An Uncommon Woman (2020) — Release Day, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

wp-1578193266928.jpg

♥♥♥ HAPPY RELEASE DAY ♥♥♥

About the Book

wp-1578193266907.jpgBook:  An Uncommon Woman

Author: Laura Frantz

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand–and heart–are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Tessa Swan is an amazing woman. She is bright, passionate, and strong-willed. She is also beautiful, compassionate, and hard-working. But, Tessa is also just like every woman who’s ever walked the face of this earth — she, too, has insecurities and fears and doubts. While it is clear that Clay, the fabulous hero of An Uncommon Woman, is very attracted to Tessa for a plethora of reasons, Tessa still worries that she is not good enough for him. I completely understand Tessa’s feelings, as unfounded as they may be. For the most part, I’m pretty confident in the woman God has made me, but every now and then I, too, struggle with thoughts that I’m not good enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or smart enough for my husband. In Tessa’s case, she knows that Clay has access to genteel, upper-class women, women who have access to the best clothes money can buy and are always put together daintily and prettily. These women definitely do not have grime under their nails from working the land. Tessa has a blessed life — she’s educated where most are not, she has a loving family, and her needs are definitely met — but Tessa works for a living. Her hands are not pristine and her clothes are workworn. How could she ever compare to a back-east belle?

What I love so much about Tessa is she refuses to give in to these depressing thoughts and comparisons. In fact, a verse from Proverbs 31 comes to mind, which “renews her courage and straightens her shoulders” (113). She acknowledges that she may not be fancy like the ladies back east, but she does have the Bible to strengthen her. Tessa understands that God has made her a woman of strength and honor no matter how humble her circumstances (113). Isn’t this so beautiful? And it’s super encouraging too. Our worth as women is established by the loving Creator who made us, not by fickle society. Tessa’s example of going to her Bible to be reminded of how God sees her is the BEST message, and a reminder I think a lot of us ladies need today. The next time I’m feeling a little uncertain in my skin, when I’m feeling a little down or frumpy, I’m going to do what Tessa does — I’m going to go to God so He can remind me of my true value.

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz is a beautiful illustration of a Proverbs 31 woman hard at work. Tessa Swan is a superb heroine, and I am really going to miss her. She is a heroine I will remember long after finishing this book! If you are looking for a story that is well-crafted and beautifully penned, that takes you on a journey during a tumultuous time in our American history, and that is delightfully romantic, I highly recommend An Uncommon Woman. It’s truly a breathtaking story!

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Revell. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

wp-1578197032481.jpg

I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz. My giveaway begins today, 1-7-20 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 1-11-20 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Patty R.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

The Wedding Dress Christmas (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post from Rachel, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

The Wedding Dress FB Banner

About the Book

The Wedding Dress Christmas CoverBook:  The Wedding Dress Christmas

Series: The Wedding Collection #3.5

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 22, 2019

December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.

Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.

When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her.

Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.

JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

rachel-hauck-HR-5Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in The Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Rachel has also been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically. A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?

This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town of The Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of the books in The Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.

I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.

Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.

I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?

In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.

Yours,

Rachel

My Thoughts

I have not read any of the books in the Wedding Collection series, and I think that may be part of why I struggled with this story. Don’t get me wrong, The Wedding Dress Christmas has all the signature awesomeness fans of Hauck’s novels love and expect. The novella is well-written, the setting is pleasantly whimsical, and the characters have relatable facets. This novella also has gobs and gobs of Christmas magic perfect for our current holiday season. The mysterious, other-worldly man in purple is my favorite. He may have brought a tear or two to my eyes a couple of times. And, I absolutely adore the concept behind the wedding dress. What a fun and meaningful way to pass down history and a shared sense of female camaraderie!

But I did struggle with the pacing. Everything in this story moves at lightning speed. One second JoJo and Buck are discussing their maybe feelings for one another, and then they are making out. I actually got confused twice and had to re-read whole sections because I felt like I missed some sort of passion build-up. But, I didn’t miss anything. This novella just moves that fast. It actually makes me wonder if I missed some set-up for these two characters in previous novels.

Overall, I do recommend The Wedding Dress Christmas. It does get the reader into a romantic, Christmassy mood. Just be aware that the pacing for this story is super, duper fast. You blink and you’ve read the entire book. If you are in the mood to read a cute Christmas story in one sitting, then this is definitely the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

The Wedding Dress Christmas Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of The Wedding Dress Christmas and a Visa gift card for $25.

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/f1fe/the-wedding-dress-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

The Avid Reader, December 18

Through the Fire Blogs, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Robin’s Nest, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 19

By The Book, December 19

Wishful Endings, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19

Among the Reads, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Life as Lanhams, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

Daysong Reflections, December 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

Bigreadersite, December 21

Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 22

Britt Reads Fiction, December 22

She Lives to Read, December 23

Empowermoms, December 23

Inside the Wong Mind, December 23

Mia Reads Blog, December 23

Splashes of Joy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 25

Blogging With Carol, December 25

For Him and My Family, December 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 27

My Devotional Thoughts, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mamma Loves Books, December 27

Betti Mace, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 28

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 28

Quiet Quilter, December 29

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

janicesbookreviews, December 29

A Reader’s Brain, December 30

Inklings and notions, December 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 30

Carla Loves to Read, December 30

Back Porch Reads, December 31

CarpeDiem, December 31

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

Darling Hedgehog FB Banner

About the Book

Darling HedgehogBook: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole

Author: Auralee Arkinsly

Genre: Early reader chapter book

Release Date: September 13, 2019

Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Auralee ArkinslyAuralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job.

More from Auralee

I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew!  You are a river of hope for a new author.

So, here’s the story behind the story.

My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke.

I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved.  Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea.  Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.

Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling.

I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.

She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career.

The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist!

When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and their characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue.  It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better.

A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes.

I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom.  I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.

My Thoughts

This review is going to be a little different than my normal posts. Today, you are getting a two-for-one — one mini-review from my point of view and one from my 7-year old, Bella!

Mom’s Review: I love two things about this children’s chapter book. First, I adore the illustrations. They’re colorful, they’re bright, they add a nice touch of humor, and they help tell a good story. The second thing I appreciate, as a mom, is the lesson this book teaches children. “Not every stranger can be a friend” is a solid, unfortunate truth that ALL kids need to understand in this day and age.

But, I have two issues with this story. My first issue is that I do not appreciate the set-up for this story. I found it creepy. Darling, the protagonist, falls into a stranger’s house. That stranger gives Darling gifts, and without hesitation, Darling accepts. Then, Darling tries in several ways to come up with a gift for the stranger so that she and the stranger can be friends. I found this interplay very dangerous and very disturbing. Since my child had the capacity for cognitive understanding I have hammered into her that she is NOT allowed to take “gifts” from strangers unless mommy or daddy say it’s OK. As a mommy, I was disturbed from the beginning because this character acts the exact opposite as I’ve taught my child. Yes, things are later figured out, but I struggle with Darling’s blind acceptance of gifts from a creepy stranger.

My second issue occurs when Darling’s father later tells her that she was always safe from the fox because her hedgehog spines would keep her safe. I didn’t understand the value of this because while hedgehogs do have sharp spines to protect them, small children do not. Children are only as safe from predators as parents and trusted adults make them. I don’t understand how a child could relate to Darling’s character. Was this explanation supposed to be metaphorical? Is the author just attempting to teach the reader about the nature of hedgehogs? This response from Darling’s dad took me out of the story, and I found it odd. Sort of like a false sense of security.

Overall, I think Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is a story a parent must read with her children so some explaining and clarifying can be done. It definitely is a good “talking point” book to use as a teaching tool with one’s kids.

Bella’s Review: I like the hedgehog because she is cute. I do not think the fox is cute because she tries to eat Darling’s parents and friends. I think kids should read this book because it teaches a lesson to stay far, far away from strangers and to not take stuff from them. This book has safety rules to stay away from strangers. I like this book. I think this is a great book to read to kids. I hope you like this book too.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback and eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


darling hedgehog giveawayGIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!

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/f33e/darling-hedgehog-goes-down-a-foxhole-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

A Baker’s Perspective, December 11

A Diva’s Heart, December 11

Girls in White Dresses, December 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 12

For Him and My Family, December 12

Older & Smarter?, December 13

Emily Yager, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 13

Just the Write Escape, December 14

Blogging With Carol, December 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 15

Bigreadersite, December 15

janicesbookreviews, December 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 16

Blossoms and Blessings, December 17

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 17

A Reader’s Brain, December 17

Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , December 18

Lights in a Dark World, December 18

Remembrancy, December 19

Inklings and notions, December 19

Lighthouse Academy, December 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 20

Live.Love.Read., December 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, December 22

Maureen’s Musings, December 23

With a Joyful Noise, December 23

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Misleading Miss Verity (2019) + Giveaway

PhotoCollage_20191207_152134422.jpg

About the Book

FB_IMG_1575760493384.jpgBook: Misleading Miss Verity

Series: Regency Bride: Daughters of Aynsley #3

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I have a difficult time saying goodbye. Whether it’s my favorite aunt leaving after a fun visit or the last twenty-five pages in the final novel of a series, I struggle to let go. Confession time — I’ve had a copy of Misleading Miss Verity sitting on my desk for a while now, but I just couldn’t face saying farewell to a series I have loved and enjoyed SO much. I finally did it though; I devoured the pages in a few sittings, and then took some days to digest all the amazingness that is Misleading Miss Verity. What a fantastic story! Verity and Anthony are excellent characters. Their love story is my absolute favorite of all Ms. Miller’s stories. I was so engaged the entire read I could not put the book down. And the themes are so timely. Truly, Misleading Miss Verity is a superb Regency novel.

Verity pulled at my heartstrings the entire story. I so badly wanted to reach into the pages of this novel and mom-hug her so hard. Like Verity, I have never felt like I belonged in my family. To call me the black sheep would be an understatement. On more occasions than not, I have left my family gatherings devastated. I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but it sometimes feels like I’m the mistake in my family. Verity has always felt like a mistake. If only she were born a boy, then maybe her mom and dad would love her. You see, Verity’s older sisters are perfect. They are exactly who their parents dreamed them to be. But Verity — Verity is wrong in every way. Kind of like me and my brothers. It is very clear that my brothers can do no wrong while I can do no right. But what I love so much about Verity is she doesn’t change who she is to please her family. She knows who she is and she accepts herself as God made her, impetuousness and all. Being OK with who we are is exactly what God wants because He does not make mistakes! If He wanted us to be the way our parents wanted, He would have made us that way.

My mom is amazing. I love her so much, but her criticisms and disappointment in who I am have caused me a lot of emotional pain. I believe her heart has always been in the right place, she does want what best for me. I just wish who I am was good enough for her. Verity’s mom, however, is beyond rough. She is downright mean. The constant negative remarks about Verity wear Verity down. Reading Misleading Miss Verity made me think about how I am as a mom. When I think of my daughter, a smile as big as Texas forms on my face. I love my kid. I think she is amazing. She is so goofy, intelligent, witty, caring, and resilient. She loves so much. I genuinely admire her spunk, creativity, and people skills. I don’t want my daughter to ever feel like a mistake. I know what it is like to be a Verity. I know how crushing it feels to never meet parental expectations no matter how hard one tries. Because of this, I make it a daily concerted effort to remind my daughter that both God and I believe she was made to fulfill an amazing purpose — God’s purpose. My daughter is no mistake, and I always tell her and show her that I love her exactly as she is.

Carolyn Miller is my favorite Regency-era novelist. Her writing style is superb, her characters are endearing and relatable, and her plots are some of the most engaging I’ve ever encountered. Misleading Miss Verity is Ms. Miller’s best novel to date, and I’m really going to miss my time with these fabulous characters. But, I do look forward to all Carolyn Miller has in store for us readers in the future. I’m positive it will be as exceptional as the Daughters of Aynsley series is.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Kregel Publications. I also purchased an eBook copy from Amazon on November 26, 2019, to read and review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

PhotoCollage_20191207_151801880.jpg

I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller. My giveaway begins today, 12-10-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 12-14-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Amy S.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls — An ‘I Read with Audra’ Blog Tour

Beautiful_CBG_1024x768_pink

Thanks so much for joining me on the tour for the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls from Zondervan.

TOUR DATES: DECEMBER 2-16

Click HERE for tour information at I Read with Audra.

About the Bible

Created especially for girls ages 8 to 12, this beautiful Bible provides ample space for young artists to express themselves through coloring and journaling.

Girls can get creative with the detailed, ready-to-color line art surrounding the hundreds of inspiring verses in the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls. This Bible is a perfect gift for a special young girl in your life and will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.
Features include:

  • Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art
  • Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
  • Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections, and art
  • The complete text of the accurate, readable and clear New International Version (NIV)
  • Easy-to-read black-letter text in single-column format
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker
  • Beautifully designed Leathersoft-over-board cover featuring screen-printing and other cover embellishments
  • 8-point type size

Using the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) text makes the Bible accessible and easy-to-read for kids. The NIV is the result of over 50 years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, who oversee the efforts of many contributing scholars. Representing the spectrum of evangelicalism, the translators come from a wide range of denominations and various countries and continually review new research to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance, and authority. Every NIV Bible that is purchased helps Biblica translate and give Bibles to people in need around the world.

Click HERE to download fun coloring pages.

Click HERE to purchase a copy of this Bible today!

My Thoughts

My daughter has seen me read and annotate in my Bibles since she was born. When she was about three, I caught her “writing” all over one of her illustrated Bibles. It made my heart happy because I knew she was trying to be like mommy! When Bella turned 6, she asked for a “real” Bible, so my husband and I bought her a Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for girls. At 6, the Bible was still too advanced for her, but she loved to sit next to me while I was reading and annotating and work in hers. She has written and colored all over her book. All of this to say, my daughter and I have a lot of experience with this fantastic Bible for girls. Having one the past 18 months has been a real blessing to both me and Bella. She is working on creating a foundational relationship with God, and I am loving watching her “annotate” and color.

PROS — What Bella and I like the MOST

  • Tons of journaling space! If you write a lot of notes and thoughts and prayers in the side margins of your Bibles, this is a Bible for you.
  • Great coloring pages. Some are full-page coloring pages, and some are side-margin coloring spots. All coloring pages illustrate key Bible verses.
  • When there are notes at the bottom of a page, they are very helpful. As a mom, I like these notes because they help my daughter understand what she is reading a little better.
  • The text is easy to read. I am a fan of ESV translations, but that is way too difficult a translation for my almost-eight-year-old. The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls is perfect for her. I have Bella read to me, and so far, she hasn’t had any real struggles with the language in this text.

CONS — What Bella and I don’t like

  • We don’t have any CONS!

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls is an excellent starter Bible for girls, and I highly recommend it. What an excellent gift to give to your daughter or granddaughter this Christmas!

“I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls from Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) for this review. This post is sponsored by Zondervan.”


GIVEAWAY

Christmas background. Traditional Christmas decoration with snow

Click the link below to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Bright Unknown (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post & My Thoughts + A Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Bright Unknown FB Banner

About the Book

cover Bright UnkownBook: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Elizabeth Younts

Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee, she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.

That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

My Thoughts

I was born on April 25, 1981, at 4:16 p.m. in a traditional hospital setting. The name on my birth certificate reads Nicole Patricia Durso. I was always told that I was named after my father — Nicholas Patrick Durso — because I was firstborn and every firstborn on my dad’s side of the family is named Nicholas Patrick. I accepted this story but thought it sounded kind of fishy. I appreciated the connection to my father and grandfather and great grandfather, but I’ve always believed this tradition should have been kept through the male line. When I got a little bit older, I had to do a family tree project for school and discovered that this name thing was grossly incorrect. Most all of the men on my dad’s side of the family are NOT named Nicholas or Nicholas Patrick.

So, I confronted my mother: “What gives, mom? Why was I named Nicole Patricia?” She confessed that I was actually supposed to be named Elise Marie. My dad was really struggling with impending fatherhood while my mom was pregnant with me, and she was worried. So much so that when the recording nurse took down my vitals after I was born my mom loudly informed her that I was to be named Nicole Patricia. Why did my mom pull this switcheroo? Because she believed sharing a name with my father would make him less scared to be a dad, and it would bond us better. My mom was afraid my dad wouldn’t love me if I was called Elise Marie.

In The Bright Unknown names are important. Names are our identities. They become a vessel upon which our personalities are shaped. In a very real way, names are who we are. I am Nicole Patricia. I am not Elise Marie. That’s someone else or no one at all. Names are so important that if they’re stripped from us we become lost. Brighton and Angel, the heroine and hero of The Bright Unknown, go through many “Who am I?” moments, and at certain points become unnamed and lost. It’s actually quite painful to watch these two characters go through these periods.

This topic really weighed heavy on me for a couple of days, so much so I had to turn to my Bible. What does God say about names, about knowing us, and about our identities? In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells us that He knew us BEFORE He formed us in our mother’s wombs, and in Isaiah 49:16, God tells us that He has engraved His kids on the palms of His hands. Can you imagine that?! On God’s hands — His beautiful, perfect hands — are our names, and my name is Nicole Patricia. And, if Brighton and Angel were real, their names would be on God’s hands too. The point is no matter what humans do here on earth to make us invisible, worthless, or unimportant God knew us, knows us now, and forever sees our names on His palms. Can I get an AMEN?!

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts is a masterpiece. This novel is beyond excellent. It is poignant, heartbreaking, refreshing, and so filled with hope. I thoroughly loved every second spent with Brighton and Angel and will miss them now that I have turned the final page. It goes without saying that I highly (times infinity) recommend this must-read story.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased an eBook copy and an audio copy of this novel to review.  In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Rafflecopter Giveaway (hosted by The Christian Fiction Girl)

PhotoCollage_20191101_191421043.jpg

I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts. This giveaway is NOT part of the Celebrate Lit Tour. My giveaway begins today, 11-3-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Thursday, 11-7-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Shannon W.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.


BLOG STOPS

The Power of Words, November 2

A Reader’s Brain, November 2

Living Life Free in Christ, November 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 3

Inspired by fiction, November 3

Fiction Aficionado, November 4

Genesis 5020, November 4

janicesbookreviews, November 5

Blogging With Carol , November 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

To Everything A Season, November 6

The Becca Files, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

A Baker’s Perspective, November 8

Connect in Fiction, November 8

Moments, November 9

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Hallie Reads, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

mpbooks, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Godly Book Reviews, November 15

Waltz in the Wilderness — COVER REVEAL + Giveaway

WITW Cover Reveal PROMO & Post Header Image

Welcome to my Waltz in the Wilderness Cover Reveal Giveaway!

About the Book

Title: Waltz in the Wilderness
Series: Chaparral Hearts
Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Wild Heart Books
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2020

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

Preorder available at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

About the Author

Author PhotoKathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Waltz in the Wilderness is Kathleen’s debut novel and the first in a series of three stand-alone historical Christian romance novels connected by secondary characters and their beautiful Southern California setting.

Kathleen would love it if you visited her website at KathleenDenly.com. You can also connect with her on social media:

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook Author Page | Armchair Adventure Krew

To see some of the photos that inspired Waltz in the Wilderness, follow her on Pinterest.

Ready…

.

.

.

.

Set…

.

.

.

.

Reveal!!!

CLBD2019_WildHeartBooks_KathleenDenly_ChaparralHearts_01_WaltzInTheWilderness_EBOOK_FINAL

Preorder your copy today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Preorder Incentive Promo Image

If you preorder Waltz in the Wilderness AND email Kathleen proof of purchase (screenshot) before 12:00am PT January 11, 2020, you will receive a free digital copy of Ribbons and Beaus, a Chaparral Hearts Novella on January 21, 2020! For complete details, click here.

Excerpt from Waltz in the Wilderness

October 1850
California gold fields

They were going to starve to death, if they didn’t freeze to death first. Sure, they had beans for dinner, but Eli had had to trade her spare shirt for them—the one she’d been wearing beneath her everyday shirt to keep the early-October frost from biting her skin. She shivered beside the fire. Not much left to trade for supper, but then, there wasn’t another miner in these diggings that had grub to spare even if she had something worth trading.

She studied each bean, careful not to burn a one. Her hollow stomach cramped as the sweet smell of the simmering meal mixed with the scent of wood smoke filling the air.

A pinch of rosemary would have added flavor. Would Mama have been disappointed Eli’d traded the last of their herbs for Pa’s new coat? She shook her head. If Eli couldn’t coax Pa from the creek, the least she could do was keep his shoulders warm. Mama would have understood.

A shift in the cold wind blew soot into Eli’s eyes as she lifted the pan from the fire. Brushing a grimy strand of hair from her face and blinking away the sting, she turned her back to the smoke and stirred the beans.

Time to get Pa.

She walked to where he squatted in the icy mountain creek.

He wouldn’t be happy she’d traded the spare shirt. He’d wanted it to hide her blossoming womanhood. Of course, he’d have to notice the shirt was gone first.

Standing beside the babbling water, she toed off her boots before yanking her tattered socks off. After stuffing them into a boot, she pulled up her trousers and, with a bracing breath, waded into the chilling water.

“Here, Pa.”

She held the spoon out handle first, but he shrugged her away. Afternoon sunlight bounced off his thin, greasy hair—brown like hers, but darkened by muck. His dirt-encrusted brown eyes continued squinting into the swirling pan of water. The gentle rotation of his wrists never ceased.

“Come on, Pa. You gotta eat.”

He cleared his throat and spat to the side opposite where she stood, never taking his eyes from the water. “I’m fine. You eat.”

Eli lifted the spoon higher. “But, Pa—”

“I’ll eat later.” He shifted in the calf-deep water so that her worried stare landed squarely between his broad shoulder blades.

Her fingers tightened around the spoon as she planted her fist on her hip. The rocks shifted beneath her feet. “That’s what you said this morning.”

“I’m busy, Eli. Now hush and leave me be.”

She stood there a moment longer, taking in the sight of him. That tall, too-thin frame draped in the now too-large, threadbare shirt. She’d mended that thing more times than she could count. The trousers he kept up with a rope at his waist needed mending in the right knee, but she doubted the fabric could endure another stitching. She peered down at her own trousers. The worn threads of the cuffs drifted and tugged with the current.

She frowned at the beans cooling in the pan. A body shouldn’t have to choose between clothes and food. But miners upstream caught any fish in the creek, and hunting around here was pointless. All the digging, rattling, and mining commotion scared the game away.

She’d tried to coax Pa to leave their claim long enough to hunt elsewhere to no avail.

Mama could’ve convinced him.

Mama isn’t here. Eli straightened her shoulders. “Pa, this is the last—”

“Hey, Eli!” The familiar voice cut her off.

She turned in time to see a small rock sail toward her head and managed to duck it, but the move upset her balance. She tipped backward.

The beans!

Contorting herself to right her balance without spilling their dinner, she wobbled back and forth as stones rocked beneath her. She shifted her footing, but the sloped face of a large, moss-covered rock hastened her descent. Holding the pan aloft as she fell backward, her body tilted sideways and she overcorrected—

Sending the beans spilling down her shirt and into the creek.

For a moment she sat still, the chill of the icy mountain runoff failing to cool her blood as gales of boyish laughter drifted toward her from the bank. She erupted from the creek, wielding her now-empty pan above her head. “Morgan Channing, I’m gonna have your hide for this!”

She sloshed three full steps to the edge of the creek before she froze.

The eleven-year-old had stopped laughing and was staring at her, mouth hanging open, eyes wide. “Y-you…! Y-you’re a…a…”

Eli followed his gaze to her chest, where a few beans still clung to her drenched, oversized shirt. She dropped the pan and covered herself. Oh, how brainless of her! Would Pa send her away?

Available now for preorder!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Giveaway

Cover Reveal Giveaway Promo Image

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away a “Trust in the Lord” Journal & 80+ Journal Stickers Set, along with a $10 Amazon gift card. Be sure to comment on the blogs listed below for extra entries into the giveaway.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!

Blog Stops

Reading is My Superpower

Radiant Light

Joy of Reading

The Christian Fiction Girl

Moments Dipped in Ink

Bookworm Mama

Romances of the Cross

Fiction Aficionado

Robin’s Nest

A Baker’s Perspective

The Singing Librarian

With a Joyful Noise

Don’t forget to share this giveaway with your friends!