Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Language of Worlds // A Soldier's Freedom

'Sup, fellows word-lovers! Tonight I'm participating in Liv Fisher's character linkup—The Language of Worlds.

(To be perfectly honest, I thought it was The Language of WORDS for like...awhile. Thankfully, I realized it before writing this post, eh?)

(To be perfectly honest, I'm also in a sassy, sarcastic mood, so there is seriously no telling what's about to take place here. No lifeguards here, so swim proceed at your own risk.)

So yes, I'm going to ramble about my two main characters from A Soldier's Freedom for awhile today. Because I don't really have a current WIP that I'm writing, so there's that. And I just got this book back from my fabulous team of beta-readers which was exciting and slightly nerve-wracking. (They were fabulous, I'm just terribly protective of this baby.)

(I might actually cheat, bend the rules, and not answer every question...but you can find Liv's full post with all the rules and questions and such by clicking on the graphic. *points*)

James and Alex are the characters to which I'm referring, although you probably already knew that if you've been around SBF for any amount of time. I love this duo so insanely much. They're fabulous. If I do say so myself.

(I'm using "fabulous" so much it's not even funny.)

What does your character fear the most?

Failure. Well, that escalated quickly, Alfred. Seriously, though. Both James and Alex have a fear of failure. Or rather, James feels he has failed and he hates it.

How would they handle it if they were to face their fear?

They both kind of have been or are faced with their fears in the book, sooo... Alex reacts by drawing away, locking her heart up and not letting anyone in if she has any reason to think she can't trust them. James avoids the situation and those that he feels he has failed, at all costs.

Do they want to get married? Why or why not?

That sounds like a spoiler... Is that a spoiler? I think that's a spoiler. We're skipping this one, mateys.

On a scale from 1 (messy) to 5 (organized), how do they rate?

Hahaaa. xD So neither one of these two could be classified clean freaks... They aren't terribly messy either, though, I guess.

Alex may let clutter and laundry pile up around her apartment while she's gone to work all week, but she'll take care of it on the weekends. Maybe a 3 for her?

James is pretty messy, and sometimes lets his disability be his excuse for not washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, or keeping his room tidy. Not that Alex lets him get away with that...

How do they feel about debates/disagreements?

Both James and Alex avoid disagreements with friends and relations, but if its something they feel strongly about or a conviction of theirs that's being questioned, they'll stand up for themselves.

As for friendly banter, these two could go at each other all day. ;)

What do they bring to a battle (figurative or literal)?

Well, James literally did battle (can you do battle? is that proper usage of the verb??), so ya know, like a gun would probably be a good idea... *cough* Yeah, this question kind of confused me. In case you didn't know, Brett.

What's their favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

As to where James would eat anything and everything no matter the time of day, Alex doesn't often eat breakfast. Coffee, usually, but a "real" breakfast? Only if James insists.

How do they treat themself after a long day?

Hanging out together? Alex's idea of the perfect date night without going out would be pizza, a carton of ice cream, and a movie.

What do you most want readers to glean from this story?

No matter what, there is hope. You're not alone. Jesus loves you unconditionally. So don't ever, ever give up on your beautiful life. <3

Thoughts on character link-ups? Have you participated in Liv's? If not, what are you waiting for, mateys!

~Faith (who's apparently a pirate now)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Top 5 of 2018 + Backpacks}

Welcome to the last day of the party, friends! This week has been so much fun, and I hope y'all have had a blast as well. :D The giveaway winners will be announced on Rebekah's blog today, and we also have another sweet bookish surprise for y'all. Links at the end of the post!

We have plenty of backpacks here! Grab one in your favorite fall cover and get ready to load it up with lots of great reads.

Saturday: Top 5 of 2018

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Carpe diem... 

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

I honestly don't know how to describe how amazing this book is. As always, Bischof's writing is beautiful, lyrical, and astounding, and her stories filled to the brim with bold love and heartfelt grace. I fell in love with this story of Charlie, Ella, and Holland. I'm already planning my next journey to the circus grounds of Roanoke. 

Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury (Angels Walking, #1)

When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is putting his life back together the way it was before. He has lost everyone he loves on his way to the big leagues. Then just when things seem to be turning around, Tyler hits rock bottom. Across the country, Tyler’s one true love Sami Dawson has moved on. 

A series of small miracles leads Tyler to a maintenance job at a retirement home and a friendship with Virginia Hutcheson, an old woman with Alzheimer’s who strangely might have the answers he so desperately seeks.

A team of Angels Walking take on the mission to restore hope for Tyler, Sami, and Virginia. Can such small and seemingly insignificant actions of the unseen bring healing and redemption? And can the words of a stranger rekindle lost love? Every journey begins with a step.

It is time for the mission to begin… 

After having my mom tell me for months (or probably, years...) that I needed to read this series, I finally got around to it earlier this year...by devouring the first book in less than 24 hours. (At 380 pages, that's a record for me.) A unique and eye-opening tale of angels here on earth, this book is sure to touch the heart. The series easily claimed it's spot among my top favorite books ever. 

The Pursued by Willowy Whisper (Hills of Innocence Trilogy, #3)

Fawn Wendell has no choice but to flee. Her life depends on it. She has no where to go, but that doesn’t matter. She has to disappear. She has to get lost, never to be found again, before her pursuer attacks. 

Adam Preston loves his children. They’re all he has left. But with the ranch to run, is there any way he can give them what they need, especially when he’s hurting himself? 

Jake Sumner returns to an old house, a place that arouses too many memories. If he decides to stay, he may have trouble on his hands . . . trouble a whole lot bigger than him. 

Sadie is an injured, silent bird, locked in a cage she can’t free herself from. Her nightmares are real. The fear kills her voice. Will she ever fly again?

Hey, look, another book I read in less than 24 hours—and this one is over 450 pages! I've reviewed every book in the Hills of Innocence trilogy and enjoyed each of them, but The Pursued is my favorite. Each of the four main characters captured a special part of my heart, but Sadie and Jake's story was my favorite. <3 

A Question of Loyalty by Jesseca Wheaton (Questions of War, #3)

A Man. A Brother. A Traitor. 

The war has taken everything Micah Wilson has ever held dear, and with all his being he wishes he could do something to stop the heartache. But he often wonders if he'll ever be able to move on after the war, or forget the brother who left six years before. How can God still have a plan, when it seems that the world around him is falling to pieces, to say nothing of his own heart? 

Ann Wilson has seen two brothers changed by the war. And she's resolved to do something to stop the pain she sees in their eyes from becoming a reality for so many others. The world is on the brink of Normandy when her nursing unit is shipped to England, and while there, an unexpected encounter promises to change her own life . . . Forever. But it's only the beginning. As the war in Europe rages on, Ann is caught in the crossfires. And when the unthinkable happens, she comes face to face with the evil of the Third Reich. Is it possible that the reality of it all is more deadly than even her worst nightmares? 

Erich Essler never questioned his duty to his country. All his life he's struggled to live up to his father's expectations, and bring honor to the Essler name. But when the man he thought of as his only friend turns out to be the enemy, he can no longer rid himself of the questions that continue to torment him. Is what he's doing really honorable? And does he owe his loyalty to his country . . . Or a higher power?

Freedom for Europe dawns on the distant horizon. But in the midst of the fight, four lives will be forever changed, and their loyalty to God and Country brought into question.

Yeah, yeah, it's not published yet... (Was that a requirement?) But it will be soon and this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. If you're in need of a book that will make you cry, keep an eye out for this release. The conclusion to the Questions of War series is heartbreakingly beautiful and sure to be a favorite among fans of the series. 

The Prisoner's Wife by Susan Page Davis (Maine Brides, #1)

1720: Lucy lost Jack years ago. Jack Hunter's father was a drunk and a criminal, and Lucy Hamblin's father believed the apple lay near the tree. When her father forbade their love, Lucy buried her heart out of obedience, but she never stopped loving Jack. 

On a strange evening four years later, she's summoned to the local jail. Jack has been accused of murder and has a request to make of Lucy. It appears Jack Hunter will hang in the morning, and to preserve his property and provide for the woman he loves, he asks Lucy to marry him. 

When his trial is postponed and ultimately dismissed, Jack has new worries: Lucy agreed to become a prisoner's widow, not the wife of a man her father despised. Can Lucy and Jack accept he Lord's miracle of preservation—of Jack's life and reputation...and the love they believed they'd lost?

I recently spotted this book listed as a free Christian ebook and promptly downloaded it when the synopsis caught my interest. When reading the book shortly thereafter, I was surprised by how much I loved it! Jack and Lucy's love story was so sweet, and the unexpected air of mystery surrounding the murder made the book even better. 

Many of the Five Fall Favs bloggers are also authors—with books on sale this weekend! Click the buttons above to be directed to an assortment of free and $0.99 ebooks. :D

After you grab some reads to get you through the weekend, trek on over to the Literary Lodge for your last visit to each room of the party!

What's your top 5 books of 2018, thus far? Have you read any of my favorites? 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Military + Bikes}

Happy Friday, friends! Today happens to be one of my favorite days of the week—and we're featuring one of my favorite genres! I had to actually think when I may my list for this post...because I'd already placed 'military' books in nearly every other genre. I've picked some goodies for y'all though. ;)

Grab a bike from the rack and fill it's basket with books, so you can pedal off to the next party room and find your perfect reading spot!

Friday: Military

Wedding a Warrior by Hannah R. Conway 

Whitleigh Haynes wrestles with the boundaries of her limited faith after an unexpected marriage proposal leaves her wondering what to say to longtime boyfriend, Collier Cromwell, now Army soldier, who’s asking her to leave everything she’s ever known, loved, and planned.

This novella was so much more than I expected. Whitleigh didn't figure for military life when she fell in love with Collier. But the way this couple worked through the difficulties and fought for love, deciding their relationship was more important than anything else...was precious. <3

I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton

Sometimes it takes a a sunset to show you what really matters in life. But it's the sunrise that bring the promise of a new beginning. 

Ty and Jen have been friends for nearly as long as anyone can remember. But when Ty goes off to college and leaves her behind, he has to face the reality that he cares for her as more then just a friend. 
As graduations approaches and with only one summer left before he begins basic training, Ty must make a decision. Military life is never easy; is it fair to force it on the one he loves? 
In the midst of wrestling with the question and coming to the realization that summer is quickly drawing to a close, Ty struggles to face questions he cannot answer, and is forced to examine his own heart. 
Is it possible that God has a future for him with Jen? Or will the summer close with only memories of days gone by? 

Their relationship would be old fashioned. But that was okay. Because old fashioned and whimsical fit perfectly with a southern summer.

I love this book, people. I really do. It's like the definition of a beautiful, summer love story, of two people falling in love, while making sure they put God first. It amazed and encouraged me ever so much. Not to mention...Mike is amazing and the cover is adorable. 

Choosing Courage by Peter Collier

How does an ordinary person become a hero? It happens in a split second, a moment of focus and clarity, when a choice is made. Here are the gripping accounts of Medal of Honor recipients who demonstrated guts and selflessness on the battlefield and confronted life-threatening danger to make a difference. There are the stories of George Sakato and Vernon Baker—both of whom overcame racial discrimination to enlist in the army during World War II (Sakato was a second-generation Japanese American, Baker an African American) and went on to prove that heroes come in all colors—and Clint Romesha, who led his outnumbered fellow soldiers against a determined enemy to prevent the Taliban from taking over a remote U.S. Army outpost in Afghanistan.

Also included are civilians who have been honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation for outstanding acts of bravery in crisis situations, from a school shooting to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Adding depth and context are illuminating essays on the combat experience and its aftermath, covering topics such as overcoming fear; a mother mourning the loss of her son; and “surviving hell” as a prisoner of war.

This book is AMAZING. It tells the behind the scenes stories of Medal of Honor recipients from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with stories of civilians' brave actions in crisis situations here at home. 

At the Edge of a Dark Forest by Connie Almony

Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.

Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become. 

At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.

I stumbled across this book while searching for clean—preferably Christian—books on amputee characters. (I know, it sounds so bad...but it was for research...)  Cole was a complicated, hard-hearted, wounded veteran. And Carly is the sweet, caring prosthetist who sets out to break through to the man hidden inside the shell. Their story was precious. 

Faith Under Fire by Steve Rabey

The Second World War generation met many challenges, and turned to their faith to sustain them through overwhelming odds. Here are stories of faith told by the people who lived them. this compelling collection not only honors the lives of these people of faith, but inspires readers to seek God in their own lives.

Steve Rabey has spent time with the brave men and women who lived through WWII. He offers us touching glimpses into the souls of these who faces unbelievable adversity and emerged with a deep-rooted faith in God. This compelling narrative recounts the experiences of ordinary people with extraordinary faith and courage. Their profound stories will encourage and inspire you.

This book was a gift from a friend, and I loved every story tucked away into the pages. Faith Under Fire reinforced my desire to write about the amazing men and women of the Greatest Generation—those which lived through and fought during the Second World War. 

The giveaway has officially passed 75 entrants and a second prize has been added! Now, can we reach 100 before the giveaway closes? It's the last day to enter, so get those entries in while you can. And spread the word! Tomorrow morning, the winners will be announced on the host blog. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Will I see you over at the Literary Lodge on this glorious fall day? *points to the button*

What's your favorite military book? Can you believe the party is nearly over already? :-O

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Contemporary Christian + Blankets}

Good morning, party-goers! Are y'all ready for another day of bookish fun? Today's genre is contemporary Christian—a favorite of mine! So choosing these books was tough. ;)

As always, don't forget to enter the giveaway!

I'm in charge of passing out the blankets today. Fall is in the air, so outdoor reading may call for some warm coziness. Grab a quilt or a throw and settle in!

Thursday: Contemporary Christian

The Rebellion by Livy Jarmusch (Tales of Tarsurella, #2)

Something is brewing. Like the far off rumble of a train in the distance, a rebellion is stirring. A cry for change arises in the midst of a traditional monarchy, where King Addison has inherited the throne. Who are the underground troublemakers? What is stirring their defiant banner and demand for change? Find out in The Rebellion! (The Tales of Tarsurella #2)

Vanessa Bennett lands her dream job working at the Palace in Tarsurella. She struggles to balance everything on her plate: life in a new country, stressful deadlines, crabby co-workers, college classes at the local University, and blossoming feelings of romantic adoration toward her boss–King Addison. Keeping up with her To-Do list, while trying to earn respect in Addison’s male-dominated administration, presents its challenges. Nevertheless, she can’t help but fight a reoccurring thought and the excitement rising with it: is Addison interested in her?

Addison is adjusting to his new role as King. Rumors of a rebellious uprising among the youth in Tarsurella intensifies, as acts of violence and protest break out across the city. Addison is determined to uncover the hidden instigator who fearlessly blogs democracy-driven ideals with a secretive pen name. Will Addison discover and expose the fiery rebellion leader? Or will his efforts fail to stop the rebellious thoughts spreading like wildfire, causing a heartbreaking rift in his divided nation?

What a delightful story! While I enjoyed The Coronation (book one), I absolutely adored this book. Eloquently tying together romance, family relations, and sibling love, with threads of politics and mystery, Miss Jarmusch did a lovely job with this beauty. <3 

Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis

Jack Livingston has been raising his nine-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. While he travels for work, Natalie is lovingly cared for by Laura, an Amish nanny who loves her as her own. 

Kelly Maines is nearing the end of her rope. Her baby was kidnapped, the apparent victim of a black market adoption ring, and for eight years, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. Now, there's one last lead from a private investigator: Just a few miles away lives a girl who matches the profile. Could this, at long last, be her beloved child? 

Desperately, Kelly initiates a "chance" meeting with Jack Livingston. It goes really well. So well, in fact, that Jack asks her out. One date leads to another, and before she can come clean with her original motives, Kelly realizes Jack is falling for her--and she for him. 

Now how can she tell Jack why she's really here? And having gotten to know Natalie, what if she isn't her long-lost daughter, after all? This was all supposed to be so simple. 

But nothing in Natalie's world is simple...

Eeeps, so cute! I buddy-read this book with a friend this past summer and I enjoyed it ever so much. Jack and Natalie had the absolute sweetest uncle/niece relationship. With the adoption themes, it could've also fit into our pro-life genre earlier this week! 

Meet My Boyfriend by Willowy Whisper

One accident. One man. One dance. 

She'd never noticed Levi Grant. Not really. Everyone knew about him, though. Everyone remembered the accident, the tragedy. It was hard to forget. Especially since he had no arm. 

She only said yes because of her soft-heart-syndrome. He'd never asked anyone to the dance. Never even had a girlfriend. How could she say no? 

But as she's thrust into a whirlwind of misunderstandings and danger . . . the whole world seems to change. Will her heart change with it?

Wow, y'all. Going into this book, I totally underestimated what it would hold. While I expected sweet, cute, and fun, it was amazing, adorable, and real. The love story was beautiful and the mystery and suspense? So fabulous. 

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade (Porter Family, #3) 

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

I didn't expect to love this book so much, people. It was amazing and it hurt and it was real. I cried and smiled and laughed. Jake's struggles were presented very well, and his love story with Lyndie was precious. 

*Brief content review here. If you're under 13 and/or uncomfortable with any of those topics, this may not be the book for you.* 

Kate's Innocence by Sarah Holman (Kate's Case Files, #1) 

What would you do if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit?

Kate watched as her campus was torn apart by bombs and now is being accused of perpetrating the crime. As the evidence quickly stacks up against her, she begins to lose hope that the truth will come to light. Even though the handsome FBI Agent, Patrick, has taken up her cause, will they be able to prove her innocence? Will God, who she neglected for so long, listen to her prayers for help?

Patrick is an agent with a very special team of agents. He wants to help Kate prove she is innocent, but as each new piece of evidence is revealed, that goal seems harder. He wonders why he feels so compelled to help her and so sure she is innocent despite the evidence. Will he be willing to put his job on the line to help her? Can he trust in God to make sure the truth will come out in the end? 

I've read the first two books in this series, and I loved them both so much! I actually listened to the audios (which were amazing, by the way. I don't do many audios, but I can be turned off to a book if the narrator isn't that great). If you enjoy contemporary stories with FBI agents and mysteries, this series is definitely worth a shot! 

What's your favorite contemporary? Can you believe the party is more than halfway over?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Read-Alouds + Books}

Happy Wednesday, readers! I hope y'all are enjoying this party as much as I am. :) Today's genre is read-alouds, and I have some great recommendations for y'all. As usual, the book covers are linked to the Goodreads pages, and the giveaway and link to the host blog are at the end of the post.

Well, look what we have here... I must be the book room today! *wink* Read on to the end of the post to grab your free short story.

Wednesday: Read-Alouds

The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan 

From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.

Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.

Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone. 

As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?

Told from the perspective of a dog who was adopted by a deceased poet, The Poet's Dog is a heartwarming tale of two siblings lost in a blizzard and the dog who saved them. Although I read this book myself, it would be wonderful to read to children of any age. 

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden take care of one another. They have no parents, no other family—except for a grandfather they don’t care to see—and no home . . . until the night they find the boxcar. Old, rusty, lonely, and abandoned in the woods, it’s the perfect home for four brave children on their own.

Are there any kids out there who haven't read at least a handful of these books? (If so, that's really sad. Because these should be, like, mandatory for every kid's childhood.) The Boxcar Children are classics. These stories of the four Alden siblings solving mysteries are great for young readers and would make fun read-alouds as well. 

The Candle in the Window by Margaret Hill McCarter/Lamplighter Theatre

Tully wants more than anything to make his teacher smile. But no one knows that Miss Ravenstow is trying to escape the pain from her past. No one, that is, except Tod the mailman, who holds in his hands something far more valuable than a special delivery. 

Discover a very special Christmas story that opens the door for those seeking shelter from the pain of their past. Inspire your entire family with a beautiful portrayal of how a simple candle in the window can bring hope for the future and an encounter with the Light of the world.

I listened to the audio drama of this story last Christmas and I fell completely in love! A mailman, a teacher, a child, a war hero...so many things I love in a story. This one instantly became a favorite for me. <3 

(I haven't read the book, but judging by the Lamplighter Theatre audio drama, I'm sure it's amazing.)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for the big skies of the Kansas Territory. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their house. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.

I'm pretty sure my parents lost count of how many times they read this series aloud to me and my brother. Although we went through them all, Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and Farmer Boy were always being re-requested. There are so many memories packed into these. Definite classics and read-aloud choice worthy!

The Twin Arrows by Kate Willis

Two children. Two journeys. Twin arrows.

Ryla follows her father's parting instructions as closely as she carries his gift. Her protectors are kind, and safety is certain inside the convent's strong walls. But now she must leave and what lies ahead is uncertain...

Her brother Drewin won't wait any longer. The knight promised to escort him isn't coming, and gossiping neighbors threaten to reveal his identity. He strikes out on his own, sure he can outrun the danger...

When reading this sweet little story last month, I recall thinking how lovely it would be to read aloud to younger siblings. For enjoyers of adventure stories and magic-less fantasy, this charming story is absolutely perfect. 

My short story, Love Needs No Words, is today's free story! Click on the cover image above to snag your copy. :)

Have you entered the giveaway for this lovely stack of books and mug? If not, what are you waiting for? At last check, we were getting fairly close to 75 entrants—at which time a second place will be added!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the giveaway and then continue on to Rebekah's blog at the button below for links to all the other party rooms. :D

What's your favorite read-alouds? Have you read any of these? 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Humor + Boats}

Happy Tuesday, readers! Welcome back to the second day of this fabulous party. :)

While scampering back and forth between the party rooms, make sure you remember to enter the giveaway. When we reach 75 entrants, a second prize will be added—and when I checked last night, we were already over halfway there. :D

Today I'm kicked back on the pier with a stack of books to keep me company and to share with y'all. There are plenty of boats, so grab a read and set out across the pond for some quiet time to spend in a book!

Tuesday: Humor

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke (Canadian West, #1) 

Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

When I first saw this book on Goodreads (long before watching the Hallmark TV series), I thought it looked like a good book—but I had no idea how many times I would chuckle and grin while reading! If you're looking for a fun and sweet story—that's way different from the beloved TV series—this may be the book for you! 

Return to Sender by Janice Thompson

Holly O’Brien’s plans are flipped upside-down when she receives what she believes to be a Christmas letter in the mail. Turns out, the letter is from a complete stranger, and is intended for someone else. The passionate note—written with shaky handwriting—clues Holly in to the fact that the writer wants to reconcile with her estranged family. Holly flies into action to find the sender of the letter. Getting it into the right hands is critical. 

Her journey leads her to the Shady Acres nursing, where she meets Gertie, the writer of the cryptic letter. Only one problem: Gertie, who has Alzheimer’s, has no memory of writing it. Enter Liam, Gertie’s handsome grandson. Does he have to key to unraveling this mystery? 

When Liam and Holly come together, sparks fly, but not all of them in the right direction. Can they work together to solve the mystery behind the letter? And will Holly witness a Christmas miracle as she gets to know this wonderful family?

Oh my goodness, I lost track of how many times I burst out laughing while enjoying this humorous gem. From Holly, to Liam, to sweet and spunky Gertie, this novella is filled to the brim with comical dialogue and hilarious quotes. The fact that it's a Christmas story is a sweet plus!

In Bloom by Kayla Aimee 

Every woman is intimately acquainted with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Whether fueled by a culture of makeover shows, by the lingering memories of mean girls, or by events much more wounding to the soul, we can become so conditioned by self-doubt that it becomes our inner monologue.

What we want is to be free of shame and comparison, to turn our uncertainty into a bold confidence. But to flourish in our own skin, we first have to rewrite the narrative.

In this fearless, funny, and refreshingly relatable chronicle of her own metamorphosis from the insecurity that once held her captive, author Kayla Aimee unfolds the blueprint for women to:
• Identify the deep-seated sources of our assumed inadequacy and replace them with steadfast truths of scriptural affirmation 
• Replace our need for approval with the enduring promise of acceptance 
• Uncover our purpose, unlock our potential, and celebrate the God-given gifts in our unique personality
To every woman who longs for belonging, this journey through Kayla’s inviting prose, biblical promises, and journaling prompts will help guide her from restless insecurity to a beautiful becoming.

If you're finding it odd to spot a Christian living non-fiction listed among the 'humorous' reads, you probably aren't familiar with the author...and her ability to turn the simplest life happenings into something to smile about and snicker over. With a southern spirit and charming personality, Kayla shares instances from her own life to make you laugh and lessons from her heart to bless your soul.

Gentleman of Her Dreams by Jen Turano (Ladies of Distinction, #0.5) 

When Miss Charlotte Wilson asks God for a husband, she decides He must want her to pursue Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the catch of the season. The only problem? She's never actually met Hamilton. Fortunately, one of her oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Henry St. James—who has returned to New York after a two-year absence—does know Hamilton. Much to Henry's chagrin, Charlotte immediately ropes him into helping her meet Hamilton. However, none of her plans to catch Hamilton's eye go as she expected, and she is even more confused when her old feelings for Henry begin to resurrect themselves. In the midst of the mayhem Charlotte always seems to cause, she wonders if the gentleman of her dreams might be an entirely different man than she thought.

Quirky characters, humorous situations, and adorable romance... The endless list of mishaps and mayhem that Charlotte and Henry found themselves in during this quick tale are sure to bring a smirk to any readers face. When I chose it from my Kindle, I expected a cute, short read, but I enjoyed this one even more than I expected. 

The Vintage Wren series by Chautona Havig 

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in several chapter episodes. 

Cassie Wren. Legal assistant. Convenience queen. Thrifter extraordinaire. If there was a "green police" she'd be a fugitive from eco-friendly justice. 

But when a friend's teasing feels like a challenge, Cassie accepts it. The result? One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days--of green. 

It seemed simple enough. Cut back on paper plates, plastic forks, and straws. Easy peasy. But when her competitive side wars against her desire for convenience, Cassie finds it's not so easy to be "eco-friendly" and "Cassie-friendly." 

(The Vintage Wren. A serial novel released in fifty-two episodes, for obvious reasons. )

Can we just spend a moment discussing how much I love this series? Because, y'all, I love this series.  (Also, I love Joel. But don't get me off on that or we'll be here all day.) 

To date, I've read six of the fifty-two episodes, and I grinned and laughed through each and every one. Not only is Cassie a character that I absolutely adore, but this serial also comes with a plethora of secondary characters that are sure to wiggle their way into your heart. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway and then hop over to Rebekah's blog to visit the other party rooms!

What's your favorite humorous book? Are you enjoying the party?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Five Fall Favorites {Pro-Life + Barns}

Good mornings, friends, and welcome to this year's Five Fall Favorites blog party! This popular autumn festivity is hosted by Rebekah Morris of Read Another Page and Kate Willis of Once Upon an Ordinary. These gals have been hard at work for longer than the rest of us bloggers to get things up and going. Let's be sure to let them know how much we appreciate it!

Each stop of the party will have a different theme each day. Every day, there will be a 'book' room which will have the link to a free short story. Keep an eye out for that!

Today, I'm the barn room. So grab a stack of books, scamper up the ladder, and let's hide away in the hayloft for hours of bookish adventures. But first I have to give you my five favorites for today's genre!

Our first genre of the week is pro-life. Adoption, foster care, special needs, the elderly...that kind of thing. I had lots of fun coming up with these books, and I hope you find some new recommendations here. Cover images are linked to the books' Goodreads pages, for your accessibility. Here we go!

Monday: Pro-Life.

Baby by Patricia MacLachlan

Larkin's family welcomes Sophie into their home, caring for her and teaching her games and new words. They come to love this baby as their own, all the while knowing that eventually Sophie's mother will return one day to take her from them.

Oh my goodness, this story is so precious. I adore Ms. MacLachlan's writing, and when I picked this book up at the library in January, I found it to be no exception to the rest. While not your typical foster care setting, this story of a family who took in a child not their own is a beautiful tale of love and loss. 

True to You by Becky Wade (A Bradford Sisters Romance, #1)

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora's help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

I just love adoption stories, y'all. The promised genealogy side of the plot along with John's quest to find his birth parents were the reasons that prompted me to pick up this book in the first place. The air of mystery surrounding the whole situation and the shocking revelation it brought made it a fun read!

*This book does deal with such topics as divorce, romance, murder, and rape. If you're under 13 and/or uncomfortable with any of those topics, this may not be the book for you.* 

Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers 

Entertainers Roy and Dale Evans Rogers were thrilled when their little daughter Robin was born. But their excitement turned to concern when they were informed that Robin was born with Down's Syndrome and advised to "put her away." The Rogers ignored such talk and instead kept Robin, and she graced their home for two and a half years. Though Robin's time on earth was short, she changed her parents' lives and even made life better for other children born with special needs in the years to come.

Angel Unaware is Robin's account of her life as she looks down from heaven. As she speaks to God about the mission of love she just completed on earth, the reader sees how she brought her parents closer to God and encouraged them to help other children in need. 

This book, which changed the way America treated children with special needs, is now available to a new generation. It is the perfect gift for parents of special needs children, parents grieving the death of a child, or anyone whose life has been touched by a special child. 

I knew before reading this that the Rogerses were Christians, but this gave enough insight into their personal lives that I better appreciate the people on the screen. Written by her mother, this little book gives a precious glimpse into the short life of young Robin Rogers. It was a sweet story, bringing tears to my eyes. 

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan

Jake’s grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds, is eighty-eight years old, and is going to live forever. Even when Billy gets sick, Jake knows that everything will go on as always. But there’s one thing Billy wants: to rebuild the sod house where he grew up. Can Jake give him this one special thing?

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about what we do for the ones we love, and how the bonds that hold us together also allow us to let each other go.

Ahh, this story was so darling. A tale of a young boy and his family's determination to make his grandpa's special request become reality. And, of course, there's an amazing dog in the story. Honestly, the pets and animals in Ms. MacLachlan's stories are nearly as trademark as her lyrical writing style. I may or may not have cried during this one. <3 

(I was going to try to not 'repeat' authors each day, but in this case, I just can't help it. This book is precious.) 

Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury (Angels Walking, #3)

Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a brand new orphanage. Whatever time she has left, Mary Catherine wants to spend it helping children—especially since there will be no children of her own. The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with. Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine’s other friends—Tyler Ames and Sami Dawson—know just how serious her heart condition is.

Still, Marcus is sure in the depths of his soul that something isn’t right. Ultimately his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a US hospital before time runs out. Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. In a season when Tyler plans to ask Sami to marry him, the very core of their relationship is in jeopardy.

The team of angels walking is busier than ever in this epic battle between life and death. A Brush of Wings is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and the power of faith. 

Dealing with both adoption and a heart condition, Brush of Wings is a fantastic tale of one girl's journey to make the most of the time she has left. In that way, and concerning the adoption in the second half of the book, the book carries strong themes of the sacredness of human life. 

Angels Walking is a series that I would definitely suggest reading in order—and they all deal with pro-life topics in some way!

What would a blog party be without a giveaway? Especially a party as large and fabulous as this one! This year's giveaway basket is chocked full of all sorts of bookish goodies.

The grand prize winner will receive... 
Gift from the Storm by Rebekah Morris
Kiera by Kate Willis
There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman
Love Needs No Words by Faith Potts
Bound by Victoria Lynn
A Five Fall Favorites mug (designed by Rebekah Morris, created and donated by Salsa and Tea)

The book basket is only for US winners, but if you're International, still enter! If we receive enough entries, a second and even third place prize could be added. Those will be Kindle books, provided by the participating authors.

Click the button below and be directed to the Literary Lodge. You aren't going to want to miss a single post of this party!

Are you excited for the party? What's your favorite pro-life book? Have you read any of these?