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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: 21 Days of Grace


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

  

Book: 21 Days of Grace  

Author: Compiled by Kathy Ide
  
Genre: Devotional  

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Love fiction? Looking for a devotional? Check out 21 DAYS OF GRACE, book one in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (published by BroadStreet Publishing Group). Fictional stories followed by brief life applications written by best-selling Christian novelists and debut authors, including Angela Hunt, Cindy Woodsmall, and Deborah Raney. Great for individual or group study.

My Thoughts 

I haven't read a lot of devotionals in the past, mainly because I have struggled to find one that I liked. However, I loved 21 Days of Grace! I loved how each day was a short story dealing with the theme of grace and that there was a "Life Application" section at the end of each day that showed more directly what the author intended to convey about grace to the reader. Another aspect that I liked about it is that each day was a story by a different Christian authors, some that I have read before and others that I definitely want to check out some of their other works soon. 

There are a few entries that I would like to highlight that were either my favorites or that I didn't really like:

Promptly at Seven by Barbara Curtis: 
I loved this story about the waiter and the old couple and his compassion to old couple after he finds out why they haven't been to his restuarant in a while. I am pretty sure I was tearing up at the end because it was so touching! 

Rag Doll by Kathy Ide: 
This was one of my favorite stories in 21 Days of Grace and I wish it was at least a novella because there is so much more that I want to know about what happens to Megan, both during the story and after it has ended. 

The Pain Redemption by Roxanne Anderson: 
This entry was the only one I didn't like in the whole devotional, partly because I found it kind of unsettling. I felt like it seemed to leave out the fact that Christ is God and that it stripped Him of some of His attributes and it seemed like He was portrayed as being ignorant. It just didn't sit well with me, but maybe I missed something while reading it. 

Despite there being a couple of entries that I didn't like, I did enjoy this devotional and I definitely want to check out the others in this series. I am giving 21 Days of Grace 4/5 Stars because it was a good devotional and its appeal to fiction lovers. 


About the Author



 Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor and writing mentor, working with Christian authors of all genres at all levels. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She’s a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC and founder of the four divisions that comprise the CEN: Christian Editor Connection, The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. To find out more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com
 



Guest Post from Kathy Ide

I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution. And you can take these purse-sized devotionals wherever you go, to read when you have a few minutes of down time. It’s a great way to get “inspiration on the go.” And they make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones.

Blog Stops

March 24: ASC Book Reviews
March 24: autism mom
March 28: A Greater Yes
March 29: Southern Chelle
March 30: Pause for Tales
March 30: The Scribbler
March 31: Carpe Diem
April 1: Splashesofjoy
April 3: Lane Hill House
April 5: God is Love

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away:

1st – 4th place winners: A set of all four devotionals in the series. 
5th & 6th place winners: An autographed copy of 21 Days of Grace with a novel written by one of the contributing authors!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2cd

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Such A Tease



Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book: Such a Tease  

Author: Chautona Havig  

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical/Mystery  

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Madeline, with a little assistance, discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! Can she expose him for the fraud she’s sure he is?

In book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series, Madeline Brown has a new endeavor to occupy her time. But is it to keep her out of the way or a reward for her work in Sweet on You? With the help of her young friends, Madeline discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! What’s a girl to do?  

But her new position also gives her opportunities to observe, and what she sees sets more than one new investigation in motion. What does her old suitor, Delbert Jackson, know? Why is Mr. Merton giving important papers to that scoundrel, Vernon Smythe, and whatever happened to poor Abigail Cooper?  

Add to these intriguing questions Henry Hardwick’s continued attentions, Edith’s newfound devotion to the temperance movement and Madeline’s determination to find her a more reliable suitor, and strange behavior from her Aunt Louisa and things heat up as summer fades from Rockland.

Her dear friend, Russell, busy with an important project at work, finds himself unable to help keep her out of trouble and away from danger. Is Madeline going too far? Will her meddling get her in serious trouble this time, will it destroy her reputation irreparably, or will she rid Rockland of a scoundrel once and for all?

My Thoughts

It was great to revisit Rockland in 1901 and see what Madeline was up to after the end of Sweet on You. I love how somewhat modern she is for her time, although she doesn't seem to think there is anything unusual about her desire to work. I appreciate how the author dealt with how other people reacted to Madeline's job, I found it very realistic of what people would have thought in 1901.

I really did like the characters in this book, especially Madeline and Russell. It was interesting to see Edith trying to move on after having her heart broken at the end of the first book. I also enjoyed Mr. Brown, I found him to be everything that a father ought to be and I loved how he appreciate Madeline's modern ideas. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Madeline and her Aunt Louise and just how different they are from each other and how that sometimes causes problems.

 The mystery in this book was interesting, but it did not seem to draw me in as much as the first book's plot did. I also felt like it dragged a little bit in some places, but I like how Madeline's gift for sleuthing is being developed and I can't wait to see what crime she has to solve in the next book.

Another thing that was hard to follow at times was the change in the points of view. But I also enjoyed how we got see the points of view of both the "good guys" and the "bad guy", I felt like it added more depth to the characters throughout the novel.

Overall, I did like this book, but not as much as the first book. Therefore I am giving it 3.5/5 Stars because the plot was hard to follow at times, but I did enjoy the historical setting and revisiting these characters and I can't wait to find out what happens to Meddlin' Madeline next!

About the Author




Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona considers herself blessed to live in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. When not writing, which she admits isn’t often, Chautona enjoys blogging, paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old (read: before her parents’ time) music.







Guest Blog Post from Chautona

Leon Czolgosz is my new nemesis. He’s dead, but he ruined my book. No, really. The guy totally destroyed the opening pages of Such a Tease.

Now, these days, not a whole lot of people remember the name of Leon Cozolgosz. I didn’t. But I’ll never forget him now (although I may never remember how to spell his name).

Who is he? Only the guy who shot President McKinley. Why am I annoyed with him over a hundred years later? The idiot did this thing on September 6, 1901. You know, four days after this book opened? Yeah. Couldn’t he have done it on say… January 6, 1901? Even January 6, 1902 would have served my purposes.

Look, I’m not as callous as I appear. Truly. But if President McKinley had to die, did his murderer have to do it when it would completely mess up my book?

How did it mess up my book you ask?

I’ll tell you. I left it out—the whole assassination thing. There I was, fixing a wedding date for one of the characters, when a thought occurred to me. She could be married on Flag Day—if Flag Day was a thing then. I didn’t think it was. I really thought Wilson was responsible for that—you know, creating holidays in between his notes to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany or something like that. But I hoped. Somehow—just maybe. I mean we had Labor Day from Cleveland, why not Flag Day from McKinley. But noooooo. He didn’t. What did he do?

He got shot. Four days after my book opened. And there wasn’t a single word about it in the story.

Like I could ever get away with that. This was news! Big news. And nothing about it in the life of a daughter of a politician? I think not.

Not only did this Leon Czolgosz (no, really. It’s spelled correctly) shoot the president on September 6th, but he didn’t do a good job of it! Look, I think I’ve established that I didn’t want President McKinley killed. But if the guy with the unpronounceable last name had to do it, couldn’t he have done a good job of it? Couldn’t he have shot the president in the head? McKinley suffered for eight days before he died. Eight days! They thought he was getting better and then gangrene killed him.

It would have been a mercy had Leon just shot McKinley in the head or the heart. Why the abdomen? Cruel, if you ask me, even for an anarchist.

And it made adding the whole affair to my book even more problematic. No, really! Think about it. I couldn’t have the newspapers announce the death of President McKinley on September 7th and then have a few mentions of the bank being affected or something. No… no… now I had to have a headline event, give false hope, and then add the death on top of it all.

Look, I do an obscene amount of research for my books. No, really. Keen was slang in 1901. Woohoo! Look up “peachy keen”? Yeah. Can’t use it. 1950s. The telephone? Can Madeline expect to use one in a burgeoning city in 1901? Considering there were over 850,000 telephones in use, yes. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a photographer who works for a local paper might have a telephone in order to receive calls requesting him to come photograph some big event—like the Mayor’s speech on the death of President McKinley, perchance?

Yep. Somehow, I almost missed one of the biggest events in US history. Research saved the book—and ruined my timeline. All at the same time. Gotta love history. Or not.

And Leon Czolgosz? Yeah. Thanks for nothing.

Blog Stops

March 21: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses
March 23: A Greater Yes
March 24: Carpe Diem
March 27: Splashesofjoy
March 29: Lots of Helpers
March 29: The Scribbler
March 30: Bigreadersite
April 1: Pause for Tales

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Reader’s Teaser Package that includes: 
A paperback copy of both Sweet on You and Such a Tease 
A “Tea-for-One” teapot 
A Tin of loose-leaf tea of your choice (six options available from our local tearoom) 
A pound of assorted See’s chocolates 
A set of six handmade antique-inspired note cards 
A $25 Amazon Gift Card 
And, for the teaser… the winner will also receive the exclusive short story (usually reserved for pre-orders) The Fate of Abigail Cooper!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2b8

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Library Haul #7

I went to the library last week and I went a little crazy, here are the books I got: 

1. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
This is a magical realism novel about a girl called Mimosa who is aromateur - she has the ability to make love potions. However, one day she gives a potion to the wrong woman and she has to try and correct her mistake. It sounded really cute and the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
I have been wanting to read this book ever since I heard that it was in last September's Owlcrate box. It is about a society that has a matriarchy and every generation a set of triplet princesses are born. Each princess is proficient in a different power that represents a section of the island on which they live. When they come of age they have to fight to death to see who will be the next Queen. It sounds interesting especially since I have heard there is a lot of political intrigue in this novel.

3. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
This sounds really good, and it looks like it might fill the void I have after finishing Gemina a few months ago. It is about a princess whose family was killed and she finally has the opportunity to get revenge on those who did so. However, a lot of stuff goes down an she ends up being in the center of a war amongst other planets in this galaxy. This is a simplified version of the plot, I might have missed a few things because it sounds really complicated.

4. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
I don't know a whole lot about this book except it has been one that I have wanted to read for a while because the main character suffers from insomnia, and I guess that is how she meets her love interest (?), I don't want to know too much going into the book

5. Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Vicious is about two men who were college roommates an worked on a project their senior year to do with special abilities but something went wrong. The book picks up ten years later where one of the characters, Victor, breaks out of prison and seeks revenge on Eli, who has made it his mission to get rid of super powers. It sounds really interesting and I think it will be a great introduction to V.E. Schwab

6. Ronit and Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin
This is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is also told in verse, so that is really interesting plus it seems like it will be a quick read.

7. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
This is the fourth book in the Series of Unfortunate Events and in this installment the Baudelaire orphans are sent to live at a lumber mill while being on the alert for the odious Count Olaf.

8. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
This is the fifth installment in the Series of Unfortunate Events and the Baudelaire children are sent to a boarding school.

9. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
This is book six in A Series of Unfortunate Events and I'm guessing the Baudelaire children are sent to live in an elevator, or it is somehow has something to do with where they live.

I have already read four of these books and I am looking forward to reading the others soon!

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Sea-Keeper's Daughters (Carolinas #3)

Today's review is on The Sea-Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate
I really enjoyed this book. I loved how it was a mix of narrative and letters. Personally, I like reading books written in an epistolary style. I thought it was cool how the present-day story was the narrative and the story set in the past was told in letters. I also loved the mystery surrounding the letters.

This novel is about a restaurant owner, Whitney Monroe who is having to close down one of her stores due to a corrupt businessman. She then gets a phone call that her estranged step-father is in the hospital and she has to travel to Roanoke to help him out. He lives in the Excelsior hotel that used to belong to her grandmother, and later her mother, she starts sifting through all the stuff that has accumulated over the years in order to get the hotel ready to sell and comes across an old suitcase filled with letters written to her grandmother written by a woman that she had never heard about. She starts reading through the letters and reads the story from the 1930s that involved a great-aunt that she had never heard about.

I really enjoyed the characters, but Whitney was my favorite: she was three-dimensional and a lot of what she experienced was realistic. It was interesting to see the long-lasting effects of suicide on the loved ones of an individual, especially the children of someone who has committed suicide. Whitney is still dealing with the aftermath of her father's suicide even though she was a young girl when it took place. I also liked her step-dad even though he was kind of ornery.

I liked seeing how the first two books in this series are connected to the this book, even though each book can be read as a stand-alone novel. I also loved the opening lines of this book because is what hooked me when I started reading it, "Perhaps denial is the mind's way of protecting the heart from a sucker punch it can't handle. Or maybe it's simpler than that, Maybe denial in the face of overwhelming evidence is a mere byproduct of stubbornness" (p.1). 

I also enjoyed learning about a piece of history that I had never really heard of before - FDR's Federal Writer's Folklore Project and in the '30s people were hired by the government to travel and record the stories of people who have stories to tell that could disappear. I also loved finding out more about the Melungeon Native Americans and their possible origins.

If you enjoy history, especially the Depression-era then definitely give this book a shot. I am gave this book 5/5 Stars because it drew me in from the very first page!

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What I read in February

February was a busy month for me schoolwork wise, so I honestly did not expect to get much reading done, especially since I wasn't really in the mood to read for fun. However, about halfway through the month I got out of my reading slump and have been reading a lot more. I managed to read 12 books last month, some for school and some for pleasure. Here are the books I read in February:

1. The Flintstones Issue 1 by Mark Russell, Illustrated by Steve Pugh
I picked this up when I went to a comic book store for the first time about a month ago. I decided to get this because I grew up watching The Flintstones and I wanted to see what they did with the characters. It was okay, but I honestly prefer the original artwork from the TV show. I am probably not going to continue with this series. 2.5/5 Stars

2. Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly
This is the last book in the Waterfire Saga. I liked it, but I felt there were certain things that were rushed and it was all wrapped up to neatly. I am sad to see these characters go, and I will have a longer review up soon. 3.75/5 Stars.

3. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

4.  Feminism: A Very Short Introduction by Margaret Walters
I read this as a possible source for my senior thesis since it is deals a little bit with the history of feminism. It was a good read for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the roots of feminism and more or less what it is about. It can be read in one sitting, which I appreciated. 4/5 Stars.


5. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

This was the second book I had to read for my Detective Fiction class. I enjoyed it, except the copy I had was the size of a normal piece of paper (A4), so it was awkward to read it at times and it took me longer to read a page. I did enjoy the story and found it interesting. 4/5 Stars.

6. Knowing God by J. I. Packer
I had to read this for a Theology class that I am taking. I really enjoyed it, unfortunately I had to speed through it in order to complete it by the deadline. This is definitely a book that I am going to go back and reread in the future. It is a great book that shows the various ways we can know God by describing His attributes. 5/5 Stars.

7. An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter
I received a copy of this for review from Bethany House Publishers. I will have a full review up probably next week. I did enjoy the plot, it was definitely interesting, however it seemed to lag in certain places and there were a few other things that bothered me. 3.5/5 Stars.

8. Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky
I posted my review on Shine like the Dawn last week as part of the CelebrateLit Blog Tour. I really enjoyed this story and the tale of forgiveness and moving on from the past. I loved the characters and I definitely want to read more from this author. 4/5 Stars.

9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
This is the first novel by Agatha Christie that I have read and it was a great introduction to her writing. I enjoyed the story line for the most part and it is definitely worth picking up. 4/5 Stars.

10. Jesus Christ Our Lord by John Walvoord
This is a another book I had to read for my Theology class. It was a defense for the deity of Christ and it was really good. Unfortunately, I also had to speed read this one in order to get it done on time. 5/5 Stars.

11. The Mermaid's Mirror by L. K. Madigan
I picked this up for one of the challenges for Around the Year in 52 Books - this completed the challenge of reading a book that I chose randomly and this one was one that I did. It was just okay, it is about mermaids, but they don't come into play until about the last third of this book which was kind of disappointing and the ending felt rushed and too convenient. I am still trying to decided whether or not I want to do a full review on this. 2.75/5 Stars

12. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
The last book I read this month was The Wide Window. I am really enjoying this series and I can't wait to read the rest of this series, I have already requested the bind up editions of the rest of this series just so I can keep reading as soon as I get them and not have to wait until I go to the library again. I enjoyed it, but I still find the definitions/explanations of words annoying. 3/5 Stars.

Those are all the books I read last month and I am hoping that March is as good a reading month!

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram (@jazzyjan101), Twitter (@Jlc0904Janelle) and to like The Scribbler Facebook Page