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Showing posts from 2018

The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado {Book Review}

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~ Description  Imagine a Victorian England village in the Cotswolds where very little out of the ordinary ever happens . . . except at Christmas time.

This year, Edward Haddington, a lowly candle maker, is visited by a mysterious angel. That angel silently imparts a precious gift—a gift that’s bungled and subsequently lost. The candle maker and his wife, Bea, struggle to find the gift.

And when they do, they have to make a difficult choice. Who among their community is most in need of a Christmas miracle?

Join inspirational author Max Lucado and experience anew the joy of Christmas.


~ My Review  A dear story, full of charming settings, memorable characters (honestly, who doesn't love the Haddingtons?), and a theme that spells Christmas. 
I read this book after watching the movie and—quite honestly—I liked the movie better. The book had it's own perks, though, giving a bit more background to some of the characters. Emily was a more likable gal in the movie, in my opinion. xD

T…

Savanna's Gift by Camille Eide {Book Review}

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~ Description Forced to return to the ski lodge where she once worked, Savanna Holt is reminded of one special Christmas and how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life: Leaving Luke Nelson.

Stunned to discover Luke never left, but worked his way up from lift operator to manager, Savanna sees the opportunity as a gift from God. She’s determined to win Luke back. But Luke wants no reminders of his past hurt, or a relationship with the woman who put ambition before love.

Can Savanna convince Luke she’s changed and her interest isn't because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?


~ My Review Well, gracious, that was cute. In a charmingly-written tale that reminded me of a Hallmark movie, this novella was sweet, touching, and heartfelt—all in under 100 pages.

Luke, Savanna, Mylie, and the Freemans were all such fun characters, each realistically done. And the medical details and loads of sarcasm weren&…

Silent Star by Tracie Peterson {Book Review}

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~ Description  In the 1940s, the small Pennsylvania town of Haven is rather subdued with their young men facing battles in far-away Europe. Young Andy Gilbert, burdened with his job of delivering telegrams bringing the news of those missing or killed in action, faces the coming holidays with dread and discouragement. With each new message he must deliver- met by screaming mothers, grief-stricken wives, and weeping families--he longs to join the ranks of the numbered dead. Only one elderly woman recognizes the pain and suffering tormenting Andy--and it is through her wisdom that the stars again can shine for Andy and for a town that desperately needs the hope those stars represent.

A touching novella book from a bestselling novelist.


~ My Review "Oh my, how heartbreaking!" was my first thoughts when I got a chapter or so into this book. And it certainly does hold a special sort of sadness. But there is hope, too. There's always hope. <3

The story—ahh, it turned out so…

Kind by Kellyn Roth {Book Review}

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Amazon || Goodreads

~ Description  Lt. Neil Hudson is sure to have a rotten Christmas.

How can he have anything but a rotten Christmas when he's stuck in war-torn Germany away from his family, friends, and all hope of a decent turkey dinner?

That's when the Slades come into his life.



~ My Review  A short story set in German a few months after the end of WWII? Sign me up!

This short, heart-warming tale by indie author Kellyn Roth did not disappoint. The teasing banter between Neil, Kell, and Clive was so fun and guy-typical. And the Slade family—ahh, they were darling!

A sweet story, full of Christmas spirit.

Four crush caps out of five! 


**I received a copy of this story from the author in exchange for my honest review.**


I'm doing a mini book review nearly every day leading up to Christmas, in participation with the 12 Days of Christmas blog party. Be sure to check out Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun! <3 

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury {Book Review}

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~ Description  A heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.

Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.

Now t…

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti {Book Review}

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~ Description  An award-winning novelist’s heartwarming story about family and love lost, found, and finally truly revealed at Christmas.

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love looks different than either imagined. Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says "no." Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.


~ My Review  After grabbing this book for a couple bucks from CBD, I started it with little idea of what to expect... And I was blown away by what I found tucked inside the pages.

First, the Binder…

A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid {Book Review}

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~ Description  Todd, they always want you to adopt a dog. That's what they do. Besides, we don't need another animal around here, and most definitely not a dog.

When Todd McCray, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents' Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the days leading to Christmas, he knows exactly what he wants for the holidays. His father objects, but Todd's persistence quickly wins out. Soon the McCrays are the short-term foster family for a lovable pooch the young man names Christmas.

But what about all the other dogs who will be forced to spend the Yuletide season in cages? In the days that follow, Todd uses his special gifts of persuasion to encourage his hometown to participate in the Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program. What follows from his small act of kindness will teach his family, and his community, about peace on earth and good will toward men and animals.


~ My Review …

In the Dark Streets Shineth by David McCullough {Book Review}

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~ Description Christmas Eve, 1941. Mere days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt met at the White House. As war raged throughout the world, the two leaders delivered a powerful message of hope that still resonates today.

Bestselling author and renowned historian David McCullough relates a compelling story about the spirit of Christmas and the power of light to shine in difficult, dangerous times. Also sharing the stories behind the songs "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," this beautifully designed book is filled with historic photographs and uplifting messages that will bring the Christmas spirit home to your family.


~ My Review Wow. I'm not even sure how this book first ended up on my to-be-read list (seeing it around Goodreads somewhere would be my first guess), but gracious, I'm so glad I read it.

An inspiring, non-fiction account of …

Hannah's Hope by Karen Kingsbury {Book Review}

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~ Description Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury offers the final installment in her Red Gloves seriesthe heartwarming tale of a girl whose only wish is to be held by the father she never knew.

15-year-old Hannah Roberts remembers when her father was her closest friend. The image is hazy, though, pulled from her distant childhood memories, and her father is now very cold and distant. Feeling orphaned, Hannah lives a lonely life with her wealthy, ailing grandmother. As Christmas nears, Hannah learns a shocking truth: the man she believed was her father is not her parent after all. In an effort to find answers, she begins a desperate search for her real father, Air Force pilot Mike Conner. Local politicians and the city's newspaper catch wind of her quest, and the entire state joins in Hannah's hope that she'll find her father before the holidays.


~ My Review Holy moley, this book was fantastic.

Karen Kingsbury was a new-to-me author of 2018 that, after five amazing books, …

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson {Book Review}

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~ Description Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked. It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, …

Ilyon & Acktar blog tour {Spotlights + Review}

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Welcome to another epic stop on the combined Ilyon and Acktar blog tour! Fantasy series written and published by indie authors, these are much-loved books. I've been an honorary Acktarian for a few years, and I'm planning my first visit to Ilyon in the new year. ;) 

ACKTAR(Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page!)


About Decree The Adventure Continues.
Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.
The Blades as They Should’ve Been  A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family?
The First Mission When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help? 
To the Far Great Mountains  A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the b…

Hope Your Heart Needs by Holley Gerth {Book Review}

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~ Description  Understanding more of God's character and how he loves us changed bestselling author Holley Gerth's life in beautiful, powerful ways. She realized that she didn't have to settle for "I'm fine" when there was someone whispering to her in every moment, "You're mine." The hope, joy, peace, and purpose she longed for were already there, in the heart of God.
Now in 52 devotional readings, Holley shares with women the answer to the restlessness they feel in their hearts that keeps them hurrying, striving, pushing. She shows them that "the God who scattered stars like diamonds across the velvet of the universe, the keeper of every sparrow, the maker of us all, is inviting us to draw closer to him. He is the place where our hearts can go on the hard days and the happy ones, in the highs and lows, when we are sad or frustrated or downright giddy. He is what we've been searching for all along."

~ My Rating  4 stars

~ My Revie…

You have a Purpose. // The Carpenter

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Jesus likely would have begun his work as a carpenter while still a teenager. When we consider this, it seems like a decade or more of his time on earth could have been used differently. Only 10 percent of Jesus's life was spent in public ministry. I think we need to know this because we will all have "carpenter years." Times when we don't feel like we're living up to our potential. We feel like we could be doing something more, something bigger. We can resist the smallness. We, like the questioning crowd around Jesus, can become disappointed and disillusioned by what doesn't seem as grand as we'd imagined. // Hope Your Heart Needs by Holley Gerth, page 140

I'm not even exaggerating when I say that these lines jumped off the page at me as I read them. Wait...Jesus had a season of "smallness"? Yes, yes, He did.

His ministry, covered in the four Gospels, all happened in about three years—around 10% of His earthly life! The average life span in…

The Christmas Duet {blog tour}

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Happy Saturday, readers! Welcome to the Christmas Duet blog tour, featuring His Law is Love by Rebekah A. Morris and O Come All Ye Faithful by Faith Blum. Both of these darling works of fiction feature Christmas song references, which makes them especially fun. :D 


Synopsis Will hate and fear drown the song of Christmas love? 
Amelia is eagerly anticipating her first Christmas in the west, but she soon finds that her brother-in-law's worry and her sister's exhaustion reach far deeper than the cares of a ranch and a family. A rash of fires and cattle thefts is plaguing the area, and the three young orphans they've sheltered are under suspicion from their prejudiced neighbors. 
As hostilities mount, Amelia seizes every opportunity to help and encourage, but how much can one girl do? Will Reverend Brown win the community over to the true spirit of love? And will help arrive before everything they hold dear is destroyed?

My Review His Law is Love was such a lovely story! 
Ful…

There was Always Laughter in our House by Sarah Holman {Book Review}

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~ Description What do you get when you mix two parents who grew up in the city, six kids who have always lived in the country, and add homeschooling? You get a whole lot of laughter!
Homeschool graduate and author Sarah Holman shares stories about her family that range from thought-provoking to side-splitting. She shares both hilarious mistakes and heartbreaking moments in her family. In this collection of stories, she endeavors capture some of the answers to the questions people have often asked her about growing up in a conservative homeschool family as well as some of the wisdom she has gleaned along the way. Sarah invites you to open up this scrapbook of memories. She hopes that you come away encouraged, inspired…and laughing.

~ My Rating  5 stars

~ My Review Oh my, what a lovely look into the life of a sweet, caring homeschool family!
I picked this book up, expecting some smiles and laughs and challenging lines, and I was not disappointed in the least.
Going in, I was somewhat f…

Thankful. {2018}

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I'm thankful for memories...

...and I'm thankful for moments. 

I'm thankful for experience...

...and I'm thankful for innocence. 

I'm thankful for words...

...and I'm thankful for the things that words can't describe. 

I'm thankful for color...

...and I'm thankful for black & white. 

I'm thankful for noise...

...and I'm thankful for quiet. 

I'm thankful for sunshine...

...and I'm thankful for moonlight. 

I'm thankful for answers...

...and I'm thankful for questions. 

I'm thankful for people who laugh with me...

...and I'm thankful for people who cry with me. 

I'm thankful for eighteen years of life and love...

...and I'm thankful for many more to come. 


Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies. <3 

The Thief, the Damsel, and the Dragon by Angela R. Watts {Book Review}

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~ Description “... the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” ~ Psalms 91:13
Edward Prosner is going to steal from the small town mayor of Fall Springs, North Carolina. He’s got a flawless plan of action and is determined to return honor and justice to his father’s good name. The problem he faces? He needs a date for the mayor’s dinner party.
Lucy Levitt is a huge romantic at heart, but with her family’s ranch and her part-time job, she has no time for dating. She believes God will place her soulmate in her life when the time is right. When the new man in town asks her out, how can she say no?
The first date seems ordinary enough, but then they begin to realize that they can’t fight their dragons alone.

~ My Rating 4 stars

~ My Review A sweet lil' novella about justice, love, and God's never-failing goodness. <3 
The Thief, the Damsel, and the Dragon is a charming story of small towns and big hearts, old grudges and new love, a farm girl and an up-town boy.
The first half o…

When God Calls the Heart at Christmas by Brian Bird & Michelle Cox {Devotional Review + Spotlight}

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~ SYNOPSISCelebrate Christmas in Hope Valley

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it’s in the fictional town of Hope Valley in the early 1900s or in our lives today, nothing is more profound than celebrating God’s most important gift to the world.

When God Calls the Heart at Christmas is about a celebration of faith, family, friends, and the most meaningful Yuletide traditions. Inspired by best-selling author Janette Oke and the Hallmark Channel original TV series When Calls the Heart, these twenty-five devotions not only explore “God-moments” from the series, but also commemorate favorite holiday recipes, stories, and traditions—many of them contributed by the Hearties, the beloved fans of the show.

Journey with us to Hope Valley as we focus on all the reasons for this most blessed season. As shepherds and angels learned on that holy night so long ago, when God calls the heart at Christmas, you can expect a celebration.




~ REVIEW 5 stars

What a darling Chris…

Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli {Book Review}

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~ Description Boston, 2015 Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?
Boston, 1770 As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.
Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her broth…

Veterans Day + Marine Corps Birthday {faith rambles}

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So, this isn't what I'd planned to post today.

Actually, I didn't have a post planned for this weekend, which is probably part of the reason I'm sitting down to write something random at 7:20 p.m. I don't want to get out of the habit of posting every week, but it was either this or an overdue book review. So you're stuck with a few paragraphs of my rambles. :P

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, the specific day set aside each year in the US to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces. It's also Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

And today is the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps! I wrote a short story about twin brothers—Marines—which I posted on my writing blog. (Read it here, if ya like.)

So yeah, there's a quick history lesson for y'all. :P

How has your week been, my friend? I worked a few days, sorted through the final edits of Behold, made plans for the 12 Days of Christmas blog party, a…

Not by Sight.

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Do you ever read a verse from God's Word, maybe even a verse you've read many times, but it justslams you? Knocks you down and washes over and suddenly everything just.makes.more.sense. 



YouVersion's verse of the day for Monday was 2 Corinthians 5:7. I'd already read the verse more than once that afternoon, working around it in my inbox. (I usually don't delete the notifs until the next day, to make sure I read them at least a time or two throughout the day.) 

For we walk by faith, not by sight. // 2 Corinthians 5:7 kjv

At that particular knock-your-socks-off moment, I had finished homework and was clicking through a few email that had appeared in the meanwhile. I came back to the verse and my eyes landed on the words. 
I read it. And stopped. Stared. Read it again. 
Paul wrote to the church of Corinth that we walk by faith and not by sight. 
By faith, y'all. Faith means believing that He's in control, even we when can't see His presence. Faith means tru…

Dear Hurting.

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Dear Hurting... 

Yes, you. The one putting on a brave face and praying no one will see through it. The one who smiles in the daylight, but cries in the darkness. The one who's there for everyone else, but just needs someone to be there for them.

Because someone is—and He loves you so much more than you can comprehend. He feels your breaking heart and wants to hold you through this pain-ladened season.

The breaking of your heart isn't something to be feared, no matter the cause. Loving people may always bring us pain, but that's okay. Don't let the ache you carry hold you back from loving deeply the next time, and the next...and the time after that.

Don't fear the pain. Embrace it. For it's through the season of hurt that you will grow and you will bloom.

Broken is a state, but breaking is only a season. You may be breaking, but you're not broken. This isn't forever, dears. <3


The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be…

Read the Instructions.

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If you're setting out to start a new craft project, you may read some tips, tricks, or watch some DIY videos.

When you take a test, you carefully read the instructions before beginning.

If you're taking a medication, you follow the directions on the box or bottle for the correct dosage.

Basically, when you need to know how to do something, you read the instructions.


Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.// Psalms 119:11 kjv

Did you know life comes with an instruction manual too?

Because it does, friends. God gave us His Word to cling to through the trials of life. The answers to all the questions. The reasons to all the whys. It's all in there, and we'll find it if we search long enough.


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.// Matthew 7:7-8 kjv

Let me take this a step furth…

Falling for You by Becky Wade {Book Review}

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~ Description Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family's small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin--and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.
Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he's never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he's determined to make her give him a second chance.
When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they're forced to confront their past and who they've become--a…