Sunday, December 10, 2017

From the Shelves {Christmas Reads}

Welcome to the second From the Shelves post, darling readers! :D 


This edition will be Christmas recommendations, and I've chosen some goodies. ^.^ All of which are either Amish fiction or WWII (hmm...how ironic). One is even both, sooo. xD 

On another note, my area got over a foot of snow in the past two days. *is very happy* I'm happily getting lots of reading done, while somehow not getting too distracted by the beautiful view. :P

Let's dive into the books! 



Amish. 



Ahh, this book brings back memories. I've read it 3 times, I believe – a fact which my copy bears proof of – and I'm hoping to read it again this year. I don't know why, but I always love the stories of people who were adopted when they were young, and are reunited with someone (or more than one someones) years later. White Christmas Pie is a lovely story, that definitely has that. <3 

*Read my semi-coherent, really-bad review here.

amish // contemporary // christian fiction // romance // re-read worthy 



This was such a sweet story! Like the previous book, it deals with an adoptee and her search for her birth family. (This is not gonna be a trend here – promise.) I read this one in early 2016, and I'm hoping to read it again soon. :D 

amish // WWII era // romance // christian fiction 



It's been a couple years since I read this book, but I recall really enjoying it. It's told from an English couple, who end up stranded with an Amish family around Christmas. Sweet story!! 

amish // christian fiction // contemporary 



WWII. 



*all the heart-eyes* This book, y'all...this book. I snagged it from CBD because Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite authors, and then I ended up liking the other two stories (it's a three-in-one, but they're all related) equally or maybe even more than hers! 110% recommended. xD 

WWII era // christian fiction // romance // three-in-one // family story



EEPS, this little book is precious. A combination of WWII, Christmas, and a darling Cinderella retelling... What's not to love, y'all?! (Plus my critique partner wrote it, soooo. *nods* It's epic. Go read the thing, pals.) 

*Read my full review here.

WWII era // christian fiction // romance // cinderella retelling // novella 



I recently read this book with my reading buddy *wink*, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! Even if the synopsis doesn't appeal to you...read the book. It's quite a bit different from the synopsis. xD I'll hopefully be reviewing this one in the next couple weeks, so watch for that! 

WWII era // christian fiction // teen-boy POV



TBR. 




// The Angel of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris // 

In the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and John Grisham's Skipping Christmas… 

Newspaper reporter Ben Raines is a full-fledged cynic trying to bypass what he feels is the least wonderful time of the year-Christmas. But his plan to escape on a dream vacation overseas is foiled when the boss assigns him to write the annual front-page holiday story. With a humbug twist, Ben chooses to investigate a World War II legend involving his own father that will expose the fallacies of religion and everything related to December 25th. 

Willy Raines fought in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne during Christmas 1944 and – to Ben's embarrassment – believes a real angel saved the lives of every man in the 101st Airborne unit. Some angel that was. Life was never easy for Willy after the war, and he was far from heroic in his son's eyes. 

Ben sets out to find other veterans who witnessed the angel of Bastogne, sure to return empty-handed. Instead, he comes home with a heart that is overflowing. 

Doesn't this sound great?! I found it by chance at 2nd & Charles awhile back, and I'm really looking forward to reading it this Christmas!! :) 


// A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson // 

Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. 

Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs. 

Combining an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance, this newest Christmas story from beloved author Melody Carlson is sure to please.


I'd had this book on my TBR for some time, and I found it at 2nd & Charles too. (I know this for sure, because I peeled off the stickers before snapping pics xD) Sounds cute!! 



Hope y'all enjoyed and found some Christmasy reads! Don't forget – the 12 Days of Christmas party starts on Thursday. ;) 

~Faith 

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Soldier's Freedom // My Copy Came + Story Playlist

Hello lovelies! :D 

Who has been waiting anxiously for this post? Okay, so, probably no one, but I hope y'all enjoy anyhow. xD 


Yes, you read right. My first-draft copy of A Soldier's Freedom arrived from Lulu on November 14th. (In case y'all hadn't already gathered as much...yes. First-draft copies have become my thing. I just love holding my creation in my hands, even if isn't perfect. ^_^) Welcome to a nearly-moment-by-moment recount of that epochal time. 

Okiedoke! So, after stalking the tracking page for like hours, I finally saw that my package had been delivered, so I trekked over to the mailbox. 


And got this lovely (and very heavy...like my arm basically died before I got home) box! 


I tried to tear into it on the way home, with no knife or even decently-sharp nails, to no avail. 


Ta-da! ... An order receipt. Wow, Faith. 


After digging under the brown paper....ahh, there it is. Sooo pretty. *heart eyes* 


The glorious spiineeee. *is officially in love with this font* 


And the back cover!! I had never had a custom-made back cover before, but after my lovely designer fren made the front, she was like "Hey, want a back cover?" So she made me one. <33 


A better pic that wasn't taken while Faith had shaky hands. xD 



The pretty interior... <3 *is slightly proud of how it turned out even if I did do it* 


All of me finished works – ft. my cluttered desk. I is a happy writer. ^-^ 



Annnnd now for the playlist! I listened to a ton of great music while writing ASF, and I've boiled it down to 9 songs that I like and that reflect some part of ASF in some way. I totally get it if you don't listen to all the songs (I probably wouldn't), but have fun learning how they each connect. :D 




Broken Things ~ Matthew West
Around the time I finished writing A Soldier's Freedom, this song was #1 in Christian music, which made me immensely happy. It talks about how God uses broken people. I think we're all broken in some way, and the characters of ASF most definitely are. xD 



Broken Hallelujah ~ The Afters
Again, this song talks about broken people – this time giving praise to God, no matter how broken they are. 



Semper Fi ~ Trace Adkins
*snickers* I don't think I even need to explain this one. It's a song about marines, James is a marine, it has a catchy tune that Faith likes, end of story. xD 



The Cure ~ Unspoken
Ahhhh, this song. <3 It talks about Jesus being the cure for the disease of the world, and the cure for James' hurting heart? Yup. *beams* 



Stand ~ Rascal Flatts
This epic country music song is kinda of a call-out to stand up against opposition and overcome. Again, goes right along with ASF. 



Who You Are ~ Unspoken
I hadn't even thought to compared this one to the book, but a friend suggested it and I was like "DUDE YES." I mean, 'who you are'? Finding your identity in Christ? *thumbs up* 



Oh My Dear ~ Tenth Avenue North
This song wasn't originally on the playlist, but I heard it the other night, and I think it fits. It was actually written by TAN's lead singer for his wife. That meaning doesn't really fit, but the words and the confiding-your-darkest-to-someone-you-care-about theme does. 



'Til the Last Shot's Fired ~ Trace Adkins
And...this one doesn't exactly fit either? The verses don't, but some of the chorus does. But it's soldier-y and it's the background music for a lot of Wounded Warrior commercials (not that I would know...), sooooo. Yeah. We'll go with it. XD 



In Christ Alone ~ Keith and Kristyn Getty 
Wow, y'all, this song is like sountrack for the best parts of the book. I heard this song one day in the earlier stages of ASF, and I just kinda stopped for a minute. I was like "wait...that's their song." And it is. <33 



Thanks for reading! What did you think of the songs? Are you in favor of first-draft copies or no? 
~Faith 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Audiobooks, a Warped Mind, and Christmas is Coming // November Recap

I'm really not sure how it's the second day of December. Like...like...how is this possible?! *is somewhere between being thrilled because CHRISTMAS and crying because WHERE DID THE YEAR GO*

Moving on, folks. xD 



\\ Life. \\ 

>> So this happened. 

Mom: *says something about how none of the smoke alarms in our house have batteries*
Me: Oh, that reminds me! So, last night I was researching burns and–
Mom: Burns as in someone gets burned?
Me: yes. And so–
Mom: *eyeing me suspiciously* Just please tell me you're not burning someone.
Me: it's war, Mom!
Mom: *eyeroll* Someone needs to write happy stories
Me: You sound like Kaitlyn. ANYWAY! So, about burn prevention, this article said to install smoke alarms in your house. Like...isn't that kind of lame to be under 'prevention'?!
Mom: *still stuck on the part where she finds out her daughter has a warped mind*


>> I laughed entirely too hard over jokes on Pinterest. (Translation: I wasted too much time on Pinterest.) 



>> I did an author interview with RebekahAshleigh!! You should totally check it out. :D *points to the   handy-dandy link*


>> Um so I made my 50-something Christmas wreaths and I don't even wanna see another spring of greenery right now okay please and thank you. 


>> *is borderline squealing over this one* OKAY SO. Chances are, if you've been around the blogging/book-blogging world long, you've heard of Lindsey and her blog Books for Christian Girls. (C'mon, she's kinda like a legend, people.) Awhile back, I contacted Lindsey about reviewing Dandelion Dust, she agreed, and the review came out this month!! 



>> Dad texted me from deer camp... 



>> Thanksgiving happened, y'all. It sounds cliche, but we have so much to be thankful for. <3 




\\ Books. \\ 

Well, I didn't get any new books this month (so this section is gonna be kinda lame and pictureless *cries*), but I did read some epic books. I also 'read' two audiobooks and one audio drama (marked with **), which was super awesome because getting to be immersed in a story while you're doing monotonous work? High five, audio-makers. 

I read 13 books! :D 
Andi Lassos Trouble by Susan K. Marlow -- 5 stars 
Making Memories by Janette Oke -- 3.5 stars 
Andi to the Rescue by Susan K. Marlow -- 5 stars 
Leviticus -- 5 stars 
Christmas Delays and Other Short Stories by Rebekah A. Morris -- 5 stars -- Review 
Home for Christmas by Rebekah A. Morris -- 4 stars -- Review 
Kate's Innocence by Sarah Holman** -- 4.5 stars 
Kate's Capitol by Sarah Holman** -- 4.5 stars 
The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson -- 5 stars 
Mandie and Joe's Christmas Surprise by Lois Gladys Leppard -- 4 stars 
2 Peter -- 5 stars 
They're Rugby Boys, Don't You Know? by Natalie Vellacott -- 4 stars -- Review to come. 
The Candle in the Window by Margaret Hill McCarter/Lamplighter Theatre** -- 5 stars 



\\ Writing. \\ 

So, I didn't do NaNo this month, but I did edit about 10-12 chapters in War TearsI also wrote a short Christmas story this month (that y'all will be getting soon-ish) and started another Christmas story that...will probably never see this blog. But who knows. :P 



I also got my first-draft copy of A Soldier's Freedom. I'll have that post up sometime soon. Hopefully. ;) 



\\ Movies & Music. \\ 

I watched lots of great movies this month! I'm probably forgetting half of them, but... 

Dashing Through the Snow
Forever Strong
Christmas Homecoming 
A Cookie-Cutter Christmas 
Re-watched 4 movies of WCTH Season 4

Music? I don't even know what to put here, other than Bleed the Same is an epic song and THE WORLD NEEDS IT. *ahem*

The local Christian radio station starting playing aaaallllll Christmas music on Black Friday which made me reealllyyy happy. But...I'm going to refrain from mentioning my favorites because y'all are gonna hear about those during the upcoming blog party. Speaking of which...



\\ Blogging. \\ 

Blogging in November involved planning and prepping for the 12 Days of Christmas blog party! This is not something y'all are gonna wanna miss. Other than myself, there are between 15-20 bloggers signed up (is it bad that I'm not sure?) and *squeals* it's gonna be awesome!! :D 

Favorite posts of the month... 








\\ Goals. \\ 

~ November Goals 

>> Read 10 books.             Yup!! 

>> Edit pt.1 of War Tears.       ....no? I'm only a couple chapters away from this, and since I only edited like 13 days in the entire month... *shrugs shoulders* 

>> Write a short Christmas story.        YES!! I actually wrote one completely and started another. :D 

>> Catch back up with emails.          *nods* I'm not exactly caught up now, but I was. :P 

>> Start planning this year's 12 Days of Christmas link-up.      Success!! 


~ December Goals 

>> Read 12 books. 

>> Edit through chapter 25 of War Tears

>> Finish writing the second Christmas story, edit the first. 

>> Stay caught up with emails. 

>> Host the 12DoC blog party. 

>> Participate in Liv's Little Women Read-Along.

>> Have a very, Merry Christmas! 



Happy December, friends! How was your month? :D 
~Faith 


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Question of Courage // Review + Spotlight


*bounces in with squeals and grins* HELLOOOOO, BEAUTIFUL READERS!!! :D 

Y'all, the time has finally come. The book I have silently loved and adored and squealed over for months is finally being released to the world. (Okay, okay, so I was far from silent about it. I just haven't fangirled on here about it. *nods and grins*) 

My beautiful, amazing, talented, darling of a friend (not to mention critique partner <33) Miss Jesseca Wheaton, authoress extraordinaire, is releasing her seventh fictional work. I'll refrain from saying too much here, so I can squeal even more in the forthcoming review. But y'alllllll.... *heart eyes* It's so good. 



~ About the Book ~ 

A man. A decision. A destiny. 
Rafe Sullivan never imagined the war would come to his doorstep. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked and America's focus suddenly shifts to the pacific, he finds he can't ignore the problem anymore. 
Leaving the life he loves behind, he joins up to do what he does best. Fly. 
Yet, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of war, and the struggle that is going on in his own heart. As an outstanding navy pilot, he is stationed on one of the few Pacific carriers. But could God be calling him to step out in faith, and go beyond the call of duty? 
Lily Wilson gives her all to help the hurting community around her. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the war is brought home to many American families. And as a nurse, she longs to be able to relive some of the suffering. Yet, her own grief is still fresh in her heart, and though she's made the decision to get on with her life, she can't seem to leave the past behind. When healing at last comes, the guard she placed around her heart slowly begins to crumble. 
But when she receives the news she hoped she would never again hear, can she trust that God’s plan is always right?
Arthur Warrington saw the Navy as an escape from the life he left behind. And it seems good for him. He is able to forge new friendships and distance himself from his past. But when his best friend makes a decision that rocks his world, he is left grappling with the question: what is true courage? 
Three lives. One War. And a search for the Courage to go on.




~ Review ~ 

(First, can we pause to admire that gorgeous cover? Utterly stunning and one-hundred-and-ten-percent fitting. Second, can we pause to admire that epic synopsis? This girl is skilled.)

To my knowledge, there has not been a thing Miss Wheaton has published that I have not read – whether that be available-for-purchase kind of published or posted-to-her-blog kind of published. I haven't read a story of hers yet that I did not enjoy, nor that did not touch me in some way. But...all that to say...  

A Question of Courage is my favorite of them all. Hands down. No other way to look at it. It's the top.

I honestly love so much about this book that I don't know where to start. But I must start somewhere, so let's start with the characters. Specifically, the POV characters. There's three of them, they're all connected, and it just flows, y'all. 

We have Rafe, the main character. He's charming and funny and handsome (trust me – he is) and AMAZING. If you've read A Question of Honor (book 1) or As in Olden Days (prequel to the series), you've met Rafe. To be honest, I wasn't too sure how I was going to like reading his story. I was totally a David fan – and I still am – but...Rafe, y'all. <33 

The second POV is Lily Wilson. *looks at A Question of Honor fans who are tearing up already* Yes, we get Lily's POV, and I loved it SO MUCH. Her story was beautiful, and it made my heart hurt, and... *hugs her* 

Lastly, we have the POV of Art, a new addition to the Questions of War cast of characters – and a very good addition, I would say. ;) Art and Rafe had me in torrents of laughter from there first meeting. The brotherlyness, the nicknames, the pranks. <33 Their farewell seriously left me in tears. 

The theme of courage is amazing as well. I hadn't really considered this, but I saw another reviewer point it out, and I totally agree. Courage is there in the book, it effects and touches and is at the base of every decision, every choice. But...it's not like "he had courage, so he could do this" or "she must be courageous". No, the theme was there, without being said. Implied without being in-the-reader's-face. And I believe that takes much skill and artful story-weaving, and Miss Wheaton pulled it off splendidly. <3 

(That whole paragraph didn't make a lick of sense. Basically the writer can't put what she's trying to say into words.)

So yes. This story is absolutely beautiful. It's simple and heartfelt, yet deep and powerful and I just... *collapses* I love it so, so, so much. The historical details are rich and vibrant, the characters are real and deep, the prose is totally gorgeous, and don't EVEN get me started on that ending. Needless to say, I spent a few minutes trying not to full-blown-sob and pulling myself together, and then promptly ordered Jess to stop trampling all over my heart. (She made no promises.)

5 stars, my friends. Only because that's the highest the rating system will let me do. If there were a 6, it would be 6. If there were a 7, it would... *ahem* Nevermind... 

P.S. Rafe is mine. End of story. 



~ About the Author ~ 
Jesseca is a daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano. And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.


~ Giveaway ~ 


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag.


Happy Saturday, friends! It's that beautiful day where you're supposed to chillax, read books, write stories, and not do school. (Unless you're like me and you have homework fromThanksgiving break that's *cough* due *cough* in two days. *cough*) 

ANYWAY!  Ivie @ Ivie Writes tagged me for this tag awhile back and I'm finally getting around to it. ;) *thanks Ivie with 497 cookies* 

RULES:
> Give the person who tagged you a never-ending supply of cookies (or just thank them. Either works.)
> Answer all the questions and use the blog graphic somewhere in the post. 
> Pass along the tag to at least five other people.
> Wear a sweater. (This is optional, but why wouldn't you want to?)

Kk, I'm not wearing a sweater, but...oh well. 


Fuzzy Sweater (A book that is the epitome of comfort.)
I could give the obvious answer here and say my Bible, but I'll be creative and think of another one too. The Millie Keith series are absolutely amazing books that are definitely 'comforting' after a rough day. ^_^




Striped Sweater (Book you devoured every line of.)
To Get to You by Joanne Bischof , HANDS DOWN. I read this 290-something page book in a day (which is not common for me) and I. Just. Loved. It. So. Much. Definitely a book I devoured. xD 



Ugly Christmas Sweater (Book with a weird cover.)
So....I scoured my shelf for something to fit this and can't really find anything?? I mean, there are few books that I own that I have covers I dislike. And most of those are just personal preference. But we'll go with Whispers of a New Dawn by Murray Pura. The person on the top has like random fingernails that are partially blurred but still on their person and the dude on the left looks deranged. 



Cashmere Sweater (The most expensive book you bought.)
Um...I can't really think of anything specific. I buy most of my books used or on sale, so...I don't really know. =/ 


Hoodie (Favorite classic book.)
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. It's precious. ^_^



Cardigan (Book you bought on impulse.)
I bought Something in the Sky by Siri L. Mitchell on impulse at 2nd&Charles. It sounds good and teh cover is cool, soooo... *nods* I obviously have good money management skills. 



Turtleneck Sweater (Book from your childhood.)
Legit the entire Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. They so good too. <33 



Homemade Knitted Sweater (Book that is Indie published.)
I have oodles of indie-published books on my shelves, and I've read even more. So we'll just go with one that is a fav of mine and THAT COVER. <33 (Psst, book-2 releases next week. *grins*) 



V-Neck Sweater (A book that did not meet your expectations.)
Uhhh...this took some thinking too. I finally chose Journey to Love by Amanda Tero. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book. It was a cute and sweet story. It just...wasn't a favorite? 



Argyle Sweater (Book with a unique format.)
True to You by Becky Wade has a unique design. At the end of each chapter, there are emails and text messages between the characters, journey entries, and Facebook posts. I found it to be a super cool addition to the story. Not just an addition though, because if you skipped those you'd quickly become confused as to what was going on. ;) 



Polka-Dot Sweater (A book with well rounded characters.)
Bahahaha, polka-dot? Well-rounded? I just got that. xD I'm gonna take the 'easy way out' here and give y'all a Sarah Sundin book. Honestly, I haven't read a book by her yet that didn't have absolutely amazing characters. With Every Letter is certainly not an exception. :D 



Anndd....I'm gonna cheat and not tag anyone. How's this – if you like books and you like sweaters, consider yourself hereby tagged. xD 



~*~ 

On another note, Lulu is currently have an extended Black Friday sale of 30% off all print products. That means you could purchase Dandelion Dust for $6.99 + shipping! Click here to get started. Sale ends tomorrow, November 26th. 


~Faith 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Indie Christian Books ~ 2017 Black Friday Sale

Hey guys! For the third year in a row I'm promoting the Black Friday sale through Indie Christian Books. I totally support independent publishing and I think it's an awesome thing. Read on for all the details, links to the sale pages, and five books that I read this year and am particularly thankful for. :D 


Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2017 and am thankful for.


To Get to You by Joanne Bischof ~ The book was just so, so beautiful. The themes of grace and forgiveness brought tears to my eyes and I know I'll be re-reading it many times. 

Millie's Faithful Heart by Martha Finley (adaption by Kersten Hamilton) ~ If we're going to get specific, I'm thankful for this entire series of amazing books. But this one in particular spoke to my heart. <3 

The Other Side of Infamy by Jim Downing ~ A look into the real life of a WWII veteran, Navigator evangelist, and survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack – this biography was wonderful! 

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines ~ Reading a book about a couple who are TV stars and yet stay true to themselves was truly enjoyable. I'm so glad I read this one. 

Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts ~ (Would this be considered self-promotion? Probably, but I have a point. Bear with me.) This book, this not-so-little-anymore novella that God laid on my heart nearly a year ago, has taught me so many lessons and grew me in ways I didn't realize I was lacking. Definitely thankful for the journey. <3 


I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors has banded together to offer a huge selection of discounted books between Nov 24th and 30th. There's literally something for everyone.
On November 24th, the Indie Christian Books website (http://www.indiechristianbooks.com) will go live. Every single book listed will be on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping$0.99 ebooks,package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks.com you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!
You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.
What awesome reads of 2017 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2018?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as "Sold Out." This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.