Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock Celebrate Lit Tour

My Thoughts

Author Terri Blackstock has written a contemporary Christian novel unlike her others in Smoke Screen. It is a suspenseful, romantic Christian mystery that had me on the edge of my seat flipping pages to see what would happen next.  Blackstock is a talented wordsmith indeed.

I was immediately drawn in to the story and felt the characters’ emotions.  It is the tale of a love gone wrong where parents never wanted their children to be together.  Smoke Screen deals with gritty real life issues so I would only recommend it to adults.

The characters are well defined and relatable.  Some have many flaws and it is hard to   read about them but not unimaginable.  Conversations were realistic.  Even the chats with the children rang true.

This is the tale of Brenna, newly divorced, and Nate, her high school sweetheart.  Brenna is going through so extremely difficult trying times.  Her struggles make her seek solace in a bottle of alcohol.  There are many sides to this character.  Nate is a complicated guy, too.  I loved that he encouraged Brennan to lean on God and trust Him.

I would recommend this is adult readers that enjoy suspense and mystery.  There are many life issues and timely life lessons faced in this book.  I rated it a 5 out of 5.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Smoke Screen

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre:  Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Smoke ScreenOne father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

 

About the Author

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”

“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”

“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”

I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

 

Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9

CarpeDiem, November 9

Christian Bookaholic , November 9

Fiction Aficionado, November 10

KarenSueHadley, November 10

Quiet quilter, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11

Among the Reads, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 11

A Reader’s Brain, November 11

Robin’s Nest, November 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12

Bigreadersite , November 12

Blogging With Carol , November 12

Betti Mace, November 13

Spoken from the Heart, November 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13

Emily Yager, November 13

By The Book, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 14

A Baker’s Perspective, November 14

Splashes of Joy , November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Through the Fire Blogs, November 15

Andrea Christenson, November 15

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 16

Just the Write Escape, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Remembrancy, November 17

Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

EmpowerMoms, November 17

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 18

Older & Smarter, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 18

Lights in a Dark World, November 19

amandainpa , November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 20

For The Love of Books , November 20

Hallie Reads, November 20

Cathe Swanson, November 21

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 21

All 4 and About Books, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

Batya’s Bits, November 22

Livin’ Lit, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

janicesbookreviews, November 22Spoke

Love’s Allegiance Celebrate Lit Book Tour & Giveaway

My Thoughts

Love’s Allegiance is Book 4 in author Linda Shenton Matchett’s Wartime Brides Series.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first three, this one could be read as a stand alone easily.

This is the story of Irwin and Rochelle.  It is in many ways like the Bible story of Isaac and Rachel.  I was immediately drawn in to this beautiful fictional romance.  It is strong on inspiration and faith which made me love it even more.

Irwin’s father arranges for Rochelle to visit with the possibility of marrying Irwin, unbeknownst to Irwin.  Irwin is unhappy with the idea due to past hurt.  Their story unfolds beautifully.

The author has a style of writing that is lovely.  I enjoyed the conversations that sounded true to the era.  The characters were very lifelike and relatable.  Even secondary ones wiggled their way into my heart while reading.

I learned some things about the war that I previously did not know.  That is always important when reading to me.  Faith is not hidden but in plain sight.  This is what I expect in a Christian novel.  Thank you to the author!

On the downside, the book seemed to end abruptly.  I was reading along at a nice pace and then bam it’s over.  It left me wanting more.  Obviously there will be a sequel.

I highly recommend this book for those that enjoy historical wartime fiction.  I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Love’s Allegiance

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: August 15, 2019

Love's Allegiance ebook jpg coverWith most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

 


 

About the Author

Linda Matchett Head ShotLinda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

 

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 9

Batya’s Bits, November 9

Blossoms and Blessings, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Rebecca Tews, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 12

mpbooks, November 13

As He Leads is Joy, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 14

Back Porch Reads, November 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

janicesbookreviews, November 19

Inspired by fiction, November 19

A Reader’s Brain, November 20

Inklings and notions , November 21

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away all four books in the Wartime Brides series and a $10 Amazon gift card!!

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/f029/love-s-allegiance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Essential Oils Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Celebrate Lit Book Tour for Essential Oils, God’s Extravagant Provision for Your Health.  You will see information on the book and author here.  Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end.

My Thoughts

The first thing I noticed is the lovely cover.  Isn’t it inviting?  Even the sub-title drew me in and made me want to learn more.

Essential Oils, God’s Extravagant Provision for Your Health by author Terri Secrest is a book that I truly enjoyed.  It has a plethora of information and the beautiful colored pictures gave me added enjoyment.  I loved this bible based book.

The author has a nice style of writing.  Her book is easy to understand has simple recipes for all types of conditions.  She offers a wide range of solutions for illnesses that include food recipes with the essential oils to breathing the aroma of some oils to support mental health.  There is so much information packed in this book it needs to be kept in one’s home library for future reference.  I have used essential oils for years and learned much from this stunning book.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting learn more about essential oil, especially God’s divine plan for them for us.  This would make a perfect gift for Christmas or birthday.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.

About the Book

Book: Essential Oils

Author: Terri Secrest

Genre: Christian Non-fiction, Alternative Therapies

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Essential Oils CoverHave you ever wondered why the wise men brought frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus? As a curious and highly enthusiastic child, health and wellness coach Teri Secrest asked everyone she knew and met, but no one could tell her. She grew up thinking it was just a nice little story…but never stopped wondering.
This thirst for knowledge sparked Teri’s twenty-three-year quest to learn about essential oils. It has taken her to the far corners of the world—from Croatia and France to Oman, Israel, and beyond.
Teri has written this book to share the mystery, the romance, and the ageless intrigue of essential oils. She hopes you experience the Father’s love as He continually lavishes His children with these exquisite oils and you feel this rich, biblical history come alive in your spirit. Teri wants you to see how miraculous your body is and how it’s designed to heal itself when given proper nourishment and support.
Essential Oils: God’s Extravagant Provision for Your Health offers practical how-to’s that you can use immediately, including the use of oils for romance, balancing hormones, cooking, cleaning, pets, children, and fragrance, as well as health concerns such as stress, negative emotions, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and anxiety. You will find practical guidance to regain and maintain health naturally.
As you gain this understanding, Teri believes you will change the next generation as you discover the hidden secrets of these biblical plants and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Terri SecrestTeri Secrest is a health and wellness expert whose passion is to teach simple and proven methods for vibrant health to people around the world. That passion is rooted in her early experiences of learning about whole foods and herbs in her family’s organic garden and her mother’s passion for good food as the owner of a French cooking school. These early lessons guided Teri to a healthy path for herself and her own family, yet it was her first astonishing experience with essential oils as a young mother that ignited her lifelong passion for learning, practicing, and teaching people to take hold of God’s extravagant provision for their health.
Teri has traveled around the world to learn from leading experts about the beneficial uses of essential oils, research the promises and properties of each essential oil, and develop a deep working knowledge of their applications for daily health and wellness.
Teri loves to share the simple, practical principles that will help you live in vibrant health through her international keynote speeches, training programs, and best-selling books. She is a sought-after speaker who delivers her message of vibrant health with such enthusiasm, humor, and joy that she has gained the nickname “Ambassador of Joy” around the world. Connect with Teri at http://terisecrest.com

 

More from Teri

My purpose in writing this book is to inspire you with the mystery, the romance, and the ageless intrigue of essential oils. My hope is that you experience the Father’s love as He continually lavishes His children with these exquisite essential oils and that this rich biblical history comes alive in your spirit. I also hope you will see how miraculous your body is and how it’s designed to heal itself when given proper nourishment and support.

As you gain this understanding, I believe you will change the next generation, as you will know the hidden secrets of these biblical plants and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, November 6

A Diva’s Heart, November 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 7

Moments, November 8

Quiet Workings, November 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 9

Emily Yager, November 9

Artistic Nobody, November 10

For Him and My Family, November 10

empowermoms, November 11

Stories By Gina , November 11

Vicky Sluiter, November 12

Jacquelyn Lynn, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Splashes of Joy, November 14

Texas Book-aholic, November 15

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 15

janicesbookreviews, November 16

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Betti Mace,  November 17

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 17

A Reader’s Brain, November 18

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

Livin’ Lit, November 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Teri is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of her book and $20 Starbucks gift card!!

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/f024/essential-oils-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Glimpses of God, A Winter Devotional for Women Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Glimpses of God, a Winter Devotional for Women is a refreshing devotional by authors Harriet Michael and Shirley Crowder.  It contains thirteen chapters with five days in each.  This is a devotional written for women by women.

The devotions are encouraging and very interesting.  Each one begins with Scripture, then a personal story and concludes with a prayer and thought for the day.  I enjoyed the way it was organized and written.  The style was easy to follow.

Each daily devotion is short and can be read in no more than five or ten minutes.  This is perfect for busy moms, ladies that read more than one devotional or women who just want a short devotional. Authors Michael and Crowder’s writing illustrates that they understand what women might be facing. They provide words of hope and encouragement to lift women up and help them.

Both women were born in Nigeria.  Some of the devotions include information on reflections on Africa which is very interesting. The topics cover a wide range and are about the women’s experiences.  I particularly liked the ones about hymns.

I really enjoyed this devotional and would recommend it.  Any woman would glean some inspiration from within its pages.  It would be a wonderful Christmas gift.  I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my own thoughts.

About the Book

Book: Glimpses of God, A Winter Devotional for Women

Author: Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Genre: Non-fiction, Christian devotional

Release Date: November 6, 2019

Glimpses of God in WinterAs Christ-followers we also experience spiritual seasons. These seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, which come regularly without fail. Each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also. In spiritual winter we think of the coldness of our relationship with God; in spring, new growth; in summer, warmth and heat; in fall, shedding the old and preparing for difficult days ahead.

This book is focused on winter—both calendar and spiritual. During our spiritual winters, when it feels as though God is far away or we feel stuck or dormant, we must rest in the truth of God’s sovereign mercy, grace, love, and care for His children. It is the first in the Glimpses of God” series.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About the Authors

Shirley CrowderShirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is conducted in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities that include biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, and writing. She is Biblical counselor commissioned by, and serving on the national Advisory Team for, The Addiction Connection. She is co-host of “Think on These Things,” a Birmingham AL radio/TV program for women; and a freelance writer.

Harriet MichelsHarriet is a wife and mother to four grown children and grandmother to two precious grandchildren. She has authored a growing number of books, including “Prayer: It’s Not About You”, a finalist in the 2011 “Women of Faith” manuscript contest. She is also a freelance writer with numerous published pieces, including more than a hundred devotions in various magazines.

 

More from Shirley and Harriet

From Africa to America, Life Long Friends

March 14, many years ago …

In the heart of the African jungle in the Niger River delta of eastern Nigeria, the first cry of a newborn baby echoes from a small jungle hospital. The baby is a girl, Harriet Clarice, the third child of medical missionaries, Alice and Keith Edwards.

Harriet and her family stayed in this remote part of Nigeria for a year until the other family returned from furlough. At that time, they went for another year to Oyo, Nigeria to language school and then on to Ogbomoso in central Nigeria, where they stayed the next ten years. Keith practiced medicine at the hospital in Ogbomoso, and Alice worked with him as a nurse.

 

October 24 of the same year Harriet was born …

Deep in the Yoruba country of southwestern Nigeria, some 260 miles away from Joinkrama, piercing through the tropical night sounds, the first cry of another newborn baby cries out at a guesthouse in Ogbomoso. This baby is also a girl, Shirley Jeanne, the fourth child of missionaries Jeannie and Ray Crowder.

In 1962 the Crowders moved to Ogbomoso. Ray served as administrator of the 96-bed hospital, and Jeannie taught kindergarten and ministered to the Nigerian women with home visits and Bible studies. Harriet’s parents worked at the Ogbomoso hospital with Ray.

 

Lifelong friends

Harriet ended up living just up the dirt road from Shirley. They played together nearly every day and formed a friendship that remained, even after years and distance separated them.

Harriet and Shirley, and the others in this unique group of individuals, who shared a common childhood in Nigeria in our beloved tropical homeland half a world away from where most of us live now, grew up calling each other’s parents aunt and uncle. Even as adults, we still feel a kinship as though we are family—cousins perhaps.

Some years ago, at a mission reunion, Shirley handed Harriet a book to which she had contributed. That was the first time Harriet knew she was a writer. Shirley had discovered a few years earlier that Harriet was a writer, too.

Several years ago, Shirley suggested that they prayerfully consider writing a devotional book together. Through that experience, they learned that they work well together. Their similar understanding and views on scripture is a good foundation for the different strengths each of us bring when it comes to writing.

Since that first book, we have worked and continue to work together on other projects. Glimpses of God: a winter devotional for women is the first of a 4-book devotional series. Through our devotionals we want people to see Glimpses of God all around them. Creator God made the world and the seasons throughout the year. By using the seasons in nature, we help readers see correlations to the spiritual seasons Christ-followers experience and to get “Glimpses of God” in and through everything that happens.

So, we guess it could be said that we are once again “playing” with our childhood friend in spite of several decades having passed since they played together happily beneath the shade of mango trees.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader,  November 9

The Power of Words, November 10

Artistic Nobody, November 11 (Author Interview)

Jacquelyn Lynn, November 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 12

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 15

For the Love of Literature, November 16

CarpeDiem, November 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

Texas Book-aholic, November 19

janicesbookreviews, November 20

A Reader’s Brain, November 21

Inklings and notions , November 22

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Harriet and Shirley are giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Finding My Son Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Finding My Son by author Eric Odell-Hein is a Christian Memoir dealing with the subject of adoption.   From the very first page my interest was piqued.  This is a transparent, open look at the author’s life.

I loved his writing style.  It was easy to read and flowed smoothly like a conversation with an old friend.  I did not want to put it down. He mentioned abortion in it and being glad his grandmother chose adoption over it.  What a timely topic for today.

This is a book from a man’s perspective on adoption.  It is heartfelt and beautifully written.  Finding My Son is an honest and captivating story of personal growth through the adoption journey.  It was enlightening and very inspiring.  Any man considering adoption should read this.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, men and women, who have a passion for or perhaps are interested in adoption. It is a lovely book.  This would make a great book club choice.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  I really liked it.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Finding My Son

Author: Eric Odell-Hein

Genre:  Christian Memoir, Adoption

Release Date: February 21, 2018

finding my son front coverEric was perfectly happy being one half of a dual income, no kids family. Having the freedom to travel the world with his wife Christine, while indulging his hobbies and furthering his education and career, was a pretty sweet life.  

 Christine wanted to be a mom.  

 Though he was scared he didn’t have what it took to be a good dad, Eric wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream. After years of trying to conceive, however, the couple received a devastating diagnosis: infertility. 

 For Christine, adoption was the obvious answer. Eric wasn’t so sure. 

 In Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, author Eric Odell-Hein offers an unfiltered view into the heart and mind of a man who has experienced the sometimes messy and often awkward process of becoming a father through adoption. Encouraging men to acknowledge the fears they don’t want to admit while advocating a thoughtful, deliberate transparency as the best approach to even the most unnatural, uncomfortable aspects of the adoption process. Eric shares his misgivings and mistakes with an honesty that does not deny his insecurities. 

  A valuable resource for any man considering growing his family through adoption—or anyone seeking to understand the process—this engaging memoir is a testament to the beautiful gift of adoption and a touching account of a father’s love. 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

SONY DSC

Eric Odell-Hein (PhD, MDiv, MRS, ThB) is the president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. The teaching pastor at Summit Evangelical Free Church, he is also the author of Recovering Lost Treasure: Finding Christ in Ancient Myth, Symbol, and Ritual and Systems of Evil: A Study in Comparative Theodicy. Eric lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife Christine and their son Ephraim. All three are passionate travelers.

 

More from Eric

Adoption was a scary prospect for me. My mother and all her siblings are adopted, and the family dynamic for them was challenging. So when my wife decided we should adopt, I initially responded with a flat-out “no.” But my heart changed, and I am strongly convinced that our son, who joined us via adoption back in 2008 when he was just two days old, is the greatest child in the entire world. If you knew where I was emotionally prior to adoption compared with where I am now, you would marvel at the change. My adoption book is for people like me, particularly men, who struggle with the enormity of the choice to adopt and the constant challenges of the process.

On a lighter and more personal side, when people learn about all the various aspects of my life, they often have to stop and process the seemingly incongruous pieces. Some people know me as a guy who has spent more than two decades in software and entertainment, primarily in various aspects of behind-the-scenes video game technology and management. My entire family plays games, and more often than not, when I get back home in the evening, I find my wife and son online with other members of the extended family playing Minecraft. Sometimes we’ll all get in an online session together, each one of us at our own TV on our own Xbox, and take on bad guys together in one game or another.

Other people know my intellectual side, where I have earned several degrees in areas of theology and religion, including a Ph.D., as well as serving as president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I previously published two books on academic topics (evil among world religions, religious symbology) and have more in various stages of development, the next one being a focus on the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogonic/chaos-order symbolism in baptism. As a teaching pastor, I have a reputation for sermons with an intense ANE contextual emphasis that are part sermon and part seminary course. Check out my most recent four-part series on the Odell-Hein Books Facebook page here.

I was born in Germany to an American family, and while my German-language skills have deteriorated, I love German music. I’m very excited that my favorite group, Juli, has a new album coming out later this year. It’s mild stuff compared to most of the rock or industrial music I listen to, but they’re good. Check out the first single from their upcoming album here. I’ll be one of the small handful of Americans who purchase the album on the day it first releases in the US.

When not working or playing games with the family, I read primarily academic ANE books. When we’re in the car, I love to subject the family to my go-to podcast, the Naked Bible Podcast. No, it’s not what it sounds like. If you want to hear a serious scholar tackle the ANE context for the Bible, start with Dr. Michael Heiser’s Exodus series (it begins with episode 255).

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Vicky Sluiter, November 7 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, November 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads,  November 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

janicesbookreviews, November 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, November 14

Inklings and notions, November 15

By The Book, November 16 (Author Interview)

Book Love (Featuring Gail Hollingsworth), November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Eric is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon certificate and a signed copy of each of his three books!!

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/f00a/finding-my-son-celebration-tour-giveaway

Before Christmas Celebrate Lit Book Review & Giveaway

My Thoughts

Before Christmas, The Story of Jesus from the Beginning of Time to the Manger by author Bill Crowder is a perfect advent book.  This small God glorifying book will help any reader strengthen his Walk with Jesus.  It was a delightful find.

Filled with scripture the author has done research in both the Old and New Testaments.  He goes back to when God made the Earth and talks about Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  New Testament references go through Revelation.

There are six chapters in this book.  Beginning with “His Character as God” and concluding with “His Announced Arrival” all six chapters examine a part of Jesus to help us learn more.  The author has included some reflections and stories of his own along with the scripture.

This is a well planned, organized, and nicely written book.  It was easy to read and understand.  I will keep it on hand for future reference.

I highly recommend this.  A church library would benefit from a few copies.  This would make a great group study, especially during advent.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.

About the Book

Book: Before Christmas

Author: Bill Crowder

Genre: RELIGION / Holidays/Christmas & Advent

Release Date: October, 2019

Before ChristmasEmbrace the majesty of the Messiah

Bill Crowder invites you to explore the backstory of the first advent. He brings you on a journey into the very heart of God, to a greater understanding of what it means that “the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

 Walk through Scripture to see and know Jesus in a richer way. Examine His character as God, His relationship with the Father, His appearances in the Old Testament, and more. Understand how these pre-Bethlehem truths lead into the Savior’s birth and the events of that first Christmas—and, most importantly, how it all comes together in God’s great story of redemption and rescue.

 You’ll embrace the majesty of the Messiah and celebrate Christ’s birth with renewed joy and wonder.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Bill CrowderBill Crowder, who spent over twenty years in the pastorate, is vice president of ministry content at Our Daily Bread Ministries. He is a contributor to Our Daily Bread and the author of nine books, including My Hope Is in You, Seeing the Heart of Christ, and For This He Came. He and his wife, Marlene, have five children.

 

More from Bill

During my years as a pastor, I found Christmas and Easter to be challenging. Certainly I love those seasons (for very different reasons), but finding creative ways to retell these important stories was often difficult. But, at one such season I realized that the story we tell at Christmas is not really the whole story. By entering the story at Nazareth or Bethlehem, we enter too late. We can’t simply start with the Baby in the manger—we need to go back. Before time began. To the eternal Christ. Unless we seek to understand Him, we’ll never fully appreciate who He was and why He came. That is the Christmas story.  – Bill Crowder

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 2

A Rup Life, November 3

Lights in a Dark World, November 3

Texas Book-aholic, November 4

janicesbookreviews, November 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

A Reader’s Brain, November 7

Emily Yager, November 8

Older & Smarter?, November 9

God is Love, November 10

For the Love of Literature, November 11

She Lives To Read, November 12

Inklings and notions, November 13

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 13

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Bill is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book, Starbucks Holiday Blend Coffee, and $10 Amazon card!!

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/ee23/before-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Aiming for Love Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Aiming for Love by extremely talented author Mary Connealy is another offering of historical Christian romance at its best.  Filled with inspiration and faith the author has written a whimsical tale that includes humor, action, emotion, and mystery.  It is a page turning delight.

Set in the mountains of Colorado, this is the tale of Josephine Nordegren and her two sisters.  They were raised by grandparents secluded from the outside world.  It is also the story of rancher David Warden and his family.  When the two families meet, sparks and arrows fly.

Author Connealy is a fabulous storyteller.  From the beginning I was invested in this book.  My dishes piled up while I kept reading.  I devoured this entertaining, inspiring, and even educational book in one day.  It is that good!

The writing style was smooth and inviting.  Details were enough to make me feel like I was up in the mountains but not so much that they were tedious.  The characters were well rounded and believable.  Conversations were accurate for the time period.

I highly recommend this beautiful book.  It is a sweet romance with action, intrigue, and mystery.  I definitely rate it 5 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.

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About the Book

Book: Aiming for Love

Author: Mary Connealy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

Aiming for LoveJosephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister is especially frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. But his father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Connealy_MaryMary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.

 

More from Mary

What it would do to someone to run wild from nearly their earliest memory?

What if three young girls had the basic skills to survive a rugged life but no adults to guide them?

Would they grow up to be a completely odd and untamed version of themselves, or the truest, in some ways most honest version?

I wanted to explore that idea: wild children, tough young women, afraid of the invading world, but lonely, too. So I created the plot for my Brides of Hope Mountain series by mixing the three little girls who’d grown up wild on the top of a mountain with some fairy tale ideas.

Book one, Aiming for Love, is Josephine Nordegren’s story. I had this vision of Ariel the mermaid seeing a man for the first time when strangers invade the high valley she lives in with only her two sisters. Curiosity is her besetting sin, or so she’s always been told. She has wilderness skills, mainly in the form of owning a bow and arrow and understanding wild animals, but for the first time, she is drawn to a man.

Jo needs to be tamed, or Dave, the man she can’t stop watching from in the woods, needs to learn the ways of the wild, because they’re out of place in each other’s worlds.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, October 25

Moments With Mercy, October 25

Bigreadersite , October 25

Emily Yager, October  25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Books, Life, and Christ, October 26

Quiet Workings, October 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 27

For Him and My Family, October 27

Stories By Gina, October 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Betti Mace, October 28

Wishful Endings, October 28

The Becca Files, October 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 29

Mary Hake, October 29

Mamma Loves Books, October 29

A Baker’s Perspective, October 30

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, October 30

Britt Reads Fiction, October 30

For The Love of Books, October 30

Hallie Reads, October 31

Connect in Fiction, October 31

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, October 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 1

To Everything There Is A Season, November 1

Daysong Reflections, November 1

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Moments, November 2

Simple Harvest Reads, November 2

Batya’s Bits, November 2

She Lives To Read, November 2

EmpowerMoms, November 3

Seasons of Opportunities, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Blessed & Bookish, November 4

For the Love of Literature, November 4

Through the Fire Blogs, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 5

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 5

Pause for Tales , November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

janicesbookreviews, November 6

A Reader’s Brain, November 7

Inklings and notions , November 7

Leona J. Atkinson, November 7

Lukewarm Tea, November 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card, a copy of Aiming for Love, and a copy of Fairy Tales from Around the World!!

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/ed95/aiming-for-love-celebration-tour-giveaway