Posted in blog tour, Book reviews, Books

“When Beauty Blooms” by Victoria Lynn ~Blogtour/Review

When Beauty Blooms Blog Tour Header.jpg

Hello!

Today I am pleased to share about this little novelette titled “When Beauty Blooms” by Victoria Lynn! The cover is truly lovely, and the story inside is even better. There’s also a very nice giveaway included, so don’t miss that either!

 

 

 

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Revolutionary War Era England

Marjorie Kirk is a woman with no fortune, no prospects, no family, and no skills. Or so she thinks. She is awkward, shy, and the farthest thing from any semblance of a society lady.

The new minister keeps turning up in the most awkward of places and she can’t help but feel that her life is doomed to one of embarrassment. But will her flaws actually be the thing that others find the most attractive?

A story of a young woman with social anxiety and how she learned to bloom.

 

 

 

 

My Review:

 

What a lovely short story! The dedication at the beginning was beautiful too.
Easy to read in just a couple of sittings (might’ve been one if life had allowed ;)), “When Beauty Blooms” is a beautiful reminder that our beauty is not defined by our looks or what we think we should be. We are beautiful because of how God made us. I loved main character Marjorie right away. She was endearing and relatable. The story was well written, and I found it very encouraging.
While short, this novelette was lovely and I’d highly recommend it!
*I received a complimentary ecopy from the author; I was not required to write a positive review.

 

 

About the Author:

Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she’s not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings.

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Amazon Link:

Paperback

Kindle

Author Links:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Instagram

Amazon

 

GIVEAWAY!

 

When Beauty Blooms Giveaway final

 

 

Victoria Lynn is generously offering a signed copy of her book and a $10 Amazon giftcard to one blessed winner! Click on the image above to enter! :)

 

 

 

Tour Schedule:

Aug. 6

Michaela Bush // Spotlight //

tangledupinwriting.blogspot.com

Ashley Spies // Spotlight

Creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com

Aug. 7

Gabriellyn Gidman // Spotlight //

https://pageturnersweb.wordpress.com/

Aug. 8

Liv K. Fisher // Review //

https://the-book-sprite.blogspot.com/

Medomfo //Review //

www.writingsfromagodgirl.wordpress.com

Aug. 9

Kaylee // Review //

kayleeskindofwrites.blogspot.com/

Giana // Interview //

Giannaandgemini.wordpress.com

Aug. 10

Gracelyn Buckner //Review //

gracelynbuckner.wordpress.com

Aug. 11

Angela Watts // Spotlight //

Thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

Aug. 12

Allison Tebo // Interview //

www.allisonswell.com

Aug. 13

Jana Tenbrook // Review //

Reviewsfromthestacks.wordpress.com

Lilly Shyree // Review/Interview

Alillyingodsgarden.blogspot.com

Aug. 14

Hosanna Emily // Guest Post //

HavingaHeartLikeHis.blogspot.com

Aug. 15

Laura Grace // Review // Interview

www.unicornquester.com

Lydia // Review //

https://spoonfulofsurprises.com

Allyson Kennedy // Interview/Review //

https://authoringarrowheads.wordpress.com/#content

Aug. 16

Madison Guy //Spotlight //

Alittlesoutherngrace.com

Aug. 17

Tammy Lash // Guest Post/Spotlight

https://tammylash.wordpress.com/

Aug. 18

Laura Guenot // Review //

https://www.beautifulthingsbylaura.com/

Aug. 19

Grace Maples // Review //

https://proclaiminghisexcellencies2910.wordpress.com/

Aug. 20

Sunny Houk // Interview //

https://thatowlnerd.wordpress.com

Aug. 21

Rebekah Morris // Review //

http://www.readanotherpage.com

Aug. 22

Abigail Mckenna //Review //

Novelsdragonsandwardrobedoors.blogspot.com

Raechel Lenore // Review //

Godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com

Aug. 23

Sarah // Review

http://smylinggirl.blogspot.com/

Aug. 24

Kaitlyn Smith // Interview/Review //

https://www.maidensformodesty.com

Aug. 25

Faith Potts // Review //

chosenbythePotter.blogspot.com

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Posted in Books, lists, Questions/answers, Writing

Get To Know Me Tag//Writers Edition

Top o’ the morning to ye! I shall preface this post by saying that technically today I should be posting a devotional-type post. But I’m not. And the reason behind this is, shocker, I didn’t get one written this past week. It was a bit too busy, and this last weekend here (as in yesterday, and Saturday) was our local rendezvous-reenactment thing which my family and I volunteer at. It’s such great fun. :) But yes, anywho! Instead of a devo post, today I have a Tag! And those are always fun, are they not? Marrok MacIntyre tagged me for this one, and so now I shall proceed with the answering! Thanks, M!

 

 

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Rules:
– Link back to the person who created the tag (Created by Savannah from Inspiring Writes)
– Thank the person who tagged you (Danke, thankee, merci, and all those thank you’s to Marrok MacIntyre)
– Share the tag graphic (optional)
– Tag eleven bloggers
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Vital Stats and Appearance:

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Name:
Raechel. It’s like Rachel only with an extra ‘e’ because that’s cool, and my parents wanted to call be ‘Rae’. :)
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Nicknames:
Rae, of course, is one. Then there’s…Ren, Doda (means aunt in Hebrew ^.^),  and then some nicknames only my family uses…XD One of which is Pony. Yes, you read that right, but only a select few get to call me that (namely, my mom ^.^). :D
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Birthday:
It’s coming up actually…in October. Which is one of my favourite months so that’s lovely. :)
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Hair color and length:
Brunette. I don’t know what else to say about that. XD I was born a bald baby, finally got some blonde hair, which darkened when I was about 7 or so and it was a light golden brown for quite some time, but in later years, it has grown darker, so now it’s a medium brown. :D As for length…it’s actually almost to my hips finally! I had cut it a year or two ago and I was afraid it wasn’t going to grow back like it used to, but it has. :)
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Eye color:
Hmm…a mix between green and hazel. More green than hazel, but they’re not bright or vibrant green.
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Braces/Piercings:
I’m thankful to say I never had braces. As for piercings…I did have my ears pierced when I was around 12 but promptly let them close up because they got infected and I didn’t like them. XD
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Righty or Lefty?
Right handed for sure. I can do things with my left (including throwing knives/tomahawks – “There is something you do not know – I am not left handed!”), but my right hand is my predominate hand.
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Ethnicity:
A mix of things, really. I’m American, but from heritage I’m a great deal of Polish, some Scottish and Irish, and really, who knows what else. ^.^
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Firsts:

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First novel ever written:
Eeek…I think that would be a story about a girl and a cat who lived in a tree together. Yeah, I was probably 10, and I loved cats. ;) A serious story I worked a lot on…well it never got a title, sadly, but the main character was named Bella and I even drew a sketch of her. She was pretty cute. ^.^
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First Novel Completed:
My Beauty and the Beast retelling! Followed shortly after the novel of my heart which took 4 years to complete. My B&tB story has been through one round of edits but I have left it languishing because I hate editing.
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Award for Writing:
Um…nothing? I wrote a paragraph to a story prompt contest and won that, but that wasn’t really an award. Maybe someday!
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First Publication:
Nada, Nothing, Zip. ;) I posted some short stories on my blog here a year or two ago, so maybe that could count.
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Conference:
Pretty much “see above” for answer. I have not been to any writing conferences sadly.
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Query/Pitch:
Again, haven’t done this yet. I’m nervous about if/when I do though because I’m not that good at talking. At all.
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Favourites:

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Novel (that you wrote):
Hard question. Probably my story-of-my-heart because while I haven’t returned to that one yet (I hope to though!!), I poured so much of myself and what I was going through at the time into that novel. It’s very dear to me. <3
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Genre:
To write or read? I’m guessing writing since that’s the theme of this tag. I love writing fantasy and contemporary pretty equally. And when I say fantasy, I mean Kingdom-Fantasy, without magic, and a sort of medieval feel to it. Two of my novels are that way. Two are contemporary. So, equally. :)
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Author:
I don’t like this question XD I’ll have to list a few because I can’t narrow it down to just one!! Tessa Afshar, Chuck Black, MacKenzie Morganthal, and J.A. Marx.
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Writing Music:
I don’t listen to music while I write. It distracts me too much. There was ONE song I could listen to while writing the beginning stages of my current WIP and that was, weirdly, “Mr. Webster” by The Monkees. It’s a weird song, and has absolutely NOTHING to do with my story, so I’m not even sure how that worked.
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Time to Write:
Once upon a time I would’ve said right away in the morning, but now it’s more later morning or later afternoon. Not late night though because no. Just no.
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Movie:
Okay, what’s with these hard questions? I’m not a huge tv watcher as it is, but I have several favourite movies. Wives and Daughters, North and South, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Greatest Showman. There, I narrowed it down.
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Writing Memory:
Completing my 4-year story. That was a huge accomplishment for me and I actually wept a little because it was such a big thing.
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Childhood Book:
It was a sweet little book called “If You Were My Bunny” by Kate McMullan. Mum read this one to be so many times. ^.^  “If you were my bunny and I were your mama, I’d pick you out from all the other bunnies and nestle you beside me…” So cute. XD
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Currently:

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Reading:
Well, I’m actually writing this post ahead of time so I can schedule it due to a busy weekend before this posts, so what I am reading right now is probably not what I’ll be reading when this posts. On this day, I am just about to finish “A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano (it’s really good!), but next up I will be reading “If Only It Were Yesterday” by A.M. Heath.
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Writing:
Two things…my contemporary story with my main character who is socially awkward and so much like me. And then another contemporary story that I am co-writing with MacKenzie Morganthal. It is a lovely story involving books, coffee, German accents, and more. ^.^
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Listening to:
Nothing at the moment. The cd currently in my Crossley record-player/cd player  upstairs that I listen to when in my room is “Rubber Soul” by The Beatles. Mmhm, I do in fact listen to the Beatles, but only some of their music. I’m picky about which ones.
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Learning:
Contentment! I’m actually hoping to write a post about it but we’ll see how that turns out. :)
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Future:

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Want to publish:
Absolutely I do! That has been a goal for sooooo long. But it’s completely in the Lord’s hands and He keeps having me wait. But I certainly hope to be published at some point. <3
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Wildest Goal:
Being published. ;) What else? It’s still very much in my heart to be a missionary, and also adopt.
Another wild goal that I haven’t really voiced much of yet…I’d like to be a personal assistant. Not sure if or how that will ever happen, but it’s been on my mind a lot. :) Leaving it all in God’s capable hands!
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And now, the tagging time. Dun, dun, DUN!
To be honest, I’m not even sure my humble little blog here has eleven followers that would want to be tagged. Sure, I can think of a couple, but eleven is a rather large number when it comes to tagging. So! If you are reading this tag, if you follow this blog, you are hereby tagged, and you must let me know in the comments if you do this tag because I want to read your answers. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews

“Escape and Endurance” by Sarah Holman ~ Book Review

Escape and Endurance

“Escape and Endurance” by Sarah Holman

Tales of Taelis #5

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Edna believes herself to be a worthless servant.
Sir Andrew knows himself to be the most respected and valuable knight.
One event will cause both to discover where their value truly lies.

When Princess Gail is on her way to visit friends, some men kidnap the princess to demand a ransom. They don’t realize that they’ve made a mistake and who they have is not the pampered princess, but her faithful servant, Edna. Carried far from home, Edna knows that no matter what she does, she won’t survive.

Sir Andrew sets off to rescue the princess, taking no time to assess what has truly happened or to allow his men to help him. What should have been a quick and heroic mission turns into a long journey that is full of dangers, obstacles, and trials. Will he be forced to turn back or will he be able to make it to the tower where the princess is being held?

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love the Tales of Taelis series. Truly, it is one of my favourites. They are all enjoyable books with godly foundation and encouraging lessons, as well as always being extremely enjoyable.
E&E was no exception! All of those words fit this book perfectly. Main female character Edna doesn’t know her worth and sees herself as foolish, ignorant, and worthless because that is what she’s been told for so long. It made me sad. She was such a sweetheart of a character, I rejoiced with her to see her discover the truth! Main male character Andrew was harder to love at first because of his arrogance and pride, *however* as he grew, he became much more likeable and relatable too, because we do all struggle with pride to varying degrees. His was a humbling lesson and a good reminder!
I personally was extremely touched by the lesson of being content where God puts us and serving Him there wherever that is – even if it is in a tower prison. Exactly what I needed to be reminded of. And of course, thankfully I am not in a tower prison, but the lesson is still a good one, to remember to do all things as unto God.
The whole message of our worth in Christ was beautiful too, and another thing I love so much about this series is how there are always Bible verses being pivotal to the story, and they are woven in so well.
I love the “simplicity” and innocence of this series, knowing I can hand them to my younger sister without any concern – and still enjoy them myself!!
And E&E just might be my favourite so far, but that’s a hard decision to make. ;)
I definitely recommend this series. :)
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*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter – Book Review

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, #1)

“A Defense of Honor” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Haven Manor Book #1

Review copy through publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was such a good book! On one hand, I’m sad it took me so long to read (due to life…), but on the other hand, that meant I was able to stay in its pages that much longer! And while I knew I had to eventually move on to another book, I was reluctant to leave the story.
The plotline was superb, and the characters just full of depth and charm and yes, I loved them. I loved how complex they were, and how we got to see their motives and thought process behind things.
At first I thought it was going to be a good read with Christian hints and mentions, but towards the end – wow! I was so pleasantly surprised because it was so much more. There was such a powerful message given, and I was thoroughly impressed. And convicted ride alongside one of the characters as I had felt what she was feeling and probably would’ve done the same thing and justified as she did.
So the godly message was beautiful and meaningful and oh so poignant.
The children in this book were so endearing, as well as each character really! I loved them all. The way they handled life was lovely, and yes, this was just such a good book! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to read the next books as they come out. I’m certainly not ready to leave Haven Manor!
Quotes:
I had actually marked quite a few quotes in this book but haven’t had time to make any graphics of them, sadly. But I will still share the quotes here, for they are good ones!
“There was something cathartic about throwing knife after knife into a tree.”
“What else had he missed in life because he was too focused on where he was going?”
“Good. Every child should grow up with books.”
“Perhaps if she let life follow its course, tried to enjoy the little moments along the way, it would be better.”
“Favorite book?”  Her bark of laughter chased the shadows away and made him feel like a conquering hero. “You can’t ask a book lover such a question. It’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is.”
He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Who’s your favorite child?”
“Grace doesn’t work like that, Kit. I know my life’s been pretty easy, and my list of sins wouldn’t make anyone blush, but I’m not perfect and I’ve read the Bible enough to know that grace doesn’t come because of anything you can do. Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you could crucify yourself with guilt.”
“But recently someone pointed out to me that God doesn’t always work in ways we can foresee. That’s why He asks us to trust.”
“The past would always be there, its scars a part of her, but at this moment, with this man, she felt beautiful and knew that God could bring something beautiful from her pain.”
“The most precious gems are forged from pressure. God brings beauty from adversity, when you let Him.”
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Book reviews

“By The Waters of Babylon” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

By the Waters of Babylon (Psalm #2)

 

“By The Waters of Babylon” by Mesu Andrews

Book #2 in the Psalm Series

Biblical Fiction

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives’ bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives’ Psalm:

“[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees.” (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)

A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.

But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne–and his life–to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is the second book in the Psalm Series (each one by a different author). I love the idea behind this series, and am most assuredly enjoying them! They give lovely insight and story behind the Psalms they represent.
While BtWoB is a shorter story, it is not a light one. There is a lot of depth and Biblical history that I have grown to expect from Mesu Andrews. She writes so well and makes it so easy to fall into the stories, which I love.
Merari’s story was one of more seriousness and hardship from the life she lived as a captive. But there was still hope. The latter half of the book surprised me a bit, but I was happy with the direction it took.
One thing I would caution about is some fairly descriptive shocking scenes regarding bloodshed/cannibalism. It might not be the best for sensitive readers, and especially for anyone under 16. I myself am not a fan of reading about such things, but I know everyone has a different level of “tolerance” and sensitivity, so this may not bother other readers at all. Just wanted to mention it for anyone who might be like me. :)
I liked Idan a  lot, and sometimes disliked him for his stubborn behaviour. I wouldn’t mind reading more about him though and seeing his story continue! Being reunited with his wife and child…I would’ve loved to have read about that. ^.^
In summation, I enjoyed this book very much, the writing style was engaging and the history extremely well written. There were a few parts that weren’t my favourite, but not enough to turn me away from the book. And as always, I look forward to more by Mesu Andrews!
And am excited for the next book in this Psalm series. :)
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Quotes:
“Perhaps Yahweh has revealed Himself to you – spared you – so you can share Him with your people”
“Your gods were created by men, Idan. My God created men.”
“People and courage may fail, but Yahweh is a Fortress whose mercies are new every morning.”
“You will always have your memories, but your hands must be empty to embrace new treasure.”
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Author Interview, Book reviews, Books, character introduction

Character Introduction: Libby Sheffield

Libby S CI

 

Welcome back to a Character Introduction post! Today’s featured character is Libby Sheffield!

(If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could. )

 

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Libby Sheffield

(Photo found on the authors Pinterest Board)

 

Libby Sheffield, Gossamer Grove 1907
When “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” has two heroines, what made me choose the historical over the present day? Um, actually I don’t really have an answer to that. I very much liked each heroine, so I had to just choose one. ;)
Libby Sheffield is a young woman tormented by guilt – a guilt she has tried hard to escape from, to bury. While she is striving to solve the town’s mystery amongst all the strife, her own past continues to follow her, pulling at her conscience. She’s just as broken as everyone else.
She’s a strong character, with a very good heart. She perseveres throughout it all. Through the danger. Because she wants to see things put right again. She wants to believe in the grace the revivalist Jacobus Corbin tells her about.
I love the spirit of this character; her strengths, weaknesses, and determination. You can’t help but root for her the entire journey.
If I were to recommend some books to Libby, I would suggest:
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright ~ It’s only natural that Libby would enjoy a book written by her author too, right?!
Julie by Catherine Marshall ~ I’m not very good at explaining why a character would enjoy the book I recommend…for this one, I just think the overall feeling of the book would be a good match for Libby.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White ~ A bit of a mystery tucked between the pages, I think Libby would enjoy this one too.
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Meet Libby for yourself in “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright:
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For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

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You can also “meet” author Jaime Jo Wright in last week’s author interview! Be sure to check that out:
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And you can also check out my review here:
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Posted in Random babblings, Writing

Thoughts on Words

Just an impromptu post here…

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Does this quote resound with anyone else? I had it up at my graduation open house a few years ago because I love it. And it came to mind because I’ve been thinking about communication a fair bit lately, and so much of the time I wish I could have a sign on me that comes with a warning of some kind. ;) I struggle with expressing myself through verbal words, sometimes assuming the other person will automatically know what I am thinking or meant to say. Writing fiction comes so much more naturally to me, but I can’t speak in fiction. ;) I wish I could say that even communicating online came easily to me, but frankly, it does not. I over-analyze yet underestimate that what I say may not really express what I meant. So if I’ve spoken to any of you and you have no idea what I meant – don’t worry. It’s me, not you. XD
I’m comfortable when I write fiction. My current WIP’s main character is so much like me that I understand her probably better than any past character of mine. She’s socially awkward too. And I don’t say that in a cutesy way because while amusing, it is a struggle. I’ll say something (in life or online) and then regret it afterwards just because it probably didn’t make much sense. But I know that my God understands me. In my broken-speech, He sees the heart, and I rejoice in that. I think that is one of the reasons He blessed me with the ability to write stories, because it’s often there that I feel the most understood.