Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Nephilim Virus By John Prather

I received this book from Adams PR Group and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description 

Nick Reese wakes from a three-year coma to find the world he once knew is gone. An ancient virus has infected two-thirds of the world's population, turning humans into either incredibly intelligent super-humans or large and indestructible animalistic creatures. For the survivors, there is no government, no antidote, and no safety. With the help of a beautiful hematologist named Faith and a man they call the Commander, Nick must survive long enough to discover the origin of the virus and learn how his blood could hold the key to a cure. But he has to do it while being hunted by the infected. And failure means the extinction of the human race.
Author and Hollywood actor John Prather intertwines history and science to create a plausible post-apocalyptic tale. The Nephilim Virus is an intense thriller implementing spiritual ideas. The Nephilim Virus is a nonstop race against time from beginning to end.

My Thoughts: 

The Nephilim Virus is John Prather's debut book and it is FANTASTIC!! I really enjoy reading new writers first books and this one if NO exception. I would classify this book as Christian Medical and Science Fiction. I don't read much of Science Fiction but I am glad I gave this book a chance. John Prather writes with authority on The Bible, medicine especially hematology, and survival. I have to say I could NOT put this book down and I know that I haven't read a book this fast in a while. From cover to cover this book grabbed a hold of me and kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the in depth explanations of the scriptures about the Nephilim, I really learned a lot and found John Prather's interpretation very interesting. I found John Prather's style of writing unique, especially the short chapters, gives more suspense and the feeling of being on the edge of your seat. He has also assembled a great cast of characters in this book.  The main characters in this book are well written and real. I have a hard time trying to pick just one but I am going to say Nick Reese is my favorite. From the time he woke up from the coma and getting hit with the new world reality, Nick took it all in and wanted to help. His strength and his faith are admirable. I really don't feel I can do justice to this book.  This is one of those books that will stay with me for a while. I really hope there are more books to follow this one. Really left me wanting more. I cannot say enough good about this book. This is a must read, especially if you enjoy Christian Suspense, Medical thriller, and/or Science fiction, you have to read it. I cannot wait to read more from John Prather, I have found a new must read author.
 I give this book 5+ STARS. Please check out the information below to learn more about this book and this author



Q&A with John Prather
Author of “The Nephilim Virus”

 Q: What inspired you to write “The Nephilim Virus”?

A: I always had this idea for a story where two thirds of the world was infected with a blood disease, but I never knew how I was going to tell it. There are several obscure verses in Genesis 6 about the Nephilim, a race of beings created from the sons of god sleeping with the daughters of men and that passage always fascinated me. One day, I decided to put those two ideas together and tell a story where I got to imagine what the world would look like if that race of super humans were still around.
I have been a writer and lover of stories ever since I was young. My grandfather was a wonderful storyteller and I used to listen to his stories over and over to learn the rhythm and pace and punch line of a good story. I had dozens of unfinished stories lying around, but I never sat down and made myself finish one. Then in 2013, I decided it was time I finished a manuscript. And I did. And it was bad. But it showed me I could finish one. Then I had the idea for The Nephilim Virus, so I started writing that in 2014 as a short story. I knew I had to get the idea out of my head or it wouldn’t leave me alone. As I kept writing, the story kept coming. Five months or so later, I had another finished manuscript. This one seemed publishable. Now, almost four years later, here we are.

Q: What do you hope readers will experience with this novel?

A: All the great themes, like redemption and sacrifice and love, of all the great stories are just tiny versions of the greatest story, God’s story. That is the reason a reader can feel them in his or her soul—regardless if the work is Christian or non-Christian. I want readers to connect to the greatest story by reading a book that has little glimpses of that story woven into it. The overall theme of the book is the idea that every human has been infected with a blood disease, but there is a cure. I want readers to be entertained while subconsciously connecting to the truth —sometimes in ways they might not even realize.

Q: In addition to being an author, you are also an actor and model. How does that affect your work as a writer?

A: Working in the entertainment industry allows me to continually learn about people. Being an actor is a great way for me to be in touch with my own emotions and internal motivations and also to see and feel my fellow performers’ emotions and motivations. Everyone has tics and mannerisms that are specific to them and I feel being aware of these individual characteristics helps me create strong characters for my stories. It has also helps me hone the art of storytelling to see how other artists tell their own stories, whether they are writers, photographers, actors, directors, or whatever.


Q: Why do you believe this novel will appeal to both Christians as well as non-Christians?

A: My all-time favorite author is C.S. Lewis and he said something that has always stuck with me. He said, “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent.” The novel will appeal to Christians who like stories that can be taken seriously by the world while still holding deeper truths. Sometimes “Christian” entertainment can avoid or sugar-coat real life topics that people deal with every day. This novel is one a Christian could enjoy and pass on to their friends who might not read something blatantly Christian. The novel has no cussing or sex, but at the same time, it has death and villains and adventure. It shows the battle between good and evil without being offensive on one hand or preachy on the other. Non-Christians will enjoy the book because it reads like a movie or a Netflix series. It has short chapters and short sentences and lots of cliffhangers. The deeper truths are hidden just below the surface so a non-Christian could read it simply for its entertainment value and not realize the Christian themes, imagery, and symbolism right away. The Nephilim Virus doesn’t talk overtly about God, but you can see Him throughout the work, similar to the book of Esther in the Bible.

Q: How difficult is it to live your faith in the entertainment industry?

A: Being a Christian is the norm in the South. Everyone has a church, even if they never go to church. In the South, it costs you very little to be a Christian. But in Hollywood, it costs you a lot. Christians are the enemy out here. No one understands them. The good thing about that is that it cuts out the lukewarm Christians. Out here, if you aren’t deep with God, you will soon be done with Him because it costs too much. I’ve been to countries where faith costs much more than it ever will here, but it probably costs more to be a Christian in Hollywood than it does anywhere else in the United States. Being a follower of God in L.A. can get you ostracized, fired, friendless, and broke. For example, I literally got screamed at by a casting director because I turned down a role that I wasn’t comfortable doing. He screamed at me about how the role could make my career and how I was a moron and other unrepeatable things. And that was one of the more tame encounters I’ve had with someone who doesn’t understand my worldview.
 Another difficulty of having faith in Hollywood is that, as an actor, you often don’t get to see the whole project for which you are auditioning. The small part of the script that they show you could be acceptable, but you don’t know what overall story they are telling. So you really have to trust God to keep you away from the wrong projects. The thing people outside of Hollywood don’t understand is the difficulty of the industry. Even someone who has no morals and no qualms about doing anything in any project has a one in a billion shot of making it. Being a Christian further narrows their odds by being an outcast who refuses to do something or represent something that is against their morals. I often think of Hollywood as America’s version of “the gates of hell” that Jesus talked about. Christians out here are the tip of the spear. They are in the hottest spot. They need lots of support. But that’s ok because Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail.

Q: Talk about why you and your wife decided to be foster parents.

A: My wife and I met on a mission trip in Brazil where we took a medical boat down the Amazon river. That is another story for another time, but one of the first things we connected on was our desire to build a family through adoption as well as biologically. We were both big believers in adoption. We also wanted to try to save a kid who wouldn’t have a great chance at life without us. We think adoption is a wonderful thing in all its forms, but we wanted to take a child from a situation where they had no hope of a family otherwise. We aren’t rich, and we don’t have a lot, but we do have a heart for children without a family. So we decided to adopt out of the California foster care system. We were very naive as to the difficulty of that process, but we started taking foster classes and getting certified two months after we got married. We planned on having our own children first and then coming back to adopt when the time was right. It is a very long story, but God had other plans. We ended up bringing a little foster boy into our home in order to adopt him. He was later given back to a family member. Giving up my son was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Two months later, we brought a little girl into our home. We brought her home from the hospital and she just became a one-year-old. We are currently in the process of trying to adopt her, and everything looks good so far, but things could change in an instant. It breaks my heart and scares me to death that a social worker could call tomorrow and say, “pack up your daughter, I’m coming to get her and you will never see her again.” The foster system is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my entire life, and I hope that one day I will be in a position to help make changes in the system. Until then, I’m very open and write about our journey in my blog in hopes of helping other people and shedding light on the subject. God willing we will adopt our daughter shortly after our twins are born. Then, in a few more years, we will try to adopt another child from the system.



Q: As a sought-after model, you obviously keep yourself very fit. How do you believe your physical health impacts your spiritual well-being?

A: I believe the physical body and spiritual body are closely linked. As a Christian I believe that God himself lives inside the human body. God’s spirit should permeate every part of a person’s life, including the physical and mental aspects. The Bible says to love the Lord with all your heart and soul and strength —mind, soul, and body. I think sometimes Christians emphasize the mind and soul, but neglect the body. But God asks for all three. Your physical life is your spiritual life. You couldn’t say, “my mouth is eating donuts, but my body uses it like broccoli.” It doesn’t work that way. The outside begins on the inside.
In addition to the close link of your physical life and your spiritual life there is the idea that the discipline of building your body by exercising builds discipline in other areas as well. It builds self-control (another spiritual trait). The strength to build the discipline to work out every day translates to the strength and discipline to read your Bible and pray every day. God told Joshua four times in three verses to be strong and courageous. Paul often used physical examples to teach spiritual truth. When Samson failed spiritually, he also lost his physical strength.  God asks for all of you. Every piece. Body and soul.

About John Prather:
 John Prather grew up with seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, on a steady diet of BBQ and southern values. After graduating from the University of Memphis, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at the entertainment industry. He has been featured in TV series such as Scream Queens on Fox as well as WWE Raw. His commercial work has included ads for FedEx, Old Navy, Burger King, and Ruffles, in addition to various other major corporations. As a model, he has been featured in national magazines such as People, GQ, Men’s Health, as well as on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine, among others. John and his wife are expecting twins in early 2018, and hope to adopt their foster daughter very soon.

For more information, visit www.JohnTPrather.com.


For interviews, contact:
Gina Adams
615-776-1590
Gina@AdamsPRGroup.com






Endorsements for “The Nephilim Virus”

“This book would make a great movie! It’s a cohesive, fun ride through some of my most beloved topics—science, the supernatural, and the apocalypse.” —Megan Fox, Actress – Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jennifer’s Body, This Is 40

“Get ready to wake up and find yourself in a nightmare of epic proportions. Each page is an adrenaline-infused adventure that will leave you breathless as each paragraph is another jolt moving you toward the heart-pounding conclusion. Blending biblical history with modern high-tech thrills, John Prather emerges as a master storyteller with a tale that you won’t be able to read fast enough. The Nephilim Virus is infectious and the only cure is to read this amazing story.” —Jeff Dixon, Bestselling author – Dixon on Disney series

“This story isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a blood-pumping thriller sure to make your heart rate spike. The Nephilim Virus has villains that will make your palms sweat and a plot so real you’ll be looking over your shoulder for Nephilim while asking your doctor to test you for the virus. This is an amazing book!” —Kenny Schwartz, Emmy-nominated film and television writer –American Housewife; Modern Family; American Dad!; Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place





For interviews, contact: Gina Adams
615-776-1590 (direct)
888-253-3622 (toll free)
Gina@AdamsPRGroup.com
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Press Release
Actor and GQ model finds success in Hollywood despite hostility toward his Christian faith

His debut novel seeks to bridge the divide between Christian and
non-Christian entertainment

 Los Angeles, CA −Actor, model, and author John Prather is outspoken about his Christian faith, even though it has cost him well-paying jobs in Hollywood. But he has found success in Los Angeles, nonetheless, landing roles in two television series as well as being featured in national magazines such as GQ, People, Men’s Health, and Muscle and Fitness. But with his debut novel, “The Nephilim Virus” (Deep River Books), he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his favorite author, C.S. Lewis, as well as his not-so-famous grandfather.

“My grandfather was a wonderful storyteller and I used to listen to his stories over and over to learn the rhythm and pace and punch line of a good story,” says Prather, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. “ Being an actor is a great way for me to be in touch with my own emotions and internal motivations, and also to watch my fellow performers’ emotions and motivations. Everyone has tics and mannerisms that are specific to them, and being aware of these individual characteristics helps me create strong characters for my stories. C.S. Lewis said something that has always stuck with me. He said, "What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent." 

“The Nephilim Virus” is based on some obscure verses in Genesis 6 about the Nephilim, a race of beings created from the sons of God sleeping with the daughters of men. Written in short chapters and with a plethora of cliffhangers, the novel is about the world being infected with a blood disease, and desperately seeking a cure. Prather says he wrote the story with the intention of appealing to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

“It shows the battle between good and evil without being offensive on one hand or preachy on the other,” says Prather. “Non-Christians will enjoy the book because it reads like a movie or a Netflix series. The deeper truths are hidden just below the surface so a non-Christian could read it simply for its entertainment value and not realize the Christian themes, imagery, and symbolism right away. The novel doesn’t talk overtly about God, but you can see Him throughout the work, similar to the book of Esther in the Bible.”

As proof of that claim, “The Nephilim Virus” has been endorsed by film star, Megan Fox, who said the book would “make a great movie” due to its combination of science, the supernatural and the apocalypse. And while Prather would be happy if the book were made into a film, he is grounded in the knowledge of what he’s up against in Tinseltown.





THE NEPHILIM VIRUS

“Being a Christian is the norm in the South where I grew up. Everyone has a church, even if they never go to church. In the South, it costs you very little to be a Christian, but in Hollywood, it costs you a lot. Being a follower of God in Hollywood can get you ostracized, fired, friendless, and broke. I often think of Hollywood as America’s version of ‘the gates of hell’ that Jesus talked about. Christians out here are the tip of the spear. They need a lot of support. But that’s ok, because Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail.”

About John Prather:

 John Prather grew up with seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, on a steady diet of BBQ and southern values. After graduating from the University of Memphis, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at the entertainment industry. He has been featured in TV series such as Scream Queens on Fox as well as WWE Raw. His commercial work has included ads for FedEx, Old Navy, Burger King, and Ruffles, in addition to various other major corporations. As a model, he has been featured in national magazines such as People, GQ, Men’s Health, as well as on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine, among others. John and his wife are expecting twins in early 2018, and hope to adopt their foster daughter very soon. For more information, visit www.JohnTPrather.com.




Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Melody of The Soul: Music of Hope Book One By Liz Tolsma

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description: 

Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.
It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.
Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.
Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.


My Thoughts: 

 The Melody of The Soul is the first book in Liz Tolsma's latest series and it is fantastic. Liz Tolsma is one of my favorite authors, so I was excited to read it. The Melody of The Soul is a Christian Historical Fiction which is one of my favorite genres. Liz Tolsma is a Wisconsin author, so I find a kinship with her as a lifelong resident of Wisconsin. The cover of this book is just gorgeous, definitely catches the eye. I found myself taken in from cover to cover and everything in between. I couldn't put this book down. Liz Tolsma writes with authority about our world in 1943 especially Prague and Europe, music, being a Jewish Christian during this time, Nazi ideas and policies, and the risks taken by people during this time.  The Melody of The Soul taught me about the Nazi invasion of Prague and the thousands of people who were deported and ultimately killed. I never realized the atrocities that happened in Prague to it's people and it's history. I found the characters in this book well written and real people. I found myself drawn to Horst Engel. He is a a Nazi officer who didn't agree with German ideals or the Nazi way of life. He found himself questioning everything his father taught him especially after meeting Anna and her grandmother. Horst puts their well being above his own life. He turns to God instead of worshiping the Nazi Party and in doing this he finds a peace he has never felt before. He turns to the teachings of his mother and does whatever he can do try to make things right. This book really touched me, a story that will stay with me for a long time. I cannot say enough good about this book or do it justice! I found myself crying through this book, happy tears and sad tears. This book truly brings up a myriad of emotions, which makes for a fantastic story. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed in this book or this author!! I cannot wait to read the other books in this series! 
 I give this book 5 STARS. 

I apologize to Litfuse Publicity and Liz Tolsma for not posting this review on time. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Liza's Second Chance: The Amish Charm Bakery Book One By Molly Jebber

I received this book for no charge from Celebrate Lit and the author in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 


Book Description: 

The sweet welcome of straight-from-the-oven sugar cookies and hot cocoa. The warm invitation of apple pie and fresh cold milk. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is the heart of a close-knit, faith-nourished community, where people can find a refuge, a place to start again—and love that can make their lives new . . .

For Liza Schrock, the bakery her late husband bought was an unexpected haven from their unhappy arranged marriage. Now she's perfectly content to cook up mouth-watering delights for her hometown, give to those alone or in trouble—and remain happily unwed. And though she's willing to give handsome, newly-arrived widower Jacob Graber all the help he desperately needs, she is sure they can stay just friends . . .

But as Liza also tries to aid Jacob's troubled teenage daughter, she starts caring far too much for his gentle ways and steadfast hopes. And when a wrenching secret she must keep comes between them, can Liza find the faith to risk opening her heart again—and reach for one more chance at real love?  


My Thoughts: 

Liza's Second Chance is the first book in Molly Jebber's latest series, The Amish Charm Bakery and it is great! Liza's Second Chance is the first book by Molly Jebber I have had the pleasure of reading. This is a combination of my two favorite genres, Amish and Historical Fiction. Molly Jebber writes with authority about the Amish and their lifestyle, the world in 1912 especially Ohio, baking, abuse, arranged marriage, and love. Liza's Second Chance caught my attention, especially the cover art. From the start I found myself drawn into this book, keeping my attention until the end. This story talks about being in an abusive marriage, which is something that affects all people of all walks of life but this is the first time I have read an Amish Fiction book that covered this topic. Molly Jebber does this topic justice!  I enjoyed Molly Jebber's writing style, definitely put me in the book as the events unfolded. The characters in this book are very well written, real people dealing with very real issues. I found myself drawn to Liza Schrock. She found herself in a marriage that was unhappy, but found solace in the bakery her late husband bought her and coming up with the recipes everyone loves. As no one else knows the abuse she endured, she had to smile and pretend that her life was good. I found her faith and strength to be admirable. This is a great book by a great author. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Historical fiction, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more in this wonderful series. I give this book 4 STARS. 



Liza's Second Chance FB Banner copy

About the Book

7-19-2017 from John S. Liza's Second Chance 

Title: Liza’s Second Chance  
Author: Molly Jebber  
Genre: Christian Amish Fiction 
  Release Date: January 30, 2018  

The sweet welcome of straight-from-the-oven sugar cookies and hot cocoa. The warm invitation of apple pie and fresh cold milk. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is the heart of a close-knit, faith-nourished community, where people can find a refuge, a place to start again—and love that can make their lives new . . . For Liza Schrock, the bakery her late husband bought was an unexpected haven from their unhappy arranged marriage. Now she’s perfectly content to cook up mouth-watering delights for her hometown, give to those alone or in trouble—and remain happily unwed. And though she’s willing to give handsome, newly-arrived widower Jacob Graber all the help he desperately needs, she is sure they can stay just friends . . . But as Liza also tries to aid Jacob’s troubled teenage daughter, she starts caring far too much for his gentle ways and steadfast hopes. And when a wrenching secret she must keep comes between them, can Liza find the faith to risk opening her heart again—and reach for one more chance at real love?

Click here to purchase your copy

About the Author

6-10-2016 leaning good shot greenshirt

Molly Jebber’s books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many other media sites. She’s tours and speaks about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and about her books. She loves God, her family, friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit www.mollyjebber.com for a complete list of her books and speaking events.

Guest Post from Molly Jebber

Here’s a little about Liza’s story: Hello Friends, I loved writing about Liza. She has a lot to overcome in this book, but her faith in God, and compassion for others helps her to arrive at her decisions through difficult and happy times. I enjoyed visiting Charm, and it makes for a good setting for this story. The bakery is fun with all the sugary pies, pastries, and breads. The unique customers, and the place where friends are made, and where trouble happens. Most of all, I hope I’ve done a good job entertaining you as you read “Liza’s Second Chance”.

Blog Stops

A Rup Life, January 30
Books n Baubles, January 30
margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, January 30 ( Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, February 1
Splashes of Joy, February 1
Mary Hake, February 4
SusanLovesBooks, February 5
Carpe Diem, February 5
Reading is my Super Power, February 5 (interview)
Bibliophile Reviews, February 7
A Greater Yes, February 7
Pursuing Stacie, February 7
Texas Book-aholic, February 8
cherylbbookblog, February 10
Red Headed Book Lady, February 10
Bigreadersite, February 10
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 11
A Reader’s Brain, February 12

Giveaway


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To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a $75 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
https://promosimple.com/ps/c6d1 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mending Broken Branches: When God Reclaims Your Dysfunctional Family Tree By Elizabeth Oates

I received this book from Kregel Publications for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 

How to invite God to step in and break the cycle of dysfunction

Elizabeth Oates is no stranger to a dysfunctional family. She may look like the quintessential soccer mom now, but her childhood was full of uncertainty, abandonment, and many very dark days. Without a positive role model, an emotionally stable family member, or a consistent community, she had to forge her way ahead just to survive day to day. It wasn't until she was preparing for a family of her own that she began to learn the lessons that would lead to a more hopeful future for herself, her husband, and her children.

Now she shares those lessons with other women struggling to create healthy families despite their own unhealthy family foundations. Through introspective and probing questions, Mending Broken Branches guides the reader to accept her past, understand her present, and find a vision for her future. The interactive design includes space to work through the journaling prompts provided, as well as extra-wide margins for notes of reflection while reading.

With the gentle voice of a trusted mentor, Elizabeth encourages and equips women to cultivate strong, flourishing, God-honoring lives, and to break the cycle of dysfunction.



My Thoughts:

Mending Broken Branches:When God Reclaims Your Dysfunctional Family Tree is the first book by Elizabeth Oates I have had the pleasure of reading. This book really spoke to me from the cover to cover. I loved the cover art and found it fitting for what was found inside. From the first page until the last, this book spoke to me, helping me see that no matter what I matter to Him. The scripture was spot on and I found myself drawn to Psalm 139. The Psalm puts who we are and how much He has done even before we are born. Elizabeth Oates offers complete transparency into her life, her struggles, and her acceptance of God and His love for her. I found myself relating to Elizabeth Oates on many struggles, especially believing my worth. I definitely found myself being honest with myself and God. This is a book I plan to reread more than once. Mending Broken Branches is a book that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with who they are and reconciling the past, seeing the present, and hoping for the future.  I cannot wait to read more from Elizabeth Oates.  I give this book 5+ Stars. 
 
 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 of Once Upon A Dickens Christmas By Michelle Griep


Bleakly Manor COVER

I received this book from Michelle Griep and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.
What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Book Description: 

12 Days at Bleakly Manor is the first book in Michelle Griep's latest series, Once Upon A Dickens Christmas, and it was great! Michelle Griep is a new to me author and I am so glad I got the chance to read and review this book. I am not a huge fan of Christmas books but this one intrigued me. This is a Christian Historical Mystery Book, a retelling of Dickens A Christmas Carol.  Michelle Griep writes with authority about England in 1851,the hierarchy of this time, English Manor homes, prison system of that time, and love. I loved the cover art of the book and the story inside. I enjoyed Michelle Griep's writing, I felt like I was there in 1851, at Bleakly Manor, in England, and part of this book. I love books where I am transported into the story. The characters are an interesting group of people, with all different personalities and ways of life.  I personally found myself drawn to Clara and Ben. Their story goes full circle from love, to hate,to forgiveness, and back to love. The struggle they endured are real struggles we face in real life. Such a great cast of characters. I could not put this book down, it grabbed me from the first page and kept me guessing until the end. The suspense and mystery had me holding my breath in places, laughing in others, and crying is a few other places. Michelle Griep wove mystery/suspense, love, and faith into this wonderful book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Victorian Era writers, especially Charles Dickens, Mystery, and intrigue. This book will not disappoint. I cannot wait to read more from Michelle Griep, I have found a new to me author to add to my list of authors. I give this book 5 STARS.



12 days at bleakly manor copy 



About the Book

Bleakly Manor COVER


Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.
What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Click Here To Purchase 



About the Author

unnamedMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com , or stalk her on Facebook Instagram Twitter and/or Pinterest


Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor
Guest post by Michelle Griep
Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS
Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY
Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS
“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES
Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS
Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.
And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.
And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14
Bukwurmzzz, December 14
Faery Tales Are Real, December 14
A Reader’s Brain, December 15
Have A Wonderful Day, December 15
Texas Book-aholic, December 16
Carpe Diem, December 16
Cafinated Reads, December 16
Just the Write Escape, December 17
A Greater Yes, December 17
Remembrancy, December 17
Allofakindmom, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18
amandainpa, December 19
Kat’s Corner Books, December 19
Mommynificent, December 19
Bookworm Mama, December 20
Vicky Sluiter, December 20
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)
My Writer’s Life, December 23
Janices book reviews, December 23
For The Love of Books, December 23
Red Headed Book Lady, December 25
Bibliophile Reviews, December 26
Blogging With Carol,December 26
Mary Hake, December 26



Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8


Monday, December 18, 2017

For The Love Of Books: Christmas Embers By Chautona Havig

For The Love Of Books: Christmas Embers By Chautona Havig: I received this book from Celebrate Lit Blogging Program and Chautona Havig for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The...

Christmas Embers By Chautona Havig

I received this book from Celebrate Lit Blogging Program and Chautona Havig for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description: 

It's a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you think you've hidden it. Emily Byrne sits in her daughter's classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergartner's as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn't sure where her Christmas project will take her. Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose--find her son's father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she's well aware that the news will cause waves, but what's a mother to do? As these women join forces to search for Joey's father--a Rockland area pastor, no less-- Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can't quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her. Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn't confident she'll find the boy's father in time--if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this--an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes. A mother's love. A boy's confidence. A family's faith. A preacher's failure. Is redemption even possible anymore? Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.


My Thoughts: 

Christmas Embers is the latest book by Chautona Havig and it is mind blowing. As a fan of Chautona Havig, I couldn't wait to read this book. Her books are thought provoking and deal with real life situations that you don't find in a lot of books. Christmas Embers is not your typical Christmas Story. The title gives the impression of a feel good story but once you read the description you find out it is far from it. Chautona Havig brings to life a story of how sin does have a way of coming out into the world.  I cannot begin to give this story justice but I will try. Chautona Havig writes with authority on Kindergarten children, illness, prostitution, adultery, investigating skills, and forgiveness. I could not put this book down. I found myself drawn to it from the start and held me until the last page. I found myself feeling a myriad of emotions, I found myself crying in many parts, convicted of my own sins and the impact it has on life. The characters are real people dealing with real issues. I found myself drawn to Davia and her plight to do what is right by her son. Her determination and drive to have a better life for her and her son is inspiring.   This book really brings issues out in the open that need to be, adultery is still a taboo subject. I really found myself examining my life and where I fall short in my life. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 5+ STARS. 

I would like to apologize to Chautona Havig and Celebrate Lit for the lateness of this review. 





celebrate-lit-christmas-embers

About the Book

Christmas Embers Cover-sm
 Name of book: Christmas Embers
 Author: Chautona Havig
 Genre: Contemporary Christmas  
Release Date: November 25, 2016 It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it. Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her. Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose–find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do? As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father–a Rockland area pastor, no less– Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her. Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time–if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this–an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes. A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore? Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.
Click Here to Purchace Your Copy

About the Author

media-headshot Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles

“I think my husband is having an affair.” An explanation followed. Look, I tend to be one who assumes the best of others—to a fault even. I read the “evidence” and frankly could see it going either way. It’s hard to tell across thousands of miles. While others on the message board saw red flag after red flag—and frankly, I did, too—I also saw perfectly innocent explanations for things. It’s a curse sometimes—that ability to see both sides of an issue. I cautioned against assumptions no one would want other people to make of themselves. And I prayed she was wrong. She wasn’t. It wasn’t the first time I’d come face to face with infidelity. As a child, there was an extended family member. As a newlywed, one of my wedding party—then another. Then another. The excuses, the justifications. Friends and I went to confront a sister in Christ on her affair with her husband’s best friend. We foolishly asked “what happened?” regarding her marriage. Her words: “We drifted apart.” I wanted to scream the words that battered my brain and heart. “Then row back together!” But over the years, it just grew worse. One by one, wives and husbands tossed aside vows made to a brother or sister in Christ—vows made before the Lord—in favor of what sometimes were serial affairs. Abuse. Horror. I’ve prayed women I love through court cases, medical visits, and disclosures from children no mother should ever have to hear. I’ve prayed for men I didn’t even like because of the pain their wives inflicted each time she left them alone with the kids. He knew. He always knew. Adultery is real. It’s ugly. And there’s absolutely a cure for it. Jesus. 100% surrender to Jesus. But as long as we rely on those little loops on the back of our boots instead of the saving, healing, strengthening power of Jesus, we’re just as vulnerable as the next person. And that’s why I wrote Christmas Embers. I took every heartbreaking story I’d observed over the years and put in each character for a reason. Every scene, every plot point, every twist—I put them exactly how and where they are for a reason. They’re there as a warning. This isn’t your lighthearted Christmas novel. Some have suggested I shouldn’t have set it at Christmastime. But you know what? Over half the disclosures I’ve ever heard of happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I couldn’t get the idea of Joey’s story out of my head. And to write his story, it had to be at Christmas. Let me say it again. While Christmas may not seem like the optimal time for a hard-hitting book like this, I had to do it. Adultery is reaching epidemic proportions in the church. There’s a solution. His name is Jesus.

Blog Stops

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, December 5
Mary Hake, December 5
Daysong Reflections, December 6
Fiction Aficionado, December 7
Genesis 5020, December 7
Blogging With Carol, December 8
The Power of Words, December 8
Bigreadersite, December 8
A Greater Yes, December 9
Radiant Light, December 9
Just Jo’Anne, December 10
For The Love of Books, December 10
Aryn the Libraryan, December 11
Quiet Quilter, December 13
Allofakindmom, December 14
Texas Book-aholic, December 14
Pursuing Stacie, December 14
Pause for Tales, December 15
margaret kazmierczak, December 15
Red Headed Book Lady, December 16
Purposeful Learning, December 16
Janices book reviews, December 17
Christian Bookaholic, December 17
Karen Sue Hadley, December 18
Remembrancy, December 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!