The Bathsheba Battle (2019) — Author Interview

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About the Book

41Jf5PiwQvL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBook: The Bathsheba Battle

Author: Natalie Chambers Snapp

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Genre: Christian Women’s Issues, Non-fiction

Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn, leaving you feeling hurt and stuck? In The Bathsheba Battle, Natalie Chambers Snapp helps women find healing and hope when things haven’t gone as they had planned. Bathsheba, typically misrepresented as an adulteress, is one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Despite an unexpected turn in her life, which resulted in tragic circumstances beyond her control, there are glimmers of hope in her story. By studying her life, readers will find healing from their own painful pasts and hope for living the free and full lives God intends.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Natalie Chambers Snapp is an author, blogger, and speaker known for her refreshing authenticity and practical approach to life and God’s Word. Not choosing to follow Jesus until the age of twenty-seven, she is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love with others “regardless of your track record.” Her transparency and humor endear her to women of all ages.

Snapp is the author of the book Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to HaveBecoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships and The Bathsheba Battle: Finding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn. She has written for various blogs and online devotionals, including Proverbs 31.

Snapp lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband and their three children.

Website  ℘   Facebook  ℘   Twitter  ℘   Instagram

Author Interview

Q: You describe Bathsheba as one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. How is she typically misrepresented?

Bathsheba is often portrayed as the adulteress—as though she was a vixen with the intent to tempt David and hopefully, take her on as his wife. However, the fact remains that she was a victim of David’s own desires and paid a very dear price for his sin. Sadly, victims can sometimes be blamed and in the case of Bathsheba, that’s exactly what happened.

Q: What were some of the tragic circumstances that Bathsheba found herself in that were out of her control? How can we relate to her story today?

First of all, some commentaries claim Bathsheba was trying to entice David by bathing in the courtyard of her home. However, during the time in which Bathsheba lived, indoor plumbing didn’t exist! Therefore, most families had a basin in the courtyard for bathing purposes. When David saw her bathing, she was obeying the cleansing ritual required of women after monthly menstruation. She was not trying to entice David—she was simply following the rules of her culture! How would she even know David was going to be walking on his rooftop at the precise moment she was bathing?

When David saw Bathsheba, he was immediately impressed with her beauty and summoned her to his palace. During those days, when the king summoned you to the palace, you did not have a choice, you went. So off Bathsheba goes to meet David and once there, they have sex. We have no way of definitively knowing if David assaulted her, but she did go to his palace against her will. For that reason, we can speculate that was a likely possibility. Bathsheba became pregnant which is when things start to go off the rails!

David tries to hide his sin by summoning Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, one of his most valuable warriors, home from the war (which is where David was supposed to be as well). Once Uriah reaches the palace, David proceeds to feed him a large meal and encourages him to drink a lot of wine so he will go home and have sex with Bathsheba. Problem solved! He can then pass his child off as Uriah’s, and no one needs to know about his sin. However, David failed to consider the fact that Uriah was a man of honor and refused to visit his wife when his men were still waging a war. Instead, he slept on the front porch of the palace with the servants. David tried a second night to get Uriah to visit his wife, but Uriah refused.

At this point in the story, we can see how sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go. Instead of confessing and coming clean to everyone, David orders Uriah to the frontlines of the battle, and of course, he is killed. Now, Bathsheba was possibly raped by the king, pregnant, and her husband is dead. All these things were out of her control.

After Uriah’s death, David takes Bathsheba as his wife. However, the restitution of David’s sin is the life of the child Bathsheba was carrying. Soon after the birth of David and Bathsheba’s son, the infant died. We see Bathsheba as a grieving mother, another event out of her control.

I think so many people can relate to Bathsheba’s story because 1) suffering happens to all of us and 2) sometimes, our suffering is the result of someone else’s actions and choices. In no way should we remain victims, but I think Bathsheba’s story is God’s way of telling us that He sees us, understands our pain, and is the Ultimate Justifier.

Q:  Can you share about a hardship or disappointment in your own life that provided the inspiration to write The Bathsheba Battle?

Absolutely! When I was in my late twenties, I was married to a man with a drug problem, but I did not know it. As many who have loved addicts understand, there are often behaviors corresponding with addiction that are not healthy for a young marriage and therefore, we divorced. Two months after I filed for divorce, my father, who was in and out of my life due to his own addiction issues, passed away unexpectedly.

Life had definitely taken a very unexpected turn and was not at all going the way I had planned. It was a dark season, and yet also the very season in which I became a follower of Jesus. My deconstruction led to my reconstruction. I have been remarried for fifteen years and have three beautiful children; however, periods of suffering have also been peppered throughout those years as well. Suffering is often cyclical and that has been true of my life!

Q: Explain how transformation happens during renovation. Where does renovation take place?

It sounds so trite, and I’m not going to lie, there were times during my own periods of suffering when I just wanted to scream when people said this to me. But the fact remains when we are deconstructed by trauma and circumstances in or beyond our control, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will indeed emerge with greater wisdom and grace. Suffering is the great equalizer—it does not discriminate between gender, race, beliefs, or socioeconomic status. No one is immune. However, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will emerge with new eyes of strength and dignity.

Q: Do we always have the ability to choose how we respond to our situation? Why is this such a significant choice, especially when we must endure a consequence of someone else’s sin?

Yes, I believe we do. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we will respond. Living life as a victim will ultimately make you feel powerless, depressed, and distrustful of people. It will lead to a life of bitterness, resentment, and anger. On the other hand, when we respond to our trauma with a humble heart and a willingness to be molded by our suffering, we feel empowered, strong, and able to help others when their time of suffering emerges. When we choose to live as victims, we give others power over our lives. When we choose to live as survivors, we understand that we possess the power ourselves.

Q: How does your study on Bathsheba shift from part one of the book to part two?

In Part One, we discuss the byproducts of our suffering: fear, shame, anger, and comparison. In Part Two, we look at how to overcome these negative emotions and live empowered and with hope.

Q: What does Bathsheba’s story teach us about forgiveness?

We don’t really know about Bathsheba’s forgiveness process because it’s not discussed in the Bible. However, we do see her stand before David in 1 Kings 1 with an empowered and confident voice that exhibits love and respect towards her husband. Perhaps somewhere during the course of their marriage, Bathsheba made peace with her circumstances—she chose her response and not to live as a victim.

Not living as a victim involves forgiveness and yet, this does not mean she might not have felt like a victim for a while. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel shameful. And it doesn’t mean that she didn’t grieve the loss of the life she thought she might have. It does, however, indicate that she chose to keep moving forward without allowing her grief and shame to negatively impact who she ultimately became. A woman who is victorious over suffering is the most beautiful and inspiring to us all.

I’m Waiting, God (2019) — Author Interview

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About the Book

9781501888625.jpgBookI’m Waiting, God

Author: Barb Roose

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Genre: Women’s Bible Study

Do you ever feel like God is taking too long to answer your prayers? Have you ever taken matters into your own hands, only to discover that you’ve made the situation worse?

Waiting on God challenges our faith when the bills are stacking up, our families are falling apart, or our dreams feel like they won’t come true. We know that God hears our prayers, but it’s hard when the clock is ticking yet He hasn’t shown us the answer.

In this four-week Bible study, Barb Roose invites us to explore the stories of women in the Bible who had to wait on God– women such as Hannah, Ruth, Martha, and the unnamed woman who suffered for over a decade with a painful medical condition. If you’ve felt anxious, angry, discouraged or depressed because God isn’t giving you what you want, their stories will breathe fresh hope and practical next steps in your life. As a reforming control lover, Barb mixes in her personal stories of learning how to wait for God during long seasons of unanswered prayers, family difficulties, and challenging times in ministry. Together we will discover that there is goodness and blessing to be found in times of waiting, including a closer relationship with God than we’ve ever dared to dream.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God helping them apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical realities and challenges they face as women in today’s culture.

Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country, as well as internationally, including national platforms such as the Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks Conference, and the UMC Leadership Institute.

She is the author of the I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays, Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty Bible studies and the books Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua and Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty. Her writing has been featured in many magazines, and she also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com. She is the host of the bi-monthly “Better Together” podcast.

Roose lives in Toledo, Ohio, and is the proud mom of three adult daughters. Her perfect day includes sleeping in, taking a long walk outside, shopping for shoes and eating two big bowls of chocolate peanut ice cream.

Website  ♥   Facebook   ♥   Twitter   ♥   Instagram

Author Interview

Q: What is it about waiting that often reverts us back to toddler-like tantrums?

All my kids went through that crazy toddler phase when they would fall on the floor screaming when I didn’t let them have something they wanted. What always amazed me was that those little girls were so focused on the one thing they couldn’t have that they forgot everything they already had to enjoy.

Over the years, I’ve kicked up my own fuss when God hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. There were times when I crossed my arms and pouted about not getting that bigger house, the job that would solve some financial issues, or why God hadn’t fixed the addiction issue that was breaking our hearts. I might not have thrown myself on the floor, but there were times when I didn’t want to pray or I’d withhold my worship because I felt like God was being unfair.

However, during some of my long seasons of unanswered prayers, I’ve learned how to halt my tantrum long enough to look around and see what God has already blessed me with. As I’ve learned to embrace a life of gratitude, God’s gifted me with a multitude of better blessings that have far exceeded anything that I could have ever asked for.

Q: An author writes about what she knows or needs to hear. Can you share an example of when you were waiting out God’s timing for what felt like forever?

For several years, I prayed for a full-time job to open up at the church where I worked part-time. I looked forward to paying the monthly bills without worrying if there’d be enough money to pay them.

Finally, I was offered a full-time job. However, the Great Recession devastated our automotive industry community. The loss of jobs led to reduced weekly giving at our church. In addition to some staff layoffs, my full-time position was postponed indefinitely. Disappointed, I was really angry with God. I was so tired of figuring out how to make ends meet month after month. After my big feelings calmed down, I kept trusting God to make ends meet and stayed faithful on my job.

Almost a year later, a different full-time job opened up for me – a promotion and a substantial pay raise. It was a better job than the one I’d gotten angry about losing the year before! While there were many years of sacrificing for what God was calling us to do, he took care of my family during those difficult days until times got better.

Q: We often blame our impatience on the fact we live in a world of technology where everything is at our fingertips, but as humans, haven’t we always had that problem?

We live in an “Insta-Everything” world that makes it possible for us to get what we want by the press of a button. Hungry? Order delivery from Postmates. Run out of toilet paper? Amazon can be a hero and deliver the next day.

Even though technology highlights how much we love speed, human nature has always been to get what we want, no matter the cost. The tension is that when we try to fix or force solutions, not only do we miss out on God’s best, but we often wreck our human relationships.

In Genesis, Abraham and Sarah live with an unanswered prayer for a child. Even though she knows what God has promised, Sarah tires of waiting and cooks up a scheme. Impatience does result in a baby—and broken relationships and a lot of bitter feelings, too.

I’ve been like Sarah and gotten impatient with God. However, I bear the Jesus-healed scars of my foolishness. I’ve learned this: When I try to push my way out of a waiting room, I will cause pain and problems in other people’s lives.

Q: What spiritual issues are usually being tested in us while we are in sitting in the waiting room of life?

Waiting room seasons of life challenge what we believe about God and how much fear and control are operating in our lives. Those long, frustrating days may prompt questions such as “Does God still love me?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Why is God answering their prayers, but not mine?” or “How long do I have to live like this, God?”

For more than a decade, our family felt the effects of a growing addiction issue. At first, I prayed, but my prayers were all about asking God to deal with the addiction because I wanted my happy, mostly pain-free and problem-free life back.

As the years went on, the effects of addiction began suffocating our daily lives. I stopped caring about getting my happy life back, I needed God’s power, presence and His peace to just help me get through the day, sometimes, even just the hour in front of me. Those last few years allowed me to discover there was nothing I needed more than God, even as I watched the once-lovely life I had fall apart and disappear. Yet, in God I found all that I needed.

Q: You write, “This journey looks more like a winding path instead of a formulaic three-step plan. Here’s the unique twist: your path to patience is paved right over the road of your unanswered prayers.” Can you talk about why there isn’t a formula?

There’s no formula for learning how to be patient, mainly because the human heart doesn’t respond to formulas. While there are formulas or strategies to bake cakes, build cars and even space travel, there is no formula that governs how a heart starts to love, begins to hate, moves toward God, or learns patience.

God knows our hearts need to experience certain situations, challenges and even heartache for us to learn how to trust his timeline for our lives. This means God is patient with us because part of our journey is learning we can’t fix people or force solutions in order to get what we want.

Unlike a plan, a winding path of learning to live on God’s timeline is more than just finding the fastest route from point A to point B. The winding path toward patience is a journey full of life-changing experiences, connections, and relationships that we encounter along the way that God uses to help our hearts look more like His.

Q: Sometimes God’s plans for us are so much better than anything we could have ever expected. What are some important things to remember moving forward after a blessing in disguise or a prayer answered in an unexpected way?

It’s really easy to forget God when life is good! This is why gratitude is so important because the more we give thanks to God, the more we continue to share his glory through our story. Often, after we finally get that thing that we’ve been praying for forever, we forget all of the lessons God taught us while we were waiting. Gratitude keeps us connected to those lessons and allows God’s better blessings to keep flowing through our lives.

Q: What final piece of encouragement would you give to those who may be in an intense period of waiting right now?

This is the encouragement that I share whenever I speak before an audience: Today, you are doing the best that you can! Keep holding on! God has more for you because God has put more in you!

A Christmas Haven (2019) + A Giveaway

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About the Book

81Iqf7gszpL.jpgBookA Christmas Haven

Series: An Amish Christmas Romance #2

Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I believe wholeheartedly that God puts us exactly where He wants us to be, and God NEVER makes mistakes. So, if God puts us where we are supposed to be and He never makes mistakes, why do those places sometimes feel like a prison? In A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall, Ivy Zook and Arlen Keim deal with this notion of being trapped in the wrong place. In Ivy’s case, she feels trapped by her stifling Amish community. She has a plan and believes God made her to fulfill this plan, but she cannot see how her God-ordained future can be fulfilled in a community with so many rules. Arlen comes from a very, very strict order of Amish called the Swartzentrubers. When he meets Ivy under very scary circumstances, Arlen is immediately disturbed by how free and worldly Ivy and her Old Order Amish community is. He knows God put him in this community for a time in order to help his sister, but Arlen can’t help but feel stuck in the wrong place.

Both Ivy and Arlen believe God is in charge of their steps but they really struggle with where God’s physically planted them. Over time, though, both Ivy and Arlen come to realize that following God’s purpose for their lives means letting God lead. God is the master planter for a reason. We need to be patient and we need to listen. God will always eventually show us why He’s planted us where we are at — even in those places that leave us feeling a bit trapped for a time. This was definitely a message I needed to hear again. I’ve felt a little stuck for a while now, but I know God’s got me where I’m at for a purpose. My job right now in the stuck time is to simply listen. God will explain things to me in His time just as He did for Ivy and Arlen.

A Christmas Haven is a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas novella. The characters are sweet, endearing, and very relatable. The plot is highly engaging. And the themes and issues that Ivy and Arlen wrestle with are things I felt I needed to tackle too. I really love this story and find I cannot recommend it enough. I hope you will purchase a copy today. You will not be disappointed you did!

I received a copy of this novella in paperback form from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. The giveaway begins today, 9-24-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Friday, 9-27-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Kay G.!

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.

All of You (2017)

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About the Book

20190915_181319.jpgBookAll of You

SeriesCarrington Family #2

Author: Sarah Monzon

Publisher: Radiant Publications

Genre: Time Slip — Christian Contemporary and Historical Fiction

Maryland, Present Day

Jacqueline Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

All of You is one of the most brilliant Christian novels I’ve ever read. Why?! Because of Michael Carrington. Michael is an exceptional hero. He’s handsome, disciplined, and so, so honorable. He’s a strong man with uber-confident faith in God. And, he’s cool. Like Maverick from Top Gun cool. At the start of this novel, Michael looks like he is the perfect man with the perfect life — the all-American Golden Boy! And then EVERYTHING changes in the blink of an eye.

PhotoCollage_20190917_183842927.jpgThe best part of All of You is watching as a strong Christian acts out his true faith during a life-altering experience. It has been my experience that often in Christian novels, a non-beliving or struggling-with-his-faith hero goes through a rough moment in his life then turns to God. But in All of You, Michael already loves God when trauma strikes. Does his faith fall by the wayside in light of his traumatic moment? No. Does Michael act like everything is OK when it clearly isn’t? No. What Michael does is go to God time and time again asking God to help him understand his next steps. He’s often in prayer throughout this story, and his prayer life is a genuine example of a solid relationship between man and God. Michael never hesitates to bring God his shock, confusion, anger, pain, or fear. As Hezekiah laid out a really scary letter from his enemies to the Lord in the Temple in 2 Kings 19:14 so they could have a chat, Michael lays out his soul to God day by day. Michael begs God to give him an answer. For a little while, his frustrating, overwhelming feelings remain and it looks like God will remain silent. But Michael never gives up. He just keeps on keeping on and tries to follow God’s will even when His path isn’t very clear. Michael is my favorite aspect of this novel because I value his example as a strong Christian. It’s so refreshing to read a story with a protagonist who is not afraid to lean into his relationship with God and share his whole soul. This aspect of Michael’s personality truly blessed and encouraged me.

All of You is a beautiful novel filled with endearing and relatable characters, a time-slip plot that is so well executed I equally loved both time periods, and a fabulous reminder to go to God through thick and thin. I love this book, and I am so sad my time with Michael and Jack is over. If you love well-written, beautiful stories then I highly recommend reading All of You. It is totally worth the read!

I purchased an eBook copy of this book from Amazon.com on September 3, 2017, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Finders Keepers (2017)

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About the Book

36516332._SY475_.jpgBook: Finders Keepers

Series: Carrington Family #1

Author: Sarah Monzon

Publisher: Radiant Publications

Genre: Time Slip — Christian Contemporary and Historical Fiction

Three lives. Three hundred years. One ship that ties them together.

Spain, 1689

The same evil that stole her mother’s life stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?

Florida, Present Day

Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious nature magazine, Our World—even diving in waters haunted by great white sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’-man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her dive locations, it may be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.

A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life—a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece, or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Finders Keepers deals with broken people. The kind of broken that holds grudges, deep-seated grudges, usually against God. I heard the best analogy the other day: running away from God because you are angry with Him is like having long, dirty hair that needs attention yet insisting it’s the barber’s fault for your hair’s condition. It’s kind of a silly analogy, but it makes a really great point. In Finders Keepers, our hero, Trent, blames God for a devastating loss. I 100% understand the hurt, anger, and sense of betrayal that Trent feels. When you lose a loved one, especially unexpectedly, it steals your very breath and it really feels like someone has punched through your chest and ripped your heart out. Those feelings, the feelings that consume Trent, are real and powerful, and they need to go somewhere. Unfortunately for most of us, we take these feelings out on God and we choose to run away from Him.

The only way to protect ourselves from being long-term angry and running away from God is to go to Him, ask Him to open our eyes to see a situation as He views it, and to talk to Him — sometimes really loudly — about our true feelings. God wants a relationship with us. Real relationships have happy, sad, angry, contented, and mundane moments. God wants a relationship in all those moments.

From June 2018 – January 2019 I unexpectedly lost a best friend who was like a big brother to me and my step-dad. These two men were two of the best men I knew. Honestly, for men, they were superheroes here on earth. At first, I was shocked and devastated, so much so I was sick to my stomach. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my mind felt numb. I had crater-sized holes in my heart. I also became angry — so, so angry — but I didn’t want to be angry at God. God did not cause the accidents that took these men’s lives — humans did. So I prayed: “God, please help me to see these situations through Your eyes. Don’t leave me!”

Nothing magical happened. God didn’t send me a dream or send an angel-messenger to explain the tragedies to me. BUT, God did show me a truth. Both my brother-friend and my step-dad were community servers. They loved helping people and saving the day. Both were EMT/firefighter/medical people. If either one of them had survived their accidents they would have been laid up for the rest of their lives. That would have killed their very souls. Instead, God took them home (they are both BIG Jesus believers). This truth, coupled with the fact that wanting them with me is just purely selfish (would you tell someone who’s with Jesus right now to come back to earth? Yeah, me neither) helped me to see the situation from God’s perspective. It doesn’t make the loss easier, but I feel a peace I didn’t feel before God put these thoughts in my brain. And, this revelation from God made me realize, as Trent realizes in Finders Keepers, that God fills my hurting, empty places. It taught me that running from God is just plain stupid. God is the balm to our souls. When we are hurting He wants to fix us!

Finders Keepers is an excellent novel. I barely touched the surface with this review. With captivating and highly relatable characters, a plot that makes you want to stay up well past bedtime to keep reading, and timely themes, Finders Keepers by Sarah Monzon is a story not to be missed!

I purchased an eBook copy of this book from Amazon.com on September 3, 2017, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sweet Melody (2019)

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About the Book

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Book: Sweet Melody

Series: A Seabrook Romance

Author: Heidi McCahan

Publisher: Snug Corner Cove Press

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

When a struggling bakery owner is rescued by a wannabe songwriter with hidden culinary talents, they discover they can make sweet harmony … if they can only learn to work together.

Rhett Foster longs to change the world with his music, yet he can’t even finish writing one song. Battered by a string of failures and disillusioned, he returns home to Portland, Oregon. While he desperately wants to create a chart-topping hit, his dad mandates a new mission: move to coastal vacation hotspot Seabrook, Washington and expand the family’s successful restaurant chain.

In danger of destroying her late parents’ legacy, if she doesn’t diversify her menu, Lindsay Carmichael will try anything to save her bakery. But with a tiny budget and an injured employee who can’t work, she has no choice but to sink the last of her savings into buying a dilapidated food truck and hiring Rhett as a part-time barista. What she doesn’t know is that the handsome songwriter has a secret … one that could destroy her business and her heart.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I’m relatively new to Heidi McCahan and her novels, but after reading Sweet Melody I think I need to go on a reading binge! Sweet Melody is an excellent contemporary romance that I enjoyed from start to end. It reminded me of the very best Hallmark films — the ones where the storyline is highly engaging, the chemistry between the hero and heroine is fierce and palpable from their first meeting, the kisses are sweet and swoon-worthy, and the ending is so satisfying you just can’t help but sigh. Sweet Melody is all this and more!

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Life is hard. Sometimes life hurts us and leaves us feeling as if we have a giant gaping hole right in the center of our chests. As humans, our natural inclination is to fill these voids with what we think are good things: we eat our feelings, we hang out with our “fun” friends, we start a new romantic relationship, or we escape into fun adventures that take us from our usual day to day. While joyful for a moment, the joy we feel from these worldly things is fleeting, and often leaves us feeling a little sadder and a little more empty inside. Life has definitely beaten up both Lindsay and Rhett. They’ve both been searching to fill their voids for quite some time, and both believe they have the answers to making their lives better. But things just keep falling apart. What is going on? When will they catch their breaks? Eventually, both Lindsay and Rhett realize that nothing worldly will ever fully fill the voids in their hearts. Only calling upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior will allow their hurt places to heal and true joy and peace to reign. I think this is a wonderful reminder for all of us readers, especially in this crazy day and age.

Sweet Melody is a highly enjoyable, sweet contemporary romance filled with heartwarming moments and timely themes. It’s a great read that I cannot recommend enough. Purchase your copy today. You will not be disappointed that you did.

I purchased an eBook copy of this book from Amazon.com on August 31, 2019, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Art of Rivers (2019)

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About the Book

The Art of Rivers.jpgBook: The Art of Rivers

Series: Coastal Hearts #3

Author: Janet Ferguson

Publisher: Southern Sun Press, LLC.

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

It’s finally happened. I’ve found a book that’s SO excellent it’s rendered me speechless. Alas, I will prevail. LOL!

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson is glorious. I was swept away by the highly-engaging storyline. I found the characters to be so expertly crafted they feel real and very relatable. The themes are timely, and I feel great reminders for all readers today. My most favorite aspect of this story, however, is how it opened my eyes to the plight of those who truly battle with addiction. The Art of Rivers ripped my heart in two and helped me see people in a more compassionate light. I count it a blessing to have read this book because it forced me to step into the shoes of someone else, then walk away changed for the better.

Cooper, the hero, stole my heart. His childhood experiences, his family interactions over the course of his life, and his moments of hopelessness tore at my emotions. I’ve never wanted to hug a character more than I did Cooper. Even though Cooper has gone through some extremely hurtful, very bad moments, I was greatly encouraged by his determination to continually fight his addictions. What a stellar person to recognize a deep issue within and make the concerted effort daily to fight to be the best version of himself possible. To me, this is real courage. Cooper’s strong drive to stay sober, to fight his fight daily and not give up, opened my eyes to just how hard the fight against addiction is.

I should preface that I do know (with my brain) how difficult it is to kick an ugly habit. There are 11 alcoholics/drug addicts in my family. In my lifetime, I have been directly affected by loved ones who have suffered from serious drug and alcohol abuse. Because I have been negatively affected by loved ones, I have created walls of protection around my heart and I have built up quasi-negative attitudes towards people who suffer from addiction. Cooper allowed for my walls to break a bit, and his character has helped me to see my loved ones through a different lens.

What I love so much about Cooper is his intense reliance on Jesus to see him through his mundane days, his hard days, and his really rough days. No matter the day, good or bad, Cooper is a great example of always going to God first. When his addiction craving rears its ugly head, and the temptation to go back to using is so fierce, Cooper acknowledges his struggle and immediately finds a way to go to God to cope. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul tells us that “No temptation has overtaken [us] that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let [us] be tempted beyond [our] ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape.” Every time Cooper’s addiction temptation shows up, Cooper acts. He immediately prays, or he forces himself to go to an addict’s anonymous meeting, or he finds a trusted friend and confesses, or he prays some more, or he reads his Bible. The point is, Cooper is a great example of a man who lives out 1 Corinthians 10:13. Cooper’s example of going to God and to not giving up is my favorite takeaway from this novel; a timely message I think we all need today!

The Art of Rivers is a story I cannot recommend enough. If you are looking for a book replete with endearing characters, that contains a fast-paced and highly engaging plot, and that leaves the reader with a warm, satisfied fuzzy feeling in her heart, then The Art of Rivers is definitely the book for you!

I received an eBook copy of this book from the author in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.