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Holy Saturday or Easter Eve

Today is the anniversary of Holy Saturday, Easter Eve or Black Saturday. It is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is the seventh day of Holy Week. When Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” He had completed His ultimate task.  Now what?

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Where was Jesus on this day so long ago? My heart breaks to write this. Jesus was away from God and descended into hell.  Isn’t that what the Apostles Creed says?  All of what was done was for us.  The price was paid for us so that we would not owe it. Our debt was paid.

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This day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting like Lent. Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday. He had said He would rise from the dead so they would be watching for Him. Most likely they would be recalling every word He said to them. I would.  Wouldn’t you go over every detail?

Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that He had risen from the dead.  Pilate sealed the tomb, secured it, and posted guards. No one was getting in. Jesus’ body would not be taken.

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Easter or Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow. I know the ending of the heart-wrenching account that began with Jesus being beaten and crucified. It starts with violence and tears of shock and sadness, but it turns into a joyous celebration of triumph over sin and death with tears of joy.
Have you been baptized? When we are/were baptized, we died with Christ (going down under water) and arose with Him (rising up again out of water) victorious!

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Scripture tells us this in Romans 6:3-11 King James Version (KJV):

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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As we await Resurrection Sunday, take a moment to reflect. Just as we were baptized and died with Jesus, we died to sin.  We should banish the hold sin has over us, and sin no more. As He died for us, let us live for Him. Accept His free gift of salvation given to all who simply acknowledge it. (See below for the prayer*)

*To accept Jesus as your Savior now, simply pray the Sinner’s prayer below:

”Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You are God’s Son, who died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I choose to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen”

Strength in the Storm Book Tour and Giveaway

Strength in the Storm by author Laurel Blount is a Christian Amish novel. It is a Johns Mill Amish Romance. Filled with mystery, romance, and intrigue this was a captivating page-turner. I enjoyed it very much.

This is the story of Emma Hochstedler and Samuel Christner. This Amish couple has a history of sorts. Emma was his childhood sweetheart. His heart was broken when she left their community, but now she is back.

The characters in this story are exquisite, main and secondary. I loved Sam’s aunt, Ruth. She was a cantankerous old lady, but after learning her story, I grew to love her. Most all of the characters felt like friends by the end of the book. The descriptions drew me in to the Amish community and made me feel like I was there.

Ms. Blount has a lovely style of writing. Her story kept me spellbound. Twists and turns, mysteries, life lessons, inspirational ,messages, romance, and more are all tucked inside for readers to enjoy. I wanted to read and do nothing else. It flowed smoothly with no lags. The story was multi-layered, yet easy to follow. There was a thought provoking spiritual message woven throughout the book. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

I highly recommend this wonderful book by a talented storyteller. It receives 5 out of 5 stars from me. a copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own words.

About the Book

Book: Strength in the Storm

Author: Laurel Blount

Genre: Amish Romance

Release date: February 22, 2022

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In this touching Amish romance, a brokenhearted woman and a steadfast man discover that the safest place to weather tragedy is in each other’s arms.

After the murder of both her parents, Emma Hochstedler returns to the small community of Johns Mill, hoping to resume her quiet existence. Reclaiming her place proves harder than expected—especially now that a movie is being made about her family’s loss. But then, an old friend offers her a lifeline that gives her new purpose.

Amish builder Samuel Christner is the biggest—and the strongest—man in town. In fact, the gentle giant has only one weakness—Emma. Even though she broke his heart, he won’t let his childhood sweetheart face her troubles alone. He hires Emma as a nurse for his elderly aunt…and finds himself falling for her all over again.

But while romance blooms, storm clouds gather. And when darkness falls, it will take all Sam’s strength—and all their love—to see them through.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Laurel Blount headshot

Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart! She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals.

A enthusiastic multi-tasker, Laurel writes for both Berkley/Penguin Random House and Love Inspired/Harlequin. She’s the recipient of ACFW’s Carol Award, The New England Reader’s Choice Award and GRW’s Maggie Award. She’s represented by Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary Agency.

Strength in the Storm is Laurel’s seventh book—and four more stories are in the works! Stay tuned!

More from Laurel

A word from Laurel:

Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet Emma and Sam—they’re one of my all-time favorite story couples! And what an intriguing combination they are: a gentle man known far and wide for his physical strength…and a heartbroken woman—his boyhood sweetheart—who’s his one and only weakness.

Don’t you just love a good second chance romance? I know I do! There’s something so satisfying about seeing a broken love story beautifully mended. Of course, it won’t be easy.  Emma and Sam’s story is mixture of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears—lots and lots of bumps on the road for these two. But they’re about to discover that love and faith shine their brightest in life’s darkest moments—and that trouble only makes a hard-won “happily ever after” even sweeter!

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, April 1

Bigreadersite, April 1

The Avid Reader, April 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

SusanLovesBooks, April 5

Lighthouse Academy Blog, April 5 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Inklings and notions, April 6

Writing From the Heart Land, April 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 7

Remembrancy, April 7

deb’s Book Review, April 8

Miriam Jacob, April 8

Bizwings Blog, April 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 10

Mary Hake, April 10

Books I’ve Read, April 11

I luv the books, April 11

For Him and My Family, April 12

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

Connie’s History Classroom, April 13

Pause for Tales, April 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laurel is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 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/1c570/strength-in-the-storm-celebration-tour-giveaway

Anything But Simple Book Tour and Giveaway

”Anything But Simple” by author Lucinda J. Miller is the account of her life as a Mennonite. It is her memoir and not a novel. The author provides readers with an open and honest view of life inside a Mennonite family.

This is the story of author Lucinda J. Miller (now Kinsinger) and her life as a Mennonite. It is a poignant look at her struggles and joys. Through her openness and words, I began to know this Conservative Mennonite lady. She actually did not seem that different from me in some ways. Both of us have questioned our lives at times, we enjoy writing, and we both love and serve Jesus Christ.

I did learn a lot from this book. It seems like most novels are written about Amish and not Mennonite communities. They are not the same and have many differences.

This is an interesting, well written book. I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. It was welcoming and relatable. At times it felt like chatting with a friend. A surprising thing for me was Lucinda’s friendship with an older, atheist woman. That account was captivating. For me, I found the last chapter, the author’s day, and the FAQ gave a more in-depth look into the everyday life of a Mennonite.

This is a lovely book. I highly recommend it. If you enjoy memoirs, Amish or Mennonite books, or would like to read about a different lifestyle, you will want to get this book. Reading Groups would be able to have much material to discuss in this thought provoking offering. 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: Anything But Simple

Author: Lucinda J. Miller (Last name now Kinsinger)

Genre: Memoir

Release date: July 25, 2017

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Plain? Yes. Simple? Well…

If you live in a conservative Mennonite community, edges are sewn shut and questions have answers. So if you’ve got a saucy tongue and a roving curiosity about the world, you’ve got a story to tell.

As a schoolteacher in a small Mennonite school in rural Wisconsin, Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering. But she uses a cell phone and posts status updates on Facebook. So why would a young woman with access to all these technologies remain in a sheltered community like the Plain Mennonites? How can someone with an eye for beauty and a sometimes sardonic wit stay within a tradition that values discipline and submission and uniformity?

Anything But Simple is the stirring memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longing for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Lucinda J Miller Kinsinger has always viewed herself as a shy little Mennonite girl, but refuses to let that stop her from pursuing what she loves—whether that’s writing with honesty and vulnerability or traveling to a remote village in China. In 2019, she married Ivan, the love of her life, and moved from the flat, tree-lined fields of her childhood home in Wisconsin to the rolling hills of Garrett County, Maryland. The couple has a baby daughter, Annalise. Since the publication of Anything but Simple, Lucinda has published a second memoir, Turtle Heart: Unlikely Friends with a Life-Changing Bond. She is columnist for Anabaptist World and blogs at lucindajkinsinger.com.

More from Lucinda

Me, and The People Who Shaped Me

My dad used to say that every person in your life is placed there by God for a reason. Even the ones you don’t like are there to teach you something.

Learn.

If you don’t, God may send someone else to teach you the same lesson you couldn’t learn the first time around.

Anything But Simple is my story, the story of a shy little Mennonite girl growing up to be a writer and asking questions along the way. It is also the story of the many people who enriched my life.

My dad, with his black hair and handsome face and stories from his past.

My mom, with her smooth sweaters and her sure and solid love.

My bishop with his mouth that turned down like a turtle’s.

My creative writing professor who loved words in a way I had never seen in anyone but myself.

Charlene.

Mara.

Deqo.

Jake.

From these people and alongside these people I arose, breathing, questioning, earnest.

Our journey, like the journey of all the squiggly and intricate humans that wander the face of the earth, is anything but simple.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

Inklings and notions, April 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 5

She Lives To Read, April 6

deb’s Book Review, April 7

A Melodious Sonnet, April 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 10

The Avid Reader, April 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11

Rebecca Tews, April 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 12

Sodbuster Living, April 13

Boondock Ramblings, April 13

Vicky Sluiter, April 14

For Him and My Family, April 14

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lucinda 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/1c574/anything-but-simple-celebration-tour-giveaway

Love’s Fortress Celebrate Lit Book Tour

Love’s Fortress by author Jennifer Uhlarik is a Christian dual time romance novel. It is part of the Doors to the Past Series by Barbour Publishing. Each of these books are stand alone books, and I loved them!

This installment in the series was about historical characters Sally Jo Harris, Luke Worthington, and Broken Bow. Set in St. Augustine in 1875 it tells the heartbreaking story of some Native Americans who were captured and imprisoned. It also is about Dani Sango and Brad Osgood, the present day characters.

The author did a beautiful job weaving the two different time period stories into one heart-stirring novel. Her style of writing is inviting and easy to understand. I was invested in the characters and captivated by their moving stories. This was a page turner with some twists and surprises. I learned some things, too.

Author Uhlarik did a nice job presenting that both sides had good and bad things. She did not lift up on side over the other. For me, it was hard to read about the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because of the color of their skin.

This is a story of unconditional love, truth, hope, trust, prejudice, and serving others. The spiritual message is inspiring and well done. This book contains so many different things that anyone should enjoy it. It is historical and contemporary, mystery, adventure, Native American, Artwork, and Christian fiction. The author has interesting notes at the end. Reading groups would enjoy this as a selection and find much to discuss.

I highly recommend this fabulous book. It receives 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Love’s Fortress

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical fiction / Romance

Release date: March, 2022

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A Love Story from the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family

Walk through Doors to the Past via a series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it just another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

JenniferUhlarik

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Florida has been my home since I was ten, and I’ve visited the city of St. Augustine several times in my many years here. There, I stumbled across the fact that the Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, was home to several groups of Native Americans in the 1800s. Ever since learning this fact, I’ve considered writing a story about the three-year period from 1875-1878 when seventy-three Plains Indians from various tribes called the fort (known then as Fort Marion) their home. However, since I’m mainly a western and western romance author, all of my story settings to date have been west of the Mississippi—not in Florida. So this interesting historical factoid remained dormant in my imagination for years, waiting for the right opportunity.

That opportunity came last year when I was asked to submit an idea for Barbour’s dual-timeline Doors to the Past series. These stories must be set in or around a major landmark, the plot must focus on a newsworthy event, and there must be a bit of a mystery that connects the historical timeline to the contemporary plot. Obviously, as the oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos is an important and interesting landmark. Originally built by the Spanish, it later became a British possession, reverted again to the Spanish, and eventually became part of the United States’ holdings. With such a long and varied history, I’m sure you can see why this unique structure would make an interesting landmark around which to base a story.

The newsworthy event the plot focuses on is the incarceration of those seventy-three Plains Indians, deemed some of the “worst of the worst” offenders in the Indians Wars of the West. Can you imagine the buzz such an event would create? Once the Indians fell into their routine inside the fort, they were given quite a bit of freedom to interact with the locals and tourists. People came from far and wide to see these men and their historic surroundings along the banks of the Matanzas River. With a simple day pass from the fort’s commander, outsiders could enter, walk among and talk with the prisoners, see the historic fort, and even watch cultural events like dances, powwows, mock buffalo hunts, and archery displays. The Native men could also leave the fort and venture into town to shop or sell handmade goods, from bows and arrows to hand-crafted items made from locally-sourced seashells and plants, to their original “ledger art.”

It’s the ledger art that comprises the mysterious puzzle piece connecting the historical timeline of Love’s Fortress to the present day. When Dani Sango learns her long-estranged father has died, she inherits his rundown St. Augustine house. Inside, she discovers a book of Native American art depicting events from one Indian’s daily life. But because her father was a convicted art forger, Dani questions why he would have the strange and rudimentary artwork. She suspects it was his latest scam, so she enlists the help of Brad Osgood, curator of a western art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her discover where the art originated and how her father came to possess it. In the process, the pair digs deep into the history of the St. Augustine fort and its former residents.

I found it fascinating to research this brief period in the Castillo’s long history, and I hope you’ll enjoy the story that came from my efforts.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Inklings and notions, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Bigreadersite, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 30

Betti Mace, March 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31

deb’s Book Review, April 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 1

Older & Smarter?, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 3

Life of Literature, April 3

Genesis 5020, April 4

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Connie’s History Classroom, April 5

Blossoms and Blessings, April 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 6 (Spotlight)

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

Through the Fire Blogs, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Pause for Tales, April 9

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and paperback 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/1c10d/love-s-fortress-celebration-tour-giveaway

Christian Writers Collective Seeks Writers

Open Call to Christian Writers:

The Christian Writers Collective (CWC), founded by Stephanie Reynolds, seeks 70 more Christian writers who are called by God to join it. Do you have a testimony and stories to share?

There are 30 members/writers featured in our first book, Jesus Can…Give You A New Life! Our ultimate goal is to feature 100 Christian writers in each book of the Jesus Can series. This will help us maximize the outreach of every book. Is God nudging you to be one of the remaining 70?

Benefits of CWC membership:
~The opportunity to have a byline in 6-8 books in 2022-2023
~The joy of being published without the usual hassles and expense of doing it alone
~1% of the CWC’s net earnings on each book that features an article by you

How to Apply for CWC Membership:
We’ve worked hard to make it easy to apply for CWC membership. Now through May 31, 2022 all you need to do is submit your well-written, 500-750 word testimony, using our CONTACT US form at http://www.ChristianWritersCollective.com

Apply before May 31st and if approved you will receive a $10 gift card to the Cheesecake Factory after signing your contract/agreement.

If your application is accepted, you’ll become a member just in time to have your testimony featured in Book #3 of our series, Jesus Can…Give You Purpose.

Testimony Writing Tips:
There are many ways to write a testimony. Here’s the format that we prefer:

~My life before Jesus
~How Jesus came into my life
~My life with Jesus

I am hoping that you will give this prayerful consideration and join our group. I will be praying for you!

The Sugarcreek Surprise Book Review

The Sugarcreek Surprise by award winning author Wanda Brunstetter is a Christian Amish romance novel. It is Book 2 in the Creektown Discoveries Series. It can easily be read as a standalone book.

 This is the story of Lisa Miller, a young Amish schoolteacher. She has lived with her grandparents since both of her parents died tragically in an accident.  They have taken wonderful care of her. However, she was traumatized by her parents’ death and cannot see a future outside of the safety of their home.

It is also the story of Paul Herschberger. He has moved from Indiana to Sugarcreek, Ohio after his fiancé cheats on him. He is a relatable character and a really nice guy.
Mrs. Brunstetter has written a heartwarming, realistic story that is beautiful. It was easy to become invested in the story and lives of Lisa and Paul. There are life and spiritual lessons woven throughout this tale. Twists and turns kept it interesting. I loved it so much that I read it in one sitting. It is definitely a page turner. 

Readers that enjoyed Book 1 will be happy to “see” some familiar faces pop up as they read this book. 

This is one of my favorite books by the author. It has a lovely story with a heartfelt message. True to her style, the author included recipes at the end along with discussion questions. I love it when authors include those.

I highly recommend this. Any Amish fan will swoon over The Sugarcreek Surprise. Reader groups would enjoy this as a selection. It gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by the publisher, but these are my honest words.

Counterfeit Love Book Review

Counterfeit Love is author Crystal Caudill’s debut novel. It is Book 1 in the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series. This is a Christian historical romance with mystery and intrigue. It is the first time I have read anything by this author, and I will be watching for future works.

This is the story of Theresa Plane and Broderick Cosgrove. She has been trying to pay her grandfather’s debt and clear her family’s name. The emotions from the trials and struggles she experienced jumped from the pages of the book into my heart. I was so engrossed in the story and the character. She went through so much that she felt God had deserted her.

A few years ago, Broderick had been in Theresa’s life and then just vanished. He had so many secrets that Theresa deemed him untrustworthy. Now they encounter one another again and Theresa appears to have secrets, also.

This is a captivating story with twists and turns, humor, mystery, romance, and a beautiful Christian message. The author has an inviting style of writing. She whisked me off to the late 1880’s and taught me about life there. I enjoyed learning about the Secret Service and counterfeiting from that era. The characters’ spiritual journey was my favorite of the book. It was written realistically and beautifully.

I highly recommend this for history, romance, or Christian fiction readers. Reading groups and book clubs would enjoy this selection. There are discussion questions at the back to aid in their chats. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. A copy of this book was provided but these are my own, honest words.

About the book:

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

About the author:

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. Counterfeit Love is her debut published novel.

Caudill says that reading and writing are part of her soul and have been since she first held a crayon. While she considered writing to be an escape from challenges and struggles and a way to keep her sanity, Caudill would come to recognize that God used it as a teaching tool. “The stories came through my fingertips, but they were marked with His fingerprints,” she shares.

As she delved into history and crafted her own stories of hope through danger, Caudill would answer the call to pursue writing as a career after her first writer’s conference. “My stories are still filled with danger, struggle, and history, but they are also permeated with the hope and love of Christ. I hope they are dangerously good. Good for the heart and for the soul.”

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Find out more at crystalcaudill.com or find her on Facebook (@crystalcaudillauthor) and Instagram (@crystalcaudillauthor). You can also join fellow readers in Crystal Caudill’s Reading Friends group on Facebook. 

Giveaway:

Click the link to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Roxie Applesauce Book Tour

“Roxie Applesauce” by author Tonya L. Matthews is a contemporary Christian novel. This is the second novel in a series preceded by Treasure Atop a Mountain. It would help to follow the story better to read Book One first.

This is a story abundant in faith and inspiration. Characters are believable, lovable, yet flawed. Marcella is a homeless woman and has been physically and emotionally abused in the past. She meets Hayleya, mother of two teenagers. Hayleya’s husband, Thomas, is between jobs and struggling. She is overworked, overwhelmed,  and exhausted.

I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. Her characters had many layers. They continued to grow throughout the book until I felt like they were my friends. I became invested in their lives and stories. The deep spiritual element is something I search for in Christian fiction. This book was overflowing with it.

It is exquisitely written. The storyline is well thought, planned, and written. It reveals how God takes our broken lives and turns them into something whole again. There are many timeless life and faith lessons in this book. It tackles a wide variety of topics including dysfunctional families, sibling rivalries, parenting techniques, marital issues, financial stress, humanitarianism, abuse, and having a fictional friend. 

Emotions of the characters seeped into my heart, and I found myself crying in a few places. This is a book that you not only read but feel, too. Conversations sounded real and at times were a bit raw. This book has a lot of characters which made it difficult at times for me to follow. I just needed to slow down my reading even though I wanted to hurry and find out what would happen next.

I recommend this book. It has remained with me even though I finished it days ago. It would make a great book club or reading group choice. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Roxie Applesauce

Author: Tonya L. Matthews

Genre: Faith-based Christian Fiction

Release date: August, 2021

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God takes broken pieces

 and brings them together 

for something amazing

Marcella Ciscal enjoyed few good days. The reason she knew she could live another day, the way she stayed sane, the friend who never left her side was Roxie Applesauce.

Homeless and beaten, Marcella awakens to the care of Haleya Kage who’s going through a difficult season—a demanding career, two teens, and her husband Thomas’s business a casualty of the 2009 economic downturn. Yet, with life unstable and the future unknown, it’s the unpredictable that propels His greater plan.

In a story of reconciliation, love, and legacy, we are reminded that life’s not always perfect or predictable, but God can make all things beautiful – in His time.

Life is full of scenes: some short, long, seemingly insignificant—others life-changing. Woven together, these scenes reveal a person’s heart. His or her life-story shared by a heart blessed, unforgettable. – the author.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

grass-Tonya Matthews photo (1)

Tonya grew up on a family farm in Riverside, Kentucky. Her father recognized early on that hoeing tobacco and running hogs weren’t in her skill set. He opted to send her to college. Graduating from Western Kentucky University with honors, Tonya went on to support the business community for two decades as an executive for the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce where she served a primary role in the organization’s multiple national honors.

Tonya has found writing to be a healthy escape and effective therapy in tough seasons throughout her life. Tonya began writing Treasure atop the Mountain 15 years ago when she and her husband were trying to start their family and encountered multiple disappointments. Ultimately, they signed up to be foster parents and adopted.

Tonya’s been married to Todd Matthews for 25 years. They have two grown daughters. In August 2019, she published Treasure atop the Mountain—a fiction novel based on real-life emotions that can be related to by many. Tonya’s second novel in the TREASURE series, Roxie Applesauce, released in August 2021. She’s currently writing the series’ third book, Get Will. Additionally, in 2022, she will debut the first two books in her children’s book series.

More from Tonya

THE STORY behind the story—Tonya L. Matthews

As many of you know, Todd and I adopted our two girls from foster care. I remember hugging Haley one night after a tough day (she was a handful…well, still is) with tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness in my heart for what had brought us both together and tears of hope that we could help each other move forward. Todd and I had experienced multiple failures at trying to have a baby, and she’d experienced failure after failure of what is best for a little girl who needs a stable home-life. Roxie Applesauce, published and release this month, is dedicated to her. Though little has gone as we’d planned, God was and is still in control. I often say, ‘God had her before we did; he’s still got her!’

Life’s road isn’t always fair, but along the way there are those undeniable, unexplainable occurrences where without question the only answer is that it had to be God. That’s the message of hope I needed when I wrote Roxie Applesauce (and still need today.)

I began writing as an outlet for my emotions years ago as nothing seemed to work. I sat down and started writing, not knowing that I could write a novel and not set on it as the end goal. My goal was to find something that would take my thoughts away from the never-ending cycle of worry, anger and confusion over why there was no baby when for so many it just happened so simply.

I enjoyed reading fiction with an inspiring message. I remember when I finished a good book, I’d hold it for a minute after I closed it and even sometimes say out loud, “Wow, that was good!” I’d think about it the next day and the characters in the book were more like people that I knew or wished I knew.

After I read several that didn’t deliver, and inspired by those that did, I thought…I’ll just write what I like to read. So, I sat down and started typing and then I just never quit on the book. In the background of a busy, busy life, it was always there. Then when I walked away from the Chamber to be a better mom to my teen girls, I yet again, needed an outlet for all the ‘I am not equipped to raise these two!’ emotions that followed. Slowly, keeping my family as priority for really the first time ever, I worked toward the publication of Treasure atop the Mountain. Since its release, I can say the greatest joy has been the people that I’ve met! We all struggle. The emotions are the same, though the circumstances may be different. We need to know that we are not alone. We need to know that God’s plan is at work, even through the difficult times. If you haven’t had a chance to read Treasure atop the Mountain yet—first in the series, I hope someone passes it along to you as part of God’s plan as the existence of these books is beyond me!

If you didn’t know, my daughters are named Haley and Aleya. Not biological sisters. Born to two birth mothers who don’t know each other. One named her daughter HALEY and the other named her daughter ALEYA. If you put their names together you have HALEYA. Put you hand over the A on the end and it’s Haley. Put your hand over the H and you have Aleya. I have to remind myself on the toughest of days as a mother of two now adult-age girls in this world full of lies and heartache that God does know what he’s doing, and I know that God’s hand is at work! So, I write the third novel in the series, Get Will, yet again, as a healthy escape for my mind that is often unrelenting when so much is out of our control.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 10 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 12

For Him and My Family, March 13

Inklings and notions, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 16

Older & Smarter?, March 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 18

Pause for Tales, March 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 19

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1b8b4/roxie-applesauce-celebration-tour-giveaway

Gracie’s Surrender Book Tour

Author Blossom Turner has penned a heartwarming Christian historical romance with her book Gracie’s Surrender. It is Book 4 in her Shenandoah Brides series. I have not read the first three books in the series, but I had not trouble following the story. As wonderful as this book was, I am looking forward to reading those now.

Set in 1879, this is the story of Gracie Williams. She is a young woman that is beautiful on the inside and out. Gracie has a heart to serve God and help orphans. In her mind, she can never marry if she wants to totally devote herself to God and serving the children of an orphanage.

Matthew Weston is the Superintendent of the Orphanage the other main character. He was left at this very orphanage when he was just four-years-old. He, too, has a heart for God and to help orphaned children. Unlike Gracie, Matthew wants to get married and has been praying for a wife. His desire is to find one who was his friend first. These are two fabulous characters. It was interesting to watch their faith grow and mature throughout the story. I loved how God worked in their lives and orchestrated each step. 

This is extremely well organized, researched, and written. The story flowed at an even, easy to read pace. The Orphan Train was hard to read about and take in. My heart went out to those children and the rejection they faced. I was invested in this interesting story from the first chapter until the end. It has stayed on my mind even though I finished it days ago. Good books will stay with readers.

I highly recommend this inspiring book. The faith message is woven throughout the entire book. The story is a clean one that has timeless lessons of hope, grace, unconditional love, trusting God, and love. There are no discussion questions at the end, but it would make a nice Book Club choice. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Gracie’s Surrender

Author: Blossom Turner

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release date: March 8, 2022

Gracie's Surrender

Helping the orphan children in Richmond just might overturn everything Gracie thought she knew, including the value of love. 

Gracie Williams has always had an adventurous streak, which led her from her home in the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond, Virginia, where she can devote her life to the orphan children. Though her beauty has brought on the advances of many men, she has no plans to marry, and finds suitors an unfortunate irritation she doesn’t have time for—much to her parents’ chagrin.

When she befriends Matthew Weston, the mature and serious orphanage superintendent, she confides in him and believes he shares her goals. Neither are prepared for the sparks that fly. Tension grows as Matthew falls in love with her, yet realizes he is just another man in the long line of would-be suitors.

A family crisis, an orphan train, and the plight of a sweet orphan named Emma throw the couple together in deep and meaningful ways. But will this be enough for Gracie to embrace a new way of thinking, and the gift of love that only true soul mates can share?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Blossom Turner is a freelance writer published in Chicken Soup and Kernels of Hope anthologies, former newspaper columnist on health and fitness, an avid blogger and published novelist of the Word Guild semi-finalist Anna’s Secret. However, she has found her home in the writing of historical fiction. The power of love and romance is authentically woven into the Shenandoah Bride Series about five sisters and their love stories. She and her husband, David, have two grown children and live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Read more at blossomturner.com.

More from Blossom

Do You Enjoy Romance That Keeps You Thinking Days Later?

Long before I knew I could write, I loved to read. Being a hopeless romantic, I gravitated to all romance stories either contemporary or historical. I soon realized that finding clean fiction, but still written with the passion God created us to experience, was hard to find. (Song of Solomon is a good example of the expression of passion and love between a man and woman without being explicit.)

Given the gift of a writing career later in life, one thing was for sure…I wanted to write what I like to read. Clean romance does not need to be boring. As each story pours out, I realize that writing historical fiction is my passion. I finally know what I was born to do. My favorite theme was an arranged marriage…so birthed the first book of the Shenandoah Brides that has now morphed into a series of five sisters and their five love stories. March 8, 2022 is launch day for book four called Gracie’s Surrender.

Where-as book one was set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, post-civil war, the second book Amelia’s Heartsong took place in the big city of Richmond, Virginia where balls, debutants, pomp and circumstance matter. The third book, Lucinda’s Defenderunfolded back in the valley, and this fourth one takes place once again in Richmond. However, you will find a very different Richmond than in book two, for Gracie has a life mission to help the underprivileged orphans.

The backdrop for this fourth book includes the historical orphan train, street urchins, and the love for children in the orphanage to which Gracie and Matthew devote their life. Gracie, who feels men are just a distraction, is in for a grand surprise. Much to Gracie’s vexation, awareness, attraction, and alas, even love grow for her serious but well-meaning superintendent, Matthew. I promise this read will be a romantic page turner with grit and impact that will keep you awake into the wee hours of the morning.

Although this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, enjoying the whole series as the family saga unfolds will deepen the experience.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the write. I love to hear from my readers.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, March 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 11

For Him and My Family, March 12

Connie’s History Classroom, March 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 15

Simple Harvest Reads, March 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

deb’s Book Review, March 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 18

Splashes of Joy, March 19

Miriam Jacob, March 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

CarpeDiem, March 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Blossom is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1b4c4/gracie-s-surrender-celebration-tour-giveaway

Finding a Memory Book Tour

Finding a Memory by author Chautona Havig is a split-time Christian romance. I enjoy reading “ split-time” stories, and with this book, author Chautona Havig has given us a compelling one. A talented wordsmith, this author has given readers another beautiful, heart-warming tale that is laced with an inspirational message. I loved it.

The two stories are set in 1973 and present day. They are seamlessly woven together to produce a page turning, captivating story of a second chance at love. It was refreshing to hear a story about a mature couple.

There are two romances in this book. Mallory, a bookstore owner, and her friend, Benjamin are the present day young couple. Mallory has found a diary from decades ago filled with romantic information. She makes it her quest to find them and return the diary. The second romance is with Patti and Francis. It is Patti’s diary that was mistakenly included in the used books to sell.

Carefully crafted, this brilliant book reads like a Hallmark movie. You’ll find drama, mystery, hope, and faith along with relatable characters. It grabbed my interest within the first few pages and I was invested in the story and characters.

I highly recommend Finding a Memory. It was a quick read for me because I could not put it down. If you are a fan of Contemporary Christian Fiction, this is a must read for you. It receives 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: Finding a Memory

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: January 25, 2022

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He loved her then. Will she love him now?

When Mallory Barrows finds an old diary in a box of books, the story she finds within sends her on the hunt for the owner–and maybe more.

Theirs is a story ripped from a country song. A wedding, a former love presumed dead, her new love stepping aside. And over forty years later, their story is one few remember.

With Mallory determined to find the people in the pages of that diary, one couple is offered the second chance of a lifetime.

This “second-chance / seasoned romance” novel introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

I was a weird child. While my friends were listening to… whatever 80s kids listened to, the enormous console in my bedroom played The Brothers Four, The Kingston Trio, Roger Miller, Billy Vaughn, Patsy Cline, and Patti Paige.  One minute I was a “Rovin’ Gambler” and the next I was “Chug-a-lugging.”  Hmmm… In hindsight, one could say I listened to some dubious music. Drinking, gambling… Oh, that reminds me of another one. The Sons of the Pioneers.  “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women. (Hint: they’ll drive you crazy. They’ll drive you insane.  The song says so).

But there were other songs—beautiful ones.  “Greenfields.” “Little Green Apples.” “You Belong to Me.”  And of course… “Go on with the Wedding.”

If you’ve never heard it, you should listen. HERE.

That one used to tear me apart.  I never could decide which man she should have chosen.  I’m a sucker for the underdog—for a hero.  So, I always said Fred.  And I meant it. Right up to the moment I thought about Jim being away, fighting, finally making it home to his girl only to see her marry someone else.  How horrible is that?

Well, one of the tropes I chose for my books in the Independence Islands was going to be a “second chance romance.” I also wanted a “seasoned romance,” so this song came to mind. And then I had my story.  It’s not the one my twelve-year-old self would have wanted.  Truthfully, it’s not the story I wanted to write today, but it’s the right one. It’s probably my favorite of all of the ones I’ve done in this series.  I hope you’ll love Frank and Patti as much as I do.

All that’s left now is for me to write one more story—the one that has been forming through each book. It’s time for Mallory and Benjamin to both learn and write their story’s end (which of course, is only a beginning).

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Texas Book-aholic, February 27

She Lives to Read, February 28

An Author’s Take, February 28

Inklings and notions, March 1

CarpeDiem, March 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 2

Lots of Helpers, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

deb’s Book Review, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 7

Splashes of Joy, March 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 8

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 9 (Spotlight)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 9

lakesidelivingsite, March 10

Giveaway

Finding a Memory Giveaway (1)

To celebrate her tour, Chautona 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/1b05c/finding-a-memory-celebration-tour-giveaway