Friday, November 17, 2017

Christmas Comes Early | First Line Friday

Christmas tour 


Christmas time is here! Okay, so not quite yet. It's still over a month away, but that doesn't mean we can't start celebrating early, right? So today, we're celebrating the release of not one, not four, but eight new Christmas books! All written by Rebekah A. Morris. I'll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour. Before I do so, though, Rebekah has shared the first lines from ALL eight of her stories!

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To read some other great first lines, I'm participating with Hoarding Book's First Line Fridays! Hop over for other great lines!

About the Books


Klara Ivanski arrives from the Old Country with her Papa, Mama and ten brothers and sisters. “All vill be vell,” Papa assures them, but Mama and several of her brothers and sisters must remain at their aunt and uncle’s because of sickness. With barely enough money for food, Klara is quick to assure her papa that they only need Mama and the other to make Christmas special. But will the family be together for their first Christmas in America?


When Desirae Richey agrees to go home with some college friends for Christmas, she expects a small family gathering. Instead she is taken to the Christmas Lodge in the snowy mountains of Canada to a noisy, fun loving, adventurous group of family and friends who welcome her as one of their own. Everything seems to be going as planned until an unexpected snowfall occurs.

About the Author

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn't’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.



Tour Schedule


November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee's Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano's Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia's Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Stephany's BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel's Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey's Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

Monday, November 13, 2017

Scripture Graphics #65


If wisdom is so silent, are we seeking it (Proverbs 18:1)? Or do our ears tune into the frequency of who’s loudest, who’s speaking most, who’s most convincing?


If our eyes are on the circumstances around us, it will keep us from doing. How often do we reason out following God with “wind and clouds?”


If our thankfulness is weak, these are good verses to review and mediate on. We are redeemed, promised an inheritance, forgiven—all because of Jesus Christ!


There was nothing secret about Jesus’ death and resurrection. He openly triumphed. So it makes absolutely no sense to be a “secret Christian” or try to hide our identity as a Christian.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Vintage Jane Austen Tour | First Line Fridays, Review, Giveaway

How many of you are Jane Austen fans? I was raised with aunts who adored Jane Austen, so I've watched the movies since I was little--then, as I got older, read some of the books. Well, today, I'm excited to be a part of a Vintage Jane Austen tour! 



I have gotten to read three of these books and they have been great fun. Today, I'm sharing the first lines from three of these books...but keep reading! There's more to this post than just First Line Friday!

See my review HERE



See my review HERE

See my review HERE

Now that you've read some first lines, hop over to Hoarding Books to read more (after, that is, you read the lovely information of this unique series ;) )!

Have you read any retellings of anything? What is your favorite retelling?


My Review of Suit and Suitability
(Since I had to choose one or else this post would be a mile long!)

Out of all of the Jane Austen’s I have read and watched, Sense and Sensibility was my least favorite. I could get through the movies, but the book I just couldn’t finish. There was nothing substantial in it. It was all frivolous, worldly matters. At the same time, I really did like the storyline and I could imagine it retold in a way where Eleanor was the strong, godly sister, and Marianne the flighty dreamer, pulled to the lures of the world. This doesn’t happen often, but Suit and Suitability met my expectations—and I had high expectations going in. Wow. Ellen was SUCH a great, godly character—yet real-life and human. Marion. Oh, Marion. I have a sister of her personality so could completely sympathize with Ellen’s fears.

For a retelling, I really liked this. It was a fresh approach to an old story—not merely changing names, faces, places, and time. There were some things that took place in Suit and Suitability which are original. For me, that’s important in a retelling. If I want the original, I’ll read the original. If I want a retelling, I want the familiarity of the original, but I want to be surprised. This suited it completely.

Calvin Bradley had to be my utmost favorite character. He was solid, likeable, and godly—yet again, still human. I love it that the characters were human.

The setting was marvelous. I actually felt like I had stepped back in time with all of the phraseology and descriptions. Very well done.

There was definitely a God-centered theme throughout this book. It wasn’t as strong as some Christian books I’ve read (as in, it didn’t particularly challenge me in my personal walk, but that could just be because I’ve learned many of the lessons that Ellen and Marion learned throughout the story), yet the story would have been very weak without it.

Yes, there was romance. There is Marion’s infatuation with Wilkie, which I think was handled very well—in a way that will cause girls to think about their actions and daydreams. Ellen constantly guarded her heart and gave her romantic life over to God. I really appreciated that. I consider this to be a very clean romance and would allow my younger teen sisters to read it.

In conclusion, this book left me wanting to re-read it. Definitely a 4.75 star rating in my book.

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




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?

Giveaway!

As part of this special blogging event, we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card.

Enter to win below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Series


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


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Angels We Have Heard on High | Piano/Violin Duet

I absolutely love the "Glo-o-o-o-o-ria" in "Angels we Have Heard on High!" When my sister/student requested this one for recital, I was more than happy to oblige her and arrange it for piano and violin.

What is your favorite element of a Christmas carol?



Sheet music available at With a Joyful Noise

Monday, November 6, 2017

Scripture Graphics #64


Even as a recipient of reproof we have a responsibility…to be receptive, teachable, pliable. When we cease being these things, we are in great danger.


Part of being a virtuous woman is not just being busy, but being discerning. Whether it is producing merchandise or purchasing it, she perceives that it is good—she cares about quality.


How often do we pause to consider the question? And what is our answer? In the labor that we do, is there eternal profit? Is our heart focused on glorifying God and exalting Him to others? “Only one life, ‘twill soon be passed; only what’s done for Christ will last.”


This verse does not mean to live wickedly and foolishly (as verse 17 clarifies) but, “he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.” (vs. 18b) It is possible to position ourselves as righteous and wise apart from the fear of God, but this is never the wisdom and righteousness of God and it will fade away, potentially bringing us harm. It should be “fear God” first, not “be righteous and wise” first.

What book of the Bible are you reading today?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Color Index XL (this graphic designer's happy book)

This book makes my graphic designing heart happy. For the longest time, I had said that I wasn’t very artsy. It turns out I just need a little direction with art. Colors are one of those things that get to me. I don’t always know what goes with what, so I tend to stick with the few, safe options that I know. Not anymore! Wow! This book is basically stuffed with color palettes—all with CMYK and RGB codes to replicate. Added to that, it begins with a few pages of color theory and information. Since I’ve never taken any art classes but just jumped into graphic designing as a hobby, this is super useful to have on hand. It explains hue, saturation, value, the color wheel, and how to use color substitutes. It demonstrates how to apply one color palette to a design and get various results. This is the type of book that I will be using for years to come and never get tired of.


*I received this book from Blogging for Books and happily provided my honest review*

P.S. I just have to include a picture of the inside. Isn't it so cool?!?! There are about 300 pages like this.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Giver of Wonders | First Line Friday

Do you have a favorite author? I do, and while I'll be the first to admit that they sometimes change, Roseanna White has been on my top-ten favorites for about a year now. Recently, I got to read a new-for-me book of hers and loved it! Here's the first line...


How many of you have read Roseanna White?
What's a first line from a book you're reading? (or the book closest to you)

Don't forget, to join the fun, hop over to Hoarding Books!





My Review
Roseanna has done it again: a captivating story that pulled me in and intrigued me from page one. All of the characters were amazingly developed and original. The relationship between the sisters was so sweet and realistic. I could go on and on about the characters. I really liked them all. Petras, Cyrpus, the twins, the parents… if they were a good character, I loved them. If they were an antagonistic character, I still liked them because they were so very well done!

The storyline, though. I love a story that I can’t predict, and that’s exactly what this one was for me. I mean, I kind of figured out what might happen for Nikolaos’ life and his decisions about money, but how it would all play out, I had absolutely no clue—which is why I loved this story. I have read too many predictable plot-lines, so one that keeps me guessing with five different scenarios of possibilities… yeah. That is the kind of book that grabs my attention.

There was one aspect that I was very cautious about, and that was Nikolaos being the “wonder worker.” Stories with men performing miracles put me a little on edge because I personally believe that we are in the age where miracles are a gift of the past (now, if you read Revelations, you’ll find that miracles will be a very strong sign of the beast, but this is a book review, not a theological discussion). “Giver of Wonders” was written in an era, however, where it was possible for men to have the gift of miracles… I’m just not going to fully endorse it because I wasn’t there and claiming miracles is kind of a big thing with how we portray God. So, because of that, every time Nikolaos came on the scene, I read very cautiously and it probably hindered me from absolutely loving him. I can’t say that it was unbiblical, and according to the author’s notes, there are historical tales of the real Nikolaos performing miracles. I just… yeah… am very uncertain about endorsing the whole thing, given the era in which we now live, and how men and women today scream for miracles, many of which are not done for God’s glory. I do applaud Roseanna, because overall, the miracles and focus of the miracles was for God’s glory, to exalt and glorify Him—they weren’t just given to enhance the story.

Now, about the spiritual content: Oh. My. Word. Wow. The spiritual content in this book! Five stars for it!! The characters’ focus wasn’t just about finding out “who they were” or falling in love. There was so much woven through the whole book where they were honestly trying to seek God, follow Him, and glorify Him—even if it was at the cost of something or someone that they loved. Some Scripture was quoted, but more often than not, it was alluded to very clearly. It was a very edifying read in the spiritual sense. It left me feeling very uplifted, with my thoughts turned more toward God and actually seeking Him. That doesn’t happen often in a fiction book. This covers some tough issues about following God, marrying unbelievers, honoring parents, and keeping our desires surrendered to God. There was a scene toward the end (it’s the climax so I’m not going to give a spoiler) where one character felt like following God was to do something very unsavory. In essence it was noble, but if someone immature were to read this book and felt like it gave a stamp of approval on the action…that is the only fear I’d have.

There was definitely romance in this book. I really liked the era-portrayal of arranged marriages. It was more of a mix of arranged/falling in love, so it probably wasn’t 100% accurate, but it wasn’t completely inaccurate either. As far as the actual romance goes, there was admiration, some kissing, and such. Because the book was more about the girls’ family struggles than their romantic interests, it didn’t feel like the main plot of the book, though it was definitely there. There were quite a few mentions of prostitution and dangers of women alone on the streets, but nothing at all explicit was portrayed. Because of it all, though, I would recommend it for 18+ conservative readers.

In conclusion, this is a book I’m delighted to have on my shelves. I imagine that I will reread it a few times because it was just that good.


*I received this book from WhiteFire Publishing and happily provided my honest review*

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Christmas CD Now Ready!

Hopping in briefly this evening because I just made the first order of "Christmas is a Gift" CDs!! That means they'll be ready for me to ship to you toward the end of November!

If you'd like a copy, you may sign up here.
CDs are $12 each plus $3 shipping and handling (USA only--don't worry, it will be available on digital platforms internationally in a few weeks).

  Christmas is - orders
Christmas is 

 The title song was composed by my sister, Elizabeth. The entire piece is up on YouTube, complete with lyrics:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Several years ago, I recorded my first piano album, "The Solid Rock." At the time, I thought it very well might be the only piano album I would be able to record (God's plans surely aren't ours, and I'm happy about that!). Because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event (or so I thought), it was a combination of all of my arrangements at the time: year 2012. That being said, one of the arrangements featured on this CD is none other than "O Come, All Ye Faithful." Since it is nearing Christmastime, it needs a little revisit from me, as well as a delightful little sharing with you all via YouTube.




For the first time since 2012, the sheet music is now available for purchase! I am planning on working toward publishing the entire collection in sheet music form, but for now, you'll have to be satisfied with just this one.

If you'd like to add it to your music library, MP3 singles are for sale here (or look them up on your favorite digital music server like Apple Music, iTunes, or Amazon).


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Out of a Rut

Last week was a complete non-writing week for me. I'm not complaining, because in that week, I was able to focus some much-needed time on WAJN projects (Christmas CD coming soon, Lord willing!!). The primary reason I didn't spend the week writing, though, was because I wasn't exactly sure what to do next (you may remember the article I wrote about that).

Yesterday, I spent a little time walking and praying--specifically focusing on my writing projects. You see, my original plans were that, while Book One of Nat is in the hands of beta-readers, I would write as much of Book Two as I could. That way, hopefully it won't take as long as Nat's story took. 

The more I thought of it, though, the less comfortable I felt about that idea. There are still a few glitches in Nat's story that I know need to be worked out before I begin writing book two. Yet, I still wanted to get the plot down for book two. I did a little brainstorming on it last week, but the well was d.r.y.

Back to my walk. As I walked and prayed about it--praying for ideas, for direction, for anything, the Lord gave me that light bulb (i.e. "DUH") moment: work on something else.

After all, whose schedule was I following? Mine? My readers'? God's?

Write something else.

The instant the thought crossed my mind, I felt greatly relieved. That was my answer. And now that I knew, my writing life seemed pretty simple. After all, there's this other story I've been yearning to write, but so far, the timing of when to write it hadn't happened. I began mulling over this idea, praying about it (I had the general gist and location, but the plot just wasn't there yet). Within an hour, the Lord provided a rough synopsis of the entire story--climax and everything! This usually doesn't happen, so you can imagine how excited I've been! I'm ready to climb out of my little writing hole and race across the field of ideas, picking bouquets of words and tying them together with ribbon-like themes. My desire is to have this rough draft completed by the time I get Nat back from beta readers. But, God's plans aren't always mine, so we shall see.

What excitement has happened in your life lately?
What do you do when you're in a rut (whether in life or in writing)?




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