Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

colors of christmas celebration tour FB banner copy

About the Book

Colors of Christmas cover
Name of book: Colors of Christmas
Author: Olivia Newport
Genre: Contemporary Christmas
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Christmas in Blue
Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?
Christmas in Gold
When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.  
 Click here to purchase your copy.
My Review
This book is two stories. One is Christmas in Gold features Astrid. In this book she's an 80 year old woman. This story focused on WWII in Germany. I'm not a big war story fan. I have read so many, it was such a devastating and brutal time with so many losses. However, Astrid's story was a good one, as she works to help other's change their lives. She reminds me of someone the amazing women who survived the most horrible situations during that war. The impact her life has on others is a strong point of this story. It might need kleenex if you start crying. 

Christmas in Blue features Angela , who is deeply depressed.  She's suffered a great loss and is barley dealing with it. Her heart is broken, her grief is overwhelming. Even Christians don't always know how to handle loss. She finally gets a precious dog named Blitzen and all kinds of things start changing. Who's this guy that has the town all a stir? Is he going to make her situation better, or worse? Will Angela pull out of her situation and make Christmas happen for the town, even if she can't feel it yet? This first book was pretty good. It showed Angela's situation quite well and you should really read the ending. I found this story to be realistic in many ways, and thankfully not as in need of possible tissues. 

Both books are memorable reads, even if difficult ones for me at the moment because of the topics they deal with. This isn't a light fluffy read, but it is a poignant remind of lives and focusing on God at Christmas time. 

About the Author 

Olivia NewportOlivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Quest Post from Olivia Newport

We All Have a Story
I’m younger than most of the people I exercise with. It started when I had a lot of pain in my feet and needed low-impact classes with the option of sitting down and learned I didn’t have to be a senior citizen to take their classes at my gym. Then I discovered how tough most of them are. Years later, though my feet are better, these are still my people.
A couple of years ago, while we waited for the younger and allegedly-but-not-really-tougher crowd to clear out of the group exercise room so we could invade it, a woman I would not have guessed to be 80, because she could out-cardio and out-lift me any day of the week, mentioned she had been widowed since she was 39. And she’d been widowed the first time at 19. And she’d grown up in Germany while Hitler was intent on destroying Europe and life was not easy.
Then the changing of the guard happened and I was left with my mouth gaping. I knew I had to hear this story. The next week after class, we went across the parking lot to Culvers for lunch and I scribbled notes on the backs of a pile of brown napkins while Astrid talked. Later she let me read the account of her life that she had written herself.
Astrid faced so many tragic circumstances, but she would be the first to tell you that God was with her even before she knew how to call on him. Many people with her life story would have found plenty of reason to wallow and stagnate. But not Astrid. Truly she is one of the most hopeful people I know.
Her story was the beginning of Colors of Christmas, which includes two stories. Astrid’s is “Christmas in Gold,” and the other is “Christmas in Blue.” Astrid inspired me to write about hope for a time of year when the Christian message resounds with hope yet so many people struggle to grasp hope for themselves. I pray these stories will help many recover a sense of hope afresh.
Olivia Newport chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. 

Blog Stops

Books N Baubles, October 17
Bukwurmzzz, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 19
Blogging With Carol, October 21
A Greater Yes, October 22
Mary Hake, October 22
Daysong Reflections, October 22
Baker Kella, October 23
Remembrancy, October 24
Carpe Diem, October 25
autism mom, October 25
Bibliophile Reviews, October 25
A Reader’s Brain, October 26
By The Book, October 26
The Power of Words, October 26
Pause for Tales, October 27
Splashes of Joy, October 27
Jeanette’s ThoughtsOctober 28
Karen Sue Hadley, October 28
Vicky Sluiter, October 29
Pursuing Stacie, October 29
Just Jo’Anne, October 30


To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas Bundle Bonanza which includes 7 Jumbo rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, 2 sets of stick-on gift tags, 2 packages of Christmas cards and envelopes, 2 collections of Christmas novellas—18 stories in all, and a signed copy of Colors of Christmas!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Straight Flies the Arrow by Sydney Tooman Betts

Straight flies the arrow facebook banner copy

 About the Book

SFtA Cover front
Name of book: Straight Flies the Arrow
Author: Sydney Tooman Betts
Genre: Historical, adventure, Romance
Release Date: July 8, 2017
During the winter of 1841, Pacing Wolf, the esteemed leader of the Many Lodges, follows the trail of a brutal murderer, leaving behind his beloved woman, Small Doe. When his tracking party returns without him, the Sparrow Hawks’ Real Chief pronounces him dead, insisting Small Doe grieve, but she cannot bring herself to give up hope her husband will return. The coming spring offers her few choices. She can accept the courageous new warrior chosen for her or risk falling prey to his war-society rivals.
Vengeance and loyalty, hatred and faithfulness, all vie within two enemy villages, one belonging to the Sparrow Hawks and the other the Allies, threatening to crush every hope of happiness for Small Doe and everyone she loves.
Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review:

This is an epic series. Long have I love the Native American people, and they are exquisitely written in this book and in this series. Set in the 1800's this story is still as relevant today as it was  then. The One True God's story is shared and lived out through Small Doe. The author worked in so much scripture and showed how one life, one testimony has impact on many. It's emotional, in depth, and beautifully written. As as series it's a set I want to keep on my shelves and share them as an extremely recommended read! 

About the Author 

SydneyToomanBettsSydney Tooman Betts and her protagonist-husband currently reside near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several early chapters of this book.
While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) was involved in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level and serving as the Sunday School Superintendent, Children’s Church Director, or Women’s Ministries facilitator in several evangelical denominations.
Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.

Guest Post from Sydney Tooman Betts

You know you are created for a purpose, but honestly, how much of a difference can one person make in a life filled with one foot put in front of another, cooking for a family, washing clothes, combing out tangles… You know you are created for a purpose, but honestly, how much of a difference can one person make in a life filled with one foot put in front of another, cooking for a family, washing clothes, combing out tangles… Come walk alongside one woman whose singular choice changes life for generations

Blog Stops

Blogging With CarolOctober 20
Karen Sue Hadley, October 24
Mary Hake, October 27
Bigreadersite, October 29


To celebrate her tour, Sydney is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed, soft-back set of The People of the Book trilogy!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Devil In The Dust by Cara Luecht

Devil in the Dust FB Celebration banner copy

About the Book 

Cover hi rez[11002]
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?

My Review:
The dust bowl, a time when much of America's farmlands perished. The center of crop growing for many, I've heard it called "the breadbasket", was a barren wasteland. My Grandmother spoke of it some, although she didn't live anywhere near there, this event had a huge impact on our present history and what followed after it. 

Here is what's left of a community, a few remaining poverty stricken families that haven't been able to leave this tiny town of Oklahoma, and their Pastor and his wife. The little ones, like two year old Little Henry, have never seen grass, or played in the rain. Their lives are eeking out in a wasteland fit to rival any dystopian tale. Lillian is only sixteen, but she can remember before, something that most people seem to have given up recollecting. They're now becoming dependent on the government for food, the start of welfare. Folks leave and don't come back. While this is focused on one town, scores of people died during this time frame, and in this town people perished as well. Everyone still in this town is praying for an answer, waiting to leave, or waiting to die. 

Then the possible answer rolls in. In his new car, and clean shining clothing, a man comes planning to buy up land. So much of the land is deserted and laid to waist, it's a prime opportunity for a rich man to capitalize on the sorrow of others. He's rolling in funding, and he's seen the beauty in Lillian. The question of the hour is, is he a saint come to save them, or is he a demon in disguise? 

Literally gritty in it's portrayal of much more than dirt and sand, this book proffers an honest portrayal of the struggle for survival and not loosing faith while walking through the worst of circumstances. It makes me think of the valley of the shadow of death from the Psalms. While I didn't want the characters to fear evil, I did root for them to know true evil when the saw it, so that they could cast it out from among them, in what ever form it appeared. Being a pastor's child, I appreciated the way the pastors in this book were written, and found myself cheering them on as they gave their all to try to help others keep their faith when no breakthroughs were insight. This book is well written, and worth reading. 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

140223_132100phAward 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

Genesis 5020, October 12
A Reader’s Brain, October 13
Blogging With CarolOctober 14
Bukwurmzzz, October 15
Books n Baubles, October 17
Mary Hake, October 19
Pause for Tales, October 20
Bigreadersite, October 20
Karen Sue Hadley, October 21
Daysong Reflections, October 22


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!

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig (Book 2 of The Tox Files)

I only thought book one was strong! 

Tox is back and in the book, more amazing than before. Haunted pasts, good and evil, action, love, and so much more is packed into this second book in this series. Tox has so much to work through to overcome in this book. I have read a good many of this author's books. I think this series, and this book, is my top favorite of Kendig's books. A extremely recommend read. 

My copy came from Bethany House. This review is my own, left of my own choosing. 


When You Stare Into the Abyss It Also Stares Into You
The bullet that rips into Cole "Tox" Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.
Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. 

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

Praise for The Tox Files

"This is a thrill ride with a story that barely stops to catch its breath before the action revs back up again. . . . Kendig has out done herself." RT Book Reviews Top Pick
"Kendig keeps the tensions high and the pace lightning fast, with military action scenes worthy of Vince Flynn."  Publishers Weekly
"Kendig's action-packed military thriller has overtones of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code crossed with Robin Cook's Contagion." Library Journal

Ronie Kendig

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She's penned over a dozen novels, including The Quiet Professionals series and the A Breed Apart series. She and her hunky hero hubby have a fun, crazy life with their children and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.

The Angel of Forest Hill: An Amish Christmas Romance By: Cindy Woodsmall

My Review:

This book is cute, cute and sweet! I do read Amish books pretty often of late. I do believe this is the first time I have read this author. Rose marries Joel to help take care of his kinner, aka children. Between the rules of the Ordung, this author got a real story squished in there. I really liked that!

It's a Christmas book, but the message is timeless.

About the Book:
Rose is asked to leave her family to marry and care for a distraught man and his family after the loss of his wife. Having been mistreated by her own family she welcomes the idea, but is afraid to let go of the hurt and open herself up to love. She must find strength, for if a marriage is not based on love, it will wither and die.

Book Link:

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall
New York Times and CBA best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall has been featured on ABC Nightline & the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life, won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, Crossings’ Best Books of the Year & been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year & Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Favorite Verse: Ephesians 3:16 (KJV) "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man."