27 February 2014

Diana's Review of 'Heavenly Haven' By Christine Lindsay

Heavenly Haven

By Christine Lindsay, Oct. 2013

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 *****

A Winter Wonderland!

In Heavenly Haven, author Christine Lindsay has penned a heartwarming Yuletide tale set amidst snow covered cliffs sparkling in the moonlight, colorful holiday decor, the tantalizing aroma of gingerbread, and the twinkling lights of evergreen Christmas trees.

Shaina and Jack Burke live with their two children in the little ski village near the Washington Cascades, where skiers, snowboarders, and tourists come from miles around. Although Shaina was raised in an affluent lifestyle, she could never compare it to the joyous life she now shares with Jack and the children. However, discontent begins to arise in Shaina when Jack has to work preventing avalanches on their anniversary, for she has to cancel her luxurious plans for them. A rift forms between them as Shaina begins to question her marriage, and in one foolish moment she makes a decision that puts her and her children's lives in great peril. Will it take an avalanche of miracles to help Shaina realize what matters most in life?

Christine Lindsay has written a wonderfully descriptive (which she is an expert at!) holiday story guaranteed to delight your senses and warm your heart! Speaking of which, mine was pounding frantically when Shaina winds up in danger and claustrophobia started to set in immediately! I believe you will love this exciting, heartwarming, seasonal storyline with a great lesson to be learned and endearing characters—so grab the tissues, a cup of hot chocolate, throw another log on the fire, and have yourself a merry little Christmas now…

This novella may be purchased through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Question—This story takes place during the Christmas season, but is an especially wonderful read now with this frigid, snowy weather we have been experiencing! How many of you are still having snow in your "neck of the woods"?

GIVEAWAY: Christine Lindsay and OWG will be giving away 2 copies of 'Londonderry Dreaming' for two people who leave a comment this week -- either on my review of Heavenly Haven or Noela's review of Londonderry Dreaming on Tuesday! 
*Be sure to leave your email if we don't know it so that we may contact you if you're the winner!*

25 February 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews LONDONDERRY DREAMING by Christine Lindsay

Londonderry Dreaming
Londonderry Dreaming

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 STARS~ *****

In ‘Londonderry Dreaming’, author Christine Lindsay sweeps the reader away to the beautiful rolling Irish countryside and stunning coast of Londonderry. The scenery throughout the novel is expressively illustrated, easily enabling the reader to visualize the emerald fields dotted with sheep, the ancient stone walls, and the cobblestone streets and winding roads of Northern Ireland. Of course, you can’t travel to Londonderry without viewing the Giant’s Causeway, and in this sweet contemporary romantic novella, Keith and Naomi - the hero and heroine of the story visit the coastal causeway together, capturing what I thought was a sublimely-written romantic moment in time in the midst of God's majestic sculptures!

Five years ago Keith Wilson and Naomi Doyle were a young couple in love, but to Keith’s shock and subsequent heartbreak, Naomi’s grandfather had suddenly stepped in to whisk her back to the States to assist her in setting up a career as an artist. Naomi felt she had no choice at the time than to break up with Keith. And now five years later she has been called back to Ireland in a letter by Keith’s grandmother, only to discover that she has passed away. Keith and Naomi work together to try and solve the mystery surrounding the curious painting in his Grandmother’s attic and as they do, they are at a loss as what to do with their feelings for each other that have resurfaced – as neither believes their love is reciprocated. Will the heartache from their past forever keep them from bravely opening up their hearts again? 

‘Londonderry Dreaming’ is an enjoyable and sweet tale of friendship and forgiveness, of the rekindling of love, and of the importance of communication. It is a journey that takes the reader to both Ireland and the States to rediscover faith in God and in the power of love. And it’s also the story of a wise old grandmother that will not be kept silent, even from the grave! I highly recommend this engaging Irish love story that’s as enchanting with the romance as it is with the mesmerizing visit to the Emerald Isle.

You can purchase a copy from: White Rose PublishingAmazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD etc.
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GIVEAWAY: Christine Lindsay and OWG will be giving away 2 copies of 'Londonderry Dreaming' for two people who leave a comment this week, either on this review or Diana's review of Heavenly Haven coming up on Thursday. 
*Make sure you leave your email if we don't know it so that we may contact you if you're the winner!

23 February 2014

Vicki Marney's Testimony of Overcoming Breast Cancer—Part I

Vicki And Jon Marney In Front Of The Leela Palace In India

Learning to Lean on GodA Survivor's Story
Sunday, November 27, 1994—Church and the Perplexing Message: I stayed home with our oldest teen-age daughter who was going through a rebellious stage and had refused to go to church. However, my husband Jon attended, and he had an experience entirely unique in his life.

Here is what he told me later that day: During the service, our pastor had requested that those who needed prayer should come forward. At that point, Jon had a strong impression that there was someone that had a serious problem, 'like maybe cancer or something' and needed prayer. The impression was very clear that God knew about the problem and that it was going to be okay. In addition, the message was that God would be with them through the problem, not around it. Then Jon saw what he described as a vision of something like an X-ray with a large, uneven-edged dark splotch. He felt like God wanted him to share it, but there was an equal impression that the person did not know they had a problem. So then, there was an obvious dilemma—if someone did not know they had a problem, how would they know they needed to go forward for prayer? With this apparent contradiction, he did not feel he could say anything—it just did not make sense. Meanwhile, among those that had come forward was a woman named Lydia. The pastor told the congregation that Lydia had previously found a lump in her breast and was going in for a biopsy and was requesting prayer that everything would turn out okay. Jon thought, Oh, that is who this message was for. Yet this impression was so strong and so unusual, he still felt he needed to tell someone. So then, after the service ended, Jon told another of our daughters—also a teen—and then told the pastor. After Jon came home, he also told me and expressed his confusion about how strange it was to have a feeling that God had a message for someone, but that the person did not know they needed to hear it.

November 29, 1994—Mammogram and a BB: Our insurance coverage was about to end, so I had scheduled a routine physical exam. During the exam, my doctor performed a breast exam and also suggested that I have my first mammogram: “because you are 40, so you might as well have a baseline done." So there I was, on the 29th, enjoying a ‘smashing’ experience. After doing the initial X-rays, the technician returned and taped a BB on my left breast and took several more X-rays. A little while later, she came back with a radiologist who told me they had found a suspicious spot and asked if he could examine me. After he examined me, he showed me where to feel for a lump. It took a bit—because it was not close to the surface—but when I found it, I realized it was nearly the size of a walnut.

The radiologist advised me to have a biopsy done. I told him that there was a problem—our insurance was ending at the end of the month. He said, "Well, then we better get it done before the end of the month." I didn't realize at that point that the end of the month was the next day! So, all of the planning was rushed: I spent the rest of the afternoon at a surgeon's office, at the hospital having pre-op X-rays and having a full set of blood work done. I was feeling very overwhelmed doing all of this alone. I only had time to make a phone call to my husband alerting him of what was going on, so he could arrange to go with me to the hospital for my surgery. They had me in surgery the next afternoon!

November 30, 1994—A lump in my throat and another in my breast: The morning before my surgery was our ladies Bible Study, so I was able to attend before going to the hospital. I was feeling very nervous because I had never been in the hospital for anything except the birth of my first child—the other four were home births. The ladies at the Bible study prayed over me before I went to the hospital, which helped to calm my nerves a bit. One of the ladies prayed that it would turn out to be nothing, but all along, both Jon and I felt this was going to be one of those times that God was going to ‘carry us through’ not ‘remove’ or ‘help us around’.

After my surgery, Jon was waiting for me to wake from the anesthesia, when he told me what my surgeon had said: "I have been doing this for a long time, and you get so you can recognize when it is cancer, and I am very sure that this IS cancer—of course we will have to wait for the biopsy to come back, but I am pretty sure this is cancer." After Jon told me this, I said, "Jon! That message was not for Lydia, it was for me! Lydia didn't have cancer, but I DO! The message was for us!"

Because of the message that God had given to Jon for us, I never experienced the ‘why me?’ or, ‘oh no—I'm going die!’ But instead, ‘Oh no! We don't have any insurance anymore—how are we going to pay for this?’ God had already told us that He knew, before we even imagined there was a problem, and He had told us that it was going to be okay—we just had to trust Him. My thoughts were occupied with ‘Oh dear, is this going to involve a lot of pain and vomiting?’ (I'm a wimp when it comes to pain and I hate vomiting) and, ‘What am I going to have to go through—to get to the 'other side' of this—to get to being okay again?’ We had a year ahead of us to learn to trust God fully.

Please be sure and return to read my testimony of Overcoming Breast CancerPart II, when I will share thoughts about chemotherapy, radiation, and having less hair than my husband! I will also provide a link for meaningful suggestions for friends and family supporting a loved one going through a life-threatening or chronic illness.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:4-6

Vicki’s Bio:
I live in the lovely Pacific Northwest (Oregon) with my husband Jon, (when I'm not following him around the world, wherever his job takes us). After 40 years of marriage we now enjoy spending time with our five children, and look forward to our ninth grandchild, due Spring of 2014. I love to read and I am exploring my possible writing skills, looking forward to possibly being published someday. I am currently working on a book for young girls.  I am also working on a book of my 'memoirs' from my breast cancer journey, to coincide with my 20 year survivor anniversary at the end of 2014.  I look forward to seeing where God's direction takes me from there...

Vicki's Contacts:
Facebook Writing Page: Victory's Memories - VM 
Blog Page: Where in the world is Jon and Vicki? (Still a work in progress)

20 February 2014

Marian Baay reviews THE THIEF by Stephanie Landsem

Howard Books, 2014

Reviewed by Marian Baay
~5 stars~*****

Since I read The Well by Stephanie Landsem last year, I have been looking forward to more books by this talented author. The Thief was another excellent and exciting adventure set during Jesus’ walk on earth. This book tells the story of the sister of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus in John chapter 9. In this book his name is Cedron.

Nissa is Cedron’s sister and she is the one taking care of their family. Their father gambles away their rent money and their mother is drunk most of the time. One day when Nissa was out pocket-picking, she was caught by a tall Greek named Dismas. The Greek is also a thief and teaches her the rules of stealing. Since then they would always go thieving together, forming an excellent pick-pocket duo. Dismas does not know Nissa is a girl, because when they meet she is dressed like a boy. One day she is caught by a Roman centurion, but Dismas distracts the man so that Nissa can get away.

After Cedron is healed by Jesus, he is rejected by his parents and no longer welcome in their home. Nissa takes him to a hideout where they stay for the night. Shortly afterwards she finds a house to rent, but in order to make the monthly payment Nissa must continue stealing. Although she does not want to do it anymore, there is no other way for her to make money. There is just simply nothing she is good at, except for picking pockets.

Longinus is the centurion we have met before in The Well. He is still looking for Cipio’s murderer and now he is also looking for a small thief and his Greek companion. They knew to escape once, but he will make sure that does not happen twice.
Longinus is a witness of Cedron’s healing and after Cedron and Nissa are rejected and scorned by their own people, he brings them to safety. He is concerned about the Jewish brother and sister and checks on them regularly. Not looking for a woman, he finds himself attracted to Nissa anyhow. But a relationship between a Jewish woman and a Roman centurion is as good as impossible. When he does not make any progress finding the thieves, he hires Cedron to go out and gather information about them. Longinus made a deal with his superior that he would find the thieves before Passover. If he does not succeed, he will lose his sword—the precious reminder of his father, who was a brave Roman centurion.

One day when Nissa meets Dismas, he has brought another man with him, and they go out stealing together. The man is called Gestas and he is mean and greedy. He leads Nissa in a terrible situation. Afterwards Nissa decides she does not want to steal anymore . . . ever! But then Gestas discovers Nissa’s secret and threatens her. She has no other choice then to continue pick-pocketing for this evil man. After months of stealing for Gestas, she comes up with a plan to get rid of him, but that does not go as she had hoped or planned.

When Cedron finds out that Nissa is the thief he was looking for, will he ever forgive her or will he also turn against her like everyone else? And what will happen when Longinus discovers what Nissa has done?
Will the Jewish young woman and the tough Roman centurion find healing and forgiveness?

This is a wonderful book full of rich historical details, well developed characters, excellent writing, and a fabulous plot. At times I found myself on the edge of my seat; almost too anxious to continue reading—how could this book ever have a satisfying ending?
Highly recommended!

You can find Stephanie's books at Amazon, CBD, and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: One copy of this great book, winner's choice of paperback or ebook. International Winner ebook only. Don't forget your email address so we can contact you if you are our winner!

18 February 2014

Teresa S. Mathews reviews The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem
The Living Water Series Book Two
Howard Publishing

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

Once again Stephanie Landsem takes us on a journey back to Biblical times. Opening page finds us in the crowded streets of Jerusalem, where we are following along with the infamous Mouse, a young thief who is known for his speed and agility. His partner an older Greek man named Dismas has taught Mouse well; to anyone seeing Mouse they would think him just a poor, dirty, hungry boy wandering the streets. No one would ever guess Mouse's true identity.

Mouse is almost caught stealing by a fierce red-haired Centurion named Longinus. Thankfully Dismas came back to help Mouse escape or he would have been scourged or maybe worse. Now Mouse has to watch his every step because Longinus is determined to catch the thieves and Diamas has warned Mouse he won't come back again to rescue him because Mouse it not worth dying for.

Nissa, a young Jewish girl has been abused her whole life by her father, a lazy gambler and her mother, a drunk. She learned early on she is a plain, worthless girl that no one will ever want to marry.  The only person in the world that Nissa knows loves her is her blind older brother Cedron. When their father gambles away their rent money, Nissa knows she has to take up his slack so they won't starve or be thrown in the street. So with the help of Mouse she provides for her family.

When rumors are spread about a man named Jesus healing people Cedron begs Nissa to take him to meet this healer. To Nissa's joy and amazement Jesus heals Cedron but that joy is crushed when the Sanhedrin bar Cedron from ever coming to the Temple again when he gives Jesus praise for his healing. The last straw was when their parents banish them from their house. With no money and nowhere to go will Nissa be able to get help from Mouse once again or will they be caught by the dreaded Centurion?

What an incredible story this is! From the minute I read the blurb on the back I knew I was hooked. It was so incredible to be drawn into a time when Jesus walked the earth, Stephanie did a superb job describing the different things that led up to the time of Jesus' crucifixion. I don't want to give anything away but I will tell you I had tears streaming down my face at the powerful descriptions Stephanie used to portray Jesus' prayer in the Garden and then his crucifixion. Thank you Stephanie for this moving story, and I can't wait for The Tomb to come out next year! 

You can find this book at AmazonChristian BookBarnes and Noble and your local bookstore.

Giveaway:  We are giving away one copy of this great book this week, winner's choice of paperback or ebook. International Winner ebook only. To enter the giveaway please like Stephanie's Facebook Author Page and tell us you did in your comment. Don't forget your email address so we can contact you if you are our winner!

16 February 2014

Noela Nancarrow's Testimony


The raised voices became roars. The arguing, like an aggravating itch. Suddenly, I had an urge to escape from it. It wasn't like my dad’s raging temper, physical abuse, or the loud family disagreements were uncommon. It was almost a daily occurrence. I loathed that middle kitchen cupboard where my dad kept a belt strap sitting atop a pile of newspapers, there for his easy access. I hated the big red welts that would still be there on my legs for school the next day. And I detested the fear my siblings and I lived in due to his temper. This particular evening however, I found myself retreating to my bedroom seeking calm, quietness, and blessed solitude. But I wasn't expecting this overwhelming shroud of peace to saturate me as soon as I stepped inside my room. I left the light off, not willing to disturb this incredible, palpable peace. Then as I lay down on my bed, not understanding but soaking it up nevertheless, the noise seemed to all but disappear from outside my room. Glancing toward the foot of my bed I then saw a man appear, completely in white, and as He stood there looking at me, I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was Jesus. My family and I weren’t Christians and the only religious experience I had had was limited Sunday-School when I was very young. At the time of this vision, I was 13. A barely-there teenager with a very ungodly world ahead of me. But the Prince of Peace had visited me that night, and He was keeping a close eye on me. And you know what? He is there, near to us all. We just have to reach out to Him and allow Him in.
God gave each of us a free will however, and as the years went by with no godly influences in my life, I listened to what the ‘world’ said was ‘normal’ and supposedly ‘right’. I remember feeling like there was something wrong with me if I didn’t hurry up and sleep with a guy or that you couldn’t have fun without drinking plenty of alcohol. I know now, they were all lies. How different and worse off my life could have been, but for God’s grace. He finally snared my attention through showing me what love was like in a family that knew Him. This family laughed and hugged and laughed some more, and one beautiful woman that’s now rejoicing in Heaven, played her guitar and sang with the voice of an angel. And just in case that wasn’t enough, when the television was later turned on, a documentary visualizing people’s after-life experiences of hell happened to be on. The part I saw stunned me, causing me to realize ‘there really IS a hell’. When this beautiful friend drove me home that night, she shared with me the Bible verses of Romans 10:9,10: ‘because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.’ All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait to arrive home and as soon as I entered my room, my knees found the floor. I have never looked back. And why would I? To know God is to love Him. To love Him is abundant life, love, and happiness like you’ve never known. 
My dad is no longer with us, and I miss him so much. Forgiveness came easy to me for him. I was able to understand that he was a little slow of mind, and that he didn't have God or the ability in himself to even try to change his behavior.  My parents didn't drink alcohol thankfully, or things might have been much worse, and for that I am very grateful. But my dysfunctional childhood had without my realization, left an imprint on my character. After getting married when I was 20, I had my first child at 23 and completed our little family with 3 children by the time I was 32. I had begun changing the course of generations past by becoming a Christian and raising my children in a Christ-centered home. Having the wisdom of God available, which by the way is far superior to any man no matter how esteemed he is, I could only grow in wisdom and knowledge. It’s a journey that goes on for our lifetime, with our coach running alongside of us. Along the way God showed me I didn't need to yell at my children, I didn't need to be so angry, and I didn't need to worry so much. And so with me, and my husband, we broke the chains of our family’s legacies with God's help. We’re not perfect, but we’ve made a change for the better. Best of all, we’ve given our children the opportunity to know the Lord. And that is the most priceless gift you could ever give. I jotted down something my son wrote when he was 12 that I imagine every parent would love to hear. He said, “I feel like Peter Pan, because I don’t want to grow up. I’ve had a really happy childhood.” I couldn’t say that as a child, but I can rejoice now that Christ has brought new life to our family tree. If you have had or have a dysfunctional family, allow Jesus to restore all that’s broken and bring new life to your family tree also. God bless!
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13 February 2014

Mistress of Rosemere, by Sarah E. Ladd, Audiobook Review

Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd
Review by 
Carrie Fancett Pagels

Story: This is like a cross between a Jane Austen and a Charlotte Bronte story and won't disappoint those fans! A great listen, lovely story, sweet and well developed cast of characters, lots of tension, and little Emma steals the story! This is only the second book Sarah has written and she's already grown so much as a writer. She delivers a wonderful HEA that will leave readers emotionally satisfied, which is so important. Brava, Sarah!

Audio narration: If you are considering audiobook, which is what I "read" with: I purchased the CD audiobook version first. The narrator has a somewhat depressed sounding voice and speaks slowly. Too slowly. So I went to and downloaded this version and set the narration speed at 1.5 which worked out great on my Kindle Fire. Much better narration than performed by the narrator for Sarah's first novel's. Still wish they could have gotten someone who didn't make the story sound like such a tragedy, because it wasn't. This was an inspirational fiction and a narrator with some hope in her voice would have been better. Regardless, this was a great listen because of the quality of the book.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of both of Sarah's books this week, choice of format (international winners ebook or audiobook only.)

Marian Baay reviews THE HEIRESS OF WINTERWOOD by Sarah E. Ladd

Reviewed by Marian Baay
~5 stars~

Amelia Barrett must marry before her 24th birthday to inherit her fortune, including the Winterwood estate. After her parents died, her uncle became the master of Winterwood until Amelia would marry. Her uncle has found a suitable match in Edward Littleton, but there is one thing they don't agree on; nine months ago Amelia promised her dying friend Katherine to take care of her baby Lucy. Amelia loves the baby as if she was her own child, but Edward doesn't want to take her in after they get married. The closer they come to their wedding day, the more Amelia sees of Edward's true nature, and doesn't want to marry him.

When Lucy's father—Captain Graham Sterling—returns home to see his daughter for the first time, Amelia proposes to him. It is the only way to keep her promise to her deceased friend to never leave Lucy.

Graham is surprised by Amelia's proposal. He has never met her before—and now this strange woman is asking him to marry her! And it must happen soon too, because she is turning twenty-four in a couple of weeks.

Now there's a jealous, rejected fiancé, an uncle who sees his business fall apart when Amelia isn't going to marry the man he had chosen for her, and there's Graham's drunken brother who needs money to pay his debts.

When baby Lucy suddenly vanishes and a ransom note is found, they are not sure who is after the kidnapping. 
This incident makes Amelia, as well as Graham, think about their strengths, failures, and nightmares. Can they really trust God to deliver?

I immediately fell in love with Amelia and Graham. Both are strong characters with flaws—which they must overcome. The storyline is strong and believable. The characters are real and likable. There was never a good time to stop reading—I kept turning the pages and the ending was satisfactory. I'm looking forward to Sarah Ladd's next book!

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of each of Sarah's books this week, choice of format (international winners--ebook or audiobook only.) Please be sure to leave your email addy for contact purposes.

11 February 2014

Diana Reviews 'The Headmistress of Rosemere' by Sarah E. Ladd

The Headmistress of Rosemere

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

A Truly Wonderful Regency!

Author Sarah Ladd has penned an intriguing Regency era novel—reminiscent of the legendary Jane Austen—set amongst the glistening, snow-covered, windswept moors of England; with their mysterious beauty, dark secrets, and much anguish of the heart.

At the ripe old age of twenty-five, Patience Creighton has resigned herself to the fact that she will forever remain a spinster. After the death of her beloved father and desertion of her brother, the headmistress of Rosemere is left with the responsibility of twenty-nine female pupils and her severely depressed mother. Life is fairly monotonous until the handsome owner of Rosemere arrives, wounded and desperately in need of Patience's care.

William Sterling had been viciously attacked on the moors by the henchmen of a man he is greatly indebted to. Years of gambling and irresponsibility have finally taken its toll on him…will he have to sacrifice Rosemere to pay off his debts? As his attraction to Patience begins to turn into something deeper, her brother shows up at Rosemere with an old flame whose proposal she had once rejected. Can Ewan give her the security of a home, children, and the life she had once dreamed of but had cast aside? And as dark secrets come to light concerning William, will she turn her heart away from him…forever?

The Headmistress of Rosemere can be read as a stand alone, but now I am so anxious to read the first novel in the Whispers On The Moors series! Sarah Ladd is a masterful storyteller; her descriptive imagery lending an air of mystery and intrigue to the moors. My mind went instantly to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and William Sterling fits in quite nicely with the brooding heroes in those two savory classics. With likeable, well-defined characters, and a realistic, intriguing storyline that will keep the reader flipping those pages, you're sure to enjoy this great story even if you're not a big Regency era fan. Ms. Ladd definitely has a new fan in me! 

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

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of each of Sarah's books this week, choice of format (international winners--ebook or audiobook only.) Please be sure to leave your email addy for contact purposes.

09 February 2014

Sarah E. Ladd Interviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Author Sarah E. Ladd

Sarah is the author of The Headmistress of Rosemere, the second book in the Whispers on the Moors series.

Sarah, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.
Thank you so much for having me! I have been a fan of this blog for quite some time, and I am thrilled to be here!

Would you tell us about something difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
I absolutely love being a writer – it truly is a dream come true for me. Being a writer has encouraged me to face something that is very difficult for me – and that is the fact that I am an introvert! 
I think it is easy to think of writing as a solitary endeavor and to assume that writers work in an isolated environment. But like with most professions, the writing world is changing. With the ever-increasing presence of social media, authors are much more visible than they have been in the past. In many ways, this is a huge blessing. I absolutely love connecting with readers and getting to know them. But on the other hand, for introverts, it can be very difficult to “put oneself out there.” I realize that I am over-generalizing here, but several authors I know (not all!) tend to be private individuals and are a little intimidated at the thought of sharing their personal stories in public forms. I know that I have struggled with this at times.
Through my publication journey, however, I have learned that God stretches in the areas we need to grow. Sometimes it is difficult to put myself “out there,” but through God’s grace, it is getting easier to do so.
(CFP: Many authors are introverted. In the “olden days” it wasn’t an issue like it is today! In fact, it was expected that most authors were reclusive and in their writing closets most of the time. Thanks for sharing, Sarah! We share these stories on OWG as an encouragement to others—and we pray these testimonies will bless authors, too. God’s Word tells us that by our testimonies, there is healing for us and glory brought to God!)
The Heiress of Winterwood

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? 
Yes! The Headmistress of Rosemere is available as an audio book. The first book in the series, The Heiress of Winterwood is also available on audio book.

(CFP: The Heiress of Winterwood was on my Best of 2013 but I don't recommend the audiobook because the narrator is awful. BUT the narrator for The Headmistress of Rosemere was excellent!)

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

There is one line in The Headmistress of Rosemere that I think addresses this topic. It is a quote by Cassandra, one of the secondary characters, when she is sharing her thoughts on a difficult issue in her life:

            “God allowed this to happen. I do not comprehend why, but He will not leave me   here, Patience. This is part of his plan for my life. If I stay here, if I stay angry, I might miss the plan that He has for me.”

Like Cassandra, the hero and heroine in The Headmistress of Rosemere find themselves in situations they do not completely understand.  At times they feel quite hopeless. Both characters learn that it is not their problems that define them. Instead, they find that how they choose to respond to those difficulties is what truly defines their character. They both come to realize that their own strength and wisdom is not sufficient to fix the issues in their lives, and it is only when they seek God’s will do their paths become more clear.
(CFP: Love the name Cassandra, which I named my daughter! I’ll also include my bibliotherapy comments on my reviews later in the week.)
Thank you, Sarah, for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Thanks again for having me! 

Here are Sarah's links:
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website

Giveaway: "Like" Sarah's Facebook page and let us know you did so!  We're giving away a copy of each book this week, choice of format (international winners--ebook or audiobook only.)

06 February 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews STEALING JAKE by Pam Hillman

Stealing Jake

Stealing Jake
by Pam Hillman
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2011)

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

Intriguing Historical Romance with a Great message!

It’s 1874 in the small but growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago. The times are turbulent and everyone is doing it tough. But no one more so than the grimy homeless street urchins from Chicago, who have learnt the art of pick-pocketing in a bid to survive. Working in teams of two and with slick movements, the street kids lighten the pockets of unsuspecting men and women upon the boardwalks and streets of Chestnut. 
Young Luke, the self-appointed caretaker of these kids, is simultaneously on a determined yet risky mission to rescue his five year old brother from the clutches of the ruthless men running an illegal sweatshop.  The gripping and heartrending story of Luke’s and the other children’s dire circumstances is a powerful and tragic tale told throughout this amazing novel.

Livy O’Brien understands these misunderstood street kids and their bleak situation only too well. A runaway from Chicago, she’s come to Chestnut to make a new life for herself and feels blessed to have been taken in by Mrs. Brooks who runs the town’s orphanage. Livy would love to get these street kids into the orphanage, but getting these children on the run from the law to trust her, seems almost impossible.

Complicating things for Livy is Jake Russell, Chestnut’s charming, green-eyed and broad-shouldered Deputy Sheriff. Her first encounter with the deputy was delightful and impacting to say the least, but epitomizes the great effect they end up having on each other. But where Livy had a heart of compassion and understanding for the street kids, Jake was dubious and wanting to lock them up. Can Livy convince Jake to trust her about these young boys? From the very beginning sparks were flying between Jake and Livy, however Jake was a deputy and Livy was running from the law. Can Livy continue to run from her heart’s longing when Jake captures it? And as a man of law, what will he do when he suspects Livy?

Stealing Jake captures your attention from the first page and never lets it go. A thoroughly entertaining and intriguing historical romance that’s chock-full of action, suspense, inspiration, and a beautiful and delectable love story between the two charismatic heroes. There’s also a very stirring and encouraging message in this story about moving on and leaving your past behind, realizing it does not have to be your legacy nor your destiny. Yesterday does not have to define you and with God’s help, He can make all things new!
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This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.

QUESTION: Have you ever left something negative (i.e. behavioral, attitude, or dysfunctional family, etc) behind in your past, and what helped you to do that? "LIKE" Pam's FB Author Page (and let us know), and answer the question to enter!

GIVEAWAY: OWG will be giving away a copy of either of Pam's books (winner's choice) and Pam is offering a signed paperback of her new-to-print 'Claiming Mariah'! (Thanks Pam!) E-book for winner's outside of USA.

Be sure to leave your E-MAIL for contact purposes if you are the winner!

04 February 2014

Teresa Mathews Reviews Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

Claiming Mariah by
Pam Hillman

Tyndall House Publishers
Reviewed by Teresa Mathews
5 Stars*****

In this story Pam Hillman takes us out west to a town named Wisdom located in Wyoming Territory. Wisdom is a quiet town that is filled with God-fearing, hardworking folks. Mariah Malone's father, Seth was one of those decent and respected citizens; everyone will be shocked if the truth comes out of how he bought his ranch.

Mariah Malone has a hard time believing her father's death-bed confession of a terrible offense he committed as a young man. Seth had partnered with Jack Donovan in a goldmine and it seems Seth did some dishonest things. After hearing this news Mariah helps her father write a letter to Jack Donovan asking forgiveness.

Months later when Slade Donovan and his brother Buck arrives, Mariah is shocked to hear there was a lot more to the story than her father told her. Slade tells her he is there to claim the ranch that was bought with his father's money and he wants her out of his house and off of his land!

Slade never thought he would find a beautiful young woman running the Lazy M Ranch, in fact he hadn't thought about anything but the life-long hatred he's had for Seth Malone on the long trip to Wisdom. Now the only thing that matters is taking what rightfully belongs to him, and if that means Mariah and her grandma are left homeless then so be it.

After Slade shows Mariah the deed to the goldmine; which doesn't have her father's name on it, she feels she has to do what he asks. What will she do? Where will she go and how will she explain to her elderly grandmother that her son has caused them to lose the only home Mariah had ever known? 

After having a talk with his brother Buck, Slade has a change of heart and tells Mariah that she can stay on as a hired cook until his mother and sisters come.  What a life changing decision that will be! Does God have a plan to bring peace and forgiveness to the hearts of these two people who have been hurt by their fathers?

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Hillman and what a pleasure it was. Being raised in a home with a dad who loved Westerns this book was just like a trip down memory lane for me. There are cowboys, cattle and of course your run-of-the-mill cattle rustlers, and let's not forget the wonderful romance thrown in. The story line was so good it had me when I read the blurb on the back. Ms Hillman is certainly a talented writer and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this story especially how she dealt with the hurt and unforgiveness in both Mariah and Slade's life. It served to remind me that when you hold on to unforgiveness you only hurt yourself. Thanks Ms. Hillman for an absolutely fantastic read!

You can find this book by Ms. Hillman on AmazonCBD, and B&N and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Ms. Hillman is graciously giving away one book this week along with the one OWG is giving away. U.S. winner - choice of book and format. International winner - ebook only. Please like Pam's Facebook Author Page and let me know in your comment. Don't forget your Email Address in case you are our winner!

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