28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


For mom, dad, husband and kids,
And everyone that I love.
I just want to thank you Lord
And send some praise above.

For the sun that shines,
For the moon at night.
For the flowers that bloom
What a beautiful sight!

For the rough times
That makes us pray.
For the sickness
That never goes away.

For the times I’ve felt you near.
And you’ve held me close
Making me feel special.
Those are the times I love the most.

On this day and every other one.
Let me realize
Even when I don’t deserve it
You are by my side.

Lord you are so wonderful
Sending blessings down my way.
Help me to be grateful
So I can have Thanks-Giving every day!
 ©Teresa S Mathews 11-27-2013

Everyone here at Overcoming With God; Carrie, Diana, Marian, Noela and myself want you to know how very thankful we are to have wonderful friends like you. God has been very gracious to us through the years and we look forward to the blessings that He is going to continue to bestow on OWG and our precious followers!

As you take a moment today to think about the many things you are grateful for, listen to this beautiful song by Matt Redmond. Then join with him as he offers praise to the God of Glory for the thousands of blessings He sends our way!

Happy Thanksgiving

26 November 2013

Noela Nancarrow reviews 'LOVE'S AWAKENING' by Laura Frantz

Love's Awakening

Love’s Awakening
Revell (September 15, 2013)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 Stars~ *****

Breathtaking Historical Romance

‘Love’s Awakening’, the second in the Ballantyne Legacy series, is the beautiful, stirring tale of a gentle and blossoming love that strives to flourish against a background of grave danger, various family angsts, and difficult family and societal expectations. This exquisite novel possesses rich historical detail and a sublime visual display of the locales, and is further complimented by the deeply-layered and endearing characters!

Elinora (Ellie) Ballantyne, the youngest daughter of the respected and powerful Ballantyne family of Pittsburgh, has arrived home sooner than expected from finishing school in Philadelphia. Ellie’s unforeseen early arrival home lands her in the midst of much hustle after the recent storm, but she’s also getting the distinct impression she’s not wanted there by her siblings. With her parents Silas and Eden away on a lengthy journey, Ellie decides she needs to get out from underfoot and to make her own way in life by opening up a day school for the young ladies of Pittsburgh. When Chloe Turlock, the youngest daughter of the Turlock family who have been long-time enemies of the Ballantyne’s, asks to join the class, it sets off a sequence of events that will forever change lives.

Jack Turlock, the younger son of Henry and Isabel Turlock who are wealthy whiskey tycoons and well-known exacting slave holders, is troubled. He’s had a life-altering experience that he’s shared with no-one, and although he is still beholden to his family, he desires to separate himself from the family’s cruel legacy. It is to Silas Ballantyne that he looks up to, but figures he’ll never measure up to the noble and respected Ballantyne’s. When Jack’s feelings begin to grow for Ellie, he knows there can never be anything between them, and arranges to head out west. With the danger becoming more dire for those helping slaves, and knowing the abolitionist leanings of the Ballantyne’s, Jack can only pray they’ll be safe in his absence. With two families as different as light is to dark, can there be any hope for love to triumph against such opposing forces? Or will Ellie and Jack need to betray their feuding families to be able to grasp a chance at love?

Love’s Awakening is a beautifully written tale with impressive research into historical details, giving the reader a glimpse into life in the early 1820’s. Undeniably, author Laura Frantz also writes some of the most tangible and memorable characters ever written, and that seem to take on a life of their own. Endearing women such as Ellie that are genteel and dulcet, yet possess a hidden strength; Chloe, Jack’s young sister who’s a tomboy that lacks many social graces but owns a big heart; and heroes like Jack who are strong yet gentle, chivalrous yet vulnerable, and a man of few words… but those few words ooze an intense personality and great depth of character.
Love’s Awakening forged a path straight to my heart just as all of Laura’s sterling stories do, but then I didn't expect anything less!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, Deeper Shopping, or your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: I will be giving away an e-book copy of 'Love's Awakening' to someone who leaves a comment! Make sure you include your e-mail address for contact purposes if you're the winner!

24 November 2013

Teresa S Mathews Reviews Love's Awakening

Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz
Revell Publishing

Reviewed by Teresa S Mathews
~5 Stars *****

A year is a long time to wait for something you really, really want but I can tell you when it comes to a Laura Frantz novel it will be well worth the wait! So it was when I opened Love’s Awakening and was transported to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1822. There we meet the youngest daughter of Silas and Eden Ballantyne, Elinor “Ellie” Louise. After seeing an ad extolling her monetary value in a bulletin from The Matrimonial Society of Philadelphia; Ellie realizes that four years of finishing school is enough and she heads home. On the trip Ellie is waylaid by a horrific storm that robs her of all of her belongs, including her money and leaves her stranded in a tavern.

Jack Turlock, handsome to a fault and known for his roguish ways, is stopped by the same storm and helps to clear the debris. Afterward he heads to the tavern for some food and to his surprise he spots a much disheveled Ellie Ballantyne hiding in a corner. After speaking with her and realizing her plight Jack buys her something to eat and then offers to see her safely home to New Hope.

When Ellie returns home she finds her parents away on a trip and her brothers and sister are acting strangely, it's as though they don't want her there. There seems to be some mysterious goings on at New Hope. After trying to find something to do with her time she decides to start the Day School for young ladies she has always dreamed about. One of her first students is Chloe Turlock, thirteen year old sister of Jack. Ellie agrees to come to River Hill to teach Chloe, while there she spends enough time with Jack to realize he is not like the rest of the Turlock clan. It doesn't take long for Ellie and Jack to develop feelings for each other, but both know there is little hope for them. He comes from a family that owns slaves and makes whiskey; she comes from an upstanding family who are abolitionists. Will they be able to conquer these insurmountable circumstances? 

Laura Frantz is a storyteller extraordinaire and once again I found myself lost in the wonder of another one of her masterpieces. When you have characters that are so real you feel you know them and you have descriptions that are so in-depth you feel you are there you just don't want to put the book down until the last words have been consumed. This is the way I have felt with every book I have read written by Laura and this one was no different. Last year when I turned the last page in Love's Reckoning I felt as though I couldn't wait for this one, now I feel the same again. Laura I can't wait to see what beauty will again flow from your pen for this coming year, I only hope I have the patience to wait for it!

Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

You can find this book and others by Laura at AmazonBarnes and NobleDeeper Shopping and you local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away one copy of an e-book of this fantastic book! Leave a comment and don't forget your EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you should you be the winner!!

23 November 2013

Final Blog Hop and Great News about A Cup of Christmas Cheer!!!

Today's the LAST Blog Hop, #6 on Julie Carobini's blog!  She's hosting Johnnie Alexander Donley and doing a giveaway of Johnnie's new ebook (which is also being release in the Netherlands through Kok Publishing!!!)

And yesterday, we heard that the copies of these books have FLOWN out of the warehouse SO FAST that another print run before Christmas looks likely!!! Woo Hoo!!!

Here's the rest of the Blog Hop schedule:

Friday, November 8th Carla Gade was on Carrie Fancett Pagels' blog.
Saturday, November 9th,   Ashley Clark is on Anita Mae Draper's blog.

Saturday, November 16th, Anita Mae Draper is on Johnnie Alexander Donley's blog.

Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini on Ashley Clark's blog 

Friday, November 22nd,  Carrie Fancett Pagels is on Carla Olson Gade's blog.

Saturday, November 23rd,  Johnnie Alexander Donley is on Julie Carobini's blog 

You must comment on EVERY blog to enter for the GRAND PRIZE

Friday, November 29th,  Colonial Quills Blog to announce Grand Prize winner. Grand Prize winner must have left a comment on each of the Blog Hop blogs.  A $70 porcelain tea set from Yorktown Victory Center, a $10 Amazon gift card, a $10 Trader Joe's card, special cocoa packets, the two-book hardcover copies of "A Christmas Cup of Cheer" and more will be given away.

22 November 2013

A Cup of Christmas Cheer Blog Hop #5 Carrie Fancett Pagels is on Carla's Blog

A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Tales of Faith and Family for the Holidays

Carrie is being hosted on Carla Olson Gade's blog as Hop #5 of A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Click here

Don't forget to visit and comment on ALL blogs to enter for the Grand Prize, worth over $125 and that will include this tea set.

Also, Carrie and Carla are also being hosted on MaryLu Tyndall's blog.

21 November 2013

Teresa S. Mathews Reviews The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson
Zondervan Publishers

Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews
5 Stars*****

If you love being taken back to the medieval era of handsome knights that roamed the country side looking for damsels in distress to rescue, do I have a book for you! Melanie Dickerson once again wants to take you on a journey to a beautiful land far, far away where she brings to life for you the story of Gisela.

Beautiful eight year old Gisela was left in the care of her wicked step-mother, Evfemia, when her father died. She has had to endure many horrible things in the ten years since he died and the only joy in her life is when Evfemia banishes her to the stable to help with the horses. There is nothing she loves better than her horse, except maybe the handsome Valten, the Earl of Hamlin, whom she has dreamed of marrying since meeting him as a child.

Valten has been away from home for the past two years competing in tournaments and usually winning them whether they are jousting, sword fighting, or hand-to-hand combat. Now that he has gotten over the sting of his younger brother Gabehart stealing his betrothed, Valten feels a need to head home and find his purpose in life.

While walking through the marketplace Valten comes across a young blonde-haired beauty that is having trouble with a vendor. While he watches he is amazed at the way she carries herself with grace and confidence; it's then he realizes she is the same young woman he saw riding a horse a few days before that looks identical to his own. When his nemesis Friedric Ruexner approaches Gisela and tries to accost her, Valten steps in to rescue her. This starts a chain of events that will forever change Gisela and Valten's lives. Will either survive the troublesome journey they will be forced to travel in order to fulfill their destiny?!

Once again Melanie Dickerson has taken a classic tale (Cinderella) and put her marvelously wonderful spin on it! She can take a fairy tale from centuries ago and with her superb writing abilities breathe life back into it! This book has a  vast amount of excitement from the descriptive jousting tournaments that make you feel as though you are sitting in the stands watching, to the bone-jarring ride fleeing from the enemy that seeks to kill you, Melanie has included it all! This is truly a book you can't wait to pick up and devour and when you quickly come to the end you will be tempted to start it all over again! Thanks Ms. Dickerson for another grand adventure!

You can purchase this at AmazonChristian Book.ComBarnes and Noble and other outlets!

GIVEAWAY: Two paperback copies of The Captive Maiden will be given away this week to two different blessed commenters, so be sure to leave a comment on all the "Melanie" posts! *Don't forget to leave your email address for contact purposes!*

19 November 2013

Diana Flowers Reviews 'The Captive Maiden' By Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden

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

Happily Ever After?

Masterful storyteller, Melanie Dickerson, has crafted another magical, enchanting novel that sweeps the reader away on a journey into the whimsical land of knights, castles, lovely maidens, and wicked stepsisters!

Since her father's death, the lovely maiden, Gisela, dreams of happier childhood memories when the Duke used to visit with his handsome son, Valten. Now she is forced to live in servitude to her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, daydreaming of the young knight in Hagenheim Castle. Her only happiness is her horses, which her cruel stepmother constantly threatens to get rid of if she disobeys. When Gisela sneaks off to the knights' tournament at Hagenheim, she catches the eye of Valten, and is invited to attend the ball during the festivities. There she is faced with a danger much worse than her stepmother's ire…one that threatens to destroy her life and hope of happiness—forever.

As I mentioned earlier, Melanie Dickerson is a master storyteller, who has the power to draw the reader in from page one and keep them mesmerized until the final climactic conclusion! Filled with an exciting storyline guaranteed to keep you flipping those pages well into the night, endearing main characters and some very nasty secondary ones, this novel is sure to bring out the "fairytale princess daydreams" in all of you ladies! As for you menfolk, there are plenty of tournaments, jousting, fighting, and "guy" stuff to keep you happy as well! An action-packed, beautifully written romance with a spiritual thread throughout, Melanie Dickerson has done it once again!!


This book is available through Amazon, CBD, DeeperShopping, and your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: A paperback copy of The Captive Maiden will be given away to one blessed commenter! We are having such a great response we MAY even give away TWO copies!! :)*Don't forget to leave your email addy for contact purposes!*

QUESTION: When you were little, did you like fairytales and daydream of being a princess with your knight in shining armor or were you a tomboy more into Huckleberry Finn type stories…or both?

17 November 2013

Melanie Dickerson Shares about Finding Peace and Joy Despite Circumstances

Melanie Dickerson

When Carrie first asked me to write about a struggle I’ve had, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. But then, soon after, I had an epiphany.

Pretty much all my life I have struggled with the fact that God said we Christians are supposed to “be glad and rejoice,” and to have joy and peace. That sounded good to me. I was all for joy and peace. But somehow joy and peace always eluded me. I didn’t have a particularly joyful personality, it seemed, and that was something I didn’t like about myself. And since I had the power to change myself, through Jesus, I prayed for that to change.

I prayed for joy. I prayed a lot. But still I didn’t change. I was still the slightly cynical person I always was. I worked on becoming more positive, and I did learn to be much more positive. Now I deliberately look on the bright side of things—not always, but most of the time. I put forth the effort to be more positive, and God helps me.

Still, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t, essentially, changed. I had not become a happy person who never got depressed or down about my circumstances. In fact, I had become really frustrated. It seemed my circumstances completely ruled my mood. If things were not going well, I felt sad. If things were going better, I was relatively happy. But I didn’t like being ruled by my circumstances. There was always something not going well, it seemed. I was a Christian. I wasn’t supposed to be ruled by my circumstances. I was supposed to be able to rise above them. But how? Why couldn’t I be one of those people who was happy all the time, no matter what? Why wasn’t God changing me and making me joyful? I’d tried really hard to become joyful. I’d prayed really hard for it. I’d believed that joy was my destiny as a Christian. Why didn’t I feel joy?

Then one day I was reading my Bible and it hit me. I’d been striving to LEARN to be joyful and to be at peace, but I didn’t FEEL joyful or peaceful. But the Bible said joy and peace were fruits of the Holy Spirit. Does a pear tree have to LEARN to bear pears? Does it have to put forth a lot of effort to produce pears? No. It’s the nature of a pear tree to bear pears. It has pears INSIDE IT, so to speak, and the pears just naturally come forth. Why wouldn’t it be the same with joy and peace? If joy and peace are fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I have the Holy Spirit inside me, then I HAVE joy and peace. I don’t have to learn or strive for joy and peace. They are there, inside me.

This may seem simple and obvious to you, but to me, it was a breakthrough. I also realized that I don’t have to change my personality to feel joy and peace. God makes us all with different personalities and characteristics. I may be a rather melancholy person by nature, but God gives me joy and peace. I’m not a wildly happy person all the time, a Pollyanna who never gets down, but God does give me joy and peace in a very real way. I am who I am, personality-wise, and I can accept myself the way I am. I was able to learn to be more positive and to trust God more. But joy and peace are my heritage, a deposit that comes with having the Holy Spirit living in me, a blessing that came when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and He came and made His home in me. I am in Christ and He is in me. Joy. Peace.

One thing that brings about joy and peace, is remembering my salvation. Psalm 51:12 says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
There is joy in knowing I am saved and will be with God in heaven, that all my sins are forgiven, and that I am right with God and He sees me as righteous. Wow. And I can have peace because God is always with me. He never leaves me. He never forsakes me. I have God’s Holy Spirit inside me. Therefore, I have peace. It is a fruit of God’s Spirit. I can’t explain it, but just dwelling on that gives me peace in a way that I had seldom felt peace before.

This newfound joy and peace was tested recently when, on Halloween night, my purse was stolen out of my van in the church parking lot while I was inside playing games with the neighborhood children. It’s an outreach our church does every year. To get my purse stolen was a nightmare, the very kind of unsettling, time-stealing, aggravating thing that I hate. I hate calling any sort of customer service to get something straightened out. And a week and a half later, I am still having to call customer service lines to get things straightened out. I had to get my driver’s license replaced, cancel my bank account and set up a new one, change my credit card on PayPal and every online store I regularly shop at, not to mention call all the customer service people at all the places that automatically charge my credit card every month—like my website host.

But, through this very frustrating circumstance, I survived. Most of the things I had to do were not as difficult as I’d thought they’d be. I was able to cancel my credit card and debit card before the thief was able to use the credit card more than once. But it still wasted a lot of my time and caused me a lot of aggravation.

A day and a half after it was stolen, I had to drive two hours to an event I had agreed to do months earlier. It was a beautiful morning, and I was thinking about my purse getting stolen, and the fact was, I felt enormous peace and joy. The sky was beautiful that morning. I was alone with my thoughts and God, and I realized that that thief had stolen very little from me, and certainly nothing of great value, because the only thing that really matters is my salvation and relationship with God. And that thief could never steal that from me.

Hebrews 12:26-27 says: At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

My salvation, and my status of being “in Christ Jesus” and having the Holy Spirit living inside me, cannot be shaken. No matter what my circumstances are, no matter what the devil tries to steal, kill, and destroy, I will not be shaken, my salvation will not be stolen, and I will always have the fruit of the Spirit inside me, including peace and joy.
The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson has just published her fourth book with Zondervan - The Captive Maiden. She is also author of The Fairest Beauty – Snow White retelling, The Merchant’s Daughter – Carol Award winner and Christy Award finalist, The Healer’s Apprentice – Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book.

You can connect with Melanie on:

Buy links:
Amazon: Click here Click here
Barnes & Noble: Click here

GIVEAWAY: A paperback copy of The Captive Maiden will be given away to one blessed commenter so be sure and leave a comment on all the posts this week!

16 November 2013

A Cup of Christmas Cheer Blog Hop 3 Johnnie Alexander Donley Hosts Anita Mae Draper

A Cup of Christmas Cheer - Carrie Fancett Pagels' Author Copies

Today, Anita Mae Draper is being hosted on Johnnie Alexander Donley's blog for the 3rd Hop. There is a $10 gift card giveaway.  Tomorrow, Julie Carobini will be on Ashley Clark's blog with another giveaway.

Here's the entire Blog Hop schedule:
Week One
Hop 1 Saturday, November 8th, Right here on Overcoming With God.  Carla Gade was our guest on the OWG Blog!

Hop 2  Saturday, November 9th,   Ashley Clark on Anita Mae Draper's blog.

Week Two
Hop 3 Saturday, November 16th, Anita Mae Draper on Johnnie Alexander Donley's blog.

Hop 4  Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini on Ashley Clark's blog 

Week Three
Hop 5 Friday, November 22nd,  Carrie Fancett Pagels is on Carla Olson Gade's blog.

Hop 6 Saturday, November 23rd,  Johnnie Alexander Donley is on Julie Carobini's blog 

Week Four
Friday, November 29th,  Colonial Quills Blog announces Grand Prize winner. Grand Prize winner must have left a comment on each of the Blog Hop blogs.  A $70 porcelain tea set from Yorktown Victory Center, a $10 Amazon gift card, a $10 Starbucks card, $10 Trader Joes card, special cocoa packets, the two-book hardcover copies of "A Christmas Cup of Cheer" and more will be given away.

To order A Cup of Christmas Cheer two-book hardcover set from Guidepost Books, click here.

15 November 2013

Teresa S Mathews Reviews Dance From Deep Within by Dina Sleiman

Dance From Deep Within
WhiteFire Publishing

Reviewed by Teresa S Mathews
~5 Stars*****

In this contemporary Christian novel Dina Sleiman introduces us to three young women who come from three extremely different walks of life. Each one believes their way is the road to happiness, but when their professor assigns a project where they have to learn more about the others beliefs, neither of these women will ever be the same.

Layla Al-Rai, a devout young Muslim woman is excited to finally have the chance to earn her engineering degree. Most Muslim women are not given this much freedom, Layla is very grateful to Allah for this privilege. Layla hopes this assignment will allow her to share more about herself and she in turn will learn more about her two new friends.

Allie Carmichael, a ballerina who decided to come back to school after an eight year stint with a Christian dance company. Allie has been a Christian most of her life; she was raised by strict parents and made to attend a church where it seemed everything she did or longed to do was “sinful” including her dancing. Allie is eager to share her beliefs about the one true God with the intriguing young women she has just met.

Rain Butler-Briggs is a bi-racial upbeat free-spirited hippie. Rain is working on an English degree so she can finish her book detailing all the various places she has been in her life as a child and as a young woman traveling the world with her bohemian boyfriend. Rain was raised with the mentality if it feels good or makes you happy, do it.

Will these three young women find the happiness they long for? Will Allie be able to overcome the dark secrets from her childhood and reconcile with her parents and her ex-fiancé? Will Layla make the right choice and follow her heart or will she remain forever in bondage to her family’s religion? Will Rain be able to have the one thing she most desires or will she have to choose between it and her boyfriend? Will these young ladies find their way to the One who writes the symphony to which their hearts long to dance?

I always look forward to reading Ms. Sleiman’s books and this one was by far my favorite. I found myself rapidly flipping the pages to see what outcome was in store for these three young ladies. Each of these characters will find their way into your heart the more you read about them. Layla’s story was the most touching as she had the most to lose if she followed her heart. I loved the way Ms. Sleiman dealt with each ones challenges; it pulled me into the story and held me there until the last page was turned. The depth with which Ms. Sleiman has written this story makes me know she put her whole heart into it! I was truly blessed to have been able to read it.

Links to purchase:   Amazon
Barnes and Noble

14 November 2013

Melissa Jagears Debut book reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

A Bride for Keeps

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears
Bethany House, 2013

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

This debut fiction novel by Melissa Jagears is a solid read. (I read the ARC and not the final novel so there may be some differences but none that should affect this review.) 

Poor farmer Everett Cline has been jilted numerous times, both by mail order brides and by a local gal.  So he's abandoned the idea of trying again. But gorgeous Julia Lockwood arrives in his life after his best friend's wife sets him up.  And there is no escaping. But Julia has attracted the attention of one wicked man, also.

Spoiler alert
Bibliotherapy aspects: Both characters have a lot of emotional numbing which continues the majority of the story. The heroine, Julia, has had a terrible experience with her ex-fiancé that has basically caused PTSD symptoms that are pretty severe--so severe that there is a near-tragedy. And she's also experienced her mother's and baby brother's deaths that traumatized her. She's convinced that because her mother and grandmother suffered so many miscarriages and stillbirths that she's unlikely to give birth to a healthy child. So she convinces herself that she will never be able to be a mother. There is a stalking and assault in this story and another woman is a battered wife. 

Spiritual arc: Although Everett professes to be a strong Christian he soon discovers that his faith is lacking when it comes to Julia.  The heroine is basically an unbeliever so it is interesting to see her story arc in faith.

You can find this at AmazonChristian Book.comDeeper ShoppingBarnes & Noble and other outlets.

Giveaway: A gently used ARC copy (mine!) will be given away to one of the commenters this week as well as a new paperback copy. (Disclaimer: I "won" an ARC copy from the publisher in a contest after I'd already ordered my own copy.  No review was required.)
Leave a comment and your email address!

12 November 2013

Teresa S Mathews Reviews A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears
Bethany House, 2013

Reviewed by Teresa S Mathews
5 stars~*****

Everett Cline thought he needed a wife but after being jilted be a local girl and three mail-order brides, he has given up. He has no desire to go through the humiliation again, no way, no how; until his best friend's wife decides she can do a better job of picking out a wife for him and the stunning Julia Lockwood steps off the train.

Julia has come all the way from Massachusetts running from a father that she feels doesn't love her and a fiancé that has damaged her so badly she may never trust a man again. What possessed her to think she could come to the plains of Kansas to marry a man she doesn't know?

Everett can't understand why a woman as beautiful as Julia would want to marry him; obliviously he has something wrong with him that all those other girls refused him. Julia is terrified that Everett is going to be like her ex-fiancé; surely a handsome man like Everett cannot be trusted! These two tortured souls finally get married but not before Julia makes it clear it will be in name only! How can they make a marriage that will last when neither will even speak to the other?  

This is Ms. Jagears debut novel and what a terrific one it is!! I love the depth she put into the characters, Julia and Everett. On the surface you have two seemingly normal people but the more you learn about them the more you realize the hurts these two carry. I was so drawn into the story I found it hard to put down. I am certainly looking forward to hearing more from this author in the future.  

***Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.***

You can find this at AmazonChristian Book.comDeeper ShoppingBarnes & Noble and other outlets.

GIVEAWAY: We'll be giving away winner's choice of format for the book (ebook only to international winner.)  Also a gently used paperback copy to another winner this week.

*** Please leave your email address for contact purposes! ***

10 November 2013

Melissa Jagear's Interview - Overcoming Infertility and Miscarriage

Author Melissa Jagears

Melissa Jagears is the author of A Bride for Keeps and of Love by the Letter, a free novella prequel to the Unexpected Bride series.

Melissa Jagears, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
Though I write romance, I’m not the most emotionally driven woman in the world, so I’m quite the trooper though life’s ups and downs. But the most difficult thing I’ve ever dealt with is unexplained infertility and multiple miscarriages. Especially miscarriage number two. My husband was very worried he’d come home to find that I’d killed myself. I would have denied that I was clinically depressed at the time, but looking back, I certainly was. (The biggest tip-off should have been when I started coloring my Barbie coloring page with hot pink hair and green skin and terribly mismatched clothes because I couldn’t stand to make my coloring pretty any more—and yes, I still color!)

I did finally get pregnant almost two years later, but if I hadn’t, I don’t know how far my depression would have gone. I can only hope that at some point my husband would have pointed it out at a time I was willing to listen. That pregnancy, I believe, was God’s gift to get me through. That baby became my daughter, and though my next miscarriage was a much more advanced pregnancy it wasn’t near as difficult to get through, partially because I had a child to live for, but more, I believe, because we now belonged to a caring church in our new state of residence.

I cannot say how much a good church family does for your spiritual well-being. I’m pretty sure I didn’t spiral back into depression because I had so many people praying for me who truly cared. God’s body in action! But it took two years of searching to find that church, so if you’ve given up on finding a good church to get involved with, keep looking, they could literally pull you through some of the worst times of your life.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I’m not a person that has a favorite anything, I can’t pick a favorite book, song, color….so I’ll pick the verse that’s plastered on the front flap of my Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
But what exactly is an ambassador? When I read this thorough definition on Stand to Reason’s website, (I love Stand to Reason, by the way!) I printed it off and glued it in my Bible. Every time I engage with the world, I try to keep my role as an ambassador in mind.

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?  
Of course the kindle versions can be made Large Print. An audiobook will be available in late February, 2014.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
I always tend to write characters who feel they are unworthy of being loved. I struggle with that myself, especially when I realize that God chose to love us though we are miserable sinners and continues to love us though we are so achingly slow at becoming Christ-like. And if I wonder why He would bother to love me, I also wonder why anyone else should. So, I like my characters to go through that journey. I want my readers to find hope, that though they aren’t perfect, they should be thankful for and enjoy the love they receive without reservations and free themselves to love back—I’m not sure I’m there myself, so I’m preaching to me.

As you've researched your stories, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Well, this book started when I heard a story about a man who waited for a mail-order bride to arrive, but she married on the trip over, so he ordered another one, and it happened again, then he had the guts to order another one! And all I could think of was how brave this man was to not give up. How would it feel to be rejected twice in the same way and turn right back around and try again? What made him desperate enough? So I started researching mail-order bride stories and some of those marriages turned out amazing…..but many more turned out terribly. The bravery of these men and women marrying strangers (back when marriage vows were not taken as lightly as they are now) and living with the consequences was just inspiring.

In your novel, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Feeling guilty for sins that are not yours to bear, fear of abandonment.

Thank you Melissa Jagears for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Giveaway: We'll be giving away winner's choice of format for the book (ebook only to international winner.)  Also a gently used paperback copy to another winner this week.

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