Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday . . . Reading Through The Years

Happy Tuesday! I've missed a couple of Tuesdays with writing Nano, aka November write month, and Gramma duty with my grandkids. I finally have a chance to get back to it and I thought this would be a fun topic to do. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, and today's topic is changes in my reading life.

I've been reading since I was three so there have been loads of changes in my fifty years of reading. I of course read loads of Dr. Seuss books but as my reading ability got stronger these were some of my favorite childhood books.

These are just a sample of books that I read in bed at night. Harvey's Hideout and Ms. Suzy were two books I read every night.

Elementary and Middle School Reading

In elementary school I read all of Ramona the Pest, Harriet the Spy, The Cricket in Times Square, Charlotte's Web.

I think I was about eight when I read The Chronicles of Narnia and the thought that the series was fantasy didn't even occur to me. When I was in fourth grade and we were moving from D.C. to Colorado my teacher gave me a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird which was an eye-opening book as a nine nearly ten year old Navy kid.

Outside of missionary books my folks had my little brother and I read in the summer this series by Janette Oke was my first introduction to Inspirational fiction. I wouldn't come back to it for years to come. But I loved it!

High School reads . . .

I was in high school in the 80's and The Flower's in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews was all the rage and I read it I think twice probably three times.

Judy Blume's book Forever was another 80's book as well as Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head were two books I stayed up way past my bedtime to read.

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks.

As a young adult and young married with kids, I read a lot of Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, Dean Koontz.

In 1990 I was introduced to Frank Peretti and after reading This Present Darkness I waited anxiously for a new book of his. In 1993 I began homeschooling my kids so most of my reading was with them. I had very little time for enjoyment reading.

I don't read a lot of mainstream fiction but I read Jodi Picoult, Sophie Kinsella, Jen Lancaster, and Nora Roberts.

Since about 2006, I mainly read Inspirational fiction, and to my surprise I have found genre's and sub genre's I never thought I'd enjoy.

Historical - whenever I thought about historical books a text book is what I saw, but after teaching my girls I found all kinds of historical fiction books based on truth that are just wonderful.

Speculative - I love the speculative genre. I believe Frank Peretti's books fit into this genre and there are so many great Inspirational authors in this genre.

Biblical - My first introduction into this genre was Jill Eileen Smith's Wives of David Series, and I've been reading this genre ever since.

I'm really anxious to read my very first Space Opera book this winter. Ronie Kendig, one of my favorite authors, book Brand of Light which releases December 3, 2019.

I have a question for my reader's if you have an e-reader do you read faster on it, or a physical book?

I have found that for some crazy reason, and I know how to speed read, I read faster on my Kindle.

Now, it's your turn . . .

What has changed in your reading over the years? What genres do you like better than others?

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Match for Emma (Mitchell's Crossroads #3) by Pepper D. Basham Reviewed

About the book:

Title: A Match for Emma
Author: Pepper D. Basham
Series: Mitchell's Crossroads BK 3

Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.

When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.

With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?

 Purchase a copy HERE!

About Pepper Basham

I wrote my first story when I was a nine year- old, freckled-faced tomboy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Coming from a long line of oral storytellers, weaving a good yarn seemed a typical part of my life.  It wasn’t until I finished college, had two children, and a full-time job before I began to study the ‘craft’ of writing (you know when I had plenty of time).
So…now I’m an older, freckled-faced mommy enjoying life, learning to write, and laughing often.  My mom says that I must have a small bit of insanity because I don’t realize how stressed I ought to be.
I’m also a speech-language pathologist who spends her time hanging out with kids who have Autism! It’s a challenge and a blessing – and constantly teaches me about the importance of thinking outside the box!
You can get to know me on my website, on my group blog, The Writer’s Alley, FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter.

My Thoughts:

I have loved every book that Pepper Basham has written, and A Match for Emma is Pepper Basham at her finest! Ms. Basham's tag line is Britallachian romance peppered with grace and humor and each book lives up to that! 

I have never been good at Scrabble but I now have an overwhelming urge to play Scrabble and visit Ransom. 

This is a sweet friends to romance story. Jon and Emma are adorable, their banter is one for the ages, and their blindness to what is truly happening between them is so fun to watch.

I absolutely loved Liam. Serious Swooning going on now! Give me a minute while I catch my breath. . . . . 
Okay . . . I'm back . . . He is a fabulous secondary character that I hope gets his own story, at least I really think he should. 

I have loved each of the books in the Mitchell Crossroads series, but A Match for Emma is my favorite. There are so many fun elements that were woven into the story. Family picnics, the beauty of the Appalachian mountains, Narnia the talking cat, Jane Austen quotes, thoughtful advice from Mama Mitchell. All the things that make a family saga novel endearing and memorable.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Gift Like No Other by Julie Lessman Review and Giveaway

A Gift Like No Other Tour Banner
About the Book
A Gift Like No Other
Her dream is writing. His is the perfect wife and mother. Until God fulfills them both with a dream like no other. Twelve years ago, Faith O’Connor happily gave up her dream as a copywriter to become a wife and mother, clinging to her husband’s promise she could return someday. But when the opportunity arises to write for the Boston Herald again two days a week, her dream hits a snag … along with her marriage. To Collin McGuire, family is everything because he never really had one of his own. Raised by a father who died early and a mother who didn’t care, Collin is determined to give his children the very best with a full-time mother. But when he denies Faith her dream, he soon discovers he’s denied his own as well … until Christmas day brings a healing through a gift like no other.

About the Author

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.

Snippet from a Chapter in the Book

Chapter One
Boston, Massachusetts
September 1936
Lord have mercy … Faith O’Connor McGuire swallowed a gulp, glancing up as her husband strolled into their bedroom with that look in his eye, a towel wrapped low on his hips rather than his customary pajama bottoms. Which could only mean one thing. Her stomach fluttered along with her heart. He’d obviously missed her as much as she’d missed him during his week-long trade show in New York. Teeth tugging at her lower lip, Faith sat in their bed with a book in her lap, skin tingling as always when Collin McGuire entered a room. She took in the sculpted curve of his muscled arms and the hard, lean chest that tapered into a towel tied so low, his abdomen looked like it’d been chiseled in stone. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he’d been the Southie rogue who’d stolen every girl’s heart, and to this very day, Faith still marveled that somehow, someway, she’d been the one to steal his. Her mouth tipped up. Somehow? Someway? The seeds of a grin sneaked through. More like Someone. I honor those who honor Me. Oh, yes, Lord, you surely do, Faith thought for the thousandth time, the whisper of one of her favorite Scriptures—1 Samuel 2:30—a timely reminder that commitment to God’s precepts was the key to bounteous blessing. Heart racing, she sucked in a quiet breath and smiled, enjoying the warmth her husband stirred within. Because even after seventeen years of marriage, the man could still heat her blood with just a look. Like the one he was giving her right now—eyes smoky as they pinned her to the bed with dangerous intent, absolute confirmation there’d be no more reading tonight. “Tired?” he asked, the clean smell of soap and lime aftershave drifting in the room like an opiate as he approached with his usual confident swagger. His deadly gray eyes never strayed from hers while he plucked the book from her hand and tossed it on the nightstand with abandon. The slow smile she loved eased across his full lips as he turned out the light and sprawled horizontally on the moonlit bed, tugging her out from beneath the covers in one fluid movement to land her on top. Hungry palms skimmed the length of her satin gown. “Sweet mother of Job,” he rasped in a gravelly voice while his lips wandered her throat, “I love when you wear satin to bed, Faith, and God help me—I love it even more when I can take it off.” He gripped her close while he kissed her hard, his breathing suddenly as ragged as hers. “Tell me, Little Bit,” he whispered in a near groan, “do you have any idea just how much I’ve missed you?” His words blew warm in her ear, punctuated with a teasing flick of his tongue that immediately purled heat through her body. Oh, yes, my love, I definitely do .... “As much as I missed you, I hope,” she said with a quivering sigh, offering a weak tip of her head to give full access as he suckled the lobe of her ear. “More.” Burying his lips in her neck, he emitted a low growl while he rolled her over with all the grace of an athlete, his grin rakish as he straddled her with a decadent gleam in his eye. “So much, in fact, I intend to send Brady on all future trade shows out of town because I miss you too blasted much.” Easing down, he threaded his fingers into her hair and showed her just how much with a slow, languid kiss that both muddied her mind and whirled heat in her belly. “As God is my witness, Faith, you own me heart and soul because no other woman alive could even come close. Which means,” he whispered with a perilous smile, fingers hot as they carefully slid the strap of her gown off of her shoulder, “we have a lot of catching up to do, Mrs. McGuire.” And skimming her collarbone with his mouth, he did just that, heading south with slow, delicious kisses. “I love you, Collin,” she whispered a long while later, limp and lazy in his arms after they’d made love. Her body still hummed from his touch while her mind began to hum for an entirely different reason. “I love you, too, Faith.” He pressed a kiss to her head while he idly grazed the satin of her gown, his voice gruff with emotion. “More than I could ever say or do.” She paused, praying this might be the perfect moment to share what she hoped would be wonderful news. “Maybe not,” she said with a teasing lilt of her voice, fingers feathering across his washboard stomach to tease with a gentle dip in his navel. He softly pinched her waist. “And what’s that supposed to mean?” Faith sat up with a nervous grate of her lip, butterflies doing cartwheels in her stomach that nearly rivaled the dizzy whirl of Collin’s kisses. “I have good news to share, I hope,” she said softly, bending to gently sway her mouth against his. He stiffened for barely an instant before he gripped her arms with a wide span of eyes, his breathing suddenly shallow. “You’re pregnant?” His voice was hushed with hope. Faith blinked, painfully aware she’d just made a tactical error. Of course Collin would assume her good news was a baby because the man was desperate for another boy. With a nervous chew of her lip, she tenderly caressed the scruff of his jaw. “No, not pregnant, my love,” she said, diverting her mistake with a gently probing kiss she hoped would take his mind in another direction. “Although after this homecoming tonight, that’s a distinct possibility.” “Mmm … one can only hope.” He returned her kiss with a heated one of his own before rolling onto his side to hook her body flush with his. He pressed a kiss to her nose. “So, what’s your good news, Faith?” His mouth quirked into an affectionate smile. “Bren has finally learned to lift up the toilet seat? Or Abby has finally consented to you curling her hair?” Faith grinned, thinking both of those things would be very good news, indeed, since Abby was a tomboy and Bren a poor aim. “Noooo, nothing to do with the children. This has to do with me.” He offered a lazy smile as he cradled her face in his hands. “You’ve decided to wear satin to bed from now on?” “Well, that certainly can be arranged,” she said with a soft chuckle as she idly meandered a lazy finger down the scant line of dark hair that trailed from his chest down his stomach. “If you’re as happy about my news as I am.” Cocking his elbow to prop his head on his hand, he smiled, eyes in a squint. “Now you’ve got me really curious, Little Bit, so out with it.” “Well …” Giddy with excitement, Faith skittered up to sit Indian-style, hardly able to believe that after twelve years of devoting herself solely to being a wife and a mother, her dream to return to her job as a copywriter at the Herald could soon be a reality. “Charity happened to mention that Mitch said Father was short on copywriters at the Herald—” “Oh, no …” It was Collin’s turn to sit up, dark brows digging low as he stared at her in disbelief. “Please tell me you’re not thinking about going back to copywriting again.” Faith blinked, somewhat taken aback by the scowl on his face. “Well, yes, of course I am, Collin, but I’m only talking two days a week while the girls are in school—” “I don’t care if it’s only two hours a week, Faith. You have a responsibility to our children, so the answer is no.” She caught her breath, the sound harsh in the stillness of the night as she worked to contain her temper. “It-wasn’t-a-question, Collin,” she emphasized in a tone far tighter than she intended. “It was an opportunity I thought we should discuss since, as you well know, writing has always been my dream.” He grabbed his pillow and punched it several times before flopping down on his side, bunching it in a ball beneath his head as he closed his eyes. “Fine, we’ve discussed it. Case closed.” Jaw gaping, Faith snapped her mouth shut and silently counted to ten while she tamped down her anger. “Collin,” she said quietly, determined to approach this civilly instead of going off half-cocked like her husband. “Can you at least hear me out so we can discuss it like two rational adults who actually care about each other?” He peered up past shuttered lids, dark lashes so long and lips pursed so tight, he looked like her son refusing to eat his carrots. “I’m listening.” She expelled a silent breath. “Sean is crazy busy at the store, so he asked Emma if she could help out during the busy Christmas season twice a week,” she said quickly, grateful for the sister-in-law who had once managed Mitch and Charity’s department store, Dennehy’s, where her husband Sean was now the manager. “So, when I heard Father needed a part-time copywriter, I talked to Emma about each of us possibly trading off watching the kids two days a week. I mean, you know how close Bren is with her Daniel, so naturally both of the boys would be over the moon about this arrangement.” Unlike the sullen, little boy staring at me right now. She rushed on before Collin could interrupt. “It would only be two half days at the Herald from ten to two, well before the girls arrive home from school, and I’d be helping Father out as well, since he’s in dire need of copywriters.” She gently grazed his arm with her fingers, her voice fragile with hope as she continued. “With a depression on, Collin, the extra income would certainly help, too, taking some of the burden off of you. So really, if you think about it, it’s a win-win all the way around.” He slid her a narrow look. “I have thought about it and I don’t like it, not one little bit. This isn’t the Roaring twenties where women pushed to do whatever they bloomin’ well pleased. It’s the thirties, Faith, where married women have no business in the workplace, much less mothers. Period. We’re in the middle of a depression, for pity’s sake, where there aren’t enough jobs for men, much less mothers with young children.” He leaned in to pierce her with a hard gaze. “Children who still need them, so you can just get it out of your head right now. Bren is only four years old, and I don’t want him shuffled off or neglected just so you can pursue a whim. And in case you forgot, I am the breadwinner in this family and don’t need your help.” She blinked, stunned at the harsh bite of his words. “And I don’t need your permission!” she said, voice snapping along with her temper that the man who professed to love her more than he could “say or do” was squashing her dreams without a second thought. Chest heaving, she battled the sting of tears at the back of her lids, softening her tone in another attempt to corral her frustration. “You promised, Collin,” she whispered in a hoarse voice. “I put my dreams on hold to give you children, and you promised that after I had Abby, I could work part-time when all three girls were in school. Well, now they are, and Bren is close behind. And Father needs me”—her chin rose in her defense—“and I need the chance to pursue my love of writing, so I’m asking you—please—try to understand.” Gray eyes as cold as slate, Collin slowly rose from the pillow, lips clamped tight as he stared her down. A tic pulsed in his jaw, a rare sign of a temper she almost never saw. “All I understand, Faith,” he bit out in a tone brutal with bitterness, “is that this so-called ‘love’ of yours appears to exceed that for your husband and children.” She froze, shards of ice prickling her skin at the viciousness of his attack. The tears she’d tried so hard to stall now swelled in her eyes, unleashing a deluge of hurt and betrayal that drowned out all reason. “How dare you!” she hissed, fists clenched tight to keep from striking out. “And how dare you put your interests before that of our son!” he shouted back, obviously as enraged as she. Her tears fell, and with them any restraint, prompting a knee-jerk reaction that unleashed a swift slap across his face, the sound echoing like a clap of thunder rife with warning. His shock was at least equal to her own as they stared at each other through wide eyes, chests heaving and silence ticking away like the thundering heartbeats pounding in her chest. In the blink of his eye, fury calcified every line in that handsome face, distorting it into a man she didn’t know. Snatching his pillow up, he stalked to the closet to jerk a blanket from the top shelf, not once looking back as he bolted for the door. “Collin, I’m sorry,” she cried, but his only answer was a deafening slam that left her in a cold and empty bed where she’d just made love to her husband. A painful groan trailed from her lips. From ecstasy to agony in one violent sweep of her palm. “Oh, God, forgive me,” she whispered, sinking onto her pillow with a painful sob, well aware Collin would be too angry to accept her apology tonight. Heartsick, her body heaved as she lay there weeping, praying this awful rift would be over come morning. Boom! The door flew open with a crack to the wall, and Faith jolted up in bed, stomach cramping when her four-year-old son flew into the room with terror in his eyes. “M-Mommy, Mommy, I h-heard a loud b-bang,” he cried, voice quivering as much as his little body. Faith swept him up in her arms, clutching him tightly as she hurried toward the door. “It was nothing, sweetheart, I promise, so let’s get you back to your bed.” He clung as if he would never let go, small fingers digging into her back with a panic that rivaled the angst in her gut. “B-But it sounded like something breaking, and I’m afraid it might be a monster, so w-will you sleep w-with m-me for a while?” “Absolutely, sweetheart.” She laid him down in his bed, then crawled in alongside, grateful to escape the terrible loneliness of her empty room down the hall. Pressing a soft kiss to his head, she tucked the covers around them both, snuggling as close to him as he was to her. “I promise there are no monsters, Bren,” she whispered as she swept a tender palm down the whole of his tiny back, “and definitely nothing breaking, my love.” He shivered, and she followed suit, while a single tear slowly slid from her eye. Unless it’s my heart.


Get ready for some holiday cheer! This new book of Ms. Lessman will have wives wanting to snuggle up to their hubby's next to a warm fireplace. Since Julie Lessman first penned A Passion Most Pure her tagline has been passion with a purpose and she's lived up to that with every book she writes.

She puts her character's in compromising situations in order to highlight real issues that plague marriages today. Taking those situations she weaves nuggets of Bible precepts into what her character's are dealing with showing God and His love.

This book has a warning of a higher level of romantic passion, I didn't find it to be inappropriate. Ms. Lessman truly has a gift of writing passion filled love scenes cleanly and keeping it within the bounds of marriage.

As a reader once I finish reading one of Ms. Lessman's books, whether a novella or full length novel, I feel as though I have had a long conversation with her. Her books come straight from her heart and you feel that with every turn of the page.

"The seeds of divorce. It's a term I read about once, where thinking negative thoughts about your spouse --- focusing on them --- can plant the seeds of divorce in a marriage, possibly taking the marriage down from there." Faith

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in association with Singing Librarian blog tours. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

AGLNO Tour Givaway

To Enter the giveaway follow the link to my interview with Julie HERE.

Giveaway ends October 27 at 11:59pm MT. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

Follow along with the tour HERE.
SLB Tours Team Button

Interview Featuring Julie Lessman with a Giveaway


Welcome to Radiant Light, Julie! I'm so glad to have you here.

Julie: Thanks so much for having me, my sweet friend!

RL: If you could go anywhere for a long weekend where would you go?

Julie: Oh, gosh, I would go to Isle of Hope, Georgia in a heartbeat. Why? Because that is the setting of my contemporary Isle of Hope Series, which I absolutely fell in love with! We actually had a trip planned to IOH before I wrote the series, but we sold our house the week prior, so we had to cancel. Consequently, I was forced to research Isle of Hope via books and the Internet instead of in person, which lit a fire under me to see the real thing because it is SUCH an amazing place!

When I started writing that series, I knew I wanted a locale on the Eastern Seaboard, and I’ve always loved Hilton Head and Savannah, so I prayed about it, then checked out a map. I was absolutely blown away to discover “Isle of Hope,” a small peninsula 15 minutes away from Savannah that actually becomes an island when the tide comes in! How cool is that?

With a unique Southern charm all its own, Isle of Hope’s seaside beauty and low-country allure has drawn movie makers and photographers for years, boasting films like the Oscar-winning Glory, the original Cape Fear, The Last of the Belles, Forrest Gump, and The Last Song. And, with a name like “Isle of Hope,” it was—for me—the perfect setting for a story of hope restored.

RL: I'd love to visit Isle of Hope, Georgia! That would be so much fun! Especially going with you!

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Julie: A little of both, I think. My hubby and I head up to bed around ten or so, where he watches TV while I read. But I’m usually up long after he nods off, devouring anywhere from 6-8 books a month because that’s about the only time I get to read, often to midnight or so. But … I also like to get up early, too, if I can—anywhere from 6-7:00 AM—to get a jumpstart in catching up on TV news, my Bible/devo time, exercise, breakfast, emails, etc. before I dive into writing anywhere from 1l:00 AM-1:00 PM.

RL: I 'm definitely a night owl. But, I am noticing that I'll wake up earlier and earlier. Getting out of bed when I don't have to be somewhere or do anything is the hard part. 
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

Julie: Okay, here’s a shocker for you—Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. I know, I know, most people think I’m crazy when I say that, but Scarlett was definitely one of a kind. I mean, seriously, how many heroines do you know who were as selfish as she was, yet carried people’s interest in a novel over 1,000 pages long? And not just any novel, but a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel that made over $400 million as a movie, which when adjusted for inflation is the highest grossing film of all time?

Yeah, I thought so.

When I first read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve, I was so swept away by the romantic tension between Scarlett and Rhett, that I actually wrote 300 manuscript pages of what today is my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Scarlett was not exactly a role model, I know, but I loved her strength, her confidence, her inability to be false or phony … and I especially loved the pull she had over Rhett whether he liked it or not. That’s what true romance is—a man who will cherish you and love you no matter your failings.

RL:  Not shocked at all. I remember when I read Gone With the Wind and was surprised a book of that length kept my attention. But, I didn't even think about her character in the way you did. She definitely was quite a character! I can definitely see how it inspired A Passion Most Pure. 

What is the weirdest thing you’ve Googled while writing a book?

Julie: Oh, gosh, there have been sooooo many things I’ve Googled, especially in my most researched book to date, A Wing and A Prayer, which is Gabe O’Connor’s story during WWII (from the O’Connor family saga, The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change Series).

Some of the weirdest (and most interesting) things I researched in that book were the inside of a military Jeep, the inside of a cockpit of various planes, and the top soft drink during WWII. For instance, I have a scene where Gabe leans to kiss the hero in a military Jeep, so I had to find out if there was a gear shift in the way, if it had doors for my hero to lean back on, and how to start it after he gets angry enough to gun away. There is a gear shift in the way, there are no doors for the hero to lean on, and there are no keys/ignition in a military Jeep—only a floor pedal.

As far as the top soft drink during WWII, it was Coca-Cola, which was supplied to the troops throughout the war. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola was also Hitler’s favorite drink because there was a German Coca-Cola division in Germany that the U.S. cut off from shipments of Coca-Cola syrup during the war, so the Germans had to come up with a poor substitute, and voila! Fanta was born. J

RL: Those are some fun searches. I really like the information about Coca-Cola and Fanta. 

Here on my blog I say that it is a radiant light and source of encouragement for both readers and authors. What do you hope radiates from your daily life?

Julie: My love for Jesus, which is deep and passionate and my utter fallibility without Him.

RL: That is beautiful, Julie! I can testify that your love for Jesus is deep and passionate. I am so thankful for your willingness to pray when asked to. I, too know I would be a complete mess without Him.

If I asked Faith to describe you as an author what would she say?

Julie: LOL, what a great question! I think she would say that she and I are very much alike. We both have hot tempers and get our “Irish” up more than we should and both of us are deeply spiritual. So much so, that you might say Faith is my spiritual self. She has an intimate relationship with God—she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. I like to say that she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe—we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts. As a matter of fact, Faith and I are so much alike in the spiritual sense, that a good friend once told me that reading A Passion Most Pure was “like going to lunch with me.” I hope that’s a good thing!

RL: I love that! I get my Italian up a lot more than I should so I completely understand that. That's a fabulous way to look at A Passion Most Pure. I feel like I've sat and had an in depth conversation with you after I've read one of your books. 

I believe I know this answer, which character out of all that you’ve written is most like you?

Julie: Well, at the risk of sounding narcissistic (gulp), three of my sister characters are based on different aspects of my personality. Basically, I like to delve into characters on a deeply emotional level, and so I draw upon the wealth of emotional baggage from my own past. And trust me, we’re talking the mother lode!

For instance as mentioned above, Faith is my spiritual self and most like the woman I am today—heavily dependent on God, emotionally involved with Him, and a person who prays at the drop of a hat, so I almost feel one with her.

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2 A Passion Redeemed is my rebellious and “passionate” self, before I came to the Lord. I was a wild child of the seventies before Jesus got a hold of me (as he does Charity in Book 2), so my heart goes out to her and the woman I used to be—selfish, manipulative, lost. I think that’s why she fascinates me so much, because I look at her (and women like her) in the same way I suspect God looked at me back then—with eyes full of love and hope that we all can become new creatures in Christ Jesus. And quite frankly, I think Charity is just downright funny and such a hoot that she makes me laugh. Which kind of shocks me because I never ever thought I was a funny person and yet I created Charity and her quirky sense of humor! Go figure!

Then finally, Lizzie (or Beth), the sister heroine of Book 3 A Passion Denied is my dreamer self. Lizzie is a bookworm bent on fairytale romance, just like I used to be as a little girl, sneaking downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed. In her story, Lizzie has to learn (just like I did) that true romance, the kind that really satisfies, comes from following God’s precepts, not the world’s.

RL: Oh, man, Julie, I love that! I think it's great that you incorporated not only parts of your personality but things from your life into your characters. I think that is why so many reader's feel like they know you from reading your stories. I see all three of the sisters in you. I see Marcy too. 

What do you hope reader’s take away from A Gift Like No Other?

Julie: Well, let’s start with the second most important thing I want readers to take away from A Gift Like No Other, and that is as Christians, each of us needs to be keenly aware of just how easy it is to inadvertently “sow the seeds of divorce” in our marriages or relationships by focusing on the negative. And then, the first most important thing I tried to convey in this novella is that prayer should always be a first resort, not a last, and that it can tackle and resolve any problem we face, large or small. Because the bottom line is, it truly is “a gift like no other.”

RL: I definitely agree with you. Until I went through my divorce I hadn't paid attention to the seeds of divorce that we had sown into our marriage. While I wasn't the one who cheated, lied, or abused, I can look back now and see that we didn't put a hedge of protection around our marriage like we should have. I am really glad that Mark and I have done that.

Before we say good-bye for today, what’s coming up next for you?

Julie: Right now I’m in the process of writing book 2 in the Silver Lining Ranch Series, Love’s Silver Bullet, which I hope to release in the spring. After that, I am chomping at the bit to write a secular book.

Why secular, you say? Well, I’ve been feeling God nudging me toward the secular market for about a year now and have been praying about it heavily. So, when my agent suddenly had interest from two secular publishers on Gabe’s story (which I had planned to indie release this fall), I prayed about it some more, then revamped that story for the secular market per my agent’s instructions. Which meant, of course, deleting all references to God and words like pray, prayer, blessing, etc. and adding more sensuality (which is a must in secular romance), but all within moral parameters that I so believe in. Now, spirituality is the most important thing to me in my books, so trust me—it was very difficult to take it all out. But, I told God that if I was hearing correctly from Him and He wanted me in the secular market, He would have to get me a contract there.

Needless to say, I was totally shocked when my agent told me a secular editor wants to buy Gabe’s story and has taken it to pub board (where they say yay or nay), so I’m in the wait mode on that novel. If I do not get a contract from them, then I intend to release Gabe’s story as a Christian indie right away and then publish the secular version I revamped under a different title and my maiden name. That way, I get to write what I want in the indie market, but hopefully broaden my reader base in the secular. Ultimately, I am hoping and praying that some of those who like my writing in the secular market will then cross over into my Christian books, which as you know, is where my true ministry is. 

RL: First, I can't wait to read Love's Silver Bullet! That is a great title! Second, I think that Christian writer's need to be in the secular market. I mean in the Christian market it's like preaching to the choir. I know I love walking away from a book being encouraged and feeling drawn to dig into scripture more. Yet, when I think of what's available on the secular market I don't see it as encouraging and uplifting and could you just imagine if someone read a book of yours in the secular market, and jumped into your Inspirational books and saw God for the first time. What a huge answer to prayer that would be! I mean I was a believer and A Passion Most Pure spoke to my heart about staying pure during my divorce and until I remarried again whether I did or not. 

I'll jump off my soap box now. Thanks for spending some time with me today, Julie. 

Julie has a great Christmas giveaway for you to enter. Just click the image to enter!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

30 Days of Blogging . . . Day 1 - 6

I saw this on Twitter and thought it would be fun to do for the month of November. If you'd like to join feel free!

Day One - Hi! If you're new to my blog, my name is Andi, short for Andrea. I currently live in Idaho married to my cowboy, truck driver, hubby. Together we have six kids and ten grand kids.
I spent forty-three of my fifty-three years as a Navy brat then Navy wife. This is the first time I've lived in one place longer than a couple of years.
I started my blog in 2007 as a way to keep track of my reading. Little did I know I would be introduced to the world of reviewing. I have been encouraging and supporting authors and readers ever since. I believe my blog is my ministry and calling.

Day Two - My monthly goal at this point is to finish the books on my November TBR and write 50,000 words in my Nano Novel.

Day Three - How do I start my day. I normally wake up around 8:30 am and take my morning medication. If I can't go back to sleep I'll read until I fall back asleep. I am not a morning person and thankfully I don't work outside of the home.

Day Four - Five things I can't live without . . . hmm . . . might be hard to narrow it down to just five.

1. Jesus. I wouldn't be alive without Him and not just spiritually. Looking back on my life there are seven times, that immediately come to mind, if not for Him I wouldn't be alive.

2. My Bible. This is a lifeline for me and without it I wouldn't have an ongoing relationship with Him.

3. My husband, Mark. He's a gift from God and God uses him to keep me sane when my epilepsy brain wants to go offline.

4. My daughters. Mark and I have six kids and I love all of them. I only gave birth to three and my girls are three of my best friends. They know me better than I know myself some days. I am beyond blessed that God gave me my amazing girls.

5. Our grand kids. They keep me young and give me hope for the future! This is just a few of them.

Day Five -  My hobby is reading and coloring. I love adult coloring books! They both are a great stress reliever for me.

Day Six -  How do I start my day? When I finally get up which is between 10:00 and 11:00 am, don't hate me, I let out our miniature Australian Shepherd. Start a cup of coffee unless my hubby is home and has gotten me coffee from Dutch Bros. I make a bowl of oatmeal and usually finish up watching Kelly and Ryan on NBC.

Now, it's your turn . . . How do you start your day? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Royally Yours; Christmas Novella Collection by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, and Ashley Clark - Reviewed

About the book:

Title: Royally Yours
Authors: Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Liz Johnson,
Ashley Clark
Genre: Inspirational Christmas Romance Novella

Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after...tiaras optional.

Purchase a copy HERE!

About the Authors:

Melissa Tagg is the author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She’s a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl.

Website || Facebook  || Instagram || Twitter 

Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newlywed hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. 
Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter 

By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager. She makes time to write late at night—that’s when she thinks best anyway. Liz is the author of more than a dozen novels, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She’s a Christy Award finalist and a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona, where she enjoys exploring local music, theater, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She writes stories of true love filled with heart, humor, and happily ever afters.

Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter  

Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She's an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns.   
Website || Facebook || Twitter

My Thoughts:

I enjoy novella collections for many reasons, mainly because I feel like I've read four books when in truth I've only read one. 😉😉😉

This collection is so fun and I am in love with the town of Tinsel, Vermont! It seems like the perfect place to live. Paparazzi is not allowed so it's a perfect place for celebrities, royalty, and those just wanting to get away from it all to visit. It's the perfect town at Christmas time with it's decorations fit for a Queen.

Each of the royalty that make their way to Tinsel for the holidays are just regular people with flaws like the rest of us.
Within each of the stories the author's have written multi-layered stories that flow flawlessly from one story to the next not missing a beat.

The setting, stories and character's are charming with a fairy-tale qualities making you want to visit again and again.
The faith element is woven through each story without being overbearing.

I highly recommend this novella collection! And it releases today, so grab a copy and settle in for a little vacation to Tinsel, Vermont.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Month In Reveals . . . October Wrap Up

I normally do a end of month wrap up but there were so many wonderful covers revealed in the month of October I thought it would be fun to put them all in one post.

Are these not beautiful?

I'm especially partial to A Mosaic of Wings. I love the butterflies and the colors are not usual book cover colors. I believe this book is Ms. Duffy's debut and I love reading debut authors!

If you read My Dearest Dietrich, A Novel of Dietrich Bonehoeffer's Last Love by Amanda Barratt, if you haven't you need too, The White Rose Resists is about the German students who went against Hitler.

Christmas at Star Inn releases today so click the cover and purchase your copy!

Jen Turano's release for 2020 is book three of the American Heiresses series and is just adorable.

Amanda Dyke's 2020 release is gorgeous and the back cover copy sounds so good!

These are the cover reveals that I saw over the course of October. Did I miss any? 

Your turn . . .

Which one are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday . . . Reading Through The Years

Happy Tuesday! I've missed a couple of Tuesdays with writing Nano, aka November write month, and Gramma duty with my grandkids....