For Readers

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. <3

Before we ever had a beau :-), my mom made Valentine’s Day special when my sisters and I were growing up. We had a special supper – heart-shaped homemade pizza, usually, with cranberry red soda, and red Jello. Afterwards, we each received a Russell Stover heart. I can still remember the excitement of seeing the red cellophane wrapping around those cardboard hearts! 🙂 Though, of course, it’s lovely celebrate Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday with your sweetheart, I’m really thankful that my mom focused more on making it just a special time of showing affection in general and having fun with hearts and sweets and wearing red or pink. 🙂

So, may I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day?

And, for us book-loving people, what better way to celebrate than with a Sweet E-book Sale? 🙂

This February 14th – 15th, a few authors {including yours truly} have put together this fun sale with Valentine’s Day in mind. Have fun trying out a new-to-you author or grab the next book in a series you’ve started! 🙂 All of the A Time of Grace series are part of this sale, as well as The House of Mercy! Happy Reading!

Click any title to find out more. 🙂
Free eBooks
The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth
The Lady of the Vineyard by Kellyn Roth
Forget Not by Rebekah E. Morris
Poison Kiss by Kendra E. Ardnek
Coffee Cake Days by Amanda Tero
$0.99 books
Journey to Love by Amanda Tero
Finding Joy by Rebekah E. Morris
Gift from the Storm by Rebekah E. Morris
The Fragrance of Geraniums by Alicia G. Ruggieri
Water Princess, Fire Princess by Kendra E. Arnek
Befriending the Beast by Amanda Tero
Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton
A Question of Honor by Jesseca Wheaton
$1.99 books
All Our Empty Places by Alicia G. Ruggieri
A Love to Come Home To by Alicia G. Ruggieri
The House of Mercy by Alicia G. Ruggieri
Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek
The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero
$2.99 books
Finding Mera by Elizabeth D. Marie
$3.99 books
A Time of Grace 3-in-1 by Alicia G. Ruggieri
25% off paperback
Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts

What kinds of ways do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

***

You may find my posts linked up here:

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 LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking 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 FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

Read more

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Hello, friends, and happy Friday!
It’s First-Line Friday! 🙂 Since it’s a short month, we’re featuring “short books,” either in length or content or something else.
Mine is something else. 🙂
I’m featuring The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Have you read it? It is so much fun – such a delight – and adds depth to The Lord of the Rings. The “small” part of this selection is, of course, the hobbit himself. 🙂
The Book:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
First Line:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
(This book has been in my mind lately because, at a nearby library, I recently discovered the *unabridged* – that’s important to me! 🙂 – audio version of The Lord of the Rings, performed/read by a fantastic actor Rob Inglis. This beautiful story has accompanied me for the past few weeks on the very long roads of the rural area in which I live – an area where “the roads go ever on and on.” I highly recommend it!)
What are you reading this week, friends? Or is there a “short” book whose first line you’d like to share?
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

This post may be happily shared with:

Hoarding Books

 

Read more

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! 🙂

Hello, friends!
I want to share a book that delighted me with its beautiful storytelling, historical detail, and deeply Biblical message.
The Book: Isaiah’s Daughter ~ A Novel of Prophets and Kings by Mesu Andrews
From the Back Cover:
The Hebrews are a divided nation. Israel in the north – ten tribes strong – has bowed to pagan worship. In Judah’s two tribes, an evil king mocks King David’s legacy while a remnant of Yahweh’s faithful cling desperately to their one true God.
Caught in the middle of the warring is an orphaned girl named Ishma – meaning “desolation.” Her short life already mirrors the name. Yet Yahweh’s plan for her has only just begun.
Ishma enters the prophet Isaiah’s home as a household servant, but her quick mind and lively spirit gain the friendship of Prince Hezekiah. When Isaiah sees their relationship mature, he adopts Ishma, giving her a royal pedigree and a new name. Ishma becomes Hephzibah – “delight of the Lord” – and the desolate captive becomes Judah’s queen.
But loving Hezekiah will require more of Hephzibah than she ever imagined. From Ahaz’s terrifying reign to the Assyrian threat and Isaiah’s own perplexing prophecies – Zibah remains trapped by fear, facing an uncertain future. Will palace life lead to freedom from her past? Or can she trust everything to the only One who gives life and delivers both a captive heart and a desperate nation?
My Thoughts:
Ishma’s story – and, in their turn, each of the characters’ – captured my heart and mind from the first chapter and has still not let them go. Mesu has crafted an exquisite novel of Biblical fiction in Isaiah’s Daughter, fleshing out the narrative of Hezekiah and Isaiah that Scripture gives, hence the “prophets and kings” in the sub-title.
I loved getting to know each character: Ishma/Hephzibah – who developed from a sweet-yet-straightforward little girl into an bold-yet-gentle woman, dedicated to Yahweh; Hezekiah – whose dilemmas felt so applicable to modern life and who by turns frustrated and charmed me as a king whose heart was in the right place, so to speak, but who waffled stubbornly at times, too. Each character felt remarkably full and richly real, as well as rooted thoroughly in their time period.
One of my “dreads” in opening this novel was, how was Isaiah going to be portrayed? Another was, will the Scriptural account be tampered with? Yet the author adhered strongly to the Scriptural account, even when our contemporary mindset might prefer otherwise. This is something I have come to love about Mesu Andrews: Her high, reverent view of Scripture as God’s holy and inspired Word comes through so strongly in how she tells each story. Yet she also portrays the human beings in the story as just that – human beings, with great weaknesses, whose strength to overcome can come from God alone.
Other things I loved:
  • the historical details regarding idol worship gave an excellent context for the Biblical account
  • the subplot of Ishma’s friend Yaira ~ so beautiful
  • the symbolism of Ishma’s doves and their nesting ~ I love doves (mourning ones, in particular), so this part was such a delight for me.
  • the way Mesu draws attention to the way that prophecies can have multiple fulfillments and/or not be fulfilled in the time/place we thought they would be, yet God still keeps His Word.
Find it HERE.
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was in no way required to provide a positive review. 

This post may be shared 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 LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking 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 FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party 

 

 

 

Read more

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! 🙂

Hello, friends! 🙂
It’s another FLF here ~ and I get to feature another received-for-Christmas book! 🙂 If you love The Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this is a beautiful companion book – a kind of herbal/floral history of the plants and landscapes featured in the series and in her letters. It bases its premise on the books growing out of the environment of its author. Rich in illustrations, maps, and photos, this thick book has delighted me in recent evenings after my own writing is done and has made me think about how natural environments shape other writers’ books, too.
~ ~ ~
The Book:
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder – The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired The Little House Books
by Marta McDowell
First Line:
“Once upon a time.” Like many children’s stories, Laura Ingalls Wilder opened Little House in the Big Woods with this quiet invitation to readers to turn their thoughts back in time. Hers was a long story, rooted in with her father’s and her husband’s, tales of family and farms and nature – a nature that was sometimes inviting and sometimes ferocious. It began in Wisconsin.
~ ~ ~
Your turn! What are you reading this week, friends?
Grace and peace,
Alicia Ruggieri

This post is shared with:

 

Read more

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Happy Friday, friends!

I’m glad to have you here for First-Line Friday. A little background on the book I’m sharing today…
Over at my sister’s home, I picked up a book off her bookshelf and soon found myself entirely engaged in it: amused, edified, and moved with the real-life emotion on the pages. I mentioned the book to my mom, who said that she had read and loved it.
A couple of weeks later, when I was visiting my mom, she handed me a copy of that same book. It’s an older book – 1982 – but the words and wisdom and humor in its pages are evergreen. I know that I’ll be visiting it often in the years to come.

The Book:

It’s My Turn by Ruth Bell Graham

(One of the) First Lines:

The thirteen-year-old girl lay in the stifling heat of the old missionary home at Number Four Quinsan Gardens, in the port city of Shanghai China, praying earnestly that she would die before morning.

Dawn broke over the great, gray city, and obviously, God had not seen fit to answer my prayer.

*****

Mini-Review:

Composed of extremely short chapters of Ruth Bell Graham’s memories, this book provides a behind-the-scenes, very real look at the hows and whys and ways of this remarkable woman of God and wife of evangelist Billy Graham. I didn’t expect her to be so funny – much of it in a self-deprecating way – and yet every one of the memories has a little tidbit of spiritual and real-life wisdom that struck me as or after I read it and encouraged me to go further in my own walk with Jesus Christ. I highly recommend this to you, friends ~ After you read it, you very well find yourself buying extra copies to give as gifts to friends ~ It’s that good.
*****
Now it’s your turn, friends! Share the first line of a book you’re reading with us! 🙂

This post may be happily shared with:

 

Read more

Hello, fellow book-loving friends. 🙂

I love the fresh start that a new year appears to bring… and the reminder with it that, as when a new year dawns, even more so, *each day* God’s mercy is new and fresh for us {Lamentations 3:22-23}. It’s always a blessing for me to look back on the year past and see where God has led me, where I have obeyed and disobeyed, and determine to go further in obedience and reject disobedience in the new year. It’s also been helpful for me – as I know it is for many of you – to set goals for the new year. These are not “resolutions” – but prayed-over, thought-through goals by which I seek to guide my course over the next months – in submission to God and by His grace.

Since we all love books here :-), I’d like to share with you my Reading Goals for 2018…

First off, these goals are more based on the *kind* of book read, rather than the *number* of books read. This is purposeful. I know that I can read a lot of books in a year, as can anybody 🙂 , but I really want to focus on specific areas and make sure that I am balanced, book-wise.
Secondly, these goals don’t include the books that I read for historical/cultural research for my own writing. So, if you’re looking for a hint of where I’m writing next {after A Holy Passion, of course!}, you won’t find it here, probably. 🙂
Third, I hope that you’ll find some ideas here for books to read in this coming year. Of course, remember that, with only one or two exceptions, all of these books are new-to-me! 🙂 So, putting them on my list is not an endorsement/recommendation.

Enough of my chatter. 🙂 Here are my Reading Goals for 2018:

  • 20 Fiction Books – 5 classic literature, 5 historical fiction, 5 contemporary/partial contemporary, 5 of my choice
  • 20 Nonfiction Books – 5 on the writing craft, 5 biographies of great Christians, 5 general, 5 history or my choice

Some of the books on my fiction to-read list are:

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read)
  2. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper
  3. Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Gouge
  4. My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
  5. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  6. Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers
  7. Return to Me by Lynn Austin
  8. The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher
  9. The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
  10. Two Mighty Rivers by Mari Hanes
  11. The Cottage by Michael Phillips
  12. The Legacy by Michael Phillips
  13. Not Abandoned by MacKenzie Morganthal
  14. The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
  15. Close to You by Kara Isaac
  16. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
  17. Dahveed: Yahweh’s Chosen by Terri L. Fivash
Some of the ones on my non-fiction to-read list for this year include:
  1. 7 Men and the Secret to Their Greatness by Eric Metaxes
  2. Mrs. Oswald Chambers by Michelle Ule
  3. The Keswick Story by John Charles Pollock
  4. The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz
  5. Of Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford
  6. Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose
  7. Church History by Eusebius
  8. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell
  9. Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior

Now, what books are on your to-read list, friends?

Read more

Happy First-Line Friday, friends! 

This week, I’m featuring a book that I received for Christmas ~ I love feeling packages and knowing – just *knowing* that there is a book inside of the wrapping paper, don’t you!? 🙂 I’m almost finished with reading this one and hope to give you a little review on it soon ~ not enough time to get to it today. 

 

The Book:

A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity

By Francine Rivers

First Line:

When Tamar saw Judah leading a donkey burdened with sacks and a fine rug, she took her hoe and ran to the farthest border of her father’s land.

Book-loving friends, it’s your turn. 🙂 What’s the first line of the book that you’re reading? Let us know in the comments below!
May your weekend be blessed with God’s presence in His Son Jesus Christ!

This post may be happily shared with:

 

Read more

This post uses affiliate links. Thanks for your support! 🙂

Hello, friends, and Merry Christmas, in case we don’t get to chat again before then! What a special time of year this is… Before we leap into First-Line Friday, may I share with you a beautiful old poem I came across recently by one of my favorite authors, George MacDonald?

Babe Jesus lay in Mary’s lap;

The sun shone on His hair;

And this is how she saw, mayhap,

The crown already there.

For she sang, “Sleep on, my little King,

Bad Herod dares not come;

Before Thee, sleeping, holy thing,

The wild winds would be dumb.

I kiss Thy hands, I kiss Thy feet,

My Child, so long-desired;

Thy hands shall never be soiled, my sweet,

Thy feet shall never be tired.

For Thou art the King of men, my Son;

Thy crown I see it plain;

And men shall worship Thee, every one,

And cry, Glory! Amen.”

Babe Jesus opened His eyes so wide!

At Mary looked her Lord.

And Mary stinted her song and sighed.

Babe Jesus said never a word.

I love the poems of old, don’t you? George MacDonald can make the most kingly scene homey and real.


Now onto First-Line Friday, followed by a mini review of that book! 🙂
The Book:
Monster by Frank Peretti
First Line:
The Hunter, rifle in his hands, dug in a heel and came to a sudden halt on the game trail, motionless, nearly invisible in a thicket of serviceberry and crowded pines. He heard something.
Mini Review:

I’m not much of one for suspense and thriller-type books, but I make exceptions for Frank Peretti! He is, above all else, a fantastic storyteller, and this comes through so strongly in Monster! Peretti manages to weave a tale of a hunt for monsters with a well-formulated scientific argument against an evolutionary explanation for the existence of the world and everything in it. This book had me curled up tightly in my armchair, practically racing through to find out where the next believable-but-I-never-saw-it-coming twist was going. This is a wonderfully exciting, slightly horrific, and very sobering tale of a night of camping in the woods that went really, really wrong… or did it?

Highly recommended! Find it HERE.

Now it’s your turn ~ What’s the first line of a book you’re reading this week?

This post may be happily shared with:

Read more

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Back Cover:

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm. 

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

My Thoughts:

Where We Belong was my first Lynn Austin book… but I don’t think it will be my last, good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise. 🙂 This beautifully-told, often-funny story brings us back to Victorian-era Chicago, spanning nearly fifty years in the lives of the Hawes sisters, whose middle name appears to be “adventure.”

I loved many things about this stand-alone novel (which is deliciously long!), but one of the things that really stood out to me was the way that these sisters are not merely the same cliched “women ahead of their time” that I’ve found in many a novel. Rather, these women ultimately move forward in their specific calling as Christians, regardless of whether society approves or disapproves – because they are following the will of God for them, not because they are trying to be rebels. That was refreshing!

Another wonderful part of this novel regarded a strong emphasis on us as Christians showing the love of God through our actions. At one point, when Rebecca is contemplating adoption, she explains to her sister that the person she wishes to adopt has never experienced human love, so how can the person understand God’s love? Rebecca desires to adopt out of a passion for sharing the Gospel through it – knowing that actions speak louder than words, as the old saying goes. This attitude of following your words with actions permeates the book and really added a great deal of depth.

There is also a hilarious story thread involving an “amorous sheik” that runs throughout the book. I can’t say more for risk of spoiling the surprises and humor of the situations, but it definitely provided some genuinely funny, light-hearted moments in a more-serious novel. I loved it!

Austin’s manner of storytelling reminds me of one of my very favorite authors, Michael Phillips: slow but not dull, methodically peeling back and adding layers, bringing several different storylines together seamlessly to show one grand spiritual theme.  This was really well done, and as with Phillips’ novels, I was saddened to see the last page! 🙂

If you love fascinating historical fiction with only a smidgen of romance (another refreshing bit!), a strong but not forced Christian theme, and a well-told, well-woven story, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Where We Belong, available HERE.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post may be shared happily 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 LinkupTestimony Tuesday, Tuesday TalkHomemaking 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 FriendsNo Rules Weekend Blog Party

 

Read more

This post uses affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Happy First-Line Friday, bookish friends! 🙂

I’m sharing a book that is in my to-read pile – one I ordered from CBD this year during a sale and that I’m greatly anticipating reading! Eric Metaxas is a brilliant man, well-read and equipped with eloquent wisdom.
The Book:

7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

First Line:

As most people would concur, the idea of manhood has fallen into some confusion in the last decades. This book hopes to help correct some of that by asking and answering two vitally important questions: First, what is a man? And second, what makes a man great?

{Find out more about this book HERE.}
What are you reading this week, friends? Feel free to share the first line with me in the comments below! 🙂
Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ,
Alicia G. Ruggieri

This post may be happily linked up with:

 

Read more