Monday, September 21, 2020

Perfect

About the Book

Book: Perfect
Author: Nancy E. Wood
Genre: Contemporary YA Fiction
Release Date: September 1, 2020
PerfectIsn’t that something everyone wants to be?
Gina has done everything she could to please her parents, gain her friends’ approval, and get that one guy’s attention, but it never seems to be enough. There’s no pleasing everybody.
She’s struggling just to get through the year when a mysterious guy abruptly decides to become part of her life and disrupts everything she’s ever believed in.
Could he actually be right? Is perfection really unattainable? Or by listening to him will everything she’s worked for fall apart?

Click here to get your copy!
 MY REVIEW 
The book is one I think every teen should read. It deals with a teenage girl who struggles with self esteem. Gina tries to  please everyone and has a hard time saying no. Her dad is a pastor and that makes it harder on Gina. My dad also was a pastor and we were expected to be seen and not heard. The pressure was on us daily as our lives were scrutinized by the congregation. I felt bad for Gina as she tries to juggle school, church and a social life.
The story is a realistic look at how much pressure it is to think you have to be perfect. In the story it deals with bullying and jealousy which I’m sure everyone has dealt with in their lives. It is hard to please everyone and Gina’s friend Joel tells her, “Be the person God created you to be.” There is a part in the book that talks about adoption which helped me understand how hard Gina has been on herself. 
I really liked Joel and thought he helped Gina see herself as Jesus does. He is very encouraging to Gina and I enjoyed reading how their friendship blossomed. Joel has his own struggles at home which I was hoping the author would expand on a little more. We do get a glimpse of what Joel’s home life is and how much he cares about his family.
The story has a good theme of trying to be perfect. It is a vicious cycle that some  of us go through. The enemy wants us to think we aren’t good enough so he can keep us from Gods plan for our lives. It doesn’t matter what people think of us  because “God’s opinion is the only one that matters.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. 

About the Author

NancyNancy E Wood was born into a missionary family and lived in Hungary until she turned twenty. Her whole childhood, she loved reading and stories, writing some of her own, but never believing she actually had the talent to be an author. Speaking multiple languages, she never thought she would be good enough in any to become a wordsmith.
Her senior year of high school, she was encouraged to write short stories, one of which turned into Perfect, a novel that couldn’t stay short. After sharing it with a few people, she decided to get it published a couple years later. She went to college in Florida, where she studied English and Music. After graduating, she married and moved to California. She published her second standalone book, I’ll Take the Lie, in the summer of 2019 and is currently working on a sequel to Perfect. She also runs a blog for young women, where she writes relatable and motivational posts that point to God. She has also done some speaking in different Christian schools and youth groups, encouraging teens to pursue Christ through some of the most difficult years of their lives.

More from Nancy

You’re not good enough. No matter how much you do, you’ll never do enough. No matter how good you look, you’ll never be pretty enough. No matter how little you eat, you’ll never be skinny enough. No matter how kind you are, not everyone will like you. You’ll never be enough.

These words, or something very similar, have echoed in my head since I was a kid. I don’t know when it started, and I certainly don’t know when these words will fade away forever from my mind and heart.

I was born in Budapest, Hungary. My parents are missionaries, and they raised me to love God from the very beginning. I got saved really young, and church was my life. My parents reminded me many times that I was the example, and that my little sisters looked up to me, so I had to be careful about how I acted. My whole life, I was taught that I had to be good, had to please authorities, and had to do the right thing no matter what. But what was the right thing? And what if it didn’t please the authorities?

For much of my life, I was torn. I was told that something was not right, but to me it seemed perfectly fine. I wasn’t happy. I was confused. I was living my life according to other people’s expectations. I didn’t know what was right or wrong. I felt like a horrible person, even when I was doing “the right thing.” What was wrong with me? So many times I felt alone, even though I had many friends. Nobody could understand me.

Nothing about this lifestyle changed until my senior year, the year I had my first boyfriend. He was studying to be a psychologist and helped me change my thinking. Other than having constant conflicts with my parents, who weren’t too thrilled about my dating somebody, he opened up my eyes to how much people-pleasing had taken over my life. I realized I had so many masks for each person I was around, that I didn’t even know who I was underneath. Long story short, I thought a lot about who I was. I started questioning what I believed and why. I started writing “Perfect,” which has a lot of parallels to my life then.

God was there through it all. I didn’t know how to defeat it, but I took a step. I talked to my parents. I told them about all my bitterness, of trying to live up to standards I didn’t believe in, of all the things I did that I didn’t enjoy doing. I told them how much I wanted to please them, but how I felt like I always fell short. They were extremely surprised, and then supportive. We were able to work through years of hard feelings on my part that they hadn’t even been aware of.

More steps. I used to write and not share it with anyone. I was afraid of what people would say. When I finally decided to open up and show people, I was overwhelmed at the good feedback. Instead of judging me, people could relate! I wasn’t alone in my people pleasing. I take little steps all the time when I do something I’m not comfortable with; giving hard advice, telling someone something they don’t want to hear, going to other people for help, seeking mentors, opening up to people.

Am I completely free? No, not yet. There are times I still come under the icy grip of doubt and fear. What if people stop liking me? What would happen if I disappointed someone I love and they don’t forgive me? But I know that I am a lot farther along than I was years ago. I may never be perfect, (in fact, let’s just admit that’ll never happen), but I can keep taking steps, getting closer to God and farther from my perfectionism. And now I know that I’m not alone.

I may not be perfect, but I believe God can still use me.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, September 19
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 20 (Author Interview)
The Book Chic Blog, September 20
Texas Book-aholic, September 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22
Inklings and notions, September 23
For Him and My Family, September 24
Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 25 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, September 25
Artistic Nobody, September 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 27
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 29
Batya’s Bits, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

About the Book

Book: About Face, Rest, and Intents & Purposes
Author: Tonia Colleen Martin
Genre: Illustrated Poetry
Release Date: 2019 and 2020
The terrible accident happened too long ago to remember the specifics. Having lost what she doesn’t remember owning, it takes the miracle of crossing paths with Hush, Shush and Silence, to reveal the truth. The shock of realizing she struggled to maintain an identity never meant to be hers, floors her. From a position of surrender, the surface of her tears mirrors who she has always been but hasn’t seen and does not know. Unimaginable possibilities, surprising choices and thrilling freedom ensues.
At the core of all anxiety is mistaken identity. About Face invites readers to consider who they might be apart from other people’s expectations and who they might become.
 MY REVIEW 
Each book has a specific topic that is illustrated but I found the three books to be confusing at times. They didn’t really flow and I was disappointed in some of the pictures. I did read the three books several times and finally figured out what the author was trying to convey to readers. I was able to find some good points in the books but overall I didn’t like how the books were presented with illustrations that were abstract in a way that made me wonder if I was understanding the relation to picture and topic. 
About Face 
This is a look at how you perceive yourself. When we look in the mirror we become critical of ourselves. I absolutely loved the part in the book when the girl was reminded that “God called and breathed you into being.” Oh if only we could get to a place where we see ourselves like Jesus does. The enemy will try anything to make you feel rejected. Allow yourself to feel freedom like the girl in the book. She felt at peace and knew that God would always be there for her. 
Rest: An Invitation to Freedom
I am always reminding myself that I was told I would never amount to anything, I was ugly and no one loved me. In this book the girl goes around and around with words in her head similar to mine. How can you find rest when all you hear is hurtful words? The girl didn’t want to rest, for she felt she had no time. She must continue her journey so she wouldn’t fail. When she finally becomes still   she then begins to hear, “Draw near to me. I will give you rest.” When we surrender with our thoughts , we can find rest in God.
Intents and Purposes
This book was a bit more serious as we find a couple just married. They are excited about the future but seem to wander without purpose. They look for direction in the wrong places and start to pull apart. A great loss finds them lost and alone. It was a hard book to read only because I think we all have been through a time where we question why we are here. What is our purpose and are we seeking God for answers? 
I received copy of these books from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. 
Click here to get your copy of About Face!

Rest
A perennial gift book for the stressed and beleaguered. Falling into the growing category of children’s books for adults, Rest: An Invitation to Freedom, lures readers out of frenzied productivity into a state of peaceful contemplation. Written for exhausted high achievers, this story is suitable for office lobbies, coffee and bedside tables.
“The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. At its best, the fairy story or fantasy is far from being a flight from reality; it is, rather, a flight to reality.”- JRR Tolkein
“The trumpet of imagination, like the trumpet of the Resurrection, calls the dead out of their
graves.” – GK Chesterton
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” — C.S. Lewis

Click here to get your copy of Rest: An Invitation to Freedom!
Intents & Purposes
This story took longer to live than to transcribe. For daydreamers, truth-seekers, joy-feeders, and those longing to let your heart instruct your mind, this little book is for you. Falling into my own stylized category of children’s book for adults, Intents and Purposes, chronicles the path of a life abandoned by disconnection and loneliness as it moves to the threshold of hope and contentment.
Both text and illustrations are mine. Although countless versions reside in my constantly reconfiguring memory, this compilation seems to be its truest version.

Click here to get your copy of Intents and Purposes!

About the Author

I earned my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, received the Hallberg Award for Art; Best of Show, Blue Line Gallery, Membership Medley; published in The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies; Ruminate Magazine; Metonym; Sierra College Journal.

More from Tonia

They are ready! Finally! These three illustrated books are condensed chronicles of various phases of my spiritual development. Over the years, I’ve learned that the deepest matters of the heart seem to be resistant to the confines of words. Images aid in the capture of emotions, but even still, the heart is shy. It runs from impatience and requires a concentration of listening and a suspension of judgment.
Each one of these books hovers over distinct territories and touch down in depths most avoid. I struggle to put my experiences into a kind and beautiful package, hoping to lure readers into places of feeling many might avoid. Not realizing they would be officially released during this unnerving pandemic, I am now so grateful for the message of hope that invites readers into possibilities and faith in our merciful Father of Lights who brought all things into being and is, even now, administering Peace to those who simply ask and expect. For those who suffer in the unknown, as I have and often do, I invite to include the reading of these missives of encouragement and their distribution of the message of Hope hidden in their pages.  They were written to uplift you on the days when you can find no words for your longing, no relief for your uncertainty and a deep desire for encouragement.  I am eager to get them out in the world.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 20
Beauty in the Binding, September 21 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, September 21
For Him and My Family, September 22
For the Love of Literature, September 23 (Author Interview)
Inklings and notions, September 24
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25
Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 26 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, September 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 28
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 30
Through the Fire Blogs, October 1 (Author Interview)
Mary HakeOctober 1
Emily Yager, October 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

About the Book

Book: The Peacemaker
Author: Elisabeth Bennet
Genre: Christian Living
Release Date: September 8, 2020
The Enneagram is an ancient personality typology using nine points within a circle to represent nine distinct personality types. This sixty-day devotional is for the Peacemaker, number 9 of the Enneagram personality types. This devotional will help Peacemakers, and those who love them, to better understand how God created them and how best to use their unique gifts to serve Him and love others. It features a full explanation of what the Enneagram is and how it benefits people, followed by a full description of what it means to be a 9, including their deadly sin, sloth, and their greatest strength, their gut feelings. Also covered are motivations, fears, childhood wounds, the lost message they long to hear, their deadly sin, and defense mechanisms, as well as common subtypes, wings, and where they are in the head/heart/gut triad. The sixty days are split into six 10-day topics that include uniqueness, weakness, strength, pain points, and how Peacemakers react in times of stress and growth.



Click here to get your copy!

MY REVIEW 

I have taken personality tests before when applying for a job. This book is similar to that test but has a more spiritual guide. I will admit at first I was very confused as to what the author was talking about. It seemed a little scientific and I was starting to lose interest in the book. However as I read on I began to understand better about  what enneagram was. I’m not quite sure where I fall in the chart but I did see bits that stood out to me. 

I like how the book is set up as a devotional which was easy to follow. The book was geared toward the Peacemaker and it gives great information and guidance  that directs us to God. Even if you aren’t a Peacemaker, there are still lots of tools we can all relate to. I liked the scriptures in the book and the detailed information for those who are Peacemakers. This devotional would best be used by going through it slowly since it is packed with research and scriptures to be studied. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. 

About the Author

Elisabeth Bennett first discovered the Enneagram in the summer of 2017 and immediately realized how life-changing this tool could be. She set out to absorb all she could about this ancient personality typology, including a twelve-week Enneagram Certification course taught by Beth McCord, who has studied the Enneagram for more than twenty-five years. Elisabeth started her own Enneagram Instagram account (@Enneagram.Life) in 2018, which has grown to more than 55,000 followers. Since becoming a certified Enneagram coach, Elisabeth has conducted more than one hundred one-on-one coaching sessions, focused on helping her clients find their type and apply the Enneagram to their lives for personal and spiritual growth. She has also conducted staff/team building sessions for businesses and high school students. She has lived in beautiful Washington State her entire life and now has the joy of raising her own children there with her husband, Peter.



Endorsement for The Peacemaker

“Elisabeth has written a delightful devotional full of important information for those who want to grow in their own self-awareness and relationship with Christ. I highly recommend reading this book so you can experience transformation on a much deeper level that will bring about the change you desire in life.” —Beth McCord, YourEnneagramCoach.com, author of 10 Enneagram books
“I have been craving a devotional that would not only strengthen my relationship with Christ, but also authentically ‘get me’ as an Enneagram four. This simply knocks that out of the water. I find that, as a four, it’s hard to conform and give in to a generic devotional, and this is anything but that. Beautifully constructed for my four heart.” —Audrey Bailey, artist, mental heatlh advocate, creator of Brush and Barley digital brand (@BrushandBarley)

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, September 16
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 17
A Reader’s Brain, September 19
Texas Book-aholic, September 20
deb’s Book Review, September 20
Inklings and notions, September 21
Sodbusterliving, September 24
For Him and My Family, September 25
Artistic Nobody, September 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 28
CarpeDiem, September 28
Spoken from the Heart, September 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elisabeth is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Spies and Sweethearts FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Spies & Sweethearts
Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: April 15, 2020
SpiesandSweetheart eBook Cover jpgA secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.
According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with one of the agency’s top spies, Gerard Lucas, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off.
The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away—a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.
Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey?
And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love.

Click here to get your copy!
MY REVIEW 
I will try not to gush too much in my review. There has only been a handful of authors that write historical books that I always read. This author is definitely on the list. From the sweeping land of France comes a story of two highly trained people who will try to beat the odds and succeed in their mission as spies.  Their mission is very dangerous and with all the training that Gerald and Emily have, will it be enough? 
Emily won my heart with her determination, faith and compassion.  I love strong female characters and Emily is very outspoken at times. She can hold her own with Gerald as is evident on their first encounter. I loved reading about the  training Emily went through and how she never gave up. The first part of the book prepares the characters for their mission and I couldn’t wait to join them. 
There is intense danger as they enter into situations that put their lives in danger. I held my breath a few times wondering how they would escape. The author does an excellent job of blending historical details in the story which highlights the danger people in France were in as Nazis  tried to take over. The faith element was very well written in the story and I appreciate how the characters turn to God during trying times. 
Emily becomes more sure of herself as she outsmarts the enemy during a very difficult situation. I think Gerald at times was a bit arrogant but I grew to love him as his heart softened. The story is a wonderful account of what it was like during a time when enemy invasion was prevalent . We get a front row seat to watch as Emily and Gerald’s adventure to serve their country becomes treacherous at times. I was curious to see if these two characters would fall in love, but  you will have to read the book to find out. 
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. 

About the Author

Linda Matchett Head ShotLinda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

More from Linda

Dear Reader,

Take a moment to travel back to an era when ordinary women did extraordinary things. After the attack at Pearl Harbor, stalwart American gals stepped out of their comfort zone to take jobs never before held by women…sometimes dangerous jobs. Jobs in which they could lose their lives.

As a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII, I meet people from all walks of life who lived and served during the second “war to end all wars.” Many of these people haven’t shared their stories with loved ones for myriad reasons, but when they arrive at the museum, the floodgates of memories open, and words begin to pour out.

I’ve listened as ladies shared the stress of working outside the home, and juggling finances and childcare issues while their husbands were away in the armed forces. I’ve heard some speak about the excitement of learning new skills and gaining confidence. However, others were not as forthcoming because what they did was not only perilous, but secret. Fortunately, in the last few years, documents been declassified to shed light on the undercover work and projects performed during the war.

It is my hope that Spies & Sweethearts, book one in my Sisters in Service trilogy, will honor these brave women in some small way.

Blessings,
Linda Shenton Matchett

Blog Stops

Hebrews 12 Endurance, September 15
lakesidelivingsite, September 15
Worthy2Read, September 16
deb’s Book Review, September 16
Genesis 5020, September 17
Betti Mace, September 18
Emily Yager, September 18
Texas Book-aholic, September 19
The Book Chic Blog, September 19
Inklings and notions, September 20
Get Cozy Book Nook, September 20
For Him and My Family, September 21
She Lives To Read, September 22
As He Leads is Joy, September 22
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 23
CarpeDiem, September 23
Artistic Nobody, September 24 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 25
Connect in Fiction, September 25
Mary Hake, September 26
Blossoms and Blessings, September 27
Life, Love, Writing, September 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of Spies & Sweethearts, an autographed copy of WWII Word Find, hand cut wood fleur de lis earrings, pewter Eiffel tower ring holder, and a fleur de Lis Coaster!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.