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Welcome to First-Line Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚ And Happy Fall!

The book I’m featuring today is:

Shadow of the Storm

{Out of Egypt, Book 2}

by Connilyn Cossette

And the first line is:

17 Tammuz – 4th Month Out from Egypt

Wild drumbeats rumbled through the ground like distant thunder, pulsing in defiant rhythms and vibrating the hollows of my chest. My fingertips echoed the beat against my knee until a glare from my mother across the tent stilled their dance.

I loved and recommend Connilyn Cossette’s debut novel in this Biblical fiction series ~ You can find my review for that HERE ~ and I’ve been wanting to continue reading the series ever since. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, with books 2 & 3 on my TBR shelf, it’s just a question of finding the reading time.

Now, it’s your turn! What’s the first line of your current book – or the one nearest to you?
Or let me know – What’s a Biblical fiction novel that you’d recommend?
Then head on over to find out what first-lines these other First-Line-Friday folks are sharing today:

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken ~ Bibliophile Reviewsย ~ Bookworm Mamaย ~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~ Faithfully Bookishย ~ Fiction Aficionado ~ Lauraine’s Notes ~ Radiant Light ~ Reading is My Superpower ~ย Robin’s Nest ~ Singing Librarian ~ Kathleen Denly ~ With A Joyful Noise ~ A Baker’s Perspective ~ Joy of Reading ~ CJaneRead ~ Moments Dipped in Inkย ~ Molly’s Cafinated Reads ~ Romances of the Cross ~ It’s Storytime with Van Daniker ~ Iola Goulton ~ Christian Fiction Girl Reviewsย ~ Book Reviews by Timaย ~ Sprinkles and Pink

{Please note: linking up with these blogs isn’t an endorsement of the books/content featured. ๐Ÿ™‚ }

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Welcome to First-Line Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

The book I’m featuring today is:

The Inheritance

{Secrets of the Shetlands, Book 1}

by Michael Phillips

And a line from the first chapter {no, not the very first line today ๐Ÿ™‚ } is:

Earthly eyes do not always perceive eternal merit. Even the tiniest of these [birds] had worth for those who saw them as creatures imagined into being out of God’s fathering heart. The most insignificant of creatures – both birds and boys – had stories to tell.

I have been wanting to read this newer series of Michael Phillips for some (seemingly!) long while now, so I was so glad when a friend said that she had it. (Thanks, Amanda! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I’m only about 70 pages in – It’s one of those lovely, long books to get lost in ๐Ÿ™‚ – and I just love it so much – the intensely interwoven story, the lifelike characters, the setting that you can nearly see and smell and feel. It’s a contemporary novel with the feeling of a historical. I am actually reading slower than usual so that I don’t finish it too quickly. It’s that good! Look for a review perhaps in the near future, friends.

Now, it’s your turn! What’s the first line of your current book – or the one nearest to you? Or let me know – do you have a favorite book or series of Michael Phillips (He’s written a lot!)?
Then head on over to find out what first-lines these other First-Line-Friday folks are sharing today:

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken ~ Bibliophile Reviewsย ~ Bookworm Mamaย ~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~ Faithfully Bookishย ~ Fiction Aficionado ~ Lauraine’s Notes ~ Radiant Light ~ Reading is My Superpower ~ย Robin’s Nest ~ Singing Librarian ~ Kathleen Denly ~ With A Joyful Noise ~ A Baker’s Perspective ~ Joy of Reading ~ CJaneRead ~ Moments Dipped in Inkย ~ Molly’s Cafinated Reads ~ Romances of the Cross ~ It’s Storytime with Van Daniker ~ Iola Goulton ~ Christian Fiction Girl Reviewsย ~ Book Reviews by Timaย ~ Sprinkles and Pink

{Please note: linking up with these blogs isn’t an endorsement of the books/content featured. ๐Ÿ™‚ }

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Happy Friday, friends!

Wow, this week went by quickly! It’s already time for another First Line Friday. ๐Ÿ™‚
The book I’m featuring today is:

Mission to the Headhunters: How God’s Forgiveness Transformed Tribal Enemies by Frank and Marie Drown

And the first line is:

As the plane droned over the jungle of the Oriente in eastern Ecuador, taking me back to join Marie in the coastal city of Guayaquil, my mind was a tumbling kaleidoscope of vivid new impressions.

This book comes highly recommended from friends and also from Elisabeth Elliot, so I am really looking forward to burrowing into it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, it’s your turn, friends! What’s the first line of your current book – or the one nearest to you? Or let me know a missionary-themed book that you’ve read and enjoyed. ย ๐Ÿ™‚
Then head on over to find out what first-lines these other First-Line-Friday folks are sharing today:

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken ~ Bibliophile Reviewsย ~ Bookworm Mamaย ~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~ Faithfully Bookishย ~ Fiction Aficionado ~ Lauraine’s Notes ~ Radiant Light ~ Reading is My Superpower ~ย Robin’s Nest ~ Singing Librarian ~ Kathleen Denly ~ With A Joyful Noise ~ A Baker’s Perspective ~ Joy of Reading ~ CJaneRead ~ Moments Dipped in Inkย ~ Molly’s Cafinated Reads ~ Romances of the Cross ~ It’s Storytime with Van Daniker ~ Iola Goulton ~ Christian Fiction Girl Reviewsย ~ Book Reviews by Timaย ~ Sprinkles and Pink

{Please note: linking up with these blogs isn’t an endorsement of the books/content featured. ๐Ÿ™‚ }

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Hello, friends! I have a review for you today for a historical Christian fiction novel,ย The Promise of Dawn.
The book:

From the back cover:

When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.

Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn’t an easy life, it wasn’t as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?

My thoughts:

I haven’t read a Lauraine Snelling book for years, but I have really enjoyed them in the past, so I was excited when the opportunity arose to review her newest release,ย The Promise of Dawn,ย the first book in Snelling’s new Under Northern Skies series. The backcover blurb interested me, especially because boy-meets-girl romance didn’t appear to central to the storyline – Rather, it appeared to be more a family story of real life, which I often love. ๐Ÿ™‚

While the beginning of this novel felt a little slow to me as it skimmed and summarized Signe and Rune’s immigration to America, the story picked up its pace about 40 pages into it, and I found myself deeply involved in the vividly-portrayed struggles of Signe, Rune, and their boys as they attempted to carve a new life for themselves in a land of opportunity. The story has a Little-House-on-the-Prairie feeling to it – I love Little House! ๐Ÿ™‚ – and I really enjoyed following the characters’ little moment-by-moment difficulties and solutions.

Now, for the bit that put a bad taste in my mouth for me… I understand that life on a farm is not just hayrides in October. ๐Ÿ™‚ Death is a very real part of it.ย But a very sad part of it. ๐Ÿ™ A part of it toward which we should not callous ourselves or our children. And unfortunately,ย The Promise of Dawn sometimes does encourage an insensitive and ugly attitude toward living creatures that God has made for His joy. This is so unfortunate that this was included and even highlighted at times… In all honesty, this insensitivity and grim pleasure in suffering caused to other creatures ruined the novel for me. ๐Ÿ™ Which made me sad as a reader because I *loved* so much where the book was heading – I wanted to find out what happened with Signe, Rune, the uncle, the ailing aunt, the boys… (*spoiler*) But my mind kept coming back to what Signe forced her boys to do to the baby mice – She tells her children to throw the liveย baby mice to the cats. (Completely unnecessary, as she has no problem killing the mother mouse quickly with a broom, so why not kill the babies quickly as well?) Later, this attitude toward them is “justified” when it is explained that, when Signe tried to rescue a mouse as a child, it bit her in fright and so, out of revenge, she locked that mouse in a grain barrel with a cat. Awful and nasty, obviously, but an attitude that Christ will set us free from if we will let Him.

Again, it is not the killing of the mice that really bothered me – obviously, if your house is infested, you have to get rid of the mice in the most humane way possible. My problem was with the calloused attitude Signe had toward the mice and which she encouraged in her children, as well as her not being merciful (in an otherwise fairly merciful character) in the way in which she killed them. No one should *torture* something to death. Period. And that is what would have happened to those baby mice. (See Proverbs 12:10 for a Biblical passage on kindness vs. cruelty to animals.)

I dislike saying so much about this aspect because a lot of the rest of the story really did fascinate me, especially up until that happened with the mice, but after that, it was difficult for me to enjoy it, as I felt a strong dislike for Signe as a character. The other Snelling books that I have read I have really enjoyed and never noticed this insensitivity in them. This one just was not my cup of tea for the reason I noted above.

I received a copy of this novel from Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts are my own.

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Happy Friday, friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

You know how the first line of a book can really hook you? One of my favorite first lines comes from C.S. Lewis: “There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” ๐Ÿ™‚ {From The Voyage of the Dawn Treader} You can tell a lot about a story from its first line, and there are lots of books that I read that I don’t have the time to review here but would love to share with you!
So, with that in mind, I’m joining in on something new to me this week: First Line Fridays, in which I {and several other bloggers/writers} share the first line of the nearest book to us – which, in my case, is the one on the top of my TBR pile each week.
The book I’m featuring today is:

The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling {Under Northern Skies #1}

And the first line is:

“Mor, a letter from Amerika!”

Since this is a review book, you be seeing more of it soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Now, it’s your turn, friends! What’s the first line of your current book – or the one nearest to you? Let me know in the comments below!
Then head on over to find out what first-lines these other First-Line-Friday folks are sharing today:

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken ~ Bibliophile Reviewsย ~ Bookworm Mamaย ~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~ Faithfully Bookishย ~ Fiction Aficionado ~ Lauraine’s Notes ~ Radiant Light ~ Reading is My Superpower ~ย Robin’s Nest ~ Singing Librarian ~ Kathleen Denly ~ With A Joyful Noise ~ A Baker’s Perspective ~ Joy of Reading ~ CJaneRead ~ Moments Dipped in Inkย ~ Molly’s Cafinated Reads ~ Romances of the Cross ~ It’s Storytime with Van Daniker ~ Iola Goulton ~ Christian Fiction Girl Reviewsย ~ Book Reviews by Tima

{Please note: linking up with these blogs isn’t an endorsement of the books/content featured. ๐Ÿ™‚ }

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Hello, friends! Thanks for coming over for another Friday Reads! I have a treat of a book for you today!

The Book:
The Back Cover:

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Thoughts:

The first Roseanna M. White book I’ve read, I found myself in for a real treat! ๐Ÿ™‚ The author immersed me in the time period immediately with just enough, but not too much, detail ~ I really enjoyed the amount of WWI history – and an “everyday” type of history – that peppered each page. From the way Roseanna described the scenes and characters, I was able to “see” them in my mind, as if a film played – lovely! – which made it hard to set the book aside when reading time was over for the day! ๐Ÿ™‚ Though the novel takes place in the 1910s – same as Downton Abbey – the feel of the book is a little more gritty and less escapist… For one, our heroine/villainess is a “street rat” turned thief-for-hire, rather than a lady of noble birth.

Which brings me to an intriguing twist the author chanced – and which, for me at least, as a reader, worked. Rosemary Gresham is not only the heroine; she is also the villainess. Her goal throughout is to take down our hero, Peter, proving him a traitor (whether he is or not)… but not everything works out as planned. ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, Rosemary’s dedication to working against Peter throughout much of the book made it a little difficult to connect with her as a reader at first. (*spoiler!*) However, as her spiritual sensibilities waken, Rosemary becomes a much more sympathetic character, and by the end, I was rooting for her just as much as for Peter. ๐Ÿ™‚

For in Peter, Roseanna White has crafted one of the best Christian fiction heroes I have ever met… To put it succinctly, he reminds me of Daniel Deronda ~ who, of course, we all know, is one of the best heroes ever to live within the pages of a book. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย {If you don’t know this, you should grab a copy of Daniel Deronda and devote the next couple of days to finding this out! Haha! ๐Ÿ™‚ } I think that what stood out to me most about Peter – though his virtues were many – was the deep integrity that filled his thoughts, actions, and motives. While he was by no means perfect, Peter’s sincerity and dedication to living out Biblical truth was unusual, yet entirely believable, and his discipleship strongly touches the hearts and lives of those around him.

I loved the way that the romance is somewhat restrained throughout much of the novel. This felt very life-like, given the characters and time-period. I also really appreciated the way that the spiritual journeys of the Peter and Rosemary provided the backbone of the novel… This is getting rarer and rarer, and so what a joy to see!

You may want to know that, while Peter doesn’t make a verbal commitment to Rosemary until she has become a Christian (which scene Iย loved – beautifully written and expressing the heart of the Gospel so well!), he does clearly express romantic feelings toward her and acts on those feelings by kissing her before that time, which I felt a little iffy about (and which actually seemed to be a rare out-of-character moment for him as a committed Christian man).ย 

On another note, fellow writers are going toย love the little story within-the-story that happens, as Peter is writing a novel somewhat inspired by his experiences with Rosemary. His writerly quirks and habits amused me and felt so life-like ~ lots of fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series, and I recommendย A Name Unknown to older teen and adult readers who like historical fiction with suspense and romance.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

I may share this post with:

Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa Linkup,ย Testimony Tuesday, Tuesday Talk,ย Homemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among Friends,ย No Rules Weekend Blog Party

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Hello, friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you heard about this lovely, big giveaway? Yours truly ๐Ÿ™‚ is participating in it, along with many other authors, from Suzanne Woods Fisher to Caryl McAdoo to Alana Terry ~ lots of variety!ย 
There are two winners: one gets a $50 gift card {which I would use to buy books if I could! Haha!}, and the other will receive all 30 titles {either as ebooks or softcovers!}.
{If you’re curious, my contribution for this giveaway is The House of Mercy, a tale of betrayal and love in Arthurian Britain.}
Enter by clicking the giveaway graphic below, which will take you to the giveaway page! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 


See you Friday with a review for a great book! ๐Ÿ™‚
Grace and peace,
Alicia G. Ruggieri

I may happily share this post with:

Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa Linkup,ย Testimony Tuesday, Tuesday Talk,ย Homemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among Friends,ย No Rules Weekend Blog Party

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Hello, friends! Welcome to another Friday Reads! ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, I have the very great pleasure of sharing this space with my author-friend A.M. Heath… and her newest release,ย Out of the Ashes, which happens to be one of my favorite books of this year thus far. First, we’ll have an overview of this Civil War/Reconstruction novel, followed by my thoughts on it ~ Then we’ll pour a cup of tea {or coffee, if you prefer!} and chat with A.M. a bit ~ Last, but not least, is the giveaway! ๐Ÿ™‚

The book:

Sometimes peace is won through battle.

Haunted by the memories he can’t escape, Ralph Williams wants to be left alone to lick his wounds. He doesn’t understand why he’s forced into the company of the one woman he least desires. Can God bring him healing through such uncomfortable circumstances?

Frank Harper thought he had left the war and its turmoil behind, but the home to which he has returned is anything but peaceful. When racial tensions arise in Maple Grove, Frank finds himself on a battlefield once more. He’s desperate for peace, but at what cost?

When George Chandler heads off to wed his beloved bride, things donโ€™t go as expected. Just as George starts to get comfortable with what he believes is Godโ€™s new plan for his life, history threatens to repeat itself. Will he fight for the woman heโ€™s come to love, or will he let her go?

The War Between the States has destroyed more than just a nation. In four years, it has damaged bodies and wounded souls until the people think that nothing is left. Will they find the healing they so desperately need from the God that loves them?

My thoughts:

Out of all three {thus far – two more are coming!}ย Ancient Words novels, this one was my favorite – which is saying something, since I really liked the other two, as well. In this third book in the series, A.M. Heath brings satisfactory closure to the storylines of characters who left my heart aching for them in the last book, In the Shadow of Thy Wings.

There are so many things to adore about Out of the Ashes, but just a few of them are:

  • The seamless way the history is woven into the fictional story.
  • The clear yet unforced Christian themes thoroughly woven throughout, not just “tacked on” ~ I love how A.M. does this in every novel, and this one is no exception: The title comes from the overall theme that God does and will bring beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
  • The well-developed supporting characters ~ each one rich and full in motive and background.
  • The multiple storylines that ended up intertwining at the end and throughout.

A.M. Heath is gifted at bringing flawed characters to life… By the end of these first three books, I felt as if I truly knew the characters, as if they had really lived. (Actually, when I came across a nonfiction history book about the area they lived in recently, I immediately thought,ย That’s where the Harpers lived! as if they might appear in the pages of the book!) If you love historical fiction, especially Civil War fiction, this series is a wonderful one to read. It is also great for high school age kids, in my opinion. While there is a good amount of “romance” in the storyline of some (not all) of the characters, it is carefully and organically included and steeped in the context of the story. The Ancient Words series effectively and creatively blows the dust off the historical account of the Civil War. At the same time, it convincingly helps us to see God’s hand at work in the midst of individual tragedy during that time.

From what I understand, Out of the Ashes brings the main historical section of theย Ancient Wordsย quintet to a close, and the first three can (at this point, in my opinion) be read as their own series ~ though I am, of course, anticipating the release of the final two books eventually! ๐Ÿ™‚

Recommended for:

Young adult (14+) and adult readers, both men and women. The Ancient Words series would be a great literary complement to history classes and homeschooling. This series also makes wonderful gift for unbelievers who love historical fiction – The Gospel is very clear throughout all 3 books, yet, as I’ve noted above, not “heavy-handed.”

Now, would you like to pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or coffee milk, for you Rhode Islanders!), and we’ll visit with the author ofย Out of the Ashes?

How did you come to write fiction?

A.M. HEATH:

For my part, it was an accident. Lol I started a campfire story game with a group of friends online. The idea was to tell part of the story and take turns, creating something quirky and fun. But oddly enough, there were only 3 ladies involved in the story even though there were well over 20 active women in the group. And in time, it was clear that the story we had crafted was anything but quirky. It was actually pretty good. And I was hooked. I began plotting out the direction I would steer the story in and the characters became a part of me in a way that fiction authors can relate to. In time, the Lord broadened my horizons and my ideas.

That is fascinating! And how did the idea for Ashes come to you?

There were two different legs of this idea. The first was the fact that Ralph’s story wasn’t complete at the end of In the Shadow of Thy Wings. He needed a happy ending. I had an ending in mind, but at the time I was planning to publish it as part of a spin-off series, but one of my critiquers recommended that I bump it up and write it next. So I did!
As for Ralph, his story came through my own experiences. My oldest son occasionally sleep walks. It’s amazing how they can move and talk and yet not know what they’re doing or remember it afterward. Then there’s my youngest son who was prone to nightmares whenever he was sick. He used to call out for me in his sleep but when I went to him, he wouldn’t respond. He had no idea I was there because he wasn’t awake at all. And lastly, there is my husband who grits his teeth in his sleep. I used to nudge him to get him to stop, but one night, I learned that I had only to lay my hand on him and he’d stop immediately. One particular week, all three of my men were active in their sleep and I was mulling these things over in my mind when the idea of a haunted soldier in need of a gentle hand came about. And I knew just the haunted soldier for the role too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m one very glad reader that you didn’t wait to give poor ol’ Ralph his happy ending! ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, can you let us know a bit about what your goal is for the series?

The overarching goal of the series is to draw people to Christ. For those who know Him to grow closer to Him during their seasons of struggle. But also for those who don’t truly know Him at all to become saved. The first, fourth, and fifth books are more evangelical, while the second and third feature lessons on trusting God with your fear and pain.

That’s something that I love about this series: There is food for both believers and unbelievers in it.

What was your favorite part of Ashes to write?

The epilogue!! I have walked the trenches with these characters in a very special way. As you can relate to, having just finished a continuous series yourself, I have watched them struggle with God and come out on the other side. It was a blessing to me to sit back and type out the epilogue showing a complete healing for this family. Fun Fact: Where Can I Flee begins with a prologue from Olen Harper’s perspective. In this prologue, Olen is shaking his fist at God over his wife’s grave. It seemed fitting that I should end it from his perspective, only this time with joy in his heart. His circumstances didn’t change because his wife remained dead, but his attitude toward God had changed and that made all the difference. He could now look around and count the blesses where as before he could only count the injustices as he saw them.

What do we have to look forward to in the next two books of the series?

PLENTY! Although I plan to take a break before finishing the series, I’m looking forward to continuing the tale in Maple Grove. In the last two books of the series, we’re going to fast forward 150 years. It’ll be 2012 the next time we revisit Maple Grove. Allie Redman is the “main” main character of the remaining books. She finds and reads the letters written by Claire and Frank during the war and Claire’s message to Frank will impact Allie. Allie will also get a hold of Rachel Chandler’s diary and Rachel’s lesson on forgiveness will touch Allie’s life in the 5th book.

I can’t wait! But I must! ๐Ÿ™‚ But back to the 1860s for now: Was there anything that surprised you when you researched for this series?

There were so many, many, many surprises. One of the things that surprised me was how the Lord had expanded my mind and enabled me to learn about things that I didn’t think was possible. I spent a lot of time reading first-hand accounts via letters, journals, and such. There were so many strange but true tidbits I had come across. But one of the most remarkable things was proof of a spiritual revival that took place in Bragg’s army while they camped out right here in my county. Bragg, himself, was reaffirmed at one of the churches in my hometown. As a Christian, it comforted my heart to know that God was moving in the hearts of these men who many of them would die within the following two years. But it was a fun fact that tied local history into what I was already doing in my book.

In future writing endeavors, do you see yourself coming back to the Civil War era?

ABSOLUTELY!! I think the 1860s would probably be my pet era. I love how you don’t need to create drama because the war itself brings it onto the page. I love that you don’t always know what’s going to happen next. War fiction, in general, doesn’t always “play by the rules” of Christian fiction and I find it refreshing. Fellow Civil War fans will be happy to know that I have a rather large Civil War series in development. Only the Lord knows when we’ll see any of these come into publication, but, at the moment, I’m planning to begin them after the Ancient Words Series is complete. Keep in mind that I’m about to venture off with a brand new series so it’ll be some years before Ancient Words is complete. But the upcoming Civil War series is 100% stand alone and will focus on the different aspects of the war: slavery, plantation life, nursing, spies, smuggling medicine, and carpet bagging to name a few.

Well, I simply must ask, for those of us who grieved at the untimely death of a certain character…ย {*spoiler alert for those who haven’t read Where Can I Flee}ย will Eddie come back from the dead in the sequel?

LOL Sadly, no. He won’t be. But I have some new charming heroes coming up that know a thing or two about being noble. While no one could replace Eddie Chandler, hopefully, you’ll find some more leading men to appreciate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Quick Answers from the author:

1. Book you’re reading right now?

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin. Now here’s a grand example of a war fiction author that doesn’t “play by the rules.”

2. Favorite fiction book you’ve read?

Hmmm. You said this would be quick but you didn’t promise it’d be easy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s such a hard question. I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and Persuasion has always been a favorite of mine. Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer also comes to mind. I read it twice in a year’s time so I’m pretty sure it qualifies.

3. You can go back to any time period and any place. Where would you go?

Oooo. Another toughie. Well, being a Civil War novelist, I’d really love to go back during that time, but I know this wouldn’t be an easy visit. On the upside, it’d be great for research! Lol

4. A Scripture verse close to your heart?

Proverbs 4:14 “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.” As a new Christian, this verse had taught me a lot about separating myself from sinful activities that I had once enjoyed.

Find A.M. Heath and chat with her {She loves chatting with readers!} at these places online:

Facebook:ย http://www.facebook.com/AMHeathfanpage/
Blog: https://amheathblog.wordpress.com/

She’s also on Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest {check out her Civil War boards!}, but she’s most often found on her blog or FB. ๐Ÿ™‚

In celebration of the release ofย Out of the Ashes, A.M. Heath is hosting a giveaway! ๐Ÿ™‚ Please click the picture below to learn more and enter:

If you would like to purchase the books in this tremendously uplifting series, here are the links that will bring you right to them:

Book 1: Where Can I Flee?

Book 2: In the Shadow of Thy Wings

Book 3: Out of the Ashes

That’s it for today, friends! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a lovely and blessed weekend in Christ our Lord!
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

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I’m headed off on a mid-summer adventure :-), but before I depart, I thought I’d sum up what I’ve been reading this summer, in the midst of finishing/editingย A Holy Passion.

Among the books I’ve read so far this summer are:

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

My thoughts: A breathtakingly beautiful and unique depiction of redemption,ย The Last Sin Eaterย ranks up with Francine Rivers’ย Mark of the Lion Trilogy. Not only is the premise both captivating and heartbreaking – a little girl needs to find the man dubbed “the Sin Eater” so she can be released from her intense guilt – but the story is written with many “layers” – Just as you think you have it all figured out, another aspect comes to light that you weren’t expecting but fits perfectly into the puzzle the author has created. Anyone who loves Catherine Marshall’sย Christy will adore this, as the setting and time period are very similar to those inย Christy,ย though the story itself is very different.ย 

Courageous Faith by Charles Stanley

My thoughts: Charles Stanley’s sermons and walk with God have strongly influenced my outlook on life in general, as I’ve heard him preach since I was a little girl… My mom listened to his sermons on radio and cassette while she did housework and drove – such a blessing! (Even if your children don’t seem to be listening, I really believe, from my own experience, that hearing godly teaching is so beneficial to their walk with God as they get older.) So, when I heard that Dr. Stanley was writing an autobiography, I was thrilled. This autobiography was not a disappointment, either — Like he always has, in his autobiography, Stanley continues to give God all the credit for any “achievements” and continually points his readers to “obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.” If you are looking for incredible encouragement from a man who has withstood – by the grace of God – incredible trials in his walk of faith, pick up this not-too-long-to-read autobiography.ย 

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Read the description HERE.

My thoughts: I’ve never read anything by Karen Witemeyer before, but others have long recommended her books to me. So when the option to review one came up, I thought that I would give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved the cover of this novel – the heroine looks like she is brimming with a very happy secret and the telegraph equipment intrigued me.

Overall, I enjoyed this easy-reading story and learned *a lot* about late 19th-century telegraphy ~ That unique historical backdrop ofย Heart on the Line really kept me interested. The author also includes an unorthodox hero – a “nerdy”, bicycle-riding fellow telegrapher who flirts in Morse code – which was a humorous touch that I enjoyed. Funny enough, since I could figure out what would happen with Grace and Amos fairly early on, it was supporting character Helen’s story that ended up really piquing my curiosity – I wish we had gotten to have a whole book for her! ๐Ÿ™‚

Witemeyer has a deft touch with words, and her story is tightly-woven ~ The reading itself is really enjoyable (even apart from the story) as a result. Grace and Amos are distinctive individuals who truly felt like living, breathing people. I would have liked the Christianity of the characters to be even more involved in the storyline, but I appreciated that it was included. Taking everything into account,ย Heart on the Line was a fun story with a solid message of appreciating the way in which God makes us each unique.

A copy of this book was provided by Bethany House to me, and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

Currently Reading:

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection by Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert, Jocelyn Green, and Maureen Lang

9 Things a Leader Must Do by Dr. Henry Cloud

Next up:

Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman

The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

What are you reading this summer, friends?
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All the covers are clickable affiliate links.

And we arrive at the last one of the “Summer Reading” lists! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for following along, friends. If you haven’t yet read them, you may want to check out the list for teen boys HERE, for teen girls HERE, for boys 11-14 HERE, and for girls 11-14 HERE, and the list for family read-alouds HERE.

Of course, there is a little give here regarding ages. ๐Ÿ™‚ Older children will enjoy many of these books as well – After all, the best kind of stories are the ones that resonate differently but well with every age. ๐Ÿ™‚

Every family has different expectations for what is appropriate for different ages… and, sometimes, even within the same family a book may be appropriate for one child at one age and not appropriate for another child at the same age. I encourage you to seek and listen to the Lord about reading material for your children ~ and if you have any questions that you think I might be able to answer, please feel free to ask! ๐Ÿ™‚

Some of these books may be a little more geared towards boys’ interests, some more toward girls’ interests, but most of them are “gender-neutral” ~ both boys and girls will love them. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

2. Stuart Little by E.B. White

3. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis ~ 6-8-year-olds may find some of the Chronicles a little scary, so you may want to read them together – They are *wonderful* books!

5. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

6. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor ~ There are several books in this series, and each is *great*!

7. Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink ~ This is out-of-print currently (!), but see if you can find it in your local library because it is one of the most charming books ever written for this age! ๐Ÿ™‚

8. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ~ Sweet and funny!

9. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ~ Another one with lots of good, old-fashioned humor!

10. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater ~ Simply a delightful story of Mr. and Mrs. Popper, who take their performing penguins on the road!

11. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary ~ Oh, Beverly Cleary, you had such an imagination! There are a couple of books about Ralph S. Mouse; be sure to get them all!

12. The Impatient Turtle by Janette Oke There are several others in this non-sequential series – They are all wonderful!

13. The Best of Woof by Danae Dobson ~ Lovely, fun stories centered around a dog named Woof.

14. In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson ~ Entertaining and funny, often with strong but gentle themes that reinforce Christian character.

15. The Bracken Trilogy by Jeri Massi ~ The Bridge is the first in this George-MacDonald-like trilogy, set in a medieval fantasy world – well-told stories!

16. The Adventures of Lily Lapp by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fischer ~ This series is great for modern kids to learn about the more-simple Amish lifestyle through Lily Lapp’s fictitious life.

17. The Green Ember by S.D. Smith ~ Kids will gobble up this fantasy series full of adventure. Best for 8+.

18. The Seven Sleepers series ~ This is a solid series that mimics C.S. Lewis’ Narnian Chronicles in some ways. Best for 8+, due to some scary scenarios.

19. The Spirit Flyer Series ~ Oh, this is one of the *best* series to teach kids about the very real spiritual battle in which we are engaged! Due to some scary elements, it’s best for 8+ or for a read-aloud.

20. God’s Good News Bible Storybook by Billy Graham ~ An excellent Bible storybook! My niece and nephew’s one fell apart from use!

21. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl ~ This is a very comical, imaginative story about a fox who outwits a trio of farmers. (Please note: I do not recommend all of Roald Dahl’s books. God gave him an incredible imagination, but please use discretion when choosing which of Dahl’s books your children read.)

22. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ Clever and imaginative, this one gets better every time you read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

23. The Complete Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary ~ These are lovely, funny books, good for both boys and girls. Also check out her Henry Huggins collection, etc.!

24. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot ~ Sweet stories that help sensitize children to God’s creation. Inspired by Herriot’s own veterinary career.

25. The Borrowers by Mary Norton ~ This is the first in a very creative, old-fashioned series about a family of very tiny people who inhabit the houses of “big people.”

There are a lot for this age group! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ve found some fun ones to add to your child’s to-read list this summer. May they be a blessing to you!

Grace and peace,

Alicia

I may happily share this post at:ย Literacy Musing Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Monday, Mommy Moments, Tuesdays with a Twist, Messy Marriage, UNITE, RaRa Linkup,ย Testimony Tuesday, Tuesday Talk,ย Homemaking Link-up, Word-filled Wednesday, Wise Woman, The Homemaking Party, Porch Stories, Christian Blogger Link-up, Coffee for Your Heart, Women with Intention, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Amanda’s Books and More, Tell His Story, Grace at Home, Heart Encouragement, Encouraging Hearts and Home, Booknificent Thursday, Friendship Friday, Faith-Filled Friday, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday, Sitting Among Friends,ย No Rules Weekend Blog Party

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