Monday, May 16, 2022

If You Really Knew Me by Alison Cheah

 

If you Really Knew Me

About the Book

Book: If You Really Knew Me

Author: Alison Cheah

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: December, 2021

Cover full 1101 - If you really knew me_FrontTommy is glad of friendships which make him forget the situation at home. His father’s illness makes his behavior so unpredictable that the whole family must tip-toe around him for fear of becoming the butt of his anger.

Elise wishes her twin sister didn’t think being champion swimmers was an adequate goal for their lives. She has her own dreams to fulfil.

Carrie hides a secret, avoiding other students so nobody will ever find it out. But Tommy and Elise both look to Carrie to save them from their situations.

Until she disappears.

Tommy’s protective instinct kicks in, and Elise reassesses her priorities so she can help keep Carrie safe.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review: 

Tommy, Elsa and Carrie are friends. They struggle with feelings of inadequacy, among other issues. Rejection is a strong theme, and one I felt adequate for many, many years. Even at my age, I related rather intensely to these characters. 

I think this book is great for younger teens, to elderly adults, carrying a theme of having God work in our lives, and that He knows exactly who we are, and loves us no matter how we see ourselves, or what mask has been presented to the world. 

5 Stars 

About the Author

alison-cheah-high resolution 1Alison Cheah worked at Youth for Christ for five years and volunteers with her church youth group. One of her favorite activities is preparing Bible Studies and seeking how to connect the stories of the Bible with her students’ own stories.

As a child she was always to be seen with her nose in a book, and nothing has changed. One of her favorite authors was Patricia St. John. Her characters are people you want to know, and you are rooting for them to overcome their problems, but for Alison, the added dimension was that each person discovers their answers in Jesus. She saw that the faith she had grown up with had applicability in real life.

Her prayer is that this story has the same result for you.

More from Alison

I spent five years working at Youth for Christ with middle school students like Tommy, Carrie, and Elise. They are not based on kids I met, but they are inspired by my experiences then.

My friend and mentor in youth ministry was Anna-Marie Valles who is also a character in Tommy, Carrie and Elise’s story helping them to make sense of some of the questions they have.

We don’t get to know her well in the book, but I had a chat with her recently about youth ministry and here is an extract from that conversation. I think you will enjoy getting to know her better.

 

Alison: In the story, Elise shares her problems with you. Do you find teens want to talk to an adult about their problems?

AMV: Kids are hungry to be able to unload their stories on people who are willing to listen. I remember in one club a student said that all day, adults were telling him what to do. But club was a space where people were asking him, “How are you feeling? “What are your thoughts on this?” He was shocked.

Alison: You were only eighteen when you started in youth ministry. After all these years, how do you stay current so kids still want to talk with you?

AMV: If you come to kids with a willingness to learn, you become relevant. Say to them, “Tell me what’s going on?” Don’t pretend you have all the answers. I find that has worked for me. “I don’t know your culture like you do. But I’m willing to see through your lens if you’re able to share that with me.”

Age is interesting. I always worried I would age out. At my application interview for seminary I said, “I always thought if I aged out of youth ministry, I’d be a chaplain.” And the professor called me out on that. You never age out because kids still need that safe place where someone is willing to listen.

Alison: The profits from this book will be used to send kids to camp. Why is this important to you? 

AMV: Youth ministry is all relational. But trust can take a while to build. The beauty of camps is that you can create a bond in one week that could take two years without.

And at camp they hear the gospel presented in different ways by different speakers. Other people’s creativity and presentation may reach my students in a way that I haven’t been able to.

What saddens me is not everyone can go because camps are costly. My desire is that every student who wants to go will have the opportunity to do so.

For more of this conversation, see alisonrcheah.com

(Interview transcribed by https://otter.ai )

My prayer is that the story of Tommy, Carrie and Elise will be one of those different speakers Anna-Marie talked about, helping kids to begin their own relationship with Jesus.

Thank you.

Alison

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 14

Texas Book-aholic, May 15

Beauty in the Binding, May 16 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 16

For Him and My Family, May 17

Inklings and notions, May 18

Blossoms and Blessings, May 19 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 22

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living , May 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Guild Master, May 26 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alison 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/1db4d/if-you-really-knew-me-celebration-tour-giveaway


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Arena by Karen Hancock

 

Arena

About the Book

Book: Arena

Author: Karen Hancock

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: April 16, 2022

Hancock - ArenaA Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever 

Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom – for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

This is a fantastic, amazing, Sci-Fi story that's also Christian fiction. I LOVE this story! It tops Hunger Games, in every good way possible. It's a bit like Pilgrim's Progress, but fresh and new, and page turning. Navigating The Arena is a mess. Wide paths, narrow, all kinds of branch offs, and that's just the start! This story is also kinda of YA, so there's that aspect as well. The faith tones are never overwhelming but so well worked in that it's natural and compelling.  

5 Super Shiny Stars

About the Author

Hancock, KarenKaren Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.

More from Karen

Arena was not my first novel. The Light of Eidon was. In those days, however, Christian publishers were not interested in the fantasy genre because it had too much magic and wizards and such, despite the publication of the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They were softening to science fiction, however, and thanks to Kathy Tyers, Randy Ingermanson, John Olson and others the door was opened in 2001 for what is called “speculative fiction.” Arena fit right in, and was published by Bethany House in 2002. It went on to win a Christy Award, which started the ball rolling for the Guardian King series. Three out of the four Guardian King books in that series also won Christy Awards, at which point I was the first speculative fiction author inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013.

I am thrilled to have Arena appear again in this 20th anniversary edition with a new cover and in limited-edition hardcover. Oasis Audio will also be producing the audiobook, for the first time, so it can be available for every type of reader.

Blog Stops

Inside the Wong Mind, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Spotlight)

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Beauty in the Binding, May 2 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 10

Blogging With Carol, May 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Arena!!

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/1d3bd/arena-celebraiton-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Spines & Leaves by Chautona Havig (Bookstrings Novella)

Spines and Leaves

About the Book

Book: Spines & Leaves

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: FICTION / CHRISTIAN / WOMENS FICTION / ROMANCE

Release date: July 8, 2021

Spines-Leaves Books are the strings that tie hearts together. 

With a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next corporate challenge, Milton Coleridge decides to spend a week at Joshua Tree National Park.

He never expected to find a floundering bookstore in need of his particular business skills. Will his methods of saving companies from bankruptcy or takeover work on such a small scale? And can he convince two people to risk their hearts?

Step into the Spines & Leaves, Tamarisk, California’s oldest (and only ever) bookstore. Come in out of the harsh, desert sun and wind and peruse all the store has to offer. It might just be more than you think.

One man, one store, thousands of books.  What’ll it take to keep this bookstore from becoming a book ghost town… and what’ll it take for Milton to tie two heartstrings together?

Spine & Leaves is the introductory novella to the Bookstrings series.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

This fast little read was nice. It features a small bookstore, something I love dearly. The romance is fast, and as a prequel to a new series, it's mostly setting up the foundations for this series. The parrot is a lot of fun and I like the focus on God's grace. It will be interesting to see how this series progresses.

4 Stars 

About the Author

media-headshot-sm-240x300USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Bookstrings series is a process rather than an idea. Each time I saw an indie bookstore close, each time I went in one with no one else in there for the hour or two I browsed, and each time I heard book lovers lament the lack of a store in their town… Yeah. Those experiences slowly grew into a wish—one where I knew how to rescue those stores from extinction. So maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but that’s how it felt.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Milton appeared—a business genius who, along with his faithful parrotlet, Atticus (not Finch), travels the country saving corporations from takeover or bankruptcy.

Milton went through several iterations. Older, balding, mustache, and always wearing a golfer’s cap. Then I had him as a young hipster dude who got sick of the rat race on Wall Street and took off on his own, using what he’d learned. That just felt too cliché.

Instead, I have a forty-ish guy who wears chinos and oxford shirts with topsiders, shorter than most men, and with a nonchalant air about him. And charm. The quiet guy with serious business skills just oozes quiet charm.

After deciding on Milton, I had to choose where to put the stores. I’ve been watching out for towns for years—using trips different places as research times. Would I create places that felt like real towns or use actual small towns? Though drawn to real towns, I had an idea for where to end the series, and, doing that meant a fictional town. Would it be weird to have four or five books set in small towns across America followed by a final fictional one?

The solution came to me as I learned that the Mosaic authors were doing a summer collection in 2021. If I started with a novella and ended the series with both in a fictional town, at least that fictional bit wouldn’t be out of the blue!

So, the Bookstrings series has two novellas and five full-length novels. (I couldn’t resist a Christmas “noella” in the charming town of Noel, Missouri—the “Christmas City.”) We’ll be off to other small towns around the country—one in Red Wing, Minnesota, another in Berne, Indiana, and one somewhere between Kingsport, Tennessee and Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina. If I can find a place in New England, that’d be great, too. Or maybe down in Mississippi… I’d love to visit my sister down there.

The Bookstrings series books all have one very important thing in common (aside from Milton and Atticus, of course). They all illustrate that books truly are the strings that tie hearts together.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 26

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Lots of Helpers, April 27

Mary Hake, April 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 28

By the Book, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

The Avid Reader, April 30

Vicky Sluiter, May 1

For Him and My Family, May 2

Miriam Jacob, May 2

Inklings and notions, May 3

Blogging With Carol, May 4

deb’s Book Review, May 4

She Lives To Read, May 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 6

Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 7

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 8

Pause for Tales, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/1d0b3/spines-leaves-celebration-tour-giveaway



Saturday, April 30, 2022

Canceled by John Faubion

Canceled

About the Book

Book: Canceled

Author: John Faubion

Genre: Christian Thriller

Release date: November 14, 2021

ebook-cover_CanceledJerold Steele has been canceled. His identity is stolen. His job is gone. Even more bizarre, the people around him are dying.

Each one was stalked and killed by a supernatural menace that hides

in darkness, and preys on the mind.

Facing exposure, the killer is eliminating every person that threatens him. In his world, there’s only room for one superman, and that superman is going to be him.

Brenda Neal wants to trust him, but the deaths terrify her. Is it better to hide, or fight with him?

CANCELED is a cutting-edge, page-turning thriller, a story you hope won’t be in tomorrow’s headlines.

Read CANCELED to find out what happens when the only thing that will stop a killer is Power no one never imagined.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review:

I am thrilled to have read this book and its well done, strong message! This book will offend those who don't want to see how some of the darker spiritual forces creep in and how they can alter the lives of those who aren't aware and fighting it. Jerold was just teaching at a seminary. Like some other lukewarm Christians, he was just going through the motions. Jerold is not particularly processing them at all. When a chain reaction of things starts, he finds himself in a situation similar to the movie The Net, but with all the spiritual aspects included. Jerold has opened spiritual doors and lack of an active relationship with God may not have been his best move. What will he do now? There's murder, and mystery and all kinds of spiritual warfare. Friends and foes, and it's written to make people think. I really like that about this story. Where can doubting God lead? Who do you trust?

I think the a author did a really great job of showing the darker side of things that I've been exposed to some of in the past. Not for the same reasons, but it helped me understand where this story was going. 

I can't give it less than 5 stars and a heads-up for those who haven't seen some of the spiritual struggles that are not so hidden in the dark. 

About the Author

John Faubion was a foreign missionary in Vietnam, Guam and to the Chinese for nearly thirty years. Then a professional software engineer for more than twenty years after that.

He’s the father of five children, and lives in central Indiana with his wife.

 

More from John

Cancel Culture? This is worse.

All around us we see our culture changing, and not for the better. Sometimes it seems like all the voices we hear are filled with anger, hatred and intolerance.

There’s a reason for that:  They are all rooted (you guessed it) in anger, hatred and intolerance.

It was time to step back and look at what it’s like to be canceled, but from an entirely different source: The Supernatural.

The main character is a preacher, but one of those who does NOT believe in a supernatural god. He doesn’t know what he believes. But when he’s finally confronted with a supernatural experience he cannot deny, he finds that walking on the dark side is going to cost him his life.

The only solution, both for him and the one he falls in love with, is to know God, and get access to the supernatural weapons he never dreamed existed.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

For Him and My Family, April 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 28

Through the Fire Blogs, April 29 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Blogging With Carol, April 30

Pause for Tales, May 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 2

Spoken from the Heart, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

Mary Hake, May 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, John is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, along with a paperback 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/1d0b0/canceled-celebration-tour-giveaway