Top Ten Tuesday Favorite First Book of a Series

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday's prompt from Broke and Bookish for this week is ten favorite books from 2017. Well since we know that I'd have pages of favorite books, I'm tweaking it a tad, and doing my favorite kick off books to a new series.

Links will take you to my blog review or Goodreads review.

This is Ms. Alexander's Christmas book this year, but it is also a kick off to her new series that will be set at the Carnton Plantation in Tennessee.
I haven't finished this book completely yet. I'm close. I will say that the story is true Julie Lessman, and is the perfect kick off to her Silver Lining Ranch series.
Becky Wade starts her Bradford Sister series off with novella, Then Came You. True to You is the real kick off and a great family saga beginning.
 Pepper Basham continues to write stories about her beloved Appalachia in this first book of her Pleasant Gap series.
 Kellie Gilbert is from the Sun Valley, Idaho area. Taking her love of the area she pens a vacation story kicking off her series involving three sisters, titled Sisters.
The last book I read of Ms. Putman's was three years ago, so I was very excited to see that she had a new series. Using her legal expertise to write a great beginning to a new series.
 Another laugh out loud beginning to Jen Turano's Apart From the Crowd series.
Both a debut, and first book of the series, a total hit for me! Fantasy isn't my go to genre, but I loved it!
The third book I've read of Ms. Dylan's and a great kick off to her Atlanta Justice series.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and Jody Hedlund does a wonderful job of starting her Orphan Train series.

Any or all of these books would be a perfect Christmas gift for the reader in your life, and they will be up to date before the next release.

Let me know your favorite series starts that you read this year in the comments.

Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig - Review and Giveaway

Saturday, December 9, 2017

About the Book

Name of book: Christmas Embers  
Author: Chautona Havig  
Genre: Contemporary Christmas  
Release Date: November 25, 2016  

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

About the Author

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




Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles

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

My Take:

This is not a Christmasy book. Meaning it is not a feel good boy gets girl, they live happily ever after with snow falling all around them with a sweet Christmas carol playing. This is my first book I've read of Ms. Havig's and while it ripped my heart apart, it won't be the last book I read of hers.

I don't know if Ms. Havig has experienced the pain of adultery, I have and she conveys the pain, humiliation, and utter disbelief with truth and realism, that leaves your heart open and raw.

I had only one problem with the story. At the beginning when Sean and Emily are talking with Kate at the first "counseling" session about her pastoral husband's infidelity, I thought their actions and comments to her were very insensitive. Which is one of the reasons women rarely go to their clergy because they don't believe they will receive a sympathetic ear and guided response.

My bottom line . . .

The characters are real, incredibly complex, dealing with struggles that we all encounter. Piper and Joey the two kids that Ms. Havig wrote into the story are adorable, fun, and have the childlike faith that Christ says we should have.

The book is deep and very emotional, leaving you thinking about it long after you close the book. Keep Kleenex close because you will need them.
While this is not your typical Christmas story, it is definitely a story for today, and I highly recommend it!

Blog Stops

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


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

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

First Line Friday - For the Love of Liberty by Julie Lessman

Friday, December 8, 2017

                                                         About the book:

A Match Made in Heaven?
Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?

She’s stubborn, educated, and looking
to give women the vote.
He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking
to give her a piece of his mind.
But when things heat up, they just may give each other
a piece of their hearts.

First Line:


Virginia City, 1860

Miss Willoughby's voice rang clear and concise from the back of the schoolroom, spelling primer in hand as she offered fourteen-year-old Liberty "Libby" O'Shea an encouraging smile. "Since everyone has been eliminated from the spelling bee except you and Mr. McShane, Miss O'Shea, we'll need both the definition and usage of the word in a sentence in addition to the spelling all right?

You can purchase the book HERE

First Line Friday is sponsored by Hoarding Books Blog. Go there to see their first lines and other first line participants.

Leave your first line in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Trying to Be a Square Peg in a Round Hole - Be Who God Created You to Be

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last night I read a blog post written by my friend's daughter. I loved her honesty and her heart. Here's her blog post With Songs of Joy. When I read this post last night, God smacked me right between the eyes. I've been struggling with trying to squeeze myself into another person's spot within the Inspirational blogging community, that isn't for me. I have my own lane that God has created for me and I need to stay there because that is where I will do my best for God's kingdom.

As Hannah says in this post, You are that person for someone, and someone is that person for you, but no one is that person for everyone because we’re all unique in our gifts – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) We are his workmanship, uniquely and wonderfully made; each one of us differently, each one of us loved perfectly.
For some crazy reason I thought I had to up my game to be what another person is in her sphere of influence because I thought I was lesser than.Which was never the case.

What's really weird about this is that until a year ago I had never had this problem, and I've been reviewing for almost eleven years. But . . . until a year ago my health had been pretty much all over the place. My seizures were not under control and as of today I am nine months seizure free. Which I haven't been seizure free that long since I had brain surgery in 2004. My Rheumatoid Arthritis was way out of control as well. I could hardly move, and was in a lot of pain. With those two things under control, what was left open for the lying snake, satan, to attack? My blogging and reviewing. He's tried going after my kids but I'm pretty good about giving that right back over to God and he knows he's been had. So he went for something wide open, and unprotected. Not that God isn't a huge part of my blogging but I think I left it on auto-pilot just doing what I do not even thinking that satan would mess with it. Boy was I wrong! He went after it with a vengeance and since I wasn't paying attention he had a hay day creating dissension and attacking my self worth as not only a person, but as a reviewer/influencer, something I identify with.

So, what's my point with this post . . .

Take a moment and reflect as we come to the end of the year, is there a place where you are feeling less than, sensing dissension that you haven't noticed before? If so, check and see if the lying snake is distracting you to focus on something related but unnecessary. That is his MO, he is sneaky and dissension is his favorite playground. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. We have to stay alert, he wants to devour us all!

Top Ten Tuesday Bookish Settings

Today's top ten Tuesday prompt from the Broke and Bookish is ten bookish settings I'd like to visit.

Where would I like to visit?   

There are so many fictional and real settings that come alive through the pages of a book

Willow Lake from Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart

Prague from Firstborn by Tosca Lee

Mitchell's Crossroads from Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

Sun Valley, Idaho from Sisters by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Belle Meade Plantation from To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

Victorian London from A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

Berkhamsted Castle from The Silent Song Bird by Melanie Dickerson

Merryweather from True to You by Becky Wade

Virginia City from For Love of Liberty by Julie Lessman

Tall Acre from The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

Ca’D’Zan the Ringling Brother's Mansion from The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

Would you like to travel to any of my bookish settings? If so which one. Let me know where you'd like to go visit in the comments!

Catherine Marshall’s ‘Christy’ Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Facebook Live Party

 About the book:

 The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.
But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.
Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

About Catherine Marshall:

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall's untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine's enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.
Find out more about Catherine at

My Thoughts:

When I read Christy back in the 90's this was the cover.
I was so incredibly taken in by the story then and now. I felt like I was in the Appalachian mountains experiencing everything young Christy was. Reading it again twenty years later I was transported back to the simpler times, with a young girl and her desire to be a teacher.
Ms. Marshall pours her heart and soul onto the pages of this book and it surrounds you like a warm fire on a cold night. This is one of those books I recommend when readers of non-fiction say that nothing is real in fiction. This book definitely puts that thought to shame.
I am beyond thrilled that I have the 50th anniversary copy of this novel to not only cherish myself but to pass it on to my grandchildren.
This book is for both male and female, young and old. You can never go wrong with this timeless classic.

Some stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall's beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her—and her one-room school—as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!


TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who've been impacted by Christy and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday Funday - Favorite Holiday Tradition

Sunday, December 3, 2017

My parents started the tradition of giving my daughter's ornaments for Christmas when my oldest daughter, Stefani was born. They still give the girls ornaments today. Since my parents gave ornaments to their grandchildren, I have kept the tradition going and give ornaments to their children. My mother believes that the only ornament worthy of giving is a Hallmark ornament. I don't do that, mainly because we would probably choose the same ornament for the kids. Each year Mark and I go to a Christmas show here in town and I pick up handmade ornaments for the kids there.

 This year I got the granddaughter's a cupcake ornament in a glass bulb. This is for Lily our granddaughter in Washington that I need to mail. I got her little brother a Santa in a race car since he loves anything with wheels.

What is a favorite holiday tradition of yours? Or one you'd like to start? Let me know in the comments.

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