Monday, July 17, 2017

Scripture Graphics #48

If our delight is in God's law, then we should not be in danger of close companionship with the ungodly, sinners, or scornful. Likewise, if we are in close company with those three, we will not find delight in God's law.

If we are so concerned about "my rights," does this indicate a lack of trust in our eternal judge?

How are we fighting against the enemy so that the foundations are not destroyed? How are we upholding the foundations in our era--around our family, friends, in our workplace, on social media? Or are we turning a blind eye as foundations crumble?

There is a combination here: God's Word keeps us from the paths of the destroyer (so we need to read and apply it), and God Himself holds us in His paths (so we need to follow, trust, and obey Him).

What are you meditating on today?

Friday, July 14, 2017

First Line Friday, Blog Tour, and Giveaway | Dreams and Devotion

Today I'm excited to feature another new-release! The Tales of Taelis series is a great children's series with solid, Christian principles.

Here is the first line:

Dara pushed a strand of hair, the color of a crow’s wing,
back into the cloth that kept it out of her face. She stared
off toward the snow-covered hills, glistening in morning light.
(Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman) 

Before I share my review and all the other fun stuff of a blog tour... hop over and see what the other FLF bloggers have to share! Also, comment and share a first line for today!

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

This was a sobering story, filled with true-to-life heartache and choices amidst hardship. I appreciated the lessons that Dara and Dresden learned about forgiveness and trust.

I know it was true to the time, but some people may be hesitant to read this because Dresden was a priest. In ways it was true to the Catholic priests of that era in that he vowed to never marry and to hold the church's needs above his own, yet the message of salvation through grace alone and not works was clearly presented. It was definitely evangelical and not works-based-salvation. That would be one thing I'd like to address with younger readers as they read the book so they wouldn't be confused about the doctrines portrayed here vs. traditional doctrines of priests.

As with the other books in this series, it makes a great children's book with a simplistic style and easy to understand lessons.

*I received this book from the author and happily provided my honest review.*

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.


Enter HERE

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.
Find her at

Stops on the blog tour:
July 8
July 9
His Princess Warrior ~ Katie Hamilton
July 10
In the Book Case ~ Tarissa Graves
Jessica Greyson ~ Jessica Greyson
July 11
Read Another Page ~Rebekah Morris
July 12
Shannon McDermott ~ Shannon McDermott
July 13
The Page Dreamer ~ Deborah O'Carroll
July 14
Knitted by God’s Plans ~ Kendra E. Ardnek
With a Joyful Noise ~ Amanda Tero
Once Upon an Ordinary ~ Kate Willis
July 15

Jaye L. Knight ~ Jaye L. Knight

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sale: Today and Tomorrow

I'm having a sale today and tomorrow only.

Get "Journey to Love" for $.99 today (tomorrow it will be $1.99) and "Letter of Love" for free!!

Also, I'm joining a group of other authors for a Summer Stock-Up Party where they have more sales and freebies and giveaways. :) Join us on Facebook! My time is 2:00 CST today.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trever Elkins Music

No, this isn't a repeat of last week. Last week I featured Carter Elkins. Yes, Trever is his brother. He does a little bit different style of music--they worked together for Trever's CD, Rest. As the title implies, it is a nice, relaxing CD (which you can get through Exalt With Songs ministries). Here's a sample.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Journey to Love | Book Trailer

Over a year ago, "Journey to Love" hit bookshelves and e-book shelves. ;) I am just now doing a book trailer for my first published novella. Have you read it yet?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Scripture Graphics #47

“And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” (Acts 28:4-5)
I found this amazing, because Paul *was* a murderer. But he was also saved by the grace of God, and that made the difference.

"And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way." Judges 2:19
Following God is up to the individual, not just the leader. If we only do what's right when a leader is directing us to do right (whether parent, pastor, or even a peer leader in groups or situations), what will happen when we stand on our own?

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:21-23
How well do we truly understand our heart? How often do we yield to the evil of our heart? God has saved our soul, but the struggle of our natural flesh is still there, and if we do not yield ourselves to God, our heart will try to take over. It is a dangerous thing to pretend that we are above yielding to the wickedness of our heart (after all, pride itself is in that list!).

She obeyed and gave her offering, but I doubt she truly realized how God was using her obedience -- as a death-anointing. Nor did she obey for millions to hear her story -- yet they have. We never know how God will use our obedience to His leading, our sacrifices yielded to Him.

Do you usually read your Bible in the morning or evening?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Books I Read - June 2017

This is a week late, I know. Our summer is a craze of busyness--great, wonderful busyness, but busyness nonetheless. 

June wasn't a huge reading month for me--and it was one in which my reading balance got shifted. Usually I try to balance non-fiction and inspirational books with fiction. Turns out for the summer I had agreed to review a list of books and didn't think about my schedule too much. So I had to "catch up" on fiction reading for June/July.

But backing up to June.
My most anticipated read...

*insert a huge row of grins and happy claps*
Since this is a Civil War fiction book, I was reading half for research and half for enjoyment. It met my expectations. This was my first Lynn Austin book to read, and I love her balance of Christianity with accurate history. I gave it five stars. ;) You may read my full review here.

Another anticipated read is actually an anticipated author-read. I've been wanting to try out Dee Henderson for a while and finally got my chance!

I've heard that Threads of Suspicion is one of Dee's calmer books. I enjoyed it all the same. You can see what I enjoyed most here.

And then two books I reviewed here on my blog (as well as Dee Henderson's book):

I've gotten some flack with my review of The Story Cure. There were good elements to it, but as a Christian, I have read other non-Christian books that were less offensive to me personally (particularly writing books) because of the content that Moore chose to display. As another review stated, "The author was OBSESSED with divorce and affairs." That assessment is kind of accurate, in my view.

But let's get on to another book that I did enjoy!

I was happy to be a part of Livy's debut novel and look forward to reading more of hers! If you don't remember my review of The Coronation you may look it up here.

So... there are my four wee books that I read in June. So far, it looks like July will pass up June's reading count. ;)
How many books did you read in June?
How many books are you hoping to read this summer?
What is your most-anticipated read coming up next?
(I'll give you my next most-anticipated read: A Name Unknown by Roseanna White!!!! Can't wait!!)

Friday, July 7, 2017

First Line Friday and Review | Heart on the Line

Happy Friday! I finally got around to reading my first Karen Witemeyer book--and I enjoyed it! How many of you have read Karen Witemeyer? What do you consider your favorite of hers?

The cheerful tinkle of the bell alerted Grace Mallory to the arrival of a guest.
(Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer)

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

This was my first Karen Witemeyer book to try (which, I discovered after finishing it that it's a book two--but it reads perfectly as a stand-alone). My first impression? I'll be looking forward to reading more by her!

Amos and Grace being telegraph operators was fascinating. Their use of Morse code was a priceless touch to the story.

I enjoyed the hint of mystery and suspense in this book. It wasn't overpowering, but enough to add a spice of intrigue. Who was after Grace and what measures were they willing to take to reach her? Who are the mysterious men who suddenly appear in a women's-only colony (okay, a "woman's colony" plus two men who made their way into the group)? At the same time, Grace was a little too smart for the book to hold much suspense. I figured out immediately who the two newcomers around town were, and not long after I did, Grace "sensed" the truth about the newcomer she met. So it spoiled the thrill that could have been there, in my opinion. I still enjoyed seeing how my surmisings were accurate and how the story would play out, though.

The Christian aspect was there. The characters quoted Bible verses and prayed, trying to seek God. It seemed to be a part of the characters' lives, not just "added into the story." It wasn't the strongest Christian-themed message but it *was* very visible, with messages on fully trusting God, accepting His wisdom in what He allows, and quoting Scripture for strength.

And of course, romance. This is a Christian Historical Romance book. From the beginning, both Amos and Grace yearned for a spouse and when God would send "the one." There was a whole-page description of a kiss (I kid you not, it took the entire page), and the other kisses were also fairly in-depth described. The romance didn't steal the whole show, but it was definitely one of the strongest threads in the story, and though the characters did pray about God during their interest in another person, it still had a lot about the feelings leading their decision. There were a couple of comments mentioned that led to more sensual thoughts of "more than a kiss." So yeah. A bit of romance, which is what I had expected. I was fearing that one of the women may be abused/forced but thankfully that didn't happen (for those who are curious about that aspect).

I really enjoyed the flow of the story. As a writer, I try to shut off my editor-brain and read as a reader; and when I find a book that I enjoy as a writer, I'm doubly happy. This was one of those books. It just seemed to have a good balance and was the type of book that lent to a much-needed "just relax and read" weekend.

*I received this book from Bethany House and happily provided my review*

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known. 

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Carter Elkins Music

Another friend of mine in the music field! Carter does an amazing job with orchestrations! He's kind of an extended-family-not-really... he's one of my sister-in-law's brother. ;) He has an orchestral CD which I'll include details of after "Field and Forest."

Here's one of my favorites of his! Writers, if you need inspirational background music... here you go! ;)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Glimpse of Today During the Civil War

July 4th. The celebration of Independence. Celebrated throughout all America since 1777. Not quite so...

In 1863, General Grant ordered his Union army to march south. Much of this year, General Sherman spent most of his time in Mississippi. On July 4, 1863, "Vicksburg surrendered, and orders were given for at once attacking General Johnston." (from Memoirs of General William T. Sherman)

That day marked a day not as celebration, but a day of mourning, which the citizens of Vicksburg, MS, recognized for over a hundred years.

Now that you've had your history lesson for the day (oh the fun things you learn while researching)... happy fourth! Does your family do anything special?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Scripture Graphics #46

We hear this passage often as an example to search the Scriptures. This time, when I read it, I noticed their “readiness of mind.” They were teachable but also wise in the Scriptures. Today, we have many unteachable hearers who don’t go to the Scriptures to define truth. May we never be guilty of this!

The power of God and His Word. Do we trust that power? Or, when ministering to others, do we take the place of God and His Word—others cannot grow in the Lord unless we’re there?

“Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.” (Joshua 22:3-4)
When I’m tempted to think, “My time is being used by someone else,” I should remember these tribes. They left their wives and children home while they went with Israel for years, fighting, and likely some of them getting killed. Yet, in due time, God rewarded their faithful service.

A beautiful reminder of what salvation is: turning from darkness to light, changing from the power of satan to the power of God, receiving forgiveness of sins, an inheritance, sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Share a verse from your Bible reading today!

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Coronation | FLF and Interview

Happy Friday! This week I'm featuring a new release--one that I hope to read soon, but haven't been able to yet. Livy joined me for an interview today, but before I get into all of that... the first line!

Golden leaves sparkled and danced in the gentle breeze, 
waving sweetly to the bustling city below.
The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch

To find out more about The Coronation (and to see other blogs featuring this book--with reviews!) visit Livy's website:

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Now, for the interview!! :)

1) Hi Livy! And welcome to With a Joyful Noise! To start off with, can you tell us a little about yourself? What are your top five favorite things to do?
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for having me! Well I'm twenty-three-years old and live in the beautiful state of Northern Michigan. (There is a difference between Northern and Southern Michigan! If you've never been to the far North, you should absolutely come visit. It's beautiful here!) Hmm, my top five favorite things to do? Writing, (of course!), playing guitar and singing, worshiping the Lord in song, chatting with friends, and brainstorming new story ideas! 

2) How long have you been writing?
I've loved writing ever since I was in Kindergarten. I told everyone that I wanted to be an Author when I grew up! 

3) When did you get the idea for The Coronation? How long did it take you to get from idea to publication?
This is somewhat of a challenging question for me, because I honestly don't remember where the idea first came from! As a young teen, I had many story ideas floating through my mind each day, and some of those ideas just really stuck with me even into my young-adulthood.  I've always been fascinated by the concept of modern day royalty, and it was such a blast to daydream about what life might be like growing up in a famous European palace, while having tourists visit from all over the world who hope to take photos and make memories at the iconic building: meanwhile there's a real family living inside facing real, daily issues that every family goes through, except on a much larger scale!

I actually wrote down the initial idea for this story and drew a map of the palace when I was around sixteen or seventeen. I wrote half the book, and then gave up because I wasn't very good at finishing projects. (Writers, you know what I'm talking about! We love starting stories! But actually finishing them? Yikes.) 

It wasn't until last spring (2016) that I read through this idea again and thought, "Wow, I really should finish this! This might be really fun!" So I finished the second half of the book, then started the dreaded editing process with the first half (because, to be completely honest, it was awful.) 

I finished my first "rough draft" in November, took a huge gulp, prayed for courage, and invited several teen girls who follow my magazine, to read it. After getting their feedback, it was time for another round of edits.  And then in January, another round of editing. And then in March, even MORE editing! (Side note to all the aspiring authors out there, be prepared for lots and lots of editing. Which is my least favorite part of the process - but much needed and always worth it! Every new edit can feel like you're chopping apart your precious project with an ax, but once it's put back together, it's far better than it was before!)  

4) What is the #1 lesson you hope readers will glean from The Coronation?
Wow, I feel like that's a really loaded question! It's been such a blast to hear feedback from readers who got a special sneak peek of The Coronation, and they each shared how God spoke to them through the story. What surprised me, is how the Lord was teaching people things that I didn't even think about when I was writing. That's one of my favorite things about creativity, how the same story can speak to dozens of people in a completely different way! But the main theme that I really wanted to sow throughout this story was the seed of trust, and how trusting God is the foundation for our entire lives. 
Each character encounters unique challenges, but at the end of the day, they each have to decide if they truly trust the Lord with all of their hearts, especially in the area of the affairs of the heart. A personal choice that I've made in my life, is to surrender the pen of my love story to God, and allow Him to someday introduce me to the person He has for me to marry. As young ladies, sometimes it can be tempting to rip the pen out of God's hand and attempt to 'make things happen' ourselves, or foolishly remove the guard of protection from around our hearts and emotions. Several characters in The Coronation have important choices to make concerning potential relationships, and the have to examine their hearts and ask, "Do I truly trust God with my love story? Or have I taken the pen out of His hand and gotten myself all worked up over something He never intended for me?"
So it is my hope that The Coronation reminds young women the value of guarding our hearts and encourages them to trust Jesus, no matter what!        

5) Who has inspired you most as an author?
I feel a little bit nervous about sharing this, but to be completely honest, I don't read much fiction from other authors.  (Gasp! I know, such a huge 'no,no' for authors.) I'm not sure if's because I have trouble finding things that I like, or if I already have far too many fun ideas swirling around in my head that if I dare read another book I think my brain might burst! Whatever the reason, I don't really read fiction. My main inspiration comes from the Word of God. The Bible truly is the Living Word, and it's amazing how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it. Sometimes if I'm stuck with a story and don't know how to move things forward, or I'm not sure what the answer should be, the Lord will give me an amazing idea, either through a scripture verse, or a principle that I've learned in my life personally, and I can then apply it to the characters. I do read a lot of non-fiction, inspirational, devotionals, etc. In that realm, some of the authors who have inspired me the most are Lisa Bevere and Lesley Ludy.  

6) What are some of your favorite books/authors?
As a young girl, I adored the American Girl series, as well as The Sophie Series, and as a teen anything by Melody Carlson, and Robin Jones Gunn. Right now my book shelf is loaded with Francis Chan, Lisa Bevere, John Bevere, Leslie Luddy, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton.

7) Would you mind sharing your salvation testimony with us?
I was very blessed to have grown up in a Christian home, so I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age. I remember being in pre-school and flipping through my Beginners Bible and thinking, "Wow, God seems so interesting, I would really like to know Him." When I learned about the Cross and how Jesus took my punishment for sin, my heart was so broken and drawn toward Jesus, even as a four-year-old. I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life and have been walking with Him, pursuing that daily relationship with God ever since! It's the best decision I ever made! 

8) You have thirty minutes free time. What will you do?
Write! Or, if I've already been writing, I'll play guitar, spend time with the Lord, or take a walk. :) 

9) You can go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
London, England!

10) Coffee or tea? Cold or hot?
Tea. Definitely warm! (Although I do enjoy cold peppermint tea in the summertime. :) 

Thank you, Livy, for hopping on my blog today!

About the Book
Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene.

Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig.

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?

Purchase on Amazon here.


Be prepared to be swept into a different life of modern princes and princesses as the Royal Family faces individual struggles, kingdom attacks, and questions of marriage.

I didn't fully know what to expect when I picked up The Coronation. It was an adventure for me every step of the way. I didn't live a normal "modern American teen" life with all of the pop stars, teen magazines, and movie raves of the day, so that was all different for me (just a note: though Tarsurella is supposed to be a European country, it felt very Americanized).

The Christian aspect of this: there were good messages about guarding your heart (though they were all geared toward guarding your heart romantically, not necessarily guarding against worldly influences--I personally don't believe that a Christian should rave over rock bands, glamour, and what is popular in this world, as we are called to be set apart from this world) and messages on forgiveness and trusting God. It did kind of seem like there was a "time to preach" and the messages didn't fully impact the characters' lifestyles. So I'm not saying I condemn the messages portrayed...I think it's the whole leaning-toward-wordly lifestyle that threw me off.

The romance...there were a lot of feelings and midway through it felt like, "Let's figure out who Addison, Bridget, Chasity, and Hope all end up with" but things didn't end as usual for romance in books. I really liked how some of them were handled. There weren't any kisses (one almost-kiss) and there were just a few mentions of "not going too far." I feel it was well done for a teen audience.

Overall, this book was interesting and held my attention and somewhat kept me guessing. The author shows a lot of promise, and I look forward to seeing how Olivia hones her writing skills in future works!

*I received a copy of this book from the author and happily provided my honest review*

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