Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Book Review: Strong, Brave, Loved by Holley Gerth

About the Book:

Encouragement to live as a woman of confidence and victory.

You want to be a woman who looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." A woman who knows love is a risk and reaches out anyway. A woman who understands kindness takes real courage. Who doesn't fake it or try to hide her scars. Who fights to believe she is who God says she is and helps others do the same.

In Strong, Brave, Loved, bestselling author Holley Gerth offers you sixty short devotions to empower you to be that kind of woman. It's simple, personal, and practical, with room for you to journal your own responses and reflections as you learn to live in freedom, hope, and holy courage.

My Thoughts:

Strong, Brave, Loved: Empowering Reminders of Who You Really Are by Holley Gerth rates as one of the best devotionals I’ve read this year. There are sixty short devotional thoughts and each is supported by a prayer, a reflection prompt with space to respond, and a quote from Fiercehearted, Holley Gerth’s previous book. As I understand it, Stong, Brave, Loved expands off of Fiercehearted, but it is not necessary to read Fiercehearted before Strong, Brave, Loved.  

I hesitated to crack open Strong, Brave, Loved by Holley Gerth for two reasons. First, I’ve got some difficult situations in my life and I feared it might be heart-rending. Second, some Christian devotionals for women promote mentally unhealthy mindsets. Fortunately, I had a really good experience with Strong, Brave, Loved. For sure, there were pages that brought tears, but each devotional topic was full of personal honesty from the author, truth to grasp, and thoughts to empower. I underlined frequently and sometimes my response to the prompt overflowed the provided lines.

I liked that each devotional had statements taken from the text and printed in red ink that can be used as affirmations to remember or to speak over yourself if you desire to. A few examples: “I am God’s daughter. I am beloved. I have everything I need for whatever I may face. (Pg. 63)” “Joy comes when we accept who we are, when we’re true to who God made us. (Pg. 74)” “The love of God for us and the grace of God toward us will never, ever change. (Pg. 92)”

I recommend Strong, Brave, Loved: Empowering Reminders of Who You Really Are by Holley Gerth to any Christian woman. It’s the second book I’ve read by Holley Gerth and I want to go back and read them all!

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

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Telegraph Proposal

The Telegraph Proposal JustRead Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for The Telegraph Proposal by Becca Whitham and Gina Welborn, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Telegraph Proposal
Title: The Telegraph Proposal
Series: Montana Brides #3
Authors: Becca Whitham, Gina Welborn  
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Western Romance  
Release Date: October 29, 2019  

In the rough and rugged Montana Territory, the journey to true love is filled with unexpected twists--and sweet rewards--for daring frontier women who faithfully believe every heart has a home . . .

With the help of the Archer Matrimonial Company, Yancey Palmer has finally put Hale Adams, the man she's loved for ten years--sometimes not wisely or well--behind her. Yancey is so sure of her love for the man the agency matched her with, she readily promises a friend that she'll help Hale with his mayoral campaign without chasing him.

Hale has also engaged the services of the matrimonial agency. He's so pleased with one lady, he requests that she join him in Helena to commence a sixty-day courtship. But instead, the Archer ladies arrive in town to reveal the true identities of both Hale's and Yancey's matches: each other. Can they look past their misunderstandings and hurt to see that they are still a perfect match?  

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


(Yancey’s) natural enthusiasm that someone of Hale’s caliber would agree to run (for mayor) vied with her misgivings about his ability to campaign. The man hated crowds. “How on earth did you manage that?”
“Told him he was the only man who could defeat Harold Kendrick. Helena deserves better than that crook, and Hale knows it.” Isaak shifted his weight from his left foot to his right. “Winning is going to be an uphill battle for him, even with Uncle Jonas in his corner.”
“Hale’s not good with people.”
Isaak shook his head. “I disagree. He’s great with people as long as there aren’t more than four or five of them to deal with at a time.”
Yancey chuckled her agreement. “Do you remember last year at the Independence Day picnic? He arrived at noon sharp, stayed only long enough to eat and hear Mayor Kendrick speak, then took off the moment the official festivities were over. He probably spoke to a grand total of five people the whole time.”
Isaak gave her another of his piercing glares. “No. I can’t say I follow Hale’s every movement with such…enthusiasm.”
“It’s not like I was watching him the entire time.” Just forty-five out of the sixty minutes. How embarrassing.
 “I need you to promise me”—Isaak pointed his index finger at her, then curled it into his fist, pulling his hand close to his chest—“I’d like you to promise me that you’ll continue to help with the campaign launch a week from tomorrow and the July fourth barbecue—”
“—which I still think needs to be…something grander.” She ducked her head so he wouldn’t see the heat climbing into her cheeks. She’d entreated him to ask Zoe to cater a full-scale dinner, but with the future between him and the French chef so uncertain, she didn’t want to rub salt into his wounded heart by mentioning it again. “Kendrick does a barbecue. Hale needs to set himself apart.”
“I don’t disagree.” Isaak spread his hands, palms up. “But I have no more say in this campaign. You’ll need to talk Hale into it.” He took a deep breath. “Can you promise me that you’ll continue to help with the campaign without being enthusiastic about working with Hale?”
Yancey placed her hands on her hips. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve not chased after Hale Adams since last July.”
“But you did admit to me back in March that you intended to break your engagement to Joseph Hendry because he wasn’t Hale.” Isaak lowered his chin and raised his eyebrows. “And that no other man has ever made you feel the way he does.”
Yes, but that was early in her correspondence with Nathan. Soon after, their letters lengthened, deepened in substance, and made her heart soar. Hale may have been the first to make her feel like her feet left the ground at the mere mention of his name, but he was no longer the only one.
How grateful she was that falling for Nathan had gotten her over Hale.
But she was determined to transfer every bit of her hopes and dreams to Nathan St. John as soon as possible. It was difficult to fall hopelessly in love with a man without ever having met him face-to-face, but it sounded like he might send for her soon so they could begin the sixty-day courtship in Denver.
She hoped so. Oh, how she hoped so.


Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham
Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham
Becca Whitham (WIT-um) Award-winning author, paper crafter, and Army wife, Becca and her twelve-foot long craft cabinet follow her husband of thirty-five years wherever the army needs a good chaplain. She thinks the cabinet should count as a dependent. So far, neither the army nor the IRS is convinced. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories combining faith and fiction that touch the heart. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.  

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

Gina Welborn is the bestselling author of twenty inspirational romances, including the Montana Brides Romances from Kensington Publishing. She’s a member of Romance Writers of American and American Christian Fiction Writers. Sharing her husband’s passion for the premier American sports car, she is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. Gina lives with her husband, four of their five children, a rabbit named Hobbit, and two cats that don't realize rabbits are edible.  

CONNECT WITH GINA: Website | Facebook | Pinterest


(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and a Montana huckleberry syrup and jam gift box!

The Telegraph Proposal JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 28, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 4, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Art of Rivers

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Art of Rivers
(Coastal Hearts #3)
By Janet W. Ferguson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback and ebook, 299 Pages
June 30th 2019 by Southern Sun Press LLC

​Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancĂ© during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancĂ©. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Also available through KindleUnlimited.

Book Excerpt

Rivers leaned into Cooper’s chest. The move felt like betrayal to Jordan, but she could no more pull herself away than she could erase her past.

His arms wrapped around her, the hold feeling so different from Jordan’s. Cooper was lankier, leaner, but she fit nicely in the crook of his shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” Cooper whispered next to her ear. “I would trade places with Jordan if I could.”

She glanced up at his face between the cracks of her soaked eyelashes.

“I didn’t mean…” His head dropped, and his dark hair shadowed his brows. “I mean, he should be here with you, and I should be the one in a grave. I deserve it, but he didn’t.”

The song echoed on through the cottage living room, Ed Sheeran crooning about falling in love and starting a family. Why hadn’t she deleted it already? Crying exhausted her, and she sunk closer, deeper against Cooper’s chest and the curve of his shoulder. She should say something. Part of her thought he might be right—Jordan did deserve to be here more than Cooper. Her human nature craved having somewhere to pour her pent-up blame, someone on whom to spew her anger.

But another part whispered that no one was righteous. There was only One who hadn’t fallen short. But for God’s grace, all would be lost.

Sniffling, she found her voice. “It’s not your fault. We live in a broken world, but someday everything will be made right.” Though her head knew the truth, often her heart lagged behind. But even after the short time she’d known Cooper, she’d discovered worthwhile qualities in him, no matter how she tried not to.

And he still held her. The blasted song finally switched, and the beat of her breaking heart slowed. She was suddenly aware of the thump of his heart pulsing in his chest. She forced herself to inch away.

“Sorry. I still fall apart sometimes.” Rivers cleared her throat against the tightness there. “A little thing can trigger it—a commercial for a show we binged-watched or the scent of his shampoo. A friend and I went to eat sushi, and a memory of Jordan trying to use chopsticks just about strangled me.”

A soft chuckle came from Cooper. “Yeah, he was never a fan of sushi, and for a talented architect, chopsticks were his kryptonite. He must’ve really loved you to try.”

“What? He didn’t like sushi?”

“He used to hate it. He’d gotten a stomach virus after eating crab one time, and something about sushi reminded him of being sick.” He shrugged. “Maybe he got over it. What do I know?”

“He could have, but he never seemed overly enthusiastic, now that I think back.” She couldn’t help smiling at the realization that he’d gone only to make her happy. Learning more about Jordan through Cooper’s perspective, though painful, might be part of her healing journey. Her eyes met his dark gaze for a moment. It might be too dangerous a journey, though.

Other Books in the Series

And coming January 2020...

About the Author

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card and signed copies of the first two books in the series, Magnolia Storms and Falling for Grace.

US only.
Ends November 6, 2019.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

First Line Fridays: Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

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 Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble:

"Lisa ran to her Datsun Bluebird and jerked open the yellow door."

Have you read this book?

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own. 
So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name? 
Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future. 
Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble. 

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Author Interview: Natalie Snapp on The Bathsheba Battle (Part Two)

About the Book:

Find healing and hope when things haven't gone as planned.

Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn, leaving you feeling hurt and stuck?  In The Bathsheba Battle, Natalie Chambers Snapp helps women find healing and hope when things haven’t gone as they had planned. 

Bathsheba, typically misrepresented as an adulteress, is one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Despite an unexpected turn in her life, which resulted in tragic circumstances beyond her control, there are glimmers of hope in her story. By studying her life, readers will find healing from their own painful pasts and hope for living the free and full lives God intends. 

The Bathsheba Battle helps women find hope in the unexpected and unplanned.

Author Interview: 

Note: This is the second part of a two-part interview. If you missed part one, you can read it here.

Q: Who did you write The Bathsheba Battle for? How did you intend the book to be used?

The Bathsheba Battle is written for anyone who has ever asked the question, “Why me, Lord? Why do I have to suffer through this?” It’s written for anyone whose life has not turned out the way they had planned. And it’s written for those who want to learn how to embrace suffering and humble themselves to the trying, but beautiful, reconstruction of it all. I intended this book to be used as a great encouragement – Bathsheba is an inspiration! Towards the end of David’s life, we see a woman who has grown in confidence, grace, and wisdom. Her deconstruction led to a very inspiring reconstruction but her complete story is often unknown!

Q: You dedicate a chapter to trauma. Why is it so important to understand what trauma is and its effects on us?

Trauma is often misunderstood. More of us experience what would be considered trauma than we actually realize. Trauma is anything that causes us to separate our lives into a “before and after.” For example, my life changed trajectory after my divorce and the death of my father. There was a “before Natalie” and an “after Natalie.” It is extremely important to get professional help after experiencing trauma as it will impact our physical, spiritual, and mental health if we don’t. I am a firm believer in seeking counseling, and in fact, I’m in the process of becoming a licensed counselor myself!

Q: What is unique to shame as an emotion? What does shame do to us, and how can we work to overcome it?

Shame is very, very sneaky! Oftentimes, we confuse guilt with shame, but there are times when guilt can be a positive thing. Guilt tells us we did something wrong and need to make it right while shame tells us we are a terrible person and aren’t worthy of anyone’s love or respect. Shame takes healthy guilt and allows it to penetrate the walls of our souls until they crumble into a heaping mess. Just because I make a mistake doesn’t mean I’m a terrible, awful person. However, shame will try to make us believe that lie.

The first step in overcoming shame is identifying it. The second step is refusing to be a prisoner of shame by having grace with yourself. So often, I find I can easily extend grace to other people, but I have a harder time doing so for myself. This is because we hear the voices of shame telling us we shouldn’t! There is nothing Biblical about living under these chains.

Q: What is righteous anger? Even when it is righteous, why do we need to let go of our anger as quickly as possible?

Righteous anger is anger directed at sin. For example, when Jesus turned the tables in Matthew 21, he was angry at their obvious sin. However, we also see Jesus let that anger go. If we hold on to righteous sin, we will become angry, legalistic, and so black-and-white that we turn others away from our faith.

Q: How do comparison and fear both rob our lives? How can we protect ourselves from letting that happen?

Comparison is rooted in fear. We often find ourselves comparing when we fear we are not enough. Understanding that we all carry a different load and God has entrusted you to be who you are and carry your specific load helps tremendously in the comparison trap.

Q: In what ways are grief and fear similar? What are some situations other than death that we grieve?

I actually am not sure I would say grief and fear are very similar. Grief is a natural and healthy price we pay for being willing to love. Perhaps, if we allow our grief to overtake our lives for too long, then it could be rooted in fear. However, for the most part, grief is a natural response to love. We can grieve the loss of a relationship we wished we had but don’t. We can grieve a life we thought we might live but don’t. And we can grieve the death of our dreams when it becomes apparent they won’t occur. The trick is to work through that grief and seek help so we don’t stay there and allow it to become fear.

Q: Self-care is so important, but why do we feel so guilty for taking care of ourselves?

It really is important, but we absolutely need to change this mindset of guilt! I think women often feel guilty about prioritizing self-care because we are natural caregivers. We often prioritize the needs of others at the expense of our own, or maybe that’s just me? I suspect it’s not, but it’s a hard habit to break.

Thankfully, I’ve seen a shift in the culture of women now cheering each other on to prioritize self-care more, whether it be through time with friends, going on a long walk, getting a massage, or simply just taking a nap. I’m trying to incorporate one act of self-care into each day, and let me tell you, it definitely makes me a better wife, mother, and person in general!

Q: What is the single most important thing you hope readers will learn from their study of The Bathsheba Battle?

I wrote The Bathsheba Battle because so many women approached me after speaking engagements to confide that they relate so much to Bathsheba. Yet, there is little out there on this remarkable woman of Scripture! My prayer is that those who are suffering will find hope in Bathsheba’s inspiring and remarkable story and choose to live as a survivor rather than a victim. I want others to see that they can emerge victorious and will if they place their hope and trust in God—who is closer to them during our periods of suffering than we can even imagine. Most of all, I simply want others to find hope, because hope is always present if we choose to see it.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Promise for Tomorrow by Michelle De Bruin

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Promise for Tomorrow
By Michelle De Bruin

Coming November 19, 2019...

Living a life of faith isn’t going the way Logan and Karen hoped until some special visitors arrive and offer them their future back.

Karen Millerson dreamed of teaching high school but now finds herself boarding with a farm family and teaching country school. She is engaged to marry Logan De Witt and is getting prepared to share in ministry with him. But when she gets blamed for the tragic fire at the school, Karen’s future grows uncertain.

Logan De Witt is working to clear his family’s name with the bank. But when he breaks his leg, hindering his ability to work the farm, Logan is faced with life-changing decisions. When his best friend can’t offer the help he requested, can Logan find a way to care for his family and court Karen at the same time before his love for her destroys all of them?

(Affiliate link included.)
Pre-order: Amazon

Other Books in the Series

Hope for Tomorrow
By Michelle De Bruin
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 294 Pages
October 23rd 2018 by Mantle Rock Publishing LLC

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?

(Affiliate links included.)

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. She writes stories about people who live in rural communities at the turn of the 20th century. Characters that bring to life the delights of farm and small town living, whispers of Dutch heritage, and Christian faith make her stories distinct.

Cover Reveal Giveaway

One winner will receive copies of Hope for Tomorrow and Promise for Tomorrow and a $20 Amazon eGift Card.

US only.
Ends October 25, 2019.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Fate of the Redeemed

Fate of the Redeemed JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Fate of the Redeemed by Chad Pettit, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Fate of the Redeemed by Chad Pettit 
Title: Fate of the Redeemed  
Series: Journey of Fate #2  
Author: Chad Pettit  
Publisher: Ambassador International 
Release Date: October 1, 2019  
Genre: Suspense Fantasy

An angel with amnesia. A demon with a vendetta. The man caught in their crossfire.

Lester Sharp has been given a second chance to live a life of compassion, but his decision to follow God will be tested when his estranged father calls to tell him his brother has been killed in combat. A demon unleashes a series of attacks on him, and someone he thought was lost to his past emerges.

Lester is guarded by the angel, Draven, but when Morane catches the watcher off his guard, Draven loses his memory and finds himself being held prisoner in a remote Somali village. His only ally is Ibrahim, a man who finds out his son has been murdered by extremists when his granddaughter appears out of nowhere and somehow possesses supernatural powers.

As Morane’s fury is unleashed, time is running out for Lester, and Draven’s fate is in the hands of a man whose faith is being pushed to the limit.  

While Lester fights for his life—and for his soul—will he make the right choices, or will he decide—once and for all—that he doesn’t need God? And why is one man so important in the midst of spiritual warfare?


Town of Olympia, Eastern United States

The watcher stood silently, enshrouded by the ageless camouflage of the spirit realm. It is the place of no place, a tangible reality only to the immortal and supernatural players on a timeless battlefield for the souls of mankind. It is where “bumps in the night” are born, where unanticipated tempests of raging lightning and rain lash out on a fallen Earth as the elemental warriors dance their cosmic melee of undying death. 

The watcher smiled. Comfortably. Peacefully. Transitioning from his human form of dark skin and long dreadlocks, he kept his immortal gaze fixed on the quiet house, which he had just left and where a newly reformed soul now comforted a man snatched from the claws of death. A single light in the living room of the house remained on, its faint yellow glow piercing the night like a beacon atop a lone lighthouse faithfully guiding lost ships to its reassuring shores. 

He sighed and let down his guard to complete the transition. 

Dark brown, sinewy arms began to turn into thicker, but still slender, arms that blended into the shades of myriad colors surrounding him. He shifted his attention to this, enjoying the spell of the ever-changing skin tones. Dark green and shadow like the grass at his feet. Yellow, glowing like the light from the house. He turned his hand so the palm was facing him and wiggled his fingers in order to watch them rapidly change between the mixtures of color and light. 

His pleasure at the sight was intense but unmatched by the elation of the night’s victory. Centuries behind this invisible curtain, decade after decade watching unaware mortals go through their endless loop of birth and death, killing and being killed, starving and warring. Years passed like seconds to Draven, the watcher for so long, but tonight had been different. He had been allowed to go to one of them, to show his power in the presence of a mortal and be a part of the reclamation of a soul.


Chad Petitt 

Chad Pettit grew up lost in the world of fantasy fiction but alienated from a knowledge of God. With no real direction in his life, he shipped out for basic training twelve days after high school. He continued down a path of sin and destruction through two combat tours to Iraq, but then God pulled back the blinders, and he met his Lord and Savior. One passion that never left him was his love for fiction, and in 2013 he went back to school and earned his degree in English. This helped him develop his craft, spending long hours pounding away at the keys until his battles with guilt, fear, and shame came alive on the page.  

CONNECT WITH CHAD: Website | Facebook | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a $10 B&N egift card

Fate of the Redeemed JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 16, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on October 23, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, October 18, 2019

First Line Fridays: One Final Breath by Lynn Blackburn

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 One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn:

"It didn't get much better than this."

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

Revenge has no statute of limitations.

When investigator Gabe Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell, a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her--the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they'll have to put aside their complicated history with each other in order to uncover the killer's identity. 

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Review: The Courage to See: Daily Inspiration from Great Literature

About the Book:

Book lovers know there is something sacred in the stories, poetry, and insight of even the most secular books. This 365-day devotional celebrates the beauty of literature and its ability to illuminate elements of the Divine, present all around us. Pairing excerpts from more than two hundred literary works with thought-provoking Scriptures and brief prayers, this spiritual guide invites readers to draw closer to God through the words of both classic and modern authors.

View an excerpt of The Courage to See on the publisher's website.

My Thoughts:

The Courage to See by Greg Garrett and Sabrina Fountain is a hardcover devotional that combines literary quotes with Scripture and a concluding prayer. This daily devotional contains 365 entries and I read several a day in order to create a timely review. However, I think it would be lovely to read only one per day and combine the reading with a time of contemplation and prayer.

As to the content of The Courage to See, sometimes the correlation between the quote and the Scripture was obvious. Other times, I didn’t see how they were related until the prayer tied the idea together. I enjoyed the differing names of God used in the prayer portions. Not just familiar ones like Holy Father, Lord Jesus, and Christ Our Redeemer, but also Risen Lord, God who Speaks, Humble Christ, and Lord of Love.

I admired the diversity of literary passages in The Courage to See. Some derive from classic works of literature while others originate from modern novels. The topics address personal issues (healing, courage, forgiveness, etc) as well as broader issues (social justice, the mystery of life, the beauty of creation, etc).

I recommend The Courage to See by Greg Garrett and Sabrina Fountain to Christians who enjoy literature and seek a daily devotional to inspire and encourage. It would make a lovely gift for any literature lover, male or female.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Author Interview: Natalie Snapp on The Bathsheba Battle (Part One)

About the Book:

Find healing and hope when things haven't gone as planned.

Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn, leaving you feeling hurt and stuck?  In The Bathsheba Battle, Natalie Chambers Snapp helps women find healing and hope when things haven’t gone as they had planned. 

Bathsheba, typically misrepresented as an adulteress, is one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Despite an unexpected turn in her life, which resulted in tragic circumstances beyond her control, there are glimmers of hope in her story. By studying her life, readers will find healing from their own painful pasts and hope for living the free and full lives God intends. 

The Bathsheba Battle helps women find hope in the unexpected and unplanned.

Author Interview: 

Q: You describe Bathsheba as one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. How is she typically misrepresented?

Bathsheba is often portrayed as the adulteress—as though she was a vixen with the intent to tempt David and hopefully, take her on as his wife. However, the fact remains that she was a victim of David’s own desires and paid a very dear price for his sin. Sadly, victims can sometimes be blamed and in the case of Bathsheba, that’s exactly what happened.

Q: What were some of the tragic circumstances that Bathsheba found herself in that were out of her control? How can we relate to her story today?

First of all, some commentaries claim Bathsheba was trying to entice David by bathing in the courtyard of her home. However, during the time in which Bathsheba lived, indoor plumbing didn’t exist! Therefore, most families had a basin in the courtyard for bathing purposes. When David saw her bathing, she was obeying the cleansing ritual required of women after monthly menstruation. She was not trying to entice David—she was simply following the rules of her culture! How would she even know David was going to be walking on his rooftop at the precise moment she was bathing?

When David saw Bathsheba, he was immediately impressed with her beauty and summoned her to his palace. During those days, when the king summoned you to the palace, you did not have a choice, you went. So off Bathsheba goes to meet David and once there, they have sex. We have no way of definitively knowing if David assaulted her, but she did go to his palace against her will. For that reason, we can speculate that was a likely possibility. Bathsheba became pregnant which is when things start to go off the rails!

David tries to hide his sin by summoning Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, one of his most valuable warriors, home from the war (which is where David was supposed to be as well). Once Uriah reaches the palace, David proceeds to feed him a large meal and encourages him to drink a lot of wine so he will go home and have sex with Bathsheba. Problem solved! He can then pass his child off as Uriah’s, and no one needs to know about his sin. However, David failed to consider the fact that Uriah was a man of honor and refused to visit his wife when his men were still waging a war. Instead, he slept on the front porch of the palace with the servants. David tried a second night to get Uriah to visit his wife, but Uriah refused.

At this point in the story, we can see how sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go. Instead of confessing and coming clean to everyone, David orders Uriah to the frontlines of the battle, and of course, he is killed. Now, Bathsheba was possibly raped by the king, pregnant, and her husband is dead. All these things were out of her control.

After Uriah’s death, David takes Bathsheba as his wife. However, the restitution of David’s sin is the life of the child Bathsheba was carrying. Soon after the birth of David and Bathsheba’s son, the infant died. We see Bathsheba as a grieving mother, another event out of her control.

I think so many people can relate to Bathsheba’s story because 1) suffering happens to all of us and 2) sometimes, our suffering is the result of someone else’s actions and choices. In no way should we remain victims, but I think Bathsheba’s story is God’s way of telling us that He sees us, understands our pain, and is the Ultimate Justifier.

Q:  Can you share about a hardship or disappointment in your own life that provided the inspiration to write The Bathsheba Battle?

Absolutely! When I was in my late twenties, I was married to a man with a drug problem, but I did not know it. As many who have loved addicts understand, there are often behaviors corresponding with addiction that are not healthy for a young marriage and therefore, we divorced. Two months after I filed for divorce, my father, who was in and out of my life due to his own addiction issues, passed away unexpectedly.

Life had definitely taken a very unexpected turn and was not at all going the way I had planned. It was a dark season, and yet also the very season in which I became a follower of Jesus. My deconstruction led to my reconstruction. I have been remarried for fifteen years and have three beautiful children; however, periods of suffering have also been peppered throughout those years as well. Suffering is often cyclical and that has been true of my life!

Q: Explain how transformation happens during renovation. Where does renovation take place?

It sounds so trite, and I’m not going to lie, there were times during my own periods of suffering when I just wanted to scream when people said this to me. But the fact remains, when we are deconstructed by trauma and circumstances in or beyond our control, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will indeed emerge with greater wisdom and grace. Suffering is the great equalizer—it does not discriminate between gender, race, beliefs, or socio-economic status. No one is immune. However, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will emerge with new eyes of strength and dignity.

Q: Do we always have the ability to choose how we respond to our situation? Why is this such a significant choice, especially when we must endure a consequence of someone else’s sin?

Yes, I believe we do. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we will respond. Living life as a victim will ultimately make you feel powerless, depressed, and distrustful of people. It will lead to a life of bitterness, resentment, and anger. On the other hand, when we respond to our trauma with a humble heart and a willingness to be molded by our suffering, we feel empowered, strong, and able to help others when their time of suffering emerges. When we choose to live as victims, we give others power over our lives. When we choose to live as survivors, we understand that we possess the power ourselves.

Q: How does your study on Bathsheba shift from part one of the book to part two?

In Part One, we discuss the byproducts of our suffering: fear, shame, anger, and comparison. In Part Two, we look at how to overcome these negative emotions and live empowered and with hope.

Q: What does Bathsheba’s story teach us about forgiveness?

We don’t really know about Bathsheba’s forgiveness process because it’s not discussed in the Bible. However, we do see her stand before David in 1 Kings 1 with an empowered and confident voice that exhibits love and respect towards her husband. Perhaps somewhere during the course of their marriage, Bathsheba made peace with her circumstances—she chose her response and not to live as a victim.

Not living as a victim involves forgiveness and yet, this does not mean she might not have felt like a victim for a while. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel shameful. And it doesn’t mean that she didn’t grieve the loss of the life she thought she might have. It does, however, indicate that she chose to keep moving forward without allowing her grief and shame to negatively impact who she ultimately became. A woman who is victorious over suffering is the most beautiful and inspiring to us all.