30 December 2016

Noela's List of 2016 Favorite Reads!



Featured below are 10 of my favorite novels from those I've reviewed on OWG this year, in no particular order. Of course there are many more that I've read or are yet to read that are also truly exceptional books. I hope that these outstanding few will inspire you to check them out to either purchase by clicking on the picture, or to add to your wish list! Enjoy!
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Sofi's Bridge
Tragedy and trauma haunt Sofi and her sister. When Sofi may lose her sister, they silently flee in the early hours along with the gardener. But will their destination be their refuge or carry grave risks for them all? Masterfully penned with an intriguing atmosphere and an exquisite love story!
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Her One and Only
Pair a macho football star that's sworn off love and his diminutive beautiful bodyguard that's all business—and delight in the electrifying chemistry that they attempt to subdue! This invigorating story scores a touch-down with irresistible characters, a sizzling romance, and a foreboding mystery!
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Saratoga Letters
This is an enthralling novel fashioned around the historical Battle of Saratoga. Authentic and emotive, this story is creatively paralleled from two different eras—two hundred years apart. From the battlefield of the Revolutionary War during 1777 to modern-day 1977 and the commemoration of the infamous battle, this two-part story is connected through the ages by not only ancestry and other fascinating similarities, but heartbreak, danger, and enchanting romances!
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So Rare a Gift
In 'So Rare a Gift' you'll be swept up in an unforgettable tale of valor and zeal, secrets and lies, and deadly revenge. Trouble follows Anna Rone as she flees to America to escape a forced marriage and to seek out the truth of her brother's death. Needing security in this new land, she marries a man she's known for but a few days—but does she really know who she's marrying? Exquisite prose and a breathtaking romance make this a not-to-be-missed experience!
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A Lady Unrivaled
'A Lady Unrivaled', Book #3, completes the Ladies of the Manor series. I truly cannot recommend this series enough! All three books are absolute masterpieces of Edwardian romance and suspense. Each book likewise delivers the most delightful wit throughout—such that it out-sparkles the priceless red diamonds that places everyone's life in so much danger! Beautifully written as always!
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Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter
Set in 1742 during yet another wave of brutal religious persecution in France and the Palatinate, this gorgeous novel vividly portrays an aristocrat's granddaughter's arduous survival of both body and heart as she flees from tremendous danger and betrayal. Exquisitely descriptive with fascinating historic detail!
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The Beautiful Pretender
'The Beautiful Pretender' is a medieval fairy-tale retelling of The Princess and the Pea meets Beauty and the Beast! Imposing stone castles, wolf-infested forests, and immensely gripping characters together with treachery, sacrifice, and love, ensures this medieval tale emerging from 1363 in the Holy Roman Empire—is one that seizes the reader instantly from the breathtaking beginning!
 Melanie Dickerson also had TWO other releases this year that were just as stunning and worth checking out: A Spy's Devotion (A Regency Romance) and the recent release 'The Silent Songbird'!
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A Promise in Defiance
The worst of lawlessness and immorality encounter God and grace in this Wild West tale. Grittier than your average historical, 'A Promise in Defiance' is painted with bold strokes of realism, creating a fast-paced, unpredictable, and utterly compelling experience. This mind-blowing story is part three in one of the most powerful and memorable series you'll read in this genre!
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She Walks in Power
Step back through the ages into medieval England where you’ll encounter the King’s elite Knights when they’re sent to retrieve the Spear of Destiny—a powerful and holy relic. Hidden within the forest, the Spear is protected by the flame-haired Robin Hood type character known as the Falcon of the Emerald Forest. One of the Knights, Sir Ronar LePeine is torn between obeying his King and his captivation of the beautiful Falcon. His struggle will soon overturn his world and set him in the midst of an epic spiritual battle. Intrigue and suspense, amazing character chemistry, and a dynamic message make this a must-read!
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Left at the Altar
The town of Two-Time, Texas, runs on two different times thanks to a long-running feud between the town’s two jewellers. The wedding between their children that was supposed to end the division and bring one time to Two-Time, only succeeds in dividing the town further when the groom leaves the bride standing at the altar and a breach of promise lawsuit is filed. The fancy Boston lawyer who is new to the town takes on the groom’s case but develops a fondness for the jilted bride. Can anyone win in this case? I had the time of my life reading this witty and fun story by Margaret Brownley!
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Two Bonus Books - Click on the book TITLES to read about them!


Love Everlasting

Giver of Wonders
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Below are 4 of my favorite NOVELLA'S and BOOK COLLECTIONS. Click on the picture to purchase or to read more about them! 

With This Ring?
Life and love can be vastly unpredictable which can add plenty of intrigue and sparks. This is exactly what transpires in these FOUR novella's of love and proposal's emerging from unforeseen circumstances!
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Lone Star Love
FIVE stories set deep in the heart of the lone star state—Texas. Each tale is a unique Texas treat on its own, highlighting the great state and bringing you adventure in spades as history comes to life! This amazing collection contains 3 novella's and 2 novels. 
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Love, Lies, & Typewriters
Taking place during WW2, 'Love, Lies, and Typewriters' delivers a captivating love triangle tale between Lucy, a war-hero cowboy, and a reporter. If she falls for the wrong man, or even the right man, will the headlines read 'happy ever after'? Thoroughly enjoyable and saturated with an authentic 1940's flavor!
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Moostletoe
Forest Ranger Eric Palmer's life was only all about moose until a friend from his teenage years arrives in Moose Creek and opens his heart to the possibility of love. You'll love meeting Matilda the troublesome moose in this small town of big dreams. A delightful Christmas tale!


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Two Bonus Novella's - Click on the picture to read more about it or to purchase!


On the Wings of a Whisper
Tea Shop Folly
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GIVEAWAY: I would love to give away a late Christmas present to one blessed commenter. Tell me which book you would like to read from my faves and an e-book copy of it will be yours if I draw your name! (International entrants welcome!) 
*Leave your email address for contact purposes should you win!



27 December 2016

Diana's List Of 2016 Favorite Reads!


Here are a few of my favorite book picks of 2016 in no particular order. *For those of my fave authors who wrote more than one book this year I had to limit it to one, but rest assured I loved them all!*

If you would like to purchase any of these awesome reads please click on to title!

 
Once again, author Susan Anne Mason sweeps the reader away on a heartwarming, but angsty journey to the lovely, affluent estate of Irish Meadows...surrounded with lush grass-covered paddocks, magnificent stables, and the spirited O'Leary clan. Highly recommended!

Charity's Cross By Marylu Tyndall, Feb. 2016
Author MaryLu Tyndall takes the reader off on a turbulent, exhilarating seafaring journey—from the perils of frothy, turquoise waters filled with swashbuckling pirates and a dangerous jungle replete with exotic birds, foliage, and uncivilized natives—to the beauties of the Caribbean with its warm breezes, swaying palms, sugar cane, and tropical fruits of the West Indies!

Sense and Sensibility By Sarah Price, March 2016
What transpires when you blend Jane Austen's memorable characters with Sarah Price's unique Amish voice? A classic retelling of Sense and Sensibility is born—a truly captivating tale of two sisters who must learn the hard way that the road to love is sometimes incredibly rocky—and appearances can often be painfully deceptive!

Bride of a Dictant Isle By Sandra Byrd, Mar. 2016
 Lovers of Gothic era authors such as Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Dapne du Maurier, and even Julie Klassen fans, are sure to delight in this suspenseful, well written novel—intertwining the exotic allure of the island of Malta and the beauty of the English seaside!

Flight Of Arrows By Lori Benton, April 2016
In A Flight of Arrowsauthor Lori Benton has written a hauntingly beautiful novel of betrayal, loss, and forbidden love, set amongst the backdrop of the Revolutionary War! Highly recommended!

Author Joanne Bischof  has penned a poignant, hauntingly beautiful romance set amidst the exciting scents, sounds, and entertaining thrills of the Big Top—and of a lovely young woman who inadvertently gets tangled up in a web of darkness and secrets that takes place behind the scenes of this mysterious world.

Love Everlasting By Julie Lessman, September 2016
Get ready to go on another a passionate, angst-filled journey as twisty and sinuous as a roller coaster ride to Hope Isle, Georgiaa lovely picture-perfect isle with Southern seaside beauty and charming cottages nestled next to lush plantationsbut wherein lay plenty of drama, secrets, and heartaches buried underneath the guise of tranquility! 

The Captive Heart By Michelle Griep, Oct. 2016
In The Captive Heart, author Michelle Griep pens a spellbinding saga that sweeps the reader away to the heart of the strikingly beautiful, but perilous wilderness of South Carolinafraught on every hand with wild animals, savage Indians, harsh elements, and unscrupulous, evil men!

A Royal Christmas Wedding By Rachel Hauck, Oct. 2016
Rachel Hauck has crafted a magical Yuletide tale set in Brighton Kingdom, an emerald isle steeped in traditionwhere the crisp scent of pine and cinnamon waft through the frosty airand snow-covered, beautifully lit fir trees, costumed carolers, and the sound of sleigh bells can be heard ringing throughout the town!

The Silent Songbird By Melanie Dickerson, Nov. 2016
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With a sweep of her magical pen...er, quill, that is, author Melanie Dickerson takes the reader away on an enchanting medieval journeyreplete with sword-wielding feudal lords, lovely maidens, ancient castles surrounded by exotic wildflowers and sparkling rivers—where intrigue and danger lurk behind every stone wall!

A Heart's Gift By Lena Nelson Dooley, 2016
With a sweep of her magnificent pen, author Lena Nelson Dooley writes a poignant, soul-stirring romantic suspense set against the backdrop of the majestic snow-covered Rockies.

For Such A Hope By Sondra Kraak, Oct. 2016
In Such a Hope, author Sondra Kraak has spun a powerfully emotive tale of a young woman's quest to find a sense of belongingset against the backdrop of the tree blanketed landscape and grandeur of the Cascade Mountains.

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Favorite Novellas/Short Stories!

On the Wings of a Whisper By Lynnette Bonner, Mar. 2016
From the beautiful white-sanded beaches of the island of Zanzibar, the gentle sound of aquamarine ocean waves lapping outside of plantation walls, and the fragrant scent of indigo and gardenias—to the darkness of the malodorous, sewer-thickened stench of the docks and surrounding sea—comes an exhilarating tale from the pen of author Lynnette Bonner, set in exotic Africa!

Tea Shop Folly By Carrie Fancett Pagels, July 2016
Author Carrie Fancett Pagels has crafted a deligh-tea-fully charming novella which takes our penniless, despairing heroine from the impoverished Blue Ridge Mountainsto a beau-tea-ful estate set amongst the lilacs, maple trees, hydrangeas, and poppies of beautiful Michigan.

Ordinary Snowflakes By Jennifer Rodewald, Nov. 2016
Author Jennifer Rodewald has written a romantic heartwarming novella set amongst the glistening snowflakes, sparkling lights, sledding, and the joy and magic of Christmas. Curl up by the fire, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy this beautifully written Yuletide tale of romance and healing!

GIVEAWAY: I would love to give away a late Christmas present to one blessed commenter. Tell me which book you would like to read from my faves and a paperback copy (unless book is only available in e-book format) of it will be yours if I draw your name! (US entrants only!) Please leave your email addy for contact purposes. 

Have you read any of my faves??


24 December 2016

Joy To The World by Teresa S. Mathews



This time of year, life can be very stressful with all the shopping and partying and gift giving but when you are dealing with the loss of family members and sickness it can be especially trying. This is the second Christmas our family has celebrated without my sweet husband Carlton and the first after losing my mom in October. I am also in the middle of radiation treatment for breast cancer. Yes, this year has been a little difficult for me and my family but through it all I still love Christmas, especially the music! 

As a kid, I grew up surrounded by music, from my mom’s singing and my older siblings playing various musical instruments and singing, to my dad “loading-up” the record player listening to his favorite Southern Gospel albums. Our house was one that resonated with music! From the time, I was big enough to talk I was begging for a piano, and even though Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, he believed that GOD would provide one, and He did!! I started piano lessons at the age of five and I have never stopped playing. 

Christmas music has always been dear to me, who doesn’t feel better when you hear the upbeat tempo of Joy To The World or for the kids or the kids at heart, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer?! Music can certainly make a difference in your life, when you are feeling down it can lift your spirit. I know with all I have been going through it certainly has helped me. Paul in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 5, verse 19 wrote “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” 

Paul was a man that penned most of his work while in a damp, nasty dungeon, if this worked for him, it will work for us. So, if you are like me and are going through sickness or the loss of a loved one or maybe life has worn you down, try Paul’s advice. No Excuses, GOD doesn’t care if you aren’t the perfect singer, or if singing just isn’t your thing, find some music and let it speak to you. 

Another part of that verse in Ephesians talks about giving thanks for ALL THINGS! Yes, even after losing my sweet Carlton to cancer and now going through cancer myself, I can still find a reason to be thankful. I have made it a habit to say “thank you Lord for all your blessings.” No matter how bad things are, you can look around and find someone who is having a harder time than you. When you praise GOD in the bad times, you are showing Him that you trust Him completely and that is what brings joy to your life and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Below is some of the Christmas Music I enjoy listening to.

My Version of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

The Piano Guys Carol of the Bells

Lauren Daigle Noel

And when I need something a little upbeat

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Jingle Bells



Merry Christmas from the Overcoming with God Bloggers


22 December 2016

Diana's Review Of 'One Enchanted Eve' By Melissa Tagg


One Enchanted Eve (Enchanted Christmas Collection 2) By Melissa Tagg
Larkspur Press, Nov. 22, 2016

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars!~
(No spoilers!)
Perfect Recipe For Love?


Author Melissa Tagg has penned a heartwarming, magical Yuletide tale set on a farm in charming Maple Valley, Iowa, where crystalline skies and glittering snow adorn quaint storefronts, wreaths decorate iron lampposts, lights are threaded throughout the trees, and Christmas music is piped through speakers. Simply enchanting, but just what is Rylan Jefferson doing here with Colin Renwycke...her student? 

Colin Renwycke is done with his role as a player and has but one goal in mindto earn back the respect of his family by embarking on a new career as a pastry chef. He has natural talent but proves to be a mess in the classroom (not to mention he cannot follow a recipe), much to the dismay of his culinary instructor, Rylan Jefferson. When she is literally ready to kick him out of her class, Colin makes her a proposal that involves traveling all the way to his postcard perfect hometown in Iowa. Rylan needs his talent to further her career, but what about her hungry heart?and could there possibly be more to this man than irresistible blue eyes and dimples? Together can they create the perfect recipe for romance?

Not a novella reader per se, this is the perfect time of year for me to cuddle up with a few...when the busyness of the holidays prevent me from reading a full length novel. Melissa Tagg's always fill the bill with her Christmassy snow-covered small town settings and complex characters. Blending humor with serious issues, Melissa Tagg is an expert at crafting a novella so chock-full of details, romantic tension, and descriptive imagery...that you will feel as sated as though you have just finished a full-length book! So put your jammies on, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and have yourself one enchanted eve! 😉

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This delightful novella may be purchased through Amazon and B&N.

GIVEAWAY: An ebook copy of One Enchanted Eve to one blessed commenter! To be entered please be sure to leave your email addy written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.

20 December 2016

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck -- Audiobook Review



The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck -- Audiobook Review

A Thought-Provoking Listen

The narration by Windy Lanzi was very good on this unusual story. As with the other wedding stories in this series, there is a dual timeline. So there is a Christian historical romance and a contemporary romance. Both heroines, however, are struggling with some similar issues. Rachel Hauck does a great job of weaving some surprising backstory elements into the novel.

A heavy topic is addressed in this book -- adultery/infidelity. Also, abandonment both emotionally, by a loved one, and physically, is a theme.

I struggled with the historic romance heroine's commitment to a man that her closest friends were encouraging her to forget about. But she's pretty much "Stupid-in-Love" and sometimes that happens.   Not addressed much in Christian fiction, but this obsessive love with blinders on happens, and can have terrible consequences. Without the second contemporary storyline carrying it forward, with that heroine struggling with, but regretting and repenting of her bad decisions, I may have abandoned the listen. But the two stories are interwoven and sometimes harsh situations need to have some light shed upon them.

This listen will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. You'll be booing some characters and cheering on others. You'll get angry with the author and then be thrilled later with how she skillfully takes the characters through their arcs. One of the marks of a well-written book is how unforgettable it is and The Wedding Shop will make a mark on the reader, who will recall the novel's powerful messages long after they've finished the novel.

I purchased my audiobook of The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck as an audible.com download.  This story is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. Available at Christian bookstores and is an ECPA Bestseller.

GIVEAWAY: Continuing the Barbour-palooza I have another Barbour collection to give away. It is DIANA FLOWERS' birthday on December 20th. To enter for the giveaway please leave her a birthday wish!

18 December 2016

When My Husband Overcame Cancer - by Erica Vetsch


Overcoming With God – Guest Post

July 29th, 2016.
That’s a day I will never forget. Heading to the hospital with my husband whom we thought might be suffering from appendicitis or a hernia.

The tests. The waiting. Then the doctor returning with a sober expression. She said a word I never wanted to hear again as related to one of my loved ones.

She said…cancer.

Time stopped, my mind went blank, inside somewhere a voice was shouting, NO! Inside I was shaking my head, handing back that word and saying, “no, thank you.” But there was no going back.
That moment became a continental divide in my life. There were times before we knew. There are times after we knew.

Surgery, recovery, doctors, scans, blood tests. Chemo pills, insurance, appointments. We are blessed to live in the same town as the world famous Mayo Clinic with the best oncologists and surgeons on the planet. God sent us a surgeon who is not only the best in the world at GI Oncology surgery, but he’s also a Kansas University grad and big-time Jayhawk fan. (Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy about Jayhawks basketball.) God gave us a wonderful oncologist who specializes in sarcomas, and a nurse practitioner who knows Jesus and is such an encouragement to us!

Through all of this, our church stepped up in a huge way, loving on us with meals and prayer and encouragement through the surgery and recovery time, and they continue to bless us in lots of ways. Peter said it was like seeing the Love of God in action. People not just ‘doing’ church but ‘being’ The Church.

When people online and in person asked how they could pray for us, my answer was always for peace and strength. The Peace of God that passes all understanding and the strength that comes from the Everlasting Arms.
I remember, a couple of days after Peter’ surgery, when we received the initial pathology confirming what the doctors thought, that my husband had a massive tumor that was replicating at an incredible rate, that I felt peace. A peace that had nothing to do with me. I knew that had to come from God. God was using the prayers of His people and the faith that He had begun in my life decades ago to bring peace in the midst of our storm.

There have been tears, there has been a lot of prayer, and surprisingly, there has been laughter. We feel things more deeply, and we express those feelings more readily. We know the reality of not being promised tomorrow, and we are learning to trust and lean on God’s strength for today. Our hope rests in the promises of our forever future, and our eyes are fixed on that eternal goal.

This journey through cancer will, I hope, be a long one. I hope we have a lot of routine CT scans and blood tests ahead of us. As of now, the doctors are declaring my husband cancer-free, and the chemo he is taking is to assure that no cancer will return. And because God has proven His faithfulness over and over, we rest in the assurance that no matter what the coming days and years bring, He is strong enough to carry us through.


Bio: Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

Giveaway: A paperback copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texans Romance Collection.

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