A Silken Thread – a novel

For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.

Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?

First, I’ve never read a book by Kim that I haven’t loved – and I thought this one was fabulous!  I loved all the various elements in this book – the Atlanta Cotton Expedition of 1895 (I’d never heard of it before), the racial prejudices of the late 1800’s, the silk weaving process and so much more, including a sweet love story!  The author skillfully wove a story that was enjoyable to read, taught about the class differences of the day, and showed the need for Christ and the changes He makes in people.

I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it!  I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, WaterBrookMultnomah. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This book goes on sale on April 2, 2019.

The Author: Kim Vogel SawyerAward-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, gramma, chocolate-lover, cat-petter, and–most importantly–a daughter of the King! With more than 1.5 million books in print in seven different languages, Kim enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Her “gentle stories of hope” are loved by readers and reviewers alike. Kim and her retired military husband, Don, reside on the plains of Kansas, the setting for many of her novels.

Of Fire and Lions – a novel

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

What a fantastic Biblical fiction read!  I so enjoyed the story told by the author, who not only tells the Biblical story, taken from several books in the Bible, but also gives insight to that era in time and the historical people.  Basically, this is the story of Daniel.  Mesu switches the point of view from Daniel at times to Abigail, a servant girl.  The author also goes back and forth in time, starting with the night Belshazzar sees the writing on the wall and going back to the time of the exile, 66 years earlier.  Mesu weaves a story around the historical facts and palace intrigue, secrets that save and secrets that destroy, and Yahweh who saves and the god who doesn’t.

This is a great novel and I especially appreciated the Author’s note at the end, where she tells of how she decided to write the characters the way she did and what her research showed.  Ultimately, we don’t know the complete stories of these Biblical characters, but Mesu Andrews does an amazing job of providing a wonderful book that points the way to Yahweh.  I highly recommend this book, especially if you like Biblical fiction as it is a great book.   I received a copy of this book from the publisher, WaterBrookMultnomah.  I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Of Fire and Lions was just released on March 5 and can be purchased at Amazon and other places.

It’s okay not to be Okay (non-fiction)

We’ve all experienced that moment where we wish we could start all over again. Failed marriages, lost friends, addictions, lost jobs. This is not the life we imagined. Yesterday can sometimes leave us stuck, sad, shamed, scared, and searching. Sheila Walsh encourages readers to face the pain head on and then start again, from right where they are. She shares that when she discovered “I’m not good enough and I’m good with that,” everything started to change.

In It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, Walsh helps women overcome the same old rut of struggles and pain by changing the way they think about God, themselves, and their everyday lives. She shares practical, doable, daily strategies that will help women move forward one step at a time knowing God will never let them down.

I really appreciated Sheila’s openness and honesty – she doesn’t have answers for everything, and that life is hard and disappointing and not what we imagined!  But she also says that God is good and “we can trust Him even when we don’t understand where we are in life.”  That it is okay to not be okay because that’s why we need Jesus.  Yet she has struggled with this all her life.  I really related to her when in the 1st chapter she talked about wanting to be Wonder Woman – yet fails to have devotions or is not a good wife or mother.

Each chapter Sheila tells stories, of her failures or successes.  She also adds Biblical stories and take aways.  At the end of the chapter she has questions and verses to ponder.  It’s not a long book, but one you will go back to receive encouragement.  I highly recommend.  I received a copy of this book from Bakerbooks. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:Sheila Walsh is an author, speaker and Bible teacher who has sold over 4 million books. Her heart is to show what happens when your real life meets the Word of God. She is the author of the #1 best-selling line of Christian books for little girls, “Gigi, God’s Little Princess.” Sheila is the creator of Children of Faith and the Gnoo Zoo, a ministry to children that communicates God’s love for them. She is the author of several books for women including “Honestly,” “Gifts for Your Soul,” “Living Fearlessly,” and “The Best Devotions of Sheila Walsh”, “The Shelter of God’s Promises” and her latest book, “God Loves Broken People and those who pretend they’re not.” As an accomplished musician, Sheila has recently released the CD “Beauty From Ashes.” Sheila, her husband, Barry and their son, Christian live in Dallas, Texas.

Searching for You – a novel

Searching for You (Orphan Train Book #3) by [Hedlund, Jody]

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

The story of the third and youngest Neumann sister!  This is the 3rd book about the orphan train by author Judy Hedlund and she has done a magnificent job of showing how difficult life was for the youngest of immigrants – those orphaned at a young age without family to care for them.  I really can’t imagine such a life!  The author not only shows the positive aspects of the orphan trains, but also the truly horrifying parts.  But she brings in so much more than just the story of the orphans – she brings in issues such as pride and over abundance of self-sufficiency and more.

This is the 3rd book in the series and I highly recommend reading the previous ones – although you will not feel lost if you begin with this one.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:  Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Romancing the Bride

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Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes–without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Romancing the Bride is the first book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like heartwarming marriage-of-convenience stories, you’ll love this sweet romance filled with endearing characters.

What an enjoyable romance set in Wyoming in 1884.  Annie is none too happy that her husband is dead, leaving her to raise 2 children and run the ranch, which she has absolutely no experience.  And not only does she not have a good foreman, she doesn’t even have any ranch hands, and the cattle are disappearing.  She doesn’t want to leave her land – she’s got 3 babies buried there, but with taxes due she must do something!  I cannot imagine the difficult life and decisions she had to face!

And thus begins the novel with Annie quickly marrying Jacob, the town marshal.  But the author doesn’t just make this a romance novel, there are also real truths woven in, such as when Annie advises her rebellious daughter Cecilia, “What matters now, is what you choose to do in the next hour, what you choose to do tomorrow. If your past decisions didn’t get you where you wanted to be, figure out what decisions will. Beating yourself up over the past won’t change a thing.”  I enjoyed this book with all its ups and downs, twists and turns, noble people and sleazebags!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:  Much to her introverted self’s delight, ACFW Award winner and double INSPY finalist Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and novelist. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children and can be found online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Welcome to Adulting – Treasure of a book for young adults!

Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan "Jp" Pokluda

You’re an adult . . . now what?

Adulting is hard. But sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Combining entertaining stories from his own experience, insights from the Bible, and compelling evidence from research, Jonathan “JP” Pokluda lays out a roadmap for how to navigate your life as an adult, addressing topics such as:

· friendships and dating
· career and money management
· interpersonal conflict
· controlling anxiety
· recovering from addiction
· discovering your purpose on this earth

If you’re struggling to find a footing in the world of adult life, this witty, non-patronizing guide is for you.

“I remember the first time I went grocery shopping, paid a bill, and rented a room. These were all highlights of adulting before the catchphrase was even created. In Welcome to Adulting, Jonathan Pokluda spends less time on the trivial and more time on the transformational. He points the way and gives advice on how to live an adult life that honors our holy God.”–Kyle Idleman, pastor and author of Not a Fan and Grace Is Greater

“If I could go back to my twenty-two-year-old self, I would hand her a copy of Welcome to Adulting and tell her to soak up every word. Jonathan so candidly and beautifully breaks down the myths of life after college and leaves us with a roadmap we’ll return to again and again, no matter how old we are.”–Jennie Allen, author of Nothing to Prove; founder and visionary of the IF:Gathering

This book should be read by every young adult at the age of 17 and then at 21!  It has so very many important truths that it is a treasure chest needing to be unpacked.

The author acknowledges upfront that he made a plethora of mistakes as a young man and he wants to use his knowledge gained the hard way to help others not make the same mistakes.  He has broken the short, easy-to-digest book into eleven chapters.  Life and Purpose are the first two, followed by Authority, Work, Money, Community, Conflict, and Dating and finishing with Worry, Recovery and Eternity.  Each chapter ends with a few discussion/reflection questions.

Pokluda pulls in quotes from others, such as from a friend of his who says, “So whether it’s mothering, medicine, CEO, sales, teaching, ministry, writing or so on…it is important to remember toil in work was part of the curse and it is difficult and you do the things you don’t like because it’s RIGHT and OBEDIENT and HOLY.  And on the days work is fun, smile and celebrate, and on the days work isn’t fun, don’t rethink your whole life.  Do the work.”  He also uses studies and statistics such as, “…people who have premarital sex are more prone to divorce later on.  In fact, having even just one premarital sexual partner makes you about four times more likely to divorce within the first five years of marriage, and having multiple partners results in a divorce rate five to six times higher.”  His own personal examples are also sprinkled throughout – and he is a great story teller!

This is such a powerful tool to help young adults as they transition from teenagers under mom and dad’s roof to adults navigating the world themselves.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  I am grateful to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author: Jonathan “JP” Pokluda is teaching pastor at Watermark Community Church, with an average weekly attendance of 12,000 people, and leader of The Porch, an influential gathering of thousands of young adults who come hear the gospel and get equipped for Kingdom purposes. Pokluda came to understand the grace of the Gospel in his early twenties after being involved in different denominational churches his entire life. This ignited a desire in him to reach people in their twenties and thirties for Christ. He lives with his wife, Monica, and their three children.

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Betrayed – a novel

Justice Betrayed ( Book #3) (Memphis Cold Case)

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

It’s Elvis week in Memphis!  Rachel, a homicide detective, sure learns a lot about Elvis tribute artists as she takes a cold case about a murder 17 years earlier, which then becomes hot as new murders occur.  The book not only has the suspense element, but then has other elements woven in – a young girl abused by her father and what that does to her.  Another woman who marries a man not right for her because “Girls seeking love because their fathers were absent.  And a father doesn’t have to be missing to be absent.”  The author does a marvelous job of giving just enough information to keep me totally guessing the entire novel.  I loved it and highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author: Winner of an Inspirational Readers Choice Award, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum.

But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign that are available on Amazon.

The first Memphis Cold Case book, Justice Delayed, released February 2017, and Justice Buried, the 2nd in the cold case books releases September 2017.