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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.

The Lifeway Women’s Bible ~ review and giveaway

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

The Lifeway Women’s Bible is a CSB (Christian Standard Bible®) translation and study Bible, and it would make a lovely Christmas gift for women of any age. (Hint: You can get 50% off your copy of the CSB Lifeway Women’s Bible today using the code SAVE50LWB!)

There are several features to this Bible to assist with study and diving deeper into God’s word. Also, there are some that placed in this Bible specifically to speak hope and truth into women’s hearts.

  • over 100 articles placed alongside corresponding Biblical texts to help in study and to foster deeper reflection on the topics and passages, many focusing on the needs of women
  • close to 100 short devotionals placed throughout the Bible
  • short Bible genre introductions with an overview and reading plan highlighting key sections in that genre
  • book introductions for each of the 66 books of the Bible, including an overview and book-specific timeline
  • character profiles of over 40 women in the Bible with study questions for application
  • reflections questions to help women engage more deeply with the Bible
  • about 100 brief inspirational quotations sprinkled throughout
  • over 25 word studies on meaning and significance
  • over 30 charts, graphs, and maps
  • multiple reading plans, including 90 days, one year, and three year plans
  • concordance

This lovely Lifeway Women’s Bible comes in genuine leather, LeatherTouch, or cloth-over-board covers. The marigold LeatherTouch that I received is bright and beautiful. It is a heavier Bible with wide margins for note taking or illustrating. Each page contains a single column with cross-references and text notes at the bottom. The text is a black on white print in a 9.5 point size. There are 2 ribbon markers sewn into the binding, which is a Smyth-sewn, lay-flat binding. All-in-all, this is a lovely Bible that I can’t wait to begin using.

How To Purchase:

Get 50% off the purchase of (1) Lifeway Women’s Bible with code SAVE50LWB
(Only available on Limit 1 Bible at 50% off retail price, any Lifeway
Women’s Bible sku. Limit one offer per person. Cannot be stacked with any other
offer. Valid 11/15/22-12/31/22.)


1 (one) copy of the Lifeway CSB Women’s Bible (Marigold LeatherTouch
Edition) Note: This is limited to US winners only. Winner will be drawn on December 13. Enter through the link below.

Good Luck!

Lori, At Home.

CSB Explorer Bible for Kids ~ a review and giveaway

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

The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) Explorer Bible for Kids helps kids place God’s Word in the middle of God’s World.

About The Explorer Bible for Kids:

The NEW CSB Explorer Bible for Kids is filled with fun facts, timelines, photography, and more. Kids will see the Bible as REAL, EXCITING, and LIFE-CHANGING TRUTH. QR codes even bring engaging videos, discussion questions, and activity pages to life. These help apply the imagery of the Bible to real world experiences. The Bible is available in hardcover and four (4) different leathertouch editions.

The Explorer Bible is intended to help readers engage meaningfully with the word of God through understanding more about the world, both in the past and the present. There are several ways that this particular edition of the Bible is designed to help with this.

  • Book Introductions – The one page introductions for each book of the Bible highlights key information for the book. It includes who wrote the text, who it was intended for, the time period of the writing, the time period of the events of the book and what was occurring in the world at that time, why it was written, and how it points toward Jesus the Christ. There is a table of contents with the books listed in the traditional order as well as one listing them alphabetically.
  • Excavating the Past – These are images of historical and archaeological discoveries to help understand the world, history, and culture of the Bible. There are 205 of these, noted by olive green boxes throughout the Bible. There is a table of these at the front of the Bible.
  • Exploring Creation – There are 115 teal boxes throughout the books that highlight facts and show images connecting modern day objects and things in the world today to God and the Bible.
  • Discovering the Truth – There are 237 Discovering the Truth boxes that help understand the essential truths of the Bible and apply them to everyday life. Most are accompanied by a QR code that leads to a video.
  • Character Field Guides – These are yellow boxes throughout that highlight important people in the Bible timeline, indicating different facts and insights. There are 79.
  • Charting History – There are 15 illustrated timelines that survery key time periods and events. These are also found in yellow boxes.
  • Archiving Discoveries – These are highlighted verses throughout the Bible that are key memory verses. These 336 verses are suggestedfor memorization.
  • QR Codes – There are QR codes for some videos, mostly related to the Discovering the Truth boxes. There are also other QR codes for things like activity pages that can be downloaded.

At the back of the Bible, you will also find,

  • A table of weights and measures
  • An explorer glossary
  • An index to Bible stories, separated by Old Testament and New Testament
  • A topical concordance for kids
  • QR Code links by scripture
  • 9 maps, and
  • A list of art credits

Utilizing full-color and images, this edition of God’s word engages student’s natural curiosity and helps them experience the wonder and truth of God’s word. Looking at real people, real events, and real cultures expands understanding and is just what young people need to know and understand God better. This all helps students hide God’s word in their heart, something that will transform them like nothing else. Learn more at this LINK.

My thoughts:

The CSB translation is one that blends accuracy and readability. It is linguistically accurate, combining the word-for-word translation with the contemporary rendering of a dynamic translation in more difficult passages. It draws from original language texts for the purposes of translation and over 100 scholars, editors, stylists, and proofreaders worked together, committed to biblical inerrancy. This seems to have brought us a translation that is understandable for young readers and new Christians alike, while staying true to older translations that will continue to challenge more mature Christians in their study. I have found this translation to be one I enjoy.

I think the CSB Explorer Bible for Kids is a wonderful combination of complete Bible text and apologetics information that is appropriate for younger students. This may be aimed for young kids, through elementary age, but I can see it being useful through junior high. The videos are definitely aimed at the younger groups but the text information, the book introductions, the character highlights, and the archaeology/culture information can be an impetus to those a little bit older to dig deeper. It is good information and a great start.

I have not seen anything that gives me pause. (I generally find an incorrect plan of salvation in Bibles directed at children but have not.) I would not have a problem with one of our girls having used this Bible when they were younger.


Get 50% off your CSB Explorer Bible TODAY by using the code EXPLORERGIFT50. Valid
for 50% off retail price for up to 1 copy of the CSB Explorer Bible for Kids. This is


1 (one) copy of the Lifeway Explorer Kids Bible
Note: This is limited to US winners only. Winner will be drawn on December 6 and notified. You must leave your name and address as one of the entry options to be selected as the winner.

#ExplorerBibleMIN #ExplorerBibleForKids #MomentumInflu-encerNetwork

Lori, At Home.

The Light Before Christmas ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received a digital review copy of this book from New Growth Press for the purpose of the review. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.

The Light Before Christmas is a new devotional book for families dedicated to the advent season. Written by author Marty Machowski, it is a devotion focusing on LIGHT. Contrasting light and dark, good and sin, these devotions will help families seek to understand God’s light in the world. It is designed to fit into under 15 minutes a day, three days a week. It is most appropriate for children ages 4-11, though the discussion will allow opportunity for older or younger folks to participate easily.

From the publisher:

This four-week Advent family devotional by best-selling author Marty Machowski combines devotions on the theme of light and darkness with the story of eleven-year-old Mia and her grandmother as they prepare for Christmas. Grandma loves to share her faith, especially at Christmas time, and although she is blind, she can see the light of Jesus shining bright and helps Mia—and children of all ages—to do the same. 

Every year, Mia loves to spend the month of December with Grandma getting ready for Christmas. This year, they read a special devotional, The Light Before Christmas, together. Machowski brings families into their devotional time, sharing the story of Christmas. Through a Bible study of light and darkness, readers will discover how the theme of light weaves its way through the Christmas story and God’s plan of salvation.

The Light Before Christmas contains thirteen devotionals—three for each of the four weeks of Advent and one more for Christmas. Each devotional includes a Scripture for the day, an object lesson, a question to discuss as a family, a song to sing together, and a prayer.

The story of Mia and her grandmother starts each week of the devotional with a short piece of the story, just a few pages. It is followed by 3 devotions on the week’s theme: light, darkness, rescue, and come to the light. There is an object lesson for each devotion, a few verses of scripture to read and consider, a “think about it” section, and reminders to sing the hymn of the week and pray. Before the devotions begin, there are instructions for creating your own advent wreath if you choose to follow this tradition.

There is also a 4 week Sunday School Curriculum that is designed to complement the family devotions during this season. The curriculum includes lessons, songs, crafts, and object lessons to use to communicate the Bible lesson. It can be used as a stand-alone, without the family devotions, as well as the family devotions being used without the Bible class curriculum.

My Thoughts:
I was drawn to these devotions based on the idea of studying light and the light of God. I do not participate in advent, as many do, but the idea of a study of light was appealing. I honestly struggled with the writing of this and the way the devotions were written. The author took on the metaphor of light and ran with that, rather than the meaning of the scriptures. Many of the scriptures were not in context when used and that lessened what could have been a really strong study.

The weekly story between Mia and her grandmother was sweet and I loved the idea explored between being physically blind and spiritually blind. This part of the devotional was good, though very short each week.

I also took a look at the sample of the Bible class curriculum. It is a good curriculum that covers the ideas pretty well. I do wish there was more Bible included rather than the skit-style story telling. I felt it stayed fairly close to the actual Bible and drew in additional events from the Bible to enrich understanding. It seems to set up very clearly all you would need to teach these lessons to preschool and/or elementary ages. I would not personally use it, as it is somewhat out of context, but it would work well for a congregation that is looking to focus on the idea of light vs darkness for a few weeks. I only saw week 1 of the curriculum so I cannot speak to the other parts of the curriculum.

About the Books:

The Light Before Christmas: A Family Advent Devotional
Print ISBN 978-1-64507-292-8
October 10, 2022 / Retail Price: $16.99

The Light Before Christmas: An Advent Sunday School Curriculum
Digital ISBN 978-1-64507-294-2
October 10, 2022 / Retail Price $59.99

By Marty Machowski, Illustrated by Sarah Bland-Halulko

Lori, At Home.

Britfield & The Return of the Prince ~ a book review

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Britfield & The Return of the Prince is the 3rd in the series by C. R. Stewart. You can find reviews of Britfield & The Lost Crown and Britfield & The Rise of the Lion on the blog. This is the continuation of the story of Tom, as he searches with Sarah and the Resistance to try to locate the needed information to bring the Committee to complete abolishment and find his parents. But, if you know anything about C.R. Stewart then you expect this to be anything but a straight-forward story.

Continuing the search brings Tom and Sarah, along with all their gathered accomplices, into the next part of the story. Tom’s family is still yet to be reunited with him because too much is happening with the Committee and they can’t risk the reunion where the family could be harmed. So, Tom and Sarah (again, as per usual) take things into their own hands. From the Academy where they are being educated in Switzerland to Rome to the Vatican to the cathedrals to Venice, the story is non-stop. Twists, turns, and hair-raising escapes follow Tom and Sarah every where they go.

If you love the non-stop action, this is your kind of story. Here’s the official summary:

One year later, the Committee has struck back with a vengeance, crippling the Resistance now scattered throughout Europe. When Devonbury Academy in Switzerland is attacked, Tom and Sarah’s only hope is to make it to a safe house in northern Italy by relying on their own experience and training. Overpowered and outnumbered, Tom and Sarah are ruthlessly hunted throughout Italy by the Black Nobility. Henry and Oliver discover a devastating truth, Detective Gowerstone is confronted by a dark secret from his past, and Inspector Fontaine is pushed to her limits. Will Tom and Sarah find the Britfields? Relationships will be challenged and new friendships forged, culminating in an unparalleled finale of sacrifice, romance, revenge, and loss.

My personal thoughts:
I wish I could say I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first book in the series. But I didn’t. It just carried on too long for me and I missed what I loved most in the first book: the historical information on the places Tom and Sarah ended up. While it was still included here, it felt less inclusive and more forced into the story. I felt like the story needed to end and it kept going. I am not typically an adventure reader so this series was an unusual one for me to like to begin with. I feel like it has a wonderful readership out there and two of my girls fit that group. They enjoy this type of literature and my oldest is looking forward to reading Britfield & The Return of the Prince. She will likely really enjoy and be looking towards 2024 when the next book in the series is planned for release.

If you like adventure novels and non-stop action, you will love the Britfield series by C.R. Stewart. Visit these websites for more information.

Also, the author shares the following information: With the first of seven Britfield movies in development, the theatrical play (Fall 2022), and the Global Book Tours (2022-24), it is estimated that Britfield will eventually surpass the Harry Potter series in sales and worldwide impact. The first live-action Britfield movie is projected to become one of the highest grossing films in cinematic history. . . One of the most awarded books in fiction, the Britfield & the Lost Crown series is transforming literature and education while bringing encouragement to children and families worldwide. Creating an interactive world of adventure and learning, Britfield is about friendship, family, and courage. The 7-book series (England, France, Italy, Russia, Asia, South American, United States) will be followed by 7 extraordinary movies.

Lori, At Home.

A Quilt For Christmas ~ book spotlight and excerpt

A Quilt for Christmas JustRead Takeover Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover Blitz for A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

The story of quilts is always one of intrigue and history, hope and emotion. This read will bring all that to you along with the spirit of Christmas.


Title: A Quilt for Christmas: A Christmas Novella

A Quilt for Christmas

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 6, 2022

Genre: Christian Romance

Recently widowed Vera Swanson is having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit in her new town. When asked to make a quilt for an ailing neighbor, she pulls together a diverse circle of quilters, including freespirited Tasha Ellison. The group becomes stitched together through shared stories, trust, and a little romantic weaving.

Christmas should be celebrated with family. But for Vera Swanson, that’s not an option this year. Widowed and recently relocated, she is lonely in her condo-for-one–until little Fiona Albright knocks on her door needing help. With her mother seriously ill and her father out of town, Fiona enlists Vera’s help, and when she finds out her new neighbor is a quilter, she has a special request–a Christmas quilt for Mama.

Vera will have to get a ragtag group of women together in order to fulfill the request. Between free-spirited artist Tasha, chatty empty nester Beverly, retired therapist Eleanor, and herself, Vera has hopes that Christmas for the Albright family will be merry, after all–and she may find herself a new family of friends along the way.

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to cuddle up this holiday season with this cozy story of giving, forgiving, and a little bit of romance.

PURCHASE LINKS: (does not benefit me; not my affiliate links) Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Christianbook | BookBub

Excerpt 1:

So Vera would be alone for Christmas—not that she planned to acknowledge the holiday. Who
was there to celebrate with anyway? After five months in Fairview, she hadn’t made a single friend.
She’d heard that as one got older it grew more difficult to make new friends. Perhaps her loneliness was
proof of that.
A loud knocking at her door brought Vera’s little pity party to a halt. Hurrying to see who was
pounding so urgently—since no one ever called on her here—she suddenly remembered she was still in
her pajamas and robe. She cracked open the door with a cautious hello? but could see no one.
“Please, please, can you help me?” a small voice pleaded from down below.
Vera blinked at the small child who stood on her doorstep. With two messy blond pigtails, bare
feet, and widened blue eyes, the little girl looked somewhat lost and confused. And like Vera, the child
was dressed in sleepwear, except hers was a thin, summery nightgown that looked none too warm.
“Wh-what?” Vera fumbled to unlatch the chain and fully open the door. “Who are you?”
“I’m Fiona,” the girl reached for Vera’s hand and, grasping it tightly, tugged. “We live right
there.” She pointed to the opened door across the hallway. “Mama is sick. Please help me!”
“Oh my!” Leaving her own door wide open, Vera let the child lead her across the hall and into
the condo.

Excerpt 2:

“Can you make a quilt for Mama?” Fiona asked eagerly.
“I—uh—I don’t know.”
“She wants one so bad.” Fiona’s eyes brightened with hope. “I can help you make it. We’ll make
a quilt for Mama to make her better.”
Vera didn’t know what to say, but hoping to distract Fiona from thoughts of death and sickness,
she slowly nodded. “I might be able to quilt your mother something.” She imagined a small project . . .
something that would distract from feeling sorry for herself during the holidays. “Maybe a pillow. Or
even a small lap quilt.” She held her hands a couple of feet apart. “You know, like this.”
“No, Mama needs a big patchwork quilt,” Fiona insisted. “For her big bed. Can you do it, Mrs.
Swanson? Please—please! Mama would be so happy. I promise to help.”
Vera didn’t know what to say.
“And we will give it to her for Christmas,” the precocious child continued.
Vera blinked. A big quilt? By Christmas? Now that would take a miracle.


Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie, and the film version of The Happy Camper is soon to be released. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

Connect with Melody by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a print copy of A Quilt for Christmas, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and quilted coasters!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 12, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on October 19, 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.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Lori, At Home.

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