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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cover Reveal: Resting Life by Erika Mathews

Hey everyone! A gorgeous cover for an encouraging Christian living non-fiction book is being revealed today! Resting Life: Jesus' Rest for the Busy or Burdened Believer is an upcoming release by Erika Mathews.


But first, all the details.

RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2020! Mark your calendars!
...but you can skip the calendar part if you preorder the ebook on Amazon. You'll automatically get the best price, and the book will appear right on your device bright and early on release day! (And Amazon is kind enough to notify you, so you can be among the very first to read the book if you wish!)
But do you actually want to preorder already? What is this new book about? Is it worth your time?

Can your busy, stressful reality truly transform into the abundant, restful reality of the kingdom of God? The Bible says yes. Through rest in Christ, your life can be fulfilled, productive, peaceful, and free to give and receive love. But just what is Biblical rest, and how can it seamlessly fuse with your modern life? In Resting Life: Jesus’ Rest for the Busy or Burdened Believer, Bible teacher Erika Mathews addresses this question. Discover the unification of rest with practical daily life, relationships with others, spiritual warfare, ministry, witnessing, prayer, meditation, fruitfulness, and personal abiding. Through understanding and embracing God’s rest, you too will be uplifted, challenged, encouraged, and freed to live life as He intended—within Him.
Now go preorder. :)
But why preorder at all? Why not wait until the book is released? Besides the fact that you'll automatically get the lowest price, and besides the fact that you won't have to actually remember to order the book later, did you know that preorders stack up and count as sales on release day? Multiple preorders alert Amazon that this book is popular, and the more popular Amazon's system sees the book is, the more people Amazon will suggest and show it to, and the higher it will rank in what people see. This means this book - and the message of this book - will be able to reach many more people. This is immensely helpful for visibility in the thousands of books for sale. So if you'd like the ebook, preordering is the way to go.
You don't want the ebook?
There's a place to preorder a paperback too!
You want to know more about the author first?

Erika Mathews (square) - Copy-min Erika Mathews is an author and editor who lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and children. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. She wrote Resting Life out of meditations and prayers during her three years at Bible School. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at
Ready to preorder (Kindle) (Paperback) now?
Of course not. You came here for the cover...and so the cover you shall have.

Resting Life Front Cover 2.8.20

Design credit goes to Sarah Grace Grzy.

And enjoy the back cover, since back covers don't often get as much love:
Resting Life Back Cover

*Applause! Cheering! Throwing of confetti! Cookies for all!*
*Deep sigh of contentment*


Thank you so much for attending this reveal party. Watch Erika's Instagram this month for release celebrations, Bible studies based on Resting Life, and giveaways. May the blessings of the Lord be upon you today!
And now you can safely preorder. :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Top 15 Books of 2019

Happy New Year! Once again it’s time for my list of most impacting reads of the year. I always enjoy making this list and sharing the books that have made a deep impression on me. In both subtle and apparent ways, books influence our thinking and change our lives, and that’s why it’s so satisfying to look back on them.


Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

I actually gave this book only 3.5 stars, but let me explain: Hardy is a powerful writer, but his stories tend to be depressing. And when one reads powerful but depressing stories, one is conflicted about one’s feelings for them. Far from the Madding Crowd was published in 1874 and is one of Hardy’s most popular works. Bathsheba Everdene is a fascinating heroine who inherits a farm and runs it herself, against all typical customs in Victorian England. In the course of the novel, three men fall in love with her, the most decent one being steady, loyal Gabriel Oak. One never can tell how a Hardy novel will conclude since he’s not committed to happy endings, so I was apprehensive. I can definitely say that this book’s ending is one of the most unforgettable I’ve ever read, and it helped land Far from the Madding Crowd on this list. Read my full review HERE.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

by Jules Verne

This had been on my to-read list for years because the 1959 film with James Mason and Pat Boone was one of mine and my brother’s favorites growing up. When my friend Sarah and I read it as part of our monthly classic buddy reads, I enjoyed it a lot! Admittedly, I like the movie more, but it’s hard to compare them because the stories are quite different. In its own right, however, Jules Verne’s pioneering science fiction novel, published in 1864, is an imaginative, page-turning adventure. German professor Otto Liedenbrock, his nephew Axel (also the narrator), and their guide Hans make a great team as they penetrate an Icelandic volcano in search of the earth’s core. Read my full review HERE.

The Enchanted April

by Elizabeth von Arnim

This lovely little book from 1922 is an atmospheric delight. Four British women desperate for a change in their tedious lives rent a castle in Italy for the month of April. Wonderful things begin to happen, but is it enough to transform their lives beyond their Italian respite? I enjoyed getting to know each of the ladies and watching their thoughts as revelations unfold while the castle works its magic on them. Read my full review HERE.

Island Magic

by Elizabeth Goudge

I’m almost positive any Elizabeth Goudge novel that I read is going to end up on a list of reading highlights. Island Magic was Goudge’s first novel, published in 1934. It features her beautiful, descriptive writing and a heart-warming story of a family on one of the Channel Islands (between England and France) going through hard times. When they take in a stranger, will he help them pull together or fall further apart? Two of the many things I love about Goudge’s novels are that every character is important and equally well-developed, and every detail of life, even small things, has rich meaning. Island Magic is no exception. Read my full review HERE.

The Treasure of the City of Ladies

by Christine de Pizan

This book was a complete surprise to me. I didn’t know it existed until I saw it in a used bookstore (yay for brick-and-mortar bookstores!). I’m interested in pretty much anything that women in the far past have written, and being published in 1405, Treasure is probably the oldest complete book I’ve read by a female author. Christine de Pizan earned a living with her books of advice for women. It was inspiring to see how she emphasized love and devotion for God and tangible kindness to the poor. Even though this book is primarily a valuable snapshot of history, I gleaned a few timeless life lessons from it. Read my full review HERE.



by Robert Louis Stevenson

I really like Stevenson’s writing, and Kidnapped is my favorite novel of his. This was a reread (one of several this year; I’m doing better at rereading favorites!), but I’d forgotten so much of it that it was almost like experiencing it for the first time. Sarah and I enjoyed it a lot! Published in 1886, this is a story set during the 1750s, when Scotland (at least parts of it) was fighting for independence from England. I love the interplay between David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart, and how they become best friends despite being total opposites in personality and political allegiance. I love the journey across Scotland. And I love how this isn’t just an adventure novel but explores difficult questions of right and wrong. Stevenson at his best!



by Henry David Thoreau

I’m not entirely sure how to classify Walden. A book of philosophical essays, perhaps? But philosophical essays inspired by the author’s year of roughing it in the Massachusetts woods, in close communion with nature. He built his house, raised and gathered his food, and tried to live the simple life and leave behind the hectic world of 1854. Thoreau encouraged his readers to ponder what’s truly important in our short lifetimes and to live with intent. I also came away with an enhanced appreciation for God’s creation and how spending time in the natural world can be transforming. See my full review HERE.


Agnes Grey

by Anne Brontë

Two years ago, Brontë’s second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was on my top 15 list, and this year, her first novel is as well. How sad that she wrote only two. Although Agnes Grey (published 1847) is short (way shorter than your average Victorian novel), it packs an emotional punch. It’s a pretty simple storyline about a new governess, Agnes Grey, who starts out on her path with bright hopes, but instead has to fight the slow crushing of her spirits that her employment produces. Anne Brontë was a governess herself, so she was able to depict a realistic and haunting portrait of the lonely life of a governess. Yet this novel was not depressing because Agnes places her faith and hope in God. See my full review HERE.


Least of All Saints

by Grace Irwin

Another reread on my list, and one I read with Sarah, this book, published in 1955, is one of my top favorite novels. It begins with a unique premise: What if an atheist becomes a minister of the most prestigious church in Toronto? I love how this book examines the nature of belief and unbelief and how knowing the facts of the Bible and the Christian life is no substitute for actually loving and knowing God. Irwin is a skilled author and weaves an engaging, powerful story with a variety of well-drawn characters, most important of whom is scholarly yet quietly charismatic Andrew Connington. Although set in the 1920s, the issues that Least of All Saints deals with are relevant for any decade. See my full review HERE.


Mansfield Park

by Jane Austen

Like Goudge, if I read a Jane Austen during the year, it’s going on this list. Mansfield Park (published 1814) may be Austen’s deepest emotional and psychological work. Sarah and I enjoyed it immensely. Fanny Price has been raised by her wealthy aunt, uncle, and cousins from the age of 11, and now she is 18. She possesses unrequited love for her cousin Edmund Bertram, but when the vivacious Crawford siblings come to the neighborhood, everything becomes even more complicated and troubling. This was my third time to read Mansfield Park, and with each reading, I uncover more depth and view characters and situations slightly differently. Jane Austen is such a satisfying author!

by George Eliot
Middlemarch, published 1871-72, is the longest book I read this year. Wow, there are about two or three novels within this work! Deep characterization, philosophical ponderings, and detailed depictions of 1830s England make this a heavy-hitter. Dorothea Brooke is the star of the book, however. She’s an intelligent young woman who longs to devote her life to a meaningful, world-changing cause. She marries Mr. Casaubon, a minister and scholar, so she can help him with his life’s work, which she believes to be groundbreaking. But her marriage doesn’t turn out the way she expected. There is so much more to this novel that a synopsis would take up a page, so I’ll end by saying it was powerful and moving and a work that I’ll definitely be rereading. See my full review HERE.


Peace Like a River

by Leif Enger

Admittedly, many of my most favorite authors are long gone from this earth. But I’m always happy to find a contemporary author whose writing I can savor. That’s Leif Enger. He’s written only three novels so far, and I’ve now read two. Peace Like a River is his first. It’s a coming-of-age novel about a boy, Reuben Land, whose older brother is wanted for murder. Reuben and his dad and sister try to follow him after he flees. As I said, Enger’s writing is beautiful, even poetic. You can experience the setting of this novel, rural Minnesota and North Dakota in the 1960s. Every character is memorable. Jeremiah Land, Reuben’s dad, is one of my favorite fathers in literature. This novel drew my tears and laughter, and it explores the question of how God moves in our lives. See my full review HERE.


Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Brontë

Published in 1847 around the same time as Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey, this is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I was thrilled to reread it this year. The story is narrated by Jane Eyre herself. I love Jane—she’s quiet and thoughtful and possesses a deep well of principle and conviction that she will not abandon. She’s whimsical yet practical. She’s a loner and learns to stand on her own, but her desire for love and family is something we can all relate to. Her Christian character growth is inspiring. Charlotte Brontë’s vivid writing brings Jane Eyre’s world on the moors of northern England to life. Other incredible characters populate this novel—most important of whom is the conflicted Edward Rochester, Jane’s love interest. The air of mystery around him and his house, where Jane is a governess, adds even more brilliance to this deep work. But most impacting of all is the way we get to know Jane herself as she reveals every bit of her heart. It was unparalleled back then for literary protagonists, and it’s rare even today.



by Saint Augustine of Hippo

This is the oldest book I’ve read this year (aside from the Bible), published in 397 CE. It took Sarah and me some time to finish, but it’s best read slowly and savored, almost like a devotional. In essence, Confessions is Augustine’s autobiography. He was a North African Christian, nominal before he had a spiritual encounter with God that turned his life around. What makes it so beautiful as an autobiography is that Augustine wrote as if he were talking to God, pouring out praise and love for his Lord. It’s also a poignant theological work; many of the passages are reflections on God’s love, the nature of God and of man, how we can have a relationship with Him, and the errors of certain heresies. It’s powerful and influential even today. See my full review HERE.


Calm My Anxious Heart

by Linda Dillow

I read most of this book on Yom Kippur, a day I set aside to fast, pray, and focus on what God is teaching me. This book provided a profound and refreshing perspective on worry, anxiety, fear, and discontentment, presented exactly the way I needed to hear it. It helped me deal with the roots of what causes me to worry. I haven’t stopped worrying by any means, and unfortunately I will worry in the future because I’m human, but now I have an arsenal of encouraging examples and practical advice that have already helped me to worry less. I long for the day when my faith is so strong that anxiety is impossible, and Calm My Anxious Heart has proved to be a significantly helpful step!

What impacting books did you read in 2019?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Wedding Score by Amanda Tero

I'm so excited to share the news that an excellent new novella is now available from Amanda Tero. I had the privilege of reading an advanced review copy and, as part of the target audience, found it greatly impactful.

My Review

The first thing that comes to my mind about this novella is how easy it is to identify with if you're a single young woman with no current love interest. And that is so refreshing in fiction for a change. Stephanie is definitely a unique individual with a great personality, but reading about this time in her life, her friendships and feelings, makes me sense I'm seeing in print what my single friends and I live. Which means that the things Stephanie learns here are invaluable to us. Relying on God, not ourselves, especially resonated with me. It's a temptation to think we're all alone on the journey of life if we don't have a spouse. But as Christians we must come to the comforting realization that we're not. It's incredibly hard on our own...but we're not on our own.

I really liked how music played a big role in this story. All the characters were enjoyable, relatable, and realistic, and the plot was simple yet well developed. The ending was just what I had hoped! Highly recommended.

I'm grateful to the author for providing me a copy for my honest review.

About the Release

Are you a single who has been in this singleness journey a little longer than you anticipated? This week is the release of Amanda Tero’s contemporary fiction novella, “Wedding Score.” Main character Stephanie is there with you as she’s suddenly thrown into a season of discontentment and impatience. Told in a whimsical, honest style, “Wedding Score” is a 1-2 hour short read that leaves readers feeling understood and hopeful.

About Wedding Score

Most girls dream of their wedding days. Except me. I’m too busy practicing piano and being the live soundtrack for everyone else’s weddings to think about my own. 

I’ve survived most of my twenties with harmonious chords and pleasant days. So why is it that now, at twenty-seven, a discordant feeling presents itself? 

Is there a solid solution to loneliness when there is absolutely no potential husband on the horizon?


About Amanda

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Connect with Amanda
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Blog | Goodreads | Amazon

Amanda is giving away paperbacks, yes... 
But she really wants to share this story with as many readers as possible. So, for release week, she'll be sending eBooks to anyone who wants one! So hop over and submit your email for a free eBook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit Amanda's blog for a complete list of bloggers and special tour information.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Road to Bremen: Interview and Giveaway

Hey everyone! If you haven't heard about this elsewhere, this is a quick note to let you know I have an interview on the Homeschooled Authors blog this week. I'm also offering a signed paperback of The Road to Bremen for a giveaway prize. Hop over to the blog to check it out and enter the giveaway, and while you're there, make sure you browse the other authors featured on this website. I greatly appreciate Homeschooled Authors because it's a hub for discovering young authors who write clean books with biblical values . . . not to mention how fun it is to discover so many people with a similar background and passion!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Five Fall Favorites Party

Calling any and all book lovers!
This invitation is for you if you love books!

Just click on this image on September 30th to be whisked away to the Literary Lodge (otherwise known as Read Another Page).…-hop-real-heroes/

I hope you'll be able to join in! I've participated in this blog party before, and it was so much fun to discover new books and discuss old favorites. I'm sure looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Protecting the Poor Is Here - New Release from Amanda Tero

I'm excited to share in the announcement that the third and final book in Amanda Tero's Tales of Faith trilogy is released into the world!

Sheriff Feroci is now lord over the province, and Abtshire has become a pit of injustice. Being forced into the lord’s service does not give Dumphey as many opportunities to help the poor as he desires. When attempts on his life drive him into the forest, this freedom opens a world of possibilities for helping others. But how can he do so when he is running for his life? And does God want him to do more than simply feed the poor?

Noel has always hidden behind the shadow of his older brother, Dumphey. When life forces him to stand on his own, will he still follow God in the corrupt world in which he lives? Would God really call him to do something that is beyond his power to do?

As Lord Feroci's sinister plot comes to light, each lad has a choice to make. A choice that could cost them their lives.

Find on Amazon HERE or order a signed paperback copy HERE.

Interested in learning more about it? Amanda Tero is having a blog tour this week! Go to her blog at With a Joyful Noise to follow along!

The Series:

About the Author:

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continues to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Protecting the Poor - New Release from Amanda Tero!

We're counting down the months until Book Three of the “Tales of Faith” series is released! But for now… we get to see the cover of Amanda Tero’s newest book.


Protecting the Poor" will release August 26, 2019, completing the Tales of Faith" trilogy. While Befriending the Beast" and The Secret Slipper" are loose retellings of fairytales, Protecting the Poor" is a retelling of a classic legend: Robin Hood.

About the Book

Sheriff Feroci is now lord over the province, and Abtshire has become a pit of injustice. Being forced into the lord’s service does not give Dumphey as many opportunities to help the poor as he desires. When attempts on his life drive him into the forest, this freedom opens a world of possibilities for helping others. But how can he do so when he is running for his life? And does God want him to do more than simply feed the poor?

Noel has always hidden behind the shadow of his older brother, Dumphey. When life forces him to stand on his own, will he still follow God in the corrupt world in which he lives? Would God really call him to do something that is beyond his power to do?

As Lord Feroci's sinister plot comes to light, each lad has a choice to make. A choice that could cost them their lives.

Prologue of Protecting the Poor"

Lord Feroci slammed the desk with his fists. “I didn’t send you on a fool’s errand, Barat.” He clenched his teeth as he glared at the missive opened before him.
“Aye, sir. I cannot help that others are the fools.”
Feroci released his anger in a growl. Barat stood patiently, his arms crossed.
“We’re losing time, Barat.”
Barat didn’t respond.
“You’re not doing enough.” He raised his head to glare at his man. Barat stared him down. Nothing could phase this man. Which was exactly why Feroci had him in his employ. But ’twas irksome at times. Feroci blew out his pent-up air and fell back into his chair. “What do you suggest?” Barat was the only man in Abtshire from whom he would even consider suggestions. The man had proven his loyalty on the battlefield, taking more than one scar for Feroci. Feroci had returned the favor as many times. They were in this together.
Barat finally stepped forward, but he didn’t sit in the seat across Feroci. Instead, he took the missive from Feroci’s desk and held it at two corners. “I say, we do this…” He pulled at the paper and it ripped—something weak giving way to a greater force that commanded it. That sight alone gave Feroci strength and he nodded in satisfaction.
“Aye. Something made from pulp cannot stand against an iron fist. They will give way.”
“Call another meeting.” Barat layered the two pieces of paper and held them over one of the candles that shed light in the dim room. A small strand of smoke wove upward before the paper burst into flame. Extra light illuminated the room then dimmed as the paper turned into gray ash. “We know their weaknesses as well as their strengths. Use their weaknesses against them. Convince them that there is no other choice.”
Feroci leaned forward and grabbed the quill he had dropped when Barat had entered. He ran his fingers across its smoothness before taking a clean paper. “Well put.” He dipped the quill in ink. “Matheny … ’tis a vast city, but given the right promise, the townspeople will rebel and overthrow Lord Nedry.” He wrote a few lines, shaping the concept that Barat had supplied. “Haar is closer to the king, so that could pose problems.”
“Then wait on Haar. We’ve three cities between our province and them.”
Feroci didn’t look up from his writing. “Lord Alexandre is on my side. If he works with me, mayhap we can claim the help of Belmis, Metz, and Kiralyn.” He paused at the last name. The anger that had dissipated boiled under the surface once more.
“You can’t obtain Kiralyn—”
“Curse you, man!” Feroci threw his quill at Barat. The man didn’t flinch. “We’ll have to overthrow Lord Kiralyn and sever any ‘blood ties’ to the king. I will obtain the throne.”  He stood and his chair crashed backward. Obtaining Lord Trent’s domain from the king had been an easy task. The unfortunate lord had conveniently died in battle with no other witness besides Barat. The king had promoted Feroci from sheriff to lordship, giving him reign over Abtshire, Fordyce, and Keller. Controlling the latter two was nothing—they were mere hamlets compared to the likes of Matheny. Feroci had the talent and ability for so much more.
He had to gain control before Yzebel gave birth to their child—his heir. It must be his heir. He had no use for a lass. But a son—a son he could shape and mold, without the meddling of others, to follow in his footsteps … aye, that son would establish their family as royalty forever. The land was now under the leadership of a man who had gone mad since his daughter’s return. Why had he named Princess Belle as heiress of the kingdom? She had left her father and had been raised by Lord and Lady Kiralyn. This, Feroci would know—he was one of the only lords the king didn’t refuse to see after the death of his wife. In the king’s dark hours of grief, he had made substantial promises to Feroci for his help. Promises that had blown away much like the ash of the letter Barat had burned.
Feroci had written. Barat had spoken. Nothing would sway the king’s mind. He was going against all tradition of the land and naming a woman as leadership, should he pass before she married.
“I can’t marry the lass myself, and I haven’t a son to do so. I will make the king pay,” Feroci hissed. He walked to the window and pulled back the drapes that blocked the fading daylight. A lad stood below, staring up at him. Recognition slammed Feroci when his eyes locked onto the lad. He was more of a threat to Feroci than he would ever know.
The man joined him.
“How much did he hear?”
The lad’s gaze shifted to something in the distance. He turned and walked toward the barracks—the place he should have already been at this time of day.
Barat’s dark eyes followed the lad’s movement. “You can finally make your move against him.”
Finally. Feroci liked the sound of that word. He had waited too long, but he would wait no longer. “Take care of him.”
The silence between them sealed the promise.
“But don’t make it a matter of convenience.” Feroci let the drapes fall. “I don’t want to raise suspicion.”

Add to your Goodreads' Shelf.
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Want to read more?
Visit Amanda's blog for a preview of the first chapter.

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