My Father’s House

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About the Book

“My Father’s House is at once a sweet romance and a page-turning thriller.” –Ann Tatlock, award-winning novelist. Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant – her father’s love. But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily’s struggle to find herself and the life she’s lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband’s sophisticated façade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets. When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices – abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman’s compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she’s meant to be . . . in her father’s house. “…had it not been for Annie Ruth, I would have ended up right there rocking on the front porch beside Mama. Annie Ruth took care of me. She and Mr. John drove up in his dusty pickup truck every morning at six o’clock. She got out and came in, bringing her life and soul into the house…We were her cherished charges, and I was like her own.” –My Father’s House

 

About the Author

My Father’s House is Rose’s first novel. Her devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments won the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in 2014. It was also awarded the Selah Finalist Award in the same year. Rose enjoys writing for her blog, Write Moments with God and engaging with her readers. A native Georgian, Rose has lived in a suburb of Augusta for the last thirty years. Before retiring from Georgia’s public school system, Rose taught English, French, and ESOL. She is currently an adjunct English instructor at a community college. In addition to reading and writing, Rose enjoys cooking, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their growing families. And yes, sweet iced tea is her beverage of choice.

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Interview With Rose

This is not my interview

1. Tell us a bit about how the story came about: 
I wanted to write a story about a young woman who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness after reconnecting with family and faith.  I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, go with her through some of the hardships, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose has an indomitable spirit and warm heart that is endearing to readers.  Her father believed that she would be alright; the reader wants to know she will be too.  With my roots firmly planted in Georgia, the setting had to play a critical part in the story.  So, I modelled my fictional town after so many small southern towns and I set in some of my love of nature and gardening. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright mean, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.

2. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child, when I was no more than eight or nine, I wrote plays for my two sisters and brother and I to perform in a large back room of our house.  I can’t imagine why they always listened to my directions.  My stage name was always the most beautiful actress’ name I could think up at the time – Sandra Blake.  Later, in high school, I dreamed of being a writer one day and started writing in college.

3. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Naming a character is a big decision.  A name has many associations, ethnic and national, to name a couple; therefore, I do put some time and thought into choosing names. But, basically, I go with what sounds suitable and fitting for the heritage and personality of the character. Lily Rose could have only been a southern girl named after the flowers in the spring.

4. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m still working on the greatest roadblock, which is managing my time to write. My family has always been my priority, so I have to work very hard to carve out time to write. Often I have to give myself permission to make writing time for me.
 
5. Tell us about the featured book? 
One reviewer called it “a triumphant story of hope.” I think that describes it.  I am reminded of the verse Psalms 27:13:
 
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
 
6. When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story? 
In spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, and mistakes, God has a good future in mind for each of us.  I want my readers to feel the joy and hope expressed by Lily Rose.
 
7. What are you working on next? 
I’m working on two projects – a devotional and another novel.  The devotional is coming together nicely. It’s written in the same format as my devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea.  I’d put it aside for other more pressing demands, and now I’m ready to complete it.  I’ve started doing the research for my next novel and developing my main characters. They have to become real to me; I have to know them inside and out, before I can make them come alive for my readers.

Guest Post

How and why did the Lord lead you to write your latest release?

I wanted to write a story about a young woman with an indomitable spirit who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness.  The story begins with a quote from the 23rd Psalm: goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.  I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the main focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose finds herself in an abusive marriage. I know from firsthand experience how devastating that can be.  The question is: Will she survive it? Lily Rose’s warm heart endears her to the reader who wants to know that she’s going to be all right, as her father had said she would.  When Lily Rose reconnects with family and her faith, hope is restored and we get a glimpse of the bright future God has in store for her.  The setting needed to play a critical part in the story as well.  So, with my roots firmly planted in Georgia, I modeled my fictional town after so many small southern towns, and I set in some of my love of nature. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright meanness, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.  One reader wrote that the story “made my heart smile.” I’m happy to accomplish that with this story.

My Ideation

When I volunteered to read and review My Father’s House I had no idea what the book was about.  I assumed that the title was about God’s house.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had been wrong!  This was a great book!!  Lily Rose is a sweet young woman who is trying to do right in God’s eyes.  She meets a man and is transfixed by his attention and later, by his love for her.  He wants to marry her and even though they’ve known each other for a short time, she agrees.   She quickly agrees and is excited for her new life to begin.  She decides to take Manny to meet her Mom and Annie Ruth.  Annie Ruth had been the housekeeper and nanny to Lily Rose.  She loved them both very much and wanted them to love Manny.  Annie Ruth did not like Manny right off the bat.  She was a wise character who only had the best intentions for Lily.

Lily Rose does not heed Annie Ruth’s warning about Manny and chooses to marry him anyway.  She marries him secretly, which was a huge indicator of how things would be in the marriage.  Needless to say, Manny is not a good husband.  He is very verbally abusive and wants Lily Rose home all day.  She goes from being an outgoing young woman to one who is being sheltered.  Surprisingly, she is allowed to go and visit one of her married friends who lives out of the country.  The two women begin plotting on how to get Lily Rose away from Manny.  This is when Lily Rose’s father’s house comes into play.  Her father had left her the house when he died and it had been taken care of by her “Uncle” Bill.  Lily begins her new life in her father’s house.  She makes new friends and begins to fall in love with the town’s Vet.  All is perfect until Manny finds out where she is.  I will let you read it to find out what happens at the end.

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.

 

My Summation

♥♥♥♥♥ 

 

Giveaway

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http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d26850c5103/

Tour Stops

August 22–Bukwurmzzz
August 23–Bookworm Lisa
August 24–Reading Is My SuperPower
August 25–Smiling Book Reviews
August 26–Christy’s Cozy Corners
August 27–Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
August 29–Katie’s Clean Book Collection 
August 30–Mel’s Shelves
August 31–Red Headed Book Lady
September 1–The Book Return
September 2–Christian Bookaholic
September 3–Singing Librarian Books

Evil Forebodings

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About the Book

Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?

 

About the Author

Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.

On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book!

 

Guest Post from Carol E. Keen

Well, I know it isn’t lady like or proper to squeak or go “Eeeeeee!” with excitement, but it’s so hard not to do so. I’m past excited to be on this tour with Celebrate Lit! First I have to say, these are wonderful folks who I’m so very blessed to get to work with!

Now, today I’m doing happy dances over your being here for the kick off for my book, Evil Forebodings. It’s my second published book, and my first full-length fiction novel. This book took eight, yes that is 8, long years to complete. What on Earth could take me that long to write one book?

It started with my first event called, NanoWriteMo. In my case, it was NanoWrite-less! Who had the “brilliant” idea to have a huge writing contest smack over Thanksgiving and two major birthdays in our family? It was a disaster. It was as bad as saying a night person like myself has to function at 8:00am and be good at it. I was alone in my endeavor and didn’t get far at all.

A few years later, I went back to working on this book. This time I had a huge emotional backset from an incident that was just traumatic. I was told, in essence, that I wasn’t good enough to write for a career, and that my focus was on all the wrong things in my life. This came from a published author, who really didn’t know me. I was weighed and judged unfairly, and it was devastating. I learned a great deal though, and pretty much gave up on doing things the way I had been.

Forging ahead anyway, my first book, Beauty For Ashes, was published. Then I got to work on Evil Forebodings. This story and its characters have never left me, and I knew I had to finish this book. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I hope that you will enjoy it. While I believe all authors put some of themselves into their work, this book had a heavy dose of my heart infused into it in several places.

Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!

Blessings, Carol 🙂

 

My Ideation

The title of this story is what caught my attention first.  I love mystery/scary themed books.  Keen brings to life the “scary man” quite well.  He hears voices that he argues with.  He tries to fight them, but isn’t always successful.  Her description of him is also intriguing.  It helped me “see” him in a better light.

I first found the character Tiffany as a silly woman.  She would talk to herself and could communicate with animals.  The more I thought about it, the more I remembered that I too, talk to myself.  I then began to enjoy her silliness.  She had a sweet disposition, which helped a lot.

There were a lot of twists to this story, but I felt it could use a little polishing.  Keen’s story line was a great one.  She portrayed the characters well and used her imagination well.  I enjoyed the characters and the gist behind the story line.  I just felt that the book could use a little more work.  This is not meant to be negative because the story line was good.

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. 

 

Summation

3.75/5

 

Blog Stops

July 26: Daysong Reflections

July 27: Our Perfectly Imperfect Life!

July 28: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

July 29: inklings and notions

July 30: A Reader’s Brain

July 31: Mary Hake

July 31: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 1: Through the Open Window

August 1: Cassandra M’s Place

August 2: Bukwurmzzz

August 3: Karen’s Krayons

August 4: Petra’s Hope

August 5: Carpe Diem

August 6: Singing Librarian Books

August 7: For the Love of Books

August 8: Books! Books! Books!

 

Giveaway

EvilForebodingGrandPrize

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away three copies of her new book with a bookmark. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f31

Through Raging Waters

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About the Book

If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same…

A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin.

Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread…once again.

She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she’s ever loved.

Can two people find each other through raging waters?

 

About the Author

Renee Blare’s nose has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Blog: Renee’s Inspirational Moments

Group Blog: The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction

Website: Renee Blare|Christian Author Website

 

Guest Post from Renee Blare

I Wrote a Book

Five years ago, I wrote a book…and then I wrote another and another and another. Many said that the words flowed like a river onto the page. Or I painted a picture with letters.  As for me? I simply write what I see so you can see it too. What about you? Do you want to write a book?

If so, there’s one thing I’d like you to know. A book’s like a child. It starts out small or simple with garbled language…often repetitive and indistinguishable. Kind of like when a baby babbles “dada” over and over. And then that moment comes when you rejoice because you hear him say “mama.” That’s the growth every book…writer…reader…yearns for.

Different stories float around inside an author’s mind, flowing in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. But like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn. It takes time, energy, and growth.

Take my first release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote it, my very first book, in three months. And it was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way. But publication wasn’t the next step. I had a lot to learn before that could happen.

My latest release, Through Raging Waters is the example of a writer’s growth, but also her soul. I learned that I had to leave more than my knowledge and my heart on the page. I needed to leave a piece of my soul. When you read Paul’s struggles, you read mine. Melissa’s fear and confusion? Yes, they’re mine. The anger, the pain . . . the trials, the lessons learned are scriptural but also first-hand, taught by my Father.

Writing is more than a job. It’s more than a hobby. It’s sharing your knowledge, your hope with the world. So if you want to write a book. Do it. Then take that next step, and the next. You’ll get there. Oh, and I can’t wait to read it!

 

My Ideation

This was a real page-turner!  I have a fear of drowning, so reading about a storm and rushing water made the story even more suspenseful!  I love suspense and feeling anxious about what the characters are going through!  Picturing the water as it was rushing toward the town was both scary and exhilarating!  I could feel the fear that the townspeople were feeling. 

We all know how tough it can be to trust God during trying times.  We are human and feel then need to take over even though deep down we know that God will get us through it.  Reading about the characters stopping to pray before taking action was such a reminder of how I must try and live my life on a daily basis.  I love how Blare was able to combine such suspense and God-fearing characters in a wonderful story!! 

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Blog Stops

July 19: Pause for Tales

July 20:  Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 21: Captive Dreams Window

July 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 22: Singing Librarian Books

July 23: A Reader’s Brain

July 24: A Greater Yes

July 24: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 25: bigreadersite

July 25: Cassandra M’s Place

July 26: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

July 26: Splashes of Joy

July 27: Blossoms and Blessings

July 27: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 28: Daysong Reflections

July 29: Quiet Quilter

July 30: Texas Book-aholic

July 30: Lights in a Dark World

July 31: Bukwurmzzz

July 31: Through the Open Window

August 1: Carpe Diem

 

My Ideation

This was a real page-turner!  I have a fear of drowning, so reading about a storm and rushing water made the story even more suspenseful!  I love suspense and feeling anxious about what the characters are going through!  Picturing the water as it was rushing toward the town was both scary and exhilarating!  I could feel the fear that the townspeople were feeling. 

We all know how tough it can be to trust God during trying times.  We are human and feel then need to take over even though deep down we know that God will get us through it.  Reading about the characters stopping to pray before taking action was such a reminder of how I must try and live my life on a daily basis.  I love how Blare was able to combine such suspense and God-fearing characters in a wonderful story!! 

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

Giveaway

ThroughRagingWatersGrandPrize

To celebrate her tour, Renee is giving away a wonderful package that includes a $20 Cabelas gift card, a set of her series paperbacks (books 1 and 2), and fleece blanket. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f08

She Who Knows

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About the Book

One girl’s journey from loneliness to love.

Isolated on a Maui mountaintop, Cassandra has only her imagination to keep her company. Shut in due to her heart condition and shut out emotionally by her father, she meets the Menehune in a dream. Their “Gift” enables her to take the first step away from her loneliness. Along the way she finds an amazing woman in the grandmother she never knew and experiences true friendship with a new classmate. Eventually she learns that to love another she must open her heart, even if it means it may break.

 

About the Author

In 2015, Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step would be to share the amazing ways God had blessed her. As she wrote of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, it led to the rediscovery of her entire life, including the history of her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia and her search for purpose and love. Her memoir led to her first novel, which she hopes readers will find engaging and memorable.

 

Guest Post by Barbara Bras

An interviewer asked what inspired me to write and publish two books within a year. It’s a long story. Unlike many authors, I didn’t always write, nor did I yearn to write. In fact, the opposite was true for me; fear of judgement discouraged me from writing. Judgement from my mother, an English teacher and a strict perfectionist who demanded excellence in everything, especially writing.

In spite of the circumstances, my love of reading led to my first profession, teaching English at the high school level. Teaching laid the foundation for my career, which ultimately resulted in twenty-five plus years in various corporate environments as an Human Resources leader. Naturally, during my career I wrote a great deal, including proposals, papers, and communications of all kinds. But never anything creative, I never even journaled.

Almost two years ago, our Pastor handed out little pieces of paper during his sermon that said, “ENOUGH”. He questioned our inane desire to accumulate things when we already have the one thing that is needful. Just as Mary choose to worship at the feet of Jesus rather than be distracted by the world, so must we choose what is most important. (Luke 10:42) It struck a nerve.

Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to leave my position of ten years. Unsure of my next move, I focused my energy on a burning desire. Ever since the Lord provided a son for us through a miraculous adoption, I believed He wanted me to share it as an encouragement to others. I had tried to write the story many times without success. I signed up for retreat that promised, “Write your book in a weekend!”

The three-day retreat required nonstop writing, first in long hand, then on the pc. Amazingly, at the end of the third day I had not only finally written the story of the miraculous adoption, I had shared the incredible disappointment and heartache of the years that followed, all captured within the context of my life and the life of my ancestors. Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered had materialized. I felt a great release and I thought that would be the end of my writing.

Over the next few months as I edited the book, I followed the system of editing for 45 minutes, and writing new material for 15. What emerged during those 15 minute segments became Cassandra’s story, or She Who Knows, a Tale of the Heart. The story unfolded in front of me, inspired by the woman who supervised my student teaching in Honolulu back in 1977.

Barbara Robinson was an inspiration to me both as a teacher and as a person. As we worked together that semester, she shared many stories and took me under her wing. She told me the story of how her grandmother, a musician, had come to islands and married her seafaring grandfather. She spent a great deal of her childhood isolated in the mountains on Maui, presumably to recover from an illness. When finally allowed to return to school years later, her years of isolation and her archaic English made for a lonely life. She also believed she that she had an usual gift, which she decided was better left unused.

So what began as an effort to share my story and encourage others has developed into a love of writing and a desire to serve the Lord through my new passion.

Soli Deo Gloria. To God Alone Be the Glory!

 

My Ideation

This was a very interesting book!  The story starts out with Cassandra as a young child with a health condition.  Her father does not know how to care for her, so he sends her away.  She is bored and lonely.  As she grows, she meets magical creatures that give her the gift of mind reading.  Through this mind reading, she is able to manipulate her father and her doctor in allowing her to go home.

At home, she is able to become a regular child.  She gets to go to school and make friends.  She gets to meet and establish a relationship with her grandmother, which is exactly what she needs.  Through this new journey she is able to fill the void of loneliness and learn to love.  She learns valuable lessons throughout these new experiences.  She even learns how to love a man.

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

July 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

July 22: A Reader’s Brain

July 23: Mary Hake

July 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 26: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

July 27: A Greater Yes

July 27: Reading Is My SuperPower (Spotlight)

July 28: A Bakers Perspective

July 29: Splashes of Joy

July 29: Artistic Nobody (Spotlight)

July 30: Cassandra M’s Place

July 31: Bukwurmzzz

August 1: Simple Harvest Reads

August 2: Carpe Diem

August 3: Pause for Tales

Giveaway

SheWhoKnowsGrandPrize

To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away a $100 Amazon gift card, copies of She Who Knows, and Wrapped In God’s Grace. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f1e

The Time Key

About the Book

When Stanley saves a man, he’s given a mysterious device that allows him to travel through time. But he soon learns that changing his past doesn’t necessary lead to a better future. Traveling over 100 years into the future may be the only way Stanley can change his fate and save his family.

 

About the Author

Melanie Bateman was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States at age nine. She has an associate’s degree in fine art from Utah Valley University, emphasizing in illustration. From a very young age she’s had a passion for drawing, specifically nature and the human figure. It is from this creative look on the world that she began to write stories.

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My Ideation

This was a fun book to read!  I had not read a book with a narrator for a very long time.  I loved how the narrator would actually “speak directly to the reader.”  It made me feel like the story was being read to me rather than me reading it myself.   This was definitely imagination at its finest.  I loved the traveling Stanley did.  I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of time travel.  Through the narrator’s descriptions, I felt like I was there with Stanley.  I could even imagine the dizziness Stanley felt when he traveled. 

I also enjoyed the little girl (miniature girl).  She had a lot of spunk and came to rely on Stanley.  She brought joy into Stanley’s very sad existence.  It was heartfelt.  The narrator also described her so well that I could really picture her.  It was fun to imagine her.

The story had a lot of twists and turns, which made me crave reading it.  I even wanted to share the story with my 15 year old son!

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

Change of Heart

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About the Book

Lydia Esh’s younger sister Emma is running wild during Rumschpringe, causing the family major heartaches. Although it means risking her reputation, her job as a schoolteacher, and her courtship with Jakob Zook, Lydia attends parties to watch over Emma and protect her sister’s virtue.

When Emma begins a relationship with Kyle, an Englischer, Lydia teams up with Kyle’s older brother, Caleb, to keep the couple apart. As Lydia and Caleb spend time together keeping an eye on their siblings, Lydia falls for this forbidden love. Will she stay true to her faith even if it means giving up the man she loves?

About the Author

Rachel J. Good, inspirational author, writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student in Writing and Illustration at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. To buy the Amish Quilts Coloring Book: http://amzn.to/1T35q5p  Visit Rachel at:

Website: www.racheljgood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/racheljgoodnovels/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelJGood1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661177.Rachel_J_Good

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/racheljgood1/

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

Hi, I’m Rachel J. Good, inspirational author of heartfelt tales of faith, hope, and forgiveness.

I’m excited to launch the first book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, Change of Heart. Although I’ve been writing for many years and have about 30 books out now, this is my first inspirational novel. I’m busy editing book 2, Buried Secrets, and writing book 3, Gift from Above. And I’m planning the next three books in the series.

I’ve been asked how I came to write Amish novels. For that, I have to credit my agent Mary Sue Seymour, who suggested it to me. I loved the idea because I’d lived near Lancaster, PA, and had always been interested in the Amish. Although Mary Sue went to heaven a few months ago, just before the book launched, I feel her presence in my life as I write. She believed in me as a writer and encouraged me to work on this novel, which she quickly sold.

Lydia’s story in Change of Heart has several connections with my real life. The first is that I’m the oldest in my family and have two sisters, and so does Lydia. We both feel responsible our younger sisters. Lydia’s younger sister, Emma, gets in trouble during Rumschpringe. (And no, her wild sister doesn’t resemble either of my two younger sisters.)

The second connection with my life is the spiritual lesson Lydia learns in the book. I wanted Lydia’s journey to be not only a struggle between faith and love, but also a personal inner journey from self-righteousness to seeing with God’s loving eyes.

Oftentimes, goodness and spirituality can be a source of pride, and it can also be used to justify being judgmental. Lydia’s sister Emma points this out to her, but in my case, it was my young daughter who piped up, when I was complaining about someone at church, and said, “She sounds just like you, Mommy.” Ouch!

That day I came face to face with the truth that often what I criticize most in another person is often a flaw or a sin I’m overlooking in myself. As Matthew 7:3 (NIV) says: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I wanted Lydia’s story to reflect that truth.

The Amish try to avoid the sin of hochmut (pride), but Lydia, without realizing it, is secretly proud of her own spirituality. It often saddens me that, as Christians, we spend more time criticizing others outside the faith or with different lifestyles or beliefs, but very little time examining our own unloving and judgmental behavior. I’d like to see us become more like Jesus, who ate with the “publicans and sinners,” and showed love to everyone, instead of condemning them.

Lydia is also forced to choose between staying in her faith or leaving it for love. I, too, faced a similar challenge many years ago, so I wrote those scenes from my heart. I hope Lydia’s story touches hearts, and that readers come away reassured that although we can’t always see the larger picture, God can, and He’s working out a wonderful plan for us. Our present circumstances might seem dark, but He knows the final results. We need to trust Him even during the challenging times, because “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

My Summation

This was a sweet story that touched upon the importance of the Amish beliefs.  There was romance between two people that were not supposed to be together.  There were sparks flying between them, but they were very respectable and Lydia fought those feelings quite well.  She wanted to do the right thing by staying true to her intended.  I was rooting for her and Caleb, of course!  

I enjoyed the character Mammi.  She had a no-nonsense attitude.  Although her son was the man of the house, she had a strong personality and made her desires well known.  Basically, she put her foot down!  She was very true to her religion, but she went out of her way to ensure that her granddaughter would be well taken care of.

I enjoyed how the Amish world and the outside world were intermingled.  This made the story more exciting.  It also gave me a little more insight into Rumschpringe and the negative effects it can have on the Amish individual.  There was a mutual respect between the two communities in the story.  I enjoyed the respect shown in the Amish community  because many people today do not bother showing respect.  It made the story that much more enjoyable!

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.

My Ideation

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Giveaway

ChangeofHeartGrandPrize

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away lots of fun prizes, including copies of her books and even a box of Whoopie Pies from Bird-in-Hand Bakery. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ed1

 

Blog Stops

July 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 15: Bigreadersite

July 16: Blossoms and Blessings

July 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

July 18: Bukwurmzzz

July 19: Christian Bookaholic

July 20: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 21: Singing Librarian Books

July 22: Quiet Quilter

July 23: Texas Book-aholic

July 24: A Greater Yes

July 24: Carpe Diem

July 25: Red Headed Book Lady

July 25: Cassandra M’s Place

July 26: His Grace is Sufficient

July 27: cherylbbookblog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escaping Reality

About the Book

Fame gave her a reason to hide. Can anyone unlock her guarded heart?

Reality star ADDISON LEWIS had the perfect life in LA. Or so she thought. After her fiancé betrays her she’s left with one option. Escape. But is anywhere safe from the relentless paparazzi?

LOGAN HART is caught off guard when a mysterious young woman becomes stranded at his family’s ranch. Past heartbreak makes him reluctant to let anyone close, but the city girl’s amusing antics draw them together.

While two lonely hearts collide and secrets loom on the horizon, could God be orchestrating something miraculous behind the scenes?

 

About the Author

Rachel Skatvold is an inspirational author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance, devotions, and encouraging blogs. Rachel has just finished her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas and is now working on her first full length novel, Enduring the Flames. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons.

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Guest Post from Rachel Skatvold

Have you ever needed to escape?

Every year my husband and I plan our summer vacation several months in advance. We hardly ever plan anything lavish or expensive. Most of the time we just hook up our camper, load our kids and family dog in the truck and head to a state park for our “escape.” Some of our most treasured family times have been enjoyed without television, electronics or other luxuries. It’s refreshing to leave the noise of the city for a while and enjoy a nice walk in the woods or a quiet night roasting marshmallows over a campfire. It gives us time to rest and appreciate the simple blessings that God has given us.

If someone ever needed to escape, it’s Addison Lewis. From the outside it seemed like she had it all; fame, fortune and a handsome and successful fiancé. However, when her dreams of a happy future come crashing down Addison flees her home in LA and ends up stranded at a dude ranch in the Montana wilderness. There she meets a handsome young rancher named Logan and his family. Will the Hart family’s faith and simple ways help Addison discover God’s true purpose for her life?

Escaping Reality is inspired by Mathew 11:28 which says, “…Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This theme verse is prevalent throughout the story because Addison is searching for a refuge that will provide peace and rest from her stressful lifestyle. However, in the end she discovers that the peace and rest she’s looking for is not a physical destination but a condition of the heart.

Addison and Logan’s story was one of my favorites to write because of Addie’s spunky personality (not to mention her tendency to fall into mud puddles J) and Logan’s courage during hard times. This story might make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears but most of all I hope it inspires you to recognize and appreciate God’s simple blessings. Happy reading, friends and I hope you enjoy reading Escaping Reality.

 

My Ideation

Addison is a spoiled, rich girl who has just left her fiance behind – for good reason.  Logan is trying new things while helping his parents at their ranch.  When the two first meet, it is not a happy moment.  Addison is brought into a world that is very different from her own.  Slowly, she begins to unwind and enjoy the ranch and the Hart family.  Her reality begins to change for the better.

This is a story of two characters finding themselves.  Through escaping their own realities, they find happiness, the love of family, and God.  This story brought tears to my eyes and smiles to my lips.  I loved all the characters, especially Gramps.  The setting is based on a ranch, which one can view as simply beautiful.  There’s a scoundrel in the story, as well.  Skatvold does a great job describing the characters and in showing that God’s love can do anything.

I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review.

 

Summation

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Giveaway

Escapingrealitygrandprize

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away an autographed copy of her book along with a $10 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9e0a.

Blog Stops

July 5: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 6: Blossoms and Blessings

July 7: The Editor’s Note

July 8: Bukwurmzzz

July 9: Texas Book-aholic

July 9: Cassandra M’s Place

July 10: 100 pages per hour

July 11: Reviewing Novels Online

July 12: Inklings and Notions

July 13: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 14: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

July 15: Daysong Reflections

July 16: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

July 17: Carpe Diem

July 18: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

More Than She Dreamt

About the Book

It was more than she dreamt.  But as the romance began to bud, she felt the thorns of a heartless beauty rise to tear it apart.

Young widow, Katie Jensen, endures patiently under her oppressive uncle in desolate Arizona Territory. She tries to keep her promise to her dead aunt to be a witness and take care of her uncle but when his tirades grow worse, she gathers her two precious little ones and runs.

Making their way to an unknown land, they come to the town of White Rock, which is strangely like the place in the dreams Katie has been having. They are welcomed into the cottage of a kindly grandmother who takes in borders.

When Danny, the older woman’s grandson, comes home, he finds surprises in store: a crisis, a beautiful young woman, and her adorable children who bring laughter and life into all their weary souls.

Katie is filled with hope when an unexpected romance sparks but there is a vindictive raven-haired beauty and an old enemy conspiring to put it out—permanently.

Will God give Katie rest as she and the family pray for their enemies?

Can she stand strong in her faith when fear overwhelms her?

 

About the Author

Sandy Faye Mauck writes Historical Romance in the light of the gospel and with the heart of her Savior.

Slip into a comfy chair with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and travel back to the first years after the turn of the century.

Enjoy faithful Christian characters who have come through a spiritual wilderness into a place of hope. Stories of charming romance sprinkled with humor and topped with redemption. And be sure not to put the cup too close to the edge of the table because there are enemies lurking about.

Sandy lives in her own happily-ever-after with her Bible doctrine writer husband in the west they love. They have five children and nine grandchildren. She enjoys crocheting (a different kind of yarn) and is also a professional artist.

sandymauck

My Ideation

This is a must read!!  This book captured me right away and I couldn’t wait to get to it each night!  The characters are fantastic.  They were tenderhearted and always looking out for one another.  I enjoy reading stories like this.  Stories where people care for one another, are respectful, and love the Lord.  

Katie and her children have been treated so badly by her uncle.  She continued to take care of him, however.  This shows that she is a very humble woman.  Not only is she teaching her children the proper ways, but she is pleasing God by acting this way.   For her obedience, God blesses Katie and the children.  She finds happiness in many different ways and brings happiness to others.  

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

Summation

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Giveaway

More than she dreamt givaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandy is giving away a charming keepsake box filled with some Rose Arbor themed prizes. Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9c26

 

 

An Informal Introduction

Book three of the Informal Romance Series

Background

She saves lives. He protects them. And someone’s trying to stop them both. Lily Ziminski is an ICU nurse near the nation’s capital where politics are a regular part of hospital policy. Assigned a series of high-profile patients, she finds herself an unwilling focus of the media. Lily would much rather do without all the attention…except where one cowboy-hat-wearing state trooper is concerned. Caleb Graham runs into the same captivating nurse twice in one day, and he’s not a man who believes in coincidence. When problems at a local impound lot force him into the middle of a bizarre case that threatens Lily, Caleb will stop at nothing to protect her. From a stranger in a parking garage to Secret Service agents, surprise chases Lily around every corner. In the midst of the chaos, she has two constants – her longtime faith in God, and her growing attraction for a silver-eyed trooper.

Author Information

Heather Gray loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter – not necessarily in that order! She writes approachable characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. Her books almost always include someone who’s infatuated with coffee, too. Some things just can’t be helped. Heather delights in creating characters who, like her, have their share of faults and foibles, characters who are flawed…but loved anyway.

Heather Gray

My Ideation

Not only was I given this book to review, but I was blessed to be able to read the first two as well.  I absolutely loved these books!!!  Heather Gray brings intrigue, excitement, and spirituality into these stories.  She is well versed and very knowledgeable with medical terms.  I once worked in the medical field, so reading these stories brings back good memories.  Her characters are very likable.  I was brought to tears in each book.  These were all books that I could not wait to read!  I am excited for her fourth and fifth book!! The books can be read as a stand alone, or in order.

Book One

Rylie Durham is used to dealing with all sorts of people and situations in her role as a Child Life Specialist at a local hospital.Why, then, does Zach York bring out the worst in her? After all, he’s there to donate toys to the children she loves.

Could it be that she sees a kindred spirit in him? Rylie knows a thing or two about hiding a bruised heart from the world… and the danger inherent in blaming God for the hurt.
With December’s approach, Rylie enlists Zach’s help for a special undertaking — a Christmas formal for one of the pediatric units. As they work together on the project, she hopes to show him that, even when it’s painful, love is worth the risk… 

Book Two

She has emotional wounds. He has physical ones. Faith doesn’t come easy for either.

Holden Jenkins receives a diagnosis that alters the course of his life. His slow recovery is pockmarked with discouragement and puts his future in question. Will he ever again walk without pain? Or be well enough to return home?

Maddie Smith is an ICU nurse on the verge of burnout. In need of a change and drawn to a man she barely knows, she goes on sabbatical and takes up the fight to get Holden back on his feet.

As he searches for his identity in the midst of this new life, Holden struggles with a deep hurt. Why would God allow this? Meanwhile Maddie, shaped by her own emotional scars, battles against an unseen God she’s not sure she can believe in. Will these two be able to find peace – and a future together – or will the difficulties they face push them apart?

Summation

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I received a free copy of each book for an honest review.

The Quieting

About the Book

The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things–fast. But David doesn’t work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.

When David’s mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters–and especially for David’s niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem–but will it create another?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher takes fans back to Stoney Ridge, delivering the twists, turns, and romance they adore.

 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Imposter and Anna’s Crossing, and several series of Amish fiction. She is also the author of many nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish, Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

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Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Twenty years ago, my husband and I attended a large church with a dynamic senior pastor. Each Sunday, we would sit spellbound during 40 minute sermons—he was that good a preacher. And then a terrible thing came to light—this very man had been taking advantage of vulnerable women during counseling sessions. Fourteen women, it turned out, and the pastor remained unrepentant. As issues were dealt with, our entire church suffered. We were a hurting community. The sins of one affected all.

As I plotted out ‘The Bishop’s Family,’ I wanted to borrow the theme of how a leader’s sins hurts the church community. (Now, I need to clarify that this is not a novel that addresses sexual sin. However, it does address unrepentant sin in an ordained leader.) First, I spoke to some Amish friends to see if my story idea had any merit. Was I was on the right track? To my amazement, a similar situation to my novels had occurred in one Amish friend’s church, and it resulted in a “quieting.” That’s an Amish phrase that means revoking the responsibilities of an unrepentant ordained leader. Just like it sounds–he is, essentially, “quieted.”

In this novel, you’ll see the behind-the-scenes of Amish church leadership, and get a sense of how a community is hurting. And how it begins to heal, too.

This series began in the Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania community with TheImposter. More twists and turns are coming to Stoney Ridge after The Quieting—so stay tuned for The Devoted to hit bookshelves in early October. Just in time for autumn reading by a warm fireplace!

Warmly, Suzanne

 

My Ideation

This is book two of The Bishop’s Family series.  I love how this book took off where the first book, The Imposter, left off.  There were the same characters, but new ones were added in.  I loved the character Mammie.  She is David’s mother and boy, does she have a strong personality!  She loves her family and wants what’s best for them, but she is pushy about how they should do things.  This story has some twists and turns and a couple of characters that are kind of frustrating (in a good way), but is a great read. 

I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.

My Summation

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Giveaway

The Quieting giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grab bag of Amish-made gifts worth over $100! Click the link to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/99a8

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