Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Beautiful Books 2017 // A Soldier's Story

Good day, friends and relations! 

You probably thought I'd abandoned this blog entirely when I failed to post for nearly three weeks. Fortunately for all concerned, that is not the case. I was already planning to take time off from blog during the visit of a dear friend, and then I didn't blog the rest of last week as well... xD  

However, I am back today with a writing-related post. Showcasing my current WIP – which I may or may not be trying to finish this month. *distant screaming* 

Beautiful Books, the November/NaNoWriMo version of Beautiful People, has some awesome questions that I'll be answering. I'll not be doing the actual NaNoWriMo next month, but I'm stealing the questions anyway. :D (Actually, concerning NaNo, I'm hoping to edit 50k of War Tears instead. We'll see.)

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
A YouTube video. No, I'm serious! A ten minute YouTube video along with a prompt from Pinterest initiated what is now a 51k-and-counting novel. 
I've had the idea for over a year, and the first words were typed in July of 2016. 

2. Describe what your novel is about!
*silence* *Faith glances to her right* *then left* 

OKAY SO. If I was one of those awesome writer humans who followed all the rules, I would probably have a blurb/summary/synopsis/whatever-it-is-called for this book by now. But I don't... 

*leaves Blogger* *comes back like 30 minutes later* Feel special, friends! I finally wrote a not-perfect-but-passable blurb for this WIP. :P 

Having just returned to American soil from the desert sands of the Middle East, James Greene is done with his life. 'Double amputee' doesn't seem like a strong enough phrase to label the physical and emotional pain he bears. Add the lack of love and communication with his family members, and he can find nothing worth living for. Ending it all is the only way out. 

Alexandria Lorance is a not-so-ordinary physical therapist, content with aiding in her patients' recoveries. Her work gives her fulfillment, but alone in the silence, she still feels the hurt of hidden scars from a past unhealthy relationship. Reminding herself that true healing is found in Christ alone, she seeks to show kindness and love to everyone she meets.

When these two broken ones' paths intersect, the spark of friendship is ignited, bringing hope and joy to both. Would it be wrong to move forward to more than just friendship? 

A soldier, broken by war. A therapist, scarred by words. A chance meeting on a rooftop bonded them together. But can love grow in these two hurting hearts? Or are they truly too broken to ever find lasting happiness? 

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
*tosses out a few of my favs from the Pinterest board* 

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

*grins* Okiedoke, this'll be fun. I'm gonna give a few words about each of the top three characters. (Ya know, like a social media bio...except few are really this honest. XD)

James Greene >> USMC Retired. Double amputee. Suicidal. Intrigued by talk of God, coming from Alex, Joe, and Kellon (Alex's brother). Funnier than I think I am. 

Alexandria Lorance >> Physical therapist assistant. Blonde in hair color only. 21st century patriot. Sarcastic. Queen of nicknames. Wanting to be a light in the darkness. 

Uncle Joe >> Vietnam veteran. Married to Gloria. Uncle and top-adviser to Alex. Operating a ministry for returning service members. 

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
This is one book that I do have a semi-decent outline for. I didn't start it until I was 40-50% done with the book, buuutttttt.... ;) Also, chocolate – definitely. And some research. 

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Finishing it!! No, seriously. I'm super excited to write the ending. Hope and redemption and beautifulness and... *clamps mouth shut and hopes that wasn't spoilery* 

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Ehh...the setting is definitely something that needs work here. 

1 – City. It might be somewhere on the coast – like New England – but I'm not sure yet. 

2 – Hospitals. I don't think I need to explain this one. 

3 – Sidewalks. Lots of sidewalk scenes. xD 

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
James' goal is to regain as much independence as possible. What stands in his way? Um...well...he kinda lost two limbs, so there's that. 

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
*legit had to google 'protagonist' to make sure it means what I thought it means which it does* 

Uhhh....I feel like answering this question would be giving away the ending? I'll just say that God can do something awesome in an individual's life when you invite Him in...and I'll leave it at that for now. :) 

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
Hope. Redemption. Brokenness. I want readers to feel inspired, encouraged, and hopeful. <3 

Sound interesting? Did I intrigue you? Would anyone like to see a post of music that I relate to this story? Thanks for reading! <3 


**A Soldier's Story is a working title that will change someday...when I make a definite decision. xD 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five Fall Favorites {Indie-Published + Bushels}

Welcome to the last day of FFF on Stories by Firefly, readers! :D (Okay, so...technically tomorrow is the last day of the party, but I won't be posting then. Explanation at the end of the post. *wink*) Today's genre is 'indie-published' which I'm super excited for, being an indie author myself. (Wow, I just kinda realized that. O.O)

Look at all those lovely apples! Who else loves apple deserts this time of year? Hope y'all brought some ideas for what to do with all of them, because I'm pretty sure we're going to need the emptied bushel baskets for y'all to carry all these books home in. :)


To Get to You by Joanne Bischof // Wild Air, book #1 

To get to the girl he loves, Riley Kane must head off on a road trip with the father he never knew. Then pray for a miracle.

Most teens would love to have a pro surfer for a dad. Just not Riley. Abandoned as a kid, he hates the sound of the ocean and the man who gave himself to it.

When the eighteen-year-old learns that his best friend is stranded at a New Mexico hospital as her father fights for his life, Riley hits the highway to head east. But when his Jeep breaks down before he even leaves California, he must rely on the one man he despises to get to the girl who needs him the most. And when it comes to the surfer with the Volkswagen van and dog-eared map, a thousand miles may–or may not–be enough to heal the past.

A story of new beginnings and second chances. 

Oh my goodness, what a darling book! I've never read anything that shows hope and grace and redemption as beautifully as To Get to You. The second chances theme was so amazing!! For those of you who may not like romance in books, this one isn't nearly as romance-y as it sounds. Riley and Becca are super adorable, but that's not the main focus on the book. Doesn't that cover just make you want to read it?! Don't even get me started on the lovely interior formatting! <3 

Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton 

Eliana longs to see the world beyond the mountains that tower above Salzburg, Austria, but knows that dream will never see such adventure- and neither will she.

Surrounded by a world of cruelty, she lives for the weekly visits of Aron, a boy she met on one of her rambles through the countryside.

But as the years pass and she begins to grow older, a new and unwelcome world is opened up to her.
On a fateful night at a party she vowed she’d never attend, she comes face to face with a shocking truth.

As the world around her teeters on the brink of war, Eliana struggles to figure out just where her loyalty lies; a decision that will drastically change the course of her life. Will she ever be free to see what lies beyond the horizon?

Eeps, a Christmas WWII Cinderella retelling! All three of these are things that I love in a story, so how could I not adore this one? Miss Wheaton does a great job of bringing Austria during WWII to life in this sweet novella! The salvation story is inspiring, the romance is sweet, and the brother-sister relationship is darling! 

The Pirate Daughter's Promise by Molly Evangeline // Pirates and Faith, book #1 

Skylar McHenry knew the love of her parents and a doting grandfather until her sixth year was marked by the tragic loss of her mother. When her father's secret past as a pirate came to light, father and daughter fled to a life at sea. Although Daniel McHenry's life had changed and he now robbed pirates to return the stolen goods to their rightful owners, his ship was captured by authorities, and he was hung for piracy.

Skye grew up in an orphanage, little more than a servant and shunned by everyone around her. Now a young woman, each day Skye faces is marked by some new struggle. Her only hope has been to rely on her heavenly Father's care and comfort, and the solace of her best friend Will, who has become more than dear to her.

Just when an unexpected encounter with her grandfather gives Skye a small glimmer of hope that things might change in her favor, her world is shattered. She is awakened in the night by cannon blasts. Pirates storm the orphanage, drag her away into the night, and force her aboard their ship. The cruel captain's intentions are clear. He will extract from her, through any means necessary, the location of the hidden treasure rewarded to Daniel by those whose belongings he had returned. For Skye to divulge the location would mean breaking the last promise she made to her father. She's certain she never will, but what happens when the lives of those dearest to her are at stake?

The Pirate Daughter's Promise is full of daring high seas adventure; sweet, wholesome romance; surprising discoveries; unlikely new friends; and the rewards of trusting in God even when life seems impossible.

Full of danger and intrigue, this would be a great adventure story for girls of any age! It's been awhile since I read this book, but I remember really enjoying it and staying up late one night to finish it. Skylar's story was really interesting and the guy she was friends with (why can't I remember his name?!) was great too! I look forward to reading more by this author (also published under Jaye L. Knight.) 

A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu 

A Maid, a Prince, and a Duke. A Gardener, a Stepmother, and a secret...

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream...of the same prince.

In the end, are dreams even all they're made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Ahh, what a precious story! I've read this one twice and I love it oh, so much. The not-your-typical Cinderella story is absolutely lovely, and the writing is very good for a debut as well. Miss Hannu did a beautiful job of writing a love story that unfolds the way God intended for it to. And that plot twist, oh my! 

Ain't We Got Fun by Emily Chapman & Emily Ann Putzke 

It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?

Told through the letters of two sisters during the Great Depression, Ain't We Got Fun is a wonderful epistolary novel. Bess and Georgiana were such fun dears to read about! I think the fact that the girls' letters were written by the different authoresses made it even more unique. I haven't read many epistolary works, but this is definitely a favorite! :) 

At last check (late last night) we were only 4 entrants away from hitting the 100 needed to have a 3rd place in the grand prize giveaway! C'mon, friends, have everyone enter to win! We're so close and today is the last day to enter. :D (Enter by clicking here or visiting Rebekah's blog by clicking the above image.) 

I won't be posting tomorrow, but I will be around to reply to late comments...until I leave for the airport... *wink* Several of the bloggers will still be posting though, and be sure to check out Rebekah's blog for the giveaway winners! :D 

Favorite indie-book? Favorite indie-author? Need an explanation of what indie means? ;D 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Fall Favorites {Missionary + Bonfires}

Welcome to day four! Goodness, it seems like this party just started, and now it's nearly over. Today's genre is missionary, and I've got two fictions and three biographies for y'all. :D Make sure you read all the way to the end too, because I have a giveaway update for y'all! 

Doesn't that look inviting? There's just something special about a bonfire in the fall of the year. It's a bit chilly today, so grab a stack of books and settle in for some warm reading! 


Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World by Deb Brammer 

Deb Brammer’s Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World is a Christian fiction missionary story set in Taiwan. When Amy’s family moves to Taiwan to begin missionary work, she is determined to be a good missionary. But the neighborhood girls laugh at her, and Sunday services at the Chinese church become an ordeal. It seems that the only place she feels comfortable is at the English-speaking school with her peanut butter friends. In this middle-grade book Amy struggles to trust God as she learns how to live with new people and understand a different language. 

This book was part of my homeschool curriculum in 3rd grade (I think), and I've read it several times since then. It's a really great story of one girl's struggles to figure out where she belongs when her family leaves the US behind to become missionaries in Taiwan. The Chinese setting was pretty cool, and reading about Amy's difficulties in fitting in at school and making friends was pretty great. :D

The Other Side of Infamy by Jim Downing 

War is uncomfortable for Christians, and worldwide war is unfamiliar for today’s generations. Jim Downing reflects on his illustrious military career, including his experience during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to show how we can be people of faith during troubled times.

The natural human impulse is to run from attack. Jim Downing—along with countless other soldiers and sailors at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—ran toward it, fighting to rescue his fellow navy men, to protect loved ones and civilians on the island, and to find the redemptive path forward from a devastating war. We are protected from war these days, but there was a time when war was very present in our lives, and in The Other Side of Infamy we learn from a veteran of Pearl Harbor and World War II what it means to follow Jesus into and through every danger, toil, and snare.

I signed up to review this book through Tyndale Publishers because, I mean, he was at Pearl Harbor y'all. (Need I say more?!) I was expecting an okay-but-not-amazing account of Pearl Harbor and WWII through one man's eyes. What I was not expecting – and what I got – was an amazingly-told story of one's man life, both physical and spiritual. Jim Downing, co-founder of the Navigators (a ministry organization reaching out to service members), is a grounded man of God and a light of hope to those around him. At the publication of this book (2016), he still travels to speak and spread God's word, though now over 100 years of age. 

Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet & Geoff Benge 

Flying soon captured Nate's heart. His air service ministry to isolated missionaries put him on a path of destiny that would ultimately end with a final airplane flight with 4 missionary friends to the "Palm Beach" landing strip in the jungles of Ecuador.
The men's lives given that day not only opened a door to the gospel for the unreached "Acucas"; it has been said that possibly no single event of the twentieth century awakened more hearts to God's call to serve in missions. 

Chances are, you've heard of the story of Nate Saint. But, sadly, I hadn't until this book was chosen as a read-aloud for the Potts family homeschool. (I knew a little bit of the story from reading about Jim and Elizabeth Elliot here and there for school, but I didn't even know the other men's names or any details.) But oh my goodness, I remember sitting in our basement as Mom read the last chapters of this book aloud, and nearly tearing up. Those men loved God so much, had such a strong faith and such a burden for the Aucas, that they were willing to lay down their lives for the furtherance of the Gospel. They are true heroes in this world. <3 

Left to Die by Ivy Rose 

Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a rural hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.

Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the clinic does nothing to help him focus.

The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive. 

This was beautiful!! Earlier this year, I jumped at the chance to review Ivy Rose's second published book, a contemporary novella set on the missionary field of China. And I was not disappointed by the story in the least! Precious and heart-rending, I cried and laughed and smiled as I read the story of Lindy, Nathan, and an abandoned baby girl. <3 

Cameron Townsend: The Good News in Every Language by Janet & Geoff Benge 

The Cakchiquel man became indignant when Cam offered him a tract in Spanish. 'Do you have one in Cakchiquel?' he asked. 'There are none, I'm sorry,' replied Cam. 'Well,' retorted the man, 'if your God is so great, why can't he speak my language?'"

In one decisive moment, Cameron Townsend understood that God had called him to translate the Bible into the language of his Guatemalan friends. For Cam, the obstacles were small when compared to the growing reward of helping the diverse people of Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru read God's life-changing Word for themselves.

Quick on his feet and slow to give up, Cam started Wycliffe Bible Translators with the dream of making the Good News available in every language. Since 1942, Wycliffe has translated Scripture into hundreds of languages, spreading God's Word to people all over the world. 

Like with Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer, this book was a read-aloud. I don't remember it quite as well as some of the others, but I do remember really enjoying the missionary's story. We laughed many times over Cameron and his wife's incidents, but of course there was many a serious moment as well. Cam is a pretty cool nickname too, if I do say so myself. ;)

The giveaway update! As of yesterday evening, the grade prize party giveaway reached 75 entrants – meaning a second place prize has been added. The second place winner will receive three ebooks (choices from the basket) and possibly an Amazon gift card (depending on whether the winner is US or international). Click the image below to get your entries in! 

The new goal? To see if we can hit 100 entrants for a third place prize. Spread the word, friends and book lovers! 

Who's enjoying this party as much as I am? :D

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Five Fall Favorites {Series + Boats}

Good morning, friends! :D Welcome to day three! 

Today's post will be a little bit different. Instead of five favorite books, I'll be sharing five favorite series of books. So the linking will be a bit different (unless otherwise indicated, the title-links will lead to the Goodreads book page), but I hope y'all enjoy. :D We've got a good variety, with a fantasy, three historicals (Civil War, WWII, and 1830s) and a contemporary. 

Stories by Firefly is the boat room today! Grab a stack of books, hop in one of the readied boats, and drift off to a nice, quiet spot for some reading. ^_^ 


The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink // 4 books + 1 novella 

He’s an assassin. She’s his victim. Saving her could cost him everything.

(Mmm...not exactly a series synopsis, but it's the best I can find. I suppose I'll just have to ramble a little extra about these....which won't be hard! :P) 
Two years ago, if you had told me that I would be putting an independently-published fantasy series among my favorite series of books I would have laughed. "Me? Love fantasy? Nah."  But this series...it's SO GOOD. I think I probably like these so much because they're what I call 'realistic fantasy'. It's set in a medieval-ish fantasy world, but everything that happens is things that technically could happen. (No talking animals or magic or anything like that.) It's a beautiful story of redemption and grace. There's heartache and pain and brokenness (so much hurt – I love it). Sweet romance (mostly toward the end, y'all, don't start gagging yet), epic brother-brother, brother-sister, and sister-sister relationships, and real, relatable truths. I'd better move on now, because if I even get started on Leith, Shad, Renna, and Lord Alistair, we'll be here all day... ;)

Dare // Goodreads // My Review
Deny // Goodreads // My Review
Defy // Goodreads // My Review
Destroy (3.5) // Goodreads // My Review
Deliver // Goodreads // My Review

A Life of Faith: Millie Keith by Martha Finley // 8 books 

The A Life of Faith: Millie Keith novels follow the exciting life and times of Millie Keith, a girl of strong Christian faith growing up on the Indiana frontier in the mid-1800s. Adapted from Martha Finley's 1876 sequel to the popular Elsie Dinsmore novels, these revised and updated, modern-language books introduce readers to yet another delightful Christian heroine.

Oh goodness, y'all, these books are just so amazing!! I'd received many recommendations for these books, and then when a friend gave me the first two books last summer, I knew I had to read them. And I'm so glad I did! These books bring to life an amazing, Christian family and their frontier life. With all the humorous incidents and amazing string of characters, I know I'll be re-reading these for years to come. :D 

**I'm currently reading book-6 and have not yet read book-7 or book-8, so I cannot 100% recommend those. But I can't imagine they're terrible... ;D 

Wings of the Nightingale by Sarah Sundin // 3 books 

Three World War II flight nurses discover friendship, love, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean.

I read this series with a book-loving friend last year and I loved it!! WWII fiction is a favorite of mine and, ahh, these are so good! My favorite of this series would have to be With Every Letter. Mellie and Tom were amazing apart and adorable together. <3 Historically rich with amazing writing, lovable characters, and beautifully drawn-out faith strands. These were not the first books I'd read by Sarah Sundin, and they will not be the last. :D 

Avery's Battlefield + Avery's Crossroad by Deanne K. Klingel 

Avery and his dog, Gunner, have a good life in Kanawha Valley a loving family, a prosperous farm, and a warm community of friends. But when the long unrest between the North and the South ignites into war, Avery's peaceful world is shattered. His father, brother, and uncle leave home, each drawn away by the war. Soon Avery and Gunner must begin a dangerous journey that will take them across the paths of people on both sides of the struggle. 

Avery's skills as a doctor and his dog Gunner's friendly personality make the pair a welcome sight to the soldiers in the Civil War hospitals. But mending wounds is not the only challenge Avery faces. Dwindling supplies, insufficient medical facilities, and local troublemakers add to the stress of the war. Avery realizes that the real wounds of the war the wounds of the soul will take years to heal. But he finds hope for the future in his deepening friendship with Claire, a girl from back home who shares his passion for helping the wounded. Together they pray for the long war to end. 

I suppose these are technically boy books, but I have read them two (or three?) times. And I'm due a re-read! I really enjoyed reading about the Civil War through teenage-Avery's eyes. The first book is more of an adventure story as he set out on a journey – originally to locate his uncle – and ends up in medical school! As I remember it, the second book shows more of the harshness and cruelties of war. Love these! <3

Summerhill Secrets by Beverly Lewis // 10 books 

Set in rural Pennsylvania's Amish country, SummerHill Secrets follows the true-to-life struggles and heartfelt triumphs of fifteen-year-old Merry Hanson. Teen girls will come to love, laugh, and cry with the impulsive Merry as she encounters intriguing mysteries while also struggling to be the best she can be in God's eyes. 

I just love these books!! Summerhill Secrets were some of the first Amish-related books I read and are still among my favorites. I loved reading about Merry's friends, life, and struggles. I've read these books multiverse times and they've been carried around quite a bit, as you can tell by the beat-up covers in the above picture. I mean, how cool would it be to have a distantly-related Amish family living next door? 

Last time I checked, we were getting super close to the needed number of giveaway entrants (75) to add a second place prize. Be sure to enter (by clicking here) and have your friends and family enter too! :D 

How are y'all enjoying the party so far? Any feedback on the pictures? I wanted something special for the series. :)


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Five Fall Favorites {Clean, Christian Romance + Benches}

Good morning, all! Welcome to day two of the FFF book party and blog hop! :D We're already over halfway toward the 75 giveaway entrants needed for a second place prize to be added. So don't forget to enter!

(Psst! This is my 250th post! ^_^) 

Today we are the bench room! Have a seat on one of these cute little park benches and meander on down the list to find yourself the perfect reading material for a lovely fall day! 


A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin // Wings of Glory, book #1

Will a chance meeting in a time of war change her life forever?

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval - even marry a man she doesn't love. While Allie has nearly resigned herself to that fate, Lt. Walter Novak - fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women - takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet and begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Book 1 in the Wings of Glory series, A Distant Melody is an exciting and tender story of love, courage, and sacrifice during World War II.

A Distant Melody was one of the first books I read in the world of WWII fictions. And, oh my goodness, it's so amazing. Beautifully written, it's a book of real characters, sweet love, and raw, painful war-hurt. It's also had a great deal of impact in guiding me though writing my own WWII novel. ;) Very dear and precious to me, this one will always rank at the top of my favorite books, and I plan to re-read it again and again. <3 

A Cousin's Promise by Wanda E. Brunstetter // Indiana Cousins, book #1 

Love is a promise - for better or worse.  

When a group of eight cousins and friends leaves their Indiana Amish community for a weekend getaway, a horrific accident brings them home forever changed. 

Permanently disabled by the accident, Wayne Lambright struggles to take care of himself. He can’t imagine being able to be the kind of husband his fiancĂ©e, Loraine Miller, needs. Determined to sacrifice his happiness to give her a better life, he breaks their engagement. 

When Loraine’s old boyfriend Jake Beechy returns from exploring the English world, Wayne does everything in his power to help Jake regain Loraine’s love. Loraine refuses to believe Wayne doesn’t love her anymore. For better or worse, Loraine wants to be Wayne’s wife, but if he won’t agree, should she promise her love to Jake? How will God work to bring Loraine the true desires of her heart? 

As many of you already knew, I enjoy reading in the Amish genre. Actually, I used to read much, much more of it than I have lately. But this book has always, and will always, be one of my favorites. It 'sets the stage' for the rest of the trilogy, throughout which the characters deal with the aftermath of a horrific accident. It's probably weird, but I love stories that deal with injuries and hospitals. This one has all of that, and the ending is so sweet! I've read this book four (or five?) times and I want to read it again soon. :) 

A Christmas Peril by Diane Moody // The Teacup Novellas, book #5 

Lucy Alexander's Teacup Novellas were inspired by a collection of vintage teacups her Aunt Lucille bequeathed to her. She's excited about writing the next book in the series, a Christmas tale loosely based on her aunt and uncle's love story set in the 1940s. But when a hostage situation lands Lucy's boyfriend in the hospital, she sets her work aside to keep a bedside vigil with Mark. As the long hours of waiting stretch on, Lucy starts to read her beloved aunt's handwritten diary. Shocked to discover a frightening story so eerily similar to the one she's living, Lucy longs to find hope and encouragement in the pages of Lucille's diary.

December 1944 - "The most wonderful things seem to happen when you least expect them," writes Lucille Alexander after a serendipitous meeting with Gary Reynolds, a handsome lieutenant home on leave from the war in Europe. The two are inseparable in the five precious days he has left before heading back overseas just weeks before Christmas. On their last morning together, Lucille accompanies Gary to the train station, already dreading the long separation ahead. But that would be the least of her worries after her brave lieutenant rushes to help an elderly woman in distress.

Lucy finds a strange solace in her namesake's ink-stained journal. Though seventy years have passed between them, would their stories have the same ending?

When I imagine a perfect book (in my opinion, of course), this is about what comes to mind. The historical aspect of WWII, the enjoyableness of contemporary, the sweet love story, and the – like I mentioned above – the injured-human/hospital scenes thing. Perfect for Christmas time, this sweet novella is not to be missed! 

This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof 

There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams. Go to college. Become president. Fall in love. And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life. 

(Finally! A book that doesn't start with 'A'... :P) Tucker and Sarah's romance was so endearing and innocent. Beautiful and bittersweet, this little novella shattered my heart into teeny-tiny shards. And yet I love it? That seems to be the thing with me and Ms. Joanne's writing; I know it will hurt, and yet I let myself love it anyway. 

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson // A Medieval Fairy Tale, book #2 

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

After hearing many good things about Melanie Dickerson's retellings, I decided I must give them a try. I read book-1 (The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest) followed quickly by this one. Both were great, but I believe this was my favorite – I could relate to the 'leading lady' better. Aside from the romance, the mystery and medieval setting were amazing! Although they're definitely connected, this book could be read without having first reading book-1. I'm looking forward to reading book-3 soon too! :D 

Are you enjoying the party? What's your favorite Christian romance? :D

P.S. Blogger decided to work against me and erase much of this post last night. So...hopefully the second write-up is somewhere near as good and informative as the first was. :P 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Five Fall Favorites {Historical + Backpacks}

Hello everyone! Welcome to day one of the Five Fall Favorites party! :D Are y'all as excited about this awesome blog event as I am? Because I'm super duper thrilled. ;) For most of the bloggers, today's genre is Biblical fiction, but I'll be substituting with historical fiction. Be sure to read the whole post so you don't miss reminders about the giveaway and other bloggers' posts. 

Here's how this is gonna work. For those of you who have only found my blog through FFF, this may not be new. But for those of you who are readers of my blog, this is a little different. I don't usually link my images, but for this party, cover images will lead to the book's Goodreads page. Okiedoke? xD 

Let the fun begin! :D 

Today's room theme is backpacks. Backpacks are an epic thing to go right along with books, aren't they? I don't know about y'all, but whenever I'm toting one of those nifty things around, it's usually so crammed with books I can hardly handle the weight. But I manage. ;) 


Courageous Love by Susan K. Marlow // Circle C Milestones, book #4

Andrea Carter is finally pulling her own weight on the Circle C Ranch she loves. The only thing she loves more than helping to run the ranch is spending time racing and stunt-riding on her horse Shasta, with the help of wrangler Riley Prescott. Little does she know that when she and Riley stumble onto a mysterious cut in the fence around her brother's prize calves, life is about to get far more exciting--and dangerous.

A cryptic warning tied around a brick crashes through the window at a family party. Then cattle begin to die. When the horse barn catches fire, Andi knows this is more than just coincidence. But who is trying to hurt her family--and why? Evidence begins to point to criminals from her brother Justin's past who want revenge. But that discovery may be too late to keep Andi and her brother's family out of danger.

Now Riley is her only hope of rescue. Can he find her before she disappears from the Circle C forever? Can she keep everyone else safe until then?

The fourth volume in the Circle C Milestones quartet, Courageous Love is high on action, danger, and drama, and full of appealing characters readers love. Andi's final adventure, sparked with a little romance, is sure to please Marlow's legions of loyal readers who want a happy ending for this frontier heroine.

If you've been around my blog for long, you probably know my love for Mrs. Marlow's books. In fact, it was through the Circle C Adventures blog that I can upon the idea to start a blog myself! As bittersweet as it was to read the ending of Andi's journey, I absolutely adored this book. One hundred and ten percent recommended...after you've read the others, of course. ;D 

A Question of Courage by Jesseca Wheaton // Questions of War, book #2

A man. A decision. A destiny.

Rafe Sullivan never imagined the war would come to his doorstep. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked and America's focus suddenly shifts to the pacific, he finds he can't ignore the problem anymore.
Leaving the life he loves behind, he joins up to do what he does best. Fly.
Yet, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of war, and the struggle that is going on in his own heart. As an outstanding navy pilot, he is stationed on one of the few Pacific carriers. But could God be calling him to step out in faith, and go beyond the call of duty?

Lily Wilson gives her all to help the hurting community around her. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the war is brought home to many American families. And as a nurse, she longs to be able to relive some of the suffering. Yet, her own grief is still fresh in her heart, and though she's made the decision to get on with her life, she can't seem to leave the past behind. When healing at last comes, the guard she placed around her heart slowly begins to crumble.
But when she receives the news she hoped she would never again hear, can she trust that God’s plan is always right?

Arthur Warrington saw the Navy as an escape from the life he left behind. And it seems good for him. He is able to forge new friendships and distance himself from his past. But when his best friend makes a decision that rocks his world, he is left grappling with the question: what is true courage?

Three lives. One War. And a search for the Courage to go on.

People, people, people. I love this book so, so, so much. When my darling critique partner (the lovely Miss Jesseca) was working on this book, I wasn't too sure what to think. I didn't have much of a connection to Rafe from book one (A Question of Honor) and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. 
I shouldn't have worried. To say this book blew me away is an understatement. The storyline is incredible, the faith theme beautiful, and the three-POVs on target. It's a story of war, and heartache and love... <3 It's beautiful and everyone must read it expeditiously

**Releasing later this fall!

You're the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo 

In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee's the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart--presumed killed in the Great War--alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.

Although the stranger insists he's not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fiancé and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing--especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.

But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she's engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store's loading dock so late at night?

Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee--the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

I'm not sure that I know anyone, in person or online, that have read this book. Which is rather sad, really. Because it is golden. The charming humor, the relatable and lovable characters, the fun settings. This is a book that made me laugh out loud and sniffle back tears. Although it's set ten years after WWI, the aftermath played a large roll in the story...which I loved. <3 In my opinion, the synopsis makes it sound like more of a romance than it is. To me, it's a darling story of how Marjorie discovered who she is and what she wants, all the while guided by the one to Whom she belongs. 

Interrupted by Rachel Coker 

Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved. 

What an amazing story this one is. A story of people and life, Dickinson poems and broke-down trucks, teenage friends and Ferris wheels, salvation and young love. An older lady with a beautiful heart and a young lady with a deep hurt. It's wonderful. <3 (And y'all, it was written by a homeschooled teenager. It's totally worth a read just for that!)

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke // Women of the West, book #11 

Ariana loves her life as a schoolteacher in a little frontier town. But one evening after classes are done and she prepares to hurry home, her life changes in an instant when a band of rough outlaws abduct her and take her far away from all she has ever known.

Trapped in a small shack, Ariana prays and waits, her emotions swinging between terror and boredom as days stretch into weeks. Still, the outlaws refuse to tell her why they've taken her or what they plan to do.

Then the boss's son appears in the doorway of her cabin. He seems different from the others, but can she trust him? Will she ever again see her mother and father, the couple who lovingly adopted her and raised her as their own? Will she ever wear the beautiful wedding dress so carefully saved for her--her one remaining link to her birth parents? 

One of the first Janette Oke books I've read, and so far my favorite! A Gown of Spanish Lace is a well-written story of trusting in God no matter what. Ariana was sweet and lovable, and our leading guy was a dear too. ;) I just loved the storyline of the gown and the secrets it held!! Definitely holds a spot among my favorite historicals. :D 

Hop on over to Rebekah's post for more stops with the FFF party by clicking on the image below!! :D 

What would a party be without a giveaway, am I right? And for those of us enthralled by the written work, the best kind of giveaway is a book giveaway! Our sweet leading hostess, author Rebekah Morris, has put together this adorable fall-themed basket for the giveaway! Click the image below to enter to win and read on to check out the contents. :D 

(Psst! Depending on the number of entries we receive, there will be second or even third place prizes!) 

Basket includes: 
~ Signed copy of Dylan’s Story by Rebekah A. Morris
~ Signed copy of Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts
~ Signed copy of Kate’s Innocence by Sarah Holman
~ Signed copy of The Twin Arrows by Kate Willis
~ Signed copy of Journey to Love by Amanda Tero
~ Coffee Nut M & M’s
~ Packets of Apple Cider
~ Cute Fall Mug

Do of these sound like books you would enjoy? Are you hyped for a whole week of fall, bookish fun?! :D