A Secret To Die For

A Secret to Die For
By Lisa Harris

Back of the Book Synopsis

When one of her clients is murdered, Grace quickly realizes that computer security specialist Stephen Shaw wasn’t suffering from paranoia. What she doesn’t know is that someone believes Shaw gave her a vital piece of information before he died — and they are ready to silence her at any cost. Her only hope may be an old friend, Detective Nate Quinn, who has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed his partner and left him dealing with PTSD.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

My Thoughts

This was the first Lisa Harris book I’ve read and it won’t be the last! I love a story that grabs you and demands that you continue reading as fast as you can until you finish. I really liked Grace’s back story. It was rather untraditional and unexpected which was nice. I did feel, however, that sometimes the story was a little predictable. It was like there was a Mary Poppins bag that followed the characters around and gave them what they needed right when they needed it. Like why were the binoculars just right there? Why did she just get out of that situation so easily? And now she’s in another situation? I felt like there was a lot of well written and interesting situations all strung together. It might have been a little more realistic to have only a few longer situations with more details included instead of a bunch of short ones. I liked the relationship between Grace and Nate but wished it was developed a little more deeply at the end. It was kind of sudden. Good but sudden. I also would have liked to read more about the villains. Why were they doing what they were doing? Who were they? I found the explanation at the end good but a little confusing. I wish there was just a little more detail and explanation. Overall I really liked how the book kept my interest. I liked it and definitely want to read more by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Revell as apart of the blogger program. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

To purchase a copy of Ms. Harris’ most recent books click here:

*Affiliate Links included. I receive a few cents from purchases made from these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog. 

To find out more about Lisa Harris visit her website here.

Jesus Calling for Christmas

Jesus Calling for Christmas
By Sarah Young

 

Are your holidays too hectic? Take a few minutes to savor the season with this beautiful Christmas edition of Jesus Calling®devotions, a perfect gift that includes 50 short selections along with festive and breathtaking imagery.

Jesus Calling® for Christmas is a compilation of 50 seasonally appropriate devotions from Sarah Young’s bestselling brand. In addition to the heartwarming devotions, enjoy the Christmas story from the Bible, Old Testament prophecies about the birth of Jesus, and exquisite images.

Whether a self-purchase to enhance your observation of Advent and the birth of the Christ child or a natural gift for friends and loved ones, Jesus Calling® for Christmas will prove an annual treasure for celebrating the season.

My Thoughts

I have been reading the Jesus Calling book for a long time so I was excited to see a Christmas themed book. I am excited to add it to my advent reading. My very first thoughts about this book upon opening it up was how beautiful the images were. They are all Christmas/Winter in theme and are gorgeous. The book is very appealing to the eye.  The devotionals are the perfect length for a quick read. They leave you pondering the content for the rest of the day. The verses are perfectly matched. My only issue with the book is the layout. It’s not consistent. This was very distracting as I wasn’t sure what went with what. The days reading wasn’t clearly defined. This in my mind makes it more of a coffee table book than a devotional. I still love the content but I wish it was a little better structured inside. Overall the book is beautiful both speaking of images and of the writing. I enjoyed reading this book and will definitely put it out on a coffee table during the Christmas season.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

To purchase a copy click here:

*Affiliate Link. I receive a few cents from purchases made from these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog. 

An Amish Family

An Amish Family

About the Book

In An Amish Family, beloved author of Amish romance, Kathleen Fuller, invites readers into the lives of four Amish families.

Building Trust

Grace Miller and Joel King are in love. They’ve dated secretly for the past year and when he proposes marriage, Grace eagerly agrees. But when she tells her parents about the wedding, she’s shocked when her father tells her she can’t marry Joel. Can Grace get to the bottom of her father’s animosity toward Joel so they can have the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of?

A Heart Full of Love (also in An Amish Cradle)

Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.

Surprised by Love

In a desperate move to evade her match-making mother, Emily Shwartz announces that she’s already seeing someone: Reuban Coblentz. The trouble is, Reuban is barely even a friend. Seeing how desperate she is, Reuban plays along. But when the past sneaks up on them, will this temporary arrangement turn into everlasting love?

A Gift for Anne Marie (also in An Amish Second Christmas)

Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.

 

My Thoughts

Kathleen Fuller writes the best Amish short stories I’ve ever read!  They are so well balanced, perfectly paced, and super fun too. I often struggle with short story collections because the stories take so long to develop and then boom they’re over just as you feel like you’re getting somewhere. This is NOT the case with the stories in this book. They are the perfect length for a quick read. The characters are well developed and the storylines are detailed but simple enough to allow for a shortened story. I didn’t feel the endings of any of these stories was rushed. I loved the themes throughout the stories. It helped bring the Amish lifestyle from something we romanticize down to earth. The characters struggled with real challenges, with real emotions, with real reactions to those challenges and emotions… This book is great to pick up and read when you only have a few minutes at a time. The stories are easy to jump into and jump out of. They’re easy to remember and when one story is done I feel finality. Sometimes stories in short story collection books tend to blend together and I have a hard time going from one story to the next. This book is not that way! I will definitely be on the look out for more short story collections from Kathleen Fuller.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook blogger program. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about Kathleen Fuller visit her website http://www.kathleenfuller.com/

To purchase a copy:

*Affiliate Link. I receive a few cents from purchases made through this link at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog. 

A Christmas By the Sea

A Christmas By the Sea
By Melody Carlson

“When Wendy Harper inherits her family’s beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in–temporarily, she reminds him–in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.”

My Thoughts

I love the cover of this book. It’s so quaint and inviting. I found myself wanting to visit that little cottage. The author has exceptional attention to detail. I can picture scenes in my head, hear the dialogue and feel what the characters are feeling. I loved this about this book. What was more of a struggle for me was how descriptive everything was. I felt like the beginning of the book moved so slowly. I wanted the ride in the car at the beginning to be done much quicker than it was. I felt the details were great but it slowed down the story. Especially at the beginning of the story, when the reader is trying to get the pace and understand the characters and what’s going on in the plot, a bit faster moving would have been more interesting in my opinion. I kept going and the story fell into a nice rhythm. I enjoyed it. Great book for reading on a cold night with a blanket and a cup of something warm. Love these shorter Christmas books. They don’t take a super long time to read and are just fun stories. I would love to read Ms. Carlson’s other works.

I received a copy of this book as a member of the Revell bloggers program. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

To purchase a copy of this and other Melody Carlson books:

*Affiliate links. I earn a few cents from purchases made from these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog.

About the Author

Visit Melody Carlson at her website http://melodycarlson.com/index.shtml

 

It’s Momplicated

About the Book

Book Title: It’s Momplicated

Author: Debbie Alsdorf * Joan Edwards Kay

Genre: Non-fiction

Release date: September 4, 2018

Let’s face it: when it comes to mothers and their daughters, things can get a little . . . complicated. Momplicated, you might say.

Whether your relationship with your mom has been wonderful or stressful, redeemed or broken, close or nonexistent, it’s one of your life’s most important and defining connections. Its effects have probably followed you into adulthood.

If you have conflicting feelings toward mom—or if you wish you could get past some of the baggage that holds you back—this is your book. Combining spiritual disciplines and the best of current therapeutic practice, It’s Momplicated will help you discover

  • How your early connection with your mother may have impacted your sense of self and your other important relationships—and what you can do to break the cycle
  • Why you and your mother have the relationship you have—the underlying reasons that may be contributing to strain and unease
  • Tools and exercises to help you cope with some of the most common effects of a broken relationship, including anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and trust issues
  • How to be the daughter and mother God wants you to be even if your mom wasn’t who you needed her to be.

It’s never too late to love, never too late to heal, and never too late to trust God to turn the pain in your story into a redemption song. As you read It’s Momplicated, you’ll realize that while God doesn’t promise to fix all your circumstances, He does promise to uphold you and lead you to a healing place of knowing you are truly precious and loved, no matter how your past has affected you

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Everyone has a mother in some shape or form… whether she was around and loving, around but distant, hardly around, or never around. Our relationships are different but since no one is perfect, we are all sinners, there are bound to be thorns among the roses. This book is for everyone! It’s Momplicated addresses many situations but doesn’t speak in a negative condescending tone. It’s one of grace and forgiveness. One of healing and beautifying. The thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter can be done individually or with a group. They cause the reader to really dig into their past and deal with it instead of just tossing it to the side thinking that that alone will remove it from their life. There are so many examples! I loved the way the book didn’t leave you to stew in your hurt but gently guides the reader through examples, scripture, and encouragement towards restoration. There are practical ways we can relate to our moms and accomplishable next steps. It’s hopeful and realistic but not in a fake impractical way. I can’t wait to go back through this book slowly and allow God to use it to change my life.

I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Authors

pic_LG_Alsdorf_DebbieDebbie Alsdorf: For the past twenty-five years, through her speaking and writing, Debbie Alsdorf’s mission has been to help women live a better story by leading them to the heart of God’s love and the truth of his Word. Debbie is a biblical lay counselor, a Christian life coach, and the founder of Design4Living Ministries. She and her husband, Ray, have raised a blended family of four adult children. Today Debbie’s favorite role is being a grandma to ten little ones.

pic_LG_Kay_JoanyJoan Kay Edwards: Joan Edwards Kay is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the East Bay of San Francisco and has been an adjunct professor at Western Seminary. She received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her master’s degree from Western Seminary. She is happily married with two adult daughters, four stepdaughters, and five grandchildren.

 

Guest Post from Debbie and Joan

Mom. Mother. Mommy.

What do those words evoke in you? Wonderful memories of home cooked meals? A longing for nurture that was never fully met? A sense of not being enough? Gratitude? Sadness and loss? Anger and resentment?

Most women have a complex reaction when asked to think about their mothers–a mix of positive and negative, gratitude and hurt, happy and sad memories. Our relationships with our mothers are unique, rich, and complicated.

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Debbie Alsdorf and Joan Edwards Kay, friends who have written a book together that explores the issue of moms and their profound effect on daughters. It’s Momplicated: Hope and Healing for Imperfect Daughters of Imperfect Mothers releases this September 4th, 2018. Since every woman is a daughter, this book is for every women.

Every daughter receives less-than-perfect programming from her mother. The messages may be about our value, or how to relate to others, or even about how we think about bodies. However, God is our perfect parent who wants to rewrite that imperfect programming with his truth. Many of us don’t realize the wrong messages that are deep in our souls.

I (Debbie) grew up with a mother who was cold, distant and unavailable. I have one sister who was in her teens when I was born and married by the time I started school, leaving me to be raised as an only child. I grew up wondering what was wrong with me, “Why didn’t mom want to spend time with me? Why didn’t she hug me and hold me close like other moms did? Why was nothing I did to earn her approval good enough?” I was deeply imprinted with wounds of rejection and carried them through most of my adult life, even though I pasted on a smile, kept trying to do better, and could be the life of any gathering. On the inside, I was sad for as long as I can remember. Through working on this book, I have experienced a phenomenal inner healing, the exposing of lies long held secretly in my heart, and the ability to see the way the enemy of my soul has tried to use the “not enough” belief against me. I am beyond excited for other women to have the courage to own their own story, inviting Jesus to meet them in any points of pain and any relationships that need healing.

I (Joan) had a stay-at-home mom who cooked dinner every night, took us to the library and the beach, did art projects with us, and made me feel safe and happy. However, when I was nine years old, my father and then my brother both died of cancer within a year and my relationship with my mother changed. Understandably, she struggled to just hold herself together, but in my young mind I felt abandoned by her. I didn’t have the capacity to deal with all the loss and she didn’t have the strength to help me. I felt emotionally lost and alone. I longed for my mother to comfort me and show me how to overcome my pain. In retrospect, I wish she had shown me faith in a God who could bring hope and meaning to the devastation that had hit our family. But she was not a believer and did her best to stuff away the feelings and soldier on. I was deeply imprinted with the belief, I’m alone and can only depend on myself. As I worked on this project, the root of many of my struggles became clear to me and God has been comforting those young, lonely parts of me with his presence and his love.

What is your story with your mother? What false beliefs has this important relationship imprinted on your heart, and how does God’s truth rewrite them? It is our hope that every woman, as God’s daughter, will learn the beauty of who she is and receive her own healing so she can leave a legacy of faith, hope and beauty to the generation of women that follow.

One thing we know for sure: there are no perfect moms, just women partnering with a perfect God.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, September 8

Texas Book-aholic, September 8

Carpe Diem, September 9

Lighthouse Academy, September 10

Luv’N Lambert Life, September 10

Life Faith & Health, September 11

Real World Bible Study, September 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 13

Multifarious, September 14

Reading is my Superpower, September 14 (Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 15

proud to be an autism mom, September 16

Bigreadersite, September 16

Bibliophile Reviews, September 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 18

For the Love of Books, September 19

Janices book reviews, September 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 20

margaret kazmierczak, September 20 (Interview)

Living Life Free In Christ, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate their tour, Debbie and Joan are giving away a grand prize of a “I’m Not Like a Regular Mom” T-Shirt!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d56c/it-s-momplicated-celebration-tour-giveaway

The 6 Hearts of Intimacy

About the Book

Book Title: The 6 Hearts of Intimacy

Author: Bob & Cheryl Moeller

Genre: Christian Non-fiction

Release date: September 11, 2018

Understand the way your spouse gives and receives love for greater passion in your marriage.

The 6 Hearts of Intimacy is a “Love Languages” for sex in marriage. Rather than focusing on techniques, it unlocks the secret to true sexual fulfillment by revealing the unique way each spouse gives and receives love. Various books describe the distinct ways in which people express and accept love, but this idea has never before been specifically applied to intimacy in marriage.

Marriage experts Bob and Cheryl Moeller present six biblically based and proven ways to enhance your relationship with your spouse as they describe the Romantic Heart, the Giving Heart, the Guardian Heart, the Companion Heart, the Worshiping Heart, and the Ecstatic Heart. They also expose the “counterfeit hearts” that are present in many people’s marriages, leaving their sexual relationship self-focused and empty.

Many couples spend a lifetime attempting to express their love yet fail to achieve true intimacy. Sensitively written with practical advice and humor, The 6 Hearts of Intimacy shows husbands and wives how to successfully resolve conflicts in their relationship and how to care daily for their spouse’s unique heart of sexual love.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The absolute best thing about this book is that it guides the reader to center their relationship around Christ. Through scripture, personal examples, examples of others and years of wisdom the authors tell the reader not only why its important but how it’s possible to have greater intimacy in marriage. The tone of the book is refreshing and relatable. I loved the inclusion of scripture to back up their points. They present doable application and questions to bring forth discussion and self reflection. The appendix has great evaluation tools. I love that this book can be used individually or in a small group. I learned so much from this book. There are so many things that I want to apply to my marriage. This book is greatly needed in our society today.

I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Bob and Cheryl Moeller are the cofounders of For Better, For Worse, For Keeps Ministries, which is dedicated to healing hearts and restoring marriages, especially in under-served communities. Each is the author or coauthor of a number of books. Bob is also the author of numerous articles. The president of For Better, For Worse, For Keeps, Bob is a conference speaker, seminar presenter, and international guest preacher and teacher. He also hosts the television program, Marriage: For Better, For Worse, which airs on the Total Living Network and was awarded Best Television Teaching Show by the National Religious Broadcasters. Cheryl serves as the ministry’s Director of Marketing, Social Media Coordinator, and Director of Prayer Ministry and is a speaker and literary agent. Bob and Cheryl have been married for almost 40 years and have six children and four grandchildren.

Guest Post from Bob and Cheyl

You have God’s permission to enjoy sex within your marriage. He invented sex; He thought it up to begin with. You can learn to enjoy it and, husbands, you can develop a thrilling, happy marriage with ‘the wife of your youth.’ If your marriage has been a civil-war battlefield or a dreary wasteland, instead of a lovers’ trysting place, all that can change. You see, God has a perfect plan for marriage, which we may choose to step into at any time, and the mistakes of the past can be dealt with and left behind.

Indeed, the Ecstatic Heart finds its fulfillment in the intoxicating experience of joyful physical intimacy with your spouse that God Himself ordained, created, and blessed. The Ecstatic Heart celebrates married physical intimacy as a gift from God.

Blog Stops

lighthouse Academy, September 15

A Baker’s Perspective, September 15

A Reader’s Brain, September 16

Bigreadersite, September 16

Living life free in Christ, September 17

Reading is my Super Power, September 17 (Interview)

Life Faith & Health, September 18

Power of Words, September 18 (Spotlight)

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 19

margaret kazmierczak, September 19 (Interview)

A Rup Life, September 20

Mary Hake, September 20

proud to be an autism mom, September 21

Artistic Nobody, September 22 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

Creating Romance, September 25

Janices book reviews, September 26

Carpe Diem, September 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 28

Pause for Tales, September 28

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, Bob and Cheryl are giving away a grand prize basket that includes a Pomegranate Body Wash from Abba Products and Bath Salts from Divinity Boutique!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c8/the-6-hearts-of-intimacy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Shift Your Thinking For Success

Shift Your Thinking For Success
77 Ways to Win at Work & in Life
Dean Del Sesto

Success isn’t a place you arrive at after working hard. That’s reaching a goal. Success is found in the character you maintain while you pursue your goals. It’s about who you are and how you project your persona at work, at home, and everywhere else. And all it takes to find success and fulfillment are simple shifts in the way you think. (Backcover)

My Thoughts

There are so many books out there on how to be successful, how to maximize your productivity, how to, how to, how to… so when I saw 77 I was like, oh my goodness, really? How am I going to remember 77 things. I opened the book and was pleasantly surprised how short each entry was. Each topic is short enough to read quickly but is packed with meat and relatable examples and experiences of others. Entries end with a short one sentence take away. While I had a hard time just reading these entries, I feel the book would be better used piece by piece maybe when the situation arises. To use the book in that manner though would require an index which sadly this book does not have. I’m turned off by the sheer amount of ways to win but if you take one a week maybe over the course of a little over a year you can get through them all. A lot of them are common sense in my mind. I really liked entry 14: If you want to get the most out of every conversation, think relationship before agenda. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

Pick up your own copy here:

*Affiliate link. I receive a few cents from purchases made through these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog. 

I’d Rather Be Reading

I’d Rather Be Reading
Anne Bogel

Summary

Reading isn’t just a way to pass the time — it’s a lifestyle. Books shape, define, and enchant us. They are part of who we are and we can’t imagine life without them. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads you to remember the book that first hooked you, the place where you first fell in love with reading, and all the books and moments afterward that helped make you the reader you are today.

(Backcover)

My Thoughts

Do you ever read a book and feel like the author looked into your head and wrote your thoughts? This book is one that gets readers. It explains the deep parts of our book addiction. It’s part memoir which helps draw the sections together. I struggled a bit to understand the purpose of the book. But then as I kept reading I fell in love with the writing style and couldn’t help but continue. I realized there didn’t need to be a huge purpose and relaxed into “the delights and dilemmas of the reading life” which is such a great tag line for this book. It’s a great book to pick up and read here and there; maybe when you feel misunderstood, or when someone comments about how you always have your nose in a book, or when they ask how you organize your bookshelves or whether you’ve gone over to the kindle side. The book made me laugh and made me say “uh huh! That’s totally me!”

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

Purchase your copy here:

About the Author

Anne Bogel is the creator of the popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I read Next? Her book lists and reading guides have established Bogel as a tastemaker among readers, authors, and publishers. The author of Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything she lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

*Contains affiliate links. I receive a few cents from purchases through these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog.

Shadow Sister

shadow sister fb banner copy

About the Book


Book Title:
 Shadow Sister

Author: Katherine Scott Jones

Genre: Woman’s Fiction

Release date: August 28, 2018Shadow sister

Working on her father’s vineyard allows Sarah Lanning to bury memories of a lost love and a career that might have been. But then her fractured family receives word that her estranged sister, Jenna, is dead, leaving behind an unexpected request: that Sarah travel to Bolivia to scatter her ashes.

Accompanied by pilot Chase Maddox, Sarah embarks on an Andean journey that tests her devotion to home and exposes Jenna’s secret life. Each staggering discovery creates new mysteries—until the last, which leaves Sarah questioning everything she understood about family loyalty. At a crossroads, she must decide whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness—and whether she can lay claim to a future of happiness without it.

Bittersweet and bold, Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

My Thoughts

Do you ever read a book and wish you could meet the characters in real life? Like your mind tricks you and you think the characters are real people hiding out in plain sight in the setting of the book… This is how I felt at the end of this book! After a bit of difficulty getting into the book initially, once the plot took off and I knew the characters better, the twists and turns kept me interested til the end. I loved the plot. The setting dually set in Bolivia and Washington was intriguing. As a person who loves foreign culture, this was especially of interest to me. I loved learning about Bolivian culture. My favorite part of the story was the way the author released information slowly. At the beginning I found myself in a hurry wanting to know what in the world was going on right away. I came to like the slow way the author gave the information as the characters were realizing it or finding it out within the natural flow of the story. This kept me reading and wanting more! I also loved the little bit of romance, sisterly struggles, family secrets, and themes of forgiveness, loyalty, love and grace. One thing that I struggled with in the story was the point of view in which the story was told. Jenna’s story was written in first person and Sarah’s was written mostly in third person but would sometimes jump into first person. I felt like I would have preferred it the other way around. Sarah seemed to be the main character of the story so I would have connected with her more had she been written in first person. Overall, this wasn’t really a huge deal but I do feel I would have liked the story even better than I do had the point of views been reversed. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a digital copy of this book. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Katherine Scott Jones grew up in cities on every U.S. coast and overseas as her family moved with her father’s Navy career. Seattle became home when she married her husband twenty-eight years ago. After graduating Whitworth University with a degree in communications, she established herself as a freelance writer before turning her hand to fiction. She blogs about books that celebrate beauty at www.katherinescottjones.com. Katherine and her husband have two teenage children. Shadow Sister is her second novel.

 

Guest Post from Katherine Scott Jones

Shadow Sister: Outtake Reel

By Katherine Scott Jones

Much as I love a good movie, my favorite part often comes at the end when the director includes outtakes—those false starts and bits from the making of the movie that wind up on the cutting room floor.

In a similar vein, I’m going to let you in on some of what went into the creation of my novel, Shadow Sister,but did not make the final cut.

Shadow Sister is a work of inspirational women’s fiction with a global accent—written for women with a heart for complex relational issues as well as a passion for biblical justice. It is the story of a vintner’s daughter who travels to Bolivia to scatter her estranged sister’s ashes. There, she unravels secrets that test her devotion to home and make her question whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness. Shadow Sisterexplores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.

Now that you know a bit about what it is, come along as I pull back the curtain and share an exclusive peek at what Shadow Sister is not.

Working Titles

It took me a while to finally land on the right title. Early contenders:

– The Sweetness of Light

– Variations on Shadows and Light.

Characters

It also took a bit of experimenting before I found the right combination of people and places:

– Sarah, the main character, was originally a marine biologist. I first imagined the story set in Seattle before moving it to the fertile plains of Eastern Washington wine country.

– Sarah was originally engaged; and Chase and Rachael were involved.

– The gender of Matilde’s baby changed from what I first plotted. That simple switch got me unstuck from a perplexing snag of writer’s block.

– Names:

o Nicole, Stasi, Rees, and Stephen were all main-character names I considered and rejected.

o Little sister Sarah and big sister Jenna began as litter sister Jenna and big sister Kate. Then Jenna became Somer and finally Sarah, while Kate became Jenna.

o Sassy Britches is named after an actual racehorse by the same name.

Unused research

Of course, story exploration turned up far more tidbits of interesting info than I could possibly fit into the pages of a novel! Some of what I wished I could have used…

– Bolivian fun facts

o Customs.

  • Bolivians tend to eat outdoors when it is not raining. Many men do not feel comfortable eating in front of strangers, so they will often face a wall or sit hunched over their food when they are eating in public.
  • Cha’lla is a ritual blessing drawn from Catholic tradition, indigenous religious ceremony, or—typically—a combination of both. Performed by a yatiri (spiritual leader) or Catholic priest, a cha’lla ceremony is performed whenever a new building is finished to ensure future peace in that building.
  • Many Bolivians believe in karisirus, or night phantoms. These harmful spirits catch people out after dark or when they’re sleeping. Legend says that they split their victim’s stomach and extract some of the fat.

o Drinks. While the traditional Bolivian beverages api and mate de coca are featured in Shadow Sister, several others are not:

  • refresco (fruit juice with a dried peach at the bottom of the glass)
  • tostada (a mixture of barley, honey, cloves in water)
  • chicha (homemade corn beer)
  • singani (made from grapes, a cross between wine and whiskey)

o Language. Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua are Bolivia’s three national languages, and they differ from each other greatly. For example, the number one in Spanish = uno, Aymara = ma, Quechua = hoq.

– Quotes:

o On wine: “Wine is sunlight held together by water.” ~ Galileo

o On art: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton

I hope this glimpse into what didn’t make it onto the pages of Shadow Sister piques your interest for discovering what finally did!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 4

Carpe Diem, September 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 5

The Power of Words, September 5

Among the Reads, September 5

Fiction Aficionado, September 6

The Becca Files, September 6

RebekahsQuill, September 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Bigreadersite, September 7

Just the Write Escape, September 8

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, September 8

Bibliophile Reviews, September 9

Living Life Free in Christ, September 9

Inspirationally Ever After, September 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 10

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

Livin Lit, September 11

Janices book reviews, September 12

Remembrancy, September 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 13

Inklings and notionsSeptember 13

The Midnight Bookaholic, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

The Mimosa Blossom, September 14

Kelly Harrel, September 15

Two Points of Interest, September 15

A Baker’s Perspective, September 16

proud to be an autism mom, September 16

Godly Book Reviews, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a grand prize that includes a personalized signed print copy of the book, a Shadow Sister bookmark, a Frame-able print, Book-lover’s tea, 6 Handcrafted notecards, and a set of vineyard-themed playing cards!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d25f/shadow-sister-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hidden Among the Stars

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About the Book

Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars

Author: Melanie Dobson

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Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)

Release date: September 4, 2018

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes anoth

er gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

My Thoughts

Wow! This story is addicting in the best way. From the first page I was hooked. A day later I finished the book. Ms. Dobson does the time-slip novel so well. The two time periods are interwoven so seemlessly. The movement of the story is at just the right pace to keep you guessing, learning new things, and falling more in love with the characters on every page. The writing is so well crafted, characters are deep and struggle with real life things in real life ways, and the locations described come to life in your imagination. It’s like I visited the castle and the bookstore as I was reading. I loved the mystery, the history, the romance, and the family ties. I found myself reading it every chance I got. The only thing that slightly disappointed me was the ending. I wish it were drawn out a little more. There was such a huge culmination and it took a long time to get there (and every minute of it was excellent!). However, after you crest the hill it’s like you fall so fast you feel like you need to go back and read it again because it zoomed by so fast. I felt sure I missed something… like some pages fell out of the book! I wanted more explanation. More story at the end. I loved the book so much I wanted just a bit more explanation. It felt too fast to me compared to the pace of the rest of the book. Overall the book was excellent. I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely read it again! It’s a keeper. It gets priority shelf space on my bookshelf for sure. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

About the Author

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.

Visit Melanie online at www.melaniedobson.com.

 

Guest Post from Melanie

Hallstatt’s Hiding Places

Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.

The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.

Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.

Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.

When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.

The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.

Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.

After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Austrian Jewish people continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.

Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 6

Fiction Aficionado, September 6

Back Porch ReadsSeptember 6

Among the Reads, September 6

The Power of Words, September 7

Multifarious, September 7

lady ansel book vibes, September 7

The Becca Files, September 7

God’s Little Bookworm, September 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 8

Painting with Words, September 8

Lis Loves Reading, September 8

cherylbbookblog, September 9

Living LIfe Free in Christ, September 9

Madeline Clark, September 9

Mary Hake, September 9

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 10

Genesis 5020, September 10

Faithfully Bookish, September 10

Simple Harvest Reads, September 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 11

Daysong ReflectionsSeptember 11

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, September 11

Seasons of Opportunities, September 12

Remembrancy, September 12

Inklings and notionsSeptember 12

amandainpaSeptember 12

Maureen’s Musing, September 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13

Just Commonly, September 13

Book by Book, September 13

Connect in Fiction, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

Have A Wonderful DaySeptember 14

Splashes of JoySeptember 14

The Christian Fiction Girl, September 15

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 15

To Everything A Season, September 15

A Baker’s Perspective, September 15

proud to be an autism mom, September 16

Bibliophile Reviews, September 16

BigreadersiteSeptember 16

Aryn The Libraryan, September 16

By The Book, September 17

Christian author, J.E. Grace, September 17

Janices book reviews, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

Carpe Diem, September 18

Godly Book Reviews, September 19

For The Love of Books, September 19

Live. Love. Read., September 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes a $25 Amazon gift card, Catching the Wind paperback, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d2ad/hidden-among-the-stars-celebration-tour-giveaway