18 January 2019

Character interview of Brooke Hollen of Desolate Paths by Erin Unger

Hi everyone! Brooke Hollen here! I’m the star of Desolate Paths.Thanks so much for having me today, Carrie! I’m excited to talk to you.

Hello, Brooke. Tell us about yourself. How did you get into Erin Unger’s novel?
Ha-ha, funny story—well really a scary one—I got into trouble and the best help I could get was in rehab. But, man, I didn’t expect all the drama there. And I should’ve read the website closer. I didn’t know what I was in for when I arrived. Erin knew I’d make some interesting choices and liven up her story once I got to the rehab center.

Why did you choose Carrick Living Museum and Rehabilitation Center to help you through your addiction?
I saw the promise of authentic help and rest and relaxation. I didn’t read all of the details because all I wanted was to rest my way through rehab. Little did I know relaxation only happened the first few days. I should’ve picked up on all the pictures of people wearing period clothing on the website. Authentic is an understatement about Carrick rehab. But God knew exactly where I needed to be.

Oh, dear. What’s different about the center?
It’s a center where all residents work throughout their rehab. Cory and Dara Carrick believe in the importance of learning how to be a valuable member of society while rehabilitating. All residents have to wear period clothing and must do all chores and cooking the way people would’ve in the early 1800s. 

What’s so scary about your stay at the center?
Who would’ve guessed I’d be in danger at the center when it’s supposed to be a safe environment? There is a serial killer living amongst us.

Oh, that’s terrible. How are you handling it?
I’m trying to stay out of trouble and rely on my new faith, but I’m really scared. Kyle Reston, the person I want to trust, could be responsible for all the women disappearing.

Maybe you should rethink hanging out with him. Do you have anyone else you can trust?
I have a new friend, Willa, who has been trying to keep me straight. She’s a lot further in her journey to recovery. Hopefully, together we’ll make it out of the center alive.

Well, I hope you stay safe. Thanks for talking to us.
With God, all things are possible. And because of my new faith, I’ll rely on Him to get me through this dangerous time. It was fun talking to you, Carrie.

Brooke is putting her trust in God through a very difficult time. What circumstance have you been in this year where you could only rely on God for the answer? Comment below to win an eBook of Desolate Paths or a paperback of Desolate Paths.

Thank you to Erin Unger

Social Media Links: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Short Bio: Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby.But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids.

12 January 2019

Review & Giveaway of My Heart Belongs in The Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham

My Heart Belongs in The Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham

(Barbour, January 2019)

   Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

 Andrea's thoughts.
This beautiful book wrapped itself around my heart and stayed there. From the first page to the last, I could not help loving Laurel McAdams and Jonathan Taylor. She has such a sweet, strong spirit despite the hardships of daily living in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains.  He has a special kindness about him.
Jonathan is set to prove he isn't the “useless invalid” his father believes him to be. He learns to see things in a different way, with a new idea of what happiness and beauty truly are.
They share a love of books too, as described while looking over the globe in the schoolroom; “The world is a fascinating place.”... “Well, I ain't seen a whole lot of it, but I sure like visiting through books.” “One of the best ways to travel.”  

The friendship that develops between Laurel and Jonathan is very memorable. I loved how protective Laurel was of “Teacher” as Jonathan is called. She knows he will be good for the children. I also loved how he came to care for and learn from the mountain people.

Pepper Basham has a wonderful way of describing her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains and the people that live there, I felt as if I was sitting on the hillside watching their lives unfold in front of me.  The message of trusting God's love is gently woven throughout the book, leaving a warm spot on this readers heart.

I hope everyone will pick up this book and visit 1918's Maple Springs. Jonathan's introduction to life in the mountains is not to be missed. You also don't want to miss the Autumn leaf rainbow or the corn shuckin'.  It's a whole lot of fun!

I have highlighted so many things in this book it has become its own rainbow.
 I'll leave you with these words of wisdom from Laurel's mama...
”Regret don't do nothin' but steal your joy and cloud your eyes from seein' the blessings.”

*I purchased a copy of this book after reading the first few pages of the e-book provided to me by Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. I was so excited the day it came, I sat and read it from cover to cover.

Check out ALL the My Heart Belongs series books from Barbour! (click here)

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of My Heart Belongs in The Blue Ridge  

22 December 2018

Nine Year Blog Anniversary

Time sure does pass, doesn't it? We can't stop it. Some things seem to slow time down and others seem to speed it up. But regardless, it passes. Things change.

When I started the blog, I was a psychologist and I wanted to get posts out encouraging people to Overcome (With God's Help) -- Through Time AKA Overcoming Through Time or OTT. That part in parentheses needed to be brought to the forefront, though. I was on my own at first, with only a few people reading my posts. Well, believe it or not, I'm praying about going back to some of the original blog ministry that I intended.

Nine years of posts.
1384 Posts counting this one!
668,100 Pageviews
And LOTS of giveaways!!!

I'll be moving Overcoming With God blog back toward a more advice and encouragement focused blog with posts once or twice a month. My writing ministry is about encouraging others to overcome with God's help. I pray that readers have been blessed by the blog posts over the past nine years! I sure was blessed to have some wonderful reader/reviewers come and spend some seasons on the blog: Diana Flowers, Noela Nancarrow, and Marian Baay as well as Bonnie Roof who has "graduated" to heaven. And kudos to our wonderful poetess, Teresa Mathews, who may yet bless us with some of her poems in the future!

Giveaway: I'll be giving away the winner's choice of my one of my seventeen published inspirational fiction books, released within the past six years, to celebrate the blog anniversary! 

17 December 2018

Peace for Christmas

Peace plaque designed by Rev. Shawn Cartwright, Northside Christian Church
By Carrie Fancett Pagels
Wouldn't that be wonderful if we could have Peace in every heart this Christmas? My pastor, Rev. Larry Jones preached on Peace this past Sunday and he inspired me to write this post. Rev. Shawn Cartwright, our music minister, created that beautiful plaque, pictured above (the coloring is a little off in this image) for Northside Christian Church. I have permission to share the image. In the background are our Advent candles which have been lit every Sunday leading up to Christmas.

In one of my Facebook groups, someone asked "What is something you can't buy for Christmas but would be wonderful?" and I replied "Peace." Peace is such a wonderful gift from God, via His Holy Spirit. When we've experienced it after all else fails in our human attempts to achieve peace, then we know how His wonderful supernatural peace is so amazing and a fabulous gift to us.

This Christmas, as much as is possible, I wish you the gift of human peace and I ask all of us to remember that heavenly Holy Spirit peace is something God can give us when the human efforts fail. And we can count on that.

29 November 2018

Colonial Quills Tea Party On Friday November 30th

Pegg Thomas and I are both members of Colonial Quills and we have our new release to celebrate at the Tea Party tomorrow on the Colonial Quills blog and at a Facebook party. Angela K. Couch will also be celebrating the release of her new novel. Hope to see you there!

One of my giveaways will be some delicious Christmas tea. No lattes, unlike the meme above!

Stop by Colonial Quills blog during the day and leave a comment to enter for giveaways.
Stop by the Colonial Quills New Releases Tea Party on Facebook from 1-3 to engage with the authors: Pegg Thomas 1:00, Carrie Fancett Pagels 1:30, Angela K. Couch 2:00, 2:30 Authors continue to respond to comments until 3:00 PM Eastern.

Hope to see you there!

27 November 2018

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin -- Audiobook Review

Legacy of Mercy
By: Lynn Austin
Narrated by: Rachel Botchan, Stina Nielsen, Suzanne Toren,Amanda Leigh Cobb, Laura Knight Keating, Andrea Gallo
Series: Waves of Mercy, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-02-18
Language: English
Publisher: Recorded Books

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

I listened to this audiobook as a download from Audible.com. I have a membership. This is the sequel to Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin. That story disappointed me with the ending, as it was basically a cliff-hanger with no resolution. So I thought I'd listen to this audiobook. At first, when I heard that it was done in first person POV (Point of View) I almost didn't listen. I do not care for first person POV. At all. Or so I thought. Because with six narrators, all excellent, and a lot of the story told almost like letters and with many flashbacks, I was able to deal with the first person POV. In fact, here's a situation in which the author likely really did need to use this method to get the story told. I really enjoyed this audiobook, which is saying a lot for someone who does not listen to first person story telling. 

This story does somewhat defy subgenres. It is a Christian historical fiction but it also has a strong Women's Fiction feel and there is definitely romance. There were some bibliotherapy elements that were strong -- with depression, suicidal ideation, serious illness, and more. Lynn Austin did a beautiful job of weaving God's mercy into the story. Since this is the Legacy of Mercy in the Waves of Mercy collection, that makes sense!

If you've read the first book in the Waves of Mercy series you do need to read this book, too. It will take care of the cliff hangers and leave you satisfied with the story. The narration, story, and characters are all first rate.

Highly recommend if you've already read the first book!

20 November 2018

My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict by Murray Pura

Reviewed by Andrea Stephens

Publisher's Description
 Journey into Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, of 1863 where Clarissa Avery Ross lives a full life. By day she is the daughter of a respectable shoemaker being courted by seminary student Kyle Forrester. But by night she is a conductor on the Underground Railroad, working with a mysterious man called Liberty. She would like to share her work with Kyle, but he refuses to enlist when the war breaks out. How can she remain true to a man being labeled a coward? When the war comes to her back door in an epic battle, the greatest challenges to her faith and love are yet to come.

This novel is part of the My Heart Belongs series from Barbour. Click here to see all the books in the series! Andrea has reviewed most of the books here on OWG blog! Thank you Andrea!

Andrea's thoughts:
 This story opens on the Underground Railroad, December 1863. Clarissa, disguised as Joshua, is conducting passengers north of Gettysburg when she is pulled off the trail and ordered into the woods. Unsure if her captor is friend or foe, the “little scrap” of a thing is kicking and fighting until the secret code is spoken. Slave catchers are after them. After the immediate danger has passed, Liberty reveals himself to her. He is a well-known, famous even, operator on the Underground Railroad. Clarissa is not impressed. Her temper up, she snarls at him. “Don't call me an itty-bitty scrap of nothing ever again...” There's more but I won't spoil it for you.  I can tell you this is the first of many missions the two work together. They must overcome many obstacles to find trust and become friends. I found their squabbles to be very entertaining despite the dangerous situations they were in.

In Clarissa's everyday life, she is a strong-willed, fiery red-head, a little bit spoiled by her loving parents and extremely smart. She talks to herself a lot too. I love her garret bedroom! She spends time with Kyle Forrester, a seminary student. She is a bit forward in walking alone with him, unchaperoned. But he does not agree with her views on slavery or the Underground Railroad, he thinks the law and judges should handle it. Can they overcome their differences to have the courtship he desires?

Clarissa is grounded by her town, Gettysburg. She knows all its nooks and crannies, all the side streets and surrounding farms, fields and trees. She loves the people in it. Only her parents and the Reverend know her secret. She is safe in Gettysburg.

I cannot tell you more of Clarissa's conflict without spoilers.  I will say a deep love develops (but I won't say with who) and when war comes to Gettysburg, that love is battle tested.
There is a very moving passage near the end where Clarissa is asked what she is looking at. She says, “my Gettysburg...”  You must read the rest for yourselves, it would not be fair if I repeated the rest.
I do recommend this book. Especially if you are a fan of Civil War era stories. President Lincoln makes a brief appearance too. 

This book definitely has more grit and drama than other books in series. In the end, though, it is clear that Gettysburg is truly where Clarissa's heart belongs.

GIVEAWAY: A paperback copy of My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg. Leave a comment to enter.

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