A fatal game – who is the murderer?

Life is a game, or it can feel like that. I prefer to think of it as a challenge with stepping-stones to understand who I am and what my purpose is. Like Anna Belle in Stratagem, I came from humble beginnings which meant my ladder appeared to stretch into the clouds of overcoming. I couldn’t see the end of the ladder, but even today having climbed more than half of it I still can’t see the final rungs. It appears God has a lot of work ahead for me! However, I am glad that I do not have to compete in a game to prove if I am worthy to be chosen for my job.

Stratagem FB Banner copy

My Penny’s Worth

I believe the author did a great of job of creating Anna Belle, who I disliked and liked at the same time. A driven lady who was going to overcome and win using any means possible. That meant she had strength, propelled by a desire to rise above her humble beginnings. Sadly, Anna Belle used her own strength to hurt others, yes even those who loved her dearly. Therefore, I disliked the manner in which Anna Belle used to climb the ladder but liked the author’s skill to make me at odds with this character.

A game of who-dun-it Stratagem @RobinCaroll on tour with @Celebrate_Lit with #free #giveaway #amreading #books #bookreview Click To Tweet
A game of who-dun-it

The book as a whole felt more of a holiday who-dun-it as it was a quick read. I enjoyed Grayson’s character but wondered if there are many men who would have acted as he did. One police officer’s determination to only focus on him as the main suspect called into question the “presumed innocent until proved guilty” theory. This is a dangerous game to play.

“The man’s faith wasn’t just a card he carried – it was the life he lived.”

The same goes for Anna Belle’s mother. She is lovely and deep.

“If God, the perfect Father, has disobedient children, why are we mere humans so arrogant to think that our children ought to believe as they should?”

Did I enjoy Stratagem?

I enjoyed this mystery book, the pace was even, and there were enough suspects to keep you interested. However, the repetitive bringing out the notebook did niggle me a little. I get it the police use notebooks to write things down. To counteract that there are gems like this in the pages:

“She’d been wearing stress and strain on her like a favourite sweater.”

Who would like this book?

If you appreciate mysteries in the modern day world, then you may like this book. It’s a good book on a train journey to work. It also offers questions at the back of the book to ponder on.

A heads up…

There is mention of adultery and abortion in this book.

What am I happy about?

I am happy that I don’t have to do a psychological game to further my job prospects – it appears too dangerous!

I would like to give Stratagem 3.75 *** Why? Because I guessed who did it.

Thank you, Robin Caroll, for writing Stratagem.

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

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

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Stratagem by Robin CarollBook: Stratagem

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 2018

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Stratagem by Robin Caroll“I love boxing, I love Hallmark movies, I love fishing and I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

You can find out more about Robin by visiting www.robincaroll.com.

Guest post from Robin

Behind the Scenes

Robin Caroll Shares Her Inspiration for Writing Stratagem

Dear Reader,

Thank you for journeying to New Orleans in a web of deceit and confusion with me. Sharing a place that has such connection for me was a pure joy. South Louisiana offers such a laid-back attitude that I often miss “home.” I hope you’ll enjoy sampling a taste of the flavor of Louisiana.

Years ago I watched the movie The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn and was enthralled. There’s just something grabbing about messing with a person’s mind and life by using their own feelings and instincts against them. When this story of Stratagem first began forming, I wanted to use all that intrigue to mess up the game master’s life. The end result is quite the ride!

As the characters came alive to me, I found the theme of forgiveness and acceptance coming out in the story. Some of the emotions within this story are very personal to me, and I’m honored I was able to share them with you. It is my wish that you may be touched by Grayson’s faith journey as well.

Until next time. . .

-Robin

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

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Janices book reviews, November 29

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Giveaway

This giveaway has now finished.

A refugee flees for his life because of Jesus

Do you know a refugee?

Actually, you do, and he/she is closer than you think.

Whoa, hang on there what do you mean? I mean that you and I are refugees, so it stands to reason that you are closer to one than you realize. Really?

How?

Earth is not our home, (okay we have a strange one here, thinks she is an alien!)

We are!

Now hang on a minute. Isn’t that taking things a little too far, there are no such things as aliens.

Aren’t there? We are all aliens.

Okay, I’m off, and you certainly are.

Before you go just bear with me.

We are all refugees and aliens. As in Earth is not our home. We were created to live here, but it is a passing residence. It is not permanent, so we are refugees on a journey to our true home – Heaven. We are not naturalized citizens of Earth, thus aliens, until we return to our heavenly home.

Ah, now I see. I thought for one moment you had cracked.

No dear reader, I am just reminding us all that every one of us is a refugee, and as such, we bear a responsibility towards those that are fleeing persecution. Because we are all united as aliens as we traverse the Great Journey.

Therefore we must take Leviticus 19:33-34 (KJV) at its word:

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser is about a refugee; it may be fiction but no doubt based on truth. I wonder if you my dear reader would have responded to his call for help if you had met him on your journey.

Some people look for a beautiful place; others make a place beautiful @EMusserAuthor The Long Highway Home. #amreading #books Click To Tweet

My Penny’s Worth

So what’s the fuss about The Long Highway Home?

Elizabeth Musser has carefully constructed a fiction book about a reluctant refugee called Hamid. His innocent daughter whom Truth emboldens plunges the family into chaos and fear. However, you don’t just get his story, but the characters of his family and those helping him escape from a closed country. Each narrative fills out the broader saga, so the reader gets into the head of those involved in the telling.

There are many words of wisdom

Bobby who starts the story has a battle of her own to fight. But, she comes out with some wise one-liners.

“Each day is a twenty-four-hour adventure.”

“Do you think it’s fair to accept only the good and not the bad in life?”

Rasa the instant believer whose childlike faith warms the reader with wisdom beyond her years. Only a child could see beyond the fear and put trust in a God she had only just met.

Hamid who loves his ancient proverbs.

“If one has to jump a stream and knows how wide it is, he will not jump. If he does not know how wide it is, he will jump, and six times out of ten he will make it.”

A theme to encourage

Throughout the story the theme of pushing onward no matter what came bursting through.

“Thank the Lord that He respects our feelings, and yet He sees fit to push us forward in spite of them.”

Many of the characters questioned whether to go on or not. Their trials appearing insurmountable at times.

However, “Eyes of faith see potential. They look behind and know that the past was just a stepping-stone for the future.”

What I liked about the book

Even though there are many characters each plays a role in the developing jigsaw. As the story goes from one piece to another, you want to find the next piece that links the same story. It made you turn the pages. To care about different people. Reading about a refugee on the run is bound to pull you into the early hours of the morning, as you just want to finish the next chapter.

What I didn’t like

The smell of chickens – Check out the book to find out why!

You know what is going to happen

But, it doesn’t matter because it is how the story is told that is important and the lessons we learn by taking a chance and trusting in God. Because let’s face it:

“I don’t think God gets surprised very often.”

Would I recommend this book?

The book is about making good out of evil. “What men mean for evil, God can change into good.” This is a book of hope in so many ways. Lives may seem ruined but the truth remains: “So much of the time, the story God is writing goes on behind the earthly scene, somewhere in the heavenlies. But every now and then the Lord pulls back a curtain-slice of the sky and we get to see the bringing together of all the plot lines in real time.”

I would recommend The Long Highway Home for its revelations about the refugees and their struggle for freedom. For the amazing work, people do to help, often at their own risk, and to bring awareness of the plight of refugees.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. I was not requested to give either a favourable or unfavourable review.*

I would like to give this book 5 *****

Buy book here

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

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Long Highway home by Elizabeth Musser

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (19 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1542362725

Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known. When the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier. Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss.

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost? Filled with action, danger, heartache, and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia Backroads). All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and have been international best-sellers. Two Destinies, the final novel in The Secrets of the Cross trilogy, was a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award. Her new novel, The Long Highway Home, has already been a bestseller in Europe and is a finalist for the Carol Awards.

Mission Work

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams, now called One Collective.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.

I hope you have enjoyed this book review. Let me know in the comments – many thanks, Margaret.

Unlock how to steal time. An Hour Unspent is exciting.

How do you steal an hour in today’s busy world? I am always complaining that I don’t have enough time as it is. Well, dear reader, the answer is in An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M White. Oh, you thought I had come up with an actual answer to this worldwide problem. All I can offer you as a solution is, switch off that mobile, breathe, pause, and allow yourself an hour break from the madness and be still. You deserve it.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M White

My Penny’s Worth

Did this book steal my imagination?

With sentences like “A smile appeared out of the web of wrinkles she called a face, revealing gums with only half their teeth” I’d say so. Again, Rosanna M White produces a book filled with beautiful descriptions.

There are pearls of wisdom

Barclay, finally we get to read his story. In this third book, the greatest thief in England comes to life. Stealing my heart. The head of the family, who is warm, flawed, and honest – yes a paradox, runs through the pages. His necessity to steal to put food on the table for his family may not have been what his father meant when giving this advice:

“There is no shame in working with your hands. In crafting or fixing. We use our minds; we use our words – if God did not want us to use our hands, too, He would not have given us such capable ones.”

However, Barclay uses all these gifts to help those living under the breadline. His heart is pure gold.

A great double act

Evelina, a polio victim, comes crashing into Barclay’s world. A young woman who wants to make a difference to those less fortunate. Hurt and betrayed, browbeaten and different. Evelina is determined, strong but vulnerable. A thorn in the side for Barclay at times. And her character works to drive the story forward. But will Barclay be able to steal and tame her?

The supporting characters are brilliant

Ms. White’s characters bring another level to the story. They are horrid snobs with typical attitudes of the day. I loved Barclay’s thoughts of Evelina’s mother.

“Perhaps the Admiralty could just unleash her on the unsuspecting Germans. The war would be over in hours.”

The winner’s cup, in my opinion, goes to Aunt Beatrice with her snide comments and brilliant timing. Oh how you just want to shake her, but instead you are left with an open mouth thinking, did she really say that?

He’d come to realize, how the Lord worked. At least for him. He didn’t remove the bad – He just lent him the strength to face it.” An Hour Unspent Click To Tweet
I had a few niggles

There wasn’t a lot I didn’t like, yes I am afraid there is a but – Sorry. But there were some minor mistakes with terminology that many authors make about railway terms. My hubby is always correcting people over this so it must have rubbed off onto me!

Another sorry, yes I know, I felt the book stretched reality a bit towards the end. Don’t get me wrong it all tied in well, though I am not sure the final chapters were plausible in 1915. Without a spoiler is it hard to be specific so dear reader, you will have to read the book and come back to me to have this conversation.

But don’t let these niggles put you off, I’ll just go and take something for them!

“When it came down to it, all you ever had forever was what you carried inside. Memories. Faith. Love.”

Would I recommend An Hour Unspent.

Yes. Getting to know Barclay and the family better is well worth it and a fitting finale to the series. He will tell you how to steal an hour.

If you haven’t read the previous books, then I suggest you do. See my reviews for A Name Unknown and A Song Unheard.

Passion meant suffering - An Hour Unspent @RoseannaMWhite #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview & enter #free #giveaway #amreading Click To Tweet

I would like to give An Hour Spent 4****

I received a complimentary copy of this book via CelebrateLit. A favourable review was not required, and the opinions are my own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

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

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M WhiteBarclay Pearce

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

The clockmaker

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M WhiteRoseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

Fun research

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Blog Stops

October

The Avid ReaderOctober 30

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Fiction AficionadoNovember 1

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Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by BookNovember 8

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The Christian Fiction GirlNovember 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful NoiseNovember 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book ReviewsNovember 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book ImpressionsNovember 10

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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesNovember 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

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A Baker’s PerspectiveNovember 11

Henry HappensNovember 12

Proud to Be an Autism MomNovember 12

Texas Book-aholicNovember 12

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 12

Giveaway

Finished

Laughing in the face of evil – time to tell

Good versus Evil

Stories about good and evil come in all shapes and sizes. David and Goliath from the Bible, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Circle Series by Ted Dekker, and now Shadows’ Sorrow by Galadriel Pittman. Shadow’s sorrow, never heard of the book you say? Well, now you are in for a treat. As quoted from the blurb “A disillusioned guardian, a four-footed philosopher, an honorable thief, Trouble, and an unexpected inheritance against the end of the world? Bring it on.” Yes indeed, bring it on. It may not be as intense as the others, but it has loads going for it….

Shadows sorrows fb banner copy

My Penny’s Worth

Oh, come on you can’t be serious?

You’ve read The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s unlikely companions that she meets on her travels, well, Shadows’ Sorrow goes one better in my opinion. Donkey from Shrek had me rolling around the aisles with his “Are we there yet” so having a four-footed animal with telepathy doesn’t stretch the imagination too far. And why not, we know animals are intelligent, some more so than humans!

Couple this with the princess in Disney’s Enchanted and you have the makings of an entertaining read.

No, it’s not a fairy tale

Shadows’ Sorrow is not whimsical. It portrays evil as it is, destroying good to fulfill its need to conquer. There is only one passing reference to God, but the underlying battle for good is prevalent. Just like in the books, I mentioned earlier, apart from David and Goliath.

Raven stared at her suspiciously before shaking his head. “Why am I always the one that’s given a hard time? Is there a rule in the universe that says, ‘Pick on Raven?’ What have I done to deserve it?”

Tara shot him an amused look. “Be careful. Someone out there might hear you! It is never wise to give God ideas like that. He might decide to implement them.”

What I liked

I liked the banter that goes on back and forth between the characters. It helps to balance the dark side of the novel. It makes you wonder how these different people will manage to work together to fulfill their quest – that of overcoming evil. The story is well balanced, easy to read and leaves you wanting more. It didn’t leave me hiding behind the sofa like Lord of the Rings did. There are no Orcs, but the evil presence is intimidating like the creatures from The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

As they forded the shallows of the river, the cold chilled their bodies, matching the chill of fear in their hearts.

We all need to learn

One theme that runs through this book is gaining independence. Walking away from dependence on others, and becoming independent to be whom we are meant to be. So that we can fully partake in the journey, we are called to walk.

Both sun and fog have their places. We go through times of both; try not to dwell solely in one.

When life seems too hard, and we don’t want to carry on as the journey seems impossible the words of Raven comes to mind.

We are still alive. We have hope. I will fight the Rakon (the evil – my words) until the last breath leaves my body.

What I didn’t like

There is one word that some might find offensive. Yes, it is in context, and the sentence needed a strong word. It just niggled a bit as the rest of the book is clean.

What sentence made me smile

It is the princess image from Enchanted, but the person to whom it is spoken to isn’t a princess!

You move with inherent grace, you’re charming, and when you sing… well, I think you could capture those stars.

All I can hear is the “lar la lar la lar” of Princess Giselle as she sings to the birds in the New York apartment!

Who would like this book?

If you like fantasy, great banter, and humour, mixed in with a good versus evil plotline, then give Shadows’ Shadow a go. It is the first book in the series which I think will prove to be a winner.

I will leave you with one last thought, another quote from the book.

Enjoy the day. Treasure the time. Tomorrow is never promised.

I hope you have enjoyed my review. Please leave a comment if you did.

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

Enjoy the day. Treasure the time. Tomorrow is never promised. Shadows' Sorrow @galadrielpittman #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview & enter #free #giveaway #amreading Click To Tweet
Click here to purchase your copy!

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

About the Book

ebookcover

Book Title: Shadows’ Sorrow

Author: Galadriel Pittman

Genre: Fantasy

Release date: May 18, 2018

“I will become these shadows’ sorrow. I swear.”

A disillusioned guardian, a four-footed philosopher, an honorable thief, Trouble, and an unexpected inheritance against the end of the world? Bring it on.

An ancient evil has recently reawakened. Raven, a young Deinya warrior disillusioned with his people, has accepted a quest from his one-time master for old time’s sake. But when he catches a thief, Tara, his life hurls down an unforeseen path. With the help of others they meet along the way, they race to find the secret to the Rakon’s downfall before the nations again succumb to darkness.

About the Author

author SSphotoI am Galadriel Pittman, a mother of two, wife to a supportive amazing husband, daughter, sister, friend, worship singer, school cafe manager…the list goes on. I am blessed with many roles to fill. And now, finally, author. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me–Chronicles of Narnia, Xanth series, Lord of the Rings…but they never read them fast enough for my liking.

So, I learned to read. As a voracious reader from the age of three, my goal as a child was to read every book in the world! Sadly, reality dictated that there were more books than what my town library held, and new ones entered all the time! Perhaps taking a sideways step in that dream to become one who created those new entries is not surprising.

As a child, I enjoyed telling my younger siblings stories, and as a teen, I created my world with a friend. Over the years, I added to that tale. Recently, I decided I wanted to find out what happens next— so here we go!

For more information and updates on books, go to galadrielpittman.com or find me on Facebook at Galadriel Pittman.

Blog Stops

Bibliophile Reviews, October 20

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Two Points of Interest, October 22

Texas Book-aholic, October 23

Margaret Kazmierczak, October 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 25

Multifarious, October 26

proud to be an autism mom, October 27

Bigreadersite, October 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Janices book reviews, October 29

Carpe Diem, October 30

A Baker’s Perspective, October 31

A Reader’s Brain, November 1

Pause for Tales, November 2

Giveaway

This Giveaway is now finished.

 

Imperfect promises. Can a wounded heart be healed?

Promises. Yes, we’ve heard them, some come true and others, well, you know, they don’t. They can be heart filling or heart-wrenching. My first love promised to be my sweetheart for always, but he broke my heart. He also opened my eyes to how love can be manipulated. Used for its ends and then thrown away. From this experience, I told myself not to give my heart away too quickly. It took a long time to trust again and even then, guarded.

My heart took a lot of healing, but before that, I had to forgive. Who? Firstly myself then the young man who had wounded it. I had to forgive the wasted years that took me away from God’s will for me. Why? Because God wants us to love, to give and receive it. I had encased my heart in bitterness, chained it tightly so as not to get hurt again. Secondly, the perpetrator, he needed forgiving for his actions toward me as they chained me to the past and the act. Without mercy towards myself and him, I couldn’t move on. I would remain a victim, hurt by broken promises.

“Don’t think. Do. Sometimes you have to lance a boil and let the bad stuff out so you can start the healing process” -Imperfect Promises.

Imperfect Promises @enoyes5246 on #book tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview #free #giveaway #amreading Click To Tweet

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth Noyes

My Penny’s Worth

I have not read the other four books in this series. However, that did not affect my enjoyment of this book. Both Shea and Jonas came across as believable characters with pasts that changed their present lives.

Outrage, disappointment, relief, and guilt made a heady cocktail.” Imperfect Promises @enoyes5246 #amreading Click To Tweet

Did I like the main characters?

Yes, I liked Jonas, the protector, the man who ached for someone but couldn’t quite get his act together. He knew where he was with his horses! I felt the neediness in him to express his emotions and like me reticent to open up.

“I figured the Army would toughen you up, but I never dreamed they’d take my happy-go-lucky son and send me back a ghost of the man.”

Shea attacked her days with a smile on her face and ached at night. She too hindered by past damage walked a lonely path. Determined not to get hurt.

“Lone animals, injured ones, in particular, make easy prey for predators.”

How that resonated with me.

Is there depth to this book?

There are many instances of a deeper meaning in this book. I could sense wisdom in the writing. It is easy to get caught up in the storyline, which is intelligent, fast and at times unpleasant, but there are pearls of gold nuggets for those of us who have been hurt in life.

“If you put your mind to something, chances are you can make it happen, but tears won’t help.”

In my opinion, Imperfect Promises draws on the pledge from the Father. He wants us to know that He will never leave you because His love is higher than the messiness of life. He sees beyond it and loves no matter what. However, the main characters are like you and me desperate for that Fatherly love. Struggling to strive for it but failing due to our baggage.

“Sometimes you have to get out of your own way and trust the good Lord to figure things out for you.”

What about the antagonist?

Oh, the villain was nasty, homegrown and full of hate. A darkened soul only out to destroy. A portrayal of the sick world without God. Yes, Ms. Noyes wrote a realistic antagonist.

In what way did this book affect you?

For me, the book oozed pain and had me turning the pages to get it finished. Indeed I read it faster than I usually did. The plot thickens quickly, and the enemy is well camouflaged. Elizabeth Noyes does a smart job of misleading the reader. And her descriptions, like paint on a canvas.

“His eyes darkened, filled with daggers, broken bottles, guns and rusty chains as he stared.”

Would I recommend Imperfect Promises?

Yes, I would, but I would also recommend reading the other four in order as I expect they are as good as this book. I have done what I do with a newspaper read from the end to the beginning – my dyslexic brain!

Thank you, Elizabeth for writing this book. I would like to give it 4****

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

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

Giveaway

If you enjoyed this book review please let me know in the comments and don’t forget to enter Elizabeth’s GIVEAWAY. See below for details.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth NoyesBook Title: Imperfect Promises (book 5)

Author: Elizabeth Noyes

Genre: Action, Suspense, Romance

Release date: August, 2018

Award-winning romantic suspense author, Elizabeth Noyes raises the bar in this stunning conclusion of The Imperfect Series!

Jonas Cameron

Former Special Forces operative, Jonas Cameron, traded his past and his service for his family back in Idaho and the ranch he loves. But ghosts have a disturbing way of not staying where you leave them.

Shea Townsend

Shea Townsend is on her way to becoming a chef extraordinaire until her father’s illness pulls her from culinary school and back to Montana to care for him. After his death, disinherited and alone, she sets out to make a new life for herself, one which may or may not include the too-alpha, too-sexy Jonas Cameron.

Terrorist Threat

Jonas learns of a homegrown terrorist threat against him and his family at the same time a mysterious stalker sets his sights on Shea. Determined to neutralize both dangers, Jonas calls on old friends for help and draws upon his own very specialized skill set to end the menaces to Shea and himself.

As the danger escalates, secrets are revealed and the truth emerges in a deadly cat and mouse game with Shea caught in the middle.

Fast-paced action. Heart-pounding adventure. This is not your ordinary romantic suspense story!

About the Author

ENoyesElizabeth Noyes—professional writer, aspiring author, dedicated dreamer—lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her husband and best friend, Paul, who listens tirelessly while she regales him with all the tales in her head of damaged, but very human characters clamoring to be heard.

A native of the Deep South, she claims to still “speak the language,” even after traveling around the world for most of her adult life. Recently retired from a career as a professional business writer and editor, she now fills her days editing, critiquing, reading, playing with the grandkids, learning more about Social Media than she ever wanted, and putting her stories into words to share with others.

Guest Post from Elizabeth Noyes

The Imperfect Tie Between Characters, Themes, and Titles

I love reading across all genres. If it’s well- written, I’m an easy catch. What I don’t like is when fictional characters are portrayed as model-worthy with perfect looks, perfect physiques, and perfect personalities. Yuk! I’ve never met a perfect person.

To quote Mark Twain, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

Believable characters

I want characters with the same flaws as you and me—judgmental, short-tempered, guilt-ridden, egotistical, defiant, withdrawn, too-skinny, compassionate, couch potatoes, foolish, silly, serious, low self-esteem, arrogant, hurt, guilty, deceiving, generous… in other words, real people. These are character traits I relate to, and they come alive on the pages, giving hope that we can also learn from our mistakes and grow into something better.

The characters in the Imperfect Series let themselves and others down. They struggle with life issues, make poor decisions, grieve over mistakes, and then pick themselves up and go on.

Imperfect

In Imperfect Wings, guilt and low self esteem plague TJ, while her male counterpart, Garrett, struggles with anger issues. In Imperfect Trust, yeah, trust was a problem for both Lucy and Wade. With Imperfect Bonds, Cassidy fights for her sister’s forgiveness as she deals with feelings of inadequacy … both of which carry over into her relationship with Derek. In Imperfect Lies—yep, another obvious theme. Lies from the past come back to haunt Mallory and James.

In the final book of the series, Imperfect Promises, the main male character, Jonas, is by a nature a control freak. He suffers from guilt over a perceived failure when at his deepest core he is a protector and perfectionist. Shea, the female protagonist, rose from the ashes of a devastating childhood to forge a new life for herself. Both discover that promises made to themselves and to others can’t always be kept. Despite best intentions, life sometimes gets in the way.

Blog Stops

Godly Book Reviews, September 27

Bigreadersite, September 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 28

A Baker’s Perspective, September 28

Multifarious, September 29

Real World Bible Study, September 29

Because I said so – adventures in Parenting, September 30

Simple Harvest Reads, October 1

Kat’s Corner Books, October 2

Carpe Diem, October 2

Maureen’s Musings, October 3

Margaret Kazmierczak, October 3

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, October 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 5

Blogging With Carol, October 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 7

proud to be an autism mom, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 8

Bibliophile Reviews, October 9

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Janices book reviews, October 10

Giveaway

Finished

Blind to the past – pursuing truth no matter what

Blind to the past – I am trying my best to be. Otherwise, how do you move on? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be responsible for your past, but if Jesus can forgive your past….? It’s about forgiveness I think, forgiving my selfishness and blindness of other people’s needs. Of beating myself up when I don’t come up to my expectations. Oh yes, I have been guilty of that one!

I would like to forget my inadequacies. Or rather I would love God to wipe clean my slate so that I can move on. The thing is He has; it’s me who has not. And I reap the rewards of not handing it all over and leaving it in God’s capable care. A total wipeout, a clean break, no memories. I wonder if Ella, Vikki and Simon agree – pursuing truth no matter what?

My Penny’s Worth

Ties that Blind by Chautona Havig  – at long last the final instalment of the Sight Unseen Series.  Yes, at last, I will see the answers to my questions from None so Blind and Will not See. At last, I shall no longer be blind but able to pursue the truth behind the plots.

Was I disappointed?

Well first, I needed to remind myself of the other two plot lines, so I perused my previous reviews.  Ella, mother and wife and Vikki, a lone lady, suddenly in a hotel miles from where she lived who had both lost their memories. Both now blind to their past and short of answers. And so was I, until Ties that Blind arrived on my kindle. Putting everything else aside, cooking, washing, cleaning the house, sleeping, well who needs to eat, wash, clean and rest when you have the key to the mystery in your hands. And yes depriving myself proved to be worth it. Even if I had tried to eat, the food on my fork would not have found its way to my mouth.

What I liked

The new character Simon Prescott led me into his world of blindness. If ever there were a person who fulfilled the quote (which Ms Havig put in her guest post for Will not See),

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

It is Simon.

Her heart constricted at the pain that he would feel… if his memory didn’t lay in its own coffin somewhere. #tiesthatblind @Chautona #newrelease Click To Tweet

And from his story, the key is found. But you had to work for it; it didn’t appear just like that as in other books that suddenly end with the mystery solved. This is what I liked, the guessing game that kept me asking why and how had these three people lost their memories. Chautona Havig does not do an easy fix.

What I didn’t like

The fact that I had to wait so long for the final book. Simple.

Blind to the past – pursuing truth no matter what

The story would not be compelling if the characters just rolled over and gave in. There is something mystical about seeking the truth no matter what. We by nature want to know the truth – even if it hurts. What we do with that truth is another blog post! Ella, Vikki and Simon subscribe to that journey through their respective memory loss.  Not knowing isn’t acceptable. It drives the story forward for the characters and the reader. I wanted to know!

The book raises more profound questions

There is a before and after in these stories. Before the memory loss and after it. Each character copes with the event differently. If you wanted to draw more out of these books, you could ask yourself questions such as “If this happened to me what would I cling to the most to help me get through this ordeal.”  “How would I use this opportunity to start again?” “How can I use God’s Grace and Mercy who gives me this freedom every day to become more Christ-like?” “What blind areas do I have that need God’s sight to heal them?”

With that in mind, this series offers more than just a mystery, but a window into how blind we can be in our lives and into the lives of others. We all need Grace.

Who would enjoy this series?

If you like books that have real problems with lives that are messed up and enjoy seeing people grow from their challenges, then I would recommend the Sight Unseen Series. I would also suggest getting all three and reading them back to back – now that you can! That’s what I am going to do now 🙂

Thank you Chautona Havig for writing this book.

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

If you enjoyed this book review then, please see my other ones for:

None so Blind here

Will not See here

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

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Ties That Blind by Chautona HavigTitle: Ties That Blind

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: April 24, 2018

He may not be the only person in the Rockland area to wake up without a memory, but he might be the only killer…

The main character – Simon Prescott

Simon Prescott, the latest victim of spontaneous amnesia in Rockland, is under suspicion of murder. The evidence, though weak and circumstantial, points only to him.  He’s confident he didn’t do it, but there’s no way to prove it.  Grieving for a wife he doesn’t remember, Simon refuses to allow his family in, refuses to cooperate with police, and is heading straight for the pokey if he doesn’t figure out something and fast.

Enter: Ella Weeks and Vikki Jeffries

The previous two victims are determined to help him, and with jail time looming, Simon capitulates.  But what Vikki and Ella find as they work through Simon’s life reveals astounding and rather chilling evidence of a bigger scheme than any of them could have imagined.

They’re on the verge of total discovery, but the closer they get, the less confident they are that they want to know.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Ties that Blind by Chautona HavigThe author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, ANYWAY?

“So why is this series called ‘Sight Unseen’ if it’s about people who lose their memories? Why the vision references?”

I can’t pretend I wanted to answer her question. She isn’t the first to ask, and I doubt she’ll be the last. I tried to explain.

Look, it’s a valid question. Originally, the first book was called From the Cinders, and if it had remained a stand-alone book, it still would be. But when I finished with another person waking up to no memories and a hint that something sinister might be behind it all, I had to change it to fit two books—no, three!

Recall. Rewind. Refresh. I liked those titles. But that still didn’t give me the name of a series. I kept studying. Tried again.

I read what would become None So Blind three times in a row if I recall correctly. And as I read it, a theme emerged. Ella Weeks hadn’t been blind to her faults even before her memory loss. Even her husband hadn’t been, despite his obvious love for her. But those around her had been blind to her awareness of those faults—to her silent cries for help in overcoming them.

WILL NOT SEE EMERGED WITH A SIMILAR THEME

Vikki had a past that she hid from and refused to acknowledge. And even as those around her drew closer to provide support, she still managed to block out all that she found frightening—even physically shutting down and shutting out life.

So, when it came time to plan the final book in the series, the one that would now tie together everything that had happened, I knew I wanted something that also fit with the other titles. And one night it came to me. Ties That Blind. So often our ties to people blind us to their faults—to the destructive influences they have in our lives. And Simon Prescott will learn that lesson in a rather lonely, horrible way.

THE SIGHT UNSEEN SERIES REMINDS US OF WHAT PAUL SAID IN CORINTHIANS.

Now we see through dark glasses… we can’t really make it all out. But with the Lord, when we’re truly with Him in eternity, we’ll see things as clearly as we do when we are face to face.

And that’s what faith is all about, right? It’s the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we “buy in” to the Lord Jesus, we’re taking it all in faith. We’re trusting in Him, “Sight Unseen,” just as the characters in this series do with every element of their lives.

I hope their journeys bless you as they have me as I wrote them.

Blog Stops

Live. Love. Read. , August 18

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 18

Inklings and notions, August 19

Blossoms and Blessings, August 19

Fiction Aficionado, August 20

Among the Reads, August 20

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, August 21

Blogging With Carol, August 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, August 22

Lots of Helpers, August 22

Cordially Barbara, August 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 23

Multifarious, August 24

Christian Bookaholic, August 24

proud to be an autism mom, August 25

Bibliophile Reviews, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Texas Book-aholic, August 26

Janices book reviews, August 26

A Reader’s Brain, August 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 27

Maureen’s Musings, August 28

Carpe Diem, August 28

Margaret Kazmierczak, August 29

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29

Bigreadersite, August 30

Mary Hake, August 30

Pause for Tales, August 31

Readers cozy corner, August 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 31

Giveaway

Finished