29 January 2015

Diana Reviews Promise To Cherish By Elizabeth Byler Younts

Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Howard Books, 2104

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****

Promise to Cherish is a lovely, heartrending story of the seemingly ill-fated romance between a young couple whose lives intertwine during a raging war that threatens to tear the whole world asunder.

Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital when she meets the handsome Eli Brenneman, an Amish conscientious objector during World War II. In spite of their immense differences, Christine and Eli develop a friendship based on physical attraction and mutual respect.

Christine is flattered when an old school crush, handsome and popular Jack Delano, offers to take her riding after a New Year's Eve party. But that promising night forever changes the course of her life when a violent act occurs, leaving her with no recourse but to return with Eli to his Amish community. Both Eli and Christine are faced with tough, seemingly insurmountable challenges when their initial attraction begins to grow into love. Especially when Jack resurfaces and wants to take Christine back with him....

Elizabeth Younts has written a hauntingly beautiful love story that is not your typical Amish romance. The harsh realities of war, forbidden love, and violence perpetrated on a young woman are tough issues, but the author deals with them with finesse and dignity. Be sure to have the tissue box nearby -- you will need them! Truly a well written story of God's faithfulness, redemption, and healing, be sure to put Promise to Cherish at the top of your wishlist!

You may purchase this book through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstore.

SORRY, but comments are CLOSED on this post. Come by next week to read NOELA's review of Elizabeth's book for a chance to win a copy. Comments will be open on that review. Prayers for Diana are appreciated!

27 January 2015

The Matchmaker By Sarah Price

The Matchmaker by Sarah Price
Realms, Feb. 3, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****
Simply Delightful Amish Fiction!

In her own distinctive voice, Sarah Price has created a wealth of memorable, delightful characters in The Matchmaker. Readers will love this unique blend of the Amish and Jane Austen's classic tale, Emma -- the story of an opinionated young lady who must learn the hard way that best laid plans may sometimes go awry. 
Emma Weaver's heart is in the right place in spite of her meddlesome ways. Just because she has no desire to be burdened down with a husband and children does not mean she cannot help others find their way to wedded bliss. With her smile as her armor and her laughter as her shield, she is content to help the widows in her Amish community and her aged father as well. After all, Emma feels that there is a 'lid for every pot' so to speak (except herself), and it is her place to sort all that out. However, will all of Emma's well-meaning schemes backfire on her?...and does she ever learn that matchmaking is best left in the hands of God!?
To be quite honest with you, before I truly "met" Emma, I wanted to shake her. Filled with pride and a judgmental attitude, I felt that the good she did came from a pious self-righteous opinion of herself. But oh, how she finally endeared herself to me as she evolved throughout the story. Sarah Price portrays the Amish as human...who make mistakes and must own up to them, unlike many other Amish novels that portray them as being "perfect." I laughed out loud at some of Emma's antics and sayings, along with the secondary characters' as well. And I shed a few tears at the satisfying conclusion. With unpredictable twists and turns that Sarah Price is so well known for, and a charming main character that is not your typical Amish heroine -- this harmonious mix of contemporary and classic is truly a "match made" in heaven!

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, B&N, and your local bookstore.

Giveaway: Sarah Price is generously offering a paperback copy of The Matchmaker to one blessed commenter! International entrants--ebook only!

25 January 2015


On one of his CD's, Christian vocalist Clint Brown tells of reserving a certain private Lear Jet plane and receiving a different one when he arrived at the airport. Since he believed in getting what he had paid for and the plane he reserved went 15 miles faster than the one he was given - he was upset and frustrated. Later that day, he heard a news report of a private plane, having left the same airport as he -  and of the kind he had originally reserved - crashing and killing all 6 people onboard, one a well-known sports figure. Upon investigation, he verified that the plane involved was, indeed, the very plane he had originally reserved. This is an example of a seemingly minor situation which God used to protect the life of one of His followers. We never know how many small, frustrating, time consuming happenings of inconvenience in our daily lives are actually God interceding for our protection and well-being - because of His goodness and love for us, His followers.

But - have you ever gone through trial after trial and wondered if God was even hearing your prayers and cries for help??

This week I found myself reflecting on the whirlwind of sickness and death that has surrounded me since the first week of December. I came down with a bad case of the flu which left me unable to do anything for 3 weeks and giving me no time to leisurely prepare for Christmas in the way I had planned. 

In the less than 30 days since Christmas: (1) a cousin thought to be in good health, died instantly, (2) another cousin found his wife dead (a nurse, younger than I, also thought to be in good health), (3) a friend, who had accompanied me to most of my doctor appointments and tests last year during my cancer diagnosis and surgery, was diagnosed with her 2nd cancer and had part of her lung removed; after being told the surgeon had removed all of the cancer - she was told 2 weeks later (last Thurs.) that yet another tumor of a totally different kind has been found on x-rays and doctors are to keep an eye on it for 3 months, to see if it continues to grow, (4) a church friend I have known since childhood went to be checked for memory issues (and seemingly, no other issues) this past Tues., was admitted to the hospital and 48 hours later - hospice was called in; testing revealed that her breast cancer of 15 years ago (which involved a double mastectomy) had returned with a vengeance and spread throughout her body, (5) 2 other members of my church passed away, one - instantly and also thought to be in good health, (6) another friend of 35 years was diagnosed with possible lung cancer and is facing serious surgery for partial lung removal - complicated by other serious health issues. Added to the sadness of these issues are the responsibilities of helping care for my mother (who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's - no longer able to monitor her meds, doctor appointments or numerous other things of importance, my brother and I are currently attending Alzheimer's seminars to obtain necessary info on her illness), my father who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer over a year ago, my aunt who is house-bound from a stroke and hip replacement in 2013 (and for whom I serve as P.O.A.) - as well as mobility and other health issues of my own and the continuous health issues of each of my sweet "sisters" on the OWG team. How much more (?) was the thought in my mind. 

I was reminded that none of us are not only - not guaranteed tomorrow -  but not even our next breath. We are here through the goodness and love of our God - to fulfill that purpose which He predestined for each of us. It is up to us to determine and meet that purpose through a continually deepening relationship with Him and make the most of the time He has given us - reaching out to help, show love and witness to as many others as possible, taking time to enjoy relationships with family and friends, appreciate the many blessings He bestows on each of us every day (even during those times of trial), and give thanks and praise to Him.

Jesus experienced trials also - the cross was no small thing, like us - He questioned and even asked God if that trial was necessary. When we're hurting, probably one of the hardest things for us to remember is that God is going to work it out for our good - even when our trials are caused by our own foolish mistakes or someone else brings pain and hurt into our lives, we can trust God to work it out. If God loves us enough to provide for and protect us during the lesser times/things of importance in our lives, will He not also protect and provide during those serious heart-breaking times?? If we love God and truly want His will for our life, we can trust Him to bring good from it - no matter what happens to us, just as He promised. Daily, we need to believe that when we go through trials, God will work it out - again and again. It's comforting to believe that things will work out OK and it's only through the trials that we grow because we go to a deeper relationship with Him - it's our only choice if we want to make it through. We have to endure the trial and outlast satan by remaining steadfast, not giving up and focusing on the victory at the end instead of the trial.

"Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader AND the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also it's Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection). He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising AND ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God". Hebrews 12:2 (Amplified).

Have you found comfort in your trials through your belief that He would work them out to your good??

GIVEAWAY: Please comment for the opportunity to win the Overcoming With God giveaway for the week.!! 

22 January 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews LOVE UNEXPECTED by Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, Book One)
Bethany House Publishers (November 25, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

 Love Unexpected’ is an enchanting historical romance that unfolds on Presque Isle, Michigan in 1859, shining a light upon the rich history of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and the woman who became a Keeper there. It’s also a captivating tale of pirates and shipwrecks, the community of a small fishing village, and finding unexpected love and hope amidst tragedy and hopelessness.

When Emma Chambers and her brother are stranded on Presque Isle, Emma finds herself penniless and homeless. A traveling preacher who has just helped the local light-keeper Patrick to bury his wife, brings the two together as the solution to the now-widowed father of a small boy, and the destitute Emma. Inexperienced Emma is suddenly mother to a strong-willed child given to tantrums, as well as a wife with no domestic skills to an imposing albeit kind man. All she had ever really wanted was to have a home and family of her own, but as Emma begins to listen to gossip and dire warnings, along with her own suspicions mounting, it seems like her life might once again become capsized.  

I was extremely impressed at how deftly the author was able to express the frustrations and other emotions of the characters. Their fears, doubts, and longing for love and acceptance squeezed and tugged at my heart. Sublimely written, the very soul of the relationship between Emma and Patrick was tender yet intense, and dripping with romantic tension. And incorporated in ‘Love Unexpected’ was possibly the finest illustration and enlightenment on the pitfalls of gossip that I’ve ever read, illuminating a snare that has damaged or sunk many a relationship. ‘Love Unexpected’ is a beautiful and intriguing story that captures the reader right from the exciting onset!
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Available for purchase at these stores and others: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM, and Book Depository

GIVEAWAY: Author Jody Hedlund is generously giving away a copy of Love Unexpected to one blessed commenter!!

20 January 2015

Diana Flowers Reviews Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
(No Spoilers!)
Intrigue and Romance!
In Love Unexpected, author Jody Hedlund sweeps us away to Presque Isle, Michigan -- a remote fishing village where a lighthouse is strategically placed along the craggy shoreline to warn fishermen of imminent danger, the smell of pine trees and salty fish assault the readers' senses, and dangerous pirates lurk in the cold, murky, turbulent waters of Lake Huron!
When Emma and her brother, Ryan, are left for dead in their fishing boat by vicious pirates, Patrick Garrity comes to their rescue. Patrick is the widowed father of a toddler and the lighthouse keeper in a remote fishing village. Ryan is taken in by a family who does not want Emma, so she accepts the most practical solution available. Patrick needs a mother for Josiah, and Emma who longs to finally have a home of her own, enters into a marriage of convenience with this seemingly God-fearing man. It is not long, however, before she begins to have dreadful misgivings. Although Emma dearly loves Josiah he is given to terrible temper tantrums, she has no domestic skills, and to make matters worse Patrick carries deep secrets involving his past. Soon Emma begins to wonder if this man she is falling for is all that he appears to be. As the gossip swirls around her as thick and dark as the turbid waters of Lake Huron, will she sink once again -- this time with no beacon of hope to light her way?
Jody Hedlund has written a wonderfully descriptive, fiction-based-on-fact story about lighthouses, breathtaking romance, and.....pirates? Yes, indeed! Pirates on Lake Huron is something I was not aware of and totally intensified my interest in this did my love of towering, majestic lighthouses. I really enjoyed the main characters (thumb sucking Josiah was adorable in spite of his temper), but poor Emma was so na├»ve I wanted to shake her and give her a big hug at the same time. The angst and romantic tension is so palatable it'll leave your heart racing erratically...ahhh, such exquisite torture. Along with plenty of descriptive imagery, a strong message of hope and forgiveness, and a few gnarly pirates thrown in the mix!...this novel makes for a very satisfying read!
This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstore.
Thank you to Net Galley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

GIVEAWAY: Author Jody Hedlund is generously giving away a paperback copy of Love Unexpected to one blessed commenter!

18 January 2015

Whom Shall I Fear?
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

This is the definition of the word FEAR found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary; FEAR verb\'fir\ : to be afraid of (something or someone) : to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant): to be afraid and worried. FEAR noun : an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid: a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful.

Fear; a tiny four letter word that packs a powerful punch; it's an emotion we have all known since the day we were born. Did you know that fear is part of our sinful-Adam nature and NOT something that GOD wants for our lives? 2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. If we let satan instill fear in our lives he will use it to drive out the love of GOD and to torment us. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If Carlton and I had given in to the fear that satan tried to spew over our lives, neither one of us would be living in the favor GOD has for us. Does satan try to make me afraid and bring all kinds of "what-ifs" to my mind? Of course he does but do I dwell on them? NO, absolutely not! A few weeks ago, I was praising GOD for all He has done for us since June, when these thoughts came to mind;
when the Children of Israel were at the Red Sea and they thought that Pharaoh was coming to take them back to Egypt they were shaking in their tracks. Even when GOD rolled back the waters and made a dry path for them to walk through I am sure there were ones that could only focus on the fact that Pharaoh was hot on their heels and there was a huge wall of water surrounding them; they couldn't see the miracle GOD was performing or the salvation that awaited them on the other side. Even after Moses told them "...Fear ye not,stand still,and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever." Exodus 14:13, I'm sure some were still blinded by their dire circumstances.

This is exactly what satan wants us to do; focus on the circumstances that surround us and not focus on the way of escape that our Great and Mighty GOD has made for us. I have made up my mind that I serve a powerful GOD that is fully in charge of my life and there is absolutely no place in my life for fear. If we give place to fear we take our lives out of GOD's hands and it's like a slap to His face. Personally I want to know that GOD is taking care of me because He has seen every aspect of my life even before I was born and He definitely has my best interest at heart!

The only part of the definition of fear I want to work in my life is "a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful" which is a fear of my Heavenly Father...JEHOVAH JIREH my Provider, and JEHOVAH RAPHA, my healer!

Here are some scriptures that deal with fear. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage , fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 23:4 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.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear : what can man do unto me?

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed ; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry , Abba, Father.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have : for he hath said , I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say , The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

1 Peter 3:13-14 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled ;

Update on Carlton
This past week has been a roller-coaster of emotions in the Mathews' household. We went to Charleston knowing Carlton was going to have a stem cell transplant in a few days. When we got there he had blood work and a bone marrow biopsy. He signed release after release, each sounding more ominous than the previous one. There were so many things that could go wrong but in the end If all went going to plan Carlton would be in remission and cancer free for at least 2-3 years, GOD willing even longer.

During the middle of the hubbub I asked the Nurse what his numbers were and when she looked them up we were all shocked to know they had risen over 300 points in a little over two weeks. After getting his bone marrow results back it was decided the transplant had to be postponed.

The question WHY kept coming to my mind. The answer from the Lord has been more than abundantly wasn't the right time. Scripture after Scripture has been brought to my attention, to remind us that GOD hasn't forgotten what we are going through. I want you all to know we are NOT giving up on Carlton's Divine Healing...We have given this to GOD to perform a miracle in HIS time! It may be through the use of this new chemo he started last week. It may be by another way that we haven't even thought about; either way I am STANDING FIRM on all the Scripture He has brought to my mind, and the peace that only HE can give!! Thank you once again for all the support and prayers that I know are going up for Carlton.

16 January 2015

Caryl McAdoo--2014 OWG "The Angel's Heart" Award Recipient

Overcoming With God's 2014 Angels' Heart Award Recipient - Caryl McAdoo
Last year we began our first ever "The Angel's Heart" award, which was won by Julie Lessman. She received a custom made plaque from Nashville artist, Beverly Mayes. We began with our first set of rules for recipients, which we are refining as we go, but the main thing the winner has to have done is to have ministered to our readers and to the bloggers. That earns them an initial "You Take the Cake" award for responding to our readers and to bloggers. This past year has been a very difficult one for the OWG bloggers and we take our ministry to our readers very seriously--but we also need to be ministered to by others. The OWG staff voted and our final decision was that Caryl McAdoo had not only come by regularly to encourage our readers but also us. And she's a stellar writer.
Caryl will receive our custom-made 2014 plaque from Beverly Mayes which will also bear the inscription of "The Angel's Heart Award, 2014 from Overcoming With God blog". 



Caryl McAdoo and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grandsugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.

CFP: Caryl has a SLEW of books out in 2014, including my personal favorite for 2014, Vow Unbroken.  She has two sequels to the novel now available as well as other books.

13 January 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews BRENTWOOD'S WARD by Michelle Griep

Brentwood's Ward

Brentwood's Ward
by Michelle Griep
Shiloh Run Press: Gld edition (January 1, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Michelle Griep pens an exquisite Regency novel that’s set in London 1807, incorporating shades of suspense, mystery, and romance in such an atmospheric story that it gives you the impression that you’ve just fallen into another era. And much like the misty rain blanketing London, a cloak of intrigue envelops this story, wholly enticing the reader to lose themselves within.

How difficult could guarding an heiress be? Lawman Nicholas Brentwood wonders this, especially after discovering that some of his colleagues had already turned down this lucrative assignment that was handed to him. Intent on earning enough to help his ailing sister, Nicholas takes on the challenging task of protecting the beautiful, although spoilt and headstrong heiress Emily Payne, and unwittingly lands in an evolving world of mystery and murder. Nicholas was as unprepared for that, as he was with the unraveling of his heart to Emily.

Emily Payne believes her entire future depends upon the upcoming ball, where she intends to garner a husband – and she has a particular man in mind! But is her new tag-along guardian going to mess up her plans in snaring a wealthy husband? However, as the grave danger around Emily increases, this may end up being the least of her troubles!

A master at words, author Michelle Griep adeptly molds her prose to bring life to every sentence in an invigorating story that serves up scads of suspense, peril, romance, and faith. I adored the richly-crafted characters such as the extremely perceptive hero Nicholas, and the self-indulgent Emily that has a penchant for hats, and found that these two inspired the most delightful dialogue. Woven throughout and tying this novel together, were the heartening messages on building trust and developing more positive attitudes in spite of circumstances, knowing that God is in charge.

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Purchase 'Brentwood's Ward' here: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM; Book Depository..

GIVEAWAY: A $10 Amazon gift card will be given away to one blessed commenter!

11 January 2015


The topic of prayer is vast and such an important one. God thought it so important that according to, the word prayer is mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible - 114 times. Related words appear the following number of times: pray 313, prayed 65 and praying 20. There are numerous scriptures illustrating Christ in prayer and He, Himself - gave us the perfect pattern for prayer.

What is prayer? Prayer is numerous things: talking with God, thanking Him, committing things to Him, praising Him, consecrating things to Him, asking Him to meet your needs - or someone else's. Talking to God should be as comfortable and easy as talking to a best friend (as He, truly, is our best friend), frequent, at any time and any place and about anything and everything - from the most simple issue to the most serious/difficult. It should be so much a part of our being that we don't even realize how often we pray. Prayer allows God to enter our problems and work on them - it doesn't have to be long, loud, fancy, done in a certain body position or by pleading.

Some people may not pray much because they don't realize how powerful prayer is. Prayer is passionate, honest, sincere and putting your entire heart in it - something author Julie Lessman well understands, having prayed for her children from their birth, and their prospective mates, as well. One of life's greatest blessings is having a parent who prays for you. There is no better example than my own mother. Although raised to regularly attend church and having accepted Christ as my Savior as a pre-teen - there were a number of years when I stumbled around, living life on my own terms instead of following God's plan for my life. My mother prayed for years before seeing me return to Him. She is now in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease - I'm so grateful He allowed her to witness my return.

At times, prayer is answered quickly - at other times, it can take years or may not even happen within our lifetime. God's word tells us to pray - it is His way  of making some things happen, helps others realize Jesus' love, clears hindrances out of the way so that God to work, is His plan for accomplishing His will, gives us strength over evil and fills our emotional needs. Prayer also keeps us humble, can succeed when other avenues have failed, is always available, strengthens the relationship between Christians and answered prayer can be a witness to those doubtful.  

How do we know that God really answers prayers? "But when you pray, go into your (most) private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open", Matthew 6:6 (amplified version). He works all things together according to His plan and in His timing (Romans 8:28). He allows us to experience trials and in so doing - our relationship with Him is strengthened and made closer. Hebrews 11:6 tells us God rewards those who diligently seek Him. I have seen miracles in my own life, as well as in others, that could only be explained as an answer to prayer(s). Prayer can succeed where other things don't and should not be our last response, but our first.

When we do something to bless others, we are blessed also - God is a "re-gifter", so to speak. When God spoke to me a couple of years ago, asking that I do all I could to encourage Christian writers/authors - little did I realize the blessings I would receive in return, or that He had a two-fold purpose in asking. I have become a prayer partner with several authors - their prayers, and the prayers of other godly online friends, have blessed me more than I can say, especially during my 2014 diagnosis of cancer and the resulting surgery and recovery. I really don't know how I would have gotten through it without the belief that God was in control and had a plan - and the prayers of my online friends, family and other friends.
Smiling Teresa - Selfless Teresa: This isn't her birthday, it's Carrie's and she made a 20+ layer cake that everybody in the restaurant wanted last year! Please pray for Teresa's husband's complete healing!!!

As some of you know, one of our OWG Angels, Teresa Mathews, and her husband, Carlton, have been facing a huge medical crisis for some time - due to his battle with multiple myeloma. Teresa and Carlton are strong prayer warriors, believing God is in control and is working things to Carlton's good. Teresa, Carlton and family, and all of us at OWG - would be overjoyed and grateful for any and all who feel led to add Carlton to their prayer list and commit to pray for him on a daily basis, thus giving added strength/support to them in their battle toward God's victory. I know, from personal experience, one can definitely feel prayers being offered up for her/him - by others. (Anyone not previously aware of Carlton's health issues can read more about them from previous OWG posts and also on Teresa's Facebook timeline). Thank you so much!!!!

GIVEAWAY: Please share your prayer experiences - all who comment will be entered in our weekly drawing giveaway on OWG.


08 January 2015

Three Reasons to Read: Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Buy this book now at CBD, B&N, or Amazon. Promise to Cherish is published by Howard Books, 2014, and is part of The Promise of Sunrise series.

Three Reasons to Read Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts:
1) This book made my list of Top 10 Books for 2014.
2) Runner up for Bibliotherapy of the Year because of the many strong therapeutic elements.
3) The author is adorable! (I had to just throw that in!) She's also very talented!!!

Elizabeth Byler Younts and Carrie Fancett Pagels ACFW 2013

Elizabeth Byler Younts is proving herself as a story teller extraordinaire. I loved her last novel, also an Amish story. Elizabeth's extended family is Amish so she has a unique and genuine perspective. As far as this novel goes, the reader should be sure to read the blurb about the book because the book includes a somewhat detailed sexual assault. However, one can infer this fact from the blurb, plus it is necessary to understand the heroine's motivations and the struggles she faces. The way the scene is written it is done well and integral to the plot.

Because my father worked in a state hospital near my home (and I spent a fair amount of time on those grounds), I was interested in Elizabeth's descriptions of the setting and the treatment in a New York state asylum just after WWII. Very disturbing. I would like to think that the mental institutions in Michigan were much better than this, at that time. Shocking.

Lovely story about forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. Beautiful love story. Just when you think you know what will happen there is a hairpin turn. Highly recommend!

Bibliotherapy: Date rape, PTSD, pregnancy, rejection, forgiveness, mental illness, and God's provision.

Giveaway: A copy of Promise to Cherish, which made my top 10 list of favorite books for 2014 and was runner up for bibliotherapy for the year.

06 January 2015

Carrie's Favorite Christian Fiction Reads for 2014

At the Edge of a Dark Forest
OWG Bibliotherapy Book of the Year

While Love Stirs

A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

The books are listed in no particular order but I do have a favorite novel for 2014 and that story is by Caryl McAdoo and the reason is because she's one of the few authors whose "voice" seems so very similar to my own and I really enjoyed the story and characters in Vow Unbroken. All of these novels, however, are STELLAR!!! Several, too, were strong contenders for bibliotherapy book of the year! Elizabeth Camden's and Elizabeth Byler Younts's, in particular! I haven't yet reviewed Elizabeth's on the OWG blog but hope to remedy that omission soon.

There were SO many WONDERFUL novellas and short stories out in 2014 and I reviewed quite a few. I didn't feel I could do them justice by pulling out individual stories but I may come back later and do a recap of my fave collections for 2014 because I loved a whole bunch of them, especially the Christmas ones! I have included one novella because it is my Bibliotherapy Book of the Year - Connie Almony's Beauty and the Beast story about PTSD and addiction as well as recovery and rehab for a wounded vet. Beautifully done and a DEBUT book!!!

I'll also be announcing the Angels' Heart winner for 2014. Last year that honor went to Julie Lessman, which disqualifies her for the next five years.  We have three nominees right now from the OWG bloggers and will be deciding soon.

Why no audiobook category? In 2014 I had surgery on my heel. I had a torn Achilles tendon and other issues that had to be repaired. I listened to some audiobooks but I also ended up reading a great many with my eyes instead of listening. Love my Kindle!!!  One audiobook I suggest you avoid is the one for Tamera Alexander's LOVELY novel A Beauty so Rare because the narrator is so poor she ruins the beautiful story. Wonderful book so just read it on your Kindle or ereader and set the font size to large. I have several audiobooks I haven't reviewed on the blog yet that I may add to the post for the novella collections. In general, though, I felt it wasn't a great year for audiobooks for Christian historical romance, which is what I primarily read (because that's what I also write.) But there were some very good ones and I'll get to those in a later post!

Question: What were some of YOUR faves for 2014?

05 January 2015

Happy Birthday Angel Carrie!

 Happy Birthday Angel Carrie!

Isn't She Lovely
*Click on this link above to hear Frank Sinatra sing to Carrie!*

God has blessed Carrie so much this past year we can't wait to see 
what else He has in store for her!
We are hoping for a lot more book contracts!

Pull up a chair and have a nice warm sip of tea and a slice of cake with us!

Carrie, we love you! Happy Birthday from Bonnie, Diana, Teresa, & Noela!

GIVEAWAY: Leave Carrie a birthday greeting and you will be entered into the drawing for a $15 Amazon Card.

01 January 2015

Noela's 2014 Favorites!

Here are some of my FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2014!! Click on the Title of the book if you would like to purchase any of these amazing books! They are listed in order of publication. Enjoy!

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Here you have a woman who aims to keep herself invisible by disguising herself as a man, and a man on the political trail who really should be distancing himself from this intriguing woman! Before they know it, both their lives are turned upside down and find their faith truly tested. The unpredictability throughout this entertaining novel will keep you reading as you revel in watching this couple find each other, God, and their life's purpose.
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At a time of great unrest a few years prior to the American Revolution, one woman captures the hearts of two men on opposing sides. This is a thoroughly engaging, romantic, and dramatic novel that also demonstrates how we can all make a difference in this world.
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Jocelyn expressively pens an emotive journey into the Civil War era that encompasses families torn apart; terrifying riots; gnawing hunger; and other sorrows. But mostly it is an entrancing story of hope and achingly beautiful love amidst such destruction, and the survival and victory of the battle-worn yet courageous heart and spirit.
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Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
‘Full Steam Ahead’ ploughs through the stream of historical novels, delivering a story loaded with fascinating history about the devastating steamboat disasters in the mid 1800’s due to boiler explosions, and a romance with intoxicating love that leaves Mr. Darcy in its wake!
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Spurred by mounting curiosity, Iris Moon rows out to the lighthouse to meet the mysterious Keeper under the guise of delivering a Christmas basket from some of the local community. Upon doing so, she finds he remains an even greater enigma but one that now haunts her thoughts and dreams. This beautiful and highly memorable story exudes atmosphere and mystery, while touching your heart and spirit.
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The tensions and danger on Michilimackinac Island gradually escalate after the British took control, with food becoming scarce and loyalties divided. The dashing and humorously egotistical voyager Pierre Durant returns home to his island to find his mother in need, and feelings arising for his childhood friend – now grown up and beautiful but betrothed to his brother. This is an intriguing read with with heart-in-throat danger, a breathtaking romance, enjoyable dialogue and uplifting messages!
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 Something very sinister lurks in the lush jungle of Brazil where the colonists have made their home, and it is up to them to face and conquer this evil before it unleashes upon the world. This jungle paradise hosts an adventure and characters so rich, intriguing, and powerful, that this will be forever imprinted in your mind. The descriptions, suspense, and romance are second to none!
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 The Ballantyne’s most valued river pilot, James Sackett, develops a secret affection for the Ballantyne’s heir, the enchanting Wren. Given the responsibility of being her escort at her coming out in society, proves tougher than he ever imagined. But his questionable heritage and the grim danger that pursues him, leaves James no choice. Mesmerizing, breathtaking, and sublime!
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 Invigorating, passionate, and dramatic, ‘Hearts in Defiance’ is a compulsive page-turning adventure of love and danger in the old west. Author Heather Blanton has masterfully penned a novel that comprises the horrors of Indian savagery, along with a breathtaking romance charged with an electrifying chemistry, and glued together with the message that God has made us a new creation and overcomers no matter our past! An epic tale that has 3 romances in the one story!
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Finding Mercy (MercyMedallion Trilogy, Book 2) by Michael Landon Jr. & Cindy Kelley
‘Finding Mercy’ was the perfect sequel to ‘Traces of Mercy’ in maintaining a fresh and original plot with eye-popping surprises and memorable characters. These outstanding stories unfold to be an epic not-to-be missed account of a woman that served in the war as a man and subsequently lost her memory, but ultimately finds herself. These movie-script calibre novels seize your attention immediately with thrilling suspense and drama, followed closely by generous doses of intrigue, danger, and romance. Masterful story-telling!
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This was a WOW book for me this year! Rippling with passions, drama, and evolving faith, this exquisite novel delivers two agonizing romances that will take your breath away. One is a fractured couple that have a substantial barrier of broken trust between them. And the other features a young woman that has gone through an amazing physical transformation and meets up with her closest childhood friend whom she cares deeply for, but soon discovers that he only thinks of her as a little sister. Or does he? Read this book, and series, if you love irresistible and wise-cracking characters, masterful levels of prose, and a fun, deeply inspiring and touching story.
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Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall
‘Tears of the Sea’ is a spell-binding fantasy tale containing a powerful allegory of the gospel. A woman cursed to live as a mermaid forever except for one month every decade, seeks the only thing that can break her torment. A man that will love her enough to die for her. Could she have possibly found that man with Savion Ryne? But what happens when she actually falls in love with this enigma of a man… Will she allow her only true love to give his life for her? Even if you don’t normally read fantasy, you will love this incredibly stirring and thrilling story, exquisitely written with sublime descriptions and heart-rending passion! Look for clever anagrams and cryptic names throughout!
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‘The Petticoat Detective’ shoots with a heartrending reality as Amy, the female Pinkerton detective finds herself working undercover in a bordello while trying to crack the case she’s working on. Enter a former Texas Ranger by the name of Tom, who’s also looking for clues and enlists Amy’s help while unaware of her true identity. Fantastic secondary characters, a plot that keeps you guessing, inspiring messages, and brilliant humour threaded throughout… are just a few of the reasons why this book is a winner!

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A few of my FAVORITE NOVELLA'S of 2014!

A must-read; this modern-day retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast, was intensely heart-stirring and inspiring! It features a man suffering from PTSD whose story is both raw and heart-rending. Can he ever become a whole person again though he is missing limbs? Can such a damaged man find love and peace in his pain?

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 US to rediscover faith in God and in the power of love. An engaging and enchanting Irish love story!

We know war is brutal and often void of hope and life. But Marian Baay’s Civil War romance, ‘The Officer’s Daughter’, brings a burst of light to the dark ugliness of the Civil War. In this highly engaging novella, we read of a sweet and unexpected romance found on the battlefield – the last place one would ever imagine to find love!

A well-educated and cocky lumberjack, a pretty camp cook who wants to leave, a spicy romance, and a nourishing spiritual message are just a handful of the ingredients making up this mouth-watering and engaging novella. Yum! You’ll find the rich historical insights permeating this story, fascinating and well-researched, bringing the yesteryear setting alive. And enriching this cozy Christmas tale that’s full of surprises is a reassuring message that reminds us to never give up, because God has a plan for us all! 

I always know I’m going to thoroughly enjoy a story when it’s written by Margaret Brownley, and whether it’s a short story like this or a full-length novel, I’m truly never disappointed! While definitely a sweet, heart-warming romance, ‘The Nutcracker Bride’ is also generously sprinkled with laugh-out-loud humor, and served with morsels of fascinating history and traditions of nutcrackers, creatively dispersed throughout this gift of a story!

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Other special mentions: The Ransom by MaryLu Tyndall; The Wyoming Heir by Naomi Rawlings; A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander; What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer; Fair Play by Deeanne Gist; Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble; A Bride In Store by Melissa Jagears;  The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall, and Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay!

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