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 promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Fresh Start Bible by Gateway Publishing: Review & Giveaway

I have been blessed to be a member of the launch team for the new Fresh Start Bible that has been released by Gateway Publishing and at the end of this blog post you will have a chance to win a copy for yourself. This is a wonderful new version of the most important book that we can ever own, The Holy Bible.

Fresh Start Bible: Softcover/Linen

Fresh Start Bible: Softcover/Linen by Gateway Press

Everyone needs help navigating their way through life. Pastors Robert Morris, Jimmy Evans, Jack Hayford, and other key leaders at Gateway Church answer some of the most common questions about Christianity and provide the tools for building a strong spiritual foundation. With over 500 discipleship articles and studies, Fresh Start Bible (Gateway Publishing, November 15, 2019) will help you find God’s direction for every day. The Bible is available in genuine leather, linen softcover, and linen hardcover. International Day of the Bible is November 24 and this Bible is right in time to share your support of God’s Word!

Features of the Fresh Start Bible include:

Fresh Start Journey: 52 important questions about the foundations of faith

Intersections: 59 key Bible characters and events

Road Signs: Practical teachings that illuminate Scripture and inspire spiritual growth

Worship Way: Discusses the What, Whom, Why, and How of worship

Freedom Path: Explores the spiritual freedom available to every believer

Bible Reading Breakthrough: Explains the importance of reading God’s Word every day

Leader Guide for Small Groups

Bible Book Introductions

Cultural and Historical Articles

Topical Scripture Lists

Charts, Tables, and 18 Full-Color Maps


The Fresh Start Bible is available in several versions. Softcover/Linen; Hardcover/Linen; Premium/General Leather; Deluxe/Imitation Leather; and Digital

You can find more information at https://www.freshstartbible.com.

It can be purchased at https://store.gatewaypeople.com/fresh-start-bibles/



As I continue to use this new Bible from Gateway Publishing, I find myself with an increased interest in studying God'S Word and very eager to dig deeper into His Teachings. This Fresh Start Bible has many wonderful features, including the questions in the Fresh Start Journey that cause me to reflect on my prior beliefs as they encourage me to search for further answers. I am especially thrilled with the Charts, Tables, and Maps; the Road Signs that light my way; and the Note section that offers me a place to jot down my thoughts. Each of the 66 books has an introduction by a noted contributor and there is also a One-Year Reading Plan.

This New Living Translation is appropriate for everyone---from new believers to mature Christians. I am excited to use it and it truly is a Fresh Start Bible!

I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Gateway Publishing but I received no monetary compensation and these opinions are truly my own.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


One lucky commenter will win a softcover/linen copy of the Fresh Start BibleTo be eligble, please answer this question. "What version of the Holy Bible do you prefer?" and attach your email address to your comment. To avoid spambots, please type your email as name (AT) domain (DOT) com. 

This giveaway will close at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, December 6, 2019. Because of shipping expenses, this giveaway is limited to residents of the United States.

View all my reviews

The Melody of the Mulberries by Tonya Jewel Blessing: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Melody of the Mulberries
Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing
Genre:  Historic Southern Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2019

This sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams.
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.

Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

Click here to get your copy!


There are some books that are part of a series and it doesn't matter if you haven't read the previous titles but I wish that I had read The Whispering of the Willows first. It is the first book in the Big Creek series and I found myself sometimes faltering with this second book, The Melody of the Mulberries. I do, however, think that 'Melody' is well-written and that author Tonya Jewel Blessing has successfully captured the culture of Appalachia in the 1920s. Her characters speak with true Appalachian dialect, there are many references to West Virginia history, and I enjoyed the Appalachian Folk Beliefs that she shares at the beginning of each chapter. I also loved how she uses familiar hymns throughout her story!

The Melody of the Mulberries centers around 16 year old Coral Ashby and her family as they deal with several controversial topics. There are instances of superstition and spiritualism; inter-racial relationships and bigotry; unwed mothers; and the problems of life in general. Blessings shows their effects but she stresses that forgiveness is necessary and redemption is always possible.

This book is Christian historical fiction and it will be appealing for people who enjoy reading about Appalachian culture.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. A positive review was not required and these are my honest opinions.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Author

More about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.

More from Tonya

Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing

The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious. The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan. In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek. The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart. It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes. If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”.  This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy! Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, November 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 29 (Author Interview)
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Pause for Tales , December 4
Texas Book-aholic, December 6
janicesbookreviews, December 7
Betti Mace, December 8
A Reader’s Brain, December 9
Inklings and notions, December 10


To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Amish Front Porch Stories: 18 Short Tales of Simple Faith and Wisdom by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, & Richelle Brunstetter

Amish Front Porch Stories: 18 Short Tales of Simple Faith and WisdomABOUT THE BOOK

Come and sit awhile as you enjoy 18 fictional short stories of love, joy, and the peace found in Amish country.

Amish Country is known for an atmosphere of peace and quiet, perfect for front-porch sitting with a good book. Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, as they share 18 heartwarming stories from Amish Country. These fictional short stories include journeys we can all relate to as we seek how to live led by love, joy, peace, patience, and other Fruits of the Spirit. Meet Anna, who struggles to show love to a cantankerous neighbor; Laura, who endures infertility; Nora, whose pride threatens to consume her life; and other women who walk in their faith each day.


'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.' Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

The cover of this book suggests front-porch sitting and visiting with friends and that is just what this book is about. Fictional friends, family, and neighbors are given the chance to help others by listening, sharing advice, and offering help and support as they try to live by the fruits of the Spirit that are mentioned in Galatians 5. Amish Front Porch Stories is a collection of eighteen heartwarming and entertaining short stories that remind readers of the special Christian qualities that we all should strive to attain and maintain.

Wanda Brunstetter is known for her wholesome books about Amish life and Christian living and she has contributed ten stories to this collection, along with eight more that are written by her daughter-in-law Jean and her granddaughter Richelle. All of them feature a relevant and familiar topic: infertility, feeling overwhelmed during child-rearing years, getting along with others, loneliness, and aging are just a few mentioned but I feel sure that everyone reading this collection will find at least one story that seems to be written just for them!

This is the perfect book to have when reading time is limited and it is a must-read for fans of Amish and Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing but a review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.


New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.

Richelle Brunstetter lives in the Pacific Northwest and developed a desire to write when she took creative writing in high school. After enrolling in college classes, her overall experience enticed her to become a writer, and she wants to implement what she's learned into her stories. Just starting her writing career, her first published story appears in The Beloved Christmas Quilt beside her grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and her mother, Jean. Richelle enjoys traveling to different places, her favorite being Kauai, Hawaii.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

The Bake Shop (Amish Marketplace #1) by Amy Clipston

The Bake Shop (Amish Marketplace #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Return to Lancaster County with the first installment of Amy Clipston's charming new Amish Marketplace series.

Christiana Kurtz loves to bake, but when her bake stand becomes too busy, her mother encourages her to move her business to the local market. Her new bake shop becomes so inundated with customers that the line blocks the leather and woodcraft shop next door, which is run by Jeffrey Stoltzfus. When Jeffrey complains that her stand is driving away business due to the lines, she complains to him that his personalization machine smells. Though their relationship starts off on bad footing, they eventually forge a friendship.

When Christiana’s father makes a surprise visit to the market, he is upset to find that Jeffrey uses the building’s electricity to personalize his items. He tells Christiana that Jeffrey is too modern for her, and she’s forbidden from dating him. Christiana is crushed, but she knows she must obey her father.

When Jeffrey’s shop catches fire one day, he puts the entire market in jeopardy—including Christiana’s bake shop. Christiana, however, can’t deny how she feels about Jeffrey despite his mistakes. Though the odds are against them, can two young people find a way to rebuild both their businesses and their relationship?


Fans who enjoy Amy Clipston's Amish romances will continue to love them after reading The Bake Shop. It is a story of seeking freedom to spread your wings and finding love after facing great rejection. Christiana Kurtz is twenty-five and unmarried and she has become known for her delicious desserts. In fact, her success is making it difficult to operate out of the little bake stand next to her home that she shares with her parents and family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When she gets the chance to open her own Amish bake shop in the local marketplace she believes that she's found her solution.

What she doesn't foresee, however, is her father's strong opposition to her 'English' landlord and that next door there is another business owner who will soon become very important to her. As her feelings deepen for the leather shop owner, she realizes that Jeffrey Stoltzfus has been badly hurt and he is very reluctant to open his heart to love again. Christiana also faces the objections from her father about Jeff's use of electricity in his business. Old Order Amish have a strict rule about modern conveniences and Mr. Kurtz vehemently objects to any relationship between his daughter and this Amish man with his 'modern ways'.

The Bake Shop has family drama, many references to the rules and beliefs of the Amish culture, and best of all, sweet romance. This is the first novel in the new Amish Marketplace series and I heartily recommend it to those who enjoy Christian fiction and Amish romance.

I received a complimentary copy from the author but I wasn't obligated to post a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Amy Clipston is an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of her books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love but she also writes romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

For more information, visit her    Website    Facebook    Twitter

View all my reviews

The Barn Quilt by Patti Michels: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Barn Quilt
Author: Patti Michels
Genre:  Children’s Book
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Farmer Max and Miz Patti have a big red barn on their Maple Shade Farm, but one thing is missing—they need a barn quilt. But what pattern should they hang on the side of their barn? The pineapple quilt, or the corn and beans quilt, or what about a quilt with animals on it? None of them are quite right though. Since it’s Christmas, they wonder what barn quilt would have been just right for the stable where Jesus was born. Work along with their neighbor boy, Dennis, as he helps Farmer Max and Miz Patti decide on and make the perfect barn quilt.

Click here to get your copy!  


I truly enjoyed this children's book because I lived on a farm for many years and barn quilts are very popular in our area but I can imagine how interesting The Barn Quilt would be for young people who live in cities or urban areas. It follows Dennis as he visits his neighbors Farmer Max and Miz Patti on their farm and it relates his efforts to help them decide a pattern for their barn quilt. Patti Michel's story is both fun and educational, the illustrations by Nate Myers are colorful and appealing, and it is also especially appropriate for this time of year. There is the mention of what a barn quilt might have looked like on the stable where Jesus Christ was born and reading this with children offers a great opportunity to discuss the true meaning of Christmas.

The Barn Quilt is a wonderful book for parents/grandparents to read and discuss with their children/grandchildren and I can see it also being a great resource for teachers. Reading it as a class and creating the quilt patterns would provide several learning opportunities. Bottom line: great book to give and even better to keep!

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and Redemption Press. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

About the Author

Patti Michels has lived in the same rural midwestern county her entire life, thirty-nine of those with her husband. She loves designing her family’s Christmas card and working with senior citizens. At the end of a long day, she enjoys returning to the farm and looking out her kitchen window at her own barn quilt.   

More from Patti

Believe it or not, the idea for this children’s book started out as a Christmas card.  Each year the Michels family produces their own original Christmas card.  This tradition started out simple, in the early 1980’s, as the Michels’ two small daughters helped with the coloring, cutting, and gluing!
Patti Michels and Max, her farmer husband of 39 years, live on a small farm in Southern Illinois.  The girls have grown and moved on, and the empty-nesters have joined others in their small farm community, in creating a barn quilt to hang on their barn.
While Max was preparing the 36″ X 36″ wood panel for Patti to paint, Patti was drawing and designing and dreaming up the best barn quilt pattern to display on the barn at Maple Shade Farm. As Patti painted their special barn quilt, a Christmas card idea popped into her head. ”What if the stable where Jesus was born had a barn quilt?”
Patti feels like ideas are a gift from God, as is her husband, who helps her pull off one after another completed “project”.  Whether it’s feeding cows, baling hay, making Christmas cards, or creating a barn quilt, they continue to work side by side. This book, based on the real life story of creating the barn quilt, gives kids a glimpse into a small farm family life, while also enjoying and celebrating those things that make Christmas so special, like hot chocolate, cookies and God’s love.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 26
Remembrancy, November 26
For Him and My Family, November 27
Older & Smarter?, November 29
Vicky Sluiter, November 30
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 30
Bigreadersite, December 1
Maureen’s Musings, December 2
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
janicesbookreviews, December 3
A Reader’s Brain, December 3
Mary Hake, December 4
Emily Yager, December 6
She Lives to Read, December 7


To celebrate her tour Patti is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of The Barn Quilt, and a $25 gift card from Amazon!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

When Silence Sings by Sarah Loudin Thomas

When Silence SingsABOUT THE BOOK

After the rival McLean clan guns down his cousin, Colman Harpe chooses peace over seeking revenge with his family. But when he hears God tell him to preach to the McLeans, a failed attempt to run away leaves him sick and suffering in their territory. He soon learns that appearances can be deceiving, and the face of evil doesn't look like he expected


I am so in love with this book and it is now a part of my favorite book list. Sarah Loudin Thomas has completely captured the culture of Appalachia and much of what she mentions is native to my area of Kentucky. Blackberry Winter; the odor and taste of milk when cows have eaten in a pasture field filled with spring onions; a meal with cornbread and greens, followed by spreading apple butter on that cornbread for dessert. So familiar to many of us but so foreign to those who have grown up elsewhere. I also love the deadly family feud depicted between the Harpe and the McLean families because I have grown up with the legendary feud between the Kentucky Hatfields and the West Virginia McCoys. What is most appealing to me, however, is Colman Harpe's desire to become a preacher but wanting to do it on his own terms. How could God expect him to preach to the people who have been enemies of his family for generations, especially Serepta McLean, the meanest and most powerful woman around their area of West Virginia? But that is what God wants him to do and Colman's reluctance parallels the biblical Jonah's efforts to avoid going to Ninevah.

When he finally realizes that he MUST heed God's call, his first chance to minister is with a group of McLean women that he encounters as they mend their clothing while sitting under a circle of dogwood trees. At a loss of what to say, Colman tells them about the legend of the dogwood tree and its role in Jesus Christ's crucifixion. As they sit mesmerized by his story, he realizes that the best way to reach the McLean family might not be through traditonal preaching. Maybe, Colman thought, he could use stories and illustrations to share God's message. After all, isn't that what Jesus did through his parables?

Thomas has created so many fascinating characters. Colman Harpe; Ivy Gordon, the young woman who is feared because of her lack of skin pigmentation but gifted with amazing medical skills; Charlie, Serepta McLean's black houseman who understands her like no one else; and Emmaline, the little girl who changes the lives of so many people. It is, however, Serepta who stole my heart. No, she isn't a good person or a model citizen but Serepta is the person that I would like to see in another story. I believe that her ability to serve God could be as powerful as her ability to bootleg illegal liquor and run an empire!

There is a suggested romantic connection between Colman and Ivy but When Silence Sings isn't your usual love story. It is instead a tale filled with the many different emotions that influence our lives and God's amazing ability to turn hatred and pride into acceptance and understanding. Sarah Loudin Thomas has created a wonderful story and I recommend When Silence Sings to all who enjoy Christian fiction and family drama.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House but a positive review was not required. These are my honest opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I’m a Christian, wife, fundraiser and writer living near Asheville, NC. I grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV. I used to say “rural WV,” but realized that’s largely redundant. I LOVE my home state and the fact that I’m the seventh generation to grow up on the family farm. My love of the Appalachian Mountains informs my writing. I want you to be as wild about these hazy, blue mountains and the wonderful people who live in them as I am.

I’ve been married for 23 years and I not only love my husband, I really, really like him. We started our journey together with three big dogs–Crockett, Precious and Sammy. We now have one small dog that requires more energy than the first three did together.

To learn more visit my     Website    Facebook      Twitter     Instagram

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The Choice is Yours by Barbara Dahlgren: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Choice is Yours
Author: Barbara Dahlgren
Genre: Religion/Christian Living/Devotional
Release Date: November 2019

Do you stress over making decisions? Does the possibility of making the wrong choice paralyze you? In The Choice Is Yours: 52 Choices for Happier Lives, Barbara Dahlgren explores decisions we face daily. She does so with the spiritual insight and practicality developed through fifty years of ministry. The Choice Is Yours is drawn from Dahlgren’s blog, Barbara’s Banter: taking my faith but not myself too seriously, and is suitable for a devotional or a Bible study tool. Each chapter includes practical suggestions, a key Bible verse, and the option for the reader to jot down their own tips for making better choices in daily life.

Click here to purchase your copy.    


In the introduction of this book we are told that it is a compilation of the weekly blog that the author has written over the past five years. Barbara Dahlgren has chosen fifty-two of those blog posts and used them to offer us encouragement as we consider the choices that we make daily. Her writing style is clear and concise and I was impressed with the topics that she chose to share. Some of them are 'Choose to Believe in God', 'Choose to Follow Jesus', 'Choose to Forgive', 'Choose to Love', and 'Choose to Shine a Light'. Each short chapter includes Dahlgren's personal thoughts, suggestions for practicing this choice, a Bible verse, and a place to jot down our own thoughts.

Although the number 52 suggests one chapter per week, I can see this being used more often. I found The Choice Is Yours to be inspiring and motivating and I believe that it can be used for both personal use or for a Bible study group.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Redemption Press and I am sharing my honest thoughts in this review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

About the Author

Barbara Dahlgren is a humorist, freelance writer, and speaker whose articles have appeared all over the world. Married to a pastor, she and her husband have served churches in Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, Michigan, and California where they currently reside. She blogs at Barbara’s Banter: taking my faith but not myself too seriously and is the author of Zorro and Me, a humorous look at the couple’s adventures in ministry.

More from Barbara

When my granddaughter was in preschool, she came home one day and was sad. Her mom asked what was wrong. Sophia replied, “My teacher said I didn’t make good choices today.”
I always felt her teacher had a great deal of wisdom. Instead of saying Sophia was naughty or bad, she planted a seed of thought into her little life about making better choices. Better choices lead to happier lives. In a way, that was the inspiration for my latest blog theme which led to this book.
My first book was called Zorro and Me. It was about my husband, whom I’ve nicknamed Zorro, and our experiences in 50 years of ministry. Usually known as a humorist, I try to intersperse a lot of personal experiences in my speaking and writing. My philosophy is to take my faith, but not myself, too seriously. I think we would all be happier if we chose to laugh more and criticize less.
Here’s a little quiz to get to know me better. Which one do you think is false?
  1. I was born many years ago in the foothills of the Ozarks in a town with a population of 10.
  2. While on a mission trip to Nigeria, our children were held captive by the police for a few hours.
  3. My son was unexpectedly born in a hotel room while we were traveling, so we used a dresser drawer as a baby bed.
  4. I’ve mounted a camel near the Great Pyramids in Egypt, climbed the Great Wall in China, leaned with the Tower of Pisa in Italy, and been on safari in Kenya.
  5. While on a teen trip touring the White House, one of my children became ill, so the Secret Service took him outside where he barfed behind a big bush on the White House lawn. It’s the one on the left when you look at pictures of the White House.
Guess what! They are all true. There’s more, but I don’t want to give all my secrets away today.

Blog Stops

Jacquelyn Lynn, November 24
Mary Hake, November 24
Older & Smarter?, November 27
CarpeDiem, November 30
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
janicesbookreviews, December 3
A Reader’s Brain, December 5


To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize of a  $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr

The End of the MagiABOUT THE BOOK

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.


As I read this book, I found myself turning to my Bible and I also 'googled' to see what was fact and what was fiction. It is very apparent that Patrick W. Carr has devoted a lot of time to research this book that relates the prophet Daniel's prediction as to when the Messiah would be born. The book begins in 537 BC Babylon and readers are given a story of danger, adventure, and deep faith, as the Magi, or wise men, begin their watch. The End of the Magi centers on Myrad and his dream that shows a huge star that appears to be stationary in the sky. It is as his journey continues, made more difficult because of his club foot, that he continues to dream and it is in one dream that he is told "Behold", the voice said, "the promised one has been born."'

The Last of the Magi is filled with historical details and Bible scripture but Carr also adds wonderful human interest. I was especially touched by the description of the Magi finally meeting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and reading Mary's explanation of all that had occurred. I also enjoyed seeing Myrad emerge from being very self-conscious about his club foot to a confident man who had found the Messiah and also the love of a young woman. But it his witnessing The Day of Pentecost and hearing Simon speak in his native Persian language that brought me to tears. That night, as he gathered with his friends and they shared the bread and the wine, Myrad wondered 'Would anything be ordinary again?' After reading this book, I know that I won't because this book has increased my understanding of all of these events. The End of the Magi is a must-read for those who enjoy biblical fiction!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House but I wasn't obligated to leave a positive review. This are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

To learn more about Patrick W. Carr and his books, please go to his Website   Facebook  Twitter

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