Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge

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Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for Praying with Jane by Rachel Dodge, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Praying with Jane by Rachel DodgeTitle: Praying with Jane
Author: Rachel Dodge
Genre: Devotional
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: October 2, 2018

Daily Encouragement for Your Soul through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane's spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Miss Austen's faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane's petitions.

May this journey into Jane Austen's life of faith and prayer ignite and deepen your own relationship with the Father who loves you.

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

MY THOUGHTS


Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge offers readers a daily devotional based on the three known prayers written by Jane Austen. Each prayer receives ten or eleven days of attention, effectively immersing the reader into the prayer.

Having recently reread Pride & Prejudice, I was delighted to start into Praying with Jane. Each devotional entry begins with an examination of a portion of one of Jane’s prayers. Jane’s personal life and literary works appear often as the author brings together Austen’s prayer and the devotional thought. All six of Austen’s published novels are referenced in various points. Naturally, many Biblical principles and Scriptures were included. The second section offers a brief invitation to pray that encourages personal introspection and honesty. Lastly, a pre-composed prayer leads the reader in communion with God through prayer.

Two of my favorite devotional entries in Praying with Jane were: (1) Every Good and Perfect Gift (Pg. 39) which focused on thankfulness. (2) A Benevolent Spirit (Pg. 77) which encouraged generosity toward others. This book spoke to me as it offered reminders of God’s love as well as instruction on the Christian life. I highly recommend Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen to Jane Austen fans. It has a permanent home on my bookcase and I expect to read it again in the future.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rachel Dodge Headshot

Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen's World blog. She makes her home in California with her husband, Robert, and their two young children. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel loves books, bonnets, and ball gowns. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and kids, serving at her church, or watching period dramas and food documentaries

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive 2 gift sets that include a copy of Praying With Jane as well as a matching journal and stickers (1 for you, 1 for a friend!)!

Praying for Jane JustRead Blog 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 December 4, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 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!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, December 6, 2019

First Line Fridays: Strong Brave Loved by Holley Gerth

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 Stong Brave Loved by Holley Gerth:

"If you ever get a little tired of life's battles, this is for you."

Have you read this book? It's one of the best devotionals I read this year. Find out why in my review.

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


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.





First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, December 5, 2019

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas: Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Brand of Light
(The Droseran Saga Book #1)
By Ronie Kendig

SciFi, Space Opera
Hardcover and ebook, 400 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Enclave Publishing

There's a price on her head, and it has everything to do with the brand on her arm.

Tertian Space Coalition has blessed every planet in the quadrants with high technology, save one: Drosero. But in spite of their tenuous treaty with the ruling clans, TSC has plans for the backward planet. And they're not alone.

After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she's borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders.

Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order—not to join them, but to seek a bounty. Gifted—or cursed—with abilities that mark him a Kynigos, a tracker sworn to bring interplanetary fugitives to justice, Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted.

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

KALONICA, DROSERO

“You are sure of this, my lady? It’s Myles.” Weighted eyes drove home the point. “Our fiercest.”

“It was a fair draw.”

“Aye, but—”

“Let it not be said that I, the lone female in the training yard, whinged.” Not when she had pleaded so hard for training. As it was, she was thankful Uncle Rufio had left express word before he left for the middle lands that she should be allowed to continue her levels.

Jamming her fingers into thick hide gloves, Kersei Dragoumis stalked toward her destrier. She smoothed a hand over Bastien’s broad skull, then pressed her forehead to his and closed her eyes, stroking his powerful neck. “May I serve you well, friend.” She swung up into the saddle, ignoring the heat and dust that clung to her. Thank the Ancient women in Kalonica wore split pants to accommodate arduous tasks. At least in this she conformed to tradition.

Squinting against the strength of the full rise, she stared down the training yard at her opponent. Courage curdled inside her.

Seek strength where it may be found.

Approaching on her left, Minos lifted a javrod. “Myles will not take into consideration that you’re a female, nor that you’re a second-year. He is ruthless.”

“Then I must be at my best, aye?”

Minos thrust the javrod into her grip. “You have the iron of the machitis in your blood, Lady Kersei.” His sun-leathered face grimaced. “Ancient help us all.”

She laughed, more because of her nerves than out of amusement. “Now you sound like Darius.”

Had he been here, he would have forbidden her to spar against Myles, one of Father’s favorites. Myles had gained the rank of aerios faster than most—faster, even, than Darius—though only by a month. Yet her father would threaten his position on the elite guard of the realm if anything were to happen to her today. She’d never taken on a warrior of his caliber. Still, she knew Minos was right: Myles would give no quarter, while everyone else had taken into account that she was a female and that her father was Xylander, Elder of Stratios, one of the Five, and Chief Counsel to Medora Zarek.

Minos secured the strap around her arm. “Prince Darius will have my hide and your father my shield if harm comes to you.”

She cut him a glare. “Then I am glad neither is here.”

With a sigh, Minos backstepped.

Kersei again studied her opponent. “He thrusts at the last second,” she muttered.

“And at an angle. Give it room to bend.” His eyes held the worry of a warrior facing his last battle. “Pull off if—”

“Blood and boil!” someone shouted. “Kersei has drawn Myles!”

“She can’t be going through with it. She wouldn’t be that—”

“Aye, she would.” Another laughed.

Kersei blew out a breath as her periphery filled with the grubby green tunics of machitis lining the edge of the hay-strewn training field. She ignored their mocking murmurs and focused on Aerios Myles, who sat in quiet confidence on his mount, bored. Even though he wore a training jerkin and armor, it was how he wore it. Stretched taut against his chest and arms. Comfortable as a second skin. The destrier stamped impatiently. Myles had long been intent on proving she should not be here. Her mother liked him for that reason alone.

With gloved hands, Kersei slid down the face shield. Mentally patted armor that should protect her ribs and stomach. Wouldn’t Ma’ma love her to come home the night of Adara’s Delta Presentation with a black eye or broken limb?

Then best not get injured.

“Riders, ready!” Minos called over the chatter of the other machitis.

Both she and Myles hefted javrods to readiness and nudged their mounts into position on either side of the long dividing fence.

“Ho! Look to the ridge,” a spectator called. “The Kalonican lion!”

Sucking a breath, Kersei flicked her attention to the rise overlooking the training field. Royal banners snapped in the breeze. A cluster of horses cantered ahead of the detachment coming down the hill. One rider broke ahead in a full gallop. And though she could not see faces at this distance, she knew that golden-brown hair.

“It’s Prince Darius!”

Now he returns? No no no. He had always said she should not spar or joust. If he saw—

Her gaze darted to Minos. He held a fist to his chest in recognition of his prince. “Vanko Kalonica” rang out from the warriors. Blood and boil! Darius would end this match.

“Ready,” she shouted, hunching into Bastien.

“Ready!” The shout from the other end of the field pulled her up straight.

So, Myles is as anxious as I. But which of them would stand proudly before their prince when this was over?

Kersei swallowed. Tucked the javrod into her shoulder, its length standing straight. Lighter than a lance, it was a formidable weapon even if she were dismounted.

Aerios Minos lifted an arm, then violently swung it down.

“Huah!” With a jab of her knees, Kersei committed.

Bastien reared, his raw power surging beneath her. He vaulted forward like the mighty war horse he was. She leaned into the charge. Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, she urged Bastien to eat up the distance.

As Myles stormed her, he grew. In size. Formidability. Ferocity.

Heart thundering with Bastien’s hooves, Kersei focused her advance. Bend with it. Darius’s instruction from their days of sparring nudged attention to her rigidity. Expecting failure, she loosened taut muscles. Lay upon the buffeting wind streaming between her and Bastien.

As she aimed her javrod, Myles did the same.

Shouts pushed past the wind to reach her ears.

Her javrod wobbled in her grip. It vibrated up her arm. Shook her. She stiffened, fearing she’d lose the rod before even engaging her opponent.

Bastien responded, tensing beneath her stress.

Kersei shed the fear. The expectation of failure. Guided Bastien to the rail and firmed her grip. Felt it nock perfectly into her gloved hand. Targeted down its length to Myles’s chest.

Just forward more. Almost there …

As she thrust, she held her breath. She must do this. She was Kersei, daughter of Xylander, the fiercest machitis in Kalonica!

The thick, dulled tip of Myles’s javrod beamed right at her. Firm. Solid. No uncertainty. Pure experience. Ferocious determination. His scowl bled into focus behind the rod. Dark eyes. Forbidding. His rod swung down.

Ah! Just as expected. He’d miss. She would stand before Darius. She would—

Thud!


About the Author


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and dogs, VVolt N629 (retired military working dog) and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described by literary agent as an empath, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller list multiple times.



Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston - Heart of Red, Blood of Blue
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse - Flight of the Raven
December 4thJes Drew - Tales of Parallel Worlds
December 5th: Ronie Kendig - Brand of Light
December 6th: Alisha Klapheke - Fate of Dragons
December 7th: Jessica Leake - Through the White Wood
December 8th: Belle Malory - Electric Skies
December 9th: Melissa McShane - Burning Bright
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood - Blackbriar Cove
December 11th: Melissa Wright - Shadow and Stone
December 12th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes)
Ends December 16, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Book Review: God's Hostage by Andrew Brunson

About the Book:

When God called, he answered.

In 1993, Andrew Brunson was asked to move to Turkey, the largest unevangelized country in the world, to serve as a missionary. Though reluctant at first because of the daunting task that lay ahead, Andrew and his wife, Norine, became convinced this was God's plan for them.


What followed was a string of difficulties and threats, but there were also successes in starting new churches in a place where many people had never met a Christian. As their work with refugees from Syria, including Kurds, gained attention and suspicion, Andrew and Norine acknowledged the threat but accepted the risk, confident that this work was part of their assignment.


In 2016, they were arrested. Though the state quickly released Norine, who remained in Turkey, Andrew was imprisoned. Accused of being a spy and being among the plotters of an attempted coup, he became a political pawn whose name was soon known around the world.


God's Hostage is the incredible true story of his imprisonment, his brokenness, his faithfulness . . . and his freedom.



My Thoughts:

God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance by Andrew Brunson, with Craig Borlase, is not light reading. The subtitle perfectly relays the contents of this autobiography: persecution, imprisonment, and perseverance. Andrew Brunson underwent intense hardship as he spent 735 days in Turkish prisons. As the majority of this book takes place during his imprisonment, frequently the focus is on his mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles. I appreciated the deep honesty he shared. He tells about his fears, deep depression, suicidal thoughts, the well-intentioned (but not helpful) advice of others, and much more.

Although the subject matter in God’s Hostage is weighty, I found the plot fascinating. At times, I wanted to keep turning pages to follow along his journey, but had to stop for the night and space it out to avoid absorbing too much of the emotional turmoil. I could relate to his feelings of being abandoned by God in his hardship. In a way it was refreshing to read about as it reminds me that I’m not the only one who faces certain struggles.

God’s Hostage by Andrew Brunson, with Craig Borlase, will appeal both to readers who enjoy autobiographies and to those who followed Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment as it happened. 4.5 Stars!

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

Book Blitz with Giveaway: A Child's Gift by Linda Warren


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Child's Gift
(Texas Rebels #8)
By Linda Warren

Contemporary Romance
Paperback and ebook, 384 Pages
December 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Will an abandoned child bring them together?

Or tear them apart?

Cowboy Jericho Johnson lives a good life working on the Rebel family’s Texas ranch. All he’s missing is a wonderful woman like Anamarie Wiznowski. But Rico’s troubled past and Ana’s disapproving family conspire against them. When Rico is named guardian to a four-year-old boy, he asks Ana for help. And suddenly, he’s falling faster than Christmas snow…for Ana, sweet little Dusty and life as a family man!


(Affiliate links included.)
Goodreads Amazon B&N | TBD Harlequin iBooks Kobo


Excerpt

“So you’ll be busy.”

“Not so busy that I can’t take care of Dusty.” Why wasn’t he asking her to marry him? They loved each other, didn’t they?

“Well, then.” He placed his hands on his knees. “I guess we should get married. We can go to the courthouse or Wyatt can marry us.”

In all the years she dreamed about someone asking her to marry them, it wasn’t like this. She stood up, anger in every part of her body. “I’m not getting married at the courthouse or by Wyatt Carson.”

“Why not?” He was genuinely puzzled and that eased the anger inside her.

“Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of walking down the aisle on my dad’s arm in a white dress. My sisters and I used to play Bride. We’d walk down the hall with a pillowcase over our heads holding some fake flowers of our mom’s. Sometimes Bubba played dad. I want to get married in the church.”

He frowned. “Anamarie, I’m not into big weddings.”

“It would be just my family and your family.”

“I don’t have a family.”

“Excuse me. Who are the Rebels?”

“They’re my employers.”

He was putting up walls and she had to go at this another way. “Where do you spend your holidays?”

“At Miss Kate’s and on Christmas morning I go to Egan’s first and then to Miss Kate’s.”

“Really? I don’t know many people who go to their employers’ house on Christmas.”

“They’re good to me, but we’re not blood.”

“And that matters to you? Because I don’t see it mattering to the Rebels.” Why was it so hard for him to admit that he was a part of the Rebel family? The walls he had built around himself were getting thicker and she didn’t know if she could get through to make him understand how much she loved him and how much the Rebels loved him.

She sat on the coffee table again, giving him a few minutes. As the clock ticked away, he said nothing. She finally asked, “What are you going to do about Dusty?”

“I can’t let him go into foster care.”

“Then do something about it.”

After a moment, he said, “Okay, I guess we’ll do the wedding thing you want.” His voice held a tinge of resentment that didn’t sit well with her.

She got up from the coffee table. “I’m going to pack my things, but I won’t leave until the morning. I want to say goodbye to Dusty.”

“What? Wait?” As she walked by his chair, he caught her hand. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t want to feel as if I’m forcing you into marriage. It has to be something you want, too, and clearly you don’t.”

“I’m just trying to get this right.”

“Well, you got it wrong.” She took a deep breath. “Rico, when a man proposes to a woman, she wants to hear more than we should get married. I need more if I’m going to spend my life with you. And you seem very hesitant to offer that.”

“What do you mean? You know I love you. I’ve been crazy about you for years.”

The magic words would have been wonderful if he hadn’t tacked on you know.

She placed her hand over her heart. “I love you, Rico, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

He got to his feet, still holding her hand. “The only person I’ve ever loved is my great-grandmother and it’s hard for me to recognize those emotions after everything that has happened to me. But I know that I love you. I love you more than I’ve loved anyone in my whole life. Will you marry me and help me make a home for Dusty?”


Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)


About the Author


Two time Rita® nominated author Linda Warren has written forty-five books for Harlequin. A native Texan, she’s a member of Romance Writers of America and the West Houston Chapter. Drawing upon her years of growing up on a ranch, she writes about some of her favorite things: Western-style romance, cowboys and country life. She married her high school sweetheart and they live on a lake in central Texas. He fishes and she writes. Works perfect. You can find out more about Linda at http://www.LindaWarren.net.



Blitz Giveaway



One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card and an ebook of A Child's Gift.
Three winners will each receive an ebook of A Child's Gift.

Open internationally.
Ends December 6, 2019

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Book Review: The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear


About the Book:

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. 

The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear.


My Thoughts:

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear held my attention from the beginning as it draws the reader into the conflict of the Civil War right away. I liked Pearl from the beginning, but my admiration grew as she developed over the course of the story. Tasked with caring for wounded Yankee soldiers, she struggles with her animosity towards these men who are fighting against her own family. In a way, her character embodies both the values of the North and South. She doesn’t own slaves, but she’s loyal to her state, and hence, the Confederacy. Her internal conflict threads throughout the story and gives a nice level of tension to both herself and Josh, the Union soldier she is so drawn to.

I also appreciated how the author wove themes about trusting God and extending kindness to those in need throughout the entire story. Josh and Pearl are the main characters who struggle with these concepts and their character development lasts the length of the novel.

One thing I have to mention: At the very beginning, the author has a note explaining her use of the terms “Negro” and “darky.” The terms appeared infrequently, but I felt uncomfortable reading these words in the story. I felt like they could have been left out or substituted with the person’s name without any detriment to the story.

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear is tenth installment in the Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Publishing, but reads fine as a stand-alone. This novel will likely appeal to readers looking for a contemplative historical romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas: Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Flight of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #2)
By Morgan L. Busse

Christian Fantasy
Paperback and ebook, 352 Pages
April 30th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. 

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

Dark.

So dark.

Selene shivered and pulled her cloak and hood closer around her shoulders. Her clothes were still damp from crossing the Hyr River and the cold wind did not help. The trees that lined Trader’s Road appeared like bony fingers reaching up toward the darkening sky. Twilight slipped across the road, blending the forest edge with the dirt path. Above, streaks of red split the sky as if some large animal had torn open the heavens.

Brittle leaves crunched beneath her boots as she followed the guards Sten and Karl. Karl was a couple inches taller than Sten, and younger by at least ten years. His dark hair curled along the edge of his cloak and his hand hovered near the hilt of his sword. Sten was round and muscular, with greying hair and a neck as thick at a man’s hand. He pointed at something and Karl answered in a low, gruff voice.

Cohen the monk quietly walked beside her, his presence warm and friendly. He was as tall as he was skinny, with straw-colored hair that stuck up around his face. And behind her…

Her stomach lurched and her fingers curled around the edge of her cloak. Lord Damien followed a couple feet behind, his steps firm. No, not lord, not to her anymore.

Damien. Her husband.

Selene kept her eyes ahead, but every part of her could sense him behind her. The moment the monk had finished the rites, and warmth had spread between their hands, she knew him. Most of it she had already discovered during her dreamwalks, but seeing his memories and having that knowledge imparted into her innermost mind and soul were two completely things. And just as much as she now knew him, he knew her as well. He knew who she really was. He knew what she could do.

He knew her gift.

She could still see the shock in his face the moment her dreamwalking gift was revealed to him. Yet he was still able to turn away and maintain enough mental capacity to raise the river barrier in time to save them.

Selene lifted her right hand and brushed her cheek. That power. To raise water and crush men. It was amazing. And terrifying. And if he hadn’t chosen to bond with her minutes before—

Her hand slid down and gripped her throat. She would have been drowned alongside those men.

Instead, Damien had chosen to save her. In a permanent way.


Other Books in the Series

Mark of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #1)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
November 6th 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

(Affiliate links included.)


And coming soon in February 2020...

Cry of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #3)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire's attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband's power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

(Affiliate links included.)


About the Author


Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the FOLLOWER OF THE WORD series and the steampunk series THE SOUL CHRONICLES. She is a Christy Award finalist and recently won both the INSPY and the Carol Award for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. Visit her online at www.morganlbusse.com.



Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston - Heart of Red, Blood of Blue
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse - Flight of the Raven
December 4thJes Drew - Tales of Parallel Worlds
December 5th: Ronie Kendig - Brand of Light
December 6th: Alisha Klapheke - Fate of Dragons
December 7th: Jessica Leake - Through the White Wood
December 8th: Belle Malory - Electric Skies
December 9th: Melissa McShane - Burning Bright
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood - Blackbriar Cove
December 11th: Melissa Wright - Shadow and Stone
December 12th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes)
Ends December 16, 2019.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith

Where I Was Planted JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith Title: Where I Was Planted
Author: Heather Norman Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ambassador International

In the spring of 1961, ten-year-old Nate "Weenie" Dooley has a revelation-his father is not a good one.

Inspired by National Geographic, his favorite thing next to the Bible storybook his mother gave him before she died, Nate plans to leave his father and their home in the Smokies to set out on an adventure.

When he discovers that his father has left him first, it will take the help of a stray dog, some kind neighbors, a one-man-band, letters from a long-lost-aunt, and a new understanding of God to figure out he isn't really alone.

Will he find that Copper Creek is where he's always belonged? Or will his wanderlust keep him from ever coming back?

In her second novel, Heather Norman Smith demonstrates that love makes a family, and that while fathers may leave, our Heavenly Father is faithful, and He has a plan for all of us.

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

EXCERPT


I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about weeds. Not just the dandelion and chickweed that pops up uninvited in people’s vegetable gardens. I’m talking about the kind of weeds that squeeze themselves up through the tiniest of cracks in sidewalks, and in roads and parking lots, and in little crevices in rocks. They’re unattractive to most people, but I think these plants are remarkable. Shallow soil, short roots, and trampled on by every pair of feet that happens their way—not to mention tires. But still they manage to keep growing, or at the very least, sprout up a little and stay green. I reckon most people have never even thought about it, how special they are. But I’ve thought about it a lot…because I’m one of them.

I figured it out on a Saturday afternoon, in the early spring of my fifth-grade year, at Susie Pennywell’s eleventh birthday party. I hadn’t laid eyes on Bert in three days, as he came and went mostly while I was at school or asleep, so it seemed okay to go without asking his permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Heather Norman Smith

Heather Norman Smith is a Christian Fiction and devotions author. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. Heather is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her fiction. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with her husband and their four children, two cats, two dogs, and some fish.

CONNECT WITH HEATHER: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY


(2) winners will receive a paperback copy of Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith!


Where I Was Planted 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 December 2, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 9, 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!

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Book Tour & Review: The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Piper's Pursuit
(Hagenheim #10)
By Melanie Dickerson

YA Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian, Historical
Hardcover, Audiobook, ebook, 320 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Thomas Nelson

A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.

A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.

In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.

When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.

Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.

Praise for The Piper’s Pursuit

The Piper’s Pursuit is a lovely tale of adventure, romance, and redemption. Kat and Steffan’s righteous quest will have you rooting them on until the very satisfying end!” —LORIE LANGDON, author of Olivia Twist and the DOON series

(Affiliate links included.)


My Review:

The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson lands as book ten in her Hagenheim series, but reads fine as a stand-alone novel. I did enjoy the little mentions of Wolfgang and Mulan from The Warrior Maiden, plus cameos of Duke Wilhelm and Rose, the original couple featured in The Healer’s Apprentice.

The Piper’s Pursuit entertains as it creatively retells the Pied Piper tale. Replete with danger and suspense, I found the story engaging in spite of a few predictable moments. Themes of gender equality and the necessity of confronting evil added depth to the story. Wrapping around those themes is a sensitivity to abuse victims that plays out in Katerina’s trust issues. I appreciated the author’s portrayal of Katerina as a strong and wise young woman in spite of past oppression. The suspense and embedded themes shine equally well in this novel while a sweet romance grows between Katerina and Steffan.

Readers who enjoy Young Adult fairy tale retellings will probably like The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson. In keeping with its YA branding, the romance is very clean and the prose had that YA feel where it’s not deeply beautiful, but it’s entertaining. The Piper’s Pursuit was an easy, fast read for me that has a permanent home on my bookcase.

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


Other Books in the Series:


(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)


About the Author:


Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.



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Sunday, December 1, 2019

November Recap & Expected December Reads

My November 2019 Reads:

November was a crazy reading month for me. It took me two weeks to finish one book! Then, I started The Memory House later than expected and ended up going to book club not having finished it. Thankfully, I remembered the general plot from my first reading of it back in March.

In November, I finished:
  1. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  2. The Memory House by Rachel Hauck - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my original review. I'm happy to say I enjoyed it just as much the second time around!

  3. God's Hostage by Andrew Brunson. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review coming soon.

  4. Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  5. Stories Behind the Songs and Hymns About Heaven by Ace Collins. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  6. 100 Extraordinary Stories of Prayer for Courageous Girls by Jean Fischer ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  7. The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear. - ⭐⭐⭐ - Review coming soon.

  8. The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson - ⭐⭐⭐ - Review available 12/02/19.

Expected December 2019 Reads:

In December, I expect to read:
  1. Above the Fold by Rachel McDaniel - I've been looking forward to this book for months!

  2. The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson - I love the cover of this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  3. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis - Still in progress! It's not a review book and has slid to the bottom of my stack.

  4. Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander - My local book club's December selection!

  5. Isaiah's Legacy by Mesu Andrews - Both my husband and I will read this one. He loves Mesu Andrews' books!

  6. Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge - Currently reading. I read Pride & Prejudice back in October, so it's been fun to see the author tie together the novels and the devotional thoughts.



 What will you read this month?

Book Review: Why Do We Say Good Night?

About the Book:

Going to bed and turning out the light can be a hard time for many children. Award-winning author Champ Thornton wrote this beautifully designed and illustrated book to help parents comfort their children with three truths about God. As a mother and her little daughter talk, they remember together that God made the night, he sees in the dark, and he watches over them just like a shepherd protects his sheep. Children and parents will want to start a new nighttime tradition of reading together about why we can say that the night is good.

In this important, engaging children's book, parents can bring comfort and encouragement to their children, reminding them Jesus is near.
My Thoughts:

Both of my daughters (ages 4 and 7) enjoyed Why Do We Say Good Night? by Champ Thornton (author) and Rommel Ruiz (illustrator). For my younger child, I had to point to which character was speaking on the first read through because the text doesn’t explicitly state who is saying each line, but my older child could follow the narrative without assistance and tell by the word clues whether the mother or daughter was speaking.

In the story, the little girl fears what might lie in the darkness. Her mother gently encourages her to step away from her fear by embracing the truth that a loving God sees and protects her even when it’s dark. “Yet God sees all; his sight’s not dim. The dark is like bright light to him. So when it’s dark—with perfect sight—our God is watching through the night.”

Why Do We Say Good Night? has very unique and complex illustrations, but I was concerned my daughters might find some of the illustrations scary or unpleasant. Fortunately, my concern was unnecessary as neither of them were disturbed by the eyes and monsters. 

I recommend Why Do We Say Good Night? to any Christian parent looking for a resource to reassure a child of God’s care and protection.

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