Friday, October 29, 2021

Book Review: One Transforming Love by Erin Elise Kiu

About the Book:

Moving on from her past seemed impossible. Until she met the One who promised to give her a future.

When Aubrey moves across the country to San Diego to escape her past, she is hopeful that she can finally discover God’s purpose for her life and meet her future husband. She doesn’t know too much about God, but she is confident her new faith and her new city will help her leave her drunken mistakes and dating history behind.

As she settles into her new beach life, Aubrey meets Jake while watching dolphins play in the ocean. They instantly hit it off and it feels like fate, but soon, Aubrey begins to question Jake’s true intentions and lifestyle.

Is this the guy God has chosen for her? If this is the life God has intended for her, then why does she still feel so lost and alone, and why does she keep making the same mistakes?

Aubrey quickly realizes her past has followed her to her new city, and that going to church every once in a while isn’t good enough. After a few nights she’d like to forget, God shows her that she has a choice to make.

Aubrey can choose God and to do life his way, or she can choose to continue trying to find love and acceptance from the world.

Will she ever be able to move on from her past? Will she have the courage to surrender it all to God?

My Thoughts:

Based on the author’s life experiences, One Transforming Love by Erin Elise Kiu dives into the party and hookup lifestyle that she once partook of. The aching desires and raw emotions that Aubrey, the protagonist, experiences in the story felt authentic. True to reality, Aubrey spends a large portion of the book craving change while struggling to leave her way of life. While the novel calls out excessive drinking and casual sex as wrong, the story points to love, acceptance, and transformation found in the arms of Jesus. It has the feel of a devotional wrapped in a fictional narrative.

One Transforming Love by Erin Elise Kiu entertains while offering truth and hope for change. While likely intended for young women caught between the party scene and a longing for something more, it can benefit a woman of any age struggling with such issues. I love One Transforming Love’s beautiful cover and recommend it for ages 16+ due to content.


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


“Do you want to go down to the altar for prayer?” The guy nodded to the front of the auditorium.

 Hundreds of people were making their way down to the altar, lining up for prayer. Some at the front were ripping up pieces of paper—the contracts they had made with the Devil. A few people were crying, raising their arms in the air, as people prayed for them.

Aubrey felt like she couldn’t move. She felt like for the first time she was awakened to the truth all around her. To this whole world with God, a world of good and evil that she didn’t know existed.

She thought she was doing a good job, learning about God and reading her Bible, but there was so much she didn’t know. No matter how much good she did, it wasn’t going to cut it if she didn’t fully surrender everything to God. If she didn’t rip up those contracts with the Devil.

She had already surrendered drinking to God, but it was clear she had to surrender everything to God. She had to surrender sex to God.

But there was no way she was going up to the altar in front of everyone. She needed to get out of there. She needed to process this alone.

“No, I’m fine, thank you. Have a great day.” She grabbed her purse and quickly moved past the guy before he could say anything else.

The tears kept falling as she made her way to her car. She didn’t know how to process this. She didn’t know how to surrender everything to God, including sex.

It was clear God had spoken to her today. She couldn’t pretend sex wasn’t a big deal to God. She couldn’t ignore what she had just heard—that she had been letting the Devil control her life for so long and she hadn’t even known.

She had already tried to stop sleeping with Jake, but it hadn’t worked. How was she supposed to stop? She closed her eyes and prayed silently as she made it to her car.

How am I supposed to stop, God? How do I just give up sex? How do I stop the Devil from controlling this area of my life?

Purchase Links:

Fun & Holy (Hardcover)

Amazon (Ebook currently $2.99)

About the Author:

Erin Elise Kiu is passionate about helping women have a transforming relationship with Jesus. After experiencing her own transformation with God and seeing how God wrote her love story, Erin’s mission is to help other women live the fun and holy lives they were created to live while attracting their future husbands along the way.

Erin is an author and blogger at Fun & Holy, a blog and community for women to grow together as they become the women God created them to be. She has also led Bible studies and women’s groups at her church to help women discover their identity and purpose in Christ.

When she’s not writing, you can find Erin on the beach or biking along the coast with her husband in San Diego.

Join the Fun & Holy Community at to get free access to women’s Bible studies, spiritual growth tips, and prayer guides to pray for your future husband.

Are you ready to become the woman God created you to be and attract the future husband God has for you?

Connect with Erin:



Fun & Holy Facebook Group

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Blog Blitz with Giveaway: Carved in Ebony by Jasmine L. Holmes

Carved in Ebony JustRead Blog Blitz 

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for Carved in Ebony by Jasmine L. Holmes, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Carved in Ebony

Title: Carved in Ebony
Author: Jasmine L. Holmes
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Genre: Christian History / Biography

Through the lives of Elizabeth Freeman, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Amanda Berry Smith, Mamie Till, and others, author and speaker Jasmine Holmes shares the significant role that Black women have played in the formation of our faith--and are playing in our formation as modern-day women of faith. 

As these historical figures take the stage with Holmes, you will be inspired by what the stories of these women can teach us about education, birth, privilege, and so much more. Carved in Ebony will take you past the predominately white, male contributions that seemingly dominate history books to discover how Black women have been some of the main figures in defining the landscape of American history and faith. 

Come along on Jasmine's journey and be encouraged by the powerful and persuasive Black women of our past so that you can help inspire a better, more inclusive future.

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


Chapter 1 – “A Midwife at the Birth of a Nation: Elizabeth Freeman” from Carved in Ebony by Jasmine Holmes; pp. 34–35, 37–38; 766 words (edited)

There is power in knowing what our founding fathers described as our “inalienable rights.” Elizabeth Freeman knew them when she was petitioning for her freedom, and we would do well to know them as we inhabit our modern lives. Just a few overheard words from the Sheffield Declaration changed the course of Elizabeth’s life, and history as a whole; how much more can our understanding of the wealth of words penned about our invaluable rights change our own lifetimes?

This legacy sounds intimidating when painted in such heroic strokes, but, looking at the rest of Elizabeth’s life, we see that her faithfulness was lived out in the day-to-day. That court appearance was just one aspect of who she was.

Elizabeth wasn’t a brilliant Civil Rights lawyer who spent her entire life advocating for legislative change. She was a domestic worker and a midwife who spent most of her time serving others and, according to her headstone, keeping her word. That part of her life—the part where she was faithful every day—is something I relate to much more than the freedom suit.

Look back at the words on her headstone: She neither wasted time nor property. She never violated a trust, nor failed to perform a duty.

She was a good steward of her time and her belongings. She was trustworthy. She applied herself diligently to every duty. In this sense, her advocacy for her freedom is not the defining characteristic of her life but an outworking of her true character. Elizabeth Freeman is not merely memorable because of her court case; rather, she is memorable because she had the type of character that made her a good steward of the freedom she had been given by God, giving her an understanding that she was not merely property. She never violated the contract that all citizens of this country pledged allegiance to, and did not neglect to perform her duty as one of the shapers of the nation that we now reside in.

Elizabeth Freeman wasn’t a trailblazing activist. And yet, I believe that it was because Elizabeth herself was a woman of her word and a woman of principle that she could not sit idly by while her nation reneged on the contract that it had made with its people, including its enslaved people.

That is an example I want to follow. A woman who is faithfully about her work each and every day, but willing to step outside of that work and outside of her comfort zone to hold a nation or an individual accountable. A woman who advocates every day on a small scale—for myself, my husband, my children, my loved ones—and isn’t afraid to advocate on a larger scale when the occasion calls for it.

Elizabeth and Me

I am still learning what it means to be a woman and an advocate.

Sometimes, it seems that our Christian ideals of femininity prize timidity over strength, placidity over courage, and docility over principle. But we have to remember that our culture has a way of shaping the Word of God to fit into our own ideals of what truly shapes a woman of God. Esther advocated for Israel with her husband, the king. Ruth advocated for herself with her future husband, Boaz. Deborah advocated for Israel as their judge.

And Elizabeth Freeman advocated for her freedom from the ungodly institution of American slavery and spent the rest of her life advocating for mothers who were bringing their babies into the world.

That part of the story is one of my favorites, because for me, advocacy looks like following in Elizabeth Freeman’s footsteps in the birth field. It looks like learning all that I can about the history of gynecology and its adverse effects on Black women’s bodies, as well as the modern-day attitudes and assumptions about Black health in general and Black maternal health specifically that lead to disparities in outcomes. It looks like knowing my rights when I enter a hospital and being able to advocate for my rights and the rights of my child. It means seeking as much education as I can to someday become a doula and advocate for the rights of other women.

Here’s what I love: we don’t all have to fight on the same front. We need midwives and doulas—we need educators, legislators, prison reformers, police reformers, wives, mothers, and sisters all on the front lines. As we strive to be faithful in whatever space the Lord has for us, this is the kind of strength that I love about Black women.

Excerpt from Carved in Ebony by 
Jasmine L. Holmes provided by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright Oct. 12, 2021. Used by permission.


Jasmine L. Holmes 

Jasmine L. Holmes has written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Fathom MagChristianity Today, and The Witness. Jasmine is the author of Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope, and contributor for Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Our Identity in Christ, and His Testimony, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God. She teaches humanities in a classical Christian school in Jackson, Mississippi, where she and her husband, Phillip, are parenting three young sons.

CONNECT WITH JASMINE: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a copy of The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Prepare Him Room by Susie Larson, and Make Their Day by Karen Ehman.

Carved in Ebony JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 27, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 3, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Author Interview & Giveaway: First Kiss at Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain

First Kiss at Christmas JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for First Kiss at Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


first kiss at christmas

Title: First Kiss at Christmas 
Series: The Off Season #5
Author: Lee Tobin McClain
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance

At 25 years old, preschool teacher Kayla Harris is embarrassed to admit she's never been kissed. When Tony DiNunzio and his grieving nephew show up in her classroom, she can't help being drawn to both of them. If only her insecurities-and his guilt over his sister's death-would stop standing in their way. 

As Christmas approaches, can these three come together to form a family... not just for the holidays, but forever?

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



Lee Tobin McClain 

Lee Tobin McClain is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels. A professor-turned-writer, she finds inspiration in her beautiful and brilliant daughter, her goofy goldendoodle, and her aptly named cat, Trouble. Learn more about her books at

CONNECT WITH LEE: Website | Facebook | Instagram


Q: What was the inspiration behind First Kiss at Christmas? 

Lee: I have always loved preschool kids and classrooms, so when a preschool teacher appeared as a secondary character in a couple of the previous books in the series, I knew I wanted to give her a story of her own. She was just the right match for my world-weary veteran hero and his grieving nephew.

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel? 

Lee: Four months of writing; a lot of thinking before that to dream up the main ideas and plot points.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this novel? 

Lee: “Tonight, in this fairy tale world, he could do what his heart wanted to do. He leaned closer and pressed his lips to hers.”

Q: What do you hope readers take away from First Kiss at Christmas? 

Lee: I want my readers to like they’ve escaped from their problems and visited a place where there’s always a happy ending.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know? 

Lee:I have travelled to China twice. Once to adopt my wonderful daughter, and once to take her back to visit her birthplace. What a beautiful, complex country!

Q: What are you reading now? 

Lee: I just finished Belle Calhoune’s No Ordinary Christmas, and now I’m reading Susan Mallery’s The Christmas Wedding Guest. Both are fabulous!

Q: How many bookcases are in your home? 

Lee: I went through a minimalist phase and got down to two big bookcases. Now they’re overflowing, because even though I try to use the library, I can’t resist buying books!

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing? 

Lee: I love to get outside and hike with friends and my goofy goldendoodle.


(1) winner will receive a copy of the first four books in The Off Season series, a Christmas ornament, and a $10 Amazon gift card!

First Kiss at Christmas JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Book Spotlight & Author Interview: I Grew With You by Sarah Molitor


Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Author/Illustrator: Sarah Molitor/ Anastasia Sivura
Imprint: Good & True Media
ISBN: 9781737079620
Price: $12.95
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 24


In this heart-felt poem, readers get a glimpse into the journey a mother takes during her pregnancy. Filled with humor and beautiful illustrations, I Grew With You shows that not only the baby grows during pregnancy but the mother also grows emotionally, spiritually, and of course, physically. But above all the bond between mother and child grows, month over month.

I Grew With You is a warm, heartful lullaby that reminds the mother and child of the precious road they traveled to meet each other.


About Sarah Molitor

Sarah is most notably known as “mommy” to her six boys. Her role as wife and mother has shaped her more than any other title she has acquired. Along with raising her children, she also homeschools them full time. Prior to starting a family, Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Linfield University. As a registered nurse her passion was and still is helping others. Although no longer working as a nurse, Sarah has translated that passion into a different avenue – social media. She is the creative force behind @modernfarmhousefamily where she encourages, challenges and inspires her community of over 218K followers on a daily basis. For fun, Sarah considers herself a candy connoisseur, self-taught photographer, very amateur baker and if given spare time, usually chooses to read children’s books to her kids while keeping them entertained with her voice impressions. Sarah lives with her husband Tim and their growing family in Washington. I Grew With You is her first book.

About Anastasia Sivura

Anastasia is an illustrator who creates wonderful illustrations where fascinating stories are intertwined with lightness and innocence. The artist works with different materials because she thinks that developing one's skills and trying something new is absolutely important. Besides making beautiful illustrations she is a firm believer in interesting stories and ideas. Anastasia has a lot of projects which she would love to realize. She is based in California and married with two daughters. She has a dog as well. Nature and the ocean are her main sources of inspiration.


What inspired you to write a book for children about the experience of pregnancy and childbirth?

The day I found out I was pregnant was also the day I had a meeting with the publisher to pitch ideas for my very first children’s book. I remember thinking to myself, “How cool would it be to write a book for children and mothers about the journey of pregnancy and how a baby grows?” And instantly the words I Grew With You came to mind. So it was truly inspired by finding out I was pregnant with our sixth child. 

I also knew I wanted it to be a sweet story that a mother could read to her child that would be endearing to both of them. I know my boys are so excited to watch my tummy grow and this book was a way to let them in on all the ways a mommy and baby inside her grows as they anticipate the birth of the child. 

Why did you decide to show the entire journey from conception to birth, instead of focusing on one aspect?

It’s so important to me that I acknowledge that life begins at conception. From the very beginning, your child was created specifically for you. And as each mother finds out that she is pregnant, the anticipation builds from those early moments no matter how long you carry your child. I believe the whole process of pregnancy all the way to delivery is important for seeing the miracle of life versus just focusing on one specific moment. 

I also believe it brings out the joy (and often humor) from the moments and changes that each month brings throughout pregnancy. People love to see something from start to finish and I Grew With You allows for that!

The book also highlights a diverse group of women. Why was that an important focus for you as well?

As I was imagining this book, I was also imagining all the different mothers that could be touched by reading it to their little ones. Or just having it as their own keepsake. And I’m keenly aware that no two mothers are alike whether in look or personality or how they carry their child (and so much more). So diversity in the book was a very important thing for me to highlight. I want children to know how each mother is beautifully different during pregnancy. And I also want them to turn the page and suddenly say “hey, that mommy looks like you!” which allows for a depth of connection to the book and the story. In this book you will see nine different mothers which speaks to the diversity of motherhood and all women!

As mothers read this book to their children, how do you think it will encourage them?

I’m imagining the moments when mother’s first read this to their children and how special it will be. I believe it will encourage the mother in how incredible she is for the pregnancy(s) she has experienced and all the highs and not so highs she may have experienced. I believe she will feel more empowered and proud of being a part of the miracle of bringing life into the world. And I also believe it will create a unique bond between the mother and her child(ren) because they will get a glimpse into what mommy (and daddy) went through to bring them into the world. Overall I Grew With You gives a unique, special, humorous and beautiful view into the beginning of motherhood and this ultimately fosters a deeper connection between mother and child.

How could this book change someone’s opinion about pregnancy and childbirth?

First of all, I believe it will show the beauty of how life begins at conception and how much that child, from the very beginning, means to a mother. The excitement, the anticipation, the sharing in the news- all of it. But I also believe it will challenge people in their views of pregnancy and childbirth. If you have given birth, you know all the aches and pains and stretching and growing that happens. It’s not all glowing skin and easy peasy. This book gives a simple and sweet look into how the process of pregnancy changes the mother physically and emotionally just as much as the baby inside her grows and develops as well. 

What advice do you have for parents as they start having discussions with their children about pregnancy, childbirth, starting a family, etc.?

I love having age-appropriate conversations about these topics with my children as well as an open line of communication that they can ask us whatever questions they will have and we will always give them an honest answer. My advice would be to always communicate in whatever way feels most comfortable for your family and allow children to be involved in knowing the process and how they are a unique part of that too. 

This answer may look different at different stages but it’s so important that we include them in the process. When they are included, it allows them to feel a part of everything that is going on whether that’s announcing the pregnancy to family and friends or learning how the baby grows inside the mother each month and all the new developments that happen. And this gives children their own special bond with mommy and the new baby to be. The more children are involved, the more involved they want to be which is exciting for them and ultimately builds up the family unit in the best way. 

Your publisher, Good & True, produces very family-friendly, faith-based content for children. Why was it important to you to partner with a publisher like that?

It is so important to me that we build a foundation for our children that’s filled with value! Value for the children and value for the parents as well. I always want to know that whatever I’m hearing, watching, seeing or reading is safe for the whole family and never brings up unexpected discomfort. 

Good and True is committed to these same values and I wanted my book to align with a publisher who would prioritize this. I’m so thankful they do and it’s been evident through the whole process. Consumers will always know that content coming from Good and True is content they can trust for their families, their homes and whoever they share it with. 

Ultimately, what do you hope parents and children take away from I Grew With You?

My ultimate hope is that families will read I Grew With You and walk away feeling a greater sense of family and love for each other. Also that parents and specifically mothers will feel a greater sense of pride in their families and the beauty of who each of them uniquely are. I hope this book will touch mothers of all ages and stages in a powerful way allowing them to remember the journey of pregnancy and all that they accomplished to have the family they do now. And that everyone would value the beauty and frailty of life and how much power and love one life can hold within them.

What other projects are you working on? 

There are a couple things I am working on actually. First off, I am working on a second children’s book with Good and True. YAY! This one will be vastly different from I Grew With You. It will be a very playful, bright and colorful book filled with animals! And will talk about how important each person is to the world and how important it is to share our joy with others. I know it will be such a fun book for parents and children alike. 

I am also working on a potential proposal for my first adult book. It’s still in the rough stages but my hope is that it will be an encouragement to women everywhere. I’m excited for both of these projects and looking forward to seeing them come to fruition. 

Where can readers purchase a copy of I Grew With You?

Pre-orders are set to launch on Wednesday, July 14 (which we are VERY excited about). I Grew With You will be available to pre-order at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold. I Grew With You is set to officially release on October 26.


Author’s Website:
Author’s Instagram:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Book Spotlight & Author Interview: The Glass Cottage by Alyssa Schwarz

About the Book:

Could a nineteenth-century diary be the answer to Abigail’s prayers?

Iris wanted nothing more than to live her own adventure. But on the tails of the Colorado gold rush, a certain discovery could upend her world before it’s even begun.

Over a hundred years later, Abigail Prescott returns to the sleepy mountain town she once called home to help her great Aunt Josie restore the old antique shop, The Glass Cottage. Looking for peace and God’s direction for her life, the last thing she expected to encounter was a ghost from her past—Benjamin Greene—her childhood best friend. The boy who got away.

Is this just a coincidence, or could it be the start of something greater?

Together, Ben and Abigail work to fix up the shop and stumble upon an old journal. With more questions than answers, Abigail embarks on a journey of self-discovery to track down the mysterious Iris, but the truth is not always what it seems.

In this tale of friendship, love lost, and love found, Abigail must decide for herself: Is every story worth saving, and if so, at what cost?

Purchase at: Amazon.


When Aunt Josie invited Abigail along to the after-church picnic, she hadn’t envisioned herself climbing a tree to retrieve a lost soccer ball—let alone falling out of it.

She reluctantly opened her eyes with a groan, and blue sky greeted her. She prayed no one had witnessed the mortifying incident, but in a small town, people noticed everything. Surely, someone had seen her race after that lost ball, slip off the branch and land with an oomph on the grassy field below.

The pounding of small footsteps proved her worst fears. Two sets of eyes gazed down at her, each framed by baby fine strawberry blonde hair. Abigail must have hit her head in the fall because she couldn’t seem to bring the faces into focus. She reached up to rub her temples, and the double images danced out of her vision. Abigail clamped her lids shut. She hadn’t landed that hard, had she?

“Are you okay?”

The question echoed in her ears, and she lifted her head too quickly. There it was, the pounding headache. And she no doubt had a nice bump forming along her hairline to go with it.

She hadn’t remembered the cottonwood to be so tall when she’d offered to go up and retrieve the ball, but it had obviously grown in the ten years since she had last climbed it—and fallen from it. The soccer ball sure bounced back quicker than she did.

She pushed herself up from the ground, slower this time, and leaned back with her forearms propped on the grass. Too much movement too soon. Fuzzy spots blotted her vision. A wave of dizziness washed over her, forcing her to close her eyes again.

A pair of steady hands landed on her shoulders. “Don’t try getting up too quickly.” Concern tinged his voice, and the masculine timbre broke through her foggy brain. With care, he eased her into a more supported position. “Do you think you hit your head?”

Her hand reflexively moved to the knot. “Yeah, I think so.”

Her fingers touched the tender flesh, and she winced. That would definitely hurt for a few days.

“Can you try opening your eyes again, slowly this time?”

She did just that, and as her lids opened, a familiar pair of hazel eyes stared back at her.

Benjamin Greene.

Abigail wanted to disappear back into the tree’s top branches. The first time Ben saw her in nearly ten years, and he had to witness her falling out of a tree! Way to go, Abigail! Could you be any more of a klutz?

Maybe he wouldn’t recognize her right away. People changed over time, and besides, her bangs and short hair were brand new. If glasses could disguise Superman’s true identity, an entire new hairstyle should work in her favor. It still wasn’t ideal, but if she could only postpone the inevitable embarrassment a while longer, she would be eternally grateful.

She hadn’t realized he had been kneeling so close, but his face was near enough she could feel his breath tickle the hair at her chin.

He wrapped a strong arm around her back and helped her sit up. “How’s that?”

“Better.” Sigh. Good, at least she could see straight this time, but sitting this close to him with his intent gaze made her feel a dizziness she was pretty sure was not because of the fall.

“I thought for a second there I was seeing double images of that little girl.” She rubbed her temple and squinted at the bright sun overhead.

Her gaze roved over the picnickers, and two red-headed girls skipped past the dessert table. Maybe she needed a CAT scan.

The corners of Ben’s eyes creased, eyes like the moss-covered boulders they used to climb as kids. He let out a soft chuckle and shook loose a curl of hair.

“What?” she asked. “Why are you laughing at me?”

“No, sorry. Kit and Brie are identical twins. It’s understandable, though. The pair of them make a habit of playing jokes on people from time to time.” He turned back to look at her again, and his mouth tipped in a knowing smile. A glimpse of the boy she used to know appeared. “You always knew how to make an entrance.”

Caught. A lead weight settled in her stomach, the final cherry on top of her embarrassment. So much for making it out unrecognized.

About the Author: 

Contemporary romance author Alyssa Schwarz is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a Master's in Geology & Geological Engineering. She also works as a professional watercolor artist along the Colorado Front Range and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Alyssa's debut novel, The Glass Cottage, is set in the Colorado mountains, and is scheduled to release later this year. 

Author Interview:

Q: What was the inspiration behind The Glass Cottage?

Alyssa: Since my family is from Colorado, I wanted to start there. After stumbling upon my grandma’s old journals in the attic of her house, I thought it would be fun to write a story based on an old forgotten diary.

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?

Alyssa: I started writing this story last Summer, and between the plotting, writing, editing and everything else, it’s taken a little over a year to complete.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Alyssa: My favorite line has to be the last sentence from the end of the book: “This was home. She knew it before as she knew it now, but it had never tasted so sweet.”

Q: What do you hope readers take away from The Glass Cottage?

Alyssa: When the world seems to pull at us from all directions, leaving us questioning and worried about the future, I hope readers can escape into this story and learn what it means to trust God, even with the unknowns.

For every story, I try and find a Bible verse that mirrors the themes I hope to explore through those characters. I want to show how, in any circumstance, God is at work in our lives, even when we don’t understand what He is doing. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

Alyssa: I actually have a background in geology and engineering. Before I started writing, I worked as a hydrogeologist doing groundwater modeling testing for a environmental engineering firm.

Q: What are you reading now?

Alyssa: I just finished reading Roseanna White’s latest book, The Nature of A Lady. I absolutely loved reading her first book in The Secret of the Isles series. Mistaken identities, mystery and intrigue, a sweet romance, and pirate treasure, all set against the backdrop of the British Isles of Scilly. What’s not to love?!

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Alyssa: I actually had to walk around my house and count them in order to answer this question… I have four ceiling height bookcases the line an entire wall, and there are about five others throughout the house.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Alyssa: My mom and I have our own art business. We are both watercolor artists and have been privileged to showcase some of our artwork through the Denver Metro area. I also love to hike and have recently taken up gardening. Two years ago, I saw the most beautiful dahlias in Washington’s San Juan Islands, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. After digging up a half-a-ton of soil, engineering a raised flower bed, and planting two dozen bulbs, I finally have my dahlia garden!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Book Review: Christmas Grace by Mindy Steele

About the Book:

Second chances and the Christmas spirit abound in Mindy Steele’s heartwarming novel, one of faith, love, and the power of community.

Grace Miller believed herself in love with the charming Englischer who eventually broke her heart. Now alone except for the secret life growing inside her, she arrives in the unfamiliar small village of Walnut Ridge, Kentucky, to hide and hopefully gain forgiveness.

She is pleasantly surprised, however, to find a tight-knit, welcoming group who help her heart grow right alongside her belly. And with the holidays around the corner, there’s plenty of preparations to occupy her mind. Also occupying her mind? Her strong, protective neighbor, Cullen Graber, the town’s blacksmith, who seems intent on not allowing her to ever suffer alone.

Cullen Graber gave up on love after too many losses early in life. He planned to live out his days focusing on his smithy business, yet the beautiful and mysterious Grace refuses to leave his thoughts. But can they open their hearts to God’s grace and create a new family together before Grace must return home?

My Thoughts:

Christmas Grace by Mindy Steele stands as my first Christmas read of 2021 and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Grace and Cullen, the main characters, held my interest from the start. Grace, and everyone around her, recognizes that she is far from perfect, but Cullen is an amazing male lead as he reflects the selfless love of Jesus so well to Grace. The character-driven plot gave both Grace and Cullen the necessary time and development to grow as people and embrace their future. I adored their relational tension and blossoming love.

My enjoyment of Christmas Grace’s storyline overshadowed the few typos and occasional awkward conversation in which I wasn’t sure which character was speaking. However, I mention those flaws as I know some readers might struggle with them more than I did. Amish romance is not my normal genre, so I cannot speak to the cultural authenticity or plot uniqueness, but I think many Christian Fiction readers will find Christmas Grace by Mindy Steele enjoyable.

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: With Every Breath by Natasha D. Frazier

With Every Breath JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for With Every Breath by Natasha D. Frazier, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


With Every Breath
Title: With Every Breath
Series: McCall Family #1
Author: Natasha D. Frazier
Publisher: Encouraging Works
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

She has nothing to lose, but loving her could cost him everything. Is he willing to risk it all a second time around when she has less than thirty days to live? 

Renowned motivational speaker Nina Marie Robinson has received a grim prognosis. With the little time she has left, she’s giving one last commencement speech at her alma mater Jackson State University and taking a well-deserved vacation to the Bahamas. Nina is also determined to show her college sweetheart she’s still in love with him, but can she convince him to drop everything and board that plane with her? 

Andrew McCall is one step away from being promoted to professor at Jackson State University. If anything goes wrong, Andrew will find himself in the last place he wants to be—chief executive officer of McCall Resorts as his father’s successor. When Nina comes to town and requests that he accompany her to the Bahamas, will he have to choose between the woman he’s always loved and everything he’s worked for? 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | BookBub


Nina followed signage to the hall of instructor offices. Andrew’s door had been the second to the right, and she marched down the hall and stopped. Light shined into the hallway from his open door, and a sudden onset of dizziness came over her. She stumbled over to the wall and rested her head against the cold surface until the spinning subsided.

Nina inhaled and exhaled once. I can do this. I didn’t come all this way just to give a speech. Nina took another calming breath. We’ve got unfinished business. So what it’s been nearly two decades. One more calming breath, and she stood, squared her shoulders, moved to the open door, and tapped twice. Help me, Lord.

“Come in.”

How had she forgotten the smoothness of his tenor voice? She could have melted on the spot when he looked up from his laptop and his almond eyes took hold of hers, laced with a softness she probably didn’t deserve from him.

He was happy to see her.

She gripped the doorknob to steady herself. Too bad there was nothing to steady the flip-flop going on with the rapid pacing of her heart. His features hadn’t changed much, but it was apparent he’d aged. His physical maturity served him well. The light stubble under his chin, the dark cleanly shaven mustache, his strong jawline set against the canvas of his mahogany skin. If she had to die soon, she knew right then that she wanted to spend her last days with him.


Natasha D. Frazier

Natasha D. Frazier fell in love with love around the age of twelve because of artists like Babyface, Boys II Men, Whitney Houston, and New Edition. Around sixteen when her mother purchased a romance novel and left it lying around the house untouched, Natasha read it and a spark for the written word had been ignited.

Natasha believes that writing is one of her purposes and contributions to the world. She feels accomplished when she can get a few words written and like blah when life gets in the way. Her hope is that at the end of every novel, readers will feel like they’ve been wrapped in a cozy blanket with a mug of their favorite coffee/tea/warm drink. 

When she isn't reading or writing, she is likely watching movies with her family. Natasha resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their three children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. One of her many mottos in life is: Faith removes limitations. Natasha and her family attend Parkway Fellowship in Richmond, TX, where she volunteers as a small group leader for elementary students. Natasha is also a member of the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

CONNECT WITH NATASHA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


(2) winners will receive an audiobook bundle of the Love, Lies & Consequences series (4 titles), an autographed copy of With Every Breath, and a $10 Amazon gift card!

With Every Breath JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 11, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on October 18, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Book Spotlight: The Odyssey: A Poetic Primer by B. B. Gallagher


Title: The Odyssey: A Poetic Primer

Release Date: October 2021

Publisher: Good & True Media

ISBN: 9781737079606

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 56

Price: $24.95



Ever been lost and want to go home? Join Odysseus as he struggles to return to his family in this epic retelling of the adventures of The Odyssey

Retold for a children audience, Poetic Primer’s The Odyssey is filled with vibrant illustrations while still maintaining the poetic format of the original work.

Together you and your reader can enter the world of Ancient Greece and see how our hero, Odysseus, exemplifies a multitude of classical virtues as he courageously slays monsters, patiently travels to magical lands, and prudently takes back his home and family.

Filled with educational materials and discussion questions, The Odyssey is bound to be you and your child’s next favorite epic.


A dilemma that some parents face is whether or not to introduce their children to certain classics because they have some questionable scenes or characters. For instance, the epic, The Odyssey presents the strong moral hero, Odysseus, who faces some more adult-like vices like lust. Hence, Good & True Media has taken some of the renowned classics and made them more kid friendly without removing the elegant language or the essence of the story.

Poetic Primers focuses on the virtues that each of the heroes embodies and the poetic language of each story. In the back of each is a character development section which explains the virtues and vices present in the story and offers reflection questions for the children to relate those virtues and vices to their own lives. Together with beautiful illustrations, Poetic Primers allow younger readers to experience the epic tales of the old classic heroes while still fostering their innocence.


The Odyssey: A Poetic Primer is B.B. Gallagher's fifth published book and first of the Poetic Primers series.

Married to Alyssa and father to Charlie, John Paul, Evelyn and Henry, he appreciates what time he gets in front of the computer to write. As publisher of Good & True, B.B. is leading the future of Children's literature, one moral lesson at a time.

In what little spare time he has, B.B. teaches at Belmont Abbey College, enjoys strategic board games and losing at Fantasy Football.


Instagram: @bb_gallagher

Facebook: @bbgallagher 

Twitter: @bb_gallagher