Category Archives: Uncategorized

If I Were A Tiger ~ book review

Welcome to the Blog Tour for If I Were a Tiger by Caroline Coleman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Title: If I Were a Tiger
Author: Caroline Coleman
Publisher: WaterBrook
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Genre: Christian Children’s Picture Book

A whimsical and playful rhyming picture book about a young boy who imagines himself as a tiger to overcome his fears — only to realize that he can trust in God.

Meet Tim Bone. He has a big imagination, and when it roams wild, he’s afraid of a lot of things. He’s scared of the moon and the wailing typhoon, and he won’t wear his sneakers because he fears hidden creatures. Tim’s nervous at home, at school, and at play!

Fed up with being frightened, Tim comes up with a bold He’s going to become a tiger so he can be fiercer than his fears! There’s just one If he’s a tiger, he can’t be Tim. Could there be a better solution? What if Tim puts his trust in God—who made both boys and tigers—instead?

If I Were a Tiger invites kids of all ages to live in the comforting truth that no one has to carry their fears alone, and offers the reminder that God is only a prayer away.

My Thoughts:

Tim Bone is afraid. Of everything. So he decides to become the fiercest creature he can think of – a tiger. Tigers are brave and strong and can face anything. So, Tim faces life with the strength of a tiger (and a tiger costume to help him out). Whether running toward lightning or prowling through trees, bathing in a lagoon or sleeping in a cave, Tim can do it all. But … he realizes that other things would change. His friends might be scared, his brother wouldn’t want to play, and he couldn’t do the things he loved. It dawns on him that God created him, Tim, just as God wanted him to be. God is right there and so Tim can be even stronger and braver than a tiger.
This sweet picture book helps children realize that God creates them just as they should be and it is all right. This is a highly recommend.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Bookshop | BookBub

About the Author

Caroline Coleman‘s debut picture book, IF I WERE A TIGER, was recently released by Waterbrook Press, a Christian imprint of Penguin Random House. Her novel, LOVING SOREN (B&H 2005), tells the true story of the woman who loved the Danish Christian philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. She has an English degree from Princeton University, a fiction MFA from Brooklyn College and law degrees from Columbia Law School and Christ Church, Oxford University. She used to be a lawyer and now teaches English literature as an adjunct to the English department at Hunter College in New York City, where she lives with her family.

Connect with Caroline by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for blog updates.

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will receive a Stuffed Tiger Nightlight, a print copy of If I Were a Tiger, and a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 5, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 12, 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.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

A Love Most Precious~ a book review

Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Love Most Precious by Anita Higman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About The Book:

Title: A Love Most Precious: 90 Devotions on the Book of Ruth
Author: Anita Higman
Publisher: DaySpring
Release Date: October 9, 2022
Genre: Devotional Book

What does true love look like?

The book of Ruth has all the makings of a great love story: a grief stricken past, a homecoming, the challenge to survive, a poor Cinderella who chooses to serve, and an upstanding man of status who notices her. He fights to save her future. This Old Testament Bible story is about a love story far more immense than that of Ruth and Boaz.

During this 90-day devotional by Anita Higman, you will be inspired by the heartwarming, true story of Ruth containing priceless gems: the power of an eternal love to redeem a bereaved mother, a foreign widow, a reformed prostitute’s son, all God’s people, and yes, even you. God has the power redeem our broken spirits, broken hearts, and broken pasts. Come discover a precious, life-changing love hidden within four illuminating chapters of Scripture that will delight your heart and refresh your soul! It’s also the perfect gift for a friend on any occasion.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | DaySpring | Bookshop/IndieBound

My Thoughts:
This is a small, compact book that is easy to hold and carry. The undated pages make it easy to fit into a schedule, whether you are picking it up daily or weekly. There are 90 devotions that seem to work best in order. They follow the book of Ruth verse by verse and idea by idea. There are also a few devotions taken from the book of Proverbs that flows right along with the book of Ruth. Keeping to the order written, you work through the beautiful story of Ruth and God’s plan for the salvation of all mankind. It is comfortable to hold and read and has a lovely little satin ribbon to keep mark of your place in the book. I have found several little gems in the devotions that remind me of God’s plan for my life, especially in the fact that I cannot see as God sees. He knows how things will go and how other’s lives may change because of my life. Those are often important reminders, especially when we feel like our life is challenging and hard to bear. I don’t often enjoy devotional books but have found this one to have enough of digging into the actual text that it is enjoyable and can definitely strengthen my daily thoughts on God and His plan. I think this would make a lovely gift for any woman and am thinking this just might go to my niece for her bridal shower to encourage her to seek God and His plan for her life.

Also Available

About the Author

Anita Higman, an award-winning and best-selling author from Texas, has authored or coauthored fifty-plus books, and she has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. A few of Anita’s favorite things are fairytale castles, traveling, antiquing, exotic teas, gardening, and laughing with her family and friends.

Connect with Anita by visiting to follow her on social media.

Tour Giveaway

(3) winners will each receive a DaySpring prize bundle which includes a market tote, Bible cover, canvas pouch, and the Spring issue of Everyday Faith magazine!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight May 1, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 8, 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.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

THE JOURNEY: A Music Special from Andrea Bocelli

Fall in love with the beautiful Italian countryside, gorgeous music from both the classical and Christian genres, and thoughtful insights into life and music. As Andrea Bocelli and his wife travel over 200 miles on horseback, we are brought alongside them on the journey. They take time to discuss life, music, and more. They meet up with musical friends along the way. And they perform.

They perform in stunning settings, indoors and out. Beautiful churches, ruins, ampitheaters, and hillsides. Each place enhances the musical selection and the performers. In addition to Andrea Bocelli, we hear performances from Michael W. Smith, Tori Kelly, Tauren Wells, TAYA, and others in amazing musical performances across majestic locations.

The Journey is worth your time. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the moments of music that uplift while being supported with stunning brilliance in the settings. I found the thoughts shared by the cast – Andrea Bocelli, his wife, and his guest performers – to be interesting. Testimonies of life, perseverance, strength, and pushing forward were beautiful to hear. And it makes the music all the more beautiful.

“We journeyed by horse for over 300 kilometers along a path that was not always easy to travel, but absolutely beautiful, made of meadows and forests; sacred places filled with lasting testimonies of faith, full of art of incredible beauty, and views in front of which one can’t but ponder about creation and the miraculous work of our Heavenly Father.”

Andrea Bocelli talking about his movie, THE JOURNEY, in theaters beginning Palm Sunday, April 2.

What is Andrea Bocelli’s hope for you when you see THE JOURNEY? “My wish is that the movie can offer an invitation to fully live and recognize our daily miracles.”

It would be worth your time to see this lovely production in theaters. You can read more about THE JOURNEY on their website and visit to purchase tickets. Visit today to get your tickets.

GIVEAWAY: There will be a $10 Amazon giftcard provided to one blog reader. To enter, comment below about what you think will be your favorite part of THE JOURNEY when you see it in theaters, beginning April 2 and running for a limited time. Comment before April 9. Winner will be chosen by random drawing.

Many thanks to TBN for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are
100% my own.

At Home,

Songs for a Sunday ~ a book review

Songs for a Sunday JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Songs for a Sunday by Heather Norman Smith, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

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?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub
(none of these are affiliate links for this blog)

Songs for a Sunday

My Summary and Thoughts:

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

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 to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Songs for a Sunday JustRead Blog Tour

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.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Building Up Without Giving Up ~ a guest post for Lads to Leaders

I LOVE building with legos. One of the things that I like building the most are houses. Now, what do you have to do first when building a house? Well, the first thing you need to build is the walls, right? Otherwise, when it rains it would just get all over everything! But why are we talking about legos? They don’t have anything to do with the theme “Rise Up And Build”, do they? In fact, they DO. Now you’re probably thinking “How in the world could they?”, so let me tell you. In Nehemiah 2-6, Nehemiah and the rest of the Israelites start rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. That was a lot like building the walls of a house, BUT building the walls of Jerusalem was a whole lot more important and a WHOLE LOT bigger! But building a lego house is easy, right? Building the wall wasn’t so easy. They also faced what we’re going to call the three D’s. Discouragement, distraction, and defiance.

The first D we are going to talk about is discouragement. The definition of discouragement is: the loss of confidence or enthusiasm. In Nehemiah 5:1-12, The people were so discouraged that they were selling themselves and their possessions to their brothers, so when Nehemiah heard of it and tried to stop it, he got discouraged as well. The way that Nehemiah dealt with it in 5:9 was he said: “‘The thing you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations, our enemies?’ In verse 11, he says “return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” Then they all did just that and returned all that they took. Once the people had done as they had said they would, they were able to continue on with the rebuilding with no fighting amongst themselves.

The next D we are going to talk about is distraction. The definition of distraction is: something that prevents someone from giving their full attention to something; a diversion. When Israel’s enemies Sanballat and Tobiah heard that they were building the wall, they started plotting to fight Israel, distracting them and stopping the rebuilding. Nehemiah 4:15-18 talks about how Israel returned to the wall, but half standing guard and half working with one hand and holding their weapon in their other. That would be pretty distracting don’t you think? To have to divide your attention between two equally important things! And yet they still kept going, and in Nehemiah 6:15 they finished the wall.

The last D we are going to talk about is defiance. The dictionary definition is open resistance or bold disobedience. In Nehemiah there are several examples of defiance. In chapter 4:1, we see Sanballat jeering at the Jews. In 4:8, we see Israel’s enemies plotting to fight against them. In 4:11, we see their enemies saying, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” In Nehemiah 4:14, to counter the defiance, Nehemiah says “don’t be afraid, remember the Lord.” This is such an important thing to remember that it was also said by Joshua, AND made into a bunch of songs! If someone is defying you in the way Sanballat and Tobiah were, it will definitely help to remember that the Lord is always with you, wherever you are.

When I am building with legos, I easily encounter all three Ds, discouragement, distraction, and defiance. I get discouraged when my sisters won’t play with me, or when I can’t find what I’m looking for. I get distracted because I don’t want to sit on the ground forever. I even experience defiance from the tiny, thin lego pieces when they won’t come apart! Nehemiah and the Israelites faced all these things – discouragement, distraction, and defiance – but all in very different ways from me and my legos. But, we can learn from Nehemiah to remember to stay focused, to keep going, and that the Lord is with us. We need to never give up, just like Nehemiah didn’t give up when he decided to rise up and build.

Bonita Creek Series ~ JustRead Books

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for the Bonita Creek series by June McCrary Jacobs, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

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)

EXCERPT From Robin’s Reward:

“I brought out some freshly-baked muffins and a bowl of strawberries I picked from my
garden this morning. Would you like a snack with your tea?”
“Sure, I could eat.”
“Help yourself. I’d like to say grace before we start to eat,” she said. He nodded as he bowed
his head.
When she murmured amen, he said, “My family always said grace before a meal when I was
growing up. I guess I’ve gotten out of the habit, being a bachelor. I eat most of my meals alone.
Not a good excuse for not expressing my gratitude, I know.”
Robin was touched by his candor and hesitated before lifting her eyes to meet his gaze. So,
he’s not married.
As they each loaded food onto their plates, Jeff spoke. “I figured out on my walk that I live
on the next block over in that direction.” He pointed toward the back of Robin’s property. “In
fact, I think I may live directly behind you.”
“Proving once again it’s a small world,” Robin said shaking her head.
“I’ll say. You have a beautiful garden out here.” He waved a hand toward her front yard. “It’s
full of all sorts of flowers and shrubs. It looks as if your lot is deep on the back side of the
cottage. What do you grow back there?”
Robin sat back in her chair and realized after a rough start, she was slowly beginning to
relax. She loved talking about her gardens to whoever would listen.
“I grow strawberries, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and some green
beans. Later on in June, I’ll plant a small pumpkin patch with some other types of squash and
gourds, too, so they’ll be ripe and ready by October.”
“Wow,” he said. “I’m impressed.”
She took a couple of sips of her iced tea and continued, “I have some berry bushes and a few
small citrus trees. I love to take flowers to the church for the altar and to give to my friends and
extended family, so I have a large cutting garden with Shasta daisies, Gerbera daisies,
sunflowers, coneflowers, roses of all colors and sizes, peonies, irises, and gladioluses.”
After popping a juicy strawberry into her mouth she continued, “I have a section by the
fence that runs pretty natural with wildflowers such as California golden poppies, bachelor’s
buttons, blue and white lupine, and nasturtiums. My favorite summer flowers are dahlias. I have
a bed way in the back where I try to plant a different variety of dahlia each year, but my
collection is still rather small.”
Robin stopped short and looked directly at her guest. “Are you tired of hearing about my
gardens yet?”
“Absolutely not; go on.”
The genuine warmth she felt in his smile made her heart skip another beat. She ate a few
more strawberries and continued, “I have a section in back that gets a lot of sun, so I filled it with
lavender, cacti, succulents, and rocks.”
“Excuse the interruption, but don’t the rocks require a lot of water? I’ve heard California is
constantly in a state of worry about drought.”
She smiled. “Very funny . . .
© June McCrary Jacobs, 2015

Title: Jorie’s Journey

Series: Bonita Creek #2

Author: June McCrary Jacobs

Publisher: Independently Published

Release Date: May, 2022

Genre: Christian Western Contemporary Romance

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.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub (not my affiliate links)

EXCERPT From Jorie’s Journey:

As she approached the front counter in her Cowgirl Bakery shop located on Main Street
in old town Bonita Creek, California, Jorie Woodstone wiped her wet hands on the fluffy towel
buttoned to her crisp white apron. Her long, thick hair was pulled into a ponytail peeking out
from beneath her red gingham scarf. An urge to make a detour to check her reflection in the
nearby mirror kicked in when the man standing at the counter turned to face her. His emerald
green eyes were set off by a head of thick, wavy dark brown hair.
Jorie recited her usual greeting, “Hi, may I help you?” in a slightly more-friendly-than-
usual tone. To her surprise, the newcomer was so busy checking her out that he hesitated for
nearly thirty seconds before responding. When he spoke, his rich southern baritone vibrated
through her ears.
“Hello, miss. I need to pick up a couple of pies to take over to my friend’s house for
Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. The Cowgirl Bakery was highly recommended to me by my
hostess at the bed and breakfast inn where I’m staying. Please don’t let me down by telling me it’s
too late to order pies for the occasion.” His mouth settled into a sweet pout.
“What flavors did you have in mind?” Jorie tried to sound thrilled to have his business at
this late hour. In truth, she was exhausted from the multitude of Thanksgiving orders for pies and
other baked goods she’d received from her ultra-supportive hometown. She dreamed of going
home early tonight to soak her exhausted body in a luxurious bubble bath and watch a couple of
episodes of her favorite Masterpiece Mystery series.
“What do you recommend? I mean, you’re the one who works in a bakery and all.”
“I think it’s always nice to offer an assortment of pies. How about one organic apple
cinnamon and one organic pumpkin nutmeg? Most people seem to like one or both of those
“I’m from New Orleans, so I was dreaming of a pecan pie . . .”
“No can do,” Jorie clipped off. “We don’t usually do pecan pie here in California. Well, I
mean we don’t do pecan pie without some advance notice. It’s too late to order organic pecans for
“What a shame,” the customer shook his head sadly. “Well, I guess I’ll just have to accept
the fact tomorrow will be my first Thanksgiving feast ever without a slice or two or three of
pecan pie.”
He looked as if he were already grieving the loss of pecan pie on his Thanksgiving menu.
Jorie felt a twinge of regret for his loss, but the line of customers behind him was stacking up and
she was short-handed today. Her most-experienced employee, Connie, had requested the day off
so that she and her husband could travel to spend the holiday with their family in Idaho. Her
other experienced employee, James, was home nursing a bad case of strep throat and was unable
to serve the public.
She wanted nothing more than to hurry this man along. However, she accepted long ago
the reality that a large part of being a successful small business owner was to project the image
that said owner actually enjoyed working with the public. She always attempted to give the
illusion of being the queen of customer service in Bonita Creek.
© June McCrary Jacobs, 2022

Title: Christmas in Bonita Creek

Series: Bonita Creek #3

Author: June McCrary Jacobs

Publisher: Independently Published

Release Date: December, 2022

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.

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon | BookBub (not my affiliate links)

EXCERPT From Christmas In Bonita Creek:

Bonita Creek, California
August, 1952
Estelle carefully cut out another construction paper leaf as she prepared the decorations
for the Back-to-School window display she was designing for the Bonita Creek Drugstore where
she had worked since graduating from high school six years earlier. She loved her job serving
customers, stocking shelves, and helping the pharmacist and owner, Mr. Randall, in any way she
could. By far, her favorite job duty was decorating the store for the various holidays and seasons
throughout the year.
She had enjoyed making arts and crafts in school. Since kindergarten, her favorite
subjects had been reading and art. As she grew older she also enjoyed creative writing and
history, especially world history. She dreamed that someday she’d be able to travel to the
faraway places she loved to read about. Greece, Egypt, Australia, South America, and other
exotic places appealed to her sense of adventure.
For now, she was content to work in the drugstore and live at home with her parents
while she waited—not so patiently—for her someone special to return from his military service
in Korea. She had been writing faithfully to John Chaplin since he left for Korea with her
brother, Sam, two long years ago.
John and Sam, who were both World War II combat veterans, had been placed on active
reserve rather than being discharged when the war was over in early September, 1945. They
were both reactivated and assigned to serve in South Korea in this new conflict that President
Truman felt the United States should enter at the end of June, 1950. Two years was far too long
to go without seeing her brother or her beau.
Estelle stopped what she was doing, sighed deeply, and looked out the front window of
the drugstore to see what was happening on Main Street in her small coastal mountain hometown
of Bonita Creek, California.
She didn’t know how long she had been staring into space when the service bell on the
counter dinged. She looked up to see her best friend, Gloria Marino, snickering in Estelle’s
“Earth to Ellie, come in,” Gloria said with a big grin.
“Oh, hi, Glo. I didn’t see you come in. Sorry.”
“You looked like you were a million miles away in—let me guess—South Korea, right?”
“You got it. You’re so lucky you don’t have a fiancé or a brother in South Korea. It’s a
real drag. What brings you in today?”
Estelle noticed her friend was no longer smiling. The color had drained from Gloria’s
cheeks, and she looked as if she might cry. Estelle quickly rushed around the counter and took
Gloria’s hand.
“What is it, Glo? What’s happened?”
“Nothing. I just felt like seeing my best friend for a minute. I came to town to pick up a
few things at the market for my mother, and while I was here I . . .”
Estelle’s friend’s fidgeted with the Peter Pan collar on her blouse and swiped a hand down
her silken black ponytail. Gloria looked directly into Estelle’s concerned eyes. She took a deep breath before saying, “Someday soon you’ll know everything, and then you’ll understand why I’m
so moody sometimes.”
“Why don’t you just tell me everything now so I can help you?” Estelle pleaded with her
best friend.
“No. I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
“Is someone hurting you or bothering you?” Estelle asked firmly.
Gloria blinked her eyes a few times in surprise. “No one is hurting me or bothering
me. I’m fine. I’d better go.”
© June McCrary Jacobs, 2022

Box Set Sale

Bonita Creek Box set

$5.99 for a limited time

About the Author

June McCrary Jacobs

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 to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift card + Bonita Creek Series e-books!

Bonita Creek JustRead Giveaway

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.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

The TEXT Bible (New English Translation) ~ a review and giveaway

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

“God sent you a message. Do you know how to find it?”

This is printed on the lid of the box the TEXT Bible (NET) arrived it. It was talking about the Bible. We all like to receive messages and the Bible is the best one ever. The TEXT Bible features a study method developed to help Bible students of all ages and maturity levels delve into the message that God has sent. The refreshing Good News is available to all and the editors of the TEXT Bible want you to find it.

TEXT is a mnemonic device that helps gain and retain information. TEXT stands for:

T – Talk to God in prayer.
E – Encounter God and humanity in scripture.
X – eXamine your heart.
T – Talk to God and others.

This Bible engagement technique helps younger students, new believers, and young adults, as well as believers of all levels, find the message of God. To help this message really become part of you, there are several additional helpful study features.

  • TEXT the Text: use the four-step TEXT study method— Talk to God; Encounter God and humanity; eXamine your heart; Talk to others—to engage with Scripture
  • Big Q of the Text: big life questions with short answers
  • “Who is God?”: nearly 100 short devotions on the person and character of God
  • Praying the Text: Learn how to start praying God’s Word right back to him!
  • Get to Know the Text: brief explanations of people and events found in Scrip-
  • Follow the Thread: navigate the Bible across topics
  • Anatomy of the Text: concise descriptions of literary devices and categories
    of Scripture found within the Bible, such as parables and apocalyptic books
  • Terms of the Text: brief definitions of important words to help us better un-
    derstand and discuss Scripture

At the back of the book, you will find an appendix. This includes charts such as “Prophecies Fulfilled At The Cross”, “The Flory of the New Covenant”, “Spiritual Gifts”, “Two Types of Wisdom”, and “Praying The Text Index.” There is a hashtag index that is intended to help locate scripture related to particular hashtags that might be used, such as #loneliness or #testing or #wealth. There are reading plan checklists for a couple of different options. There is fairly strong concordance, giving definitions and scripture together for key words and people in scripture. Finally, there are 8 full-color maps.

The TEXT Bible that I received is a hardback, about 6×9 inches, with a paper dustcover. There is a royal blue satin-like, ribbon bookmark and a white satin bookmark; both are sewn into the binding. The pages are fairly thin and are printed with a navy blue ink on white pages. The margins are about 2 inches wide on the left and right and have faint dots for the lines and columns. This makes the margins perfect for notes, drawings, or journaling.

Honestly, I am not much for gimmicky things when it comes to God’s word and I feel like this one pushes that a bit too far. The translation seems to stay accurate, with a solid mix of clear, readable, and accurate. But really, I don’t think we need yet another niche Bible to reach those who want to know. Would I recommend it if asked about it? Absolutely. It is God’s word and for that reason, you won’t go wrong.

Purchase: You can purchase the TEXT Bible through this link. Get 50% off your copy of The NET TEXT Bible if you order before Valentine’s Day!

Giveaway: 1 (one) copy of the TEXT Bible (Hardcover)
Note: This is limited to US winners only. Bible will be sent by publisher.
Visit the link to enter. Winner will be randomly drawn on the morning of January 16, 2023.

Enter the Giveaway! Click Here!

Lori, At Home.

Rise Up and Build Blog Post: More than Walls – guest post for Lads to Leaders entry

Some people like the King James Version. Some like the NKJV or the ESV. For standard Bible reading, I usually don’t have a strong preference which version of scripture I’m reading, as long as it’s an actual translation…

*side eye at the Message*

Usually, I’ll end up reading an NIV, one of the translations most used today. While looking at our theme verse for this year, I noticed something interesting: only the NIV, of the versions I mentioned, uses the word rebuild in our theme verses Nehemiah 2:17-18:

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

Other versions simply say “let us rise up and build rather than “start rebuilding” – and I think that’s an important comparison to explore. It lends an interesting light to these verses, and to the point of Nehemiah’s story: building Jerusalem up again better than before – with God.

While our theme for this year’s convention is ‘rise up and build,’ what Nehemiah was leading the Israelites in doing looked to be rebuilding. The walls of Jerusalem had long been destroyed, but with the king (and the King) supporting him, Nehemiah determined to take away the shame his people continually suffered by building them up again. So it seems strange that only the NIV, out of the handful of popular translations I picked, uses the word rebuilding. That’s what they were doing, after all…right?

Well, in Nehemiah 2:3, Nehemiah asks the king, “Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” In building the walls again, Nehemiah and the Israelites were able to restore their people’s honor – no longer did the Israelites have to withstand ridicule because their city was nothing but the tattered remains of their nation’s legacy. The Hebrews were a shattered nation. Thematically, these verses speak of building more than walls. In building the walls, Nehemiah restored their spirit.

Nehemiah had to rebuild not only the walls, but the nation – a much larger challenge. It was about rebuilding the people. Once the walls were built and the defenses set, from Nehemiah 7:5 onwards he focused on doing just that. But Nehemiah didn’t truly rebuild the people, because he did not build them up again in the same form as they were before, just as he did not build brick for brick the same wall as was there before.

Previously, Israel was not focused on God, and was therefore struck down by Babylon. In Nehemiah 8:1-8, Nehemiah gathers “the men and the women and those who could understand” and reads the Book of the Law of Moses to them “from early morning until midday.” To build the nation of Israel again, Nehemiah built from the ground up, on what should have been their foundation the whole time – God.

The walls they built would someday be destroyed again. But the people remained, and though Nehemiah wasn’t there to see if they would ultimately keep themselves built upon God when he was gone, the work he did left a lasting impact. We don’t often physically build things for God in the same magnitude that Nehemiah built the wall, but we too can make that impact building other people up and encouraging them.

Our theme for Lads to Leaders this year is rise up and build – not rise up and rebuild. Don’t build up again in the same old way if the old way wasn’t focused on God. In the case of the Israelites, that’s why it failed! I like that the theme uses the word build – it’s interesting to think about the implications of words; how rebuilding something means to build the same thing again in the same manner, while Nehemiah built the walls and the people up in a new way – the right way, around God. Whether we are building or rebuilding in our service to God, physical or purely spiritual, we need to remember to build in the same way as Nehemiah – with God as our foundation.

Once Upon A Winter Wonderland ~ book review

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.

Giveaway: Visit JustRead Tours on Instagram to enter.

⇒ Book Name Once Upon a Winter Wonderland

⇒ Authors Susan May Warren, Rachel D. Russell, Michelle Sass Aleckson, and Andrea Christenson

⇒ Publisher Sunrise Publishing

⇒ Giveaway – (1) winner will receive a print copy of the book and a $10 Amazon gift card.

⇒ Purchase Link #ad (not my affiliate link)

⇒ Release Date – October 9, 2022

⇒ Genre – Christian Contemporary Romance

Lori, At Home.

A Christmas Bargain ~ a JustRead Tours book review & giveaway

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author. I received it in ebook form. All opinions are my own and are my honest opinions.

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for A Christmas Bargain by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

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.

Book Information:

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?


PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

Book Summary:

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?

My thoughts:

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!

A Christmas Bargain JustRead Giveaway

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.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Mindy Obenhaus

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 to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Lori, At Home.

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