By the Waters of Babylon by Mesu Andrews

September 27, 2018

Title: By the Waters of Babylon
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publisher: McPherson Publishing
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781732443617
Publication Date: August 1st, 2018

About the Book:
When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives' bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives' Psalm


"[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees." (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)

A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.
But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne--and his life--to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?
My Thoughts:
I have loved Mesu Andrews' books for years! She is an author I anxiously await  any new book from and I re-read all of her books. I've gotten my hooked on her books as well. It was safe to say, I was quite excited when I heard that she was coming out with her first ever novella! I love a well paced shorter story.

Mesu's books are always full of well researched details and Biblical truths with her fictional characters woven into the story. She has a way of crafting a story and making you want to go and research and read what is written about in the Bible. By the Waters of Babylon is no different.

The setting of By the Water's of Babylon starts of in Jerusalem, during the siege of of Nebuchadnezzar. He proclaims he is the king of the world and he is being used by God to serve justice on his fallen people. It is a hard time. Bad things happen. So much so, the ones holding the siege are shocked at the depravity has gone on in the walls. Mesu is able to tell this story, in a truthful and descriptive way, but not grotesque.

We see the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple. We follow the captives as they are hauled off before the king and the higher officials are issued their justice from Nebuchadnezzar. We follow the captives as they are taken to the cities where the Jewish settles have been started in 3 provinces. And in the process, we are introduced to Meshack, Shadrack, and Abendego.  We hear of their story and the awe it brings to the people.

I loved reading about them in this story and the life that comes from everything they had dealt with.

The story was a novella, but it still held the depth and emotional connection as a a full length novel.

The audio for this book was performed very well. I will admit it took a little getting used to a guy narrating the story, but it didn't take long at all. With the story being half told through a man's eyes it really gave it more depth hearing it.

If you are a fan of Biblical fiction this story is very much for you!

5 out of 5

Waiting On Wednesday: A Desperate Hope

September 26, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature that spotlights an up-and-coming release you are most excited about.
This week is all about the third in a series of standalone stories by an author who has an amazing talent for weaving her fictional characters into an interesting time in history. She has very rich details and very character driven plots. Her stories really capture you and keeps you hooked. 

Waiting On:
Title: A Desperate Hope
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: February 5th, 2018

About the Book:
Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her—or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town—but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.

What are you waiting on this week?
Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

September 25, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.
  
Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

I have a bad/ good habit, depending on how you look at things. I tend to buy books by authors I love, even if I don't have time to read it right then and there...sometimes, sadly, that book does sit there waiting on me. I have it on hand when I can finally sit and enjoy. 

 Beyond this Moment by Tamera Alexander
From A Distance by Tamera Alexander

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

 Awakening by Tracy Higley

 The Lady and the LionHeart by Joanne Bishof

 The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

These are just a few on my shelves/boxes that I've bought but still haven't gotten around to. 

What are some of your books this week?



Review: Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner

September 24, 2018

Title: Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive
Author: Jessica Turner
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9728-0-8007-2349-1
Publication Date:September 18th, 2018

About the Book:
Working mothers constantly battle the pull to do all the things well. From managing work and home responsibilities to being impacted by a lack of self-care and time for deep friendships, the struggle is real. At the end of each day, many working moms are exhausted and stretched too thin. But this does not have to be the norm.

In her latest practical and inspiring book, Jessica Turner shows the working mom how to

- work and parent guilt-free
- establish clear work boundaries
- set achievable goals
- discover more flexibility
- develop home management solutions
- prioritize self-care
- invest in her marriage
- cultivate deeper friendships
- feel like a good mom, even while working

Full of compassion and encouragement, Stretched Too Thin will empower women with useful insights and tools to thrive as working moms.
My Thoughts:
This book came into my TBR at a good time. For the first 7 years of my kiddo's life I stayed home and took care of her. For the last 4 years, I've been a working mom and it has been an experience trying to find balance between family and work. Some days I think I have it, others.....not so much. My ducks in a row turn into squirrels and they are hopped up on caffeine.

I was able to listen to the audiobook copy of this book, while I worked. :-) It was a great book to read and listen to. Not only did Jessica Turner write this book, she also preformed the audio. She was able to really present the book in a way to make you think.

As a working mom, Jessica knows the struggles first hand. Some I can relate with right away, while others are new and I'm not there yet, but with that, it was a good insight in how to prepare and hopefully face those struggles that haven't happened, and maybe prevent them from happening.

Stretchered Too Thin is a  book so many can click with. Work, parenting, marriage, family events, aging parents, grandparents, pets, and personal time. It all is apart of life, but it is also how you manage and deal with it. I will admit, I hate going to bed with dishes in the sink, but you know what, sometimes it's best to get sleep and take care of yourself. The dishes will wait. That was hard learned, and Jessica touches on many things that are similar. It made me think reading this book, what other things would work in compromise for the best of the family and me?

The questions at the end each chapter were great. They are very thought provoking, and some have really stuck with me. They offer the ability to journal/answer the questions at your pace. A chance to think and focus on what will work for you.

This is a book I will be going back to and referencing. I may have finished a read through, but I haven't finished the book.

5 out of 5

About the Author:
 Jessica N. Turner is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book The Fringe Hours and the founder of the popular lifestyle blog The Mom Creative. Additionally, she is an award-winning marketing professional, sought-after speaker, and freelance writer. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including The Today Show, O Magazine, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Inc.com. She and her husband, Matthew, live with their three young children in Nashville, Tennessee.




Thank you to the author and publisher, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Date
Each week offer the opportunity to to spotlight what you're reading and what you just finished reading.

Just Finished Reading:
 Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner
 (Review will be posted soon.)
By the Waters of Babylon by Mesu Andrews
 (Review will be posted soon.)

Currently Reading:
 Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

Reading Next:
Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

What are you reading this week?
What have you recently read?
Any new favorites?

Review: Crack Yourself Up: Jokes for Kids by Sandy Silverthrorne

September 20, 2018

Title: Crack Yourself Up: Jokes for Kids
Author: Sandy Silverthorne
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 144
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2969-1
Publication Date: August 21st, 2018

About the Book:
Why are dogs such bad dancers? They have two left feet.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Alex. Alex who? Alex the questions around here.

What's red and goes up and down? A tomato in an elevator.

Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. This zany collection of one-liners, knock-knock jokes, riddles, puns, funny lists, and hilarious illustrations promises hours of fun. Just be careful. These are the kinds of laughs that make milk come out your nose--so don't drink and read!
My Thoughts:
I love a good laugh, always have and always will! Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids is a fun easy read for kids and adults. This is one of those joke books that works whether you have memorized the jokes, or your reading them from the book itself.

Sandy Silverthrone has complied some really funny and witty jokes, riddles, and dad joke style puns that is appropriate for all ages. My kiddo thought this book was for her as soon as I opened the package. Safe to say, she has taken it over from me. She found the jokes easy to read and understand, which is a big plus!

If you're looking for a fun joke book for kids, or as a stocking stuffer (Christmas is coming up!) this book really is one that would be perfect.

4 out of 5

About the Author:
Sandy Silverthorne has been writing and illustrating books since 1988 and currently has more than half a million copies in print. His award-winning Great Bible Adventure children's series has sold more than 170,000 copies and has been distributed in eight languages worldwide. His One Minute Mysteries series has sold more than 160,000 copies. He's written and illustrated more than thirty books and has worked with such diverse clients as Universal Studios Tour, World Vision, The University of Oregon, The Charlotte Hornets, and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Sandy has worked as a cartoonist, author, illustrator, actor, pastor, speaker, and comedian. Apparently it's hard for him to focus.



Thank you to the publisher, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Waiting On Wednesday: The Liberty Bride

September 19, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature that spotlights an up-and-coming release you are most excited about.
This week I'm featuring a book that is apart of a multi-author series that has been on an interesting schedule this year for release. Book 6 will be released this coming December. It has been following a family tree through important times in history. I love the idea of this series and the authors who have offered a story for this, are ones I've really enjoyed before. MaryLu Tyndall closes out the series with The Liberty Bride, Books 6 of Daughters of the Mayflower. 

Waiting On:
Author: The Liberty Bride
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour Publisher
Publication Date: December 1st, 2018

About the Book:
Lieutenant Owen Masters and Emeline Baratt meet on a British warship as sworn enemies. Where will Emeline place her loyalties when forced to spy against her country?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country
A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him or her love for her country.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)?
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)

What are you waiting on this week?
Let me know in the comments below.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.
 
Fall TBR List
 
This week is all about the book on my Fall 2018 TBR List.
Goodness, this list is one I'm excited to share! There are just so many fantastic books that will be coming out in the next few months! 

 Title: The Cumberland Bride
Author: Shannon McNear
Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road
In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But na├»ve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?
Author: Conniyn Cossette
The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?
 

 Title: Searching For You
Author: Jody Hedlund
 Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he's in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

Author: Regina Jennings
Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she's too terrified to recognize them as friendly.

Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home--and plead his case once more.

He's stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart--but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril--and tests Jack's resolve to remain single.
 Title: Legacy of Mercy
Author: Lynn Austin
Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.
 Title: All Made Up
Author: Kara Isaac
Everyone thinks Katriona McLeod is living the dream. Her professional career as a make up artist sees her traveling the world working with the stars and she's got no shortage of men wanting her affection. Only problem is she's never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she's ever loved. When she accepts a job on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she's cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it.

Caleb Murphy couldn't care less about C-Class celebrity fame or reality TV and he certainly doesn't believe it could lead him to love. The one thing he does care about is fulfilling his mother's last wish. Kat's presence on the show seems to offer up a solution that will make both the network and his mother happy. It might have been almost ten years since they split but he knows he can trust her with his plan. Just as long as he doesn't fall in love all over again with the woman who will never stay.
 Title: On Magnolia Lane
Author: Denise Hunter
Pastor Jack McReady has secretly carried a torch for Daisy for two long years. She’s a member of his congregation, after all, and she’ll never see him as more than a trusted counselor. Jack’s best friend Noah has taken every opportunity to encourage his lovesick friend, but when Noah catches wind that Daisy has joined an online dating site, he takes matters into his own hands and orchestrates a meet-cute of the most unconventional kind.

Owner of the local flower shop, Daisy Pendleton is content with her small-town life, but she’d sure like someone to share it with. After several disastrous first dates, she’s about to give up—and then she finds a seemingly wonderful man online. Daisy gets to know TJ through a series of messages but finds herself spending more time with Pastor Jack outside of the church at the same time. What she doesn’t know is that her online prospect and Jack are one and the same.

Just as Daisy’s love life starts to look promising, a mysterious woman appears in town. Daisy is faced with a revelation about her family that turns her world upside down, and she looks to both TJ and Jack for help.

Jack must find a way to reveal himself as her online suitor without breaking her heart and losing her trust. As Daisy faces Jack’s betrayal, she’ll have to learn to extend grace to herself, her family, and the man she’s grown to love.
Author: Courtney Walsh
An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

These are just a few of the titles I'm excited to read about his fall.
What are you looking forward to? Any new to you authors? Ones that you have been anxiously awaiting from a well loved author?

The Christy Awards Blog Blitz & Giveaway

September 17, 2018

the Christy Awards blitz

If there were a Christian fiction version of the Oscars, The Christy Awards would be it. And we are teaming up with The Christy Awards to help you read good fiction!

Some of the best of the best, in fact. Last year's 2017 Christy Award winners included The Lady & The Lionheart (Joanne Bischof), A Note Yet Unsung (Tamera Alexander), Her One and Only (Becky Wade), The Mark of the King (Jocelyn Green), The Silent Songbird (Melanie Dickerson), The Long Journey to Jake Palmer (James Rubart), and more!

2017 Christy Awards
Image Source: The Christy Awards
The 2018 Christy Award Celebration Gala is coming up on November 7, 2018 but first the finalists will be announced on September 19th!! And you don't want to miss it! Make sure you're following along with their social media accounts so you don't miss the big announcement!


Christys invite

The Christy Award team invites you to two events that celebrate fiction, both held on November 7, 2018 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN!

First, from 1-5:30pm, is the Art of Writing Conference - a focused conference for writers, storytellers, and publishing curators. This is a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking. Head here for a full list of speakers, including Carla Laureano, Joanne Bischof, Donald Miller, and Charles Martin.

Then, starting at 7:00pm, The Christy Award Dinner Gala will celebrate the art of Christian fiction, announce the 2018 winners of The Christy Award, and honor the power of Story, the legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, and the year's best in Christian fiction.

Wanna know which authors will be at The Christy Awards gala? How about Charles Martin, Carla Laureano, Francine Rivers, Sarah Arthur, and Cynthia Ruchti, for starters? Many of the finalists will be there too so make sure you follow The Christy Award on social media for the big announcement on the 19th!

christy awards gift card giveaway

On behalf of the ECPA, JustRead is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card (US only) to help you read good fiction!

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 15, 2018 and last through 11:59pm September 21, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Date
Each week offer the opportunity to to spotlight what you're reading and what you just finished reading. 

Finished Reading:
 A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander
Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

Currently Reading:
 By the Waters of Babylon by Mesu Andrews
Stretchered Too Thin by Jessica Turner

Reading Next:
 Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bishcof
The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

 It's been a good week of reading and I honestly am looking forward to finish what I'm reading now. And I can't wait to dive into my future books. I have read some amazing books lately.

What are you reading this week?

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