Keeping Christmas Volume II Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas Volume II

Authors: Chautona Havig, Tabitha Bouldin, Susan K. Beatty, Jennifer Sienes, Melissa Wardwell, and Stacy T. Simmons.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 18, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

Escape to Greenaway (by Chautona Havig): She just wanted to escape another holly, jolly family holiday. Because snowbound in a castle B&B with one of Santa’s elves (or as good as) is so much better. With the help of the castle’s owner, Tonya plays matchmaker in a bid to get that Christmas-loving girl out of her hair.

The King’s Promise (by Tabitha Bouldin): In a world of airships and kings, a prince makes a promise that tears him away from his love. An ordinary baker’s daughter finds herself caught in the middle of a game where the winner earns the queen’s crown. They both want what they can’t have as they struggle toward a seemingly impossible happily ever after.

A Castle for Christmas (by Susan K. Beatty): Sadie Foster abhors wealth. Will Randolph, on the other hand, works for the uber-wealthy owner of an over-the-top castle on the California coast–Sadie’s father. When Christopher Foster leaves the castle to her, Sadie doesn’t want anything to do with it or his money. But what if Sadie and Will use the castle and her inheritance for the good of others—together?

An Irish Christmas Heart (by Jennifer Sienes): Will she choose love or an arranged marriage? In the midst of post-famine unrest, Eleanor Blake, daughter of an English nobleman, is thrown into a maelstrom of emotions. How will she escape the duty for which she was born and the confines of the ill-fated Menlo Castle of Galway, Ireland to find her true love?

Christmas at Curwood’s Castle (by Melissa Wardwell): A Christmas party at Curwood Castle should have been Angel Davis’ Cinderella moment. Especially when her dear friend Jimmy arrives. Instead, one obstacle after another threatens to break any chance at a happily-ever-after.

Christmas in the Cotswolds (by Stacy T. Simmons): She’s a paleontologist and ardent Jane Austen fan. He’s enmeshed in the exactitude of mathematics, can they find common ground? Do opposites attract, will the romantic castle, and dashing duke be the undoing of Victoria’s plans?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle in the San Gabriel Mountains of California all the way across the pond to the beautiful Cotswolds of England. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas in this second volume of castle Christmas novellas.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know:

Keeping Christmas Volume II is a compilation of Christmas themed Novellas. In addition to the Christmas theme they are all centered around a castle in one form or another. The stories range from historical to contemporary to steampunk.

What I thought about these novellas:

Each of these stories were unique and compelling. I highly recommend this book and would read other books by each of these authors.

Escape to Greenaway by Chautona Havig  is a sweet contemporary story. Tonya fled to a quiet bed and breakfast to escape Christmas, but instead found herself snowed in with someone who adores Christmas. I really enjoyed getting to know Tonya and the residents of Greenway.  I can’t wait to read more about them.

The King’s Promise by Tabitha Bouldin is a steampunk novella.  In this story King Adrian must put on a trial to determine which princess will become his bride. When by a twist of fate his love Elina, a commoner, has to take part in the trial things take a turn.   I really enjoyed this story and would love to have more stories set in this world, possibly about some of the minor characters in the story!

A Castle for Christmas by Susan K. Beatty is a contemporary novella. It was a difficult story for me to connect with.  I dream of all the lives that I could impact if I had money so it was hard for me to see a character who didn’t immediately embrace the opportunity that was given to her.  I am glad that I stuck with the story as it ended up being a very sweet story.

An Irish Christmas Heart by Jennifer Sienes  is a historical  fiction set in Ireland. was a very touching story that tugged on my heart strings. Eleanor was raised to believe that she was inferior because she could not read.  I hated to see how her father treated her. The story was very touching and I cheered when Samuel understood her.

Christmas at Curwood’s Castle by Melissa Wardwell is a historical fiction novella set in 1923 Michigan.  I really love this story. Angel and Jimmy immediately caught my attention with their story and I was rooting for them to figure things out. I enjoyed reading this story and the unexpected surprises that it held.

Christmas in the Cotswolds by Stacy T. Simmons is a contemporary novella. It is set in London.  I appreciate the author’s use of slang to bring home the differences between American English and British English. A paleontologist and a Duke fall in love over Christmas in a super cute story that I would recommend to anyone.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

 

 

Tabitha Bouldin is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she works with critique groups and provides endorsements for other authors. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart. Tabitha spent ten years working as a Medical Assistant before God opened the door which allowed her to become a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom and author.

 

 

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband and three teen-aged children.She doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee. When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads. To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

Who says you can’t begin a new career after middle age? Certainly not Susan K. Beatty. She is passionate about writing about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer and other life trials. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan’s first novel, Faces of Courage, debuted May 2021, as part of the Faces of Courage series, including several novelettes. She is also the author of An Introduction to Home Education (AKA California Homeschool Manual). Susan is a professional writer/journalist and is active in the writer community. She is proof you can begin a fiction writing career at any age.

 

Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s romantic sensibilities. Thirty-four years of marital bliss is a great contributor. She is a mom of two grown children, and she and her family have a menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.” You can find her working on her next manuscript with a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee nearby. Connect with Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Fueled by Faith and Caffeine.

 

More from Tabitha

Castles near and far. Over time and across worlds both real and fictional. When it came time to write for Keeping Christmas, the world opened up to offer each of us a jewel for our stories. While I chose to base my castle off of a real castle in Romania, others chose a different route. Yet we all came together with a singular mission to write stories about Christmas and to bring the joy of Christ into each and every book. Keeping Christmas is about more than overseeing a holiday. It is looking back through the years of Christmases far and wide, from our real world through fantasy lands some of us dreamed up, and keeping the spirit of the season alive.

Come and keep Christmas with us as we journey across land and sea, through the skies on an airship, and deep into the contemporary halls and towering turrets. Here you’ll meet characters to fall in love with and read stories that span the ages, from a scribe in King Herod’s castle to a paleontologist in the Cotswolds.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

By the Book, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Blogging With Carol, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 22

For Him and My Family, November 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Mary Hake, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

She Lives To Read, November 26

Holly’s Book Corner, November 26

Simple Harvest Reads, November 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Splashes of Joy, November 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 28

Writing From the Heart Land, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/22acd/keeping-christmas-volume-two-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

Dream of Kings Review and Giveaway


About the Book

Book: Dream of Kings

Author: Sharon Hinck

Genre: Fantasy

Release date: October 11, 2022

The Future Never Sleeps

In the glacial nation of Norgard, Jolan the Dream Teller serves every seeker, whether peasant or high lord. Though she loves using her gift, she struggles to navigate the corrupt and dangerous court and the jealousies of the Guildagard.

When an old man’s nightmare imparts a dire warning, Jolan realizes her entire nation is in danger. But before she can sound the alarm, she is betrayed by the guilds and sold into slavery in a rival kingdom far to the south. As a slave in a foreign land, at first Jolan can’t see beyond her singular focus: return home to warn Norgard of the coming calamity. After facing new dangers, making new friends, and forgiving old wrongs, she must fulfill the purposes the Provider has set before her.

Only then can she face a decision that could cost her the man she loves, her calling, and her freedom—all to save a people who abandoned her.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy

“Faithfulness and loyalty are the true powers. They strengthen the individual and the whole community.”

 

It’s another winner from Sharon Hinck. Jolan’s journey is inspired by Joseph’s journey in the book of Genesis, so it’s somewhat of a reimagining of Joseph’s tale. Filled with betrayal, loss, grief, and faith, this book of hope and purpose, set in a realistic fantasy world, will engage your heart, mind, and spirit. You won’t be able to put it down once you start!

 

Jolan’s first person voice is refreshing, honest, and delightful. Though it’s told only in first person, we get to know other characters pretty well throughout the story. I really enjoyed getting to know King Siverlon and Kamor. Kamor’s steadfast loyal heart won me over from the beginning; his relationship with Jolan was a beautiful thing to witness as enemies became friends to something more. The theme of being faithful where planted showed clearly through Kamor’s life and was an excellent reminder to choose contentment, faithful service, and complete dependence on the One who is everything.

 

It doesn’t look like this book is a part of a series but I’d love to have a follow up book (or two) about the fate of the four kingdoms in the story. I received the book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us,” novels praised for their strong spiritual themes, emotional resonance, and imaginative blend of genres. She earned an MA in Communication (with a major in theatre and thesis in dance) from Regent University and spent ten years as the artistic director of a Christian dance company. That ministry included three short-term mission trips to Hong Kong to teach and choreograph for a YWAM dance/evangelism team. She taught classical ballet and liturgical dance for twenty years, and led workshops on dance in worship. She’s been a church youth worker, a dancer/choreographer, a church organist, a homeschool mom, and an adjunct professor of Creative Writing for MFA students. One day she’ll figure out what to be when she grows up. When she’s not wrestling with words, she enjoys speaking at churches and conferences and has taught at Minnesota Christian Writer’s Guild, the national conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and Realm Makers. A wife, mom of four, and grandmother of three, she lives in Minnesota and is a member at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church. She loves visitors at sharonhinck.com.

 

More from Sharon

Have you ever found yourself in a place you didn’t belong, through no choice of your own? When I began writing Dream of Kings, I was caring for my mom as she dealt with Alzheimer’s. The whole world was stuck in lock-down because of the pandemic. And I was facing limitations caused by health challenges. So it’s no wonder this story question arose for me: how do we respond when we are in painful, unfair, and unfamiliar places? Is there room for God to bring good from difficult circumstances?

 

Jolan the Dream Teller has already experienced heartache before the book opens, and perhaps believed it was time for an easy road. Instead, she faces betrayal and the loss of everything she holds dear—her calling, her friends, her nation. Everything familiar is ripped away. But the Provider shows up in unexpected places and through unexpected people.

 

The question that began my brainstorming led to an adventure I didn’t fully expect. Dream of Kings became a celebration of the purposes of God and how they unfolded in one woman’s life. Courageous adventures, unselfish compassion, and unexpected romance fill Jolan’s journey.

 

As NYT bestselling author Tosca Lee described it: “An epic fantasy and absorbing page-turner, Dream of Kings has it all—intrigue, romance, and characters as interesting as they are endearing.”

 

But while Jolan navigates foreign kingdoms and the halls of power, she represents every one of us who find ourselves in a place of struggle. My longing is for this story to stir courage and inspiration for every reader grappling with a difficult road or a dark valley. I am so excited for readers to join Jolan on her journey!

 

Blessings!

Sharon Hinck

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

For Him and My Family, November 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 1

Texas Book-aholic, November 2

Inklings and notions, November 3

deb’s Book Review, November 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 5

Through the fire blogs, November 6

Mary Hake, November 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

Blogging With Carol, November 9

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10

Worthy2Read, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 12

Simple Harvest Reads, November 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Book Club Network, November 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sharon is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed Hardcover copy of Dream of Kings, the e-book of Devotions for Dreamers, bookmarks from my other two series (Sword of Lyric, and Dancing Realms), Quoca Tea (from the book) and a $50 amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2244c/dream-of-kings-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rita: A Yorktown Christmas Time Travel Novella Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Rita: A Yorktown Christmas Time Travel Novella

Author: Izzy James

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Dr. Rita Woods thought she was going back in time to save the children. She didn’t count on falling in love.

Rita Woods—retired physician, widow, with a granddaughter about to be married—misses her patients. She’s tired of knitting. She wants to do something that makes a difference again. When Max Ballard and his time-traveling conservatory pop in to her life, the voice of Dr. Josiah Jones’ diary calls. The voice who’d inspired her vocation. The last line of the diary haunts her quiet moments:

“…the children succumbed in the night…”

In 1769 Dr. Josiah Jones has a good life. His practice is thriving and, except for the the guilt he carries over the death of his wife, life couldn’t be any better. His biggest worry is the zealous match-making activities of his best friend…that is until a hurricane throws an unexpected guest on his doorstep.

Can Josiah trust a woman from the twenty-first century to save the only grandchildren he’ll ever have?

Is it possible for two people living 250 years apart to have a second chance at love?

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know

Rita by Izzy James in a Yorktown Time travel novella.  Set in 1769 it is the third book in the series. While this could be read as a standalone I highly recommend that you read the prior books in the series prior to starting this one. This story features Doctor Rita Woods who is Olivia from the first book’s Grandmother.

 

What I think about this book :

I read the first two books in the series and was excited to have the opportunity to read the third.   Dr. Woods had been given a journal as a young girl, the Journal was from Doctor Josiah Jones who lived and practiced medicine in 1769. This journal influenced her whole life so when she saw an opportunity to help she jumped at it. It was very interesting to see the past from the perspective of Dr. Woods who has more modern knowledge. I really enjoyed this unique perspective.  I loved some of the names and language (Sparking). This was a very sweet story that made me more thankful than ever for modern medicine.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Izzy James grew up in the footprints of history in coastal Virginia. She lives there still with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

 

More from Izzy

After I finished Garrett, who worked really hard to hide his contemporary origins when he slipped back to 1769, I thought it would be fun to have someone actually take some technology back to 1769. I also felt bad for Olivia’s grandmother who makes her first appearance in Max. She is a retired physician knitting away and helping out Olivia and Garrett as she can. I thought it was time she had an adventure of her own. And since I love historic areas, and Yorktown has become one of my favorite places, I knew I had to go back at least one more time.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 25

Texas Book-aholic, October 26

Mary Hake, October 26

Inklings and notions, October 27

deb’s Book Review, October 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 30

Holly’s Book Corner, October 30

Connie’s History Classroom, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Britt Reads Fiction, November 2

Sylvan Musings, November 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 3

Simple Harvest Reads, November 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Cover Lover Book Review, November 4

For Him and My Family, November 5

Pause for Tales, November 6

Bizwings Blog, November 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/22251/rita-a-yorktown-christmas-time-travel-novella-celebration-tour-giveaway

Keeping Christmas: Volume One Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas: Volume One

Authors: Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Olivia Talbott, Kathleen J. Robison, Denise L. Barela, Marguerite Martin Gray, and Naomi Craig.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 4, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

The Lights of Castlebourne (by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig): He bowled her over at first sight–his dog, that is. Sydney just wanted a chance to do the landscape design at Castlebourne. She never dreamed the owner’s electrician would light up her heart at Christmas.

The Girl From Dalarna (by Olivia Talbott): She’s the most beautiful woman in Sweden, but she doesn’t want to be. A simple life among milk cows is all she desires. Will a scandal upend her plans and ruin her chances for love?

The Cross at Morioka Castle (by Kathleen J. Robison): In the ancient land of shoji screens and tatami mats, Ariko finds the stone ruins of Morioka Castle, and the mysterious cross that holds the secret of a Christian faith extending far deeper than Ariko ever imagined.

The Ghost of Christmas… (by Denise L. Barela): Abbigayl needs to get away for Christmas this year. No family, no questions about why she’s still single, no suggestion about being set up with someone’s friend. What will happen when Neuschwanstein Castle’s past converges with Abbigayl’s future?

Crystal Clear (by Marguerite Martin Gray): Rosalind’s muddied past and foggy future crystalize in Château Chenonceau, a refuge from gossip and more. Watch as the château and Christmas work their magic and break the bonds of propriety, and rejoice as Rosalind experiences the crystal-clear hints of peace, joy, and hope all around her.

The Weary World Rejoices (by Naomi Craig): Behind the elaborate furnishings of Herod the Great’s palace, conspiracy and distrust run rampant. Mysterious visitors from the east challenge everything Amal thinks he knows as palace scribe. Will his quest to uncover the Truth free him from the ornate shackles of palace life, or will he be the next victim of King Herod’s maniacal jealousy?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle overlooking the Mississippi all the way back to the Holy Land at the time of Jesus’ birth. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know:

Keeping Christmas Volume One is a compilation of Christmas themed Novellas. In addition to the Christmas theme they are all centered around a castle in one form or another. The time frames of the book range from the time of Herod to contemporary with a nice mix of times and setting so there should be something for every reader.

 

What I think about this book:

Each of these stories were unique and compelling. I highly recommend this book and would read other books by each of these authors.

 

The Light of Castlebourne by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig is a contemporary story. I really enjoyed both of the main characters, Sydney and Philip as well as the supporting characters.  Sydney was a neat character, I enjoyed how she loved landscaping and plants and didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. Philip was slightly more frustrating at times, but it all came together to make a really fun story. I really look forward to reading the series.

 

The Girl From Dalarna by Olivia Talbott is a historical fiction set in 1833 Sweden. It was a very emotional story, Linnea had to leave her family and home and go to a larger city to try to provide for her mother and sisters after her father’s death.  Despite her exceptional beauty she was shy with a stutter and just wanted to be left alone to do her job. It was very interesting to read the story and see how her life changed. I really appreciated Rane and think that everyone should have a Rane in their life.

 

The Cross at Morioka Castle by Kathleen J. Robinson is a contemporary story set in Japan.  I found this story extremely fascinating . I loved Ariko and the beautiful way that she honored her faith as well as her family.  I enjoyed reading about some of the differences between Japanese culture and American culture. I  would love to read more books like this!

The Ghost of Christmas by Denise L. Barela is a contemporary story set in Neuschwanstein Castle.  I will admit I am a huge fan of Neuschwanstein Castle so I automatically geeked when I found out that it was the setting for this story. Abbi jumps at a chance to spend Christmas at Neuschwanstein and is swept into the magic of the Castle.This is the second book that I have read by Barela and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I would love to see a series based on the characters who live and work in the castle.

Crystal Clear by Marguerite Martin Gray is a historical fiction set mostly in 1879 France. It follows Rosalind who is sent to stay in France after her older sister causes a scandal by breaking her betrayal with a Viscount.  This was a very sweet story with realistic characters.

The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig is a historical fiction set in the time of King Herod in Jerusalem.  I really enjoyed this story. It was unique and fascinating.  That is a beautiful, heartbreaking and meaningful story. I can’t imagine being in Amal’s shoes, it was very eye opening. I definitely recommend this story!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

Cathe Swanson writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

 

Olivia Talbott grew up in Montana, but currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two daughters, a few sheep and a border collie. She loves words, traveling, pickles and having deep conversations about how Jesus changes everything. Visit her at oliviatalbott.com.

 

Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.

 

Denise L. Barela is a twenty-something-year-old writer with a passion for fiction, her faith, and just being creative in general. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

 

Marguerite Gray enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

 

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.

 

More from Denise

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to share this set of stories with you! All the authors have worked hard to bring you some Christmas joy and magic. We’ve each picked a castle to center our stories around. I mean, Christmas and castles go well together, don’t you think? You’ll get to explore different castles in different time periods while also getting to know all the characters in each story. That’s a lot of new friends to make!

For my story, I jumped on the chance to write about a castle that inspired the castle that always brought me joy growing up (if I’m being honest, it still brings me joy). I’ve always been a huge Disney nerd, and Princess Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess. Growing up, I was blessed to be able to visit Disneyland for most of my life, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle was my favorite thing (I was so sad when they closed the walk-through part for several years). Even without the attraction part of it, I loved walking into the park and seeing it stand at the end of Main Street. I actually teared up seeing it for the first time after Covid.

What does all this have to do with my castle story? Well, in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria began construction on Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Let me tell you, if you thought Disneyland’s castle was beautiful, it’s got nothing on Neuschwanstein. If I were to pick a castle to live in, it’d be this one.

Setting aside the Disney connection, I was even more intrigued when I learned more about the king who commissioned it. The king was not very popular towards the end of his reign, and the day after he was sent to Berg Castle, he and a doctor were found dead in Lake Starnberg. The weird part? They ruled it a drowning, but there was no water in their lungs and clear signs of foul play.

Oh, but that’s not the only interesting fact this castle houses. This castle became a hiding place for some of the art the Nazi’s stole during World War II. Part of me wonders if any pieces are still hidden there. The Monuments Men group actually cataloged art found there, and it’s been preserved. Here’s a fun article from The Met all about it!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the castle that inspired my story!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 21

Texas Book-aholic, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Inklings and notions, October 24

Holly’s Book Corner, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Lots of Helpers, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 27

By the Book, October 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 28

She Lives To Read, October 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30

Mary Hake, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 31

Simple Harvest Reads, November 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Literature Approved, November 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2224d/keeping-christmas-volume-one-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Last Disciple: Crisis in Jerusalem Book Excerpt!

About the Book

TLD Book Cover 3D-A1

Book: The Last Disciple: Crisis in Jerusalem

Author: Kurt Brouwer

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: November 18, 2022

He was the Beloved Disciple…

…and he would be the last.

The mantle to tell the whole story has fallen on him.

From the cross, Jesus entrusted John, the youngest disciple, with the welfare of Mary, Jesus’s mother. Over thirty years later, as Jerusalem becomes a cauldron of explosive tempers, he receives a calling he doesn’t want.

Will he listen and follow?

And if he does, will it be too late?

In 62 AD, the Jewish high priest executes James, the brother of

Jesus, triggering a bitter fight for power in Jerusalem that shatters the

quiet life of John. The Jewish people he loves are making dangerous choices that will change the land of Israel forever.

Should he stay in Jerusalem and help hold off the Roman onslaught? Or is it time to reach out to those beyond Israel’s borders?

If he chooses to leave, what will be his message to these foreign believers? What new words of comfort could he possibly share?

Set against a backdrop of actual events, The Last Disciple: Crisis in Jerusalem is the first novel in a new series based on the Bible and Christian history.

Follow along while John faces multiple crises and comes to understand what it is to stand alone and lean on only the Lord.

Your heart will embrace The Last Disciple: Crisis in Jerusalem because John’s story is the story of our hope and promise.

Book Excerpt:

His tugging, plus an untimely shove from outside, banged the door into his knee, eliciting a stifled howl.

Bartholomew barged in, looking wildly about. He smelled of wet wool, sweat, and fear.

“It’s James. Arrested. The high priest has him. They are trying him soon or even at this moment. Come on! They’ll kill him, John!”

“Stop shouting. You’ll wake her. Give me a minute.”

John limped back to his room, threw on his brown wool robe and heavy leather sandals. He returned to the door, rubbing his knee. Though Bartholomew wore headgear, John did not. In his dazed state, he forgot about the rain. Carefully closing the double wooden door, he stepped onto the pavement and followed his friend up the narrow street, curving left under a stone archway.

The men hurried, dodging puddles in the gray gloom of the early morning. They stayed close to the buildings as they scuttled along, for the sunken center of the street streamed with a mixture of rainwater and filth.

Down the Western Hill they went, slipping and sliding until they reached the Lower City’s congested streets, clogged with human and animal traffic. Progress slowed while they dodged piles of donkey dung and brimming potholes.

Missed Any Excerpts, Go Here:

About the Author

KB sailing Celebrate Lit

Kurt is a Christian writer, living in Hawaii. A few years ago he did a study at his church on the Apostle John. That little project got him hooked on the man who started out life as a fisherman and then became a disciple of Christ.

The more he learned, the more he wanted to know. What did John do after the Crucifixion? Why did he wait so long to write the Gospel of John? Where did he live for the last 60 years of his life? This historical novel came out of the research he did to answer those questions.

He started a blog (KurtBrouwer.com) a few years ago. On it he has written over 100 blog posts and a few Christian booklets.

Now he’s working on Book Two in this series. The Last Disciple: Escape to Antioch takes up where Book One ends. The Last Disciple is a Christian historical novel that introduces you to John, the last disciple of Christ.

The Bookshop of Secrets Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects

Author: Mollie Rushmeyer

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)

Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy

“Everybody needs to know and be known by others.”

 

With this debut novel, Mollie Rushmeyer makes a name for herself in the inspirational women’s fiction world. When I picked up this Love Inspired novel, I was not expecting a full length novel with a complex plot and tangled up mysteries. As Ronan and Hope hunt for clues among beloved books to a pirate treasure, dodge those who’d try to stop them, and delve into their entwined family history, their discoveries, triumphs, friendship, love and faith will surprise and delight you.

 

Both Ronan and Hope have tough, traumatic pasts and they must learn to deal with their own version of PTSD. Their friendship and relationship is fraught with self-doubt, but how they overcome the fear and anxiety step by step is beautiful to see. Ronan is so tender, sincere, and thoughtful, even when battling his own issues. Hope is creative, compassionate, and big-hearted, even when she tries to hide herself. Their banter that stems from shared love of books is quite witty. If you enjoy contemporary women’s fiction with depth and adventure, you’ll absolutely enjoy this book.

 

I received the book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout.

A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers.

A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.

 

More from Mollie

Since childhood, opening up a book unlocked a whole new world for me. Of possibilities and adventure, and made me care for people and places that didn’t exist. Like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, books transported me. It was like magic.

As I began dreaming up The Bookshop of Secrets in its early stages, I knew I wanted to create a character who loved books and was in awe of their transformative and transportive power as much as I am. Thus, Hope Sparrow, a human trafficking survivor and ultimate book lover, was born. I also wanted to honor my grandpa, who planted the seed—love of the written word—in my heart from the time I was very young. And so, Ulysses, the owner of Dusty Jackets Bookshop in the story, is based on my sweet grandpa who has since passed away. But I know he’d love this homage to all things literary.

Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not gaining back the full strength of my left arm.

In the middle of writing this book, in 2018, I had a stroke. As with most medical emergencies, it was quite unexpected. I had a hole in my heart (that has been repaired, thankfully). Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not being able to fully move my left arm again. My brain had to make new connections and it was so difficult, still is some days, to be creative. To find the right words.

But God. In the way that only He can, He brought this forgotten story, this project’s finish line that seemed to be at the summit of an insurmountable mountain within reach. I thought I had something to prove to myself. I begged God not to forget my dream to write. Like He could. But in the end, I just had to trust like my character Hope. Trust that He is good even when life hurts and is uncertain.

“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?”

“Bravery? Peace?” Dare she say her namesake, hope?

“The true counterpart of fear is faith. It takes faith to walk into the future, the unknown, with confidence. Secure in the love of the One who created you and those around you outweighs any hardship, real or imagined, that lies on the path ahead.”

I hope following Hope’s journey of healing and love in The Bookshop of Secrets truly blesses you.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

An Author’s Take, October 29

The Write Escape, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Rebecca Tews, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Inspired by fiction, October 31

Life of Literature, October 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Cover Lover Book Review, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Losing the Busyness, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Pad of Suspense and Detection, November 4

Blossoms and Blessings, November 4

Sylvan Musings, November 5

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Book Looks by Lisa, November 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeachool Academy, November 7

Story Craft, November 7

Through the fire blogs, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 8

Labor Not in Vain, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season, November 9

Lights in a Dark World, November 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/226c7/the-bookshop-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Matchmakers of Holly Circle Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Matchmakers of Holly Circle

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Romance / Christmas

Release date: November 21, 2014

They’ve been in love for ten years, but it takes an interfering neighbor with a penchant for poker to unravel the mystery of their persistent platonic relationship.

Flirtation can be an art, or so they say. Well, if so, Ruth and Richard are “the old masters” of the flirting game. Despite their strictly platonic relationship, there’s “something there,” as so many of their friends and families say. Neighbors and friends for ten years, neither seems willing to change the course of their relationship.

Three doors down, at the end of the cul-de-sac, Mason Dickenson has watched his favorite neighbors with an interested eye, but he’s finally had it with the dance. So, with a pack of cards and a few tricks up his sleeve, he’s determined to get them out of the “friend rut” and into romance.

Thanks to Mason’s unique matchmaking scheme, Ruth and Richard concoct one of their own—a deeper, stronger, eternal love and relationship that nothing on earth can match.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know:

The Matchmakers of Holly Circle by Chautona Havig is a Contemporary Christian Fiction with a Christmas Theme, although I think it could be enjoyed anytime of the year. This story is set in Havig’s Rockland, if you have never read one of her books this would be a great place to start for a glimpse into the Rockland Universe!

 

What I think about this book:

I adore stories set in Rockland and feel like I am dropping in on old friends or just about to meet new ones.  I love a good Christmas story so when I saw that the author had a Christmas story that I had not read yet I jumped at the chance and am glad that I did. Ruth and Richard have been neighbors and best friends for ten years, they are both in love, but for some reason neither is willing to act. This was a very sweet romance where I sometimes wish that I could jump into the story and shake the characters until they listen to me. In addition to Richard and Ruth we meet Mason and several other residents who create a mystery that adds an interesting bit of intrigue to the story!  I really enjoyed this story and the wonderful way that Havig allowed the story to unfold.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Download a free short story that happens 10 years before the book begins?

https://chautona.com/wait-10-years/

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, October 14

She Lives To Read, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

deb’s Book Review, October 18

Pause for Tales, October 18

Lots of Helpers, October 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 23

Cover Lover Book Review, October 23

Blogging With Carol, October 24

Simple Harvest Reads, October 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, October 26

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 26

Splashes of Joy, October 27

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2200a/the-matchmakers-of-holly-circle-celebration-tour-giveaway

Jeanette’s Gift Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Jeanette’s Gift

Author: Blossom Turner

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: October 11, 2022

This life wasn’t the one she dreamed of, but happily ever afters don’t always come when and how we expect.

At twenty-nine, Jeanette Williams has watched each one of her four sisters marry and start families of their own. It’s hard not to believe God has forgotten the desires of her heart, especially when most people refer to her as Spinster Williams. Without the beautiful children she teaches, life would be unbearably lonely.

When the handsome widower, Theo Wallace, and his six children move into the Shenandoah Valley, every available woman is atwitter—except for Jeanette. She has no such aspirations that someone as plain as her could draw even a smattering of interest.

As life throws this unlikely couple together, Jeanette can’t help but fall in love with Theo’s children and their soul-wrenching plight. Before she knows it, her heart is far more invested than she could’ve ever imagined. And not just with the children, but with their handsome father as well. Is she headed for another heartbreak, or is it possible God had a beautiful plan in the works all along?

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know:

Jeanette’s Gift by Blossom Turner is a Christian Historical Fiction.This is the fifth book in the Shenandoah Brides series. This book starts in 1881 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  While this book can be read as a standalone it does give some spoilers for the previous book and you understand more of her family dynamic and self esteem if you have read the previous books.

 

What I think about this book:

This was such a wonderful book! I have been so excited to get Jeanette ‘s story. She has been such a stable force in her sisters’  books that I longed for her happily ever after.  It was very interesting to see the sister who considered herself homely when surrounded by four sisters with above average beauty. I loved seeing her grow in her confidence and began to shine in others’ eyes.  After all that she had been though it was hard to see her ignore God’s voice in her life and watch the repercussions of it.  Jeannette’s story was the perfect ending to this captivating series.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Blossom Turner is a freelance writer published in Chicken Soup and Kernels of Hope anthologies, former newspaper columnist on health and fitness, an avid blogger and published novelist of the Word Guild semi-finalist Anna’s Secret. However, she has found her home in the writing of historical fiction. The power of love and romance is authentically woven into the Shenandoah Bride Series about five sisters and their love stories. She and her husband, David, have two grown children and live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Read more at blossomturner.com.

 

More from Blossom

Do You Enjoy Romance That Keeps You Thinking Days Later?

 

Long before I knew I could write, I loved to read. Being a hopeless romantic I gravitated to all romance stories either contemporary or historical. I soon realized that finding clean fiction but still written with the passion God created us to experience, was hard to find. (Song of Solomon is a good example of the expression of passion and love between a man and woman without being explicit.)

 

Given the gift of a writing career later in life one thing was for sure…I wanted to write what I like to read. Clean romance does not need to be boring. As each story pours out, I realize that writing historical fiction is my passion. I finally know what I was born to do. The Shenandoah Brides is a series of five sisters and their five love stories. Oct. 11, 2022 is launch day for the final book in the series called Jeanette’s Gift.

 

Each book has a redeeming theme. Katherine’s Arrangement, set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, post-civil war, speaks on how to love the way 1 Corinthians encourages, even when marriage (Katherine’s is an arranged marriage) has proven to be very disappointing. The second book Amelia’s Heartsong, situated in Richmond, Virginia illustrates how love transcends the pomp and circumstance of class and money and encourages us to view others the way God does. The third book, Lucinda’s Defender unfolds back in the valley, and speaks of how our greatest mistake does not have to define our future. A message on second chances encourages the soul. The fourth book, Gracie’s Surrender once again set in Richmond, speaks of a life dedicated to the ministry of God helping the underprivileged orphans. Gracie learns that God can upset even our best intentions with a better plan.

 

However, the message for this fifth book, Jeanette’s Gift, is a subject so near and dear to my heart. Growing up in an environment that tore me down instead of build me up, proved to be invaluable in writing on this subject. The theme of this book—healing from low self-worth—is a topic that many will relate to.

 

Jeanette suffers from low self-worth and believes God has forgotten her. A very valuable process unfolds with truth and techniques that work today. Jeanette learns to accept that how life unfolds is up to the sovereignty of God, and He can be trusted. She also breathes in the truth of how she is, indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

My prayer is that as Jeanette grows toward healing in the story, that any reader suffering in this same way will embrace the steps on how to break this vicious cycle. I know from first-hand experience healing is possible, and I long to get that message out there.

 

Although this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, enjoying the whole series as the family saga unfolds will deepen the experience.

 

I sincerely hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the write. I love to hear from my readers. Contact me at http://blossomturner.com

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 11

Vicky Sluiter, October 11

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 13

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 17

Simple Harvest Reads, October 17 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connie’s History Classroom, October 18

For Him and My Family, October 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 19

Mary Hake, October 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 20

Splashes of Joy, October 21

Pause for Tales, October 22

Holly’s Book Corner, October 22

Christina’s Corner, October 23

“To Every” BOOK “There is a Season”, October 23

Bizwings Blog, October 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Blossom is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e09/jeanette-s-gift-celebration-tour-giveaway

Flight Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Flight

Author: Kristen Young

Genre: YA dystopian sci-fi

Release date: September 13, 2022

The Fight for What is Right is Also a Fight to Survive

On the cusp of graduation, Cadence is finally feeling in control. She’s about to become one of the prestigious Elites working in the Hall of Love. Plus, she can take her place as a full member of the underground Sirens who meet secretly in Love City. She’ll finally be able to use her memory skills for good, instead of reporting people as a Watcher.

But a dangerous trap is set, throwing Cadence into unwelcome and unfamiliar territory. Someone in the Collective remembers things that could very well get her killed. The Muse is by her side, after all, but will she be protected when someone powerful wants her dead?

Cadence just wants to be normal, free from politics or squad intimidation. Will she be able to achieve her Elite dreams, or will sinister forces leave her running for her life?

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Donna

What I think you should know:

Flight by Kristen Young is the third book in the Collective Underground series. It is Dystopian / Science Fiction appropriate for  Middle grade readers and above. I would not read this book without reading the previous books in the series first. This book relies heavily on knowledge of the previous books to understand the story.  Start with Apprentice

 

What you might need to know:

This book does contain violence.

 

What I think about this book as a reader:

 Will you do whatever it takes to survive? That is a question that Cadence faces in this book.  This book does not begin directly after the  previous book, instead it

offers flashbacks to catch the reader up on what has transpired since the last book. I have been fascinated with this series since I started and became emotionally invested in Cadence and Hodge. This book had a much heavier theme to me than the previous books. It showed much more to the reality of the “Love Collective” and what they would do to stop “Haters” . I loved the way that the author allowed the story to unfold  and was thrilled with the end of the story.

 

What I think about this book as the Mom of a YA Reader:

This is a great book for middle grade readers and above. I would use caution with younger or more immature readers, in this book in The Bible is reworded to fit the context of the Allegory.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

A Scottish-born Australian author, Kristen Young has worked in children’s and youth ministry for decades. She writes fiction and non-fiction for teens, and always has a notebook on hand to capture stray story ideas. In her spare time she loves hanging out with her family, watching movies with subtitles, and enjoying a little too much chocolate.

 

More from Kristen

Interview with Kristen Young, author of Flight

 

Okay, so Flight is the final novel in the Collective Underground series. Was it hard writing the conclusion?

 

The funny thing is, Flight was originally book 1! I wrote the story ages ago, and the manuscript won a Caleb award for unpublished fiction. The prize for that was a manuscript assessment, which came back with the comments, “This is good, but it starts a little fast. Can you add some backstory?”

 

So the backstory turned into two books?

 

Yes! Of course, by the time I came back to Flight, there were so many more story threads to follow, so the final result is very different to the original.

 

What did you change?

 

Some of the characters in Apprentice and Elite needed to re-appear, and so I had to change some of that. Like Hodge, who didn’t exist when I wrote the first version of Flight. There was also quite a lot of unfinished business that carried over from the first two books, and I felt that they needed some resolution, too. I can’t tell you too many details, though, because that would spoil the fun.

 

What can we look forward to in the final installment?

 

More thrills, more plot twists, and maybe some love. Just a whole lot of excitement, really. But seriously, Cadence is thrown into some pretty difficult situations this time, and she has to re-evaluate her whole mission. There are also some pretty high-level plots going on in the government that might send her a bit of trouble, too…

 

Love? Does that mean what we think it does?

 

I’ve already said I can’t spoil the fun of reading.

 

Oh, go on. Tell us.

 

Sorry. You’ll just have to read it. 🙂

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 30

Artistic Nobody, October 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 1

Inklings and notions, October 2

For Him and My Family, October 3

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 4

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 5 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, October 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 9

Blossoms and Blessings, October 10 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Baker’s Perspective, October 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kristen is giving away  the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21c36/flight-celebration-tour-giveaway

Anything But Plain Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Marilyn

“The Lord God did not make a mistake when he made you. Everything about you was ordained from the beginning. You have to start believing that.”

 

Another outstanding Amish tale set in Stoney Ridge by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This tale is filled with several ups and downs of the characters who reside in Stoney Ridge. I loved Lydia and her compassion care toward others even though she was usually late and disorganized until her Aunt Ruth (Doc) stepped in to assist. The story gave way to new opportunities, forgiveness, romance and seeing God does all things well.

 

Suzanne Woods Fisher research on ADHD, organic farming that Nathan Yoder wanted to implement and even a treatment for Asthma was penned beautifully throughout the story. The faith message, Amish proverbs, Lydia’s doodling and captions brought smiles, tears and applause by the end for all how events were turning out for characters.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Revell Publishing without any obligation to write a positive review. I have expressed my own thoughts.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

 

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway