“A Matter of Trust” by Susan May Warren

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Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

Susan May Warren

A Matter of Trust takes you on a downhill ride through danger, forgiveness, and love – and isn’t that the oddest combination?

Warren totally makes it work, though.  Gage’s skiing prowess makes him read like a superstar, which feels a bit unrealistic, and yet their humbleness makes them feel like the kids next door.  Ella’s skill and the way that the two are able to combat danger together makes it feel as if you’re right there with them.

It’s that pairing that I love about Warren’s writing, and she’s pulled it off in every book of hers (that I’ve read – which is a lot).  Her characters all have high-action, high danger careers, and Warren uses those jobs as vehicles for deep spiritual lessons. 

Ella and Gage both need to make peace with their pasts, and the stories of how they do so are complicated.  Warren weaves the book previous in the series with this one and seamlessly sets up the next book, as well.  I love how wide the cast of characters are, and how each character feels like a friend by the end of the book.

While I would never want to take on a huge mountain on skis personally, I thoroughly enjoy reading about it.  If you, too, like reading action-packed adventure stories, move A Matter of Trust to the top of your summer reading list.

I received a free copy of A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren.  All opinions are my own.

“Hello Stars” by Alena and Wynter Pitts

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Lena Daniels never thought she’d get the chance star in a movie. Headstrong and determined, she has her life planned out to the minute. But when her best friends, Savannah and Emma, tell her about an audition, she knows there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do. And now that she’s gotten her wish, Lena finds that being in the spotlight is harder than it sounds. She got everything she never wanted! Her face turns up everywhere she goes, and everything in her life is flipped upside down. Lena wonders if this is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare. Even a visit from her best friends during filming turns into a disaster.

With her little sisters—Ansley, Ashton, and Amber—and her mischievous pup, Austin, constantly at her side, Lena must face the challenges of everyday life while chasing her dreams of being a model and actress on the big screen. Lena tackles tough choices, learns the value of perseverance, and keeps her hopes high. She knows her faith and family will keep her feet on the ground and her eyes on the stars.

Hello Stars

Lights … camera … action!  for a fabulous new book!  Alena Pitts has written an exciting story, full of drama, spiritual lessons, and movie lights. 

It’s those lights that create such inner turmoil for Lena, the main character of the story.  I love the way that the author has her parents, friends, and even a singer-celebrity helping her to learn big lessons when she faces hard times.  Those lessons incorporate scripture, giving readers a steadfast foundation upon which to lean.

The troubles that Lena faces are realistic, even if much of the story is not.  Most tweens won’t have the opportunity to star in a movie, or even meet their favorite celebrity face-to-face, but the author puts the character, despite those amazing situations, in places of realistic, everyday-people kind of stress, and she learns how to cope with that stress in real ways.  That was definitely my favorite aspect of this book.

Hello Stars is a fairly short, fun read.  It’s the first in a trilogy, and I expect great things in the subsequent books.

I received a free copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

 

“Fly Away” by Lynn Austin

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Wilhelmina Brewster has been a college music professor for 41 years, devoting her life to her career and never marrying. Now, after her forced retirement at age 65, she is mourning her loss and searching for something to fill the empty hours. Widower Mike Dolan is a pilot and World War II veteran who has always lived life to the fullest. When medical tests confirm that his cancer has returned, he makes plans to take a final flight in his airplane rather than become a burden to his family. Wilhelmina accidentally learns of Mike’s final plans, and when she discovers that he isn’t a believer, she knows it’s her Christian duty to talk with him about her faith. But although she has been a lifelong Christian, she feels totally inadequate for the task of witnessing to an unbeliever.
Mike and Wilhelmina are two very different people—one figuring out how to live, the other how to die. Yet they will find themselves journeying together as they search for answers to life, loss and faith in God.

Fly Away

Fly Away is a poignant tale about the circle of life.  We spend most of our days spinning our wheels, caught up in ‘stuff’ that has no eternal significance, and most of us are too afraid to be real, even with our friends. 

Austin calls us on it.  Mike doesn’t want to waste a moment of his life, but Wilhemina doesn’t know how to do anything else.  Austin explores this dichotomy while probing Wilhemina’s fears.  I admire Mike’s strengths and the way that they complement each other.  They made a uniquely suited couple, if only for a few months.

So death and eternal life are deep topics, and that’s exactly what Austin writes – a book with the spiritual depth of the Mariana Trench.  There are life lessons and spiritual lessons to be learned here, and yet it’s not a depressing book.  I found myself cheering on both main characters, and while I was sad for Mike, Austin keeps the mood from becoming completely glum.  Instead, it’s quite provocative as the reader will identify with both Mike and Wilhemina in turn.

Fly Away isn’t a fluffy beach read – but it is an enjoyable one, and one you’ll be very glad to read.

I received a free copy of this book from the author.  All opinions are my own.

“The Road to Paradise” by Karen Barnett

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An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.
 
But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.
 
When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?
 
Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

The Road to Paradise

Karen Barnett has written a fantastic tale of nature conservation, spiritual lessons, and mystery!  I love the way that she has combined all of these to make a rollicking, adventure story.

One of the things that stands out to me most about The Road to Paradise is the way that Margie appreciates the plants and animals found around Mt. Rainier.  She often quotes the Bible, poetry, or famous writers as inspiration strikes, and while she comes off as a bit quirky at first, her sincerity shines through, as does Barnett’s love for God’s creation.  I absolutely love that aspect of this book, and I’ve shared it with several people already.  (In fact, I can’t wait to use this as a book club pick when my girls are a bit older!)

Margie also makes a great female lead.  She’s brave, gutsy, and she knows what’s important.  She’s not afraid to follow her dreams, and she’s willing to chase them, even when it takes her into unpopular territory.  I love the way that Barnett portrays her – as a strong woman who can be romantic and love science, too. 

Margie isn’t always wise in the ways of the world, but she does try to be smart in love.  Maybe she doesn’t always make the best choices, but if she did, what would Barnett write about?  Instead, she keeps attempting to make her next choice better than the one before it, and I love that about her.

The setting of this book caught me off guard.  I expected to read about cozy cabins and beautiful scenery, but instead Barnett really makes Mt. Rainier National Park come alive.  She wrote in park dangers, conservancy efforts, flora and fauna, as well as unique park details, making them major parts of the story.  The mountain wasn’t just there in the background, but it was almost like another character, and I enjoyed this aspect very much.

Barnett uses foreshadowing throughout the book, but it’s so subtle and well-written that I rarely picked up on it until the later event was revealed.  I admire the skill with which she placed those clues throughout the story!

The Road to Paradise is a fantastic summer read.  It’s lighthearted enough to be fun poolside and involves enough nature to make you want to go exploring.  There’s more than enough spiritual depth to keep you pondering Margie’s lessons long after you turn the last page, and you won’t want to leave Margie and Nate when the book finally ends.  Be sure to find a copy ASAP – you won’t want to miss The Road to Paradise.

I received a free copy of The Road to Paradise from Karen Barnett.  All opinions are my own.

Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – June 8, 2017

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It’s rained a LOT here this spring, and our baseball season is still going – although the end is in sight.  Through a few strange turns of events, even though My Little Man is not usually a pitcher, he’s been put on the mound a few times this season, if only for a random inning or two.  Tonight, however, we hear that he’s going to be THE pitcher!

The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was How to Survive the Summer.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

though poppies grow in Flanders fields

5 Tips for Raising Kids That Are Self-Motivated

Fun Family Soak Inducing Water Day Ideas

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

“The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race” by Mike H. Mizrahi

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Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle-in bloomers!
 
It’s 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.
 
Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.
 
Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride “the wheel?” Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the “new women” emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter?
 
Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.
 
Mizrahi
Mizrahi writes a new kind of historical fiction in The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race.  With subplots involving Civil War landmark preservation, mental illness, grief, marital relationships, and race relations, there’s a lot happening in this book – and that doesn’t even touch the main themes of women riding bicycles and wearing bloomers.
 
It’s obvious that Mizrahi did his homework in the way that he blended all of these themes seamlessly.  The setting is detailed and plays a large role in the story.  I love the way that Mizrahi made the bicycle the pivotal point of the story, using it to show both historical and romantic information and spiritual transformation throughout the book.
 
I really enjoyed the main cast of characters.  Anna, Peter, Emma, and Rose were all realistic-sounding people I’d love to befriend.  The villains, of course, came across as appropriately evil, and it was easy to tell the difference.
 
While Anna grew and matured throughout the story in pleasing ways, I didn’t always enjoy those changes as they happened.  Not because I didn’t want them to, but because they seemed to be sudden.  It almost felt too abrupt, as if there were partial scenes that got cut in the editing process.  Anna sometimes reversed her feelings or decisions seemingly without justification, and I would have liked to know why she was making a change.  I think it would have added much to the story.
 
I also found myself frequently wanting to yell into the pages, “Just talk already!”  While I enjoyed reading about Anna’s romantic relationships, I often felt that so much of the confusion could be cleared up if they would only communicate.  I realize that this problem was, in part, a sign of the times, but in this age of emails and texts, the many mix-ups are frustrating to me.  In that regard, I much prefer living in 2017!
 
The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race is an exciting historical fiction about a pivotal time in history.  If romantic stories, coming-of-age tales, or women’s rights hold any interest for you, give it a try.
 
Click here to read other reviews on this bloggy hop or here to purchase your own copy now.
 

 
About the author:
 
Mike Mizrahi has a master’s degree in public relations, advertising and applied communication from Boston University. After a career in corporate public affairs, he retired to pursue a deep passion: writing.
Mizrahi and his wife, Karen, led a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo four years ago and were so moved by the experience, Mizrahi wrote his first novel, which he hopes will one day be published. The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race is his debut published work.
Mizrahi loves reading and writing stories about “sozo,” which means to be rescued in Greek. He and Karen are very active in their church and community and love to hike, travel and go the movies together. The Mizrahis live in Woodland Hills, California, where they raised their children who are now adults.
Learn more about The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race and Mike H. Mizrahi at www.mikehmizrahi.com or on Facebook (AuthorMikeMizrahi) and Twitter (@MikeHMiz). 
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions are my own.

Field Work Friday: Visiting the Nina & the Pinta

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Did you know that there are reproductions of historic ships sailing around the world?

Tall Ships

I didn’t, until recently, but when we found out, my DH arranged to take us to a nearby port city to see the Nina and the Pinta, two of the three ships sailing with Christopher Columbus on his famous voyage in 1492.

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The ships were at the Wilmington, NC, waterfront, and after purchasing tickets, we were permitted through the gates to board the ships.

Tall Ships

Once on board, we could explore the main gate.  There were signs everywhere, telling us facts about the ship and other equipment on board.  There were volunteers hanging around, ready to answer questions or talk with anyone willing.  This woman had been on board since February and was making jewelry while she waited for a question.  When my Big Helper saw what she was working on, they struck up a conversation, and the volunteer ended up asking my Big Helper for help with an earring.  My Big Helper loved that!

Tall Ships

The ships are fascinating, even though you can’t go belowdecks.  Since the ships are manned by volunteers, and each ship features a modern kitchen, the bottom of the ships are off limits. Being able to see the size of the ships, the gigantic proportions of the anchor, and the thickness of the ropes really makes one admire the bravery of the men sailing with Columbus.

There are tall ships sailing all over the world.  if you have the opportunity to see one, be sure to check it out! 

Learn more about the Nina and the Pinta with these great resources!

 

Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – May 31, 2017

So I have sad news today.  A fellow blogger is being sued for participating in a link-up in which another blogger used a photo illegally.  Because the picture was then shared on her blog, she is part of the lawsuit.  I hate that such craziness happens, but since it does, I feel the need to stop sharing photos from other blogs.  While we ask that everyone who links up share photos only willingly, I do not want to risk that sort of lawsuit over a mistake.  I’m going to continue to participate here, but without the pictures.  I realize that this makes the link-up much less exciting, but I feel that it’s in the best interest of this blog (and my wallet).

The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was Summer Unschooling Journey:  Letting Children Spread Their Wings.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

though poppies grow in Flanders fields

5 Tips for Raising Kids That Are Self-Motivated

Fun Family Soak Inducing Water Day Ideas

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

“Driver Confessional” by David L. Winters

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Antonio, a law student and part-time ride-share driver, cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. for his next fare. His gentle manner and Italian good looks lead many to confess more than they intended. On a particularly dark night, a mysterious woman bares her soul and throws Antonio into a world of secrets. With his police officer brother and close circle of friends, he must solve a murder and thwart international terrorists before its too late.

David L. Winters

Driver Confessional takes you on a fast-paced ride through murder, mayhem, and intrigue!  The plot flies around Washington, DC, as Antonio struggles to find his way to a peaceful destination.  You won’t see the ending coming, as the twists and turns will keep you guessing page after page.

Antonio is a mysterious lead character.  He’s strong and faithful, with a touch of impatience and an uncanny ability to get people to open up.  That sometimes leads to very open conversations about faith, and they can seem almost pushy at times, but Antonio’s clear sense of purpose always shines through.

I loved reading about Antonio’s efforts to solve the mystery he finds himself in.  While Winters doesn’t write him as a touchy-feely guy, I most enjoyed the parts of the story when Antonio took the bull by the horns and took action.  I love mysteries, so this part of the story resonated with me the most.

The ending is particularly full of action, and it’s quite exciting.  I never would have predicted the ending, but I love the way that Winters wraps up the details. 

Driver Confessional is the first in a new series.  It’s definitely worth the read!

Click here to read other reviews on this bloggy hop.

David L Winters is an award-winning author, humorist and speaker, originally from Ohio, who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. His first book, “Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace,” won several awards including a Silver Illumination Award from the Jenkins Group and two Finalist Medals from the Next Generation Indies Book Awards.
Find out more about David at http://www.sabbaticalofthemind.net.
I received a free copy of Driver Confessional from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions are my own.

Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – May 24, 2017

The end of our school year is approaching, and that means it’s testing time for us as we fulfill our state requirements.  The kids love their tests, though, and they’ve been eagerly looking forward to taking them.  Do your kids like taking tests?

Exciting news!  The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was 5 Stages of Grief: PCS.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

Are You Ready To THRIVE? Journaling Bible Giveaway

5 Easy Air Conditioning Tips to Save Money

4 Natural Cleaning Supplies You Can Make Yourself

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 


Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post.