Monday, August 21, 2017

Kerfuffle by Kristin N. Spencer



                                                 Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book


 
Book title: Kerfuffle  
Author: Kristin N. Spencer  
Release date: June 1, 2017  
Genre: Young Adult

Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him? When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split. In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others. Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be?





My Review

First of all, just wow- great job by Mrs. Spencer. The high school drama was on point through the eyes of a Christian girl trying to follow the Lord. Olive and her family were fun, caring, and overall just endearing even while dealing with great spiritual conflict. The characters were so real to me, and the plot was so much like reality, I forgot I was reading a fiction. Having worked with many in the young adult age, I would recommend it without reservation. Mrs. Spencer fearlessly "goes there" which is something we as the church should've done a long time ago. Kerfuffle reminded me that just because we are uncomfortable with a certain sin, doesn't mean the Lord doesn't call us to love and share the Gospel with these people. There were no exceptions to the Great Commission. There is no sin or past that is too much for the Lord to forgive or heal. I have to say I cried- although our characters are fictional, I know the issues tackled in this book have to do with real people who have been hurt and who may know they have a need for the Lord, but don't feel welcome at all by His people. In many topics, young adults today are told that the temptation to have sex, do drugs, etc. is normal and should be fully explored and celebrated by outside influences. We as the church should be able to talk about the hard topics and lift up those struggling in any of these areas. We should have an atmosphere in the church that anyone struggling with temptation in any sin should be able to come forward without judgment and seek understanding and accountability from his/her church family. Biblical truth, honest reality, and an eye-opening experience await you in Kerfuffle. 

I received this book for free, and all opinions given are my own. 



About the Author



Kristin N. Spencer is an American expat living in a 68 square meter flat with her husband and three kids near the Aegean Sea. When she isn’t wifing, mothering, counseling, discipling, or writing, she enjoys sewing cosplay costumes for her family, baking, and hanging out with other geeks. She writes whatever she wants, including Non-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. Her favorite person is Jesus and her favorite X-men character is Jean Grey. Kristin studied Comparative World Literature at California State University, Long Beach and received a Bachelors, which she fondly calls a degree in reading

Guest Post from Kristin N. Spencer

Retrospective thoughts are so powerful, aren’t they? Now that I’m an adult I often look back on my adolescence and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” As a YA author, I read a lot of books in my own genre, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Though many of the secular YA authors are brave enough to talk about the tough stuff, not many Christian authors go after the real world difficulties that face our young people. The passage of time constantly rips through generations creating new problems and situations. The world that my children are growing up in is very different from what I experienced, and the challenges that they face as Christians are also different. The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children. Olive, a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, serves as the lens of perspective as we see almost everything from her point of view. Her world provides a safe, fictional place for Christians to flesh out these thoughts and think through what the Bible teaches about topics like racism, bullying, loving one’s neighbor, what real love is, and addiction.
Kerfuffle specifically explores the complex emotions associated with the Church and the temptation of same sex attraction. We get to experience the conflict Olive feels and also witness the varied reactions from different generations through Olive’s parents and other members of Revive Church. This issue isn’t going away, and as a Church we must be able to talk about it without alienating ourselves from those that struggle with this temptation. There is hope for every person through the blood of Jesus Christ, whether you struggle to love those who experience same sex attraction or you struggle with that temptation yourself. I hope Kerfuffle encourages you as you seek to walk closer to Christ.



Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz
August 18: Blogging With Carol
August 20: Carpe Diem
August 21: A Reader’s Brain
August 22: Remembrancy
August 25: Baker Kella
August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
                                                   August 28: JosephineAnneWrites




Giveaway!





To celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled, Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop ( https://writerslife.threadless.com)!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb66

Monday, August 14, 2017

A God of All Seasons by TH Meyer & Amy Breitmann


 
                                                    Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book



Book title: A God of All Seasons  
Author: TH Meyer & Amy Breitmann  
Release date: August 28, 2017  
Genre: Non-fiction

What if your spiritual life landed in the grip of a wintered soul? How does one’s faith survive?
Discover the beauty and challenge of spiritual seasons as Tammy & Amy remember parts of their stories in order to draw out your own. Learn to perceive God’s companionship even when you don’t sense His nearness. And unearth, not only a God who created the seasons, but one who also walks with you through them.”



My Review


Raw emotions and vulnerability in the everyday human life are shamelessly tackled in this inspiring read!  I think we all have at least points in our life where we feel like we're holding on for dear life trying to survive everyday life. It may be self-inflicted guilt from past lifestyles or decisions, or outside circumstances that we've had no personal hand in. The blunt truth is that we all struggle with these issues inside on our own and feel alone and that perhaps God is not listening or not aware of our status. This read is unconventional in that it is not just testimonies of seasons that were challenging in our author's  lives, but finds its' true mission in knowing the God who walked through these seasons with our authors. The same God who will walk through and lead us through our individual seasons of life. The challenge we see in this book is- do we see God and keep our eyes on Him in the storm, or are we drowning in the storm all around us? The beauty of nature,  the blunt reality of ever-changing life seasons, and the quest for growing mercy, grace, and hope seated in our precious Savior come together in this inspirational and challenging read! I recommend for any Christian or non-Christian who is tired of doing life alone- reach out to the open arms of Jesus!

I received this book for free, and all opinions given are my own. 


About the Authors


 
After living in Asia and Europe, T.H. Meyer’s family planted roots on their Texas farm in 2008 where they live among fields of Rye and Bermuda. Tammy is a writer and creative strategist who also moonlights as a social media specialist. She’s the mother to three children and author of, A Life of Creative Purpose: Embrace Uniqueness, Explore Boldness, Encourage Faith and Social Media Strategies: Discovering Powerful Tools of the Trade without Losing Your Soul for Christian entrepreneurs maneuvering the daunting and soul-sucking world of online marketing.
Join Tammy on her website: The Art of Fear Not: An Adventurous Life of Faith http://www.tammy-h-meyer.com/.
Or stay in touch with her at:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tammy.h.meyer/ for personal photos and thoughts from home.
Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammy_h_meyer/lists & find out what’s on her Twitter “Lists.”


 
Amy’s (Amy Breitmann) bio: Amy weaves together ministry and writing alongside her husband and two children in Augusta, GA. She is a writer, speaker, and founder of “The Lydia Project,” a national ministry for women facing cancer and is a storyteller for ViBella Jewelry, an international company that employs artisans in Haiti and Mexico. Her published works include pieces in Chicken Soup of the Soul, Mosaic: Sojourners of Faith, and Guideposts Magazine.



Blog Stops

August 12: Just Jo’Anne
August 13: Splashes of Joy
August 14: A Reader’s Brain
August 15: autism mom
August 16: autismchristianmom
August 17: Karen Sue Hadley
August 19: Bigreadersite
August 20: Eat,Read,Teach,Blog
August 22: Breaking Ordinary
                                            August 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations



Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, T.H. Meyer is giving away a Kindle Fire!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd4e

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher



                                                       Click here to purchase your copy.



About the Book



Book title: The Return  
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  
Release date: Sept 1, 2017  
Genre: Amish  

In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances. Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far? Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.  





My Review

History and the Amish collide in The Return to create a masterpiece. A side of Amish fiction rarely seen, The Return tackles some of American history that was tumultuous and caused a lot of fear in a lot of people. Among this constant conflict are the Amish and their pacifist ways. Among this are hearts that are drawn together, some hearts that are rejected and others that are embraced. Among the horror of Indian raids and capture, Betsy grows in strength in the Lord and develops into a different woman. Meanwhile, Hans finds comfort in Tessa who wishes all too much that Hans heart was truly hers. The plot will keep you riveted to the page until you see the conclusion. The faith and Amish ways in the midst of a very uncertain time of history interested me and showed me a side of history I had not before discovered for myself. The characters were truly endearing, beautifully described, and very life like to me. This book meets the reality of the horrors of conflict between settlers and Indians, but among it shows the hope our Amish friends have to build bridges and avoid further violence and hurt. Truly inspiring, emotional, and oh so historically interesting, this read will delight any Christian fiction enthusiasts! Don't miss this unique and riveting read! 

I recieved this book for free, and all opinions given are my own. 




About the Author



Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans! Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.


According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed. The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.  




Have you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest. Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.




*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab




Blog Stops

August 1: Quiet Quilter
August 1: Remembrancy
August 2: Bigreadersite
August 2: lighthouse academy
August 3: Genesis 5020
August 3: Book by Book
August 4: Carpe Diem
August 6: Artistic Nobody
August 7: A Reader’s Brain
August 7: Pause for Tales
August 7: Splashes of Joy
August 8: Live.Love.Read.
August 9: Mary Hake
August 9: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
August 11: The Power of Words
August 11: Karen Sue Hadley
August 11: Neverending Stories
August 12: Cafinated Reads
August 12: TinaTruelove
August 14: Vicky Sluiter
August 14: By The Book



Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is doing an amazing giveaway from August 1 through 14! Check it out:
Four winners will receive one of the prizes below:
  • An Amish Gift Basket and a copy of The Return
  • Amish popcorn sampler and a copy of The Return
  • The Amish Beginning 3 book set series
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
You can enter at Suzanne’s website (http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contests/) or on her Facebook page (http://gvwy.io/q1kb9u4)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Manuscript for Murder by Chautona Havig



Click here to pick up your copy.




About the Book


Book title: Manuscript for Murder  
Author: Chautona Havig  
Release date: October 13, 2012  
Genre: Mystery Alexa Hartfield.

Author, local celebrity, fashion connoisseur. She chose Fairbury for its close proximity to Rockland, its small town atmosphere, and its low crime rate. Then someone made her life a literary cliché. A mysterious accident with a light bulb sparked an interesting idea for her latest novel—and for Fairbury’s new serial killer. The first replication infuriated her. The second left an even worse taste in her mouth. The third blasted more than her self-confidence, and the fourth beat her down so far she’s considering giving up writing completely. Who is killing Fairbury’s citizens, and furthermore, why and how are they using her novels to do it?





My Review


Alexa Hartfield- an endearing character that we all wish we were more like! Not so much because she's a celebrity, but because she lives the way she wants down to eccentric and period wardrobe. I personally wish I had the guts to walk down the street in a Jane Austen regency gown! Not only that, our character is down to earth and really cares about people. The plot of this story turned me on my head- why was someone using Alexa's books to inspire murder, and is it Alexa's fault that people are dying? All the characters had an obvious role and were well developed. Picturing a murder mystery within an author of murder mystery's world was no easy fete! I enjoyed every page, and I appreciated the honesty, twists, and turns found in the plot and characters. Endearing and unique characters and a perplexing murder mystery make this book a 5 star!

I received this book for free, and all opinions given are my own. 


About the Author



Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

How Arrows & My Obsession with Vintage Clothes Inspired Murder A swath of fabric cut across my bedroom at an odd angle but that angle ensured that I could stretch it all out. With painstaking precision, I pinned every last piece to the fabric, disgusted at the enormous waste stretching out before me. The pattern called for three and a half yards. I’d crammed it into two at most. Just as I picked up the scissors for the first cut, Mom popped her head in the door to see how I was doing. I pointed out the waste. “Grandma said patterns always told you to buy way too much, but I’ve got enough to make another dress!” Mom stepped closer. I want to say a cigarette hung from her lips, but let’s face it. No way would Mom ever allow the ashes to drop on the carpet. But it felt like one was there, nonetheless. Mom pointed. “Chautona, I don’t know anything about sewing, but I think those arrows are there for a reason.” And with that, she turned away. I stared down at the pattern. My arrows zig-zagged all over the place. A glance at the directions showed all arrows going exactly the same direction. Straight up and down the fabric. You know, if I’d been doing this for the first time in 2017, I could have just zipped on over to “the Google,” as Mom calls it, and looked up why. Instead, I grabbed a thick sewing manual I’d bought for a buck at Pick-N-Save and flipped through it until I found a section on laying out patterns. A couple of minutes later, I flew down the stairs. “The book says that the long, smooth edges are called selvages. The arrows are supposed to run parallel or the dress might hang wonky.” Here, I can guarantee Mom took a puff of that cigarette. Man, I hated those things. “Well, like I said. I don’t know anything about sewing, but they looked important.” She blew a puff of smoke. That’s when I suspected that Mom knew more about sewing than she’d let on. What does this little sewing lesson have to do with mysteries and murder? Well, see. This was a test dress. I’d only decided to learn to sew because I’d also decided that I wanted Nancy Drew’s wardrobe. In 1982, you couldn’t buy trim, neat clothing from the 50’s. I had Gunne Sax skirts and preppy tops with ruffles that my parents hated. When they found out I wanted a sewing machine to make clothes like that, they got me one. Yep. I cut my reading teeth on Nancy Drew and didn’t stop there. I read all the youth mysteries—Bobsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Meg Duncan (she was a fave, too), and when I got a little older, Phyllis Whitney. I loved the challenge of seeing events play out—and figuring out why. Why told me who. You get to where you can figure out things rather easily. But if you make me doubt my ideas, that’s good enough. I love that. Is it any wonder that one of the first books I conceived was a mystery? I’d never put the ideas together until I began working on this post, but really… is it any wonder that I gave that author a love of vintage fashion? Too funny. But those arrows on that pattern? They taught me pretty cool lessons as a kid. Like Mom said: “Those arrows are there for a reason.” Isn’t that what God’s directional arrows in His Word are like? They’re there for a reason. They keep us from getting all wonky. It’s why Alexa writes the kind of books she does. I never could, but as she says when she describes telling someone why she writes horror/suspense, “I tried to describe a world where we never see justice—where sin surrounds us, but the only response we see is a sweet romance or a heartwarming tale of doing good to our neighbors… And God is a God of more than love and mercy. [He’s also a God of] justice.” Alexa writes what she does to help people sort out those crossed arrows and see that there is a point to it all—that eventually justice and mercy converge paths into one rather than criss-crossing all over the place, trampling each other. She doesn’t write Christian fiction, but I don’t know how a Christian can write fiction without some part of faith shining through. In Alexa’s, and I hope in mine as well, there’s an overarching theme that illustrates that the Lord hasn’t forgotten the people He created.



Blog Stops



In honor of her Manuscript for Murder Celebration Tour, Chautona is giving away a mystery prize package worth over $100. Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/bc16

Would you like to know what’s in it? Find the first clue within the giveaway image below, then hop on over to Chautona’s website to begin the search for more clues and you might find a special giveaway just for clue hunters! Can you find all the clues before Augusta Septemus does?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wounded in the Church by Ray Beeson & Chris Hayward



To purchase your copy, click here.






About the Book



Book title: Wounded in the Church  
Author: Ray Beeson & Chris Hayward  
Release date: March 14, 2017
 Genre: Non-fiction

Church should be a safe place, right? Then why do so many get hurt there? Ray Beeson and Chris Hayward combine their years of ministry experience to address head-on the elephant in the room: church members and church leaders hurt Christians. All the time. And the long-lasting effects—rejection, shame, despair, loneliness, fear—can be devastating. The authors have witnessed the rise of the “dones,” those who are just done with God thanks to scars from church. With first-person stories of hurt and loss, this book is a wake-up call for any who deny woundedness in the church but is also a redemptive message for any who hurt from church wounds. Leaders and laypeople alike will learn how to grieve over abuse, to leave unhealthy attitudes and patterns that cause pain, and to trust in God’s real, delivering work through churches that build up, not tear down. Thanks to the grace of God, there is always hope beyond the pain.



My Review

Taking a departure from my regular fiction, Wounded in the Church was a eye-opening and healing read. Among a difficult subject, a Light of Hope emerges. I, like most, have had personal experiences of wounding as I tend to be a people-pleaser myself and feel like if I'm asked to do something by a person in church, it must mean God wants me to do it as well. The theme of rejection being felt by people in the church was a very real one and a very difficult subject. One that I am glad our authors were brave enough to tackle and give a name. So many end up leaving church because they don't feel welcome in the first place- it's a travesty that Christians in general need to acknowledge and ask the Lord to help them conquer whether they have been hurt or are the persecutor. Because of God's grace alone, we are able to overcome the hurt, rejection, and even the realization that perhaps we are the person wounding others. While the title does not sound pleasant, the reality is one that needs to be dealth with. And what a blessing to know that the reality of pain can be overcome and healed through the power and grace of our Lord. Thank you Mr. Beeson & Hayward for giving rejection in the church a name, and reminding us that we serve a risen Savior who holds the key to unlocking it all!

I received this book for free and all opinions given are my own. 


About the Authors

Ray Beeson is the director of Overcomers Ministries, a teaching ministry with a special emphasis on spiritual warfare and prayer. Ray teaches seminars on spiritual warfare, prayer, and Christlike living and is the author of numerous books including Signed in His Blood (Charisma House, 2014) and The Hidden Price of Greatness (Overcomers, 2000). Ray and his wife, Linda, live in Ventura, CA. Chris Hayward has had over thirty-six years of pastoral ministry and is currently serving as president of Cleansing Stream Ministries, a discipleship ministry that works with the local church around the world. He is also the author of God’s Cleansing Stream (Chosen Books, 2004) and The End of Rejection (Chosen Books, 2007). Chris and his wife, Karen, live in Castaic, CA.

Guest Post from Ray Beeson & Chris Hayward

When we tell people we’ve written a book entitled “Wounded in the Church,” many nod knowingly. Sadly, the pain and heartache that happens in churches is all too common. Collectively, the two of us have spent more than 70 years in ministry. During that time we have seen neglect, tactlessness, and blatant insensitivity fostered by some leaders and congregations resulting in the wounding of others. We realize it is not prolific in every church, but the wounding is significant and it needs to be exposed. That is why we wrote this book – we share real stories of real people who were wounded in church, a place that should be a shelter of God’s love and peace. Sometimes people are abused by leaders or church members. There are also times when leaders are abused by people within the congregation. As you read, perhaps you’ll identify with some of the situations described. If so, be assured you are not alone. If you have been wounded, it is our hope and prayer God uses this book to facilitate healing. Because of Jesus Christ, there is hope beyond the pain.




Blog Stops

Giveaway



To celebrate this tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize: Kindle Fire and Wounded in the Church by Ray Beeson and Chris Hayward
First Place Prize: Walking by Faith mug with matching pen OR Bouquet of Blessings mug and Wounded in the Church Second Place Prize: Walking By Faith pen and Wounded in the Church
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb6f