Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Too Blessed to be Stressed... Inspiration for Every Day by Debora M. Coty, © 2017

~ 365 Devotions for Women

Too Blessed To Be Stressed – 365 Devotions for Women

Nuggets of wisdom (humor and spunk included) in life as it happens. Here is a devotional you may find is just in time for your 365 new days in 2017!

Hardcover and just the right size to slip into your purse ~ you may find that you skip around and read more than one. Devotions with a stepping off place, every day will bring a treasure to cherish in your heart. I plan to have a notebook handy to jot down a thought and a Scripture that stood out to me while reading. There is a Scripture Index in the back with devo dates.

A silver ribbon will mark your place to continue on where you left off. Deb Coty brings real issues and dreams in the flow of our days. May we not lose sight of who we are and where we are: wayfarers traveling through to H*o*m*e. There are reflections of Corrie ten Boom and Ruth Graham Bell, seasoned Followers of Christ amid today's scurrying activities.

Have fun and a lift for each precious day ~ JOY in the MOMENT.

Enjoy these excerpts from Too Blessed to be Stressed... Inspiration for Every Day

January 26
Be Still & Know
"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10 NIV

A few years ago, I stumbled across a special spot in the woods near my mountain cabin. The minute I saw the fallen logs that formed a cozy woodland seat and back support amid the beautiful forest greenery, I knew.
   This was the spot Papa God had earmarked just for me. For the time we would spend together. For the precious hours I would sit, be still, and just know (see today's verse).
   Why do I need such a place? Why do you?
   With our hectic schedules and crazy-busy lifestyles, sometimes it's hard to get a bead on that still, small voice of God. And that's exactly what it takes––being still––to truly know what He's whispering to our hearts.
   In order to internalize the incredible goodness and Godness of our heavenly Papa, we must mute the cacophony of the world and find stillness of our bodies, minds, and emotions. Only then can our hearts ingest this truth. Only then can we really know He is God.
   My special spot is off the beaten path, so it's secluded. No unexpected visitors, loud noises, or interruptions (I always turn my phone off during my Be Still & Know time). It's near the humongous tree I call the Wall of Wood that reminds me of Papa's vastness and incredible power.
   A few yards away, there's a reflection pool filled with chilled mountain spring water that reflects Papa's majestic mountains and towering treetops. My soul just can't drink in enough.
   Have you considered rooting out a Be Still & Know place for yourself?

Creator of the Universe,
Convict me of my need to get quiet before You.
I need to hear You, to feel You, to know You.

I typed this earlier and have no idea where I saw this nugget, but it must be in here somewhere...

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do
with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

Take a break to enJ*O*Y your sweet time with our Lord as Deb paves the way to His graciousness and awesomeness.

author Debora M. Coty
Debora M. Coty is a popular humorist, speaker, and award-winning author of numerous inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed line. Deb considers herself a tennis junkie and choco-athlete (meaning she exercises just so she can eat more chocolate). A retired piano teacher and orthopedic occupational therapist, Debora currently lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her husband Chuck and three adorable grandbuddies who live next door. Deb would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her Too Blessed to be Stressed blog at her website. While you're there, sign up for her free e-newsletter!

***Thank you to Barbour Publishing for sending a complimentary copy of this devotional. I am not required to post a review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen, © 2016

Tales From Ivy Hill, Book 1


My Review:
   Welcome to the village of Ivy Hill! The English countryside opens before us as we hear the horn blown announcing the nearness of the coach as it approaches The Bell giving the occupants rest and refreshment before some will travel on to a further destination. But those who stop awhile at this fine inn will be delighted to know they have indeed reached a place of comfort.

Author Julie Klassen has included two video trailers for her series:

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!

On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood–along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family’s inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell’s owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.

Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband’s legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband’s brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own?

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?

As you are reading this series, you will enjoy this map in the front to acquaint you with the village of Ivy Hill, descriptive of the housing and places of business. I was drawn to the ladies meeting which was a surprise ~ in fact, they call it somewhat different than what actually happens in the discussions.LRfinal map_scan

I found my alliance changing in the story as a character I was not really fond of, as I came to know her a little better, I discovered why she carried herself as she did. Have you portrayed a front, that when you become known is not deeply who you are? Exposed for the better!

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and have a few questions that I may discover in the next books in the series. Welcome them into your heart, as they become alive in Ivy Hill and surrounding villages.

Image result for julie klassen  ***Thank you author Julie Klassen for Book 1! Thank you to Bethany House for sending a review copy for the book tour. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage coming December 2017

Go over to http://www.talesfromivyhill.com/ where the author is giving away ten copies of this first story ~ entry deadline is January 5, 2017. Open to U.S. residents only.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sweet on You by Chautona Havig, © 2016

Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries, Book 1

Sweet on You: Book 1:

My Review:

Recorded at Hayes, 2 Oct 1925. Vocal by Jack Hylton.

Whimsical. There is not a selfish bone in Miss Madeline Brown's body. She would like to remain faceless in peril and fearless in the pursuit of Truth. She is gallant in the preservation of her friend Edith's naiveté, protecting her innocence from obvious ingrates. Rooting for her!

In the absence of her closest friend Amy, in her place, Amy has directed her older brother Russell to keep an eye out for Madeline to detract her from dangerous entanglements. This is a daily venture and the Brown household is expectant of his visits as common place.

Madeline has a compulsion to prevent hazard from happening ~ to others. She has long determined that she is able to see things happening that others overlook or are unaware of their significance. This gives her a very busy day of observation to figure out exposure of erroneous intent.

With a propensity for adventure, you will find Miss Madeline charming, pensive, and determined. Begin her adventures this Christmas with Sweet on You. Book 2, Such a Tease, releases March 16, 2017.

About the Book

It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude.
Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind but a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.
   With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.
   So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.
   Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?

 Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You.
Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.
Sweet on You is the first book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries. Watch for the second book in the series, Such a Tease, in winter, 2017

About the Author

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of California (in the Mojave Desert) with my husband Kevin and five of my nine children. My eldest is married with five children, so I have the fun of a son-in-law and grandbabies to enjoy. I’ve graduated six out of my nine children from our home school, and they’re all doing quite well in their lives. My younger children keep me from getting too selfish, and someday I’ll be fully retired as their teacher. I have to say, I’m lookin’ forward to it. Teaching about gerunds was fun the first time… not so much anymore. I salute all of those in the education field. You are my heroes.
   When I’m not writing (which I admit isn’t often) I enjoy blogging (a totally different kind of writing, trust me), paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old music. No, really, I like OLD stuff… the Beatles are too newfangled for me. Yeah,I know they’re before my time… but I like stuff before my PARENTS time.

Guest Post from Chautona

Image result for chautona havig
author Chautona Havig
The idea for Madeline came while I was searching for photos for another book idea (one I still haven’t fleshed out yet!). I came across an intriguing picture of a girl wearing a bowler and loved it. I wondered who she was and what she was reading. Well… then I turned the page and… wow! Dozens of photos appeared—all in the same general theme. Bowler hat, gloves, late Victorian/early Edwardian clothes…. I could just see her riding through town on a “wheel” and solving crimes. And well, the rest was born. I had to narrow down about twenty pictures to five. I couldn’t do it. So, I did six. I just hope I can limit myself to six.

Fun Facts:

Fun Fact #1
This is a historical novel, so that meant lots of research. Well, in the sense that it takes place in another period, anyway. Research proved much more difficult than you might imagine. You see, the world was in a state of flux in 1901. Victorian mores gave way to a new, modern era—a new century! Though an exciting time in history, because everything was in a perpetual state of change, finding truly historically accurate information was almost impossible!
   Additionally, the writing style is very different. This is partly due to a quirk of Madeline’s, but it is also because people used broader vocabularies back then. I wrote the book with a style that fit the era. It was difficult not to lapse into modern vernacular or even something a bit more twenties. After all, the series title was inspired by a song from the 1920’s!

Fun Fact #2
This book begins a journey of self-discovery for Madeline. One of the things I wanted most to do with this book was to explore the “birth” of a detective—to show what it might be like for someone to realize that he or she notices things that others don’t. Through Madeline, I explored how people would react to having their secrets exposed, and I tried to show just how difficult it would be to investigate suspicious things without becoming deceitful or putting oneself in compromising positions. It’s easy to assume people would appreciate knowing if they were being taken advantage of, but would they really? Would pride not get in the way of things? I suspect it would.
   Each book does have a definite “mystery.” But, these aren’t traditional mysteries. There won’t be a murder until the final book, but each one will increase in difficulty for Madeline and the reader to decipher the truth and will add a new element of danger and self-discovery. Additionally, there’s an overarching story over the entire series that won’t be resolved until the end.

Fun Fact #3
We have five more books to go! We’re just getting started with Madeline’s adventures. A sneak peek into the rest of the series: we’ll get to learn more about her best friend, Amy. I haven’t decided just what kind of girl Amy is, but I suspect she’s quite beautiful. I think that’ll play a part in a future book. She’s also likely to meet someone on her European tour. Will she be the friend with the suspicious letter in book four? Who knows? Not me!

Madeline’s Unofficial Glossary
One of the best parts about writing this series is playing with words that I grew up using and reading, but most people don’t use anymore. I had parents of a literary turn of mind, so I grew up being told to, “Slow down and enunciate.” This began at age 3. So, while other kids were told to “go potty,” I was told to “use the facilities.” I’ll never forget in second grade telling a classmate, “That’s your prerogative,” when she said, “I don’t like you.” She was… confused, I think. Add to that the fun slang of the day, not to mention a quirk I’m not giving away, and I can honestly say I had a blast writing this book. However, I know not everyone is fond of sesquipedalian words or erudite language. So, with that in mind, I decided to write this glossary of words you will find in the book. Please note: definitions are mine and written with my tongue super-glued to the inside of my cheek.

Diffidence: noun
Pretending to be reserved in an attempt to hide the truth. Desperate. A misguided notion that pretending not to notice someone will create interest.

Vicissitude: noun
The quality of never being able to make up your mind. A woman.

Multi-eloquent: adjective
The misguided notion that one must be like Nellie Oleson in These Happy Golden Years and allow one’s tongue to go “flippity-flop.” Example: Gossips are often multi-eloquent.

Jitney: noun
Slang for a nickel. Also, a horse-drawn “cab.” Because it has fewer syll–nope. Not that. Because people like to confuse one another in speech. “Hey, do you have a jitney?” Gee… let’s see. I’ve got a nickel, but I left my horse and carriage in my other pants at home…

Copacetic: adjective
Doesn’t matter, because I had to remove it from the book. I didn’t read the entire dictionary entry when I chose the word, and only saw 1880 mentioned. Alas, the first known use is 1919. Eighteen years after this book takes place. I consider the coiner to be tardy and would appreciate that in the future, words be coined by the dates I need. Thank you. (Do you see the amount of research I must do? I have to check if words were even IN USE before I use them. And I still almost flubbed it.)

Recalcitrant: adjective
Madeline… wait. That’s not quite right. But close enough. Okay. Madeline Brown when she has a bee in her bowler. Resisting authority or convention.

Dialogue de sourds: noun (French)
Literally: a worthless conversation where both parties speak to a glass wall, hearing only themselves. Example: political conversations, theological conversations, ideological conversations, Facebook wall “discussions,” and arguments with toddlers.

Asinine: adjective
Ridiculous or silly–like the assertion that someone saying the word is using foul language.

Penurious: adjective
Marked by an inability to part with money. A lickpenny. (see how I did that?)

Scintillating: adjective
A word meaning amusing or extremely interesting that lends itself more to sarcasm than plain speaking.

Hawkshaw: noun
A nosy person who gets away with it under the guise of “helping.” Sometimes known as a detective.

Fustian: noun
Um… yeah. This glossary. Madeline does lend herself to the fustian.

There you go. It’s just a taste of what’s ahead. Happy reading!

***Thank you to Celebrate Lit for sending a review copy of Sweet on You and inviting me on this blog tour for Meddlin' Madeline's first story! This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Click here to purchase your copy.

Blog Stops

December 13: Bigreadersite
December 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 14: Daysong Reflections
December 14: Baker Kella
December 15: Back Porch Reads
December 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 16: Pause for Tales
December 16: Quiet Quilter
December 17: cherylbbookblog
December 18: ASC Book Reviews
December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Lane Hill House
December 21: Reader’s cozy corner
December 22: Two Girls and a Book
December 22: Blogging With Carol
December 23: 1983
December 24: Neverending Stories
December 24: Carpe Diem
December 25: Bibliophile Reviews
December 25: The Scribbler
December 26: For The Love of Books
December 26: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway e5f4939d-cd96-45de-b748-8fb15bc1a0af
To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa59

(3) Madeline Brown has a newly discovered talent for noticing that which others never do:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Devotions for a Deeper Life: A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers, © 1986, Hardcover 2016

Devotions for a Deeper Life

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
    ––John 1:12

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST DID not come into this world to do the work of a social reformer, a political administrator, a judge, or simply a ruler in the affairs of men and women.
   Jesus came as the Light of the World, to perform a work of grace in the hearts of individuals that will impart a new disposition of righteousness. This heartfelt transformation will make God real in our lives.
   Jesus Christ is a Savior who saves, not by the impressions we derive from a study of His character, but through the work He did by the shedding of His blood on the cross. Jesus Christ is a Sanctifier who sanctifies, not by our sympathetic imitation of Him, but by the fact of what He works in us.
   Our Lord was not only without sin, but He also provides a work of grace whereby you and I might be without sin. Our Lord not only obeyed the good and perfect will of God perfectly, but He also makes it possible for us to fully obey God's perfect will. Our Lord Jesus Christ was our personal substitute on the cross, and our participation in His salvation depends on our acknowledgment of this glorious deed in our behalf.
Prayer Thought: Father, I acknowledge my salvation
through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.


Oswald Chambers 1874-1917
The writings of Oswald Chambers in this volume are excerpted from articles originally published in the periodical God's Revivalist from 1907-1916. Notes from his classroom lectures, Bible studies he led, and in subsequent years, other articles contributed... I commend this volume as a spiritual aid to all who seek to be more like Christ in Spirit-filled living for Him. ––Glenn D. Black, Editor

And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
   ––Nehemiah 8:12

THIS IS ALWAYS THE RESULT of rightly understanding the Word of God. Understanding the Bible makes us better fathers and mothers, better husbands and wives, better sons and daughters, better citizens, and better human beings.
   One reason why the Bible is not read clearly is because we have the habit of teaching from isolated texts, and the teacher too often takes the text as a title. The way to get back to reading the whole Word of God, and to reading it with understanding, is to live in Bible territory––to regulate one's life and experience in every detail by God's revealed law.
   We must rely on His Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible, of course, so that the commonplace moods are stripped from us as we listen.
Prayer Thought: As I understand the Word of
God, help me to grow in personal holiness.


This daily devotional, January 1 - December 31, has a Scripture Index in the back, a ribbon place marker, and a To, From, Date inscription page in the front.

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
   ––Ephesians 2:6

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST has the "any man" aspect; "whosoever will" may come to Him and find salvation. So many times we hear people say, "Those experiences are not for me. My past life has been so mean, so sordid, that surely God doesn't mean me." But God does mean you: He means by His marvelous grace and power to create Jesus Christ in you.
   God made no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Anyone may, at the Cross of Jesus, find forgiveness of sins and entire sanctification. God stoops to the very lowest, the very weakest––yes, to the "sons of disobedience"––and raises them up, if they will let Him.
Prayer Thought: O God, I know that Your marvelous
grace is the secret to spiritual victory. Hallelujah!


Oswald Chambers, the author of My Utmost for His Highest, remains one of the best-loved and most deeply respected theologians and writers in church history. Few authors inspire and encourage as he does, and never is this more apparent than in Devotions for a Deeper Life.
   Devotions for a Deeper Life excerpted from lesser known essays Chambers wrote in the early twentieth century, will instruct and encourage you with its accuracy and poignant reflections on the Christian life. This daily devotional dives into what it means to live out your faith in dynamic and compelling ways. More than 75 years have passed since the original publication, but the content remains relevant and deeply inspiring.
   Oswald Chambers created one of the most classic and influential books in church history when he penned My Utmost for His Highest. His insights and understanding of the nature of God challenge readers to examine their faith and grow in depth and maturity. Devotions for a Deeper Life brings this message to an entirely new generation of believers and will show, once again, the timeless beauty found in the truth of Scripture.


Oswald Chambers was converted in his teen years by the ministry of Charles Spurgeon. Chambers studied art and archaeology before answering the call to Christian ministry. Author of the bestseller My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers has more than thirty other titles to his credit, all but one compiled by his wife, Gertrude.

***Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for sending a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Child of the River by Irma Joubert, © 2016

[Translation: Else Silke]

Child of the River

Image result for africa tangerine tree
How can the outlook for the children in the same family be viewed so differently? Pérsomi has a special rest place in the mountains that enables her to return to her sharecropper home on the Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. As her legs carry her swiftly to her place of rest, her heart regains its regular life flow. Aspiring to extend her learning, she borrows day old newspapers from the Big House to absorb beyond her boundaries. She has not been to the village beyond where her older brother, Gerbrand, goes to obtain employment and eventually leaves home. Respectful but apart, Pérsomi watches as her family suddenly disperses in different directions, some inward, others distantly removed.

As Pérsomi is permitted to attend further schooling from her meager seclusion, she excels and promotes jealousy and verbal assault within her hearing from the daughter of the wealthy farm owner on whose land she and her family live. Within a speaking friendship with the older son, Boelie Fourie, she realizes she can be real ~ not separate unseen.
Desert sunset:
Acadia Tree at Sunset
War causes division within the straits of land and political astute followings, dissenters and proponents who presume rightful inheritance of justice within their ranks. Pérsomi becomes a strong ally to her brother and Boelie as they struggle to maintain a sense of home.

The friendships Pérsomi makes at school and her zeal to run promote her groundings in learning and a release in exercise through athletic events. I was amazed at her concentration as she cycled within her two environments, academically and returning to her given home.

Between changing tensions and views, Pérsomi continues to pursue her goals, revealing the intent of her heart to healing and hope.

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

***Thank you to TNZ Fiction Guild for sending me a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Monday, December 12, 2016

Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith, © 2016

Jonah Ashton is determined to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. Despite accusations of wrongdoing that threatens his career, when he learns his father plans to join a group of families who are sailing away from America to form a new settlement, he travels to Virginia to say goodbye. However, an accident forces Jonah to accompany them to serve as the ship’s physician. He boards the Providence with the plan to escort his family to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to clear his name. What he doesn’t count on is getting lost at sea... and  Marian Foster.
   When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart?

My Review:
Joseph and Potiphar's wife. I am not guilty. What am I to do? Today I have received two letters. A call warning to prepare a defense and a missive to join my father. Honor your father and your mother... that your days may be long on the earth... My first alliance is with my father, before my stripping clean of doubt ~ but it likely will be perceived as an admission of wrongdoing by my hasty departure? Decisions every day determine the path of longevity ~ following what God says first. He will be my Rearguard. My Defender. Father has acknowledged me by providing medical school availability.

Packing his two carpetbags with his microscope, medical books, and clothing, Jonah Ashton sets his course, unknowingly to a future different than his intent to travel to meet with his father.

Image result for islands southern hemisphere 1860

Image result for southern hemisphere star map
Southern Hemisphere Star Map
Agreeing to travel with his family to a land surrounding South America, the ship is covered by a vacuum of the unlit sky; clouds that hampered the charting of the stars to assure their location. Days at sea and troubled waters erupt in a knowing that they must stay the course unopposed by doubt or sway of opinion among them.

On the ship or ashore, the group has daily needs. I especially liked the foresight to house together before their departure with their goods and their families, able to ascertain what was truly needed and what could be left behind because of duplication. To be guarded by boundaries of intent and perimeter, those boarding the Providence proved trustworthy and clear of their mission to form a new colony in an uncharted land.

***Thank you author Keely Brooke Keith and to CrossRiver Media for sending me a review copy of Aboard Providence. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

KEELY BROOKE KEITH is the author of Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media) and the Uncharted series (Edenbrooke Press).

Her novels are known for blending genres in surprising ways. When she isn’t writing stories, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville where she dreams up stories, hoping to encourage, comfort and inspire readers. She is a member of ACFW.

alt text here   
alt text here
alt text here 
Backstory by author Keely Brooke Keith:

The Uncharted series has a past…

The Uncharted storyline begins in the 21st Century in a hidden land that was settled in the 1860s by Americans. Throughout the Uncharted books, the characters refer to their founders’ history. Soon after the release of The Land Uncharted, readers expressed their desire for more. Why did the founders leave America in 1860? How did they plan the group migration? Where did they believe they were going? How did they establish what is now a fascinating culture?

I too was drawn by the founders’ story. When I set out to write it, I enjoyed fleshing out the mystery of how the founders arrived in the Land and what it was like for them, not only for the characters who wanted that adventure, but also those who didn’t. I became swept away on a journey of faith, sacrifice, and God’s unfailing provision.

The result is Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media, 2016).

Join the founders as they embark on their voyage to an uncharted land.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Series by author Chautona Havig ~ eBook Giveaway of Book 1 to one commenter!

Sweet on You (Meddlin’ Madeline Book One)

H A P P Y   R E A D I N G

EnJ*O*Y reading Book 1 in the Meddlin' Madeline Mysteries series ~ Sweet on You and you will be alleviated from wondering what you will give for Christmas!

The author has sent a card to me with an eBook link for one copy of Sweet on You as a giveaway here at Lane Hill House.
If you have one handy, I would like for you to share a favorite Christmas recipe for a sweet treat or appetizer with readers in your comment.
   Add your email[at]address[dot]com for a giveaway contact.
I will be glad to send one commenter the eBook link from author Chautona Havig for a gift or an early Christmas present for yourself, drawing the winning name on December 15, 2016.

My review of Sweet on You will be posted on December 20, 2016, here at Lane Hill House as part of a blog tour opening the series.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Surround Me by Marguerite Martin Gray, © 2016

Revolutionary Faith, Book Two


About ten years ago I stood in the front bedroom of my parent’s antebellum house listening to my father tell stories about his ancestors–my ancestors while waving around a silver candlestick–my eight times great-grandfather’s gift to his bride. A story was born and I was off to Charleston, S.C.
  --author Marguerite Martin Gray

Charles Town, colony of South Carolina, 1773
Made from my Ladies' 1780s Portrait Dress pattern, this is a chocolate brown silk taffeta with blue silk sash. The amazing photograph was taken by a dear friend of mine, who runs A Thousand Words Photography in Alabama. Sigh!Waiting faithfully at the dock, Elizabeth Elliott searches the horizon to catch a closer glimpse of the sea-worthy vessel, The Rose, as her brother-in-law and hidden beloved are arriving.To see their approach in the distance! Father would believe her imperiled should he suspect her love for Louis Lestarjette and his for her. Louis has purchased a home, their home, once their engagement is announced and a wedding date arriving. Soon. Oh, my dear Lord, may it be soon! Invited to dinner with his aunt and uncle, her mother entrusted her to go, but only this once. Would Mother ever have an agreement of her own, separate from Father's whims for her? His plans, his ideals. So separate. Elizabeth's stick out so rationally, or irrationally he certainly would say, should he know or become aware of her views as a variance to his.

Louis. How alive it is to see him again. The months separated at sea; how can her sister and their children manage with her husband, Robert, apart from them so long? Manage. Such a strong word. Not to be idle, so the hours fly by until time stops once again for them alone.
When Louis was with Elizabeth, it was hard to concentrate on the negative––war, conflicts, insults, the enemy. In her presence, he focused only on peace, love, and hope.
   --Surround Me, 65-66.
Certain that outside motives will not hamper their lives together, Louis and Elizabeth stay true to their plans and confidence in each other. Their future together looms large on their hearts.

A crucial time in history is right around the corner. The author has written a comprehensive involvement of the elements of Partisan and Loyalist views. What is ahead of them will cement choice and conviction. Safety for all is at hand. Will they be able to see through to each other?

Returning to Charles Town, Louis faces obstacles surrounding his engagement to Elizabeth and a city questioning its role in a volatile resistance to British rule.
   As the dark curtain of the rumors of revolution threatens to descend, Louis Lestarjette pursues his relationship with Elizabeth even as the emotion and physical struggles set the course for a life of changes. Will his commitment to God stay firm or will the tide of change cause fear and flight?
   The chance of reconciliation with England moves further out to sea leaving Elizabeth Elliott on the shores of surrender to a greater challenge. Although others of unwavering courage give her strength, she must choose to allow God’s love to surround her. How can she enter into a marriage during a time of uncertainty? Will selfish, safer options take her away from Louis and his love?

***Thank you to Celebrate Lit for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Surround Me. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close—Revolutionary Faith, Book One. She enjoys the study of history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and an MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.


To purchase your own copy of Surround Me, click here.

Blog Stops

December 2A Reader’s Brain
December 3Moments Dipped in Ink
December 4Lane Hill House
December 4Karen Sue Hadley
December 6A Greater Yes
December 7Proverbial Reads
December 10Bigreadersite
December 10Bibliophile Reviews
December 12Pause for Tales
December 13A Path of Joy


To celebrate their tour, Marguerite is giving away a print copy of Hold Me Close and Surround Me, a print copy of A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson, a $10 Amazon Card, and a Yorkshire Gold Box of Tea! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5c

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser, © 2016

The Pattern Artist by Nancy MoserThree things immediately ~ remembering Lucy Scarpelli from An Unlikely Suitor by this author. Lucy is an Italian dressmaker in New York sixteen years earlier; I love Historical Fiction ~ my preferred genre; and... upon opening to the first page!!! Nancy Moser has spread her words from margin to margin. This is wonderful!!!

See you soon.

C H A P T E R  O N E

New York City

Annie Wood has adventure forthcoming with her travel from England to America as part of the service staff during a visit to her employer's distant cousin.

Excerpt from author Nancy Moser
( Macy*s ) Photo shows an old street scene at 34th street and Broadway in New York City. Photo dates to winter of 1911. Nice view of old shops, buildings, and other period interest. Titled: "Million Dollar Corner - small plot of land that sold for a million dollars.:
( Macy*s ) Photo shows an old street scene at 34th street and Broadway in New York City. Photo dates to winter of 1911.
On an unexpected outing to The Macy's department store, our protagonist sees a sewing machine for the first time. Looking forward to returning to see how it works, she sets her dreams on it.

Image result for 1911 Butterick patternsOn a whim and a secure reasoning, Annie and two siblings she meets at the house decide to try their hand at independence. Fortunately, the morning smell of fresh baked bread carries them forward to a bakery, and a roof and work! Danny learns to drive a horse and wagon for deliveries, and his sister, Iris, cares for the young children of the early-to-rise bakers.

Annie takes determination and seeks employment in the sewing notions section of Macy's, and... is hired! I love the unfolding opportunities for her as she works hard and to the notice of another clerk, excels. A willing learner, Annie is tutored by Mrs. Holmquist, the woman with the sewing machine counter. She becomes an asset to the store with her many skills and natural inclinations.
   "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
   --Hebrews 11:1
Image result for 1911 Butterick patterns
new trends for 1912
Through mishaps and uncertainty, Annie continues to believe and hope for a future brighter than she has known. Decision-making for the first time beyond being instructed what is expected of her. As she makes friends, she finds part of herself.

With the New Year, an overview of the changes of 1911 and the going forward in the new year, Annie begins to settle in the opportunities revealed before her ~ hearing the Lord in her quite ordinary days, to listen and obey His directions specifically for her. Jeremiah 29:11 becomes her plans she becomes aware of in the depth of her heart.

My favorite characters are hard to pin down because they all have a place, functioning in the building of a life ~ each of their own; by example, by attitude, by caring of another beyond themselves. I loved learning along with Annie, the new available if we just keep our eyes and hearts open to others placed before us. Nancy Moser has written a beautiful story of hope and expectations beyond our fondest dreams. Revealed Truth not only alluded to but actual as each day begins. Fresh. New. An opportunity to forgive and reach forward beyond what was. The building of characters is so good. As each one explores their options of expression and hope, new changes open that benefit all beyond themselves.

There is heartache in the story, brought about by the wiles of others. Saddened to think of the choices made that separate, and the loneliness that perpetrates when just the opposite could be attained if a person was open and willing to receive acceptance from those near them. The steadiness of companionship and unwavering faith in the ability of others brings many changes. Compassion changes lives completely.

Thank you, author Nancy Moser, for a story of hope and love showing how important our lives are to others. Interwoven in our days and theirs, we become a part of something much bigger. An open door for others to walk through, nearer to receive Him in the fullness of our days.

Image result for Nancy Moser

Image result for 1911 Butterick patternsAbout the Book:

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress. Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service.

Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s. While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company. Through determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.

***Thank you, Barbour Publishing, for taking me on your Review Crew at Shiloh Run Press and sending a review copy of Nancy Moser's latest novel! This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***