I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my honest opinion and a positive review was not required.
Title: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Author: Rhonda Stoppe
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Genre: Religion / Christian Living / Women’s Interests/ Parenting
Bringing up boys isn’t for the faint of heart, but bestselling author Rhonda Stoppe has been there before—and she’s here to help! Drawing on insights from fellow boy-moms and from Scripture, Rhonda reveals why walking with Christ is every mom’s key to parenting well.
You’ll discover how motherhood gives you unique opportunities to grow in faith as you draw nearer to God through prayer, Bible study, and mentorship from godly women. You’ll also find practical advice for shaping your son in character and faith as you encourage his passions, teach him biblical masculinity, and protect his spirit without smothering his individuality.
Your success as a mother doesn’t depend on what your son does with his life, but on how you obey God’s guidance on this mission of motherhood. Moms Raising Sons to Be Men provides the biblical hope, wisdom, and encouragement you need to help your son live a life without regrets!
“You will be encouraged, enlightened, and empowered to become the mom you’ve always wanted to be—and to guide your son into becoming the man God intended.”
—Cindi McMenamin, national speaker and author of When Women Walk Alone
My Thoughts: Y’all know I only have girls but the idea of this book intrigued me. There are a ton of similarities between girls and boys when you are talking about raising children in a Godly manner. The author shows us her heart by sharing her own personal stories about successes and failures with her children.
What I found as I read through the book is that most of the principles shared for boys correlate perfectly well with girls. Hard work – yep. Intentionality – yep. Focus and instruction – yep and yep. There are so many examples in God’s word of mothers we can learn from and this is something I found interesting. With a focus on the different ages and stages, you will find much to glean from this book.
There are three sections: Life Lessons From Moms of the Bible, Guiding Your Son Toward Godly Manhood, and Even If… Each of these focus areas have a lot to gather from it and examples to dig into. I found the life lessons an enjoyable read with a reminder that God can use it all, from the broken to the pure. The section on guiding your son gave some very practical ways to approach life and training. The even if section looks at how to move through the times of life that we hope we don’t have to ever deal with (child wanders, you’re alone, you’re scared, you don’t know what to say) but it is good to have some sort of a path to look at if you have to navigate them.
As with all things written by man and not God, take the meat and leave the bones. There is stuff that I felt didn’t apply to my situation so I just skipped right on over it because I did find other things that I could really dig into. Additionally, know the Bible first so you can identify the things that are not in line with God’s word. Note those but don’t dwell on them and move on. There can still be things gained from the book.
About the Author
Rhonda Stoppe is a transparent, humorous, and biblically sound speaker and podcast host of: “Old Ladies Know Stuff”. She is the bestselling author of 7 books and a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. Her boy-mom interviews on Focus on the Family were named in their ‘Best of 2021’ episodes. Rhonda has been joyfully married to her pastor-husband, Steve, for 41 years. Their 4 happily married children have blessed them with 15 grandchildren.Connect with Rhonda by visiting NoRegretsWoman.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card!
(1) additional winner will receive a copy of Real Life Romance!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 8, 2023 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on March 15, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
I have been a bit lax about including new content here because life has been my focus lately. And that’s a good thing but I thought I would share about this story. I found it fun and since I grew up in the mountains, going to camp in the mountains, hiking and all that, this one brought back a lot of fun memories. This is part of a series but it worked just fine as a stand alone.
I did receive the book as part of a JustRead Tours promotion but sharing it here on my blog is my choice and not required for that.
Tess was about to achieve her dream when a freak accident caused a serious injury for the athlete. With the Olympics now a question and healing taking a much slower road than this go-getter would like, Tess ends up stepping in for her brother at a summer camp. With her athletic know-how, she is just what is needed for the activities director at the camp that Austin is trying to get up and running again after inheriting it. Tess jumps right in and finds healing in the process of activity, being unplugged, helping others, and staying involved in a life completely different that when she knew.
Austin finds the help he needs in Tess to grow beyond the hurt that he remembers, the failings he feels deeply, and the weight of feeling responsible. As the summer progresses, so much happens that growth in inevitable.
Add in a couple of other unique characters and the crew is just right. Josh is Austin’s nephew and he’s around for the summer, too, while his mom is working overseas. Josh finds much to get involved in, including the lives of others. This really helps him grow and finds a joy in something that was a complete surprise for him.
Trudy is the camp cook and she keeps everyone fed and in line. She is that character that everyone loves having and wishes were real. Some of us are able to see our grandmothers in her and hear her corrections, admonitions, and pushes come alive in our minds. She really adds depth to the story.
This is a wonderful, clean story about characters that are real and alive, growing and changing through the work of living daily in the life you have. It was an enjoyable read.
It is part of a series but works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel. I have not read anything previous to this and it was an enjoyable story just as it is.
I was thankful to get to read this novel through a book tour from JustRead Tours. All opinions are my own.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
About the Book
Title: Songs for a Sunday
Author: Heather Norman Smith
Publisher: Iron Stream Fiction
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction/Southern Fiction/Split Time
Two sets of sisters, generations apart–can one big sister’s sacrifice teach the other about love and forgiveness?
1963: Twenty-year-old Annie dreams of managing the dance studio where she has trained since childhood and of marrying her high-society boyfriend. But when her younger sister with special needs gets pregnant, Annie is forced to set her dreams aside for the sake of family.
Present Day: Missy Robbins has always lived in her younger sister’s shadow. When given the opportunity, Missy steps out of her comfort zone as stay-at-home mom of four to prove she’s as good a singer as Erica. Missy’s new pursuit puts her on a path to self-discovery and reclaiming her discarded faith. Until she discovers her grandmother has a sixty-year-old secret.
Will Missy conceal Grandma Annie’s deception or will she be forced to reveal the hidden truth?
This novel is set in multiple times and explores the lives of two sets of sisters. The sisters influence each other, for good and otherwise, though that influence is not always seen until later. Annie’s life is changed suddenly when her mentally challenged sister has a major need, her job disappears, and her fiance drops her. Where does she go from there? In another time, her granddaughter Missy is struggling with her self-image as the “average” stay-at-home mom of 4. She feels she doesn’t live up to expectations. Can she step up and bring about the change she wants to see? But what about when she finds out more about Grandma Annie’s past? What now?
This is a beautiful story that shows the power of love and goodwill. When a family member steps up in a moment of need, you cannot help but find hope in that love, especially when it is nothing like the dream that existed in that space before. Dreams change and grow and morph into something even more beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this process through the story because it is so easy, in our world, to just let go of a dream when things go awry. Throughout this story, the characters sought their own growth and that of those around them. Taking on dreams of another that you love can grow that dream and bring strength in the midst of heartache.
How beautifully this story shows these themes and ideas. Family is more than what we initially imagine and dreams grow in the midst of it all. As we follow the family trying to grow and change amidst shocking secrets and dreams gone awry, we fall in love with the love they have for each other. This is one to add to your must read list.
About the Author
Heather Norman Smith is a Christian fiction and devotions author. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. She also enjoys singing about Jesus. Heather is a proud life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her fiction. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, N.C., where she lives with her husband and their four children, and several pets.
Connect with Heather by visiting heathernormansmith.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
(1) winner will receive a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight February 6, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 13, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
There are three books we are going to highlight today: Robin’s Reward, Jorie’s Journey, and Christmas in Bonita Creek. Each will also have an excerpt for you to enjoy.
Title: Robin’s Reward
Series: Bonita Creek #1
Author: June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: May, 2021 (re-release)
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive?
Welcome to friendly Bonita Creek, a small town in the Coastal Mountains of the Mendocino Coast of California . . .
Bonita Creek’s librarian, Robin Bennett, is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. Mysterious Jeff Clarke arrives in town unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true, long-lasting love withers again.
Can the couple move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? Jeff and Robin must use their faith and their newly-forged bond with each other to remain strong and true. Will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?
‘Robin’s Reward,‘ Book One in the Bonita Creek Series, is a contemporary Christian romance story which is completely clean in language and content.PURCHASE LINKS:Goodreads | Amazon | BookDepository | BookBub (not my affiliate links)
After an idyllic life scarred by a traumatic event, is Jorie Woodstone ready to move forward to share her life’s journey with a man who loves her unconditionally?
Welcome back to friendly Bonita Creek, a small town in the Coastal Mountains of the Mendocino Coast of California . . .
Jorie Woodstone is the owner and operator of the wildly successful Cowgirl Bakery in Old Town Bonita Creek. She appears to have it all. She is musically gifted and belongs to a warm, loving, supportive family; but she’s built a brick fortress around her heart after being traumatized by an acquaintance in an unforgettable event three years earlier.
Join this talented, spirited cowgirl as she journeys on through life’s joys and sorrows with faith, strength, courage, and love on the road to true happiness.
‘Jorie’s Journey,’ Book Two in the Bonita Creek Series, is a contemporary Christian Western romance story which is completely clean in language and content.
Genre: Christian Historical Romance with Military Elements
After seeing more than two years of combat in the Korean War, will the homecoming of two men from Bonita Creek be filled with the joy and romance they are yearning for or will it bring them even more heartache?
It’s late summer, 1952, in friendly Bonita Creek, a small town in the Coastal Mountains of the Mendocino Coast of California . . .
Estelle Vincent is missing her older brother, Sam, and her fiancé, John Chaplin, who are far away fighting for the US Army in the Korean War. They’ve been gone for more than two long years, and she is feeling out of sorts.
When she has a frank discussion with her mother, Estelle realizes that she is not the only one who has been moody and bored with her uneventful life. Her mother’s words inspire Estelle and catapult her into action organizing a community holiday project for the children and teens whose parents work for Mountainside Ranch outside of town.
As the story deepens, Estelle learns that several people close to her are harboring secrets—including her mother, her brother, and her best friend. She learns to be flexible and understanding as she looks outside of her own life and examines the impact of unforeseen events on those closest to her heart.
Join this intelligent, strong-willed hometown young woman as she navigates the obstacles and challenges of life with hope, perseverance, faith, courage, and love on her road to a brighter future filled with dreams come true.
‘Christmas in Bonita Creek,’ Book Three in the Bonita Creek Series, is a historical Christian holiday romance story which is completely clean in language and content.
June McCrary Jacobs‘s debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom‘, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest. ‘Robin’s Reward‘, a Christian contemporary romance, is set in the Mendocino coastal region of California. It is Book One in the ‘Bonita Creek Series‘ and was originally released in 2015; the second edition of the book was released in July, 2022. The second book in the series, ‘Jorie’s Journey‘, was released in late May of 2022. The third book in the series a Christian historical romance, ‘Christmas in Bonita Creek‘, was released in December, 2022. ‘Romance By Proxy‘ is a later-in-life clean, wholesome romance set in Humboldt County on the Northern Coast of San Francisco which was released in August, 2021. June’s Christian historical romance short story, ‘Handmade Hearts‘, was inspired by the true story of how June’s aunt and uncle met in New Orleans during World War II and was released in December, 2018. June’s debut middle-grade novel, ‘RES-Q Tyler Stop‘, a historical novel set in Sonoma County, California, in 1968, was released in the spring of 2019. In early 2022 she published two short story collections for children entitled, ‘Carter’s Cookies & More Family Stories for Children‘ and ‘Banjo & More Pet Stories for Children‘. As a retired elementary school teacher and literacy mentor, June finds writing for children to be a rewarding and challenging experience.Connect with June by visiting authorjunemccraryjacobs.blogspot.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift card + Bonita Creek Series e-books!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight January 18, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 25, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary ebook copy of this title which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
A quick, fun, holiday-time read that is clean and a bit off the beaten trail. This was a fun read for me and I really enjoyed the setting of an out-of-the-way resort. That brings a lot of small-town America comfort to the story. With the relationship between Alexis and her grandmother I found a comfort and joy that brought to mind many times spent with my own grandmother. This is the story of a vlogger who is considering a change of business and needs the advice of a trusted source. That is her grandmother and she finds out that her grandmother is considering a major change herself- to resort owner. Teaming up with her grandmother, the real-estate agent, and eventually the whole town, they bring the Christmas spirit to all around. It was a fun, simple read that didn’t take more than a couple of days to read but it brought me much joy.
TITLE: America’s Favorite Christmastown by Dawn Klinge Publisher: Independently Published Release Date: November 22, 2022 Genre: Christmas romance/contemporary/novella (Clean)
Life can sure throw some curve balls but what we do with them is what matters. Bitter or better is a phrase that often comes to mind and this book is all about “better.” How do you handle the rough parts and how do you come out of it?
Samantha was destined to be a teacher but a breast cancer diagnosis changed that. At 23, all her plans were derailed. She heads to the property that Ted, an old family friend, left her after his passing. She is determined to deal what she has to and get her life back on track. But God through Ted had other plans.
Cole is struggling to get himself back to wherever it is he is supposed to be after his song-writing partner and girlfriend left him for a rising country music star. His family’s electrical business is still there but does he really want to burden himself with all that past? Can he let go of the anger and uselessness that is holding on? Visiting Ted, not knowing he had passed away, brings Cole right into the midst of God’s plans for him.
From the get-go, this book drags you right in and doesn’t let you go. The story is one that so many of us can relate to, even if we haven’t experienced these exact situations the characters go through. We recognize ourselves in them and that really makes this story come alive. I read it in under a day because the storyline just wouldn’t let go. I felt it. I felt the emotion, the stirring, the angst, the worry, the heartache, the wonder. It is all there. You won’t regret the time spent with Christmas at Whispering Creek.
Title: Christmas at Whispering Creek
Author: Barbara M. Britton
Publisher: Pelican Book Group-White Rose
Release Date: November 30, 2022
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
All Samantha Williams wants is to use her teaching degree to instruct a classroom of second graders. With a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of twenty-three, and failed reconstruction surgery, Sam finds herself without a job and temporarily living with her parents. This isn’t the life Sam expected. When a family friend dies and leaves Sam a house and land in Whispering Creek, Tennessee, Sam must decide if leaving Wisconsin for Southern living is in her lesson plans.
Nashville native, Cole Donoven, left his family’s electrical business to write country music. When Cole’s song writing partner and girlfriend dumps him for a country music star, Cole abandons Nashville to hold up in Whispering Creek and compose one more song. The last thing Cole expects to find in the sleepy small town is a deceased friend, estate squabbles, and a Northern beauty. Will the chaos in Whispering Creek help create a bestselling song for Cole and possibly help him find a life-long collaborator?
(1) winner will receive a Christmas at Whispering Creek book box filled with books and goodies!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 6, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 13, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. International prize, ebook only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin. She writes Christian Fiction from Bible Times to modern day USA. Barbara has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.Connect with Barbara by visiting barbarambritton.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops! Some of the stops include excerpts so be sure to visit.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the author and JustRead Tours for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own.
Author Susan May Warren is joined by authors Rachel D Russell, Michelle Sass Aleckson, and Andrea Christenson to bring you Once Upon A Winter Wonderland: A Deep Haven Christmas Anthology.
Deep Haven, Minnesota. At Christmas. In the snow.
It’s perfect for the dream wedding.
Boone and Vivien are set for a Christmas Eve wedding. And it will be perfect. Unless… a big storm comes in. And it does, threatening to take down the wedding. But old friends, along with new ones, plow ahead through all that is thrown their way to make the dream wedding come true. Can they overcome snow, lost cars and rings, fire (or at least smoke), and all the other things that threatens to keep this wedding slipping out of hand?
Join the authors as they take you to the beautiful and rural Deep Haven in four novellas brought together to tell the story of four different groups of people fighting through different backgrounds, hurts, and struggles, all bound together to help pull off the wedding of a lifetime for Boone and Vivien. With the focus on God and his faithfulness through it all, something beautiful is bound to rise from the ashes.
My thoughts – I had no idea that this was tied to a series and now, I seriously want to read every single book set in Deep Haven and having to do with these rich, deep, Christian characters. I found this an un-put-down-able book and I loved it. I can’t choose which of the four is my favorite because I found my to be enjoyed in each of the different stories. Each different set of characters and each different set of challenges were endearing. This was a true joy to read.
When I settle in to read a story after a busy week of dealing with our normal schedule in addition to two sick children, I want something simple, pleasing, happy, joyful. A Christmas Bargain by Mindy Obenhaus brought just what I needed.
Title: A Christmas Bargain
Series: Hope Crossing #2
Author: Mindy Obenhaus
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: November 29, 2022
Genre: Christian, Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Can a property dispute…
Turn into a holiday blessing?
When single mom Annalise Grant inherits a fledgling Christmas tree farm in Texas, she vows to do whatever it takes to make it a success. But when neighbor Hawkins Prescott claims some of her trees are on his property, the only option is a partnership. As Christmas draws closer, Annalise and Hawkins find themselves growing closer as well. Could a family by Christmas become part of the deal?
As the story begins, we meet widowed mother Annalise Grant in the midst of one of those days – moving to a new place, have to get groceries to have dinner but the baby is fussy, can’t find the wallet, and on it goes. Can it get worse? After a kind stranger steps in the help, she finally begins to settle into the Christmas tree farm she just inherited. She is in love with the idea of independence, strength, running a business, and all the other things that her new life will bring to her. And then…
A property line is found to have been moved and it just happens that the kind stranger is part of the family whose land was taken in the fence line moving. How does Annalise handle it? Can she just let the land go, even knowing it was wrongfully taken? If she does, will she be financially ruined without those trees to sell? Can she come up with a bargain that the family will accept and work through this so that everyone will benefit? Will this end up being a holiday blessing?
I really did find this an enjoyable, just-what-I-needed read. It was clean (and by that I mean no language, no “situations”, just a few kisses) and I really appreciated that part of it. I don’t like calling this a romance because these days that leads to an unsavory idea, even among many “Christian” writers. This story, though, was truly clean. I enjoyed the ebook copy that I received. I was able to sit back and just bask in the family joy that was found within the covers.
I loved the gumption of Annalise. She didn’t back down from a fight and she stood up for herself and what she needed. However, she was soft enough to allow others into her heart, and her daughter’s life, right away. She was embraced by them and they embraced her idea for the farm. I thought this was a beautiful set of relationships that modeled love, friendship, and respect among women so well.
I also loved that Hawkins was a good guy. And not just the proverbial “good guy” but one who stood by his word, helped out those in need regardless of the past/situation, and respected those around him. (Not to mention that he had a soft spot for the baby.) This is somewhat rare in stories, so Hawkins was a breath of fresh air for a leading male character.
I think this is a very good read and have no problem recommending it. My 18 year old is looking forward to reading this one.
(1) winner will receive a signed copy of A Christmas Bargain and a $25 Amazon gift card!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 7, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 14, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching the Hallmark Channel.Connect with Mindy by visiting MindyObenhaus.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
Well, as it is already December 4 (HOW? How did it get to be December already?), I’m going to combine the books I read in October and November into a single post. It will have a good number of books because I’ve been getting in a lot of reading time and really enjoying it.
Britfield & The Return of the Prince by C.R. Stewart – This book is the 3rd in a series that involves a young man searching to find who he is and his family. Please visit the post to read the summary of this book and what I thought about it.
The Prayer Jar Devotional: Hope by Wanda E. Brunstetter – This was a series of devotions that were designed to focus on hope. The main post was on Instagram so you can read more about it over there.
Being A Ballerina by Gavin Larsen – This is a very insightful and inspirational look at Gavin’s life from her earliest ballet classes through her professional career. It brought a very human aspect to her experiences and drew me into her heart and mind as she strove to be the best she could be. I found it to be quite illuminating for the life of a professional, especially one who deals with many health concerns. Her dedication was quite intense and it definitely helped me understand better the mind of one persuing this life. A definitely recommend for anyone who is interesting in knowing more about this life or seeing the background of a professional’s life. (Don’t tell my daughter but she’ll be getting this for Christmas! It is that good.)
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott – This was not my first read of this book and I enjoyed it a lot. This set of memoirs from a farm animal vet in rural England is fun to read. It is enlightening to see the life that James Herriot went through in order to serve those in his community. He writes with humor and honor of the people and animals he encountered during his career. I enjoy the scenes where he stops to appreciate what he is surrounded by in the Lakes district and the weather that both helps and hinders his treatments. He write about so much that he notices and it brings to life the world of a large animal vet.
Secrets of Emberwild by Stephenia H. McGee – The Secrets of Emberwild will grab hold of your imagination and keep you in the story all the way through. Nora loves her horses and doesn’t understand why “proper etiquette” can’t change. Yet, she loves her family despite the tensions and tries to honor her mother and father. But the horses keep beckoning. And she follows. When a stranger shows up and begins helping around the farm, she grows uneasy with the questions he asks yet finds herself appreciating that he honors her knowledge of horses and the way she handles them. Where is all of this going to go? Will Silas get answers? What will happen for Nora? The Secrets of Emberwild was a lovely read. It was set in a simpler time yet the themes of difficulty ring true for today. It is a clean read with none of the sexuality in many “clean” books today. The story is labeled as Christian, and though you see a tiny bit of that, I don’t feel there is enough Christianity in it to label it a Christian romance. However, thoroughly enjoyed it and can easily recommend it.
By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser – When Nana Dale passed away, Allie’s whole world crashed. Nothing happened as it was supposed to. There is some sort of secret there but Allie is the only one who sees it. Everyone else keeps telling her to just accept what happened and move on – find another way to open her equine therapy practice. But Allie knows there is something there. So she keeps digging. And as she digs, her grandmother’s life opens up in way Allie had no way of guessing. And in response, Allie’s life opens up in ways she had not way of guessing. Life can be so unexpected but there can be beauty that grows out of that unexpectedness. I really enjoyed this book – a mystery without being a mystery. It was a clean read with a good amount of romance without anything unChristian about it. Clean, enjoyable, fun. I can wholeheartedly recommend this one.
The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron – Such a fun read! Keira Foley has a job to do in the old manor where they have found some unusual art. She is hired to authenticate the art so it should be a pretty straight-forward job. But then Emory Scott is involved and nothing is straight-forward. As Keira falls deeper and deeper into the mysteries surrounding the art she is supposed to authenticate, her life begins to make more and more sense. It is like the manor’s past is tied to her future. There are three different time periods to follow in this novel and it is a lot of fun! With all three of the women, the life of hope and love and generations of secrets is uncovered and it just might push Keira’s own life back into some semblance of order. This was a clean and enjoyable novel with just enough romance to make it a fun historical read. I have no worries recommending this read to someone who is interested in the time periods, the art, or just a relaxing read. Definitely one I am glad I read and now I need to read the others in the series.
So, that’s my October reads. I enjoyed them quite a bit.
Along The Rio Grande by Tracie Peterson – Book 1 of the series; I found this series because of the review over at A Net In Time – Susanna Jenkins is just along to help her folks get set up and then she’ll return to her previous life as a widow. But her family needs her more than she thought, as they have never had to work for the things in their life. Now that they have to, Susanna is caught up in the middle of it, working hard and trying to honor her parents. They have to open the new Grand Hotel in San Marcial, NM, a small town where everyone knows and helps everyone else. Susanna’s family has to adapt to this new place and new idea of community. Can they do it? With the help of the Lord, whom Susanna truly leans on, she tries to help her family see how to honor Him and each other. This is wonderful novel set back in the later 1800s along the Santa Fe Railroad and the Rio Grande River. It is clean and can truly be called a Christian story. While there is romance in the story, it isn’t the focus of it AND there is nothing in it that I would be embarrassed about someone else knowing I had read (something too many “Christian” books include). The amount of writing that included thinking about, serving, or honor God was wonderful and I will definitely be looking for more stories by author Tracie Peterson.
Beyond The Desert Sands by Tracie Peterson – Book 2 of the series – I enjoyed this clean romance novel set in New Mexico. It was a bit expected but it was fun to read a story set in the Land of Enchantment. I could see the setting so clearly and I enjoyed the story line. It was a pleasant story that I was able to read in just a couple of days. Easy and enjoyable.
Under The Starry Skies by Tracie Peterson – Book 3 of the series – This was an enjoyable story set in New Mexico and along the railroad. I enjoyed the simplicity of the story, the beauty of the setting,and the infusion of Christian beliefs into the story line. The focus on belief and prayer to get one through the tough times was something I could relate to. I found this a pleasant read, completed in just 2 days.
Where is God In This? by Landra Young Hughes – This was a book that I read through but struggled to gain much from. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right place for it to really speak to me. If you are in the “hard” part of life right now, this just might be the book for you. Read the review to find out more.
A Christmas Bargain by Mindy Obenhaus – The review is yet to publish on this book but it was fun holiday story about starting over and learning to trust those around you. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a fun, enjoyable holiday read about a Christmas tree farm, starting over, and daring to dream all over again.
Once Upon A Winter Wonderland by Susan May Warren, Rachel D. Russell, Michelle Sass Aleckson, and Andrea Christenson – This review is yet to publish but this was a fun set of stories from authors I was unfamiliar with. They brought the reader to Deep Haven (hometown setting to a whole slew of books) where they find peace amidst challenges, hope amidst fear, and love amidst loss. This was a wonderful series of stories tied together by the characters, setting, and storyline. I completely enjoyed it.
America’s Favorite Christmastown by Dawn Klinge – A quick, fun, holiday-time read that is clean and a bit off the beaten trail. This was a fun read for me and I really enjoyed the setting of an out-of-the-way resort. That brings a lot of small-town America comfort to the story. With the relationship between Alexis and her grandmother I found a comfort and joy that brought to mind many times spent with my own grandmother. This is the story of a vlogger who is considering a change of business and needs the advice of a trusted source. That is her grandmother and she finds out that her grandmother is considering a major change herself- to resort owner. Teaming up with her grandmother, the real-estate agent, and eventually the whole town, they bring the Christmas spirit to all around. It was a fun, simple read that didn’t take more than a couple of days to read but it brought me much joy.
The Light Before Christmas by Marty Machowski – Please read the review on this one. The contrast of light and dark is an interesting idea so head over to see what I thought about it.
Give The Winds A Mighty Voice by Stan Mitchell – The official summary: Give the Winds a Mighty Voice is an adventure in the subject of singing and its history. Stan takes us on a tour of music — music among the Israelites, music among Christians of the first century, music through the psalms, early writers, prolific writers, writers who were members of the Lord’s church and those who were not but whose songs and hymns have reverberated through the ages. Both individuals and congregations can profit by studying the lessons, along with practice sessions to learn new songs suggested in the book and to improve the quality of our singing. I am enjoying this book and am almost done with it. I find there is so much packed in that I’ll probably want to read it again. It can be purchased at Chula Vista Books.
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – Honesty here: I could not read this book. I tried. Several times. But it just never drew me in. So, this one isn’t really and “I read” book but rather and “I tried.” I didn’t enjoy it so I put it down. But I know many, many people really love this story. Maybe the TV series would help? I need to try that, perhaps.
Okay, so that’s it. All the books for October and November.
Where Is God In This? by Landra Young Hughes is a self-help book with roots in Christianity and the Bible.
After quoting John 16:33, Mrs. Hughes starts out with, “I’m not really OK.” This pushes the reader straight into the life of struggle, difficulty, and suffering we each face by putting her own life under the magnifying glass to help us see better. Mrs. Hughes approaches struggles in life through her lens of seeking God and finding the truth in His words and the example of Christ. She has had many struggles of her own, as well as family struggles, that she shares openly and honestly in her chapters. This gives the application of the information she shares some real-life experience.
Mrs. Hughes looks at the adversity, suffering, isolation, surrender, burn out, expectations, hurt, pain, failure, fear, judgment, and cravings that are par for the course for humans. But she doesn’t just say “yes, they are there.” She helps see God’s will and way through them so that arrival on the other side of them is possible. “God does not want you to fail. He wants what is on the other side of that failure.” (chapter 6)
There are many strong, good parts of this book. I found much to be considered in it. The Bible is not a typical translation that I read and thus was difficult for me to follow along with. (Scripture is from the NIrV.) I had my own Bible out alongside of it so that I could read and understand the passages included in something that was not so much like a paraphrase. I found the second half of the book to be much more engaging and helpful than the first half but there was plenty there to consider.
If you are in the “hard” of life right now, you might really resonate with what Mrs. Hughes has included here. I encourage you to check it out.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.