Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Homemade Gravestone, Cover Reveal, & Christmas Comes Early || October Recap

Okay, yes, "click-bait" may have popped into my head when I titled this post. But since it's true...that's okay, right?

|| Life. ||

>> After not doing anything with it since spring, I got a couple inches of hair whacked off. It's still below my shoulders, but easier to manage. And cuter, in my opinion. xD

>> So I almost accidentally got two copies of the same book from the library and it wasn't even my fault...

I was reading the If I Live series by Terri Blackstock, (I'm still recovering, by the way. If you've read those, let's chat. Or maybe start a survivors club.) and I needed books #2 and #3. I'd placed #2 on hold, but when I get to the library, I checked the shelves to see if #3 had been returned. It hadn't been...but #2 was still on the shelf.

Faith's brain assumed that it was actually #3 that I had placed a hold on (honestly, who doesn't confuse those titles?!), so I nabbed #2 and went to the front desk. And when the librarian went to get my hold from behind the was #2 as well.

They'd literally brought another copy of the same book from a different location when there was a perfectly fine copy sitting on a shelf, only a few yards from the desk. I laughed all the way home.

>> The Potts family plowed potatoes! Yes, it was kinda late in the season to finally get around to it. And yes, that's a hand plow. Don't judge. We're traditional. ;P

>> Two girls who I've recently come to know through the blogging world, Maddy and Lillian, started a business to aid indie authors in getting reviews for their books! Stellae Books is an awesome—not to mention, beautiful—website. If you've been wanting to read Dandelion Dust, here's your chance to grab a free copy! Hop on over to their site for details. :)

>> The Potts family also cut and shipped out Christmas trees and I'm still in denial that it's already time for such shenanigans...

>> I spent a day last week wandering around cemeteries with my mom and great-aunt. And if that freaks you out, well, you don't know what you're missing. Check out these....

Isn't that just the best?! xD

Apparently homemade gravestones were a thing in the '80s....
Sorry I missed that fad. 

>> I listened to oodles of songs on repeat this month. In particular, Burn the Ships and God Only Knows by For King & Country, Stuck on Me + You by Emily Ann Roberts, Die from a Broken Heart by Maddie & Tae, I'm Listening by Tenth Avenue North, and Olivia Mae by Brett Young. Someone flail over these gems with me. <33

|| Books. ||

// Reads

If I Run by Terri Blackstock -- 5 stars
Falling for You by Becky Wade -- 3.5 stars -- Review
The Yellow House Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner -- 3 stars
If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock -- 5 stars
The Christmas Child by Max Lucado -- 3 stars
Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner -- 3 stars
Mystery Ranch by Gertrude Chandler Warner -- 3 stars
The Waltons: The Accident by Virginia McDonnell -- 4 stars
If I Live by Terri Blackstock -- 5 stars
Plot Bunny to Novel by Kellyn Roth -- 4 stars
Never Fear Anything by Robert Terkla -- 3.5 stars
The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter -- 2.5 stars
Kate's Dilemma by Sarah Holman -- 4 stars
The View from the Lighthouse by Melody Carlson -- 3.5 stars
In the Dark Streets Shineth by David McCullough -- 5 stars

// Short Stories

Heritage of Praise by Rebekah A. Morris -- 5 stars
True Love by R.A. Rooney -- 4 stars
A Change of Heart by Anika Walkes -- 5 stars
Unto Him by Rebekah A. Morris -- 4 stars
One December Night by Melissa Tagg -- 5 stars
The Christmas Robe by Jennifer Lamont Leo -- 4 stars

So, yeah, I kinda read a ton this month.... I also bought a ton of books. :P Eleven from a used book store and these three lovelies from a CBD sale!

|| Writing. ||

Unlike with recent previous months, I actually have something to say in this section, without rambling for 7.4 minutes, boring y'all to tears, and getting no where.

First off, I finished the final story in Behold and got the collection off to betas. Betas finished a week or so ago, and I applied their edits and then got the manuscript sent to my editor.  The December 7th deadline is quickly approaching! Meanwhile, I'm diving into editing War Tears, until it's time to do the final edit and format. :)

Another fabulous happenings this month... I got Behold's cover! Sarah Grace from Estetico Designs did an amazing job and I'm so happy with how it turned out. :D

|| Blogging. ||

// Favorite Posts 

More Precious than Gold ~ Turn to God

A Purpose and a Promise ~ Let There Be Light

Having a Heart Like His ~ You Have a Purposeful Calling

Loved Before Time ~ What is Surrender?

Twilight to Dawn ~ Give Up Ideals

Important Nothings ~ Maybe Love

Showers of Blessings ~ Words to Live By

// My Posts 

|| Goals. || 

~ October Goals

>> Read 8 books.     Several times over, yes...

>> Start working full-time.      Ha, no. Long story there. But soon. xP

>> Send Behold to betas and apply feedback.      Yup! It's in the hands of a fabulous editor. ;)

>> Edit pt.1 of War Tears.      Um, no? Behold took too much of my time. Hopefully this month I'll get into that. xD

>> Take part in the Five Fall Favorites party.      YESSS!

~ November Goals 

>> Read 8 books.

>> Do the final edit of Behold, get it formatted, and order proof.

>> Edit pt.1 of War Tears.

>> Post weekly on both blogs.

How was your October? Can you believe the holiday season is creeping up on us so quickly? What's one of your goals for the month? If you're doing NaNo, I might be jealous.

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 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 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?