About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Essence of Humility by Lynn U. Watson Plus A Giveaway!

MY THOUGHTS! The Essence of Humility is an inspirational book that features a series of short stories centered around Cinnamah-Brosia and her friends as they discuss their life experiences while enjoying coffee at the Coffee Cottage. This is the third book featuring Cinnamah-Brosia and friends but there is a profile of the characters and some background from the previous books so that you don't feel in the dark. Author Lynn Watson shares at the beginning of this book her assumption that love would be her subject since she planned to center her different entries around 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter commonly referred to as the "Love Chapter". However, as she read this familiar chapter over and over, "Every single line of this beautiful passage comes down to the barest bones: humility!" Her Bible study also inspired her to feature the oils, fragrances, fruits and spices that were used during Bible times and to integrate them in the different chapters. There are nine chapters devoted to plants that are familiar to most of us and each chapter has an appropriate Bible verse, Cinnemah-Brosia's stories and the experiences of women of the Bible and women from today. There are also fun facts, recipes, crafts and even paper dolls to spark our creativity and increase our understanding.

Many of the issues found in today's society are the same experienced by women in Bible times and the author reminded me that "To live and love like Jesus requires us to humbly trust God and to humbly serve others." We need to show love and kindness to all people or, in simpler terms, Live like Jesus. Love like Jesus! Be like Jesus!

I truly enjoyed The Essence of Humility and I found it to be entertaining, thought-provoking and very inspirational. This is a very different kind of devotional book but it is one that I plan to use over and over!

A copy of this book was provided by Celebration Lit Tours and the author for me to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.




About the Book




Title: The Essence of Humility  
Author: Lynn U. Watson  
Genre: Devotional  
Release date: January, 2019

We live in a culture overwhelmed with disrespect, egos, entitlement, rudeness, and offense — lives focused on self, rather than God or others. The Bible defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Every descriptive word included in the list whispers humility. Patience — humility Kindness — humility Not rude — humility Not arrogant — humility Rejoices in truth — humility No envious or boastful — humility Not irritable — humility Keeps no record of wrong — humility Jesus entered our world and walked among us. He placed no importance on rank or position. Jesus life reflected love because it reflected humility, and He invites us to live and love like Him. Journey with our hostess, Cinnamah-Brosia and her friends at The Coffee Cottage. They lead us on a journey to meet real life people — our contemporaries and those on the pages of God’s word, who encountered the same real life challenges you and I face each day. Learn the blessings of a life lived like Jesus lived —- with love and humility.

Click here to purchase your copy!
 


About the Author




Lynn Watson combines many years’ experience in women’s ministry, love of essential oils, and her passion for God’s word to bring her readers freshly inspired encouragement for their walk with Jesus. Her devotional, The Essence of Courage, was recognized as a ‘must read’ by regional publishing industry leaders. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve have filled their Bartlett, Tennessee home with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren. Aromas of freshly baked bread often fill Lynn’s kitchen. Jasmine, her tuxedo kitty, enjoys sleeping in Lynn’s lap while she writes.

Guest post from Lynn

My first lesson in humility for Volume 3 of Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection came from an assumption. Right. Those are never a grand idea. When God spoke to me about writing this book, he clearly gave me the subject: Love. I immediately headed to 1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter of the Bible. Of course the book’s title would be The Essence of Love. The end material of The Essence of Joy announced the new “Love” title coming in 2018. And God laughed. I read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again. It whispered “humility” over and over again. I called my dear friend – the one I consult with on every one of these books – and said, “You know what? Listen to this. Love is patient – humility. Love is kind – humility. Love is not arrogant – humility. You get the idea. Every single line of this beautiful passage comes down to the barest bones: humility.” We both laughed a little, too. And we thanked God He clarified His instructions. To live and love like Jesus requires us to humbly trust God and to humbly serve others. In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul presents a lengthy discourse on the humility of Christ. It begins like this: If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:1-4 (HCSB) The title morphed to The Essence of Humility. I placed the focus on common everyday botanicals and plants – those familiar to us today – for this third volume in the collection. The fun came as I dug the plants from Scripture. I pray you enjoy the connections as much as I did uncovering them and connecting them to Jesus’ life, and to a whole list of characters who lived on the pages of the Bible, along with our contemporaries here in the 21st century. Thank you for choosing The Essence of Humility. So very many titles out there shout to be read. I am humbled for you to spend time with me here. I have prayed for every one of you. Copyright 2018, Lynn U. Watson

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Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Lynn is giving away a grand prize of a wire basket that includes a hand-stamped “Gratitude, Kindness, Humility, Love” spoon necklace, Hillhouse Naturals fresh Linen hand lotion, locally hand-crafted Lavender-Eucalyptus body and foot scrub, embroidered “Love One Another” hand towel (nice ‘n soft), cozy Chamomile herbal tea, and a paperback copy of The Essence of Humility!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d93b/the-essence-of-humility-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

From the back cover:

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome theI threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?


  The Curse of Misty WayfairThe Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Jaime Lee Wright has proven once again her ability to create two stories that are very similar but set in different centuries and she ties them together so that readers are left amazed but very satisfied with the connection in the end. The Curse of Misty Wayfair features two young women searching for answers about their families. Dorothea "Thea" Reed is an orphan hoping to learn who her mother is and she has the unusual job of traveling around the countryside to photograph people who have recently died. It is 1908 when she arrives in Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin and her whole life suddenly turns upside down. One hundred ten years later, in 2018, another young woman is also searching. Heidi Lane has always known who her parents are but she doesn't understand why she feels such a separation from them and her older sister. A cryptic note from her widowed mother sends Heidi to Point Pleasant and readers are drawn into this split-time story of two women, born a century apart, and their mutual connection to the legend surrounding the death of a young woman named Misty Wayfair.

I truly enjoy mystery and suspense and this book offers both. It also has a gothic feel and there are many times when I strongly felt the need for more lights when I was reading it at night! I have never believed in ghosts but there are incidents when the legend of Misty Wayfair haunting Pleasant Valley seemed almost credible. There are many scenes set around an insane asylum and the descriptions of the secluded location of this institution and the people who were sent there to live out their lives are both sad and haunting. There are also many times when violent acts threaten both Thea and Heidi and I could imagine the fear that they were feeling. Both of them, however, are blessed with the support of two strong men and although there is only the suggestion of romance, there are moments when you can envision Thea and Simeon and Heidi and Rhett finding happiness with each other.

Mental illness, anxiety issues and autism are a big part of the storyline of The Curse of Misty Wayfair and these conditions are treated with respect and understanding. The suggestions of dead spirits roaming in Pleasant Valley and Thea and Heidi's attempts to prove/disprove them are buffered by the strong religious beliefs that Simeon Coyle and Rhett Crawford possess. When Thea and Heidi experience feelings of being unworthy and unloved they are offered assurance of their value as a child of God. In one beautiful passage Thea concludes that "Maybe Simeon was right! That ceasing to uncover one's purpose, but instead finding out who one's Creator was, would be the most satisfying story of all to uncover". She was discovering what Simeon already knew; it is Our Heavenly Father, our Creator, who designed all of us in His image and it is through Him that true acceptance and happiness can be found!

There is absolutely nothing that I disliked about The Curse of Misty Wayfair! This is an exceptional book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery suspence and Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher and was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Rancher's Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart

Ten years after he eloped with Katie Montgomery’s sister, Chance Blackwell is back in Montana to sell his family ranch. Katie could lose her job and the only home she’s known. But the loyal cowgirl is keeping a secret that could shatter trust and jeopardize her future with the widowed musician and her toddler niece. Unless Chance’s growing affection for her and all things Blackwell can earn Katie his forgiveness—and his love.

The Rancher's HomecomingThe Rancher's Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Rancher's Homecoming is the fifth and final book of the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series and Anna J. Stewart has created a wonderful story to end the series. Chance Blackwell and Katie Montgomery, two of the characters mentioned in the previous books, are finally allowed to have their own story. Ten years ago Chance left the Blackwell Family Ranch and Falcon Creek, Montana to pursue his dream of writing and singing his songs and it seemed he was living his dreams and that joy and happiness had come his way. He had a career, a beautiful wife and a precious baby girl and then, Maura died and he was left with a three year old to care for. Now, almost two years later, Chance has been called back to Falcon Creek to help decide if the ranch will stay in the family or be sold. His doubts and concern are very evident in his thoughts upon arriving home. "There was nothing for him here. Nothing except memories of a place where he never belonged and a family he'd never fit into."

Katie Montgomery, his dead wife's sister, is employed at the ranch so her future is also at stake. She is given the opportunity to bond with her young niece Rosie and she also begins to see her former brother-in-law in a new light. As the tension escalates among the Blackwell brothers and their grandfather Big E, Katie recognizes that her feelings have changed. "She loved him. Her sister's widower. The boy she had grown up with. The teenager who had broken her family apart. The man, the loving father that he had become. She loved Chance Blackwell".

This story is filled with the many dynamics that occur when so many different personalities make up a family unit. There are moments of anger, resentment, deceit and mistrust and some of the deceit threatens any hope of a relationship between Chance and Katie. The troubled times, however, are buffered with times of fun, laughter, love and forgiveness and in the epilogue readers are given the chance to know how each of the five brothers are doing. There is even a surprise that involves their grandfather Big E.

This book and the entire series is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys romance, family drama and life on a ranch.

I received a complimentary e-book of The Rancher's Homecoming from Prism Book Tours but I voluntarily chose to write this review. This is my honest opinion.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Love to Behold by Sharlene MacLaren

A Love to BeholdA Love to Behold by Sharlene MacLaren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an exceptional book and I wish that I could give it more than five stars! "A Love to Behold" is labeled as Christian historical fiction and it has facts that are as relevant today as they were in 1867 with its theme of racial bigotry and the attempts to label certain people as undeserving. The heroine of this story isn't a young girl just out of school; she is 27 and has already enjoyed a teaching career in Boston. Lydia Albright has been raised as a Quaker and she now feels God's call to teach at a newly established school for black children in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War has been over for two years but Charleston society remains divided. Many people are ready to accept that all people are created equal but there are some who believe the opposite and they still feel the sting of slavery being abolished. Part of Sharlene MacLaren's story touches on a group of prominent citizens in Charleston who have secretly started thier own group of the Ku Klux Klan and she vividly describes their activities. I had studied about the Ku Klux Klan in American history classes but she mentions several ugly incidents and I found them very disturbing. One incident involves these members taking a cross off of the wall of a church sanctuary, carrying it outside and setting it on fire. Yes, I knew about the burning of crosses but the author created such a poignant and upsetting scene. Lydia worries that her teaching has been the cause of such destruction but her friend and landlord reminds her that God had called her to this place. "You must be strong in the face of conflict. In the end, God will have His way, but we cannot allow the enemy to win this battle." (p. 238)

"A Love to Behold" is also a love story. Yes, there is romantic love and there are scenes between Lydia and widower Reese Lawson that made me almost swoon but there is also love of God and love for your fellow man. Despite all of the threats and ugliness, Lydia remains determined to prove to her students that they all are worthy to be loved, they all deserve the right to get an education and they must continue to hope for a better future. The love of God is also evident as Lydia and Reese share their beliefs with others. In one scene, when Lydia is trying to console Reese after the death of his father, she tells him "I shall pray for God to plant a seed of faith and hope deep inside your heart, so that whenever you have nagging fears, He will give you rest and speak words of truth and love into your spirit." (p. 258) Beautiful words that all of us need to hear and understand!

This is listed as the third book in the Forever Freedom series but I didn't find it necessary to have read the first two. I certainly intend to do so, however, because I truly loved "A Love to Behold"!

I accepted a complimentary copy of this book but I voluntarily chose to write this review and these are my honest opinions.


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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Camp Club Girls: Elizabeth by Renae Brumbaugh Green

Camp Club Girls: ElizabethCamp Club Girls: Elizabeth by Renae Brumbaugh Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This new book is a collection of some of the books that Renae Brumbaugh Green has written about six young girls who meet while attending a summer camp at Camp Discovery Lake. These girls work together to solve mysteries that seem to occur whenever and wherever they are and they become known as the Camp Club girls. Elizabeth is the focus of this book as she and the other five girls become involved in four different stories: Camp Club Girls and the Mystery at Discovery Lake; Elizabeth's Amarillo Adventure; Elizabeth's San Antonio Sleuthing; and Elizabeth and the Music City Mayhem.

I grew up reading Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew mysteries and I am so happy to learn that young girls now have this series to satisfy their own love of mysteries. The Camp Club Girls stories are wholesome, faith-based stories that offer scripture and examples of Christian living while offering them adventure and the joy of discovering and solving clues. The target age is 9+ but I believe that these books will be just as enjoyable for an older female audience.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings

The Lieutenant's Bargain (Fort Reno, #2)The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do you get when you mix a beautiful young lady who is stubborn, a little self-centered and sometimes judgemental with a handsome soldier who is compassionate, smart. but a little naive and often oblivious and throw them together because of a stagecoach robbery and a subsequent rescue by Indians? You get adventure with a capital A, romance with a capital R and fun, lots of FUN! I laughed out loud so many times while reading this book and I also thought that this was one of the most romantic books that I have read in quite a while. Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has loved Hattie Walker since he was a young boy and thoughout this book he alternates between hope and despair that she will ever realize his deep feelings, let alone recipricate them. Hattie has a hard time forgetting about the skinny classmate who was so smart and so overly eager to share his knowledge. Her opinion, however, changes when an unexpected Arapahpo wedding ceremony forces them to act like happily married newlyweds to preserve and maintain the relationship that Jack has established with the Cheyenne and Arapahpo Indians. Many of their encounters with these two tribes and the other residents at Fort Reno are hilarious and those that they experience in the privacy of their home alternate between awkward to extremely sweet and romantic. I can easily picture a madcap comedy with Hattie Walker and Lieutenant Jack Hennessey as the main characters!

I've read several of Regina Jennings's books but this may be my favorite! I recommend The Lieutenant's Bargain for anyone who enjoys Christian romance with historical facts woven into the story.

I was given the chance to read this complimentary copy from the author and publisher but was under no obligation to post a positive review. These are my honest opinions.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

With This Pledge (Carnton, #1)With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a big fan of historical fiction and I love the Civil War era but I wasn't familiar with this particular event until I began reading With This Pledge. The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and author Tamera Alexander has based her story on actual events and real people. Carnton Plantation was located less than a mile from the scene of the battle and wounded soldiers were transported there to be cared for. This beautiful home became a hospital and often a morgue because many of the wounded didn't survive. The author doesn't sugarcoat her story and I felt as though I was there with those soldiers and a witness to Elizabeth "Lizzie" Causen's efforts to treat them. I sensed her feelings of helplessness as she feverishly worked to stop the flow of blood and tried to assure them that they would one day return to their loved ones. I also felt the strong attraction between Lizzie and one of the injured men, Captain Roland Jones. An attraction that they both denied because of his injury and Lizzie's pledge to marry her childhood friend! So many beautiful passages allude to this attraction between them, such as 'She'd found him attractive before, but now.....The features of his face, strong and angular, were more pronounced. And his eyes. They looked an even deeper gray than she remembered."

I loved this amazing story of hope, love, and the ability to find good during the ugliness of war. It spans about one year of Roland and Lizzie's lives but the events that inspired With This Pledge resonate with us today, one hundred fifty-five years later! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and publisher but voluntarily chose to write this review. These opinions are my own.

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