Finding love in the mess of life

Finding love in the mess of life can be a breakthrough moment. It can change your life literally. I knew a man who had had tragedy in his life that had broken him. He had lost his young wife to cancer, and he hadn’t been able to stop the cruel disease taking her away from him. From that moment, he could see no future and only his occupation as a doctor kept him going. He snapped at his co-workers and refused to let anyone help him. No one wanted to work with him. Until finally after many years he allowed love into his life again. Love transformed this man and the real beauty of who he was shone out of him once again.

Love can change everything. Finding Amor by Allison K. Garcia tells the story of how an exceptional boy called Emanuel brought love into the lives of two people. Read my review below to see what I thought of this book.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Finding Amor

My Penny’s worth

Finding Love

There are two very different characters in Finding Love which help move the story along through the pages. And it is the effect that Emanuel has on them both that kept me reading. I was not aware that this book is the first in the series as I received an e-book of it. Therefore I wondered why the author was taking time to develop the characters through mundane domestic scenes that didn’t seem necessary to the storyline.  Until I reached the end with the cliff hanger. Then I got it. Those ordinary everyday scenes had drawn me in to care for the characters because the book had a sequel. As I read the last words I thought, hang on, you can’t leave the ending like this, what happens. So no doubt I shall be looking for the next one to be published.

What I loved

I loved the opposites. Lauren from a middle-class background learning about the plight of Emanual. Mixing with other people whom she would never usually have anything to do with. Eyes opened to the other side of life. Her Christian love being challenged and taken out of its comfort zone.

God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

I also loved Emanuel, his young heart searching for more than just human love, especially as family had hurt it. I could feel his pain at being separated from his adored Mamita.

A heart split in two between thousands of miles. Was there anything that could heal that kind of brokenness?

The different loves

There is a beautiful paragraph about the love of each member of Emanuel’s family. This turbulent tribe who have a place in the young boy’s heart as spoken by Ana his mother.

Her family. It was far from perfect, but great love flowed beneath the surface. Carlos’ love spurted like a geyser: nothing, then everything, and back to nothing again. Emanuel’s love was timid, like a shy brook in a narrow path, fighting through leaves and rocks. Her own love was constant, but it flowed in many directions and often lost its path. Mamita’s love gushed strongest of all, like the river outside of their house in Santa Rita after a big rain. It rushed over everything, flooding the world. It formed new rivers with its unstoppable force.

There is heartbreak too

As I said above the book is about opposites, and that is true with finding love. There is a conflict with love. Ana may have got the love of her life back, but it has consequences. And her dilemma is tangible through the pages. Allison Garcia does a beautiful job of portraying emotions and situations.

Could I put the book down without wondering about others in such a situation?

No, Allison K. Garcia makes it clear that we need to love and step out of our comfort zone in the form of Lauren. Let’s face it Jesus was an immigrant along with his parents; they had to flee to another place for fear of their lives.

Would I recommend Finding Amor?

Yes, I would, and I think in today’s world it is essential to gain an understanding of the issues that such a book is raising. We all need to find love. Thank you, Allison, for writing your story.

I would like to give it 5*

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Finding Amor by Allison K GarciaTitle: Finding Amor

Author: Allison K. Garcia

Genre: Latino Christian Fiction

Release date: September 8, 2018

In a world filled with hate, how can you know what love is?

Escaping a violent and abusive environment, eight-year-old Emanuel Martinez attempts to cross through three countries to be with his mother, Ana, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a baby. When la migra catches him at the border and he’s thrown into an immigration center, his dreams for being a real family start to disappear.

Vowing never to be like her own mother who abandoned her and never looked back, Ana has worked for six years to get her son to the United States, Now Ana has to rely on her distant mother and her alcoholic boyfriend, Carlos, to finally get her son to her side so they can build a life together.

 When Lauren Barrett agrees to help with the afterschool program, she soon realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Growing up in an unsupportive home has made her insecure and vulnerable, plus suffering through years of infertility hasn’t helped matters. Yet she longs to do something meaningful with her life and wonders when that opportunity will come along. When a special young boy named Emanuel enters her life, he turns her worldview on its head.

As their lives intersect, will they help each other understand what family and love and home really mean?

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Finding Amor by Allison GarciaAllison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo.

Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018.

Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

Blog Stops

Real World Bible Study, February 2

Through the Fire Blogs, February 3

Mary Hake, February 3

100 Pages per Hour, February 4

Carla Loves To Read, February 5

Inklings and notions, February 5

A Diva’s Heart, February 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 7

Bigreadersite, February 7

Multifarious, February 8

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 9

Bibliophile Reviews, February 10

Carpe Diem, February 11

Creating Romance, February 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 12

A Baker’s Perspective, February 13

Texas Book-aholic, February 14

Janices book reviews, February 15

Giveaway

Finished

Spotlight Six on Breath of Heaven by Alana Terry

Spotlight Six on Breath of Heaven by Alana Terry

Spotlight Six

Spotlight Six. Today I am doing a spotlight on “Breath of Heaven” by  Alana Terry which is on tour with Celebrate Lit from June 28-July 11. Alana also has a GIVEAWAY  for you so don’t forget to enter for a chance to win.

To spotlight  Breath of Heaven, I would like to talk about some of the reviews this book has received. I hope you find this helpful in deciding to read Alana’s book. Thanks for popping by 🙂

Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven is rating 4-5 stars on Amazon, and it appears to be regarded as a great read to understand the life of a pastor’s wife. There is a question about whether or not a church owns a pastor and his wife like it does the house they live in. An interesting thought!

Expectations

Then there are the expectations of a pastor’s wife. These expectations are commented on by several reviewers along with the victim role and gradual growth from bondage to freedom.

Life-changing

Some reviewers talk about Breath of Heaven being a life-changing story. A story that opens a dark tale that needs to be aired and spoken of, not hushed up behind closed doors. Alana Terry is praised for her candid portrayal of the main character, Katrina.

And finally wisdom

Can Katrina’s life as a pastor’s wife succeed as she feels out of her depth? I’ll let Grandma Lucy comment on this:  “Now tell me, if the Lord is the source of your hope and joy, why does your music sound so wounded?”

Here are a few comments to wet your appetite.

“Relevant, compelling, engrossing, and real.”

“Breath of Heaven gets 5 stars and goes on my favourites list.”

“This isn’t an easy book to read, and frankly, I suspect it was even harder to write. All the emotions. Every one of the temptations.”

“I think this is the best book of Alana’s I have ever read. I don’t have more words than that.”

If you have enjoyed Spotlight Six please comment below. I love to hear what you think.

Don’t forget about Alana’s Giveaway which you will find at the end of this post. 🙂

Click here to purchase your copy!
Breath of Heaven @AlanaTerryBooks #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #spotlight & enter #free #giveaway Click To Tweet

About the Book

Spotlight Six on Breath of Heaven by Alana Terry

Title: Breath of Heaven

Author: Alana Terry

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

Release Date: December 9, 2017

She hasn’t fallen out of love with her husband. She just can’t stand his church.

Nobody told Katrina being a pastor’s wife would be easy. But she never imagined that the stress she and her husband would face from his new job could so easily destroy their marriage.

In spite of her mother’s disapproval, Katrina marries a pastor whose job immediately plucks her away from her music, her symphony, and the city life she loves and plants her in the small town of Orchard Grove, Washington.

If she knew going into her new life that she’d be sacrificing her music career for a congregation full of gossips and backbiters and that the pressure of her husband’s new job would turn him into someone she hardly recognizes anymore, she might have reconsidered marrying him in the first place.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to do anything about that now.

Or is it?

About the Author

Spotlight Six on Breath of Heaven by Alana TerryAlana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnightsun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 28

Ladybug Chronicles, June 28

Quiet Quilter, June 29

The Power of Words, June 29

Just the Write Escape, June 30

Splashes of Joy, June 30

Mary Hake, July 1

Lots of Helpers, July 1

proud to be an autism mom, July 2

Bibliophile Reviews, July 2

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 3

Daysong Reflections, July 3

Texas Book-aholic, July 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Janices book reviews, July 5

Carpe Diem, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

Bigreadersite, July 7

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 8

Margaret Kazmierczak, July 8 (Spotlight)

A Reader’s Brain, July 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 9

Blogging With Carol, July 10

Jen Around the World, July 10

Godly Book Reviews, July 11

Giveaway

Finished

Secrets and shame. Strains of Silence has it all

Strains of Silence FB Banner copy

My Penny’s worth

Secrets and shame

We all bear secrets and shame in some form or other. I have a littered life of disasters that have followed me on my journey. Each requiring revelation and forgiveness. Nothing good can grow in the darkness of fear!

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

Opening up

I welcome Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek as it opens up a can of worms that needs to see the light of day. Indeed in England, there is a campaign to educate young men and woman about what ‘no’ means in a casual or seasoned relationship. I am glad that the secrets and shame of my generation are being met head-on in the younger age groups.

A controlling nature

This book is heavy at times, but then the topic is not light-hearted. The two characters involved in this sordid mess are Kasia Bernolak and Blake Hamilton. The needs of Blake are overwhelming and controlling, so much so that Kasia seems unaware of his true nature. I have met a few of these young men in my time – not a pleasant experience. But Blake takes Kasia’s snub to a higher level.

At times I empathised with Kasia as she struggled with others taking control of her situation, all with good intentions, but sometimes stifling. The men in her life want to protect her as if she were a delicate plant. I think I would have wanted to run away to Peru too even with her secrets and shame following her.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

Biblical words

Bringing in Bible verses to show Kasia that she is worthy in God’s eyes helped reveal an essential element in this story. So often we feel we are not worthy of God’s Grace and Mercy because we have messed up. Those who have lived through the same experience as Kasia need to know how much God loves them no matter what, especially when they are Christians – we are all fallen.

The other characters

There are a lot of different people to help make the story flow, each bringing a distinct flavour to the mix. Some, in my opinion, are just extras and feel forced to make the storyline neat. Nonetheless, I think Kasia is very fortunate to have so many men running around wanting to protect her. I doubt this is the norm.

What I felt was lacking

Strains of Silence is a book of glimpses. A brief insight of Peru, a slither of Polish life, a hint of culture, the promise of music all lead me to want more. Yes I know the book is of secrets and shame. However, I felt denied as though this extra material, were an eye in the keyhole. In the blurb, it stated there would be lots of music, but I couldn’t hear it. I wanted more, to taste, smell and inhale the food and culture.

This book is not for everyone as it deals with sexual assault – I think it important to state this to give the reader a heads up.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

About the Book

Author: Bethany Kaczmarek

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 1, 2017

StrainsOfSilence_h12295_750 (2)Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancé, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

bethany-kaczmarek-HR-2Bethany loves a home filled with family and friends. Word gets around that—at the Kaczmarek house—food is abundant, conversations are real, and anything is up for discussion. She and her clan are fans of laughter, indie music, sonic screwdrivers, and superheroes. Home is wherever in the world they’re all together.

 

 

Guest Post from Bethany Kaczmarek

Strains of Silence: A Novel for Anyone Who Can Say #MeToo

We’re everywhere. After years of silence, many survivors of sexual assault are raising our voices. You’ve seen the hashtag. You know someone who suffered like this—a friend, a sister, a daughter.

Maybe you know personally what it’s like to be used.

I’m thankful for the conversations the #MeToo campaign has started, proud of the brave women who are speaking out. But I know some are still quiet, nursing wounds.

I could list loads of valid reasons a victim chooses to suffer in silence.
  • People won’t believe her.
  • If she doesn’t say it out loud, it’s easier to pretend it was a nightmare.
  • Blake has got authority over her—at work, church, in the family—and it’ll cost her too much. He’s done enough damage already.
  • He’s threatened to destroy her reputation, and she believes him. One, because he’ll do it without flinching. Two, because she’s already convinced that she’s living a lie.
  • Because at church, she’s supposed to be fine, smiling, rejoicing in her suffering and pressing on. Besides, people don’t want to sit with her in her pain and listen. They’d rather offer bumper-sticker theology and trite spiritual bandages.
  • The few times she’s tried to speak up, her used-to-be friend basically made her feel like it was her fault.

The list could go on, but it’s fair to say that being honest about what happened to us makes us vulnerable all over again. The idea is understandably stressful.

But you know what? Pretending we’re fine is exhausting too. We bear a great strain when we hide our hurts, for whatever reason.

Kasia Bernolak, the heroine of my novel Strains of Silence, gets it. She’s got reasons for keeping it quiet too. But when God brings some new people into her life, she realizes she doesn’t have to be alone.

And speaking up offers a freedom, a lightness, she wants.

It’s a freedom I want for my readers.

It’s not just a heavy book – there is more

I know. Strains of Silence sounds like a heavy book right now. The themes are heavy, no doubt. There’s no glossing over and prettying up sexual assault or domestic violence. But—just like in real life—it’s how well we surround and support the suffering that can set the tone. Kasia’s friends are real, they’re funny, they’re quirky, and they believe in her.

Besides, it’s not all dark and brooding. There’s travel—an entire summer in the mountains of Peru. A lot of music—Kasia’s a singer/song-writer who loves indie artists (I’ve got a playlist on my website). Heritage and culture—meet her immigrant family and you’ll get a delicious taste of Poland. And humor—enough to keep the story light when you need it to be.

And there’s hope. Kasia’s life is absolutely full of possibility.

So are the lives of everyone who can say #MeToo.

Sometimes, it just helps to see someone else fight the battle on our own horizon. And if you can do it with a fantastic new playlist and some laughs, why not?

My hope is that Strains of Silence will lead to real discussions with reader-friends, book-club gatherings that become turning points, and the true pursuit of freedom. It’s time to throw off the burdens we wear and stand up. Raise your voice, link arms with others, and fight for hope.

Healing is within our reach.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, January 6

proud to be an autism mom, January 6

Inklings and Notions, January 7

Bibliophile Reviews, January 7

Fiction Aficionado, January 8

Genesis 5020, January 8

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 9

Bigreadersite, January 9

Red Headed Book Lady, January 10

Mommynificent, January 10

Texas Book-aholic, January 11

allofakindmom, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 12 (Interview)

The Power of Words, January 12

Pursuing Stacie, January 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 13

A Greater YesJanuary 13

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Mindy Houg Guest Review on Artistic Nobody, January 15

Janices book reviews, January 15

Faithfully Bookish, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 17

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Carpe Diem, January 18

Remebrancy, January 19

A Baker’s Perspective, January 19

Giveaway

6da7b43f-86de-4c78-a777-666166f2f274

To celebrate her tour, Bethany is giving away a grand grand prize a signed book, a Polish pottery mug with two of the main character’s favorite kinds of teas, 4 of her favorite albums (Josh Garrels, Waterdeep, The Gray Havens, and Andrew Greer), a box of chocolate butter cookies, and a $50 Amazon gift card.!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5dc

Adultery and how to wreck love and life

I am uncomfortable with this subject of adultery and how to wreck love and life – why?

Because I have first-hand experience of the effects of adultery.

My childhood suffered its claws as I grew up in a one-parent family, occasionally seeing my father. The pain of separation came every time I had to say goodbye – never knowing why his visits were infrequent. Always believing that I caused the divorce. Such heartbreak ripping at my innermost being. Why did adults do such harm and get to walk away? I waited for the right time to ask why, who, how? But I only got my mother’s side – I needed to hear both stories. To this day I still don’t have the answers, however, I do know now it was not my fault!

To read my review of Chautona’s book Christmas Embers read on….

celebrate-lit-christmas-embers

My penny’s worth

In Chautona Havig’s book Christmas Embers adultery and how it wrecks love and life are painfully described. At times I had to put it down because of the raw emotions that leapt off the page.

What I liked

The main characters, Sean and Emily, bleed everywhere, for their friends who deal with adultery,  for Davia, Joey’s  mummy who is dying and the mess that leaves behind. Page after page I live their pain.

So what’s there to like about that you say? I liked that this difficult subject has been opened up in this story and seen in its ugly, sordid and real image-  that it destroys love and life.

Christmas Embers book review by Margaret Kazmierczak

What I didn’t like

The book has stayed with me, and writing this review has not been easy – but that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Yes and no. Yes because it shows how powerful Chautona Havig’s writing is and no because it reminded me of the utter decay that adultery inflicts on the family, friends, church and society. It does not involve only those two adults engaged in the deceit.

Christmas Embers book review by Margaret Kazmierczak

But there is hope

I would strongly recommend that Christmas Embers ought to be a must-read for those preparing for marriage. But also for those who are struggling with this reality.

Christmas Embers book review by Margaret Kazmierczak

Thank you Chautona Havig for writing this story and for having the courage to “put it out there”.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Chautona has a great free giveaway, see the end of this post for details.

About the Book

Name of book: Christmas EmbersChristmas Embers Cover-sm

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christmas

Release Date: November 25, 2016

It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.

Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.

Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose–find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?

As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father–a Rockland area pastor, no less– Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.

Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time–if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this–an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.

A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?

Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

media-headshot

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles

“I think my husband is having an affair.”

An explanation followed. Look, I tend to be one who assumes the best of others—to a fault even. I read the “evidence” and frankly could see it going either way. It’s hard to tell across thousands of miles. While others on the message board saw red flag after red flag—and frankly, I did, too—I also saw perfectly innocent explanations for things. It’s a curse sometimes—that ability to see both sides of an issue. I cautioned against assumptions no one would want other people to make of themselves. And I prayed she was wrong.

She wasn’t.

It wasn’t the first time I’d come face to face with infidelity.

As a child, there was an extended family member. As a newlywed, one of my wedding party—then another. Then another. The excuses, the justifications. Friends and I went to confront a sister in Christ on her affair with her husband’s best friend. We foolishly asked “what happened?” regarding her marriage. Her words: “We drifted apart.”

I wanted to scream the words that battered my brain and heart. “Then row back together!

But over the years, it just grew worse. One by one, wives and husbands tossed aside vows made to a brother or sister in Christ—vows made before the Lord—in favor of what sometimes were serial affairs. Abuse. Horror.

I’ve prayed women I love through court cases, medical visits, and disclosures from children no mother should ever have to hear. I’ve prayed for men I didn’t even like because of the pain their wives inflicted each time she left them alone with the kids. He knew. He always knew.

Adultery is real. It’s ugly. And there’s absolutely a cure for it. Jesus. 100% surrender to Jesus. But as long as we rely on those little loops on the back of our boots instead of the saving, healing, strengthening power of Jesus, we’re just as vulnerable as the next person.

And that’s why I wrote Christmas Embers. I took every heartbreaking story I’d observed over the years and put in each character for a reason. Every scene, every plot point, every twist—I put them exactly how and where they are for a reason.

They’re there as a warning.

This isn’t your lighthearted Christmas novel. Some have suggested I shouldn’t have set it at Christmastime. But you know what? Over half the disclosures I’ve ever heard of happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I couldn’t get the idea of Joey’s story out of my head. And to write his story, it had to be at Christmas.

Let me say it again. While Christmas may not seem like the optimal time for a hard-hitting book like this, I had to do it. Adultery is reaching epidemic proportions in the church. There’s a solution. His name is Jesus.

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 6

Daysong ReflectionsDecember 6

Fiction Aficionado, December 7

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 8

The Power of Words, December 8

BigreadersiteDecember 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 9

A Greater YesDecember 9

Radiant LightDecember 9

Just Jo’Anne, December 10

For The Love of Books, December 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Aryn the Libraryan, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 12

Books, Books, and More Books., December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Seasons of Opportunities, December 13

Christian Book Devourer, December 13

AllofakindmomDecember 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Pursuing StacieDecember 14

Pause for Tales, December 15

Reader’s cozy corner, December 15

margaret kazmierczak, December 15

Red Headed Book LadyDecember 16

Purposeful Learning, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Christian Bookaholic, December 17

Karen Sue Hadley, December 18

Remembrancy, December 18

Blossoms and Blessings, December 18

Giveaway4f79da25-078c-4d2c-a4c1-bb54e9345d58

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c512 – this promotion is now closed.

 

 

Surrender to God it brings a life of peace

Surrender to God

Why would I surrender to God? Life is for living, enjoying and experiencing its riches. As a young adult, the world called me to seek adventure. I wanted excitement, so I took every opportunity to find it. By the time my 23rd birthday came along God had put a stop to my galivanting around and pointed to the door that I had to push open. In that surrender to God, I found peace and another episode began.

For me, that surrender to God was not easy; I had many faults and traits that needed ironing out. I didn’t go willingly like a lamb to the slaughter. In fact, anyone but me would have been preferable. Being a “Maria” (from The Sound of Music) just made me laugh. You want me to be a what? Father, you have to be kidding, you’ve got the wrong person here. But God is not crazy, just poetic.

So without further ado, let me introduce “Into a Silent World” by Carmina Edwards – below is my review of her book.

Into a silent world FB banner copy

My penny’s worth

This book follows on from “A door cracked open” and concentrates on Amy’s journey towards convent life.

Anything is possible

The determination of this young lady to follow her calling is very apparent in the book. At times, her solutions to particular situations are way over the top, almost unbelievable. But it makes for funny reading.

What I liked

One of the main points for me has to be how God blesses Amy. It might be a job or a person who appears at just the right moment to help her move onto the next stage of her journey. God’s will, however, regardless of Amy’s interference works for the better, even if Amy can’t see it at the time.

Surrender to God

I was incredulous at Amy’s stubborn nature in refusing to listen to the “wise” counsel of older mentors who understood the life of a nun. But if Amy had, there might not have been a book to write about her adventures.

Doubting oneself

Amy is quite a vulnerable person and her comments “what have I done now” or “I must be in trouble” causes her anguish and anxiety in even the safest of places.

What I struggled with

The book itself is an easy read. However, the repetitive and sometimes simplistic dialogue did hamper the reading experience for me and made some scenes drag. Others might not find it so.

Who might like this book?

The book is a biography of a young woman desiring to follow her new found faith in a convent. Therefore, if you are inquisitive about the religious life or what goes on behind closed doors in a Catholic Monastery that follows the rule of silence, this story will give you a little insight.  Can a woman who loves interacting with people live a life of silence?

Thank you, Carmina for your book.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

About the Book

 

Title: Into a Silent WorldSurrender to God Margaret Kazmierczak's review of Into a Slient World by Carmina Edwards

Author: Carmina Edwards

Genre: Biography, Memoir

Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Carmina Edwards author of Into a Silent WorldI am a mother of two wonderful grown-up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends.

I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionate about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.

Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

“Into a Silent World” follows on from Amy’s story in “A Door Cracked Open.”

With a new beginning ahead of her, a long-standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years.

Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.

Blog Stops

Just Jo’Anne, November 7

Mary Hake, November 8

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 9

Janices book review, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

History, Mystery & Faith, November 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13 (Interview)

The Power of Words, November 14 (Interview)

margaret kazmierczak, November 15

Splashes of Joy, November 16

A Reader’s BrainNovember 17

Multifarious, November 18

Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Karin Perry guest post)

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Giveaway

https://www.amazon.com/Into-Silent-World-Cracked-Open/dp/099701802X/

To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away

Grand Prize:

Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World

1st – 3rd place:

Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Competition now closed

Struggling with life after death the crushing truth

Struggling with life after death

“Hold her till she dies,” the nurse said, but she didn’t tell me about struggling with life after death. I drank in my babies features trying to brand them on my mind before the nurse took her away for the autopsy. My beautiful perfectly formed baby breathed her last, the oxygen alien to her undeveloped lungs. A cry from the depths of my wounded heart filled the air. Such a short life tortured my mind. I ought to be preparing her Moses basket not a putting her in a coffin.

Struggling with life after death sucks, it cuts you up and takes away the normal. I wiped away the tears as I read Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent. This family’s loss was not for a baby but the mum. How would the father cope with being a single dad with two girls to bring up? Read on for my review.

Waiting for butterblies FB Banner 2

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

My book review of Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent

Book title: Waiting for Butterflies

Author: Karen Sargent

Release date: April 4, 2017

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction 

When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends—not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her death, she returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing.

Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she is responsible for her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence.

Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and salvage her family before her second chance runs out.

A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, Waiting for Butterflies will embrace your heart and not let go.

My Penny’s worth

Immediately the Blake family consisting of Sam, the father, Rachel and Olivia, his daughters, became real as I turned the pages. The sudden death of Maggie traumatises the family, and four-year-old Olivia starts to hear her mum’s voice in all the turmoil. With Maggie becoming a lingering spirit the story takes on the form of a beautiful script. I had no problem with this imagery as God plants thoughts into our mind when we are open to His murmurings that can lead us to health and healing.

What I liked

Each character is robust and believable. Sam tries to cope with the death of his wife, but it is tough. His grief immobilises him and takes him out of his comfort zone. He knows how to be a cop, but a dad trying to take on both roles?  Sam makes mistakes not surprising in his state of bereavement.

Rachel, the oldest daughter, deals with her loss with messy choices and I get her angle especially as she has a secret that eats away at her heart. I just wanted to wrap my arms around her.

Dear Olivia the wisest of all, young but dealing with her loss in the way she knows how. She holds the key to the struggles. The insights she has, come from Maggie, although I suspect an intuitive young person capable of such words are entirely plausible having worked with young children and heard their remarkable sayings.

What I disliked

There appeared to be no reason why Sam disliked the pastor, or perhaps I missed it. Maybe someone can fill me in on this point.

Would I recommend Waiting for Butterflies?

Karen Sargent paints a realistic portrait of grief and spins a beautiful story around the Blake family. Her characters have to find their new normal, as they work through their grief. This book was a page-turner for me, and the crushing truth is that it takes courage and time to adapt when you lose a loved member of the family, especially when you have not been able to say “goodbye”. This family certainly depicted the struggling of life after death. The verdict – yes I would recommend Waiting for Butterflies.

Thank you, Karen Sargent, for writing such a poignant book.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

About the Author

K. Sargent Pic

Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. In addition to writing inspirational novels, she blogs at The MOM Journey…where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Her writing has been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine and on ForEveryMom.com. When she is not writing, she teaches high school and college English in the beautiful Arcadia Valley where she resides with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at KarenSargentBooks.com.

Guest Post from Karen Sargent

Waiting for Butterflies: The Accidental Controversy

I didn’t intend to write myself into controversy when I wrote Waiting for Butterflies. Yes, it is Christian fiction. Yes, the main character is a “lingering spirit.” And no, ghosts aren’t biblical. Thus the controversy.

As the story idea began to stir my imagination after my mother-in-law’s unexpected death, I wondered how ghosts fit into the Christian view of the afterlife, especially since I too believe our souls go to Heaven once we die. So I asked my pastor. He referred to Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” that lists Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and many spiritual giants who lived by faith. That list is followed by Hebrews 12:1 which states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” My pastor explained witnesses is translated by some to mean spectators. So maybe, maybe, this suggests those who have died can somehow still be present—emphasis on maybe.

But…this gave me just enough permission to play with the idea of a mother’s love being so strong that she could remain after her death until she was certain her family would heal. I was writing fiction after all.

When my manuscript was complete and I began submitting to agents, the response was mixed. Some replied with a simple, “This story isn’t for me.” Some warned, “This will be a hard sell to Christian publishers.” Yet others were more encouraging. Finally, my story made it to the desk of an acquisition editor who emailed, “This is the one.” Waiting for Butterflies found a publishing home.

Now that my book is in the hands of readers, most are surprised to hear my topic is controversial. Like me, many believers haven’t really considered ghosts in a biblical context. But a few are adamant that the storyline contradicts their beliefs.

I know my story—just like every story—will not appeal to everyone. But I certainly didn’t set out to offend my fellow believers, and I sincerely apologize if anyone finds it offensive. However, I appreciate this perspective one sceptical reader shared in her review:

“While I was initially put off by the idea that a spirit can remain and interact, in a sense, with those still living, the author handled it with sensitivity and grace. We all have ideas about the unknown, but it is just that, unknown, and I could relate strongly to the thought of wanting to continue to influence and connect with loved ones after death in order to help them.”

I appreciate that in spite of the controversy, this reader gave Waiting for Butterflies a chance—and five stars.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid ReaderSeptember 21

Avid Reader Book ReviewsSeptember 21

Blogging With Carol, September 22

The Power of Words, September 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 23

Carpe DiemSeptember 23

A Baker’s Perspective, September 24

Christian Bookaholic, September 24

Reading Is My SuperPowerSeptember 25

Smiling Book Reviews, September 25

BigreadersiteSeptember 26

Cultivating Us, September 27

The Fizzy Pop CollectionSeptember 28

Pause for TalesSeptember 29

RemebrancySeptember 30

Janices book reviews, October 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 1

Margaret Kazmierczak, October 2

Reader’s cozy corner, October 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 3

A Readers BrainOctober 3

His Grace is Sufficient, October 4

Cafinated Reads, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes a few of Karen’s favorite things – one of which is a Hobby Lobby gift card!!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! Congratulations to the winner.