Victoria: The Queen

by Julia Baird

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Oh my goodness. A brilliant read. This is, as it says, an intimate biography of the woman who ruled an empire.

unknownWith all the rage from the fabulous new Masterpiece series, this book is sure to be a hit. It is very detailed, without being boring and dragging on. It’s so intriguing and holds your attention. I love to learn about the royals of England and this book did NOT disappoint.

Who knew that Victoria’s daughter, Beatrice, burned most of her writings to protect her mother’s image? Who knew that she had a step-sister that was her best friend? Just some of the little tidbits you will learn as you read through this amazing biography.

Please, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy (link in the pic). Thank you for this book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!

An Inconvenient Romance

by Chalon Linton

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So, Chalon Linton is an author that is new to me. The cover is absolutely beautiful and I am all in anytime I’m handed a Regency novel. The storyline is cute as it is about a couple of kids that grew up playing together and then had a few years of separation. Are their hearts able to find their way back to each other?

Unfortunately, it was a difficult read for me. The author is speaking in first person, but jumping back and forth between the characters. That was just too confusing and sporadic. I do think it was a great storyline, but difficult to follow written as is.

I will say, I’m a natural blond…so, it could just be me! That may not be too confusing for everyone. ha!

It’s certainly worth a try. If you don’t mind that, you will love it! Check out below for a chance to win your own copy and see what you think of it. Be sure to come back and let me know after you’ve read it 🙂

Thanks for this book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

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A Viscount’s Proposal

by Melanie Dickerson

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Oh, Melanie! How you love us to write a Regency series!

In the second book to her Regency Spies of London series, we continue on with the Langdon family. This time it’s the story of Leorah, Nicholas’ sister, and Viscount Edward Withinghall. These two do not appreciate each others’ differences, to be sure! Their bickering and irritability are very entertaining and keep you laughing throughout.

Melanie is a YA author, but her books are enjoyable by all. The characters are very deep and hilarious. There are a lot of fun Regency “celebrity” references and many scenes reminiscent of Jane Austen’s novels (P&P especially!).

Make sure to pick up a copy! Loads of fun and you will fall in love with Edward! (Links in the pics). Be sure to pick up some of her other fun novels as well!

Thanks for this fun read in exchange for my thoughts. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!

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An Uncommon Courtship

by Kristi Ann Hunter

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The latest book in The Hawthorne House series is here! woot woot! We’ve had a chance to read both of his sister’s stories and now it is Trent’s turn. Squeee!

Ok, thoughts? Loved it, of course. I know that it’s the publisher that makes the covers, but HOLY MOLY her covers are beautiful. That is, honestly, half of the battle right there. I could go on about how her characters are always entertaining, well rounded and lovable, but I especially love how they are deep. They really love God and these books are not just just clean or overall “religious”. They have true and deep relationships with God that are obvious throughout. I LOVE THAT!

Adelaide and Trent are married in an effort to protect her reputation since they were trapped alone together. As they muddle through their awkward marriage, I often times want to smack Trent in the head for being such a guy. ha! As they work through their after-marriage courtship, you will find yourself rooting for them and falling more in love with the Hawthorne family.

Pick it up! It’s a great read (but grab the others too! Link is in pics).

Thanks for this great read in exchange for my thoughts. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

If you want to check out Kristi’s pinterest page for more pics and inspiration, just check here!

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The Polygamist’s Daughter

by Anna LeBaron/with Leslie Wilson

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(link in pic)

Ervil LeBaron was one of the most famous Mormon fundamentalist leaders. He was a self-proclaimed prophet that thought he was a god. He was imprisoned for the blood atonement killings that were done in the name of god.

Anna was his daughter.

This is one of those books that will be heavy on your heart for days to come. The darkness just sits in your mind and you find yourself thinking on it. Her story is brutal, but written with such forgiveness, kindness and love. A love that only the One, True God could put in her heart.

Please pick up this book. It is eye opening and incredible. It’s not written in anger or spite. It’s written by a girl that has come through the darkness into the light of the One, True God. It’s difficult, yes. It’s also powerful. I highly recommend!

Thank you for this book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!

Psalm 55

Psalm 55 is so full of beautiful truths and imagery. As I was reading it this morning, I was overwhelmed by God’s love for me. I am constantly amazed at God’s attention to us. It rather blows my mind, if we are being honest.

The thing I really love about the Psalms is David’s brutal honesty. It’s just this intertwining relationship between him and His Creator. It’s a tangled mess. The only constant is God as David struggles through this thing called “life”.

image-1 It doesn’t get much more sincere than this. Not only is he on his knees and crying out to God, but he is admitting his distractions and that he is, in fact, complaining. He’s restless in his anxiety.

I totally know that feeling. I get it.

The best part? David is considered a “Man after God’s own heart” according to God Himself! (Acts 13:22) His genuine prayers and responses were beautiful.

image-1-2 He states it perfectly. It’s our everyday prayer – to be at rest. To fly away from the difficulties that life presents us with Every. Single. Day.

So, God gives him an answer and he shares it here with us:

image-1-4 He doesn’t say anything about taking away David’s suffering. He simply says that He will sustain those who give the burden to Him. He says that, once we do that, we will not be shaken. He doesn’t say, “Good job! You trusted me. No more trouble.”

Here’s the most beautiful part:

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It doesn’t get much better than that. David is admitting he has been complaining and whining. He admits he is weary, distracted and restless. Think about the last person you had in your life that was all of these things. “Delight” is not the word I’m going with. Not only that, but we are talking about the God of the UNIVERSE! What in the world??? And it’s simply this one thing that He requires of us. image-1-5Just trust in Him. Even if we are whining and complaining. He still delights in us. Still desires our relationship.

WOW.

Very humbling.

He desires us. He sustains us. He delights in us. And, He fights for us.

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What an amazing God we serve. I am so humbled right now. I hope that you know that you can talk to God this way. He wants to hear your honest feelings. He already knows them anyway. It’s not like you are hiding anything. If you are angry with Him, just tell Him! If you are sad, curl up in His arms. Let His light shine upon your face. This is the God that created all good things. He is desiring you and your relationship.

This sums it up beautifully:

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Face-Off with Jocelyn Green!!

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And….WE’RE BACK!!!!! Woot Woot! I am so excited to announce that face-offs are back up and running with all kinds of fun in store! I’m especially “psyched out of my mind” about this fabulous author agreeing to be the first after a long break. (If you are wondering where I have been, just check out this post.)

green-4-hi-res-1This lovely lady is finally back with a new series. I loved her last series that featured different women dealing with the atrocities of the Civil War.

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She has since moved onto writing 51lzkp0tnql-_uy250_about the 1720’s Louisiana. I absolutely can’t WAIT to read and review this book. Coming soon!

You can also learn a bit more about Jocelyn as she is my Author Highlight of the Month. Just check out the HOME page to see her thoughts on writing the Heroines Behind the Lines series. Or, go HERE to find out her favorite Bible verse, some fun traditions and much more.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


 

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The rules are simple. I ask Jocelyn some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Worst storm/natural disaster that you have lived through?

Jocelyn – I have spent most of my life in the Midwest, so our signature natural disaster is the mighty tornado. The closest call came when I was pregnant with my second child. An E5 tornado almost completely wiped out the small town of Parkersburg, IA, which is 20 miles west of us. When the sirens came on, of course, we didn’t know where the tornado would touch down. I headed to the basement immediately but was totally freaked out because my husband was out with our 2-year-old daughter on a shopping trip. He told me later that he was speeding home on the highway, and could see the tornado in his rearview mirror!

Our town has also survived some major flooding. We live seven blocks from the river but we’re uphill, so our house hasn’t personally suffered damage, but other places in town had water up to their roof lines. Our family has been fortunate!

Charity – Woh! That had to be the most terrifying thing EVER! Seeing an E5 tornado in your rearview mirror? What in the world. There’s no way I can top that. I live on the east coast, so we get hurricanes. I live in Virginia though…so, they usually aren’t too bad.

— Definitely Jocelyn!

Charity 0 / Jocelyn 1

2. What TV show is your guilty pleasure?

Jocelyn – Fixer Upper. I only feel guilty about watching it when I’m on a tight deadline and should be writing. (But we all need breaks, right?)

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Charity – I have to be honest. I have never seen it! They look adorable though and I love a good fixer upper! haha.

Mine is Survivor. Man, oh man! I love that show. It never gets old. Just gets better and better. Cook Islands was probably the most intense season though.


— I suppose it has to be a tie…Nope. “The Tribe Has Spoken”. I am taking it.

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

3. Favorite Bible verse?

Jocelyn – Ephesians 2:10!

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Charity – Oh, that’s a good one. I don’t even begin to know how to answer this question. There are so many that just …. blow my mind! Here are a few:

I could continue forever, but I shall stop there! ha ha 🙂

— God wins! ❤

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

4. Who would you really like to sit down with and talk to from past history?

Jocelyn – Hannah More, English poet and writer who was born in 1745. She was one of William Wilberforce’s compatriots in the campaign to abolish the British slave trade, and she had such influence through her writing in many other ways. I so admire her.

Charity – Oh my goodness, yes! I am not sure if you read Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, but it’s absolutely incredible. It’s a biography of Hannah More’s life. I did a review on it and Karen has faced-off with me a couple of times! She’s fabulous!!!

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**PS – It’s on .99 cents on kindle right now!!! (link in pic)

As far as my “sit down”. George Washington is my crush. I have always admired him. Such a hero. If you have not seen this mini-series, you are 100% missing out!

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Do yourself a favor and pick this up! It’s only $12 for the whole thing!!!! (link in pic)

— Both were fabulous choices! It’s definitely a tie.

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

5. Favorite Date w/ Hubby

Jocelyn – Tickets to the National Cathedral when we were living in Washington, D.C., to see the Dublin Men & Boys Choir perform Handel’s Messiah.

Charity – Oh, wow! That must have been incredible. I bet it gave you chills.

I couldn’t even say what mine is. We are total homebodies and creatures of habit. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our dates because we almost ALWAYS go out to eat at Chili’s and then see a movie in those fabulous recliner chairs. ha! It’s like, the perfect date. Why try to improve on perfection?

— Ok, at least you dressed up and went out…I take a blanket and recline on my dates…

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 2

6. If you had to be on a reality show, which one would you do?

Jocelyn – Worst Cooks of America! Not because I’m actually one of the worst, but I would love the opportunity to learn from Bobby Flay!

Charity – Hmm. So, is there one where I could recline and watch tv…?

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The Amazing Race would be fun. I would either be really relaxed and laughing a lot, OR Big, Angry, Momma Bear. Not sure which would come out under the pressure. Let’s not find out.

— Unfortunately, your answer was much better. I want to watch tv for everything, it would seem.

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

7. Favorite pizza toppings?

Jocelyn – Sausage and pepperoni.

Charity – Ew. ha! I would definitely say veggies. I love a veggie pizza. YUM!

— I got that one because your choice doesn’t sound yummy to me! face-with-tears-of-joy

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

8. Craziest thing God has asked you to do? (or one of)

Jocelyn – Marry a military officer. I’d told myself I would NEVER marry into the military, but I knew two weeks after meeting Rob that I would marry him.

Charity – Oh my gosh. Never tell God “never”. I have learned that’s the fastest route to getting it…I don’t even know because I think that God has continually asked me to do things that are SO out of my comfort zone. It’s truly not funny. Could it be to buy a 732 sq ft home? How about to try to adopt? How about homeschooling? How about throw away my favorite TV show just to see if I was willing? I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Good thing He knows what makes me the happiest! I sure would be heading in the opposite direction because it doesn’t seem like those things would work. HA! I couldn’t be happier in my life though. Truly. He truly does know what makes us happy if we are willing to listen. SMH

— God is amazing. He wins ALWAYS

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

9. What are some of your favorite hobbies? (Besides writing)

Jocelyn – Baking, gardening, knitting (but only scarves!)… I would say scrapbooking but it feels dishonest because I haven’t actually scrapped anything in about seven years. Oops.

Charity – Ha! That’s awesome. 99f8f508cfd4833784f54a3a6e0b268aMe either. It makes me crazy to try. So….hobbies…Um, does watching BBC count? How about reading historical novels? I also like to do my nails? Does that count…

— Oh my word. I am really lame!

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 4

10. Craziest haircut story?

Jocelyn – I once decided I needed a haircut RIGHT THIS SECOND and so I went into a walk-in place. The young woman who cut my hair was on her “trial” period, so she was really really nervous. And slow. And after everything she did, she had to ask her supervisor for advice. Whenever she asked me a question, she would roll her eyes and groan at my answer. I remember I needed to get a “correction cut” at my usual place pretty soon after that, so my plan to save time totally backfired. But what I remember most was that she seemed so put-out by the whole process. LOL I don’t think she kept her job.

Charity – Oh, boy. That’s awful. So rude!!!

I am so going to win this one. I have so many to pick from…Ok, here’s the best. Growing up, I had long, BEAUTIFUL, blonde hair. I had met this person online and we talked every day for 3-4 years. He was my best friend (never anything romantic). Anyway, he lived in Israel and was coming to the States and we were going to meet IRL (ha ha ha). Anyway, I had just had my first son and was still a bit on the chunky side. I went and got my hair cut so that would at least look nice. Holy Momma. I hear an, “Uh oh!” and see a huge chunk of hair fall. I had asked for a trim. She. Gave. Me. A. Butch. Cut. Literally cut my hair to the scalp on most parts. It was absolutely horrendous. I looked HORRIFIC and there wasn’t a darn thing a could do about it. She had accidentally cut off a chunk, so she figured she would just style it differently…

Most embarrassing meeting in my life. EVER.

His friend that came along actually said, “This isn’t the girl in the picture!” face-with-tears-of-joy

— Taking it!

Final:

Charity 3 / Jocelyn 4

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Thanks so much, Jocelyn, for taking the time to face-off even during deadlines! You are absolutely fabulous and I adore you!!!! ❤

Show her some love and comment your favorite Jocelyn Green books or what you would love to read by her!!!

Counter Culture

by David Platt

Wow. This man, his faith and obedience, always inspires me so much. I loved, LOVED this book. He is such an incredible disciple because he is willing to obey God in all things.

The subjects tackled in this book are brave, to say the least. I don’t know many people that would be willing to even comment on most of these topics, let alone write a book with their name on it.

David writes on topics ranging from abortion, sex, ethnicity, and even refugees. Have questions about what God says in these areas? I bet you don’t want to know! Ignorance is bliss…or is it? Do God really know what is best for us? Are we willing to fall in love with Him, trust Him and, most importantly, surrender to Him?

I hope so. I know the road is narrow, but let’s make it a little wider.

Be sure to pre-order Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age. It is a revised and updated version of the original with an extra chapter added based on the refugee crisis. Release date set for February 7, 2017.

Thanks for this read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

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Some Big Freebies!

How about some awesome books for FREE? Let’s see what’s available today:

BTW, I wanted to let you know that Amazon has KINDLE UNLIMITED now!!!!!!

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Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

BTW: To those of you receiving this through email, I know that the pics don’t show up. Please just click on the link to my page and they will be there all bright and shiny for you! 🙂

**** Don’t forget to sign up for my giveaway of Julie Klassen’s new book! ****

 

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

by Julie Klassen

The much awaited, new series by Julie Klassen is finally here! Well, it was here before Christmas, but I have been a bit behind…

If you have read much Klassen, you will want to know that this book is significantly different than her others. All of her books have basically stood alone while this one is absolutely part of a series. The book didn’t really end at the end of the book. That being said, it was a great read. Her writing style has really deepened and grown since her debut novel, The Lady of Milkweed Manor.

Overall, I felt it was very well written. There were a lot of people to keep up with instead of the average handful you have in a novel. The point of view would switch from character to character rapidly and I would find myself confused at times trying to remember which person it was. I believe that it was just preparing the reader for the following volumes to come. So, if you don’t have severe brain trauma as I seem to have, you should be just fine! I definitely recommend this book (and anything by Julie!). She is a truly gifted writer!!!

Thanks so much for this read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

— Check out my fun face-offs with the awesome Julie Klassen!

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