Monday, July 16, 2018

Scripture Graphics #100


Have we given much thought lately to seeking good? If not, then what are we seeking?


This one short verse packs some powerful reasoning. We now belong to God—thus, it is only right that we should do what pleases and glorifies God. Does this verse shape our life—or do we see no value in what God has done for us, and do not care about how we dishonor/honor Him with our lifestyle?


It was never the act of circumcision that meant something, but the act of obedience. There are many convictions (based on Biblical principles) where it’s not the *act* that draws us nigh to Christ, but the obedience. Are we more concerned about a list to check off and look good, or our hearts submitted to the leading of God?


He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. 2 Samuel 22:18-19
It does my heart good to remember that, no matter how helpless I feel or how strong the enemy is, my God is stronger. He is my stay (protection, support). It doesn’t matter what I am going through, my God is bigger.

Share a verse that you've recently read.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sons of Blackbird Mountain | Book Review




My Review


Aven was a very endearing character, whose past had been filled with heartache and pain, yet who enters the book with a hope for a bright future. This bright future is found in her cousins’ farm on Blackbird Mountain. As a shock, though, their occupation comes from the very thing that Aven detests: hard liquor, made with pride from the orchards on the Norgaard farm.

Joanne weaves a heartfelt story through the lives of Aven and Thor. I must admit, my absolute top-favorite character was Jorgan. His name, his demeaner, his big-brother relationship with Aven… he was spot-on the best character (in my opinion) and I was happy for every good plot point for him.

Thor was a very intriguing character. I know some of the Deaf culture from my sister having taken ASL and been at several Deaf meetings. This was the first time I had really read it in a book—that, as well as hints of the Ku Klux Klan (which was only in the beginning of the book and seemed to fade as the story progressed). With the limited knowledge that I have of both, Joanne seemed to do a very good job depicting them.

I loved the feel of most of this story—the “backwoodsman” appeal as well as rugged living. Though, toward the end, I’ll admit an event happened that made me just want to skim through the remainder of the pages, and the book lost its homey, cozy feel for me.

So, yes, that “aspect” had to do with the romance portion of the book. There was one character that I was always wary of (which Aven was wary of as well—which I’ll put in that the author did a great job helping you feel what she was feeling). Every time he came on the scene, I found myself almost holding my breath, hoping that it wouldn’t go in the direction I was seeing it headed. Of course, it did go in that direction and there was what I’d consider an attempted-rape scene. I kind of skimmed those pages, because it’s not something I’d care to read. So I can’t say exactly what happened, but it was enough for me to cringe and put a word of caution out for girls who don’t like to read that much content. That, and then there are some bent-on-discreet mentions of the marriage bed and such. It just got a little too much into that, as a non-romance reader.

The spiritual content was throughout the pages, but it seemed almost as if they were all baby Christians, and though they made progress physically (for example, one being free from his addiction to alcohol; which seemed very descriptive and accurate, but may also be a little more than some readers would like to read, as it covers the bulk of the center of the story), there didn’t seem to be a lot of actual God-emphasis. Kind of “reassuring pats” that God would help them handle it, cries for God’s help, and a few Scripture quotations. I can’t fault it for being spiritually shallow, I’ve just been really picky about spiritual content lately. Or maybe it’s just that this isn’t along the lines of what I needed in my spiritual walk right now.

The flow of the story was a little jerky to me. I do like fragmented sentences, but in this book, some of them almost didn’t make sense and I had to reread the paragraph two times to get what the author was trying to say. As the book progressed, though, either I got used to it, or she had less. I also found a little bit of the plot to be jerky as well. That could just be me being nit-picky though, as I've not read much fiction lately.

Besides the latter quarter of the book (for above-mentioned reasons), this was one that I really enjoyed and will imagine many more mature readers will enjoy it as well.

*I received this book from the publisher and am happily providing my honest review*

About the Book

Title: Sons of Blackbird Mountain  
Author: Joanne Bischof  
Genre: Historical Romance

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family. But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength. As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world? A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

About the Author


JOANNE BISCHOF is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com, Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof, Instagram: @JoanneBischof.


Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, July 5
Carpe Diem, July 5
Simple Harvest Reads, July 10 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Just Commonly, July 11
Book by Book, July 12
Pause for Tales, July 13
Radiant Light, July 13
Remembrancy, July 14
Vicky sluiter, July 15
By The Book, July 16
Bigreadersite, July 17
amandainpa, July 18

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away
Grand prize of a country crate, a jar of apple butter, a bag of gummy berries, journal, bath salts, honey spoons, copper earrings, and a blackbird sign!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Free: Hartly Manor | Christmas in July


My second freebie this month is...


This is more of a winter story than a Christmas story, but it holds a special spot in my heart. It was written from the perspective of children but is an allegory of salvation.

Get on Kindle (free today only): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N31B8C6
Add to your Goodreads list.

Giveaway
The giveaway is still going, if you haven't entered yet!


ENTER GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY:


ENTER INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY:

Keep visiting these blogs for more giveaways, free stuff, and discounts!


July 13, 2018
Author Kate Willis
Free eBook: Enjoy the Poodle Skirt

July 14, 2018
Author Kendra E. Ardnek
Vlog and Giveaway: The most romantic fairy tales

July 16, 2018
Author A.M. Heath
Giveaway: Out of the Ashes

July 17, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Discount: The Unexpected Request
Free: Choices for Max

July 18, 2018
Author Emily Ann Benedict
Discount: Perception, a Vintage Jane Austen Novel

July 19, 2018
Author Erika Mathews
Discount: Promise’s Prayer ebook, Overrun By His Love
Free: Gather ‘Round The Fables

July 20, 2018
Author Ryana Lynn
Blog post: character interview.

July 21, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Sale: to be announced

July 23, 2018
Author Amanda Tero
Discount: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, The Secret Slipper

July 24, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Blog: Special upcoming release announcement

July 25, 2018
Author Emily Ann Benedict
Giveaway: The Father Christmas Confessions.

July 26, 2018
Author  Faith Blum
Blog: Special upcoming release announcement and book sale

July 27, 2018
Author Alicia G. Ruggieri
Discount: A Time of Grace: The Complete Series
Blog: Spotlight on new book

July 28, 2018
Author Abigayle Claire
Giveaway and discount: Andora’s Folly

July 30, 2018
Author Alicia G. Ruggieri
Discount: The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks

July 31, 2018
Author Amanda Tero
Giveaway and new release: “Finding Christmas Joy”


Monday, July 9, 2018

Scripture Graphics #99


Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?...They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Proverbs 8:1, 9
Sometimes, what makes God’s Word so hard to understand is our attitude. We don’t *truly* want to find knowledge, so we explain away verses instead of accepting them to be right. Is this our attitude toward God’s Word?


Spiritual maturity isn’t how much about the Bible that we know, but how we use it in our daily lives. One could quote whole books of the Bible, yet have animosity toward others and no love, peace, long suffering. Are we striving to just have a knowledge of God’s Word—or live it?


Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 1 Corinthians 4:5
We are not called to be judges amongst ourselves based in our preferences and opinions. So often, when we do, we judge only external issues that we see—ignorant of the hidden roots. These verses are a good reminder for me to rest the case in God’s hands—Who sees all details and knows all things.
(Note: this is not the same as turning a blind eye to Biblically-defined sin, but rather applying to things in life where we have formed an opinion or conviction extra-Biblical)


It is kind of a “cool thing” to speak violently. We use violent words in jest and exaggeration... but it is still proceeding from our mouth. This is not how a child of God (i.e. righteous man) should speak—even in teasing. Are we giving heed to the words of our mouth and judging them Biblically?

What Proverbs have you recently read?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

10 Minutes in the Word: Psalms | Book Review


After reviewing the Proverbs 10 Minutes in the Word, I knew I wanted to get my hands on the Psalms version. This one is formatted slightly differently, because there are so many Psalms. Most of the time, you have to read 3-4 Psalms per devotional. Because of this, I realize that it is harder to get a specific theme from the Psalms than it is from the Proverbs. Perhaps it’s because I’m not as emotional a person, but I found the devotionals to be more along the lines of, “Life is terrible, but God is good; rest in God.” There is nothing wrong with this message, but I would finish reading the assigned Psalms, be reflecting on the mighty power of God displayed in those Psalms, then read the devotional, where it put the focus on daily struggles and trouble. Because I know that many people read the Psalms this way, I’m not faulting the devotional. It just wasn’t quite the same outlook I take on the Psalms. At the same time, I cannot say that the studies are unbiblical at all. They go through the history of the writers of the Psalms, which I found was interesting.

Like I said with the Proverbs study booklet, I love the actual book. The book is a perfect size, of good quality, and the prayers and thought-notes are very helpful. So, while I liked the Proverbs book more, I definitely recommend this book as well.

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Free: Noelle's Gift | Christmas in July


The Christmas in July blog party has been going on for a few days now! I hope you've got the schedule bookmarked and are hopping along the blogs to get some amazing deals!

Free
Today, it's my turn to offer up a freebie, and it's only fitting that my first "Christmas in July" freebie should be my first Christmas story ever written...


It's only free today, so grab it up while you can!
And, if you read it, I'd love for a review both on Amazon and Goodreads! (Just sharing the Christmas joy, you know ;) )

Giveaway
Remember, there is still a month-long giveaway going on! If you haven't entered yet, please, please grab you some entries! Also, there are individual mini giveaways throughout the month on various blogs as well (another reason you need to visit them everyday ;) ).

GRAND GIVEAWAY
“Christmas Is a Gift” CD (Amanda Tero)
$5 Starbucks gift card (Amanda Tero)
Ebook copy of Coffee Shop Christmas  (Ryana Lynn )
“A Christmas Disaster” paperback (Rebekah Morris)
A Holy Passion softcover (Alicia G. Ruggieri)
Ebook copy of Martin Hospitality and Andora’s Folly (Abigayle Claire)
Trust and Obey notebook (Faith Blum)
Kendra E. Ardnek - paperback of The Worth of a King (Just as soon as it comes out.)
eCopy of book one and two in the Father Christmas Series (Emily Ann Benedict)
Audiobook of Sufficient Grace (Jessica Greyson)
Audiobook of Emmeline (Sarah Holman)

Ebook of Overrun By His Love (Erika Mathews)


GRAND INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY
eBooks of “Finding Christmas Joy,” “Noelle’s Gift,” and “Hartly Manor” (Amanda Tero)
Ebook copy of Coffee Shop Christmas  (Ryana Lynn)
The Unexpected Request Audio (Rebekah Morris)
Audiobook codes for A Mighty Fortress and Be Thou My Vision (one each) (Faith Blum)
A HolyPassion e-book (Alicia G. Ruggieri)
Ebook copy of Martin Hospitality and Andora’s Folly (Abigayle Claire)
The Worth of a King e-ARC (Kendra E. Ardnek)
eCopy of book one and two in the Father Christmas Series (Emily Ann Benedict)
Audiobook of Sufficient Grace (Jessica Greyson)
Audiobook of Emmeline (Sarah Holman)
Ebook of Overrun By Your Love (Erika Mathews)



Blogger List and Schedule
July 6, 2018
Author Ryanna Lynn
Discount: Free shipping for Coffee Shop Christmas

July 7, 2018
Author  Alicia G. Ruggieri
Discount: The House of Mercy e-book

July 8, 2018
Author Sarah Holman
Discount: Emmeline

July 9, 2018
Author A.M. Heath
Giveaway: In the Shadow of Thy Wings

Author Kelsey Bryant
Discount: Suit and Suitability ebook

July 10, 2018
Author Kelsey Bryant
Discount: Second Impressions ebook

July 11, 2018
Author Rachel Rossano
Discount: The King of Anavrea ebook

July 12, 2018
Author Amanda Tero
Free eBook: Hartly Manor

July 13, 2018
Author Kate Willis
Free eBook: Enjoy the Poodle Skirt

July 14, 2018
Author Kendra E. Ardnek
Vlog and Giveaway: The most romantic fairy tales

July 16, 2018
Author A.M. Heath
Giveaway: Out of the Ashes

July 17, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Discount: The Unexpected Request
Free: Choices for Max

July 18, 2018
Author Emily Ann Benedict
Discount: Perception, a Vintage Jane Austen Novel

July 19, 2018
Author Erika Mathews
Discount: Promise’s Prayer ebook, Overrun By His Love
Free: Gather ‘Round The Fables

July 20, 2018
Author Ryana Lynn
Blog post: character interview.

July 21, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Sale: to be announced

July 23, 2018
Author Amanda Tero
Discount: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, The Secret Slipper

July 24, 2018
Author Rebekah Morris
Blog: Special upcoming release announcement

July 25, 2018
Author Emily Ann Benedict
Giveaway: The Father Christmas Confessions.

July 26, 2018
Author  Faith Blum
Blog: Special upcoming release announcement and book sale

July 27, 2018
Author Alicia G. Ruggieri
Discount: A Time of Grace: The Complete Series
Blog: Spotlight on new book

July 28, 2018
Author Abigayle Claire
Giveaway and discount: Andora’s Folly

July 30, 2018
Author Alicia G. Ruggieri
Discount: The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks

July 31, 2018
Author Amanda Tero
Giveaway and new release: “Finding Christmas Joy”


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