Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

This novel is one in the True Colors series, novels based on actual historical crimes. This one takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains and centers on the Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

Some of the other novels in the series have a number of events, such as murders or kidnappings. This one has just one event, the courthouse massacre, and it does not happen until late in the novel. Most of the novel is about Ava, her back story and her romance. This fictional character does have interactions with significant people involved in the massacre, however, they are somewhat minor and not very character revealing. I do wish more of the novel would have been about the actual people involved in the massacre. The massacre could have been more central in the novel with more about the culprits hiding out for days. Also, Basham brings in a whole other fictional group of nefarious men who are involved in the courthouse event. I felt that really muddied the waters, so to speak. I would have rather the novel been about the historical people with fictional ones supporting the plot but not being the central aspect of it.

All that being said, it was an interesting novel and I learned some things about an event the author, a native of the area, had heard about since childhood.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She is a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She is a speech pathologist and the mother of five. You can find out more at https://pepperdbasham.com/.

Barbour Books, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Light of His Presence by Anne Graham Lotz

Like many of us, Lotz often found prayer to be difficult. She had problems with concentration and consistency, often being distracted. And she had trouble with content. How could she pray day after day without being repetitive?

Lotz discovered that setting her alarm for an earlier time and writing out her prayers were keys to a deeper, more intimate conversation with God. She has included forty of those prayers in this book. She has tried to include the four elements of worship, confession, thanksgiving, and intercession, in each of these prayers.

In case we run out of content for our own prayers, Lotz has included a couple of excellent Appendixes. One identifies our blessings, food for praising and thanking God. The other is on sins, helping us identify our own for prayerful confession.

I am happily impressed with Lotz's prayers. She beautifully weaves into them Scriptures and phrases from well known hymns. She expresses heartfelt desires praise God, to see friends and family saved, to see the nation healed, to be stripped of pride, to show God's love to others, and much, much more. Each prayer is a lesson in spiritual transformation.

I highly recommend this book. If you've struggled with prayer like I have, you will find example, inspiration, and encouragement to develop a more consistent and deeper prayer relationship with God.

Lotz writes, “My prayer for you...is that God will use my struggle with prayer to help you overcome yours. And that, as a result, you will be drawn nearer to the heart of God.”

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Anne Graham Lotz – called “the best preacher in the family” by her father, Billy Graham – is an international speaker and the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books, including Jesus in Me and Just Give Me Jesus. She is president of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the former chairperson for the National Day of Prayer. You can find out more at https://www.annegrahamlotz.org/.

Multnomah, 224 pages. This book releases October 6.


I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The End of the Day by Bill Clegg

This novel is certainly of a different kind and one not particularly to my liking. It is basically a collection of character vignettes, like character studies an author would create as background for writing a novel containing much information the author would ultimately never include in the actual novel. The vignettes bounce around from current time to years ago to some time in between back to the current time. Sometimes it seemed like there were flashbacks in the midst of flashbacks.

There are a number of new characters introduced by such vignettes. Well into one, I would find out this character has had dealings with someone who is a good friend of a previously introduced character. I painfully exercised patience to see how the lives of all of these people would intersect. I have to admit I found myself skimming over lengthy descriptions of places and events from the past that seemed to have no vital relationship to what was happening in the present.

And I found none of the characters engaging. All of them were deeply flawed and either died during the course of the narratives or were just as dysfunctional at the end of the book as they were at the beginning.

I did not appreciate the writing style. The novel is a prime example of lengthy passages of prose describing what people were doing or saying rather than actually having the people act or speak. There were no dialogue quotation marks, for example, but rather italicized sentences to indicate words spoken. Or were they words thought and not actually spoken? It was hard to tell and too confusing to take the time to figure it out.

And at the end, I found myself saying, so what? Relationship issues were not resolved. Dysfunction and troubled people were still that way. I didn't learn anything interesting about some industry or occupation or geographical location. The prose was not particularly memorable. The novel wasn't terrible but rather just blah. I do not anticipate reading anything else by this author.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. The author of the novels Did You Ever Have a Family and The End of the Day, he has written for the New York Times, Lapham’s Quarterly, New York magazine, The Guardian, and Harper’s Bazaar. Photograph by Van Scott-Clegg

Simon & Schuster, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egally of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Monotasking by Staffan Nöteberg

“Monotasking is about doing the most important task,” Nöteberg writes, “and focusing only on that single task.” (Loc 1981/2606) It is a much better way of efficiently working rather than the supposed multitasking. Studies have shown multitasking is a myth and what is actually happening is task switching. Such switching of tasks consumes productive time, induces errors, reduces emotional intelligence, raises cortisol in the brain and is energy intensive. Trying to do everything at the same time yields the same results as doing nothing.

Monotasking, Nöteberg says, is the answer. He provides the practices and tools to conserve brain energy and put it to better use. He writes about prioritizing, time boxing, the importance of taking breaks, eating right, getting enough sleep and much more. He suggests setting an alarm and focusing on the most important task for at least 25 minutes. Then you take a panorama break, looking over the five tasks you've listed, identify the most important and set your alarm.

I like how Nöteberg presents his material. Each chapter starts with a synopsis, then the teaching material, then a summary. His material is in small bits and could be read almost in an inspirational way, one a day.

He includes tons of practical suggestions on how to deal with issues interfering with the ability to monotask, such as interruptions to meetings, breaking down large projects, taking walks, mind mapping and more. My favorite aspect of this book is his repeated emphasis on the question, what is the best use of my time right now? I have to admit, his cute drawings came in a close second.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Staffan Nöteberg is an enterprise coach, author of productivity books and a professional soccer coach. You can find out more at https://staffannoteberg.com/.

Skyhorse Publishing, 192 pages. This book will release in March, 2021.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, September 25, 2020

Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble Blog Tour and Giveaway

Two Reasons to Run

by Colleen Coble

on Tour September 21 - October 23, 2020

 

Synopsis:

Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble

Gripping romantic suspense from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A lie changed her world.

Police Chief Jane Hardy is still reeling from the scandal that rocked her small-town department just as she took over for her retired father—the man who wrecked her life with one little lie. Now she’s finally been reunited with her presumed-dead fifteen-year-old son, Will, and his father, documentarian Reid Bechtol.

A crisis looms.

When a murder aboard the oil platform Zeus exposes an environmental terrorist’s plot to flood Mobile Bay with crude oil, Jane and Reid must put their feelings for each other behind them and work together to prevent the rig from being sabotaged.

A killer targets her son.

Then the terrorist puts her son Will’s life on the line. Protecting him could be the common ground they need . . . but then ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Jane and Reid for good. She’s got plenty of reasons to run. But what if she stays?

My Review:

This is the second book in a series. While it reads relatively well on its own, the first in the series should be read first to enjoy the full impact of this one. You can read my review of One Little Lie here.

There is a mystery involved in the plot in the form of an attack on an ocean drilling platform. Jane and Reid, their back story revealed in the first book in the series, work together to find out who wants to damage the deep water facility. Another aspect of the plot is an attempt to harm their son with the goal of getting them to stop their investigation.

Like the first novel in this series, the largest part of the plot deals with the relationship between Jane and Reid. They deal with past issues as romance is rekindled. Also a large part of the novel deals with both Jane and Reid as they continue to try to unravel the truth of their family's involvement in a cult.

There is much suspense in the latter part of the novel. I thought the plot to destroy the drilling platform was a little overkill for what the nefarious person wanted to accomplish. I also thought the continued pursuit of family history in the midst of a potentially devastating event was a little odd. I did appreciate the continued development of Jane's spirituality. We are definitely left hanging with respect to relationships so will be waiting for the next in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228489 (ISBN13: 9780785228486)
Series: Pelican Harbor #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Was anyone watching?

Keith McDonald sat at the computer and glanced around the oil platform’s rec room, but the dozen or so workers were engrossed in watching the final game of a Ping-Pong match. He hesitated,
then hovered his cursor over the Send button. Clenching his teeth, he sent the emails. Maybe it was nothing, but if anyone could decipher the recording, it was Reid Dixon.

The back of his neck prickled, and Keith looked around again. The room felt stifling even with the AC cooling it from the May heat. He jumped up and headed for the door. He exited and darted into the shadows as two men strolled past. One was his suspect.

Keith stood on a grating suspended three thousand feet over the water and strained to hear past the noise of machinery. The scent of the sea enveloped him, and the stars glimmered on the water surrounding the oil platform that had been his home for two years now.

“Scheduled for late May—”

A clanging bell drowned out the rest of the man’s words.

“Devastation—”

The other fragment of conversation pumped up Keith’s heart rate. Were they talking about the sabotage he feared, or was he reading more into the words than were there? He couldn’t believe someone could be callous enough to sabotage the oil platform and destroy the coast on purpose. He’d seen firsthand the devastating effects from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. And what about the people living on the platform? Deepwater Horizon had killed eleven people and injured another seventeen.

He had to sound a warning and stop this, but he had no real evidence. If Reid Dixon blew him off, who would even listen? Maybe Homeland Security would pay attention, but who did he even call there? He could tell them about the pictures threatening Bonnie, but what did that prove? They might just say she had a stalker and he was chasing shadows.

He couldn’t say they were wrong.

He sidled along the railing, and the breeze lifted his hair. A boat bobbed in the waves far below, and in the moonlight, he spotted a diver aboard. Must be night diving the artificial reef created by the concrete supports below the platform. He’d done a bit of it himself over the years.

For an instant he wished he were gliding carefree through the waves without this crushing weight of conscience on his shoulders. When he was sixteen, life was so simple. School, girls, football, and good times. He’d gone to work at the platform when he was nineteen, after he’d decided college wasn’t for him.

It had been a safe place, a good place to work with fun companions and interesting work.

Until a few weeks ago when everything turned sinister and strange. He’d wanted to uncover more before he reported it, but every second he delayed could mean a stronger chance of an attack.

If an attack was coming. He still wasn’t sure, and he wanted a name or to identify the organization behind the threat. If there was a threat. Waffling back and forth had held him in place. Was this real, or was he reading something dangerous into something innocent?

Though he didn’t think he was overreacting.

He turned to head to his quarters. A bulky figure rushed him from the shadows and plowed into his chest, driving him back against the railing. The man grabbed Keith’s legs and tried to tip him over the edge.

***

Excerpt from Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2020 by Colleen Coble. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Catch Up With Colleen Coble:
ColleenCoble.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Click here to view the Two Reasons To Run by Colleen Coble Participants.

 

Giveway!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble. There will be 3 winners, each winning ONE LITTLE LIE by Colleen Coble (Print). The giveaway begins on September 21, 2020 and runs through October 25, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Wright is a master of the dual time novel. This one combines events of a wintering circus in 1928 with those of present day at the same location. Wright alternates time periods as she reveals the relationships between the historical events and current ones. The actions of a serial killer from nearly a hundred years ago still impact his descendants today.

Wright always seems to include a sense of the other worldly and it is quite prominent in this novel. Haunting in the title is right as there are mysterious noises and happenings, a definite creepy atmosphere. One of the minor characters is a spiritualist of sorts. The woman never uses her supposed abilities and there is a bit of a discussion of the possible demonic origin of the ability.

There is mystery and suspense and romance in both of the story lines. It takes quite a while, however, for those plot aspects to appear. I had a little difficulty finding the main characters engaging. Both the historical character, Pippa, and the contemporary one, Chandler, have issues of family acceptance and feelings of not being loved. I felt the character arcs on both were flat as I did not see them voluntarily grow through those issues. There were also examples of family expectations and shame in the stories, centering around who the characters understood themselves to be.

I have read all of Wright's novels and think this one is not her best. My interest did pick up after what I felt was a slow start.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jaime Jo Wright is winner of the Christy, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards and is a Carol Award finalist. She is also the Publisher's Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. She works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. Find out more at jaimewrightbooks.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 400 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Think Christ, Live Christian by Ignatius Fernandez

I have mixed thoughts on this book. Fernandez has a passion to see Christians live out their Christianity and has written this book as an encouragement to do so. The first part of the book he encourages readers to know and love Christ. He encourages us to live as Christians by knowing and loving others in the second part of the book.

Much of the book is good encouragement for Christians with many stories, examples and quotes from others. Some of this book is rambling teaching, however. An example is Fernandez on prayer. He writes, “Unless the four parts of prayer – adoration, praise, thanksgiving and supplication – are combined in surrender, our prayer is not complete. Our connection with Jesus is not made.” (Loc 1292/4544) Yet he also quotes another, “'A single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.'” (Loc 1421/4544)

Fernandez is indiscriminate in his sources, something that will dismay evangelical Christians. He quotes Eckhart Tolle, for example (Loc 1092/4544), Deepak Chopra (Loc 2094/4544) and the vice-president of the Buddhist Society (Loc 2307/4544).

Evangelical Christians may also be puzzled by his reference to Veronica, the towel offered to Jesus as He suffered on the cross. (Loc 226/4544). Fernandez may be writing from a Roman Catholic perspective as he says James and Jude were Jesus' cousins, not brothers. (Loc 995/4544) He also references the actions of several Saints.

Some of Fernandez' theology will not be appreciated by evangelical Christians. He writes, for example, of attempts to be holy. “Holiness is not an event. It is a process that happens in stages and grows little by little.” (Loc 211/4544) He also writes, “...Jesus finds everyone lovable. Everyone is his child, whom he takes into his huge embrace...” (Loc 512/4544)

This may be a book reflecting Christianity from a worldwide perspective rather than Western evangelical Christianity. While the second half of the book contains positive example of Christian living and encouragement to live a life reflecting Christ's love to others, I did find parts of the book somewhat less than what I would recommend.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Ignatius Fernandez is the author of twelve books, spanning the topics of religion, spirituality, relationships, parenting, management, and corporate governance. He has spent four decades in various leadership roles including General Manager, Director and Chief Executive. He went into academics as a professor of management studies for MBA and Executive MBA students. He is a post graduate in chemistry and Business Management. He and his wife have four sons. You can find out more at http://www.ignatiusfernandez.com/.

Four Craftsmen Publishing, 260 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through a publicist. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble

This is the second book in a series. While it reads relatively well on its own, the first in the series should be read first to enjoy the full impact of this one. You can read my review of One Little Lie here.

There is a mystery involved in the plot in the form of an attack on an ocean drilling platform. Jane and Reid, their back story revealed in the first book in the series, work together to find out who wants to damage the deep water facility. Another aspect of the plot is an attempt to harm their son with the goal of getting them to stop their investigation.

Like the first novel in this series, the largest part of the plot deals with the relationship between Jane and Reid. They deal with past issues as romance is rekindled. Also a large part of the novel deals with both Jane and Reid as they continue to try to unravel the truth of their family's involvement in a cult.

There is much suspense in the latter part of the novel. I thought the plot to destroy the drilling platform was a little overkill for what the nefarious person wanted to accomplish. I also thought the continued pursuit of family history in the midst of a potentially devastating event was a little odd. I did appreciate the continued development of Jane's spirituality. We are definitely left hanging with respect to relationships so will be waiting for the next in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Colleen Coble has won or been a finalist in awards from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and others. She has over four million books in print. She and her husband live in Indiana. You can find out more at http://colleencoble.com.

Thomas Nelson, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wish Upon a Star Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book:  Wish Upon A Star

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre:  Holiday Fiction

Release Date: December 1, 2018

Bryce Masters had everything he needed…or so he thought. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, would disagree. They were going home, moving back to Jingle Junction where Bryce would take over the local bookstore just in time for Christmas. Losing his wife, Molly, during the birth of their daughter six years ago was tragic, but Bryce has no idea just how much it weighs on young Anna’s heart until she confesses her deepest wish. What Anna wants for Christmas is a mother, but Bryce’s heart is not ready to love again. Only God can give Bryce the desire to make Anna’s wish come true. Only He can heal the hurt and open Bryce’s heart to the power of love. But Bryce will have to be willing to listen. And when the perfect woman reveals a secret that could devastate them all, will Bryce be able to look beyond what was and accept what might be?

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful Christmas novella. The main characters are charming. Bryce is such a wonderful father, making a new start six years after his wife died. His daughter Anna is precious. But then there was Lillian who wanted to sink her perfectly manicured fingernails into his life. Bryce was open to God's leading to a new mother for Anna but I kept on hoping he'd see past Lily to whom God really had for him.

The plot was great. I loved the idea of rejuvenating a bookstore. The setting was fun with sleigh rides, ice skating and sledding. I loved Bryce being willing to follow God's leading for his life. And precious Anna was praying so hard God would give her a mother for Christmas.

Get your box of tissues next to you as you finish up this short but powerfully emotional novella.

My rating: 5/5 stars.


About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a Bachelor’s in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University, where she graduated with honors. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

More from Tabitha

Wish Upon a Star owes its existence to Hallmark’s Christmas movies. I could, and often do, watch their Christmas movies all through the year. Doesn’t matter how cheesy the storyline, I love them all. While I wanted to bring that sense of fun and feel-good romance, I needed a little oomph. So, I took some inspiration from “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. For the record, I love Hallmark and NewSong equally, so putting the two together was a natural fit.

The intention wasn’t to make a sad Christmas story, but there’s some pain Bryce has to manage while learning to love again. The best things come from overcoming that thing you never thought you could do. When you press on, with God’s guidance and with His approval, anything is possible. Bryce needs this reminder that even in the darkest nights, God is there.

Wish is part of the funky town I created and dubbed Jingle Junction, a place where it’s all Christmas all the time. Jingle Junction has only a few rules. First off, you can have any business you want, as long as the business name is an alliteration. Second, community is the name of the game. When someone’s in need, everyone pitches in to help.

For this story, I wanted to highlight homecoming. To do that, I needed Bryce to have a reason to come back to Jingle Junction. That’s where the song came in. If you don’t know the song, it’s about a little boy who wants only one thing for Christmas, and that’s a pair of shoes for his dying mother. I listen to “The Christmas Shoes” at least a dozen times a year. It’s heartbreaking but wonderful. It has that bit of hope I needed for Wish. For my story, Bryce’s daughter, Anna, lost her mother when she was born. The only thing she wants is the one thing she’s never had: a mother. It’s also the one thing Bryce cannot give.

The plan had always been to return to Jingle Junction. Bryce wants to raise Anna in the hometown where he was born, and he’s finally gotten the opportunity to make good on the plans he and his wife made when they first learned of her pregnancy. It took him six years to make good on his promise, and he’s not sure he’s made the right decision.

Wish Upon a Star is one of those books where I wanted to challenge myself by writing only from the male point of view. Although I always write alternating point of view in my romances, Wish has always been Bryce’s story. A story of coming home.

Blog Stop

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

CarpeDiem, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Older & Smarter?, September 29

lakesidelivingsite, September 29

Artistic Nobody, September 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, September 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 1

Emily Yager, October 1

She Lives To Read, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 4

Connect in Fiction, October 4

Spoken from the Heart, October 5

Just Your Average reviews, October 5

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 6

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10114/wish-upon-a-star-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novella through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Somebody Someday by Joye Holmes

What an interesting and eye opening book. Middle class wife, mother, church member, and accountant from Texas corresponds with a homeless dumpster diving man in Georgia. It started with her purse being stolen and him finding her wallet, returning it to her with a note. An unlikely connection developed over the years.

There are many lessons within the letters from Butch that Holmes documents. Each and every one of the homeless we see and pass by is a human loved by God with a story, for example. They experience the best and worst from others. They have relationships but rarely of long term. They find happiness and joy in such small things.

Butch wrote, “I hope I'm a somebody someday.” (45) What's a somebody? Holmes asks. In the most simple terms, it means we are important to at least one other person. (47) Reading this book will encourage you to see others as somebodies, people who need care and love from you and me. I recommend it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Joye Holmes grew up one of seven children in an Oklahoma farming community. After serving as a missionary in Brazil, she enjoyed a long career as an accountant. Her debut book Somebody Someday: A Journey of Homelessness, Faith & Friendship is a true story that grew out of a twenty-five year correspondence. Joye lives in Mansfield, Texas with her husband, Gary, where she spends time enjoying five grandsons, her time at church, needlework, and the Texas Rangers.

Fire Mountain Publishing, 147 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, September 21, 2020

Scrumptious Independence Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review 

I enjoyed this fun Christian contemporary romance. I liked the South Carolina island setting and being able to visualize it. I liked Beth as she tried to find herself and her independence while she grew spiritually. Scott is a nice hero, gentle and understanding. There are some interesting family dynamics in the novel and I can see why Gram's will provided for Beth to buy a food truck and venture out on her own.

I felt the mystery aspect of the novel was not fully developed and ended rather abruptly, the details of its solving totally absent. Surely we could have been told how the police ended up identifying the villain.

This is a sweet romance in an interesting setting that includes a good spiritual emphasis.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)