This Wilderness Journey – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

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About the Book

This Wilderness Journey

Title: The Wilderness Journey

Author: Misty M. Beller

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

He’s been sent to retrieve the new missionary… But she’s not at all who he expects to find.

Joseph Malcom has spent his life protecting those in need, but now that his sister is safely settled with her new family in the Canadian Rockies, his help is no longer required. That is, until he’s asked to safely retrieve the priest’s cousin to help minister to the local Indian tribe. But his passenger is not at all who he expects.

After the death of her mother, Monti Bergeron has nothing to keep her in Montreal. While the prospect of ministering to the Indians out West is daunting, she looks forward to assisting her beloved cousin in his mission work. The life of a nun may be just what she needs to heal her grief, serving her Heavenly Father and fellow mankind, especially if no more pesky suitors are around to ask for her hand in marriage. But the man who’s been sent to guide her through the mountains might make her second-guess her plans before she even begins.

As Monti settles into her ministry, Joseph finds his wandering feet drawn back to the Indian camp. Monti’s focus on God is more unsettling than he’d like to admit. Add to that her beauty which tests his willpower at every turn, and she’s made it crystal clear she doesn’t want a husband. But when his determination to keep distance between them puts Monti in danger, protecting her might require something Joseph might not be able to give.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

This Wilderness Journey is the sequel to This Treacherous Journey, Emma’s brother Joseph’s story. While another solid story from Misty, I struggled to connect to Joseph and Monti, but I admit, I’m not sure why. Both Joseph and Monti are likable characters, both with a lot of emotional baggage. Joseph struggles with his faith after his experience whereas Monti’s relationship with God appears to have a great depth. But, she has deep trust issues steaming from a traumatic experience as a teen, and although I understand the deep hurt, I also question how her deep faith hasn’t helped her move more forward at this point. Everyone processes and heals at a different rate, though, so other readers might agree with right where she is.

If you are a Misty Beller fan, be sure to pick up a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this story for review purposes for this tour. All opinions are honest and my own.

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.

Guest Post from Misty Beller

The Frontier Cook

I love to write frontier romance, where the challenges were tough and the people had to be even tougher. And one of the things I love to imagine is how my characters cooked during those days.

Can you imagine how hard it would be to cook over an open fire? Every. Single. Meal. Of course, it’s not like they had a lot of variety to work with. Once you learned how to make a decent stew or corn mush, you didn’t have much to worry about, right?

Yet, many of the frontier women became quite adept at cooking over their cabin’s hearth, or even over an open campfire. In my new book, This Wilderness Journey, Monti (the heroine) came from a middle-class home with a paid chef and never had to learn to cook at all, much less without the use of a wood stove (which is still so much harder than heating a hot-pocket in the microwave). After she burned the corn mush their first night on the trail through the Canadian wilderness, Joseph (the hero) taught her a few basic meals.

As I was researching some creative ways frontier women cooked in an open hearth, I discovered the wide use of puddings, mostly because of how easy they were to make. By wrapping the ingredients in a cloth or pudding bag, they could be dropped in a pot of boiling water and left until the ingredients had softened and expanded. An entire meal could be made with a few ingredients, a pudding cloth, and a pot of boiling water.

One of my favorite cooking scenes in This Wilderness Journey is the making of the Oatmeal Pudding. What do you think? Sound like something you’d like to try?

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, June 7

Among the Reads, June 7

Two Points of Interest, June 8

The Power of Words, June 8

Blossoms and Blessings, June 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 9

Mary Hake, June 10

Splashes of Joy, June 10

Kathleen Denly, June 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 11

Maureen’s Musings, June 12

Kat’s Corner Books, June 12

Mommynificent, June 13

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 13

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 13

Bibliophile Reviews, June 14

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 14

Pause for Tales, June 15

proud to be an autism mom, June 15

Texas Book-aholic, June 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

Janices book reviews, June 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 17

Carpe Diem, June 18

Red Headed Book Lady, June 18

Connie’s History Classroom, June 19

Bigreadersite, June 20

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, June 20

Giveaway

amazon gift card

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away 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/cd16/this-wilderness-journey-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

The Firefighter’s Twins – Just Read – Giveaway

The Firefighter's Twins Blog Tour

Welcome to The Firefighter’s Twins Blog Tour and giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

I’m excited to bring you an only seen here guest post from Heidi, so scroll down to read!


ABOUT THE BOOK

the firefighter's twinsTitle: The Firefighter’s Twins
Author: Heidi McCahan
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

One single dad plus twin toddlers

A formula for her new family?

Since his wife left, fireman Shay Campbell has focused on work and his twin toddlers. But the lovely Natalie McDowell is making him rethink that decision.

She’s great with his boys, and they adore her. But he can’t go through losing someone again. Will a dream job offer win Natalie’s heart, or does it belong to Shay and the twins?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository | Harlequin


GUEST POST FROM HEIDI

7 Reasons Why Readers Love Animals in Fiction

As an author who wants to earn a living writing novels, I try to pay attention to readers’ preferences. While reading is a rather subjective experience, and no one knows for certain what will be the next best-seller, when it comes to animals in books, I feel it is safe to say that readers consistently LOVE an adorable four-legged secondary character.

I won’t bore you with scientific data or market research to support my theory (mainly because I don’t have any). Although I did do a tiny bit of web surfing, which revealed that dogs have maintained a long run of popularity in print media for decades. Supposedly in 1938, George Stevens, the editor of the Saturday Review stated, “Since people love to read books about Abraham Lincoln, and people love to read books about doctors, and people love to read books about dogs, then the best-selling book of all time ought to be a book called Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog.”

In other words, it is difficult to chase a trend in publishing, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. We write books about animals because we are confident there’s a buying audience out there.

Here is my somewhat light-hearted, entirely subjective list of reasons why I believe this is true. And since I have a goat on the cover of my new novel, I feel that gives me some credibility, as well.

  1. Animals combined with children equals a double-dose of cuteness that many find irresistible.
  2. Oxytocin, anyone? Who hasn’t experienced the warm fuzzy feeling from petting a cute animal? I know, I know, I said no research…but science has proven that there is a positive physiological response when we interact with animals. I think reading about animals might also provoke a similar response.
  3. Vulnerability: characters often tell animals things they wouldn’t say out loud, giving readers a glimpse of a character’s deeper feelings.
  4. When we see animals on a book cover, it reminds us of less complicated seasons in our lives.
  5. Animals featured in books provoke fond memories of our own personal experiences with pets.
  6. Weaving a beloved animal (often a dog) into a plot can make a fictional character more appealing to readers.
  7. Friendly animals often attract humans, even fictional humans, which provides an opportunity for the characters to engage. In my new release, The Firefighter’s Twins, the hero and heroine often interact because the heroine’s family owns a venue where the hero’s twins love to play. When the hero takes his sons to pet the goats, it attracts the attention of the heroine and her sisters, which leads to meaningful conversation and…well, you’ll just have to read the book to see what happens next.
Reference:
Engber, Daniel. Why Are Dogs Popular in Books, and Cats on the Internet?
Slate Magazine, April 2013.
Montgomery, Sy. Psychological Effects of Pets are Profound. Boston Globe, January 12, 2015.

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed Heidi’s latest and the world she created on the farm. I haven’t read many books with firefighters, but I liked getting to know a bit more about their world, without having the story get absorbed in details about firefighting. While I did like Natalie and Shay (and the twins!), I think my favorite character is the fire chief. He makes a few brief appearances, but I appreciate how he cares for his men beyond the job.

Overall, it’s a lighter read of the quality expected with a Love Inspired author. I hope to get to know some of the other characters better in future stories.

I received a complementary copy of this story for review. All opinions are honest and my own.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

heidi mccahan

Heidi McCahan is the author of Covering Home, Unraveled, and Love Flies In. She is also an active RWA member and currently serves as secretary of the North Carolina chapter of ACFW. Heidi won the 2014 Idahope contest, and was a 2015 finalist in Harlequin’s Blurb 2 Book contest. A Pacific Northwest girl at heart, she was transplanted in the South several years ago, and currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and three boys. Heidi is a huge fan of coffee, dark chocolate, and happily ever after, and can often be found enjoying a good cup of coffee and a great book. The Firefighter’s Twins, her first novel with Harlequin Love Inspired, is available now.

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Newsletter


The Firefighter's Twins giveaway
(photo by Heidi McCahan)

Heidi McCahan has put together a FABULOUS giveaway for readers! One winner (US only) will receive:

Magnolia Market tote bag
Hearth & Hand Magnolia Notepad + tell your story pencil
4 magnetic bookmarks
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Gratitude journal + lists notebook
weekly planning pad
Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt
Falling for You by Becky Wade
The Firefighter’s Twins by Heidi McCahan

Giveaway will run from midnight June 1, 2018 through 11:59pm June 11, 2018. It is subject to the policies found here.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


tour schedule

Follow along with the tour for more chances to win! Grab the schedule at JustRead!

 

Trecherous Trails – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

Tracherous Trails FB banner copy

About the Book

Treacherous Trails

Title: Treacherous Trails

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy Romanctic Suspense

Release Date: March, 2018

Falsely accused…

Can she escape the real killer?

In this second installment in the Gold Country Cowboys series, farrier Ella Cahill is accused of murder—and only former marine Owen Thorn, her brother’s best friend, can help clear her name. Now with someone trying to kill Ella, Owen must protect her…despite his promise to her brother to stay away from her. But can they work together to find the true killer before she becomes the next to die?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I enjoyed the tension that Dana created within this story, both action-wise and romance-wise. I like stories where the characters have known each other for awhile as the relationship seems more realistic on a quicker timeline. Dana takes advantage of this fact to both accelerate the relationship but also provide its own set of tension; where’s there history there are issues to work out. Also, the romantic tension is steady, giving the reader that pulling feeling without getting overly amorous. There is a good balance between story development and romance development.

I did get frustrated with both characters at different points. Though I understand where each was coming from, they were stubborn to a fault…until they weren’t. While they had both clearly been considering their positions throughout, the issues resolve quickly to wrap up the story a bit fast for me.

I definitely want to catch the next in the series, which I hope is Ray’s.

I received a complementary copy of this story through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own!

About the Author

dana mentink

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 thirty five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. 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, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

Guest Post from Dana Mentink

Howdy, friends! I am so thrilled to be galloping into the second book in the Gold Country Cowboy series with you. This book was a hoot to write. It’s got a nice twisty mystery and plenty of danger! Our hero, twin Owen Thorn, is a Marine doing his darnedest not to fall in love with his brother’s little sister, but you know how these things go, don’t you, partners? There’s trouble ahead in cowboy country and this story will take you on a wild gallop to the happy ending! God bless and thanks for coming along!

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 12

Lighthouse Academy, April 12

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 12

Daysong Reflections, April 13

Karen Sue Hadley, April 13

Janices book reviews, April 13

Book by Book, April 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 14

History, Mystery & Faith, April 15

C Jane Read, April 15

The Power of Words, April 15

To Everything a Season, April 16

Among the Reads, April 16

Genesis 5020, April 16

A Baker’s Perspective, April 17

Two Points of Interest, April 17

Carpe Diem, April 18

Cafinated Reads, April 18

Maureen’s Musings, April 19

Simple Harvest Reads, April 19 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, April 20

Have A Wonderful Day, April 20

Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting, April 21

proud to be an autism mom, April 21

Bibliophile Reviews, April 22

A Greater Yes, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 23

Artistic Nobody, April 23 (Spotlight)

Kat’s Corner Books, April 24

Red Headed Book Lady, April 24

Bigreadersite, April 24

margaret kazmierczak, April 25 (Interview)

Raining Butterfly Kisses, April 25

Remembrancy, April 25

Giveaway

Treacherous trails

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, Cornbread Mix, and Cowboy Caviar Salsa!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ca46

 

The Heart’s Appeal – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

The Hearts Appeal FB Banner copy

About the Book

Heart's Appeal

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is Jennifer’s second novel and I think she did a smashing job. While the genre is definitely drama, a genre that I can struggle with, I didn’t have a problem getting through the story. While I sometimes got frustrated with Michael and his stubborn heart, I never stopped cheering for him. (…and his sister! I confess I wanted to punch her at times, but she winds up with some redeeming qualities by the end.)

I particularly enjoyed the look into the early days of woman physicians and the pressure and prejudice they endured. It was fascinating to learn about medical practices of the time (another confession, I skipped some paragraphs because I’m terribly squeamish, though nothing gets graphic, I assure you I’m just a wimp) and to live inside a female doctor’s head. Even in contemporary fiction, I feel like we don’t see a lot of female doctors, so to have it in a historical setting was intriguing.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for the tour. I was not required to give a positive review.

About the Book

Delamere_Jennifer (1)

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 22

Inspiration Clothesline, March 22

Texas Book-aholic, March 22

A Greater Yes, March 23

Among the Reads, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 23

Splashes of Joy, March 23

Fiction Aficionado, March 24

History, Mystery & Faith, March 24

Red Headed Book Lady, March 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 24

The Power of Words, March 25

Mary Hake, March 25

Remembrancy, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

Cordially, Barbara, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Kat’s Corner BooksMarch 27

The Fizzy Pop CollectionMarch 27

Maureen’s MusingsMarch 27

Carpe DiemMarch 27

Reflections From My BookshelvesMarch 28

Seasons of opportunitiesMarch 28

Singing Librarian BooksMarch 28

A Baker’s PerspectiveMarch 28

Baker KellaMarch 29

All-of-a-kind MomMarch 29

Inklings and NotionsMarch 29

Simple Harvest ReadsMarch 29 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pause for TalesMarch 30

Cafinated ReadsMarch 30

Have A Wonderful DayMarch 30

Pursuing Stacie, March 30

Locks, Hooks and BooksMarch 31

Connie’s History ClassroomMarch 31

Book by BookMarch 31

BigreadersiteMarch 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesApril 1

Neverending StoriesApril 1

Ladybug Chronicles, April 1

Smiling Book ReviewsApril 2

Two Points of InterestApril 2

Vicky SluiterApril 2

Kaylee’s Kind Of WritesApril 3

proud to be an autism momApril 3

Bibliophile ReviewsApril 3

Karen Sue HadleyApril 4

Live Love ReadApril 4

Stories Where Hope and Quirky MeetApril 4

Faery Tales Are RealApril 4

Giveaway

starbucks

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks 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/cacd

 

Across the Blue – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

Across the Blue FB banner copy

About the Book

Acrosstheblue

Title: Across the Blue

Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Historical romance

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Love soars to new heights in this Edwardian romance filled with adventure, faith, and inspiration, but how much will it cost Bella and James to follow their dreams?

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to be the first to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to win that race across the Channel and gain the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Carrie weaves an imaginative story with characters you want to cheer from the very beginning. While we so often see stuck up rich characters in England set stories, Bella is a gentle spirit who learns how to go after what she wants. I think I loved her within the first few pages. James is a working man with ambition and a dream to cross the English Channel. I found myself right next to Bella cheering him on. His love for the Professor is one of his most admirable qualities.

I also really enjoyed the history part of this story and the aviation race. I found myself Googling and reading Wikipedia because I wanted James and Bella to be real.

I did get frustrated with both James and Bella’s mother at points in the story, but to an extent, the frustrating parts are a reflection of cultural views of the time. While it takes them longer to come around then I would’ve liked, it would’ve made for a shorter story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

About the Author

Carrie

Carrie Turansky has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of nineteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and five grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with reading friends through her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Following your Dreams

By Carrie Turansky

BellaIn Across the Blue, Bella Grayson and James Drake both go to great lengths to pursue their dreams. Bella longs to become a journalist and write for one of her father’s newspapers, but in 1909 England, aristocratic young women did not work as journalists. A young woman’s path was set by the unwritten rules of society. At eighteen she was presented at court, and then she took part in the London social season and hoped for a marriage proposal from a young man from a wealthy family, with an estate and title. Marriage, having children, and taking part in social and charitable events was the prescribed course for their lives.

But Bella has a different future in mind. She wants to marry for love, and she won’t settle for anything less. She also wants to write articles about the important events of the day that will inform and inspire people. She wants to be a world changer, and that is a very unique role for a woman in England in the Edwardian Era. At that time women didn’t have the right to vote yet and very few pursued any kind of career.

JamesAirplane

James is an aviation pioneer, and his dream is to build an airplane that will allow him to be the first to fly across the English Channel. This is no easy accomplishment, and he faces many challenges as he pursues his dream. Aviation is brand new. Wilbur Wright demonstrated his airplane in France the year before and stunned Europeans with his skill. With the help of his mentor, Professor Steed, James conducts experiments, refines his design, and makes countless test flights. It takes great courage and determination to overcome setbacks and make it through near fatal crash landings, but James has his heart and mind set on perfecting his airplane and reaching his goal.

74fdde720c5ae29bd4c7672fe3b6f205What about you? What hopes and dreams do you have for your future? What goals would you like to accomplish? As you think about your dreams and future plans I hope you’ll gain some insight from James and Bella’s experiences in Across the Blue. When they considered the cost of pursuing their dreams they realized their plans and choices impacted others as well as themselves. James and Bella believed striving for their dreams is important, but they learned it must be balanced with commitments to family and friends, and most of all a commitment to following the Lord on the path He has for them.

Following our dreams and working toward accomplishing our goals, especially those the Lord puts on our heart, is important. However, sometimes we may have to put our dreams on hold and wait for the right time and season. We don’t need to be discouraged when this happens. As we listen to the Lord and ask Him to guide and direct us He will show us the right path at the right time to follow it.

AcrossSpineJust like James and Bella I hope you’ll pursue your dreams but also hold them with an open hand, allowing the Lord to guide and direct you each step of the way. When you do I’m confident you’ll be headed toward seeing your dreams become reality in His time and in His way. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

With that wonderful promise in mind, I hope you’ll enjoy reading Across the Blue and joining Bella and James as they they pursue their dreams. You’re in for high-flying adventure, romance, and inspiration, and I can’t wait to share this new story with you. Happy reading to you!

Blog Stops

Bookworm Mama, February 22

Carpe Diem, February 22

Blogging With Carol, February 22

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 23

Reading Is My SuperPower, February 23

Karen Sue Hadley, February 23

Christian Bookaholic, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Among the Reads, February 24

The Power of Words, February 25

History, Mystery & Faith, February 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 25

Maureen’s Musings, February 26

Rachel’s Back Talk, February 26

Smiling Book Reviews, February 26

Radiant LightFebruary 27

Faithfully BookishFebruary 27

The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 27

Bibliophile Reviews, February 28

Remembrancy, February 28

Two Points of Interest, February 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 1

Book by Book, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

proud to be an autism mom, March 1

Pause for Tales, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

margaret kazmierczak, March 2 (Interview)

Pursuing Stacie, March 3

Neverending Stories, March 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

Janices book reviews, March 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 4

Simple Harvest Reads, March 4 (Guest post from Mindy)

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 5

My Writer’s Life, March 5

Baker Kella, March 5

Kat’s Corner Books, March 6

A Greater Yes, March 6

A Baker’s Perspective, March 6

Romances of the Cross, March 7

Henry Happens, March 7

For The Love of Books, March 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of an autographed copy of Shine Like the Dawn and $30 gift card to Christianbooks.com!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c987

 

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.

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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

Strains of Silence – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

Strains of Silence FB Banner copy

About the Book

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Author: Bethany Kaczmarek

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancé, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I feel very differently about the first half and the second half of this book. Bethany’s writing is solid, the characters well developed, but the beginning is very slow. The first half of the book takes places over several months, and while this is necessary for the story (I don’t think the reader would believe it if it went too fast) and you see a good amount of character development, I found myself skipping pages. A lot.

But, then I got around half way through and it took off like a shot. Without giving anything away, events escalated, the romance started to develop and the story pulled me in. The second half of the book takes place over maybe a monthish.

Overall, I think it’s a good story, and would recommend it to others, with letting them know that the beginning is slow; the second half is definitely worth the read, even if you find yourself skipping over part of the first. I think Bethany did a fantastic job handling a tough subject (domestic abuse) giving it the weight it needed while balancing it with faith aspects to keep it from getting overwhelming.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit tour. All opinions are honest and my own!

About the Author

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Bethany loves a home filled with family and friends. Word gets around that—at the Kaczmarek house—food is abundant, conversations are real, and anything is up for discussion. She and her clan are fans of laughter, indie music, sonic screwdrivers, and superheroes. Home is wherever in the world they’re all together.

Guest Post from Bethany Kaczmarek

Strains of Silence: A Novel for Anyone Who Can Say #MeToo

We’re everywhere. After years of silence, many survivors of sexual assault are raising our voices. You’ve seen the hashtag. You know someone who suffered like this—a friend, a sister, a daughter.

Maybe you know personally what it’s like to be used.

I’m thankful for the conversations the #MeToo campaign has started, proud of the brave women who are speaking out. But I know some are still quiet, nursing wounds.

I could list loads of valid reasons a victim chooses to suffer in silence.

  • People won’t believe her.
  • If she doesn’t say it out loud, it’s easier to pretend it was a nightmare.
  • He’s got authority over her—at work, at church, in the family—and it’ll cost her too much. He’s done enough damage already.
  • He’s threatened to destroy her reputation, and she believes him. One, because he’ll do it without flinching. Two, because she’s already convinced that she’s living a lie.
  • Because at church, she’s supposed to be fine, smiling, rejoicing in her suffering and pressing on. Besides, people don’t want to sit with her in her pain and listen. They’d rather offer bumper-sticker theology and trite spiritual bandages.
  • The few times she’s tried to speak up, her used-to-be friend basically made her feel like it was her fault.

The list could go on, but it’s fair to say that being honest about what happened to us makes us vulnerable all over again. The idea is understandably stressful.

But you know what? Pretending we’re fine is exhausting too. We bear a great strain when we hide our hurts, for whatever reason.

Kasia Bernolak, the heroine of my novel Strains of Silence, gets it. She’s got reasons for keeping it quiet too. But when God brings some new people into her life, she realizes she doesn’t have to be alone.

And speaking up offers a freedom, a lightness, she wants.

It’s a freedom I want for my readers.

I know. Strains of Silence sounds like a heavy book right now. The themes are heavy, no doubt. There’s no glossing over and prettying up sexual assault or domestic violence. But—just like in real life—it’s how well we surround and support the suffering that can set the tone. Kasia’s friends are real, they’re funny, they’re quirky, and they believe in her.

Besides, it’s not all dark and brooding. There’s travel—an entire summer in the mountains of Peru. There’s a lot of music—Kasia’s a singer/song-writer who loves indie artists (I’ve got a playlist on my website). There’s heritage and culture—meet her immigrant family and you’ll get a delicious taste of Poland. There’s humor—enough to keep the story light when you need it to be.

And there’s hope. Kasia’s life is absolutely full of possibility.

So are the lives of everyone who can say #MeToo.

Sometimes, it just helps to see someone else fight the battle on our own horizon. And if you can do it with a fantastic new playlist and some laughs, why not?

My hope is that Strains of Silence will lead to real discussions with reader-friends, book-club gatherings that become turning points, and the true pursuit of freedom. It’s time to throw off the burdens we wear and stand up. Raise your voice, link arms with others, and fight for hope.

Healing is within our reach.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, January 6

proud to be an autism mom, January 6

Inklings and Notions, January 7

Bibliophile Reviews, January 7

Fiction Aficionado, January 8

Genesis 5020, January 8

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 9

Bigreadersite, January 9

Red Headed Book Lady, January 10

Mommynificent, January 10

Texas Book-aholic, January 11

allofakindmom, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 12 (Interview)

The Power of Words, January 12

Pursuing Stacie, January 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 13

A Greater Yes, January 13

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Mindy Houg Guest Review on Artistic Nobody, January 15

Janices book reviews, January 15

Faithfully Bookish, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 17

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Carpe Diem, January 18

Remebrancy, January 19

A Baker’s Perspective, January 19


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Bethany is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a Polish pottery mug with two of the main character’s favorite kinds of teas, 4 of her favorite albums (Josh Garrels, Waterdeep, The Gray Havens, and Andrew Greer), a box of chocolate butter cookies, and 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/c5dc