How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Fanny's Hope Chest Scavenger Hunt

 


Welcome to the Hope Chest Scavenger Hunt! Today, I’m taking part in this fun event and giveaway to celebrate the release of Sarah Holman’s new book Fanny’s Hope Chest.

Here’s how to play:

1.     Go to Tangled up in Writing or The Destiny of One and get the full list of items to search for and the blogs taking part.

2.     Find the hidden item on each blog.

3.     Go to Tangled up in Writing or The Destiny of One and enter the giveaway with your completed list.

4.     Tell your friends about the scavenger hunt.

5.     Watch to see if your name is drawn on February 16th for 1 of 5 prizes.

 

Okay, see if you can find the item I’ve hidden:




 

Did you find it? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. There will be five winners!


Interested in Fanny’s Hope Chest? Grab it for $0.99 through the 14th. (Price will go up to $2.99 after.) 

 

How old is too old for a hope chest?

When Ellie starts a new job as a home health aide, she doesn't expect to meet a woman in her eighties looking for her hope chest, nor a house as messy as Ellie's own emotional state. But as she cleans up Fanny's house, she begins to wonder if Fanny's hope chest might hold the answers to her questions about disappointed dreams and holding on to hope.

That is, if she can face both the mess and her own heart.

Find it on Amazon.

Friday, February 5, 2021

My Top 15 Books of 2020

This year turned out to be an excellent year for reading. According to Goodreads, I read 56 books, which is higher than normal for me. (But that still doesn’t count the books I edited this year.) I also set a goal of reading two pre-1920 classics a month, which I’m very glad to say I accomplished. Of those 56 books, here are the top 15 that will stay with me the longest:

#15

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

I was actually surprised at how much I liked this play. Knowing the story before I read it, I hadn’t taken it seriously because of how young Romeo and Juliet were. Their youth still bothers me (as do certain characters—ahem, Juliet’s nurse and Mercurio), but the surprising depth in Juliet’s character really captured me. There are many beautiful lines, and, somehow, being a tragedy it entrenches itself more firmly in my mind as I think wistfully of what might have been. (Interesting side note: While I buddy-read this with my mom in April 2020, we experienced a “plague” with lockdowns like the plague that figured significantly in Romeo and Juliet.)


#14

Towers in the Mist

by Elizabeth Goudge

Although this novel may not have been as deeply affecting to me as other Goudge novels I’ve read, it drips with her beautifully characteristic style: rich description and symbolism, well-crafted characters, and a setting vividly brought to life. The genuine historical characters, like Walter Raleigh and Philip Sidney, add zest and a feeling of reality. I truly felt I had visited late sixteenth-century Oxford. Time-traveling is one of my favorite hobbies! Find the book on Goodreads HERE.


#13

A Holy Passion

by Alicia G. Ruggieri

This was a hard book to read. But so good. Ruggieri weaves a heartbreaking story around real events in the lives of David Brainerd and Jerusha Edwards. David Brainerd was a missionary to the Native Americans in the mid-1700s, and when he got sick and stayed with the Edwards family, Jerusha helped care for him. A Holy Passion beautifully depicted the reality of loving and desiring God above everything else, inspiring me to reevaluate my life and actively delight in the Lord. Read my full review HERE.


#12

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Dickens is one of my favorite authors. Although Great Expectations may not have reached as high in my affections as two of his other novels (Little Dorrit and Bleak House), it showcases Dickens’s masterful writing, plot weaving, and character creating and explores what it means to be a truly successful human being. Pip, the main character and narrator, takes us on his twisting, turning journey of discovery when he mysteriously inherits a lot of money that promises to make him into a “gentleman” in Victorian society. But there is far more to his journey than he ever imagined. Read my full review HERE.

 

#11

The Woman in White

by Wilkie Collins

This was a very fun read. A mystery that begins with the identity of a young woman dressed in white becomes more and more layered and suspenseful as the story rolls forward. This Victorian novel contains a bevy of compelling characters, chief among them Walter Hargrave, Marian Halcombe, Laura Fairlie, and Count Fosco, whose lives intertwine in a plot that kept me breathlessly guessing until the very end. Read my full review HERE.


#10

Deerbrook

by Harriet Martineau

This early Victorian novel (published the first year of Victoria’s reign, 1838) was a fascinating read. Standing as a bridge between early nineteenth-century fiction and what would become a hallmark of Victorian literary style—the multilayered domestic novel—Deerbrook contains many details of daily life within various lifestyles. The characters and their story were also endearing, especially primary characters Edward Hope and Hester and Margaret Ibbotson. Find the book on Goodreads HERE.


#9

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Written by Himself

This fascinating and affecting autobiography was published by an incredible African man to help the efforts of the British abolitionists in the eighteenth century. Slave narratives were vital in showing Europeans that Africans were people created in God’s image, too, and should therefore be treated equally. It’s a valuable resource into the horrifying history that we must face and acknowledge in order to move forward in the ongoing struggle for complete racial reconciliation. Find it on Goodreads HERE.


#8

Virgil Wander

by Leif Enger

The newest novel from one of my favorite contemporary authors, Virgil Wander did not disappoint. I love Enger’s rich, unconventional prose, the way he breathes life into every detail and character, and the nostalgic atmosphere of the plot. Set in a dying town in modern-day northern Minnesota, this novel still has a classic feel that sinks deep and makes you appreciate life. Read my full review HERE.


#7

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

If I’ve read a Jane Austen novel during the year, it’s going on my top reads. This was only my second time reading Pride and Prejudice, and honestly I’d forgotten how good it is, not to mention funny, profound, and relatively fast-paced. Austen’s ability to sketch an iconic character with a few quick lines always amazes and delights me.

 

#6

The Song of the Lark

by Willa Cather

I usually only love a book if I love the main character. This is one exception. Cather’s writing is beautiful as she captures characters’ emotions and interactions or describes the stirring landscapes of the West. The Song of the Lark depicts the journey of a singer, Thea Kronberg, from her humble origins in Colorado through all the heartache and hard work of building an artistic career. It also explores art and the true cost and meaning of success in the pursuit of it. Read my full review HERE.


#5

The Little House Series

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This year I reread most of this beloved series for the first time since I was a kid. I’d forgotten how charming and absorbing it is. It seems I was always aware of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books. My mom and I read them while I was homeschooled as the basis of a unit study, and I felt unsure if they’d stand up to my childhood fondness for them. Well, if anything, I love them even more now. Wilder’s descriptions of life in the olden days and the warm family relationships never lose their appeal. The books are even more important to me now because I’m writing a story that is inspired by them.

 

#4

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy

I’d been meaning to read this epic novel for years, but it daunted me. I finally took the plunge and thought it was incredible! Leo Tolstoy is the first Russian writer I’ve encountered, and now he’s one of my favorite writers. The stories of the numerous characters in Anna Karenina are deeply moving, from the gradual downfall of Anna to the arduous upward climb of Konstantin Levin, a man Tolstoy patterned after himself. It’s a book to really make you think about your moral choices and goals in life. Read my full review HERE.


#3

The Other Bennet Sister

by Janice Hadlow

This became my favorite Regency novel by a non-Regency author. I’d always felt a little sorry for marginalized Mary, the middle Bennet sister in Pride and Prejudice. Bookish and awkward, she needed to grow. The Other Bennet Sister recounts some of the events in Pride and Prejudice from Mary’s perspective and then goes on to trace her path afterward. It’s a deep coming-of-age story that I could relate to, told in an authentic yet completely readable historical voice that immersed me in the Regency period. Read my full review HERE.


#2

Sir Gibbie

by George MacDonald

This book awed me. I grew up thinking MacDonald’s Scottish novels in their original form were inaccessible ... but that is certainly not the case, especially now with David Jack’s side-by-side translation of the Doric dialect into English. MacDonald’s works are profound and beautiful, his language flowing and poetic, and I’m so glad they are being republished like this. All this novel’s characters are memorable and meaningful, but none more so than Sir Gibbie himself, a mute boy with a heart full of love for mankind. The Christian values encased in his inspiring story weave their way into your heart. Check it out on Goodreads HERE.


#1

Why Care about Israel?

by Sandra Teplinsky

From the back cover: “No one can read the Bible and deny that God has specific plans for the Jewish nation. From the moment he created Israel, he loved her and set a plan in motion that is yet to be fulfilled. What is that plan? What does it mean for Arab peoples? How are Christians to respond?”

This book helped me reaffirm my commitment to care about Israel, pray for her, and support her now more than ever in these stormy times when the tide of world opinion is more against her, and God, than ever. A must-read for every Christian. Find it on Goodreads HERE. (The updated version is HERE.)

 

What were your favorite reads of 2020?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

My Interview with M. L. Little

I was interviewed by M. L. Little, author of The Book of Secrets, on her blog this week! The interview is mainly about my oldest published books, Family Reunion and England Adventure, books 1 and 2 in the Six Cousins series. 

 


Click here to go to her blog and read the interview. M. L. Little writes reviews for Kid Lit Exchange and often works with kids while somewhat maintaining her sanity. Her house backs up to the edge of the woods, where she sometimes hears the cry of what might be a nullian. The Book of Secrets, installment #1 in the Seventh Realm series, is her first novel.



Friday, December 4, 2020

Ella Pursued: A Sweet Christian Romance by Hannah Foster

Today I'd like to tell you about a lovely short story by a new author:

 

Ella has narrowly escaped a fatal marriage once, but she plans to never be caught in that web again. It’s been easy to evade the young men of her church so far, but Joe is different.

Can Ella keep avoiding the ever-persistent Joe, especially when she knows her own heart is pulled toward him? Can she trust Joe and, more importantly, can she trust God? Is she willing to face her fears or will she continue to run, breaking more hearts than one?

 

Available on Amazon HERE


About the Author


Hannah Foster was born and raised in North Carolina where she was homeschooled with her eight siblings. She attended college in Minnesota where she got her bachelor’s degree in literature, learned to survive temperatures of below zero, and became Mrs. Foster. From a young age, Hannah has loved reading. Throughout her teen years, she also enjoyed journaling and blogging, but it wasn’t till her mid-twenties that she discovered her love for penning her own stories. Hannah’s desire is that the words she writes would bring hope and light in a dark world. Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys baking, watercolor painting, and all things vintage.

You can read Hannah’s blog at hannahfosterwrites.wordpress.com.

 

 

My review:

I really enjoyed copyediting this short story! The romance was sweet and God-centered, and the message was valuable for anyone in any situation: trusting God and not allowing fear to keep you from following His good plans for you. It's a quick, satisfying read that will fill your heart with warmth.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Love and Memory Cover Reveal + Black Friday Sale

 
I'm excited to be a part of the cover reveal for Love and Memory, the third book in the Rizkaland Legends series by Kendra E. Ardnek. I read the first book, Water Princess, Fire Prince, a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. 
 
So ... without further ado, here is the cover in all its beauty!
 

When a Queen forgets,

Her enemies rejoice in her weakness.

But when the Queen remembers,

They tremble in fear.

When a King loves,

His country rejoices with him.

But when that love is broken.

The land is broken, too.

Can Water and Fire join again?

Can Love and Memory be restored?

They spent years in Rizkaland. They ruled the land, forged friendships, built families, and made it their home. But then it was time to return to Earth, and their former lives just don’t fit anymore. Clara and Andrew struggle to reevaluate their priorities when hundreds of miles separate them. Reuben and Petra are lost as they seek a balance between their old friendship and their Rizkan marriage. And Ashna and Noraeto never planned to return, so what live is there for them on Earth?

When the unthinkable happens and a new enemy arises, they’re all thrown back into Rizkaland, into a young prince’s rise to power and struggle to build alliances for his kingdom. But they no longer belong in their other world, either.

Are good memories too much to bear? 

 

Release Date: April 19, 2021 

Preorder on Amazon

Add on Goodreads

 
Snippet
“Is this the newest breakfast trend? Sit on the pantry floor and absorb the nutrients by osmosis?”

Clara looked up to see her dad staring down at them.

“Yeah, I saw it on the internet and thought we’d try it out,” said Mom, jumping to her feet. “It doesn’t seem to be working, so it’s back to plan A. How do bacon and eggs sound?”

“Absolutely delicious,” Dad answered. “Really, Juliet, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

“Who said I believed it, Pixie?” Mom returned. “But you know me. I’ll try anything once.”
 
Pinterest Image
<> 
 
So, I had a different opening planned for the book – one involving Clara failing to remember how to do a backflip. But then I saw this pic and I was like “Nope! Not traumatic enough. Gotta up my ante.” And I really like the scene that happened in its place. 
 
About the Author


Kendra E. Ardnek is the self-proclaimed Arista of Fairy Tales. She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her dragon babies and massive herd of mini-giraffes, and she is still waiting for one of her fifty nutcrackers to come to life and marry her. When not writing, you can usually find her sitting in a random box, and she's frequently known to act before she thinks. Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || YouTube || Newsletter || Instagram || TikTok || Amazon

 

 Black Friday Sale 

For Black Friday and in honor of this cover reveal, Kendra is offering book one, Water Princess, Fire Prince, as a FREE ebook on Amazon, and book 2, Lady Dragon, Tela Du, is just 99 cents! And, furthermore, she is offering Broken, which is part 1 of Love and Memory, for free as well as an early read! This sale is part of Perry Kirkpatrick’s Black Friday Sale, so do go check out all of the other books on offer for 99 cents or less!

 

On that note, my books (Kelsey's) are also part of this massive Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale on ebooks! Check out the huge selection at https://sale.perrykirkpatrick.com/.

 


 

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Blog Tour: Preacher on the Run


 

Today, I'm pleased that my blog is a stop on the tour for Preacher on the Run by Jayna Baas! Read on to learn more about the book, the author, the giveaway, and her guest post, Behind the Scenes of Preacher on the Run.


About the Book 

 North Carolina, 1771

Robert Boothe has spent the last four years leading the tyrant-hating Regulators in standing against North Carolina’s corrupt British government. Just being an unlicensed dissenter preacher is enough to make Robert a target, but he refuses to back down from his conscience. Aside from a sympathetic court justice, the village of Ayen Ford has no other champion for its poor and defenseless. Then Charles Drake, emissary of His Excellency William Tryon, comes to town with one ambition: winning the governor’s favor, no matter what it takes. And Robert Boothe just might be his last chance.All Robert wants is a safe place for his little Baptist church to live and worship God. But the established church wants him to shut up. The governor’s men want him dead. And that safe place is farther and farther away. You can run, but you can't hide . . .

 

Preacher on the Run is the first book (hopefully!) of the For Liberty & Conscience trilogy, which combines North Carolina Revolution-era history with Christ-centered fiction: page-turning stories of Christian people living Christian lives in the daring era of America’s beginnings.  

View the book trailer HERE.


To Purchase:

Paperback (direct from author)
eBook (Amazon)

 

About the Author


Jayna Baas (pronounced as in “baa, baa, black sheep”) lives in northern Michigan with a great family of real people and the family of pretend people who live in her head. (Yes, she does know her characters are not real. No, she does not want you to tell them she said so.) She is notorious for working on several projects at once and writing her series in the wrong order. She hones her craft amid loud southern gospel music and an embarrassing number of composition books, and is convinced God wired her to write—she can’t not write, even though she believes German writer Thomas Mann was correct in saying, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” She enjoys writing and reading in a wide range of genres, but her favorite story is this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) 

 

Website: www.booksbyjayna.com

 

 



 

 Guest Post: Behind the Scenes of Preacher on the Run

I do most of my writing late at night when the house is quiet, or at my desk when I have an uninterrupted block of time. I’ve tried in-depth outlining that goes on for pages and pages, but by the time it’s done, I feel like I’ve already written the story! So I use a very basic outline, which I rearrange as my story develops. Most of my drafting happens with a pencil and composition notebook—and a lot of  blood, sweat, and tears. I do my first round of editing as I type each drafted section. Occasionally I skip scenes and draft them later, especially if they require extra research, and I keep a file of “spare parts” in case I cut a scene I want to use later. Sometimes if I feel particularly stuck, I “procrastitask” by making character profiles, playing with cover art, or designing trailers so I can pretend I’m still working on the book. (It’s definitely procrastitasking if you’re working on the trailer before you even have a storyline to work with!) I rewrite a lot, edit meticulously, send the finished product to my beta readers, rewrite again based on their recommendations, and then close my eyes and tell myself it’s time to say “good enough.” Here’s a peek at what did and didn’t make the cut in Preacher on the Run:


- In various preliminary drafts, the opening scenes included material I later used in other places: the courtroom scene, a lengthy version of Justice Sheridan’s warning to Robert, and the idea of property being auctioned to pay unjust debts. In my earliest drafts, Charles Drake was the court clerk. He worked much better as the governor’s emissary, triggering trouble by his arrival in Ayen Ford. 


- Hank Jonas was originally just a circuit-riding partner to Mitchell Boothe. When I needed a fuller storyline for Mitchell, Mom suggested I tell the story of how he and Hank met. That development added so much to Hank’s character that he’s one of my favorite supporting characters now. 


- Caleb Thurmond began as Asa Hammond, suffering from an unnamed disease. “Asa” made me picture a much older man, so I eventually changed the name and gave him an actual injury that could become part of the story. “Hammond” seemed too close to the surname of co-villain Malcolm Harmon—who became Malcolm Harrod after I discovered a prominent Regulator, Herman Husband, was also known as “Harmon.” I didn’t want any confusion if readers did further research on the Regulator Uprising. 


- Neither Alec Perry nor Jacob Chauncy were in my original outline. I added Alec when I needed a secondary Regulator leader, and Chauncy when I needed a representative of the Church of England.

 
- I planned a second book before this one, intending to write Preacher on the Run later as a prequel. When I got severely stuck in my initial project, Mom suggested I write the first book first. (Imagine that.) I’m so glad I did—a lot of things changed as I wrote Preacher on the Run, and I discovered characters and plotlines that have altered the course of the sequel. The biggest instance of that is Magdalen Boothe’s character. I originally imagined Robert Boothe as a widower, but once I got to know Magdalen’s character, I both liked and needed her too much to leave her out. 


There are more “tweaks” I could mention, but some would be definite spoilers. I’m sure there are more tweaks I could have made, too, but I had stop somewhere or the book would never have gotten  published! (It was almost a relief to send it off to press so I had to stop editing.) I hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes look at my writing, and if you think I should have left well enough alone on any one of these points, please don’t tell me!



 

Prize: One signed copy of Preacher on the Run, one necklace hand-stamped with “In God I Trust,” and one bookmark with a Bible verse and book cover art. All entrants will receive free recipes from the colonial era.

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Want to catch up with the blog tour and follow along? Here's the schedule!

Week One 

Nov 2: Leona @ Great Books for God’s Girls (http://www.greatbooksforgodsgirls.wordpress.com) Guest post, excerpt 

Nov 3: Madi @ Madi’s Musings (http://madismusingsblog.wordpress.com/) Book review, interview 

Nov 4: Kaitlyn @ Maidens for Modesty (http://www.maidensformodesty.com) Book review, guest post 

Nov 5: Laura @ Beautiful Things (https://beautifulthingsbylaura.com/

Book spotlight 

Nov 6: Malachi @ Brainstorms With Rain (http://brainstormswithrain.wordpress.com) Excerpt 

Week Two 

Nov 9: Abby Rose @ Photos by Abby Rose (https://photosbyabbyrose.com/) Book review 

Nov 10: Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook (https://kelseysnotebookblog.blogspot.com/) Guest post, excerpt 

Nov 11: Lauren @ Novels That Encourage (https://www.novelsthatencourage.com.au) Book review, interview, exclusive ebook giveaway 

Nov 12: Abigail @ Read Review Rejoice (http://readreviewrejoice.com/) Excerpt, book spotlight 

Nov 13: Callie @ An Unfinished Story (https://anunfinishedstory.home.blog) Book review

Week Three 

Nov 16: Tara @ Tower in the Plains (http://www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com) Book review 

Nov 17: Kelly-Ann @ Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama 

(https://www.musingsofasassybookishmama.com/

Excerpt 

Book review, character interview

 

Nov 18: Kassie @ Soldier Girl Stories (http://soldiergirlstories.com) Book review 

Nov 19: Natalie @ Kenmore Pines 1 (https://kenmorepines.wordpress.com/) Book review, interview 

Nov 20: Michaela @ Tangled Up in Writing (https://tangledupinwriting.com) Book review, excerpt, guest post 

Tour Wrap-Up 

Nov 21: Giveaway winners announced in Rafflecopter widget and on Books by Jayna (https://www.booksbyjayna.com)