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The Cover for Victory’s Voice!

IT’S HERE!

Look at this gorgeous, victorious, triumphant cover for Victory’s Voice (Truth from Taerna #2)!

AND guess what! You can PREORDER the EBOOK AND SIGNED PAPERBACK today!

Didn’t Megan McCullough do an awesome job???

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Ellisia, a seventeen-year-old book enthusiast with a passion for learning and a fascination with words, has the opportunity to attend Academy, she’s elated to further her education as well as live near the Palace BookHall—the focus of her lifelong dream. But as she begins to discover the true power of the spoken word, she faces a choice: join forces with a foreign scientist or relinquish her dreams of someday working in the BookHall. As the scientist’s projects begin to threaten the safety of Ellisia’s family, she’s torn between her loyalties and her ambitions.

When impending crisis brings a clash of spiritual kingdoms, Ellisia must once for all choose how she’ll harness the power of words. Spoken words transcend her reality, uniting heavenly with earthly and commanding the forces that drive the physical world, and Ellisia’s voice will be the catalyst for sure defeat—or decisive victory.

This book is so exciting to me, and I can’t wait to release it in just a few short months! Every time I reread the climax of this story, I get chills and new excitement . . . this is SUCH a powerful message and so relevant today. Truly God wrote this book through me.

Don’t forget to preorder the ebook and signed paperback!

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Join the Victory’s Voice Cover Reveal!

I decided to do a VERY last minute cover reveal for Victory’s Voice (Truth from Taerna #2) … WHO WANTS TO HELP reveal the gorgeous cover and share the preorder link?

I’ll have a prewritten template for you to post on Instagram, Facebook, or your blog, so all you need to do is copy and paste! All the information about the book and the signup form is here:
https://forms.gle/T1CqjeZhaB5XjuwA7

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Promise’s Prayer Launch, Sales – and Interview with “Erika from the Past”

It’s launch weekend for the second edition of Promise’s Prayer!
New cover, new formatting, new editing!

First, the important things: the ebook is on sale through tomorrow night for just 99 pennies! After that it goes back up to $2.99, so be sure to grab it today or tomorrow.

The signed paperback of the new edition is available!

Special Post! Interview with “Erika from 2014” and “Erika from 2017”!

I found this fun post from launch week of the first edition of Promise’s Prayer back in 2017 with interview answers I’d written both in 2014 when I had just finished the first draft, and answers I’d written just before launching the book for the first time. I thought it would be fun to share in honor of the re-release . . . with updated answers!

On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?

Erika from 2014: Probably 6 or 7. I’m happy enough with it, but it does need editing. Somehow things never seem to appear on paper as they do in my mind, so it doesn’t match the quality I imagined–yet.

Erika from 2017: Wow, it’s clear that my opinion and love of the book have only improved with each edit. I’d now rate Promise’s Prayer somewhere in the range of 9 – not because I believe it’s the best book ever written, but because I deeply love the characters, the message, the plot, the wording, the journeys of Carita and Kaelan, and the truth of Adon Olam. It’s by far my favorite fiction story I’ve ever written.

Erika from 2020: I think I may be back to a 7 on this question. My writing skills have changed and improved in the last several years . . . and so often as I undertook my most recent edit this year I wanted to entirely rewrite the whole thing. But I still love the story, the message, the characters . . . and everything else about the book. And the second edition is so much better than the first.

Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?

Erika from 2014: I have edited many books, but actually few of them have been mine. I edited a non-fiction book of mine a year ago. I don’t prepare much; I dive in. My plan is to go through and fix/improve one section at a time.

Erika from 2017: Editing other people’s books seems far easier than editing my own! Most of that is probably psychological as well as the fact that I’m not emotionally attached to other people’s books, i.e. with my own books, I can justify in my head why I chose those specific words or added that specific scene. With other books, I can be more objective. That said, it sounds like I didn’t have a very concrete plan when I first started editing. No wonder it took over two years! I did develop several sub-plans along the way. I read my book several times start to finish, editing each time. Three different times I sent the book to a few friends for opinions and feedback. I edited on my computer, on Kindle, and from the paperback. I scanned every bit of formatting as well as read sections repeatedly for typos. I listened to my computer read my book out loud to me and followed along with it. If there’s a method I didn’t try, please let me know and I’ll add that when I edit Book Two.

Erika from 2020: I’ve edited so many books in the last three years, both mine and other people’s. With mine, generally I let the first draft sit for a while, then go back and edit, edit, edit.

What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 

Erika from 2014: My final word count is 66, 328, and I’m planning to both lengthen and trim my book, though I’m not entirely certain yet how significantly. Because I know some parts will be added and others deleted, I’m not certain whether my word count will increase or decrease, but I expect at least a minor increase before it is finished.

Erika from 2017: My book has lengthened. The final word count is 71,469 – so I added about 5000 words in the editing process. Several new scenes are included in those 5000 new words.

Erika from 2020: 74,786. Once again, it lengthened a bit with this new edit.

What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?

Erika from 2014: I’m most proud of my characters–no question there. I got to know them far better than even I imagined. They really took off with what I gave them and led me places I had no idea we’d go. Even supporting characters developed unique personalities and showed who they truly were. Kaelan showed up much more often than I expected, and other characters whom I expected would take the stage more stayed in the background. Plot and pacing are another story… pacing proved more difficult the further I got into the book, and with it, the plot seemed stagnant too, but my wonderful characters rescued both by the end.

Erika from 2017: I’m still most proud of my characters. Kaelan, Carita, and their friends are so realistic – I can relate to what they are thinking and feeling, and every time I read the book, I’m learning and growing along with them. Pacing is much better now than it was initially, though I’m not entirely confident about it. I’m very happy with the plot now that I’ve identified and filled in the original plot holes.

Erika from 2020: Still the characters, though I’m also quite content with both plot and pacing now.

What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?

Erika from 2014: My hope and dream is that those who read the book will be able to relate to the characters and events in the book and that they will think about their own views and perspectives on life, culture, society problems, and their personal life purpose. I hope that readers will evaluate their own methods of approaching their goals, dreams, and what is important to them and ensure that they are making the right choices. I am also challenging the stereotypical “save the world” element of many novels.

Erika from 2017:  My desire is to demonstrate how the real, powerful, lifechanging truths of God’s kingdom (the spiritual realm hidden from our physical senses) could play out in a fictional setting. I hope that readers are encouraged to pray and challenged to trust God with their fears and struggles, relying on Him alone. My goal is that God will use this book to reveal His kingdom to my readers. As C.S. Lewis writes: “By knowing Me here for a little, you may know Me better there.”

Erika from 2020: My hope is that Promise’s Prayer demonstrates the power of the kingdom of God through ordinary people, transforming daily life into His resting life. My goal is that God will use this series to reveal His kingdom to you as the reader. My prayer is that by spending time seeing and knowing God within these pages, you may know and experience Him more intimately in your daily life.

ABOUT THE BOOK

He promised to save the land. She received a divine calling.
But how can mere prayer quench his restlessness and her fears?

Walking behind a plow day in and day out gets boring for a nineteen-year-old who longs for nothing more than adventure. In the midst of the rampant lawlessness and love of pleasure that drive their country, Kaelan Ellith yearns to make a difference. When a promise at his mother’s deathbed gives him the impetus to do just that, he’s off to the capital city to bring back the knowledge of Adon Olam. Despite his natural leadership skills, his schemes keep going awry, and lost people keep passing into eternity without hope. How can he ever keep such an impossible promise?

Shy Carita Kostan knows the voice of Adon Olam, and she desires nothing more than to follow His calling: “Love. Serve. Pray. Persevere.” Yet how can she minister His love to her neighbors when her soul is tormented by their unmet needs and handicapped by her own paralyzing fears?

When the true nature of his promise and her call begin to surface, Kaelan and Carita just might discover how saving the world is entirely different than they imagined . . . if they have the humility and the courage to receive it.

A clean, family-friendly Christian kingdom adventure fiction novel for all ages

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Five Fall Favorites: Top 5 for 2020

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Welcome to the last day of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog had a different theme for the day and each blog shared five favorite books each day in a specific genre.

Things are winding down at the Literary Lodge – giveaway winners will be announced as well as other exciting happenings. But today we have a special treat for you: free and cheap books – including almost all of my books! So be sure to read to the end to find them.

I also have BIG news!

Promise’s Prayer is releasing in the brand new second edition! 
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October 18 is the official release date – three years and six months after the release of the first edition!
But guess what! If you don’t want to wait until then, I have a secret! The ebook is already available in its brand-new shiny goodness! And you can grab it for only 99 cents this week only before it goes up to its regular price of $2.99.
In honor of the release, I’m putting my few remaining signed paperback copies of the FIRST edition of Promise’s Prayer on sale. Only $11 currently. . . and free shipping! If you love the first cover and want to snag a signed paperback, hurry before they are sold out! I don’t plan to sell signed copies of the first edition again, so these are the last ones.
And now, on to the last day of the party!

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To wrap up the week, come curl up in your favorite cozy blanket in this blankets room. There are swings and camp chairs and logs and benches, so grab your favorite blanket and let’s chat about our favorite books of the year.

Today I’ll be sharing my top five books of 2020! 

This post contains affiliate links.

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A Very Bookish Christmas by Sarah Holman, Kate Willis, J. Grace Pennington, Rebekah Jones

These four stories were so much fun! They were quite different from each other and yet all tied together well. I loved the bookish themes and the way they were incorporated. I highly recommend this little collection. Gingerbread Treasures was engaging and well put together. Molly and Anna was a delightful mix of sweet/cute and deep/insightful, digging into the ever-present issue of racism in a honest and sensitive way. Sincerely, Jem was a sweet story filled with lovable awkwardness and relatable characters with real conversations and sibling interactions, and the touch of predictability only made it more enjoyable. Sylvie of Amber Apartments was so creatively written as it highlighted Sylvie’s Christmases during her growing up years and how she developed and matured both physically and spiritually – and the Anne theme was just darling. All in all, I loved this collection. And the cover is SO gorgeous! Well worth the purchase. 🙂

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Grandfather’s Mug by Rebekah Morris

What a sweet little story with a sweet little boy in it! 💙 I LOVED every sentence of the story behind the mug, and I loved how it got sweeter at the end, if a bit more painful. What a wonderful tale with wonderful characters and a wonderful message.

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I Don’t Dance by Jesseca Wheaton

Wow. I’ve had this on Kindle for a while and always bypassed it. That was a mistake. 😉 But how could I have known that an amazingly sweet and deep tale lay in these pages?

I find almost all romance novels (I don’t read mainstream romance, just clean/Christian on occasion) predictable and usually rather frustrating. But I Don’t Dance! Wow! What a breath of fresh air! A sweet old-fashioned godly romance between best friends – this is how it’s done, folks. 🙂 I love best friend romances, and this one was so well written!

I loved the characters. So many personalities and so well portrayed. I loved how the characters related in the beginning as simply friends – best friends. So innocent and real and sweet and charming without any hidden agendas or flirting or anything else to spoil it. I loved the pure laughing together and joking and just living life.

I loved the families! The parents were AWESOME. What a blessing. The siblings were unique and fun and supportive. I loved the family interactions.

I loved the waiting, the slowness, the stepping back and praying. No one rushed, no one was in a hurry…and they were so willing to give each other up if God wanted, despite the pain that would entail. Wow. I loved that there was no pressure to rush or teasing about marriage from others before the time was right. (Even Mike was surprisingly helpful and wise, despite his mischief.) I loved how both characters sought God and not their own desires and dreams.

I loved the little details of friendship – the chocolate ice cream and doughnuts, the shared memories, and the dancing. I loved the simple summer adventures!

And I loved how the story portrayed real trust in the Lord even when it’s hard.

I highly recommend this story!

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The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia G. Ruggieri

What an enjoyable story of life as a traveling librarian. Vivid characters, exciting yet realistic plot, and a deep message combine to form this historically-based story. The writing style was excellent and the themes and tone woven together naturally.

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Resting Life: Jesus’ Rest for the Busy or Burdened Believer by Erika Mathews

Yes, this book is my own, and I don’t apologize for including it, because I published it earlier this year and it truly is one of my top books I’ve read this year. It is a culmination of over a decade of meditations and studies on Biblical rest, and my prayer is that it proves encouraging and helpful to believers seeking resting life in Jesus Christ in this fast-paced – or crazy and chaotic – modern world. The timing of its release coincided with quarantine, and these truths of resting in Christ in every area of life are more needed today than ever. I’m continually challenged by these truths and reminded how much spiritual rest is needed in my own life.

Today we announce the giveaway winners . . . so click the button below to hop over to Literary Lodge central to find out who won!

Also at Literary Lodge central are links to pages with free books and books on sale for 99 cents! Find it all with the below button.

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It’s been an enjoyable autumn week! Thank you so much for joining us here at Five Fall Favorites!

Have you read any of these books? What did you enjoy about them? Which books sound interesting to read? What are your top books of 2020? What were your favorite parts of this party?

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Five Fall Favorites: Instructional Non-Fiction

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Welcome to the Backpacks room – a crucial first stop for your day at the Literary Lodge – or a great refueling stop midway. Pick your favorite backpack from the assortment on these benches. They are pre-loaded with water, maps, jackets, and, of course, books. You can choose a sun hat or a winter hats from those on the hooks there. If you want, there are bike helmets and life jackets if you need them.

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Welcome to day five of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog has a different theme for the day and each blog will be sharing five favorite books in a specific genre. There are also giveaways and free books, so don’t forget to check out the rest of the rooms for today’s freebie (link at the end of this post). It’s the last day to enter the giveaway – which includes a fall reading bag with several paperbacks and an Amazon gift card. The good news is if we get enough entries, we’re adding a special second prize and perhaps even a third, so go enter!

Good! Now that you’re loaded up, let’s trek up these rocks to enjoy the view of the lake and share some of our favorite instructional non-fiction books.

For this category, I’m choosing to share some books that have been especially instructional in my spiritual walk. It’s wonderful (and I’m very grateful for) books that give practical “how-to”s in daily life . . . but thriving in our spiritual life will have eternal value and impacts.

This post contains affiliate links.


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When I finally read this book, I was amazed at how logically, clearly, and practically Lewis lays out the basic elements of Christianity in an understandable way. It’s a stretching book, but so helpful to my knowing of God and confirmation of ALL the Bible says. 
 
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This is such an excellent foundational book on spiritual life! Watchman Nee had such a deep relationship with God. The truth that we have been crucified with Christ is so rich, and every paragraph of this book is packed with depth that transforms and refreshes the perspective on what relationship with Him should look like. I highly recommend this book to everyone! (I need to reread it again soon!)
 
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This is a practical book that touches on a wide variety of the disciplines and devotions of the Christian life. I have been very much enriched by studying and applying principles from the various chapters. It includes questions for personal application as well as text to read. Once again, every Christian should read this book.
 
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Wow. If there’s one book that opened my eyes to a side of Biblical Christianity that I hadn’t recognized before, it’s this one. Who would have thought that the simple concept of blood covenant could be so transforming and practical to my life in Christ? Covenant is the way that God designed his kingdom to work – and His relationship with us. I very highly recommend this book.
 
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This is another practical and deep gem of a book! It describes in step-by-step detail how to walk with God in daily life: how to practice His presence, how to abide in Him in the midst of mundane daily life, how to become more and more continually aware of Him in everything. If you haven’t read this book, you need to. 

 

Thanks for hiking with me, and we’ll see you tomorrow for the last day of Five Fall Favorites!

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And now for the giveaway! Look at this awesome fall reading book bag – filled with excellent books! The Grand Prize includes signed paperbacks, a tote, and an Amazon gift card . . . Enter here. Giveaway open to both US and international winners; an international first place winner will receive ebooks and an Amazon gift card while a second winner from the US will receive the paperbacks.

If we get enough entries, we’ll draw an additional winner to receive ebooks . . . so tell your friends!

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Have you read any of these books? Which were your favorites and why? Which ones would you like to read?

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Five Fall Favorites: Holiday Books

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We’re hopping on our Bikes here today for a festive ride! Today’s theme is holiday books (other than Christmas)and I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s favorites! If you didn’t bring one, we have plenty to share. There’s a brand new New Year’s bike over there, and a pretty pink Valentine’s Day themed one leaning against the tree. Or try that one with Fourth of July streamers. There are a number of Thanksgiving-decorated bicycles as well. I think I’ll use one of this Resurrection Day bikes – that blue one looks excellent. We’re going to trek around this beautiful lake and enjoy the fall colors. Pick your favorite bike, hop on, tuck your favorite holiday books in the basket – don’t forget your water bottle! – and follow me!

It’s day four of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog has a different theme for the day and each blog will be sharing five favorite books in a specific genre. There are also giveaways and free books, so don’t forget to check out the rest of the rooms for today’s freebie (link at the end of this post). The US giveaway includes a fall reading bag with several paperbacks and an Amazon gift card. The good news is if we get enough entries, we’re adding a special second prize and perhaps even a third, so go enter!

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Readers of all ages squint in the sunlight as they mount the bicycle of their choice, books in baskets. Soon, a bright array weaves in and out on the path, and we set off down the trail.

As we ride, I adjust my microphone and speak up. “Time for today’s top five holiday books. But not Christmas.”

This category was more difficult that I thought it would be. Either I haven’t read nearly enough holiday books that weren’t Christmas, or I have poor recall for which books include holidays (or both)! I’m inspired to write more holiday stories . . . (Victory’s Voice has a Resurrection Day equivalent featured prominently!). But here are five Thanksgiving and Resurrection Day books I loved.

This post contains affiliate links.

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This short story centered on the resurrection was very interesting. It turned out to be a bit short – there was room to get more deeply into the story – but great for a quick read. I loved the use of Scriptures throughout the story as well as the additional elements that may not necessarily be factual, but sparked thought nonetheless. When writing books based on Biblical events, one must be careful not to stray from the truth too far, and I thought this story handled it very discretely and appropriately. The focus was pointing readers back to the actual Biblical truth of what happened in a thought-provoking way that gives a renewed perspective on the story.
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Christ Arose: A Tomb’s Tale is a unique look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Writing from the perspective of an inanimate object can be a challenge, but Faith Blum rose to the challenge masterfully, creating a quick read that provides a new perspective on an old and dear story. And isn’t that cover absolutely gorgeous?

I particularly appreciate the use of Scripture throughout this tale, as well as the fitting incorporation of the hymn Christ Arose. Reading this story reminds me of Jesus’ words – “if these should hold their peace, the rocks should cry out.” In this book, the tomb indeed bears witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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These next two stories are Thanksgiving-centered, and both are featured in the brand new A Very Bookish Thanksgiving collection which will be released on October 26, 2020. I had the privilege of being an early reader of two of the five stories, and both blew me away by their loveliness even in the early stages.
And yes, I’m counting them as two separate books, because my understanding is that they will be available as standalones at some point next year.
A Fine Day Tomorrow is based on the story of Little Women . . . only it’s “Beth’s” story, and it’s set during the Spanish Flu in the early 1900s. Essie struggles with her calling, her health, her fiance . . . and her place in life. And Amanda has weaved a beautiful story with a cozy feeling of the original Little Women while being an entirely fresh masterpiece on its own. What’s more, the inclusion of Thanksgiving as part of the story is perfect.
As Long As I Belong is based on Jane Austen’s Fanny Price, which I haven’t yet read. But I LOVED this retelling! It’s a gorgeous autumn setting at a location I’ve always been intrigued about and would love to visit if it weren’t so crowded with tourists every year (and if I didn’t live in the north where gorgeous autumn locations already abound)! The heroine of this story is an ordinary girl who just wants to know where she belongs . . . to fit in . . . to be part of a happy family. Her interactions with those around her are so wholesome and beautiful, and once again, Thanksgiving provides a perfect time to learn where she does belong.
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Unlike the other books on this list, this is a non-fiction book. Yet I love how clearly and how well it lays out the historical and scientific case for the truth of the Biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s not just an ancient story . . . it really did occur exactly as Scripture records, and this book dives into why. It’s a crucial resource for giving an informed and thoughtful answer about what we believe about the most significant event of the Christian faith.

As the bike shed appears on the horizon, we cruise down the final stretch of the trail, crunching over the browns, reds, and yellows coating the path. Thank you so much for riding with me today! I will see you tomorrow for yet another enjoyable autumn activity. Until then, enjoy today’s other party stops, stop by the Books room for your free short story, and don’t forget the giveaway!

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And now for the giveaway! Look at this awesome fall reading book bag – filled with excellent books! The Grand Prize includes signed paperbacks, a tote, and an Amazon gift card . . . Enter here. Giveaway open to both US and international winners; an international first place winner will receive ebooks and an Amazon gift card while a second winner from the US will receive the paperbacks.

If we get enough entries, we’ll draw an additional winner to receive ebooks . . . so tell your friends!

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Have you read any of these books? Which were your favorite, and what did you like about them? Which one sounds the most interesting to try? What are some of your favorite sibling books?

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Five Fall Favorites: Medical Books

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Welcome to the third day of Five Fall Favorites, a week-long book party hosted by Read Another Page with party “rooms” at various literary blogs! Each blog has a different theme for the day and each blog will be sharing five favorite books in a specific genre. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs/rooms to find your free book of the day!

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The door creaks open slowly. An orange leaf floats down to rest in the dust near the doorway. The scent of hay fills the air. Pumpkin rest in the corners, piled for winter use. Readers of all ages file in, find a cozy corner in the hay, and settle in. Welcome to the Barns room!

Today’s theme is medical books.

This post contains affiliate links.

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While this isn’t strictly a straight medical fiction book, two of the major characters are doctors, and their professions play strongly into the story. Beyond that part of the book, this is a story with wild adventures, witty banter, and perhaps somewhat shocking actions and choices for the time period when it was written. Yet throughout the story of the lively and spunky Capitola, the hidden hand of God weaves its way.
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The Black Death, the spread of the bubonic plague in London in the 1300s, is the key historical event of this fictional book. Cyril goes through the Great Fire of London, fights heroic battles, saves people from death – and survives the plague. Henty writes in an intriguing way, and the medical practices detailed are interesting as well as informative.
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This is a medical book starring pets and farm animals. James Herriot is a veterinarian, and his accounts of various creatures that he encountered in his practice, their stories, and their owners are nostalgically written. The pictures are gorgeous as well.
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This book is based on the true story of a girl who lost a leg in a farm accident in the early 1900s. After amputation had to be carried out on a kitchen table, this story tells the challenges and struggles of recovery and learning to walk again – as well as participate in normal life with a wooden leg. This gives a realistic and interesting picture of farm life at the turn of the century.
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One of the main characters of this book is a paramedic, and his story of meeting a bookstore girl is thought-provoking and beautiful. I loved the subtleness of the friendship between the two leads. I LOVED the pacing of this book and the pacing of the romance. I loved how the story focused on each character sorting out his/her own issues. The plot wasn’t driven by attraction or romance primarily, and that was refreshing. Falling in love quite late made for an excellent story. The children were adorable and awesome and Murrae sounded like just the cutest.

The families were awesome. Even Dad. I love good family relationships, and people who sincerely try to have good relationships even when it’s hard. The bookshop was the cutest. I want to go there. 🙂 Alyvia’s hard work and dedication were inspiring. I loved the plot lines of trusting God…so crucial for everyone. The message was well done. I recommend this book for fans of Christian contemporary. 

Thanks so much for joining me here in the barn today! Feel free to explore further. There should be bikes ready for riding, boats on the lake, benches to relax on, and a bonfire to sing hymns around. And don’t forget to find the books room for the free short story. See you tomorrow!

Giveaway

FFF2020prize2

And now for the giveaway! Look at this awesome fall reading book bag – filled with excellent books! The Grand Prize includes signed paperbacks, a tote, and an Amazon gift card . . . Enter here. Giveaway open to both US and international winners; an international first place winner will receive ebooks and an Amazon gift card while a second winner from the US will receive the paperbacks.

If we get enough entries, we’ll draw an additional winner to receive ebooks . . . so tell your friends!

Have you read any of these books? Which ones? What did you like about them? Which book sounds most interesting to read?