4 February 2018

Book Review The Calico & Cowboys by Mary Connealy



Description
Love sneaks up on eight couples in the Old West.

The Old West comes to life under the talented pen of bestselling author Mary Connealy. Enjoy a lighthearted ride alongside seven historical and one contemporary cowboys and the women who tame their hearts.

The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.

A Bride Rides Herd
Matt Reeves arrives at his brother’s ranch to find Betsy Harden alone with the little girls during a cattle drive. Will the ladies be too much to handle when Matt steps in for the missing ranch hand?

His Surprise Family
A lonely young rancher orders a mail-order bride and after the vows are spoken, she “surprises” him with her three little brothers. No amount of apologies Meghan McCray gives are going to make Silas Harden, Jr. believe a word she says. Should Silas just build himself another house and let his mail-order family take over the one he’s got?

Homestead on the Range
Widow Elle Winter meets new homesteader Colin Samuelson on the Nebraska prairie, but the attraction between them is soon dampened by the discovery that they have seven children between them. Soon their children are working against them to bring the two families together.

Sophie’s Other Daughter
Dr. Ike Reeves comes home to visit his family only to bring trouble in the form of outlaws who believe he witnessed their latest crime. When the gang traps Ike and his old nemesis, Lauren McClellen, in a cave, they must work together to outsmart the thugs. But will their time together put them in a compromising situation that will threaten both of their good reputations?

The Sweetwater Bride
Debba McClain takes offense at being offered a wedding in exchange for valuable water rights. But she doesn’t like to see a good man’s cattle die of thirst—and the rancher Tanner Harden is rather handsome.

Texas Tea
Luke Reeves has gotten wealthy in the oil business and goes to visit his uncle to convince him to sign over the oil rights to his land. But when he meets his grown up adopted cousin Libby Cooper, he may be forced to give up one dream to win another.

Hope for Christmas
It might be 2016, but Montana is still a mighty rough place to survive the winter. When Silas Harden finds the very pregnant Kelsey Black in a wrecked car surrounded by a pack of wolves in the heart of a blizzard he takes her to his remote home. What will Silas do when the baby decides to come and Kelsey confesses why she was out in such a terrible storm?

My Review
I love Mary's books. This book is a series of novella's that include siblings that have full novels and here we get to know what happens to the siblings that do not have a novel. For example the youngest of Sophie's Daughters, and the Reeve's Boys and even Belle's children. The first novella is totally new characters and the last is a contemporary but the hero is related to the historical characters.
I loved the book I loved seeing what happened to different characters and loved the dangers that Mary always adds to her books. A really good read.

Thanks to Netgalley for my review copy

28 January 2018

Australia Day giveaway

In honour of Australia day 12 authors are giving away a book and a $50 Amazon gift voucher. For Australian readers mostly will be print books and for international readers an ebook.

http://www.iolagoulton.com/paperback-giveaway/

Click here.


Book Review: Cracked Ice Featuring Darlene Franklin


One December night, an ice storm blows through Oklahoma City, leaving thousands without power. Meet the residents of Primrose Apartments. Young, old, alone, in love, prey and predator. What happens when the lights go out? LINDA’S YULETIDE LINKS by Darlene Franklin Linda Turner doesn't mind being homebound. Not as long as her aides arrive on time. Not as long as her life-sustaining machines keep running. But what happens an ice storm makes driving impossible, power unavailable--and her batteries run down? SIBLINGS by Toni Chism Matt and Harry have remained both brothers and friends their whole lives, strengthened by a boyhood vow to never let anything come between them. When an ice storm blows both frosty air and two beautiful women into their midst, will their vow hold to the very end? EVER AFTER by Bill Garrison Kim is starting life over in a new apartment with her three kids, when an intruder breaks in and threatens everything she holds dear. Survival may depend on the one thing she had given up on, her family. VEILED IN ICE by Kat Lewis My name is Celeste Ventris and there are two things I'm sure of. One, my wedding is tomorrow. And, two, I'm pretty certain there's a thief in my apartment. Merry-freakin'-Christmas to me. FOLLOWING AFTER by Sue Merriam Nora Bitterman has just completed the perfect crime. Everything so well planned, she’ll never get caught - or will she? BAD HAIR DAY by Shannon Pearson Ashlee wonders if she will ever get married. An ice storm cancels their plans, is it the end of the line for her and Ryan? BINARY by Chris Tarpley Jacob has been free of his sadistic and wicked twin brother John for years. Now, John is coming to visit. With John and Jacob together again in the same small space, what will happen when the lights go out? CRACKED ICE: What Happens When the Lights Go Out? is the second volume of short stories compiled by members of Oklahoma Christian Fiction Writers. Several authors appear in both Legacy Letters and Cracked in Ice.


My Review:
This book has several short stories in it all totally different. There were some I really loved and a few I didn't connect with as well but I am sure others would connect with them. I like the premise of this book where we see a blackout in one apartment block and what happens to different residents. I have to say I am not sure I want to be in this apartment building. I also have never been in an ice storm to have this happen but we did have a statewide blackout a year ago for many hours and its interesting how you realise just how reliant we are on electricity.

30 November 2017

Herald Press Blog Tour God's Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church by Brad Roth

 
God's Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church 
by Brad Roth. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rural places are often seen as insular and declining, all pickup trucks and gas stations with no gas. Another popular vision of rural life is more nostalgic: amber waves of grain, quaint streets, and the idyllic family farm.

Neither story meets rural communities and congregations on their own terms, writes Brad Roth in his new book, God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church (Herald Press, September 2017). In an era in which many are prescribing solutions to rural dilemmas, Roth writes, “We need a new approach, one that sees rural communities not as places to pity or lionize but simply as places, places open to God’s goodness and in need of God’s grace.”

Addressing issues such as population shifts, economics, and value systems, Roth takes a comprehensive look at issues facing the rural church today. He then offers a theological and practical alternative to church growth strategies, which are frequently imported from suburban and urban congregations and which rely on success stories and flashy metrics.

Calling leaders, pastors, and outsiders to “love the church as we discover it while still dreaming of where God is leading us,” Roth outlines a vision for vibrant rural churches that includes disciplines such as praising, abiding, watching, praying, growing, and befriending. “The rural church represents Christ’s commitment to be among all people everywhere, regardless of the value attributed to them by global centers of power,” he writes.

“This is a book I will assign to divinity students and to a prominent position on my shelf,” says Leonard Sweet in the book’s foreword. “Brad Roth tells stories that will linger in my mind and imagination and shape how I think about the future of all churches.”

 
 
 
 
ABOUT BRAD ROTH

Bradley Roth serves as pastor at West Zion Mennonite Church in Moundridge, Kansas. He grew up baling hay, tending sheep, and shearing Christmas trees on a farm in Illinois. He is a graduate of Augustana College, Harvard Divinity School, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Brad has a heart for serving God and God’s people in rural communities. He’s passionate about sharing faith in word and deed and living out God’s love in the community. He and his wife, Lici, enjoy bicycling, tending a garden, keeping chickens, and playing with their two sons.

$16.99 USD
5.5 x 8.5 in. paperback
ISBN 978-1-5138-0161-2
eBook  $13.99 │ 978-1-5138-0240-4

Release date: September 19, 2017 

Available from Herald PressAmazon, and your favorite bookseller.

29 November 2017

RABT Book Tour Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog by Arla Jayne





Children's Book
Date Published: 6/5/17
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing

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Hayden has always lived in Tiny Yard with his mom. He has never met anyone different. Come along with Hayden the Perfect Hedgehog on this first adventure away from home and witness how differences should be handled.



About the Author


Arla worked in corporate America for over 30 years. Her favorite responsibility was diversity training. This experience, combined with her love of children drove her to create this series with the intent to bring diversity and acceptance understanding to the youngest readers. Arla is married to her wonderful husband, Ron. She had one sonwhich this book honors. Marriage have her 4 beautiful young ladies. Being a mom to these wonderful people is her favorite job!

Contact Links


Purchase Link




Reading Addiction Blog Tours


My Review:
This is a sweet book about a Hedgehog on his first trip outside his yard and he encounters another animal and makes fun of him. His mother sings a song he doesn't understand about being yourself. She explains that by making fun of others it is mean and she is disappointed with what he said. She explains how we are all different but that makes us all special. This is a book that shows children that everyone is different and that we should embrace them. I loved the book. 

27 November 2017

The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter


Description

20 November 2017

The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional by Sonya Davis and Ruth O'Neal Blog Tour



Description
Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly's family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.
Reviews
"We love it! You posted it just the right time. God's providence!"
"My kids love it! Especially the song and the activity."
"The kids like to read the verses during the devotional part. It has been a good way to get the whole family involved."


Bio
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website (http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/). You can also visit her on her blog at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

Links


Amazon -             https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-ONeil/e/B00AJ5S3YQ


Excerpt
Advent
Story
"I have a surprise for you kids," Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.
"What?" They both wanted to know.
"Follow me," Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.
Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.
"She must know what the secret is," Daniel commented to Holly.
Holly laughed when Evie shouted, "Sec-et! Sec-et!"
Mom smiled as well. "That's her new word for the day."
Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.
"What's that?" Daniel asked.
"It's an Advent calendar. Each day we'll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas."
"Can we open one now?" Holly wanted to know.
"You may." Mom pointed to the first door.
"Advent," Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.
"Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ."
"Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn't He come as a grown-up?" Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.
"Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands."
"But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?" Holly questioned.
Mom nodded her head. "He was perfect. He didn't ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that's what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us."
Daniel and Holly didn't say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, "Sec-et."
Mom continued. "God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn't happen overnight. It would take Jesus' entire life time here on earth."
Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, "I think this will be interesting."
"I think this will be fun," Holly gave her opinion.
"I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better."

Devotion
Read Matthew 25:1-13
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26
Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.
Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas. We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?
Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.
This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.
Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season.

Activity
This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well. Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible. Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from. That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.

Song - The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)


My Review
This is a really good family book for the Christmas season. There are 25 devotions each with a story, devotion, activity and song. I have been enjoying the story of the family which follows through the whole book followed by a devotion which is associated with the story. The activity is something that the whole family can be involved in and then some lovely songs I haven't heard before but I am really loving. I have to mention the stories are based in America so snow is mentioned but many of the activities can still be done in Australia. (We may not go sledding but we do go to a pool and can still look up at the stars). If you are looking for a family devotional advent book I would highly recommend this book.

17 November 2017

ACRBA Tour Birds and Bees by the Book by Patricia Weerakoon



13 - 17 November 2017

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance 

Is Introducing 



Publisher CEP, July 19, 2017


Book Description

People have been talking about the birds and the bees since Adam and Eve walked the earth. Yet the conversation hasn’t become easier! With so many messages about sexuality, gender and identity around them, our children need a safe space to learn about these topics now more than ever.

Designed for parents and carers to read with children aged 7 to 10, Birds and Bees by the Book has been created to help you to have these conversations at your own pace.

Written by renowned sex educator Patricia Weerakoon, the six books in this set are designed to be read in whichever order suits you and your child. They cover three foundational topics that help children to understand the family structures in the world around them, and how their body and brain are developing as they grow. There are also three extension topics that teach children what is involved in sexual activity, what it means to be a boy or a girl, and how to protect themselves against pornography if they stumble across it.

All of these topics are framed within the Bible’s message that children are unique creations of God, and that sex is a precious gift to be used carefully and wisely in the context of marriage.



Author

Patricia Weerakoon is a Sexologist and Writer. She trained in medicine in the University of Sri Lanka.
She is an evangelical Christian. She is married to Vasantha. Her son Kamal is a Presbyterian minister.
As a Sexologist she has translated her passion to bring good holistic sexual health to all people into practical sex education, sex research and sex therapy.
Her writing and speaking brings together her enthusiasm for sex and her love for the glory of God.
The Christian framework of sex therapy she offers has enriched and empowered the sex life of couples and singles.
She has a recognised media presence and is a highly regarded public speaker and social commentator in sexuality and sexual health.

Patricia retired in 2011 after a twenty three year career as an academic with the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Sydney. The last eight years of which she was the director of an internationally acclaimed graduate program in Sexual Health.

My Review:
This set of 6 books are well written and aimed at children to explain the different issues. Parents can feel comfortable reading the books with there children unlike when I was a child and given a book to read with no other talking. These books open up a conversation. They also go into cyber bullying, pornography, self image etc. They are well illustrated as well. Well written and very helpful. I would recommend these books to any family looking for a way to discuss the birds and bees with children 7 - 10. 

8 November 2017

Dr. Michael T. Solomon - Maria is My Pal - PROMO BLITZ HTML



Children’s Book
Date Published: April 2017

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Having a pet isn’t just fun, it’s super important for childhood development. Pets and children go together like the beach and summertime. “Maria Is My Pal” is a whimsical look at children owning their first pet, and the responsibilities that come with ownership, the joys of having a pet, and how they form a commitment to each other while training to live their lives together.

Although a newcomer to this genre, readers would not know it from the way the author’s warm-hearted tale evokes laughter, smiles, joyful emotions, and reflections on his writing. His inspiration comes from watching his daughters grow and mature and become inspirations to many in their own right. His first book captures key moments in their childhood that intersect so many family stories— the first pet.


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Excerpt

In the petting area, there was a turtle named Slow Boy, two fish called Lisa and Lori, and two parrots named Annie and Fannie. Fannie had yellow markings, and Annie had green on her wings. There was also a hamster named Fred and a cute little rabbit called Maria. She was white with a funny black pattern on her tail that seemed to move from side to side whenever her perky ears heard her name.
Of all the animals, Willow thought Maria was special. Whenever Mrs. Walls’ class visited the pets, Willow spent most of her time petting and holding Maria. Maria was very friendly and popular with all the students in the class. Somehow, Maria seemed happiest when Willow was near.
As the pets were placed back into their areas, James accidently knocked over a chair. It made a loud noise. The noise frightened Maria, and before anyone could move, Maria jumped onto a chair, hopped to the floor, and then ran out of an open door. Willow’s special pal and the children’s favorite pet was gone before anyone could catch her!
Willow, Mrs. Walls, and the other children tried to catch Maria, but she was too fast. Maria hopped and jumped until she was out of sight. Everyone looked and looked, but she could not be found. Maria was gone!
Willow and the other kids were very sad. Mrs. Walls tried her best to help the children understand that Maria would be okay and not to worry.


About the Author


Dr. Michael T. Solomon is an accomplished professional who holds a doctorate in social science and a master’s in education. The author is a devoted husband, a proud father of two young professional career women, and an even prouder grandfather of two beautiful, caring sisters who are smart and gifted and funny!

Contact Links


Purchase Links


Reading Addiction Blog Tours

26 October 2017

Humble Thyself: 7 Steps to Resolve Conflict By Susan K. Stewart

A recent undercurrent of discontent infected our congregation. I’d developed a terrible attitude about the situation, and I sat trying to be attentive for the sermon titled: Resolution: The Mathew Solution. I missed it.

During the following week, God led me to James 4:7-10. My heart opened to the clear steps to resolving conflict.

  • Submit to God
No matter the circumstances, submit to God. Ask for his wisdom to see the truth, not the colored viewpoint of humans. Be willing to follow him … wherever it may lead.

  • Resist the devil
As we submit to God, we resist the devil. But the attacks will continue during the peacemaking process. Satan wants to convince us we aren’t at fault and that following God’s way is troublesome, a lot of work, and a hindrance to the outcome we want.

  • Draw near to God
The more we resist the devil, the closer we draw near to God. As we move closer to him, the better able we are to resist the devil, remove our own desires and submit to his.

  • Cleanse your hands
We’ve become ingrained with Mt. 18—go to the one who has sinned against you. Instead we should be looking at our own sin. “First take the log out of your own eye” (Mt. 7:5 NASB). We need to face our own sin before we confront anyone else’s.

  • Purify your heart
The goal of conflict resolution is reconciliation with God. To approach a solution to the friction, our own hearts need to be clean. This is done by seeking to please God, not other people. Not everyone will be happy, but God will be delighted.

  • Be miserable and mourn and weep
Sin is the root of strife and we should be saddened and repentant. As we submit to God’s authority and purify our hearts, we come to realize how destructive our own sin is in the conflict.

  • Humble yourself
Humility isn’t weakness; it’s the opposite of pride and admits we can do nothing on our own. When pride takes hold, we think we have the solution to any problem. But only God is the true peacemaker.

The next time conflict resolution is the topic, remember James’s steps to peacemaking. Resolve the strife in yourself, and then you’ll be prepared to help others.

Is there a conflict in your life? How will you follow James’s steps to resolve it?


ABOUT


When she’s not tending chickens and donkeys, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers and listeners with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. Contact Susan to speak to your group her website www.practicalinspirations.com.
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