Search This Blog

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Love to Behold Celebration Tour FB Banner

About the Book

A Love to Behold
Title: A Love to Behold
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Christian romance, historical
Release date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Whitaker House
Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.
The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.
But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.
A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Sharlene maclarenBorn and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating in 1971 with an education degree, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally with a singing ensemble for one year. In 1975, she came home, returned to her teaching job, and married her childhood sweetheart. Together, they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying families of their own. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
A Christian for over fifty years, and a lover of the English language, Shar always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school, and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, always when the teacher’s back was turned, “pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, and in 2006, she signed a contract for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her writing career. With eighteen published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, she daily gives God all the glory. She dedicated her last novel, Their Daring Hearts, to Jesus.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and made several television appearances and radio interviews. She loves speaking for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their ragdoll cat, Blue.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker for a church function or would simply like to chat with her, please feel free to send her an e-mail at She will do her best to answer in a timely manner. You may also find her on Facebook.

Guest Post from Sharlene

My dear readers,
It has indeed been my great privilege and pleasure to write this series set in Civil War times. What a thought-provoking, amazing, and heart-wrenching era in American history.
If you read all three books in the “Forever Freedom” series—Summer on Sunset Ridge, Their Daring Hearts, and A Love to Behold—you will have gotten some history lessons regarding the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers; Abolition; the Underground Railroad, which the Quakers were instrumental in launching; life as a Union soldier in the Civil War; the Freedmen’s Bureau; and Reconstruction, that period following the war when the south had fallen into great dis-repair. Also prevalent in this third book is a bit of history regarding the origin of the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that formed during the Reconstruction period.
Although I did not appreciate history as a young girl, as an older adult, I’m quite fascinated by it. History itself is a great teacher. Learning about it can be everything from exhilarating to depressing, challenging and yet exciting. It is my prayer that as you read my books, you’ll not only find them entertaining, but also inspiring and uplifting. I aim to encourage, not discourage. Much of history—if we dwell on it—can be disheartening, but focusing our hearts and minds on Christ gives us courage and confidence. Let us learn from history, but let us look to the future with hope in our hearts.
With love and a prayer for God’s best blessings,


Welcome to a time period  where opportunities abound and danger lurks just beneath the surface. Lydia has traveled to South Carolina to take on a job not all townspeople are happy about. She will be a schoolteacher for children of former slaves.   I'm sure she was a bit nervous but God called her to do this and her obedience is obvious.

Her arrival is met with a shootout right in the middle of town. The author makes the story realistic with details that put you right n the center of the story. I love this time period and am amazed at how hard people worked to survive. I think Lydia is in for a big adventure and she has no idea what she has gotten herself into.

Reese is a good character who is wealthy, but uses his money to help others. His father is a bit unconventional and doesn't mind speaking his mind.  Reese's brother has a huge problem with slaves being freed and supports the Klu Klux society along with his father.   It is hard to imagine how prejudice people were even back in the frontier days. Reese has experienced a great loss in his life that has left him lonely. I loved that he still trusts God and knows how important his relationship with God  is to keep him grounded in the Word.

Reese's children are delightful and full of energy. They are excited to meet Lydia and already trying to get their dad to marry her. I love their enthusiasm and how full of life they are. Their addition to the story is fun and I laughed every time they got a bit carried away with things. Reese has done a great job raising them and teaching them about God.

It is very evident that some people in town and even in other states disagree with the Freedmen's Bureau. I loved when Lydia said, " Isn't it our duty as Christians to show forth an attitude of love so that others may see Christ at work?"  Lydia is determined that the school will be a success, but others may have a different opinion. The author writes a story about a subject that even today we still are divided about. God made us in His image. Lydia is the perfect character in this story to fight for what is right. She is feisty and has a strong sense of treating everyone equal. She will be tested over and over again as danger lurks near her. The author writes a scene that was an example of how far people will go when they decide to see only the color of someone's skin. It made me shiver with fright as tears ran down my cheeks while reading what happens at school one day.

I love the way the author puts a bit of humor  in the story with sayings like, " As excited as a piglet in a puddle of mud." It is such an expressive way of saying someone is happy. The story flows easily and I loved learning  more about how slaves were treated and the struggles they had to overcome. There is a romance blossoming that is definitely something to catch readers attention. Overall the story is a wonderful example of the struggles during this time period. I am reminded that God loves us not matter what the color of our skin is. We just need to learn to see people the way Jesus does.

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

" Hatred can carry from one generation to the next. But if the current generation wishes to stop the hatred, they can do it, one step at a time, one person at a time."

Blog Stops

Maureen’s Musings, January 22
Genesis 5020, January 23
Splashes of JoyJanuary 25
Mary Hake, January 26
Godly Book Reviews, January 27
Daysong ReflectionsJanuary 27
Robin is Bookish, January 28
The Becca Files, January 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
Bibliophile Reviews, February 3
Carpe Diem, February 4
Bigreadersite, February 4


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

Wednesday, January 30, 2019



With a girlfriend’s companionship and a professional counselor’s expertise, Dr. Laurel Shaler walks you through personal stories and biblical insights that shed light on daily and traumatic stress. In Reclaiming Sanity, she shows
  • How to find freedom from the past
  • Five myths about anger and how to overcome them
  • The antidote for nagging worry and sleepless nights
  • Ways to rebuild trust in others
  • How Christ gives true strength 
Offering effective action steps toward reclaiming sanity, Dr. Shaler guides you through the healing process, whether you are dealing with a one-time traumatic event or years of hidden pain.

Dr. Laurel Shaler is an author, counselor, professor, social worker, and speaker. She writes and speaks on the intersection of faith, culture, and emotional well-being. She is the author of "Reclaiming Sanity: Hope and Healing for Trauma, Stress, and Overwhelming Life Events" (David C. Cook, 2016) and "Relational Reset: Unlearning the Habits that Hold You Back" (Moody, 2018).


Your suffering is real, but you are not going crazy. Restoration can begin now. #ReclaimingSanity @DrLaurelShaler 

"Ur not alone. God is w/ u. He has promised u a hope &a future. He will not fail 2 fulfill His promises" @DrLaurelShaler #ReclaimingSanity

"There is a lot we can do about the way we react to the reminders of the past." @DrLaurelShaler #ReclaimingSanity 

"It is possible to #trustGod & rest in Him even while the storm rages" @DrLaurelShaler #ReclaimingSanity 

"Answers are on the way. Healing has begun. You are alive." @DrLaurelShaler #ReclaimingSanity is available wherever you get your book fix!

Social Media:

Buy Link:


I was really surprised to read the author say, " Trauma is one of the world's leading epidemics." I know things happen to people everyday and sometimes it is very traumatic. Trauma can be having been in a car accident, losing a loved one, an illness or being in a natural disaster. The list is endless and for some people those events can cause trauma that is hard to get over. I did like the first chapter because it goes into a bit more detail about trauma and has a quiz  at the end of the chapter for you to take. After reading the first chapter, I was happy to see the author stressing that there are answers to the way we feel going through trauma.

I'm sure many of us have felt like we are losing our mind. The good news is, we aren't. We just need tools to help us cope with the trauma going on in our lives.I very much agree with the author that trust comes in to play after a traumatic event. The choice we make is important in dealing with trauma. I like that the author uses scriptures to emphasize her statements throughout the book.

I was anxious knowing that chapter four was coming next in my reading. I have PTSD and that is exactly what this chapter deals with. The author discusses that support groups may be helpful for some, speaking to a therapist and sometimes taking medication. I know what works best for me, but everyone must choose what they feel comfortable with. I never liked groups sessions because I was uncomfortable around people. It was always a trust issue for me and the thought of sharing my trauma with others scared me. I loved the scripture the author used to remind us about peace. " Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you." ( John 14:27)  I have to remind myself of this scripture daily as anxiety tries to take over.

The book has subjects that really get to the heart of trauma and how to overcome it. I like the chapters where the author has included questions for readers to answer about your family life growing up. That is a hard one for me to fill out. I still have a long way to go, but I am a work in progress. The author writes a book that has great advice and examples of how to overcome what has kept us trapped. It may not be an easy road, but God is right there to help you.  I did enjoy the book and know this one will be one I will reread many times.

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

The essenxe of Humility Celebration Tour FB Banner

About the Book

The essence of Humility
Title: The Essence of Humility
Author: Lynn U. Watson
Genre: Devotional
Release date: January, 2019
We live in a culture overwhelmed with disrespect, egos, entitlement, rudeness, and offense — lives focused on self, rather than God or others.
The Bible defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Every descriptive word included in the list whispers humility.
Patience — humility Kindness — humility
Not rude — humility Not arrogant — humility
Rejoices in truth — humility No envious or boastful — humility
Not irritable — humility Keeps no record of wrong — humility
Jesus entered our world and walked among us. He placed no importance on rank or position. Jesus life reflected love because it reflected humility, and He invites us to live and love like Him.
Journey with our hostess, Cinnamah-Brosia and her friends at The Coffee Cottage. They lead us on a journey to meet real life people — our contemporaries and those on the pages of God’s word, who encountered the same real life challenges you and I face each day. Learn the blessings of a life lived like Jesus lived —- with love and humility.

About the Author


Lynn Watson combines many years’ experience in women’s ministry, love of essential oils, and her passion for God’s word to bring her readers freshly inspired encouragement for their walk with Jesus. Her devotional, The Essence of Courage, was recognized as a ‘must read’ by regional publishing industry leaders. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve have filled their Bartlett, Tennessee home with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren. Aromas of freshly baked bread often fill Lynn’s kitchen. Jasmine, her tuxedo kitty, enjoys sleeping in Lynn’s lap while she writes.

Guest post from Lynn

My first lesson in humility for Volume 3 of Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection came from an assumption. Right. Those are never a grand idea.
When God spoke to me about writing this book, he clearly gave me the subject: Love. I immediately headed to 1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter of the Bible. Of course the book’s title would be The Essence of Love. The end material of The Essence of Joy announced the new “Love” title coming in 2018.
And God laughed. I read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again. It whispered “humility” over and over again. I called my dear friend – the one I consult with on every one of these books – and said, “You know what? Listen to this. Love is patient – humility. Love is kind – humility. Love is not arrogant – humility. You get the idea. Every single line of this beautiful passage comes down to the barest bones: humility.”
We both laughed a little, too. And we thanked God He clarified His instructions.
To live and love like Jesus requires us to humbly trust God and to humbly serve others.
In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul presents a lengthy discourse on the humility of Christ. It begins like this:

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
~Philippians 2:1-4 (HCSB)

The title morphed to The Essence of Humility. I placed the focus on common everyday botanicals and plants – those familiar to us today – for this third volume in the collection. The fun came as I dug the plants from Scripture. I pray you enjoy the connections as much as I did uncovering them and connecting them to Jesus’ life, and to a whole list of characters who lived on the pages of the Bible, along with our contemporaries here in the 21st century.
Thank you for choosing The Essence of Humility. So very many titles out there shout to be read. I am humbled for you to spend time with me here. I have prayed for every one of you.

Copyright 2018, Lynn U. Watson


I am excited to be back with Cinnamah -Brosia and her friends.  Each chapter is a breath of fresh air as we learn about humility. I really enjoyed the story of washing Jesus' feet. Can you imagine what it would be like to wash the feet of others? We take away any unkind thoughts and do as God asked us to. I remember being at a church once when a guest speaker asked me to come up and wash the pastor's feet. I was beside myself but obeyed. The feeling of doing this for anyone was an eye opening experience. I had to dismiss my thoughts and could begin to  picture myself washing the feet of Jesus. It did make me humble that day and I will never forget how God watched me as I began to wash the feet of the man who was my pastor. 

I have recently been taken  out of my comfort zone to become a full time care giver for a family member. At first I wasn't sure I could this, but I know there is a reason for everything. I have done this with a soft heart thinking I will take great care of this person because I know I would want the same for me. It has shown me how I have overcome doing things that make me uncomfortable and given me a time to see this person as God does. I'm thankful for the time I have with my family member and I have become more caring. I look in their eyes and I see hurt, embarrassment and tears. I also see softening of the heart and allowing me to care for them in a way that makes us realize how important life is. 

I love how the author shares in each chapter a fragrance that relates to the subject. It is a nice book to soak up wisdom from and emphasizes good scriptures and stories from the bible that illustrate humility.

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

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, January 24
Splashes of JoyJanuary 25
A Reader’s Brain, January 26
Bibliophile Reviews, January 27
Creating Romance, January 29
Mary Hake, January 29
Aryn The LibraryanJanuary 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 30
Older & Smarter?, January 31
The Becca Files, February 1
Godly Book Reviews, February 1
Pause for Tales, February 2
Bigreadersite, February 6


To celebrate her tour, Lynn is giving away a grand prize of a wire basket that includes a hand-stamped “Gratitude, Kindness, Humility, Love” spoon necklace, Hillhouse Naturals fresh Linen hand lotion, locally hand-crafted Lavender-Eucalyptus body and foot scrub, embroidered “Love One Another” hand towel (nice ‘n soft), cozy Chamomile herbal tea, and a paperback copy of The Essence of Humility!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Lost Art of Relationship FB banner

About the Book

The Lost Art
Title: The Lost Art of Relationship
Author: Dan Chrystal
Genre: Christian non-fiction, Christian living
Release date: October 15, 2018
Relationship is a journey of discovery—a lost art. In this generation, it has become challenging to deepen and grow personal relationships with each other. Our technology-flooded environment has left many with limited relational experience and a fear of face-to-face connection and meeting new people.
The church has done a decent job of helping people understand the need and importance of a relationship with God, but what about with each other? At the heart of every man, woman, and child is the need for connection—for relationships with people who love them for who they are.
In The Lost Art of Relationship, Dan Chrystal tackles the heart of relationship based on the time-honored instruction to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But what does that mean? How do we live out this odd instruction? Who is my neighbor, anyway? What makes relationships healthy, and what makes them fail? Through Dan’s personal stories and difficult life lessons, readers will come away encouraged, inspired, and motivated to love the people in their life more fully. If you desire deep and meaningful connections, now is the time to discover the lost art of relationship.

About the Author

dan chrystalDan Chrystal has over twenty-three years of ministry and relationship experience. He serves as a pastor for Bayside Church Granite Bay, under the dynamic leadership of founding pastor, Ray Johnston. Dan is a vibrant speaker and a dedicated life, career, and couple’s coach. He holds an MBA in executive leadership from Kaplan University (now Purdue Global University) and is currently studying law at Concord Law School. His extensive ministry background has taken him all over the country, from the east coast to the west, where he has served in varying capacities, including Lead Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Associate Pastor, Worship Leader, and Youth Pastor. An avid student of relationship, Dan is passionate about helping others to love their neighbors as themselves. 
“Choose a good reputation over great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Guest post from Dan

For two years, I experienced what many would call a “wilderness experience.” I truly felt forgotten. I had spent twenty years in various aspects of church work having met and coached hundreds of people, and I still felt like I didn’t truly understand why I was put on this earth. I have moved nine times in my adult life. Everywhere I’ve lived, I had to start over—at work, home, schools for kids, and especially in relationship with others.
The last move was different. This time I was no longer looking to connect simply for the sake of connecting. There was a purpose for connection that was brewing inside me. That purpose became the driving force of my life and remains that way today. In fact, it consumes my thought life, relationships, ministry, and every aspect of what I do, think, and say.
Connecting with others has been a part of my life wherever I have gone. This came from watching my mom over many years meet, talk to, and befriend hundreds of people. At her funeral, I had just about that many tell me “thank you” for allowing my mom to be a part of their lives—how she encouraged them and truly got to know them for who they are.
During my two-year “wilderness” period, there was a realization that over all the moves, restarts, connections, coffee appointments, coaching, lunches, and dinners with people, I was learning the essence of what I believe we are called, or actually commanded, to do by Jesus. Such a simple sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” However, it is one of the most difficult things to live out every day. Let’s face it; relationships are messy. They can be downright frustrating at times, but they are a necessary part of life, and the second most important thing to God.
I am by no means an “expert” in relationship. I am and always will be a student of it. I have watched relationships thrive, survive, and some fall away. There are so many divisions that come between us, and during those two years of struggling with my purpose, it became clear—God has designed, purposed, and prepared me to help others discover what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I am not perfect at this. As a matter of fact, I struggle—sometimes daily. That is what sparked the writing of this book. I have found there is an artto relationship. For most, it is a lost art, one that can be rediscovered. I would love it if you would join me in discovering The Lost Art of Relationship.


The title of this book had me a little uncomfortable. I am not good at developing relationships and very rarely let anyone in my little circle . It is all a matter of trust for me, so I began this book with an open heart ready to receive some words from God . It didn't take me long to get my first "Are you paying attention to me Deana?,  from God. " Every relationship needs to be mutual; most of the time, we need to work hard at maintaining healthy relationships; and some of the most beneficial relationships can happen through tragic circumstances."  Well that smacked me right in the face and I sat a little straighter realizing that I have developed a very special relationship from tragedy. 

We all need relationships and sometimes if we pay attention, we will see someone who is lonely or hurting that could use a friend. I have always been the type that if I see someone crying I will stop to see if they need help.  It is easy sometimes for me to reach out, but so difficult to let others try to help me. 

When I was younger I was bullied everyday in school. My dad was a pastor and He was extremely strict. The kids at school made fun of my clothes, my hair or just anything to make me cry and believe that I wasn't good enough.  Over the years relationships became very hard for me. I love how the author goes into details about being considerate of others feelings. We may take their silence to mean they don't want to talk, but it could be they just need someone close by to feel needed. How many times have we gotten mad at someone that cut us off the road, or stepped in line in front of us? Those little things can stop us from wanting to be friendly, but I have learned that everyone has a bad day. 

We need to bring relationships back to where God designed them. He wants us to be His hands and feet. In order to do that we need to build relationships with others to share compassion, forgiveness and love. The author gives great examples of people in the bible who were warned not to judge by their looks or height. I'm sure we are all guilty of using our first impression of someone and writing them off as someone to get to know. 

The author has written a book that I find very informative and helpful in relationships. One of  the subjects I liked the most was about forgiveness. That word sends shivers done my spine as I deal with this on a regular basis. " Living a life of forgiveness has its own side effects that are much more beneficial to us-they are sweetness, happiness, and joy." I am still a work in progress but I so desire to have better relationships with others and learn to forgive quickly.

Each chapter is filled with different subjects like, honesty, trust and love. I loved how he summed everything up with this, " I hope you will begin to unearth the lost commandment, to love others as you love yourself." "When you do, may you start to live a fulfilled, abundant life through your relationship with God and your relationships with others."

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

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, January 19
Robin is Bookish, January 20
The Becca Files, January 20
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 22
Creating Romance, January 22
Mary Hake, January 24
Bigreadersite, January 25
Bibliophile Reviews, January 27
Texas Book-aholic, January 28
Book World ReviewsFebruary 1


To celebrate his tour, Dan is giving away a grand prize of an Echo 2nd Generation Smart Speaker with Alexa!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.