Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Why I Hate Green Beans

Why I Hate Green Beans: And Other Confessions about Relationships, Reality TV, and How We See Oursevles
by Lincee Ray

"Lincee Ray is funny. Really funny. By the end of this book, you'll think of Lincee as a favorite friend: someone who shoots straight, finds the funny in every situation, and reminds you what matters most. You are in for a treat!"--Sophie Hudson, author of Giddy Up, Eunice and cohost of The Big Boo Cast podcast

Insecurity. As women, we all struggle with it. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our age-defying serums with flecks of gold refuse to erase our crow's feet. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else's picture-perfect lives. If you've ever felt uninteresting, unlovable, or unattractive, you're ready for Lincee Ray's particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection.

Like a trustworthy friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us. From maneuvering the muffin top to navigating the sketchy waters of singleness to walking the judgmental halls of the workplace, Lincee's laugh-out-loud look at real life reveals many of the key truths she's learned about her identity:

Yoga pants are your friend, Jesus sees you, and green-bean diets are never the answer.

My thoughts: WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS is a memoir that is seriously laugh-out-loud funny. Ms. Ray is absolutely real and hilarious in her realness. And let me also preface this to say that I absolutely admire her courage.  I don't know how many times I walked away from something I wanted to do because I was afraid. And yet this woman was brave enough (though terrified) to go through a simulated helicopter crash into a swimming pool and try to rescue herself.  And she lived to tell about it.  Amazing.  

I also agree with her assessment about doctors. Why do all the good-looking ones have to see you at your worst?  And why is it you can't control your tongue around Dr. McDreamy?  Open mouth and insert foot. Yep. I've been there. 

I think I would hate to have had her for a babysitter, though my kids would've loved her. Can you say "sugar-high?" 

I LOVED this book, and could so identify with her with so much of it. And the parts I couldn't identify with (speed-dating, online dating, etc) she made totally funny and I laughed all the way through them.  

I usually hate memoirs. Seriously. This one is going on my keeper shelf. And my teen daughter is going to read it. And then my college daughter. Because, yes, I talked it up.  Plus, there is an amazing faith message. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a laugh, suffers with body image (a big thing among women), or who has ever felt like a fool among their peers.  Seriously. 

And by the way, I like green beans. Straight out of the garden. Raw. Cooked. Don't matter. I disagree with her assessment of this vegetable.  Although I have never ate them cold, straight out of the can. Maybe that's why she hates them. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hidden Currents

(Lantern Beach Mysteries #1) 

Kindle Edition, paperback 

by Christy Barritt 

  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Publisher: River Heights 
  • Publication Date: January 14, 2018
  • ASIN: B0791GBCB3

You can take the detective out of the investigation, but you can't take the investigator out of the detective.

A notorious gang puts a bounty on Detective Cady Matthews’s head after she takes down their leader, leaving her no choice but to hide until she can testify at trial. But her temporary home across the country on a remote North Carolina island isn’t as peaceful as she initially thinks. 

Living under the new identity of Cassidy Livingston, she struggles to keep her investigative skills tucked away, especially after a body washes ashore. When local police bungle the murder investigation, she can’t resist stepping in. But Cassidy is supposed to be keeping a low profile. One wrong move could lead to both her discovery and her demise.

Can she bring justice to the island . . . or will the hidden currents surrounding her pull her under for good?

My thoughts: HIDDEN CURRENTS is the first book in Ms. Barritt's newest series. Cassidy (Cady) is trying to appear to be  a carefree beach bum but she can't quite master it, especially when a crime literally washes up on the beach--and the police arrested an innocent man and don't care to look further. Add a hunky ex-Navy SEAL, an ice-cream truck with personality plus, and a secret life, you have a winner. 

I had my suspicions who might've done one of the crimes in this book, and suspicions about the other, but I was wrong-wrong-wrong on the one and remains to be seen on the other. 

I'm a long-time fan of Christy Barritt and this book was definitely engaging. I had to keep  reading suspense. There isn't much of a faith message and the romance is weak, but beginning stages. A fun romantic suspense. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hearts Entwined: A Historical Romance Novella Collection

Paperback, hardcover, ebook

January 2, 2018

by Karen Witemeyer (Author),‎ Mary Connealy (Author),‎ Regina Jennings  (Author),‎ Melissa Jagears (Author)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Interview with Erin Howard and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome Erin Howard to my blog. Erin is graciously giving away one copy of her new book. Please leave contact information when you enter.  Erin, good to have you stop by. That's a scary looking cover. Tell us about the book – can you share the blurb?

The Seer is the first book in The Kalila Chronicles. The genre is urban fantasy.

Back Cover Blurb:

Viktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.

For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.

Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.

I love the name Viktor, but he sounds scary. Evil. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I love to read and watch tv/movies, so most of my inspiration comes from things that I’ve read or seen.

What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?

I have a writing nook where I do a lot of writing, but lately, my most productive writing takes places traveling back and forth to St. Jude. My youngest son has Leukemia, {he’s in remission, but we still have over a year of treatment left} so we spend a lot of time sitting in the hospital or traveling.

I'm so sorry about your son. Glad he is in remission though. I'm praying.  What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?

I love characters that give you a reason to root for them. I like characters that are messy, {because life IS MESSY} have problems, and obstacles that every reader can identify with.

I started The Seer with a few questions.  What if I wrote it from a villain’s POV? What if he has this desire to change, but he doesn’t know how? What if he couldn’t fully be redeemed? I mean, he is a demon after all. What would that story look like? One of my characters deals with wanting to be redeemed and one deals with not feeling like they are enough.

How do you pick names for your characters?

I’m fascinated with the meanings of names, so I search for names that have meanings which may reflect the themes or ideas of the stories. For example, Bethesda, the sanctuary city in The Seer means “House of Mercy” in Hebrew.

How important are reviews to you?

Reviews are a great benefit, and something that authors need to help market their books and find new readers. I hope everyone will leave an honest review of The Seer.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?

I love to read all sorts of genres, but my favorite is YA fantasy and dystopian. I’m a huge fan of Ted Dekker, and Suzanne Collins.  I’m currently reading The Storm Siren Trilogy by Mary Weber.


Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, Fantasy/Speculative Author and has earned a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University.

When she's not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, being a youth leader, and teaching crochet and cake decorating classes. Erin resides in Western Kentucky with her husband, three children, and a cantankerous tabby cat named Jack-Jack.

Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group.

Links – social media and to buy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/E.R.H.Fiction/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErinRHoward

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/erinrhoward/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/erinrhoward/

Blog/Wordpress:  https://erinrhoward.wordpress.com/

Website: https://erinrhoward.com/

The Seer is on pre-order on Amazon right now, and will be released in Kindle and print formats on February 27, 2018

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seer-Chronicles-Erin-R-Howard-ebook/dp/B079DJ613L/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518547857&sr=8-1&keywords=the+seer+erin+howard

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Me I Want to Be Student Edition: Becoming God's Best Version of You


Paperback, ebook, hardcover

Student Edition, September 16, 2014

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Student edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310748632

Maybe you’ve gone to church and just not felt like you were connecting to the service like everyone else. Perhaps you have been trying to get closer to God but simply hit block after block and feel more frustrated than faith-filled each time you sit down to pray or worship. Or maybe you feel like you are doing okay spiritually, but feel you’re missing something you can’t quite define. And on top of everything else, you’re simply trying to figure out who you really are inside and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.
The good news is you’re not alone, and you don’t have to feel discouraged. Though in the pages of The Me I Want to Be Teen Edition, bestselling author John Ortberg focuses on what makes you who you are, looking at how you spend your time, your unique experiences, your relationships, and your overall world to help you see where you are now, as well as providing exercises and quizzes that help uncover God’s plan for you and the positive directions you can now go. Find out what it can look like when you discover what the best version of you looks like, as well as the life God has always desired you to have.

My thoughts:  (reviewed by Jenna) THE ME I WANT TO BE is a book for teens to learn to find themselves. There are some good things ln there, like learning styles and personality types, but a lot of it was technical sounding and maybe not meant for the normal person.  I didn't get all the graphs and stuff.  

The first two chapters started slow and I didn't see the point of them. There was an interesting story about a four year old who was strong willed and a mental patient who led doctors in song, but that was about all I got out of them.

There are a few bordered sections that are helpful and draw the reader in, and a couple quizzes (like one to see how connected you are) and it is very definitely biblically based, but overall, the tone is dry, educational, and probably geared to a totally different learning style than me.  I found the book overwhelmingly dry and I don't know that I learned anything.  

I'd recommend thumbing through a copy or reading a sample chapter to see if it fits your learning style before purchasing, because some may find it very helpful. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

You’re Beautiful Facebook Party by Julie Arduini

Last year when our fourteen-year-old daughter with minor special needs had a rocky transition to junior high, I had no idea what to do. A typical mom temptation is to fix it, to jump ahead of the issues and direct everyone involved.

Thankfully, Hannah had a better plan, and she decided to take her hard time and make it an encouragement for others.

You’re Beautiful is the result of that season, and it is a book Hannah plotted out for girls age 10-100. It is the first of three books in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series. It involves a group of junior high girls and women who are part of a mentoring ministry. Each book features a girl and a woman who separately is believing the same lie about themselves. When I asked Hannah what lie we should start with, she wasted no time. “Girls believe they’re ugly.”

You’re Beautiful follows tween Hayley Atkinson and recent college graduate Sabrina Wayson. Both believe because of words spoken to them that they are ugly and not worth spending time with. Both need to find freedom through surrender in Christ. It’s available in both eBook and print form on Amazon. It will be a free eBook February 16, 17, and 18.

To celebrate, we’re having a Facebook party Thursday, February 15th at 8pm Eastern on my author page at http://facebook.com/JulieArduiniAuthor. Hannah and I will chat about the book, have “surprizes,” and interview special author guests Candee Fick, Kathleen E. Friesen, and Laura V. Hilton.

About You’re Beautiful:
Hayley Atkinson withdraws from her friends and new opportunities with the new mentoring group, Linked, after she is told a lie that she believes is true about herself. Sabrina Wayson is a mentor in Linked who feels she can’t help encourage girls because she’s struggling as much as they are. Can they surrender the lies and find freedom? A book for girls ages 10-100.
Purchase Link for You’re Beautiful: https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Beautiful-Surrendering-Stinkin-Thinkin/dp/0692056238

Author Bios:

Hannah Arduini is in the eighth grade and lives outside of Youngstown, Ohio. She loves fashion, Starbucks, and serving at church. She has a brother who lives at home, and siblings that live in Wisconsin. She also has two nephews. You’re Beautiful is her first published book.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series Surrendering Time, featuring ENTRUSTED,ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED. FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER is her 30-day devotional using the surrender themes and characters from the series. She shares her infertility story in A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and also is a blogger for Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Story Behind the Story of God's Patient Pursuit of My Soul by Chris Manion and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome  Chris Manion to my blog.  Chris is very generously giving away a copy (winner's choice of format) to one winner. Please include contact information.   USA only.

Playing the piano as a child provided an escape into the world of music away from my five siblings. The baby grand stood in the living and no one was allowed in the living room except adults. My sister and I loved to practice for our next lesson in that light, lovely room that gave us rare moments of peace.

One short composition drew me to an imaginary place. As I played the haunting melody, I’d imagine myself lost or abandoned in a field. Loneliness overwhelmed me. A handsome prince approached from the distance as the music swelled. He found me, spoke gently, and offered his arm to swing me up into his saddle. Away we’d gallop. I played that piece a thousand times.

By the time I was sixteen, I sensed I could write. I just didn’t know what to write about. Creatively, I mean. My writing skills came in handy for school reports and team newsletters two decades later in my Pampered Chef business. Although that’s writing, it’s not writing the way I thought of it. The writing I wanted to do was to take a reader away somewhere, to expand her imagination, to go to that place where time stops and all things are possible, where a happy-ever-after ending glistens its promise.

The prince doesn’t find his beautiful princess in all stories. He’s not even handsome in all stories. Does that mean God doesn’t always answer our prayers? I wondered. I thought about God a lot. We went to church every Sunday.

Spirituality often felt like Alice in Wonderland to me. Strange occurrences or subtle Twilight Zone-like experiences occurred to me sometimes like a bunny down a rabbit hole or a queen shouting, “Off with their heads!” I could not make sense of them, but I knew they were real.

After attending a Young Life meeting where the prayer leader played the guitar and spoke about Jesus as his best friend, I wanted what he had. I was raised a Catholic Christian but started studying about Christ and Christianity a bit more once I reached college and adulthood. I wanted to know more about Him.

Of course, life keeps you busy, so that nice-sounding goal slowed to a stop as I tried to prove to the world I was as good as a man in business. Not that it’s much better now, but growing up in the sixties and seventies made one thing pretty clear: women were best at womanly chores of housekeeping and raising a family or, if they felt compelled to work, as secretaries or clerks.

That lonely girl in the field still longed for something to quench that inner longing. As I resumed studying Him in Bible studies, reading from saints and theologians, and dedicated more time to praising Him in song in church choir, my soul’s thirst began to lessen. A relationship began that was no longer sky-God to insignificant girl. My memoir describes a new kind of ride in a field with a handsome man. And then, -- ------------------------------------------------------------

Blurb: Her soul’s longing for God hungered for more than an hour at church each Sunday. Chris Manion found herself climbing the heights of worldly success while God pulled her deeper into Himself. How could she balance the two extremes? One day, on a bench deep in the woods, everything changed.

This cutting-edge memoir from a surprisingly down-to-earth, humble business leader points directly to Christ for the gifts and grace that helped her rise as a leader and wise mentor to her $20 million business team.


Chris Manion’s 30 years’ experience of writing and speaking spans a variety of publishing areas including newspapers, magazines, corporate newsletters, blogs, testimonials, and motivational speeches. Through modern-day parables, mysterious experiences, and memoir (God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul), Manion points her readers’ hearts to the living streams of God’s grace and love. A perennial student of feeding the soul, her passion focuses on giving simple, everyday terms to spiritual experiences in order to promote conversations about spiritual gifts and God’s desire for relationship with us.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the oldest of six, Chris is an award-winning catechist who retired as a top-tier National Executive from the direct sales industry to write and inspire. She met her husband of forty plus years at the University of Dayton from which she graduated in three years with honors in Communication Arts. They have two adult children and three grandchildren. She loves photographing the beauty of Florida’s emerald coast where she lives.

https://www.pinterest.com/chris7450Photo uploaded