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Christmas Comes Early! Blog Tour – Book Reviews

Christmas tour

In our house, the Christmas season gears up right around this time of year. Since it’s our favorite holiday, we enjoy extending the preparations throughout the month and a half before Christmas Day – and in this part of the country it also helps transition between the vibrant colors of fall through the gray November days before Christmas arrives. So today, we’re celebrating the release of not one, but eight new Christmas books, all written by Rebekah A. Morris. I’ll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

About the Books

Christmas Lodge Cover At the Christmas Lodge

When Desirae Richey agrees to go home with some college friends for Christmas, she expects a small family gathering. Instead she is taken to the Christmas Lodge in the snowy mountains of Canada to a noisy, fun loving, adventurous group of family and friends who welcome her as one of their own. Everything seems to be going as planned until an unexpected snowfall occurs.

My Review: At the Christmas Lodge is a whimsical story of a Christmas adventure – snow, fun and games, laughter and new friends, dangers and excitement, and perhaps even a hint of romance. I enjoyed the vivid personalities, the lively games invented by the young people during the Christmas celebration, and the deep, realistic emotions portrayed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light Christmas read. Four of five stars.

The Christmas She WantedThe Christmas She Wanted Cover

Christmas had lost its charm and wonder. Mrs. Rush hated the feeling but was powerless to fix things. Traveling to visit relatives for the holidays, the Rush children pass the time with their eyes glued to the screens of their devices. That is, until the flashing lights of a State Highway Patrol car bring their trip to a sudden and unplanned-for stop.

My Review: The Christmas She Wanted was a satisfying tale of learning to enjoy a special Christmas complete with the simplest things of life. In a world often overwhelmed with busyness, gadgets, and distractions, where are the things that matter – family, friends, love, joy, fellowship, relationship, memories, laughter, and above all, a focus on our Savior Jesus Christ? This book shows how circumstances bring this sort of Christmas to the Rush family. I found the story satisfying and inspiring – the book could be written about me – thoughts I had, feelings I’ve felt. I highly recommend this story to anyone who cares about the things that truly matter. Five of five stars.

About the Author

Author PictureRebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

 

Excerpts

Christmas Collage

Des plunged into the glittering white mass and laughed with pure joy. This was snow! ~ At the Christmas Lodge

She gave a sigh. “You know, I wish we could have a real Christmas for a change. ~ The Christmas She Wanted

Tour Schedule

November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia’s Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Once Upon an Ordinary – Review
Stephany’s BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel’s Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey’s Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Ordinary Girl Extraordinary Father – Review
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

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The Enchanting Rose: 11th Annual Tea Cup & Mug Exchange

Each year, Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose hosts a delightful tea cup and mug exchange for ladies from all over the world with the goal of forging new friendships. This year, I was blessed that Olivia invited me to participate – it was truly a lovely event, one that I’m grateful to have been a part of.

Once the signups were in and Stephanie assigned us our tea cup partners, what fun it was to create a package of surprises for the recipient! I was assigned to Sarah, and it was delightful to discover the many things we have in common, including our shared love of the color blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the package was in the mail, anticipation of meeting the other exchange partner set in. Stephanie thoughtfully matches ladies up with two different partners – one to mail to, and one to receive from – thus granting the opportunity to cultivate two new friendships.

And then a gorgeous package appeared in my mailbox from Ruth!

Inside was a beautiful array of items.

A teacup, practical as well as lovely, in my favorite shade of blue. As I’ve used it, I’ve appreciated the sturdy construction as well as the gorgeous color. It’s so petite and yet strong!

Tea with mint. I’ve never tried this kind before but look forward to it. I do love mint teas.

A watercolor painting, made by her sister. Aren’t the colors and the verse lovely?

Fall kitchen towels. I love both blue and fall, so these are perfect.

Thank you so much, Ruth! And thank you, Stephanie, for your excellent and efficient organization of this event!

 

If you’re interested in participating in future tea cup exchanges, you can sign up to be notified of the next one here. The experience was delightful and certainly one I’d recommend if you’re able to participate.

Do you have a favorite tea cup?

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Suit and Suitability: Book Review

Suit and Suitability was a pleasant surprise to me, though I expected no less from this author. After reading Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility earlier this year and finding it, to be blunt–with deepest apologies to Austen fans everywhere–predictable and a trifle shallow, I hope that Suit and Suitability would take the concept and storyline deeper. I was not disappointed. Kelsey Bryant’s excellent skill in weaving the storyline seamlessly into 1930s Ohio and New York combined with the rich spiritual truths and growth woven into the characters’ lives made this book a satisfying read. It started off rather slow – it took me a while to get into the story – but once the action began, I was quite drawn in. The themes of suffering for the purpose of a more intimate relationship with God, contentment, relying on God instead of one’s self, and constant trust shone forth clearly and refreshingly. Although the characters made numerous mistakes throughout the book, the story of their spiritual growth, though sometimes slow and halting, was a beacon throughout the book.

Ellen, Marion, Greta, Mother, Dad, Everett, Mr. Bradley, Wilkie, Aunt Jennie, Leona – all had distinct personalities. The author did an excellent job of portraying the feelings, thoughts, and motives of each one. I enjoyed the twists and turns as well as the refreshing and engaging peek into 1930s life – I must once again mention how flawless I found this element.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book to lovers of Austen, lovers of historical fiction, and anyone who is looking for a good read in this genre.

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Interview with Kelsey Bryant

As part of the Vintage Jane Austen blog tour, I have the privilege of interviewing Kelsey Bryant, the author of Suit and Suitability. While devouring her previous series Six Cousins (Family Reunion and England Adventure), I was captivated by Kelsey’s down-to-earth style, relatable characters, whimsical everyday adventures, and depth of spiritual encouragement that ran through her books. Since Six Cousins is one of my top five favorite series, I’m quite excited to welcome Kelsey to Resting Life today.

Erika: Welcome to Resting Life, Kelsey! Could you introduce yourself to readers?

Kelsey: Hello! I’m a daughter of God who lives in Texas and works at several jobs that I love, including writing, copy editing, and teaching martial arts. I’ve written three novels, but I delight in many things—Bible study and Hebrew, keeping fit and eating healthy, reading British authors (and those of other nationalities, of course!) and seeing new places, and spending time with family and friends, to name a few. I’m a homeschool graduate and love being a daughter, sister, and aunt.

E: It’s wonderful to meet you! I share many of those interests as well. What prompted your journey into writing and authorship?

K: My parents passed their love of books on to me. I can’t remember never creating stories, so I suppose being a writer and author was always something I wanted. My grandfather was an editor and compiler of Christian books and devotionals, so that went a long way in inspiring me. After high school, I decided to seriously pursue becoming an author because that was the only thing I felt God calling me to do at that point. After several years, I finally completed a novel (Family Reunion, the first book of the Six Cousins series) and was ready to publish.

E: What a blessing to have a love of books in the family! I understand that Sense and Sensibility is your favorite Jane Austen book. Could you talk a bit about spiritual parallels in the book?

K: Sense and Sensibility has always meant a lot to me since I first read it, but by writing Suit and Suitability, I was able to more deeply appreciate the underlying spiritual themes and how they relate to me. Protagonist Elinor Dashwood (Ellen in my retelling), although imperfect, understands that selflessness is the best lifestyle. She is excruciatingly challenged by people and events, but she pulls through because she denies herself and has a strong character (in Suit and Suitability, I made sure to show she drew her strength from God). I want to be like Elinor/Ellen—someone God can use to help and support other people. I have to work on selflessness. In Suit and Suitability, Ellen also had to learn to trust God more, something I need to work on as well.

Second protagonist Marianne, Elinor’s younger sister (Marion in my retelling), has a very different personality. In both versions, she’s fun and passionate, but she carries a lot of selfishness, which she doesn’t always recognize. As I was writing her parts, I discovered how easy it is to want things your own way…and I could actually identify with her, which was a little disturbing! But that made me realize a little bit of Marion resides in all of us. We have qualities that we need to learn to use for serving God instead of ourselves. And because we’re all flawed, we need to have grace toward one another, especially with our family members.

E: Thank you for sharing that insightful perspective! What excellent reminders for us to depend entirely upon God and to deny ourselves – counting ourselves as crucified with Christ and allowing His Spirit to live within us, powering and directing every act. It’s so easy to put ourselves first!

On another note, what is your biggest challenge in the writing/publishing process and how do you handle it?

K: My biggest challenge is getting the word out about my books. I’m a reticent person, so, like many authors, I find self-promotion awkward and unnatural. But to help me handle it, I remember that I write my stories to bless other people, and if they don’t know about them, I haven’t completed my calling. Once I overcome the reticence, marketing is another steep step; for that, I watch for whatever opportunities come along that can put me or my books where other people can find us.

E: I can definitely relate! What’s your biggest pet peeve as an editor?

K: Maybe you can relate to this, Erika—when I discover a glaring typo on my last read-through that I missed on my first readings! But it’s also combined with a feeling of relief that I actually caught it.

E: Yes! It makes me wonder where my brain and eyes have been during all those previous edits!

What is your favorite Scripture passage and why?

K: This is a tough question! One of my favorite passages is Jeremiah 31:30-36, which talks about the new covenant God will make with Israel and a time when everyone will know the Lord. It’s quoted several times in the New Testament. It ties the whole Bible together, showing the reason Yeshua/Jesus came . . . so that we may all know the Lord and have new hearts that will follow Him completely. I love that promise.

E: Amen – I love that passage! Isn’t it wonderful that the Almighty God has covenanted with us? And that through Jesus Christ, His law is within us and we intimately know Him! Praise God that Jesus is the mediator of that better covenant!

Thank you so much for joining me today – I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Anything else you’d like to add?

K: Thank you for having me, Erika! I hope both Jane Austen lovers and those who are new to Jane Austen get to enjoy the Vintage Jane Austen series. I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside the other authors in this project. We enjoyed it so much!

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Vintage Jane Austen

What would it be like to see Elizabeth Bennet in 1930’s clothes? What if Emma Woodhouse was the daughter of a car dealership owner? What if Marianne Dashwood was seeking to become a movie star in the golden age of film? The Vintage Jane Austen series explores the world of Jane Austen, set in 1930’s America. Five authors took on Jane Austen’s five most popular novels and retold them set in the depression era, remaining faithful to the original plots. As an extra bonus to the series, there is a collection of short stories that were inspired by Jane Austen. Which of these books do you most want to read?

 

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma): The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility): Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (Mansfield Park): It’s March, 1937 and Faye Powell couldn’t be happier. After moving to live with her uncle, a wealthy banker, she’s fallen into the swing of life with his exuberant children–including Ed. The one she’ll never admit she’s in love with. But she hadn’t reckoned on the swanky Carters getting mixed up in that vow. Ed seems to be falling for charming, sweet Helene Carter. And when Faye’s cousin BeBe trusts her with a secret about Horace Carter, Faye is in over her head. Will she betray the confidence BeBe’s given her? Will she lose Ed to Helene? The days at Bellevere House are crowded with surprises and only time will tell how God plans to unravel Faye and Ed’s hearts.

Perception by Emily Benedict (Persuasion): Upstate New York, 1930. 

Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family’s prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune – and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey decide her own fate, before it is too late…

Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones (Pride and Prejudice): Coming soon…A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice… set in 1930s Arizona.

 

Second Impressions: Jane Austen’s stories have inspired writers for generations…in this collection they inspire fiction across the genres!

From the English Regency to the American 1950s, in Houston or a space freighter, fairytale land or a retirement center…Austen’s timeless characters come to life again.

Visit these blogs during this week to find interviews, book reviews, and much more!

 

November 5

Review of Emmeline – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Bellevere House – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – A Real Writer’s Life

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – Resting Life

 

November 6

Interview with Sarah Holman – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Emmeline – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Mini-Reviews and interview with Sarah Scheele – Deborah O’Carroll

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Livy Lynn Blog

Review Suit and Suitability – Resting Life

 

November 7

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Perception – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review and Interview of Perception – Purely by Faith Reviews

Review of Second Impressions – The Page Dreamer

Series Spotlight – Finding the True Fairytale

 

November 8

Review Suit and Suitability – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Suit and Suitability – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – A Brighter Destiny

 

November 9

Series Spotlight – God’s Peculiar Treasure

Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability – Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews

 

November 10

Review of Suit and Suitability – With a Joyful Noise

Series Spotlight – Liv K. Fisher

Review of Second Impressions- Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – She Hearts Fiction

Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh

 

November 11

Series Spotlight – Reveries Reviews

Review of Suit and Suitability – Faith Blum

Interview with Sarah Holman – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Interview with Hannah Scheele – Peculiar on Purpose

Review of Bellevere House – Seasons of Humility

As part of this special blogging event, we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card.

Enter to win below:

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Earn Free Ebooks!

Forty-three authors and counting are banding together on Black Friday to offer independently published Christian books at a discount, but we need your help! We’re putting together a blog tour to promote the sale. Choose a book to review, interview an author, and/or just post a general announcement about the sale. As a thank you, at the end of the sale, we’ll provide a list of ebooks offered by participating authors, and you’ll be free to pick five.

If you’re interested, sign up here

I’ve participated as a blogger the past few years and have been introduced to some of my favorite books this way. This year I’m a participating author as well, and I’m excited about the scope of this event. 

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Book 4 Title Reveal!

It’s October! My favorite month of the year and my favorite season… 


Besides enjoying autumn leaves and apple crisp, I’m also deep in the outlining stages of my next book. 

Book Four in Truth from Taerna. 

As you may be aware, Promise’s Prayer was published this March. Victory’s Voice and Surrender’s Strength are both receiving rewrites. 

And now… it’s time to pen Book 4. I’ll be writing it during the month of November. (If you’re also writing s novel next month, add me on the NaNoWriMo website!)

This book is near and dear to me already. The issues it will address occupy a tender place in my heart. I don’t expect to be able to write this book with dry eyes. My little four-year-old Liliora from Promise’s Prayer returns as the main character, and now she’s grown up and facing challenges of a magnitude that I can only imagine. Yet the message of this book is one that is so desperately needed. Vulnerable barelt begins to describe how I feel in writing this story, but it’s my prayer that God will use the message and the story to touch lives in a way that will tangibly impact the rising generations. 

Working Synopsis:

A helpless newborn…that’s exactly how twenty-four-year-old Liliora Ellith feels in her efforts to speak up on behalf of the youngest members of Taerna’s pleasure-driven society. Her tender heart for the defenseless and deep aversion to conflict throw Lili’s soul into turmoil when tragedy opens her eyes to the quiet yet heartrending war on Taerna’s babies – both born and unborn. Adon Olam’s word coupled with a secret in her own past fuel her determination, but the challenges ahead of her threaten to send her spiraling into hopeless depression. At the very end of herself, can her own utter insufficiency be anything less than the catalyst for complete disaster?

And now for the title…

Sustainer’s Smile!
(cover photo is temporary placeholder and not the actual cover)
Any thoughts? Would you be excited to read this book?