Friday, October 21, 2016

After September By Stephanie Smith

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Blogging Program and the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



Book Description:

From the outside, Rose Davis had the perfect life: a long marriage to a successful politician, two grown children away at college, and respect within her community. When she suddenly finds herself divorced, she turns her back on God.

In an effort to reclaim her life and pride, she spends the summer in the Caribbean. Her plan does not include meeting Patrick, the charismatic local doctor with a tragic past who ignites a passion both unexpected and thrilling.

As she begins to open up to love, doubt and fear creep in. Once again she finds herself broken hearted, left on her own to pick up the pieces. It’s only when she experiences the unmistakable love and grace from the very One she turned away from that Rose realizes what she needed most was there waiting for her all along.


My Thoughts:

After September is Stephanie Smith's debut book and it is great! As a huge fan of debut authors I found myself drawn to this book. I am not usually one to read pure romance books, but I am so glad I read this one. Stephanie Smith writes with authority on marriage, divorce, politics, empty nest, the Caribbean, loss, and faith. I found myself drawn into this book from the start.  I found the characters to be interesting and real. The characters lives are messy and very realistic. I enjoyed all of the characters but my favorite would have to Rose, her story was a beautiful and tragic. I found her strength and courage inspiring, especially her decision to sell her home and go to the Caribbean.  Her journey to find new love and come back into God's arms is beautiful. As someone who is married 20+ years and have 2 children I really connected with Rose. I love Stephanie Smith's style of writing, I truly found myself there with Rose, watching the story unfold. I really enjoyed this book and have found myself a new author to add to my list!! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Romance books, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Stephanie Smith! I give this book 4.5 STARS.



 After September Banner
 
To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

AfterSeptemberCoverArt

From the outside, Rose Davis had the perfect life: a long marriage to a successful politician, two grown children away at college, and respect within her community. When she suddenly finds herself divorced, she turns her back on God.

In an effort to reclaim her life and pride, she spends the summer in the Caribbean. Her plan does not include meeting Patrick, the charismatic local doctor with a tragic past who ignites a passion both unexpected and thrilling.

As she begins to open up to love, doubt and fear creep in. Once again she finds herself broken hearted, left on her own to pick up the pieces. It’s only when she experiences the unmistakable love and grace from the very One she turned away from that Rose realizes what she needed most was there waiting for her all along.

About the Author

Stephanie Smith



Stephanie’s love of the written word began long before she could read. As a child she would hold a newspaper in hand and move her fingers along the page, pretending to read along.

By the time she was a teenager, she dreamed of writing stories that would touch people’s lives, much like hers had been by so many authors.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys listening to Christian rock music while she writes, spending time with her family, watching British television, or reading YA fantasy novels.

Guest Post from Stephanie Smith

I’m so excited to work with Sandra and Celebrate Lit to launch my debut novel AFTER SEPTEMBER which I’ve come to see as a labor of love and trust in the Lord.

You see, becoming a published author has always been my dream, but every time I’d try to write a novel, the inner critic would kick in and stop me in my tracks. I’d write a few paragraphs before giving up, unhappy with all my written imperfections. So, I continued my day job and the idea of writing a novel, let alone publishing it, became less and less realistic. For some reason I never lost that kernel of hope that it might happen one day. God was speaking to me then, I just didn’t realize it.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After six months of intensive chemotherapy, I was in remission and had the strongest desire to write a novel. At first, the idea was to write a fictional story based on my experience. As I started to write, it just didn’t feel right. I then switched to writing a memoir, but that too fell flat. Frustrated, I gave up on writing once again.

Fast forward to 2013 and the idea of AFTER SEPTEMBER came to me. The premise was about a woman who goes through a divorce, spends a summer in the Caribbean and has a summer fling. The idea was so strong I began to write. I couldn’t help but write. As the story spoke to me, I kept this mantra in my head: “Just write. Just write.” I was finally able to quell my inner critic and nine months later, completed the first draft. Boy did I feel accomplished! Well, the feeling didn’t last very long. After getting feedback from a few beta readers, I re-wrote the entire story in a different point of view.

When I finished I realized I had to put this story in a box. A genre box. Was it women’s fiction? A romance? Christian or secular? After reading more about these genres I realized I’d made a big mistake. I hadn’t identified my brand from the get-go and the story didn’t really fit in any genre. Too secular for the Christian market; too Christian for the secular. It makes sense to me now why the first round of agent queries were declined.

 I began to pray in earnest, seeking God’s will for this story. I felt He’d led me to write Rose’s story and realized my agenda had gotten in the way. Why would God have me write a story with pre-marital sex? The answer is He wouldn’t. Once my heart was satisfied I knew the direction He wanted me to go, I was back to the drawing board. Once again, I re-wrote AFTER SEPTEMBER. This time I kept my Christian viewpoint in mind and after the third re-write the final version was born.

Well, life has a funny way of stopping you in your tracks. I’d begun querying agents for the second version, and in June 2014 my cancer came back.  

You’ve got to be kidding me! Okay, Lord. I trust you. I put my faith in You.

Another six months of intensive chemo put me back in remission. PRAISE GOD! I resumed my agent query and again met with rejection after rejection. This didn’t stop me. By this point I was bound and determined AFTER SEPTEMBER would be released. My hopes were raised when a small publisher I’d have given anything to work with wanted to read the entire manuscript. With baited breath I waited. When the disappointed rejection came, I nearly gave up. But God had other plans. See, when I placed my trust in Him, I had to accept His will, not mine. His time, not mine.

The last on my list to query before going the self-pub route was Desert Breeze Publishing. I submitted my story with the expectation of another rejection. Around January 1st of 2016 I received THE e-mail I’d dreamed about: an offer for a contract. I was in shock. THANK YOU LORD!! Nine months later, AFTER SEPTEMBER has been published. I want to pinch myself. I feel it’s all a dream and I’ll wake up.

A dream that began in my early teens took until my mid-forties to come to fruition. What I’ve realized is writing isn’t a dream but a calling. God knew this and remained patient with me as I finally figured that out. A calling to give women hope while reading a romance novel. Such became my tagline: “stories of life…love..hope”

What I’ve learned from this is to never give up on your dreams. Never stop believing God has something in store for your life, even when it seems like you are living one struggle after another. He is faithful to His promises!

Blog Stops

October 15: Back Yard Reads
October 17: Daysong Reflections
October 18: A Greater Yes
October 19: Pause for Tales
October 20: Quiet Quilter
October 22: Bigreadersite
October 23: Carpe Diem

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Stephanie is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a611

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wild Montana Skies: Montana Rescue Book One By Susan May Warren

I received this book for free from the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Book Description:


Bestselling Author's New Series Delivers Romance and Adventure as an SAR Team Searches for Others--and Finds Themselves
Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.

With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwater's turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?



My Thoughts:

Wild Montana Skies is the first book in Susan May Warren's latest series, Montana Rescue, and it is fantastic.  Susan May Warren is on my Top Ten authors to read so I was very excited to be offered the opportunity to read this book. Susan May Warren writes Christian Fiction and have loved all the books I have read by her and this one is no exception. Susan May Warren writes with authority about: Montana, being a pilot, flying for Search and Rescue, all the aspects of Search and Rescue, and the Country music industry. I found myself unable to put this book down, it grabbed my from the start. The characters in this book are well written and I found I could connect with them. Their lives are not perfect and are easy to relate to. I have to say I loved Kacey and Ben. They are complicated and their relationship is unique. Both of them are overwhelmed by what they left behind and very unsure on parenting and their skills to be parents. Their love for each other is seen from the start but their past issues are still there. The messages of God's love are present throughout this book  Some of the characters are steadfast in their faith, while others like Kacey and Ben do not see themselves worthy of God's love and their faith shaken to the core. I found their journey back to God inspiring and real.   I love Susan May Warren's style of writing. She transitions seamlessly between past and present, which is not a style many authors have mastered. I absolutely love learning new things while I am reading. Also I find myself there, seeing the events unfold. I absolutely love learning new things while I am reading and I learned quite a bit about Search and Rescue, flying, being a pilot, life in Montana, and the different aspects of being in the music industry.  I absolutely love this book and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read the other books in this series.  Check this book out at https://smile.amazon.com/Wild-Montana-Skies-Rescue/dp/0800727436/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.  I give this book 5 STARS.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mary Chosen of God By Diana Wallis Taylor

I received this book  from Celebrate Lit blogging program and the author for no charge.  A favorable review is not required and The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

"Blessed are you, Mary, chosen of God."Mary is ordinary girl from Nazareth. She helps her mother with household chores, she daydreams about a handsome carpenter's son named Joseph, and at night she lies on the roof and contemplates at the stars. But one evening, a heavenly visitor comes with unexpected news;and her life is changed forever. Experience the life of the Messiah from the perspective of his mother, who must place her trust and obedience in Adonai, the Most High, as he fulfills centuries of anticipation in the middle of her daily life. Walk with Mary as she witnesses Yeshua grow, mature, minister, and even crucified;and then raised again, to the kindling of her new faith.



My Thoughts:

Mary Chosen of God is the first book by Diana Wallis Taylor I have read and it is great! This is her latest book that tells the story of Mary from her conception of Jesus to his Ascension into heaven. I am a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction so this book grabbed my attention. I have enjoyed many books that retell the stories in the bible from their perspective. Diana Wallis Taylor writes with authority on the story of Jesus and Mary in the bible, the world during this time, and Mary's love for God and her son.  I really enjoyed Diana Wallis Taylor's unique perspective on one of my favorite stories in the bible. I really felt like I was there with Mary, walking next to her as her story unfolded. This story is beautifully written and really gives a new perspective on this story. I highly recommend this book and author to anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I definitely have found a new author to add to my list. I can't wait to read the other books that Diana Wallis Taylor has written.  I give this book 4 STARS!!


Mary, Chosen of God Banner
 
To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book

MaryChosenofGod_Cover

Blessed are you, Mary, chosen of God.” Mary is ordinary girl from Nazareth. She helps her mother with household chores, she daydreams about a handsome carpenter’s son named Joseph, and at night she lies on the roof and contemplates the stars. But one evening, a heavenly visitor comes with unexpected news—and her life is changed forever. Experience the life of the Messiah from the perspective of his mother, who must place her trust and obedience in Adonai, the Most High, as he fulfills centuries of prophecy in the middle of her daily life. Walk with Mary as she witnesses Yeshua grow, mature, minister, and even be crucified—and then raised again, to the kindling of her new faith.

About the Author

DianaWTaylor_HSRed

Diana Wallis Taylor has written eight biblical novels, including Mary, Chosen of God, Martha, Journey to the Well, Mary Magdalene, Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate, and Ruth, Mother of Kings. Well-known in the Christian book industry for her biblical fiction, her most recent five books have received over 3,000 ratings on Goodreads. Taylor is a former San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild’s “Writer of the Year” and her biblical novels have earned her a variety of awards. Diana lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. They have six grown children and ten grandchildren.

Blog Stops

October 4: Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)
October 5: Proverbial Reads
October 5: I Hope You Dance
October 6: Book by Book
October 10: A Greater Yes
October 10: Back Porch Reads
October 11: The Power of Words
October 12: Book Babble
October 13: Mary Hake
October 14: Splashes of Joy
October 15: Bigreadersite
October 16: Henry Happens

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a gift basket that includes Mary, Ruth, Whitaker House’s study Bible, and The Lord is my Shepherd candle from Abba Anointing Oil! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a5b3

 ‘The Devoted’ iPad Mini Giveaway By Suzanne Woods Fisher

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You’re invited back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred and hopes fulfilled in The Devoted.

Bright, curious, and restless, Ruthie Stoltzfus loves her family but is stuck in a sea of indecision about her future: Should she stay Amish? Or should she leave? She’s done all she can to prepare to go–passed the GED, saved her money–but she can’t quite set her journey into motion.

Patrick Kelly is a young man on a journey of his own. He’s come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to “everything Plain.” Time, to Patrick, is of the essence. Every moment is to be cherished, especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.

Ruthie’s next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back–anything–and Patrick Kelly is getting in his way.

Suzanne is celebrating the release of The Devoted with a special giveaway!

One winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Devoted
  • An iPad Mini 2 16GB
Enter today, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 2. The winner will be announced November 3 on Suzanne's blog.

Enter to win by filling out the form when you click here, or click the graphic above to enter to win.