Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Finding Joy by J.C. Lafler


About the Book


Book: Finding Joy
Author: J.C. Lafler
Genre: Christian Fiction, Generational Fiction
Release Date: November, 2019

No matter what complications life throws your way, search until you find something to be joyful for.”
Elisabeth Davis has lived by these words for most of her eighty years. Through good times and bad, this mindset has served her well, and she hopes and prays that her grandchildren will carry this sentiment forward when she is gone.

But Max has heard his grandmother say this so many times, he is almost oblivious. And while he understands her point, putting it into action is not always easy.

When his girlfriend demands he make a choice between her and his best friend—in the same week his grandmother has a stroke!—Max struggles to find joy anywhere. He is forced to reexamine his life, his relationships, and even his faith in this heartwarming story of coming of age and leaving a lasting legacy.



Click HERE to get your copy.



My Review

This book reminded me a lot of my grandma, and made me miss the grandparents that I know are waiting in Heaven to see again. Elisabeth really carried the story with her unswerving faith and living out the joy we find in the Lord no matter our circumstances or feelings. The story is short and very sweet that reminds me of the early young Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me." While Max and Sam along with the other characters give a sweet story line, they all seemed kind of static and the story outside of Elisabeth seemed a little too predictable, but it was a shorter read like I said, and especially around a sweet faith-filled read, predictability is comforting. I just really think Elisabeth carried the story, from missing her husband, to facing her own challenges, to hoping to leave a Godly legacy, and more, I found that entire aspect of the book to be totally heartwarming. Overall, this one would be a nice Christmas gift for yourself or others that might enjoy a sweet read with an inspiring message. 



I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own.



About the Author


J.C. Lafler has always enjoyed writing and dreamed of being published, but it wasn’t until she retired in 2015 that she realized her dream. J. C. and her husband, David, live in Battle Creek, Michigan—except in winter, when they escape to sunny Texas. Along with writing, she enjoys public speaking, reading, puzzles, traveling, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Finding Joy is J. C.’s fifth novel to date. Her other books, also released through Redemption Press, include Lost and Found, Amazing Grace, Hope Everlasting, and Leap of Faith.

More from J.C.

“Finding Joy” by J.C. Lafler is a story about the challenge of finding joy in life’s most trying circumstances, and corresponding verses in the Bible that lead us to choose joy. This story came about because of a comment made by one of my children, who’s middle name just happens to be Joy. She (Lynsey) made the comment to me one day that her middle name reminded her that every day it is up to her to choose joy. Jokingly telling her that “Choosing Joy” would be a great title for my next novel, I let it go for a couple of months. While preparing to began said novel, I wrote “Choose Joy” at the top of the page and started writing. During editing I changed the title to “Finding Joy,” but the whole story developed around the idea of choosing to find a bit of joy every day, no matter what is happening in your life.



Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, December 10
A Reader’s Brain, December 11
janicesbookreviews, December 13
Texas Book-aholic, December 14
Artistic Nobody, December 15 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, December 15
Lighthouse Academy, December 17 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
CarpeDiem, December 21
Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, December 22





Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, J.C. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of her book with a matching mug!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Melody of the Mulberries by Tonya Jewel Blessing


About the Book


Book: The Melody of the Mulberries
Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing
Genre:  Historic Southern Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2019

This sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams.
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.

Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.



Click HERE to get your copy!




My Review

This book was certainly a lively, educational historical romance set in the Appalachians. I truly felt immersed in the culture of the time and place with the descriptive details, language, and touching on the influenza epidemic. Also, we are transported into the world of local folklore and mysticism used by the people of the area in that time especially. We are introduced to some racial tension as well as a cold-blooded murderer. I enjoyed each character and the many layers to each of their stories and how those stories intertwined with one another. Without giving spoilers, I would say where the book kind of lacked was in the spiritual arena- the elements were there they just seemed to awkwardly disrupt the storyline and didn't seem natural. Also, I felt like Mercy's whole bit in the story was a little unrealistic and rather awkward in resolution as well. Overall, if you're looking for an Appalachian romance with a thread of faith and descriptive history, this one is for you.


I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own.




About the Author


More about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.


More from Tonya

Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing
The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious. The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan. In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek. The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart. It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes. If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”.  This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy! Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.



Blog Stops




Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Having Tried Everything & The String Theory Beginning With Me by Tonia Colleen Martin


About the Books

Book: Having Tried Everything & The String Theory Beginning With Me
Author: Tonia Colleen Martin
Genre: Coffee Table Gift, Adult Fairytale Illustrated
Release Date: July, 2019

Having Tried Everything


Sleep often eludes. We try this and we try that. Still, the night gives a wake up call we’d rather not answer. “Having Tried Everything” is the story of a terminally lonely insomniac who does answer. Stepping from the rut of routines and rituals, moving from the known to the unknown, she discovers not only mercy and abundance but who she is and the travesty and redemption of what it means to be human. “Having Tried Everything” is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicably true. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and the writer. The very act of embracing this narrative provides the first step toward the wonderland of connection, acceptance and gratitude. Where words abbreviate the astonishment of God’s signature on creature and creatures, the illustrations enhance and annotate. Suitable for all dreamers and courageous pragmatists.




The String Theory Beginning with Me





The String Theory Beginning With Me is an illustrated prose poem tracing the journey to freedom from an internal landscape of chaos and fear. Using specific images from the natural world, this story condenses and simplifies a very slow, methodical transformation indicative of those who consistently seek the larger experience of living both in and beyond the here and now. Because of its metaphorical language and its delicate presentation, The String Theory Beginning with Me, has a universal appeal and is an ideal gift for both contemplatives and the spirited.    





 Click HERE to to get your copy of Having Tried Everything and HERE to get your copy of The String Theory Beginning with Me.       



My Review

I found the poetry in each of these books to be a welcome change from the norm for the usual type books I review. Inside I found a very colorful, somewhat abstract picture book to accompany each verse of the poem. This book would be a great gift for one you might see displayed on a coffee table that is aesthetically pleasing, or for those who enjoy poetry, are deep thinkers, or are very artistic in spirit. For me, I have to admit some of the language and comparisons were a little over my head, but I feel those who enjoy reading poetry with deep meaning will really enjoy these books. The thread of truth from God and Scripture were really nicely incorporated into each poem.  I think the author's deep artistic spirit shines through and inspires others. So if you're looking for a decorative book for a gift, enjoy poetry, or enjoy words that make you stop and ponder for a while, these books are for you. 


I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own. 



About the Author


While I was still feeble in my selfness and narrow in my horizons, I became a collector of words. Words often come and go all on their own. I do my best to arrange them in beautiful order. This particular arrangement is called Having Tried Everything: An exploration of redemption, hope and possibility through the eyes of a terminally lonely insomniac. It is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicable. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and myself as the writer/artist. Thank You for stepping into this with me. The weight of this truth is surprisingly heavy and less accessible than I would like it to be. Divine Love and His intervention is the hope I often forget to cling. The Lie: You are alone and will end alone, has subtly confused me without my knowledge or consent for a very long time. My ability to escape its debilitating effects is in direct proportion to name it as a lie. The miracle of being designed for relationship with the living God despite my frailties continues to astound me. My value as a human being is not predicated on my good behaviors or bright countenance, but rather by God’s compassion and mercy. The unshakeable truth of my wealth given freely to me by nature of my design and God’s generosity is not mine alone. Thus, the You in the story is ours together. God bless you as you consider with me the miracle of God’s unmerited favor towards us based on nothing we’ve worked for or earned.  


More from Tonia

On Labor Day morning, I woke up to an email reminding me I missed a deadline. This is not the kind of message that incites creativity. And now sitting here in my front garden, trying to imagine the sound of the neighbor’s leaf blower as that of a vigorous wind warming up to deliver an epic end-of- summer storm, I am face to face with a wordless me wondering how to communicate the enormity of what I want to be say…after all, what happens in these two little, tiny, shrunken, abbreviated, synthetic replications of what actually occurred in the chronological space of history crosses into speculative territory. And I haven’t even met you. If you dream of traveling but time, money or fear has held you back, The String Theory Beginning with Me is a story boat meant to sail you safely into the intergalactic waters of your own lonely soul. If you worry about failure, Having Tried Everything  is an illustrated syllabus developed from a rubbing pressed against the gravestone of a dream, carefully framed by God’s healing light.  Both books are designed to give you a holiday from clock watching and move you into a space of heart throb time.



Blog Stops

Simple Harvest Reads, December 1 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, December 3
All 4 and About Books, December 4 (Author Interview)
janicesbookreviews, December 5
Mary Hake, December 5
Blossoms and Blessings, December 7 (Author Interview)
A Reader’s Brain, December 8
Andrea Christenson, December 10 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, December 11




Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of each of the books!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie


About the Book


Book: Heart Of A Royal
Author: Hannah Currie
Genre:  Young Adult/Royalty

Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?  







Click HERE to get your copy!
   



My Review

I loved this book that was every bit as elegant and dainty as the heroine on the cover. We dive into the glamorous world of the royal, and are confronted with a heroine who struggles to value herself because of her background- much less finding love with a true royal. The language and atmosphere were so elegant and regal that the book just drew you in. The complexity of the hero and heroine was deep and rich. The romance took unexpected turns and was truly heartwarming. This book just made me feel happy and transported to time and place. This could easily be enjoyed by the YA audience along with adults of all ages, but I enjoyed the effort of making it relatable to the YA audience as well. I loved the thread of faith that reminds us of our value in the eyes of Christ. This fiction just had it all- don't miss it!



I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own. 





About the Author


Aussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at www.hannahcurrie.com.  

More from Hannah

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty.

Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia. I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once.

[Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!]. The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.

 But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title. Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.

 Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there. Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.



Blog Stops

CarpeDiem, November 28
Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 28
Hallie Reads, November 28
Emily Yager, November 29
Back Porch Reads, November 30
Mia Reads Blog, December 1
Bigreadersite , December 1
Kathleen Denly, December 2
Genesis 5020, December 2
She Lives To Read, December 2
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
Livin’ Lit, December 3
The Becca Files, December 4
Becka Jiménez , December 4
HookMeInABook, December 4
janicesbookreviews, December 4
Avid Reader Nurse, December 6
A Reader’s Brain, December 6
Moments, December 7
Remembrancy, December 8
Pause for Tales , December 8
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 10
Batya’s Bits, December 11





Giveaway


To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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.

The Choice is Yours by Barbara Dahlgren


About the Book


Book: The Choice is Yours
Author: Barbara Dahlgren
Genre: Religion/Christian Living/Devotional
Release Date: November 2019

Do you stress over making decisions? Does the possibility of making the wrong choice paralyze you? In The Choice Is Yours: 52 Choices for Happier Lives, Barbara Dahlgren explores decisions we face daily. She does so with the spiritual insight and practicality developed through fifty years of ministry. The Choice Is Yours is drawn from Dahlgren’s blog, Barbara’s Banter: taking my faith but not myself too seriously, and is suitable for a devotional or a Bible study tool. Each chapter includes practical suggestions, a key Bible verse, and the option for the reader to jot down their own tips for making better choices in daily life.



Click HERE to purchase your copy.    





My Review

This book was quite the unexpected read! Each chapter focuses on making Choices and is just a few pages long- choices such as not offending, believing in Christ's resurrection, forgiving, living in grace, and a lot more. Each chapter could be focused on daily or even weekly- no matter how busy you are. Each chapter includes some great quotes, Scripture, things to consider, and a list to write out how you can improve in each area. The book could be read really by any Christian or even those searching, male or female, even the non-reader. The author includes her own wit and humor which is kind of like tell it like it is. While I enjoyed it, this may be a little bit of a put off for some who don't appreciate that kind of humor. I felt the book was relatable and really modern and practical for any age adult reader. Check it out!


I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own. 



About the Author


Barbara Dahlgren is a humorist, freelance writer, and speaker whose articles have appeared all over the world. Married to a pastor, she and her husband have served churches in Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, Michigan, and California where they currently reside. She blogs at Barbara’s Banter: taking my faith but not myself too seriously and is the author of Zorro and Me, a humorous look at the couple’s adventures in ministry.
 


More from Barbara

When my granddaughter was in preschool, she came home one day and was sad. Her mom asked what was wrong. Sophia replied, “My teacher said I didn’t make good choices today.”
I always felt her teacher had a great deal of wisdom. Instead of saying Sophia was naughty or bad, she planted a seed of thought into her little life about making better choices. Better choices lead to happier lives. In a way, that was the inspiration for my latest blog theme which led to this book.
My first book was called Zorro and Me. It was about my husband, whom I’ve nicknamed Zorro, and our experiences in 50 years of ministry. Usually known as a humorist, I try to intersperse a lot of personal experiences in my speaking and writing. My philosophy is to take my faith, but not myself, too seriously. I think we would all be happier if we chose to laugh more and criticize less.
Here’s a little quiz to get to know me better. Which one do you think is false?
  1. I was born many years ago in the foothills of the Ozarks in a town with a population of 10.
  2. While on a mission trip to Nigeria, our children were held captive by the police for a few hours.
  3. My son was unexpectedly born in a hotel room while we were traveling, so we used a dresser drawer as a baby bed.
  4. I’ve mounted a camel near the Great Pyramids in Egypt, climbed the Great Wall in China, leaned with the Tower of Pisa in Italy, and been on safari in Kenya.
  5. While on a teen trip touring the White House, one of my children became ill, so the Secret Service took him outside where he barfed behind a big bush on the White House lawn. It’s the one on the left when you look at pictures of the White House.
Guess what! They are all true. There’s more, but I don’t want to give all my secrets away today.



Blog Stops





Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize of a  $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.