Lo, How a Rose Blog Tour

About the Book

Everything is against them
Born into slavery, Rapha is a Philistine who is almost twice as big as his Israelite masters. They find any excuse they can to beat him. When he is accused of murder, he runs off into the desert, planning to never return and hate all Israelites forever.

Nava’s mother died when she was born.  Since then she has been raised mostly by her father, but her grandmother and grandfather have also helped. Her passion is to help those who need it most, whether it is watching the healer’s young daughter, Rina, or bringing fresh tunics for the Philistine slave who receives far too many whippings. When Rapha runs off into the desert with no water, Nava begs her father to go after him and bring him back safely.

Will Nava’s father find Rapha? Can Rapha learn that not all Israelites are untrustworthy? Will Nava trust her abba and Rapha to Yahweh’s care or take matters into her own hands?

A Beauty and the Beast reimagining set during the time of King David.

My thoughts: Lo, How a Rose was a super cute, short-and-sweet read, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but set in Bible times. I loved Nava's personality, and I remember thinking halfway through how, if I was a mom, I'd want a physical copy for my daughter. Faith is really good at weaving in historical Biblical fact, which I love! Super cute retelling, especially for a B&B re-telling junkie :)   

About the Author

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl. She’s lived in, or outside of, small towns her whole life. The thought of living in a city with more than 60,000 people in it scares her, especially after some interesting adventures driving through big cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Faith currently resides in the middle of the state of Wisconsin with her husband and their cat, Smokey. She is blessed to be able to have writing as her full-time career with household work and cooking to do on the side. She loves to paint walls as long as she doesn’t have to do hallways or ceilings.

When not writing, you can find her cooking food from scratch due to food allergies (fun), doing dishes (meh), knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading, or spending time with her husband (yay!). She is also a Community Assistant for the Young Writers Workshop and loves her work there. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her on her website.


As mentioned earlier, this book was released on the author’s 28th birthday! So she’s doing a super fun giveaway by sharing 28 fun facts about herself. To enter the giveaway, you need to collect all 28 fun facts and copy them onto this Google form with your email address and name. You will be entered to win the following:

·         Trust and Obey paperback
·         Lo, How a Rose paperback
·         Handmade rose from my wedding
·         A Trust and Obey mouse pad

This giveaway is only open to those in the US. For those who are not in the US, you can fill out this form to receive eBooks of Trust and Obey and Lo, How a Rose.

Fun facts:
  1. family gets together most consistently
  2. I recently started doing Young Living as a second business 
  3. I now run 4 small businesses from my home: Blog Tour Orchestrations, writing teaching, writing, and Young Living Essential Oils

Here are the other participating Bloggers so you can gather all the fun facts for the giveaway!

October 26
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Lit Aflame – Book Review

October 27
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections – Special post from the author
Kaylee's Kind Of Writes – Book Review           
His Princess Warrior – Book Review

October 29
Frances Hoelsema's Blog – Book Spotlight
sgwilloughby – Book Review    
The Treasure Within – Author Interview           

October 30
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

Finding Christmas Joy Blog-Tour

Excited to share this sweet, uplifting, short-story by none other than Amanda Tero! I LOVED this story (basically a Christmas movie done RIGHT!) and am excited to share it with all of you! I struggle with getting giveaway links to work, so be sure to visit other blogs listed below for a chance to enter! 

About  the  Book
Melonie  Brown  just  wants  to  get  away  from  all  of  the  pain  and  heartache  that  this  year  has  brought  upon  her,  and  Starlight  Lodge  seems  like  the  perfect  place  to  do  so.  With  no  plans  beyond  a  Christmas  escape,  she  drives  out  to  the  lodge.  Can  she  bottle  up  the  peace  and  joy  that  she  finds  in  this  special  place  to  help  her  face  the  challenges  she  may  have  in  the  upcoming  year?  

Available  on  Amazon  (paperback  and  Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DGKSWS5  

Author’s  Note

  "July  heat  causes  many  of  us  to  yearn  for  the  chill  of  Christmas—at  least,  if  you’re  like  me  and  prefer  coolness  over  heat  (and  if  you  live  in  the  South,  where  humidity  and  heat  combat  for  the  highest  number).  Sure,  Christmas  may  be  far  from  our  minds,  but  it  will  be  here  before  we  know  it!  And  when  Christmas  season  comes  around,  there  is  just  that  “feeling  in  the  air.”Christmas  music  plays  in  all  of  the  stores,  Christmas  movies  take  center  stage,  and  everything  is  decked  in  red  and  green.  So  often  though,  what  does  not  take  center  stage  is  Jesus  Christ—the  One  for  Whom  we  even  celebrate  Christmas.    It  was  Christmas  2017  and  I  had  watched  a  few  Christmas  movies.  They  all  just missed  the  mark.  It  was  the  “joy  of  the  season”  and  the  “magic  of  the  holiday”  that  provided  the  solution  to  their  problems.  As  I  was  thinking  about  it,  the  idea  for  “Finding  Christmas  Joy”  popped  into  my  head.  I  wrote  the  entire  rough  draft  in  one  sitting,  not  100%  sure  where  all  God  was  going  to  lead  this  idea.  Melonie’s  struggle  was  influenced  by  some  events  from  people  in  my  life.  It  is  definitely  something  different  than  I’ve  ever  written  before,  involving  a  girl  who  is  in  a  relationship  (or  was).  Though  not  everyone  is  going  through  a  break-up  during  the  Christmas  season,  and  though  the  solution  to  your  struggle  may  not  be  salvation  (if  you’re  already  saved),  I  pray  that  the  reminder  that  the  true  foundation  of  joy  in  Jesus  is  as  much  a  blessing  to  you  as  it  was  to  me." ~~ Amanda Tero

Vintage Jane Austen Blog Tour!

Hey guys! Very excited to share a little bit about this new series today!!! Some of you may remember my review of Emmeline a while back! (If you missed it, take a minute to check it out! Maybe it will whet your appetite for the rest of this exciting series!)

About the Series:
What would it be like to see Elizabeth Bennet in 1930’s clothes? What if Emma Woodhouse was the daughter of a car dealership owner? What if Marianne Dashwood was seeking to become a movie star in the golden age of film? The Vintage Jane Austen series explores the world of Jane Austen, set in 1930’s America. Five authors took on Jane Austen’s five most popular novels and retold them set in the depression era, remaining faithful to the original plots. As an extra bonus to the series, there is a collection of short stories that were inspired by Jane Austen. Which of these books do you most want to read?
Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma): The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility): Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (Mansfield Park): It's March, 1937 and Faye Powell couldn't be happier. After moving to live with her uncle, a wealthy banker, she's fallen into the swing of life with his exuberant children--including Ed. The one she'll never admit she's in love with. But she hadn't reckoned on the swanky Carters getting mixed up in that vow. Ed seems to be falling for charming, sweet Helene Carter. And when Faye's cousin BeBe trusts her with a secret about Horace Carter, Faye is in over her head. Will she betray the confidence BeBe's given her? Will she lose Ed to Helene? The days at Bellevere House are crowded with surprises and only time will tell how God plans to unravel Faye and Ed's hearts.
Perception by Emily Benedict (Persuasion): Upstate New York, 1930. Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family's prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune – and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey decide her own fate, before it is too late…

Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones (Pride and Prejudice): Coming soon…A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice… set in 1930s Arizona.
Second Impressions: Jane Austen's stories have inspired writers for generations...in this collection they inspire fiction across the genres!
From the English Regency to the American 1950s, in Houston or a space freighter, fairytale land or a retirement center...Austen's timeless characters come to life again.
Visit these blogs during this week to find interviews, book reviews, and much more!

November 5
        Review of Emmeline - Once Upon the Ordinary
Review of Bellevere House - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Series Spotlight - A Real Writer’s Life
Interview with Kelsey Bryant - Resting Life
Series Spotlight - Kelsey’s Notebook

November 6
Interview with Sarah Holman - J. Grace Pennington
Review of Emmeline - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Mini-Reviews and interview with Sarah Scheele - Deborah O’Carroll
Interview with Rebekah Jones - Livy Lynn Blog
Review Suit and Suitability - Resting Life

November 7
Interview with Kelsey Bryant - J. Grace Pennington
Review of Perception - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Review and Interview of Perception - Purely by Faith Reviews
Review of Second Impressions - The Page Dreamer
Series Spotlight - Finding the True Fairytale
November 8
Interview and Review Suit and Suitability - Once Upon the Ordinary
Review of Suit and Suitability - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Review of Perception - A Brighter Destiny
November 9
Series Spotlight - God’s Peculiar Treasure
        Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability - Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father
Interview with Rebekah Jones - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews
November 10
Review of Suit and Suitability - With a Joyful Noise
Series Spotlight - Liv K. Fisher
Review of Second Impressions- Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Review of Perception - She Hearts Fiction
Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh
November 11
Series Spotlight - Reveries Reviews
Review of Suit and Suitability - Faith Blum
Interview with Sarah Holman - Kaylee's Kind Of Writes
Interview with Hannah Scheele - Peculiar on Purpose
Review of Bellevere House - Seasons of Humility
As part of this special blogging event, we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card!

Click HERE to enter GiveAway!!!

Book Reivew(s): Distorted Glass & Quest for a Beast

Got the last two short story reviews for y'all today!

Distorted Glass, I felt, was a well-crafted story that dealt honestly with some heavier subject matter. I was very impressed with the way Sarah crafted Jared's character (his personality and character development as a whole). He was written as a young man who genuinely wanted to please God and help his sister-- but he wasn't perfect-- the way he diligently sought God's will was done so fervently, but realistically, with it's hiccups along the way. Never once did I feel his character was too perfect-- that a sixteen year old guy wouldn't behave that way. I did, however, finding myself wishing there was a way I could get my younger brother (more that age range) to read this story. 
As for the subject matter!! <3 I thought Sarah did a great job with Jared's sister who has an eating disorder. it was treated/discussed honestly yet wholesomely. I also loved the way  the subject of modesty was discussed in this book!! (claps hands enthusiastically) This was another reason I wanted my brother to read this! The feelings expressed by Amber about the church's focus when teaching modesty is something I have heard from young ladies close to me, and while it is not an excuse to sin, SHE IS NOT WRONG, and I LOVED that Sarah addressed that!!! 
I was very impressed with this story as a whole, and enjoyed it very much! 

Quest for a Beast, while cute, I felt didn't reach it's full potential. Parts of the plot felt a little contrived, stretched, to me; I also felt that the main characters displayed behaviors/did things that were not quite consistent with their ages (ie, a college-aged girl allowing herself to be swept up in fairy tales; bounty hunting of sorts). 
What I did find awesome were (again!) the lessons Sarah incorperates into her writing. a few lines in particular really stood out to me as I finished up this story today:

“What keeps it from being that simple for you? Following Christ is not easy, but it is a very simple message.”

“…we have both come face to face with an ugly part of ourselves. We both have to have the courage to allow Christ to transform us. If not, we will remain in our prisons.”
Still a good story, but I felt it could have been better. 

Thus conclude my 10 week reading challenge with Sarah Holman! Again, if you haven't yet, you should really check her books out-- especially Emmaline and the Tales of Taelis series!!! (oh! And Kate's Innocence is pretty fantastic, too!!)

That WE Can See

So last year in November, God blessed me with an amazing small group— it was a total God thing how it came about. The group of young people in it have been the most incredible blessing to me and God has used it greatly in my life these past few months to show me more about Himself and to strengthen my walk with Him!

Right now, we are studying through the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (and if you have never read it, DO IT! Go out right now and grab this book! I’ve grown up in a Christian home and good solid Bible churches that preach heavy doctrine and STILL, with every sentence my MIND. IS. BLOWN!). I am having a hard time getting caught up to where I should be in my readings because everything is so deep I get too excited about it lol.

As I was reading it yesterday, it got me thinking a few things, and I just wanted to share a little bit with you all today!

I am (finally rofl) in ‘book 2, part 2, The Invasion’, and Lewis writes,

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is NOT NEAT, NOT OBVIOUS, NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT…” (all-caps clearly mine ;) ). 
He is speaking in relation to Christianity more complex than we might expect it to be, but I had just had a conversation the other night with a dear friend along these same lines, just in a “life” context.
I first read these words, my mental Katie-response was, “yeah NO JOKE!” L. But Lewis wasn’t finished. He goes on to say, “…for instance, when you have grasped what the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planest were made to match—all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go further from the sun.” And then, THEN he lays the big one on us. “In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (THAT WE CAN SEE)…”

*stops * whooooaaaa

So let’s take this out of a theological discussion mindset, and apply these statements to every day life. My friend and I were just discussing last night how our lives have turned out to be nothing like we always expected they would be like when we were little; how life has taken Michigan lefts on us; we are not doing what we thought we would be doing at our age, not who we thought we would be, not possessing or doing what we have dreamt of for oh-so-long. In a way (and even though we know better), we feel jaded. And I feel like a lot of us feel this way. What Lewis says is so so true.

LIFE is complicated. Life is odd. It is not neat, not obvious, and for so many of us, it is definitely not what we always expected it would be. We can find no rhyme or reason. There is no rhyme or reason for why we have not gotten what we have prayed for for so long. There is no rhyme or reason for us not being where we thought we would, for not accomplishing what we thought we would be; no reason.

That we can see.

When I read that little parenthetical statement, so close after my salty inner response to the earlier quote, it hit me hard.

There is no rhyme or reason that we can see (now); but God DOES SEE, and He knows exactly what He is doing.

And I know we know this. And I know it annoys us. Because the way we see it, Him knowing the big picture doesn’t help us here and now :P

But it should.
Let us let it encourage us today, sweet sisters
(brothers too, if any are reading !!)

We don’t see any rhyme or reason for what we are walking through (or what we’re not) but God does. And it is a beautiful harmony to Him, a complex satisfying plot, and it is far more amazing and meaningful that anything we could ever hope for or imagine (Eph 3:20). Just imagine for a moment the people God is using you to reach, the lives He is touching and impacting through you right now because you are not where you thought you’d be, but because you are where He has you. Imagine the glory, the intricate, half-step-details, He is working out for us in the background right now as we serve Him in this messy, muddy, unexpected place.

God knows why you are here and why you are waiting.
And He is doing something amazing with it!!!

So trust the process sweet sister! He is already there, at the end of this time, with the solution, waiting for you to arrive but simply relying on and obeying Him. 

I will leave you with this thought: He walked this earth, as yes, wholly God, but also wholly man; the Bible tells there is nothing we experience that He did not as He walked this earth. So these feelings of heartache, anger, frustration, of being cheated? He is not just ‘oh whatever, deal with it’. He intimately understands those feelingsYou’re struggle is not lost on or insignificant to Him (Heb 4:15). It is important to your story, and He is infinitely proud of you for sticking with it. Rest in Him today, sweet sis (or bro!)

Life is not neat, not obvious, not what you expected it to be. There is no rhyme or reason to what you are experiencing or have not experienced yet—that you can see.
Today rest in and thank God that HE can see and that He is working out an even bigger and more beautiful rhyme and reason than we could ever imagine.

Love you all!

Book Review &Tour: Dreams and Devotion

Hey everyone! I have been looking forward to this blogpost for a couple weeks! I really enjoyed this book and I hope I can accurately convey my excitement as to why for all of you today!!! 

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.
Dara's life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.
Dresden's initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?
Buy the book for the special preorder price, here.

Dreams & Devotions was actually my intro into Taelis-- I read it before I read books 1,2, & 3; so as I went back and read them in order (along with the short stories) little details included in this work made total sense. They can each totally be read alone; however, when you read it in correct sequence, you 'get' and appreciate the cameos and 'history' references so much more lol ;) 

What I Liked:
This book was just ..... super realistic. It is as though Sarah took realistic struggles we deal with today, crafted them, and plopped them into the middle ages. 
One character makes a selfish decision that leaves the rest of his family to wonder, stress, and pick up the pieces. REAL. Another character begins the book with an incredibly real and passionate walk with God-- and then experiences incredible discouragement while trying to serve Jesus and make a difference. SO, SO REAL!! Yet another suffers romantic disappointment-- and doesn't get her stereotypical 'happy ending'. STANDING OVATION, HAND-CLAPPING REAL REAL REAL!!!!!!! I am passionate about this story for these reasons! I could identify with each character and their characters (some to small degrees, and others 110% because I am literally walking through them!!!) and I can think of friends and family members who are also going through similar circumstances. I found myself saying "YES!" and being able to empathize and then being convicted and encouraged and inspired. 

These characters experience and deal with major disappointments in a very satisfying way . The story lines are so realistic, but so were the outcomes; and THAT is why I love this book. The problems the characters face that cause their character development were 'resolved' in realistic, 'this actually is what happens' ways-- not the way you 'know' or expect it to happen in a fictional story. You empathize with these characters SO much because you relate to their pain. You want them to experience their happy ending; however, they experience their "God-grace" endings. God meeting them where they are, providing the daily strength they need to survive and be a blessing to others.
This story was an incredible blessing in that way because wow. You can tell Sarah prayed over and really put heart and love into this story. It shows. You do not walk away from a neatly package bow ending thinking "yeah well that was just a story, but this is real life". You walk away thinking, "wow, that was legit!"

What I Didn't Like: 
The only thing in this story that I had a hang up about was Dresden's struggle. He goes from very spiritually mature, to having what I felt was a very immature faith problem. However! I may have struggled with this plot-line because.... well... Have I mentioned this book was real? I can't quite hate on it too much because I have done the SAME THING in my walk with God, so...... 
It was a sharp contrast that happens very fast- and I think that is what I struggled with. I know in my life it was a slower dissent into where he then finds opportunity for character development. But this may just be my reaction to it and don't think everyone will have this reaction. ;) As so many of my 'dislikes' are, it may just be because the author is talented in her craft and I was feeling the desired emotion!! :)
I loved each of these books in the Taelis series for different reasons; this story's characters and the way God meets with each of them, met me where I am at. It was a very timely read and was a great encouragement to me, and I believe it will be to others also!!! Sarah worked hard on this and it shines through in her writing! 

 Time for another GIVEAWAY!! 
(This is an AWESOME opportunity, btw!!! I have been living in Taelis for the past six weeks, and to be able to get the entire series free is AMAZING!) 

About the Sarah

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.