Saturday, February 29, 2020

Celebrate Lit: Hearts Set Free

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

About the Book


Book:  Hearts Set Free
Author: Jess Lederman
Genre:  Christian Literary Fiction
Release Date: March 12th, 2019

Join me on a journey from the darkness of doubt to triumphant faith and from the ache of loneliness to everlasting love…

“Bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire.”–Christian blogger Miranda A. Uyeh
“Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God’s mercy.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

In 1930, the rag-tag riffraff of a railway stop called Las Vegas need a fighting man to shepherd their tiny church after their pastor is murdered. Might David Gold, a washed-up boxer and Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, be the answer to their prayers?

At the same time, Luke, a native Alaskan boy, is on a quest to find his father, who has abandoned his family for a beautiful woman his warrior mother vows to kill. The journey of mother and son will lead them to the Nevada desert, and to truths–and terrors–of which they’d never dreamed.

In 2011, Science Cable T.V. producer Tim Faber is determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his lover, Joan Reed, strives to regain the faith of her youth. They’re bound for Las Vegas to meet with a 99-year-old man who holds the key to a mystery they must solve–and answers that will forever change their lives.

Their stories will come together at a little house of worship known as the Church of the Heart Set Free.

“I was mesmerized by the characters and how everything unfolded and linked together…”
–Just One More Paragraph (Musings of a Christian Wife)



Click here to get your copy!

About the Author


After I graduated with a degree in music from Columbia University, a lust for expensive pianos drew me into an unexpected career in finance. It turned out that I had a knack for business; I gained much that the world had to offer and became a hedonist, a gambler who haunted the poker rooms of Las Vegas, and an arrogant atheist. I’ve written fiction for most of my life, and at one point I quit work to devote myself to writing a novel. During that time, my late first wife, Teri, and I lived in Paris, down the street from where Hemingway once lived, and later in the mountains of Idaho. But the novel was never published, for I was a man whose soul had not yet awakened, who did not yet have anything important to say. So I went back to the business world.
One day, when we were living in Dallas, Teri heard a radio interview with Francis Collins, an eminent scientist who wrote The Language of God, which tells the story of his journey from atheism to becoming a disciple of Christ. Collins’ book led us to the writings of C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald*, who became the midwives of our rebirth from above.
There’s no hiding from the Hound of Heaven, once He’s on your trail!
Several years later, Teri was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and we left Dallas and the business world behind and moved to a small town in Alaska. There we looked out on the glory of God’s creation and read to our heart’s content during the last two years of her life. Faced with tragedy, we learned to trust utterly in Him, and He blessed us with the peace that surpasses all understanding.
It was after Teri’s death, while I was still living in the far north, that the idea for Hearts Set Free—which opens in the Alaska Territory in 1925was born. People who know that the novel contains autobiographical elements (and several historical characters) sometimes ask me, “How much of the story is true?’ And I answer, “Perhaps twenty percent—and the rest is even more true!” What drives my writing is the desire to convey truths that transform lives. Truths of the heart.
In 2013, I met a wonderful woman—my current wife, Ling—and soon we began talking about having children. “Impossible!” said our doctors. “According to your test results, there’s no chance at all, even using the latest techniques.” Of course, within two months of that pronouncement, Ling was pregnant with little David, who just turned three, and we subsequently adopted Daniel, who’s now twelve.
After David’s birth, we moved to southwest Washington. I’m currently at work on a novel set in Las Vegas in 1955, and, when I’m not writing or chasing my sons around, can usually be found at the piano playing Chopin nocturnes for Ling.

More from Jess

I first conceived of Hearts Set Free in the far frozen north, not long after my first wife, Teri, passed away. She had been diagnosed with ALS, an invariably fatal disease, when we were living in Dallas, and within a month we decided that I’d quit my job so we could move to a small town in Alaska. We bought a small house based on the view out of the living room windows; there we’d be able to spend the time she had left in peace, and gaze out at the glory of God’s creation.
Teri—a woman who untiringly searched for truth—was the inspiration for Joan Reed, one of the main characters in the book, and Alaska—the Last Frontier!—entered into the story as well. We were living not far from the headquarters of the Iditarod, the iconic thousand-mile dog sled race that takes place each year. The Iditarod was modeled after an amazing race against time which occurred in the icy darkness of an Alaskan winter in 1925, when dogsled was the only way to get diphtheria serum to the remote town of Nome and save ten thousand lives. Hearts Set Free begins with that dramatic event.
I put a lot of myself—the bad along with the good!—into other characters in Hearts Set Free. Up until I became a Christian, I had all of the arrogant narcissism of atheist Tim Faber, a T.V. producer intent on proving that mankind has no need of God. I also have the questioning spirit of David Gold, a Bible-school dropout turned boxer who is led by the Lord to become a heroic pastor, and of young Luke Noongwook, a native Alaskan who goes on a quest to find his missing father. Their need to understand difficult aspects of Scripture are based on a passionate desire to love God with all their heart and strength and soul and mind. As is mine!
As a young man, I’d been greatly impressed by E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime, which blended fictional and historical characters, and I decided to use the same approach in Hearts Set Free. Parts of the novel are set in the early and mid-1900s (especially the 1930s), and Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, and Georges Lemaitre, who was both a physicist and a priest—a man who corrected Albert Einstein, and is probably the greatest scientist of whom most people have never heard!—play important roles.
Finally, the novel is tribute to the beauty of Scripture and features many quotes from the Psalms. If you love compelling tales that combine mystery, adventure, and romance, and enjoy thinking deeply about your faith, I think you’ll find it’s just the book for you!



Interview



What is your latest novel about?

 Hearts Set Free is a story of characters who journey from the darkness of doubt to triumphant faith and from the ache of loneliness to everlasting love. On one level, it’s a captivating, epic tale filled with mystery, adventure, and romance; but it’s also very much for people who like to think deeply about their faith, and don’t mind confronting some of the toughest questions. It starts out with what seems like three different storylines, two of them set in the early 1900s and one in the present day, and one of the most fun parts of the book is seeing how they all come together. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but it’s an epic story that rewards a reader’s close attention, and I’ve been delighted that so many readers have said that Hearts Set Free is a book well worth reading multiple times. 



What inspired the story?
When my late first wife was diagnosed with ALS, we moved from Dallas to a small town in Alaska so that we could spend her remaining time in peace, looking out at the beauty of God’s creation. She was the inspiration for one of the main characters in the book. We were living not far from the headquarters of the Iditarod, the iconic thousand-mile dog sled race that takes place each year. The Iditarod was inspired by an amazing race against time which occurred in the frozen darkness of an Alaskan winter in 1925, when dogsled was the only way to get diphtheria serum to remote town of Nome, to save ten thousand lives. The novel begins with that dramatic event. One of the other main characters—David Gold, a Bible-school dropout turned boxer who is led by the Lord to become a heroic pastor—was inspired by the studies that two pastors in Alaska encouraged me to undertake to better understand the Pauline epistles. Paul became one of my all-time heroes, and at one point I toyed with the idea of writing a novel about him. That eventually led to Hearts Set Free.



When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was perhaps nine or ten years old, my older sister read my a passage from a novel by John Dos Passos. It was intensely lyrical, and whether or not I fully understood it, I was utterly captivated and enchanted. For the first time in my life, I became aware not only of the power of words, but of their music. I started writing from that point on, and never stopped.



What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Aside from chasing after my four-year-old son, that would have to be playing the piano! I’m especially a fan of Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and the Blues. And for me, music is often an inspiration for my writing. Sometimes I’ll hear a melody or harmony and think, yes, that is just what I want to express, if only I can find the right words!



Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Without a doubt, it’s from Psalm 139:7-10 (ESV, with one slight adjustment). To me, this expresses so much about the relentless love of God, and the peace that is ours when we trust in Him.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?

    Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

    If I make my bed in Hell, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,


    and your right hand shall hold me.

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, February 22 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, February 23
Older & Smarter?, February 24
Inklings and notions, February 25
A Baker’s Perspective, February 26 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, February 27
deb’s Book Review, February 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, February 29 (Author Interview)
Through the Fire Blogs, March 3 (Author Interview)

Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Jess is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of Hearts Set Free plus 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.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Review: Cold Case Connection by Dana Mentink

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

About the Book


Book:  Cold Case Connection
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 1, 2020
Convinced his sister’s death wasn’t an accident, private investigator Sergio Ross is determined to catch her killer. But with all the clues hinting at a connection to another unsolved murder, he has to join forces with Helen Pike—a woman linked to both deaths—to find the truth. Can they follow the cold evidence trail to get justice…before they become the next victims?
Click here to get your copy.

About the Author


Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Cold Case Connection was really fun to write because it’s Helen’s story. She’s an intelligent, sensitive woman who is the sister to the men living on the Roughwater Ranch. Liam is her biological brother, but she’s just as close to Chad and Mitch who might as well be blood relatives. In this novel, Helen has to relive the worst moment of her teenage life, the night when a mysterious murder occurred during a teen prank. Helen is going to have to face the past in order to preserve her future. Cowboys, a case gone cold, a coastal ranch and a whole lot of danger…I hope you will enjoy the ride!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 14
The Avid Reader, February 15
Texas Book-aholic, February 15
Inklings and notions, February 16
janicesbookreviews, February 16
Betti Mace, February 17
She Lives to Read, February 17
Genesis 5020, February 17
For Him and My Family, February 18
Remembrancy, February 20
Older & Smarter?, February 20
Blogging With Carol, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Bigreadersite, February 21
EmpowerMoms, February 21
Christian Bookaholic, February 23
KarenSueHadley, February 23
Emily Yager, February 24
Pause for Tales, February 24
Simple Harvest Reads, February 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Maureen’s Musings, February 26
Hallie Reads, February 26
Livin’ Lit, February 27
Daysong Reflections, February 27

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a bag, a copy of the book, and an 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/f5c6/cold-case-connection-celebration-tour-giveaway



My Rating:

4 stars 

My Review:

Wow! Cold Case Connection was SO good! I found the "cold case" to be intriguing and the tunnels sounded creepy.

I liked that the characters had to work together to try and solve the case. It was sad the way certain things happened, but realistic. This is the third book in the series, but I think you can definitely read it as a stand-alone.

All in all, a good read. The romance was fine, but not a favorite. I recommend this book for the suspense/mystery.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.* 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Review: End Game by Rachel Dylan

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

About the book:
Each New Clue . . .
Every Crime Scene . . .
Brings Them Closer to Discovering the End Game

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper who Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, they wonder if there's a deeper cover-up at play. After Bailey is targeted, it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment, Bailey and Marco rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust in this twisted conspiracy. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of them all.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
End Game was a fantastic start to Dylan's new series, Capital Intrigue, and I can't wait to read more! The suspense had me hooked and I was intrigued throughout. So many twists and turns!

I loved the characters. They had so much depth. I enjoyed getting to know them more and the romance was nice, as well.

All in all, End Game is my favorite Rachel Dylan book yet! It was difficult to put down and I definitely recommend it to fans of romantic suspense.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Celebrate Lit: Divine Intentions

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.




Monday, February 10, 2020

Celebrate Lit Tour: Forgotten Faith

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

About the Book


Book: Forgotten Faith
Author: Lauren Reeves
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Devotional
Release Date: December 20, 2019

When Christians are challenged to explain what they believe and why, too many fall short. Do the majority of Christians feel true commitment to their faith anymore? Are they able to retain hope and perseverance when trials come? Or do they find themselves questioning God’s goodness? We live in a time where Christians seem to have forgotten their once strong faith.

In her book Forgotten Faith, popular podcaster and speaker Lauren Reeves teaches Genesis in a way that keeps her reader wanting more. She provides the foundation necessary to make the rest of the Bible make sense long after this book’s last page is turned. From cover to cover, the believer will find a fascinating study of Genesis and that Genesis and Revelation go hand in hand, painting a picture of the End Times and the reason for hope. The content has the ability to do for readers what might otherwise take years of study to unveil.

Forgotten Faith seeks to uncover treasures in Genesis that have long been hidden away, treasures that are relevant to today and the End of Days and have been waiting for the right time to be known—and the time is now.
Behold, I am coming soon . . . I am the Alpha and Omega,
the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Revelation 22:12–13


 Click here (aff) to get your copy of the book!  

About the Author


Lauren Reeves loves to encourage the heart of a person into a deeper walk with Christ. She believes the mind informs the heart, so offering resources that are engaging and fascinating is necessary. Bible literacy ranks as one of the biggest ways she wants to influence the body of Christ, and she has an extraordinary gift for explaining intimidating theological ideas in easy-to-understand ways that keep a reader wanting more. She is the co-host of Joy for the Journey Podcast with Tammy Whitehurst (www.joyforthejourneypodcast.com) and loves teaching God’s word, songwriting, and leading people into worship. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Christian apologetics from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Baylor University. Lauren and her family live on a ranch in Texas. Learn more at www.laurenreeves.com  

More from Lauren

Why did I write this book? Because I’ve often been told that learning and understanding Genesis is the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Much of the Christian worldview can be found there, which effects our decision making. But Genesis not only lays the foundation for the rest of the Bible, it is closely linked with Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Just about every time I’ve asked a Bible study group what they would like to learn about next, one of the number one answers was always “Revelation” or “End Times Events.” Even though for years people have been hungry to learn more about Revelation, most Christians and churches try to steer clear of this subject because the end times plan can be intimidating and is not 100 percent clear from Jesus’s revelation to John in that book. Since differing opinions often cause dissension, people understandably avoid areas of the Bible that aren’t absolutely clear. However, I believe those words would not have been given to us to read if we were supposed to avoid studying them. For that reason, I’ve taken the risk and written a book on Genesis that ties Genesis and Revelation together helping us to understand the end times plan more clearly. One thing I hope is clear in my book, though, is you don’t have to agree with my interpretation of end times events to glean great truths and a greater understanding of the Bible through my book. One stance had to be taken to talk about the subject in detail, but truly, if a reader does not agree with my stance, it’s not a big deal. There’s way more to the book than that. The goal was to make us all think on and around Genesis and Revelation to help us study it and have opportunity for the Holy Spirit to reveal truths to us through the Word. I hope other books are written from different end times stances so we can read and study from a different angle. The more we read from different angles, the more we grow in knowledge and understanding. It is my belief that being certain that there IS an end times plan is what helps anchor the hope of Christ firmly in our souls. If we don’t have a forward view, it is so easy to get stuck in the tunnel vision of the here and now, which can often appear hopeless. So, now more than ever before, Christians need to be studying the first book of the Bible to know what we believe and the last book of the Bible to know that there is an end times plan that is sure and wonderful. I hope this book stirs your soul in a unique way. It is deep, yet devotional. I really believe it is a book for today.

Blog Stops


Blossoms and Blessings, February 4 (Author Interview)
Godly Book Reviews, February 5
deb’s Book Review, February 6
Texas Book-aholic, February 7
Through the Fire Blogs, February 8 (Author Interview)
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, February 10 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, February 11
Mary Hake, February 12
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 13 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, February 16 (Author Interview)

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Lauren 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.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:


Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Ever since Christ captured my heart, the most defining way I see myself is “His.”  Admittedly, I don’t always act like His, but when I get off track, it never takes long to sense the Holy Spirit inside me whisper, “This is not who you are.”  I am most fulfilled when I’m walking where He leads, even if it’s the harder road.  So I can’t tell you what role I will be playing forever other than being His.  I am a wife, but if my husband dies (though I hope I go first!), I am no longer actively a wife – I’m a widow.  I’m a daughter but if my mother dies, even though I am still her daughter, I don’t get to play that role this side of heaven anymore.  Nothing in this world is constant other than who we are in relation to Christ.  That’s something I always try to remember.  Because when I start putting my identity in anything else, it will always feel shaky.  But if I keep my identity in Christ, I can be a thousand things throughout life and never lose my footing.

What is your latest book about?  
Forgotten Faith is about the book of Genesis in the Bible.  But it’s not just a book about Genesis, it does something unique.  It highlights the many ties between Genesis and Revelation.  In my research I came to realize that the first and the last book of the Bible are tightly knit.  They are like a perfect opening and closing by the best author.  They play into one another giving us a foundation and a certain hope.  I’ve often heard it said that Genesis is the foundation for understanding the rest of the Bible.  I do believe that.  But now I believe Revelation might be almost just as significant.  I’m convinced Forgotten Faith is a necessary book for today, and that’s one reason I wrote it. 

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?  If so, what was the most interesting thing you learned?  
I really did years of research for this book without knowing it.  I became interested in the topics within Forgotten Faith and through the past several years I’ve been researching and learning without a clear picture of the book it would one day become.  I was learning because I was curious, not because I wanted to write a book.  But as time went on, I realized what I had been interested in and learning about had a theme.  So I set out to explore writing a book on Genesis.  Everything started coming together, but it wasn’t until I started gathering all of my research that I realized Genesis and Revelation tip their hat to one another pretty often – more often than I ever expected.  So, generally speaking, that was one of the most fascinating things to me.

Where do you like to write?  
My favorite place to write is in my home office.  My books are all on a bookshelf behind me for easy access, my computer screen is big so I can see what I’m working on easily, and my English Springer Spaniel sits lovingly at my feet.  It really is one of my favorite places.  If I’m going to be reading a lot for research though, I usually choose to be outside.  I’ll sit on the back porch and let the dogs play in the yard, or I’ll sit out in a swing where I can let our horses out of their pasture to graze on new grass around me.  Our geese usually come over and play with my shoelaces while I read.  Being an animal lover, those creatures make research peaceful and not as grueling.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?  
I’ve found I have to have an outline.  Have to!  I’ve started so many books and never finished them – not because it wasn’t interesting, but because I went so far off the point of the book and spent so much time doing it, that I didn’t know how to get back without just starting over!  So outlines are necessary for me, even though outlining is the least fun process ever.  I used an outline when writing Forgotten Faith, and it made all the difference.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  
I like playing games with friends and family, spending time with the horses (or any animal), and going on weekend trips with my husband and friends.

Is there a place you’d like to visit but haven’t yet?  
Yes!  We have some friends that just got back from a trip to Estes Park, Colorado.  They stayed in a cabin there in the snow. They got to see so many elk and deer.  They tubed on a snow hill.  I’m pretty sure if we ever go, we will have to snow mobile as well!  I’ve never been around snow much living in Texas, so I’d really like to experience that!  I love the idea of playing and being around snow all day and then coming in the cabin, building a fire, and watching movies and playing games at night.  That would be so fun!

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 
Is it crazy if I say that I don’t have a favorite???  I like so many for so many different reasons that I’ve rarely been able to nail just one or two down as a true favorite.  I guess the verse that has most recently stirred my heart is Zephaniah 3:16b-17 – “…let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Do you have a favorite movie?  
My all-time favorite movie is The Secret Life of Bees.  No, it’s not a documentary about bees!  It was a book first (and a very profound book at that!) by Sue Monk Kidd.  The movie has Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifa, and Alicia Keys in it.  Something about that movie resonates with me.  It has become my comfort movie.  If I’m needing comfort, that’s the movie I will watch.  I have probably seen it over 50 times, no joke.

What are some nonfiction books you found impactful?  
The most recent one I can think of was I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.  I loved it.  My masters is in Christian Apologetics and that book does a good job of equipping us with answers for why we believe what we believe.  It’s definitely worth the read!  I would also recommend C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity as well as A Grief Observed, and I loved Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman.

What is your favorite holiday?  
Definitely Christmas because I love seeing people come together and selflessly buy for kids on angel trees. I love seeing the lights and decorations on neighborhood houses.  I love how many Christmas parties and events there are during that time of year.  And I love hearing Christmas songs playing in the stores and radio stations.  People hear about Christ more this time of year than probably any other, even if it’s only subtly.  I love that the whole holiday of Christmas is centered around Jesus, and the majority of the nation still celebrates it!

What is your favorite season and why is it your favorite?  
Spring is my favorite because of how all the wildflowers and trees start blooming.  I always think its so significant that so many species of trees and plants burst into bloom every year right around Easter/Passover.  It’s like the creation is praising Jesus in its own way for making a way for redemption!  The timing is so perfect and the thought of creation praising Jesus moves me ever year!

Are you currently working on any new novels?  If so, could you give us a hint?  
I’ve actually taken a little break from writing so I can finish seminary.  Seminary has a significant amount of reading homework, practicums, and papers, so I’m going to focus on finishing that and then I will start working on my next book.  I will admit, though, I have already been jotting down notes and significant things I’ve been learning.  I can feel another book rising up in me!  I love it.


Thank you so much for being here!  Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?  
Well, thank you for having me!  I guess I’d like to tell readers to never stop reading.  Reading is so important, especially as a Christian.  I believe our minds inform our hearts, so keeping our minds engaged with Christ-centered books (and of course the Bible) is so very important for our hearts.  So never stop reading.  I mean even God gave us a book to read, so I’m pretty sure he thinks it’s important, too! Ha!  And, yes, you can connect with me or find out more about my books at www.laurenreeves.com

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Review: The Way of the Brave (Global Search and Rescue #1) by Susan May Warren

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

About the book:
Haunted by the memory of a rescue gone wrong, former pararescue jumper Orion Starr has no desire to join Hamilton Jones's elite rescue team. But he also can't shirk his duty when the call comes in to rescue three lost climbers on Denali in Alaska.

Jenny Calhoun's yearly extreme challenge with her best friends is her only escape from her guilt. The former CIA profiler and psychiatrist green-lighted an operation against the Taliban that ended in ambush and lives lost. When her cathartic climb on Denali turns deadly, she'll be forced to trust her life to the most dangerous of heroes--the man she nearly killed.

Orion and Jenny will have to put their wounds behind them to save their friends . . . and their hearts.
My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
I'm a huge fan of Susan May Warren's novels, so it's no surprise that this book automatically made it on to my want-to-read shelf. ;) I enjoyed this introduction to a new series and the characters were great.

It took me a little bit to get into the story, but towards the end I had a difficult time putting it down and am SO eager to read the next one. I can't wait to see what happens with THOSE characters. Lol!

The Way of the Brave had so many intense moments. I found the pacing to be fast from the middle point of the story on. The romance was pretty good, although I wasn't a huge fan of it for some reason. Also, I did have a little difficultly keeping the characters straight at first.

All in all, though, the ending was fantastic and I really liked the story. As I said, I'm looking forward to the next book.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Celebrate Lit: Beyond Second Chances

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.


About the Book



Book: Beyond Second Chances
Author: Shirley Quiring Mozena
Genre: Christian, Religion, Christian Life, Inspirational
Release Date: August 31, 2015

A woman who knows grief and loss after the death of her second husband, is jilted just before an ill-advised remarriage, yet retains her trust in a loving God. Shirley Quiring Mozena leans on her relationship with her faithful God while experiencing the pangs of loneliness and regret. Weaving in her family’s backstory, she tells of a shy pastor’s daughter who through dramatic life experiences learned a deep trust in God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. When a new man in her life appears, can Shirley trust his love? One woman’s story of love triumphing over loss will strengthen and inspire.


Click here to get your copy. (aff link) 

About the Author



World traveler, Shirley Quiring Mozena is happy hiking a trail, sitting by the fire reading a good book, or having a cup of coffee with a friend. She loves adventure and is ready to go at a moments notice. Shirley has shared her story throughout the country, and is a retired music teacher and librarian. She enjoys entertaining with her husband in their home with a good meal and scintillating conversation.
Shirley has experienced the greatest test of her faith through the death of her two husbands. Together, she and her husband, Jim, work with others who have lost loved ones through death.
Shirley would be happy to hear from you at her website: www.shirleymozena.com

More from Shirley

Can you find love again on a couples matching site? Yes. And no. In my first book, Second Chances, I share how I found love and married second time on a matching site. Seventeen months after our marriage, my husband died. I didn’t think I’d ever love again, but after time, explored the same website only to be crushed with disappointment. My dreams were destroyed. As a result, I learned to fully surrender to God and be contented in whatever state I was in—married or single. This book continues my story and ends in joy! Find out what happens in this second book. God blesses us Beyond Second Chances. Read my story and be encouraged.

Blog Stops

My Devotional Thoughts, January 30 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
janicesbookreviews, February 1
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, February 2 (Author Interview)
Andrea Christenson, February 5 (Author Interview)
Quiet Quilter, February 6
Vicky Sluiter, February 8 (Author Interview)
Stories By Gina, February 9
Susan K. Beatty, Author, February 10 (Author Interview)

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Shirley is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and a copy of Second Chances!!
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/f532/beyond-second-chances-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Author Interview:

Where do you like to write?

I try to carry a small notebook in my purse whenever I go anywhere. At home, it’s usually at my computer that faces my front yard. I can see what’s going on outside (although my rhododendron needs to be trimmed—it’s hiding my view!).

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

It’s really hard to choose one favorite, but as a child, I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

What are some nonfiction books you found impactful?

The Bible
The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman
The Attributes of God, A.W. Tozer
My God is True!, Paul D. Wolfe
Great Days with the Great Lives, Charles R Swindoll

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?

“Bring Me Home” from Les Miserables

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

I absolutely love hearing from my readers. It makes me happy to know I’ve touched someone’s emotions or drawn them closer to God with my words. My blog is there, as well as my books. Be sure to watch the book trailer! Here’s my website: www.shirleymozena.com

Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
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