A Birthday Gift – To You? Or to Me?

Only five days until Where Dandelions Grow is released, folks! *cue happy dance*

I figured maybe I should celebrate by writing a list of five things I’m thankful for, but that’s not a very long list. Therefore I thought maybe I should write a list of five hundred things I’m thankful for. But, I have seven author interviewers and numerous emails to answer today, plus I’m visiting grandparents out of state, so I figured I don’t exactly have time to do that this morning.

Next, I figured maybe I’d celebrate by getting an iced coffee – I did that the other day and made the coffee last two days (because I forgot and got it regular instead of decaf, #oops). Iced coffees go a long ways to making every-day activities seem extra-special, as well as giving me a dose of energy.  (Especially when they’re not decaf.)

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Then I figured that I’d celebrate by letting y’all know why I choose September 26th-30th for the book release and blog tour.

On the 30th I will officially be a quarter of a century old. That seemed like a milestone to take note of, and what would be a better way to make sure it didn’t fade into obscurity in my mind than releasing a book on that date?

(In plain English, y’all: my birthday is September 30th, and I’ll be 25.)

So, in a very roundabout way, releasing Where Dandelions Grow this month was a birthday present – to me, and to all of y’all. Cause I hope that bunches of you join in the blog tour activities and giveaways, buy the book, enjoy it, and feel a bit of the birthday cheer seeping into your world.

Plus, that way Where Dandelions Grow and I will share the same birthday month, and that pretty much means I’ve reached the height of being an author, right?

Mercy Triumphs {Book Review}

Mercy Triumphs 

By:  Jana Kelley

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • Three (?) Points of View • 296 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God.
Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it.
Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.

Why I Choose this Book:

Earlier this year I read the first two books in the series, Side by Side and Door to Freedom – both of which were really eye-opening. (You can read my reviews for them here.) When I saw there was a third book in the series I signed up without even reading the backcover blurb.

What I Thought about this Book:

Like Door to Freedom, this book could have been read as a standalone, but it helped to have the background from the last two books to explain who the characters were, etc…. Although this book wasn’t as “gripping” as the first book was to me, it still kept my attention and made me want to find out what was going to happen.

The author does a fantastic job of showing what it’s like to be a missionary – not days full of excitement as you see person after person responds to the truth of the gospel. Instead, living on the mission field is full of every-day life activities that are often times harder than what we’re used to because you have to learn a totally new system, language, and culture. Plus, a lot of second and third world countries don’t have all the amenities we’re used to in first-world countries, and so, therefore, every-day chores are more time consuimg and difficult. The author shows all this but in an interesting, weave-it-into-the-story type of way. I never felt bogged down with details.

It was also really interesting following the other two main characters and seeing what their lives look like as “runaways.” I could see the world they lived in – feel what was going on and understand their thought processes even when they were so different from what I was used to.

The plot moved at a good pace, although not super-fast. The last couple of chapters weren’t what I had expected, but it was so realistic (at least from the main point of view). From friends I have that have been in the same type of situation (loosely same, anyway), I felt like it was portrayed really well.

Conclusion:

If there was another book in the series (which I doubt there will be) I’d jump at the chance to read it. I can’t think of any complaints I have from this book – it was pretty spot-on.

My best friend is reading the series and really enjoying it. One thing she and I discussed is that in addition to the series not being good for kids, it’s also probably not the best for guys because of some of the issues that are shown in the book.

Rating: 

I’m giving Mercy Triumphs 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review

A Nearly Grown-Up Book {ONE WEEK!}

Y’all! One week. ONE WEEK! That’s how long it is until the release of my book, Where Dandelions Grow. Do y’all know how exciting this is? You can pre-order it on Amazon, and it will be delivered directly to your device on the 26th. So cool, right? And imagine this: It’s only $0.99! Where else can you get a couple of hours of good entertainment at such a great price?

Some of my ARC reader/reviewers have been totally amazing and made book quote images for fun. I’m going to share some from Maddy – when I saw how beautiful they were I legit got tears in my eyes. It’s like my book is all grown up and going off into the world and that’s crazy!

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If you want to snag some of these images and post them on your social media, that would be tons of fun! Especially if you tag it with #WhereDandelionsGrow, cause then I can come and check it out. 🙂 Also, if you leave a comment on this post with a link to where you posted it (such as your blog) I’d be delighted to come and see it for myself.

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This week I plan to spend a lot of time putting together the blog book tour – or at least the finishing touches on it. I’m gonna be doing a lot of interviews and behind the scenes posts, plus a lot of people are going to be doing book reviews, so that will be pretty fun.

This morning I’m rather tired, so I plan on getting a big coffee to sip on as I work. (It will be decaf, but shhh, maybe my brain won’t realize that.)

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What do you think is the most fun way to help an author celebrate the release of her book? Giveaways? Games? Character quote images? I’d be thrilled to hear your ideas and get you to join in the celebration fun!

September Goals

Y’all I totally thought published this on Saturday, and only just discovered that it apparently didn’t actually publish? So, here y’all go.

This week as I’ve traveled to and from work, I’ve been delighted over and over again at how beautiful this part of the world is. I feel incredibly blessed to get to live here – the gorgeous countryside that not only has four seasons (and we’re entering the most glorious one!) but also graces us with breath-taking views like this one: FullSizeRender-12

So far September has been so chocked full of life and work and happenings that I’ve barely had time to sit down and think and plan. I’ve had a vague sense of what my goals are for this month and even talked about some of them in an email, but I haven’t actually written them down. Since I work so much better with goals, I thought I’d better get on it and make a list of my goals for this month.

If the Lord wills and I live, in September of 2017 I will….

  1. Get settled into my new part-time job/learn the ropes
  2. Stay caught up with work for my other part-time job
  3. Fill out/answer/write all my author interview and “Behind the Scenes” posts for the release of Where Dandelions Grow blog tour by September 22nd
  4. Finish preparing for the release of Where Dandelions Grow 
  5. Release and Celebrate Where Dandelions Grow September 26th-30th
  6. Read 4 non-fiction books
  7. Write 10 book reviews
  8. Have focused family time while visiting my grandparents during the second half of the month

What are some of the things you’re working on this month?

 

Loving My LGBT Neighbor {Book Review}

Loving My LGBT Neighbor

By: Glenn T. Stanton

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads

First Person • NonFiction  • 208 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Ever feel like we’re just fumbling through the LGBT conversation, always asking but never really finding answers to questions like:

  • What does it look like to be friends with my lesbian neighbors?  
  • How should I love my gay child and his partner?
  • What if I’m invited to a same-sex wedding?
  • What did Jesus sayand not sayabout homosexuality?
  • What is the role of the church in the same-sex debate?

We don’t have to fumble. While the questions are hard, answers can be had. Just ask Glenn Stanton.

Stanton, of Focus on the Family, travels widely meeting with and debating LGBT advocates across the country. In doing so he has had the privilege of becoming friends with a number of them.

He says, “We disagree on certain convictions, but we still admire and esteem one another . . . Since when was it decided that people who see the world in polar opposite ways can’t be friends?” He shares his personal journey building bridges with the LGBT community and offers candid insights on hard questions.

In Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, Glenn Stanton shows us how to speak the truth in love on this difficult but important issue.

Why I Choose This Book: 

Because I’ve asked all those ^ questions before (well, if you substitute “child” in the second question for “relative”). I really wanted to read a book where the author had really researched with the Bible had to say about the topic and then used that as the foundation for his book.

What I Thought about this Book:

 

I wasn’t sure what to think going into the book, but before long I was nodding along with what the author was saying and picking the book up every chance I got to read more.

There were a lot of things that when I first read it I was like “No, no, that can’t be right.” But then after thinking through it and really reading what the author had actually written, plus the scripture passages he’d quoted, and in nearly all the cases I ended up realizing that I did agree with him after all.

This book is special and unique because it’s written by a guy who is standing strong on the Word of God, debates gay people, and yet is also good friends with many, many people from the LGBT community. He writes the book in such a way that is brimming with love, truth, and grace, which is what we’re called to be. Throughout the book, he explains what it looks like to be friends with someone who believes so differently from him. He talks about how sometimes you have to work through misunderstandings and hurt feelings, but that when you build a strong friendship based on the places where you do agree, then this is very possible.

The author also talks about how it’s important not to make friends with someone from the LGBT community (or anywhere, really) just so you can witness to them. He said, of course, he witnesses to his friends from the LGBT community because that’s who he is and what he’s called to do. But if that was the reason for his friendship then that wouldn’t be a real friendship. (Really, you should read the book because he does a LOT better of a job explaining it.)

Throughout the book, he also defines and explains different terms like what “LGBT” really means – what each letter stands for, etc…. It was interesting to me and I was happy to have that knowledge.


Conclusion:

I plan on re-reading this book. It’s written from a Biblical stand point and brimming with grace and truth. I recommend this to Christians (Ages: twenties and up) who want to study out what the Bible really says about this topic.

There are still a few things that I’m not sure if I agree with them, but it’s given me a lot to think about.

Rating: 

I’m giving Loving My LGBT Neighbor 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for a review

Ten Books I REALLY Liked as a Kid {And Still Do, Actually} Top Ten Tuesday

Today I’m doing the Top Ten Tuesday link-up, and talking about some of the books that were my childhood.

Y’all. If you ever want to help a child discover how amazing books are, go ahead and get them some of these books. They’re pretty much the best ever. Each one of the books listed below have a definite place in my childhood, and they helped cultivate my delight in words that led me to being an author.

I’ve also bought nearly every book on the list for other children I know, plus I own all (except maybe one?) in my library upstairs.

Have you ever read any of these? Which ones look the most interesting to you? Happy Tuesday, folks!

  1. A King for Brass Cobweb 
  2. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
  3. Baby Brown Bear’s Big Bellyache 
  4. Go Dogs Go 
  5. The Biggest Bear
  6. Blueberries for Sal 
  7. Make Way for Ducklings
  8. Cranberry Thanksgiving 
  9. The Mitten 
  10. The Christian Mother Goose 

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Y’all! Only two weeks from today until the release of my latest book, Where Dandelions Grow! We’re gonna have lots of fun and party, so make sure you come back!