Author Donna Wyland has penned a lovely children’s book in Your Home in Heaven. This book is geared toward younger children, ages 4 to 8. The first thing I noticed was the cute cover. Children will definitely be drawn to it.
This picture book has vivid pictures that go along with the story of Fruits of the Spirit and how perfect Heaven is. Author Wyland’s story explains that each part of our Heavenly home is like one of the fruits of the spirit. For example, the roof is strong for peace and the heart shaped door represents love. Using eye-catching illustrations the rest of the fruits are also presented in an easy to understand manner.
Children will be able to engage with this book and use their imagination to describe their idea of Heaven. The author has included a message of salvation, also. Whether this will be a seed that is planted or a child asking to be saved, it is a wonderful tool to include.
I highly recommend this book. All church libraries and Sunday School departments should have this. The information is essential for children to hear. They will learn so much through this colorful, charming book. It gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Your Home in Heaven
Author: Donna Wyland and Lynn Marie Davis
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Release date: October 2020
Children will delight in God’s promise of heaven as Jesus build their imaginary home
In this colorful book that reminds them of his great love. Your Home in Heaven…
Teaches about God’s promise of heaven.
Comforts through the truth of eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
Encourages godly living as children learn the fruit of the Spirit.
Draws children closer to God through eight Discussion Page questions.
Inspires children’s creativity as they imagine their own home in heaven.
Donna Wyland is an award-winning author, editor and coach whose personal essays and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. She is also an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coaching Federation who specializes in coaching writers toward completion and publication of their own books.
As the author of two picture books, Your Home in Heaven (released October 2020) and If I Could Ask Jesus, and a gift book titled Surrender, Donna’s work encourages readers to draw near to God to experience His peace, love and hope.
Her first novel, Autumn’s Harmony, was also released in October 2020 and is a poignant and witty tale about the healing power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and new beginnings. It is the first in a series of three written for every woman who has ever desired to make sense of her past, find joy in the present, and discover God’s purpose for her future.
To learn more and to view coaching packages, visit http://www.freetobe.faith, or connect with Donna on LinkedIn, Instagram (@freetobe_writer_coach) and Pinterest.
More from Donna
Having lost three best friends at 16 and a younger brother at 18, God gave me a heart for heaven at an early age. He also filled me with a heart of joy. Your Home in Heaven reflects both.
A Dark Beauty by author Clarissa Kae is Book 1 in her Victorian Retellings Series. It is a unique take on the Beauty and the Beast story. The book cover was intriguing enough to make me decide that I needed to read it.
This is the story of Georgiana, her father, and Lord Pichon, cousin to the Queen. It is easy to become enchanted with the clever and beautiful Georgiana. She is caring, witty, and can tinker with all types of mechanical things. I thought she was a wonder. Her father is a master at making and breaking locks. They previously had some difficulties because of a fire. Lord Pichon blamed Georgie’s father for his troubles.
The story loosely follows the fairy tale. This time the setting is London. The author has added some of her own details and mystery. It was easy to visualize the story as I read. All in all, it was an entertaining book.
There are a few surprises and twists to keep the story interesting. For me, I had a difficult becoming invested in this book. The beginning was a bit slow and the overall pace of the book uneven. Dialog in parts did not seem to slow smoothly. I had to reread a few sections. Even though it is fiction (and based on a fairy tale), there were a few instances in the story that were just unbelievable, but it is make believe.
If you or someone you know enjoy fairy tale retelling, this would make a great book. I rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: A Dark Beauty
Author: Clarissa Kae
Release date: March 9, 2021
A Victorian Twist on Beauty And The Beast
Bold and brilliant, Georgiana has a gift for fixing machines—from clocks to carriages—while her father has a penchant for finding trouble. In an accidental fire, Georgiana and her father scar the once handsome face of Lord Pichon, cousin to the queen. Rumors of Georgiana’s gift raise her family’s status. Her incomparable beauty captures the eye of many gentlemen and the wrath of Lord Pichon. Abandoned by his peers and alone in his cold castle, Lord Pichon is determined to enact revenge. When Georgiana’s father makes a terrible mistake, she sacrifices herself to pay his debt—as a lowly maid in Lord Pichon’s castle. Her wit and warmth begin to thaw Lord Pichon’s estate, making him question his version of the past. Will her kindness break the beastly lord or will he hold her family hostage forever?
Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She’s the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.Since her first novel, she’s explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.
More from Clarissa
As a young girl most of the fairy tales talked about beauty as the only attribute but when Disney came out with Beauty and the Beast, my world was rocked. For the first time the heroine was a woman with a brain and a plan. I began researching the fairy tale and read every version. When my youngest daughter was born (with dark hair and big beautiful brown eyes) I named her Isla Belle. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling. And finally, that dream as come true.
The Purple Nightgown is another book in the True Colors, Historical Stories of American Crime Series by Barbour Publishing. This Christian historical suspense is written by author A.D. Lawrence and based on events from 1912. Until reading this series, I had no idea how much I enjoyed books written on American crimes. The crimes are so outlandish that at times they are hard to believe even though they really did happen.
This book was mesmerizing. I was engaged with the story and characters from the beginning. It is the story of wealthy Stella Burke. Poor Stella, she was beside herself with pain from excruciating headaches and desperately wanted a cure. Her dear friend and chauffeur, Henry, cared deeply for her and watched as the line of endless eligible bachelors vied for Stella’s hand. He had her best interest at heart.
Stella reads about a health or wellness spa and wants to try it for a cure. The spa is Linda Hazzard’s and has extreme if not sketchy treatment programs. I was riveting and could not stop reading this captivating novel. I know it was based on actual events, but it was difficult to believe.
The author had a very nice style of writing. I was drawn into the story early and as it progressed I was able to empathize with Stella. I understood her despair and need for a cure. However, I wanted to caution and advise her, too.
Linda Hazzard was portrayed as the horrible criminal that she surely must have been to do the things listed in the book. The author did a beautiful job bring characters to life on the pages. There were twist and turns as well as many head shaking scenes. This book was very well researched, organized, and written.
This book is highly recommended by me. A reading group would have a lot to discuss. Please be sure to read the author’s notes at the end. They are enlightening. I rated this a 5 out of 5 stars. I received a copy of this from CelebrateLit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Purple Nightgown
Author: A.D. Lawrence
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release date: March, 2021
Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed. Book 10 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?
A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist.
More from A.D. Lawrence
Times have changed. And like so many things, health retreats have experienced their own metamorphosis. Sure, they’ve always catered to people with both spare money and time, but aside from similar clientele, the face of the health spa is nothing like its early 20th century sister.
If you could afford a getaway to a modern-day health spa like The Golden Door, you’d be treated to the luxury of rest. Yoga on the beach. Deep tissue massages. A much-needed break from technology and life’s constant pressures. Mental well-being is valued almost as highly as physical health, and the two are thought to be connected. After days or weeks of pampering, you would return home relaxed, recharged, and ready to dip back into the hustle of the real world.
In 1911, during the time of The Purple Nightgown, the medical community took a diametrically different approach to health. Weight equaled health.The prevailing assumption was that any ailments were directly connected to weight. Thus, ‘fat camps’ grew in popularity. Men and women checked into sanatoriums where the aides put them through grueling exercise regimes and provided them with just enough food to sustain life. No coddling. Not many of us would subject ourselves to the treatments early health spas required.
In this era of already extreme health measures, Linda Hazzard made her mark in Washington State. Obsessed with fasting, she ran her patients through an unfathomable course of ‘diet and exercise’ that proved the undoing of many. She did give massages though, which you’ll learn more about when you read The Purple Nightgown.
Although it’s fun to long for a simpler time while reading historical books and watching shows like Little House on the Prairie, there are some modern ways of thinking and advances in human comfort I’d rather not give up. One of those is the vastly superior spa experience we have today. Somehow, a facial with soothing background music sounds much more appealing than running mile after mile every day with nothing to look forward to but a glass of orange juice or a bowl of canned tomato broth.
Jesus Can…Give You a New Life is a compilation of testimonies from thirty authors in a group called Christian Writers Collective or CWC. This group was founded by Stephanie Reynolds, and she has big plans for it. Eventually she would like the membership to increase to 100 writers and the devotional books to be published each month. Big plans for a great group!
Powerful is the one word that comes to my mind when I think of this book. It is moving to read the many ways that God moves in our lives. As I read these life changing stories, I was nodding my head and saying “amen” while reaching for a tissue. These are real life stories of salvation, and they are all amazing. Writers come from the United States and abroad. The result is a book of testimonies that will inspire and encourage you as it teaches you that Jesus really can give us a new life.
Do you have a testimony that needs to be told? Are you a Christian writer? The CWC is taking applications for writers for their future books. Pre-sales are currently available for their book. If a paperback is ordered before April 1st, you will save 25%. After April 1st, it is still reduced. There are no shipping charges.
Use this link for both of those: http://www.jesuscanbookseries.com. At the bottom of the page you will find directional tabs to join the CWC. Look for the red boxes that instruct you to buy the book to purchase one. Ebooks are also available at a discount.
Everyone will enjoy this beautiful book. It is appropriate for those seeking a relationship with Jesus for the first time as well as the seasoned Christian. The amazing stories are inviting and easy to read. It will make a great gift.
Order yours today. Support this new project, be inspired by these stories of salvation, and save 25%. Thank you for your support!
The Feeler by author James W. Goll is a Christian Theology Anthropology book. That might sound complicated and hard to understand, but relax because the book is definitely not. It offers a Biblical viewpoint of how our inner most emotions are a reflection of God and how He uses our feelings and emotions for His glory. Now, are you ready to hear more? I thought so.
I enjoy the way author Goll writes. He speaks plainly and engages readers easily. He includes many scriptural references to validate his thoughts and teachings. It is clear that his book is well researched, well written, and well organized.
Are you an emotional person? I absolutely am. I get teary during certain commercials. This book gave me a better understanding of my emotions and how God might use them for His purpose. Never before had I considered that notion. I might be emotional because God needs me to be that way to fulfill my purpose which is ultimately His purpose. This, my friends, made the entire book worth reading.
Filled with Bible verses and personal stories, this amazing book has stayed with me long after I finished it. Previously I believed my emotions were a handicap or weakness. I hated people telling me “you are just so emotional” like it was a bad thing. Now I feel validated.
There is a wealth of knowledge packed in this book backed by scripture. If you or someone you know is a “feeler” then I highly recommend this book to you. In today’s world of desensitizing ourselves and “putting on our big shoes” this was a realistic breath of fresh air. This would be a perfect book club selection. It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from this reader. A copy was provided but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Feeler
Author: James W. Goll
Genre: RELIGION / Christian Living/Spiritual Growth
Release date: March 9, 2021
The Scriptures give us a full-color picture of a God who is moved by emotions such as yearning, love, and compassion. Our human emotions reflect the emotional qualities of our Creator, who made us in His own image. Feelings have a vital place in any believer’s life, not just in those who have a more sensitive nature due to their personalities.
The Feeler by James W. Goll delivers a remarkable biblical perspective on our emotions and how they help us to discern and act on God’s voice. We experience the love, joy, and presence of God with our feelings. Our emotions have an impact on our bodies, our level of holiness, our relationships, and our decisions.
The Bible tells us we need to have our “senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NASB). What are we training? Both our natural senses and our spiritual senses. Our physical senses, with the addition of “knowing,” correspond to our spiritual senses in these ways:
Eyes (sight): visions and dreams
Ears (hearing): voices and sounds
Heart (touch): emotions and feelings
Tongue (taste): good and evil
Nose (smell): good and bad
Mind (knowing): divine thoughts and impressions
This book will show you how to listen for and recognize the often subtle ways God’s Spirit speaks to believers, as well as how to discern good and evil spirits. With consecrated gifts and senses, you can reach out to the body of Christ and to the world at large in both spiritual and practical ways, making you much better equipped to fulfill your role as an ambassador of the gospel.
DR. JAMES W. GOLL is the president of God Encounters Ministries, formerly known as Encounters Network, and has founded numerous ministries including Prayer Storm and Women on the Frontlines. He is a member of the Harvest International Ministries (HIM) apostolic team and an instructor for the Wagner Leadership Institute and Christian Leadership University. With great joy, James has shared Jesus in more than fifty nations, teaching and imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. James is a prolific author. Among his books are The Seer, The Discerner, Strike the Mark, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, Passionate Pursuit, The Coming Israel Awakening, The Lost Art of Intercession, and the award-winning The Lifestyle of a Prophet. He has also recorded multiple classes with corresponding study guides and full curriculum kits. In the spirit of revival and reformation, James desires to facilitate unity in body of Christ by relationally networking with leaders of various denominational streams. His passion is to “win for the Lamb the rewards of His suffering.” Praying for Israel is a burden of his heart as Israel fulfills her role in the consummation of the ages. James and Michal Ann were married for thirty-two years before her graduation to heaven in the fall of 2008. James has four adult children, Justin, GraceAnn, Tyler, and Rachel, all of whom are married, and a growing number of grandchildren. James makes his home in the rolling hills of Franklin, TN.
More from James
THE FEELER is a fascinating biblical look at how to receive divine direction through your God-given emotions. Though not part of an official series, THE FEELER completes a trilogy [The Seer and The Discerner] that stimulate our spiritual senses in hearing and acting on God’s voice.
Painted Memories is a Christian historical romance by author A.M. Heath. The setting is in what I consider more contemporary historical as it is in the 1950’s during the Korean War. Even though it is not my favorite era for books I loved this one.
This is the story of Olivia Jernigan. She and Grady Barnes have been sweethearts since they were in school. They are perfect for each other. Everyone expects them to marry one day. It is also Grady’s story. He is a great guy who loves Olivia but finds himself going overseas in the Korean War.
One day he wakes up in an army hospital after having a traumatic head injury with no recollection of who he is, his past, or what happened. There is no way to notify his family, and he is presumed dead. Olivia is heartbroken but urged to continue on with her life.
Author Heath has a welcoming style of writing. I am immediately whisked away to the era and setting of her story. My interest is piqued early and stays throughout the book. The dialogs sound authentic as do the vivid descriptions. Author Heath’s novels are an experience and not just a book. Through her excellent skilled pen I could feel Olivia’s grief, almost taste and smell peaches, and see the hospital where Grady stayed.
There are many twists and turns in this page turner. At one point, I disagreed with the direction of the story until the author’s sound, God guided reasoning became evident. Needless to say, I changed my thinking after that. This is packed with timeless, valuable life lessons and spiritual lessons. It is encouraging and inspiring. I highly recommend it. This would make for a lively book club discussion. 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: Painted Memories
Author: A.M. Heath
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: March 8, 2021
She moved on when the love of her life died in the war, but what will happen when she finds out he’s alive?
Olivia Jernigan never thought she’d get over Grady. But three years after his death, she’s on the verge of marrying Kenneth Wade when she receives a new painting by her deceased fiancé. Olivia flees home to learn what really happened to the man she thought died in the Korean War. The man she thought loved her enough to come home for her.
Grady Barnes woke up three years ago in a hospital room with no knowledge of his identity. The only memory to resurface is the image of a woman he can’t stop painting. When she suddenly shows up at his painting class, she may help him discover where he really belongs or she may disrupt the life he was building for himself.
Olivia and Grady have a history. But now, they wonder if they still have a future … or perhaps, their love is just a painted memory.
Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and a retired cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.
More from A.M. Heath
The Blessing of Unexpected Research
With any novel, there’s always a measure of research involved. While historical novels are more in-depth, even contemporary novels need research when the characters are involved in a job or a setting the author isn’t familiar with. Research can feel so random at times. It’s almost comical the strange topics you end up spending an hour or longer digging into online.
As I sat down to write Painted Memories, I was already well into the first drafts of Dance With Me and Yesterday’s Christmas, so the 1950s setting wasn’t as foreign to me as it once had been. But there were newer aspects involved.
For example, I recently found myself researching long-distance calls during the 1950s. And I often look up commonly misspoken phrases/words.
One of the ways I love to research is to imagine myself in the character’s shoes. Sometimes I have opportunities to play pretend. Maybe a little red lipstick or a new hairstyle to help me get into character. Visiting a historical home to get a feel for the lifestyle from long ago. A walk in the rain might be an opportunity to imagine the weary march of a soldier. A bad case of strep was once inspiration for a character on their death bed.
But, by far, the most memorable research experience was given to me by surprise. It was one of those things that I didn’t ask for and I wasn’t thrilled with when it happened but, even at that moment, I couldn’t help noticing the timing of it all and the big way God would use it for good.
I forgot the PIN to my debit card.
We all forget things from time to time. But this was a PIN that I used multiple times a week for nearly twenty years.
I was standing at the register when “poof” the code disappeared from my brain. I remember standing there in panic because nothing came to mind. I punched in a couple of combinations but neither was correct.
I spent the next couple of weeks trying to remember it but I never did.
It was confusing and scary. I remember searching my brain but there was only empty darkness. Yet, I could feel it. I could practically sense it right on the edge of my mind, but I never could bring it any closer.
I was amazed at my sudden connection to Grady. When I wrote for him, I put myself in his shoes and imagined what it would feel like. But when a small piece of my memory suddenly disappeared, I had a new understanding. When I wrote his scenes where he talks about sensing a memory close by but never being able to bring it any closer, I wrote that from experience. That’s exactly how it felt for me.
I had started the first draft about 2 weeks before I forgot my PIN. So instead of being angry, I couldn’t help being grateful. I thanked God and put my experience to good use. It was all I could do.
Sometimes we’re not dealt with the easiest hand. But if we’re willing to let Him, God can still use it for our good and His glory. In the book, Grady and Olivia talk about how God redeemed the time they thought was lost. That time when they thought everything was ruined and nothing was going right, God was using in a subtle but remarkable way.
The Christian life is often like that. We tend to think that something has lost all purpose but God is redeeming it and making it into something beautiful.
I’d love to hear from you. Is there a moment in your life when it seemed that all was lost but looking back you can see how God was using it for good?
Sing in the Sunlight is Book Two in author Kathleen Denly’s Chaparral Hearts series. It is a Christian historical romance that is set in 1850’s California. Even though it is Book Two, it can be read by itself.
This is the story of Clarinda Humphrey. She is a mild mannered woman with a troubled past. I was invested in her story from the very beginning. My heart broke for her when she lost so much.
It is also the story of Richard. He is a quintessential godly man. I immediately liked him. He was on a journey to find himself and met Clarinda.
This novel is exceptional. The writing is smooth and the story flows effortlessly. I love the details that the author has included. They make the story come alive ad easier to imagine. Conversations sound authentic. Expect some twists and turns to keep readers on their toes.
There are so many timeless life and spiritual lessons in this book. It was nice to see a character follow God’s leading. The tale deals with forgiveness, promiscuity, lies, following God, family, and loss.
I highly recommend this book. It has a beautiful story with a wonderful message. I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. These are my honest opinions.
P.S. please check out the wonderful contest at the end of this blog!
About the Book
Book: Sing in the Sunlight
Author: Kathleen Denly
Genre: Christian historical fiction
Release date: March 2, 2021
Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.
Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.
Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.
Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?
Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.
More from Kathleen
Hiding our Flaws
We all have things we’d like to change about our physical appearance. Personally, I’ve yet to lose the weight I gained with my last pregnancy and sitting behind a desk all day hasn’t helped things any. Despite this, I know that my husband, kids, family, friends, and most importantly, God, loves me just as much now as when I was my healthiest self. I want to lose the weight not because I need to earn someone’s approval but because I know I’ll feel better and be able to do more without tiring as quickly if I do. In the meantime, I’m okay with where I am because it’s the best I’ve been able to do so far.
This level of self-acceptance has come with maturity and the love of a godly man. When I was younger, I’d spend hours in front of the mirror trying to disguise my flaws beneath layers of makeup and stomach smoothers. In fact, one of the most memorable moments of my courtship with my now husband was the day I returned from a women’s retreat. I hadn’t gotten much sleep all weekend and we’d had to pack up and leave early, so I’d made the unusual decision to skip my makeup that morning. I was going to carpool back to the church, grab my car, and head home for a nap. What was the point in painting my face when the only people who’d see it were the women who’d seen me wake up bare-faced that morning anyway? Well, it turns out my now husband had missed me. So he was waiting in the church parking lot when we arrived, just to say hi before I went home. Sweet, right? Um yeah. At the time, part of me thought it was sweet, but more of me wanted to melt into the floor’s carpet and vanish from sight. I had ZERO makeup on, people! And I had bags under my eyes! *gasp* *shudder*
Needless to say, after almost nineteen years of marriage, he’s seen me a few times without my makeup on. Actually, these days, I only wear makeup for videos, photographs I intend to share online, special events, and (if the kids are nice to me that morning) church. Not that I don’t have my insecure moments or those photographs that friends share but I really wish they wouldn’t. (You know who you are.) But overall, I am okay with how I look because I know that I am loved and accepted.
However, in Sing in the Sunlight, my character, Clarinda, feels unloved, and unwanted by those closest to her. She describes parts of herself with words like hideous. She uses long sleeves, high necks, gloves, and veils to hide herself from a world that has rejected her. And she keeps almost everyone at arm’s length—especially God. So when she finally lets someone in, only to be betrayed, it sets off a series of desperate decisions that tangle her in a web from which she cannot find an escape. It’s my prayer that her story will touch readers’ hearts and show them how much they are loved—flaws and all.
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a Kindle Paperwhite, one bookish scarf, one pair of bookish socks, one bookish necklace, one Chaparral Hearts Pen, and one custom bookmark made and signed by Kathleen Denly!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Melody Carlson has written a western historic adventure romance with Delia and the Drifter. This delightful tale is one full of surprises and will keep readers turning pages until the end. I was invested early in the story.
This is the story of Delia, a young woman who loves her family very much and is a good hearted person. Unfortunately, she has had some rather important information kept from her. When these secrets come to light, they will affect her for the rest of her life. She is a character that has many layers and is very realistic. I was able to feel her emotions and wanted to give her advice.
This is also the story of Wyatt. He is a great hero. Delia needs him but thinks she does well enough on her own. Sparks fly when they meet. I enjoyed their journey and watching their relationship grow.
Author Carlson is a talented wordsmith. With her vivid descriptions and smooth style of writing, she took me back in time to the days of cowboys. I loved reading this story. It was full of mystery, drama, romance and timeless life lessons on greed, keeping secrets, family, forgiveness, and love.
I highly recommend this page turning novel. It receives a 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate but these are my honest opinions.
About the Book
Book: Delia and the Drifter
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Historical Romance (Western)
Release date: February 15, 2021
An arranged marriage to save the family from ruin?
Delia Blackstone knows what her mother is up to—she intends to marry her off to an older man who is all fortune and no future. And Delia’s having none of it.
When a mysterious visitor appears on the family doorstep and offers an opportunity for Delia to travel from Pennsylvania to Colorado, Delia knows it is time for her to strike out on her own and discover a new life. Along the way she encounters a handsome drifter who captures her heart. But is he interested in trading his exciting life of adventure for love?
Two murders, a missing will, and a number of puzzling relationships are enough to unsettle anyone—even smart, capable Delia. Who can she trust? And can she trust her heart in matters of love?
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.
More from Melody
I love historical stories about women. Particularly ones in the American frontier and old west. Probably because I grew up hearing pioneer stories from my grandparents, whose parents arrived in covered wagons. But contributions made by pioneering females is often overshadowed by their male counterparts. That’s why I enjoy researching and telling these fictional yet reality-based stories of women who lived and loved and did their part to settle the frontier. To me they are the unsung heroes of the West.
The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman is a time slip romantic mystery based on a true story. This book was unlike any I have read. About a third of the way through it, I almost put it down. I am so glad that I did not.
This is the story of Hedda Krause in the early 1900’s and Dini, Marilyn Houdini Blackstone, of present day. How cute is it for a fifth generation magician to be named Dini, short for Houdini? It is set in San Antonio, Texas and based on the murder of Sallie White. The characters are intriguing. Hedda reminded me of an old movie actress. I loved her spunk and attitude. Dini was a different character with a lot of issues. She was obsessed with Hedda. I had difficulty relating to her.
Dini works various jobs, most of them in the magic field. She also narrates ghost tours at the Menger hotel. This gives her a chance to talk about poor Hedda and Sallie. Gil, the bartender at the hotel, is a friend and shares this interest.
This is where I almost quit reading. Granted, there is not a lot of Christian messages or lessons in this novel. There are some, but they are lightly sprinkled. It seemed odd to have a Christian book about ghosts, bars, cigarette smoking, and common-law marriages. It is based on a real life happening, so perhaps that is why it is gritty.
I felt better about reading this book after seeing the author note at the back of the book. It says, “A confession. I love a good ghost story. Do I believe in ghosts? No, at least not in the restless spirit of the dead variety. Ghosts are memories. Stories. When I hear stories about a haunted house, I don’t care about the current bumps in the night; I want to know the story of the person behind those bumps and why the story has lived long after the soul.” She even had in the story that we are not supposed to believe in ghosts.
Author Pittman has an inviting style of writing. Her stories grab the attention of readers quickly and retain it. This was no exception, I have long finished the book and am still pondering it. There are many twists and turns to make it exciting. The mystery begs for solving. I found myself going back to reread certain sections after I had finished the book wondering why I did not catch a certain thing. Everything get tied up nicely at the end of the book.
I recommend this is adult readers that enjoy gothic, mysteries, and time slip novels. There is a light Christian message. I enjoyed both story lines. They are extremely well connected. This would make a great selection for a book club, although there are no discussion questions. It would be fun to talk about this in a group.
I rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Lady in Residence
Author: Allison Pittman
Genre: Christian Historical
Release date: February 2021
Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?
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
From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts
If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness—but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.
A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo—sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost—a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman—just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.
Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room—meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture—the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.
So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story—that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.
That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel—being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.
Winning Miss Winthrop by author Carolyn Miller is a Christian Regency Historical Romance novel. It is the first book in the author’s new Regency Brides Series, The Promise of Hope. I found it delightful and a wonderful start for the series.
This is the story of Catherine Winthrop. She is a beautiful, caring young woman with a heart for others. Life has not been kind to her. Catherine’s father died leaving financial difficulties for Catherine and her mother. Not only that, but a very distant relative, Jonathan Carlew, is the male heir to inherit his title and things. He and Catherine have a bit of history and now must try to work together.
The author has done exemplary research on this time period. Her detailed writing whirled me back in time to the Regency Age. I could imagine the homes and attire. The dialog sounded authentic. Everything in this novel was perfect.
Ms. Miller has an inviting style of writing. The story was interesting and flowed evenly. Characters were multi-layered and believable. I loved Catherine and thought she would make a nice friend. Some characters were familiar from another book, but it is not required to read that book first.
I adore that the author includes many life and spiritual lessons in her books. In this one I found forgiveness, trusting God, grace, charity, healing, and growing in faith. There is mention of prayer, reading scripture, and devotions. It is so nice to read about Christians in a Christian novel.
I highly recommend this beautiful, sweet regency novel by gifted author Carolyn Miller. It would make all fans of Jane Austen happy as well as any historical fiction buff. It gets a 4 out of 5 star rating from me. A cop was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Winning Miss Winthrop
Author: Carolyn Miller
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release date: March 2018
Catherine Winthrop is almost at her last prayers, rejected years ago by the man who stole her heart. When tragedy brings him back into her life, she must suffer further grief in silence, amid her family’s pain and hostility, which eventually sends her to seek solace in Bath. Jonathan Carlew might be wealthy, but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his life, bringing fresh challenges as he takes on the Barony. Caught between appeasing the Winthrop family’s concerns and doing what he could to salvage their failing estate, he must also weigh the echoes of the past with the demands of his new responsibilities.Two hearts must decide whether present speculation will condemn them to the dust of their memories, or if the whispers of forgiveness can provide freedom for the future.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.
More from Carolyn
In 2015 I was fortunate enough to visit England and see my sister who was living there at the time. What followed was three weeks of visiting parts of England, Ireland and Scotland in a whistle-stop tour of some of the places I’d long dreamed about visiting, but never thought I’d get the chance: London, Brighton, the Blarney stone in an Irish castle, Chatsworth in the Peak District, Loch Ness and Culloden in the Scottish Highlands, the gorgeous grounds of Dunrobin Castle, and the beautiful Cotswolds of England, which includes World Heritage-listed Bath.
I’ve used many of the places I’ve visited as inspiration behind my historical stories, but none as much as the places I visited while in Bath. Pretty much every place I visited – Sydney Gardens, Bath Abbey, the Pump Room, The Assembly Rooms and more – were mentioned in my story Winning Miss Winthrop, which I view as my homage to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which vies with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen novel.
I loved my all-too-brief time in Bath, and I love this story, with its depiction of two people learning to overcome the misunderstandings of the past in order to find a future. Winning Miss Winthrop is the first book in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series, and has the attention to period detail, romance, banter, and faith threads that readers in the Regency Brides series have come to expect. I hope readers enjoy Catherine and Jon’s story.