Love in Three Quarter Time

Happy Valentine’s Day all! I hope you have some good plans, whether it’s going out with a significant other or friends, or curling up with a book love. Personally, I’m celebrating by going to the dentist and then a physical therapy appointment, oh, joy.

But, you can celebrate by reading Love in Three Quarter Time.

Love in Three Quarter cover Evelyn Watt fell in love with Austrian marketing director Rudy Moser the moment he stepped into their Boston firm. With his ice blue eyes and chocolate-melting accent, he is as refined as she imagines his home country to be. When Evelyn finds herself unexpectedly unemployed right before Christmas, she is left with an unknown future until Rudy steps in with a job appraising, assessing and cataloging heirlooms, lending her American vernacular to the translated descriptions to give each item international appeal. Evelyn will live in Vienna for the months leading up to a grand auction at a party held in conjunction with the Opera Ball—on Valentine’s Day. 

Vienna is a magical blend of waltzing, antiques, and bottomless cups of Einspanner coffee at the Café Mozart. When a secret from Rudy’s family’s past blows in with the winter chill, Evelyn is forced to confront how well she knows the object of her affection. Her café tablemate, the gruff and enigmatic Klaus Bauner might be the only person who holds the key to Rudy’s past. But could that key also unlock her future? In the days leading up to the Opera Ball, Evelyn finds herself in the middle of the greatest romance of her life…as long as she doesn’t trip over her two left feet.

My Review

I’m always a huge fan when authors put a book baby out to the world that’s a project they’ve long dreamed of. In Rachel’s case, she came up with the name when she was 11, and after all these years has finally come to fruition. And what a result!

Love in Three Quarter Time is a lyrical romance that makes you feel like you’re lost in the stars of the night sky. Rachel creates a story woven with allusions that call to mind exactly what the characters are experiencing. While I enjoyed having the image painted in my mind, there were times that I felt that the scene was set without the extra wording. It’s a beautiful style of writing that fits well with the title and the story line, but may not be for everyone.

I loved traveling to Vienna through Evelyn’s eyes. As I will probably never manage to get there in person, Rachel does a fantastic job of inviting you into the sights, smells, and feeling of the city, drawing you into the characters. And, guys, KLAUS. He’s starts a bit like a curmudgeon, you soon learn that he has deeper levels, and you can’t help but fall in love with him a little more each page. He’s the bookish wounded hero the stuff our dreams are made of.

Here’s an odd thing: I DON’T LIKE COFFEE. Gasp. I know, but experiencing it through Evelyn’s eyes, I almost want to sit down and try all of the different coffees mentioned in the book. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll enjoy this aspect.

A note for my regular blog followers and Rachel’s readers: this story is a clean reads, but is not considered Christian Fiction. While there isn’t a faith theme, I think it does teach some great lessons about life, love, and making assumptions.

So, settle in and have a swoon worthy Valentine’s Day.

I received a complementary copy from the author, but was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are mine!

This Treacherous Journey – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

This Treacherous Heart FB Banner copy

About the Book

This Treacherous Journey(2)

Title: This Treacherous Journey

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing from the reward offered for her arrest. She’s innocent of the dirty dealings her deceased husband orchestrated, but the angry townspeople didn’t stop to listen to her defense before she narrowly escaped with her life. Now, she and her twin brother, Joseph, must battle the mountain wilderness of the Rockies to reach Canada and the clean start she craves. But when a fall from the rocky cliff leaves Joseph wounded and weak, could the strange mountain man they encounter be God’s gift to see them to safety?

Simeon Grant makes bad choices. His deceased wife and twin babies are lost to him now because of his reckless decisions, and the penance he pays by living alone in this mountain wilderness is only a small piece of what he thinks he deserves. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on his doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects the memories he’s worked so hard to forget. And when she asks for his help to travel deeper into the mountain country, he can’t help wonder why God would force him to relive the same mistakes he’s already suffered through. Or maybe taking these two to safety could be the way to redeem himself.

But when their travels prove more treacherous than he imagined, Simeon finds himself pressing the limits of his ability to keep Emma and her brother safe. Can he overcome the past that haunts him to be the man she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I have long been a fan of Misty’s historical westerns. While I’m not usually a drama fan, I find that Misty’s stories have a depth to them while keeping from getting overwhelming. This story was closer to that line for me as Simeon especially deals with some deep wounds. At first I wasn’t so sure about the 2 part prologue (I’ve never seen it before), but as the story progressed, I think it was really helpful to have that back story in place for the reader. It was a novel concept, but worked well for this application. Otherwise, I think it would’ve been difficult to understand Simeon’s mindset.

One thing I really appreciated about this story is that while there were secretes Simeon and Emma keep from each other, I didn’t feel like it was overly long, but just revealed as they naturally grew to trust each other. Some authors use secrets as the element of suspense, and those just annoy me because real relationships should trust each other! Their relationship is one of the better that I’ve read lately that deals with processing each other’s secret baggage. We all have it and we know it’s typically best to just lay it out there, certainly with the person with which we’re in a relationship.

While I enjoyed the story, this is not my favorite book of Misty’s. That said, I loved Joey’s character and I hope we’ll get to see his story as well. If that’s the case, I’ll definitely pick it up. If you enjoy drama, western historicals, and broody heroes, this one’s for you.

I received a complementary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to give a positive review.

P.S. When I checked it last night, it was on sale for $.99!!!! I don’t know how long the sale will last, but in my opinion definitely a steal.

About the Author

Misty

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family–both immediate and extended–is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream. Learn more at http://www.MistyMBeller.com.

Guest post from Misty M. Beller

The Treasure of Family

I’m an old-fashioned girl. Always have been. And growing up on the family farm, with grandparents in the old farmhouse next door and cousins living all around us, I can’t imagine my life without family. Now that I’m married with three daughters of my own, I treasure my family even more—both immediate and extended!

In my books, I tend to weave the importance of family into each story somewhere, and This Treacherous Journey is no exception! I first wrote the prologue as a standalone short story, the account of the birth of the hero from another of my books (Reuben Scott from The Lady and the Mountain Call).

It was the story of a father, grieving the loss of his wife and feeling as if he has no choice but to give his newborn twins to another family to raise. I wrote this part of the story a week after my third daughter was born, and I cried buckets through the writing! The story has an even stronger emotional connection for me, because my younger brother and sister were both adopted into our family. I can’t imagine their birth parents having the courage to give them up for adoption unless they knew without a doubt it was the best choice for those sweet babies.

So, as you read This Treacherous Journey, it’s my prayer that you’ll take a moment to cherish your own family. Remember all the special moments. Spend extra time with those you love. Relish the treasures God placed in your life!

Blog Stops

Bibliophile Reviews, February 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, February 3

History, Mystery & Faith, February 4

A Greater Yes, February 4

margaret kazmierczak, February 4 (Interview)

Kathleen Denly, February 5

Blogging With Carol, February 5

Faithfully Bookish, February 6

Books n baubles, February 6

Mommynificent, February 7

Connie’s History Classroom, February 7

Reading Is My SuperPower, February 8

The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 8

proud to be an autism mom, February 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 9

Mary Hake, February 9

Blossoms and Blessings, February 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10

Texas Book-aholic, February 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 11

Zerina Blossom’s Books, February 12

Bigreadersite, February 12

Kat’s Corner BooksFebruary 13

Janices book reviewsFebruary 13

Jeanette’s ThoughtsFebruary 14

Carpe DiemFebruary 14

A Baker’s PerspectiveFebruary 15

Karen Sue HadleyFebruary 15

Pursuing StacieFebruary 16

Simple Harvest ReadsFebruary 16

Giveaway

amazon gift card 50

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

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c8e4

 

Blogiversary Extravaganza Winners

A big thank you to all who visited last week to help me celebrate one year of blogging! I know you all are most eager to know the winners, so without further adieu:

Monday: A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

Winner: Janice H.M. (pjrc…)

 

Tuesday: The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Winner: Merry S. (mary…)

 

Wednesday:  The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner

Winner: Kay G. (2clo…)

 

Thursday: Falling for the Hometown Hero by Mindy Obenhaus

Winner: Danielle H. (dham…)

 

Friday: Love in Three Quarter Time ebook by Rachel McMillan

Winner: Caryl K. (psalm…)

 

If all of the winners will be email me within the next week and let me know your mailing address, please. Also, if you would please note which book it is you won, I’d appreciate it. Sometimes folks’ user names and emails don’t make sense with each other. (And a reminder to please refer to my Disclosure & Policies page.)

Happy Reading.

Why I Read – With Carrie @ Reading Is My Superpower

Why do I read? (Answer in a moment, but first my babbling.) 

Anyone who has read Reading Is My Super Power or had the privilege of meeting Carrie in person (benefits of CFRR!) knows that she has a joyous positive spirit. What you may not know is that Carrie and I share a common thread besides books: chronic illness. This is a book blog, why are you talking about diseases? You might be asking at this moment, but bear with me.

reading quote 1You, see there are a handful of things that define me and my life right now. Of course, being a Christian is the default and number one answer, but beyond the obvious statements, really two things stick out: books and multiple sclerosis. I’ve found a great friend in Carrie as we’ve bonded over books, blogs, and our health and so it was only natural in one of our 1,853,244 conversations that I’d ask her to guest post on the blog and I suggested the topic of why do we read? More specifically how, or why, do we read so much?

If you follow any of the Christian Fiction groups online, you’ve probably seen a version of this question come up, especially as it relates to how much time we spend reading the Bible. I’ll admit that I should spend more time doing this and that the answer I have for that question is quite complex. But, mulling it over with Carrie, we both realized we could summarize why we read in a list of TWO.

#1 – I love it.

Carrie: I mean… there’s not much more to say about that, is there? We love reading. We love the adventures we get to participate in vicariously. We love the new friends we meet on the pages. We love the swoony book boyfriends. (Carrie’s boys and Kat’s boys) We even just love the way the words are all put together.

The proof that God loves story is that His Story is the root of all other stories. It begins with the very first ‘once upon a time’  and ends with the ultimate ‘happily ever after.

For me, that love of reading started young. My parents read to me from birth, I’m pretty sure. My first word was ‘book’ (seriously). And I actually never really learned to read, formally. I just started reading one day from my Dick and Jane primer… and then read the 2nd chapter of Philippians to my dad while he was shaving LOL. So, reading is really part of my DNA. It’s part of what makes me ‘me’. Even if I was svelte and healthy and could leap anything in a single bound, I would still read.

Kat: I agree with all of that. My mom made me practice the alphabet at home in preschool from the giant letter poster we had. I thought it was pure torture. Until I started to grasp the concept. In kindergarten, my teacher had a poem for every letter to help us remember it and I LOVED my little book of poems, slowly collected over the year. Then, my parents got me the whole set of Dick and Jane books and I was mesmerized as I tackled each level and practically memorized them. I still went back and read them into my pre-teen years. Some of my first comfort reads.

bookmark#2 – I can’t move.

 

Kat: You probably didn’t expect that second one, hence the babbling. While understanding of the chronic “invisible” illness has greatly increased over the past decade, there’s still a lot of stigma around it. “You don’t look sick” is a common response, and while people may not always say it, you can see it in their mannerisms and the look on their face. For those of you who meet me at CFRR, running around like a crazy lady, this might seem especially foreign. What you didn’t see was me crashing for the next week and a half. I had to go back to work once I got home, but I basically worked, ate, and slept. I didn’t even read much because my energy was so low.

Carrie: It took me at least that long to recover from CFRR lol! It’s such a wonderful time, and God really does give this burst of energy that I need for that moment. But when it’s done? I’m back to not moving … and when I do, I shuffle like a 90-year-old haha! Which some of you might have seen if you hung out with me the next day 😛

Kat: I shuffle like a 90 year old every two weeks when I’m due for massage therapy. While many see it as a luxury, it keeps me mobile. We have so much in common!

Chronic disease is extremely complex and varies person to person, but for the most part we share fatigue and pain as the top symptoms. Both of these combine to making an active lifestyle difficult and at times depressing, which is why we read. Reading opens a world to us that our circumstances don’t often allow us to experience; we travel, go snowboarding, don’t lay on the couch an obscene amount of hours a week, be normal. Books also allow us to escape from life for just a little while; the pain and fatigue, the medical bills, the longing for living like others. Carrie and I both know that longing will never ever be fulfilled in a story, only God can do that, but stories make it just a bit easier.

Carrie: Stories DO make it easier. Because frankly sometimes life in general – not to mention life with a chronic illness – isn’t all that cheery. But when we can pick up a book, dive into a different world, make new friends in the characters, and get caught up in the author’s stellar talent? We find our spirits lifted a little bit. Like Kat said, only God can truly lift our spirits and give us unexplainable joy in the midst of ‘yuck’… but because He is such a personal God He uses what He created us to love. For some people, that’s music (and He uses that with me a lot too, even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket). For others, that’s socializing with friends and family. And for some of us, it’s through story.

Of course, nothing replaces what He does in us through spending time with Him through His Word, the Bible. But that meets a different need, doesn’t it? He didn’t give us the Bible to entertain us, but to teach us. To equip us for life. To show His plan of redemption. And there is no way that Kat and I could muster up any semblance of joy without Him pouring it into our hearts as an overflow of spending time with Him. And yet… the proof that He loves story is that His Story is the root of all other stories. It begins with the very first ‘once upon a time’ (Gen 1:1) and ends with the ultimate ‘happily ever after’ (Rev 21). So, it’s really no surprise that He uses story to encourage and teach us even as it entertains us.

shelf control

Kat: Carrie, thank you so much for sharing a piece of you today! Your friendship is a treasure as we help spread the book love and support each other through ups and downs of chronic illness.

Baby BlessingGiveaway

Today’s giveaway will be a copy of The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner!  The giveaway will be open for one week. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Remember to enter the other giveaways this week!

Book Boyfriends 2017

Blogiversary Extravaganza! Things I wish I Knew When I Started a Blog

Throwback Thursday – Giveaway

First Line Fridays – Love In Three Quarter Time

12 Days at Bleakly Manor – C

12 days at bleakly manor copy

About the Book

Bleakly Manor COVER

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I may be dense, or just need to brush up on my classic literature, but I didn’t realize that this book was related to a Dicken’s classic until I was reading about the next in the series at the end. Thus, this review will not comment on whether or not the author did that compassion justice. Instead, I will be relating it to a more modern piece of entertainment, Clue.

I love Clue. I’ve always loved the game, the mystery, puzzling out just who did it. Once I was old enough, I also saw the movie, and now I own it. I was so excited when I watched the DVD the first time and it had an option to pick one random ending from three and you would never know which was going to be selected. It still thrills me even thinking about it. Unfortunately, it’d be extremely difficult for Michelle to pen three different endings, and then make us randomly flip to the page to select a different one, but all of the other essential reasons of why I love Clue, Michelle did in such a creative fashion.

I can’t say I was surprised by the ending, but that is because I suspected EVERYONE at some point, it’s the nature of the story arc. But, I also was surprised because it was brought together and the motivations behind it weren’t what I was puzzling together in my imagination. The mystery of who will die next and who was behind it all is what kept me turning pages because I had to know. Also the anxiety of knowing there could be only one winner, but we have both a hero and a heroine! I want them both to win! It was agonizing.

For regular readers of my blog, you will be happy to know I DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT, read the end until I got there. Aren’t you proud? In this case, I just knew it would ruin the mystery and allure of everything and Michelle wrote it in such a way with clues coming steadily that I didn’t feel the all consuming desire to know how it turned out before I got there.

So, that should tell you something. If you’re a fan of mystery, give it a try.

Side note: If you’re looking for a fluffy cheery Christmas read, this isn’t it. It’s a bit morose, but I ensure you, a very satisfying read.

What about you? Do you like Clue? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

michelle griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY

Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS

“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES

Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS

Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.

And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.

And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

Bukwurmzzz, December 14

Faery Tales Are Real, December 14

A Baker’s Perspective, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 15

Have A Wonderful Day, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated Reads, December 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater Yes, December 17

Remembrancy, December 17

Allofakindmom, December 18

History, Mystery & Faith, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

amandainpa, December 19

Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27


Giveaway

barnes and noble

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8

 

The Esther Paradigm Tour – Singing Librarian Books – Giveaway

1The Esther ParadigmjpgGenre:  Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?

Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.

kats-corner-cat-goodreadskats-corner-cat-amazon

5

THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING. I could leave the review there, but I’m guessing you all would like more information, so amidst my gushing, I will attempt some intelligent sentences.

The Esther Paradigm is not what I would normally read. When I initially read the description, I was kind of hesitant, but I’d really liked every other book of Sarah’s, so I figured I’d take a risk. I am sooooooooooo glad I did. I read it in one sitting. I wasn’t planning on that, but once I dove in I just couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I didn’t have much I had to accomplish that Saturday as hubs was at work. Also, it wasn’t as long as I thought it would be, which just helped myself talk myself into not putting it down.

There are many good things about this book. The steady romance is one, the allusion to the Esther story another. But, what I really want to go on about are two things: the culture and the faith.

I loved how Sarah brought a whole culture that is almost completely foreign to me to life and immersed into life as a Bedouin and a Muslim. That word is scary for some in today’s world, and I will not get into my political leanings or opinions on refugees, and neither does Sarah. Instead she takes you into the perspective of someone who practices Islam contrasted with the Christian perspective. There is a particularly beautiful section where the heroine shares her faith be starting with what her clansmen know, the Qur’an. Sarah weaves a beautiful and intricate story about a God who deeply loves His people and calls us to love people, no matter who they are or what they believe. Hannah and her parents live this out in a way that I will likely never experience, but learned from their experience. I learned about the Muslim faith, about the people, about sacrifice, and learning to hear God’s voice in the most desolate places.

I hope and pray that this book changes your heart and opinions as it did mine. Read it with an open mind and the romance will sooth your soul; not just the romance between two people who love deeply, but also between God and His people.

3

sarah-monzon-hr-4

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.

GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | WEBSITE

4

This was not how I’d thought I would die.

Not that I sat around imagining my death. I’m not that morbid. But never in my wildest dreams had I imagined this.

Along the horizon, racing toward me with frightening speed, a billowing brown wall licked the earth’s surface and spit it out again—a ferocious scream that caused my heart to stutter in my chest. Six years away and this was how my beloved desert welcomed me home.

Wind whipped my long, loose dress around my legs and tugged at the few strands of hair not safely tucked in a ponytail under my hijab. I’d always been thankful the Bedouin clan my parents ministered to as missionaries didn’t adhere to the more concealing Muslim headwear, such as a niqab or burqa. I had to admit, though, that having more material to cover my nose and mouth would be helpful against the dust storm about to consume me. With quick motions, I reached around my head and unwrapped the bottom of my hijab, rewrapping it around my nose and mouth. A bit of water or petroleum jelly would work even better to save my nose and lungs from the dry desert sand, but some protection was better than none.

Tiny grains of sand picked up by the wind pelted my body like fastballs pitched by major league baseball players. I hunched over, lowering my frame as close to the ground as I could. Never knew if the wind had picked up more than just the earth’s surface. An abandoned tire rim or something else could decapitate a person when chucked at top speeds. It would be just like that temperamental mistress to hurl an object absently left on the wayside.

The storm was on me now.

My lungs constricted to rid themselves of the tiny particles I’d breathed in, coughing hot breath into the material around my mouth. My eyes watered with the force of the wind, and I blinked rapidly to try and rid the granules scratching my irises.

Lifting my backpack, I shielded my face and eyes, wishing I hadn’t let the driver drop me off so far from where the clan currently had their tents pitched. The inside of a twenty-year-old Jeep would have served as a wonderful bunker against this onslaught. Now I had no protection.

In the thick of it, I squinted through the brown haze, looking for something to hunker under on the leeward side. The rise of a nearby dune lied of its ability to protect. Fortunately, I understood the reality of the phrase “shifting sands.” Had no desire to change my death sentence from asphyxiation due to sand in my lungs to being buried alive when the wind deposited the dune right on top of my head.

A camel’s bray rent through the cacophony of the storm. My heart restarted. If ever there was an animal built to survive the temper of the desert, it was the camel. I pushed my legs forward, wishing I wore pants rather than my dress, which wrapped itself around my calves and threatened to topple me. If I could hear the camel’s call, perhaps its owner could hear mine. I lifted my chin and took in a lungful of air before pulling down the covering from my lips.

Musaeada!” I yelled for help in Arabic. “Musaeada!”

The camel answered, and I took a few more stumbling steps toward the sound. The sand made it difficult to do anything—walk, see, breathe. If I didn’t find a place to wait out the storm soon, I wouldn’t survive it.

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Amazon GC

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Enter the giveaway HERE.

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December 11-The Green Mockingbird | Paulette’s Papers | Zerina Blossom’s Books
December 12-Faithfully Bookish | Karen Sue Hadley | Flowers of Quiet Happiness 
December 13-Singing Librarian Books | Heidi Reads… | A Baker’s Perspective
December 14-Book by Book | allofakindmom | Fiction Aficionado
December 15-Remembrancy | Bibliophile Reviews | Kat’s Corner Books
December 16-Red Headed Book Lady Bookworm Mama | Ponderings of a Poet & Procrastinator

 

A Few of our Favorite (Christmas) Things

23715164_10104751480242515_1146636799_oWelcome to A Few of our Favorite (Christmas) Things blog hop (and giveaway!).

My favorite thing of this year is how launching this blog has helped me meet and become friends with so many bloggers and authors. One day this fall, one of those bloggers (Carrie!) and I were chatting and came up with this idea about a big Christmas blog hopping giveaway about what we love about Christmas.  We found some friends, and here we are. I’m excited to get to know my friends a little better, and I hope you’ll comment on this post with your favorite Christmas things so I can get to know you better as well!

Today, you will find five posts published by five bloggers, each with a few words forming a sentence. Collect all of the words in order and submit them in the rafflecopter on the final blog by 11:59pm Eastern on December 18th. The grand prize is FIVE Kindle ebooks! One grand prize will be awarded (please see the disclosures page).

Blog Stop Order:

Stop #1: Kat’s Corner Books (Moi)

Stop #2: Faithfully Bookish

Stop #3: Bookworm Mama

Stop #4: Singing Librarian Books

Stop #5: Reading Is My Superpower

My Favorite Christmas Movie

I love Christmas movies. Hubs and I watch them all year around, honestly. Leaves falling from the trees? Christmas movie time. Tulips starting to bloom? Christmas movie time. 100 degrees outside and we’re sweltering in our non-air conditioned apartment? Christmas movie time (So I can imagine I’m in a blizzard).

Christmas-in-conneticut.jpg

Thus, we own several and I have so many I love, but ever since I was little, one in particular has owned my heart: Christmas in Connecticut. If you’re not familiar with this classic, it’s romantic story about a relationship entirely based on lies a misunderstanding. Barbara Stanwyck plays a food writer who doesn’t know how to cook and in order to save her career, brings “home” a soldier for Christmas. Hilarity ensues. The soldier is, of course, swoony, handsome, and loves babies, but is slightly disturbed by the fact that he’s falling in love with a married woman. But, as in all of Hallmark’s contemporary Christmas films, it all turns out ok in the end.

Cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mirro

I think many have Christmas memories/traditions revolving around baking/eating cookies. For me, Christmas cookies HAVE to come from a cookie press. It was a grand production when I was young and I loved watching the cookies take shape. I knew I was finally growing up when I was allowed to use the cookie press all by myself. Granted, the cookies never tasted that great (I’ve since learned to use a sugar cookie recipe not included in their recipe guide) but they looked sooooo pretty. We’d put green food coloring in for Christmas trees and wreaths, decorate with colored sprinkles, red “berries”, icing, or whatever we could find. Just pulling the press box out of storage makes me a little in awe. Behold the power of Christmas cookies.

My Favorite Christmas Music

POG xmas storyHere’s another one that I partake of year around: Christmas music. (To all you grinches, I’m not listening!!!!) But my most favoritest Christmas music of all time is Point of Grace, A Christmas Story. My best friend and I were a bit obsessed with them for part of our lives, but this album is one that has continued a favorite into adulthood. It’s one of those albums that is orchestrated as a whole. The songs flow into each other and tell a story as you progress through the album, but are just as wonderful individually. And there’s no beating the orchestra composition behind the amazing vocal talent. The French Horns make my heart sing every time. Add to that, to me, this album means coming home. No matter where I am, if I have this album playing, I know I belong.

…and of course…

Books, books, and more books!!!!

Christmas isn’t Christmas without gorging Christmas stories. I do have some personal favorites, but there are many great ones. I will say that my most anticipated Christmas read this year was Melissa Tagg’s final installment of the Renwycke siblings, and it did not disappoint (if you haven’t read any of the three, you can also now get the full collection). I’ll be featuring several books throughout December, so check back often to see the highlights of this year. Also, follow me on Instagram for what #christmasreads I’m currently entranced with.

This year, I’m attempting a feat I’ve never accomplished before: reading ALL of Love Inspired’s Christmas books for this season. I’ll be posting later this month with how successful I am and a helpful guide of my opinions of which are not to miss and which might…be. I did not realize just how many books this entailed when I started with the idea and it’s proving difficult, but I am determined!

24989376_843542995817711_1758941341_nSo, there you have it! Some of my favorite Christmas things. Now onto the clue for the giveaway. Remember to gather all of the clues and hop over to Reading is my Superpower to enter!

First set of words to collect: We all agree

For the second set of words to collect Hop over to Faithfully Bookish!

What are your favorite Christmas things????