Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Motivation

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
— Walt Disney

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Takeover Thursday with Melanie D. Snitker (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Melanie D. Snitker has graciously offered to give away an electronic copy of this new release (or the first book in the series). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends January 18, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) 

How the story came to be...

 When I began writing Finding Grace, I wanted to tell Tyler and Beth's story with an emphasis on the role grace plays in our lives. I had no idea at the time that I would soon be facing the toughest seasons of my life. The very grace I was writing about was exactly the kind I needed for myself: the grace to admit that I'm overwhelmed and to give myself the time off I've needed over the last two months.

It is my hope that Finding Grace will remind readers that it's okay to not only give themselves the kind of grace they might extend to others, but that our Heavenly Father is always there to offer a generous helping of it as well.

Finding Grace is the sixth, and final, book in the Love's Compass series. While each book does give updates on characters that have been featured previously, they are also complete stories that stand on their own.

Thank you, Leslie, for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog today. God bless!

Book blurb...

Single dad Tyler Martin can't be more grateful to the woman who finds his missing daughter. Even though he feels a spark between them, falling in love is a risk he shouldn't take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise.

After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. With the walls around her heart finally starting to crumble, she's afraid of a future she can't predict.

Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need?

About Melanie...

Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows she wanted to see as a child, and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crocheting, baking, and hanging out with family and friends.

Where you can find Melanie online...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Peek vs Pique vs Peak

When you peek at something, you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. A good way to remember this is to think of the ee in the word peek as two eyes looking at something.

Scotty peeked at his Christmas gifts in the middle of the night.

Pique comes from a French word, and it means to excite.

The odd-shaped package piqued Scotty's interest.

A peak is a real or metaphorical pinnacle or high point.

The package marked the peak of excitement for Scotty.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"The Melody of the Soul" by Liz Tolsma ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Liz Tolsma has graciously offered to give away a copy of her new release. The book can be winner's choice of an ebook or hard copy (US ONLY for hard copy). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends January 12, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) 

Back cover blurb...

By 1943, Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost everything, including her career as a concert violinist and almost her entire family. The only person she has left is her beloved grandmother, and she's determined to keep her safe. Protecting Grandmother won't be easy — not with a Nazi officer billeted below them.

Anna must keep a low profile. There's one thing she refuses to give up, though. Despite instruments being declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to practice her violin. She has to believe that the war will end someday and her career will be waiting. Fortunately for Anna, the officer, Horst Engel, enjoys her soothing music. It distracts him from his dissatisfaction with Nazi ideology and reminds him that beauty still exists in an increasingly world.

When his neighbors face deportation, Horst is moved to risk everything to hide them. Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals to her might break her trust and stop the music forever…

(I rated it 4.5 stars - TOP PICK!)

My thoughts in a nutshell...

If you only have time to read a few books this year, be sure Tolsma's latest is on your list! Yes, it's that good! It's really setting a high standard for the other books I review this year. It is such an emotional read and hard to put down. It's sad to see the story come to an end, and I can't wait for the sequel. It's amazing to see how the author can weave together the beauty and evil in such a way that you can still see God's love in the middle of it all.

Some of my favorite quotes...
  • "Cling to your memories, yes. They are good, a blessing from the Lord. But if you allow the past to weigh you down, you cannot move forward. You have to deal with the present and reach for the future."
  • "Don't judge him by the uniform he wears, but by the kind of person he is underneath."
  • "You're dwelling on things you can't change. Focus on what you can."

About Liz...

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shown through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means More to her than her family. She married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

Write about your goals or resolutions for 2018.

Happy writing!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday Motivation

"Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start now and make a brand ending."
— Carl Bard

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Favorite Books of 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, I decided to look back over the books I've read this year (close to 250 ... and still counting!) and choose my favorites. Some of the books I really enjoyed aren't releasing until 2018, so I'll keep those on hold for next year. I've sorted my list into three categories: Christian Fiction (which I've read the most of, so it's a bit longer), Mainstream Fiction, and Nonfiction. Hopefully you'll find something from my list to add to your TBR pile. (The books are in no particular order.)

Christian Fiction

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer (click for my review)

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan (click for my review)


Hold the Light by April McGowan (click for my review)

When  Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks (click for my review)


The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck (click for my review)

   Life After by Katie Ganshert (click for my review

  A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti (click for my review)

  Sound of Fear by Marta Perry (click for my review

 Inherited: Unexpected Family by Gabrielle Meyer (click for my review


Plain Retribution by Dana R. Lynn (click for my review)

Mainstream Fiction


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (click for my review

 Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan (click for my review)


Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower (click for my review

 Asylum 54.0 by Nadege Richards (click for my review

  Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick (click for my review)


A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life by Hayley DiMarco (click for my review)


Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado (click for my review)

   Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live by Tracie Miles (click for my review)

I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is by Michele Cushatt (click for my review)

Unshakeable Trust: Find the Joy of Trusting God at All Times, in All Things by Joyce Meyer (click for my review)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Missing Isaac" by Valerie Fraser Luesse

My review...

This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I found the title to be a bit misleading. I expected there to be a much larger focus on Isaac and his disappearance. However, the focus seemed to be centered a bit more on Pete and Dovey. Things did come together, for the most part, as the story went on.

The book takes place in Alabama in the 1960s, and it deals with subjects such as segregation and Christianity. While there is not a deep biblical element, it is woven throughout the story. There are a number of characters, which made it a bit hard to follow at times, and it took quite a few chapters for me to get into the story line. The dialogue is realistic, and the setting is nicely detailed. This is the debut book by the author. I did enjoy the writing style, so I would likely check out future books.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Revell Reads Blog Tour program, but I was not required to leave a positive review. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Fewer vs. Less

Are you confused as to when to use fewer instead of less? Both words are the opposite of more, but they are used differently. Fewer is used with "count" nouns, and less is used with "mass" nouns.

So, just what are "count" nouns and "mass" nouns? Let's take a look:

Count nouns are used with things that can be counted, such as:
- Steve was trying to lose weight, so he decided to eat fewer candy bars each week.
- The company is now better organized, so fewer meetings are required.

Mass nouns are used with things that aren't counted individually, such as:
- She drank less coffee this month than she did last month.
- If I could spend less time at work, I'd have more time to read.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Jesus, The Reason for the Season

I wanted to take a moment to wish you a blessed holiday season. Thank you so much for visiting my blog over the past year. I've enjoyed sharing reviews, writing tips, and inspirational posts with you, and I look forward to spending time with you in 2018.

Please enjoy this devotion I wrote as a reminder of the true reason behind the holiday season.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
    1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season at this time of year—decorating, shopping, and attending parties. Feels like a non-stop to-do list. Society puts the spotlight on these festivities. While there is nothing wrong with participating in and enjoying these activities, it’s important for us to remember the reason for the season: Jesus and the hope His birth brought to earth.
Paul wrote in today’s verse a reminder of what is most important, both at the holiday season and in general: love.

Love is kind, even when you feel frazzled.
Love is patient, even when the lines are long.
Love helps others, even if it makes you a few minutes late.
Love doesn’t envy, even when the neighbor’s light display is better.
Love will endure, beyond the holiday season.

So, take a moment to breathe and focus on the meaning behind the typical celebrations. Keep your focus on the big picture: Jesus.

Lord, I don’t want to just go through the motions and miss the reason behind the holiday season: love — for each other, as well as Christ’s love for us.

Leslie L. McKee