31 May 2013

Two Year Anniversary of Colonial Quills is going on today!



Come on over to Colonial Quills today as we celebrate our Two Year Anniversary!!! LOTS of giveaways by our members!!!


Click here to PARTY!!!

30 May 2013

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Wedding Dress | [Rachel Hauck]

This book, The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck,  has won so many awards and received so many accolades including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference Selah award for best romance (I was there for that one recently, at Ridgeway conference center in North Carolina!) I have to wonder if Rachel has lost count!  Whenever a book is getting that kind of attention there is a reason.  Solid writing, voice, and unique story deliver a great listening experience for the reader.

I listened to it on audiobook as an audible.com download.  The story jumps around between four different women affected by the dress, including a current day woman.  The book lists as a contemporary but has many historical stories within it.  Rachel primarily writes contemporary fiction.  

This was a really good listen. I think the regular book format might be better (particularly if you don't have any vision problems) because there are so many stories going on it may be easier to keep them straight.  But the narrator did a good job of capturing the different voices. And since finding a great Christian audiobook is difficult I simply recommend that if you purchase in audio then don't plan on doing other things while you are listening. You won't want to miss out on the story.

You'll not find anything else out there quite like Rachel's book--at least not any time lately and I think that is one of the reasons for this books appeal.  It is fresh and unique--you won't be bored or even think about declaring that it is the same old same old often found in Christian fiction, because it is not!  Not that I am prone to say this but I did hear another reader recently make this comment.  

Spoiler alert: My one objection to the story is a scene that while it is very exciting has strong associations for me.  Because I am a history buff (AKA history nerd) and love colonial history in particular there is something that happens that occurred in churches during wartime and is one of the ultimate insults or desecration of the church.  That really bothered me.  But I think someone who primarily enjoys romance wouldn't see it that way at all because they wouldn't realize the connotation and because it is not a wartime event. In fact my husband, when I told him of the scene, commented that most romance readers should find that scene particularly romantic!  My inner nerd won out on that scene, I am afraid.

Giveaway: We are giving away a copy of any of Rachel's books this week, winners choice of format.  You can choose any of her wonderful books as a paperback, ebook, or audio download (like this great book!) if available.


28 May 2013

Marian Baay Reviews Once Upon A Prince By Rachel Hauck

Once Upon A Prince


Reviewed by Marian Baay
~5 stars~*****

After Susanna Truitt’s boyfriend, Adam, told her he’d found “the right ring but not the right girl”, twelve years of waiting and living by ‘the plan’ collapses.
Shortly thereafter Susanna meets this handsome stranger, Nate Kenneth, to whom she unburdens her heart, while he is fixing her car.

Nathaniel is on his last carefree vacation on St. Simons Island. His father is the king of Brighton Kingdom, and severely ill. Nathaniel is the crown prince and his father has told him he will be king within the year. After his first meeting with Susanna he is soon going to meet her again and help her to get to the hospital to see her father.

With her father in the hospital, the family restaurant needs extra help. Nate is offering an extra hand and is obviously enjoying cleaning the dishes, scrubbing the bathroom, and taking out the garbage. When one day he leaves a Brightonian coin with his face on it, Susanna finds out he is a prince.

Their next meeting is a bit awkward but they stay friends anyway. When feelings run deeper, Nathaniel knows he must tell Susanna that he—as crown prince—is not allowed to marry a foreigner; back home he is expected to propose to a woman he doesn’t love. When Nathaniel is explaining to Susanna why he can’t marry her, he gets a phone call and learns that his father has died. He leaves immediately and Susanna doesn’t hear from him again.

Both their lives go on and Susanna and Nathaniel battle questions about God’s plan for their lives. They must learn to completely surrender themselves to God—learn to fully trust Him.

Then 5 months later Susanna receives an invitation for the coronation of King Nathaniel in Brighton…
Together with her younger sister, Susanna travels to Brighton Kingdom. She has no idea who has invited her or if she will get a chance to speak to Nathaniel in private. Susanna and her sister will be living a fairytale during their stay.
Is there a chance to love for Nathaniel and Susanna, despite the odds?

I enjoyed this story for several reasons; the writing style is very pleasant, the characters are oh so lovely, and I read this book just before the coronation of our Dutch King—so I really was in the mood for it and had twice as much fun reading it.
Nicely done, Rachel! 
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GIVEAWAY: A book by Rachel Hauck of your choice! Answer the question to be entered in the contest. And don't forget to leave your email address if we don't know you.

QUESTION: I think most of us have never been to the coronation of a king or queen, but I suppose we all have watched a coronation or royal wedding on TV once. Whose coronation or royal wedding have you watched?


26 May 2013

Interview with Rachel Hauck--Overcoming Anxiety by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Rachel Hauck

RachelHauck is the author of Once Upon A Prince and of RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle. She is the author of more than 16 books.

Rachel, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?

RH: First, thank you for having me on OWG. I am an overcomer. In my late teens, then again in my mid-20’s I battled sudden anxiety and panic. There wasn’t a lot of talk in those days of “panic attacks” but they would hit me out of the blue and last for a few seconds, but over time, the fear of them happening or getting worse lingered.

That fear was worse than the actual “event.”

I could actually write a book about my experience and how the Lord met me. Let me just affirm and confirm, prayer and the Word work! We can overcome anything in Him.

My battle was a cocktail of hormones, open doors to the enemy, and maybe a bit of inheritance from my family. Either way, I was determined to win. I had to take up my cross daily. I had a scripture verse for fear, for peace, for love, for overcoming, for every errant thought.

I believed God’s Word was true and it would deliver me and heal me.

He is true to His Word.

I walk in peace and joy. The unfounded fears and panic are no longer a part of my life. I truly understand “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

For anyone struggling emotionally or spiritually, devour God’s Word. Make it your “bread and water. It will give you life. Change you in ways you cannot imagine.
The Wedding Dress | Rachel Hauck
Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?

RH: I have no control over the audio versions or audio capability. I would love for Once Upon a Prince to be released in audio format. Hopefully it will soon. But I do believe e-readers have audio capability and this book will be released in e-book. So, check your Kindle or Nook for reading aloud features.

(Note: Rachel's "The Wedding Dress" and three books with Sara Evans are available on audible.com.)

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
RH: Most of my stories are about the love of the Lord and His passion for us, or His divine plan for us. In Once Upon A Prince, we meet Susanna who thought she knew what her life was going to be – she had a plan – but when her boyfriend breaks up with her instead of proposing, she is confused and lost.

Her journey is about surrendering completely. I think for anyone struggling we find ourselves battling the desire to cling to what we know – even if it’s negative – and leaping out in faith and trusting God.

It’s hard to trust a God we don’t know well or actually see. But it’s actually in that place God begins to meet us.

Susanna must face the same choice. Keep doing things her way or leap out in faith and believe God.

Plus, she meets a prince. Sigh… It’s an encouraging story!

Thank you Rachel for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

RH: Thank you for having me!

Use this link to view all of Rachel's books with links to purchase (click here.)

GIVEAWAY:  We are giving away a book of Rachel's--winner's choice of book and choice of format, this week.  Answer the question and leave your email address to enter.  Q: Have you ever had to deal with severe anxiety?  How did God help you cope?

25 May 2013

Memorial Day and the Civil War by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Memorial Day began after the Civil War. Never before had so many casualties been caused.  With the advent of the minie ball, a French invention, rifles could be used in combat. One of the reasons there is so much death and gore associated with this war is because of this new type of battle. And thus many field hospitals were required and more injuries than either side thought possible.  Nursing as a profession began out of necessity to treat the injured soldiers.

This is the 400th anniversary of Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, which served as a field hospital for both Union and Confederate troops.  The ladies of Shirley Plantation rose to the task and assisted in serving the injured.   I can't imagine the mother of adult sons not feeling compassion for those lying in her fields.  

Did you know--Robert E. Lee spent much of his childhood at Shirley Plantation with his mother, one of the Carter daughters?  Former governor and American Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighthorse" Lee married Anne Carter, his second wife. However,  Anne and Robert lived at Shirley for some time and part of the laundry building at Shirley was converted into a school room for him. There are two versions I have heard of why Henry Lee left his family and departed for the islands. One was that he sought to escape possible imprisonment for debts but the other, per Wikipedia is that he was severely injured while defending a friend from attack, was beaten severely himself, and went to the Indies to recover. Regardless he died on a Georgia island when Robert was about eleven.

This weekend Julian Charity will be doing a book signing at Shirley Plantation on Saturday and on Monday, Memorial Day.  He will be signing his book "Courage at Home and Abroad."

Do you have family letters from those who served on either side of this conflict?  If so, what were you most deeply touched by?

24 May 2013

Noela Nancarrow Reviews The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's Daughter


Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow         
5 stars~*****

Traverse the continents to England and the windswept coast of Cornwall where you’ll find the sprawling Ebbington Manor upon the high cliff tops of North Cornwall. Peer over the cliffs of giddy heights and you’ll behold turquoise seas and pounding surf off the dramatic coastline. With this exquisite setting as a backdrop, ‘A tutor’s Daughter’ will fully engage your senses as you get lost in the Regency era of this outstanding story.

Emma Smallwood lives with and helps out her widowed father who is a tutor. However, his boarding school is failing and her father is feeling melancholy and unmotivated, which is not boding well for the future of the school. In the bid to acquire some new pupils, Emma drafts a letter to the Weston family whose older sons had previously attended, knowing they also had two younger boys. Emma receives a reply that Sir Giles Weston requests that her father consider coming to Ebbington Manor to teach his sons there for a year, and that Emma was welcome to come along. John Smallwood perks up at the prospect and is eager to go, longing for a change. On the other hand Emma, remembering one in particular of the two older Weston sons, is not so keen. Nevertheless, knowing her father needs her assistance, she accepts Sir Giles’ invitation and soon they are on their way by coach to Ebford, Cornwall.

When Emma and her father arrive they seem to be unexpected, and Lady Weston even upon discovering Sir Giles’ forgotten invitation to the Smallwood’s, still seems rather cool toward them. When tense words were heard behind doors between the hosts, Emma had the distinct impression they were not welcome.

The Manor in which the Weston family lived was a grand place that had expanded over the years, creating an awkward mixture of Medieval, Tudor, and Georgian architecture. With an ancient two-story hall that displayed crossed swords and shields on the darkly paneled walls, an off-limits north wing, and creaking stairs, the old Manor took on a mysterious ambience. The mysteries surrounding this place and the Weston’s, magnified when Emma began to hear strange happenings throughout the night, including high pitched wailing; hurried footsteps; and ghostly piano playing. What are the closely guarded secrets that surround this family?

The older sons of the Baronet, Phillip and Henry, have grown up quite a bit since Emma last saw them. While she is drawn to one of them by his gentle and helpful nature, she finds the other brother intimidates and perplexes her. But someone is playing pranks that are escalating in intensity and Emma doesn’t know who is responsible. At times, Emma’s heart is being pulled in two directions but as her feelings grow for one of them, will it be one who will hurt her? She knows only too well also, that any relationship has very little chance of working out as they are the sons of a Baron and she is simply a Tutor’s Daughter.

I enjoyed this historical journey to Cornwall and Ebbington Manor immensely. This adventure was just brimming with tangible atmosphere and characters of great depth and charisma. There were inspiring moments of faith renewed, along with heart-stopping suspense and danger. This was a page-turner edged in intrigue. Including a breathtaking romance, this story had it all!!

You can buy Julie's books at Amazon, CBD, and other bookstores.
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GIVEAWAY: A Kindle copy of The Tutor's Daughter for one commenter who answers the question. And don't forget to leave your email address as well. 

QUESTION: Have you ever been in a dangerous or scary situation and experienced the Lord rescuing you from that place? 

23 May 2013

Teresa Mathews' Reviews Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Stealing the Preacher


Bethany House Publishers

Reviewed by Teresa Mathews

5 stars *****

In this amazing Texas tale Karen Witemeyer re-introduces us to Crockett Archer. If you read Short Straw Bride you will remember the lovable brothers that had to take care of themselves from a very young age when their parents passed away. Since the age of fifteen Crockett took on the spiritual responsibility of the family. For the past three years he has been an apprentice under the local preacher and now he is on a train bound for an interview at what just may be his first church.

Crockett is not prepared for what happens next, several men dressed as robbers stop the train and instead of robbing everyone, they ask for the preacher. After a moment of debating whether he wants to step forward Crockett does so and finds himself being forced off the train at gunpoint. What will happen if he can't get to his interview at the church?


Silas Robbins has no use for God or those hypocrites that call themselves preachers but he loves his only child more than anything in the world. So when she said she needed to talk to a preacher he was determined he would find one no matter the cost. When he hears there is a preacher coming to a nearby church to try out to be the pastor his plan comes together. Won't Joanna be surprised when he brings home a preacher for her birthday?


Joanna Robbins has been praying for God to send a new preacher to the area so they can once again have church services. She wants more than anything to see her father give up his sinful ways, she promised her mother before she passed away she wouldn't give up praying for him. When her father kidnaps a preacher as a present for her twenty-first birthday Joanna is more than a little shocked. She prayed for a preacher to come but not like this, not by the hand of her father holding a gun on him!


Crockett is quite taken by Joanna and her godly ways, so when he misses his interview he sees it as God wanting him to take up the challenge to be the preacher Joanna wants for her town and possibly the man for her life. Joanna talks her father into hiring Crockett to work on the ranch but Silas tells him there will be no talking about the things of God. Will the life that Crockett lives speak louder than words and touch Silas' hard heart?


Once again Karen has written an amazing story that had me excitedly flipping pages into the night. When you read of the resurrection of an abandoned church, the softening of an old criminal's heart and watching the love grow between a man with a true heart for God and a beautiful selfless young woman. It certainly makes for a book you do not want to put down and long for the next adventure Karen has in store for us.  


You can find this book and others by Karen at AmazonCBD, and Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.


QUESTION: Which of Karen's books is your favorite?


GIVEAWAY: A book by Karen Witemeyer of your choice. Answer the question to be entered in the contest, and don't forget to leave your email address as well.

21 May 2013

Marian Baay's Review of Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Stealing the Preacher


Reviewed by Marian Baay
5 stars~*****

Stealing the Preacher is the sequel to Short-Straw Bride. I learned this piece of information halfway through the book because one of my friends mentioned it. If I hadn’t known it was a sequel I had never figured that out by reading this book—so the book can easily be read as stand-alone.

Abducted from a train by an ex-outlaw, Crockett Archer is presented to the man’s daughter as a birthday present for her 21st birthday.
Joanna Robbins can’t believe that her father forced a preacher off the train and brought him to her. Yes, she asked for a preacher, but never in her wildest dreams could she imagine her father providing one. Silas Robbins is against everything that has to do with religion. Joanna’s mother was a believer and so is Joanna. When her mother died she promised to keep praying for her father’s soul, but without her mother she feels lonely and lost. There’s no preacher in town, so Joanna started praying for one to come. Now she has her preacher, but he’s there against his will. He has dreams of his own—to preach in another town. After she told him why she needs a preacher, she let him go.
Crockett is impressed by Joanna’s faith. When he resumes his travels to the interview for a position in another church, he can’t get the beautiful redhead out of his thoughts. Will he ever see her again?

Before I had seen the beautiful cover for this book I heard the title of Karen’s next book would be Stealing the Preacher. As a preacher’s wife I knew I had to read that book. When I saw the cover I was completely in love! Reading the book brought even more pleasure than I imagined.
This book is definitely a must-read—worthy of 5 stars! Karen’s writing is captivating, the characters are enjoyable and fun, and the story line is nicely done. Highly recommended!
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GIVEAWAY: A book by Karen Witemeyer of your choice. Answer the question to be entered in the contest, and don't forget to leave your email address as well.

QUESTION: Have you ever been on your way somewhere, when God called you to another destination?

19 May 2013

Jaime Wright Sundsmo Interviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels



JAIME WRIGHT is the administrator of Coffee Cups & Camisoles and a member of the Christian Fiction Historical Society blog. She writes historical romance with a suspenseful slant and is a member of ACFW.

JAIME, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
Bringing out the big guns in the first question, huh? Well, there are a lot of trials I could draw from, but most recently it was the year 2012. Typically, the birth of a newborn is a good thing, but in April after my son was born, I was hit very hard with postpartum depression. I was a high risk case for it because my first three pregnancies ended up being miscarriages and my daughter was in the NICU for the first bit of her life. My son’s birth was 100% normal. The doctor said I’d probably be traumatized by normality and have a huge mood swing down from expecting and preparing for trauma. He was right. By the end of my son’s first week of life I was concocting ways to have my sister-in-law adopt him or even leave him on the hospital doorstep. I had no emotional bond to him whatsoever—he was an interruption, a betrayal of my affection to my daughter, and an exhausting addition to our lives. After my sister-in-law interpreted my emotion, my husband hurried me off to the doctor to get assistance and get me back on my feet. During this time, my husband was going through a bout of his chronic insomnia and average 8 hours of sleep a week. I was bit by a deer tick and contracted Lyme’s disease. My daughter went through major separation anxiety with the entrance of her brother and became prone to tantrums and long hours of tears.

It was a difficult year but a phenomenal one as well. The grace of God is exceptional and receiving nothing but support and understanding from a network of friends and family only bolstered the sense of humility in being able to receive help and love and assistance.

My Lyme’s disease is now cured. My son is a mommy’s boy and I can hardly be without him he’s so dear to my heart. My daughter loves on her brother and refuses to let anyone “be mean to him” and my husband has upped his weekly amount of sleep to ten hours (so we could still use prayer there!)

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Sheesh. I have a lot but the most poignant one lately has been Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God”. I have a habit of talking my way out of problems, controlling, planning and KNOWING what I need to do. This verse has been a slap upside the head to shut up, sit back, and let God be GOD!

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your blogs and why?
I’d love for readers to connect with a healthy sense of community—the sort of fellowship that blesses and bolsters us on a daily basis. It’s been such a great place for me to find some rest and peace in the midst of a hectic life—I hope I can offer the same in return.

As you researched your manuscripts, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Tons. Usually my research is very historically inclined, but along with it I put myself in the shoes of those who lived in that time and a million potential Spiritual themes arise. Those are always challenging for me because so often, I’m going through similar experiences.

In this latest work, do you have any topics that will be useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Not so much medically, but Spiritually I’d say yes. My latest manuscript addresses the issue of extreme legalism and lack of grace that comes with a hard past. In an effort to protect from the bad choices we made or experienced, we create laws and rules while eliminating the grace of God. Hopefully, my readers (when I have them!) will be able to engage in growing in their Spiritual well-being through my books. While I write for entertainment, I also pray that each novel has a lesson and theme that can be applied to our Spiritual walk.

Thank you JAIME for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Find Jaime at: 
http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com
facebook.com/JaimeWrightBooks
twitter.com/jaime_wright



GIVEAWAY: It is Karen Witemeyer week and we’ll be giving away the winner’s choice of any of Karen’s books, choice of format.

18 May 2013

Carrie's Summer Rxd Reads

Audiobooks

Threads of Grace by Kelly Long  2013 















It happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist, Howard Books 2013  Lovely new release!!!
It Happened at the Fair | [Deeanne Gist]


Julie Klassen, The Tutor's Daughter, Bethany, 2013  One to savor!!


Jennifer Delamere, Rita nominee and fabulous story!!!


Karen Witemeyer's Stealing the Preacher will be available in audiobook later this summer and will release in ebook and paperback formats in June.




Sarah E. Ladd's debut novel is available in audiobook but the narrator is so awful I'd recommend you read Heiress of Winterwood in ebook or paperback format.






On my list, too, available in paperback and ebook formats:

Melanie Dickerson The Fairest Beauty, Although a YA this crosses over to historical romance.



Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman, Sigh..., It is by Julie--need I say more?  Amazing read!



Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall, Mar. 2013, Marvelously Complex!













C.J. Chase The Reluctant Earl 2013,  A Sparkling Gem!!!


The Reluctant Earl






















Novella
Bachelor Buttons by Kathleen L. Maher, 2013




Nonfiction

Cynthia Howerter and LaTan Murphy, releases in July, 2013. Wonderful wisdom and encouragement!




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