Break Time Is Over!!!

Well, the break is over. The time was filled with a flurry of doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, holidays, more appointments and therapy, culminating in yesterday’s holiday!

I’ll be catching up with comments, etc. later today and tomorrow (that is if I don’t lose internet because of the ice and snow we are predicted to get later today!).

snowing GIF

(giphy image)

Be on the lookout for new reviews, a list of the best of 2017 and some exciting news to be announced soon.

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Taking a Break!

I have whatever the crud is that’s been going around, and it’s kicking me big time.  Now is a perfect time to take a break, since I’ve already missed almost a week of WP and FB. I’ll be offline all of next week too because of multiple Doctor’s appointments and PT.
Happy New Year’s everyone and God’s Blessings~

The Reason for the Season!!

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:6-16 King James Version (KJV)

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

🌟🌟🌟

A very, very wonderfully blessed Christmas to all my wonderful friends and followers!!

May your day be merry and bright!

Taxing Journey!

Luke 2:2-5 King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Angelic Message

(Google Images)

Matthew 1:18b-24 King James Version (KJV)

18b When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife…

Friday Flashback: Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul (My First Book Review!)

Being unfamiliar with the name Donita K. Paul, I did a quick internet check which showed she had published other books under the pen name Kathleen Paul, several of which I had read.

So when I received my book, Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball, a few days ago, with great excitement, I curled up in my chair and began to read.

The story starts with Cora Crowder, a young Christian lady from a dysfunctional, non-Christian family who feels Christmas is too commercialized but also feels the obligation to get family presents.

Cora finds a charming bookstore in an old part of town almost no one remembers or goes to anymore and upon recommendation from the owner, buys a book for her uncle.

Her first encounter with the owner and the son of Warner, Werner and Wizbotterdad’s bookstore, leaves her feeling slightly off-kilter as if something is a bit askew, but there is no real no explanation for the feeling.

The story introduces Simon Derrick, Cora’s fellow employee, at the bookstore, where she quickly recognizes him having worked with him for five years. He’s practically clueless as to who she is when she says hello and repeatedly throughout the book calls her by the wrong name.

As the story progresses from her chance meeting of her boss’ boss, the book she buys with a ticket to the Christmas Ball tucked inside, on through to the end of the story there is a fanciful mix of fantasy, magic and reality. All is tied up loosely with a beautiful bow at the Christmas Ball.

Danita K. Paul does a good job of mixing the worlds of magic and Christianity along with a tolerable explanation of things normally not considered acceptable in the Christian world, such as fairies, wizards and magic.

The character development seems to suffer from the story being so short-there are many things begging to be more fully developed and people you would love to get to know better.

Technically a novella, Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball provides a quick, light read on a pre-Christmas night.

This book was provided to me free in exchange for a blog review.

(Slight revisions made)

Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz And Giveaway

Book Blurb

Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

My Review

Not only is Janell Butler Wojtowicz a new author to me, but Embracing Hope is her debut novel. However, you would never guess this is a debut novel, as she writes like a seasoned author.

The two main characters are Drew McKinley, dean of a Christian college and Allison Bennett, a graduate student and new hire for the dean’s office. In addition, there are various other significant characters. The book is written in a realistic, true to life form and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to some unusually heavy topics. Alcoholism, child abuse, assault and the loss of a spouse are among the horrific issues that leave us reeling.

Written in an authentic, no-holds-barred manner, Embracing Hope allows us, as readers, to experience the emotions and lives of the individuals in the story.  Wojtowicz portrays her characters’ actions and reactions to what life and God mete out in a realistic and genuine way. They question God, become angry at Him and angry at others and they wonder if life is worth living at all. Reading Embracing Hope, we, too, think and feel the thoughts and emotions that all but extinguish hope.

Hope is not extinguished for Drew, Allison, and others we meet and come to love. Biblical gems and lessons are interspersed throughout the book through the wise counsel of friends and pastors. We listen to their conversations and we hear God calling us to forgive and come to terms with our anger.

*****Disclaimer*****

I would caution that Embracing Hope contains some violent scenes some will find tough to read and process. I did. I had to skip through several pages that were too triggering for me. I have old memories of an assault and recent memories of an injury-laden fall, and this book is truly evocative of real life.

I received this book from Reads & Reels & R&R Book Tours. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

GIVEAWAY

To help promote Janell’s fabulous novel, R&R Book Tours is giving away one (1) eBook copy of Embracing Hope. Click the link below to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f24/? 

Purchase Links

 Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes Noble Nook

kobo

Janell’s Social Media Sites

Twitter

Blog

Author Facebook

Author Amazon Profile

Goodreads

 Author Bio

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. She wrote stories for her own enjoyment, including a short story about a teenage drug addict—something of which she knew nothing about. Her cousin illustrated the cover using Halloween orange paper featuring a hypodermic needle.

Janell attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in, naturally, Written Communication, adding a Journalism Emphasis. She returned to Iowa where she worked as a reporter/editor at three small town newspapers for 10 years.

Janell left the small town Iowa life when she married, Frank Wojtowicz, a family friend who lived in Minneapolis. (By the way, her Polish last name is pronounced “Why-tow-vitch.) She worked in public relations at her alma mater, the University of Northwestern; Leadership Foundations, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Christian ministries; and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Today, Janell owns a freelance service, A Portrait in Words, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Much of Janell’s writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” The idea for the novel came after watching a BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007. That night she dreamed the beginning, pivotal scene in the middle and the ending of “Embracing Hope”, and began writing it the next day. Unlike her first story, she was very familiar with the setting of “Embracing Hope”: a Christian college campus.

She and Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.

Blog Tour: Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Schedule

Dec 18th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Love Books Group (Excerpt) http://www.lovebooksgroup.blog

The Christian Fiction Girl (Interview) https://christianfictiongirl.blog

Dec 19th

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) http://muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) http://www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

Dec. 20th

Captive Dreams Window (Review) https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/

Reading is My Superpower (Promo) http://readingismysuperpower.org/

Dec. 21st

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.com

Tenntwo Musings (Review) https://tenntwo.wordpress.com/

Dec. 22nd

Literary Dust (Excerpt) https://literarydust.wordpress.com

Discerning Lillies (Review) http://discerninglillies.wordpress.com

Dec. 23rd

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review)  https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

Book Lover in Florida (Promo) http://bookloverfl12.wordpress.com