Spring Splendors

Spring Splendors

Monday, April 21, 2014

Off to Lake Tahoe for the Love's Promises Tour!

http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/p/loves-promises-blog-tour.htmlWelcome to the blog tour for Love's Promises! Sandra Leesmith's books are atmospheric, with unique settings that provide the perfect engaging backdrops for her characters' emotional stories. With Love's Promises, Sandra invites you to take a little trip to Lake Tahoe...

Several of the author interviews this week will feature Lake Tahoe, and one discusses some of the environmental concerns spotlighted in the book. There will also be some reviews and a couple of character interviews - plus a giveaway designed to give you a little "taste of Lake Tahoe" with a Tahoe mug, a paperback copy of Love's Promises, and some other sweet prizes! So please join us as we sail and ski around the blogosphere this week. We're glad to have you in our tour group! :)

Tour Itinerary

Monday, April 21st
Tuesday, April 22nd
Wednesday, April 23rd
Thursday, April 24th
Friday, April 25th
*Giveaway winner will be announced one week after the conclusion, in order to give readers more time to submit their entries.


Special Offer

What's a travel package without a special offer? ;) Act now to secure your FREE reading adventure in Kindle format! Love's Promises will only be free during the tour today and tomorrow (April 21-22), so don't miss it...


Travel Rewards

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below:
You can find direct links to all the tour stops (once they're live), as well as a tour button (if you want to share about all the fun you're having!), on the blog tour page. Please contact your tour guide, Amber Stokes, at amberstokes@editingthroughtheseasons.com if you have any questions about this virtual trip. Enjoy the tour!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter and Eternal Life

Yes, for the third year in a row, I'm posting the same devotional for Easter. This post was inspired by my love of the movie Tuck Everlasting and my professor's comments in Johannine Theology class my last year of college at Corban. I hope that, despite the repetition, the discussion/encouragement might bless old and new readers alike. :) (And I do hope to share a new devotional for the Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too blog tour in May!)

This Easter will be different... Not away at college, and not with every member of my immediate family present as before. But the hope of eternal life is a comfort, and we plan to still gather together for a day of happy family celebration. Happy Easter to you and yours, dear friends!

***

What is eternal life?

I recently explored this topic in a paper for my Johannine Theology class (a class studying the theology presented in the books of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation). In Sunday School as children, and perhaps even in certain contexts as adults, we are taught that eternal life is that which will begin after we die and go to heaven.

When Jesus prayed for His disciples before being arrested and crucified, He said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). And at an earlier time He declared, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:10b-11).

At Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus - that incredible, powerful reality that allows us to claim eternal life through faith.

So again, remembering and considering the Resurrection of Christ, what is the eternal life that God has offered us?

I think the movie Tuck Everlasting gives us a picture of what eternal life is not - as well as a beautiful hint at what eternal life is.


Tuck Everlasting is about a girl who meets the Tucks - a family who inadvertently found a spring that gave them immortal life when they drank from it. But while their way of life is unhurried and leisurely, and they don't have to worry about disease or death, they aren't exactly happy. Angus Tuck says at one point, "What we Tucks have you can't call livin'."

And it isn't living. The point of eternal life is not endless days. The point, as Jesus Himself declared, is a relationship with God:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

Eternal life isn't endless, meaningless days without God. That is hell. "Eternal life" here on earth is not what we truly desire or need. True eternal life begins when we believe in God - and it continues on through eternity, beyond death.

The glimpse of this in Tuck Everlasting is found in the line, "Do not fear death. Fear the unlived life." It's a great reminder of the message of 1 Corinthians 15:54-57...

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So if you are saved through the grace of God, through faith in Jesus, may today's (and every) remembrance of the empty tomb thrill you with the knowledge of the eternal life with the Lord that you have already begun.

"Do not fear death. Fear the unlived life."

(Movie image from tribute.ca. This devotional was originally posted HERE on April 8, 2012, then re-posted HERE on March 31, 2013.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Resistance is Coming...

Just popping in to announce the winners of the Resistance cover reveal giveaway, and to make a quick announcement regarding the blog tour! The winners of the bookmark giveaway are...

Kim P.

&

Katherine L.

Congratulations to the both of you! I've sent you an email, and you have until next Wednesday to respond before another winner is drawn. 


If you didn't win but are still interested in owning something crafted by Jaye L. Knight, be sure to check out her Etsy shop! I bought a few jewelry items from there a few months back, and they are very lovely and delicate. She has pieces that correspond with her books and ones for writers. :)

Also, plans are coming together for the Resistance blog tour, headed your way May 20-27!

http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/p/resistance-blog-tour.html

You can check out the tentative schedule (subject to tweaking) and grab a button on the blog tour page. For those of you who are signed up for the tour, I'll be in contact shortly with more information!

It's time to join the Resistance...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Caring for Caregivers: Out from the Shadows

http://www.pamthorson.com/out-from-the-shadows-blog-tour/
When Grace Thorson contacted me about this blog tour, I really wanted to take part - not just because Grace has been so kind in participating in the blog tours I run via Editing Through the Seasons (which she has!), but also because I've recently been given a greater glimpse at the sacrifices of caregivers.

My grandpa is currently living in a local care/retirement home. Over these past few months I've had the opportunity to get to know some of the people who work there, and they're often friendly, kind, and considerate - even when they're stressed, elbow-deep in dishes with people needing their attention, assisting the residents to and from the bathroom, cleaning up messes, and addressing a variety of issues and day-to-day tasks. I greatly admire their fortitude in a job that's all about helping people who no longer have the ability to help themselves, at least in certain ways. 

While I confess to being a little hesitant at first (and sometimes still!), I've become more and more comfortable at the home. One resident always has to shake hands when we come in. Another loves to give hugs and can proclaim any day her birthday. :) Yet another once told me about his time going through the Panama Canal back when he was in the military. These are my grandpa's new housemates, and it makes me happy that my grandpa's presence there is what gave my mom and I the chance to meet them. So I'm grateful for the caregivers who provide this home for my grandpa and the other sweet residents - a place where we can stop by any time, pick my grandpa up for a special occasion, visit with my grandpa in his room, or join him and the gang at the table while they eat dinner or enjoy some ice cream!

If you're a caregiver or know of someone who is, read on to learn more about a book meant to encourage you. You're appreciated and loved!


About the Book

No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can't find us.

Does the suffering you witness or experience seem pointless? Do you feel like your problems are endless? Do you wonder if God cares about you?

Caregivers live in the daily shadows of death, countless duties, and shattered dreams. But they don t have to exist in the shadows of their faith.

Nurse and veteran caregiver Pam Thorson offers weary families hope and insights gained from her own struggles. Out from the Shadows is a collection of thirty-one stories that pull back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Each devotion draws from the author's own experiences to reveal a fresh understanding of Jesus' call upon our lives as we care for others.

Available for purchase on Amazon


 About the Author

Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), pulls back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Pam resides with her family in the Northwest.


Book Trailer

 

Click HERE to check out the blog tour itinerary!

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Season"-ed Snack Size Reviews

Sometimes it's nice to just have a little something to read - a little story to make you smile or intrigue you. I indulged in a couple of shorter reads in the last few days (and yes, I confess, I bought one this weekend for $.99...). Here are my thoughts!

You Made Me Love You by Beth K. Vogt

Rating: Spring

I loved Wish You Were Here, so the fact that this is a fun little sequel with a truly adorable cover made this a must-read for me! While not as deep as its novel-length predecessor, and while the heroine (Meghan) sometimes came across as abrasive rather than cute in her teasing, I still really enjoyed this sweet read about clashing personalities, staying true to yourself, and standing strong in humility in the midst of awkward circumstances. The ice cream scenes were great, and I loved Seth's character growth (and the way a certain someone made him fall in love!). All in all, a great follow-up to a wonderful book!

Out of the Blue (Hindsight, Book 1) by Kelly Martin

Rating: Spring

Martin intrigued me with her early-2014 release, The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe, so I've been curious to read more of her work. Out of the Blue is another creative story (novella-length) with a great hero POV. This is just "the beginning," which means readers will have to wait a while for "the middle" and "the end." Even still, I found this to be an easy read with fun nods to BBC's Sherlock. I liked the mystery, despite a few points where the elements didn't seem to mesh perfectly. There are darker tones - and there's certainly a strong suggestion that darker revelations are to come. Yet it's a clean NA (new adult) read that presents an interesting (albeit not yet fully explained) premise in an engaging, small college-town setting. 

Note: "Seasoned" or "unseasoned" is in reference to my book rating system. Thanks to Juju of Tales of Whimsy for the inspiration regarding mini reviews!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Resistance: An Epic Fantasy Cover Reveal



Welcome to the world of Ilyon - the setting for Jaye L. Knight's new NA (New Adult) Christian fantasy series! The story begins with Resistance, the first of six epic, adventure-filled books:

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.” 

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape. 

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair and her twin brother live every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God. 

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance. 

Intrigued yet? Check out the cover...


My Thoughts

This cover sets me up for something legendary. From the torn scroll border at the top, to the light shining down on the beautifully detailed sword waiting to be pulled from its resting place by its rightful master, the cover quietly but emphatically states that an adventure awaits. The important details are clear: the series name (showing that this is only the beginning), the title in tall caps, and the author's very fitting pseudonym boldly standing out in the darkness. My favorite aspect, though? That would be the gorgeous background. It brings to mind childhood stories and imaginative games in the woods. It's both ominous in what's hidden and optimistic with the brilliant green and the shining light. I want to walk right into those woods and discover their secrets!


About the Author

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/p/resistance-blog-tour.html

Blog Tour Announcement

Anxious to get your hands on Resistance? (Believe me, if you love clean fantasy with engaging characters and lots of adventure, you won't want to miss it!) There's a blog tour happening May 20-27, coinciding with the book's release on May 20th. If you're a blogger, you can sign up and join the journey on the blog tour page. (And even if you can't participate as a blogger, be sure to mark your calendars and follow the exciting event. There will be reviews, interviews, a giveaway, and lots of fun!)

Giveaway!

Speaking of giveaways, in celebration of this epic cover reveal, Jaye L. Knight is giving away two handcrafted bookmarks with sword charms—one each to two different winners! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, and you can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Cover Reveal Participants

Want to hear what other bloggers think about the cover, or read an excerpt from the book? Be sure to visit all these awesome blogs today!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Review of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

Here's a description of the book from WaterBrook Multnomah:

"Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love

In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.

Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?"

My Rating

Summer

My Review

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is the epitome of what I long for in historical romance - fascinating characters, a fast pace, high tension, intriguing historical details (not overdone), gorgeous and sweeping imagery, engaging and excellent writing, points to ponder, and (of course!) a tender romance. The story is as soft, mysterious, and grand as the cover claims it to be, and I couldn't have been more thrilled with that discovery!

With most historical fiction, there's always the concern that the plot will drag, weighed down by details or less engaging, day-to-day scenes. But Benton's sophomore novel is full of movement, unanswered questions, and suspense to carry the story forward. This led to some late nights for me, as the book contains a delicious balance of literary loveliness and action that guarantees a longer but exciting sojourn on the frontier. And there's enough obvious depth in the first read-through of the story and a perusal of the discussion questions to suggest that subsequent reads could reveal further enchanting elements of the adventure.

I really appreciated the portrayal of the various people groups - from the settlers caught up in the drama of the State of Franklin to the Native Americans as both brutal warriors and beloved friends and family. Each character is complex; each character arc captures the imagination.

My one (very slight) disappointment was that I wished for a little more emphasis on the romance at the end - just another more personal scene to touch on all that the hero and heroine went through together. But not to worry! The romance is a very prominent, surprising, and wonderful part of the story, and I loved it. The hero's patience, devotion, and care completely won me over, and the conclusion of his and Tamsen's story is poignant and hopeful.

Fans of historical romance like Laura Frantz's Courting Morrow Little and Catherine Richmond's Spring for Susannah will adore The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn - a story that delivers in both meat and treat, quality and enjoyment.

*With thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah through Blogging for Books for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Note: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn releases April 15, 2014.

Would you consider ranking my review? Thank you!