Justice Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway!


“I don’t want your kind of justice. What I want is to heal. I want to be whole. I want to find the treasures God has for me here.” Brooklyn from Justice

Achingly-tender from the first chapter, this story captured my heart in a tangible way, stamping my memory with brilliant strokes of grace.

About the Story:

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. As Brooklyn wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake, she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth. To make matters worse, if the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God’s love and in each other?

My thoughts:

Having previously read—and enjoyed—short stories written by this author, I’ve been anticipating Justice’s release. Sensitive issues laced the pages, but with a poignant delicacy, the story skillfully addresses the layers of grief and bitterness which often arises from trauma, revealing that the beauty of forgiveness can bloom in even the most heartbreaking trial.

I was immediately drawn to Brooklyn. I found myself championing her healing from the tragic assault that left her soul broken and her life in shambles. I admired her convictions, hoping as the chapters progressed, that she’d find the wholeness she desired and discover the once-in-a-lifetime love given by Jake.

Out of the scores of heroes I’ve met through novels, Jake stands alone as far as loyalty is concerned. His devotion reminded me a lot of Christ—unconditional and fervent. The relationship Brooklyn and Jake shared is beautiful and inspiring.

So add these engaging characters to a vivid plot penned with a unique voice, and it equals an unforgettable story! I can’t wait to see what this author brings us next!

Click here to purchase Justice!

*The author provided me with a copy of this story. All opinions are my own *

Guest Post By Emily Conrad

A couple of years ago, I asked my grandma to reteach me to crochet. The skill made its way into the manuscript I was working on, and now, when it starts to get colder out each fall, I tend to break out my bag of yarn (okay, there are several bags…) and start a new project. Though, come to think of it, I still haven’t made an afghan.

I find it relaxing and the end products useful, but all that sitting around with a hook and a wad of yarn and nothing to do but count stitches has also given me a lot of time to reflect on what crochet can teach us about life.

One of these ideas is mentioned in Justice, but you’ll have to read the book to find out which one!

Little routines make a big difference. Crochet has a few basic stitches, and different patterns are created by combining them. A little switch—sometimes just the difference between stitching into one thread instead of its neighbor—repeated row after row, create pretty texture.

Little routines in our lives do this, too. A routine of working with my dogs will result in better behaved dogs. A routine of helping a neighbor will result in a friendship. A routine of time with Jesus will sweeten life in so many ways.

Sometimes, you have to practice blind faith in the pattern, moving forward with it even when you seem to only be making a mess. Once, a pattern left me feeling like I was performing the crochet version of gymnastics. What a mess of yarn I had on my hands! But, I kept following the pattern, and wouldn’t you know—it turned out in the end.

Living out our faith can be a messy process sometimes, too. It can put us at odds with others. It can mean changing our plans. It can mean years of waiting. When we stay faithful to the pattern (the Bible), we can be assured that life with Jesus will turn out in the end.

Generations need each other. My mother and paternal grandmother taught me to crochet. Another woman at church taught me to knit. Likewise, these women also teach me about faith.

I’d love to hear about what crafts you enjoy! Knitting, crochet, painting, something else? Use the comments to tell us about it!


IMG_3561.JPGEmily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains. Her debut novel, Justice, released March 9, 2018 from Pelican Book Group. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is an ACFW First Impressions winner (2015) and finalist (2014) and an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2012, 2015).
Her non-fiction has been published in Southern Writer’s Magazine (May/June, 2016) and on various blogs including GraceTable.org, KrisCamealy.com, CreativeandFree.com, and JerushaAgen.com.


coffee pic Emily's post.jpgBecause most of this fabulous story takes place in a coffeeshop, Emily is offering a bag of coffee to one commenter! And because this story is SO enamoring, I’m going to include a copy of Justice! Sooooo one lucky winner will win both a bag of coffee AND an e-copy of Emily Conrad’s Justice! Winner will be announced March 21st! *Due to crazy shipping costs, this giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.*


The Sea Before Us Review & GiveAway!



It’s no secret I adore Sarah Sundin’s novels, and The Sea Before Us is no exception!

About the novel:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a Wren in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

My Thoughts:

I was hooked by the end of the prologue. It was that good. From then on, I was captivated by engaging characters and a fascinating plot. The intrigue of D-Day added brilliant depths to the novel, keeping my eyes glued to the pages.

The heroine, Dorothy, lived in a constant struggle between who she is and who she wants to be. I loved her caring nature which she displays in her constant devotion to her father and those around her. Her position as a wren was enlightening for I had no idea how their faithful roles in the war effort had been integral to the success of D-Day.

Wyatt is an admirable hero who is honest as much as he is Texan. Plagued with guilt and obsessed with always “doing the right thing,” my heart ached for him as he continually sought atonement for a past that haunts him daily.

Put these two characters together, and you have an enthralling story that magnetizes your attention far after you reach the end!

Ms. Sundin continues her legacy of seamlessly threading historically accurate details into a vivid fictional world, bringing the story alive! The Sea Before Us is the first story in the Sunrise At Normandy series, and the next two novels are firmly targeted on my reading radar!

Click here to purchase The Sea Before Us!

* The author provided me with a copy. All opinions are my own. *

About the Author:

10365827_871621106183462_7172174868918369076_n.jpgSarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters DeepAnchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn in the Waves of Freedom series, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Her popular Through Waters Deep was a Carol Award finalist and named to Booklist‘s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. Sarah lives in California. Visit http://www.sarahsundin.com for more information.


I’m giving away an e-copy of A Sea Before Us to one commenter! To enter comment below about what draws you to a story or what era is your favorite to read about!! The winner will be announced March 20th!






Strengthened by Trial. . . Overwhelmed by Grace


Rebekah's Blog Post image 2.png

Rachel, thank you SO much for opening your blog and allowing me to share one of my testimonies. And readers, thank you for spending your precious time with me.

My husband’s heart attack came out of nowhere. He was only thirty-eight and completely healthy. For him, it came down to genetics. And it came down to God’s grace in saving him that terrifying night.

As you can imagine, I was a mess. Here I was, in my thirties, with two kids, and the rock of our family was heading into a serious surgery. But that entire time, God was with us. I cried out to Him, and He heard. He healed. He comforted. Never had King David’s cries to the Lord felt truer to me.

Out of that dark night, and the weeks and months following, as we returned to a “new normal”, I began seeing the good that came from my husband’s health scare. Because of that trial we all drew closer to God. We reexamined our priorities. For years before this, I had been praying his job would be less stressful, and that the Lord would lead him to baptism.

A job opportunity arose for him, that only the good Lord could have provided. Had my husband not gone through what he did, I don’t think he would have taken it. The new position was a total shift from the corporate ladder he’d been climbing his entire career. This new job was and continues to be a miracle. Gone are the late hours and working weekends. Gone is the stress that plagued him.

A year later we were at an outdoor baptism ceremony for our oldest son. God spoke to my husband in an undeniably awesome way (And boy, is that another testimony to share another time.). That day he went forward and publicly declared his allegiance to Jesus.

Besides those two major blessings, this trial has also helped in my writing as a Christian romance author. It’s opened my eyes to showing more of God’s grace and mercy in my stories, and how instrumental He is. It’s brought an authenticity to my character’s relationships with each other, and God.

There are still health issues plaguing my husband. But the positives that sprouted, and continue flourishing because of God’s grace and love, outweigh the negatives. God is good, my friends. And ever faithful.

About the Author:

P1080922.jpgRebekah Millet is an award-winning author of contemporary Christian romance novels. Although she considers herself a plot-driven writer, her characters have a tendency to highjack her plans. A New Orleans native, she loves injecting her colorful culture into her stories. You can find Rebekah on all social media platforms where she frequently interacts with followers and fangirls over her own favorite authors.

She’s also having an Amazon gift card giveaway! To enter, leave a comment here and click the link to sign up for her quarterly newsletter. All new subscribers will be automatically entered for the chance to win. The winner will be announced here on Monday, March 19th!

Newsletter link: http://rebekahmillet.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0ed34492d60aef833b62aeb76&id=1621aeb2a9


The Sorrows of Having a Big But



But. I hear this word from my eleven-year-old all. Day. Long.  But I can’t. But it’s too hard. But I tried that already. So my aim as a parent is to encourage. To help my son look past his insecurity and realize he’s stronger, smarter, than he believes.

How often do we say this to God? He asks us to step out, and our big but gets in the way. We either doubt we heard Him correctly—thinking it could just be us—or our insufficiencies deter us from going beyond our comfort zone.

The pivotal aspect about this is God WANTS us to step out in order to bless us further.

Do you remember the disciples when Jesus told them to let down their nets? (Luke 5:4) He used their fishing vessel to preach to the massive crowd. Once finished, He turned to Peter and said: Launch out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.

How did Peter respond? (Luke 5:5a amp). “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing.”

I can almost hear the whine in Peter’s voice. I tried that already, God. It’s tough. My arms ache from navigating the heavy rope. I’m tired.

If Peter would’ve continued in that vein he would’ve missed his miracle. Missed what God intended for him to have. How many times have I missed out because my but was bigger than my desire to obey God? Squandered opportunities. Wasted blessings.

Thankfully Peter realized his mistake and changed his outlook. (Luke 5:5b esv) But at your word I will let down the nets.

Did you catch the switch? He changed the but to one of obedience. To one of faith. Of reliance on what God said rather on how he felt or thought.

He changed his focus from his own failure and shortcomings to Jesus’s word, hoping in His ability. In the past, I’ve failed in that area, relying on my own strength instead of His. Then when God motions me to move, my shoulders slump and I complain “but I did that already, and it failed.” Friends, there’s a lot to be said about God’s timing and grace. When God says it, He’ll back it up. And that makes all the difference.

So I encourage you to get your big but out of the way and trust His word! He rewards faith. Believe, step out, and watch His blessings cram your nets full. 🙂

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash


Saturday Night Supper Club Review & Giveaway!

If you have a voracious appetite for tender romance and vivid characters, then Carla Laureano has served up a savory story in her new release Saturday Night Supper Club!

About the Book

The Sunday SupperTitle: The Saturday Night Supper Club

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian fiction/romance fiction

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

My Thoughts:

Having read phenomenal novels by this author before, I was thrilled to get my hands on her latest story. I was not disappointed. This book is stamped with Ms. Laureano’s signature flair, complete witty dialogue and heart-engaging prose.

I’ve worked in a fine dining restaurant and observed that though the dining area is tranquil, the kitchen is anything but. The frenzied scene could make anyone’s blood pressure spike. I mention this solely because the author did a thorough job of capturing the hectic—yet organized—atmosphere. My stomach growled on several occasions while my mind was raptured by the brilliant plot which had me turning pages well into the night hours.

I was immediately endeared to the heroine. Not only because her name matched mine—though I confess that helped a bit ;)—but because of her compelling attitude to push past hardship. I admire her dedication and drive. Though in all her success and failure, I noticed, and the heroine did too, that something was missing. It was fun to take that journey with her and discover the wonder of love, given to us not because of effort but because of grace.

And the romance? Oh man, it was superb. Just like Rachel Bishop could plate an exquisite meal, Carla Laureano can craft a spectacular love story. I relished the scenes saturated with heavy emotion as well as the ones that made me chuckle aloud. This truly was a well-rounded story—everything from laughs to sighs. I recommend this five-star novel but will throw out a disclaimer: Be ready to be whisked away by the captivating narrative and also be cautioned that consuming Cheetos while reading is a pathetic substitute to the palatable meals expressed throughout the pages. 😉

Make sure you keep scrolling for a guest post by the author and a fabulous giveaway!!

** I received a copy through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.


About the Author

pic_LGb_Laureano_CarlaCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.


Guest Post From Carla Laureano

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Rachel Scott McDaniel, February 20

A Baker’s Perspective, February 20

Just Commonly, February 20

Mommynificent, February 21

Among The Reads, February 21

A Greater Yes, February 21

proud to be an autism mom, February 21

Fiction Aficionado, February 22

Quiet Quilter, February 22

The Power of Words, February 23

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Janices book reviews, February 24

C Jane Read, February 24

Faery Tales Are Real, February 24

All of a Kind Mom, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 26

Smiling Book Reviews, February 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 26

Splashes of Joy, February 27

Its Storytime with Van Daniker, February 27

Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest post from Mindy)

Radiant Light, February 28

Moments Dipped in Ink, February 28

Baker kella, February 28

Pause for Tales, March 1

Book by Book, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 2

Bibliophile Reviews, March 3

Two Points of Interest, March 3

Reading is my Super Power, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

amandainpa, March 4

Singing Librarian Books, March 4

By The Book, March 5

Neverending Stories, March 5

Pursuing Stacie, March 5



To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c9b4

A Refuge Assured Review



A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green was so achingly beautiful I’m floundering for adequate words to describe it. Seriously. So while I’m scouring my mental process for anything intelligent to uphold my claim that this is my favorite story of 2018, you can read the back cover blurb:

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia but finds the same dangers lurking in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers threaten the life of a young boy left in her care, who some suspect to be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement, Asylum, offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate the land of his hard-won farm near Azilum, but soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they will be drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

My Thoughts:

Okay. Here goes. *breathes deep*

It is evident a lot of work went into crafting this remarkable novel. The author depicts major historical events with exceptional accuracy, sewing these details into a poignant story. From the opening pages, I was submerged into the tempestuous season of the French Revolution. The upheaval and grief threatened to destroy Vivienne Rivard, the heroine, but grace proved stronger. Her resiliency was inspiring as well as her noble purpose to do what’s right. Though she carries haunts of the guillotine, wounds of estranged parents, and the worries of surviving in America, Vivienne’s heart for God and others is as brilliant as the lace she fashions. It was moving to experience her trials and triumphs. But what I loved most was her relationship with Liam.

Liam Delaney is by far one of the most honorable heroes that I’ve read in a long time. He’s a fierce protector of everything he loves—from his family, consisting only of his sister and cousin, to the farming land he’s toiled over. This endearing virtue holds no exception when Vivenne walks into his life. The challenges these two face in a short length of time exceeds what most experience in a lifetime, and it was awe-infusing how God became their Refuge.

Twists and turns, ups and downs, failures and triumphs saturate this story, giving the reader plenty to muse over!

Just as thread unites a garment, faith bonds this story together in a tender way. The spiritual theme of God being our refuge is ever-present in an organic—but never forced—tone.

I LOVED this 5-star story oh so much and am excited to see what the author has in store for this eager reader!

Click here to purchase a copy.

*I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.


Claiming Her Cowboy Review



Milestone reached! At 11:34 pm, last night, I finished reading a Love Inspired book. Though I’ve seen this Harlequin line in stores and on the internet, I’ve never read one.  And let me tell you, I’ve been missing out! Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe has captivating characters, witty banter, and a charming romance!

Here’s the blurb:

Attorney Jackson Harris regularly goes toe-to-toe with the world’s toughest lawyers—but none of them compare to Lucy Maxwell. The feisty director of Oklahoma’s Big Heart Ranch for orphans is as stubborn as she is pretty. But Jack must stay focused; he’s only there to evaluate the ranch’s funding. Falling for Lucy and the sweet children she protects is out of the question. Though Lucy is determined to keep the ranch, she’s not about to give control to a city slicker—even a devastatingly good-looking one. But as they bump heads, Jack and Lucy gradually nudge open their hearts. Could a temporary cowboy become a permanent part of Lucy’s life?

My thoughts:

First off, this story is set in Oklahoma, very close to the area where I’ve lived. The author totally nailed the feel of Okie summers from the humid air to the capricious weather. As for the characters, I was immediately drawn to Lucy Maxwell. Her heart for others—especially emotionally-wounded children—endeared her to me from page one. It was fun to read the adorable- sometimes hilarious – interactions between Lucy and Jackson. (Especially the several times the country girl put the city boy in his place. 😉 ) But Jackson’s good humor and ready-to-help attitude made him a complement to the ranch and to Lucy’s cautious heart.

What I loved most about this story, besides the enamoring romance, is the spiritual premise. Both the main characters struggle with issues from their past which color their take on the future. I adore stories which reveal God’s overwhelming love in the form of second chances.

Click here to purchase!

*I received this story through a giveaway from the author. A review was not required. All opinions are my own.