Christmas Lights

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About the Book

Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’s unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.

In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!

 

The Heart of Joy by Vikki Kestell

Denver, Colorado, 1914
Joy Michaels, grieving mother and widow, resides in an aging but remarkable Denver home: a beautiful, three-story Queen Anne/Victorian mansion resplendent with towers, turrets, peaks, and gables and known locally as Palmer House. Palmer House—a most extraordinary refuge for young women rescued from prostitution.

Joy and her mother, Rose Thoresen, share the responsibilities of ministering to and mentoring the young women who live under Palmer House’s roof. But now Joy faces an agonizing decision: Should she remain true to the memory of her first love or open her heart to the possibility of new love?

 

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson

Lisa Marsh has been avoiding God and people for over three years.

When her best friend challenges her to reach out and help others over her Christmas vacation, she sees it as an opportunity for redemption and takes on the project of reforming a homeless vagabond from the local mission – whether he likes it or not.

She only wanted to do one good deed…

As Lisa is irresistibly caught up in the community of teenagers, stubbornly independent veterans, and eccentric elderly people, her one small project of fixing Pete  snowballs until she is reluctantly running a large Christmas ministry. And in the course of serving others and harassing Pete, Lisa learns to forgive herself and move on with life.

Snow Angels will make you laugh and make you cry and then make you laugh again. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Trip the Light Fantastic by April Hayman

Lance “Trip” Devereaux is an FBI agent tasked with the nearly impossible job of tailing and, hopefully, arresting Landry Crawford, the wiliest conman east of the Mississippi River. But during his investigation, things go horribly wrong for the klutzy G-man. Will Trip nab his man in time for Christmas? Or will he be left out in the cold?

 

Christmas Stalking by Chautona Havig

Seven Christmas trees–excessive in some people’s minds, but for Wendy Nabity, they aren’t excessive but essential. One tree for each of her cats. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Cupid, Blitzen, and Vixen each need their own trees, you see. And what “mommy” wouldn’t have stockings hung on her chimney “with care”–one for each of her fur babies?

But something isn’t right at the Nabity house. Wendy keeps finding things where they shouldn’t be, and the local police–well, they think she’s half-crazed and blind to the obvious. The cats are playing with the trees in her absence.

Neighbors on each side of her do little to help. Shy Peter will hardly look her in the eye as he blushes his way through conversations and rushes away–the besotted darling. Neal, well the whole town knows just what a rude curmudgeon Neal Kirkpatrick is! But if he makes one more rude demand of her, she might just start dumping the litter box on his front porch!

But even Fairbury’s police can’t ignore a threatening note left in one of the stockings, and one officer takes it upon himself to do something.

 

 

About the Authors

Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”

Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.

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April Hayman: Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”

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Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.

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Guest Post from the Authors

The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus.  And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”

We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.

 

The Heart of Joy:  This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well.  Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.

Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story.  The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.

 

Snow Angels:  The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.

Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.

As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.

 

Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell!  So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”

April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.

April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors!  Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist.  Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.

 

Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees.  Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why.  Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking?  Who would do that?  Why?  And what could she add to complicate it?

So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story.  It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words.  HA!  But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with.  Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it.  Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutions will release on December 31.  It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”

While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit.  So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try.  So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon.  He’s too young for that!  And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.

My Review

I absolutely love to read Christmas books!  Getting four in one is well worth it.  Each story is different and exciting in its own way.  I think my favorite story would have to be Christmas Stalkings.  I love cats and I loved how Havig created seven cats with Santa’s reindeer names, the seven individual Christmas trees that were special to each cat, mystery, and her two very different male neighbors.  I cracked up each time Wendy questioned herself as to whether she had done something or not because I do the exact same thing.  I loved how she spoke to her cats and they sometimes “answered” back.  Ironically, my cats do it too!

These short novellas helped put me into the Christmas Spirit.  I am also intrigued with the character Joy and the storied that go along with her life (from The Heart of Joy).   I received this book in exchange for an unbiased opinion.  These thoughts are my own.

 

Summation

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Blog Stops

November 15: Bibliophile Reviews

November 16: blogging it out

November 16: God’s Little Bookworm

November 17: A Reader’s Brain

November 17: Blogging With Carol

November 18: Reading Is My SuperPower

November 18: Proud to be an Autism Mom

November 19: Daysong Reflections

November 19: Splashes of Joy

November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

November 20: Christian Bookaholic

November 21: Bigreadersite

November 22: A Baker’s Perspective

November 22: A Greater Yes

November 23: Back Porch Reads

November 24: Blossoms and Blessings

November 25: Reviewing Novels Online

November 25: A Path of Joy

November 26: Bukwurmzzz

November 27: Raining Butterfly Kisses

November 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

November 28: Once upon a time

November 28: Carpe Diem

 Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae

Buying Love

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About the Book

Will money ruin everything?

Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.

Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her?

Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?

 

About the Author

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys. When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, making jewelry, and spending time with her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

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Guest Post by Toni Shiloh

Hi, Reader Friends!! I’m so excited to be here at Celebrate Lit for the kick off of my new release, Buying Love. I wrote this book last year for National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In one month, I managed to write a little over 50,000 words. However, that’s not why this book holds a special place in my heart. No, it’s the message in the story.

Nina Warrenton has struggled with being alone in life. Thus, she decides to take matters into her own hand and places an ad for a husband, complete with a monetary offer. What seemed like an intelligent and simplistic way to get a husband, soon proves to have a multitude of complications. Not only that, but Nina has to discover who God is in her life and the body of Christ fits into that.

Y’all have you ever felt alone in a room full of people? Or felt isolated? Or maybe you’re an orphan…whatever your background, I hope that this book shows you that God loves you. He loves you so much, He’s adopted you into the body of Christ. So if you’re a believer, we’re family. As a person who always wanted a friend and lots of family, that’s music to my soul. It’s what I wanted Nina to discover and what I hope the readers discover.

Ephesians 1:4-6, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (KJV).

 

My Ideation

Ready for a husband and family, but no prospects?  Then place an ad in the newspaper.  That’s what Nina did in this fun story.  She knew what she wanted and took a big leap in trying to gain it.  She had a good job and money in the bank.  It was time for a family.  She was very methodical in placing the ad.

Dwight is in need to money to help save his family’s restaurant.  Since Nina is offering a dowry, Dwight answers the ad.  Although this is not the ideal arrangement, love works its way into these two hearts.

The story line is believable and the characters are well-polished.  The story was well-written.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  This is my own opinion.

 

Summation

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Blog Stops

October 27: Bibliophile Reviews

October 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 28: Reading Is My SuperPower

October 29: Moments Dipped in Ink

October 30: Reviewing Novels Online

October 30: Artistic Nobody

October 31: A Baker’s Perspective

November 1: blogging it out

November 2: Christian Author: A.M. Heath

November 3: autism mom

November 3: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)

November 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

November 5: inklings and notions

November 6: just the write escape

November 7: Carpe Diem

November 8: Quiet Quilter

November 9: Bukwurmzzz

November 9: The Power of Words

 

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Toni is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a650

A Week of Werewolves, Fairies, and Fancy Dresses

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About the Book

Chelsea Welling is a completely normal fifteen year old girl… well normal except for the pesky fact that she thinks she is going crazy. Either that or she really is being transported to a magical world known locally as Amar. However when Chelsea is transported to Amar with her friend Easton, she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that these little trips are more than figments of her imagination. Then the unthinkable happens. Chelsea, Easton, Chelsea’s brother Clint, and their mutual friend Bobby are all stranded in Amar. They cannot return to Earth until they finish a dangerous quest that their fathers set out on over twenty years ago.

Chelsea is in for one trying week as she flees from werewolves, faces down faeries, and fits into fancy dresses- all while she struggles alongside her friends to fulfill the all-but-impossible tasks of finding out what the quest their fathers set out on was, and succeeding where their fathers failed.

 

About the Author

Nicki Chapelway is the pseudonym used by a completely ordinary- as in you could pass her in the street and not be the wiser- teenage girl. She is only fifteen years old- I know, a real child prodigy- and this is the first of- hopefully- many stories written by her. She enjoys reading, writing (she wrote this book for her own entertainment- not yours; you just get to benefit from her hobby), swimming when she can, and obsessing about other peoples’ stories almost as much as her own. She also enjoys watching TV, her favorite movies and TV shows include: Doctor Who, Avengers, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Nicki currently resides in Ohio with her family of eight and two dogs, Rylie and Zoey. She is now working on the next books in this series- when she’s not distracted by other stories (both hers and others’). You can contact her at http://pausefortales.blogspot.com

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Guest Post by Nicki Chapelway

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to write. I wished this even before I enjoyed reading (I actually spent the first half of my childhood hating to read and avoiding books like the plague).

I believe that the desire to write was inspired by my older sister (an author herself). When I as younger she would tell me stories that took place in the books that she was writing. In my eyes these books were the coolest things in the whole wide world, and my sister was one of the smartest, cleverest, most ingenuous people I have ever known (besides my parents of course) to have come up with them. I wanted to be just like her. The only problem?

I couldn’t write.

While my sister was writing great works (at least to my young mind) like Julien and Juliet I was trying to write lame stories such as The Princess in the Sewer. I thought it would be a great idea to write about a princess living in a sewer (you know ignoring the whole disgusting-ness of it all). However, that was as far as I ever got. As soon as I tried to come up with the prince and the villain, or at the very least an explanation what the princess was doing living in a sewer I realized that I was in way over my head.

After that I didn’t give up on writing per se but I certainly stopped trying so hard. I contented myself to simply play with myself, devising worlds and making up bad guys for myself to fight. I acted this all out, using my imagination to transform my Living Room into an enchanted forest. I devised whole worlds with interesting characters, strong heroines (played by mwa), and evil villians. Little did I know that I was world building and creating stories, something that I had previously thought impossible for me to do.

Fast forward some years and now I’m eleven years old. It’s two months till my sister’s birthday and a crazy idea comes to me. I can write her a story for her birthday based off of a game we played together called The Blue Butterfly. I figured that since it was already a reasonably well-developed story I would be able to just write the story without getting caught on the thing that always got me every time I tried to write a book, my inability (or so I thought) to come up with a story and a plot all my own. But it didn’t exactly work like that, I surprised myself by taking my own path while writing the story, changing some things and developing a different plot. I was shocked that the ideas for writing a story actually came to me. Then I realized something, I had been doing this all along when I had been playing my games, and if I truly wanted to be an author I could just write what I had been playing all these years.

At this realization, flood gates opened. Suddenly whole worlds- worlds that I never thought possible for me to see- were opened to me. All at once I got ideas for half a dozen books, and it seemed that everything I looked at gave me at least two other ideas. To a person who had spent her whole life up to this point in time simply languishing to come up with one doable idea this was all quite overwhelming.

I no longer had problems coming up with ideas, no my problem was now quite the opposite. I was bombarded by ideas. I spent three years simply flitting from idea to idea never able to settle on one long enough to actually write it before I was distracted by something new and shinier.

Finally the summer of my fourteenth year I sat myself down and told myself that I was going to have to come up with a book idea and stick with it until I finished it, and so My Time in Amar book one A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses was born. Which I am so excited to have on a blog tour at Celebrate Lit. I really want to thank everyone on the Celebrate Lit team who made this possible, most especially Sandra, as well as everyone who is a part of this tour.

And to all my future readers, I hope you enjoy the book!

 

My Ideation

This was a great story!  I had to remind myself (quite often) that this was written by a teenager.  The opening of the story starts the adventure right away.  I love books like that.  They pull me in and keep me there.  The characters were likable.  The story line was intriguing and I couldn’t wait to find out what was coming next.  I enjoyed how Chapelway explained situations in more detail by adding parentheses.  It made me feel as though she was speaking directly to me.  It made the story more interesting and personable.  Her verbiage is very intelligent.  As I mentioned earlier, I had to keep reminding myself that a teenager wrote this story. This book is not just for teenagers, but adults as well.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  This opinion is my own.

 

Summation

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Blog Stops

October 25: A Baker’s Perspective

October 26: Simple Harvest Reads

October 27: Blogging With Carol

October 28: Artistic Nobody

October 29: Through the Open Window

October 30: Blossoms and Blessings

October 31: Genesis 5020

November 1: Ashley’s Bookshelf

November 2: A Readers Brain

November 3: Bukwurmzzz

November 4: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

November 5: It’s Storytime With Van Daniker

November 6: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

November 7: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

 

Click here to purchase the book:  http://amzn.to/2dsoS08

 

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Nicki is giving away a signed copy of A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses as well as a signed copy of Nicki’s soon-to-be-released second book! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a5f0

The Devoted

About the Book

Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home. Secretly, she’s earned her GED, saved her money—but she can’t quite set her journey into motion. Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelly.

Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own. He’s come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to “everything Plain.” Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished—especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.

Ruthie’s next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back—and Patrick Kelly is in his way.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred—and the promise of hopes fulfilled.

 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing 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 http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

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My Ideation

I have had the privilege of reading Fisher’s first two Bishop’s Family books and loved them.  The Devoted is another great story!  Even though I have read all three, they can be read as stand alone’s, which I like.  Ruthie is one of the main characters in this story.  She has desires that she is afraid to share with her family.  She has an on again, off again boyfriend who is a trouble maker.    Then comes Patrick Kelly, a young man who is interested in becoming Amish.  Ruthie becomes Patrick’s tutor for the month that he is visiting Stoney Ridge.  She has some decisions to make.

I love how each book focuses on a few characters a little more than the others.  It gives the reader more background for the characters, yet we still get to learn about other characters, as well.  It is also nice because it tells about the Bishop’s life and then focuses in on his children.  The stories are not overwhelming because we get to know the children a little at a time.  Ruthie was a big part of the other two books, but. with The Devoted, she’s become a bigger character and I was able to get to know her better.

I was given a copy of this book for my honest opinion.  All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

October 18: cherylbbookblog

October 18: Blogging With Carol

October 18: Mary Hake

October 19: Reading Is My SuperPower

October 19: Simple Harvest Reads

October 20: Singing Librarian Books

October 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

October 21: Seasons of Opportunities

October 21: Daysong Reflections

October 22: Back Porch Reads

October 22: Southern Gal Loves to Read

October 23: Lighthouse Academy

October 23: The Power of Words

October 24: Bigreadersite

October 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

October 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 25: Artistic Nobody

October 25: Donna’s BookShelf

October 26: Pause for Tales

October 26: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

October 26: Bukwurmzzz

October 27: Splashes of Joy

October 27: Bibliophile Reviews

October 28: ASC Book Reviews

October 28: Vic’s Media Room

October 28: inklings and notions

October 29: Jeanette’s Thoughts

October 29: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

October 30: A Baker’s Perspective

October 30: Book by Book

October 30: Quiet Quilter

October 31: Two Girls and a Book

October 31: Blossoms and Blessings

 

Summation

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Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of The Devoted and an iPad Mini 2 16GB! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a60b

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea

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About the Book

In fifty-plus concise, focused, appealing, and penetrating meditations on scriptural passages, this book offers in-sights and challenges applied to 21st-century American life. The voice is original, unyielding and gentle, guiding, asking the readers to turn from busy-ness to consider, confront, and appreciate God in ourselves, in others, and beyond us and to be able to bring the divine to our scattered, tormented, and troubled planet. This book is surely a true gift of the spirit.” — Dr. Laura Dabundo, Inspirational-Religious Judge for the Georgia Author of the Year Awards

 

About the Author

Rose’s 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. My Father’s House, published in March 2016, is her first novel. 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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My Review

This was my first review on a devotional book.  It was great!  I made the choice to read a devotion each day, rather than trying to read the entire thing as a regular book.  I’m really glad that I did.  I got a lot out of the devotions that I read.  I even took it to school and read two devotions to my fellow teachers and the principle during the week that I had to do devotions.

Each devotion has a little story that goes along with the title.  There are multiple verses to look up, which I really liked.  Too many devotionals give maybe one verse and I just don’t feel that that’s enough.  The author also included a journal question/questions.  There is a prayer, Today’s Sweet Tea Moment, and a prayer focus.  The prayer wraps up the reading.  The Today’s Sweet Tea Moment is kind of a reminder that goes along with the reading.  The prayer focus allows the reader to focus on something specific that day.  Each devotion I read touched upon something I needed to hear and helped me to start my day off right!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  

 

Summation

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Giveaway

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The Cautious Maiden

About the Book

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks;but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance;Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.

About the Author

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. 
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.
Dawn Crandall

My Review

Vance Everstone, once quite a playboy, is a new believer.   Violet Hawthorne is a regular young woman just trying to make her way in the world.  The two seem an unlikely pair, but that does not stop the author.  Dawn Crandall brings these two characters together in a very sneaky way.  Acquaintances at best, they find themselves engaged and fighting against sexual tension.  The author is very discreet about the sexual tension and makes it seem romantic and exciting.  

I was reminded that virtue was held very high in the 1800s.  It was nice to read something that reminded me that any person can turn away from sin and follow God.  It also reminded me that chivalry was once alive and very much sought out.  Oh, to be in that time era!  Although this is the fifth book in the Everstone Chronicles, it was my first book from Crandall.  I plan on purchasing the other four books in this series!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

 

Summation

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Giveaway

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The Bedwarmer’s Son

The Bedwarmer's Son by [McAdoo, Caryl]

About the Book

What if Abel had killed Cain? But there was no jury of his peers….

In 1928 Georgia, a black man who kills a white man is automatically guilty, but the bedwarmer’s son, an ex-slave, is no normal black man. Once his lily-white lawyer lady learns the truth, everything changes. Can she save him from swinging?

Will the bedwarmer murder the one she’s been bought to serve?

From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children. McAdoo has done it again, this time in a brand new way. A delightful morsel for the palates of Christian readers world round.

 

About the Author

Caryl, praying her story gives God glory, loves writing for Christian genres–historical and contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and mid-grade especially. In 2014, Simon and Schuster debuted VOW UNBROKEN, a historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas, and Caryl followed with three additional novels. In April, LADY LUCK’S A LOSER (contemporary, mature, inspirational romance); September’s debut, HEARTS STOLEN (set in 1839-1844), book two of her historical Christian Texas Romances–a #1 Amazon Best-seller; and in November, A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, volume one of her new Biblical fiction series, The Generations–also an Amazon #1 Best-seller.

In 2008, her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved her to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. She and Ron live in Clarksville, Texas with two grandsons, Christian and Benjamen.

 

Guest Post From Caryl McAdoo

The Bedwarmer’s Son, my twenty-eighth title to be published, is different from any of my books to date, offering two complete love stories from two eras a generation apart.

How I came to write it is a very different story, too!

You see, I have a contemporary book in progress based loosely on the television show The Voice, but instead of the big new singer, my imagined program The Pitch is looking for the next big author! I started it in November 2013, but abandoned its 35,000 words shortly after Vow Unbroken debuted in March from Simon and Schuster.

My characters in The Pitch—three teams of authors and agents—attend writers’ conferences all over the country looking for the next great American novel with the voters being the readers across the country. For my story, I needed lots of titles, a few with skeleton story premises to make it work.

The Bedwarmer’s Son was one of those God gave me.

But it refused to be left there as just a title. The intriguing title demanded to be written.

And so, now I’m blessed that CelebrateLit is hosting a blog tour to celebrate its September release!

Though definitely a historical, this novel is not in my Texas Romance family saga series, but is a ‘companion’ book to it. My readers will remember four-year-old Charley from Hearts Stolen, book two…then him grown up and the hero of book six Just Kin. Well, in The Bedwarmer’s Son, readers meet Charley’s son and grandson, minor characters in a chapter or two.

The story opens in 1928 where the title character, William “Billy” Sinclair II is on trial for the murder of his white half-brother Jamison. Alice Parmalee, his lawyer, finds the old man’s grandson, William “Will” Robert Sinclair IV quite handsome, good-hearted and generous.

In explaining to Alice why he killed his brother, Billy goes back to the story of his mother, the ‘owned’ bedwarmer, Jasmine. Of course, every time he starts, I break into the young slave girl’s point of view, and readers find themselves back in the mid-1800’s. I love her spunk and think you will, too.

I especially love The Bedwarmer’s Son’s opening line: “He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England, then bought us back the next Spring.” It’s set on the fictitious Three Springs plantation near Dalton, Georgia.

In my story, I used a word that in my growing up was considered on the same level as a cuss word. I would have had my mouth washed out for saying it. So conflicted, I asked for much counsel, and everyone agreed that for the story’s time period—to portray it correctly—it was necessary…but still hard for this lady.

On the other hand, I so enjoyed going back and forth between the two stories. There’s plenty of period racial tension—so common to the day—with the KKK unhappy about the pretty white attorney defending the old black man who’s guilty simply because his victim’s skin was white.

Of course, being a Christian novel, he and his grandson trust God and believe the Almighty sent Alice—an atheist who’s been taught putting any faith in an invisible being is nothing more than a fool’s errand. She’s been reared by a famous black attorney who volunteered to take Billy’s case.

At the end of the story, when Billy’s trial is over, I think readers may be cheering. I hope so.

I pray Jasmine’s and Alice’s journey will cause readers to draw closer to the Lord, while others might reconsider a few of the things they’ve been comfortable believing. That Holy Spirit will use this story to draw them deeper into their own relationship with our Awesome God.

Looking back, I can see God’s hand all over this story and its creation and cover…the whole nine yards. I can’t begin to imagine all the ways He will used it, but am convinced that use it, He will! I always say I am blessed and highly favored, and He keeps on creating the fruit of my lips!

I love story and the cover of The Bedwarmer’s Son (designed by Ruthie Madison Derby) that displays both dejection and hope, and melds the two historic periods. God has indeed blessed me and showered His favor over me. I pray it will touch your hearts.

Oh, and as an aside I spoke with Sandy Barela about over a coffee chat, I wrote Lady Luck’s A Loser back in 2001 long before The Batchelor ever hit TV. My story is a mature inspirational romance about a wealthy man inviting nine women to come live at his bed and breakfast—under the guise of hiring a manager for it—in order to choose a wife.

Hopefully if The Pitch becomes a TV reality show, I’ll get proper credit, considering this idea is published here and copyrighted in my doing it! 🙂 Laaaa!

 

My Ideation

I believe this is the fourth book from Caryl McAdoo that I’ve read and it’s my favorite one!  I love books and movies that go between the present and the past.  It’s exciting honing in on two different stories that intertwine.  That’s exactly what The Bedwarmer’s Son did.  It has a killing, love, deception, and so much more.

Jasmine has been sold to William to be his bedwarmer.  William is a loving and respectful man and the two fall in love.  Although they claim they are husband and wife, neither the law, nor his mother agree.  Jasmine must go through many trials in order to hang on to her life at Three Springs.  There are many twists in this story.  Caryl even brings in characters from her Texas Romance novels.  The characters are well established and likable.  This was a very heartwarming story!!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

 

Blog Stops

September 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

September 28: Karen’s Krayons

September 29: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 30: Simple Harvest Reads

October 1: Bibliophile Reviews

October 2: Artistic Nobody

October 3: The Power of Words

October 4: Back Porch Reads

October 5: Bigreadersite

October 6: His Grace is Sufficient

October 7: Once Upon A Time

October 8: Bukwurmzzz

October 9: Under His Wings

October 10: Mary Hake

Summation

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Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away all seven of her Texas Romance ebooks to a lucky winner! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a3fd

How to Make Victoria Sponge

Click to purchase

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Victoria Sponge – a well-known cake? Maybe, but also a wife and mother of four children. Disorganized and chaotic, with obligations galore, sweet Victoria clings to God, her best friend who shares His amazing love with her. From tripping over a hoover left in the hallway to discovering her son’s desire to die because he is different, she journeys through her own Lent. Giving up is not an option, but saying ‘yes’ to God each day is. Tragedy and comical events follow Vicki through her week. Does Victoria Sponge rise through all the messiness that life offers or does she sink?

 

About the Author

Born in England, Margaret Kazmierczak loves storytelling, but dyslexia made writing difficult. After marrying and birthing three children, she finally got around to it. She and husband Peter live in Dorset, United Kingdom with two daughters.

 

Guest Post by Margaret Kazmierczak

For those that know me cooking is not a talent that I am famous for. I follow the recipes, but for some unknown reason my cakes remain flat, albeit cleverly disguised with chocolate. My friends were, quite understandably, shocked that I appeared to have written a cookery book.

My friends let me introduce the Baker who inspired me to write, ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’. His name is God the Father. This cook needs all the help she can get.

In 2010 God literally took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become vulnerable. He took away my health and job. An active middle aged woman reduced to a shell. For two years I struggled to come to terms with my condition. Then one night I prayed and asked what I was supposed to do now? The message was simple, “write a book”. Well I could think up a million and one reasons why not to write a book. I declared them one by one but God the Father was having none of it. He reminded me of WHO was commissioning me.

To say that my reading and writing skills were on a par with my cooking skills was an understatement. So I stopped questioning and listened to His answer. “I shall give you the ingredients and you provide the humour and story outline with your life experiences.” So Victoria Sponge was born. Not a cookery book per se but a recipe for a closer relationship with God the Father through story and petition.

This journey took two years, a long time to wait for a cake to rise! The proof, however, was in the tasting which for some time was bitter due to rejection. Then a sequence of events happened one after the other and ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’ was cooked, oops, birthed. I have been blown away with the face to face reviews in England of the book. A Methodist minister used it to empower her congregation, to show them how even the simplest things in life can lead to a prayerful response.

Victoria known as Vicki, married to Bob, is a normal woman with four children. The book looks at a week in her life and compares it to Jesus’ Lent week. Many issues are explored through the pages. Vicki Sponge could be you or me and the response to each situation, a solution to your own challenges.

Without the Baker this book would end up like my cakes! The writing of it helped me to begin a new life and I hope it helps you to do so too if you read and journey through its pages.

 

My Review

Vicki Sponge is a character I could relate to.  She is a normal woman with a husband, four children, and a part-time job.  She has everyday difficulties.  One of her sons has problems that cause her and her husband great stress.  Even her friend is having a difficult time. Through it all, Vicki has open communication with God.

I loved how throughout this entire story, Vicki was speaking to God.  She praised Him, asked for help, and even told Him she did not want to talk at the moment.  This was a reminder to me that we need to ‘pray without ceasing.’  That’s exactly what Vicki did.  The author did a great job in portraying this character and her family.  She reveals that life gets messy and yet we are to remain faithful to our Father in Heaven.

 

Summation

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Blog Stops

September 29: A Reader’s Brain

September 30: The Power of Words (spotlight)

October 1: History, Mystery & Faith

October 2: Bukwurmzzz

October 3: Artistic Nobody

October 4: Quiet Quilter

October 5: Daysong Reflections

October 6: Mary Hake

October 7: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 8: Simple Harvest Reads

October 9: Bibliophile Reviews

October 10: Petra’s Hope

October 11: His Grace is Sufficient

October 12: Onceuponatime

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away a themed gift bag containing an apron, whisk, Bible, and a limited 1st edition paperback copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! Click here to enter:https://promosimple.com/ps/a416

The Honeybee Sisters’ Cookbook

About the Cookbook

A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.

Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.

Note from Aunt Bitsy When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.

My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.

Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.

Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

 

About the Author, Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, will be released Summer of 2016 and promises to create a lot of romantic buzz.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ Aunt Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty-one years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Books by Jennifer Beckstrand

The Honeybee Sisters Series:
Sweet as Honey (June 2016)
A Bee in her Bonnet (July 2016)
Like a Bee to Honey (August 2016)

The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series:
Huckleberry Hill
Huckleberry Summer
Huckleberry Christmas
Huckleberry Spring
Huckleberry Harvest
Huckleberry Hearts

A Perfect Amish Christmas in “An Amish Christmas Quilt”
The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill in “An Amish Christmas Kitchen” (Sept. 2016)

Forever Apple in Apple Lake Series:
Kate’s Song
Rebecca’s Rose
Miriam’s Quilt

Jennifer Beckstrand

My Ideation

I had the pleasure of reading Sweet as Honey a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I was excited that I was going to be able to review The Honeybee Sisters’ Cookbook too!!  There were so many yummy recipes to try, but being that my oven is currently not working I opted to make the Oatmeal Honey Scotchies because I could bake them in my toaster oven.  These were delicious cookies!!  They consisted of oatmeal, honey, and butterscotch morsels.  Of course there were other ingredients, but you’ll have to buy the cookbook to find out what they are.  The taste was very different from the many different cookie recipes I’ve tried.  My 15 year old son loved them too and noticed the different taste.  They were the perfect amount of sweetness and I loved adding the honey.  I have never made cookies with honey before.  Once  my oven is up and running, I plan on making the Honey Sweet Potatoes and the Sweet and Spicy Pork Roast to start with.

I was given a free copy of this cookbook for my honest opinion.

 

Summation

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Color of Danger

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About the Book

Life as the sister of a serial killer is never easy, especially when former runaway Mari Del Lobo becomes a target herself. A recent crime has her late brother’s signature and MO, which Mari finds highly unusual, as she still blames herself for her only sibling’s death. Soon Mari encounters an unexpected — and a very attractive — ally in Dr. Luke Goodman.

Luke couldn’t save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he’ll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask for help from the serial killer’s sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul in Mari, Luke is determined to keep her alive, but it’s not easy to protect the stubborn ex-rebel.

To solve the mystery, renew her faith, and find love and redemption, Mari has to face her most dangerous enemy — herself.

“One of the best Christian romantic suspense novels I’ve ever read.” – JoAnn Durgin, JoAnn Durgin, USA Today bestselling author.

 

About the Author

Alexa Verde writes sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She can claim her 15 seconds of Amazon fame with her books climbing to the #1 spot in Hispanic American and #3 in Christian Mystery & Suspense. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways (for example, Russian souvenirs), news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at www.alexaverde.com. Twitter: @AlexaVerde3. Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexaverdeauthor

New Author Portrait

Guest Post from Alexa Verde

Thank you, Sandra, for having me on the CelebrateLit tour, and heartfelt thanks to all the bloggers who read and reviewed my novel Color of Danger. Every review, every kind word, every blog post matters tremendously to me. Very excited to be here!

In some ways, the first book is like the firstborn child. There is no feeling comparable to the one when your “baby” is born. While Color of Danger is not the first book I’ve written, it is the first book I’ve published, and I’ve done the latter with much apprehension and trepidation. But this was a story I needed to tell, about love, forgiveness, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

By then, my published works had ranged from senryu (Japanese poetry) to travel portraits to interviews, but it had taken me a while to find my voice in full-length books. However, once I realized I wanted to write Christian novels, I never veered off that road. I’m currently working on my first Christian contemporary romance, so my tagline might change. But for the Christian romantic suspense series, Secrets of Rios Azules, it is “Sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder.”

I was told Mari was an unusual heroine. She’s tough, strong-willed, and fearless, and at the same time, vulnerable and hurt. Color of Danger is not just a combination of a Christian romance and a serial killer mystery. It is more than a story of friendship between “Danger Girls,” though Mari is loyal to a fault and would give up her life in a heartbeat for those she loves. First and foremost, it’s about believing in God again. And that’s what I strive for every one of my books to be.

A love letter to God.

 

My Ideation

This book was right up my alley!!  I absolutely love mysteries and that is exactly what Alexa gave me!  The book started out with a bang and ended on a happy note.  Mari is the sister of a serial killer.  Thinking he has been killed, the killing begin again.  Mari’s life is suddenly in danger and then she meets Luke.  Luke’s fiance was killed by Mari’s brother and since the killings have started up again, he wants to help her stop them. Together they go on an adventure in trying to find Mari’s brother and put a stop to him.

I loved all the characters.  They were all likable, including her dog Nowa.  I loved how Mari was a tough woman who loved and respected her friends.  She did not allow her terrible childhood, or the fact that her brother was a serial killer, to stop her from loving those around her.  I also loved how Luke was able to bring her back to God in such a subtle, caring way.  She needed a tiny push and he did it perfectly!

 

Blog Stops

September 8: Daysong Reflections

September 9: Christian Bookaholic

September 10: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

September 11: SueStinnett

September 12: Carpe Diem

September 13: Reading Is My SuperPower

September 14: Mary Hake

September 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 15: A Baker’s Perspective

September 16: Quiet Quilter

September 17: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

September 18: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

September 19: History, Mystery & Faith

September 20: Bukwurmzzz

September 21: Blogging With Carol

September 22: Rhonda’s Doings

 

Summation

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Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Alexa is giving away a $50 amazon gift card! Click here to enter:https://promosimple.com/ps/a367