Friday, May 27, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: Her Mountain Refuge by Laurel Blount

Her Mountain Refuge JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Her Mountain Refuge by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Her Mountain Refuge

Title: Her Mountain Refuge 
Author: Laurel Blount
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Release Date: May 24, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christian

Going home could mean risking her heart… 
She needs help to start over… 
But can she ever trust again? 

Widowed, pregnant and under her controlling mother-in-law’s thumb, Charlotte Tremaine needs help—but she doesn’t expect it to come from her estranged childhood best friend. Yet after a fainting spell lands her in the hospital, Sheriff Logan Carter whisks her away to his foster mother’s mountain home to recover. But when her secrets follow, can she face her painful past with Logan at her side?

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


RELATED TITLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Laurel Blount 

Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes captivating romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart. She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals. Connect with her at www.laurelblountbooks.com

CONNECT WITH LAUREL: Website | Facebook | Instagram

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Q: What was the inspiration behind Her Mountain Refuge?

Laurel: My books almost always start with a character, and this one started with Sheriff Logan Carter. I was intrigued by the idea of a good-hearted man so deeply wounded by lies and betrayal in his childhood that he became single-mindedly dedicated to the principles of truth and loyalty. I was interested by what problems that might cause in his life--when you can’t even bring yourself to tell a “white lie” does that cause problems in relationships? I was also curious about how a straight-arrow man like that would react when his old high school best friend (and secret crush) was in deep trouble--but keeping a painful secret. How far would he go to help her?

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

Laurel: My Love Inspired books usually take about three or four months for me to write. Of course, about half of that is writing, and half is rewriting! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Laurel: I love it when Ruby Sawyer, Logan’s plainspoken foster mom, remarks ruefully, “I’ve been praying, and praying is dangerous business.” It really can be! A favorite theme in my writing is how God often answers us in unexpected ways. In my experience, often He will upend our lives in response to our prayers, intent on getting to the root of our problem. Sometimes those roots can run pretty deep, but the end result is always worth it.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Her Mountain Refuge?

Laurel: I hope my readers leave this book with a sense of renewed hope and optimism, reminded that even when our lives seem bleak, we are never out of God’s reach. I also hope this story showcases the world-changing importance of ordinary folks who are willing to roll up their sleeves and wade into life’s messes in order to help others --like Ruby and Logan.

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

Laurel: Hmm, that’s a toughie because I like to chat, and if folks get my newsletter, they know a LOT about me. How about this: I majored in Spanish in college (I also took French and Latin because I love languages--go figure!) and I taught Spanish for years. Now in addition to my writing, I teach an online Spanish class for homeschoolers twice a week--and I love it.

Q: What are you reading now?

Laurel: I just finished our local book club’s most recent selection The Lost Apothecary, and I am gearing up to start next month’s book, Everything We Didn’t Say. I really enjoy participating in book club. Not only are the ladies tons of fun, but since I don’t pick out the books, it nudges me to read outside my usual genres. I learn a lot as a writer! (And they actually chose to read my own book Strength in the Storm two months ago, which was a dream come true for this bookworm!) I also just preordered Tina Radcliffe’s upcoming Love Inspired Suspense, Sabotaged Mission, and I’m very much looking forward to reading that. Finally, I’m reading a nonfiction book: Decluttering at the Speed of Life. (And if you could see my office right now, you’d know why!)

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Laurel: I had to stop and count! Nine at the moment--and my Kindle has hundreds of books on it, too. I do love books!

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

Laurel: Writing is such a solitary activity that I like to balance it by spending time with people I care about--my family and my friends. I love poking through antique shops, visiting new places, having soul-searching chats over cups of tea or during long walks, listening to uplifting music, baking, reading, gardening. It’s a long list! The truth is, I have so many things I love to do that it’s hard to find time for them all. And all of them are so much more fun when I can share them with someone else!

And speaking of that--thanks so much for letting me visit with you! I’ve had a wonderful time!


Thanks for taking time to answer my questions! You are welcome back anytime, Laurel! ๐Ÿ’œ

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, Faith Can Move Mountains Tote Bag, and signed copies of the two Cedar Ridge Love Inspired books, Lost and Found Faith and Her Mountain Refuge!

Her Mountain Refuge JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 23, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 30, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Book Review: The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas

About the Book:

It's one thing to say you can find what people need--it's another to actually do it.

It's 1932 and Sullivan Harris is on the run. An occasionally successful dowser, he promised the people of Kline, West Virginia, that he would find them water. But when wells turned up dry, he disappeared with their cash just a step or two ahead of Jeremiah Weber, who was elected to run him down.

Postmistress Gainey Floyd is suspicious of Sulley's abilities when he appears in her town but reconsiders after new wells fill with sweet water. Rather, it's Sulley who grows uneasy when his success makes folks wonder if he can find more than water--like forgotten items or missing people. He lights out to escape such expectations and runs smack into something worse.

Hundreds of men have found jobs digging the Hawks Nest Tunnel--but what they thought was a blessing is killing them. And no one seems to care. Here, Sulley finds something new--a desire to help. With it, he becomes an unexpected catalyst, bringing Jeremiah and Gainey together to find what even he has forgotten: hope.

Read an excerpt from The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas on the publisher's website.


My Thoughts:

The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas thoroughly entertained me with its characters. Sulley Harris, a charming scoundrel who dowses for water, fascinated me with his occupation and mindset. Gainey Floyd inspired me with her intelligence, love of poetry, and unselfishness. Jeremiah Weber served as the handsome, strong hero, but became far more than that. I loved the way these characters’ relationships tied together. Sulley inexplicably wants to earn Gainey’s good opinion and slowly steps toward integrity. Jeremiah and Sulley provide comic relief through their unlikely friendship. Gainey and Jeremiah find themselves romantically drawn to each other after spending most of their lives single. Unexpectedly, the entwining of their lives opens new opportunities for each of them.

Beyond the character dynamics, The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas examines the long-lasting effects of societal judgment, the creation of family outside of blood relationships, the racial tensions of the Great Depression Era, and the tragedy of the Hawks Nest Tunnel construction. This novel had the potential to be a heavy read, but focuses on the main characters rather than the horrific happenings at the Hawks Nest Tunnel. The story possesses depth and authenticity without being depressing.

The Finder of Forgotten Things lands as the third book by Sarah Loudin Thomas that I’ve read. In each novel, I’ve enjoyed her writing, characters, and unique settings. I recommend this story for Christian fiction readers who enjoy a satisfying historical tale. 4.5 Stars!



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, May 24, 2022

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The One Who Loves Me by Joan Embola

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The One Who Loves Me
(Sovereign Love #2)
By Joan Embola

Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 340 Pages
May 21, 2022 by Love Qualified Press

IS GOD SOVEREIGN OVER LOVE STORIES?

Amara Ikezie is a new grad nurse who is thrilled to start her dream job in Atlanta’s biggest children’s hospital. But when her best friend gets engaged, Amara is faced with the looming pressure from her mom to find her own man. Determined to escape the pressure to marry, Amara takes on a task to find the ‘perfect’ man who ticks all the boxes on her list.

Raymond Aderinto is a pediatric cardiologist with a wall of accolades and a string of failed relationships. After his fourth girlfriend dumps him, Raymond vows to get confirmation from God first before entering into his next relationship—even though he’d love to find his bride before turning thirty.

When Raymond spills coffee on Amara’s scrubs, he becomes certain she’s the woman God wants to be his wife. But unfortunately for him, Raymond doesn’t tick Amara’s boxes, and worst of all, Amara is sure her Igbo mom would never approve of a marriage to a man from the Yoruba tribe.

Despite Amara’s efforts to stay away from Raymond and convince herself he is not the one for her, her growing attraction for his character, values, and vision gives her more reasons to wonder if she was wrong about her prejudices toward him. When another doctor walks into Amara’s life who ticks all her boxes and shows interest in her, she is caught between running into his ‘perfect’ arms, or going with Raymond who is turning out to be more perfect than she thought.

The One Who Loves Me, book two in the Sovereign Love series, is a beautiful standalone novel about surrender and learning to take comfort in the sovereign goodness of a loving God who writes the best love stories.

(Affiliate links included.)


Book Excerpt

“Your single season is not a curse—it’s a beautiful gift from God, just like marriage is, so we need to learn to appreciate these gifts more. There is a time and season for everything under heaven, and God has made everything beautiful in its time. So your single season is beautiful; appreciate it, cherish it, and use it to draw closer to your Maker. If your reason for wanting to marry is to find your purpose, then you’ve got it all wrong. You can walk in your God-given purpose even in your single season.”

That’s right, sir. Preach it. The words creep to the edge of my tongue, but I bite them back.

“To answer the question, we have to ask the Maker why He created marriage in the first place, and we can’t do that without looking at the Maker’s manual.” He opens his Bible. “Now, will you please turn with me to Genesis chapter one.”

Pastor Adekunle spends twenty minutes analyzing the first marriage between Adam and Eve, emphasizing on the fact that God had already given Adam a purpose which was to tend to the garden before He brought him a help meet. “Children of God—know your purpose. If you don’t know it yet, ask God to help you find it before you throw yourself into any relationship. Your purpose is not defined by your marital status. Your purpose is defined by the One who knit you in your mother’s womb.”

Excerpted from The One Who Loves Me by Joan Embola, Copyright © 2022 by Joan Embola. Published by Love Qualified Press.

Other Books in the Series

The One Who Knows Me
(Sovereign Love #1)
By Joan Embola
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 318 Pages
July 21, 2021 by Love Qualified Press

IS GOD SOVEREIGN OVER TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY?

Bullies and family disasters have left eighteen-year-old Teeyana Sparks filled with anxiety and doubt. She feels pressured to believe in God, but as she embarks on her college journey in the hope of one day working at Google as a graphic designer, the only thing she believes in is controlling her own life. Things change when she meets Jayden Williams—the guy with a charming smile and kind heart.

Struggling with grief and recovering from a season of depression, nineteen-year-old Jayden is determined to help Teeyana believe in God’s goodness again. But when yet another tragedy strikes close to home, Teeyana’s response exposes Jayden’s unhealed wounds and tips him into a mental health relapse.

With the looming possibility of not getting her dream life, Teeyana is caught between holding on to her illusion of control and surrendering to a God she’s rejected. And as Jayden strives to break out of his despondency, he has to face that letting God in may involve him letting go of his friendship with Teeyana. Teeyana and Jayden must wrestle with uncomfortable truths, and the pride in their hearts, in order to face their biggest giant—God’s sovereignty over both triumph and tragedy.

The One Who Knows Me, book one in the Sovereign Love series, is a heart-warming standalone novel about hope and learning to take comfort in the sovereign goodness of a loving God who knows all things.

(Affiliate links included.)


About the Author



Joan Embola is a UK-based Cameroonian-Nigerian Christian author who is passionate about spreading God's love one word at a time. She is a Bible teacher, a blogger, a YouTuber, a podcaster, a dancer, and a poetess. Her book Outpourings Of A Beloved Heart; a 30 day poetry devotional about God's love, is available for purchase and her debut contemporary Christian Fiction novel--The One Who knows Me released on September 10th 2021.



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Ends June 1, 2022



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Monday, May 23, 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: Turn to Me by Becky Wade




About the Book:


His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.




Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey's life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke's release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he's hidden. Worried that she won't be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke's promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke's help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return--by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he's long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He'll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who's going to shield him from losing his heart?




Read an excerpt from Turn to Me by Becky Wade on the publisher's website.


My Thoughts:

Turn to Me by Becky Wade finishes the Misty River Romance series with a story that made me smile, cry, and pray. Wade’s smart, polished writing drew me into the characters’ lives immediately. Finley, especially, captured my admiration. She’s passionate and unafraid to speak truth. Initially, I cringed at her plan to rehabilitate Luke, but her heart for healing and restoration overcame my reluctance. Luke, the handsome, broken hero juxtaposes Finley’s character in several aspects, making the romantic chemistry between them delectable.

Being able to identify with Finley’s recent loss of her father and Luke’s deep sense of guilt made Turn to Me an especially powerful story to me. On page 204, Finley declared, “None of the love He [God] has for you is conditional. It doesn’t hinge on your actions or my actions. And thank God for that. You’re loved by Him. And you’re forgiven.” I needed that quote. Turn to Me possesses several good themes, but that one made me put down the book to sob and pray. A case of reading the right book at the right time.

Turn to Me by Becky Wade will likely land in my top ten reads of the year and stands as my favorite novel in this series. 5 Stars!



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.


Giveaway:

Author Becky Wade is running a lovely giveaway that includes: a $50 cash card, a paperback copy of Turn to Me, a “Georgia” candle (which represents the book’s setting), a Willow Tree figurine (which represents the heroine’s profession), orange blossom scented soap (the heroine’s soap!), and a custom 5×7 sign (with Turn to Me’s theme verse).


Enter at: https://beckywade.com/home/turn-to-me-giveaway/


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Book Review: A Healer's Promise by Misty M. Beller

About the Book:

She was called to be a healer, but her skills--and heart--have never been so challenged.


Levi Masters's time as a British spy hasn't ended, though his country's war with America has. After overhearing a scout reveal a discovery that could give America the upper hand in future conflicts, Levi is sent on one last mission. While trekking through the Canadian Rockies in pursuit of his former enemy, he is taken captive by warriors from a hidden mountain village.

Village healer Audrey Moreau is more curious than afraid of the outsider, and she's drawn to his commitment to honesty even at his own expense. Despite her arguments for his release, the council remains at an impasse. Compelled to help him escape, she sneaks him out of the village. But when Levi faces a life-threatening injury and the fierce mountain winter closes in, Levi and Audrey are forced to discover just how far they'll go to ensure the safety of the other and the love growing between them.

Read an excerpt from A Healer’s Promise by Misty M. Beller on the publisher's website. 


My Thoughts:

A Healer’s Promise by Misty M. Beller offers a historical romance with an interesting setting. Laurent, a village seated in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, intrigued me with its community and customs. I liked the way the villagers came together in times of need, displaying forgiveness and grace. Unfortunately, I never connected with either of the main characters. Audrey seemed too busy falling in love to take responsibility for her actions and Levi’s quick turn to truth felt overly convenient. I wished for more genuine struggles within the characters.

A Healer’s Promise by Misty M. Beller lands as the second novel in the Brides of Laurent series. Brielle and Evan, the couple from the first book, appeared frequently, but A Healer’s Promise worked fine as a standalone story. Readers who have enjoyed Misty M. Beller’s prior novels will likely enjoy this offering. 3.5 Stars.

 


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, May 17, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes by Dawn Ford

The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Dawn Ford, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes

Title: The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes
Series: Firebird Series #1
Author: Dawn Ford
Publisher: Expanse Books
Release Date: April 12, 2022
Genre: YA Christian Fantasy

Eighteen-year-old servant girl Tambrynn is haunted by more than her unusual silver hair and the star-shaped pupils in her eyes. Her uncontrollable ability to call objects leads the wolves who savagely murdered her mother right to her door. 

When she’s fired and outcast during a snowstorm, her carriage wrecks and she’s forced to find refuge in an abandoned cottage. There, her life is upended when the magpie who’s stalked her for ten years transforms into a man, Lucas. He’s her Watcher and they’re from a different kingdom. His job is to keep her safe from her father, an evil mage, who wants to steal her abilities, turn her into one of his undead beasts, and become immortal himself. 

Can they make it to the magical passageway and get to their home kingdom in time for Tambrynn to thwart her father’s malicious plans? Or will Tambrynn’s unique magic doom them all?

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dawn Ford 

Winner of the 2016 ACFW Genesis Award and finalist in the 2018 Grace Award and the 2020 Great Expectations Contest, Dawn Ford has been recognized for her published and non-published works. Her flash fiction stories have been published in Havok magazine under both her real name and pen name, Jo Wonderly. Her debut novel, Knee-high Lies, was published in 2017.

As a child, Dawn often had her head in the clouds creating scenes and stories for anything and everything she came across. She believed there was magic everywhere, a sentiment she has never outgrown. Nature inspires her, and her love for the underdog and the unlikely hero colors much of what she writes. 

Dawn adores anything Steampunk, is often distracted by shiny, pretty things, and her obsession with purses and shoes borders on hoarding. Dawn lives in Iowa and helps her husband run their foodservice and catering business out of Omaha, Nebraska. When not reading, writing, or catering, Dawn loves babysitting her grandchildren, is parent to Snickers the Wonder Beagle, and can usually be caught daydreaming. 

You can learn more about Dawn Ford at her website: https://dawnfordauthor.com 

CONNECT WITH DAWN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Q: What was the inspiration behind The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes?

Dawn: I sat down one afternoon to write with a vision in my head of a servant girl who had been dismissed from her employer because of her errant abilities. Her carriage wrecks in a dark, dangerous forest. I had three chapters written within an hour just from that single image.


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

Dawn: I started writing this story in 2010, so it’s taken me twelve years from start to publication.


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

Dawn: “Those who are given special gifts from the Kinsman have a great responsibility to use them faithfully. That doesn't mean ye won't fail. It just means ye'll have to work hard to make things right.”
 

Q: What do you hope readers take away from The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

Dawn: From the first image of this story, I wanted to get across the idea that our abilities are gifts, not curses. Too often we belittle our own talents while thinking someone else’s have more value. We’ve all been born with unique abilities and special talents. The trick is to appreciate ourselves for how wonderful we’ve been created.
 

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

Dawn: I didn’t start writing until I was in my forties, so it’s never too late to discover your special abilities.
 

Q: What are you reading now?

Dawn: I’m reading Erin Howard’s Beyond the Gates. It’s currently up for preorder.
 

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Dawn: Three.
 

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

Dawn: Reading, thrift shopping, watching my grandchildren.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(3) winners will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback copy of The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes, and book swag!

The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 16, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 23, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: If You Really Knew Me by Alison Cheah



About the Book


Book: If You Really Knew Me

Author: Alison Cheah

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: December 2021

Tommy is glad of friendships which make him forget the situation at home. His father’s illness makes his behavior so unpredictable that the whole family must tip-toe around him for fear of becoming the butt of his anger.

Elise wishes her twin sister didn’t think being champion swimmers was an adequate goal for their lives. She has her own dreams to fulfil.

Carrie hides a secret, avoiding other students so nobody will ever find it out. But Tommy and Elise both look to Carrie to save them from their situations.

Until she disappears.

Tommy’s protective instinct kicks in, and Elise reassesses her priorities so she can help keep Carrie safe.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


Alison Cheah worked at Youth for Christ for five years and volunteers with her church youth group. One of her favorite activities is preparing Bible Studies and seeking how to connect the stories of the Bible with her students’ own stories.

As a child she was always to be seen with her nose in a book, and nothing has changed. One of her favorite authors was Patricia St. John. Her characters are people you want to know, and you are rooting for them to overcome their problems, but for Alison, the added dimension was that each person discovers their answers in Jesus. She saw that the faith she had grown up with had applicability in real life.

Her prayer is that this story has the same result for you.


More from Alison

I spent five years working at Youth for Christ with middle school students like Tommy, Carrie, and Elise. They are not based on kids I met, but they are inspired by my experiences then.

My friend and mentor in youth ministry was Anna-Marie Valles who is also a character in Tommy, Carrie and Elise’s story helping them to make sense of some of the questions they have.

We don’t get to know her well in the book, but I had a chat with her recently about youth ministry and here is an extract from that conversation. I think you will enjoy getting to know her better.


Alison: In the story, Elise shares her problems with you. Do you find teens want to talk to an adult about their problems?

AMV: Kids are hungry to be able to unload their stories on people who are willing to listen. I remember in one club a student said that all day, adults were telling him what to do. But club was a space where people were asking him, “How are you feeling? “What are your thoughts on this?” He was shocked.

 

Alison: You were only eighteen when you started in youth ministry. After all these years, how do you stay current so kids still want to talk with you?

AMV: If you come to kids with a willingness to learn, you become relevant. Say to them, “Tell me what’s going on?” Don’t pretend you have all the answers. I find that has worked for me. “I don’t know your culture like you do. But I’m willing to see through your lens if you’re able to share that with me.”

Age is interesting. I always worried I would age out. At my application interview for seminary I said, “I always thought if I aged out of youth ministry, I’d be a chaplain.” And the professor called me out on that. You never age out because kids still need that safe place where someone is willing to listen.

 

Alison: The profits from this book will be used to send kids to camp. Why is this important to you?

AMV: Youth ministry is all relational. But trust can take a while to build. The beauty of camps is that you can create a bond in one week that could take two years without. And at camp they hear the gospel presented in different ways by different speakers. Other people’s creativity and presentation may reach my students in a way that I haven’t been able to.

What saddens me is not everyone can go because camps are costly. My desire is that every student who wants to go will have the opportunity to do so.

 

For more of this conversation, see alisonrcheah.com

(Interview transcribed by https://otter.ai )

My prayer is that the story of Tommy, Carrie and Elise will be one of those different speakers Anna-Marie talked about, helping kids to begin their own relationship with Jesus.

Thank you.

Alison


Author Interview with Alison


Q: What was the inspiration behind this novel?

Alison: Some years ago, when our church was holding a summer reading program for the kids, my friend asked me whether I had written a missionary story which they could include. I hadn’t, but I decided to write one with a twist. The main characters were two fictional girls whose lives were impacted by some of the missionaries supported by our church.

I liked the format so much that I decided to do another one for my friend Anna-Marie Valles in aid of her work in middle schools.

The story isn’t about her, although she does make an appearance. Instead, I concentrated on three students who are trying to find their way through the complicated problems of life in middle school.
 

Q: Do any of the novel’s characters hold a special place in your heart?

Alison: I love Tommy who is mischievous and full of fun. He’s the sort of friend you’d want because you know he’ll always have your back. But that’s a heavy responsibility for him because when things go wrong, he blames himself. It’s a pity his father can’t be a better role model for him.


Q:What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Alison: In my family when I grew up, Jesus was a daily part of our lives, but I much preferred reading fiction to reading the Bible.

However, in the stories written by Patricia St. John, I found both. Each character became a friend whose ups and downs mattered to me. But each one gave me something more. They all discovered that Jesus was a Friend who cared about their problems and loved them in their messiest moments and through them, I began to understand the same thing.

My goal is to write stories with the same “both/and” elements that Miss St. John engaged, piquing my reader’s interest while attracting them to Jesus who loves them.
 

Q: What are you reading now?

Alison: I’m scouring the shelves of the library for middle grade fiction. I review books that I have enjoyed recently on my Facebook Author page.

I’m also reading Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens. He is one of my favorite authors because his observations of life are true, and he writes boldly about social issues. He is one of those people whose stories leave me with a better understanding of myself and human nature. Although I’ve read most of his books, I’m not sure I ever discovered Martin Chuzzlewit before. It’s always a delight to find an unknown book by a favorite author.


Q: Who is an author you would recommend to anyone and everyone?

Alison: C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books are stories I return to again and again. In his essay Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s to be Said he explains that in stories the author can "steal past [the] watchful dragons of stained-glass and Sunday School associations" to direct the reader to a correct feeling "about God or about the sufferings of Christ." That’s what he does for me in the Narnia books.


Blog Stops


Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 14

Texas Book-aholic, May 15

Beauty in the Binding, May 16 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 16

For Him and My Family, May 17

Inklings and notions, May 18

Blossoms and Blessings, May 19 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 22

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living , May 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Guild Master, May 26 (Author Interview)


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Alison is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Enter Giveaway: https://promosimple.com/ps/1db4d/if-you-really-knew-me-celebration-tour-giveaway.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Book Review: Curtain Call by Lyneta Smith


About the Book:

I thought I was having a breakdown; turns out, it was a breakthrough. In 2014, I wanted out of my story. I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore. 

Bombarded by uninvited memories of childhood trauma, I questioned why God would allow so many horrible things to happen to me.

When God interrupted my pleas for help with a simple question—“Will you trust Me with your story?”—I agreed to step out of my stage-perfect Christian life and into the journey toward healing and finally seeing Him as a good, loving God.


My Thoughts:

Curtain Call by Lyneta Smith retells the author’s journey from living behind a faรงade to living authentically in all areas of her life. The author wove in a theme about the masks we wear and tied everything together well.

That being said, I almost didn’t get past the second chapter of Curtain Call. The author’s story belongs to her, and she has the right to tell it with as little or as much detail as she wishes, but she retold the sexual abuse by her babysitter in graphic detail. Once I read the words, I couldn’t unread them. I had to put the book down for several days. When I returned to it, I read it slowly, but found the frequent timeline jumps a bit confusing. As always, reading about sexual assault was difficult and saddening, but Curtain Call’s narrative felt authentic. I recognized some of the same family dynamics from my own childhood and experience with sexual abuse.

Curtain Call by Lyneta Smith brims with compassion and offers hope to readers struggling to heal from sexual assault. Specifically, Lyneta’s experiences testify that healing is possible for survivors and that God cares for those harmed by sexual assault. While survivors are the target audience for Curtain Call, the book might prove helpful for those wishing to understand and help a survivor.



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.


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Movie Review & Giveaway: Family Camp


About Family Camp:




When their pastor encourages the congregation to sign-up for a week away at family camp, Grace (Leigh-Allyn Baker) believes she’s found the perfect cure for her imperfect clan—even if they’d all rather be anywhere but at rustic Camp Katokwah. 

The first feature film from The Skit Guys—Tommy Woodard and Eddie James—FAMILY CAMP is a laugh-out loud comedy that is sure to touch the hearts and tickle the funny bones of every family member from eight to eighty. 

FAMILY CAMP is releasing in theaters on May 13th! Buy your tickets now!

Tickets: https://familycampmovie.com/tickets/

Website: https://familycampmovie.com/


Movie Trailer:


My Thoughts:

Family Camp made me laugh… a lot – and that’s why I enjoyed this movie. The movie’s humor hooked my attention near the start, in part because I related to the parenting struggles and kid actions depicted. Hilarious moments ensued throughout the movie as two, completely opposite families find themselves forced together at church camp.  Occasionally, the movie sacrificed plausible reality in favor of humor, but that didn’t bother me. I thoroughly enjoyed having a reason to laugh repeatedly.

Although Family Camp’s story is mostly fun and light, the latter half of the movie increases in seriousness as it explores family dynamics. The movie advocates the conservative view of the man as the leader of the family. I don’t have an issue with that, but others might. However, I was bothered by how an extremely manipulative character receives immediate forgiveness with no indication of healthy boundary setting.

Although the movie ended with more open-ended situations than I prefer, the major issues were wrapped up satisfactorily. Overall, Family Camp is a fun movie, suitable for tweens and up. I watched it alone, but I’m pretty sure my kids would laugh most of the way through this.

By seeing it opening weekend (May 13-15), you are letting Hollywood know that you and your family want more movies like this! BUY TICKETS now to see Family Camp in theaters!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Many thanks to K-LOVE Films for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.


About the Creators of Family Camp:

The Skit Guys -- Tommy Woodard and Eddie James -- have been creating mini-movies for churches and youth groups for years, as well as performing live at events. Enjoy this interview with The Skit Guys and Jean of Momentum Influencers.

       


Giveaway:

One reader of this post will receive a $10 Amazon Giftcard.

Enter by leaving a comment on this post that includes your name and email address.


Monday, May 9, 2022

Book Review: Willow by Ronie Kendig

About the Book:

To save her, he must become the evil he fights.

Aftercare specialist Willow Metcalfe joined Mission: Liberate Everyone to help trafficking survivors navigate the healing process. When MiLE’s Obioma Compound is attacked by the Nigerian mafia, she’s taken hostage. Against nightmarish odds, she and the victims attempt an escape—and are thwarted.

A decade after leaving his beloved homeland, Chijioke “Chiji” Okorie returns to find his sister and fight for his own country. Believing a global trafficking ring behind her abduction and a string of kidnappings across Nigeria, he goes undercover to find the head of the serpent and his sister. Chiji is stunned to discover among the hostages a familiar face—a friend’s sister, Willow. The woman he vowed years ago to marry.

The man who has interfered with her escape attempts seems … familiar, kind—but Willow knows better. He reeks of the warrior ethos that has devoured many a good man. Engaged in an impossible battle and losing at every turn, Chiji is determined to complete his missions—all of them. Even if it kills him.


My Thoughts:

I read Willow by Ronie Kendig in a Sunday afternoon sitting. With a shorter page length and an action-packed plot, it’s a quick read. I loved the Metcalfe sibling dynamics and how fiercely loyal they were to each other despite tensions in their relationships. Now that I’ve been introduced to the wild Range Metcalfe, I’m looking forward to his story (coming later in 2022).

Willow brings awareness to human trafficking, a heinous reality for so many. Reading about violence and sexual assault is hard, but the story avoids graphic detail when possible. The novel does not dig deeply into the traumas of sexual assault or the extended healing process of survivors, which makes the novel lighter to read. Romance while surrounded by the terrors of sex trafficking may seem implausible, but Ronie Kendig deftly integrates Willow and Chiji’s budding relationship. 

Willow by Ronie Kendig lands as the second novel in The Metcalfes series.  I recommend reading them in order due to the overarching human trafficking plot as well as the cameos by characters from prior novels. Four Stars!

 


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, May 3, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up by Megan Besing

The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up by Megan Besing, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up
Title: The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up 
Author: Megan Besing 
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical 
Release Date: April 26, 2022 
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance 

A mail-order mistake… 

Or a made-to-be match? 

When Della Mae Wagner’s train arrives in Missouri, she’s shocked to find that the couple who hired her don’t just want a teacher for their grandsons but a wife for their son! After a broken engagement, marriage is not in Della’s plans. And Hank Lamson isn’t pleased—with his parents, with his unexpected guest or with Della’s unfairly appealing smile. But his plans to send her packing are foiled as his family comes to love her…and he feels the walls around his wounded heart start to fall. 



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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Megan Besing 

Despite always adoring happily-ever-afters, Megan Besing didn't unlock a love for reading until her mid-twenties, which quickly expanded into writing. Her own stories have won many awards, including the Selah for her novella, Perfect for the Preacher, along with the Pre-published Maggie for The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-up. And now she’s thrilled to be a Sunrise Publishing author. However, her most cherished achievements are being a wife and mother. She lives in a pocket-size Indiana town, centered around extended family, where she's always planning a road trip with a view. Yet, her favorite place may just be on her front porch drinking tea. Connect with Megan at meganbesing.com.

CONNECT WITH MEGAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Q: What was the inspiration behind The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up?

Megan: Several years ago, Love Inspired had a contest for stories, and I randomly thought of a historical idea where a woman arrived to be a teacher, but really the ad was for a bride. Then once I finished the story, I realized that I had drawn inspiration from my own mother-in-law. She was the one who wanted my husband and me to get together. Our long story short, my mother-in-law did some scheming of her own. Not sure it helped completely, but I am her daughter-in-law, so it didn’t hurt. ๐Ÿ˜Š


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

Megan: When the original story didn’t go to the final stage of the contest, I drug my feet on finishing it. It probably took about eight months. Then it sat on my computer for a couple of years before more edits were added.


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

Megan: Pretty much anytime the three brothers are talking, especially Wallie. My daughter is reading the book now, and she gave me her favorite of Wallie’s quotes so far:

Wallie squinted. “What’s an ally?”

“Friend, you goof.” Edward leaned over and scratched some bark off the nearest tree. “We can’t be friends, Miss Wagner. We’re brothers.”

“My brothers are my friends,” Della countered. “And they are friends with each other as well.”

“You have brothers?” Wallie’s eyes grew as large as the cinnamon rolls rising in the kitchen.

“Yes, I have three.” She patted the blanket, beckoning the boys to sit beside her. Youngest to oldest they obeyed, sitting on the far corners of the rugged blanket. It was a start.

Wallie crossed his legs and rested his elbows on his knees, chin in hands. “You don’t look like a sister.”

“Wallie’s right,” said Robert. “You’re too old.”

“Too old?” Della adjusted her skirt to make sure her ankles were covered. Maybe at twenty-four she was becoming an old maid, as Mother liked to remind her, but regardless of her age, she knew that politeness and manners were what she needed to teach the boys today. “Boys, it is never polite to tell a lady she is too old.”

“Well, ya are. You’re too old to be our sister.”



Q: What do you hope readers take away from The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up?

Megan: So often we search for our identity in our jobs, spouse, and or kids. Della learns that God is the only one who can fill that hole we all have. Pleasing others shouldn’t be our life goal, but how we’re here to put God first in our lives.


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

Megan: I thought I would never write a historical book. Believed it would be too hard. Eventually, my husband’s love for history rubbed off on me, and I learned I really enjoyed antique shopping, which prompted additional research. Then God opened doors, and now The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-up is my second published historical story.


Q: What are you reading now?

Megan: All That it Takes by Nicole Deese (An auto buy author for me.), The Next Worst Thing by Sarah Jane Woodley (A new-to-me author), Besting the Earl by Allie Kensington (A newer author), Point of Impact by Lisa Phillips (My mentor author at Sunrise Publishing)

(I usually have several books going at once. I tend to be an eclectic mood reader and also a big fan of kindle unlimited.)


Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Megan: I’m sad to say only like three small ones. Recently, four of our bookshelves decided to no longer hold things. So, we have a fair share of books stacked in closets and nestled in Rubbermaid tubs in our basement. But one day, I have high hopes of having an entire wall of bookcases.


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

Megan: I’m usually taking care of my family or doing something with them. We like to play board games or activities outside like mushroom hunting, camping, or even kickball. But if I have a free moment to myself, I like to sit on my front porch and read.

TOUR GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize Package: (1) winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, signed copy of The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-up, rose necklace, 1 Cor. 13:13 tote, apple oven mitt, apple kitchen towel, and a Great is Thy Faithfulness bookmark!

2nd Prize: (1) winner will receive an engraved rose leather journal!

Third Prize: (1) winner will receive a signed copy of The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-up!

The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up 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 May 2, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 9, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Arena by Karen Hancock



About the Book

Book: Arena

Author: Karen Hancock

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: April 16, 2022

A Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever.

Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom – for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.


More from Karen

Arena was not my first novel. The Light of Eidon was. In those days, however, Christian publishers were not interested in the fantasy genre because it had too much magic and wizards and such, despite the publication of the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They were softening to science fiction, however, and thanks to Kathy Tyers, Randy Ingermanson, John Olson and others the door was opened in 2001 for what is called “speculative fiction.” Arena fit right in, and was published by Bethany House in 2002. It went on to win a Christy Award, which started the ball rolling for the Guardian King series. Three out of the four Guardian King books in that series also won Christy Awards, at which point I was the first speculative fiction author inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013.

I am thrilled to have Arena appear again in this 20th anniversary edition with a new cover and in limited-edition hardcover. Oasis Audio will also be producing the audiobook, for the first time, so it can be available for every type of reader.


Blog Stops


Inside the Wong Mind, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Spotlight)

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Beauty in the Binding, May 2 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 10

Blogging With Carol, May 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Arena!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d3bd/arena-celebraiton-tour-giveaway