Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Spirituality of Carseats

Hello, everyone!

Taking a break from book reviews and cover reveals (though in all honesty, I'm behind on several of them that should have been featured months ago on this blog...stay tuned for a combo post), and procrastinating on my NaNoWriMo project again to talk to you about car seats.


This is my son James in his car seat.

Sure, he's sleeping now. But earlier he was complaining about being in his car seat. He's not a huge fan of it. Though he will sometimes tolerate it, and sometimes fall asleep in it, MOST of the time he gets his feelings super hurt whenever I have to put him in it. And he lets me know in no uncertain terms.

"You KNOW I hate this thing! I don't like being confined! You're trampling on my free spirit. Why would you put me in this place I hate? Why don't you love me? I don't want to go! Why, Mommy, WHY!?!" he cries.

Or something like that.

"Hang in there. We'll be there soon. I love you." I say over and over again.

Unfortunately, car seats are an unpleasant necessity to get James safely from Point A to Point B.

I know these rides won't last forever. I know we can't avoid the car seat. I know the car seat keeps him safe, and he will be fine on the other side of this ride.

I was thinking the other day how much easier these rides would be if I could just explain all of this to James and make him see reason. But even if I tried, he would not understand it. He knows I love him. He doesn't always understand why he has to be in the chair. So, sometimes we suffer through some very unpleasant rides. Other times he accepts his reality and tries to entertain himself, or falls asleep.

Here is where I turn the tables.

There are times in our lives, either when something happens to us that we can't control, or we have to live with an unpleasant reality that we did not ask for.

We lose our job. We have to sell our house. We have to move. Someone moves in with us. We lose something (or someone) valuable to us. We have to take on extra work. We have to accommodate a less than pleasant personality. We are kept from the thing we want most. The THING we wanted most to avoid in life happens to us.

We ask God why? If he loves us, why would he make us go through this? Why can't he just make it stop?

In short, we are the angry one crying out in the back seat that we don't like it.

But what if that unpleasant situation is just a carseat? We can't see where we're going, we just know we don't like where we are. But what if that situation is keeping us safe while we go somewhere better? All the while, God is in the front seat trying to reassure us.

"Hang in there. We'll be there soon. I love you."

When my school closed and my husband and I lost our jobs, I was very quickly offered another position in a nearby school. With a pay raise. In my favorite subjects. I would not have had to move. I could have stayed close to my friends. It seemed perfect.

But something about it wasn't right, so I declined.

I ended up moving in with my in-laws, teaching Science and Math, and spent three months away from my husband while he renovated our home to sell. Several times I wished I had accepted the offer. Several times I asked God why we had to move.

Fast forward a year and a half:

We had our first baby. A month later, we sold our house. We were able to pay off the rest of our debt, my husband finished school, eventually found a job, I quit my job, and we are set to move into our own apartment in February.

This past weekend we visited some friends from our school. When the school closed they went to the school that had offered me a job.

They told me the school was imploding because they had not been able to pay their teachers THIS YEAR.

Here is what I know:

God DOES know what He's doing, we just don't always see it.

James can't see where we're going. He doesn't understand why he has to be in the seat. All he knows is that he's in a place he doesn't like. But if I didn't put him in the seat, he would be in a compromising situation that would put him at risk.

If I had taken that job, we would not have sold our house or be able to pay off the rest of our school debt. I would probably have had to continue working after having the baby, Matthew wouldn't have had his job, and we would eventually end up in the exact same place we had been, except THIS time with a baby!

It turns out, we were in a car seat.

Your sadness DOES matter to God and He is right there with you. 

No matter how much I know the trip won't last and my little one will be fine in a minute, it breaks my heart to hear him upset when I can't soothe him. The fact that he is in a car seat that he doesn't like, does not mean I don't love him. The fact that you are in a situation you hate does not mean that God doesn't love you. It doesn't mean that He isn't listening to you. It doesn't mean He's abandoned you. It just means you haven't arrived yet.

Whatever your situation, may we all have the grace to trust Him and thank Him for His provisions while we wait in the car seat for our next destination.

"Hang in there. We'll be there soon. I love you."


For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

- Isaiah 55:8-9


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Number of Love by Roseanna White (Another Cover Reveal!)



Greetings, everyone! I have some pretty awesome news for you!

For those that have read the Shadows Over England series, you know that the main male character in book two has a pretty awesome little sister named Margot.
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AND SHE GETS HER OWN BOOK!!!!!!

That alone makes me SUPER excited. I loved her snarky-don't-have-time-for-stupid-people personality in A Song Unheard and cannot wait to see how she handles herself in this next book. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is the synopsis:

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and code breakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

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Voila!!


(other retailers not yet available)

ISN'T THAT COVER GORGEOUS!?!? I'm a little jealous of that red sweater, to be honest! That expression on her face looks calculating. I wonder what she's thinking, or what she's trying to communicate with that number 18 on the window? Ooooo speculations! I can't wait for this book to come out. Pre-order your copy on Amazon now!


About Roseanna
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that
words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing,
designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew
of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and
mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly
ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at
www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My Childhood Obsession and a Cover Reveal

Hello again, friends!

History Lesson:

Once upon a time, the Romanov family ruled Russia. The Tsar and his family were put under house arrest during the Russian Revolution, and finally executed in 1918. (This is a VERY truncated history lesson, obviously, so if you want to know more about the family, and Anastasia in particular, you can read this article on Wikipedia). Here's the thing though, several years later, a woman named Anna Anderson showed up claiming to BE Anastasia, sparking a several decades long debate over what actually happened to the Tsarina.

I don't think we've ever talked about the fact that I had a slight obsession with the Romanov family growing up which may or may not have had something to do with the release of a certain movie circa 1997. *cough*

I LOVED the movie, (though granted, there's virtually no historical accuracy about it) and when I found out it was based on a true story, my imagination took off running. I went to the adult section of the library and looked up all the books I could find on Anastasia and her family, copied a bunch of articles, created a little scrapbook of clippings and wrote little responses to them....all on my own, this was not a school project. Which was good, because there is nothing academic about my responses, they were mostly emotional ramblings of a pre-teen girl enthralled with the idea of a real-life mystery).

I was also determined to solve the mystery of what happened to Anastasia until, of course, they finally solved it and killed that dream.

Some of my sources for my little scrapbook (if you're interested):
Anastasia's Album
Anastasia: Dead or Alive?

Fast forward twenty years and Anastasia takes Broadway so, of course, I dropped everything and went to New York for a crazy whirlwind trip with my dear friend, Julie. Aaaaaand yes it was beautiful and made me relive all my childhood fantasies and fueled my obsession a little bit more! If you haven't heard the soundtrack you should DEFINITELY give it a listen! Christy Altomare is amazing!


 **Favorite New Songs**
Stay, I Pray You
In a Crowd of Thousands

But for all my love of Anastasia and her story, and with all the many, many times I have watched the movie and listened to both soundtracks, I have never read a retelling of her story.

All that is going to change with the release of Romanov by Nadine Brandes on May 7th, 2019!

Nadine Brandes, author of Fawkes and the Out of Time series, has a new book coming out retelling the story of Anastasia Romanov in a unique and intriguing way!


The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.


Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


*shudders* Doesn't that give you some delightful little chills! I am SO excited about this book.

Now for the cover reveal...
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https://nadinebrandes.com/romanovlinks/https://nadinebrandes.com/romanovlinks

Oh. My. Goodness.
I WISH this book was coming out in the Fall (and that I lived in a state where it actually got cold) because that cover just makes me want to grab a blanket, curl up with a Pumpkin or Chai Tea Latte and devour it! Can we talk about the gorgeous leafy design and that beautiful silhouette!? It LOOKS Russian!  This is SO perfect for the setting, I can't stand it. 

Romanov is up for pre-order on Amazon (<---click b="">so go ahead and reserve your copy now! You won't want to miss out on this book!
<---click b="">Also, make sure to add it to your Goodreads list!

<---click b="">


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

An Hour Unspent - Release Day! Review! Giveaway!

Happy Release Day to Roseanna White for the final book in her Shadows Over England series, An Hour Unspent! Roseanna has a bunch of giveaways posted on her website, and an upcoming coloring contest that sounds pretty exciting! Make sure you head over there for some fantastic goodies! The books are on sale at the author's website where you can signed copies, and the first two books are currently 20% off! They are also available on Kindle and paperback at Amazon.


About the Book:

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancĂ© to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.


My Review:

I have so loved this series and this family, it is sad to see their story ending, but this heart-warming conclusion to the series did not disappoint! I experienced all the feels as I finally got to learn more about Barclay, the self-designated big brother of the noble family of thieves. Central to the core of his character is the desire to protect and care for others. Once someone touches his heart he is committed to them no matter what, often sacrificing what little he has to make sure they are provided for.

Evelina was quite a feisty character! Battling and surviving a childhood illness, as well as her domineering mother and aunt, has given her a fierce desire for independence and a passion for justice. She fights for the rights of the working class, even though it's not quite the fashionable cause her mother and suffragette friends would have her involved in.

Though Barclay and Evelina come from such different worlds, they see each other's profound strengths as well as their biggest hurts and fears.  My favorite part of reading is watching the characters come to grips with their most defining traits and come to a better awareness of themselves. Roseanna White does this very well in all her books.

One nice surprise in this book is that we (finally!) get to learn a bit more about the mysterious Mr. V!!! Alice's small role in the story was also a real treat.

This is a beautiful story of love and family, and the importance of spending your time well, woven into the historical backdrop of World War 1. I have loved these characters and their story. I am sad to see them go, but this was such a sweet conclusion for Barclay and his family. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have.

I received a copy of this book for promotional purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Favorite Quotes:

"The Lord uses even our broken pieces in the most remarkable ways."

"Something had to be done. And the certainty of what settled on him with that same solid weight that he knew so well. The one that always said, Give the little one your food and You don't need a coat. Not like he does. That certainty he was only now beginning to realize was God, showing him the way to love those put in his care."

"God saw him anyway, in complete clarity. So why try to hide?"




Monday, May 28, 2018

Dagger's Sleep and Dissociate Blog Tour - Interview with Tricia Mingerink





Author Interview with Tricia Mingerink

It is my privilege to have the opportunity again to promote one of Tricia Mingerink's books. I have followed this woman since her very first book, Dare, in the Blades of Acktar series and it has been a joy to see her grow as an author through that series.  Sad as I was to see that series end, (and as much as I am "secretly" hoping there will be follow up stories with those beloved characters some day ;-) ) I was excited to hear that she was writing a new series, in a different type of world.  Dagger's Sleep is an allegorical retelling of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty, with a slight twist. Instead of a princess sleeping for a hundred years, it is a prince! Because life has been CRAZY lately, I am still in the middle of this story, so my actual review will come later. I will tell you that this book has a fantastic storyworld with beautiful descriptions, deep characters, and an intriguing plot. No surprise, of course.  I look forward to giving you even more information and sharing my thoughts on the whole story, once I have finished. In the mean time, I want the author herself to have an opportunity to introduce her creation.  For those of you who loved the Blades of Acktar series, and for those of you who are new to Tricia Mingerink's work, here is what you can expect from Dagger's Sleep. Please welcome again, Tricia Mingerink.


What was different about writing this story than writing The Blades of Acktar series?

The biggest difference is that Dagger's Sleep is allegorical while The Blades of Acktar has Christianity portrayed as it is in the real world. So while the Christianity part of The Blades of Acktar was fairly straight forward, I spent most of the time writing Dagger's Sleep double and triple checking that I wasn't accidentally stepping into blasphemous territory or saying something I didn't intend to say with the allegory. I'm sure there are ways any allegory can have more read into it than the author intended, but I can at least rest assured I did my best. 

What was your biggest surprise or most difficult problem to solve while writing this book?

Probably the ending, getting a certain romance to turn out not creepy. I can't say too much more than that without giving away spoilers. 

What did you have the most fun with?

The character of Berend. He wasn't even truly a character until the third draft when I figured out one piece of his character that really made him come alive on the page. I'm afraid I went a little crazy with the bear puns after that. 

If the characters from this story met the characters in The Blades of Acktar, who would be best friends and who would get on each other's nerves (and why)?

Pretty much everyone from The Blades of Acktar wouldn't like High Prince Alexander. Keevan might try to give him some good advice. Leith would grit his teeth and do his best to ignore him. Martyn would purposefully prod Alex into being arrogant just so he could internally laugh at him. 

Kayleigh, Brandi, and Rosanna would probably be fast friends. They all have a certain adventurous streak to them. Isi would bounce between them and Renna. Leith and Daemyn would probably get along well enough, though I think of the two of them, Leith is more willing to be lethal than Daemyn is. 

What is something (quirk, personality trait, interest, talent, etc.) that you have in common with a character in Dagger's Sleep?


I love mountains, trees, and the land the way Rosanna and Daemyn do. I love hiking and seeing new waterfalls.  

Thank you, Tricia! I hope that wets your appetite, readers. Keep reading for my review

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I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

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 Thank you for stopping by my blog! If you would like to visit the other blogs on the tour and learn more information about Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink and Dissociate by  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Introducing The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin


Good evening, everyone!  Celebrating my last day of school by reviewing a new book, The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin, which just came out this month! I love discovering new authors and story worlds and I was privileged to be able to join the launch team for this awesome new story.  Lindsay Franklin is a delightful person, and I have really enjoyed being a part of her launch team. 

Goodreads Bio:
Lindsay A. Franklin is a best-selling author, award-winning freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. She spends a lot of time in made-up worlds, and she's passionate about sparking imagination through stories of infinite possibility. Her debut fantasy novel, The Story Peddler, releases in 2018. When she's not exploring the fantastical, she's exploring the Bible and encouraging young women through her devotional books.

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder of a husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following. You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn't hijacked all her accounts. She's @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.


And now for my review!!!


***Full disclosure***
I received an advanced copy of this book.  What follows is my honest review:

I had so much fun reading The Story Peddler! Tanwen is a Storyteller, gifted with the ability to weave beautiful glass ornaments from the stories she tells.  She dreams of two things: the family she does not remember, and the fame and fortune she one day hopes to obtain through her storytelling.  She is a hoot!  I enjoyed reading her quirky observations of the people and world around her.  She's a bit awkward, sometimes painfully so, but she knows that about herself and doesn't seem to worry about it too much.  She is a very honest person, both with others and with herself.  Though her goals in life are a bit misguided at first, she knows who she is, what she wants, and what her failings are.  She recognizes her feelings even when she acknowledges they are unfair. I think my favorite part was being able to experience her transformation as a character through her eyes.

Braithe is the daughter of a corrupt king, desperately trying to use her position to save as many subjects as possible from the wrath of her father. She is strong and holds fast to her convictions even when it means putting herself at risk to stand up to the king. I really look forward to watching her develop more in the coming books.

Speaking of honesty, I love how the author portrayed the truth, almost as its own character. "Art has a way of revealing the truth," one character says, and sometimes in spite of the intentions of the artist. For instance, Tanwen finds herself at odds with the king when one of her stories begins to tell a different tale than she had intended and reveals truths he would rather stay hidden.  Later, one of her tales speaks the truth about the one who they call The Creator, another being the king would like everyone to forget. There is a strong message that truth will always come out no matter what, which reminded me of two passages of scripture:

"As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:37-40

"For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light." Luke 8:17

If you enjoy quirky fantasies, with creative magic, fun characters, and thought-provoking dilemmas, this is the book for you! But don't take my word for it, check out the endorsements from these awesome authors:

“Traitors, rebels, and the most original magic system I’ve seen since Patrick Carr’s A Cast of Stones make Lindsay A. Franklin’s The Story Peddler a unique and engrossing debut! I read through the book in two days. Did not want to put it down.”

—Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid and King’s Folly 

“Lindsay Franklin is a fearless storyteller. She weaves a colorful fantasy of light, darkness, and the many adventures in between. The Story Peddler is a perfect blend of humor, heartache, and healing.”

—Nadine Brandes, author of Fawkes
"The Story Peddler is like nothing I've ever read. Lindsay A. Franklin weaves a magical and one-of-a-kind tale packed with danger, treason, and forbidden stories. A girl who wants to escape her mundane life. A king who harbors dark secrets. A princess in search of truth. The Story Peddler has it all.
Filled to the brim with mystery and intrigue, this stunning debut will transport readers to a realm from whence they’ll ne’er desire to return. Save a spot on your TBR list for this beauty! The Story Peddler is a binge-worthy read sure to be treasured by peasants and kings alike."
—Sara Ella, award-winning author of the Unblemished trilogy




#TheStoryPeddler #TheWeaverTrilogy #CorsythCrew #FlyingFluffhoppers 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cover Reveal - Tricia Mingerink's Latest Novel



I am so excited to announce the coming of Tricia Mingerink's upcoming novel. have been privileged to help promote Tricia's Blades of Acktar series in the past and have so enjoyed the opportunity to watch her grow as an author.  Her stories grab you by the collar and don't let go until the end, making it almost impossible to set the book down. She makes you feel for each of her characters, even her villains, and the way she brings about growth and change in each of them is truly beautiful. 

This new story is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a very interesting twist. I am a sucker for a good fairytale retelling, and I cannot wait to read this one!

And now for the big reveal.....


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Gorgeous isn't it?!?

I LOVE the blue mountainous backdrop and the castle illuminated by sunlight. And the dagger in the title adds a nice contrast to that peaceful scenery, don't you think? I am so excited about this book. Speaking of which, here's a little blurb to make you drool...

About the book: 
A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.
 High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.
A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?
One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest king himself, their quests will demand greater sacrifice than either of them could imagine. 

Release Date: May 28, 2018

About the author: 
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
You can connect with her on FacebookPinterestGoodreadsTwitterInstagram, and her blog.
To make things even more exciting, Tricia Mingerink is going to be co-hosting a blog tour from May 22 to 28 with Sarah Addison-Fox to celebrate the release of both of their latest books. Her next book Dissociate releases May 22. More details about blog tour will be coming in April.