Justice Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway!

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“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!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.

Giveaway!!!

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.*

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The Sea Before Us Review & GiveAway!

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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.

Giveaway!

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

 

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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

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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