29 November 2015

Carrie Fancett Pagels Reviews Carrie Turansky's Audiobook A Refuge at Highland Hall



A Refuge at Highland Hall Audiobook Cover

A Refuge at Highland Hall
by Carrie Turansky

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Five Stars *****
A Delight!!!

Blurb: In this third and final book in the Edwardian Brides series, listeners are swept away to England and France in 1915. At this time the Ramsey family, their staff, and their friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One, yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God to carry them through. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers that caring for them is more difficult than she'd expected. She writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot who chases German Zeppelins across the sky over the front line in France, and longs for the day she will see him again.


CFP: I listened to this audiobook as an audible.com download. Because of the sheer number of characters and subplots, I'd recommend listening to the book in small doses.  The reader may find it better to read with their eyes. I really enjoyed the book and I found I could follow the plot if I kept my listening times short and if I listened while cleaning. I wouldn't recommend this as a book to listen to if you are driving because you won't want to miss out on all the excitement in the book, particularly as you get halfway through and on because so much is happening you don't want to possibly skip any threads.

This is an Edwardian era book, set in Great Britain. The hero is an Air Force pilot and the heroine one of the daughters of Highland Hall.  There are other romances afoot, too, which makes for double the fun in the listen!

I have recently been through a dry season in my reading and it was so wonderful to get Carrie's book on audio. The downside is I kept wanting to sit down to listen to it while I was trying to clean and listen at the same time!

You can find Carrie Turansky's books at Christian Book DistributorsBarnes & Noble,  Amazon, and at other bookstores.  It is available in multiple formats including ebook, paperback, audio download and MP3 disc audiobook.

Giveaway: A copy of the bound ARC of this book. Are you an Avid Christian Audiobook Listener like me? If so, you can opt for an audible.com download as your prize! To be eligible please leave your email addy written (at) and (dot) to prevent spammers.
 

26 November 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING - 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!




 Gratitude helps us to be thankful!


 Lord, thank you for our forefathers and their sacrifices!


A Thanksgiving prayer! 


 We are truly thankful for the gift of your friendship!
Happy Thanksgiving from Carrie, Diana, Teresa, Noela, and Bonnie!


Share in the comments some things you're especially thankful for and let us all give thanks together! God bless you!

24 November 2015

Diana's Review Of 'Isle Of Hope' By Julie Lessman

Isle of Hope By Julie Lessman


Isle of Hope By Julie Lessman
Julie Lessman, Nov. 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars!~


To Error Is Human - To Forgive Is Divine

Author Julie Lessman takes the reader on a poignant, impassioned roller coaster ride to the picturesque coastal community of Isle of Hope, Georgia—where full moons rise over the marsh and the scents of wisteria and pungent, salty sea water permeate the summer nights. A sleepy haven where charming cottages are nestled next to lush plantations, but wherein lies a plethora of secrets.

Wild girl, Lacey Carmichael, is back in town after an eight year absence—setting off a dramatic chain of events like ripples in a stream. Kicked out of her home by her cardiac surgeon father when she was eighteen, Lacey turned her back on everyone who loved her. Now she is back to make amends and show her father, friends, and Dr. Jack O'Bryen, her ex-boyfriend—that she is a changed woman by the grace of God. But the price of forgiveness does not come cheap as further bridges of betrayal are still smoldering after an adulterous affair by Jack's pastor father, destroying Jack's faith. Is there any hope for reconciliation after simmering, bitter emotions have lain buried below the surface all these years?

There's never been any doubt in my mind that Julie Lessman is la crème de la crème of sizzling romance, but this novel simply blew me away! Not just because there was plenty of romantic tension (which there was!), but the message of forgiveness and redemption interwoven throughout was so powerfully anointed that I had quite the relationship with my tissue box. I found my emotions running the gamut as I laughed at the characters' playful quips and antics, shed many a gut-wrenching tear, and was so mad at the audacity of even thinking that an adulterous affair could be labeled under the "forgiveness" category! Rude awakening for me...sin is sin. And speaking of rude, Lacey's father (aka Dr. Doom)...ugh, don't even let me go there! Julie Lessman lured me into this fabulous tale of romance, second chances, and healing—and captured me hook, line, and sinker. Isle of Hope is a masterpiece of a novel filled with hope and inspiration—raw, real life situations and characters, and of course, Julie's trademark twists and turns! Be sure to grab your copy today!

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This awesome book may be purchased through Amazon.

GIVEAWAY: Julie Lessman is generously providing an ebook copy of Isle of Hope to one blessed commenter!! To be eligible please leave your email addy written (at) and (dot) to prevent spammers. Drawing Sun. Nov. 29th!



22 November 2015

Joan M. Hochstetler - A Journey of Overcoming in Publishing


Author Joan M. Hochstetler/ J.M. Hochstetler
What can you share about your journey to getting published?

It was a looong one! I began writing in the late 1970s. I worked hard to learn the craft for several years before beginning to submit proposals to publishers. It took until 2002 before I found the right agent, Joyce Hart, who negotiated my first contract with a major publisher for Daughter of Liberty and Native Son, the first two books of my American Patriot Series, along with a very nice advance. I thought I was on my way.

Within a month of my accepting the contract, however, my editor left and a new editor came in who wasn’t interested in me or historicals in general. Although my books published in 2004 and 2005, they received little support and consequently sold poorly. The editor informed me that they weren’t interested in contracting any more of my books. What had started out with such joy turned into a deeply painful disappointment.

After that there was no interest in any of my proposals. I became so discouraged and frustrated that one day when I was alone I burst out, “I just ought to start my own publishing house!” I was startled when a very distinct voice responded, “Well…why don’t you?” I knew right away who was challenging me. And I knew that if I hesitated, I’d lose an opportunity that might never come again. So I quickly answered, “If your hand is in it, Lord, I’ll do it. Just show me the way.”

The result was Sheaf House Publishers, an independent small press founded in 2006 whose main focus is fiction. The doors miraculously kept opening—from financial resources to a distributor that took me under their wing to several terrific authors and an amazing production team. We’ve gone through some rocky times but by God’s grace have kept on weathering the storm.

I started out by publishing my contemporary novel, One Holy Night, which was awarded the 2009 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. I also published books by other wonderful authors, including a delightful memoir by Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys, From My Perspective, that I’m very proud of. And as soon as I got the publishing rights back to my American Patriot Series, I began releasing it in the new Heritage Edition, adding 3 more volumes, with 2 more forthcoming to complete this series—the only comprehensive, accurate historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Valley of the Shadow, Book 5, released September 1. I’m currently working on book 2 of my Northkill Amish Series, The Return, coauthored with well-known author Bob Hostetler, which releases in Fall 2016.

I’m reminded of one particular praise song whenever I think about how the Lord used this painful experience to give me the great privilege, not only to write for Him, but also to publish the works of fellow Christian writers struggling to find an audience, and how He continues to lead me today. “It Is Well” says it all.



Buy links (hot links): to Valley of the Shadow

iTunes  

Giveaway: Answer the question - Do you ever wonder about authors' journeys to publication? Winner receives an ebook copy of any one of Joan's books (void where prohibited by law.)

19 November 2015

Diana's Review Of 'Rising Darkness' By Nancy Mehl


Rising Darkness By Nancy Mehl
Bethany House Publishers, Oct. 27, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars!~
(No Spoilers!)

Menacing Mennonite Suspense!

Once again, author Nancy Mehl has crafted a suspenseful page-turner set against the peaceful backdrop of the quaint, small town of Sanctuary—a predominantly Mennonite community with only two churches, two charming cafes, cozy picturesque houses, and is as safe as its name suggests—or is it?

Sophie Wittenbauer dreads going to Sanctuary as memories of an abusive, shameful past in her strict Mennonite hometown of Kingdom still haunt her. However, when she learns a suspect from a crime committed years earlier may be hiding in Sanctuary, she sees it as an opportunity to further her career at the newspaper. Although Sophie assumes a false identity so that she can investigate, she begins to receive threatening notes and fears her cover has somehow been blown. Then to her shock she runs into the very person she has loved her whole life—a man she could never be good enough for because of her degrading past. What is he doing in Sanctuary and who wants to stop her...perhaps permanently? As darkness envelopes Sophie and seeks to destroy her, will she begin to put her trust in the God she feels has forsaken her since childhood? Will she ever learn to love herself as God loves her and open herself up to romance?

Nancy Mehl's Rising Darkness is one of her best novels to date in my opinion! I pride myself in figuring out whodunits, but although I racked my brain I still had no clue who the bad guy was! The author compassionately and discreetly dealt with the subject of adult victims of child abuse and low self-esteem issues resulting from it. Sophie was so dear to my heart that I just wanted to hug her seemingly tough little independent self and tell her I went through the same battle and there is light at the end of the tunnel! God will turn our mourning into dancing and clothe us with gladness if we'll let Him! With just the right peppering of romance, realistic multifaceted characters, and a wonderful message of redemption—all interwoven with an intricate and suspenseful, heart-racing plot—what more could you ask for in a book? Not a thing!...so be sure to order your copy today!

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Mennonite Women Dress Quite Differently Than The Amish


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

GIVEAWAY: Nancy Mehl is generously giving away a  paperback copy of Rising Darkness to one blessed commenter. To be eligible be sure to leave your email address using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.

17 November 2015

Noela reviews The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

The Golden Braid
Thomas Nelson (November 17, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

The Golden Braid’ delivers a sublimely executed retelling of the classic tale Rapunzel ~ flourishing with chivalrous and daring deeds, burgeoning faith, and a beautifully enchanting though conflicted romance. Taking place during the 15th century in a world so vastly contrasting to ours; we visit imposing castles and encounter heroic knights engaging in clanging swordfights. In reality, our worlds are not so dissimilar in the fact that evil and jealousies still reside in the heart of man. But the beauty of the author’s gifted and mesmerizing story-telling, is that we may escape with our imagination to an exquisitely inspiring and unforgettable, happy-ever-after!

Naïve and innocent, the fair maiden Rapunzel with golden, flowing hair, is once more torn from a village as her oppressive mother moves them on, after a young farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage. Again, her mother cites the evils and deception of men. Though uninterested in this man, Rapunzel is disheartened to be uprooted repeatedly, never having a chance to belong, to make friends, or especially to learn to read. She hopes that with this next move to the larger city of Hagenheim, she may yet fulfill her yearning to read at least. When along the road, they are set upon by some brigands; her mother’s dire warnings of men seem to be proving true.

In the wake of being rescued by the gallant knight, Sir Gerek, everything that is instilled in Rapunzel by her mother regarding men, has her questioning its validity. Though her knight protector seems arrogant, he also proves to be honourable and curiously pleasant to look at and be with, which greatly perplexes Rapunzel. In Hagenheim, she grows fonder of this gruff though kindly knight despite knowing he has vowed to marry only for riches and rank. Here though in this city of secrets, Rapunzel’s life is turned on its head as mysteries and betrayals uncovered will change her life forever. Will the poor, peasant maiden ever find liberty and love or stay chained to lies and deception?

It was almost dungeon-worthy torture having to set the book down, but then neither did I want to make it to the last page! There was also a wonderful anointing on this tale that lifted my spirit as well as imagination, illustrating the scriptural admonition of ‘not leaning unto your own understanding’. The Golden Braid is a truly charming book, and a top favorite of mine for 2015!


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Available to purchase at these places: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM; and others!

GIVEAWAY: (CFP) We have a copy of the book for one blessed winner!  Answer this question--what aspect of Noela's review has you yearning to read The Golden Braid?
(Remember to leave your email for contact purposes should you win. Using (at) and (dot) will protect you against spammers.)



12 November 2015

Noela reviews THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Substitute Bride
Hearts Overcoming Press (October 11, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****


The Substitute Bride’ sweeps you up in an enchanting, heart-warming novella that gifts the reader with the message that we are never just a substitute, but chosen specifically by God for His joy and purpose. Upon unwrapping this gift, you discover an engaging story where the past and present collide to create a future of love, healing, and hope!

In the town of Shepherd, Michigan, the lovely Sonja Hoeke works as a substitute mail carrier for her father who was recently injured. Even so, her father—a domineering and ornery man—is desperate to get Sonja out from underfoot and married, and threatens to send her away. Thus, when Sonja happens upon a missive sent to her recently deceased friend Cora from a pen-pal named Louis--and discovers a proposal within—she impulsively replies by offering herself as a substitute bride.
Depot at Shepherd, Michigan

Railroad manager Louis Penwell, meanwhile is on his way to Shepherd to meet his penfriend Cora, hoping to marry her in order to advance within the railroad business. Burdened with the knowledge that she lived at the Poor House—the place of his nightmares—was yet another incentive to marry Cora. How will Louis handle the tragic news when he arrives? And what will his reaction be when he learns that Sonja has offered herself as a substitute bride?


This novella awards the reader with intrigue as our hero Louis receives parcels inscribed with cryptic messages; with drama through the heartless Poor House proprietor; and with a sweet emerging romance. A wonderful cast of characters—including the Reverend Carlton Mathews and his gracious wife Teresa—supplement the endearing heroes of the story. And I always enjoy how author Carrie Fancett Pagels unfailingly enriches her stories with meticulous historic detail... Making it not only informative but delivering an authenticity that ferries you away to another time! It's an honor to highly recommend this book!


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'The Substitute Bride' may be purchased here through: AMAZON

GIVEAWAY: A copy of 'The Substitute Bride' to one blessed commenter in choice of e-book or paperback! To be eligible for the drawing please leave your e-mail using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.


10 November 2015

Review of Angela Breidenbach's Audiobook Quilts of Love & The Debutante Queen


A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach


I have the privilege of reviewing two of Angela Breidenbach's wonderful books in this post - one a contemporary romance and the other a historical romance.


Confession: I rarely read contemporary books. But I wanted to listen to Angie's audiobook for the Quilts of Love series, A Healing Heart.



Blurb: Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence. She's not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack.

While Mara recuperates, she revisits the choices she's made that led to this physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt?

Listen to A Healing Heart!!!
Five Stars *****
My review: I loved this audiobook! The story was compelling as one thing after another happens to the poor heroine, Mara, who is a widow trying to manage her family's business.  The hero, Joel, was was dynamic right from the beginning, making me root for him to be the new father in Mara's cute family. But Mara has many reasons to resist Joel's charm--especially since he and she have a way less than stellar previous history in business. He's been sent to consult with her by a man she's had an ongoing business relationship with, whom she trusts.  Can Joel earn her trust? And her love? The narration was very well done and the pacing really good. It was hard to stop listening and take breaks.


Highly recommend!!!
The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach

Five Stars *****
I read this book in 2014 but it is now out in audiobook! This was a delightful Christmas read. Highly entertaining! I read this book as a Kindle book in the Snowflake Tiara collection that Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer published last winter. Valerie's book is a contemporary and Angela's is historical romance.

The Debutante Queen is a super book, set in Helena, Montana, in 1889. I believe Ms. Breidenbach will be launching a series set in Montana during this time frame. This is a great book to read at Christmastime. Very sweet characters and a lovely romance. Angela Breidenbach's background as a former Mrs. Montana comes in handy in her insight into behind-the-scenes goings on in pageants! 


Calista is a Miss Snowflake contestant as Montana begins to celebrate statehood. But although her platform is centered around the plight of impoverished children, she is harboring a child who is an indentured servant. Albert is running the contest and senses that all is not quite right with Calista, as he begins to fall in love with her.  


Highly Recommend!

Giveaway: Answer this question--do you listen to audiobooks? When? One respondent will receive a choice of one of Angela's audiobooks (or ebook or paperback). 




08 November 2015

Overcoming - Angela Breidenbach Interview

Author Angela Breidenbach

Angela, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  
Thank you for having me :) 
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
I went through a situation where a person from my past behaved in dangerous, crazy, and threatening ways toward me. That person worked hard to cause quite a few painful experiences and to create fear, isolate, and control me. I’m grateful that God sent others to me to help me get out and guide me to safety and safe resources. God gives us other people to come along side us during difficulty. Don’t keep waiting for some "magic" to change the situation. Though He might choose a miracle response, God’s often very practical and works miracles as much through simplicity as He does through unexplained miracles. 
If you’re in a dangerous situation, please consider going to the YWCA or similar place of safety where counselors can help you see the behaviors clearly and recognize the abusive patterns. One tangible tool I think God inspired into creation is the YWCA Power and Control Wheel. https://twitter.com/YWCAUSA/status/657995530782515201
What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times? 
I’m glad you asked a multiple choice question ;) My life verses came out of a point when I was incredibly low from a difficult marriage and working 100 hours a week to support my children. Romans 8: 26-27 helped me understand that the Holy Spirit knows my prayers even when I can’t find the words. Then I love living in the Psalms around chapters 34-37 when I’m struggling. The Psalms help me know the Author of emotion completely understands how I’m feeling and gives me hope that He’ll help me get through the struggle.
The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  
I’m excited to share that in addition to A Healing Heart in audio on Audible, this month The Debutante Queen will release on audio in Audible as will the sequel, Eleven Pipers Piping. Then, if schedules work out properly, I’ll have 2 more books releasing this winter in audio versions. But they’re non-fiction in the Grace Under Pressure Radio series. The first is Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience. The second is in the editing process now and is titled, Grace Under Pressure. 
Do your e-books have audio capability? 
I believe so. However, there’s a few new ones coming out from publishers like Barbour Publishing. This is my first book, The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. I don’t know yet what that format will be when it releases Jan. 1st. 
Do you have any in large print? 
A Healing Heart is in large print with Thorndyke Press :) Those that are in Kindle, as you likely know, can be changed by the reader to any size that’s comfortable for reading. 
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
Though The Debutante Queen is set historically and is a romance, the main theme is doing the right thing even when societal pressures are against you. The story question I asked myself was: What if the right thing to do was illegal? Would I still do the right thing? Then I wrote my answer by putting my character in the situation where she steals an abused child. She compounds it by hiding her after being directly told by her parents to take the child back. I think we see God’s answer in the parable The Good Samaritan. My goal with The Debutante Queen is to help encourage readers to gain confidence and do the right thing regardless of societal pressures. But each heroine I write learns to display "grace under pressure" confidence, courage, and candor. She’s pushed into a situation that helps her rely on God and discover she has more of these characteristics than she realized at the beginning of the book. I hope women reading my books also learn and discover they do too.
Grace Under Pressure Radio by Angela Breidenbach

Question you’d like to ask readers:

On my iTunes show, Grace Under Pressure Radio: Becoming a woman of confidence, courage, and candor I like to discuss issues that help listeners grow in those areas (confidence, courage, and candor). What are questions or topics you need or would like to hear covered along those themes that would help you grow in those areas in your life? 

GIVEAWAY: OWG blog is giving away an e-book copy of the Christmas Traditions 8-in-1 collection, which includes Angela's Eleven Pipers Piping.  Answer Angela's question, above, for a chance to win!

05 November 2015

Diana's Review Of THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE By Carrie Fancett Pagels


The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Substitute Bride By Carrie Fancett Pagels
Hearts Overcoming Press, October 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars!~

                                                          O' Little Town of Christmas

In The Substitute Bride, author Carrie Fancett Pagels has written an enchanting holiday story guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart in spite of the flurry of sparkling, crystalline snowflakes dusting the town of Shepherd, Michigan.

Sonja Hoeke is the substitute mail carrier for her injured father who continuously threatens to kick her out of his home—demanding she find a husband by Christmas. Sonja nervously opens a letter penned to her deceased friend, Cora, from a Mr. Penwell in South Dakota. Not knowing Cora has passed away, Louis Penwell extends a proposal to her—desperately needing a wife for his railroad promotion. Sonja impulsively responds to the letter offering to become a substitute bride, which Louis does not receive because he is en route to his new position in Michigan. Shepherd is the one place Louis had wished never to return, as his past there is filled with haunting memories. But will a strange woman's notes of Christmas past, present, and future...and meeting the lovely Sonja bring healing to his troubled soul?

As always, Carrie Fancett Pagels pens another delightful, heartwarming story of faith, hope, and healing—intertwining A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life!
With a compassionate hero and heroine—and endearing secondary characters who will cause your heart to melt despite the scenic white carpet of snow and frosted evergreen trees—the magical sights and scents of Christmas come alive in The Substitute Bride! Shepherd is a real town in Michigan where its townsfolk keep their history alive to this day, and Carrie Fancett Pagels gives us a sweet taste of what it may have been like...in Christmas past.

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This novella may be purchased through Amazon.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of The Substitute Bride to one blessed commenter (choice of ebook or paperback.) To be eligible for the drawing please leave your email address using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.

03 November 2015

The Skiing Suitor by Niki Turner - Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels



The Skiing Suitor: A Love's Sporting Chance Novella
by Niki Turner
Forget-Me-Not Romances
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Five Stars *****

When the staid, but handsome, young Dr. Kelly arrives in town it is woefully apparent to Ruby that the poor man has no idea what he is in for, with a Colorado winter! And he certainly doesn't understand the wonderful function that skis can serve in getting around in such a snowy location. As far as her one true love--ski jumping--that is something she and he will never see eye-to-eye on. Or will they? Read this delightful novella to see!!!

The first six novellas in this collection are also now available for purchase and include stories from T.i. Lowe, Cynthia Hickey, Janice Thompson, Darlene Franklin, and Debbie Mayne as well as Niki Turner's wonderful story!

GIVEAWAY: An ebook copy to one of our readers, of The Skiing Suitor by Niki Turner! Answer this question: What is your favorite winter sport and why?


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