Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Sound of Silver Birthday Blog Tour and Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I discovered I have email filters on my Facebook page.  Ummmm, where have I been?  Anyway, I'm glad I figured it out because I might have missed a silver opportunity!  I was invited to be a part of The Sound of Silver birthday blog tour.  There is also a great giveaway so stick around!

The Sound of Silver is the second in the Steadfast Love Series Books.  From the back:  The stalwart saint, fighting for faith...and the redeemed rebel, fighting for honor.

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile--and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Now truly orphaned yet not alone, Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Dirk's quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth's searching hearts ever sing the same song?

This book is set in the medieval/renaissance era.  I will say I didn't read the first one, and I'm really sorry I didn't before I started this.  Even though I was able to quickly pick up on the story personally I feel like I missed something.  I'll be heading back to pick up the first book, but if you haven't read any of this series start at the beginning!

Other than the feeling of something missing once I slipped into the author's world I was transported to another place.  Rachelle Rea has an amazing attention to detail and really makes the time period shine.  I loved the way the words and phrases worked with the time period, yet were easy to understand for the reader.

The characters also were well thought out and had life and depth.  The romance was beautiful and the struggles they went through made the characters more realistic.  You can't have a good love story without struggles along the way.  Faith plays a huge part in the book, but it never comes across as being overly preachy.

There are some great twists and turns and I will also need to read the third book ( The Sound of Emeralds) to see what happens next!  So pick up your copy and sign up for the giveaway below! Happy Reading!
Enter here to win a beautiful necklace created by Baubles, Beads, and Stuff and your choice of any one of Rachelle’s three books (the series begins in Book One, of course, but in case you have one or two of her books already, Rachelle will gladly send you the next one to read!).

International friends, the paperback & necklace giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive an e-book.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wrapped in God's Grace by Barbara Bras

To purchase your copy click here

I'm on tour with Celebrate Lit again!  I was so super excited to have a chance to read another book by Barbara Bras that I jumped at the chance to sign up for this one!  

This time we take a step away from fiction and discover an amazing life.  

About the book:   The crushing pain of seven years of unanswered prayer for a child. A miraculous adoption story, followed by unforeseen challenges and heartbreak.

Barbara Bras begins her memoir by sharing God’s answer to her prayers and the difficult times that followed. Although God does not provide an easy fix, the intricacies of God’s plans reveal themselves to her, and she relives her life in a new light.

Bras then recounts the stories of her grandfather Arshag and her grandmother Gulle, survivors of the atrocities of Armenia in 1915. Arshag, sent to South America for his protection, returns as a soldier of the Armenian Legion to fight for his country. Gulle is the only member of her family to survive the death march into the desert. Through God’s grace they find each other, marry and move to America in 1921. Bras is their first grandchild.

The final section of the memoir follows Bras as she marries and moves to Hawaii, only to return as a single mother to teach school in a small town. It is there she finally realizes that God has provided her with protection and direction. Bras discovers that once we truly surrender our will to God, His plan always produces blessings beyond our wildest dreams!

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge memoir reader.  If I had not been blown away from her last book I had read I may have skipped this one.  I'm so glad I didn't!  The story drew me in right from the beginning.

This is three stories woven into one book.  It takes a lot of talent to pull off and have the stories weave into each other without being choppy.  The stories came together beautifully. Barbara shares her life and her family's life.  She doesn't shy away from writing about the hard times.  In every story you saw how God's love, grace, and mercy were present.

I was especially drawn to the adoption story.  Having struggled years before our prayers for adoption were answered and then adopting two special needs children I felt a very similar and personal connection to Barbara's struggles and triumphs.

So pick up your copy today!  And be sure to enter the giveaway!  It's for a $100 Amazon gift card. Think of all the books you can buy with that!  Follow us on the blog tour as well.  Happy Reading!
Enter the Giveaway here

About the Author

In 2015, 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 Unanswered Prayer

I struggled for many years with one unanswered prayer. It was my “go to” request every time I came before the Lord.

Convinced that with God nothing is impossible, I also knew that the Lord may say “Not now” many times, even before he says no. I acknowledged that the Lord probably had a much bigger and better plan in mind for me, but none of that offered any comfort. As I struggled year after year with my unanswered prayer I found more questions than answers.

Was I fooling myself and ignoring God’s “No”? Could my lack of faith be the reason I couldn’t hear the Lord? And if not now, then when dear Lord?

Then I discovered that the Lord said “Not now.” because he had a miracle waiting for me, more amazing than I could have ever imagined. Like Hannah, God finally answered my prayer for a child. And through that miracle I learned that surrendering my will to God allows Him to bless me beyond my human understanding.

To my further surprise, I discovered that the miracle didn’t mean the end of the story. Experiencing a miraculous adoption didn’t come with a guarantee or a promise that the rest of my life would be free of heartache.

After all of those years of unanswered prayer, I found myself back on my knees with a new daily prayer request. The Lord had something else to teach me through this new struggle, a lesson that took me another fifteen years to learn.

Not only did those fifteen years lead me right back to where I started, surrendering my human will to His and trusting in His greater plan, but it convinced me that the Lord wanted me to share my story.

Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered begins with my unanswered prayer for a child, but as I wrote it, God’s plan for me became clear. The second section of the book recreates the events surrounding the survival of my grandparents through the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Their immigration to America in 1921 led to my existence. The book closes with the Lord blessing me with a loving husband in spite of the many missteps I made directing my own life. A reviewer found this nonlinear sequence of events unusual, and I am fine with that, since that’s how the book unfolded before me.

Captured by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, I now view my writing as a tribute first to the God who comforts and strengthens all of us in hardships and trials, and second as my mission to encourage others.

A photo gallery for Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered can be found on my website Click here to view the Photo Gallery. 

Blog Stops

October 11: Bibliophile Reviews
October 13: Eat, Read Teach, Blog
October 14: Book Love
October 15: A Greater Yes
October 16: Carpe Diem
October 18: Pause for Tales
October 19: A Reader’s Brain
October 20: Bigreadersite
October 22: Mary Hake
October 22: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
October 23: Christian Bookaholic

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Honeybee Sister's Cookbook by Jennifer Beckstrand

To purchase click here

I have a secret obsession.  I love cookbooks.  I have lots of cookbooks in my home.  When my son and I were diagnosed with IBS and food allergies my world tilted.  Food that we used to love wasn't good for us.  Then we both began a FODMAP diet.  So for a long time I shoved the cookbooks I had in drawers because I couldn't look at them.  

But that began to change about eight months ago.  Slowly my son and I are venturing and testing what foods and combinations we can have again.  Watching him feel bad because he couldn't have a simple cupcake spurred me into action and on a mission.  I wanted food to become an enjoyable thing for both of us.  So out came the cookbooks and I began modifying foods for both of us.  

When I saw that a cookbook was going to be a Celebrate Lit tour I jumped at the chance to hop on board and see what goodies I could make for our family!  

About the Book:

A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.

Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.

Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.

My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.

Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.

Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

So this was a fun cookbook!  If you have read The Honeybee Sister books you will find snippets from the stories you may recognize.  They added some extra fun to the cookbook.  The recipes were easy to follow, and most exciting for us, easy to modify to our eating.

The neat part was there were lots of different kinds of recipes.  After looking through the book with my son he decided on Salmon Tacos with Pineapple Salsa.  In fact, he took charge and made a lot of it himself.  He even took a picture.
These were a huge hit.  The recipe said it makes 12 servings, but if you have a hungry boy it might make a little less:)!

I would recommend this book for a couple of reasons.  The first is the food is really good and the second is a big thing for people with food allergies.  The recipes are easy to modify.  Not all cookbooks are easy to convert to allergy friendly and have good results.  This book hits the mark!

There is also a giveaway!
One lucky person will win a copy of the Honeybee Sisters Series.  To enter click here.  

So pick up your copy today!  Happy Reading and Eating!!

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.

Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.

I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal that fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.

The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.

My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.

This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Mix together:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups rhubarb, diced

Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.

Mix together:

¼ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg


2 cups flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.

Blog Stops

September 20: Smiling Book Reviews
September 20: Book Babble
September 22: Reading Is My SuperPower
September 23: Artistic Nobody
September 24: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 25: Bibliophile Reviews
September 26: Simple Harvest Reads
September 27: A Baker’s Perspective
September 28: Blogging With Carol
September 29: Bukwurmzzz
September 29: Donna’s BookShelf
September 30: Through the Open Window
September 30: cherylbbookblog
October 3: Quiet Quilter