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Saturday, April 9, 2022

Weekend Wrap-Up (April 9th, 2022)



Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)

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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.

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Monday, April 4, 2022

Review: What Matters Most by Courtney Walsh

About the book:
Emma Woodson is hoping the cobblestone streets of Nantucket and the charm of her late husband’s family cottage will be the fresh start she and her young son, CJ, need. Securing a dream job at an art gallery is one more step along the path to a new life . . . and away from a piece of her history she hopes will never be revealed. Falling in love with the kind and handsome guy she hires to clean out the rental apartment above the garage wasn’t part of the plan.

Jameson Shaw came to Nantucket for one reason: deliver his letter to Emma and never return. But when he sees an opportunity to help her, he takes a chance, desperate to atone for his past. He never planned to keep his connection to her husband a secret or to fall in love with her. After all, he knows that their new relationship might not survive the discovery of who he really is.

My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

What Matters Most was a great contemporary romance story. I felt like it had more depth than other contemporary novels and it was emotional at times to read.

I really liked Jamie. His character was one that I felt so badly for and you could just feel his sorrow/grief for what had happened. The romance story was good; although, it was a little too much for me at times.

All in all, What Matters Most was a good read and I really enjoyed reading it.

*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

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, March 28, 2022

Review: Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

About the book:
Paris, 1940

When the Nazis march toward Paris, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. The Germans make it difficult for her to keep Green Leaf Books afloat. And she must keep the store open if she is to continue aiding the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. But in order to carry out his mission, he must appear to support the occupation--which does not win him any sympathy when he meets Lucie in the bookstore.

In a world turned upside down, will love or duty prevail?

My rating:

5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Until Leaves Fall in Paris is one of those stories that starts off slowly and I wasn't really invested in it until I read a good chunk of the book...but once I was hooked, I had trouble putting the book down. 

The characters were great. I felt for Paul the most as he had to deal with his friends/community turning their backs on him. The romance was very good and I just loved the book.

All in all, Until Leaves Fall in Paris was an amazing story and I recommend it.

*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

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.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Giveaway + Review: The Case for Christ | Easter Movies on Pure Flix

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.

Pure Flix has a vast selection of movies/documentaries for Easter/Resurrection Sunday. I've found several I want to watch, as well as some movies that I've already seen and are favorites. Here's the link to their page, if you want to check out and join: Pure Flix

One of those movies is The Case for Christ. This is a favorite movie of mine. I had fun rewatching it as it had been a long time since I first watched it.

I loved the acting - it felt very realistic and the emotions were excellent. I loved how this movie shows Lee Strobel's journey of trying to disprove Christ's Resurrection from the dead. It was fascinating to see him go to a doctor, psychologist, archaeologist-turned-priest, etc. and learn all the ways that history and facts PROVE the Resurrection. 

All in all, The Case for Christ was a wonderful movie and I definitely recommend it. If you haven't seen this movie, it is a great one to watch leading up to Easter/Resurrection Sunday.

Disclosure:  Many thanks to Pure Flix for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY: Enter for the chance to win a Free 3-month Pure Flix membership! This giveaway is only open to US residents and ends 4/4/22.

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!



Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Review: Tyson's Run




About the movie:
Synopsis: 
When fifteen-year-old Tyson attends public school for the first time, his life is changed forever. While helping his father clean up after the football team, Tyson befriends champion marathon runner Aklilu. Never letting his autism hold him back, Tyson becomes determined to run his first marathon in hopes of winning his father's approval. 
With the help of an unlikely friend and his parents, Tyson learns that with faith in yourself and the courage to take the first step, anything is possible.
Trailer:

My thoughts:

Monday, February 21, 2022

Review: The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #3) by Sarah Sundin

About the book:
In the midst of a global war, two forsaken souls search for personal peace

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers' betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for--fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family--the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah's life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay's recurring dream comes true?

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
The Land Beneath Us is the third and final book in Sundin's Sunrise at Normandy series and it was the best possible finale to an unbelievably amazing series. I've read many Sarah Sundin books and this series has been by far my favorite. I loved each book and couldn't read them fast enough. :)

This book was Clay's story and it features a marriage of convenience (did NOT expect that!). I loved Clay and how he was protective of Leah. Their romance was so sweet and I loved seeing Clay grow throughout the story.

Something I loved about this series was how each book features prominent themes of forgiveness, grace, faith, etc. Such moving stories and I definitely consider this series a favorite.

All in all, The Land Beneath Us was amazing and I definitely recommend it. 

*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

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.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Review: The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2) by Sarah Sundin

About the book:
Facing the past may be the most fearsome battle of his life.

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, arranging entertainment for the men of the 357th and setting up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near . . . and secrets can't stay buried forever.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
The Sky Above Us is the second book in Sundin's Sunrise at Normandy series and it was SO good. After finishing the first book I couldn't wait to start this one and continue the brothers' journey - this time through Adler's perspective.

I thought I knew all the details on a certain event from the first book, but I was wrong. The Sky Above Us showcased there was more to that day than first thought. The book told a powerful story of redemption and grace. I absolutely loved that aspect. I also loved the transformation in both Adler AND Violet.

All in all, The Sky Above Us was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it...just be sure to read the series in order. 

*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

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 14, 2022

Review: The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #1) by Sarah Sundin

About the book:
Nothing but love could heal the wounds of war

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a "Wren" in the Women's Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with holiday snapshots of France--including those of her family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

I've had this book on my tbr pile for years and it was an even better read than I had anticipated. The story started out with such an emotional and gripping scene, so my attention was definitely hooked right away.

I didn't realize going in that this series was about a group of brothers that had a falling out. I love stories about families and this one was SO good. I loved reading Wyatt's story and I cannot wait to start the next book.

All in all, The Sea Before Us was an amazing read and I definitely recommend it. Written very well with great characters, a believable storyline, and rich with history. I loved it! 

*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

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.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Giveaway + Review: Church People Movie


About the movie:
CHURCH PEOPLE is a Christian comedy about the megachurch megaproduction sub-culture and getting back to the simplicity of the Gospel, starring Christian comedian Thor Ramsey, Hallmark Channel’s Erin Cahill, Stephen Baldwin, Donald Faison, and NSYNC’s Joey Fatone
Synopsis: Weary from the showiness and materialism that has overtaken his ministry efforts, Guy (Ramsey) goes on a journey to get back in touch with the heart of ministry and be a real role model to his youth group kids. He makes the difficult decision to cut short his speaking tour managed by his money-focused agent (Faison) after realizing that his reputation has become more fame based than Gospel-driven. 
But when Guy attempts to return to regular youth ministry, he is thrust into the throes of dissuading the youth group from performing a strange and potentially blasphemous stunt for the upcoming Easter service, starring a young, zealous new Believer, Blaise. In attempting to manage his youth group while navigating an unexpected love interest in the Senior Pastor’s daughter (Cahill) and being a new father to his grown daughter (Manfredi), Guy ultimately rediscovers and puts on a powerful presentation of why we all need to put our hope in Jesus and not in ourselves.
Trailer:
My thoughts:

Review: Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

About the book:
When You Stare Into the Abyss It Also Stares Into You

The bullet that rips into Cole "Tox" Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.
 
Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

My rating:
2 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Crown of Souls is a book that took me a long time to read. I think I started reading it in August of 2020 and finally finished it January of 2022. I had to take a break from reading it, as it was just not holding my interest. 

I enjoyed the main characters and present day sections (for the most part), but the supernatural elements and sections of the story from the past were just not for me.

All in all, Crown of Souls was an okay read. Parts of the story were interesting, but mostly I had a difficult time following everything and there were some things I didn't like. I do plan on finishing the series, though, as I already have the third book in my TBR pile.

*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

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 7, 2022

Review: The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

About the book:
In this charming rom-com, two enemies find something they never expected in one another—taking "all's fair in love and war" to a hilarious and heartwarming new level.

Actress Bree Leake doesn't want to be tied down, but just when it's time to move on again, Bree's parents make her an offer; hold steady in Abingdon for one full year, and they will give her the one thing she's always wanted—her grandmother's house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life throws her some curve balls.

And then there's her new neighbor. Chip McBride.

For the first time in her life, she's met the person who could match her free-spirited air—and it's driving her to the ledge of sanity. She would move heaven and earth to have him out of her life, but according to the bargain she's struck, she cannot move out of her house and away from the man who's making her life miserable. So begins Bree's obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast.

Bree isn't the only one who's a wee bit competitive, and as Chip registers what Bree's up to, he's more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur.

Good fences make good neighbors—and sometimes love and hate share a backyard.

My rating:
3 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

The Cul-de-Sac War is a book I was really looking forward to reading and, while I liked it, I didn't love it as much as I had expected to.

I thought the book was written well and I did laugh a few times, but some of the characters actions/pranks went a little too extreme and were just silly to me. I also found certain aspects unbelievable.

The romance was cute and I did like how Chip at one point did something very selfless in order to care for/help Bree (trying not to be specific in order to avoid spoilers).

All in all, I liked The Cul-de-Sac War. It was a fine one-time read.

*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

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.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Review: The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer

About the book:
For Years They've Been Nomads for Justice, but a Final Mission May Just Lead Their Hearts Home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

The Heart's Charge is the second book in Karen Witemeyer's Hanger's Horsemen series and another wonderful story.

I was first introduced to Jonah and Mark in the first book, At Love's Command, and was so excited to read their story. It's not often that a book has two different romance stories, but The Heart's Charge does and it was great. I loved the two romances and felt like they were both the "main" story. The book had some danger and I couldn't read fast enough to see what was going to happen. 

All in all, I loved The Heart's Charge and am eager to read the next book when it releases. I recommend this book, but I think you should read the series in order. :)

*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

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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Q & A with Francine Rivers Author of The Lady’s Mine

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.



New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers has published numerous novels—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both  industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels  have been awarded or nominated for many honors, and in 1997, after  winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. In 2015, she  received the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction  Writers (ACFW). Francine’s novels have been translated into over thirty different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries. She and  her husband, Rick, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

1. You refer to The Lady’s Mine as your “COVID story.” Can you please explain? 

What does a writer do when she is sheltering in place? Write. And write. And write some  more! Sometimes it is so much more fun to live in a created world than the real one, and  during the first and numerous succeeding shutdowns, that was what I did. Other than work  in the vineyard and garden, I immersed myself in a fictional world. By the time I finished  the manuscript, it was 194,000 words! It needed major cutting. But as I was still sheltering  in place out here in California, the job of cutting turned out to be almost as much fun as the  writing process. 

2. What motivated you to return to the California frontier? What about this setting  intrigues you? 

I’m a native Californian, and I’ve always loved our state history, especially the gold and  silver rush periods. Redeeming Love takes place from 1849 to 1851. The Lady’s Mine jumps forward to the 1870s silver rush. Men from around the world and all walks of life  poured into the state, hoping to strike it rich. A few women came—some by wagon train,  some by ship, some willing, and some not. It was a time of high drama, boom and bust. I  think that’s what appeals to me most—the dreams that brought people, the grueling hard  work that awaited them, the myriad stories of success and failure. 

3. You have said that your stories often start with a question. What question  prompted this story? 

There were several questions. How does a person cope with being cast out of a family? Do we determine the course of our lives, or is there a plan already in place? Can one  person change the character of a town? How can we offer a hand up rather than a handout  to those in desperate need? 

4. What themes in this story, set in the 1870s, have particular relevance today?

One of the themes is the oft-unfair treatment of workers. During the silver rush, it was  common to have a mine owner rolling in wealth while holding workers in debt bondage.  This is a common practice these days in human trafficking. We have laws now to protect  workers, but without naming anyone, news stories abound of how one man at the top can  rake in billions while paying workers minimum wage with few benefits. The nice side of  fiction is to suggest other possibilities in how to conduct a business. 

5. Your novels look deeply into characters’ motivations and emotions. What do you  hope readers will learn from delving into the inner thoughts of the characters in The  Lady’s Mine

Don’t let the unfairness of life embitter you. Strive to do good no matter what others around  you are doing. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Stand up and find practical  ways to help the less fortunate. A handout is good for a day. A hand up can change a life  forever. Speak truth no matter the cost. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh. Enjoy life. Don’t hold too tightly to your own opinion. Listen and learn from others. And above all, live  to please the Lord. 

6. In talking about this book, you reference the apostle James, who said, “Pure and  genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and  widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” What is one  practical way we can work toward not letting the world corrupt us?  

This will sound like a simple answer, but the best place to find out what and how to do  something is through reading the Bible. It’s also the best place to learn what not to do. Lately, I’ve been writing out a few verses a day from a book of the Bible. Romans. It will  take weeks to do it, but it is already helping me concentrate and think about what God is  saying, the instructions He is giving. This isn’t something I’ve always done, but now find  invaluable. Writing longhand slows me down and helps me concentrate on each word,  phrase, and sentence. When we’re focused on the Lord, He shows us practical ways to  live in this fallen world without becoming part of it. 

7. What character in this story did you most enjoy crafting? Why? 

Kathryn Walsh! She has strong faith, seeks the Lord, and does what she believes is right. She isn’t a quiet little lady in the pew. She’s fiery, opinionated, earnest, and determined to  make the town she lives in better (whether men agree or not). When she realizes she’s  wrong about something, she changes her mind. When she’s right, she plows ahead no  matter the cost. She looks for ways to help people rise from poverty. Though she has few  resources herself, she shares what she does have. She doesn’t judge anyone (except  Matthias Beck!), though she is frequently judged by others (Beck being one). And she has  a sense of humor. Frankly, I enjoyed getting to know her during the COVID shelter in place  orders. And, of course, Matthias Beck also had his fascinating character traits.


8. Did this story develop in any surprising ways?  

Kathryn’s business management scheme came as something of a surprise. So did the  next venture that leads to the real change in Calvada. But I can’t explain all that without  giving the story away. 

9. Working on this story during the COVID lockdown, you said that one of your  goals was to address serious issues with humor and grace. You commented, “Life  had become too somber to add heaviness to it. We all need to laugh, even when  days are dark—maybe even more so during those times. And we all want changes  for the better and a happy ending.” How did this project accomplish these goals? 

Writing as much as I did helped me pass the time while sheltering in place. In some ways,  my life didn’t change. As a writer, I spend most of my life at home working. I was able to  get through the frustration of the ever-changing rules and opinions by creating characters,  scenes, and dialogue. There are so many situations in life that challenge us to trust God. It  is so true there is nothing new under the sun. The “new normal” isn’t all that different from  trials we’ve faced before. We all have a choice. Grumble and growl over the way things  are. Or look for the good and the humorous aspects of life. I choose the latter. 

10. What do you hope your readers come to know about God through this story? 

Broken relationships don’t have to mean broken lives. Let (agape) love be the motivation  for what you do and how you live. God can mold the most unlikely people into wise and  gifted leaders. One person can change the course of a community. The Lord can make  beauty from ashes. 

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers 

ISBN 978-1-4964-4757-9 | Hardcover $27.99 | February 8, 2022

Preorder today: Amazon (aff link)

Monday, January 31, 2022

Review: At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen #1) by Karen Witemeyer

About the book:
He's fought through ruthless outlaws and injury. But with her, he's tempted to surrender.

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when her brother is abducted, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

When plans go awry and Josephine is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

I'm a huge fan of Karen Witemeyer's stories, so I don't know why I let this one fall so far down my reading list...and I'm so glad that I was recently nudged to read it. I could hardly put it down once I started it!

I absolutely loved the characters. While Jo was an amazing heroine, the horsemen were my favorite characters. I loved how they would risk their lives for others and their friendship was great.

All in all, I loved At Love's Command and am eager to continue the series. Definitely recommend it!

*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

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.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Giveaway + Review: Sons of Thunder: Redemption + Free 3-Month Subscription to Pure Flix



About the show:
Episode 1 | Finding Sandy 
0 hr 30 min 
Jacob, a former motorcycle gang member, travels to a horse ranch in California to find his long-lost college sweetheart and ask for her forgiveness.
Trailer:

My thoughts:

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Review: The Rancher's Christmas Bride (Bluebonnet Springs #2) by Brenda Minton

About the book:
A Cowboy for Christmas
After being jilted at the altar, all Marissa Walker wants for Christmas is to escape her life. Fleeing to Bluebonnet Springs and the ailing grandfather she’s never known seems like the perfect solution. But when her limo breaks down, neighboring rancher Alex Palermo comes to her rescue. With his ranch in jeopardy, Alex can’t afford any distractions right now—until he sees a bedraggled runaway bride on the side of the road. Alex can’t turn his back on the spunky city girl, and soon his priority becomes convincing her to stay. Because Christmas—and his future—would be much merrier with Marissa as his bride.

My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
The Rancher's Christmas Bride was such a wonderful read. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and setting.

I liked all the main characters, but Marissa's grandfather, Dan, was someone that I felt grew a lot in the story and I loved his character.

The romance was good and the ending was great. I thought this was just all-around a solid read. I recommend it if you enjoy easy, clean reads.

*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

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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Review: Sunrise by Susan May Warren

About the book:
Coming home was never the plan

After a terrible family fight, pilot Dodge Kingston left home to join the Air Force. A decade later, he's headed back to the destiny that awaits him as heir to Sky King Ranch. But that's not all that's waiting for him at home.

Echo Yazzie is a true Alaskan woman--a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. After her childhood best friend and former flame, Dodge, fled Denali, she settled into life on the Alaskan range. She's made her peace with being left behind--by her mother and by Dodge. And she's strong enough to live without them.

When one of Echo's fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. What she doesn't know is that there are more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

As Dodge sets out to find Echo, he can't ignore the feelings he still has for her. But will he be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Sunrise is the first book in Susan May Warren's new series, Sky King Ranch, and a fantastic read. When I first started reading the book I felt like I had missed a story on certain characters that were introduced and, after doing a little searching, I figured out that Larke Kingston and Riley McCord had indeed had their own book - Some Like It Hot. I'm happy to say that the author did a good job filling in details, so it didn't bother me too much not having read that book. ;)

I don't know how to describe Sunrise. In some ways it was a slower read for me in the beginning, and yet it wasn't a slow read. Once I got familiar with the characters and setting, I grew to love it and couldn't read fast enough! 

I loved the characters. Dodge and Echo were such complex characters and I enjoyed seeing them work through struggles and past hurts. The romance was definitely a good one and I loved the ending...even the cliffhanger. I can't wait to read the next book!

All in all, I loved Sunrise and definitely recommend it.

*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

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, January 24, 2022

Review: The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

About the book:
The best fiction simply tells the truth.
But the truth is never simple.

When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather's old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend's brother--and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter's claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.

But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn't easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.


My rating:
1.5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Weekend Wrap-Up (January 22, 2022)



Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)

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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.

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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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