21 Days of Grace Book Review

About the Book

Book: 21 Days of Grace

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Click to purchase. 

Author: Compiled by Kathy Ide

Genre: Devotional

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Love fiction? Looking for a devotional? Check out 21 DAYS OF GRACE, book one in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (published by BroadStreet Publishing Group). Fictional stories followed by brief life applications written by best-selling Christian novelists and debut authors, including Angela Hunt, Cindy Woodsmall, and Deborah Raney. Great for individual or group study.

About the Author

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Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor and writing mentor, working with Christian authors of all genres at all levels. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She’s a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC and founder of the four divisions that comprise the CEN: Christian Editor Connection, The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. To find out more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com

My Review

21 Days of Grace is a beautiful collection of short stories. Each story is built with truth woven with emotional situations and deep characters. The stories are well written and pull you in within seconds. Despite the short story format, the authors manage to make each story feel complete. Each day starts with a story and ends with a life application. The layout is attractive and easy to read.

My one reservation is that not each day includes a Bible verse connection. I prefer for my devotionals to always connect to Scripture. If you enjoy fiction, this is a great light devotional. I personally prefer to start my day with an in-depth Bible study and end with a lighter devotional. I would prefer to use this for the latter. I don’t think it fully replaces a deep Bible study, but it still draws spiritual truths in a unique way.

I give this collection five stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution. And you can take these purse-sized devotionals wherever you go, to read when you have a few minutes of down time. It’s a great way to get “inspiration on the go.” And they make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones.

Blog Stops

March 23: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 23: A Reader’s Brain

March 24: ASC Book Reviews

March 24: autism mom

March 24: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

March 25: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

March 25: Inklings and notions

March 26: Blossoms and Blessings

March 26: The Power of Words

March 27: Lighthouse Academy

March 27: Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting

March 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

March 28: A Greater Yes

March 28: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 29: Captive Dreams Window

March 29: Donna’s BookShelf

March 29: Southern Chelle

March 30: Pause for Tales

March 30: The Scribbler

March 31: Carpe Diem

March 31: Faithful Acres Body Soul Spirit

April 1: A Baker’s Perspective

April 1: Splashesofjoy

April 2: Christian Bookaholic

April 2: Karen Sue Hadley

April 3: Ashley’s Bookshelf

April 3: Lane Hill House

April 4: Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet

April 4: History, Mystery and Faith

April 5: God is Love

April 5: Reader’s Cozy Corner

April 5: Simple Harvest Reads

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away:

1st – 4th place winners: A set of all four devotionals in the series.
5th & 6th place winners: An autographed copy of 21 Days of Grace with a novel written by one of the contributing authors!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2cd

 

 

 

 

Buried Secrets Book Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Buried Secrets

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Click to purchase. 

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre: Amish Romance

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.

Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.

But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?

 

About the Author

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Inspirational author
Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapelseries. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

My Review

Buried Secrets was a page-turner that kept you guessing as you read. From what I understood, this was the second book in the series, but I could read it as a stand-alone. I thought Emma and Sam were easy to relate to and the author dealt with amnesia in an interesting manner that seemed honest and true.

However, I was distracted by some formatting issues. There was head hopping with no scene breaks which gave me no clue that I was changing point of view until too late. Also, there were inconstancies with first and third person that could have been remedied by placing the first person in Italics to show that the person was talking to themselves as I have seen previously in fiction. These were both minor issues that took away from the readability of the book, but did not take away from the interesting plot development.

There was a sweet message of forgiveness and love in the story interwoven through secrets that could not remain buried in the past. It brought a different angle to the contemporary Amish lifestyle and dealt with some challenging cultural issues while remaining true to God’s Word.

I would give this book three stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions are my own.

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

Readers who have read Change of Heart, the first book in the Sisters & Friends series, will remember Emma as the wild teen who defied her family. Her older sister, Lydia, tried to prevent Emma from making mistakes during Rumschpringe, the Amish running-around time. Throughout most of the story, Lydia and Emma were at odds with each other, but in the end, the family needed to forgive Emma and show her God’s love.

In Book 2, Buried Secrets, Emma has no memory of her rebellion, so she’s devastated when she finally does remember. Then she must confront her past, learn to forgive herself, and also ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes when we’ve done things we’re ashamed of, we struggle to believe that God can forgive what we’ve done. But God’s mercy has no limits. Emma needs to open her heart to that truth. As she does, she discovers an important lesson: Some mistakes in the past can never be undone, but God can forgive anything.

Authors often write about themes that are close to their hearts, and I’m no exception. Many times, after I write a novel, I look back and see how God directed me to tell a story containing lessons I needed to learn. In Change of Heart, Lydia discovers that judging other people or suggesting ways they can improve their lives can be a form of self-righteousness. God used my young daughter to point that out to me, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. And as I finished the novel, I clearly saw it as a reminder not only to Lydia, but also to me.

Emma’s story also blessed me by reminding me how deep and wide God’s love is for each of us. No matter how we’ve failed, He never stops loving us, and His forgiveness is only a prayer away.

I also hope to remind readers that “all things work together for good for those that love God.” So often we expect hardship when we do God’s will, but He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. Lydia learned in Change of Heart that God’s will was so much better than anything she could have planned, and Emma, too, comes to realize that, by trusting God to direct her life, she is blessed many times over.

Has God ever given you a desire of your heart? To enter the giveaway, share one of God’s blessings in your life. And let’s rejoice together at the many wonderful things He has done for each of us.

Book Excerpt

Emma concentrated on the plants beside her. Gardening soothed her, made her feel whole again. The spring sunshine warmed the ground and sent comforting rays through her cloak as she bent over the soft, moist earth. She lifted a seedling from its pot and inhaled the savory tomato-y aroma. Then she pinched off the lower leaves, set it in the hole, and gently bent the stem before covering it with soil.

Whoosh. A heavy weight slammed her backwards, smashing her head against the ground. Gasping, desperate to suck some air into her crushed lungs, Emma opened her eyes to find a furry face inches from her own. A huge mouth opened, revealing pointy white teeth. Then a wet pink tongue scraped across her cheek.

“Bolt,” a deep male voice commanded. “Off.”

A handsome stranger, black bangs hanging in front of his eyes, bent over her, his hand outstretched. “Ach, I’m so sorry. She slipped out the door again.” He clamped his other hand on the Irish setter’s collar and pulled the dog off Emma, leaving muddy paw prints across her skirt.

Still dazed, Emma lay where she’d fallen, gazing up at him, unsure whether the rapid pattering of her pulse was from her recent fright or from looking into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen.

“Are you all right?” Worry crinkled his brow.

“I–I’ll be fine.” Ignoring the hand he’d extended, she tried to sit.

The stranger dropped to one knee beside her. “Don’t get up if you’re hurt. Is there someone I can fetch?”

“I don’t need help.” Heat flooded Emma’s cheeks when her words came out sharply. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Please forgive me.” Then pinching her lips together, she steeled herself to sit without assistance.

“There’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who let my dog escape.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Irish setter twisted free and bounded off, crushing the rows of seedlings Emma had just planted.

“Oh, no!” The stranger dashed off after the dog, swerving to avoid the tomato plants the setter had crushed. Gasping for air, he made a desperate tackle, landing a few feet beyond the garden, the dog wriggling under him. With a firm grip on the Irish setter’s collar, he stood, the front of his shirt, galluses, and black pants splattered with dog hair and dirt.

Emma suppressed the urge to giggle at his sheepish expression, the clod of mud clinging to his forehead, and the panting dog struggling to jerk free of his hold.

He pinched his lips together as he studied the mess. “I’m so sorry. Let me put Bolt in the house. Then I’ll help clean up.”

“Bolt?” Had he called the dog that earlier? Emma had been too distracted to pay attention. Now she couldn’t hold in her mirth.

Rather than taking offense, the stranger glanced down with a rueful expression, then joined in her laughter. “Jah,” he said between hearty chuckles. “Short for Lightning Bolt. She zigs and zags so fast I can’t catch her sometimes.” He waved a hand toward the disaster in the garden. “Like she did here. And now look at me.”

Emma did, and her laughter ended in a sharp intake of breath. And then his eyes met hers, and she stopped breathing altogether.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Buried Secrets as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Rachel

Blog Stops

March 9: autism mom

March 9: A Baker’s Perspective

March 10: Inklings and notions

March 11: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 12: Blossoms and Blessings

March 13: Bigreadersite

March 13: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

March 14: Bibliophile Reviews

March 15: Carpe Diem

March 16: Blogging With Carol

March 16: Splashes of Joy

March 17: Chas Ray’ s Book Nerd Corner

March 18: Connie’s History Classroom

March 18: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 19: Moments Dipped in Ink

March 19: Just the Write Escape

March 20: A Greater Yes

March 20: Christian Bookaholic

March 21: His Grace Is Sufficient

March 22: Rhonda’s Doings

March 22: Karen Sue Hadley

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a full box of Whoopie Pies freshly baked for you from a bakery in Amish country, along with copies of Angels Unaware, the brand new Amish Words and Proverbs Coloring Book and Amish Quilts Coloring Book #1 (Large Print Edition), an autographed copy of Change of Heart, and an Amish cookbook!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b160

Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky Book Review and Giveaway

About the Book

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Click to purchase

Author: Carrie TuranskyBook: Shine Like the Dawn

Genre: Historical

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

About the Author


CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.

My Review

Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky is an intriguing, historical read. It takes place during the early 1900’s which is an interesting era to jump into. There’s a mixture of romance and mystery that makes this book a good read for just about anyone who enjoys Christian fiction. I had never read a book by Carrie Turansky, but I’m adding her to my list of favorite authors. I spent the whole book wondering what had happened to cause the boating accident. It is difficult to put down, filled with accurate historical data, and a great read. I give this books five stars.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!

By Carrie Turansky

MaggieinHatOne fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in the early 1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.

 

Hats in the Edwa2e59191fde836985dfd98f399afeae46rdian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name.
1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.6ca0c7f3f38874b8095d6884c2fd52f6

 

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally.
The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

68e75a1cae2f5eb955404bdff990157cMotion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.
Like to my Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky/
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/blog/

Blog Stops

February 21: New Horizon Reviews

February 21: Bookworm Mama

February 21: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

February 22: Tell Tale Book Reviews

February 22: Book by Book

February 22: History, Mystery and Faith

February 23: Bibliophile Reviews

February 23: Smiling Book Reviews

February 23: A Readers Brain

February 23: Faithfully Bookish

February 23: Lane Hill House

February 24: Back Porch Reads

February 24: The Scribbler

February 24: I Hope You Dance

February 25: Stuff & Nonsense

February 25: The Power of Words

February 25: A Greater Yes

February 26: cherylbbookblog

February 26: Moments Dipped in Ink

February 26: Splashes of Joy

February 27: Genesis 5020

February 27: inklings and notions

February 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

February 28: Karen Sue Hadley

February 28: A Simple Life, really?!

February 28: Neverending Stories

March 1: Daysong Reflections

March 1: Connie’s History Classroom

March 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 2: These Splendid Sentences

March 2: Singing Librarian Books

March 2: Blossoms and Blessings

March 3: Pause for Tales

March 3: blogging With Carol

March 3: Mary Hake

March 4: Radiant Light

March 4: For The Love of Books

March 5: Christian Bookaholic

March 5: Rachel Scott McDaniel

March 6: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

March 6: Baker Kella

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall.! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter toclaim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fb