Friday, July 29, 2016

Through Raging Waters by Renee Blare

Purchase your copy here

This is my second book tour with Celebrate Lit and I'm having a great time!  I had the privilege of getting to read a new to me writer, Renee Blare.  I went to grab my trusty Kindle just in time to see my dog take off with it!  After several minutes of high speed chasing I was able to settle down to my second adventure of the day.  

Through Raging Waters is Book 2 in Snowy Range Chronicles.  It can be read as a stand alone, but I would recommend that you read book 1 To Soar on Eagle's Wings first.

From the back: If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same... A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin. Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread once again. She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she's ever loved. Can two people find each other through raging waters?

This was a good read for me.  I don't often get into suspense books but Renee Blare did a fantastic job of drawing me into the story.  The characters were well thought out and relatable.  I often felt like I was in the middle of the action!  I loved how the author wove in the message of relying God when the going gets tough.

This story had some great twists and turns.  Just when I thought I had it figured out I was thrown for a loop.  I was kept guessing all the way through!  This was a great book and I'm looking forward to the next one!

There is also a fantastic giveaway!
To celebrate her tour, Renee is giving away a wonderful package that includes a $20 Cabelas gift card, a set of her series paperbacks (books 1 and 2), and fleece blanket. Click here to enter!

So pick up your copy today and follow our tour!  Happy Reading!  

Blog Stops

July 19: Pause for Tales

July 20:  Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 21: Captive Dreams Window

July 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 22: Singing Librarian Books

July 23: A Reader’s Brain

July 24: A Greater Yes

July 24: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 25: bigreadersite

July 25: Cassandra M’s Place


July 26: Splashes of Joy

July 27: Blossoms and Blessings

July 27: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 28: Daysong Reflections

July 29: Quiet Quilter

July 30: Texas Book-aholic

July 30: Lights in a Dark World

July 31: Bukwurmzzz

July 31: Through the Open Window

August 1: Carpe Diem

About the Author

Renee Blare’s nose has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Blog: Renee’s Inspirational Moments

Group Blog: The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction

Website: Renee Blare|Christian Author Website

Guest Post from Renee Blare

I Wrote a Book

Five years ago, I wrote a book…and then I wrote another and another and another. Many said that the words flowed like a river onto the page. Or I painted a picture with letters.  As for me? I simply write what I see so you can see it too. What about you? Do you want to write a book?

If so, there’s one thing I’d like you to know. A book’s like a child. It starts out small or simple with garbled language…often repetitive and indistinguishable. Kind of like when a baby babbles “dada” over and over. And then that moment comes when you rejoice because you hear him say “mama.” That’s the growth every book…writer…reader…yearns for.

Different stories float around inside an author’s mind, flowing in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. But like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn. It takes time, energy, and growth.

Take my first release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote it, my very first book, in three months. And it was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way. But publication wasn’t the next step. I had a lot to learn before that could happen.

My latest release, Through Raging Waters is the example of a writer’s growth, but also her soul. I learned that I had to leave more than my knowledge and my heart on the page. I needed to leave a piece of my soul. When you read Paul’s struggles, you read mine. Melissa’s fear and confusion? Yes, they’re mine. The anger, the pain . . . the trials, the lessons learned are scriptural but also first-hand, taught by my Father.

Writing is more than a job. It’s more than a hobby. It’s sharing your knowledge, your hope with the world. So if you want to write a book. Do it. Then take that next step, and the next. You’ll get there. Oh, and I can’t wait to read it!

Monday, July 25, 2016

She Who Knows by Barbara Bras and Giveaway

Purchase your book here

I'm excited to be included in my first blog tour for Celebrate Lit!  When Barbra Bras' book came I grabbed some sweet tea and headed to the front porch swing with a Great Dane and three cats.  They all seem to know when it's reading time!

She Who Knows was a great summer read!  From the back:  Isolated on a Maui mountaintop, Cassandra has only her imagination to keep her company. Shut in due to her heart condition and shut out emotionally by her father, she meets the Menehune in a dream. Their "Gift" enables her to take the first step away from her loneliness. Along the way she finds an amazing woman in the grandmother she never knew and experiences true friendship with a new classmate. Eventually she learns that to love another she must open her heart, even if it means it may break.

Cassandra lived a lonely life.  Sheltered from the world and overprotected by her family her life is lonely.  She meets mythical creatures called the Menehune and they give her an amazing gift, she becomes able to read other people's thoughts.  Imagine if you had been granted this, would you use this gift?  Cassandra takes on the world around her in attempts to change her future.  In doing so she grows as a person and has to make decisions on when and when not to use the gift she has been presented with.  

Cassandra was a vibrant character.  It takes a really skilled writer to bring a person alive in a story. Barbra Bras did a remarkable job with this!  Her back up characters in the story were equally well thought out.  I really enjoyed her grandmother, Leora as well.  She had a zest for life and brought out the best in her granddaughter.  There were also many scenes that required kleenex so I would recommend having a box with you!

This book was fantastic!  It's a great read and I look forward to more books from Barbra Bras!  There is also a giveaway and who doesn't love that?!  
If you click here you will be directed to the giveaway!  Who doesn't love a chance to score a good book or an amazon card to get some good books?  

So pick up your copy today! Also, follow the tour!  I'm one pit stop but we have a great team of bloggers together.  I've listed them below!  Happy reading!  

July 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

July 22: A Reader’s Brain

July 23: Mary Hake

July 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 26: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

July 27: A Greater Yes

July 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 28: A Bakers Perspective

July 29: Splashes of Joy

July 29: Artistic Nobody

July 30: Cassandra M’s Place

July 31: Bukwurmzzz

August 1: Simple Harvest Reads

August 2: Carpe Diem

August 3: Pause for Tales

About the Author

 Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step would be to share the amazing ways God had blessed her. As she wrote of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, it led to the rediscovery of her entire life, including the history of her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia and her search for purpose and love. Her memoir led to her first novel, which she hopes readers will find engaging and memorable.

Guest Post from Barbara Bras

An interviewer asked what inspired me to write and publish two books within a year. It’s a long story. Unlike many authors, I didn’t always write, nor did I yearn to write. In fact, the opposite was true for me; fear of judgement discouraged me from writing. Judgement from my mother, an English teacher and a strict perfectionist who demanded excellence in everything, especially writing.

In spite of the circumstances, my love of reading led to my first profession, teaching English at the high school level. Teaching laid the foundation for my career, which ultimately resulted in twenty-five plus years in various corporate environments as an Human Resources leader. Naturally, during my career I wrote a great deal, including proposals, papers, and communications of all kinds. But never anything creative, I never even journaled.

Almost two years ago, our Pastor handed out little pieces of paper during his sermon that said, “ENOUGH”. He questioned our inane desire to accumulate things when we already have the one thing that is needful. Just as Mary choose to worship at the feet of Jesus rather than be distracted by the world, so must we choose what is most important. (Luke 10:42) It struck a nerve.

Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to leave my position of ten years. Unsure of my next move, I focused my energy on a burning desire. Ever since the Lord provided a son for us through a miraculous adoption, I believed He wanted me to share it as an encouragement to others. I had tried to write the story many times without success. I signed up for retreat that promised, “Write your book in a weekend!”

The three-day retreat required nonstop writing, first in long hand, then on the pc. Amazingly, at the end of the third day I had not only finally written the story of the miraculous adoption, I had shared the incredible disappointment and heartache of the years that followed, all captured within the context of my life and the life of my ancestors. Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered had materialized. I felt a great release and I thought that would be the end of my writing.

Over the next few months as I edited the book, I followed the system of editing for 45 minutes, and writing new material for 15. What emerged during those 15 minute segments became Cassandra’s story, or She Who Knows, a Tale of the Heart. The story unfolded in front of me, inspired by the woman who supervised my student teaching in Honolulu back in 1977.

Barbara Robinson was an inspiration to me both as a teacher and as a person. As we worked together that semester, she shared many stories and took me under her wing. She told me the story of how her grandmother, a musician, had come to islands and married her seafaring grandfather. She spent a great deal of her childhood isolated in the mountains on Maui, presumably to recover from an illness. When finally allowed to return to school years later, her years of isolation and her archaic English made for a lonely life. She also believed she that she had an usual gift, which she decided was better left unused.

So what began as an effort to share my story and encourage others has developed into a love of writing and a desire to serve the Lord through my new passion.

Soli Deo Gloria. To God Alone Be the Glory!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amy Clipston's summer reading challenge

So I've been issued a challenge by our Bakery Bunch.  Pick four of Amy Clipston's books that you should read over the summer.  That was a tough one!  I love summer reads but everyone has different tastes in books.  So I went back through my book stash and posts to help you find a great summer read!  So here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

1. Betrayed

I know most people associate Amy with the Amish genre and while this is where a majority of her books take place in there is something about summer, speed, adventure, and a page turner.  You can see my review here. This book is very popular where I live and there is always a wait list on it at the library!  

2.  The Gift Of Love
There are people who like to read nonfiction over the summer.  I pick up a few (OK a lot) of books to expand knowledge and learn about other people's lives.  If you are looking for a fantastic nonfiction pick and Amy's incredible family journey, this is your book.  You can check out my review here.

3.  Miles From Nowhere
If you have tweens or teens in your house chances are they need to read for school.  Why not pick some books that you can read together as a family and discuss them?  There are three books in the series but they can be read as stand alones.  So grab them and have some fun family reading time. You can see my review here.

4.  The Courtship Basket
I also love picking up an author's new book for a good beach read!  So why not grab a copy of The Courtship Basket and hit your favorite beach, or porch swing!  Amy's Amish Heirloom series is a great summertime read and you can find my review here.

So grab some great books and go enjoy some summer sunshine!  Happy Reading! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dance and Be Glad (From the Promises Above Series Book 2) By Melissa Wardwell

Summer is in full force in the Old Dominion State.  It's hot, muggy, and rainy.  In other words, perfect reading weather.  My summer book stack has a nice dent in it and I find that I'm using my Kindle more and more.  I still love the feel of a "real" book, but sometimes it's easier to just grab Fiona (what, you don't name your electronics too?) and head to my favorite spot on the front porch with some sweet tea and a good book.

Dance and Be Glad is the second book from the Promises Above Series and my first read by Melissa Wardwell.  

From the Back:  Jillian Matthews is a widowed mom and owner of a dance studio in a small farming community. When her husband died nine years ago in the desert of the Middle East, a piece of her died as well and she lost all joy in the day to day blessings. Tiny dancers and her daughter, Katie, are her main focus until an old flame, Michael Emerson, waltzes back into her life, awakening things she thought dead and gone. 
Dr. Michael Emerson told himself he was happy with his bachelorhood after a messy divorce. He thought his life as an ER doctor and yearly missions work left no room for a wife and family. When tragedy strikes and he is left with an unforeseen situation, he must evaluate his life and make some major changes.

This book was a wonderful read!  Life can change quickly and we can loose the ones we love in the blink of an eye.  Melissa Wardwell did a fantastic job of creating realistic characters and how they were coping with their grief and trying to be positive and strong.  

Jill and Mike were pulled apart many years ago and two tiny cupids decide that they belong together. Can they overcome the past?  Can they let God lead them in the right direction?  

This book was a great read and requires a box of tissues!  It has a great ending and you won't be disappointed.  So pick up your copy of Dance and Be Glad (if you have a Fiona and Kindle unlimited it's free!) you will be glad you did!  Happy Reading!