Celebrate Lit BLOG TOUR of DEEP END OF THE LAKE by CAROL GRACE STRATTON

About the Book

Book: Deep End of the Lake

Author: Carol Grace Stratton

Genre: Women’s Contemporary Inspirational Fiction

Release date: March, 2021

Life looks great for Ally Cervantes. She has a gig with the paper in Lake Surrender, two adorable kids, and is marrying camp director Will Grainger in a few months. What could go wrong? Her optimistic side assures her she can juggle it all, especially her new custom cake business.

But typical, Ally bites off more than she can chew. Her dream job as a reporter is turning into the treadmill she left when downsized from a prestigious publishing company in Northern California. Now she covers everything from a contentious school board meeting to the new dog food store in town. Oh to have a day off. But she is bound to prove her worth as a writer even as Janice, the know-it-all office manager, scrutinizes her every move.

Her home front isn’t much better. Benjie, a 7-year old on the spectrum has a penchant for squirrels, tantrums and running off at school. But Will has a way with him and can already see changes in Benjie as he bonds with the boy.

Kylie, her precocious thirteen year old is another story She’s trying to wedge herself in-between Will and her mother, obvious she doesn’t want her mother to remarry. And worse still, she’s discovered boys – the kind that drive cars.

When Will hints at Kylie’s resistance to the upcoming marriage, Ally blows him off.  Will, being a camp director, hears things about Kylie but Ally is in no mood to listen. When he confronts her on Kylie’s doings around town, Ally takes offense. Blending this family together is like mixing half dried cement. The tension builds between them as he seeks out God’s will for his life. Has he taken on too much? A side of him reminisces about his ex-fiancé. Sarah, a quiet, calm woman doesn’t have a tangled mess for a life.

It’s only through a near tragedy and coming close to losing Will, that Ally, a new believer, realizes what it means to trust God for her future. Her aunt reminds her “When you’re swimming in the deep end of the lake you’d better know how to swim.”

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Headshot session for Carol Stratton

Carol has published three books through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: Changing Zip Codes, Lake Surrender and Deep End of the Lake. Her first novel, Lake Surrender, won a 2016 Illumination Award Medal for Inspirational/Romance Fiction and was chosen as one of the top favorite books for Prismatic Prospects blog in 2015 as well as being a finalist for Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade.

Her work has appeared in a Guideposts book anthology, with credits from Focus on the Family online, CBN online, the MOPs website, In Touch and Your Church magazines. Carol was a reporter for the Mooresville Weekly for two and a half years with over 500 articles to her credit. She speaks to MOPS groups, has taught at writing conferences, and has had a blog for twelve years (carolgstratton.com).

Although born on the West Coast, she lived in the Midwest for years and now lives with her literary muse husband in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she diddles around on a mandolin, plays with eight grand kids and encourages new writers. Her most recent book, Deep End of the Lake, is a sequel to Lake Surrender and is a Golden Scroll winner.

More from Carol

Camps are in my blood.

I committed my life to Christ at a Young Life camp, kissed my husband-to-be (for the first time) at Mt. Hermon and worked at two summer camps as a college student.  Experiences like standing under a giant California redwood tree in the rain or hiking in the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains with a backpack shaped my early life and unleashed in me a love for God and His creation.

The tradition continued with all four of my children attending Bair Lake Bible Camp in Michigan when they were growing up. Experiencing camp helped them grow in their Christian life while having a blast water skiing, hiking and boating. They still talk about the experiences.

Now my grandchildren have discovered camp life. Fresh from their first experience, my grandsons shared stories of the 48 foot tall, (“Not just forty but forty-eight feet, Gammi.” they corrected me) climbing wall and the WATER BLOB a camper could jump onto to catapult their friend into the lake. So when I hunted a setting for my story, a summer camp seemed the perfect fit. Why, of course, send Ally Cervantes to work at a camp.

Because at camp, magical things happen.

We can make lifelong friends at a camp, commune with nature, and most of all connect with the God of the Universe. At summer camp you and I drop all pretenses of our normal life. Suddenly we find ourselves singing ridiculously silly songs around a campfire, and there’s no other world that exists at that moment besides friends, fresh s’mores, a smoky fire and a lumpy sleeping bag.  But in the midst of the fun we mull over life’s important issues while trudging through dusty hiking trails or having a whispered late night conversation on the cabin porch with our new best friend.

Best of all, God shows up, knowing He can get our attention. Suddenly our mind becomes aware there is more to life than getting good grades, finding the right boyfriend, and discovering that perfect career. At camp we shift into slow gear and listen to our Heavenly Father say, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Ah, what a life.

Review of Deep End of the Lake:

This was a new to me author and I enjoyed this book. The themes were right up my ally (women’s fiction) and she captured my attention from the first page. I could relate to the struggles Ally was facing and at first, I have to admit, I didn’t like “Camp.” I thought he was going to stray, I thought he was too mean, and then I realized he had a different perspective on her life (seeing it from the outside looking in) and he was offering wisdom that was desperately needed. This book was a great combination of drama, keeping me turning the pages, with romance, such a sweet relationship between Ally and Will and restoration, grace, redemption, and love.

This book was given to me by the author but I was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly my own.

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

Texas Book-aholic, November 8

Inklings and notions, November 9

Beauty in the Binding, November 10 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, November 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 11

She Lives To Read, November 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 14

Spoken from the Heart, November 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 16

Blogging With Carol, November 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 18 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, November 19

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 20 (Author Interview)

Mornings at Character Café, November 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol is givig away  the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of Deep End of the Lake!

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

Celebrate Lit BLOG TOUR for MARY by SHANNON McNEAR

About the Book

Book: Mary

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

Worlds Collide Along the Shores of the Outer Banks

Immerse yourself in the “what if” questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. What if an English boy and a native girl met in the wilderness? The push-and-pull between two very different worlds begins as one seeks simple friendship and the other struggles to trust. And can it—dare they—allow it to be more?

Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they’d been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call “savage” are guilty of his father’s death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

My Review of Mary

This was the first book in this series that I read, but I enjoyed it anyway. I liked the references to Elinor and it made me want to read that book (and any others in the series) also. I loved Mary’s dad. I love this part of history (and I enjoyed the author’s note about staying authentic to the past even when it’s not politically correct) and while I don’t agree with all the opinions and values that were spoken back then, I also don’t agree with all the opinions and values flying around today. It’s called life and imperfect people, and sin in the world. I appreciated the author keeping things real and seeing life through the eyes of another. Again, I loved Mary’s dad and his relationship with God being so authentic and then coming back and sharing it with the rest of his people. This was a great book and anyone who loves historical books will truly appreciate all the time and effort put into making this book authentic, heartwarming, and realistic.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

More from Shannon

Why did I write Mary? The series started as an idea suggested by my editor and soon became something of an obsession. This installment was inspired partly by the Legend of the Coharie, a fragment of the very murky history surrounding the Roanoke Colony and the Lumbee people of North Carolina. According to this legend, George Howe, the son of the colonist by same name who was brutally murdered a few days after their landing on Roanoke Island, married a daughter of Manteo, the Native man who traveled twice to England, later led a group of the colonists inland for refuge and eventually became an ancestor of the Lumbees. Then, as my Lost Colony research expanded, my interest in the nuances of two cultures meeting and blending grew into a desire to pay tribute to what might have been the first (and possibly only) example of European and Native peoples living together in peace. Imagine if this had been the defining moment of our country’s founding?

As usually happens, fictional characters (even those based on historical figures) sooner or later run away with the story—and that’s the part I find most exciting! I hope you, the readers, also enjoy this tale of Mushaniq (squirrel in Carolina Algonquian) and Georgie, which serves as both a parallel story and sequel to Elinor.

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 26

Remembrancy, October 27

Inkwell Inspirations, October 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Hallie Reads, October 29

Inklings and notions, October 30

For Him and My Family, October 30

deb’s Book Review, October 31

To Everything There Is A Season, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 1

Holly’s Book Corner, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 2

Connie’s History Classroom, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Sylvan Musings, November 6

Through the Fire Blogs, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Spoken from the Heart, November 8

Giveaway

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

Celebrate Lit Blog TOUR for Wreathed in Disgrace by Robin Patchen

About the Book

Book: Wreathed in Disgrace

Author: Robin Patchen

Genre: Christian romantic suspense

Release date: October 18, 2022

A famous actress, a protective bodyguard, a festive Christmas season, and a killer…or two…on the loose.

Everybody believes movie star Denise Masters abandoned her family to pursue her dream, but the truth is much more complex. For years, she’s longed to return to Coventry to repair her relationship with her daughter, but contractual obligations–and fear of being rejected–have kept her away. When a serial killer targets Hollywood actors, Denise decides to spend the Christmas holidays in New Hampshire. She will finally face the disgrace of her past.

Private security agent Jon Donley figures the woman he’s been hired to guard will turn out to be a paranoid, privileged prima donna. Instead, the more he gets to know Denise, the more he likes her. But he’s not being paid to get involved with her. His job is to keep her safe while he figures out what links her to the other victims.

But the serial killer on the west coast isn’t the only danger they face. A second one is closing in fast, threatening not just Denise but the little girl she’ll stop at nothing to protect.

Romance, suspense, and a New England Christmas. Don’t miss the next installment of the addictive Coventry Saga.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Robin Patchen is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of Christian romantic suspense. She grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, the setting of her Nutfield Saga books, and then headed to Boston to earn a journalism degree. Working in marketing and public relations, she discovered how much she loathed the nine-to-five ball and chain. After relocating to the Southwest, she started writing her first novel while she homeschooled her three children. The novel was dreadful, but her passion for storytelling didn’t wane. Thankfully, as her children grew, so did her writing ability. Now that her kids are adults, she has more time to play with the lives of fictional heroes and heroines, wreaking havoc and working magic to give her characters happy endings. When she’s not writing, she’s editing or reading, proving that most of her life revolves around the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Visit https://robinpatchen.com/subscribe to receive a free book and stay informed about Robin’s latest projects.

My Review of Wreathed in Disgrace

Wow! This Coventry Saga series is amazing. I cannot wait to read the next one in the series (I hope there is a next one in the series!) I’d love to be part of this community of people, friends who all are imperfect yet bring out the best in each other. “As iron sharpens iron,” fits very well with this series. I loved Denise. I also loved her ex-husband which I didn’t think I would, but I did. I loved how the author portrayed him as a great guy (in general) but he had this one hangup with his ex-wife and that “ruined his testimony” but not really. It made him human and when God showed up and changed his life, it became a bigger testimony and all glory went to God.

And don’t get me started on Jon Donley. The exchanges between Denise and Jon – let’s just say they were so natural and so funny and so human. I loved how this story seemed to focus more on the relationship aspect of the characters and less on the suspense and danger…until the end when all the pieces fit together. Let’s just say this author really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages. I usually don’t like reading Christmas books when it’s not Christmas but I would read this book any time of the year. It. Was. Amazing.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

MORE from Robin:

On Becoming a Hero…

I’ve been contemplating this story since I wrote the first book in the Coventry Saga, Glimmer in the Darkness, and discovered that little Ella’s mother had abandoned her family. She was such a bad mother, in fact, that she didn’t even come home when Ella was kidnapped.

Obviously, Denise Masters was not heroine material.

Or so I thought.

But Denise has been whispering in my ear for a couple of years now, telling me her secrets. Turns out, she doesn’t just play a hero in the movies. She’s learning to be a hero in real life. In Denise’s case, that means facing the ghosts of her past, ghosts that chased her away from home, from the people she loved most in the world.

To outsiders, it looks like Denise has everything a person could want—fame, money, and success. But all she really wants is a relationship with the daughter she adores, the daughter she left because she couldn’t see another way.

Have you ever been there, so deep in the muck that you can’t find your way out? So lost that you think the best option—the only option—is to escape? Have you ever believed that your problems—whether caused by someone else or by your own choices—were unsolvable?

That’s what Denise believed for years. That one foolish choice—which led to a myriad of other foolish choices—had permanently disqualified her not just from being a good mother but from being worthy of love.

And then she met Jesus, and He changed everything. He pulled her out of the mire and set her on solid ground. He gave her the longing and the courage to face the people she’d disappointed.

The serial killer preying on Hollywood actresses is the impetus she needs to return to Coventry just as the community ramps up for the Christmas season.

But Denise’s attempt at escaping one killer puts her squarely in the path of another.

This story won’t be much fun for Denise, though I have a strong suspicion she’s going to really like the hunky bodyguard, Jon Donley. (If you read Lineage in Corruption, you might remember Jon.)

For us who get to read it, it’s going to be great fun. I hope you’ll check it out!

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 23

Genesis 5020, October 24

Betti Mace, October 25

Inklings and notions, October 26

Texas Book-aholic, October 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 28

Holly’s Book Corner, October 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 31

deb’s Book Review, November 1

Blossoms and Blessings, November 2

Spoken from the Heart, November 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 3

Blogging With Carol, November 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card and a copy of Lineage of Corruption!!

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

Celebrate Lit BLOG TOUR for AFTER OUR CASTLE by Kellyn Roth

About the Book

Book: After Our Castle

Author: Kellyn Roth

Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

A year into a blissfully happy marriage, Violet Angel admits to a dose of skepticism. She’s not married, granted—but as the closest friend of the bride and groom, she feels she has a perspective no one but the people directly involved could have. There’s no such thing as a happy ending, and it’s only a matter of time before the castle in the sky plummets to earth.

If only Violet were always wrong instead of just mostly wrong. Ivy McAllen doesn’t believe she and her new husband are out of the honeymoon period—if they are, she isn’t going to admit it to herself—but there are certainly areas of adjustment that she hadn’t expected.

Changes at the village of Keefmore and in Ivy’s life lead to complications, and Violet spirals further and further from reality. When a castle in the sky turns to be more cloud than stronghold, finding a foothold proves to be more than a little difficult.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.

Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.

My Review of After Our Castle

This was the first book in this series that I read, but it didn’t matter. I was immediately swept into the storyline and was easily able to get caught up into the action without feeling like I was missing out. I now want to go back and read the others in the series just to get the full effect of the Thanksgiving meal instead of only savoring one side dish. I think the part of the book that stuck with me the most was the dream that Ivy had and how even when things looked like the dream wasn’t true, she held fast despite what people around her told her. I loved that. I think that is so true in our relationships with God and that is the kind of faith I want to have. Since then, I’ve been having some specific conversations with God, waiting to see what His answers are. This is a great series and I would highly recommend it to everyone. This author’s style of writing really speaks to me.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

MORE from Kellyn:

After Our Castle was a book I didn’t think I would ever write. Oh, I considered writing a short story or two about the early years of Ivy and Jordy’s marriage, yes, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided that I would write a full-length novel.

Why did I hesitate? I’m writing a family saga, after all, and I plan on covering every stage of my characters’ lives in the 10+ books I’m planning (this being book 6). Well, I didn’t think there was anything to be discussed about Ivy and Jordy’s early married days, as there was with my other book couple, Alice and Peter. Nothing interesting, I thought, happens until 1890, eight years into their union. So why write about anything before then?

Then I realized just how much backstory I was packing into that book. And I realized that, for my writing style, there are so many little things that can add up into a book. And that became the story that is After Our Castle.

The novel wasn’t an easy one to write. It required a lot of subtlety and doesn’t precisely have the most perfect ending. But I knew, if I wanted to set up book 8, I would have to write the novel this way.

So here we go. Another book I wasn’t sure about–but that careful writing and even more careful editing, along with a lot of prayer, have turned into a story I’m actually rather proud of.

I hope you enjoy After Our Castle!

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 18

lakesidelivingsite, October 19

Losing the Busyness, October 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

Texas Book-aholic, October 21

Inklings and notions, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 24

deb’s Book Review, October 25

Cover Lover Book Review, October 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 26

Connie’s History Classroom, October 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 28

Holly’s Book Corner, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 29

Splashes of Joy, October 30

Pause for Tales, October 31

Spoken from the Heart, October 31

Giveaway

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

Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon

About the Book

Forensic pathologist Grace Reilly has seen her share of unusual deaths in rural Missouri. But when she begins to notice a curious pattern in autopsies of elderly residents whose demise appears to be natural, she takes her concerns to Sheriff Nate Cox.

Nate is skeptical about the link Grace is seeing between the deaths–and her suspicions of foul play. But her persistence is compelling. Once she finally convinces him her theory is credible and they join forces to investigate, danger follows. Because exposing the truth could destroy several lives–including Grace’s.

Queen of inspirational romantic suspense Irene Hannon closes out her bestselling Triple Threat series with this gripping tale of secrets revealed and romance sparked.

Book Review:

Body of Evidence kept me turning the pages one after another. I had to find out who did it and I was totally shocked when I did! This is a great series that I ended up buying for our daughter because she loves these mystery/suspense books. I loved the back and forth between the pathologist and the sheriff, and I have to say, I was thinking I wasn’t going to like the sheriff at first due to something he did, but then he redeemed himself. It made him more human and I liked him even more. I loved the detailed twists and turns too. It was an entertaining, “thinking” and wonderful book.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher but was not required to review it. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher CELEBRATE LIT BLOG TOUR

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

My Review of Anything But Plain:

What an interesting book. While I was able to guess early on with this book what the main character was dealing with, what an informative book. I loved the subplots and learned as much (or more) from them, including a way to help control asthma!  I loved Nathan and Lydie and how sweet and caring Lydie was for everyone, including Patsy Glick (who in my opinion didn’t deserve her sweetness). I even loved how the author worked out the situation between Mitch and Nathan at the end. It was an amazing book that kept me reading to find out more and I loved, loved, loved David’s talk with his mother. That is a conversation that many need to have with others but it’s a hard and difficult one to start. I felt like it was a hug straight from God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was under no obligation to review it. All opinions are mine.

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

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

Celebrate Lit AUTHOR INTERVIEW for LOVE MATTERS by Neil Tolsma

About the Book

Book: Love Matters

Author: Neil Tolsma

Genre: Non-Fiction

Release date: September 13, 2022

The Bible answers with one word: Love. What am I to do when my love is weak and in short supply? What difference does godly love make in the rush of everyday living? These are questions that Christians ask and need answered.

Love Matters answers these vital questions and others through a careful examination of what the Word of God has to say about reproducing God’s love in the exercise of personal faith. Love Matters is unique in developing this study of love in a redemptive-historical setting.

Love Matters is a biblical study of the divine call to love God and others wholeheartedly and the means by which the believer can overcome deficiencies in that call.

About the Author

Neil Tolsma was born on February 5, 1935, Saddle Brook, NJ. Met his wife, Lenore Merop, at Garfield Community Church (where he had made his profession of Christ as his Savior at the age of 17) and they were married on August 29, 1959. They had both been part of the Billy Graham Choir that introduced the popular hymn, How Great Thou Art, to America the summer of 957. He graduated from Shelton College, Ringwood, NJ, 1962 with  A.B. And from Westminster Theological  Seminary 1965, B.D./M.Div. Ordained by the Presbytery of the South, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1965. Served as pastor of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1965 to 1974, Falls Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1974 until his retirement in 2004. They are the parents of three daughters  and 8 grandchildren. Neil is the author of This Is Love: Tracing the Love of God throughout the Biblical Story. 

More from Neil

Walk into any bookstore, Christian or general market, big or small, and you’re sure to be inundated by books on love, both fiction and nonfiction. How to love your spouse or significant other. How to love your children. How to love yourself. Love, love, love. That’s all we seem to hear about today. Love in all its forms, both good and evil.

So, then, why would I write another nonfiction book on love? Aren’t there plenty to choose from already? Well, yes and no. There are many on the shelves. Have your pick. But how many of those talk about what real, biblical love is, why we are to love, and where our one and only source of love is?

So many people today don’t know what love truly is. We have romanticized versions of flowers, chocolates, and violins. We dream of being swept off our feet and spending every waking minute with someone who will cherish us above all else. One of the most popular sayings of the day is Love Is Love.

Is it really? How do we know what true love is? That understanding only comes from God and his word to us. Only through him and in him do we find pure, holy, agape love. Love that sacrificed his only Son for us to give eternal life to us sinners—the impure, unholy, and filthy.

And so that’s why I wrote Love Matters. Because it does. It matters to our lives today, in how we relate to our spouses, our children, our family members, and the world at large. It matters to our eternity in how we view our salvation and how we are to love our Lord. It matters when we’re old and when we’re young, when we’re at home and when we’re at work, when we agree with someone and when we disagree with them.

Throughout my fifty years of in-depth Bible study as a pastor and counselor, I was brought back time and time again to the Bible to discover what love is. Over and over, I returned to the command God gave in Exodus, that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, strength, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Because God is love and love matters to him, it has to matter to us.

Author Interview:

What role did God play in your writing career?

The Lord is central to my life. When I was ordained, I pledged my life in the service of his Kingdom. Over the years I’ve written many hundreds of sermons that were aimed at faithfulness in conveying the truth of his Word to my audience. And it was his Word that guided me in my decision to write the books I have written and to write what I’ve written.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I did not begin writing books until I retired. When I am not writing, I like to read. I especially like mysteries. Charles Todd being one of my favorite authors. I also enjoy reading biographies and World War 2 histories. My wife and I spend our relaxing evenings watching British mysteries on TV, Agatha Christie’s Poirot being a favorite.

If you have a family, how do they support your writing career?

Our daughter, author Liz Tolsma, has provided invaluable help with proof reading and answering countless questions about the art of writing. Our granddaughter, Becca Tews, provides her excellent skills in the area of marketing. But most important is my wife, Lenore, who daily and lovingly surrounds me with the support I need to keep going.

What is your favorite time of day?

I love mornings. I rise early to begin a daily exercise routine, take a walk, draw aside for a quiet time of reading the Bible and prayer, and then I’m ready to dig into the breakfast my wife has prepared for me. After breakfast, I am ready to hit the laptop or whatever I have planned for the day. Since I am 87 years old the routine of the day needs to be a careful balance between work and rest.

What projects are you working on currently?

I recently wrote a short devotional, Kind and Compassionate, which will be free to those who pre-order my book, Love Matters, due of release in October. And I am working on my third book, tentatively titled, Love, the Fruit of the Spirit: A Biblical Study of Galatians 5:22-23. My first book, This Is Love, deals with God’s love for us. Book number two, Love Matters, is a biblical study of our love for God and others. Book three will complete the series which takes a comprehensive look at love in the Bible from a redemptive-historical perspective.

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 15

An Author’s Take, October 16

Spoken from the Heart, October 17 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

Inklings and notions, October 19

deb’s Book Review, October 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 24

Splashes of Joy, October 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 27

Beauty in the Binding, October 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, October 28

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Neil 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.

Beneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick

About the Book

Book: Beneath the Bending Skies

Author: Jane Kilpatrick

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release date: September 6, 2022

Mollie Sheehan has spent much of her life striving to be a dutiful daughter and honor her father’s wishes, even when doing so has led to one heartbreak after another. After all, what options does she truly have in 1860s Montana? But providing for her stepfamily during her father’s long absences doesn’t keep her from wishing for more.

When romance blooms between her and Peter Ronan, Mollie finally allows herself to hope for a brighter future–until her father voices his disapproval of the match and moves her to California to ensure the breakup. Still, time and providence are at work, even when circumstances are at their bleakest. Mollie may soon find that someone far greater than her father is in control of the course of her life–and that even the command to “honor thy father” has its limits.

New from New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick, Beneath the Bending Skies is a sweeping story of hospitality, destiny, and the bonds of family.

About the Author

If you’d like more information about me, please come visit my website at http://www.jkbooks.com and click on my blog. My dog also has a blog and you can find out what it’s like to be Bodacious Bo, too. A monthly newsletter called Story Sparks is my way of sharing books about authors I enjoy as well as commenting on life and love. You’ll find out more about me than you probably ever wanted to know!

One item not listed on my lists of books is my selection included in an anthology called “Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West” published by Houghton Mifflin I also have a piece in Storytellers II, a book published a few years ago by Multnomah Press and a few short selections in Daily Guideposts of a few years back. My first novella, “The Courting Quilt” is part of a collection that made the New York Times bestsellers September 2011 in a collection called Log Cabin Christmas. The rest of my writing, as they say, is history. Or it was until my first contemporary came out this fall. Called Barcelona Calling, it’s the story of a writer who loses her way as she seeks fulfillment thinking she’ll find it with fame. It’s a laugh out loud book according to reviewers. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Book Review:

Jane Kirkpatrick is a new-to-me author and I loved this book. Well, I had a hard time figuring out if I was loving or “hating” the characters in the book … which to me is a characteristic of a great book. I really felt for most of the characters portrayed. There was no real “villain” and no real “hero.” They all had their pain and hurts to deal with and the rough decisions that had to be made and while (many) mistakes were made, there was a lot of love shown too. This truly was a great glimpse into the difficult decisions that had to be made in the olden days and how feelings were always top priority when survival was at stake. Despite the dysfunction that was evident throughout the family, there was also a lot of love and chances for redemption, grace, and lasting relationships. Yes, I will definitely be reading more from Jane Kirkpatrick. She knows how to make characters stick with her readers long after “the end.”

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Celebrate Lit AUTHOR INTERVIEW for Where You Are and How to Get There by Nolan Ryan Recker

About the Book

Book: Where You Are & How to Get There

Author: Nolan Ryan Recker

Genre: Lifestyle

Release date: August 4, 2022

Have you ever had the thought or asked yourself the question, “How did I get here?”

You know, the kind of question examining the indirect decisions and circumstances that led you to the point life that you even need to ask such a question.

One of the oldest questions ever recorded in human history speaks to this very question we ask ourselves in moments of doubt. What if that ancient question was a question we ought to ask ourselves on a regular basis?

Journey with me as we wrestle with a question that if meant for us, today, would change everything about we view the life we choose to live.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Nolan’s toughest and rewarding opportunities are being a husband and a father. As a husband and a father, Nolan wants his family members to discover and live a flourishing life. Nolan’s life experience has covered the spectrum from being a camp counselor to a school teacher to a custodian to a Lead Pastor of a church. This, is why he writes. If he wrestles with the ideas he writes about, maybe others wrestle with the same things, and if they do, would they benefit from a different perspective? He’s honored to listen to anyone who graces him with their time to tell their story; especially if it involves coffee or pizza.

More from Nolan

Hi there! The name’s Nolan & I love this book.

Seriously, it was a labor of love.

Sometimes writing for the sake of the enjoyment and scrutiny of others can lead to some pretty sad writing days. One of my favorite writers recently said something along these lines, “Sometimes, writing is opening up a blank word processor, staring at it for eight hours, closing the processor, and not writing a thing. It still counts!”

For me, I used to seek perfection in much of what I attempted to do. I wouldn’t try something if the odds weren’t favorable. It wasn’t until I learned that life is a lot like staring at a blank word processor. Even though I didn’t accomplish anything on a specific day or season of life, the fact that I showed up is what counts.

Learning to live life in this way. Discovering rhythms of creating, rest, consuming, pain, work, play, purpose, and my people; helped me to rediscover a life-story worth living.

A life-story worth writing.

I am so many things and wear so many different “hats,” but first and foremost, I am a loved human being, created in the Image of a loving and creative God.

I enjoy being a husband and a father.

I love the passion of writing.

When something comes together, there is no greater treasure than to put something into the world that brightens someone else’s experience of this life.

Wearing the “hats” of Pastor, Teacher, Coach, Friend, Advocate, etc. time and I again I would have conversations with people regarding the very things you will read in “Where You Are & How To Get There.”

We are all on this life journey together, and I am glad to journey on with all of you.

Author Interview:

What role does God play in your writing career?

Simply, it’s a partnership. God, for some reason or another made an intentional choice

to create humanity in His image, worth with and through humanity, drew near to

humanity in human form, and empowers us by His Spirit into all things Kingdom.

Certainly, we all get things twisted along the way, but if the pursuit is love and service

toward one another, then my writing is a partnership with that vision. I write because I

want to serve others, to encourage them on their life’s journey.

What has been your favorite book that you’ve written? Why?

This one! Easy answer. Ha! Seriously though, this is my favorite because of my growth

as a writer and creator. I look forward to my next book because it will be built upon the

growth and maturity forged in the process of writing this book.

Do you have a team or do you manage all aspects of writing by yourself? How

do you balance writing, marketing, social media, etc.?

At this point in my professional writing journey, I do a lot of the heavy lifting. I have

leaned on contributors from Fiverr. I connected with a publicity team and will utilize

multiple people for their marketing efforts to get the word out there. Writing is my

favorite part, but I am taking the other aspects as a challenge to grow in my experience

and knowledge.

What projects are you working on currently?

Now that the book is done and out there, I am working on an eCourse to accompany it.

Provide a different format for people to experience the book. In addition to the eCourse,

I will record an audiobook version too. I really like audiobooks read by the author, so

that is what I will do!

Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you think that helps (or hinders) your

writing?

I am an introvert! Or to really complicate things, I lean “omnivert.” As I have flexed the

introvert and extrovert muscles, I have become more aware of my tendencies based on

the situation I am in. Sometimes being around people or in a meeting breathes life into

me. Other times, I rely on my “me-time” to disconnect and recharge. All that to say, I am

learning to find new rhythms of rest. Sometimes when I write, I prefer to be in a room by

myself in silence while other times, I will listen to music. Sometimes I will put a show or

movie on in the background. Sometimes I will go to a coffee shop and be around people

while I write. The spontaneity helps and hinders based on the level of my “social

battery.”

Thanks for connecting today.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to focus on seeing

JESUS in the EVERYDAY?”

Would you like to be a part of a membership where everyday you are pointed back to God and seeing Him in your everyday life?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, I invite you to come check it out!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 9

Texas Book-aholic, September 10

A Reader’s Brain, September 11 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 13

Splashes of Joy, September 14 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 16

Spoken from the Heart, September 17 (Author Interview)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 19

For the Love of Literature, September 20 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Cats in the Cradle Blog, September 22

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Nolan is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the book!!

 

Dangerous Beauty Review

Dangerous Beauty was the first book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be the last. It was haunting and realistic and beautifully written. The author was careful to tone down the violence and horror that one would experience with human trafficking while still getting her point across.  I don’t believe this book would cause one to have triggers from violence in their past because of how beautifully it was written.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.