Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel December 14, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:59 pm
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About the Book

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

Name of book: Solve by Christmas

Author: Amber Schamel

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

“Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “ ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

 

About the Author

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

 

Pick up your copy here.

 

Guest Post from Amber Schamel

Thank you so much for joining us on the Celebrate Lit blog tour for Solve by Christmas!! I am so excited you’re here. For this special event, I wanted to share the inside scoop behind the story.

Solve by Christmas is a historical Mystery set in Denver during the great blizzard of 1913. It has a unique storyline, so people often wonder where the idea came from. Honestly, it was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks.

I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?

I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?

Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.

The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?

Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually DO have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.

There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas. I hope you enjoy the story, and best wishes in the giveaway! I will be stopping by along with Jasper and Denny (the two main characters) to answer any questions you may have about the story or the characters, so please do leave us a comment.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, December 12

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 12

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 13

The Fizzy Pop Collecton, December 14

Genesis5020, December 14

Baker Kella, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

History, Mystery & Faith, December 16

Karen Sue Hadley, December 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 17

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 17

Aryn The Libraryan, December 18

A Reader’s Brain, December 18

Bibliophile Reviews, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Simple Harvest Reads, December 20

Babs Book Bistro, December 21

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 21 (Interview)

Seasons of Opportunities, December 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 22

Just the Write Escape, December 23

The Power of Words, December 23

Live.Love.Read., December 24

Carpe Diem, December 24

Blogging With Carol, December 25

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, December 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas themed basket which will include a paperback copy of Solve by Christmas and The Swaddling Clothes (my two Christmas books) as well as a Christmas terrarium jar, and a Solve by Christmas notepad!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5bb

My thoughts:

This was a really good read. I enjoyed it and the spirit of Christmas and reconciliation in the book.

Jasper is a quirky character, I can relate:) He has some oddities and I appreciate that about him. He is determined to do his job and do it well. He is a busy man with all that is going on in this book.

Denny sure endeared himself to me as well, Jasper’s little unwanted sidekick.

Obviously, this book deals with a pretty heavy issue but it is written in such away that it didn’t bring the story down and you have this sense of hope throughout. I found this book to be  a charming and engaging read.

Grab your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to my through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

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Review and Giveaway: The Hope of Christmas December 11, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:52 am
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About the Book

Title: The Hope of Christmas

Author: Jodie Wolfe, Terri Wangard, Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: November 24, 2017

Picking a Bride for Paul
When Teddy Love’s neighbor and best friend breaks his leg, she pitches in to do whatever she can to help him on his farm. But when he enlists her aid in finding a wife, she comes to realize she has feelings for him.
Paul Baker follows his heart mother’s wishes by looking for a bride from the East who is refined and gentile, two qualities Teddy isn’t. When his potential bride arrives, he finds himself comparing her to Teddy. How can he go back and change things before he makes the biggest mistake of his life?

 

Typhoon Prompting

A destroyer escort is among the smallest of warships, but the USS Tabberer has the heart of a giant. A typhoon threatens the US Fleet in the Pacific during World War II, days before Christmas. The men of the Tabberer stand tall as they rush to the aid of their fellow sailors. For Seaman Jerry Collier, the typhoon prompts a greater awareness of what he wants in life. First, though, they have to survive.

A Dr. in the House
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Authors

JodieJodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.

 

TerriTerri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Classic BoatingMagazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

lindaLinda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, author, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life-from Edison, New Jersey (named for the famed inventor of the light bulb) and Washington, DC to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (reputed to be the oldest summer resort in America). She volunteers at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a trustee for her local public library.

 

Blog Stops

Christian Author J.E. Grace, December 10

Blogging With Carol, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 11

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 12

Have A Wonderful Day, December 12

Mommynificent, December 13

Inklings and notions, December 13

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 14

Mary Hake, December 14

The Power of Words, December 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 15

A Greater Yes, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 17

Radiant Light, December 18

Janices book reviews, December 18

Carpe Diem, December 19

A Baker’s Perspective, December 19

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 20

margaret kazmierczak, December 21

Pursuing Stacie, December 21

Maureen’s Musings, December 22

Blossoms and Blessings, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Giveaway

To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c514

My thoughts:

Looking for some sweet and quick Christmas stories? Look no further then here. This book  has three stories that will keep you engaged and also give you the Christmas “feels”.

Each story is unique and engaging. They have different settings then you might expect with these novellas and I appreciated that.

I love what these authors packed into a short read, they managed to get all it all in, character development, setting and of course Jesus. If you want a few quick reads I recommend this one.

Grab your copy at Amazon,  or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Devil in the Dust by Cara Luecht October 12, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:54 pm
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About the Book

Name of book: Devil in the Dust

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 3, 2017

June 1933

Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.

Emma’s husband is missing. She keeps house, keeps her five children fed as best as she can, and keeps smiling as her hope fades. But when the days stretch to weeks, she faces the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, she would never contemplated.

Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her tasks as if numb. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.

And then he comes.

His new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money catch Jessie’s eye, much to the dismay of her mother … and much to the concern of the minister’s wife, Lillian. He’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But who is to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for?

Click here to purchase your copy.

 
 

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

 

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

Why I wrote Devil in the Dust.

One Sunday after church, we decided to go to lunch with another family. We hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know this couple well, but the conversation was amazing, we laughed until we almost cried, and I’m pretty sure the restaurant manager was glad to see us go.

On the way out, the topic grew more serious, and I mentioned something that worried me. It was maybe a sentence—I was not baring my soul—but the woman with whom we had spent the last couple of delightful hours stopped, blinked, and put up her wall-of-a-Christian-smile. In an instant, I knew I had been judged as negative. You see, for many Christians, the mantras of “the battle is already won,” “faith will get you through,” and the largely American “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” have drowned out the quieter mandate to care.

I went home chased by the feeling that, somehow, I didn’t measure up. And for a time, I dredged that place of overthinking, attempting to float a reason out of that murky pond where insecurity hides.

Of course, I came up with nothing, and decided to put my efforts into deciding what my next novel would be. Unfortunately (or fortunately), at this stage, every little life experience has potential for use.

While I had been undecided on theme, I knew I wanted the setting for the novel to be in the dustbowl in the 1930s. I began researching, and I realized the scope and human impact of this disaster was much larger than I had remembered from history class. More importantly, it lasted an entire decade. For a decade, people dealt with hunger and drought and death from breathing in the ultra-fine soot. Children were lost. Families abandoned their farms. People survived on rations of canned government meat…and that’s when they were lucky. Many felt cursed.

Life was hard. I imagine that smiles were rare, even in the church.

I started thinking about what it would take for a community to survive devastation on this scale. I considered the kind of people who make up a town: merchants, teachers, police, farmers, and ministers. And while merchants and teachers, along with everyone else, would feel the change brought on by the slow death of a drought, for a minister it would be different. A minister’s purpose is to bring people the good news of the gospel. Technically, their job would stay exactly the same, except every phrase they spoke would shift in meaning because the context—the lives of those sitting in the pews—had changed so dramatically.

Growing up as the child of a pastor, I have some knowledge about how a minister’s home works. And in all my research I was left with one question: How could a minister preach every Sunday to a congregation of people who had lost everything with no hope for improvement anytime soon?

I moved my research to the Bible, and when I did, I came across the story of Lazarus. I have heard and read this story countless times, but in the light of trying to puzzle out what a pastor might do in a situation where it looks like all has been lost, I realized something about the story that I had never considered. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he cried with Lazarus’ sisters. He shared in their grief even though he knew it would end. He stayed there with them in that moment of sorrow.

I came to the conclusion that during times of suffering, our responsibility to others should look nothing like that drought-of-a-Christian-smile that I met outside that restaurant. Rather, it should emulate Jesus’ example. When we make Christianity only about victory, and turn faith into a wish book, we strip it of its most powerful message: hope. Not eternal hope, but the hope of not being alone. More often than not, we lack the ability to change someone’s circumstances. What we can do is come up alongside someone and help carry their burden even if only for a few minutes. Christianity is not a way to avoid suffering, it’s about finding meaning through the suffering.

I wrote Devil in the Dust as an exploration of what it means to be a Christian while standing in the midst of a desert. Told through the voices of three women who endure the quiet shame of poverty, Devil in the Dust is a story about what happens to faith when everything goes wrong.

Blog Stops

Zerina Blossom’s Books, October 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 11

Connie’s History Classroom, October 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 12

Genesis 5020, October 12

A Reader’s Brain, October 13

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Bukwurmzzz, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 16

Books n Baubles, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Mary Hake, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 20

Bigreadersite, October 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 21

Karen Sue Hadley, October 21

Daysong Reflections, October 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Devil in the Dust!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c201

My Thoughts:

Cara really paints a picture of this time. I could feel the dirt in my mouth as I read this book. So well done.

The stories and perspective of these women are unique to what is going on. Hope, hopelessness, shame, confusion. So much what we go through in our daily walks.

If you have ever been in a desert spiritually (and who hasn’t?) you will appreciate this book and find the deeper meaning behind the words.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan September 28, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:51 am
Tags: ,

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: Deadly Proof

Author: Rachel Dylan

Release date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Legal Romantic Suspense

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

 

About the Author

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

Q & A with Rachel Dylan

  1. The Atlanta Justice series is centered around strong, female lawyers who take on high-stakes cases. What made you want to write their stories?I’d have to say it’s personal! Having been an attorney for eleven years now, I love being able to pour parts of myself into the books. My everyday life as a lawyer isn’t that exciting and is definitely not as dangerous! But I’m able to draw on what I’ve lived through to bring life and authenticity to these characters.
  1. What type of research did you do for Deadly Proof?One of the great things about writing books related to my career is that I know lawyers who practice all different types of law. Deadly Proof focuses on Kate Sullivan, who is a plaintiff’s attorney taking on a big pharmaceutical company. I don’t do this specific type of plaintiff’s work, but I know lawyers who do, and I was able to talk with them. Also, I was able to relate to my characters on the defense side because I’ve done that work for years. It was really fun to write the perspectives of characters on both sides of the case.
  1. Is there a reason you chose Atlanta for this series?Yes! I’m from Georgia and lived in Atlanta, practicing law at a large law firm, for eight years. I wanted to pick a setting I was intimately familiar with to give readers an authentic Atlanta experience—sweet tea and all.
  1. Where do you think Kate’s passion for her work comes from?Kate truly believes that her life’s work is to help those who have been wronged. I believe a lot of her passion stems from her strong faith that has developed over the years. She’s not a lawyer to make big bucks but to change people’s lives for the better.
  1. What is the next book in the Atlanta Justice series about?Book two is about Kate’s friend Sophie Dawson, who we meet in Deadly Proof. Sophie is an Atlanta prosecutor. This story is exciting because it involves a completely different type of legal case than Deadly Proof. But I promise things get just as dangerous!

Blog Stops

September 26: A Baker’s Perspective

September 26: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

September 26: Faithfully Bookish

September 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

September 27: Fizzy Pop Collection

September 27: Blogging With Carol

September 28: Fiction Aficionado

September 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

September 28: Genesis 5020

September 29: Just Commonly

September 29: Bukwurmzzz

September 29: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

September 30: 100 Pages per Hour

September 30: Smiling Book Reviews

October 1: A Reader’s Brain

October 1: Bigreadersite

October 1: Carpe Diem

October 1: Christian Bookaholic

October 2: Karen Sue Hadley

October 2: History, Mystery & Faith

October 2: Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot

October 3: A Simply Enchanted Life

October 3: Avid Reader Book Reviews

October 3: Just the Write Escape

October 4: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

October 4: Mary Hake

October 4: Through the Open Window

October 5: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

October 5: Inklings and notions

October 5: Ashley’s Bookshelf

October 6: Pause for Tales

October 6: Have A Wonderful Day

October 6: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 7: Just Jo’Anne

October 7: Redeemed Hope Dweller

October 7: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

October 8: Neverending Stories

October 8: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

October 8: Cafinated Reads

October 9: Blossoms and Blessings

October 9: His Grace is Sufficient

October 9: Raining Butterfly Kisses

Giveaway

To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away four Suspense Novels and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04912/

My thoughts:

You never know what to expect when you are reading a new author and especially a debut author. Well, I can tell you what you can expect from this book: amazing story and wonderful writing.

Sometimes when you pick up a book it is like meeting an old friend you fall easily into the story and don’t want to put it down. Such is the case with this book. From the beginning I drawn to these characters and the story-line. It has all the set up early on for betrayal and things to go terribly wrong.

We get the point of view of many characters, which at first I was like why do we need that? But it becomes clear and adds so much tension and depth to the story.

Kate is such a sweet character, too nice to be in her position, she thinks and hopes for the best in everyone and this leads to her being deceived at times. But I so appreciated her heart.

If you like John Girsham books or anything that has a courtroom feel you will love this book. And even if you don’t I think you would like this book. I can’t wait to read more by Rachel.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Will Not See by Chautona Havig August 31, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:13 am
Tags: ,

Will Not See(2)

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: Will Not See

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: July 18, 2017

Genre: Christian Fiction / contemporary / suspense (light)

When Vikki Jeffries wakes up in a Rockland hotel with no idea of who she is and why she can’t remember… well, anything, the Rockland medical community begins to take a closer look at what may have happened to cause a second case of inexplicable amnesia.

But for Vikki, this is more than a medical anomaly–it’s her life. What is she doing in Rockland, thousands of miles away from her home in Apache Junction, Arizona? Who is she? Why is no one looking for her? Or are they?

Will Not See: Not everything is as it seems.

 

About the Author

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment

 

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

The circle of death swirls on the screen and it shifts. The bank balance appears, and with it, my heart sinks. It’s been a tough few months, financially. The bottom line proves it.

My reaction? Inhale. Exhale. “Okay, now we know the worst. We can do something about it.”

My husband, on the other hand, suffers a definite blow. Kevin might not sleep that night. Instead, he’ll mull over what we could have done differently, how we can make changes, if he’s a failure at this thing called life. He’ll pray—for hours.

They say ignorance is bliss. And sometimes, that’s true. It’s also a personality thing, I think. I tend to be a “let me have your worst” kind of gal. But when the negative arrives, I also tend to want to shield Kevin from it all. I don’t know how he can worry so much. He can’t fathom how I can turn it off.

But sometimes those personality things go deeper—into what can be serious faults. It has been said,

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

Or, in the words of Jeremiah,

“Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.”

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH NOT SEEING?

As I work on the Sight Unseen series, one recurring theme happens, of course. Memory loss—the removal of all insight into one’s past. You can hear who you were, be informed of what you did and why others think you did it, but you can’t know your own self the way you once did. It’s a fresh slate, and it can be a good thing in some respects.

Those around you can now see the difference between habits and personality traits—true dislikes and those conditioned by life. What might have been a fear once could be gone if the cause of that fear is blotted out.

But even for these fictional characters, truth doesn’t change. In None So Blind, Ella takes her memory loss and uses it as an opportunity to reinvent herself, if you will. And you know what? If you asked her family about it, they’d tell you that it fits her personality. That take-charge, gotta get ’er done attitude Dani may have used in different ways, but both “manifestations” of the woman had those qualities. Sure, Ella’s was tempered by recent experience, but not much.

VIKKI JEFFRIES, IS ALMOST THE ANTITHESIS OF ELLA IN THAT RESPECT.

The past is in the past. It scares her. Is it because she doesn’t know it? Because she’s frightened by the unknown? We don’t know. But what we do know is anything associated with that past, even the few very personal items she finds, she rejects. It’s as if ignorance of them will protect her from them. Where Ella runs to face her problems, Vikki runs from them.

But despite those differences, I find it interesting that both women did the same thing, basically—just at different times.

Before her “episode,” Ella chose to blind herself to her faults. She knew them. Lived with them daily, but couldn’t face or address them. So, she “refused to see.”

Vikki—we don’t know. But I think the story shows that she couldn’t blind herself to truth before her episode. As much as she might have ached to, she just couldn’t. Now that the opportunity is here, however, she grasps it and if she insists on squeezing her eyes shut indefinitely, it may cost her everything—her life. Her soul.

PHILIPPIANS 4:8, “…WHATEVER IS TRUE.”

They say ignorance is bliss. Well, “they” also say, “Truth hurts.” And sometimes it does. But so do the consequences of that ignorance. I guess the next time the bank balance dips low, I won’t be handling the fallout alone. Then again, one can always pray that it doesn’t dip low! I think we’ll start there.

Blog Stops

August 29: Just Jo’Anne

August 29: Carpe Diem

August 30: Seasons of Opportunities

August 30: Blogging With Carol

August 30: Lots of Helpers

August 31: Genesis 5020

August 31: Reading Is My SuperPower

September 1: Quiet Quilter

September 1: Back Porch Reads

September 2: Fiction Aficionado

September 2: Book Bites, Bee Sting, & Butterfly Kisses

September 3: A Reader’s Brain

September 3: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 4: Bigreadersite

September 4: The Scribbler

September 5: The Fizzy Pop Collection

September 5: Mommynificent

September 6: Christian Bookaholic

September 6: Moments Dipped in Ink

September 6: Margaret Kazmierczak

September 7: History, Mystery & Faith

September 7: Southern Gal Loves to Read

September 8: Pause for Tales

September 8: Avid Reader Book Reviews

September 9: Blossoms and Blessings

September 9: Reflections from my Bookshelves

September 10: A Baker’s Perspective

September 10: Pursuing Stacie

September 11: His Grace is Sufficient

September 11: Reader’s cozy corner

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of the None So Blind Paperback,
the Will Not See Paperback, a Journaling Bible (Choice of KJV or NLT), Prismacolor Pencils,
and a Christian Hymns Album!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd17

My thoughts:

I did not expect this book to be so suspenseful, but it was and I really enjoyed that aspect. Someone is after Victoria and we have no idea why and neither does she.

So not only do we have the mystery surrounding her forgotten identity but also who is after her.

I also enjoyed meeting up with Ella again and how she is able to help Victoria now and empathize with her.

Overall, I a very good read and I was not disappointed. I am finding that I really enjoy Chautona’s writing and her ideas, they are very creative and interesting.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: The Dukes Dilemma by Elaine Manders August 24, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:01 pm
Tags: ,

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

             Click to purchase

Book title: The Duke’s Dilemma

Author: Elaine Manders

Release date: May 27, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance, subgenre: Regency

Should he wed the perfect match—or the one he loves?

Edward Dalton, the new Duke of Langsdale, must soon take a wife to ensure the hereditary line. A young war widow seems the perfect choice. She is charming, well respected with impeccable character, and her connections to the Ton’s most important people is an asset he can’t ignore. But Edward is intrigued by another widow. The mysterious, hauntingly beautiful Lady Wayte.

Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom?

As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God.

 

About the Author

photo 3Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters of faith. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest post from Elaine Manders

Historical romance became my favorite genre back in the seventies and eighties, and one of my favorite settings was Regency England. A Regency can be a romance in the Jane Austin mode or historical romance set during the Regency period. There is a difference, and The Duke’s Dilemma falls into this latter category. Yes, there is some of usual drawing room intrigue in an Austen novel, but The Duke’s Dilemma contains a serious spiritual theme. The plot fitted perfectly into my new series, The Wolf Deceivers.

I wrote the original manuscript nearly twenty years ago as a light, secular romance, but when I revised it to Christian romance, I was delighted to find the inspirational thread deepened the characters. Instead of merely fighting for her reputation while trying to wrest the duke from another woman, Cassandra, the heroine, must fight for her survival. Instead of being another handsome, sardonic nobleman, Edward, the hero, uses his intelligence and grace to protect Cassandra and win her love.

Even the secondary characters captivated me. Little Sarah’s match-making antics suited the Regency theme and provided some levity during the darker moments of the plot. Lady Ashford, Cassandra’s foil, developed a tenacity I had to admire in spite of all her shortcomings. And Sir Harcrumb became a villain I loved to hate.

Though the characters changed a great deal in the retelling, the plot remained basically the same. The only thing I added was a surprise twist at the end—something that has inadvertently become a part of my brand.

Every story is a learning experience for me, and I’m always grateful for how much I learn from my research and from the Holy Spirit. I’ve become more aware of those who deceive, and how vulnerable people, especially young people, are to Satan’s tactics. Also, I’ve unexpectedly come away with a better understanding of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Although this is a new label, we all know it has affected people throughout history.

Yes, The Duke’s Dilemma has taught me much, and I hated to say good-bye to these characters. I love stories that move me during the writing and only ask two things of my books. That they bring enjoyment to my readers and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I hope this one does both.

Blog Stops

August 22: A Baker’s Perspective

August 22: Books, Books, and More Books

August 23: Blogging With Carol

August 24: Genesis 5020

August 25: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 25: Have A Wonderful Day

August 26: Jami’s Words

August 26: Faery Tales Are Real

August 27: Karen Sue Hadley

August 27: Ashley’s Bookshelf

August 28: Remembrancy

August 29: The Fizzy Pop Collection

August 29: For the Love of Books

August 30: Locks, Hooks and Books

August 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 31: Blossoms and Blessings

September 1: Pause for Tales

September 1: Caffeinated Reads

September 2: Live. Love. Read.

September 3: Just the Write Escape

September 4: Henry Happens

September 4: History, Mystery & Faith

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:

Grand prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
1st place: paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 of the Wolf Deceivers series, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma!!

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

My thoughts:

You never know what to expect when you pick up a book by an author you never read. Such was the case with this book. But I had no reason to worry, Elaine has written a wonderful book full of God’s truth and layered in richness.

I really like Cassandra and her heart to help others. I was concerned about her getting into trouble and heading into situations without thinking.

Edward is such a wonderful man, so thoughtful and caring. I wanted Cassandra to just tell him her story so he would know the truth.

I can’t forget about Sarah, Edward’s little sister. Everything was “the desire of her heart.” It was so cute. Elaine did a great job depicting her and her innocence.

Overall, this was a fabulous book with so much going for it. I would definitely read more books by Elaine in the future.

Grab your copy at Amazon, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman August 17, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:30 pm
Tags: ,

To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

      Click to purchase

Book title: Out of Darkness

Author: Erynn Newman

Release date: May 18, 2017

Genre: Romantic suspense

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life–until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.

As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew–his best friend and CIA partner–he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.

Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.

Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still her husband, and she’s determined to build something new and leave her relationship with Gabe in the past, if her heart will get the memo.

When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives–one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.

 

Gabe

 

About the Author

Erynn Newman is a pastor’s kid, raised in churches all over the Eastern Seaboard. Since earning her degree in Christian Studies, she has traveled the world and served as a missionary, a counselor, an ESL teacher, and a nanny. Though she has never worked with the CIA, her DVR contains a veritable Who’s Who of international spies. She is a Carolina girl, a wife, and Mama to a very busy little boy, two cats, and a gaggle of characters that live inside her head.

 

20 Facts About Out of Darkness

  1. I write novels while the rest of the house sleeps. That’s also when I do most of my editing work and social media stalking. During the day, I get to hang out with an awesome 4-year-old who is the reason I get up in the morning (both because he’s my heart and because he’s staring into my soul asking me to make pancakes).
  2. I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.
  3. It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I thought that everyone made up imaginary people and back stories for them and imagined the lives they lived and sometimes talked to them in traffic. Turns out no. Fortunately other writers found me and helped me figure it out.
  4. My greatest nemeses are also my greatest inspirations. Facebook and Netflix. Finding the balance of hanging out with other writers and readers and being inspired by great story telling and actually doing the work is the hardest thing for me.
  5. I am obsessed with casting characters. Finding the perfect actor/actress or model who embodies my characters is one of my favorite parts of the process. I also do this for every single book I read.
  6. So, of course now you want to know who I chose for Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe. I’m glad you asked.
    • Drew is based on Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Bryce Larkin in the show Chuck (there are quite a few nods to this show hidden throughout Out of Darkness).
    • Elisabeth is partially based on a character from a show I watched when I was in college (also a waitress and artist), but she looks like this model.
    • Gabe is based not that loosely on (young) Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS.
  7. Our house has a really great office with a nice desk and comfortable chair that looks out on our wooded back yard. But I work almost exclusively while sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the back of it. My uniform is yoga pants and an old t-shirt. The author life is G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.
  8. I got my start writing fan fiction. Most of it has been obliterated from the interwebs, but there may still be a few Star Wars stories floating around out there (I owe this to my love for Ewan MacGregor and my hatred of Annakin Skywalker). Fan fiction is also the way I found my very first critique group. And our leader, Susan Kaye Quinn, best-selling author and real life rocket scientist, helped me realize I could be a real author. And later she taught me how to publish. I want to be her when I grow up.
  9. Speaking of fan fiction, the original idea for Out of Darkness was a fan fiction based on that character from that show I talked about above. The waitress/artist who lost her first love and then fell for someone else. And then when her love returned, he was… recast. And terrible. And she forgot who she was and made every wrong decision. And everyone was miserable ever after.
    And I was like, what even IS this show?!?! So I started writing my version of how it should have gone.
    But then a surprising thing happened. My characters took on lives of their own, and I fell in love with ALL of them, and I knew I had to tell their story. So I started creating a different back story for them (and I introduced them to Jesus), and then they became their own characters and started telling me what to do. And I’m a little insane now, but I’m not even mad because I love what this story has turned into (and turned ME into).
  10. I started writing Out of Darkness in its earliest form in 2006. I stopped and restarted several times. I wrote other things that may or may not ever see the light of day. I learned that I was writing all wrong, and I ripped it apart, started over and stitched it back together piece by piece. In fact, my original chapter one is now chapter FOURTEEN. And all of that is after the first fifty pages that now comprise First Lightthe prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.
  11. Of all the exotic locations mentioned in Out of Darkness: Venice, Italy; Paris, France; Cordoba, Spain; Trim, Ireland; and even Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, I have been to two—Baltimore and Paris.
    Google Maps Street View and Wikipedia are an author’s best friends.
  12. Music inspires me to write, but I can’t write to music. I often hear a song that makes me think of a scene or helps me get the emotion right. And I add those to my play list, but when I write, I prefer quiet (or instrumental music).
  13. I want the Gospel to be front and center in every story I write (including my own), but there were two scenes in particular that I really felt like the Holy Spirit guided me in writing. One is when Drew finds his Bible in the backpack Gabe packed for them, and the other is Gabe’s argument with God when he decides to let Elisabeth go. In both instances, I feel like God really led me to the right Scriptures and gave me the words in a way I didn’t experience with any other scenes.
  14. The hardest scenes were all of the ones with Drew and the gas. Both because I don’t like to torture my characters (contrary to what you may believe) and because the science behind the weapon is way above my head. I worked with a couple of microbiologists to get it at least to plausible/possible, but I’m sure there are still some issues with my science there.
  15. I cried several times while writing this book. Elisabeth and I grieve much the same way, so I saw a lot of myself in her moments crying out to God—especially in the ones where she just wanted to feel Him and couldn’t. I cried when Drew fell apart reading his Bible, and I cried at the end when I wasn’t sure who would live or die.
  16. Gabe was the biggest surprise of the writing process. He was supposed to be out of the picture after chapter sixteen. He was just supposed to be a supporting character in the first half of the book, but at every turn he was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me, “there’s so much more to my story.”
  17. A few scenes didn’t make it into the final book. Two of them are in the outtakes section of my website, but don’t read those until after you’ve read the book. Seriously.
  18. After being told by one agent that Out of Darkness would never sell because it didn’t fit neatly into a genre category, I signed with my current agent in 2012, and we submitted it to several publishers. I received lots of compliments on my writing, but ultimately, people didn’t seem to like the fact that both of my leading men were good guys, and there was no one to root against. One even suggested that I make Gabe complicit in Drew’s abduction. And one suggested I kill Drew (again!) so Elisabeth and Gabe could end up together. Both interesting ideas, but neither were the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to indie publish, which has been really challenging, but I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. We all got the ending we were supposed to have.
  19. Speaking of endings, the one in the final version is very different from the original. I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but let’s just say that the original ending was far less happy, but I felt like it was the only way out. One of my characters made a choice that I couldn’t see any way around. And I thought that a happy ending would be too fake. I didn’t want to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow and say “they all lived happily ever after,” because after everything they’d been through, that wouldn’t be real life. But a very good friend of mine convinced me that I could instead tie everything up with a frayed knot. It’s still messy and difficult and a little raw, but I think it’s real… and full of hope and possibility.
  20. So what’s next, you ask? There’s more to explore here perhaps, but I honestly don’t know what comes next for these characters. That’s something I’m still thinking about.
    The story I’m working on right now also begins in D.C. but takes place mostly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of an ex Army Ranger who has to protect his three little brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder. And there may also be a girl involved.

Blog Stops

August 17: A Baker’s Perspective

August17: Genesis 5020

August18: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 18: Reading Is My SuperPower

August 19: Fiction Aficionado

August 19:Inklings and notions

August 20: Reflections from my Bookshelves

August 20: Blossoms and Blessings

August 21: History, Mystery & Faith

August 21: Blogging With Carol

August 22: Faithfully Bookish

August 22: Mommynificent

August 23: Just the Write Escape

August 23: Moments Dipped in Ink

August 24: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

August 24: 100 pages per hour

August 25: Carpe Diem

August 25: Christian Bookaholic

August 26: J.E. Grace Bog

August 26: Karen Sue Hadley

August 27: God’s Little Bookworm

August 27: Back Porch Reads

August 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 28: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 28: Daysong Reflections

August 29: The Fizzy Pop Collection

August 29: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

August 29: Remembrancy

August 30: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 30: Henry Happens

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erynn is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Out of Darkness, a signed copy of First Light, The Joy Eternal~A Sweet and Bitter Providence CD, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Cookies.!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/beac

My thoughts:

Wow, what a great read. I really enjoyed this book. First Light is a short novella you can read before reading this one and is nice to lay some ground work but you could jump right into the Out of Darkness without any issues if you don’t read the novella.

Erynn did such a fabulous job of dealing with Elisabeth’s pain. She didn’t gloss over her grief, she brought it to life for us. She also didn’t rush the romance between Gabe and Elisabeth which made it more realistic to believe it could happen.

But then what? What tough decisions these characters faced. I felt to sad for Drew knowing what he was going through and knowing Elisabeth was moving on, but you couldn’t be angry with her because she didn’t know.

I also appreciate how Erynn wove in the faith aspect, it was nicely done without being forced or preachy.

Overall a very good read and I would definitely read something by Erynn again.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon ($1.99)  or your favorite retailer.

Notice the giveaway is not on my blog, follow the link above under the giveaway section. But you can earn nine extra entries if you leave a comment and then follow that link. 

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.