The Day She Said. . . I Do

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The serious threat of catching her hair ablaze caused Rachel’s heart to belly-flop into her stomach. The flames of four candelabras winked at her from both sides of the aisle, as if daring her to proceed. If it hadn’t been for the mid-June humidity declaring war on her loosened curls, she would have never agreed to douse her head with a bottle of Aussie hairspray making her a walking fire accelerant. And the realization that over a hundred pairs of eyes were pinned on her every move added to the struggle.

But proceed she must.

With her chin lifted, she straightened her shoulders without the slightest regard for her pounding pulse. After a couple of hitched breaths and strategically placed steps, she’d cleared the blazing boogers with ease. Not even a spark. Now to conquer the rest of the aisle.

Left foot. Right foot. Trying to keep in time with the Wedding March was a lot simpler yesterday in her flip-flops. Who on earth convinced her to wear four-inch heels? And why was the ivory runner so rumpled? Never mind. She could do this.

Her layered gown swooshed with each confident stride. A few sniffles and sighs floated by her ears. And she was pretty sure the repetitive honking sound was someone blowing their nose and not a goose trapped beneath a pew.

Though she had to confess, those minor distractions on her trek down the aisle were nothing compared to the mountainous troubles she’d faced on the actual journey which led her here. During various times, her adversaries may have thought they’d been discreet, but she’d heard the exaggerated whispers and caught the condescending glances.

She’s too young to marry.

She never had a real boyfriend before him. The sad girl doesn’t even know what love is.

That marriage won’t last.

It wasn’t that she had the vengeance to prove them wrong, but rather the desire to prove herself right. That despite her being nineteen, she could discern her own heart. Judge her own aspirations. They hadn’t known she’d guarded her heart, her purity, with a dedication only God could give. They also hadn’t known the man who was about to give her his name, one who’d champion her in any arena of life. The feathery touch of God’s presence coursed through her, reassuring. Like the many times over this past year. God was with her. He made her strong. And the church brimmed with more well-wishers than naysayers.

Hands holding white and pale pink roses dangled in the aisle. Hands that belonged to people who had made a mark on her heart. She continued down the path to her future, collecting the flowers from family and friends. It meant more to her than holding a stiff bridal bouquet, for she clutched memories.

Then…the world stopped. Well, not really. But to her, the moment he came in view, her surroundings faded. Now, it was the way it should be. Just him and her. Scott and Rachel.

Gracious, the way he filled that Italian suit sent shivers right past her “something blue” garter all the way to her pinched toes. His bronze-colored eyes held a watery sheen, his intense gaze pouring into her, quieting the anxious corners of her soul.

While the preacher procured the communion elements, Scott leaned toward her, his lips brushing her ear. “Rachy…you’re stunning.”

Why, oh why hadn’t she worn waterproof mascara? Her face would resemble a zebra soon. A good look for a children’s theme party, but not her wedding.

“No tears, Fuzzhead.” A delicious smile played on his lips. Fuzzhead, his nickname for her when she was fourteen. Goodness, had six years really passed? Six years of drawing hearts around his name. Six years of dreaming for this day to come. This day. She bit her lip, tasting the grit of her lipstick.

The preacher returned and handed them the bread and juice. Gazing at the divine remembrances in her palm, she comprehended what had eluded her for several years. Communion was deeper than a formality. Stronger than a churchy ritual. And right now, bigger than a poofy dress and fancy hair. It was about Him—Jesus. How He’d surrendered His life for the church. His bride. To cleanse her. To beautify her. To make her who she was destined to be by the forfeit of His life. That was love. Devotion. Sacrifice.

Lord, help me see. Let our marriage be worthy of Your shed blood. For You to be our focus.

In unison, they partook of the Lord’s Supper. Scott wove his fingers into hers, an intimate familiarity that would never grow old. The warmth of his grip melted her heart. She smiled at him— the first man to hold her hand, to tell her she was beautiful. The only man to say those coveted words—I love you.

A peace settled in the depths of her being. It didn’t matter what difficulty they would face over the years to come. Fear had no hold on her. A lifetime of love and unspeakable joy stretched before her. She lifted her lashes, setting her sights on the wooden cross above the baptismal. Today she said I do, and it meant forever.

 

 

Roseanna White’s A Song Unheard Cover Reveal

So it’s a common thing around here to see book reviews for the latest releases in Christian fiction, but today we’re doing something new. A cover reveal! Author Roseanna White’s second book in the Shadow Over England series, A Song Unheard, is scheduled to release January 2, 2018. (That date seems soooo far away, but thankfully book one A Name Unknown releases in less than a month)

About A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

 

My Thoughts

Being the music enthusiast that I am, I’m excited about this story! And let’s not forget the mystery sure to rouse our intrigue. Codes? How cool is that? There’s bound to be fun, danger, and my personal favorite ROMANCE parading about the pages. But what I love about Roseanna’s stories is the element of faith woven throughout that always leaves me spiritually refreshed.

Okay, hopefully your appetite is whet because without further ado. . .

 

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Isn’t Willa gorgeous? And that dress! So dear reader, if you’re sold that this story is definitely worth looking into, here’s the link for preorder.

https://www.amazon.com/Song-Unheard-Shadows-Over-England/dp/0764219278/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496689880&sr=8-1&keywords=a+song+unheard+roseanna+white

Or check it out on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35069089-a-song-unheard?ac=1&from_search=true

About the Author

RoseannaJuly2016.jpgRoseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.
Being educated at St. John’s Collete (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and also small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

You can contact Roseanna on her website , Facebook, or Twitter

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this cover! Comment below about this story or what you consider is most important in a cover.

 

 

Becky Wade’s True To You review and $100 Giveaway

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About the book:

It’s the exciting start of a brand-new series by a contemporary romance fan favorite!
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.
Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.
The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Review

Courtesy Disclaimer: You’re about to venture into the portion of this post consisting of excessive gushing and extreme fangirling. Consider yourself warned. 😉

Okay. Now that the caution is out of the way – here goes.

True to You is my favorite Becky Wade story to date! It is! And trust me, my declaration is not unfounded. There are several reasons that uphold my claim.

One- Nora!

Who doesn’t love a librarian as a heroine? But what seals my adoration is how relatable her character is. For me, if I can identify with a main character early on, then I’m excited for the reading journey ahead. Nora Bradford was one I could see me being friends with. She’s sweet-natured, caring, and—my personal favorite—obsessed with British television. We’d get along great! I love her awkwardness with the hero at early encounters and the transformation to ease and fun banter with the giant navy seal as the story progresses.

Two- John!

As if I wasn’t going to mention the Navy Seal! Here’s my favorite thing about John–HIS JOURNEY. (Yes all caps were necessary 😉 ) He embarks on the sensitive task of discovering his birth mother with Nora’s assistance, and along the way he uncovers truth about himself. It was intriguing and out of this revelation came the most important element of the story. (besides the romance)

The Spiritual Theme.

Becky weaves strong spiritual themes into all her novels, and this one is no exception. It is one that stuck with me. And that is—our identity is in Christ. It doesn’t matter what your background is or even who your natural parents are. If you’re a Christian, you’re a new creature, old things have passed away behold all things have become new. This surety keeps us stable through rough circumstances. So glad Becky brought this truth out in her story. After reading this novel, I even saw the title in a whole new light. True to You. Yes, there’s that beautiful romancey tone about being true and loyal to the one your heart loves, but there is also another meaning. Being true to “you” – the individual. True to the person God created in His image, to recognize your true identity in Jesus.

And now, do you think I could finish this review without mentioning the romance? Umm, never. The tender relationship between Nora and John was heartfelt, beautiful, and, at moments, humorous. The chemistry between the two characters were tangible and fun to read. Becky has such talent in bringing a fresh love story that touches your heart and leaves you in anticipation for the next story.

*I was provided a copy from Litfuse Publicity Group. All opinions are my own.

24915f31-fc71-458d-8e0a-631376c43548.jpgAbout the author:

Becky Wade is a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Visit Becky at her Website, BeckyWade.com on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade’s new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

I’m Overwhelmed!

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Show of hands—Who’s had enough of this month? ME!!! Between meetings, evaluations, appointments, school programs and specials, these past few weeks have been a busy blur. I’m constantly thinking. Okay, what’s on the agenda today? Where do I have to be at what time? I get nervous thinking I’m going to miss something important like a kid’s awards assembly or an appointment. Little sleep and lots of coffee. I’m overwhelmed.

But…God wants me to be overwhelmed, just not in the manner I’m in. A different overwhelmed. He knows I’m not doing this right. I’m not supposed to be frustrated. Should never lose my peace. Nope. I’m living life in my own strength and that’s not what God told me to do.

Eph. 6:10 Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

His strength not mine. His power.

Then I thought about how- when God does things – He goes BIG! He’s an overwhelming God. When He thinks of me, His thoughts outnumber the sand.  When He forgives my wrong-doings, He casts them into the sea of forgetfulness. He gives me life, and it’s everlasting. He lavishes me with love, and it’s unfailing. He overwhelms me.

So whatever is burdening you, remember that when God shows up, He goes BIG. You’re not forgotten, He’s engraved you on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16) You’re not alone. Even when your feel foundation is trembling, He’s the Rock of Ages and will uphold you.

Be overwhelmed, friend.

Behind The Scenes Review and Author Interview

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To order your copy, click here.

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Book: Behind the Scenes

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Release Date: April, 2017

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.

When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

 

My Thoughts

Haven’t read this author previously, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I soon found out. Within the first chapter I was smiling, chuckling, and drawn to this awkward, yet precious wallflower.

Permilia’s confident and witty personality earned my attention from the start. (Side note- The author began the story at a costumed ball hosted by Alva Vanderbilt which is historically accurate and totally awesome!) What I loved most about Permilia is the fact that she wasn’t a glamorous socialite, but a spunky misfit with an enormous heart. Top that off with her antics to save Mr. Asher Rutherford from a devilish plot, and you have a fun story!

Asher Rutherford is kind, dashing, and the most sought-after bachelor in the high-class society. As much as Permilia was on the outer fringe of their inner circle, he was smack dab in the center of everyone’s enthrallment. And that, folks, makes a beautiful backdrop for a romance to begin. Permilia and Asher had a relationship that involved humorous arguing, playful banter, an intriguing mystery, and—my personal favorite—an amusing dance. The entire book was entertaining with twists and turns that kept me guessing!

The major theme of the story—my takeaway—was that God’s plan for us may not be what we think or imagine, but it is indeed beautiful and perfect. I don’t want to give away any spoilers here, but I will say Permilia had dreams and goals that God answered in a manner that superseded anything she’d conjured in her mind. It reminded me of the verse in Ephesians 3:20- Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above al that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

 If you enjoy the gilded age and love to laugh then I recommend this book. 🙂

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

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Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

Interview With Jen Turano

  • What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?

Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

 

  • What is your favorite book from your childhood?

“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

 

  • Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?

I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

 

  • Where is your favorite place to write?

I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

 

  • What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

 

  • Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?

I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.

 

  • What inspires you?

I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 27: The Scribbler

April 27: Genesis 5020

April 27: These Splendid Sentences

April 28: Back Porch Reads

April 28: Smiling Book Reviews

April 28: Fiction, Faith, and Fun

April 28: Just the Write Escape

April 29: Bookworm Mama

April 29: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

April 29: Books. Books. AND More Books.

April 29: Karen Sue Hadley

April 30: Lighthouse Academy

April 30: Radiant Light

April 30: Bigreadersite

April 30: Lane Hill House

May 1: Faithfully Bookish

May 1: Counting Pinecones

May 1: Blogging With Carol

May 1: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 2: inklings and notions

May 2: Blossoms and Blessings

May 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

May 2: Neverending Stories

May 3: For The Love of Books

May 3: Singing Librarian Books

May 3: Book by Book

May 3: Pause for Tales

May 4: A Baker’s Perspective

May 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 4: cherylbbookblog

May 4: Rachel Scott McDaniel

May 5: With a Joyful Noise

May 5: Baker Kella

May 5: A Reader’s Brain

May 5: Southern Gal Loves to Read

May 6: A Greater Yes

May 6: Christian Bookaholic

May 6: Connie’s History Classroom

May 6: Splashes of Joy

May 6: Just Commonly

May 7: A Simple Life, really?!

May 7: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

May 7: Daysong Reflections

May 7: The Power of Words

May 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Eat, Read,Teach, Blog

May 8: Giveaway Lady

May 8: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

May 9: History, Mystery & Faith

May 9: I Hope You Dance

May 9: Simpleharvestreads

May 10: His Grace is Sufficient

May 10: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

May 10: Raining Butterfly Kisses

May 10: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/

 

Becky Wade’s ‘True To You’ Author Chat Party



Raise your hand if you’re ready for Becky Wade’s new series! Celebrate the release of book one, True to You, with Becky and other readers on Facebook on May 4th during a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Becky will be chatting about the book and answering your questions about the new series, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too!

Pre-order your copy of True to You so you’re ready for a fun book discussion. Find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on May 4 for Becky’s True to You Facebook Party!

To Have It All!

 

Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of discontentment. Never satisfied. If only I had this. If only things were this way instead of how I’m living now. If only I could accomplish this endeavor, then I’d be happy. Without realizing it, I placed a good chunk of my happiness and a bit of my self-worth on the future.

Or

I’d adopt an extreme case of the “shouldas”. Shoulda done this. I shoulda completed this part of my schooling. I shoulda never wasted my time on this or that, etc. I’d contemplate what I could’ve done differently in the past that could’ve improved my manner of life.

But then I discovered something. Yes, God is the God of the Past and the Future, He knows the end from the beginning, but He’s the God of the present. Or like I’ve been thinking- The God of the NOW.

He wants me to live in the moment. I’m not to be absorbed in the past or consumed with the future, but to revel in the moment. It was during my pondering on this topic, that God revealed the truth of the matter—I have it ALL! And so do you!

2 Peter 1:3 ESV reads:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. (Bold font added 🙂  )

So if God in His awesomeness has already given me everything I need, then I am enough, NOW. I have it all, NOW. Not some random time in the future. NOW!!!! (Cue the excessive exclamation points 😉 )

Jesus is ALL I need, and He’s more than enough for me.

There’s a peace in knowing this. I can rest. I don’t have to wish my life away, hinging my contentment on the future nor do I have to fill my heart with regrets on how my life could’ve been. Why? Because God said I have it all. He’s provided for me. He’s endowed me with everything I need. And the only thing I have to do is just believe Him.

So friends, I encourage you to embrace the moment. To thank God for the gift He’s bestowed on you—the present. Today. Because truly, you have it all.

This song by Joy William’s relays the theme of this post 🙂