26 February 2015

Teresa S. Mathews Reviews Broom and Gloom By Christy Barritt

Broom and Gloom by Christy Barritt          
Book 9 of the Squeaky Clean Series    
Publisher River Heights Press
5 Stars*****

Once again talented author Christy Barritt leads us on a trail of mischief and mayhem with our favorite crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. In this adventure Gabby feels the need to further her education of Crime Scene Investigation so she travels cross country from Virginia, to Oklahoma for a forensic convention. While there Gabby meets for the first time her soon to be stepbrother, Trace Ryan, an up and coming country singer, and that is when the adventure begins.

There is something about Trace that makes Gabby immediately like him, he is handsome, sincere and a wonderful singer, with just one flaw; he thinks he is being stalked by a crazy, murderous fan.

When Trace explains about his troublesome fan and how she might have had something to do with the disappearance of a young woman he had been dating. Gabby dives head first into what could well be her own crime scene. The more she investigates the more danger seems to follow her, from a mad charging bull to being trapped in a burning house to starring down the barrel of a gun. Will Gabby figure out who the real killer is before it's too late?

This Squeaky Clean Series by Christy Barritt is a true delight to this fan of mysteries and CSI shows. Gabby is bright, thinks fast on her feet, and has a great sense of humor. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading one of these exciting novels yet, follow this link to a free copy of the very first one;  Hazardous Duty and I promise you will want to read the rest of the series. Many thanks to Ms Barritt for creating this enjoyable series that's had me hooked from day one! 

You can find this treasure and others by Christy at Amazon


GIVEAWAY: We will be giving away an e-book of this amazing story to one blessed commenter!



24 February 2015

Diana Reviews Windigo Twilight By Colleen Coble

 
 
 
Reviewed by Diana Flowers
(No Spoilers!) 
 
 

Exotic Suspense!
 
Windigo Twilight is a gripping, exotic suspense-filled tale that takes place on a mysterious island across the horizon from Lake Superior. A weathered mansion, massive pine trees along the cliff's edge, the sound of the surf crashing below, and rumors of the evil Windigo spirits all lend to the mystique of this dark, cryptic isle. 
 
 
Rebecca Baxter believes her parents' death due to an explosion on their boat is no accident, especially due to the fact that her estranged relatives would profit handsomely from their deaths.  Changing her name to Becca Lynn she secures a position as a research assistant to writer, Max Duncan, on a practically deserted island in the middle of Lake Superior. Becca has not been to Windigo Manor since she was a small child, and is certain none of the remaining family members there will recognize her as she ferrets out information concerning her parents' death. Max Duncan is a handsome, brooding widower for whom Becca begins to feel a deep attraction in spite of herself. When eerie incidents begin to take place, Becca begins to wonder if she has been recognized. When someone frightens her in the woods dressed up as Windigo and her life becomes threatened, Becca unearths secrets she never wanted to find out. Someone wants her out of the way---permanently. And no one in Windigo Manor is to be trusted...including Max Duncan.
 
 
Colleen Coble wrote this riveting novel under her maiden name of Rhoads in 2005, and had it republished in 2015. Full of exotic descriptive imagery, the reader will feel as though they are on a tropical island in the Caribbean or Tahiti instead of the United States. Filled with heart racing excitement and melodramatic tension that will send shivers up your spine -- there is never a dull moment in this whodunit! Throw in some romance and a spiritual thread throughout and you have a typical Colleen Coble novel--breathtaking!
                                                     
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This book may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BAM.
 


GIVEAWAY: An ebook copy to one blessed commenter! International entrants welcome.
 
 
 
 
 
 

22 February 2015

Kelli Hughett Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Author Kelli Hughett
Kelli, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. I sure enjoyed meeting you at ACFW conference a few years back and sharing a dinner table with you!

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? Answer: Three years ago, I was seriously injured in a car crash. To date, I've had two spinal fusions and countless therapies and procedures. At the time, I had nine year old, a six year old, and a three year old.  
I’d always been an active person. I enjoyed lifting weights, playing sports, and especially hiking and camping with my family. I think the hardest thing was teaching my kids to crawl into my lap, instead of picking them up. They missed the cuddling. They missed the mom-that-used-to-be.
But God knew what a struggle I would be facing, and in the moment before the other car hit us, I heard His voice. “Everything is going to be okay.” Simple statement. Big results. In the months and years that have followed, I have relied on that perfect promise. No matter the pain, the fear, or the unknown, it’s true. Everything is going to be okay. God has already overcome for me through Christ.
What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I can overcome anything because of this promise.
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?
Not at this time, but Red Zone is in the process of being produced in an audio format.
Red Zone by Kelli Hughett

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
One book that influenced the character development of Marcy in Red Zone is, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. In my experience, most women have struggled with overcoming their belief that they aren’t truly beautiful. Captivating changed my own beliefs in my true beauty in Christ.
Question you’d like to ask readers:
What is your favorite part of romantic suspense? The romance or the suspense?

Author bio:
"To fall in Love with God is the greatest Romance; To seek him, the greatest adventure; To find him, the greatest achievement." Augustine
I don't spend my days writing, but I squeeze it in where I can. From my office window, I see barns, the Rocky Mountains, yards of farm fence and wide swathes of green grass surrounded by trees that are just starting to turn this fall. You'd imagine me writing Amish or Prairie Romance, right?!
Many people who know me well have asked me why I chose to write suspense. It is a little out-of-character for me, I suppose. I collect tea cups, read Austen and classics regularly, wear frilly dresses and dote on agricultural landscapes. My favorite book is Anne of Green Gables. So, why suspense?
I guess it taps an unseen part of my personality. What's more exciting than a murder mystery? Suspense is the spice of life, even if we aren't standing over dead bodies all day. It enhances marriages, gives authority to news and announcements, and makes our hearts beat fast. No book, no matter the genre, would be interesting without a little suspense!
And what story is complete without romance?
I hope you'll find my books entertaining without offending your soul. I hope you'll discover the magic of ordinary days and characters in extraordinary circumstances. Maybe you'll find yourself in one of my books. I know you'll find little pieces of me. Visit me at http://kellihughett.com or follow me on social media Twitter: @KelliHughett or Facebook: Kelli Hughett: Author and Speaker.

Giveaway: A copy of Kelli's contemporary suspense!

19 February 2015

The Homestead Brides Collection reviewed by Noela Nancarrow

The Homestead Brides Collection
by Various Authors
Barbour Books (February 1, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow - 5 Stars *****

Founding futures on America’s Great Plains

The Homestead Brides Collection is a gathering of nine inspiring tales telling of the adventurous pioneering folks of the bygone 1800’s. These brave pioneers battled the land and forces of nature in their quest to improve their land and build a secure future. When love came their way, often it was as unpredictable as the land. Ultimately, their lives were enriched far beyond their dreams. Each outstanding story in this collection gives its own reward to the reader. Highly recommended!

Homestead on the Range

When the new homesteader Colin Samuelson meets Elle Winter, there is an immediate chemistry… that is until the father of three discovered this pretty woman had four children of her own! Considering himself a poor father of his own three, he was ready to run for the hills. That wasn't about to happen however because his land adjoined Elle’s, leaving them both fighting their attraction to each other along with the forces of nature, and their children’s antics. Absolutely loved this entertaining novella… It was amusing, romantic, informative, and beautifully illustrated how God is with us in the storms of life.

Priceless Pearl

What happens when an inexperienced family leaves the city to make the run for land in the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma? Will this family survive the harsh winter with their inadequate knowledge and a tendency to be impractical from their days living comfortably in St. Louis?  Or might their neighbor who has his own deficiencies be able to trade off? This is a sweet story of hard work, hope, and love, with a future that promises to be as priceless as Grandma’s irreplaceable pearl!

Proving Up

Swedish Nils Svensson was ready to expand his lumber business and build a timber mill, and the property bordering his land was part of that plan. Discovering that the beautiful Elsa Lindstrom held the deed to the land he thought could become his, dispersed his dreams upon the prairie winds. Elsa had her own plans and when Nils despite himself, grew feelings for her, she accuses him of only wanting her land. Will it be possible for them to find a way to prove up on their land as well as their hearts? This is a wonderful story containing a fascinating forest of facts on the Timber Culture Act of 1873 that’s grafted into a blossoming love story!

Prairie Promises

Philadelphia city boy Jack O’Donnell arrives at his widowed mothers Nebraska homestead, to a startling reception from a young pregnant woman that’s residing with his mother. He’s not sure whether to admire this pretty woman or be wary of her? Regardless, he means to take his mother home with him as he can’t leave her to this barren prairie and its harsh winter. How can he get his stubborn mother to agree to give up her land and more importantly, how will her plucky young widow friend that’s due to give birth soon, survive alone in a thatched soddy no less? A descriptive and beautifully told story that was refreshing, thoroughly engaging, and a delight to read!

This Land is our Land

Mollie Jameson, orphaned and caring for a brood of siblings and a Grandpa with memory lapses, hasn't much time to spare to reach Lincoln, Nebraska if she wants to lay a claim to the land her father had homesteaded. They’ll all be homeless if she can’t make it in time, and when a blizzard sweeps in and slows them down, it seems that will be the case. Unless she can trust the cowpoke that they've only recently met who has no home or responsibility, to hightail it to the land office with their deed. Will the overburdened Mollie lose everything or gain more than she bargained for? This was a truly enjoyable and heart-warming story with endearing characters!

Flaming Starr

With anticipation swelling the closer Starr Matthews draws to her recently acquired homestead, she is relishing the thought of finally owning her own place to begin a new life. But her hopes were scattered like the tall grass prairie seeds when she discovers widower Aaron Conrad and his children have already claimed ownership. Although Aaron’s children would benefit from a mother and Starr’s soul heal from love and a new beginning, her pride and tainted past produce formidable barriers towards any happy outcome. Will Starr find her forever or the end in the town named Last Chance? Not too many novella’s touch me deeply enough to bring on tears, but this touching and memorable novella did. Loved it!

A Palace on the Plains

Hired as a seamstress for Walt Haskell’s upcoming wedding, Julie Farrington has arrived from the city to stay with Walt’s brother, Cyrus. The widowed Cyrus is none too happy having her and her ridiculous amount of luggage move into his tiny dugout that already houses his mother and two young sons. Julie wonders what she’s gotten herself into! She hadn't figured on encountering such a primitive dwelling with no space or privacy, or the gruff though admirable man she’s dwelling with. Julie’s true mettle is put to the test however, when she has to deal with sickness, arduous work, and extreme weather. Will Julie also find her happy ever after? I thoroughly enjoyed this absolute gem of a story, and found the incorporated information on building Soddy’s, completely fascinating!

Waiting on a Promise

Marta Vogel is anxious that it’s taking so long for her fiancé to give her the go ahead to join him in Oklahoma. Ignoring his last letter again urging her to trust him and wait, she hops aboard the next train to Oklahoma Territory. But Karl Reinhardt had good reason to keep her away. He’s dealing with a land dispute and sabotage while trying to work on his land. When she arrives, he is fearful for her safety, especially when she makes friend with the enemy. Wow, what a great story! It’s not always easy to capture so much intrigue in a novella, but Becca manages to do that along with suspense, humor, and romance, in the talented strokes of her pen.

The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek

Iz McBride returns home to his Texas ranch in Creed Creek to discover a pregnant wife! Which is very strange seeing how he’s never met her before. And everyone in Creed Creek seems to love Cora McBride, even his traitorous dog. So does he evict her from his ranch or marry her proper? I loved the unique plot, and it was fun trying to figure out how this mixed-up tale of deceit and truths was going to unfold. The charming characters in this western tale strive to change past wrongs for future generations. A very sweet ending to this novella and to this wonderful book! 

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You will find this book at these places and others: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; Books-A-Million; Book Depository.
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GIVEAWAY: This gorgeous book is up for giveaway to one very blessed commentator who leaves a comment below! E-book if the winner is outside of the US.

17 February 2015

Homestead Brides Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Homestead Brides Collection

Five Stars ***** for this collection!
The Homestead Brides "Nine Pioneering Couples Risk All for Love and Land" from Barbour Publishing (February, 2015)

Destined to be a BEST SELLER!!! Don't wait--go and BUY yourself a copy ASAP!!!

All of the novellas in this collection are wonderful. There wasn't a weak one in the bunch which is pretty unusual. The authors are: Carla Olson Gade, Darlene Franklin, Erica Vetsch, Pam Hillman, Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Kathleen Y'Barbo, DiAnn Mills, and Becca Witham.

Our OWG blog guest this week, Carla Olson Gade, wrote "Proving Up", set in Swedeburg, Nebraska in 1885. Nils Svensson has worked hard for years to establish hardy trees. He's waited for his wife to return to Nebraska after she returned to a less-demanding life back home with her parents. Enter widowed Elsa Lindstrom, Swedish like Nils, and she has somehow procured land he'd expected to purchase. Instead, Elsa and her two younger brothers now occupy what he'd hoped to expand his orchards to. Elsa, too, plans to develop a tree nursery. Can these two like-minded Swedes work together? Lovely story and characterization and some sigh-worthy love scenes.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

Watch for Noela Nancarrow's review on Thursday of ALL nine stories!!! She'll have a separate giveaway.

Giveaway: A copy to one of our commenters. I recommend the paperback version as it has the lovely deckle edges on the pages plus it has built in bookmark cover ends that bend into the cover's interior.

16 February 2015

Carla Olson Gade -- Overcoming Grief


In my novella "Proving Up” in The Homestead Brides Collection, my hero and heroine each have experiences with grief. Elsa has lost her husband and her loss propels her into action. Although she is lonely, she will not forsake his dream and lose the homestead that they have worked so hard to keep. She also has a younger brother and brother-in-law she is responsible for and wishes to see educated.

Nils’ grief is a different sort. It is an unrelenting longing for an absent wife who abandoned life on the prairie, leaving him with unresolved heartache. His solution is to continue to cultivate his claim in the hopes that someday he will be rewarded with her love and companionship. When he is confronted with the permanence of his unrealized hope, grief ensues again.

Elsa and Nils’s circumstances are vastly different from one another, but as they develop a relationship an empathetic bond is formed. It is God’s providence that they become friends, especially in such a time and place where people were so isolated. Homesteads were miles from one another and communities were just beginning to develop. But isn’t that how grief is, isolating?

At least that is how I have felt over the past several years. Just a year ago on Valentine’s Day, I buried my father and only three years before that my step-father died from the same disease. During my life I have also experienced the grief of lost relationships, a type of grieving for the living. That too is a severe loss, not comparable to death, but a death of a relationship nonetheless.
At first my grief felt very isolating. Like I was on my own remote homestead miles away from anyone who understood what I was feeling or going through. That feeling of isolation added to my grief.

The isolation was like the broken blade of a prairie windmill. A windmill that once produced energy, suddenly halted.
Last year I attended a grief support group at my church called GriefShare. One thing that I learned that really helped me was the acknowledgement that each loss is unique because our relationship to that person is unique. How true that is. My own personal grief was different than others because of the unique dynamics of my own relationship with my lost loved one. But although my grieving is unique, it needn’t isolate me, unless I let it.

Along with grief comes change. But adapting to that change and accepting that things are now different makes the loss more real, and therefore, we are sometimes resistant to it. We refuse to repair the broken blade through acceptance because it is too painful. Yet in reality, the winds of acceptance allow us to heal. Grief takes its own time, but we needn’t bear it alone. When we allow others to share in our experience of loss, we discover life again.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Have you experienced a season of grief? Did you find yourself pulling away from others or reaching out?
Author Carla Olson Gade
“Proving Up” by Carla Olson Gade from The Homestead Brides Collection (Barbour)

Swedeberg, Nebraska, 1886
A young Swedish widow applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the barren Great Plains intruding on a handsome homesteader’s hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin or will love prove their success?

The Homestead Brides Collection can be ordered here: http://tinyurl.com/provingup


Native New Englander Carla Olson Gade writes adventures of the heart with historical roots from her home amid the rustic landscapes of Maine. With seven books in print, she is always imaging more stories and enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla’s great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at a historical museum, it’s easier to connect with her online at carlaolsongade.com.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaOlsonGade
http://carlaolsongade.com



GIVEAWAY:  I’m giving away one copy of The Homestead Brides Collection autographed by all nine contributing authors. To enter please leave a comment.

14 February 2015

Brentwood's Ward by Michelle Griep - Valentine Giveaway!

Brentwood's Ward
Brentwood's Ward
by Michelle Griep
Shiloh Run Press (January, 2015)

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels
5 Stars *****

GREAT VALENTINE's DAY SELF-GIFT!!!

It's been a while since I've read a novel with writing at such a stellar level! Because I'm often writing and editing my own stuff I've just become super critical of what I read. Argh!!! Then I read Noela's review of Michelle Griep's new Regency. Because of what she wrote, I decided to read the copy I'd downloaded from NetGalley. (Full disclosure, I was under no compulsion to give a positive review.)

Characterization and story line were well done and writing craft exceptional. In fact, periodically I'd stop reading and just decide I should stop bothering to write anything more myself because Michelle's beautiful wordsmithing floored me!

She captures a time in London's history, early 1800's, when there were no police. Those who did work as Bow Street Runners" were mocked for their efforts and many, to earn a living, had to also perform detective work.  Hero, Nicholas Brentwood, is losing his sister, and can't turn down the offer to guard the daughter of a wealthy slave ship owner (another nice twist is that law has just been enacted to END this horrible practice in England.)  Emily Payne, although lovely and entitled is also embued with a fragility that makes her more likable plus her father has been unloving and even placed her in an unsafe situation which resulted in terrible consequences for her maid.

In a time when one's marriage matches determined the future, the underbelly of that system is fully exposed in this novel.

Faith messages included placing trust in God instead of self, finding one's own faith, and drawing on faith in difficult circumstances.


Bibliotherapy elements: This wasn't a strong bibliotherapy book per se and I'm loathe to indicate them all because I'm concerned that they'd result in spoilers. There's so much happening in this book that I'd have a long list of potential themes but my recommendation is just enjoy the great writing and don't worry about the therapeutic value of the story.

LIKELY TO BE ONE OF MY BEST OF 2015 BOOKS!!!

Purchase 'Brentwood's Ward' at: AmazonCBDBarnes & NobleBAMBook Depository.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Brentward's Ward to one of our Valentine's Day weekend commenters!

10 February 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews SO TRUE A LOVE by Amber Lynn Perry

So True a Love

So True a Love
Liberty Publishing

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****
On the road to freedom..

Colonial America on the road to revolution was a period of great upheaval for the colonists, mattering not whether they were patriots or loyal to the King. The strained tensions and danger were escalating by the day. In ‘So True a Love’, during the year 1775, we obtain a glimpse of General Gage’s historical small but rapid strikes on the colonist’s ammunition reserves. While the hits were fairly minor and carried out covertly, the effects were major and affected the lives of all concerned. Amidst such turmoil, could liberty and love ever hope to prevail?

The sweet and charming Kitty Campbell who characteristically wears her emotions on her sleeve, is put to the test after witnessing a serious crime against the patriots. She’s blackmailed into not only remaining silent but is also forced to assist her fellow loyalist Tories in their grievous mission. Having only recently moved to Sandwich, Massachusetts to escape the growing danger in Boston, Kitty is thrilled to be back again with her sister and brother-in-law, even though they are staunch patriots. But with serious threats overhanging her, how will Kitty manage to contain these burdensome secrets when they are tearing her apart? To fail however, is something that she cannot permit.

Doctor Nathaniel Smith is passionate and fiercely loyal in his stance as a patriot, working as a committee chairman for the cause. Strikingly handsome with a fine physique and a magnetism that easily charms women, Nathaniel is torn when realizing he has deep affections for a Kitty, a Tory! Unable to reconcile the differences, Nathan must fight against his disloyal heart. Seeing Kitty tortured through her secrets however, batters his feelings and tears at his resolve. Will Nathaniel and Kitty ever get beyond their barriers to find liberty in life and in love? Or will they be robbed of everything as the danger mounts and secrets are revealed?

Amber Lynn Perry has written an exceptional novel that sings! The passion of love, fear, and strong belief that infused the pages of ‘So True a Love’ left me breathless and completely lost within the story. Flowing in action, drama, faith, and heart-rending emotion, you’ll have to remember to take a breath now and then. Highly recommended!!

(Note - Can definitely be read as a stand-alone, but may be enhanced by reading book one 'So Fair A Lady' first.) 

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You may purchase 'So True a Love' at Amazon!

GIVEAWAY: Amber Lynn Perry is generously giving away both a paperback and e-book copy of 'So True A Love'! If you would like to win one of these, leave a comment after the review, and please include your email if we don't know you!

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08 February 2015

Real Love - By Bonnie Roof


This is the week when most people's thoughts turn to love - and their Valentines. However, love is a lot more than candy, flowers, jewelry and whispers of "I love you's!!"

        "I love you, Patrick, with all of my heart. You taught me what real love is - with your kindness, your caring ... your commitment. From the day I became your wife, I have felt nothing but safe and cherished and whole."  - from A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Sound like your relationship with your spouse or one to which you aspire?? Yeah - me too, (sigh)!! Award-winning author Julie Lessman is the "Queen" when it comes to writing inspirational romance novels that steal your heart and increase desire for the beautiful love relationships portrayed in her novels. However happy the novel ending always is - she makes it clear those relationships didn't begin that way, as the meaning of love is God, and the happiest, most beautiful relationships are only attained through a relationship of man and wife with God as the center. 

What does the word love mean?? For many, it has been downgraded to include many things having little to do with biblical "agape" love. The Bible devotes a lot of space to the subject of love - God considers it to be of utmost importance, Jesus told us that love of God and fellow man are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 37-40). Therefore, it is important that we have the right understanding of love.

We are told to love God, our spouses, our brothers in Christ, neighbors, strangers and even our enemies - we are to love in the same way God loves us (John 15:12). What does the Bible say about how God shows His love?? (For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He ((even)) gave up His only begotten ((unique)) Son, so that whoever believes in ((trusts in, clings to, relies on)) Him shall not perish ((come to destruction, be lost)) but have eternal ((everlasting)) life. John 3:16, amplified). 

Biblical love is placing other's needs above our own - a choice followed by action. (No one has greater love ((no one has shown greater affection)) than to lay down ((give up)) his own life for his friends. John 15:13, amplified). We may not ever need to physically die for someone, but we should be willing and we must die to ourselves to be able to serve God and others. We are told to present ourselves as living sacrifices and our actions should reflect the sacrifices of love. (But if anyone has this world's goods (( resources for sustaining life)) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?  Little children, let us not love ((merely)) in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth ((in practice and in sincerity)). 1 John 3: 17-18, amplified).

God's love is sacrificial, selfless, given freely and not based on merit (Ephesians 2:5, Romans 5:18). We should continually thank Him for the incredible love shown us - the only "Perfect" love!!

"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)." 1 Corinthians 16:14

Do you have other examples of God showing His love for you??

GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment for YOUR opportunity to WIN a copy of your choice of any of Julie Lessman's books!!!!        

05 February 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews PROMISE TO CHERISH by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Promise to Cherish (Promise of Sunrise, Book 3)
Howard  Books (October 7, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

 A tale that is as hard-hitting as it is gentle; a ‘Promise to Cherish’ jolts the reader with shattering and cruel realities but then carries you along on the wings of courage and hope, love, and faith in God. It is a beautiful, raw, and honest story taking place nigh the end of WW2, capturing your heart as misunderstood characters struggle with unexpected events that significantly impacts their future.

As a conscientious objector to the war, Eli Brenneman has been sent instead to work at an appalling and understaffed hospital for the insane. He is determined to make a difference and to arrive back to his Amish community with far more integrity and maturity than when he left. It is at the hospital that Eli befriends Nurse Christine Freeman, a beautiful albeit non-Amish girl, and soon finds his affection burgeoning although the outlook is grey. Christine’s feelings are directed elsewhere but when she’s assaulted and feels abandoned and unsure, he throws caution to the wind and invites her to stay with his family as his war service finishes.

Eli becomes hopelessly ensnared between his Amish community and the Englisher girl he’s fallen in love with. How can his family see that he’s any different when they look no further than the outsider he’s brought home? Or when they listen to rumors spread by an Amish girl besotted with Eli, giving credence to his previous character as one reckless with his affections? But then how can he give his all to Christine when she insists she can’t become Amish? When Christine’s former love interest arrives to take her back home, will this man be her saving grace or a nightmare come to re-visit?

‘Promise to Cherish’ delivers realistic insights into asylums of the war era, the controversies of civil public service in lieu of fighting, and an authentic depiction of the Amish. Poignantly conveyed was the tragic and traumatic experience Christine endured, but overall this gentle love story was about hope and healing, and features in my opinion, a true hero. ‘Promise to Cherish’ promises a rewarding read!

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You may purchase this book through Amazon, CBD, BAM, and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy! E-book for international winners!


03 February 2015

Diana's Review of Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl

Deadly Echoes
Bethany House, 2015 

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****
(No Spoilers!)

Nail-Biting Mennonite Suspense!

In Deadly Echoes, we return once again to the quaint, predominantly Mennonite community of Sanctuary -- with its small town charm, old-timey cafes, and friendly, helpful townsfolk. Many come to Sanctuary for a simpler lifestyle; still others as a refuge from their past. But under the guise of this seemingly idyllic little town lays something invisible...sinister...and deadly.

Sarah Miller has finally found contentment and a semblance of peace from the echoes of her past, with the exception of reoccurring nightmares of her parents' murder when she was six years old. She loves teaching the local school in Sanctuary, and is filled with joy when reunited with her sister, Hannah, whom she had become separated from when her parents died. Her happiness is short lived, however, when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs her that Hannah has been killed. When Sarah starts discovering circumstances of her sister's death that are bizarrely similar to her parents' murder, she enlists Paul's aid to help her dig deeper into finding her family's killer. As her attraction to Paul grows, so does her obsession in finding the truth. Will it be Sarah's undoing and also bring danger to those she loves?...as someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth from surfacing...perhaps even kill again.

This novel is an absolute suspense lover's dream with just a smidgeon of romance! I love whodunits, but it took this amateur sleuth quite awhile to compile enough evidence to figure this one out and I trusted no one except for Sarah's best friend, Janet. ;) Kudos to the author for having an imperfect heroine who battles self-esteem issues as a result of her childhood, and her subsequent healing---both emotionally and spiritually. This message will resonate with many readers who struggle with an inferiority complex as a result of their past. Ms. Mehl's use of descriptive imagery and the mysterious aura of the cozy, small town setting of Sanctuary draw the reader in and won't let go...even after that last satisfying page is turned. And believe me, you will be madly flipping those pages and burning the midnight oil trying to help Sarah figure it all out! Nancy Mehl has set the bar high for 2015 contemporary suspense!

~*~*~*~*~

I was given a copy of this novel by Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CDB, and your local bookstore.


GIVEAWAY: Nancy Mehl is generously giving away a paperback copy of Deadly Echoes to one blessed commenter. US entrants only in this particular giveaway.
 

01 February 2015

Interview with Pamela S. Thibodeaux - Coping with the Loss of a Spouse

Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Pamela S. Thibodeaux, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. It's been nice getting to know you over at Pelican Book Group!

Thank you so much for having me visit today! I absolutely love sharing my testimonies (yes, God has blessed me so abundantly I have more than one).

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? Answer: 
When I look back over my life and all of the things I’ve overcome…insecurity, shyness, abuse, low self esteem, financial hardship…the most difficult thing I’ve had to deal with and overcome is grief over the death of my husband. We all lose things we love (people, pets, jobs, homes, etc.) and I’m no different. But his death was the hardest thing I’ve endured to date. I’ve often said it is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Alas, God is faithful and although I’ll miss my husband and carry him with me forever, I am now looking forward to the future with a new love.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
For a long time after my husband passed away I couldn’t even pray. So I created a mantra: I don’t understand, Lord, but I trust you. This got me through the worst part, then, Jeremiah 29:11 was brought to my remembrance and has since become my favorite Scripture… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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? 
No books in audio but all are available for E-reader which enable the reader to increase the font size. My Tempered series, The Visionary, Circles of Fate, and Love is a Rose, is printed in trade paperback with 12 pt. font which is larger print than most mass market books.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Not in my latest work, Circles of Fate. However my novel Tempered Dreams deals with domestic violence and the healing process the heroine must undergo and The Visionary deals with healing of adult survivors of child abuse. I also have a devotional titled, Love is a Rose that parallels God’s love and the Christian life to The Rose song lyrics.

Question you’d like to ask readers:
What does it take for you to try a new or previously unheard of author? Is it the cover or back blurb on the book, content, reviews….What?
Title: Circles of Fate
Blurb: Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Purchase Links:
Create Space: http://bit.ly/1qRN3cb
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/136qK7n



Title: Love is a Rose (NF Devotional)
Blurb: Music is the magical entry into the spirit world; the golden gate into the Kingdom of God. But we mustn’t be of the mindset that God only uses Christian music to reach out and touch our mind, heart and spirit. God uses any and every means available to speak to His children.

Our job is to be open and receptive.

In this devotional, Pamela S Thibodeaux shares how God opened her spirit to a deeper understanding of the abundance of His grace and mercy through the words of the song, The Rose sung by Country & Western artist Conway Twitty.

Pamela offers Seeds to Ponder and a prayer as she parallels the love of God and the Christian life to each verse of the song
Purchase Links:
Print @ Amazon http://amzn.to/1naYIRr
Smashwords http://bit.ly/16vCHl4   
Deeper Shopping http://bit.ly/1cxivVf



Title: Tempered Dreams (book 2 in Tempered series)
Blurb: Dr. Scott Hensley (introduced in Tempered Hearts) has built a wall around his heart since the death of his wife and parents.  Katrina Simmons is recovering from scars inflicted on her as a battered wife.  Can dreams be renewed and faith strengthened?  Can they find joy and peace in God’s love and in love for one another? 
Purchase Links:
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1q4Q8hV

Title: The Visionary
Blurb: A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society.  Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?
Purchase Links:
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1uROE2o
Print @Create Space: http://bit.ly/1lNvyWD  
Deeper Shopping http://bit.ly/19lw1Kc  

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment for a chance to win any of Pamela's books (international winners, ebook only.)

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