SPOTLIGHT: Diamonds 2020 Conference!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020



Hey everyone! Today's post is about Diamonds 2020, a free online conference for chronically ill Christians. It's an awesome concept started by S. G. Willoughby, author of He's Making Diamonds (which I reviewed HERE). If you're interested in attending this conference, register quickly -- it starts TOMORROW! (Thursday the 23rd). While I've never attended personally, I do know that Willoughby's book was deeply encouraging, and I know that the conference is probably even better. I really have to commend her for everything that she does to serve those who struggle with health problems. So make sure to read on for more info and make sure to check out the giveaway...starting now! If you don't know anything about the conference, check out the trailer HERE (and then come back ASAP because we're only getting started!)



Diamonds 2020 Webpage/Registration link: http://sgwilloughby.com/diamonds-conference/diamonds-2020/



What is Diamonds 2020?
Diamonds is an annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Millions of chronically ill people battle impossible trials every single day. But so many of them feel so alone. The speakers of Diamonds 2020 want them to know they aren’t — not by a long shot. The theme for Diamonds 2020 is Fighting Together — all about relationships in the midst of chronic illness, from caregiver-patient relationships to spouse relationships to your relationship with God.

When is Diamonds 2020?
Diamonds 2020 occurs the last weekend in January — from Thursday the 23rd through Saturday the 25th. You can join live for as much as you are able, and if you miss anything you will still be able to view the recorded version.

Who is speaking at Diamonds 2020?
This year, we have even more speakers than last year, and each of these amazing people has a special message of hope and compassion to share with you out of their own experiences with long-term illness.

  • Bella Morganthal
  • Scott Degroff
  • Lynn Degroff
  • Bethany Beal
  • K. J. Ramsey
  • Hailey Rose
  • Tessa Emily Hall
  • Pamela Piquette
  • Becca Doss
  • Kristy Johnston
  • Hailey Hudson
  • Esther Smith
  • Stephanie Kehr
  • Anna Pustai
  • Kara Swanson
  • S. G. Willoughby
  • Bethany Rose
  • Joni Eareckson Tada



What does Diamonds 2020 cost?
Because we know that many chronically ill warriors face burdensome medical bills, and because our goal is to uplift instead of adding just one more thing, Diamonds 2020 is 100% free. 

Where is Diamonds 2020?
Diamonds 2020 is completely online. We know that traveling with an illness is difficult, so we want to bring this right to you — even if you’re in a hospital bed or are housebound. You can register for Diamonds 2020 for free here.

Giveaway
Enter to win a cheerleading/mentor session with Sara Willoughby or a paperback copy of He’s Making Diamonds by Sara Willoughby.

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BLOG TOUR: THE DRESSMAKER'S SECRET by Kellyn Roth!

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Hey everyone!  Today I have a post that I've been almost bursting to share...The Dressmaker's Secret by Kellyn Roth is now available to purchase, and let me tell you, it's fantastic.  I'll probably be using that word a lot in this post because I'm lacking all other words since I read this book's major plot twist last month as an ARC reader.  Whew.  Anyway, before I dive into the review, let's read the blurb.  Make sure to stick around and enter the giveaway!




If they knew who she was, they’d never accept what she’s become.
Claire will stop at nothing to provide for her daughters. An unwed mother, she does everything possible to raise them whilst avoiding her scandalous past. Some secrets are best kept, even between mother and daughter.

Alice longs for a father, especially if that means her mother will be happy. She takes matters into her own hands—but she never expected what she finds.

Despite her efforts to shelter her daughters, Claire’s ghosts rise up to haunt her, and any semblance of control over her life vanishes. If her secrets are uncovered, what will become of her family?

Genre is Christian historical women's fiction. Era is 1870s (Victorian). Setting is England (London, Kent, Yorkshire).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series.

She founded the company Reveries Co. to help Indie authors achieve excellence affordably and without delay. Kell teaches writing through the Young Writer Lessons as well as privately and through her blog.

She lives in the country outside a small town in North-Eastern Oregon with her parents, two little brothers, conceited beta fish, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, and various cows and chickens.







MY REVIEW

This book was an absolute pleasure to read.  The characters seemed so very realistic, the situations were reminiscent of a classic Regency novel, and the overarching themes were perfect for a story such as Claire's.  While I don't want to spoil anything, I can say that the tricky situations that each character pushed through were dealt with from a wholesome perspective, one that is pretty realistic to the time period in which this is set.

I especially appreciated seeing the start of Ivy's character and the health struggles she dealt with -- and what surprised me the most (and endeared Alice to me completely) was how Alice's perspective was written.  Ivy struggles realistically with health problems - if you've read the other books in this series, you probably already know that -  and oftentimes, those struggles affect Alice too, and she knows it keenly.  I just wanted to reach into the book and give them both a hug, okay?!!

*clears throat* Anyway --

  Unraveling the mystery of Alice and Ivy's birth was one I definitely didn't see coming -- there's a series of twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and curious.  The final plot twist is kept under wraps until the last absolute second, but it's well-written and makes you go "Ohhh, THAT'S why!" about several instances in the book. 

Finally, the prose for this book was also genuine and wonderful for the genre; readers of Austen and similar Regency authors will likely enjoy the first book in the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy.  It's a definite must-read!



GIVEAWAY


One winner will receive a paperback copy of The Dressmaker’s Secret and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Enter now!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Have you read The Dressmaker's Secret yet, or do you plan to?  What's your favorite historical book? 

REVIEW: STILL by Jenny L. Donnelly!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Today's post might be of interest to folks who have decided to cut back on stress and anxiety in the new year -- which is an excellent resolution, by the way. 

I had the opportunity to review Still: 7 Ways to Find Calm In the Chaos by Jenny L. Donnelly, with a foreword by Lisa Bevere.



SYNOPSIS

Discover the resting place God designed for you
Do you worry a lot? Do you dread upcoming events? Does pressure or stress trigger outbursts of anger, isolation, depression, or feelings of failure? Do you have a hard time finishing what you start? Do you find it impossible to work in the middle of chaos? Do you wonder if God is going to come through for you in difficult times?

In Still, Jenny Donnelly shows you how to experience true, life-giving rest even in the midst of chaos. Sharing her own personal story of struggling with life's pressures and emotional exhaustion, she introduces you to the source of peace and rest: Jesus. She shows you the steps to take to access rest any time, any place, under any conditions. And she reveals how operating from a place of stillness powers your identity, creativity, relationships, and so much more.


"I am thrilled that Jenny has written Still, because she encourages us--in the midst of chaos--to still our souls and to be present. It is there that we find God's presence and power."--from the foreword by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Bevere

"As the mother of three very active boys, the wife of a focused and driven husband, a successful business entrepreneur, and a church planter and pastor, I am so encouraged by this beautiful perspective."-- Diane McDaniel, cofounder and pastor of Bethel Dallas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenny L. Donnelly is an author, speaker, and business leader. She is the founder of Her Voice Movement, a national community gathered for the purpose of equipping and empowering women to live and lead biblical truth. She is a cofounder, with her husband, of The Collective Church in Portland, Oregon. They also founded Tetelestai Ministries, which develops and equips biblical leaders through online courses, conferences, and resources. She and her husband, Bob, are living this adventure with their five children in Oregon.

MY REVIEW 
I think this book can serve as an excellent starting point for those struggling to gain the upper hand on anxiety, fear, and other debilitating problems.  This book focuses on finding the root cause of your anxieties, rather than simply trying to cover them up with quick fixes.  When it's a spiritual issue, it's not going to be an easy thing to work through - but that doesn't mean that you CAN'T.  This book gives you an essential toolbox for starting that journey.  

I do wish that this book had a little more "meat" to it, like most nonfiction books I read, but as I said, this book is a great starting point for your journey, and maybe that's exactly what you need.  It might take some time to work through all of the prompts Donnelly includes, and that's exactly what it's meant for.  This book includes spaces to write notes or answer prompted questions meant to hit at or discover the core problem you're facing, asking God to reveal it so it can be cleansed.  I also have to admit that some portions of the book seemed as though they were skimmed over, making it seem as though the journey to "calm" easier than it is, which I could see actually becoming a source of discouragement for some.  Her strategies are also a new perspective, at least for me, so if you're tired of the same-old-same-old self help books, this may very well be what you need.  It's an easy read and definitely worth a shot!

Click HERE to buy it on Amazon. 


4/5 stars on Goodreads and Amazon, rounded up from a 3.7/5.  


Do you follow Donnelly's Her Voice Movement, and do you plan on buying Still?

REVIEW: COLLATERAL DAMAGE by Lynette Eason!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Hi everyone!  Whew, it's been a bit since I posted anything.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!  What are your plans for this year?  I have some things that I *hope* to get done, but I've learned to never bank on my own plans - God typically has a better one.  But for today, I can guarantee I'll be posting a review for an amazing book.  What is that book?

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason! It's the first in a new series called Danger Never Sleeps.



I was so excited to see this one on the list for Revell Reads that my hands were shaking when I proceeded to request a copy.  Suffice it to say, I dug in as soon as I got it in the mail. 

SYNOPSIS

They thought they left the fight behind on the battlefield.
But their greatest struggles are just beginning.

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more.

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor. When he arrives at her office, she isn't there--but a dead body is. When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.


MY REVIEW

If I could give this book 11 stars out of 10, I would.  While I found it a little hard to get started - I'm not sure why, because it was fast-paced from the start, so I'll say it was a fluke - after the first 66 pages, I sat down and had to read the entire thing in one day.  I couldn't stand to set it down because I had to know what was going to happen next.  If you're a fan of the TV show NCIS, I think you'd love this book - it gave me serious NCIS vibes (the earlier seasons anyway) for the plot, the crimes, and the twists.  I loved the characters and found myself absolutely invested in them pretty quickly.   Her writing style, as always, is very realistic, and does not shy away from tough subjects like PTSD, which both main characters suffer from.  This book has milder romantic undertones - suspense is this book's main interest.  Eason always hits it out of the ballpark when it comes to her suspense novels, and Collateral Damage is no different.  I'm stoked to see where this new series takes these characters, although waiting for the next book might actually kill me.  It's a definite must-have if you have ever enjoyed an Eason novel.

Click HERE to buy it on Amazon.  I noticed that today (Jan. 9th) it's on sale for juuust under $10, so if you want it, snag it before that sale is over!


Have you read any books by Eason?  Will you be adding Collateral Damage to your list?




RELEASE DAY -- DUST TO FLAME by Hope Ann!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

GUESS WHAT DAY IT ISSSS....*Chris Sullivan voice* 
RELEASE DAAAAY IS HERE! 
If you've been waiting for Hope Ann's newest book, Dust to Flame, it's time to hop onto Amazon and snag your ebook because it just released today! As a follower of her newsletter/social media, I've heard a bit about Rafe, so I'm super excited to read this book.  I can't express how pumped I was when I saw my little "preorder delivered" email in my inbox at midnight (and then I had to make myself go to sleep, because apparently I had to function and adult today.  Ugh.)
Anyway, here are some pretty awesome collages for the main characters -- if these don't pique your interest, scroll down for the synopsis! 

GOALS 
It's a goal of Hope Ann's that 100 copies are sold in the first week of publication (Tuesday through Sunday).  If you'd be so kind as to help her reach that goal, whether by buying it or sharing about it with someone, please feel free to do so!  Her books never disappoint, so maybe this could be the perfect Kindle fantasy read for holiday travels! 

SYNOPSIS

When you defeat everything life hurls at you, it’s a perfectly legitimate move to rub your conquest in the faces of those who sneered at your suffering.
Rafe, a former street-lad who clawed his way to the glittering life of a story-actor, has been waiting. But from the moment he sprung from his carriage into the gritty dust of Cainth, life has not gone Rafe’s way.
Unexpectedly dragged into a web of greed, treachery, and stolen rift powers, Rafe intends to do what he has always done. Survive.
At least that was the plan before he accidentally protected a child.
Before he accidentally gained the powers of an immortal.
And before he caught himself accidentally slipping toward the deadliest mistake possible.
The mistake of letting one’s self care for another.
Welcome to the world of…
DUST TO FLAME





BIO


Hope Ann entertains a mob of younger siblings, manages shifts at Culver’s, and writes a wide range of fantasy. Fueled by passion, relationships, and constant learning, she works to provide an escape from the grind of normal life through fiction and the sarcastic, no-nonsense inspirational posts on her blog. The self-published author of the Legends of Light series, a personal writing coach, and the Story Embers newsletter manager, she has more information on her website: authorhopeann.com

You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Do you plan on reading Dust to Flame?

BLOG TOUR: Zondervan's NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls + GIVEAWAY!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Hey everyone!  Today I'm excited to be reviewing the new NIV  Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for girls. 
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 
*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.






MY REVIEW

Okay, full disclosure here.  I have a Beautiful Word NKJV Bible that I was given a few years ago and it's a favorite of mine, between the note-taking space, stunning illustrations, and the formatting, so I'm a bit biased in favor of the brand itself!  I was excited to see that Zondervan was rolling out a version of their coloring Bibles for young girls, which seems like a great target age for budding artists who would like to add a little color to their Bible pages.  This would be an excellent starter Bible for girls - again, the age range is 8-12.  It has lots of space for note-taking and it also has gorgeous illustrations to color in.  The pages are nice and sturdy; not likely to tear or bleed through.  I was impressed by how nice the Bible's cover feels -- I'm really weird about textures that I deem 'icky' and faux-leather material tends to be on that list, but this cover is so nice.  It's soft to touch and has neat metallic print.  I even found myself stroking it while I was skimming through!  The cover and binding also appear to be rather sturdy - meaning it will hold up through the childhood years!  

I can see a lot of girls really getting into this Bible.  The NIV translation is a good stepping stone for young girls, and this Bible can get them interested in note-taking or journaling and Bible art as well, which are two things that are pretty huge right now.  It'd be a wonderful Christmas gift for your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or cousin!  

Some of the illustrations are only in the margins, while others take full pages (or two-page spreads) -- these are of popular verses like portions of 1 Corinthians 13 and others.  Here's an example of a full-page illustration: 


To test out this Bible's pages for strength while coloring, I decided to test one of the illustrations  - and since it's approaching Christmastime, I was glad to find such a sweet illustration from Isaiah 9.  To note, I did use my Prismacolor brand colored pencils, which are a bit softer/more buttery than the typical colored pencil, but I had no problems whatsoever with the page scratching, denting, or otherwise being damaged, and I didn't even see color showing through on the other side.  A pretty great testament to the strength and quality of these pages!  Even the dark colors stayed on their own side of the page.   I didn't try pen on it, but I'd say that it would hold up pretty well under journaling pens.  




(Isn't the word art gorgeous here?)


If you'd like to try coloring some of the designs from this Bible, feel free to download coloring pages HERE!  I'm probably going to do just that for my niece next time she comes over.  (And they even have bookmarks!)  







GIVEAWAY


Want a copy of this Bible and a Beautiful Word Bible for adults?  There's a giveaway package that goes along with this blog tour!  Make sure to enter it before December 16th for your chance to win a  copy of this beautiful Bible, as well as a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible and 8-Pencil Gift Set geared toward adult journaling and reading!  A great gift idea for mom and daughter, grandma and granddaughter, or aunt and niece.  Check out the giveaway below to enter.





a Rafflecopter giveaway


Feel free to check out tour host Audra Jennings' blog post HERE for more illustration examples and enter the giveaway if you haven't already!

Do you have a Beautiful Word Bible or other kind of journaling Bible?  And do you plan on using some of those gorgeous coloring pages?




 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.  

Looking for signed books?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hey everyone!

As I put away my copies of Guide Me Home, I realized that I have an entire drawer full of my books waiting for new homes.  I counted twenty two books...YIKES.  (And yes, that drawer is hard to open because it's so heavy...)

SO I decided to offer sets of my books (each book in the series thus far) for sale at discounted rates.  If you're interested, I included all the info on the form below, which you can use if you'd like to place an order.  Each set will be shipped Media Mail, so orders will only be open for ONE WEEK -- due the 12th of this month.

I have very limited quantities of each set available:




2 sets of the Faith, Hope, and Love collection




2 sets of the Mount Sterling series




2 sets of my poetry and short story books



Click HERE to see the form!