Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review, Uncategorized

“Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for Comfort” – Sarah Young ~ Review

Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for Comfort

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

My thoughts:

 

I looooove the Jesus Calling devotionals. I may have more than two…or more than three…Okay, so I have four different ones. And I love them all. I was very excited to see this one come available for review, because who doesn’t need comfort from Jesus?
I love how these devotionals are written, as Jesus speaking to us. It feels very personal, and I definitely believe that the Lord uses them. There have been so many times where I am feeling low or discouraged, etc. and open to a devotional page and it’s exactly what I needed to hear.
In this one, they are the devos selected from the bigger one, Jesus Calling, so I have read them before, but many seem like reading them new, and they do share immense comfort. And the artwork! Oh my. I wasn’t expecting that, but each devotional page has a piece of art on the other side with a verse scripted across it, and then also some pages in between devotionals with Bible verses elegantly scripted across a lovely scene. It really is beautiful, and so peaceful and calming.
So yes, I definitely recommend this devotional, as well as the other Jesus Calling devotionals!

 

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Posted in Author Interview, Books, Give-aways

Author Interview: Lindsay Harrel! With GIVEAWAY!

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Good morning, and happy Monday! Today, not only do I have an amazing author interview to share, but she’s also offered a GIVEAWAY to go along with it! Isn’t that fantabulous? I fell in love with “The Heart Between Us”, and knew I’d love to have Lindsay Harrel for an author review. And when she offered a giveaway – well, goodness, what fun! Keep reading to find all the details, and don’t forget to enter for a COPY of “The Heart Between Us”!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

 Sure! My name is Lindsay Harrel and I write inspirational romantic women’s fiction. Thanks so much for having me!

 

 

What sparked the idea for your book, “The Heart Between Us”? (I thought it was so clever and absolutely loved the whole thing!)

 Thank you for your kind words. I heard a radio feature story on K-LOVE or some other station about a woman who went sky diving because her heart donor had always wanted to do it and never got to. It just made me ask the question, What if someone fulfilled her heart donor’s entire bucket list?

 

 

heart-1450300_1920.jpgIn “The Heart Between Us”, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

 Yes! The story is about twin sisters Megan and Crystal and how they have both been affected by Megan’s long-term illness and subsequent heart transplant. When I was first going to write the book, it was just going to be Megan’s story and Crystal was just the antagonist who was overprotective and didn’t understand Megan. But my agent challenged me to dig deeper and tell Crystal’s story too. When I did, I discovered a character who had been deeply affected by living with a sick sister her whole life. I could relate, since my mom was sick for many of my formative years. Between that and Crystal’s penchant for defining herself by her achievements, she became the character I related to most.

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Not really. I always look up common baby names in the year the character is born and when one pops out at me as feeling “right” for the character, I choose it. Funny though—I didn’t do that with Megan’s character at first. I chose Maddie because I liked the name, but I got the comment that it made the character feel for high school age, not 32. So I went back, applied the process mentioned above, and chose Megan (I also have a good friend named Megan so that was a bit of fun in choosing that name).

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I really prefer silence when I write. I also can’t stand the idea of only writing part of a scene; if I’m going to write, I try to finish an entire scene in one sitting. It feels incomplete to me to write only, say, 500 or 1000 words at a time!

 

 

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Megan in “The Heart Between Us” is fulfilling the bucket list of her heart-donor; Do you have a bucket list yourself?

It’s not something I’ve actually written out, but yes! At the top right now is visiting Italy with my husband.

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Great question. I think both. I actually don’t care as much for the drafting stage of writing (I much prefer editing!); the blank page is a bit intimidating to me. But I am energized by the thought that I get to live my dream. It’s also exhausting to pour yourself and your emotions out on the page, and to be a good writer, I think you have to be constantly doing that.

 

 

cross-2209803_1920How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

I’ve read all sorts of Christian fiction, and the ones that resonate with me the most are those that infuse faith organically. So that is what I try to do. Some stories require more actual mention of faith; with others, the character kind of just has this misconception about God and has an epiphany at the end, but faith isn’t constantly mentioned. I think it just depends on what the story calls for. But because I am a Christian, I can’t help but write stories from that perspective and worldview, so I think in that sense, my stories will always be faith filled.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

They are 100% supportive! Of course, my boys (who are 1 and 3.5 years old) don’t really understand it. But my husband is amazing in giving me time to write when I’m on deadline, and my mother-in-law and stepmom help with the kids too.

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Stop worrying! Things will happen in their time. Just enjoy the process and stop stressing over how you’re going to get there (and when! and if!). :)

 

 

old-1130731_1920.jpg“The Heart Between Us” visits many places all over the world – have you traveled much in your life, and did you make any special travel-plans during the writing of this book?

In college, I took a study abroad trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Paris one summer. It was amazing and definitely shaped my desire to write about those places. I have wanted to go back, but my husband and I haven’t had the time or money. But we are saving and dreaming!

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I am blessed to be friends with SO many in the writing community, and have been craft and brainstorming partners with Gabrielle Meyer, Melissa Tagg, and Alena Wendall. I’ve also been mentored by incredible authors like Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. All of them challenge me to do deeper with characters and—more than anything—they just encourage me when I’m down and help keep me grounded and rooted in the things that are most important on this writing journey. I’m so glad my writing life isn’t a solitary endeavor.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Heart Between Us”?

I think readers who enjoyed The Heart Between Us would enjoy anything by Katherine Reay, specifically Lizzy and Jane or her latest, The Austen Escape!

 

Image result for Katherine Reay books
image found on google; I do not claim any rights to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so very much, Lindsay Harrel!

 

 

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Lindsay HarrelLindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

 

Image result for curly q

 

What a lovely interview, wouldn’t you say? I just love learning more about an author and their writing process/books! <3

And now, how about we get to that giveaway!

 

DETAILS: Lindsay Harrel is offering 1 (one) print copy to be given away to one reader! Follow the link below to enter this lovely giveaway – trust me, you don’t want to miss this book!

**US address only due to shipping costs**

 

Giveaway will start TODAY and will end SUNDAY the 10th, and the WINNER will be announced next MONDAY with the Character-Spotlight post, so be sure to check back!!

 

 

Click the graphic to be led to the giveaway widget, or click here.

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Best wishes on the giveaway!!

 

 

Posted in Books, Random babblings, update

Can’t help it…MAY I recap?

Yeah, I know. I should’ve resisted it. Too easy, right? But I just couldn’t. Not when it is just asking for it….I mean, it’s MAY. ;)

Which is now over. The beginning of the month was fair, temperature wise, but towards the middle and end it turned scorching hot…I’m dreaming of winter. ;)

This month consisted of reading, a visit to a park with family and extended family (wherein I remembered the joys of swinging. So freeing!), yard and garden work, and some more reading in between. Besides the heat, it was enjoyable. :) Not without its trials, but what life is?

 

The books I read:

 

The Backcountry Brides Collection by Shannon McNear – I read a couple more stories in this collection.

Judah's Wife by Angela Elwell Hunt   The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck   Quest for Leviathan by Amanda Tero    Dance from Deep Within by D.L. Sleiman   Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren   Storm Front by Susan May Warren   Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

 

The first three you can click on to read my review, the next two have reviews that will be posted soon, same for “Enchanting Nicholette”, and the SMW books – my reviews are on Goodreads. :)

 

 

 

Books added to my already-too-big collection:

 

 

Three are review books, one is from Tyndale Rewards (where you can sign up to earn points towards FREE books! <3), a couple were book-swaps, and the rest were garage-sale and library sale finds, besides “Ain’t Misbehavin'” which I purchased on a FB group. :)

 

Yep. What else can I say than that I love books?

 

 

May Post Sum Up:

 

Connilyn Cossette AI  Moriyah CI

038    The God Who Sees Me

4-29-18 (5)   a5193-tag

 

And posted about the GDPR news HERE, and also reviewed “Judah’s Wife” HERE.

And a Cover Reveal HERE.

 

 

And here’s to June, right? May we survive the heat. ;)

 

 

 

How was your May, readers? Any exciting news to share? Books read? Feel free to comment and we can chat!

Posted in Books, cover reveal

Cover Reveal: Kiera by Kate Willis

I’m pleased to be sharing the cover of Kate Willis’ next book, “Kiera”! Isn’t that a lovely title and name too? I really like it. :)

 

 

But let us wait no more…the cover:

 

Kiera final cover.jpg

 

Kiera is looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. The official end of school, a party with her best friend, and chocolate cake. A sudden military draft, no possible exemptions, had never crossed her mind. 

Kiera is terrified! Getting drafted would mean leaving her family, her little friend Jade—life as she knows it. 

A surprising offer from Brennan Stewart just might be the answer to her prayers, but an even worse trial leaves her with one question…

If God truly loves her, why did this tragedy happen?

 

 

Kiera by Kate Willis is a YA dystopian releasing in June 2018. Add the book to Goodreads here.  (Links and author bio can also be found there :) )

 

 

 

 

Lovely!  I look forward to adding it to my reading list :)

Posted in Questions/answers, Random babblings

Eleven Questions

A while ago, Shantelle at Between the Pages of this Bookish Life, tagged me, and I am now finally getting around to posting my answers. ^.^ Thanks, Shantelle!

So, here we go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rules:
Thank the person who nominated you
Answer the 11 questions they gave you
Name 11 facts about you
Nominate 11 bloggers to do this tag, and let them know
Give them 11 questions to answer
The questions:
1. What did you eat for your last meal? Homemade Pizza, last evening. :) It was delicious, as always!
2. What’s the best part of your average week? Hmm…I always look forward to Saturdays which is our rest-day of the week. :) I also enjoy Monday’s because of the mail ;)
3. Where is the most amazing place you’ve been? I haven’t been to a ton of places, but The Creation Museum is definitely up there, and up north will forever be one of the most amazing places to me. <3
4. One question you’d ask your favorite author? I’m afraid I’d be too much in awe to think of any reasonable question…besides, “How do you write such amazing books?” <3
5. What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?  I don’t actually like summer. I know, gasps all around. I am a hardcore Winter and Fall fan. I like Spring well enough, but Summer is the season I dread. I highly dislike hot weather, and MN gets HOT. State of extremes. ;) But let’s see…I do like some things about Summer. Like golf-cart rides, and fresh air, and the green grass.
6. Last new author you tried out? (Did you like the book?I actually read a lot of books by new-to-me authors. :D The latest would be Kristin Billerbeck and her book, “The Theory of Happily Ever After” – and yes, I did like the book :) You can read my review for it here.
7. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done? Well, what exactly is the definition of crazy? Because I have a feeling most of my life would seem crazy to other people, but if we’re talking daring, or stupidest thing….let me think. I actually can’t come up with a good enough answer. XD
8. What’s a character trait you admire in others? Genuine kindness and selflessness.
9. What’s your favorite genre (to read)?What draws you to it? Hmm…I waffle between Biblical Fiction and Contemporary Fiction being my favourite. They each draw me in different ways. BF because it adds so much depth to the Bible, and CF because…well, honestly, I love a good (clean!!) romance…!
10. What’s one book that you wish more people knew about? Just one?!!! That’s too hard. I am a hardcore, recommend-everything by Tessa Afshar fan, but also I wish J.A. Marx’s Destiny Series was better known because it is AMAZING.
11. Do you like to cook/bake? No…? Is that an acceptable answer to this? I could lie and say something like “Oh I love it so much!” but…no. I know how to, and I prefer baking over cooking (because, yum. Baking means treats ;)) however, I probably know more cooking-related items…Anyway, it’s not a favourite past time of mine.
Eleven Facts About Me:
1.  I’m terrified of frogs. All kinds. But especially leopard frogs. *Shudders*
2.  I will eat most any vegetable, even if I don’t like it, but green beans are the exception.
3.  I’ve tried to get my nephews to call me the Hebrew name for aunt, which is ‘Doda’, but they only seem to remember to use it when they are being silly. ^.^
4.  I make homemade necklaces and sell them at our local farmer’s market. (You can see the items by clicking ‘Raechel’s Peculiar Treasures’ at the top of this blog)
5.  I have happily, and successfully, gotten my younger sister hooked on one of my favourite book series from when I was around her age. (The Bonnets and Bugles series – so good!)
6.  Snow, Winter, and the cold makes me happy. Very happy.
7.  When I was younger I had to avoid any food containing red-food-dye coloring because it would always cause my sensory-issues to become worse and make meltdowns occur.
8.  I love looking at bookish pictures, but am not so good at taking them myself.
9.  I’ve never been a huge tv-show watcher, but I fell in love with The Middle, and the series finale about made me weep, because what am I going to do now? ;)
10. I don’t like doing puzzles.
11.  I still play polly-pockets with my younger sister (and our games get quite hysterical).
There! I did it. But coming up with the 11 facts was hard. As for the 11 people I tag:
You, that person over there, you, that one person, the other person, you, oh yeah – you, and four other people. XD
Here are the questions:
1. What did you eat for your last meal? 
 2. What’s the best part of your average week?
 3. Where is the most amazing place you’ve been?
4. One question you’d ask your favorite author?
5. What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer? 
6. Last new author you tried out? (Did you like the book?)
7. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?
8. What’s a character trait you admire in others?
9. What’s your favorite genre (to read)?What draws you to it?
10. What’s one book that you wish more people knew about?
11. Do you like to cook/bake?
Let me know if you do it, because I’d love to read your answers. :)
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“The Theory of Happily Ever After” by Kristin Billerbeck ~ Review

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“The Theory of Happily Ever After” by Kristin Billerbeck

Review copy from publishers// 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.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love the simplicity and coloring of the cover! It’s cute, and gives you a glimpse at the story’s theme too. 
And the story was a fun one. It was a perfect light read that I needed – and humorous! I laughed out loud a couple of times. :D 
Dr. Maggie Maguire is a happiness-doctor, studying and sharing the science of happiness. But to tell you the truth, she is pretty miserable. Disaster seems to surround her at every turn and the reader definitely does feel sorry for her. And yet there were definitely times where I wanted to yell at her and tell her what to do! But there were also reasons behind what she did, which made her actions – good and bad – more understandable. Even if they were sometimes frustrating. ;)
I felt for her in her quest for a Happily Ever After. Most girls do dream of a fairy-tale romance. Also relatable: her watching so many romances and eating gelato. XD
Her friends meant the best for her in their actions. I liked Kathleen and her way of speaking it like it was. I liked Haley at first. *SPOILER* but as the story went on, oh how I wanted to slap her around a bit. I’m sorry, but I did. She was a tantruming child who didn’t get her way, and she was accusing Maggie of being a bad friend when really, she was being the bad friend. Yeah, she bugged me to say the least. ^.^ *END OF SPOILER*
I liked Sam. I liked how he was drawn to Maggie at once, even if he could be rude. He was still quite hero-ish through the whole thing.
Though I know it’s considered normal in the “real world”, to me it was odd how there were many intimate moments yet so much confusion and running apart/away afterwards…and I felt bad for Maggie and her view, I guess you would call it, on kissing. That someone needs to be kissed first to know someone’s true commitment. And again, I know that is kind of normal – supposedly kisses mean nothing, but in my opinion, they are significant and shouldn’t be thrown around willy-nilly.
That is not to say this was not a clean book though – the kisses were not ridiculous or super detailed at all, and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable, which I appreciated.
Another thing I appreciated in this book was how she came to the realization that she couldn’t be everything to everyone. Amen. It’s so easy to slip into the people-pleasing role that we lose sight of what really matters. That being said, there could have been more focus on us needing to please God first and foremost. There were mentions of God sprinkled throughout the book, and Bible verses mentioned, however, I wouldn’t really say it was a deeply Christian book. It was Christian in its essence, but not really in its portrayal. The characters did not bear the fruits of being a Christian, and while no one is perfect (obviously!), there wasn’t even much shown for trying. I guess, to me, the whole idea of happiness being a science we can achieve is a bit…dare I say, silly. Because true happiness – true joy – comes from Jesus Christ. Every other way of happiness is fleeting and not as fulfilling.
For it being a ‘light read’ I do realize I analyzed it a bit – definitely something Maggie and I have in common! ;)
I would like to restate that I did definitely enjoy this book. It was a fun read, and I would even read it again. I just can’t shut my brain off totally when it comes to reviewing. :D
Quotes:
“That’s why, Dr. Maguire, you need to count your blessings. Sometimes, getting your heart broken is the best thing that can happen to you.”
“That’s the thing about resilience. You have to know pain to feel the incredible high of coming back from the darkness.”
Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve probably (most likely) heard this before…

Yeah, the GDPR rules. I’m guessing you’ve heard about them. I’ve received well over 2 dozen author newsletters/blog posts stating I needed to update my subscriptions to comply with the GDPR rules.

 

However, that doesn’t mean I’m sure if I should be doing something for my blog personally…! So I thought I’d better be safe than sorry.

Just wanted to assure everyone that any information you’ve submitted to this blog, whether in the form of subscribing to posts by email, or commenting, contacting me, etc. is safe and I don’t have any ulterior motives there – chances are, I’m not even sure where this information is kept, so. XD

Any information provided really is just used for sending out blog posts (which I believe WP does on its own),  and/or contacting you if there’s a giveaway going on and you’re the lucky winner.

 

So, I’m hoping that about covers it! :D Carry on peoples.