Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Question of Courage // Review + Spotlight

*bounces in with squeals and grins* HELLOOOOO, BEAUTIFUL READERS!!! :D 

Y'all, the time has finally come. The book I have silently loved and adored and squealed over for months is finally being released to the world. (Okay, okay, so I was far from silent about it. I just haven't fangirled on here about it. *nods and grins*) 

My beautiful, amazing, talented, darling of a friend (not to mention critique partner <33) Miss Jesseca Wheaton, authoress extraordinaire, is releasing her seventh fictional work. I'll refrain from saying too much here, so I can squeal even more in the forthcoming review. But y'alllllll.... *heart eyes* It's so good. 

~ About the Book ~ 

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.

~ Review ~ 

(First, can we pause to admire that gorgeous cover? Utterly stunning and one-hundred-and-ten-percent fitting. Second, can we pause to admire that epic synopsis? This girl is skilled.)

To my knowledge, there has not been a thing Miss Wheaton has published that I have not read – whether that be available-for-purchase kind of published or posted-to-her-blog kind of published. I haven't read a story of hers yet that I did not enjoy, nor that did not touch me in some way. But...all that to say...  

A Question of Courage is my favorite of them all. Hands down. No other way to look at it. It's the top.

I honestly love so much about this book that I don't know where to start. But I must start somewhere, so let's start with the characters. Specifically, the POV characters. There's three of them, they're all connected, and it just flows, y'all. 

We have Rafe, the main character. He's charming and funny and handsome (trust me – he is) and AMAZING. If you've read A Question of Honor (book 1) or As in Olden Days (prequel to the series), you've met Rafe. To be honest, I wasn't too sure how I was going to like reading his story. I was totally a David fan – and I still am – but...Rafe, y'all. <33 

The second POV is Lily Wilson. *looks at A Question of Honor fans who are tearing up already* Yes, we get Lily's POV, and I loved it SO MUCH. Her story was beautiful, and it made my heart hurt, and... *hugs her* 

Lastly, we have the POV of Art, a new addition to the Questions of War cast of characters – and a very good addition, I would say. ;) Art and Rafe had me in torrents of laughter from there first meeting. The brotherlyness, the nicknames, the pranks. <33 Their farewell seriously left me in tears. 

The theme of courage is amazing as well. I hadn't really considered this, but I saw another reviewer point it out, and I totally agree. Courage is there in the book, it effects and touches and is at the base of every decision, every choice.'s not like "he had courage, so he could do this" or "she must be courageous". No, the theme was there, without being said. Implied without being in-the-reader's-face. And I believe that takes much skill and artful story-weaving, and Miss Wheaton pulled it off splendidly. <3 

(That whole paragraph didn't make a lick of sense. Basically the writer can't put what she's trying to say into words.)

So yes. This story is absolutely beautiful. It's simple and heartfelt, yet deep and powerful and I just... *collapses* I love it so, so, so much. The historical details are rich and vibrant, the characters are real and deep, the prose is totally gorgeous, and don't EVEN get me started on that ending. Needless to say, I spent a few minutes trying not to full-blown-sob and pulling myself together, and then promptly ordered Jess to stop trampling all over my heart. (She made no promises.)

5 stars, my friends. Only because that's the highest the rating system will let me do. If there were a 6, it would be 6. If there were a 7, it would... *ahem* Nevermind... 

P.S. Rafe is mine. End of story. 

~ About the Author ~ 
Jesseca is a daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano. And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

~ Giveaway ~ 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag.

Happy Saturday, friends! It's that beautiful day where you're supposed to chillax, read books, write stories, and not do school. (Unless you're like me and you have homework fromThanksgiving break that's *cough* due *cough* in two days. *cough*) 

ANYWAY!  Ivie @ Ivie Writes tagged me for this tag awhile back and I'm finally getting around to it. ;) *thanks Ivie with 497 cookies* 

> Give the person who tagged you a never-ending supply of cookies (or just thank them. Either works.)
> Answer all the questions and use the blog graphic somewhere in the post. 
> Pass along the tag to at least five other people.
> Wear a sweater. (This is optional, but why wouldn't you want to?)

Kk, I'm not wearing a sweater, but...oh well. 

Fuzzy Sweater (A book that is the epitome of comfort.)
I could give the obvious answer here and say my Bible, but I'll be creative and think of another one too. The Millie Keith series are absolutely amazing books that are definitely 'comforting' after a rough day. ^_^

Striped Sweater (Book you devoured every line of.)
To Get to You by Joanne Bischof , HANDS DOWN. I read this 290-something page book in a day (which is not common for me) and I. Just. Loved. It. So. Much. Definitely a book I devoured. xD 

Ugly Christmas Sweater (Book with a weird cover.)
So....I scoured my shelf for something to fit this and can't really find anything?? I mean, there are few books that I own that I have covers I dislike. And most of those are just personal preference. But we'll go with Whispers of a New Dawn by Murray Pura. The person on the top has like random fingernails that are partially blurred but still on their person and the dude on the left looks deranged. 

Cashmere Sweater (The most expensive book you bought.)
Um...I can't really think of anything specific. I buy most of my books used or on sale, so...I don't really know. =/ 

Hoodie (Favorite classic book.)
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. It's precious. ^_^

Cardigan (Book you bought on impulse.)
I bought Something in the Sky by Siri L. Mitchell on impulse at 2nd&Charles. It sounds good and teh cover is cool, soooo... *nods* I obviously have good money management skills. 

Turtleneck Sweater (Book from your childhood.)
Legit the entire Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. They so good too. <33 

Homemade Knitted Sweater (Book that is Indie published.)
I have oodles of indie-published books on my shelves, and I've read even more. So we'll just go with one that is a fav of mine and THAT COVER. <33 (Psst, book-2 releases next week. *grins*) 

V-Neck Sweater (A book that did not meet your expectations.)
Uhhh...this took some thinking too. I finally chose Journey to Love by Amanda Tero. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book. It was a cute and sweet story. It just...wasn't a favorite? 

Argyle Sweater (Book with a unique format.)
True to You by Becky Wade has a unique design. At the end of each chapter, there are emails and text messages between the characters, journey entries, and Facebook posts. I found it to be a super cool addition to the story. Not just an addition though, because if you skipped those you'd quickly become confused as to what was going on. ;) 

Polka-Dot Sweater (A book with well rounded characters.)
Bahahaha, polka-dot? Well-rounded? I just got that. xD I'm gonna take the 'easy way out' here and give y'all a Sarah Sundin book. Honestly, I haven't read a book by her yet that didn't have absolutely amazing characters. With Every Letter is certainly not an exception. :D 

Anndd....I'm gonna cheat and not tag anyone. How's this – if you like books and you like sweaters, consider yourself hereby tagged. xD 


On another note, Lulu is currently have an extended Black Friday sale of 30% off all print products. That means you could purchase Dandelion Dust for $6.99 + shipping! Click here to get started. Sale ends tomorrow, November 26th. 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Indie Christian Books ~ 2017 Black Friday Sale

Hey guys! For the third year in a row I'm promoting the Black Friday sale through Indie Christian Books. I totally support independent publishing and I think it's an awesome thing. Read on for all the details, links to the sale pages, and five books that I read this year and am particularly thankful for. :D 

Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2017 and am thankful for.

To Get to You by Joanne Bischof ~ The book was just so, so beautiful. The themes of grace and forgiveness brought tears to my eyes and I know I'll be re-reading it many times. 

Millie's Faithful Heart by Martha Finley (adaption by Kersten Hamilton) ~ If we're going to get specific, I'm thankful for this entire series of amazing books. But this one in particular spoke to my heart. <3 

The Other Side of Infamy by Jim Downing ~ A look into the real life of a WWII veteran, Navigator evangelist, and survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack – this biography was wonderful! 

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines ~ Reading a book about a couple who are TV stars and yet stay true to themselves was truly enjoyable. I'm so glad I read this one. 

Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts ~ (Would this be considered self-promotion? Probably, but I have a point. Bear with me.) This book, this not-so-little-anymore novella that God laid on my heart nearly a year ago, has taught me so many lessons and grew me in ways I didn't realize I was lacking. Definitely thankful for the journey. <3 

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors has banded together to offer a huge selection of discounted books between Nov 24th and 30th. There's literally something for everyone.
On November 24th, the Indie Christian Books website ( will go live. Every single book listed will be on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping$0.99 ebooks,package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. When you purchase a paperback book through you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!
You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.
What awesome reads of 2017 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2018?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as "Sold Out." This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Upcoming Christmas Blog Party!

Exactly a year ago tomorrow, I posted something similar to this post to spread the word about last year's 12 Days of Christmas blog party. Since I'm a day ahead this year and I've already sent out an email, shared on Goodreads, and had 15 people sign up, I feel very ahead of the game. xD 

New to the blog? Aren't sure what I'm talking about? Let me recap! 

What: 12 Days of Christmas is a blog linkup that has been hosted on Stories by Firefly the past two Christmases. It runs for 12 days, beginning on the 14th and ending on Christmas Day. In years past, all the amazing posts ranged from Christmas songs and the stories behind them to Christmas traditions, recipes and books, movie and book reviews – and some lovely Christmas stories written by these great writers we have around here. Any and all things Christmas are welcome! :D 

When: 12 Days of Christmas will be running Thursday, December 14th through Monday, December 25th (Christmas Day). 

Where: There will be a post on this blog every day throughout the event – and I'm also hoping to post daily on Chosen Vessels. Aside from whatever my post is for the day, there will be links to whichever other participants are posting that day. We're all in this together! 

Why: For the past two years, the purpose of 12 Days of Christmas has been to remind all of us of the true Reason for the Season. And to share Christmas love and joy with each other, and to enjoy ourselves while we're at it. :D 

How: For anyone interested in taking part, please take a moment to fill out this form, which closes December 6th.

Spread the Word: Do you know someone who would be interested in joining us? Please spread the word around! Forward this post or the signup form link to anyone who you think may be interested! :D The more the merrier! 

Did you sign up? Who else is super pumped for another awesome Christmas blog party?! :D 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Christmas Comes Early ~ Blog Tour // Two Reviews

Today I bring y'all a Christmas blog tour! Have fun reading about the books I'm spotlighting, and be sure to check out the other posts in the tour for more! :D 

Christmas tour 

Christmas time is here! Okay, so not quite yet. It's still over a month away, but that doesn't mean we can't start celebrating early, right? So today, we're celebrating the release of not one, not four, but eight new Christmas books! All written by Rebekah A. Morris. I'll be spotlighting and reviewing two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

About the Books

~ Christmas Delays and Other Short Stories ~ 
Three Christmas Stories from WWII

Christmas Delays
doctor, called up for duty in the army, spends one more Christmas with his wife in an unexpected way after God's Christmas delays strand them in a small house with another family.

Peter's Christmas
Very mild weather might not feel like Christmas, but young, orphaned Peter and his older sister find the peace and love of the season with the Hampton family in spite of the sadness of war.

I'll be Home for Christmas
Grandpa recounts the memories of his first Christmas away from home during WWII.

~ Home for Christmas ~ 
Feeling that life is unfair when her father is killed in the front lines of France and she has to live with her relatives on a western farm, twelve-year-old Susanna Stanson runs away to the city. She decides that all will be well when she reaches her old home, but a severe snowstorm interrupts her trip.

About the Author

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn't’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.


~ Christmas Delays and Other Short Stories ~ 
Christmas Delays was a wonderful story of how God will throw 'delays' into our plans if He has something else in mind. I truly enjoyed reading Dave and Linda's relationship. They weren't 'kissy', but it was obvious that they loved and were devoted to each other. 5 stars! 

Peter's Christmas was so sweet! As soon as I read the first few lines, I recalled reading it last year on Miss Morris' blog. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around, and I totally need a follow-up on John and Virginia... *wink* 5 stars! 

I'll be Home for Christmas was another endearing Christmas story, although probably my least favorite of the three. The beginning felt a bit disjointed, but later on... <3 I'll always go for a brothers story. 4 stars! 

~ Home for Christmas ~ 
Aww, so sweet! That was seriously my thoughts when I finished reading "Home for Christmas." A look at WWII through the eyes of a hurting young girl, this was an enjoyable read that made me smile with its message of love. *mild spoilers* I did think the whole scenario of Susanna not recognizing Robert right away, even with knowing his name, was a bit far-fetched, but she is young and struggling with a lot, so...I could overlook that. *end of spoilers* 4 stars! 

Favorite quote: "Are you willing to let the love in?" 

Tour Schedule

November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee's Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano's Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia's Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Stephany's BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel's Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey's Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Visit from a Friend, Blog Party, and I WROTE ANOTHER BOOK // OctoberRecap

Hey frens! Look who it is, back with the traditionally-late monthly recap. In my defense, last month I was one time. So there. xD 

What's with the graphic, you asked? I honestly don't know...except that bell peppers are apparently really aesthetic. 

\\ Life. \\ 

>> We dug potatoes. I know, that sounds really boring and weird, but it's kinda a family tradition. Out comes the old hand plow and the not-so-old tractor. It's like a generation clash. ;) 

>> Crazy convos with my fam... 

Me: *sitting in my room and trying to write*
Tucker: *in the next room* Dad, how many eyes does it look like I have? 
Tucker: Ya know, if you get really close to a mirror it looks like you only have one. 
Me: *laughing so hard I can't breathe*

Tucker: *starts playing a Trace Adkins song*
Me: Ooooo, I like this one! It's on the Wounded Warrior commercials.
Me: Don't ask how I know that. Or how many I've seen. 
Mom:......don't worry, we won't.

>> The amazing, sweet, beautiful, darling Jesseca from Whimsical Writings for His Glory visited me! Much love for this dear. <3 We read books, plotted books, bought books, hiked up mountains, drink coffee, watched movies, roamed town, and stayed up late every.single.night. 

While she was here, I snuck pictures of her looking majestic basically all the time. Which she despised. And of course there's pics of us together. Plus a hilarious text convo from the day Dad took us fishing. So here we go, photo overload. xD 

>> In the way of books, Dandelion Dust got its first 2-star review. Faith is currently learning humility. (Slightly joking, here.) 

>> Went to a Casting Crowns concert! "All churches are like snickers bars. Sooner or later you're going to run into a nut." --Mark Hall 

\\ Books. \\ 

So much good bookishness this month!! :D 

Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers -- 5 stars
The Key to the Chains by Allison Tebo -- 3.5 stars 
Our Town by Thornton Wilder -- 4 stars 
Too Long a Stranger by Janette Oke -- 4.5 stars 
Love Letters from Cowboy by Lacy Williams -- 4.5 stars 
Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke -- 5 stars 
A Beautiful Disaster by Daisy Paquet -- 3.5 stars 
Millie's Grand Adventure by Martha Finley/Kersten Hamilton -- 5 stars 
Exodus -- 5 stars 
Kirsten Saves the Day by Janet Beeler Shaw -- 4 stars 
Changes for Kirsten by Janet Beeler Shaw -- 4 stars 
Veteran's Way by Robin Lee Hatcher -- 4 stars 
Red Like Crimson by Janice A. Thompson -- 5 stars 
Write Well: A Grammar Guide by Rachelle Rea Cobb -- 4 stars 
Millie's Reluctant Sacrifice by Martha Finley/Kersten Hamilton -- 5 stars 
Millie's Fiery Trial by Martha Finley/Kersten Hamilton -- 5 stars 

The epicness of da book haul.... :D (From used bookstores unless otherwise indicated.) I got lots of goodies, including some books to add to/complete series I already have. :) 

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis 
First Date by Krista McGee
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin 
War Letters complied by Andrew Carroll 

Veteran's Way by Robin Lee Hatcher 
Betsy's Return by Wanda E. Brunstetter 
A Home at Trail's End by Melody Carlson
The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado

I bought Andi Lassos Trouble and Andi to the Rescue by Susan K. Marlow as soon as they were available on the author's site. This is one of the only authors that I always immediately buy new. xD 

\\ Writing. \\ 

Word count: 19,529

People...people... *weird noises of Faith trying not to hyperventilate* GUYS I FINISHED WRITING MY PRECIOUS NOVEL!!!! <3 

Compliments of this child <33 

A Soldier's Freedom (previously known as A Soldier's Story) was finished on October 30th, coming out at about 63,000 words. *squeals* This is the third first draft I've finished this year – also, the third book I've finished ever

I spent a day or two going "um, so, what am I going to write now?!" When 2017 began, I had three novella/novel length stories started. Now I've finished them all. Granted, I have oodles more ideas, but...those...those are my babies!! <3 

So. Yeah. I'm now planning sequels for Dandelion Dust, War Tears, and A Soldier's Freedom. I probably need a life. xD 

\\ Music & Movies. \\ 

Oh my GOODNESS, so much love right here, y'all. Oodles of these were watched while the Most Fabulous Fren was here. xD 

~ finished When Calls the Heart S4
~ finished re-watching The Waltons S9 
~ re-watched most of Signed, Sealed, Delivered 
~ Anchors Aweigh 
~ all three Anne of Green Gables movies 
~ Shenadoah 
~ Old-Fashioned 
~ National Treasure 
~ Journey back to Christmas 
~ Home for Christmas Day 

YES, Christmas movies! And now that it's November I can listen to the music and read the books....right? 

\\ Blogging. \\ 

>> Because I was really lame and didn't write many posts this month, the biggest happening was the Five Fall Favorites party! Click here to read my posts. 

>> I guest-posted on Ashley Nicole's blog! Click here to read the post. 

>> I gained lots of followers this month. I think part of that was due to the party, sooo...thanks, y'all! :D

>> Favorites of the Month

\\ Goals. \\ 

~ October Goals 

>> Read 8 books.          Nailed it. 

>> Finish A Soldier's Story, first draft.        *fistbump*

>> Join Ivie's October Writing Challenge.       Yes, and it was epic!! :D 

>> Stay caught up with emails.         ....I did good for like the first week, okay?! 

>> Take part in the Five Fall Favorites party.       *nods rapidly* 

>> Have an absolute blast when this awesome gal comes to visit!     Soooo amazing!! :D 

~ November Goals 

>> Read 10 books. 

>> Edit pt.1 of War Tears

>> Write a short Christmas story.

>> Catch back up with emails. 

>> Start planning this year's 12 Days of Christmas link-up. (Anyone interested?!) 

How was your October?