Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Providence by Jennifer Sienes

  


About the Book

Book:  Providence

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: April 13, 2021

How can she forgive a man she isn’t sure she ever knew?

Melissa Bainbridge doesn’t have time to grieve. She has three kids to feed, bills stacked high enough to crush her, and guilt–oh so much guilt.

When her husband’s death is  ruled a suicide, her financial stability and identity die with the man she now wonders if she ever knew.  How could he choose to leave them like this?  How could she have lived with him for 15 years and not known of his fragile mental health?

A journey of discovery reveals more questions than answers until Melissa finally faces her fears and tries to understand the mind of the man she thought she knew and never did.

The journey from despair to hope leads Melissa beyond grief and into the light of forgiveness in Providence.

 My Thoughts:

This is the third in a series, but I read it just fine as a stand alone.  It was a quick read and I really liked it.  The author takes a really touchy subject and handles it with care.  Suicide and all it's ramifications is a unique thing for people to work through and it causes a wide range of emotions.

Melissa is feeling all of those emotions and the way the author writes, you feel them right along with her.  Oh the many, many emotions and all the people it effects.  The author handled it honestly and with great care.  It was a really good read and I truly loved the author's writing style.

4/5

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered
life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

 

More from Jennifer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a novelist. In my na├»ve mind, it was a romantic endeavor that would take little effort on my part. Growing up, I wrote stories my sisters raved over, and later, stories my kids raved over. I don’t have to tell you, they were an easy audience to please. Still, life happened somewhere in the midst of it all, and I gave up that childish endeavor and became a teacher instead. It might not have been my absolute dream job, but it was second-best, and I figured the pay would be much better.

 

It wasn’t until years later, when my husband encouraged me to step away from teaching for a year to try my hand at writing. I was thrilled. A whole year to explore my potential as a novelist. The only problem was, I didn’t know what to write about. Over the next several months, I spent more time working in the yard and repainting the interior of the house then I did at my computer. That blank screen was just too daunting.

 

Then I lost my childhood hero and best friend to suicide. Michael was my Almost-Irish-Twin. I say almost, because I was born three weeks too late to make it official. He and I spent most of our childhood attached at the hip. I don’t know if I hung out with Mike because I was a tomboy, or if I was a tomboy because I hung out with Mike. I taught him the alphabet and how to tie his shoes (it’s true—most girls do advance faster than boys) and he taught me how to catch frogs and fish.

 

We got into all kinds of escapades together, which I’m sure caused Mom more than a few gray hairs. Mike was a prankster. He had the idea we should pepper his bedroom carpet so Mom would sneeze every time she vacuumed. Our house backed up to a cattle ranch, and he found a bucket and stool and talked me into milking the cows with him. The only problem was, they were steer. He even shared the box of chocolate Ex-Lax with me that he found in our parents’ medicine cabinet. Fortunately for me, his idea of sharing was, “One for you; two for me.” Mom couldn’t get us to the hospital fast enough to have our stomachs pumped.

 

I was asked by my sister-in-law to speak at Mike’s funeral. I looked out into a church filled with his family and friends. He was a member of Biker’s for Christ, and there were more than a few members dressed in leather. He’d been on a mission trip to Thailand only a couple years before, and he taught others how to evangelize. It was our childhood antics I shared with the attendees, because I wanted them to know the hilarious, loving, prankster that Mike was before his mind had been taken over with bipolar disorder. And when I stepped away from the podium, I clearly heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “This is your story.”

 

To this day, I still have the Bible he gave me—the first one I ever owned—with an inscription in it to encourage me to not give up during my own season of heartache. He was there through my daughter’s near-fatal accident and resultant coma and traumatic brain injury. He was there when my first husband of almost 23 years walked out for reasons that made no sense. He was there to remind me that God loved me, even when it felt like my life was falling apart—especially when it felt like it was falling apart.

 

It was exceedingly difficult to lose my big brother, but it was made even more difficult when a woman in my Bible study told me he was going to hell. “Suicide is the unforgivable sin, you know,” she said as I sat with nine other ladies around a friend’s kitchen table. She was misinformed. The only unforgivable sin is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). But I wondered how many other people were misinformed, as well.

 

Although Providence is Book 3 in my Apple Hill series, I actually wrote it first. The first draft was dark and gloomy, because that’s how I was feeling while grieving the loss of Mike. But as my faith has grown, so has the hope I have in Jesus Christ. I know that God doesn’t waste even one of our tears. When we suffer a loss, it’s His plan and purpose to use it for our good and His glory. I rewrote the novel twice before it spoke that truth loud and clear.

 

Providence is a story inspired by my brother’s death. And although it is not about Mike, I instilled the character of Trevor with woodworking talent, just like Mike had. The children are not my niece and nephews, but their descriptions and ages, at the time of Mike’s death, were inspired by them. My prayer is that everyone who reads this book will feel the hope and joy we have in our Lord, even when our circumstances tell us different.

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 3

lakesidelivingsite, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 6

Reviewingbooksplusmore, May 6

Texas Book-aholic, May 7

Inklings and notions, May 8

For Him and My Family, May 9

Mary Hake, May 9

deb’s Book Review, May 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 12

Rebecca Tews, May 13

Genesis 5020, May 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 14

Sodbuster Living, May 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 16

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & 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/10b62/providence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Rooms of a Mother's Heart by Dr. Carol McLeod

 


 

About the Book

Book:  Rooms of a Mother’s Heart

Author: Dr. Carol McLeod

Genre: Christian Living

Release date: April 20, 2021

For thousands of years and in a myriad of cultures, women have forged identity, unconditional
love, and vast purpose in the calling of motherhood. From Eve to Sarah, from Ruth to Mary, the Scriptures are filled with the accounts of the heart of a mother who was given a divine opportunity to raise the next generation for the purposes and call of the Father.

Inside the soul of every mother lies a heart that becomes a repository of sweet memories, hard lessons, glorious victories, ordinary days, glaring failures, and God’s grace over the years of mothering. The heart of a mother becomes home to jokes around the dinner table, holiday traditions, the tears of childhood, and the love that only a mother knows. And this tender heart that has given birth to the future of mankind or has lovingly adopted the seeds of the next generation also develops rooms of unsurpassed greatness and quiet strength. These are the Rooms of a Mother’s Heart.

With her characteristic charm, joy, and biblical teaching that she shares like a good friend over a cup of coffee, Carol McLeod examines what it means to be a mother and offers tender encouragement to all women who accept that calling.

 My Thoughts:

I think this book is good for a mother in any stage of the life that is motherhood.  There is encouragement, and life lessons.  I liked the stories from the author's personal life that are used to illustrate points.  It doesn't matter if you birthed your kids or adopted them, there is a mother's heart and they go through the same issues (with a few variations).  

I would recommend this for any mother or mother to be.  I think it is a great thing to read to give encouragement or let you know that it isn't the end of the world.  All mothers go through issues so knowing you aren't alone is a big thing.

It was a 4/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

 About the Author

McLeod_Carol2The president and CEO of Carol McLeod Ministries, Carol McLeod is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats. She is the author of a dozen books, including Vibrant: Developing a Deep and Abiding Joy for All SeasonsSignificant: Becoming a Woman of Unique Purpose, True Identity, and Irrepressible HopeStormProof: Weathering Life’s Tough TimesGuide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue; Joy for All Seasons; Holy Estrogen; and Defiant Joy.

Carol hosts a twice weekly podcast, A Jolt of Joy! on the Charisma Podcast Network, and a weekly podcast, Significant. Her weekly blog, Joy for the Journey, has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women. Carol also writes a weekly column in Ministry Today.

She has written several devotionals for YouVersion, including “21 Days to Beat Depression,” which has touched the lives of nearly one million people around the world. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart won the prestigious Telly Award for excellence in religious programming.

Carol was also the first women’s chaplain at Oral Roberts University and served as chaplain on the university’s Alumni Board of Directors for many years.

Carol has been married to her college sweetheart, Craig, for more than forty years and is the mother of five children in heaven and five children on earth. Carol and Craig also happily answer to “Marmee and Pa” for their captivating grandchildren.

 

More from Carol

Evening Conversation …

I am working with my fabulous editor on the edits for my next book that will be released in April.

“The Rooms of a Mother’s Heart” is the title and writing it has caused me to travel back through the memory bank of my heart.

As I was working on the edits for the chapter, “The Nursery”, tonight, I came upon these words and thought that I would share them with all of you in my evening conversation.

It’s a lesson that I am still learning …

“The nursery is filled with little things, isn’t it?

It holds little bears and little clothes, tiny blankets and miniature books.

It is in the nursery of your heart that you develop an appreciation for the little things in life and where you begin to understand that these are actually life’s big things.

The nursery teaches that it is the little things in life that are capable of building a grand and historic life.

So often, during other years of my life, I have made the glaring error of living for the big moments, for the red-letter days of graduations, weddings, and championship ball games. The nursery has taught me that those monstrous occasions, as fabulous as they might seem at the time, do not construct a vital and enchanting existence at all.

A glass of iced tea on the back deck while the children are playing baseball, and the sweet giggle of a child just waking up from a nap—these give birth to a whimsical life.

The smell of the roses as I walk to the front door, a good book and a cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon, and making cookies with the children to share with the neighbors—these build a life of grand and lasting proportions.

A glorious life is built on one small but meaningful and carefully chosen building block at a time.

A wonderful life is composed of long walks along country roads while the children gather wildflowers.

It is pancakes on a Saturday morning and popcorn on Sunday evening.

In the nursery of my heart, I have been taught that the real stuff of life is as close and as dear as the morning song of the bird outside my bedroom window, the companionship of my daughter on my daily run, and the treasure of reading a devotional book that belonged to my grandfather.

Those events may seem small and even in consequential to you, but to me, they deliver joy.

There is no applause in a nursery, nor are there diplomas on the wall or trophies lined up across the changing table, but it remains the most splendid room in the entire home.

The nursery is absent of the rush of adrenaline, but it is filled with the sweet sighs of contentment.

Perhaps living inside a regular day in which nothing of earth-moving significance happens is at the heart of all that is truly meaningful and extraordinary.

The glory of life is found quite simply in the ordinary moments.

The treasure of a life well lived is acquired not in getting but in giving.

The substance of all that is good, rich, and meaningful is found in a thousand inconsequential gifts that are easily overlooked if one is not careful.

I hope that you will treasure the time spent in the nursery of your heart and remember that it is the little things that contribute to a large life.”

These are my thoughts for Sunday, January 31, 2021.

Blessings, my friends.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 28

Splashes of Joy, April 28

Texas Book-aholic, April 29

Inklings and notions, April 30

For Him and My Family, May 1

Mary Hake, May 1

deb’s Book Review, May 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 7

cats in the cradle blog, May 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 10

Godly Book Reviews, May 10

Lots of Helpers, May 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbuck’s 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/10b5b/rooms-of-a-mother-s-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, May 3, 2021

Reluctant Fae by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook


 Book Description:

Thrust into a terrifying paradise, I must survive. 

My vampire master rejecting me was only the beginning of my adventure. Afraid of being sold to a sadistic vampire, I’m shocked when instead a mysterious Summer Court fae takes me to the faeland where I’m expected to develop my magic abilities and serve the ruthless Summer Court king. 

To ensure my loyalty, the king has his High Commandeer Nathan keep an eye on me. Nathan is equal parts unbending and fascinating, his blind support of the king admirable and terrifying. 

Will I pass the tests of the Summer Court and carve out a place for myself in my new home, or will I be exiled back to Earth? 

Join me on my heart-racing, enchanting, and romantic adventure now!  

Reluctant Fae is a YA/New Adult fae academy novel and the first book in the Prison Fae Academy trilogy.


My Thoughts:

This book was great.  There were some really unexpected things that happened that I never saw coming.  I loved Vergie.  She was a fairly straightforward character.  I have to admit the first little bit of the book made me cringe and wonder exactly what the vamps were going to do.  After that, it was just one surprise after the other.

There are a lot of characters to keep up with and several back stories that I can't wait to read more about.  There is a ton going on that I just couldn't stop listening.  The narrator does a great job with the voices and makes the already good story even better.  Just bring on the next story!

5/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Final Life by Rose Garcia (audiobook)

Book Description:

Some pasts are doomed to be repeated. 

Seventeen-year-old Dominique thinks her life is over when she’s forced to move across the country during her senior year. All she wants to do is make it to graduation, and then she can move back to Michigan for college. That's the plan. That is, until her new neighbor pressures her into playing a mystical card game. 

And this deck is like no other. 

With one touch of the cards, Dominique plunges into a vision of a crimson desert inhabited by a dark presence with murderous intent. She desperately tries to convince herself it’s all in her head, but the images refuse to be ignored. And when the apparitions include hints of past lives, Dominique realizes the darkness is really after her. Not only in her visions, but also in her reality. If she’s to survive, she must discover the secrets hidden in her past. If she doesn’t she’ll be dead. For real.


My Thoughts:

Starting out, I wasn't certain about this book, but boy did it get good quickly.  It is the start of a series so there is some set up.  That being said, there is plenty of action.  I wasn't sure about certain characters, neither was Dominique for that matter.  She is a typical teenager, completely unhappy when she is forced to move because of her parents.  

That set up, I knew there was something more and something coming, but there were some freaky parts that I didn't expect at all, but completely enjoyed.  I liked her protector.  She did come across as a spoiled brat occasionally, but overall it was a great read.  I can't wait for the next one.

4/5.


Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Wings of Fire: The Dangerous Gift by Tui T. Sutherland (audiobook)

 Book Description:

The #1 New York Times bestselling series continues!

Snowfall didn't expect to be queen of the IceWings at such a young age, but now that she is, she's going to be the best queen ever. All she has to do is keep her tribe within IceWing territory, where it's safe -- while keeping every other tribe out, where they belong.



It's a perfect and simple plan, backed up by all the IceWing magic Snowfall can find. That is, until a storm of unidentified dragons arrives on her shore, looking for asylum.



The foreigners are completely strange and, Snowfall is certain, utterly untrustworthy. But as she escorts the miserable new tribes out of her kingdom, Snowfall is forced to reconsider her plan. Maybe she can only keep her tribe safe . . . if she's willing to risk everything.
 


My Thoughts:

My kids and I have been anxiously awaiting the next book and this series and were so happy when it finally came out.  Now that being said, we almost didn't finish this book.  We've loved the series and up to this point, each of the characters.  Snowfall literally almost ended the whole thing for us.  She was just too much.

The author does a great job of turning it all around and making you at least cheer for her in the end, even if you don't love her.  I understand the need to make her completely obnoxious at the start, but oh it was so hard to get to the point where you realize what is going on.  Overall, it was a good addition and I'm ready to see what comes next.

4/5.

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

  


About the Book

Book:  The Secret Place

Author: Camille Eide

Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction/romance

Release date: April 15, 2021

How far can love bend before it breaks?

Josie Norris became an instant mommy when her twin sister Nadine handed over her newborn son and vanished. What Josie saw as a temporary arrangement grew into a mother-son bond too deep to uproot. But with her irrational sister threatening to steal him back, Josie has been living the last few years with Kennedy in hiding, afraid to go home.

When Aunt Libby—the only person who knows the truth about Kennedy—suffers a traumatic head injury, Josie rushes to her McKenzie River home to help Gram care for the woman who raised her. But not only is Libby’s injury causing family secrets to spill, it’s forcing Josie to see the women in her life in a new light.

Will—a ranger who Kennedy adores and who Josie is determined not to—is desperate to help the woman who has stolen his affections. But can Josie ever truly be authentic with the man she loves? With her son’s fate hanging in the balance, she is faced with the choice to risk everything she loves in order to bridge the most impossible gulfs.

In this story of mothers, daughters, and sisters, Josie must find the grace to forgive people for not being who she needed them to be…and the courage to surrender her fears to the God who has never once left her side.

 My Thoughts:

This is a tough book to read in a good way.  It's a wonderful story of redemption and love.  The author does a great job of handling sensitive topics.  She also does a good job with her characters.  They are realistic with their own flaws and imperfections.  Josie was a great character and easy to connect with. 

The ups and downs in the story and the forgiveness portion is written so well.  I recommend the book for people who love to read heart wrenching stories that make you feel all the emotions the characters are going through.  Really great read.

5/5

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Camille Eide (EYE-dee) is the award-winning author of poignant, inspirational love stories
including The Memoir of Johnny Devine. Camille lives in Oregon with her husband and has three adult kids and five grandkids. She loves baking, muscle cars, and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She also loves the liberating truth and wisdom of God’s word, and hopes that her stories will stir your heart, strengthen your faith, and encourage you on your journey.

 

More from Camille

Secrets That Won’t Stay Hidden

Josie, the heroine in The Secret Place, faces more than one dilemma as a result of imperfect confidantes and their unkept secrets. So what inspired this story?

Many years ago, my late father-in-law suffered a traumatic brain injury and was life-flighted to a hospital 150 miles away. Family members gathered and were told to prepare for the possibility that he wouldn’t last the night. In an answer to many prayers, he made it through the night, but was in a coma, and no one knew what his future held or what long term effects his injuries would have.

His recovery was long, strange, and uncertain. In the first two weeks, he went from unconscious to incoherent to muttering. Then he progressed to forming real words, but what he said made no sense.

As his communication began to improve, his speech turned into an ongoing narrative. He talked about events and people and things long ago—including things we hadn’t heard before, things that confused and surprised family members young and old. We realized that these revelations were not simply a product of his addled brain, but in fact true. To our dismay, his social filters and verbal etiquette were gone, which made his kids and grandkids more than a little nervous. What kinds of memories and expressions would we hear from this beloved man of faith whom we all suspected had been a bit of a rascal as a youth?

To everyone’s relief, though my father-in-law said peculiar things and told us stories no one knew about, he didn’t have any shocking skeletons in his closet, and after eight weeks, he was pretty much back to his sensible, knowing self. But the fact that his private thoughts and potential secrets had at one point been so completely exposed sparked some intriguing “what if” questions in this writer’s mind:

  • What if you lost the ability to keep your private thoughts and secrets safe?
  • How might your life change if your secrets or some hidden past were exposed?
  • What if the person to whom you’ve entrusted a most crucial secret suddenly couldn’t?

The book’s title refers to several kinds of secret place. I look forward to hearing how many secret places readers can find in this story.

-Camille

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27

Genesis 5020, April 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 30

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 30

deb’s Book Review, May 1

For Him and My Family, May 2

Blogging With Carol, May 2

Inklings and notions, May 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 4

Mary Hake, May 4

Texas Book-aholic, May 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 6

By The Book, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 8

Pause for Tales, May 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 9

The Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, May 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Camille is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon card & a signed 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/10b28/the-secret-place-celebration-tour-giveaway