Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Mark of the Raven" (The Ravenwood Saga #1) by Morgan L. Busse ... and a GIVEAWAY!


Morgan's publisher has offered to give away a hard copy of the book (US ONLY).  You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends December 6, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)  Here's Morgan...

The story behind the story...

All of my stories begin with a scene, usually while I'm doing dishes or folding laundry. I see a situation in my mind and immediately I start asking who are these people? How did they get there? And what's going to happen next? This is how Mark of the Raven began. I saw this scene in my mind where a young woman is standing over the bed of a man. Her mission is to kill him, but she hesitates. So I asked who is she? Why is she here? And what's going to happen next?

If you want to find out the answers to my questions, you'll have to read the book :)

Q&A with Morgan...

Q:  What message do all readers take away from your story?
A:   That no matter your background, your family circumstances, your current situation, you can always change. You are not chained to your past. There is always hope. And that hope is in God. But the journey is not always an easy one.

Q:   What character in the book do you relate to the most and why?
A:   I relate to Selene in the fact that for many years, I hid behind a fa├žade. I was afraid of people knowing who I really was (this geeky, intellectual tomboy). I was especially afraid if Christians knew, they would judge me since I am married to a pastor and there always seems to be certain expectations of a pastor's wife, which I hardly seem to fit. I love that Selene is exploring who she is, and ultimately who God made her to be. That is my journey as well. Learning to love the person God made me to be, no matter what others may think.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  The biggest advice I would give is to not let your writing eclipse your life. Take time for your family. Your kids are going to grow up and move out. But your writing will always be there to come back to. And spend time with your spouse. They can become your biggest cheerleader. And don't forget to live life. Take those walks, enjoy those quiet moments, laugh, and play games. It is life we are trying to write, but if we don't live ourselves, we won't have anything to write about.

Q:  What can you tell us about your next project?
A:  Right now, book two, Flight of the Raven, is done and in edits (and coming out next spring!). In the meantime, I'm currently working on book three. After that, I have a few ideas, but those are between me, agent, and publishers. :)

Q:  What's your favorite writing-related book?
A:  My Emotional Thesaurus. I use it almost every day. I recommend it for every writer!

Q:  Now for a few fun questions. What would you be doing if you weren't an author?
A:  I was on a path to become a scientist and wanted to do research in the medical field. Instead, God had a different path for me.

Q:  What's one thing about you that would surprise your readers?
A:  I'm not really into chocolate. My husband is the chocolate lover and our family.

Q:  Do you have any writing rituals?
A:  I always listen to music, usually a soundtrack or something soothing on YouTube.

Thanks so much, Morgan! I'm sure my readers will enjoy the chance to know a bit more about you.

My review...

Lady Selene just learned of her gift. She is heir to her family’s gift of dreamwalking, which comes with many abilities and responsibilities, including killing. Will she be able to take her mother’s place one day as head of the House of Ravenwood?

I’ve heard about Busse’s books in the past, but I have never read them. Boy, will that change in the future! This book is very different from my typical reads, but it immediately pulled me in, despite being a bit dark at times. The characters and scenes are so vivid. I could easily envision everything. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, and parts of this book reminded me of that book (in relation to the various Houses). The characters’ struggles are relatable, even though this is a fantasy/fiction story, as most people struggle with doing what is right and making wise choices at some point. The story does involve a dual POV, from the perspective of Celine and Damien, the head of the House of Maris. The overall story is a good illustration of our lives, and the part God plays in it when we choose to follow Him. The pace stays active, making this quite the page turner. Sadly, it will be some time before the sequel is released, which is unfortunate, as the book ends on quite the cliffhanger :-(

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.


I recently had the privilege of meeting Morgan and having my books autographed. What an exciting day!





About Morgan...


Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Wood series, the Carol-Award winning steampunk series, Soul Chronicles, and the Ravenwood Saga, a new fantasy series from Bethany House. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

Where you can find Morgan online...




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ellie Claire Art Journals




I recently had the opportunity to review a trio of art journals from Ellie Claire, just in time for the holiday season. I found them to be delightful and inspirational overall, making them a perfect addition to my daily devotional time.

When I journal, I use a variety of things (including pens, colored pencils, markers, gelatos, gel pens, stamps, and stickers). I tried many of these with this collection of journals. There was a bit of ghosting, at time, but, in general, everything I typically use worked well, as the pages in each journal are a bit thicker than one might find in an average notebook or Bible. All of them lay flat, which is ad added bonus!

Each journal contains beautiful illustrations to accompany the instructions. The books would be appropriate for people of various ages and skill levels. I've never been overly creative in my journaling, but these will make it a bit easier to do so, and I look forward to using these journals. (They would make wonderful gifts this Christmas, as well.)





















                Amazon purchase link


This journal is an all-inclusive journal for lettering, as well as for creating beautiful artwork in your journal or Bible. I'm not very artistic, and even I was able to follow the instructions (and, for the most part, things came out looking okay). The journal provides opportunities to practice hand-lettering, Bible journaling, and sermon sketch note-taking. Banners, flowers, and frames are also included. The tips are helpful for beginners and more experienced calligraphers, etc.


















Amazon purchase link



This journal contains illustrations from ancient manuscripts, along with illustrations to color (around forty of them) and abundant space for journaling or drawing your own illustrations. A few Bible verses accompany some illustrations, so this book really brings Scripture to life through the drawings. There is a place along the spine to store a pen, as well.
























Amazon purchase link

If you've ever wanted to improve your writing and make it a bit fancier, this book is for you. The illustrations included in this journal are gorgeous and will give the user a number of ideas to try in their own journaling. The instructions are easy to follow, though some are definitely more advanced than others, and there is ample space for practice. Designs include general flourishes, animals, and flowers. The options really allow the user to personalize their writing. Appropriate and inspiring quotes and Bible verses are included. There is a place along the spine to store a pen, a bookmark, and a keepsake pocket.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of each journal from the publisher, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Should you use i.e. or e.g.?



I.e. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "id est." It is used to specify or clarify, and it means "in other words."

E.g.is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "exempli gratia." It means "for example," and it used to introduce examples.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

"Why Did You Choose Me?" (blog hop with JustRead tours)

WhyDidYouChooseMe_BlogHop_JR

November is National Adoption Month, and we're celebrating with the Why Did You Choose Me? Saturday Hop and giveaway, hosted by JustRead Tours and Ambassador International! Every Saturday in November, hop along to the different host blogs and enter the great giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK

WDYCM_FullCover Title: Why Did You Choose Me?  
Author: Katie Cruice Smith 
Illustrator: Sarah Strickling Jones 
Publisher: Ambassador International 
Release Date: November 12, 201
Genre: Children's Picture Book, Adoption

Most adoptive and foster children struggle at some point in their life with knowing who they are and where they belong. They want to ask questions, and parents need to be prepared with an answer that helps their child feel loved and secure.

After searching for adoption storybooks to read to her own adopted children, Katie Cruice Smith decided that there was a need for more books that parents could read at bedtime to connect with their adopted and fostered children.

In Why Did You Choose Me?, Katie Cruice Smith answers that question in a way that young children can understand. Drawing from her own experience as an adoptive mom to three children, Katie uses the questions her own children have asked to help them see there never really was a choice she knew right away that they were hers.

With beautiful illustrations by artist Sarah Strickling Jones, Why Did You Choose Me? lovingly demonstrates the uniqueness that each child brings to a family.  


EXCERPT

Oh, darling, darling child,
You're part of this family!
I didn't care what you looked like,
And you're so much fun to me!

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Ambassador International

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

View More: http://christarenephotography.pass.us/kate-headshots

Katie Cruice Smith is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor, and she resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with her husband and three adopted children. Katie is an adoption and foster care advocate, and she and husband are licensed foster parents and the founders of their church’s orphan ministry. She is currently working on a devotional book to accompany Why Did You Choose Me?

CONNECT WITH KATIE: website | Facebook | Twitter
 
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Sarah Strickling Jones enjoys working with oils, acrylics, ceramics, and printmaking. She creates her artwork and teaches students of all ages from her country home. She lives in Greer, South Carolina, with her husband Darren and four children: Trevor, Peyton, Blake, and Renea. Why Did You Choose Me? is Sarah Strickling Jones’ first illustrated children’s book in watercolor.

CONNECT WITH SARAH: Facebook

saturday hop giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will receive
  • a print copy of Why Did You Choose Me?
  • "For This Child I Prayed" ornament (more info HERE)
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 3, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 1, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 

Follow along at JustRead for a full list of stops/dates!
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Friday, November 23, 2018

"Simple Joys" by Candace Payne




My review...

Many people know Payne as "Chewbacca Mom," from the viral video. In her latest release, she infuses some of the joy found in that video in hopes of reminding the reader that we all struggle with being joyful (versus being discouraged or overwhelmed), but it is possible.

Overall, the book is a quick read that's easy to digest. The small size makes it extremely portable, and I really enjoyed the colorful illustrations throughout. The chapters are short and full of relatable stories and experiences. Each chapter ends with a place for the reader to journal about a question pertaining to the chapter, and there is a section at the end of the book for notes. Payne's humor is woven throughout this authentic book. 

Some of my favorite quotes include:

  • "My hope is that you begin digging in unearthed places to discover pure joy..."
  • "When you feel safe, you allow space for you."
  • "Simple faith fuels extravagant joy."
  • "The most underrated tool we have at our disposal to shift our atmosphere of anxiety to one of joy is to speak out the good times."
  • "Simple joys are always found in both adventure and misadventure."

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy at part of the BookLook Bloggers program, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.







Wednesday, November 21, 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 a poem using the following words: tapestry, eye, sings, collide, chameleon, lives, slippery, fantasy



Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Unexpected Blessings" by Sandra Peoples







My review...

As a former special education teacher, I was excited to have the opportunity to review an advance copy of this book.

The author writes from personal experience (as a sibling and a parent). Her book is encouraging and emotional, and it contains numerous practical tips to help parents feel less overwhelmed. Scripture verses are used throughout, as well as Biblical people (such as Job, Ruth, Jonah, and Peter), to tie things together.

Peoples takes the reader from diagnosis to the impact on families, marriages, and even the church family. She demonstrates that God’s plan is always better than any we can imagine. The unexpected can truly be a blessing. The author includes numerous personal stories. I really liked how the chapters contain discussion/journal questions. Chapter titles include:

Where Can I Go? (Cycles of Grief)
Adjust Your Routines
Rebuild on the Rock
Strengthening Relationships with Your Family and Friends
Making a Difference

The author includes information on what the Bible says about disabilities, which is not something I’ve read in similar books. I was able to see some of the families I worked with in the stories in this book. I would encourage parents of a special-needs child to pick this up, if for no other reason than a reminder that they’re not alone. God is with you on your journey, and He has amazing things in store for you and your child.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday Motivation


"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."
— Richard Bach


Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Into the Deep" by Lauren Gaskil (Read with Audra blog tour)



Q&A with Lauren...

Q: What inspired you to write your new book, Into the Deep: Diving into a Life of Courageous Faith?
A:  I should have drowned years ago. When the waves of anxiety, depression and chronic pain came crashing over me, the “faith” I’d been raised to practice couldn’t keep my head above the waves. But I didn’t drown. I’m still here. Because by God’s grace, in the undertow I discovered a deep faith in Jesus that saved me from sinking into the depths and catapulted me straight into His rescuing arms. He saved me from drowning, and my hope in writing this book is that He might use my story to help save others who feel like they are drowning too.

Q: When did you first experience bouts of anxiety? What were some of the situations that brought on the feelings of anxiousness?
 A:  I started experiencing anxiety in high school, after a traumatic event triggered panic attacks.

Q: You are very open about your struggle with chronic pain and the recurrent anxiety and depression that come along with it. How did your physical issues cause you to lose faith? Tell us about how you’ve learned to overcome these challenges.
A:  Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos is a nasty disorder — I truly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. One day, you can wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bag of bricks or two semis. Other days, you can’t move without being in pain or risking injury from loose joints making bones pop out everywhere. Having unstable joints means arthritic pain is a constant companion and makes it hard to do “normal” tasks like lifting bags, exercising or evening cutting vegetables for dinner some days. These difficult physical challenges made it hard to keep faith in the beginning because I didn’t understand why God wasn’t healing me. When I finally opened my heart to the possibility of healing, bad turned to worst, and it made me question everything I believed in. After years of diving deeper with Jesus, at the end of the day, no matter what pain I experience, I know in the deepest parts of my soul that I will be OK. Not because of who I am, but because of who God is. He is a good, good Father. He is always with us and always for us, just like His Word says He is. He cannot not be faithful and His Spirit — the very hope of Christ — lives in me. When I think about all of those things, I find everything I need to overcome because the Jesus in me is stronger than the waves of darkness that try to overtake me. In Him, I have nothing to fear.

Q: After college, you sought out the help of a Christian counselor. What did you learn about the connection between your struggles with your faith alongside your battles with anxiety and depression?
A:  I learned that God wasn’t punishing me with anxiety and depression, instead, He was allowing it as an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Him. I also learned that having anxiety and depression didn’t make me any less of a Christian, it just meant I had different areas I had to learn to trust God with. In this case, that involved areas of mental health.

Q: One of the chapters is entitled “Six Things You Need to Know.” What are the six things you want to make sure readers will take away from this chapter?
A:  I believe words have immeasurable power. That’s why I’m a writer. That’s why I strive to think long and hard about the words I choose before I write or say them. That’s why I fight daily to speak life, love, hope, and truth over myself in order to drown out the cruel, untruthful things others have spoken over me. Words are powerful no matter what we are going through, but they are even more powerful when our faith is tested. I wish I could forget some of the things people said to me when the waves of life came crashing in. “You’re never going to get over this,” they told me. “This is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.” Or my personal favorite, “Do you have unresolved sin in your life? Maybe God is punishing you for something.” When we feel like we are drowning, we are susceptible to believing the lies and hurtful things we hear from the outside world. What I want women to know more than anything, is that in their hurt:

1.      God is not punishing you.
2.      You are not alone.
3.      You are going to be OK
4.      Darkness does not define.
5.      You were made for the deep.
6.      God’s love will carry you.

Q: The book ends with a series of stories about warriors of the deep. What can women learn from these stories? What makes a woman a warrior?
A: This is one of my favorite chapters of the book. There is nothing more powerful and inspiring than a testimony! These women are warriors because they chose to give God a chance and take Him at His Word. Every day, they choose to place their past, present and future into His hands, and because of that choice, their deep despair has been replaced with a deep faith and faith to overcome anything that comes their way. They are warriors because they have learned to let go and let God. And that? That is true faith.

My review...

Gaskill has written a book that shows how her faith struggled through anxiety and chronic illness. It also shows how she developed a courageous faith to "swim" through those deep waters. The purpose is to help the reader learn to exchange their fears for courage, too.

Numerous personal stories are shared in the book, along with scripture verses and reflective questions to "Go Deeper." The author is genuine and transparent, which will likely make this book relatable to many readers, as everyone will face deep waters at some point. Gaskill outlines practical strategies, along with examples, to help the reader when they feel they are drowning by reminding them that Jesus is there to be their lifeline.

Some of my favorite quotes include:

  • "When we fight for and step into faith, God's Word and His promises begin to unfold in our lives."
  • "Beloved, you were not meant to live a life crippled by fear."
  • "Faith is our compass in the deep."
  • "The secret to surrender is trust."
  • "Faith is not the absence of fear but the presence of courage."

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher as part of the Read with Audra blog tour program. I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

Amazon purchase link

Excerpt from chapter one


About Lauren...


Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast and Finding Joy Ladies Night Out events. After being diagnosed with an incurable connective tissue disorder, Lauren made it her life mission to encourage others to fight for faith and find joy — no matter what life’s circumstances might bring.

Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is particularly passionate about encouraging women to fight for faith and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Gaskill also writes and speaks about what it looks like to walk with Jesus through pain and suffering.

She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Where you can find Lauren online...

website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Friday, November 16, 2018

"When the Heart Sings" by Liz Tolsma blog tour ... and a GIVEAWAY!








My review...


Books set in the WWII era are some of my favorite books to read. Tolsma’s latest has a slightly different perspective: Polish Jews and Christians, Polish labor camps, and the way the Polish people suffered under German occupation.

The love between Teodor and Natia is pure and heartwarming. I also really enjoyed the unlikely bond between Natia and Elfriede. The story demonstrates that even in the worst of circumstances, God is always present.

It was very difficult for me to put this book aside, as I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series (fingers crossed that there will be one!).

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.




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.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Takeover Thursday with Laurie Lucking ... and a GIVEAWAY!


Laurie is here to share a bit about her latest release, Common She has offered to give away a hard copy (US ONLY) or electronic copy (US or International).  You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 22, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)  Here's Laurie...


When I first felt inspired to write a book, I wanted to write something serious and meaningful. Something that would make people think and provoke discussion, maybe even win an important national award. But every story idea that came to mind involved teenage girls falling in love while trying to find purpose and establish their place in the world. These stories brought me back to my own days as a middle schooler and high schooler, when I often felt more at home in the fantasy worlds I explored in books than among my peers. Those books formed and changed me, and once one became a favorite, I read it over and over again to revisit those beloved characters. Eventually, I decided maybe that’s how I would make my impact instead. By touching the hearts and minds of pre-teens and teenagers (and hopefully even adults!) with stories that inspire as they entertain.

The specific idea for Common arose from the central relationship between the main characters, because I am first and foremost a romantic at heart :) I began with an idea for a friends-first romance, but then my love of fantasy and fairy tales sparked the central conflict and a broader plot. What if he was a prince and she a maid? What if his parents wanted him to marry a foreign princess? What if the maid discovered a plot against the kingdom and had to save the day? From there, my story was off and running!

 As my ideas progressed, I found my maid would need some help saving the kingdom. I wanted to create characters who could perform extraordinary feats not from our typical understanding of magic, but from a deep, tangible connection with their Creator. I ended up with a group of nuns full of power, personality, and incredible devotion, who have since become many readers’ favorite characters.

Above all, Common is the story of an ordinary girl trying to help her friend and do the right thing, even though she’s scared and feels completely unequipped for the task in front of her. I hope readers will be inspired by what God can accomplish through seemingly “common” people and have as much fun reading this romantic fairy tale adventure as I had writing it! 

Blurb...

Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it — the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah's safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe's parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe's safety before it's too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Purchase links...



About Laurie...


An avid reader practically since birth, Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. When she gets a break from playing superheroes and driving windup cars, she writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of fairy tale romance. Her debut novel, Common, released in February from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, and her short story, “Threshold,” was published in a Fellowship of Fantasy anthology titled Mythical Doorways. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Where you can find Laurie online...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Teal Paisley Tights" by Barbara Brutt Blitz Tour ... and a GIVEAWAY! (JustRead Publicity Tours)

TealPaisleyTights_Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for Teal Paisley Tights by Barbara Brutt, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! Happy Release Day to this debut author!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Teal Paisley Tights  
Author: Barbara Brutt  
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Life post-graduation was supposed to see the launch of paisley-loving Jadyn’s art career, or at least an art gallery showing one of her watercolor paintings. Instead, this Pittsburgh native is locked into a low-paying, buttoned-up consultant position with an impossible boss. When another colleague is dismissed, Jadyn inherits extra workload, including the company’s biggest client. If she loses him, she’s fired.

Jadyn people-pleases her way through life, resulting in extra work opportunities and a community classroom of art students. But when two guys appear on her doorstep, she just might not be able to people-please her way out of this love triangle. At the end of the day, she can’t please everyone.

Then, because of a small spending problem, Jadyn is evicted from her apartment, and she must move in with her know-it-all sister. Jadyn needs to decide between a job transfer that would place her near her love interest, or a full-time art career with all its risks.

Stretched like canvas between responsibility and dreams, she must choose. Will practicality always win?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


EXCERPT

No.

An overdue rent notice threatened me: Pay up or move out. I had one month. My mind sped through options. I didn't have rent money because my cash flow was shot from the daily expenses: occasional retail therapy, my art hobby, and a slight coffee addiction. My full-time job hadn't lived up to its promises. I worked all the time and still couldn't pay the rent. And night jobs usually involved poles or polos and ball caps.

My eyes wandered the apartment. Heated ceramic floors. Lush carpets. Modern amenities. Those beautiful things had been my downfall. Mel had warned me that I should find a cheaper apartment at first, but I wanted to go big or go home. Now, I might be going home to Mom after all.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

barbara brutt

Barbara Brutt, a born and raised Pittsburgher, spent her growing-up years with her nose in a book. After claiming her bachelor's degree in English, she plunked down hard into a smattering of jobs from shop girl to communications director with a healthy dose of nanny and house-cleaner. Flying to new adventures is her favorite, especially on an airplane or aerial silk. Barbara adores ice cream and only buys purses that provide room for a book or two. Barbara talks books, aerial silks, faith, and travel on her website and blog at barbarabrutt.com.  

CONNECT WITH BARBARA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

teal paisley tights blitz giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will receive (US only)
  • a pair of teal paisley tights (one size fits most)
  • $15 Starbucks gift card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 15, 2018 and last through 11:59pm November 22, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Anymore or Any more?


Anymore and any more are often confused, but they aren't interchangeable.

Anymore is an adverb, and it means "any longer." For instance:

"It's not a secret anymore," Violet said after reading on Twitter about Mark's plans for her surprise party.

Any more is an adjective phrase meaning "any additional." Such as:

"Would you like any more tea?" Martin asked.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"The Spinster and I" by Rebecca Connolly ... and a GIVEAWAY! (SLB Tours)

The Spinster and I Tour

About the Book

The Spinster and I
Series: The Spinster Chronicles
Genre: Adult, New Adult, Romance
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Publication date: November 1, 2018
Blurb: Poor, unfortunate Spinster… Prudence Westfall, spinster, has unexpectedly had the greatest misfortune of all: she has inherited a fortune, and is now an heiress. But as a Spinster, and a stammering shy one, nothing could be worse than having a bevy of suitors pay her attention. Opportunity strikes at a house party when the most unlikely person offers the perfect solution. Camden Vale is no gentleman, and he’s not prone to saving anyone, but something about Prue changes all that. When his offer to befriend her extends beyond the house party, and his feelings extend beyond expectation, no one is more surprised than he. Except, perhaps, for the other Spinsters, and they have much to say on the subject.

About the Author

Rebecca Connolly headshot
Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.


Author Interview


Q: Who are some of your favorite Regency authors? Do these authors inspire your own writing?
A: I love Jen Geigle Johnson, Sarah Eden, Jennifer Moore, Elizabeth Johns… And I am constantly meeting more lovely writers who love the same ears I do! I am inspired by so many authors, but in my time period and outside of it! The best inspiration of all, though, has to be Jane Austen.

Q: If you could go to tea with one of your characters, who would you go with and why?
A: Oh, I think I would want to go to tea with Charlotte Wright. She doesn’t hold anything back, and I bet she has some fantastic stories!

Q: What inspired the idea for The Spinster and I?
A:  I had created a group of spinsters that had gotten to that point in their lives for different reasons. This particular story starred a girl who was painfully shy and wanted nothing more than to remain unnoticed by the world, and I wanted someone to notice her in a way that would actually work for her. He just so happens to be the most unlikely candidate, which makes it so deliciously fun!

Q:  What did you as an author take away from writing The Spinster and I?
A:  I think the biggest thing I took away was that we need to look beneath the surface in everyone. There is so much more to a person than what we can see.

Q: What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
A:  My current WIP is part of the Spinster Chronicles series, and I can tell you that it is a VERY interesting pairing, and it is set at Christmas!

Giveaway

TSAI Giveaway
Enter the giveaway HERE. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule



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Friday, November 9, 2018

"Swimming in the Deep End" by Christina Suzann Nelson Blitz Tour (with JustRead Tours)

Swimming the Deep End Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for Swimming In The Deep End by Christina Suzann Nelson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

swimming in the deep end Title: Swimming In The Deep End  
Author: Christina Suzann Nelson  
Publisher: Kregel Publications  
Release Date: September 25, 2018  
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction  

A moving novel entwining the many faces of motherly love

Jillian Connors has the perfect daughter: loving and smart, she's an Olympic hopeful with a bright future. But when Gabby becomes pregnant, Jillian fears that future is lost. Worse, she must confront her own secret past and hope the decisions she's made don't drown their whole family.

Gabby can't believe God let this happen to her. She knew the risks, but who thinks about that when they're in love? Now she has to face the consequences--and the disappointed stares from everyone who thought she was the perfect Christian girl. At least she has the baby's father, Travis. Nothing can tear them apart, right?

Margaret Owens had determined dreams for her son. She's furious that Gabby's pregnancy jeopardizes his college baseball scholarship and terrified that Travis will be trapped in a life of struggle and poverty--the life she's tried so hard to save him from. She'll do anything to protect him--even if it means forcing him to leave Gabby.

Stacey Meyers is aching for a child of her own. But the son she was meant to adopt was taken before she could hold him in her arms. It feels like she'll never stop mourning; even the move to this new town hasn't distracted her from the pain. How can she and her husband find peace? Is there any hope of a family in their future? And in the midst of all this . . . an unborn baby. Whose arms will hold him in the end?  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CNELSON-5

Christina Suzann Nelson, inspirational speaker and award-winning author of If We Make It Home, is celebrating the release of Swimming in the Deep End, on September 25, 2018. She writes and speaks about hope after dysfunction. Christina is over the top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she’s not writing, she’s working with the Every Child initiative, chasing escaped steers, reading, breathing in the sweet smell of her horse, hiking with her dog, or enjoying her just-as-crazy family.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

swimming in the deep end blitz giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will receive (US only)
  • a print copy of Swimming in the Deep End
  • $10 Amazon gift card
  • Swimming in the Deep End water bottle
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 9, 2018 and last through 11:59pm November 16, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

"The Kingdom of Nereth" by TJ Amberson ... and a GIVEAWAY! (SLB tours)


2018 11 - Blog Hop Ad - website 2 completed

About the Book


The Kingdom of Nereth Final

Series: Nereth Trilogy
Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Historical, Medieval
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: March 1, 2016
Blurb:  Dark times are upon the land of Nereth. Centuries have passed since the rightful heir to the throne was banished. The people are losing hope in ancient legend, which foretells of one who will rise up, overthrow the evil king and queen, and restore peace. Like all others in Nereth, Edlyn has suffered greatly. Orphaned as a child, Edlyn grew up as the serf of a drunken lord. Now a spirited seventeen-year-old, Edlyn works to buy her freedom while fighting off the unwanted advances of Sheriff Hurst. One morning, Edlyn discovers a young man hiding in the stable. He is fleeing from Sheriff Hurst and inflicted with a sword wound that will surely be fatal without her help. In a split-second decision, Edlyn conceals the young man from Sheriff Hurst and begins nursing him back to health. As the young man's strength returns, Edlyn learns that his name is Maddock, and she is stunned to find that he has come from the mysterious land to the north. Maddock soon comes to Edlyn's aid, rescuing her from Sheriff Hurst. Suddenly declared outlaws, both Edlyn and Maddock must escape for their lives to enchanted Ravenshire Forest and then the desolate mountains beyond. As their adventure unfolds, Edlyn and Maddock discover that their meeting may have been more than chance, for their lives prove bound by a fate that neither of them could possibly have imagined.



About the Author

tj-amberson-author-photo

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom of Nereth, The Council of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she's not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, riding her bike, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets. With a love of writing in multiple genres, TJ Amberson strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, and original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.


Author Interview


Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and why? 
A:  I'm glad that you asked for "some" favorite authors, because I have too many to list, and they're of quite different genres and time periods! So, in no particular order, here are a few: L.M. Montgomery introduced me to Anne and the world of Avonlea when I was a young girl, for which she remains a favorite author of mine. Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare. Victor Hugo wrote my favorite novel, LES MISERABLES. Jane Austen because, well, Jane Austen. Charles Dickens. Sophie Kinsella. Alexandre Dumas, especially for THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Dan Brown. Beverly Cleary. I could go on and on!

Q: What does a day in the life of TJ Amberson look like? 
A:  It varies! On the days when I'm not at work, I am typically doing immensely glamorous things like laundry, grocery shopping, or other errands. From spring through early fall, I spend time in the garden. If it's not raining, I'll go on a bike ride; on rainy days, I'll exercise on the elliptical while watching re-runs of GILMORE GIRLS. Most days, I make time for author-related activities - it may be early in the morning, mid-day, or the last thing that I do before heading for bed.

Q: What inspired the idea for The Kingdom of Nereth?
A: The concept for THE KINGDOM OF NERETH started when, out of nowhere, the opening scene began playing through my mind. I saw a medieval farm. It was sunrise. A young woman—strong and intelligent—was carrying water toward the barn. The visual impact of that scene struck me so much that I immediately began writing a story around it.

Q: What did you as an author take away from writing The Kingdom of Nereth? 
A:  Awesome question. Some years ago, I made the decision to write and publish professionally because I wanted to provide tween and teen readers with new, well-written, original novels that were also age-appropriate. I believed (hoped!) that there were young readers out there looking for novels that didn't contain swearing, sex, drug use, extensive violence, or other more adult-type content. What I have taken away from writing THE KINGDOM OF NERETH is that there are young readers out there looking for this type of novel. I can't articulate how gratifying to hear from a reader - or a parent - that they loved THE KINGDOM OF NERETH and appreciated that the story was age-appropriate. Giving young readers wonderful stories like the ones I grew up with is the reason that I write.

Q: What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about the project?
A:  I'm thrilled to announce that THE COUNCIL OF NERETH - the sequel to THE KINGDOM OF NERETH - is coming out in December of 2018! I'm also in the middle of tidying up another young adult novel, BETWEEN, which I intend to release in 2019. It's an exciting, paranormal story of a young woman who winds up in limbo between heaven and earth. On the adult side, I am also working on my next romance novel, THE BEST MAN, which I also hope to release in 2019. Wish me luck!

Snippet


Edlyn noticed the blood-stained tear in Maddock's dirty shirt. "You are hurt, sir." Covering his abdomen with one hand, Maddock took a step toward the stable door. "I will leave. I..." Maddock trailed off when the chickens outside suddenly began clucking loudly. Edlyn jumped at the unexpected clamor, over which she heard the sound of horses approaching fast. After another glance at the young man, Edlyn rushed by him, opened the stable door, and looked out. Six men on horseback were galloping across the meadow toward the stable. Five of the riders had swords drawn, and the rider in front held a flag aloft—a flag, Edlyn realized with a shudder, which bore the symbol of the infamous Sheriff Hurst. Edlyn slowly turned to Maddock. "I presume this is about you." Maddock did not respond. Wincing, he reached out with one arm to brace himself against the wall while keeping his other hand pressed on his abdomen. "I could be imprisoned for helping a fugitive, or killed," Edlyn went on frankly, shutting the stable door. "It depends on what you have done." Maddock found his voice, "I will not put you in danger." He made another move to leave but swayed and began to fall. Edlyn lunged forward, catching Maddock in her arms. Staggering under the weight of his limp body, she lowered him to the dirt. From the sounds outside, Edlyn knew that the riders were nearly upon them. She also saw that Maddock's breathing was growing shallow and the life in his dark eyes fading. He would not escape those who hunted him. For one moment, Edlyn hesitated, looking between Maddock and the stable door. Then she spoke upward, as if to the sky: "This young man might be an outlaw, but may the spirits of Ravenshire Forest curse me for eternity if I ever help Sheriff Hurst."


Giveaway


The Kingdom of Nereth Giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE.
Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

November 7- cherylbbookblog 
November 9- Tell Tale Book Reviews 
November 10- Blooming with Books

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