To Belong Together Book Tour

To Belong Together by author Emily Conrad is the book two in the Rhythms of Redemption Romances Series. This Christian contemporary romance novel is easily read as a stand-alone if you have not already read the first book. This series is about members of a rock band and issues they have on a daily basis. What I loved is that author Conrad made the problems or issues everyday ones of faith and love.

This is the story of John, the band’s drummer, and Erin, a mechanic. The author did a fabulous job making these characters detailed and realistic. They each have so many layers that it was mesmerizing reading about them.

It was easy to become engaged with the characters and the story. With the beautiful writing style of Ms. Conrad, I felt like the characters were my friends and wanted them to succeed. The Christian message is inspiring! 

This turned into an emotional read for me as I became more invested in the story and characters. The writing pulled me into the story and put tears in my eyes a few times. With topics of faith, family, love, and helping, this book has stayed with me and given me much to ponder.

I highly recommend this deeply moving novel. It would make a nice choice for a reading group because there is so much to discuss. I give it a 5 star rating. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: To Belong Together

Author: Emily Conrad

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: February 28, 2022

Fame and money have a way of complicating love.

Drummer John Kennedy can keep a beat, but he can’t hold a conversation, so he relies on actions to show he cares. Unfortunately, when he’s instantly intrigued by a spunky female mechanic, he can’t seem to convey the sincerity of his intentions. And the rejections don’t stop there. His own sister is pushing him away just when he could help her most.

Erin Hirsh’s life would be easier if God hadn’t given her a love for cars. Only her father understood her, and she’s losing him to dementia. Her brief romances have always backfired worse than a mistuned engine, and she refuses to give John the chance to wreck her heart. A rock star with a supermodel ex can’t possibly see anything in her.

At least that’s what she thinks until they find common ground in faith and their worsening family situations leave them each longing for a place to belong. Could God intend for this pair of opposites to belong together?

To Belong Together is the second book in the Rhythms of Redemption Romances. The men of the rock band Awestruck have conquered the music industry, but to find redemption and love, they must each face the wounds of the past. Good thing no one—and no difficult situation—is too much for grace.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Emily Conrad writes contemporary Christian romance that explores life’s difficult, but relevant, questions. Though she likes to think some of her characters are pretty great, the ultimate hero of her stories (including the one she’s living) is Jesus. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their energetic coonhound rescue. She is the author of the stand-alone novel Justice and the Rhythms of Redemption Romance series, as well as a series of short stories, which she emails in installments to subscribers. Learn more about her and her books at emilyconradauthor.com.

More from Emily

Who are you?

On the surface, this is a simple question, but as it kept popping up in To Belong Together, I realized my characters kept asking it because their answers left them unsatisfied and insecure.

(Which is writer speak for: My brain kept circling back to the question because God had something to show me!)

At first, the answer for John seems to be that he’s a famous drummer. For Erin, it’s that she’s her father’s daughter (her father instilled her love of cars).

If someone I’ve just met asks me who I am, I usually say, “I’m Emily. I’m a novelist.”

I’m sure you have a way you describe yourself too.

These easy answers are helpful in conversation. In fact, I’d love for you to comment on this post with your answer, because it’s a point of connection with people we’re getting to know, and I love to get to know readers and other writers!

But, as I was writing To Belong Together, I realized anew that these things are not our identities. They are roles—roles we play in relationships, in our jobs, in our hobbies. Because a role is not the same as an identity, it can’t provide the lasting purpose, worth, and security we crave.

As believers in Christ, our eternal identity is that we are beloved children of God.

Because our roles take so much of our time and energy, and because they really do serve a purpose in conversation when we’re meeting someone new, I think it’s easy to lose sight of that greater identity.

At least, I know John and Erin struggled with it. (Again, writer speak for: I needed some reminders in this area!)

If you read To Belong Together, I hope you enjoy seeing that theme pop up throughout the novel and come away with a greater understanding of who you are in Christ. After all, that identity makes all the difference as we fill those beloved roles God’s blessed us with.

If you have a minute to introduce yourself in comments, I’d love to meet you!

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, September 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

deb’s Book Review, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 29 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, September 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 1 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, October 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 4

For Him and My Family, October 5

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, October 6 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Emily is giving away the grand prize package of a 10 Amazon gift card, an electronic copy of To Belong Together, and 2 hand-painted and framed pine forest watercolors (US Only) or printable PDF downloads of the paintings (International)!!

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/21aaa/to-belong-together-celebration-tour-giveaway

Ezekiel’s Song Book Tour

Ezekiel’s Song by author Naomi Craig is an exquisite historical Biblical fiction taken from the Old Testament. It is beautifully done and makes the Bible come to life. Biblical fiction is my favorite genre when done correctly, and this book is.

This book takes us to Jerusalem in 604BC as we learn about Ezekiel, a struggling prophet, and his wife, whom the author has named Shiriel. This was a well thought, well researched, and extremely well written book. It is based on scripture and easy to understand. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse, which made it nice for cross referencing.

There is so much packed into this novel. It has topics of worship, trust, forgiveness, obedience, love, working together, and hope. I doubt I was able to absorb everything this phenomenal book offered. It has stayed with me and been in my thoughts for days. I will definitely read it again.

I highly recommend this for fans of biblical fiction. It would be great for a study group. There is so much to ponder and discuss. Author Craig did a masterful job. I rated this captivating book 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Ezekiel’s Song

Author: Naomi Craig

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release date: August 16, 2022

A prophet’s heart broken, a woman’s joy gone. What does Yahweh have planned for His people?

On the brink of Jerusalem’s demise, devoted priest, Ezekiel, sees the insincerity of Judah’s worship. Despite his efforts to call the people back to true worship of Yahweh, priests, artisans, valiant warriors, and royals are exiled to Babylon. When God gives him messages of continued judgment for the people in his homeland, his heart breaks. How can he minister to the people from so far away?

The presence of the Lord is tangible when Shiriel sings in the temple, and her voice prepares the hearts of many to worship. When she is exiled to Babylon, her faith is shaken. Does the Lord’s presence extend beyond Jerusalem and His holy temple?

Ezekiel is struck mute and paralyzed as he begins his prophetic ministry, and Shiriel devises a plan to get the Lord’s message back to the unfaithful people of Judah. Shiriel struggles with discontentment as serving the Lord looks nothing like she’d imagined. Can she provide for her family and carry out her husband’s ministry when her joy is gone, and her own dreams are placed on hold?

How will Yahweh save His people from themselves? Find out in Ezekiel’s Song!

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.

More from Naomi

What do you recall about Ezekiel?

The wheel within the wheel?

The dry bones living.

Ezekiel 4:9 bread?

Did you know the Lord asked him to prepare his food over human dung? Or that he was paralyzed for about 14 months? What about mute for seven years?

There are so many bizarre prophecies and symbolisms in the book of Ezekiel. So many prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. Raise your hand if you tend to skim through these parts of God’s word.

I do.

But when I read Ezekiel a couple years back, the story really jumped of the page.

What about the people who lived with the prophecies and symbolisms?

Ezekiel saw the Lord, and the message He gave was one of Jerusalem finally meeting their just reward.

Only problem is Ezekiel is already in Babylon.

Oh and there’s the whole paralyzed and mute thing.

How is a man who is physically and geographically bound able to get this message a world away?

What was it like to live on rations of war (contrary to how today’s scientists have discovered the right combination to make nutrient dense, protein packed super bread?) in a land that wasn’t suffering from famine or scarcity.

How did the prophet respond when the people who heard the message in Babylonia and Jerusalem brushed it aside as inconsequential?

Ezekiel’s Song explores the lives of those affected by the prophecies. You’ll meet Ezekiel–in the priestly service, turned prophet, Shiri—the Bible states Ezekiel had a wife, her name and her backstory is my imagination, and Gilead—a fictional valiant warrior from Jerusalem.

Discover the book of Ezekiel like you’ve never seen it before!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Holly’s Book Corner, September 19

lakesidelivingsite, September 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

Books I’ve Read, September 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 28

She Lives To Read, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21815/ezekiel-s-song-celebration-tour-giveaway

Trusting Her Amish Heart Celebrate Lit Tour

Trusting Her Amish Heart by author Cathy Liggett is a delightful Amish tale. It is the story or Leah,Ivan, and Zach. The author knew about the Amish lifestyle because this story sounded authentic. It was engaging and progressed well. Her characters were likable and believable, that were strong in many areas yet had issues and insecurities in others.

Zach and Leah both have secrets that they are carrying around like heavy bags. Their characters were easy to like. Their conversations were timely and sounded correct for the Amish culture. I enjoyed the horse farm setting.

There are so many life and spiritual lessons in this heartwarming story. Characters deal with their past, forgiveness, humility, pride, faith, family, hope, and fear. Zach is like the prodigal son returning home after years away with no contact. However, his welcome was much different. The faith element and message are woven throughout the entire story. They bring hope and encouragement.

I highly recommend this sweet story. Fans of Amish Fiction will enjoy it. I received a copy of Trusting Her Amish Heart: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance from the Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words. 

About the Book

Book: Trusting Her Amish Heart

Author: Cathy Liggett

Genre: Amish Inspirational Romance

Release date: August 1, 2022

Her heart may learn to love again… 

But can it trust? 

Running from betrayal, Leah Zook finds purpose caring for the older owner of an Amish horse farm. But when he’s injured and his estranged son returns home looking for redemption, Leah’s resolve is tested. The mysterious Zach Graber has all the power to fix the run-down farm— and Leah’s locked-down heart. But together will they be strong enough to withstand his secret…and hers?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

ACFW award-winning author Cathy Liggett is an Ohio girl who never dreamed writing would take her across the world and to Amish country, too. But she’s learned God’s plans for our lives are often more creative than the ones we imagine for ourselves. That includes meeting her husband at a high school reunion and marrying three months later–forty years ago. Together, they enjoy visiting kids.

More from Cathy

Trust.  It’s a small word with huge implications, isn’t it?

When I think of trust, the first thing that comes to mind is our dog Chaz. We – or rather she – rescued us when she was a little over one year old. At the time she first came into our home the poor pup was too scared to even sleep.  She’d start to doze off, then jerk and open her eyes, looking all around trying her utmost to stay on guard. Now, at 13 years old, our furry gal has cushy dog beds in every room in the house. Which makes perfect sense since she undoubtedly rules our roost.  It’s been our joy to be able to spoil her all these years. But I have to say, Chaz isn’t the only one who has had trust issues.

While penning Leah and Zach’s story, I was so happy because it took me back to Sugarcreek, and not just in spirit or through sweet memories.  As it happened, my critique partners (and dear friends) decided Ohio Amish country would be the perfect spot for a writing retreat. How could I disagree?

In the four days we spent in a rustic cabin we got ideas flushed out and chapters written too. But we also laughed, shared, celebrated, and ate more snacks and sweets than we should have.

I’m telling you this because coming home I thought how the chance to know and share with these special women may have never happened.  Many years ago, I almost didn’t say ‘yes’ to their invitation to join their critique group. I’d been working in a creative field but writing a book was something new, and they were so far ahead of me. Can I tell you that as I sit typing this, that I’m so thankful I shared my writing and myself with them?

As just noted, like Leah and Zach, I know it’s not always easy to open up and to trust. But, also like the two of them, I’ve learned when I do trust God and the special people (and pups) He sends into my life, those relationships can be beyond rewarding.

Oh!  And lastly – if you’re in the mood for something sweet like the characters in this book, here’s the recipe for the “Chocolate Chip Cake” they all raved about.  It’s quick, easy and delicious.  Trust me!

Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

4 eggs

½ cup oil

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 package vanilla instant pudding

6 oz. package of chocolate chips

4 oz. bar of Baker’s German Chocolate grated

3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Floured tube pan

Wax paper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour tube pan and line bottom with wax paper.

Set aside 3 Tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar.  Mix everything else together except for chocolate.

After mixed, fold in all chocolate chips and ¾ of the grated German chocolate.

Add to pan and bake for 1 hour (a little prior to 1 hour, check for doneness).

Mix the remaining ¼ of the grated German chocolate with the 3 Tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar.  Sprinkle this chocolate sugar mixture on top of cake. Bake 3-4 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.  Remove from pan.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 10

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

The Avid Reader, September 12

Lighthouse Academy Blog, September 12 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Writing From the Heart Land, September 13

Inklings and notions, September 14

Britt Reads Fiction, September 14

Bigreadersite, September 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 16

deb’s Book Review, September 16

She Lives To Read, September 17

SusanLovesBooks, September 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 18

Holly’s Book Corner, September 18

Bliss, Books and Jewels, September 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 20

Mary Hake, September 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 22

Vicky Sluiter, September 22

Cats in the Cradle Blog, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and with a copy of my book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2159d/trusting-her-amish-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway


Laura’s Shadow Celebrate Lit Book Tour

Laura’s Shadow by storyteller extraordinaire, Allison Pittman, was a not a thing what I was expecting, but I was not exactly sure what to expect. This is the ninth book in Barbour Publishing’s Doors to the Past, dual time series. Each installment is a stand-alone read. I have really enjoy this series.

Allison Pittman is a gifted wordsmith. Her stories are unique and often a bit gritty. She brought the 1890s and 1970s to life on the pages of her novel. I was captivated by her engaging story. This was a riveting page-turner, and I kept reading long into the night. I loved it.

The Laura in the book’s title refers to Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the 1890s section, we meet siblings Mariah and Charles. They are a close brother and sister pair used to taking care of each other. We briefly meet their teacher, Laura Ingalls. Contrary to what I have always thought, this book provides a view that she is not liked by everyone.

We meet Trixie, a newspaper comic strip creator, along with her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. The four generations of women in that family each have had their own battles and have proven to be resilient. Trixie is able to learn some surprising family secrets after being called home.

There are so many life and spiritual lessons tucked into this remarkable book. This story has many twists to it that kept me guessing. Even though I finished this book days again it is still lingering in my mind.

I highly recommend this book. If you belong to a book club or reading group, this would be a fantastic selection. There is so much to discuss. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Laura’s Shadow

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: August 1, 2022

Family Secrets Spill One Conversation at a Time

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

De Smet, South Dakota—1890 
Young women growing up in DeSmet live by two rules: don’t go out in a snowstorm and don’t give your heart to Cap Garland. Young Mariah Patterson only managed to obey one. Orphaned and having devoted her youth to scrapping out a life with her brother Charles, Mariah finds herself with no interesting suitors or means of support. Throwing caution to the wind, she seizes an opportunity to lay her feelings at Cap’s feet, even though she knows Cap sees the world through the torch he carries for Laura Ingalls. Mariah is certain her love for Cap will be strong enough to break both bonds, and she’s willing to risk everything to prove it.

De Smet, South Dakota—1974 
Trixie Gowan is the fourth generation of living Gowan women residing in the sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of De Smet. Well, former resident. She’s recently moved to Minneapolis, where she writes ads for a neighborhood paper edited by Ron Tumble. She might live and work in the city, but her co-workers still call her Prairie Girl. Thus the inspiration for her comic strip—“Lost Laura”—in which a bespectacled girl in a calico dress tries to make her way in the city. The name is a quiet rebellion having grown up in a household where she’d been forbidden to mention the name, Laura Ingalls. But when her great-grandmother Mariah’s declining health brings Trixie home for a visit, two things might just keep her there: the bedside manner of Dr. Campbell Carter and the family secret that seems to be spilling from GG’s lips one conversation at a time.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

More from Allison

I can credit Laura Ingalls Wilder for just about every aspect of my identity. I’m a reader because I read her books over and over and over again, checking them out from my little elementary school library. I can still see them—last bookcase, bottom shelf. During the summer, I checked them out from the Bookmobile, and one magical Christmas, I received my own set. The well-worn, yellow paperbacks have a place of honor in my office: top shelf, center stage. It was amazing to my eight-year-old self that I could pick up Little House in the Big Woods, skip the dull parts, and jump straight to These Happy Golden Years in a single afternoon.

Looking at Laura’s writing now (as I often do), I realize I spent my childhood absorbing the art of telling a story. Her books masterfully string meaningful vignettes within an over-arching conflict. She creates stories-within-a-story-within-a-story whenever Pa launches into a tall tale, and minor characters come to life no matter how brief their appearance. (Aunt Docia, anyone?)

When I first came up with the concept of writing a story set in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I knew I couldn’t bring Laura herself in as a character. There’s a sacredness to her story, and I wouldn’t dream of inserting myself into the cannon of her pages. But—I thought—surely she had peers who grew up alongside her, classmates who also hated Miss Wilder, young men who might have set their own cap for her, townsfolk who remembered the vibrant young woman with the button-brown eyes and dark curls. And then I pondered further: maybe there was another side to Laura—a side that she kept from the romanticized ideal skipping through the pages of her books. My first thought was to create a fictional De Smet town girl, but then…

In researching and reading Pioneer Girl, The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I came across a bit of information that brought the story to life for me. In These Happy Golden Years, Laura teaches her first class: five students, two families. And while the “Brewster” children are documented in other sources, the Harrison children are not. There are no census records, land deeds, or any official documents to support the identity of Charles and Martha as they are depicted in the novel. And so, it clicked. If Laura could fictionalize these people, well, then, so could I. Thus Martha Harrison was lifted from those pages, renamed Mariah, and given a new life and a new story in mine.

Writing Laura’s Shadow allowed me to indulge in a few favorite directions. First, I’m fascinated with the idea of extreme longevity (showcased in my novel All for a Song), and creating a character whose lifespan stretches from homesteading to disco was delightful. My Mariah chafes at the romanticized depiction of pioneer life, telling us in her old age that it was really more of a daily struggle for survival. I also enjoyed exploring the family dynamic of four generations of women and how each generation faced the  same battles and fought them so, so differently. Finally—and this is what truly speaks to my fourth-grade self…

You know that Elton John song, “Your Song” with the lyrics, “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…” Well, I got to put down in words my lifelong crush on Cap Garland. Sure, Almonzo is great and everything, but I always thought Cap was more exciting. More fun. More…more. Bringing him to life in this book set my old heart racing. My research for this novel took me to De Smet, and to his gravesite, where I spoke this story to his stone. I like to think he’d approve, and I hope all of the Laura fans will join me in this tale and let their imaginations run wild.

Blog Stops

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

Genesis 5020, September 1

Inklings and notions, September 1

The Avid Reader, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 3

Simple Harvest Reads, September 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 4

Blogging With Carol, September 4

Betti Mace, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 5

Blossoms and Blessings, September 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

lakesidelivingsite, September 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 7

Connie’s History Classroom, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 9

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 10

Bigreadersite, September 11

Pause for Tales, September 11

For the Love of Literature, September 12

Labor Not in Vain, September 12

Remembrancy, September 13

To Everything There Is A Season, September 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon E-gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/210cb/laura-s-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

Can We Talk About . . .. Halloween?

October is fast approaching.  The leaves will start changing colors and falling.  Nights will be brisk.  People will be dragging favorite sweaters and sweatshirts out of their closets.  Pumpkin flavored goodies are already everywhere.  I love October!  Don’t you?

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When I was younger, and a whole lot dumber or misinformed, I also loved Halloween.  Stay with me because this is important.  Years ago I became convicted of celebrating it so Halloween changed to Harvest Celebration for me.  Witches and ghosts were replaced with scarecrows and plain pumpkins.

A couple of years ago, I saw an interview about Halloween from a former high ranking member in Satan’s army here on earth. Wow.  I was shocked. For some reason I hadn’t even thought about an organized army of earthly people working for Satan and his terrible cause. This person, John Ramirez, had served Satan for years, but now is saved and serves Jesus Christ. Isn’t that awesome?!

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In his interview, John discussed how Satan workers were busiest on Halloween.  They looked for houses and churches, yes churches, with Jack-o-Lanterns as a welcome for them to enter. Yes, you read that correctly. As a “welcome, come on in” sign. Children dressed in costume were unprotected and easy prey.  The interview was positively frightening.  It has put Halloween and any Harvest Festival for October 31 into perspective for me. Just calling it by another name, but doing the same thing does not change something. It only alters its name.

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“Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, said: ‘I am glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year. Welcome to Halloween.’  We are quick on our feet to rush and honor the devil in so many ways. We see no harm in Halloween, because we think it is fun. We paint our faces, we wear our innocent costumes, we dress up our doorways—even churches dress up their entryways for Halloween with pumpkins. These actions are like giving the devil license, saying, “Here’s my church. You can have it.”  This is from John’s article “I’m Shocked Christians Celebrate Halloween.”

I see so many pictures on Facebook of children dressed like zombies, witches, devils, and other evil things. Houses are decorated to look haunted and creepy. Is that really what we want? Sure, Satan is cheering, but I want to protect the children. Maybe we need a new day for them to get candy with a theme that is not scary.

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I hope this blog today gave you something to ponder.  It has been heavy on my heart to share this. I recognize this is a very controversial subject. Research it for yourself and do what is right for you and your family.  As I look back in that old rear view mirror of life, I have a clearer understanding of why ministers in my childhood neighborhood had all of their lights off on Oct. 31.  They were not being stingy after all, as we kids thought.  There was a reason no gourds, pumpkins, ghosts, or witches  decorated their porches and yards.

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Obeying God is my number one priority.  It is often hard in a world that doesn’t always, or even seldom, does that.  That is why we Christians are called to be set apart from this old world.  Ahhhhhh, wisdom does come with age.  More importantly, it comes from God.

Whatever conclusion you reach, I hope you enjoy October and this last quarter of the year.  For this lady, it has gotten here quickly.  Tempus fugit.

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Note:  John Ramirez is an internationally known evangelist, author and highly sought-out speaker who for more than 16 years has been teaching believers around the globe how to defeat the enemy. He has shared his powerful testimony—of being miraculously saved as a high-ranking satanic priest—on It’s Supernatural!, The 700 Club, TBN, Daystar and more.

John Ramirez, author of Armed and Dangerous: The Ultimate Battle Plan for Targeting and Defeating the Enemy, Chosen.

Connecting with Christ 52 Weekly Devotions Celebrate Lit Book Tour

Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurture Spiritual Growth by editor Yolonda Tonette Sanders is a beautiful book of devotions by various contributors. Devotionals are some of my favorite books. I do have problems with weekly ones because it is difficult for me to wait an entire week between reading them!

This is a wonderful devotional. It is nice how the book was divided into twelve sections with different themes. They included Renewal, Love, Revival, Promises, Caring, Provision, and six more. Each devotion begins with a title, author, and corresponding scripture. Follow those is the devotion which ends in a prayer. The rest of that page and next one are blank lines for your personal reflection. The entire book has been well thought, organized, and written in an easy to understand way.

I loved the voices of the different authors. Each one brought a heartfelt story. So many of the chapters made me stop and think about things. In fact, I pondered the devotions long after reading them. It is a thought-provoking book that will help readers in their journey to become closer to Jesus. I will definitely read it again.

I highly recommend it. This would make a great Christmas present for a group that meets weekly. The devotions are touching and great for discussion. With it being a weekly devotional, this is perfect for a busy person. I loved it. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Connecting With Christ

Editor: Yolonda Tonette Sanders

Genre: Nonfiction, Inspirational

Release date: November 30, 2021

Self-care is a buzzword often mentioned when people seek to optimize their health. Suggested self-care practices tend to include activities such as exercising, getting a massage, or eating a healthy diet. While all of these actions have their place, none of them are sufficient enough to provide the soul-care we need to maximize our self-care. Self-care without soul-care equates to temporary solutions that leave us searching for the next new thing. However, when Christ becomes the center of our holistic health journey, we not only find fulfillment in Him but also a dependency on and trust in Him to truly live our best lives-emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Editor

Yolonda Tonette Sanders is the CEO of Yo Productions, LLC and co-founder of the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival. Her writing portfolio includes academic papers, novels, short stories, poems, and other creative works. She is an editor for a national publication, a professor, and serves on several boards and associations. Yolonda holds two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in organizational leadership. She treasures her relationships with family and close friends. Yolonda is blessed to be the wife of David; mother of two adults, Tre and Tia; “Nini” to her grandchildren, Khari and Khia; daughter of Eddie; sister to Milton; and dog mom to Paco.

More from Yolonda

Have you ever started a daily devotional but didn’t finish because you found yourself getting behind schedule and frustrated? One missed day turns into two, then the missed days pile on until we often do one of two things: a) have a marathon session to “make-up” the missed days’ readings; or b) abandon the devotional altogether. Neither of these options help with our spiritual growth. When we have marathon sessions to catch up, reading the devotional becomes a checklist item instead of us taking the time to glean the spiritual message or lesson to be learned. When we abandon reading the devotional, we miss everything still. Those great books end up collecting dust until we try again the next year only to repeat the same process.

Yep, I’ve been there! Having had such experiences, I sought to create a devotional that people could actually finish. Plus, let’s face it . . . we should read our Bibles every day, but devotionals are optional. Yet, sometimes people replace devotionals with reading the Bible. I didn’t want that either! So, Connecting with Christ is a 52-week devotional with just one reading each week. Not only was this a practical approach, but it was also purposeful. The desire behind this technique is for readers to have time to meditate on Scripture! Connecting with Christ is a devotional that readers can and will complete that will inspire them to dig more into the Word!

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 26

Mary Hake, August 26

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 29

For Him and My Family, August 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 31

deb’s Book Review, September 1

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

Older & Smarter?, September 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 5

Cats in the Cradle Blog, September 6

Divine Perspective, September 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Yolonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/210c8/connecting-with-christ-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Apple Creek Announcement Book Review

The Apple Creek Announcement is book three in the Creektown Discovery series by best selling author Wanda Brunstetter.  This is a Amish contemporary series that is so interesting. If you have not read the first two you will be able to follow this one easily. The other two are just as marvelous as this one.

Two of the series favorites are back again. I love Lois and Orley as well as their antique store. In fact, they are so lovable I wish they had a series dedicated to their back story and future.

This book is the story of Andrea and Brandon. He is a veterinarian and she is a piano teacher and artist. They are newly engaged and have a few issues. Some of the hiccups are minor and others are not. They each write a letter to the newspaper advice column Dear Caroline wanting help. Brandon strikes up a friendship with Orley and asks for his advice, also.

Author Brunstetter has written another page turning story. I was immediately captivated and because engrossed in the tale and characters. At times I even wanted to offer advice. I loved the fact that the engaged couple had a cat and dog that spatted. The author writes believable characters and situations. The dialog was authentic for Amish and taught me a few new words. There are mystery, redemption, humor, conundrums, family issues, adoption, wedding issues, and cute animals.

There are so many life and spiritual lessons in this book. This is a story of love, hope, faith, family, forgiveness and perseverance. As you read make sure you let those messages sink in. After you have read the book, you will want to go back and ponder the lessons. Be sure to catch the recipes at the end after the story.

I highly recommend this book and the other two. It would make a nice selection for a book club. The entire series would be a great choice for that. Fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy this book. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided but these are my honest words.

Deception by Patricia Bradley Book Review

Deception by author Patricia Bradley is the last one in her Christian contemporary suspense Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series. This fourth book is a thrilling roller coaster read. I had trouble putting it down! Even though I had not read the first three books, I was able to follow this one without problems. However, after reading how fantastic Book 4 was, I will go back and read the three books that I skipped.

This is the story of Ranger Megan Thorn. She is in Natchez working on a white collar crime case. Her childhood friend, Clayton Bradshaw, becomes involved after an attack. These two are relatable, realistic characters. I loved their interaction. It was easy to become invested in them as well as this book.

Action starts at the beginning of this intriguing novel and continues throughout the book. There are twists and turns, danger, surprises, danger, mystery, romance, and adventure! Just when I thought I had something figured out, something happened to prove me wrong. This tense read will keep you on your toes and turning pages! There is a thread of Christian inspiration woven throughout this book that I appreciated.

I completely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Any fan of Christian action, intrigue, light romance will love it. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by the publisher, but these are my honest words.


Patricia Bradley

USA Today best-selling author, Patricia Bradley is the recipient numerous awards, including an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in suspense, a Selah winner, was a Carol and a Daphne du Maurier finalist. Her romantic suspense novels include the Logan Point series, the Memphis Cold Case Novels, and the Natchez Trace Park Rangers. She is now hard at work on the second book in her new Pearl River series set in the Cumberland Plateau area above Chattanooga. The first book in the series, Counter Attack will release in mid-2023.

She has conducted writing workshops for American Christian Fiction Writers, the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference, the KenTen and Scrivener retreats (where she was the keynote), the Memphis American Christian Fiction Writer group, and the Bartlett Christian Writers group. 

She and her two cats call Northeast Mississippi home–the South is also where she sets most of her books, and when she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Crossfire by Lynette Eason Book Review

Crossfire is Book #2 in the Extreme Measures Series by award winning author Lynette Eason. It is a contemporary, mystery, suspense, Christian, romance fiction that is just riveting. Action begins on page one and captured my attention immediately.

Author Eason is a talented storyteller. She is masterful in the art of mystery and suspense.  As I read I was certain I had something figured out only to have a twist prove me wrong. Her characters are realistic and believable. Friends are tried and true while bad guys are vicious villains. I was so engrossed in the characters and story that I did not want to stop reading this page turning book.

This is the story of special agent Julianna Jameson, a top-notch negotiator, and former Army Ranger sniper Clay Fox. She gets called in to negotiate a courtroom hostage situation. Clay’s sister, Reese, is one of the hostage. 

There are so many life and spiritual lessons woven into this captivating story. Good verses evil, darkness verses light, hope, trust, faith, family, love, revenge, and redemption are all tackled in this story. It is a intense story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The faith element of healing past mistakes and accepting God’s forgiveness was a breath of fresh air. The way the characters felt after receiving God’s forgiveness was beautiful. They illustrated that they could begin again without the weight of the world and past mistakes on their shoulders. It was so inspiring. I was encouraged by the way they asked God for help in the small and big details of their lives.

I highly recommend this amazing, intense book to all readers! It’s so intriguing that you will not want to put it down until the end. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by the publisher, but these are my honest words.

Matters of the Heart Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

Matters of the Heart: A Shumard Oak Bend Novel, is Book 3 in the Discerning God’s Best Series by author Heidi Gray McGill. This is a Christian historical novel that does not hide its Christian message. Brava author McGill! I adore Christian novels where the inspirational and faith messages are not hidden or diluted. If you have not read the first two books in this series, you will be able to follow alone just fine. It makes a nice stand alone book. You will, however, be missing two great back stories that are equally as wonderful as this one.

The author has done a wonderful job. The storyline is engaging. I was immediately invested in the story and characters. There were a few twists and turns thrown in for surprises. Characters are believable. They are down to earth and easily relatable. Descriptions were on point and took me back in time to 1866 Missouri. The writing style is very nice. The story is told from two different points of view. Each chapter is clearly noted as to whose it is.

This is the story of feisty Irish immigrant Katie Murphy and Finnish immigrant Hans Korhonen who fought in the Civil War. Each are searching for a new beginning. These characters are open and had me emotionally invested. Katie was a fun, fireball. She was determined to follow God and His plan for her. Hans is not sure about God. He is goes back and forth between being closed off to open and lovable.

I thought this was an extremely entertaining and inspirational read. The more I read, the more I felt that I was part of the community. The characters felt like friends. A few were quirky and provided humor. It was very enjoyable.

I highly recommend Matters of the Heart. It gets a 4 star rating from me. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest thoughts.

About the Book

Book: Matters of the Heart

Author: Heidi Gray McGill

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: July 15, 2022

When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…

Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.

Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?

Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.

He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.

Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.

Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.

Fusing Faith and Fiction™

True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.

More from Heidi

Where did the idea for Matters of the Heart originate?

Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.

Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.

It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.

Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart, Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.

Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.

My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.

Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 6

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

lakesidelivingsite, August 8

For Him and My Family, August 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 11

Blossoms and Blessings, August 12

deb’s Book Review, August 12

Connie’s History Classroom, August 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 15

Pause for Tales, August 16

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, August 17

To Everything There Is A Season, August 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Heidi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the first three books in the series!!

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/2070c/matters-of-the-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway