print copy of Hope for Tomorrow and a $25 gift card plus a set of handmade quilted hot pads and Dutch chocolate.


Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 5, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on August 12, 2019. 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.

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.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Book Review: Play to Their Strengths by Analyn and Brandon Miller

About the Book:

How can a good parent like you become an even greater parent? By shifting the focus to what’s right with your kids instead of what is wrong with them. Discover how you can replace your frustration with joy by taking the pressure of performance and comparison off your children’s shoulders.

Based in the belief that every child has God-given greatness within them, Play to Their Strengths shows you how to move with the natural momentum of your kids’ talents and make the shift to a collaborative, strengths-based, and motivational approach to parenting. You’ll see the powerful results of this shift in your children’s shining eyes—and your own.
The unique Playbook in the back of the book equips you to put into practice the ideas in each chapter. Answer questions and engage in activities with your spouse and kids to uncover talent and discover greatness. The Playbook makes great advice personal as you apply it to the specific family dynamics in your home. Now is the perfect time to experience a fresh fascination with your children and uncover the hidden gem inside each of them.


My Thoughts:

In Play to Their Strengths, Analyn and Brandon Miller challenge and encourage parents to use a strengths-based parenting style. Core to this philosophy is the belief that God gives each child certain gifts (pg.19). It is an intentional strategy to focus on what's right rather than what's wrong with a child (pg.20), but is not intended to lead to overly permissive parenting (pg. 33).

Reading Play to Their Strengths was enjoyable. Unlike some non-fiction books, I didn't find myself bogged down or bored in the middle. The writing style was relatable with occasional humor. At times I did wish for more specifics from their process instead of a bland statement of going from one thing to another. Overall though, it was easy to read and I expect to pick it up annually.

Since reading Play to Their Strengths, I have found myself being more mindful to notice what my children are doing right and giving positive, verbal affirmations. I absolutely love the idea about staying fascinated with my kids as they grow. There were a few statements that really made me think – like how fear is often the source of our anger. The more I thought about the idea and examined subsequent moments of anger, I found it true for me that there is often (but not always) a certain fear lurking underneath. I liked the chapter about finding your own strengths and using them as you parent.

Each chapter of Play to Their Strengths offers discussion questions at the end and there is a “Playbook” with ideas for further consideration or activities to do with the children to help uncover their gifts. I recommend Play to Their Strengths by Analyn and Brandon Miller to any parent, but it is targeted toward Christian parents.

Visit the publisher's website to read an excerpt from Play to Their Strengths by Analyn and Brandon Miller.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher. All opinions in the review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CF, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, August 3, 2019

July Recap & Expected August Reading

My July 2019 Reads:

Today I'm sharing a bit about what I've been reading and what I hope to read. In July, I finished:
  1. The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  2. Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  3. A Book of Blessings by Helen Steiner Rice. - ⭐⭐⭐

  4. Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  5. Becoming by Michelle Obama. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  6. A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  7. Fair Play by Deeanne Gist. - ⭐⭐

My favorite book this month was...... Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette! The author combined a captivating plot, steady romantic tension, and deep character development to create a tale that made my laugh, cry, and stay up way too late. Read more of my review here.  


Expected August 2019 Reads:

In August, I expect to read:

1. Shame Off You by Denise Pass. - Currently reading!

2. With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander. - I read this one when it first came out and was delighted when the local book club I attend picked it as our August selection. We'll also be chatting with the author which is always exciting!

3. Play to Their Strengths by Analyn and Brandon Miller. - Currently reading (and loving) this book based on strengths-based parenting!

4. Woe Is I by Patricia T O'Connor - Yeah, still working on this one....

5. Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson. - I have both of Abigail Wilson's books sitting on my TBR stack, but I think I'll start with her newest release.

6. Love Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire by Lauralee Bliss. - I picked this one up from my library's used book store and the author is new to me, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try!

7. Confident Moms, Confident Daughters by Maria Furlough. - This is an area I struggle with so when the opportunity to review it arose, I thought I'd give it a try!

8. Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson. - Reading this as part of an online book club and looking forward to it!

Wow! That's eight books I'm anticipating in August, definitely more than my normal. But I'll give it a try and be back in early September to let you know how it went.




 What will you read this month?

Friday, August 2, 2019

First Line Fridays: Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first lines from Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson:

"'Who's there?' My mother's haunted whisper drew me to her bedside."

Have you read this book? I haven't. It's still sitting on my TBR stack, but it is near the top!  😁

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

She knew the house was keeping secrets. If only the darkness would speak . . .


After her elder brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible: Mr. Lewis Browning—known by the locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian.
Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation among the darkened corridors of the mysterious Greybourne Hall. Yet Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined, and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and wondering if she, too, will follow the same heartbreaking path.
Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Mr. Browning, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she developed feelings for the man she swore to see hanged? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books