Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tackling the Fields

About the Book

Cole Sanders is a changed man. The university quarterback questions his direction in life after serving on a mission trip in Honduras. Things that used to fill Cole’s ego seem empty after witnessing the developing country’s extreme poverty and the death of a precious child. The one glimmer of hope through his confusion is the fresh perspective he now has about his tutor, Audrey. She possesses something beautiful inside and out—something that might help him become the person he wants to be.
University senior Audrey Vaughn tutored Cole Sanders for an entire year and never imagined the popular quarterback would see her as anything more than a friend. After partnering with him on the mission trip, they are drawn together. And he appears to have changed for the better. To let Cole into her life, Audrey will have to overcome not only her brother’s distrust, but also the paralyzing fear still lingering from a past she’s tried to leave behind.
Cole can’t walk away from Audrey now that they’re back in Oxford. He’ll have to figure out how to keep her giant of a brother, a lineman on his football team, from killing him when the coach has his back turned. But can Audrey trust her heart to a player so similar to the one who stole so much from her in the past?
My Thoughts: Janet Ferguson does a remarkable job of taking you to Oxford, MS. Her attention to detail both of the setting and human emotions make all her books a pleasure to read. I fall in love with the characters every time. Cole and Audrey have become friends and I can't wait to see how their life plays out in the rest of the series. You cannot imaagine how excited I was to find out there is a book 4!! Each of these titles could be read as a stand alone but I highly recommend reading the entire Southern Hearts Series. The author tackles some tough subjects in each of the books but she handles them in such a way that not only the characters but the readers catch a glimpse of God's grace and mercy. 

About the Author

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Guest Post from Janet Ferguson

Hi, I’m Janet W. Ferguson, and I’m so excited to be back again and meet more readers through Celebrate Lit!
This is a story I didn’t want to write, but felt called to tackle. The loss of the dream, the loss of innocence, and life’s other unfair struggles can challenge our faith—can make us captive to fear and disappointment.
In the South, we love football. In writing this book, I’m not trying to make a statement for or against the sport. My husband and son loved playing the game. After my son suffered a torn ACL, torn shoulder labrum, and four surgeries, he could no longer participate in the game he loved. He mourned the loss of the brotherhood of his team. I saw the popular pastime differently from his eyes. For young men, I believe it is a bond between friends for a common goal. Though the character in this book is totally fictional, I’m dedicating this book to my son, Luke.
The other sensitive topics in this story seemed particularly sad, but relevant in our society. Trust me, I didn’t prefer to research acquaintance/date rape or human trafficking, but both are going on all too often in communities both small and large. There are a number of organizations set up to help victims of these crimes if you feel a calling to help.
Someone reading this may have had something terrible that happened in their past or may know someone who has. God is able to set free the captives, set you free from the bonds that hold you. My prayer is that you find comfort in that truth.

Blog Stops

August 15: Quiet Quilter
August 17: Blogging With Carol
August 18: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
August 21: Karen’s Krayons
August 22: Bigreadersite
August 23: A Greater Yes
August 25: A Reader’s Brain
August 26: Mary Hake


To celebrate her tour, Janet is giving away a $75 Amazon gift card Click here to enter:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blueberry Cupcake Mystery

About the Book

In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop’s sugar cookies.
Katie Chupp spends her days at The Sweet Shop, taking care of customers and baking delicious treats . . . not exactly a profession where one expects to be thrown into the midst of mysteries and mayhem.
But when the bakery is broken into, someone has to find the thief . . . besides finding another place to do the baking and get the orders to the customers.
Is this a random theft, or is the thief trying to ruin the town’s Independence Day celebration?
My Thoughts: Blueberry Cupcake Mystery truly is a sweet story. It is full of colorful characters who will go out of their way to help their neighbor. It was kind of a short read for me but it was still very enjoyable. I loved how the author included an epilogue so you're not left wondering what happened until the next one. I truly enjoyed every aspect and I hope you will give Blueberry Cupcake Mystery a try! 

About the Author

Naomi Miller mixes up a batch of intrigue, sprinkled with Amish, Mennonite, & English characters, adding a pinch of mystery – and a dash of romance!
Naomi’s day is spent focusing on her writing, editing, and blogging about her experiences with writing. When she’s not working diligently to finish the next book in her Sweet Shop Mystery series, Naomi tries to make time for attending workshops and writers conferences. One of her favorites is the four-day event that the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization holds annually.
Naomi also enjoys traveling with her family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking a daily walk, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.

Guest Post from Naomi Miller

Hello! I’m Naomi Miller — and I’m honored to be featured on Celebrate Lit!
I want to share with you how the title and cover for my debut book, Blueberry Cupcake Mystery, was chosen. This is a story I haven’t shared with anyone else — yet. The story behind the blueberry cupcake…
I was actually writing an Amish suspense novel last winter, when God placed it on my heart to write a shorter story — a cozy mystery, with no suspense, no danger, but plenty of faith, family, compassion and community.
While thinking of the best way to begin the story, my daughter made a batch of blueberry cupcakes, which happen to be one of my favorite treats. Of course, the idea to use a favorite treat was too good to resist. Then, during the early days of writing, I began experimenting with the idea of baking cupcakes — but adding blueberries before baking. Two favorite treats in one!
And there you have it . . . once we had a picture of a blueberry cupcake, the designer quickly sent back a cover I fell in love with (although there were a few more tweaks before the final cover was approved).
I actually began writing many years ago — 1990 to be exact. But I had just become a single mom and I didn’t have time to pursue it. I wrote notes, letters, articles, short stories, and I occasionally thought about a career as a novelist, but not once did I consider that dream to ever become a reality.
Several years ago, after my children were grown, my daughter challenged me to write a novel. I began a sweet, Amish fiction story about a young girl—but about halfway into the story, someone was almost murdered! Needless to say, I was surprised, but kept going. Once done, I went back to the beginning to do a major re-write on what was now an Amish suspense novel.
And that’s . . . the rest of the story.
I’m also excited to be doing two special giveaways — 1) a gift bag full of treats and 2) an advanced reader digital copy of Christmas Cookie Mystery (but you’ll have to wait for it)!
In the meantime, here’s the recipe for those delicious blueberry cupcakes
Blueberry Cupcakes
Ingredients1 white or yellow cake mix
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 1/3 cup water

Prepare cake mix according to the directions. Add blueberries and fold into batter. Bake following instructions on cake mix box.
Icing1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. milk
additional milk as needed
DirectionsPrepare icing, mixing small amounts of confectioner’s sugar with milk to desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Blog Stops

August 23: Blogging With Carol
August 24: cherylbbookblog
August 25: A Greater Yes
August 25: A Holland Reads
August 25: Mary Hake
August 26: Gypsy Road
August 27: Bigreadersite
August 27: Bibliophile Reviews
August 28: Lighthouse Academy
August 28: Book Babble
August 29: Karilyn Putt
August 30: Daysong Reflections
August 31: Quiet Quilter
September 1: Lights in a Dark World
September 1: Just Commonly
September 3: Bukwurmzzz
September 4: Ashley’s Bookshelf
September 4: just the write escape


To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a gift bag full of treats and an advanced copy of her new book Christmas Cookie Mystery! Click here to enter:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Courtship Basket

Ever have one of those days where you keep putting your foot in your mouth? How about when you let your temper get the better of you and you judge before you know all the facts? Rachel Fisher knows the struggle all too well. She has a tender and loving heart but sometimes she leaps before she looks.

The Courtship Basket is the second book in Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloon series. Rachel Fisher is the younger sister of Veronica who we met in the first book, The Forgotten Recipe. Rachel longs to be married. She's been dating her beau David Beiler for four years and is convinced he will propose any day now but one huge secret will devastate Rachel and make her future far less certain.

On the heels of the secret coming to light, Rachel accepts a teaching position with her cousin, Malinda, in a school for special needs children. It's here that she meets John and his older half-brother Mike. When John starts acting out in school by being a bully and refusing to do his work, Rachel reaches out to Mike for help. She's discouraged by his one sentence reply to the note she sends home and decides to take matters in her own hands and go confront Mike. She has to make him understand that this is his responsibility to work with her, she can't do it alone.

She's full of fire and fury at Mike and what she assumes is his lack of caring and parenting skills to his little brother, John. When she learns the truth, she is devastated. Mike lost his mom when he was 10, John's mom died giving birth to him, and his dad is seriously sick with kidney disease. He's not cold and uncaring. He's tired, overworked, and doing the best he can. He's also ticked at her for judging him before she knows all the facts, and the icy stare in his eyes lets her know she's overstepped her bounds. What can she do to make it up to him? What can she do to make life easier on John?

I absolutely devoured this book! Amy takes two very sensitive topics, kidney disease and special needs children, and spins a heartfelt and heart warming story. Amy's own husband has suffered with kidney disease and eventually required and received a transplant, so she has first hand knowledge of what a family experiences watching a loved one battle this disease. I admired how she handled the topic of children with special needs. The teachers in the story had a heart for these precious little ones. They went above and beyond what was required of them to help these kids succeed and feel better about themselves. As a mom of two special needs children, I appreciated her tact but also her willingness to include them in one of her books.

I related to Rachel more than any other character. She has a huge heart for helping people. She hates to see anyone sad, suffering, or left out. She wears her heart on her sleeve and sometimes that can get her in trouble, especially when she believes someone doesn't care. She lets her temper and big mouth get her in trouble quite a bit. She wants to right all the wrongs but sometimes those wrongs are just in her head. There's a saying that goes "Think before you speak", too often though Rachel and I speak before we think and find ourselves in trouble or worse yet hurting someone's feelings unintentionally.

The Courtship Basket is a story with a lot of heart and self-discovery. Rachel finds her world upended by a huge secret and has to find her new normal. Mike has his plate full dealing with a sick dad and a bother who needs extra help. He's now the breadwinner and parent and he just doesn't have any extra time for a nosey teacher butting in where she isn't wanted. Will these two ever get it together and be friends? I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read. Don't pass it by because you don't typically read Amish fiction. Give it a try! You won't be sorry.

You can grab your copy here: The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Twice Redeemed

About the Book

Who will save her from herself?
After helping another girl escape, Mercedes Nobles suffers unspeakable abuse at Jericho. So when an American cowboy rides into town, she jumps at the opportunity to start a new life… even though she carries a secret that could destroy any chance of happiness for either of them.
John Durbin may have turned in his badge, but he still believes in living by a code of honor. That includes returning to a seedy Mexican saloon and rescuing a woman who helped his friends escape. However, the tables turn and he finds himself married in name only.
Struggling with cultural differences, they questions if their marriage will survive. Will John sacrifice his faith to make his new bride happy? How will Mercedes redeem herself when John learns of the secret she’s hiding?
My Thoughts: Mimi Milan tells a beautiful story of redemption. No only in the physical sense but also spiritual. I have to admit some parts made me squemish. I can't stand the thought of anyone being treated less than God intened. All in all it was worth the squemish parts to experience the wonderful story. 

About the Author

Mimi Milan spent two decades scribbling away in notebooks before realizing that her life’s calling was to write. So she returned from Mexico and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film. She currently resides in the suburbs of Charlotte, making time for God, family and imaginary friends.

Blog Stops

Family Christian

We're going to do something a little different today at the Book Nerd Corner. Today we're going to talk about Family Christian Book Store and the awesome sale they have going on right now, both in store and online.

Right now Family Christian is having a Buy 1 Get 1 50% off on ALL books, movies and music. I don't know about you, but I love a good sale and as you all know books are right up my alley. I don't usually like to shop sales online because I like to browse and see what all a store has to offer. I'm a little technology challenged so it's easier for me to shop in store.

Our nearest store is over an hour away so I don't get to go as often as I'd like, but my son had a doctor's appointment week and we were able to stop by on our way home. I'm always blown away at how friendly the staff are at Family Christian. Not only do they greet you when you walk in the door, but they are willing to help you find whatever you are looking for.

I was pleasently suprised on this trip to find a huge selection of coffee mugs and gift sets right inside the front door. They are ablsolutely adorable and most feature a scripture verse.. They also had two huge tables of bibles, books, CD's and movies and other stuff for $5. This is one of my favorite places to stop because you never know what you will find. I grabbed an infuser waterbottle that had a Psalm scripture verse on it.

Once I browsed the $5 table I was off to locate Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Uninvited. Along the way I found a hand lotion and soap caddy that smelled so good I couldn't pass it up. My son quickly gave up on this being a quick trip to the book store and decided to browse the children's section. He found tons of VeggieTales stuff and was particularly excited about a large stuffed Bob the Tomato.

After I grabbed the book I was looking for, I went to look at the coloring books that are all the rage. I wanted something my daughter could color yet memorize scripture along the way. I have to say I had no idea how many different varities were offered. They have everything from coloring the Psalms to coloring Hymns to everything in between. They have a huge selection of not only coloring books, but also colored pencils, pens, stickers. Anything you'd want to color or even use in your Journaling bible. I bought my daughter a two pack of coloring journals. I figured we'd see how that goes since she is very picky with what she colors.

We made our way to the check out and were greeted yet again by the kind cashier. They have a box of those crosses on the counter, the ones you give out when you share about Jesus. Anyway, my son was full of questions about what they were made of and why do you use them, so forth and so on. She was very nice and patient with him and answered ALL of his questions. She was never short with him or condesending in anyway. She patiently listened and treated him with respect. Having a child with autism, that's rare. Most people are put off by his questions or quirks, but not this lady. She went above and beyond her job title that day.

I was able to combine a $25 gift certificate with their Buy 1 Get 1 50% deal and paid less than $20 for over $40 worth of merchandise! Yes, including Lysa TerKeurst's new book. All in all, it was a great experience for both my son and myself.

Here's the part where I tell you that Family Christian gave me a $25 gift certificate to spend either online or in store and then blog about my expereince. They also have a gift certificate for you! Leave a comment below to enter. A winner will be chosen Saturday August 20, 2016 at 9pm CST. Good Luck!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Beauty Series

About the Books

Beauty for Ashes

Jazz is being forced to move and her mom has given her a major task to accomplish. She has to pack up the attic. What Jazz finds in the attic changes her life in ways she never imagined, and opens her up to life altering possibilities.

Monstrous Beauty
Ethan’s father was a piece of work, to put it mildly. His father managed to become quite wealthy before he died, yet he left Ethan deeply damaged in more ways than one. Can the love and care of a strange young woman with a past of her own free him, or is he doomed to never change?

My thoughts:  I loved both books in this series. Beauty for Ashes is a modernized retelling of Cinderella but with a twist. Jazz is being forced to move and it's all her mom's fault. On top of that she has to clean the attic, definitely not her dream job. What she finds in the attic will change her life forever. You will definitely get sucked in and find yourself losing all track of time. My only complaint is it ends all too soon. 
Monstorus Beauty is a creative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my all time favorite fairy tales. True beauty comes from within and love conqures all is a message that we can all get behind. I love how the author keeps us in suspense about the secrets both Annabelle and Ethan have in thier past. Both seem to think if the other sees the scars of thier past that they will find them truly hideous and decide to leave. 
Carol Keen does a magnificent job of bringing these beloved fairy tales to life. You will lose your self in the familiar plots and find yourself losing all track of time. I can't wait to see what fairy tale she tackles next. I know it's going to be another masterpiece!
About the Author
Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.
On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book.

Guest Post from Carol E. Keen

Can you believe it? I’m on my second tour with Celebrate Lit! Wow! I’m floored and happy and close to tears too. I have to say a HUGE thank you to Sandy and Denise for their encouragement and patience and help.

Today we are talking about my first series, The Beauty Series. The first book, Beauty For Ashes is the very first published fiction book that I have released. It started out as a contest entry. When it didn’t make the winning selection, I expanded it and had several trusted people read it. It was well received over all, and so I braved the scary world of navigation Amazon and published it.

Beauty For Ashes is based on Cinderella, and it was a challenge to write. I had always had some questions about why certain things weren’t covered in that story, so in my version, I added them. I answered my unanswered questions. I also have always felt that Cinderella had to be Christian to survive what she did and still be who she was.
My third published book is the second book in this series, and one of my favorite fairytales of all time. Monstrous Beauty is based on Beauty and the Beast. As with Beauty For Ashes, I always felt a “back story” to what drove the Beast was missing. In this version I have added all that, as well as having other answers to why “Beauty” was in this situation to start with. How would either of them relied on God to get through their situations?
I had a lot of fun writing Monstrous Beauty, and I’m looking forward to the next book I plan to write in this series.
Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!
Blessings, Carol 🙂

Blog Stops

August 14: Back Porch Reads
August 15: Pause for Tales
August 17: A Greater Yes
August 17: inklings and notions
August 18: Karen’s Krayons
August 20: simpleharvestreads
August 22: The Power of Words
August 24: ArtisticNobody


To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away three ebook copies of the Beauty Series with bookmark. Enter the giveaway here: