Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Jack

I first read Jack when it came out nearly five years ago and really enjoyed it!  I may have even pre-read it during the writing stage, I don't remember.  At the time, I had had no exposure to Much Ado About Nothing, but really enjoyed the banter between Dirk and Deborah.  Although I am quiet and appear to be pretty easy-going, I have a slightly snarky sense of humor that I only let come out with people who can appreciate it and not be offended.  My daughter has inherited the same thing and I have to be careful about teaching her when it's appropriate to say things and when it's not!  A couple of months ago, before our school year started, I ordered a copy of a book that had Tales of Shakespeare meant to be read aloud to children (or read by them if they were old enough).  It had great reviews and I thought it would be an easy introduction of the Bard's stories.  Well, unfortunately, neither of us loved the book.  Some of the stories were creepy, others were boring, and the adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing was disappointing -- more telling than showing and not much dialogue.  So, I wound up giving the book to my cousin.  (I know others who love that book - it just wasn't a good fit for us.)

Back to Jack.  When CelebrateLit offered me the opportunity to read and review it, I jumped on the chance, because it'd been a while since I'd read it and because I already I knew I loved it.  I was given a free copy of it, but I already owned the book.  This book is easily 5 stars.  I might be a *little* bit biased since it's written by my friend Chautona, but, all in all, I love this book!  It combines a western and Shakespeare with a great story based on a ballad with witty dialogue, and infuses a faith element that elevates the book to something inspiring and convicting even with the heartbreak involved!  I encourage you to read Chautona's thoughts down below (and enter the giveaway for a free paperback and a $25 Amazon gift card).

My favorite characters are Jack and Deborah.  I admire Jack for standing for what's right based on both his experiences and what he knows to be right since he was saved.  I see his flawed humanity when he makes choices that are knee-jerk in effect when he doesn't take the time to stop and think beyond his heart-breaking situation.  I have been there!  I also love how he does the hard thing because it's the right thing.  Deborah is incredibly quick to speak, and I wish I were like that.

I hope that Chautona will write more books in this series soon and will maybe give a glimpse into the lives of some of the other minor characters (like Pete, Maggie, the new guy Gavin?, and even John the reprobate who deserves to be strung up but a redemption story would be nice, too).

About the Book

Book:  Jack

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Historical Western Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Women are trouble—lying, cheating, untrustworthy bundles of trouble.

Jack Clausen doesn’t need anyone but his horse and a boss who won’t interfere in his personal life—or lack of one.

Sure, he’s a lonely cowboy, but better lonely than brokenhearted.

If only he hadn’t met a girl who made him hope that honest and true women do exist. Maybe he wouldn’t be riding off into a snowstorm with a fresh determination to avoid women—indefinitely.

When Hazel Meissner sees a cowboy risk life, limb, and horse to save a child, she knows he’s someone special. When he finally gives her his heart, she considers herself the most blessed woman alive.

However, when he rides off without a word, she wonders if her heart will survive the loss.

One broken man. One trusting woman. One orchestrated misunderstanding that tears them apart. What’ll it take to bring Jack home again?

It’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing mashed up with the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack.”  Don’t miss a cast of characters inspired by the Bard himself—especially Dirk and Deborah (Benedick & Beatrice).

Jack: a lot of hullaballoo on the prairie.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

The Inspiration I Hate to Love

The plaintive notes of a ballad filled the living room. People sat on couches and chairs or stood in the doorway, listening. Three steps up the staircase, out of view of most of the room, a little girl sat, chin in her hands, listening.

If you looked close, you’d see freckles dotting her nose and crooked teeth that never were too large for her mouth like most children’s were. Just a bit closer, and you’d see wide, hazel eyes riveted to the man with the guitar seated on the hearth. To his right, a cup of coffee and sometimes a shot of whiskey.

With a voice like Jim Reeves (the non-twangy Reeves, mind you), the songs told stories, like all ballads do—a little blind girl praying for her father’s future happiness, a girl of thirteen who barely escaped a massacre in 19th century Wyoming. “Hazel eyes,” the man called her. California Joe—he was a real man, although not as good of one as the song made out.

Sometimes the man sang happier songs, but most of them were slow, western ballads that could keep Nicolas Sparks writing for decades.

And the little girl loved them all—especially California Joe and one about a cowboy who left his sweetheart alone on the prairie after a quarrel. One called “Cowboy Jack.”

As you’ve probably surmised, I was the little girl, and that man who sang and stirred the hearts of our family at nearly every gathering was my father.

How I miss those days.

For years, I wanted to give Jack a happier ending. See, the song goes like this. A lonely cowboy (with a heart so brave and true) meets and falls in love with a maiden (with eyes of heaven’s own blue). Alas, as with all good romances, the couple quarrel and Jack rides away. He finds a new band of cowboys and would have been just fine, but someone asks him to sing a song to “drive all cares away.” Alas, the song he devises is one about a “lonely maiden who waited for her Jack.”

Of course, he rides off to ask forgiveness. It’s all his fault. He arrives too late. She died of a broken heart on the “lonely prairie where skies are always blue.”

After I began writing, the idea came to me to turn those songs Dad sang—old ones that had been passed on and down through many different versions—into novels. I’d write all the subtext the songs left out.

I’d give them happy endings.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. One by one, I figured out how to do it, but Jack… well, I didn’t want to change the stories. I just wanted to leave on hope instead of despair

Shakespeare to the rescue!

I was watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado about Nothing adaptation, and the answer came to me so clearly. It had the solution I needed. So, I smooshed the song and the play together. Inside, you’ll find the characters Shakespeare created (including Dirk and Deborah and their biting repartee—they steal the show!) in the setting and with the elements of the ballad, too.

Dad’s older now. His hands are gnarled with age, swollen with arthritis. His mind is slipping away. Today, you’ll find his guitar at my house. My son now owns it, but he doesn’t know the songs I heard played on the old Goya. Still, when I take it out of the case, tune it up, and pluck the strings, everything shifts. Suddenly, I’m nine years old again, sitting on my uncle’s stairs, just out of sight, watching. Listening. Heart breaking.

See, I’ll never hear my father play again, and I can’t play either. So, the songs will have to live on with stories of Mary, Jethro, Maggie… and of course, Jack.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23

Bigreadersite, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

lakesidelivingsite, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 30

Lots of Helpers, September 30

She Lives To Read, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Spoken from the Heart, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10101/jack-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Book Review: Wish Upon a Star


Sometimes there's nothing better than a sweet, easy-to-read, light love story to snuggle with.  Having a Christmas theme makes it even better!  I really enjoyed this book, which I chose to review and was given for free, by Tabitha Bouldin.  I was first introduced to Tabitha when she was a guest on my friend Chautona's podcast called Because Fiction.  She is one of the authors who is writing books for the new Independence Islands series (two of which I have already reviewed).  When the opportunity came to read one of her other books, I jumped at the chance.

Bryce and his little girl Anna move to his hometown where he is now the owner of a bookstore in Jingle Junction, a fun fictitious small town where almost everyone is kind, friendly, and helpful.  Anna had already expressed her deepest wish (wished on her own Christmas star) of getting a mother for Christmas.  Within hours, Bryce sees three ladies whom he knew while growing up.  By the end of the book, he has made his decision about which one is the right one to be his wife and mother to Anna -- despite his reluctance to commit his heart so soon.

I liked the story as it is a perfect, easy-on-the-brain, sweet-for-the-heart, quick read.  The characters are believable and real.  Faith is interwoven in a way that doesn't feel preachy, yet encourages the reader in a gentle way.  In fact, I love the following quote from the book where Bryce's dad gives him some advice:

"Things will always be complicated, young man.  Don't let that stop you from accepting the gifts God throws in your lap.  He knows what He's doing."

This book is perfect for those who love Hallmark Christmas movies and light-hearted reads. 

Keep reading about the book and your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Book



Book:  Wish Upon A Star

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre:  Holiday Fiction

Release Date: December 1, 2018

Bryce Masters had everything he needed…or so he thought. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, would disagree. They were going home, moving back to Jingle Junction where Bryce would take over the local bookstore just in time for Christmas. Losing his wife, Molly, during the birth of their daughter six years ago was tragic, but Bryce has no idea just how much it weighs on young Anna’s heart until she confesses her deepest wish. What Anna wants for Christmas is a mother, but Bryce’s heart is not ready to love again. Only God can give Bryce the desire to make Anna’s wish come true. Only He can heal the hurt and open Bryce’s heart to the power of love. But Bryce will have to be willing to listen. And when the perfect woman reveals a secret that could devastate them all, will Bryce be able to look beyond what was and accept what might be?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a Bachelor’s in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University, where she graduated with honors. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

 

More from Tabitha

Wish Upon a Star owes its existence to Hallmark’s Christmas movies. I could, and often do, watch their Christmas movies all through the year. Doesn’t matter how cheesy the storyline, I love them all. While I wanted to bring that sense of fun and feel-good romance, I needed a little oomph. So, I took some inspiration from “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. For the record, I love Hallmark and NewSong equally, so putting the two together was a natural fit.

The intention wasn’t to make a sad Christmas story, but there’s some pain Bryce has to manage while learning to love again. The best things come from overcoming that thing you never thought you could do. When you press on, with God’s guidance and with His approval, anything is possible. Bryce needs this reminder that even in the darkest nights, God is there.

Wish is part of the funky town I created and dubbed Jingle Junction, a place where it’s all Christmas all the time. Jingle Junction has only a few rules. First off, you can have any business you want, as long as the business name is an alliteration. Second, community is the name of the game. When someone’s in need, everyone pitches in to help.

For this story, I wanted to highlight homecoming. To do that, I needed Bryce to have a reason to come back to Jingle Junction. That’s where the song came in. If you don’t know the song, it’s about a little boy who wants only one thing for Christmas, and that’s a pair of shoes for his dying mother. I listen to “The Christmas Shoes” at least a dozen times a year. It’s heartbreaking but wonderful. It has that bit of hope I needed for Wish. For my story, Bryce’s daughter, Anna, lost her mother when she was born. The only thing she wants is the one thing she’s never had: a mother. It’s also the one thing Bryce cannot give.

The plan had always been to return to Jingle Junction. Bryce wants to raise Anna in the hometown where he was born, and he’s finally gotten the opportunity to make good on the plans he and his wife made when they first learned of her pregnancy. It took him six years to make good on his promise, and he’s not sure he’s made the right decision.

Wish Upon a Star is one of those books where I wanted to challenge myself by writing only from the male point of view. Although I always write alternating point of view in my romances, Wish has always been Bryce’s story. A story of coming home.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

CarpeDiem, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Older & Smarter?, September 29

lakesidelivingsite, September 29

Artistic Nobody, September 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, September 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 1

Emily Yager, October 1

She Lives To Read, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 4

Connect in Fiction, October 4

Spoken from the Heart, October 5

Just Your Average reviews, October 5

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 6

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package:  a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10114/wish-upon-a-star-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Book Review & Giveaway: Scrumptious Independence


I am not a very good cook.  I like to say I steal good recipes -- my sister-in-law's awesome broccoli salad, for example, which I have had to double and triple due to its popularity at church functions (and because my husband fusses at me if he doesn't get any).  Day-to-day cooking exhausts me, but I don't mind fixing specific dishes for specific events.  So, in that way, I don't have a lot in common with Scrumptious Independence's main character Beth.

Beth is in her late 20's and is the black sheep of her family, or so she thinks.  Her mother and sisters, pretentious and selfish women, look down on her and treat her shamefully; her only allies are her dad (who is stuck with an overbearing wife) and her grandmother.  Gram is very wealthy who used her wealth to be a blessing to Beth who desperately needed the love that she had to offer.  Gram kept Beth during several summers at her inherited family home on Merriweather Island off the coast of Georgia.  (This is a fictitious island created especially for the Independence Islands series of which this is book #2.)  While visiting with Gram, she soaked up Gram's love while they bonded while cooking together; thus, a talent for cooking comfort food with love was sparked and nurtured.  Gram later paid for Beth to go to culinary school.

In this way, I can relate to Beth because I had a close relationship to my Grandma, and even named my daughter after her (One of Gracie's middle names is Lee which is my grandma's maiden name.  My grandma's first name was Wilna and I love my child too much to saddle her with that!)  I don't remember ever cooking with Grandma, but she shared her best recipes, my favorite being her sweet potato pie.

During this story, Beth moves to Merriweather Island to launch her food truck business and reconnects with Scott whom she met as a teenager while visiting Gram.  This new venture was to serve as the start of new independence from her meddling mother; however, she didn't realize until the middle of the book that due to the circumstances of life she had also unconsciously become independent of God Whom she rediscovered that she needed.  Being very insecure, she finds it difficult to open up and it takes time and patience to allow herself to establish a growing relationship with Scott.  Scott is a protector at heart -- sometimes aggressively so -- and he has to learn to reign that in and be slow, patient, and gentle, especially with Beth.  There is a subplot involving a criminally-minded mayor and a wanna-be alluring tart of a woman who is also interested in Scott.

This was a good book that serves as a good addition to the Independence Islands series.  I enjoyed meeting Beth and Scott and look forward to watching her story unfold in future books.

I chose to review this book and was given a copy for free.

About the Book

 


“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

About the Author



Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

 

Bon app├ętit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Pin It!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Book Review & Giveaway: Nasty Gets Us Nowhere

 


Let me preface this review by saying that I do not read a lot of what I call "mainstream" Christian women's nonfiction.  I believe many popular books of that nature are unbiblical and harmful to today's Christian women.  Rachel Hollis and Ann Voskamp, for example.  (I have strong opinions about this.)  However, when I was presented with the opportunity to read this book about feminism and its nasty role in modern culture, I was interested enough to choose the book to read, mainly because it's a topic that I've discussed with friends and that has been taught by my pastor's wife (who has written two books on the subject as well).

I wish I had been given a print version of the book because the formatting was difficult to read on my phone, plus I like to read print versions of nonfiction because it's easier to make notes and flip back and forth between chapters.  It definitely hindered my ability to analyze the book as a whole, but it will not affect the review I give.

Overall, this was a good book.  I can give it a solid 4 stars for content.  I do think that it offers a good overview of several subtopics to do with feminism, but I understand that writing more deeply would have made it a longer, perhaps heavier, book to read.  It's not a difficult book to read, although I didn't necessarily fly through it (mainly because of the format that was given to me).  I didn't learn anything profoundly new, mostly because I've read my pastor's wife's books and she teaches on these topics as well, but I still enjoyed reading the book.

Here are some quotes that I highlighted in the book:
What we need is a forgiveness and restoration movement.  We need to come together, build each other up, and speak to the strengths of each other's gender.  We need a movement of complementing each other instead of competing with each other.

This is a book that would be beneficial for both women and men to read as it gives good perspectives on how men and women are different and what works best for each of them relationally. 

About the Book


Book:  Nasty Gets Us Nowhere

Author: Drenda Keesee

Genre:  Family & Relationships

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Two women who forever changed the world followed a plan to better their lives. One chose God’s design for her. The other listened to a different voice that questioned God and rebelled against Him.

Women and men today face the same decisions that confronted Mary and Eve. We can either seek the Tree of Life with God…or keep biting into the bitter fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Statistically, women today are less happy than at any time in measured history. This extolled knowledge of good and evil has had consequences. It’s not about equality in work, pay, or choices. It’s about women wanting to become “like men” instead of being women. It’s about women who aspire to be “nasty” and men who are confused about what it means to be a real man.

Nasty Gets Us Nowhere reveals the powerful truth behind learning to do relationships like Christ, particularly relationships between men and women. Our culture often incites rebellion, but God calls us to work together. As Galatians 5:15 says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (niv).

In an age saturated with feminism and gender wars, ex-feminist Drenda Keesee combines her wit, humor, and life experience to unpack a powerful, timely message that sets the record straight. She reveals why men and women have conflict, what God’s plan for unity is, and how men and women can unite to create an unstoppable force. Drenda believes the pendulum is swinging and there are many conservative women and men who want to make amends and discover how to have relationships that work. There’s also a younger generation searching for keys to live a different life than what they’ve seen modeled.

Drenda says we can see eye to eye when we first see heart to heart and spirit to spirit, coming from a place of cooperation instead of conflict. God’s Spirit coupled with His plan is the only answer to the separation and relationally destructive forces at work in the gender wars. It’s time for restoration and healing, to bring men and women side by side, hand in hand. There’s much at stake. We must understand our uniqueness, our vulnerabilities, and Christ’s unalterable principles for successful working and loving relationships to experience fulfillment and lasting peace.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


Drenda Keesee is a speaker, pastor, daytime television show host, entrepreneur, and author of several books. She has ministered on television and radio and at churches, seminars, and conferences for more than twenty years. Drenda is passionate about bringing women into spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness so they can live “The Happy Life,” and has founded several programs to that end.

She and Gary Keesee, her husband of thirty-five years, met while attending Oral Roberts University and pastor the 4,500-member Faith Life Church, with campuses in New Albany and Powell, Ohio.


The Keesees have created several successful businesses in the financial arena and are the founders of Faith Life Now, which produces two television programs: Drenda, seen daily on several networks and weekly on Daystar; and Fixing the Money Thing, airing daily on Daystar, GEB, BET, Victory, CTN, VTN, and NRB. Drenda serves as host on these programs, which reach 750 million households worldwide.

Drenda has appeared on numerous other television programs, including Joyce Meyer’s broadcast Enjoying Everyday LifeTable Talk with Joni with Joni Lamb, Marcus & Joni with the Lambs, VictoryThon, and more. She has been featured on CharismaNews.com, Hannah Keeley’s Crazy Blessed podcast, thelaundrymoms.com, and on the cover of Daystar News. Drenda also speaks at conferences worldwide and is known for her ability to inspire, empower, and encourage others to improve their marriages, raise strong children, get out of debt, and embrace God’s best for their life.
In addition to her graduate studies at Oral Roberts University, Drenda received a master’s degree in Christian counseling from Logos University and an honorary doctorate of divinity from CICA International University and Seminary.

The Keesees have five children and several grandchildren. They reside in New Albany, Ohio.

More from Drenda

Nasty Gets Us Nowhere reveals why men and women have conflict and God’s plan to unite them for His kingdom. Coming from a feminist background, I realized that wasn’t the way God intended for me to live.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 10

A Baker’s Perspective, September 11 (Spotlight)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 12 (Spotlight)

Godly Book Reviews, September 13

Blossoms and Blessings, September 14 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, September 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 15

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Artistic Nobody, September 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, September 19

For Him and My Family, September 20

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 21

Splashes of Joy , September 22 (Spotlight)

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Drenda is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10095/nasty-gets-us-nowhere-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Book Review: The Black Midnight


I love a good book that makes me think!  Sometimes the challenge of trying to figure out who-dun-it makes for a very satisfying and engaging read - even if I turn out to be wrong!  Couple that with historical fiction and that makes for a winning book!

I actually read this book twice.  I read it the first time when I first got it a month or two ago (I requested the book, received it for free, and am giving my honest opinion) and then again last night (which is a little more than a week before this book review is published).  I enjoyed it the first time, and I really enjoyed it the second time!  

The Black Midnight was a very engaging book!  Even though much of it is fiction, there were enough historical details to make it seem real.  Neither the Midnight Assassin nor Jack the Ripper was ever identified in real life and the story reflects this; however, I did enjoy the author's unfolding of who might have been involved (again, fictional, but believable).

I really enjoyed "meeting" Queen Victoria in this book.  There were one or two other secondary real-life characters, but she was the one who intrigued me the most with such characteristics as her using her third-person "we/us" instead of "I/me."  I noticed in reviewing my highlights of the book that she only uses the third-person when she speaks of herself as Queen; other times, she uses I/me when she is speaking on a personal level - for example, to Annie whom she calls Kitten.

In my second reading of the book, I realized that Annie is very much like her great grandmother Queen Victoria in this book:  commanding, in control, imperious in manner, yet very, very likable.
"She is the queen, Isaiah."  Annie sighed.  "She can do whatever she wants.  Just be thankful that she does not."
Another character that I liked (because I disliked him) is a journalist who does anything he can to get the scoop on the case of the Midnight Assassin.  Annie, who is extremely perceptive, catches onto him at once and puts him in his place:
"Thank you for that insight.  I see you are intent on proving yourself as good a detective as you claimed at dinner.  I fail to be impressed, but you have my permission to continue trying.  Good night, Mr. Blake."
Don't you just love that?  I would love to be as witty and direct as she is!

Annie's partner Isaiah is also very insightful and very thoughtful.  I love what he said to Annie:
"I see you in there," he said, his eyes on hers.  "I don't know who you are yet, but I want to.  And I am willing to wait."
I also love this interchange between Isaiah and the Queen:
"I have learned that patience is a virtue."  He paused.  "And that what is meant to be will be." 
One dark brow lifted.  "And what cannot be?" 
"Takes a little longer, ma'am," he said in his Texas drawl.
The Black Midnight is like a character in itself; as a matter of fact, it ..... I just realized that might be a bit of a spoiler.  Just get the book and read it.  You won't be disappointed!

About the Book


Book: The Black Midnight
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: August 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author



Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth-generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth-century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.
Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.
But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.
From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie's History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin's Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb's Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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