14 October 2018

Prayer Warriors Matter -- Ann Lacy Ellison

Ann Lacy Ellison
I love Prayer Warriors. They're the people you can count on to intervene for you when things get tough.  You feel better simply knowing they are there. You know that even if they are the only person who knows about your situation and is praying, that they are intent upon lifting you and your concerns up to the Lord.
Ann Lacy Ellison had long been one of my readers and was a member of my Pagels Pals reader group. But Ann was best known to me as a true Prayer Warrior. When I was at Community Group, before I'd learned she had quickly gone into Hospice care, we were asked who we thought of when we considered people of prayer. And Ann was the first person I thought of. Soon after, I learned she was in end stages of cancer.

You can read Ann's obituary here. I'm glad the family included that Ann was an active supporter of authors. I can tell you that her Prayer Warrior ministry to writers will be sorely missed. Already is. But we'll get to see her in heaven one day. Ann was a sweetheart and a blessing to so many.

Question: Do you have a prayer ministry yourself? I'm giving away a box of books this week to one of my readers who loves to pray for authors and who loves to read. Leave a comment before to enter.

07 October 2018


Huge Congratulations to our dear Carrie on winning a Maggie Award for her outstanding book; My Heart Belongs On Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring! Let's all tell her how very happy we are for this huge blessing!

2018 Published Maggie Awards Winner
Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements (RRSE)

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this award winning book you can grab a copy on Amazon, Christian Books, or BAM.

02 October 2018

Victorian Christmas Brides Review by Andrea Stephens

Christmas came a little early for me when I opened this brightly wrapped, autographed book! 
Review of The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection by Andrea Stephens
 I met a couple new to me authors on this journey back to a different time. Nothing is perfect and there are many twists, mysteries, and surprises along the way but each of the 9 novellas has a happy ending. I highly recommend this book for all historical Christian fiction fans especially those that love unique Christmas love stories. This book makes a perfect gift for yourself or your favorite book lover.
Some feelings on each novella. 
~One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase 
Good story! It is clear that Marianna and Tristam belong together. Miss Nowell seemed to know it too. ~Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze Much mystery involving the stolen diamond necklace. I loved the children being seen and heard, not stuck in a nursery with a nanny. I loved how Bennet and Celeste became more than friends despite their desire not to wed. Love finds a way! 
~The Holly and The Ivy by Rita Gerlach 
A very sweet Christmas love story. Lily and Andrew have been writing each other for a year. In the beginning, was about some old letters but as time went on, things became more personal but she only signed her letters with an L. He comes to lecture at the Smithsonian Institute where Lily faints. He sees that she gets home and after much discussion, he realizes who she is. I loved Lily's parents. The secret is very touching and Lily gets her longtime wish. 
~Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher 
Misunderstandings and other confusions keep Rufus and SarahAnn apart. Love, however, does find its way. I can't imagine bringing a house in pieces from England to New York. Rufus will do anything to make sure his ailing mother is happy. SarahAnn goes above and beyond in caring for her too. A very nice story with a bit of mystery regarding the elder Mr. Sedgewick too. 
~A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer 
Their late mother's agreement forces Christopher and Ashleigh to be in the same place at the same time. Neither one wants to marry. But...The child she disliked most in the world had somehow become the man she adored. A sweet story! 
~The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels 
A wonderful story! I loved how Percy and Eugenie meet then meet again. I loved the work Eugenie does with the war widows. With the help of Eugenie and her Sugarplum Ladies catering, what was going to be a lonely Christmas turned into a wonderful family & friends reunion. The ending was perfect! 
~Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley 
A dare. A kiss. A separation of hearts. Years later will the two hearts find forgiveness and love again? This was a bit heart wrenching to see a mother forced by her late husband's will to give up her son. I enjoyed this story. I loved what the Paper Snowflakes were made of, you will too. 
~Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad 
I really liked this story. I did not like Fern Kent at all! She was a controlling, shrew of a mother-in-law. Blaming Beatrix for her death the death of her son and more. UGH! I loved little Clara and her father Hugh. He was such a sweet gentle, man. He did so much to help Beatrix. How she helped him pick out a doll for his daughter's Christmas gift was so sweet. Mean old Fern stirs up trouble. Will the truth bring healing and love? I loved the Christmas in this story. 
~A Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch 
This truly was a perfect Christmas! I love how the author used Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" in Melisande's window design and in Gray's heart. I was happy with the ending but would love to read more of Melisande and Gray's story as well as see what becomes of Vonetta in the future. 
As you can see, I really do love this collection!
GIVEAWAY: A copy of the paperback of  The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection autographed by Carrie (and maybe even a couple more authors!) Answer this question to enter: What's your favorite thing about Victorian era Christmases that you've read about?

27 September 2018

Debbie Maccomber's Cottage by the Sea Audiobook

I listened to this audiobook of Cottage by the Sea via an audible.com download. I liked that the concept and inspiration was explained right at the beginning of the audiobook. If I remember correctly it may even have been Debbie Maccomber herself reading that section.  The book is narrated by Karissa Vacker who did a great job. Her voice was really perfect for the heroine.

This story has an overabundance of quirky characters. It is a good contender for my personal book of the year for Bibliotherapy book. Although not overtly Christian there is a strong faith element in this novel. A lot of healing happens. The backstory provided by Maccomber and also by the heroine, Annie Marlow, helps the relationships make sense. Honestly, as a former psychologist, I would have objected to the way the relationships unfolded were it not for the heroine's traumatic background and personal history. So Maccomber masterfully ties the whole package together for the reader. It has a bit of a slow element to it, an unfolding of the story. I'll admit I fell asleep while listening to it (I wasn't feeling too well at the time). But it is well worth the listen and I went back to what I missed and listened though the remainder of this Five Star Listen!

Publisher's Summary
A seaside town helps one young woman reclaim the light after darkness in a brand-new novel from number one New York Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber.

Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.

Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks, in part, to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart - and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven - and the man - she's come to call home.

In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.
©2018 Debbie Macomber (P)2018 Random House Audio
Giveaway: Box of books to one commenter this week from my audiobook review posts! Leave a comment to enter!

25 September 2018

Jen Turano's Caught By Surprise Audiobook

Once again, author Jen Turano delivers the goods -- a wonderfully enjoyable listen! I loved Temperance's character as well as Gilbert's! Such a fun listen. Caught by Surprise on Audible.com is narrated by Lauren Ezzo who did a great job bringing the characters to life! The Audiobook is from Two Words Publishing LLC.

Caught by Surprise is available in multiple formats besides audio: paperback, ebook, and hardcover. So you can enjoy it is the manner you most prefer! Check out the links to purchase on Jen's page for this title. Bethany House is the publisher.

Here's the publisher's summary: Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they’re seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage–except Temperance will have none of it. She’s finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won’t give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

Giveaway: I'm giving away a box of Christian fiction books this week to one of the commenters on my review posts. Leave a comment on this and my other review (this coming Thursday, of Debbie Maccomber's audiobook) to enter!

16 September 2018

Deceit & Greed in Victorian Times -- Giveaway

In my latest release, the novella The Sugarplum Ladies, in The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection, my heroine, Eugenie Mott finds herself in a situation where someone is lying about her. Not only does this man claim that she is his fiancĂ© (she never accepted his offer) but he announces it in the newspaper! She's a wealthy Detroit heiress and a "do gooder" working with Civil War widows who are learning catering skills. Set immediately after the Civil War, in Victorian times, my heroine is up against a conniving man who is using deceit to make his greedy dreams come true. 

In those days, an announcement of an engagement could be perceived as a contractual agreement. Lucky for my heroine, she has an American attorney who can help her out. And the handsome Canadian barrister, Percy Gladstone, also lends aid!

Blurb: The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of sixteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
My Pinterest page for “The Sugarplum Ladies” 

GIVEAWAY: Have you ever had someone lie about you and use deceitful means to do you harm? How did God send help your way?  Answer the question for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful new release! 

19 August 2018

Seasons of Change by Carrie Fancett Pagels & Giveaway!

Mackinac Island Harbor, View from the Fort

Seasons of Change
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

It's that time of year again--Summer's end! Here around the Straits of Mackinac, tourists are still flocking to see the beauty of the area. But there are fewer and fewer families, fewer children. Many, you see, are preparing to go back to school. Some students have even begun their studies, again. Meanwhile, in Virginia, temperatures still hover around 90 degrees. Yikes! We've had an unusually warm (frequent days in the 80's) here in upper Michigan and quite dry, triggering concern throughout the state for this excessive dry spell.

Like the seasons of the year, seasons in our life evolve. For some people, the season of end-of-life brings many things to the forefront, particularly family and possible regrets and also the focus on joys previously experienced. Entering the "Golden Years" of life also brings its many issues -- loss of friends who have died, loss of physical strength yet also the wisdom that comes from having experienced many things in life and also the joy of an expanding family with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mackinac Island's beautiful Arch Rock -- from the Road

For first time kindergarteners, first year in middle school, that big freshman year of high school, and entry to college -- all are major stepping stones in life. Very exciting yet also potentially stressful, especially for students with special needs.
Fort Michilimackinac's late summer garden -- Mackinaw City, Michigan

I'm working on my first Women's Fiction in over a decade and I've been focusing on the changes women face in their lives. This has been a summer season of coping with health challenges and trying to get in book signings, author speaking engagements, and find placement for books as well as doing research for this current Work-in-Progress and other stories I've been working on. It's been an exciting time and a very different type of lifestyle than I normally have!
Entrance to Mackinac Bridge, Sunset over Lake Michigan, from Michilimackinac's Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan

I'll be gone from Michigan before the beautiful autumn leaves begin to change, but I'll have enjoyed this gorgeous summer season.  How about you? Have you enjoyed your summer or this particular season of life?

My Christy Lumber Camp Series' covers have gotten an update! Change is everywhere isn't it?

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a set of these books (one long novella and two short novels!) set around the Straits of Mackinac in the 1890's -- in Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, and Newberry, Michigan!

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