Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.
It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.
With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?
Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.
This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.
This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.
You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.
Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.
Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.
To Steal a Heart by bestselling author Jen Turano is a Christian historical fiction that readers will enjoy. This is Book One in her new The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency. I found it delightful.
I was invested in this quirky story from the beginning. There were many odd situations, strange conversations, and just crazy unruliness that I could not wait to see where this story was heading. This book is filled with humor, mystery, intrigue, adventure, and romance.
This is the story of an all woman detective agency set in New York City. What a great concept! The characters are fabulous. Immediately I loved this tale. Gabriella is a spunky lady. Nicholas is someone from her past. The tension between them pops off of the pages when they are reunited to work together.
I enjoy the writing style of this author. This plot was well thought and organized. The pace was even. It did not drag or hurry which made it easy to follow. There are so many layers to this story. It is entertaining and encouraging. Little life lessons are woven throughout it. The characters are all unique and worthy of their own stories.
I highly recommend this book. It is quite the page turner. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: To Steal A Heart
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Comedic Historical Romance
Release Date: November, 2020
After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.
More from Jen
“To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.
Are there other interesting characters in this series?
Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.
Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”
Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.
To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.
Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!
This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!
I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.
Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.
Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.
Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.
I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?
An Amish Christmas Wedding is a compilation of four holiday Amish novella by well-known authors. Each of those stories was an encouraging and heartwarming Amish tale from beloved authors Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Vannetta Chapman. No matter what time of year, these are delightful stories.
The writing was excellent. Each one of the authors is well acquainted with the Amish way of life, and it showed up in her writing. The descriptions and conversations were authentic and took me right to Amish country.
Life and spiritual lessons are woven into each novella. The Amish tradition of being family oriented and serving God is inspiring. Their dedication to family and hard work is also.
I learned some things about Amish weddings in this delightful collection. Each of the four stories had characters that became like friends. I wanted to see what happened but hated for the story to end. Each novella receives a 5 star rating from me. They are all enchanting and captivating.
While they were all fabulous, my favorite was Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston. Reading this story and the forgotten love between Ryan and Lorene pulled on my heartstrings and gave me all kinds of emotions. Lorene’s younger sister is engaged to Ryan’s brother. She tries to be brave and show grace and happiness to her sister, but as she spends so much time with Ryan’s family before the wedding she forgets why she and Ryan were together. Ryan returns home for the wedding and finds Lorene there and the emotions fly off of the pages. It is a beautiful love story within a love story at a glorious time of year.
I highly recommend this holiday romance compilation. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A review copy was provided, but these are my honest opinions.
About the Book
Book: An Amish Christmas Wedding
Author: Vannetta Chapman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Amy Clipston
Genre: Amish Christmas
Release Date: October 6, 2020
From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings.
Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston
Ryan Lapp had promised to marry Lorene Bontrager as soon as he was able to build them a house, but the day never came. Ryan moved away. Five years later, Lorene has settled in to her old maid role, and she’s shocked when her younger sister announces her quick engagement to Ryan’s younger brother. As they rush to plan the wedding, Lorene is constantly around the family she almost joined. Worse, she’s forced to face Ryan himself, who has returned to town. As both Ryan and Lorene examine their own feelings, they must decide if they can find grace with each other—and the young people they once were—this Christmas season. There just might still be love in their future.
Holiday of Hope by Kelly Irvin
Henry Lufkin is one of four bachelors who lived in the West Kootenai, Montana, cabins that were destroyed by wildfires. He’s the only one of them who hasn’t since married, but he likes his solitude. Then an old friend asks him to care for his son, and Henry has to share his small cabin and his life with bewildered and rebellious ten-year-old Tommy. When the child encounters trouble at school, Henry reaches out to Tommy’s teacher. Leesa Yoder never expected to find herself single and teaching sixteen young scholars, and she certainly didn’t anticipate an inexperienced bachelor telling her how to do her job. Amid the flying sparks, can Henry and Leesa see that there might be hope and love in this unexpected situation?
Wreathed in Joy by Kathleen Fuller
Mary Wengerd and Jakob Mullet have been best friends since childhood. Pressured by friends and family, they decided to date—with disastrous results. When they break up, their friendship is ruined. A year later, Mary is baking her Englisch friend’s wedding and groom cakes for a Christmas Eve wedding. Mary loves the Christmas season, and had always dreamed of marrying during that time. Now she wonders if she’ll ever marry. After she and Jakob form a tenuous new friendship, Mary breaks her arm. As he steps in to help her with the cakes, Mary is inexplicably and suddenly falling for him. But they’ve already dated, and that ended so horribly. Could it be better this time? A Christmas Prayer by Vannetta Chapman
Widower Micah Miller runs the Amish Tour Company, offering Englischers a glimpse of a simpler life as well as tea at Rachel King’s. Rachel has never married and has recently lost her parents. When Micah comes across an abandoned and injured dog, he gives it to Rachel for company. As Rachel is charmed by the dog and shocked by news of the existence of family she never expected, her heart and mind bend toward the possibilities of change in her life—even toward the possibility of love.
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.
KATHLEEN FULLER With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller.
KELLY IRVIN Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.
AMY CLIPSTON Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.
Read an Excerpt from An Amish Christmas Wedding
Want to read an excerpt from An Amish Christmas Wedding featuring four of your favorite authors?
You can find more information about the book and the excerpt here!
The Bells of New Cheltenham by author Chautona Havig is a contemporary romantic holiday fictional novella. This is a sequel to The Ghost of New Cheltenham. It can be read as a standalone novella, but I wish I had read the other one. At times I felt like an outsider at a party of close friends. I did not quit understand everything.
Havig has an unique style of writing. I am always blessed when reading her work because of the spiritual content. Her books give glory to God. She writes plain, everyday scenarios that makes things seem plausible.
The Bells of New Cheltenham is an interesting story. I love Christmas and especially the beautiful music. Her writing took me to the quaint town where I could almost hear the carolers. The contest was a lovely idea. Ms. Havig has been blessed with a writer’s imagination.
The characters are very likable. Ken is a sweetheart. He is almost too good to be true. Justine is new to town. She seems to have money problems as well as other issues. They make a nice couple except for the fact they are unequally yoked.
This is an enjoyable tale. It was not a page turner for me. I was able to easily read a chapter or two and go about my daily activities. When time permitted I would pick up the story again.
I recommend this sweet holiday romance. The message is beautiful. Anyone will enjoy it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own opinions.
About the Book
Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?
Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.
Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.
“But what do the words mean?”
Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.
He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.
Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona Havig
3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing
I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.
The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down. This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.
The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection. Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.
Still, I tried to be responsible, you know? After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already. Bookers on the Rocks, The Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.” And those didn’t include anything I wanted to write in spring or summer.
Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme. That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?
The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections. She sent a list of those that had already been claimed. I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.
No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”
That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.
All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea. I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?
That’s when it happened.
There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination. My favorite moment. And it hit me. What if the theme for the collection was my story idea? My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.
And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh! Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest. And then… well…
The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.
If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone. However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited. Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”
But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.
The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.
Help from Heaven: True Stories of Rescues, Miracles, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder by author Andrea Jo Rodgers is a Christian non-fictional compilation of true stories. These accounts of miracles, rescues, and prayers that were answered are so inspiring. What happened in them is nothing less than miraculous.
The author uses her experience as an EMT and writes about actual events that have happened. It is a heart stirring book, and one that will make readers realize how much first responders actually face. Each story is accompanied with a scripture. It is important to see that God is the One the works miracles. The reflections allow readers to recognize that God guides and direct people here on Earth to help.
The writing style of the author is nice. I was able to follow each chapter and was emotional as I read them. Her passion for the job and patients comes through in her writing. I did not tire of reading these accounts.
If you are expecting stories of heavenly angels, you will be disappointed. This is not that type of book. There was one or two, but that is all. I was encouraged as I read these and filled with hope. If readers take anything away from this book I hope it is how powerful prayer is.
I recommend this compilation of true events. It would be a nice reading group discussion. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my true words.
About the Book
Book: Help from Heaven
Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers
Genre: Christian Nonfiction
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Do You Believe in Miracles?
Experience the heart-pounding drama of real-life emergencies. Veteran EMT and physical therapist Andrea Jo Rodgers shares this all-new collection of accounts from her 30-plus years as a volunteer with her town’s local first aid and emergency squad.
Arrive on the scene with Andrea and encounter…
Lou, a dedicated war veteran who is granted a new tour of duty from God.
A fearful flock of ducklings that slip down a storm drain during a false alarm.
Everett, a resilient older man who goes for an unexpected ride on the hood of an intoxicated driver’s car.
Jenna, a young woman whose dangerous heart condition is both physical and emotional.
Frank, a husband whose nasty fall down a flight of stairs earns him instant angel status from his devoted wife, Doris.
As you discover these and many more unforgettable stories, you’ll be reminded that miracles do happen, whether it be through the heroic efforts of first responders, the Lord’s divine intervention, or, often, both.
Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.
More from Andrea
I’ve been blessed to volunteer as an emergency medical technician for more than thirty years and to work as a physical therapist for more than twenty-five. Help from Heaven: True Stories of Miracles, Rescues, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder relates inspirational and memorable first aid and emergency calls from my years on the rescue squad. First responders have a unique opportunity to assist people in moments of crisis when they walk along a tightrope between heaven and earth. Over the years, I have witnessed miracles in which people have been saved from danger with what I believe to be divine intervention. By sharing my experiences, I hope to comfort or inspire others.
Have you ever been absolutely scared out of your wits? It happened to me several years ago, when my son and I survived a life-threatening elevator accident. When we escaped death, I decided we were saved with help from our guardian angels and the Lord. The accident marked the first time that rather than responding to an emergency call, I was the 911 call. After working through the pain and fear, I realized something good came out of the accident, for it inspired me to start writing. As a result, my first book, At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue, was born.
I live in a small town. Without a doubt, I can say that some of the most precious moments in my life have occurred precisely when I was volunteering to help others. Participating in the rescue and resuscitation of fellow community member is an incredible blessing. Seeing people I’ve helped biking, shopping, or receiving a text from them makes all the nights of broken sleep and interrupted family gatherings worthwhile.
I’m currently the Lieutenant and training officer on my squad. Facing the COVID-19 crisis has catapulted us into unprecedented times. The outpouring of love and support from our community helped my fellow squad members and I to hang in there, face our fears, and do what we need to do to help those in need of assistance. As a first responder, all I can say is thank you! I hope you enjoy reading Help from Heaven. Maybe it will inspire you to find a way to volunteer in some capacity.
To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue and Help from Heaven: True Stories of Rescues, Miracles, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder as well as a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
52 Weeks of Gratitude, a one year journal, by Ink and Willow is an absolutely beautiful hardcover book. The artwork is delightful and even peaceful. Set up as a 52 week, one for each week of the year, Thanksgiving journal, this is a nice size with quality paper. There is plenty of room to write your thoughts, responses, and thankfulness.
Divided into four sections, this little gem covers all areas of life. They are home, community, faith and beauty. Each week has a different subtopic to ponder. Scripture, reflection question, and an action prompt to help you develop the practice of being grateful are included in each week’s short lesson. A twelve-month gratitude list, where you record one thing for which you are thankful concludes the book. Think of it as a blessing list.
It is a book that anyone will find useful in their spiritual journey. Joy will be harvested by all the seeds of thankfulness this journal helps you sow. It might take a while to get into the habit, but it is well worth the results. Everyone lives a busy life and needs a reminder that we have so much. God has blessed each of us. We need to take a few minutes each week to review at least a part of them. This book will help us begin that.
I highly recommend this inspirational, encouraging journal. It is impossible to read and journal these offerings without developing a deeper sense of joy. There will be copies wrapped up under my tree this year. It will make a perfect gift. I gladly rate it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided, but these are my honest words.
This is the second book in author Rocky Mountain Revival series. If you have not yet read book one, this can be read as a stand alone novel. Characters from the first book are mentioned which is very nice when you recognize them.
I like the style of writing the author uses. It is easy to follow and understand. Characters are definitely unique and yet believable. Descriptions are vivid and placed me right in the middle of the story. There are life lessons woven throughout the book.
This is the tale of Will and Madeleine. Will, an older teenager, works at a logging camp. He carries misplaced guilt that he is to blame for his father’s death. Madeline is a young widow. She is pregnant and searching for a husband to be a good father to her baby. She happens to be the daughter of the logging camp boss and helps the camp cook, Shorty, who is her adopted uncle.Madeleine is methodical in her search. She has made a list of qualities for a second husband and Will fits all them. However, he is young so she does not consider him. Her choice happens to be the worse guy in the camp.
I enjoyed this suspenseful sweet romance. It was entertaining and inspiring. I highly recommend it. It gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.
About the Book
Book: Rocky Mountain Revelation
Author: Lisa J. Flickinger
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2020
A Rocky Mountain logging camp may be just the place to start her new life.
Widowed at nineteen, Madeline Lamb seeks to find a new husband amongst the crew of the Rocky Mountain log drive. With a baby growing inside her, she has no choice. She signs on as cook’s helper, and it soon becomes apparent her options for a mate are limited. Madeline’s grieving heart wavers between the security an older man offers and the tender feelings a new crew member stirs.
Will Matheson earned the chance to work the high-paying spring log drive. The boon ensures he can recoup the logging wages stolen by a pretty face with some fast fingers. Frustration builds when the boss pulls him from the river and assigns him the job of camp chore boy. If it wasn’t for the pretty cook’s helper, he’d take the first train home.
When the dangers of the river journey prove more treacherous than anyone expects, the budding attraction between Will and Madeline is put to the test. If they survive the adventure, life as they know it will never be the same.
Lisa J. Flickinger lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her other books, visit www.lisajflickinger.com.
More from Lisa
When I research a new novel, I love to find obscure facts about the setting. My study of the old time river drives for Rocky Mountain Revelation led me to a particularly tasty morsel. The river crews were served massive amounts of food over four meals to make up for all the energy expended transporting logs in the frigid water. Often, their meals included donuts.
Yes, donuts! However, we’re not talking about the scrumptious treat picked up at your local bakery or grocery store. These donuts were cooked over an open fire in the backwoods. Yum.
Picture what they call a tin kitchen, a small boxy metal contraption, set over a blazing fire. The cook would place a wide mouthed aluminum basin on top and fill it with cooking oil. When the oil reached the perfect temperature he would drop the batter into the oil using a ladle. The piping hot donuts would be rolled in sugar when they were cooked and served to the crew fresh from the fire. A half whiskey barrel of donuts could disappear in just one meal. Several times a day, the cook would travel downstream by raft and repeat the process.
Will, the hero of Rocky Mountain Revelation, finds his sweetheart Madeleine particularly pretty with flour up to her elbows. However, he grows tired of the mounds of donuts and by the end of the drive attempts to trade them for the cook’s fluffy biscuits.
Enjoy the trip downriver with Will, Madeline…and the donuts.
So This Is Love: An Austen-Inspired Regency is written by author Laura Hile. This is based on Jane Austen books and characters. Christian Historical Regency fans as well as Jan Austen fans will love this new offering.
Meet the new, refurbished Charlotte Lucas. She is finished with romance. After a recent broken engagement she is sent away to stay with an elderly aunt until she is no longer talk of the town. Traveling with a maid and her twelve-year-old brother Johnny, Charlotte’s journey to the Allens proves to be exciting. The stage they are in is held up by highwaymen. Captain Jack Blunt of the Royal Navy, comes to her rescue.
He sees her again at her relatives’ home. While a few sparks ignite, he has permanently given up in the romance department. Something intrigues him about Charlotte, and she finds him easy to befriend.
The author has done a beautiful job describing the scenery and customs of England in the 1800s. Her characters are spot on and lovable. Their conversations flow elegantly and realistically. It is quite obvious author Hile has done extensive research.
There are many life lessons woven throughout this delightful novel. The story does contain a faith lesson, too. It is entertaining and encouraging.
I would recommend this sweet story. It was a fun read. The hero is definitely swoon-worthy. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: So This Is Love
Author: Laura Hile
Genre: Historical Christian Romance; Regency Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2020
“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”
Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.
But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?
Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely. She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.
So This Is Love is a joyride of a Regency, bringing whirlwind romance and happily-ever-after to Jane Austen’s staid and practical Charlotte Lucas.
By day, Laura Hile teaches at a Christian school. By night—or rather, in the early morning when she can think! —she writes Jane Austen and Regency romance with laughs and happy endings.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with middle school students!
She enjoys gardening (she is a weed warrior!), choral singing, and having coffee with friends.
Laura lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with her husband and a collection of antique clocks. One day she hopes to add a cat or three.
More from Laura
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas is stuck marrying the awful Mr. Collins. It is a prudent choice, given her age and circumstances, but still.
Generations of women readers have felt badly for her, including me. “No, no!” we want to shout. “The man’s a spineless braggart! Don’t marry him!”
Charlotte claims that she is not romantic. We don’t believe that for a minute. She simply hasn’t met the right man.
With an eye on the rugged seaside setting of the classic movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), I decided to change all that. With two little words, I sent Charlotte’s story spinning from its Pride and Prejudice rails: What If?
What if, when Collins returns to Meryton to negotiate the settlement, his lustful thoughts overpower good sense? What if, before they are married, Collins gets handsy—and something within Charlotte snaps? What if she abruptly ends the engagement?
That’s what we would do in real life, right? We’d kick Collins to the curb!
What if, to escape gossip, Charlotte is sent to live with her father’s sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Allen (borrowed from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey). Mr. Allen’s heir is also a house guest, and thus we have a perfect opportunity for romance.
Although I intended to use The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’s Captain Gregg as a model, Captain Jack Blunt wasn’t having any. He strode onto the story’s quarterdeck as very much his own man. For one thing, he is Royal Navy (1812), not merchant marine. And for another, he is surprisingly devout. Although he has a gentleman’s beard like Gregg, he is blond.
If you’re thinking Chris Hemsworth in Thor, you’re getting the right idea.
Look, if our girl Charlotte is brave enough to give Collins the heave-ho, she deserves to meet a swoony hero, right?
Captain Blunt’s house by the sea in Dorset plays the role of Captain Gregg’s Gull Cottage. Cliff House, and the cove it’s built above, almost become characters themselves as Charlotte and Jack share daily walks beside the sea. This book is filled with delicious banter between the two. Isn’t that our favorite thing about a romance?
So This Is Love is a swashbuckling, sweep-away Regency that is just plain fun to read. I think you’ll enjoy it.
“Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune” by author Linore Rose Burkard is a Christian Historical Regency Romance. It is an engaging, clean fiction that is interesting and entertaining. This is Book Two of The Brides of Mayfair Series, but can be read as a standalone.
This romance is set in 1815 in London and captured my attention at the very beginning. The writing was easy to understand and smooth. The story flowed effortlessly. There was a mystery with some twist and turns to make it exciting.
The characters were endearing. I adored Miss Frances Fanshawe. Frannie was a darling even though she was either up on top of the world or having a terrible, awful day. She had been told for years by her mother that she had a trust fund set up by her father. Now her mother is dead and she is without funds. It is up to her to find her father. Unfortunately she has led a sheltered life and often makes unwise choices.
Sebastian Arundel comes to her aid to solve the mystery. The question is why does he. He is a nice man guided not by what society says is correct but by his own self.
There is quite a bit of humor in this book. Many times I chuckled. The characters are Christian and often give food for thought. At one time after prayer it is speculated the person praying is a Methodist instead of an Anglican due to the prayer.
A glossary, timeline, and map are in the back of the book. I found these helpful. It is quite evident the author did extensive research before writing this novel.
I would recommend this delightful book. It is clean with no ugly words or violence. The romance is sweet. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words. It receives 4 out of 5 stars from me.
About the Book
Book: Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
Genre: Sweet and Clean Historical Romance (regency)
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Miss Frances Fanshawe’s past is shrouded in mystery. Raised genteelly by her mother in the knowledge she is heir to a fortune, she is forced to question everything after her mother dies and leaves her with only a single clue to the money. Unless she can locate her father or otherwise prove her heritage, not only the fortune but her very respectability is at stake.
In line for a baronetcy, Sebastian Arundell has no time for sorting out questionable tangles for young women with dubious histories. No matter if they are young, appealing, and have ridiculously large chocolate eyes to melt a man’s heart. But when it becomes apparent that other people are after Frannie’s supposed fortune, he is drawn to investigate. As the search deepens, Frannie falls in love with handsome, proper Sebastian. But ifit only proves what he suspects—that she’s an illegitimate pauper—will all hope to win his heart be lost?
Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes YA contemporary suspense and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.
More from Linore Rose Burkard
Today we have a multi-published author with us, Linore Rose Burkard. She writes “Romance to warm the Heart, Fiction to Stir the Soul.” Linore’s first novel, an Inspirational Regency Romance, was actually the first of its kind and opened the genre for the CBA. Linore, welcome. Please tell us more about yourself as a writer. I understand you feel very purpose-driven in you vocation.
Linore: I do. Newer writers usually say their purpose is to write whatever specific book they’re working on. But I believe our purpose goes deeper than that, deeper than any single book. My purpose—which some may consider a humble calling—is to write smart, well-researched romance infused with humor that literally warms the heart. My readers close my romance novels with a smile and the feeling—at least for a few minutes—that all is right with the world.
When did you realize that was your purpose?
A writer needs to be humble enough to accept what their giftings are. I had to accept that I wasn’t going to write the next ‘great American novel.’ I wasn’t going to be a Hemingway. Having been schooled in the classics, both British and American, writing inspirational romance seems lightweight. Georgette Heyer, a writer I greatly admire, once said she ought to be shot for what she writes! Because there’s this perception among the literati that romance literature is less than respectable. But I’ve learned that heartwarming romance is worthy in itself, whether it is overtly evangelistic or not, and whether English professors would agree or not. Readers have written to me with such gratitude that it showed me that what I write is no less valuable –to those who will be blessed by it—than the classics.
How did you get started?
I’ve been an avid reader all my life and was always was drawn to write, even as a child. But I saw a need for something specific that wasn’t out there—Regency Romance that included a Christian worldview. I wanted to read that book, but it didn’t exist. So that’s what I started out writing. My first three novels with Harvest House were Inspirational Regencies. The genre since then has grown by leaps and bounds, which I think is great.
Would you like to give a tip for writers?
It’s important to write the book on your heart, not the one you think you should write because it will make money, or because it’s what people want. A lot of gurus are out there saying you should research the audience before putting pen to paper to make sure your book will be marketable. Well, there is some truth in that—if you write a book about some obscure dog breed that only 200 people own, you’re not gonna have a bestseller. But there’s a big danger in that method, too. The book on your heart, the story that won’t go away, is most likely the one that will help point you to your purpose in writing; and it will be the one that resonates with readers.