Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, PB, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Isaiah’s Legacy, #3 A Novel of Prophets and Kings by Mesu Andrews

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About the Book

Title: Isaiah’s Legacy

Series: A Novel of Prophets and Kings

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Released: February 2020

The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah’s most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter.

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

 

My Review

“Never begin a sentence with ‘Yahweh can’t.’ Our minds are too small to imagine what He can do.” Indeed, Mesu Andrews has tackled the granddaddy of all difficult stories. All my life, as long as I was old enough to understand there were good and bad kings in Judah, Manasseh has been the penultimate bad guy. Evil beyond any king that came before him, the Bible says. The normal person would have given up on this absolutely atrocious Judahite king, but Yahweh did NOT! 

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And this is where Mesu Andrews gets her story. We start at the beginning of Manasseh’s life (or Nasseh ) as righteous Hezekiah’s life is coming to a close. So, the million-dollar question for me, all these years: how does one go from having such a righteous father as Hezekiah to being the most wicked king so far? Andrews has a plausible answer as she draws in characters like Shulle, a young tutor who understands autism (a modern-day plague Andrews gives Nasseh and one we struggle to understand; Shulle’s power-hungry uncle Shebna; and the Babylonian sorceress Belit, determined to rise within the court. We see ZibahNasseh’s beloved mother and her crusty adopted father, Isaiah. Let the power games begin. 

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While it appears to be a play for power behind the throne of Judah, the Yahwists and the sorcery workers know the truth. It is a battle between Good and Evil, the One True God vs. the many false gods of the surrounding nations. 
Love, fear, betrayal, brutality, power-grasping and a search for respect and belonging are all part of this fantastic, sweeping, Biblical saga. Intense, sweet, horrifying at turns, we eventually are pointed to the mercy of a Father longing for the prodigal to return home. 
Such a tragic story (be sure you have at least one box of Kleenex ready), but Andrews explains so well why she wrote it with an eye to imparting hope. 
Your heart will be full by the time your eyes have traversed all the pages of this amazing novel. It would be helpful to have read the first two novels, but unfortunately, I did not beforehand and still found this to be a beautiful book. Thank you, Ms. Andrews. I realized today there is hope for yet another Prodigal in my life! 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Waterbrook-Multnomah. This is no way influences my opinion, which I have freely given, and for which I am solely responsible. 
 
Notable Quotables: 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“Yahweh did not give me the vision to prevent it but to prepare us for it.” (Isaiah) 
 
“I can do whatever I wish, Ima. I am Judah’s king.” 
 
“A king need never raise his voice. His power is like a trumpet.” 
 
“He’s a child and a king, Shulle. It’s an unwieldy combination.” 
 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“We’re helpless in this moment… but we’re never hopeless. Not as long as we serve El Shaddai, the Almighty One.” 

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot and gives me hope for the Prodigals in my life!

About the Author

Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might 3513697imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Waltz in the Wilderness, #1 Chapparal Hearts by Kathleen Denly with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Waltz in the Wilderness

Series: Chapparal Hearts

Author: Kathleen Denly

Publisher: Wild Heart Books

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance Waltz-in-the-Wilderness-Cover-200x300

Release Date: February 4, 2020

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

 

Click here for your copy!

 

My Review

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly has my feel-good nod of approval. Not only did it satisfy my reading soul, but it gave me real substance to chew on as I contemplated the characters and their response to untenable circumstances. 
I fell in love with strong-headed, one-purpose Eliza Brooks and Daniel Clark, her uncle’s employee who becomes her reluctant escort. 
Other characters I couldn’t stand at all, while I wondered how the people around them could stomach them.
 
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The novel is pretty predictable, though fun until certain secondary characters decide to take over the story as if they don’t like where the author was taking them. One character challenges Eliza to compare her motives in her search for her father with Scripture directives. Then we are allowed to see what Eliza will do about her willfulness that she has until now labeled “responsibility.” I got so deeply into the story that my mind was boggled by the weight these characters bore, who stood up and developed a backbone and changed the course of the story. I really wanted to know more about what life is like for them, and perhaps we’ll find out. I appreciated clear explanations of faith, themes of feeling undeserving of God’s love, and the need to truly trust Him to care for ourselves and others. It obviously affected the players’ daily lives. This story does include to some degree the sad effects slavery and prejudice have on people who are different from their abusers. 

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I loved this book and I highly recommend it. If you like reading Miralee Ferrell or Misty Beller, you will like Kathleen Denly. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This does not influence my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. 
My Rating
5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot
Terrific Historical Debut!

About the Author

 

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young Kathleen-Denly-Headshot-3-286x300children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

 

More from Kathleen

As Valentine’s Day nears, stories of how couples met seem to be everywhere. Many of those stories share a common element: “The second I saw him/her, I just knew I would marry him/her.”

Every time I read or hear these stories, I chuckle. Not because I don’t believe them but because it reminds me of my own meet-cute.

“Not my type.”

These were the first words to enter my mind when I met the man who would later become my husband. In hindsight, they are hilarious because I know that God worked things out for our good. After more than eighteen years of marriage, I can honestly say that I am more in love with my husband than ever.

However, just a few months prior to meeting my husband, I’d suffered a terrible breakup with another man whom I thought had been considering proposing to me. I had no idea the breakup was coming and that left me devastated and confused. The truths we learn in hindsight don’t help much when we’re in the midst of such circumstances. When we think we know the future before us and something happens to upend those plans it can feel as though our world has turned upside down.

This is what happens to Eliza Brooks in the first chapter of my novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. Though not romantic in nature, a major shift occurs in her world that leaves her feeling betrayed and disoriented. She’s still struggling to right her world when Daniel Clarke enters her life in the worst way possible. Misunderstanding leads to a humiliating confrontation that sets these two at odds with one another before they have a chance to truly get to know each other. Fortunately for Eliza and Daniel, God works their foolishness for good just as He did in my own true love story.

This Valentine’s Day, whatever your romantic relationship status, remember that you are not alone. You are loved. And the God of all the universe loves you and has a plan for you—plans to prosper you and bring you hope.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

Older & Smarter?, February 7

deb’s Book Review, February 7

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 9

Betti Mace, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Robin’s Nest, February 11

Remembrancy, February 12

For Him and My Family, February 12

My Devotional Thoughts, February 12

Maureen’s Musings, February 13

For the Love of Literature, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 15

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Bigreadersite, February 15

Emily Yager, February 16

Blogging With Carol, February 16

Mia Reads, February 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impression, February 17

Janicesbookreviews, February 17

SPLASHES of Joy, February 18

Hallie Reads, February 18

Connie’s History Classroom, February 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a NEW Kindle Fire HD8, Proverbs 3:5 Paperback Lined Journal, Romans 8:28 Leather Bookmark, Proverbs 3:5 mug, and an Antique Silverplated Spoon made by 1847 Rogers Bros!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f5b6/waltz-in-the-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

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About the Book

Book:  A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

Author: Jessica Kate

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and 44441985romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

 Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile, Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Review

“Samuel Payton was an idiot.” What a great opening sentence to A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. Kimberly Foster and Samuel Payton may work together, but they seem destined to be each other’s number one antagonizer.
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Wow, this is the rom-com book to pick up for something light, yet with a message.
I liked and disliked all four main characters by turns, depending on whose point of view examined them. Kimberly, Sam, Jules, and Mick all have lots of personalities but the lies they believe often cause them to act as if there is only one possible trajectory for their lives. When their eyes see their own weaknesses, it tends to be through magnifying glasses that so enlarge their weaknesses and fears they can’t move forward. They have trouble viewing themselves in light of God’s Word, based on their own experiences or others’ perceptions of them.
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I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in a lighter, clean rom-com with spiritual overtones.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. This is no way affects my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author 

jessica kateAustralian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Visit her online at jessicakatewriting.com; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt of the book!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 3

Just the Write Escape, February 3

Through the Fire Blogs, February 3

Robin’s Nest, February 4

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 4

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 5

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 5

Genesis 5020, February 6

Wishful Endings, February 6

Texas Book-aholic, February 7

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 7

Batya’s Bits, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

deb’s Book Review, February 9

Inklings and notions, February 10

Inside the Wong Mind, February 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 11

Kat’s Corner Books, February 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 12

Hallie Reads, February 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 13

Mary Hake, February 13

Moments, February 14

Stories By Gina, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 15

Britt Reads Fiction, February 15

Pause for Tales, February 16

With a Joyful Noise, February 16

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kensington, NetGalley

Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber Celebrate Lit Tour with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Hannah’s Courage

Author: Molly Jebber5-30-3019-Hannahs-Courage-FROM-Kensington-180x300

Genre:  Amish Historical Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

A loaf of fragrant cinnamon bread for breakfast . . . a sweet and creamy custard pie for dessert. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery has something to delight locals and visiting Englischer alike. And within this warm, welcoming community, there’s always room for love to grow . . .

Hannah Lapp’s life, like a long-cherished recipe, is satisfying just the way it is. She enjoys whipping up desserts at the bakery, tutoring local children, and socializing with dear friends. One of those friends, Timothy Barkman, has made his interest in Hannah clear, but she’s been in no hurry to change her circumstances.

No sooner does she feel ready to grow closer to hard-working, handsome Timothy than Hannah finds she may have waited too long. Charlene Shetler intends to become Timothy’s fraa. It’s little wonder he’s attracted to such a pretty, forthright young woman, but is the newcomer all that she seems? Only when Hannah is willing to confront some difficult truths can she move bravely toward a life of abiding faith and love . . .

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber is a cute, Amish romance with a love triangle that confounds me.
Hannah Lapp works in a bakery with Ellie and Magdalena, and eventually a few others. The relationships we see there are warm and energizing. If you wouldn’t want to work in Liza’s Bakery, you would at least want to make it a daily stop, like Sheriff Williams and Dr. Harrison. These older mid-life men are fun secondary characters, adding breadth to the story.

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No one but Timothy Barkman is going to like Charlene. At first, helping a newcomer to the area, he finds she attaches stronger than a hungry flea. Unfortunately, she’s rude and rotten to the core. (Ellie likes to call Charlene “Miss Nasty.”) Everyone but Timothy can see Charlene’s bad personality, and I’m left thinking, ”Can even a person in love be this blind?!” Charlene fails to consider Timothy’s wishes and requests about her forward behavior.

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As a former teacher, the book both delighted and dismayed me. These reactions had to do with Hannah and the course of actions she took. I can’t say more without spoilers.
What unimpressed me? The story moseyed a little slower than I would have liked. I wished the novel would have had a little more substance. Also, I felt like there was one possible loose end that loomed over most of the book and then quietly disappeared.
Why would I want to read more? The relationships in the bakery mentioned earlier. Maryann is a person that enters the book early on. By the end, I am intrigued enough that I will look for the next book by Molly Jebber to read her story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. This does not influence my opinions. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, for which I am solely responsible.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

About the Author

Molly Jebber’s Amish Historical Romance books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many Molly-Jebber-268x300other media sites. She’s tours and speaks for Stonecroft Ministries – Women’s Christian Connection, and about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and her books. She loves God, her family, and friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit http://www.mollyjebber.com for a complete list of her books and speaking events.

 

More from Molly

I related to Hannah in this book where I had to find the courage to make some hard decisions. Maybe you’ve had some hard choices to make and finding the courage to follow through has been difficult for you.

Have you had a bad day where nothing goes right? We’ve all had those. Hannah’s has many days like this, and she is torn about what to do from one problem to the next in her life. She makes some snap decisions, and faces life-altering challenges. You’ll laugh and want to stomp your feet at the twists and turns in this story.  She’s good at giving her friends advice, but has trouble following it. I can relate to this in my life at times. Maybe you can too.

The Sheriff and Dr. Harrison are still regular customers at the bakery where she whips up mouth-watering desserts. She and her friends cry, laugh, and offer each other advice. I love time with girlfriends, and Hannah’s no different. You’ll relate to her, root for her, want to reach in the book and shake her at times (I’m sure my friends have wanted to do this with me a time or two!), and wonder how what the future holds for her.

I hope you’ll follow my blog tour and enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize at the end of the tour. The more you enter, the more chances you have of winning!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Your Facebook comments help me to get to know you better, and I appreciate it so much!

 

Here’s a recipe Hannah’s whipped up for you. And there are more in the back of Hannah’s story.

 

Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoonnutmeg
  • ½ teaspoonsalt
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cupbrown sugar
  • 3eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3large apples, peeled and cut into large pieced

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoonvanilla

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan with butter and coat with 2 tablespoons of flour
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sift two additional times and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and both sugars, and mix until well blended.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and mix thoroughly. By hand, fold in apples and walnuts and mix until evenly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes.
  8. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  9. Remove the cake from the pan, onto a serving plate. Spoon the glaze over the warm cake.
  10. Cool for a little longer before serving.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 30

Genesis 5020, January 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Batya’s Bits, February 1

Quiet Quilter, February 1

She Lives to Read, February 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

Bigreadersite , February 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 3

For Him and My Family, February 4

deb’s Book Review, February 4

Inklings and notions, February 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

Older & Smarter?, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 6

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 7 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Christian Bookaholic, February 8

For the Love of Literature, February 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 9

SusanLovesBooks, February 10

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 10

Connie’s History Classroom, February 11

SPLASHES of Joy , February 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 12

Vicky Sluiter, February 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Molly Jebber grand prize collection that includes a handmade quilt and Amazon card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f564/hannah-s-courage-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Blizzard Bride, #11 the Mayflower Brides by Susanne Dietze

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About the Book

Title: The Blizzard Bride

Series: The Mayflower Brides, #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Publisher: Barbour

Released: February 2020

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

My Review

Susanne Dietze pens a worthy addition to the Mayflower Brides series with her title, The Blizzard Bride. Hoping against hope for snow this year, the title appealed to me, as I love the cold ferocity of a blizzard (as long as my family is all safely ensconced at home with me).
Set in the open plains of Nebraska in 1887, Abigail Bracey agrees to help the Secret Service by posing as a school teacher while looking for a missing boy and a counterfeiter. That might have been simple if the operative assigned the case were not Dash Lassiter, who left her six years ago amid their dreams for a wedding.
Abby has a lot of courage and spunk, but she also needs to learn to rely on others and the Lord. Life’s difficulties have taught her to reject getting too close to people, and to trust only herself.
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Dash has been cut to the core by people’s mean assessment of his lack. I found myself wondering whether Abby would truly be able to see beyond these deficiencies or whether she would reject Dash for good. Then, the big question, can Dash see himself as a person of worth in God’s eyes, or will he forever believe his inability equals personal failure?
Themes in The Blizzard Bride include questions of unanswered prayers and why we suffer for others’ sins. We also see lessons of forgiveness, fairness, the spirit of love (& spunk) fostered by forgiveness.
Blizzard Bride 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
My Rating
5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning, RITA®-nominated author of several romances who’s seen her work on the Publisher’s Weekly, ECPA, and Amazon Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com. 13657688

BLOG, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Synapse by Steven James

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About the Book

Title: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Released: October 2019

Genre:  Christian Speculative, Sci-fi

Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but with what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions Artificials were never meant to ask.

My Review

When I finished, I am reminded why I am drawn to speculative/sci-fi fiction. Being written from a Christian viewpoint, I like the conclusions better than those of a secular book. Steven James packs a lot of solid Biblical truth into Synapse and utilizes key story threads to do so. The lack of bad language or bedroom scenes is a real plus for me!
Synapse 1
I enjoyed seeing how James develops the characters of Kestral, Jordan, Nick, and Trevor. Interestingly enough, ALL of them show growth. You’ll have to read the book to see why that’s an ironic statement. The action really accelerated near the end. I love to be surprised by who some of the villains and allies are, and this book did not disappoint.
It did take me a while to get into the book, as James uses different point-of-views and even tenses for each character. Switching out of third-person past to the first-person present and back again was not comfortable for me. There were spots where James felt it appropriate to write the text all next to each other, with no breaks for words. These spots could be a paragraph long, and unfortunately, I was also fighting off dizziness the day I read this part, so I was doubly dismayed. All in all, though, I did enjoy the book. It came together well in the end. I would read another of Steven James’s novels and see where he takes mankind.
Synapse 2
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author and publisher. This does not affect my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, is set to release on October 8, 2019.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game,” and RT Book Reviews promises that “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, he has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades and has spoken more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking books on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE and TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL, have both won Storytelling World Awards. Widely recognized for his story-crafting expertise, he teaches regularly as a Master Class instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers. He also hosts the biweekly podcast, The Story Blender.

When Steven isn’t writing or speaking, you’ll find him trail running, rock climbing, or drinking dark roast coffee near his home in East Tennessee.

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

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About the Book

Title: Veiled in Smoke

Series: The Windy City Saga (#1)

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: February 4, 2020 ( I read an ARC.)

Genre: Christian Historical

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum. Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Review

“It was a lie, Meg had realized years ago, that the end of the war meant the end of suffering.” The Civil War is over, and the boys and men who survived are home. Yet Meg and her sister, Sylvie Townsend, discover that Stephen Townsend’s time in notorious Andersonville has wreaked havoc with his grip on reality. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Pierce of the Chicago Tribune interviews Stephen as a veteran. Life becomes murky when the city catches fire and Stephen’s best friend is murdered, leaving Stephen the cops’ main suspect.

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Jocelyn Green is an expert at creating historically accurate and intriguing backgrounds while painting in-depth portraits of her characters. Both Meg and Sylvie exhibit intense loyalty and love for their parents, as well as a great need for their approval. Unfortunately, their understanding of their parents’ love and care is limited by the blinders they wear.
The young ladies also wear blinders when it comes to the young men in their lives. They cannot truly see the love, honesty, and true character(or lack thereof) of their beaux.
So many ideas and themes are presented. Forgiveness. The idea that it’s ok to be imperfect, and in fact, sometimes imperfect is better. Also, accepting life as it is, imperfect, not expecting it to be rosy or requiring others to be perfectly well or perfectly behaved all the time. (Ouch! Preaching to myself!!) True compassion. Sometimes we can’t achieve this until we’ve walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes, or at least had a bit of hardship in life. Faith, believing God is limitless and truly in control.
Two more thoughts. It was hard to breathe as I traveled with Meg and Sylvie and Nate as they desperately tried to outrun the Great Fire. I could smell the smoke, my lungs felt full to bursting, and my anxiety level was high. And then many somethings began falling from the sky!

Veiled in Smoke 2


I had never heard of the term, “soldier’s heart.” How fitting. How sad. So many times, we, the civilians for whom those men and now women sacrificed, refuse to understand and accept with open arms our vets who return to us.
As usual, Jocelyn Green will have me thinking for a long time to come about people and their treatment of others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. No positive response was required. All opinions are my own.
 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot ( and makes me think and think!)

About the Author

2578437Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.