30 October 2014

Kelly Marie Long's Novella - A Christmas On Ice Mountain

Kelly Marie Long's new release the novella "A Christmas on Ice Mountain" in  An Amish Christmas Quilt. This is part of a series set in Pennsylvania. The story line in the series revolves around the natural marvel/phenomenon of Ice Mountain.  Amish Mennonite live there and some of their customs are different from other American Amish.

This novella collection is published by Zebra, a Kensington imprint. All of Kelly's books have been published by Christian publishing houses up until now and this is her first foray into the secular market.

Here's the blurb:
A Christmas On Ice Mountain
By Kelly Long

Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp's secret wish to marry is a gift their feuding fathers definitely won't accept. And trying to settle their dats' long-standing quarrel is making their holiday anything but merry. Can rediscovering the joys and friendships of Christmas past finally turn their families' futures bright?

I read only Kelly's story and haven't had a chance yet to read the other two novellas in the collection--one by Charlotte Hubbard and another by Jennifer Beckstrand.

An Amish Christmas Quilt was true to form Kelly Long, which I loved. A lovely romance with a little edginess in this story. And it interconnects with her Bride of Ice Mountain, which I am three quarters of the way through. So there's a nice overlap with some special characters from the series. Loved the siblings in this novella!

This novella was so cute and the plot so compelling that I had to keep reading it until I got to the end. This is one of the things that I like about novellas because I can often read them in an evening. This story had bibiliotherapy elements of forgiveness, long standing feuds, harboring resentment and listening to God's directives.  Lovely happy-ever-after at the end!  Highly recommend. I see this novella as a contender on my novellas list and on my bibliotherapy list for best of 2014.

Giveaway: This is Amish week on OWG blog and also our Pink Giveaway for breast cancer survivor awareness. We also have giveaway of ebook or paperback copy of this novella collection which includes Kelly's latest release!  Question--Have you ever met someone who was Amish?

28 October 2014

Diana's Review of An Amish Buggy Ride by Sarah Price

An Amish Buggy Ride

In that unique voice of hers, Sarah Price has penned a heartrending but lovely story of romance, secrets, guilt, and shame – under the guise of a seemingly perfect Amish community; overflowing with colorful daffodils, robin red-breasts, and sparkling, fish-filled rivers.

Kate is a lovely young Amish woman, whose life and the lives of her entire family were changed the night a terrible tragedy took place. Feeling responsible, Kate's life consists of helping her father run the family farm, attending church, and helping her aunt with her new baby. After all, how could she possibly go to singings, laugh, and be social as if nothing had ever happened? Her life is made even more miserable by the guilt piled on her by an obnoxious family member and the obvious darkness hovering over her family. When the handsome and friendly Samuel Esh comes into Kate's life she has no social skills, but slowly begins to open up as a rosebud in the summer sun. However, she knows deep down she can never have Samuel for she has greatly sinned, not once but twice…

In her own exquisite style, Sarah Price has once again penned a unique "out-of-the box" Amish tale guaranteed to captivate the reader from page one! Ms. Price masterfully writes of an Amish community – where the consequences of keeping dark secrets are as far reaching as the ripples in a stream, and where love hides a multitude of sins! An Amish Buggy Ride is truly a wonderful story of romance and redemption, and one that made me cry because of the stark reality of the storyline. Not your typical cookie cutter Amish read – be sure to put this one at the top of your wishlist!


This book may be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: Sarah Price is generously giving away a paperback copy of An Amish Buggy Ride to one lucky commenter! USA entries only!

26 October 2014

"Pink Umbrella Attitude" Sarah Price - Breast Cancer Survivor

Author Sarah Price with Pink Umbrella

Sarah Price, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with my father’s family history. Both my paternal grandfather and my grandmother have histories that can be traced back to the 1500s.  In the early 1700s, they emigrated from Europe to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. I cannot imagine how they felt standing on the deck of a ship, watching as Europe disappeared as they sailed to the New World. 

I have a great admiration their determination to overcome their fears and stand by their beliefs, not matter what the cost. That motivates me. When I think about all of those people who left everything behind for religious freedom, I know that I, too, can overcome anything as long as I have God in my life.  

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
I’ve had several situations that have been difficult to overcome so it’s hard to answer with just one particular difficulty. However, dealing with breast cancer has been one of the toughest challenges in my life, not because of the cancer or the treatment but because I have been determined to avoid letting cancer impact my life. From the moment that I heard those words “We found cancer…”, I have faced cancer with the strength of my faith behind me. To this day, I believe that having cancer was a gift, a way of proving to myself (and to others) that there is nothing in this life that we cannot face if God is at the core of our lives.  

My nurses and doctors have all remarked about my attitude during the past eighteen months. My oncologist was amazed during my first months of chemotherapy that I was not ill or tired. From day one of my diagnosis, I have refused to let cancer dictate to me how I am supposed to feel. Instead, I let God guide me. He wants me to be happy, regardless of what happens today, tomorrow, or further in the future. And part of being happy is thinking happy:Keep your heart with all due diligence, for out of it are the issues of life(Proverbs 4:23 MEV). 

Another way of looking at it is by applying what I call my Pink Umbrella attitude. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was given these yucky, chalky drinks to take before certain medical tests (translation: barium sulfate suspension aka the CT Smoothie). I told the doctor and nurses that I wouldn’t drink them unless I had a pink umbrella to put in the drink. My husband went to countless stores to find me the little pink umbrellas, a fancy glass, and straws with pink flamingos on them! That’s a Pink Umbrella attitude. 

A more sophisticated way to look at it is a quote that I saw on the wall of the hospital as I was leaving my oncologist’s office. I loved the quote so much that I’ve adopted it as my personal philosophy: 
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain. 
The only thing that I like to add to that quote is to dance in the rain with a pink umbrella. You see, life isn’t about waiting for things to happen but it’s about living life…it’s about making things happen and, if they don’t happen, accepting it! 

I accept that I have no control over what happens. But I do have control over my efforts to contribute to my happiness by trying! And, remember, with God, all things are possible. Since He has a plan for me, if it doesn’t happen, there’s a reason. Who am I to question it? 

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I always say “Who am I to question what God wants?” During tumultuous times in my life, I don’t ask “Why me?” The answer to that question would be Why not you? I’m not different than anyone else so why should I be exempt from issues related to hardship, heartache, or health? 
While I enjoy the good times in life, I have also learned to accept the bad times. I know that God has a plan for me. That doesn’t mean we should just sit around and wait for God’s gifts. I believe in hard work: physically, mentally, and spiritually. I make time to read Scripture every day. Most recently, I have been reading a new version of the Bible, the Modern English Version (MEV), and I have become even more convinced that God’s purpose for all of us is known only to Him. It’s a wonderful translation (I highly recommend it!). 

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  

My latest book, An Amish Buggy Ride, is available in audio format. I’m very excited about this. Many of my readers have requested audio books and this is my first book that has been professionally recorded. I was at the studio at Brilliance Audio in Grand Haven, Michigan when Amy McFadden recorded it. What an amazing experience! To see the professional equipment and all of the technicians supporting her, including a dedicated director…it was a humbling experience, for sure and certain! Being a visual learner, I never thought that I would personally be able to sit through an audio book. Now, I am hooked. It’s a wonderful way to listen to my favorite books such as classics as well as historical biographies. 

CFP: That is so cool, Sarah! I love audiobooks and that must have been so amazing to watch and listen!
Sarah Price at the Brilliance Audio recording studio

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
This is a fantastic question and I’m very pleased to respond with a loud (all capitals) YES! Several years ago, I had a most unfortunate experience with cyber-bullying that eventually involved police, lawyers, detectives, and the FBI. I realized that bullying is not something that is limited to the hallways of a school. Bullying can be done by grown adults (and professed Christians, at that) to the point of criminal conduct! Yet, most states do not have laws protecting adults from bullying. In fact, bullying across state lines requires that the proof of burden (and the expense, as well!) is the responsibility of the victim…thus victimized twice! Using this experience, I managed to write a series of novellas about bullying within the Amish community and I have been a guest speaker at numerous schools and organizations about bullying. 

Additionally, my two upcoming books published by Waterfall Press, An Amish Buggy Ride (November 2014) and An Empty Cup (April 2015) deal with two other issues: emotional abuse and depression. These books are unlike any of my others. They incorporate elements of my own personal life in the hopes that the readers will realize that they are not alone when dealing with such tough issues. 

Emotional abuse is a very serious problem that is often unaddressed. It can come from family members, professional colleagues, and, of course, spouses. In some cases, it can even come from strangers. The psychological damage, however, does not go away easily. How does a person deal with that? The result can often lead to depression. 

I’m not a psychologist, nor a psychiatrist. But I do know that the public stigma (whether real or imaginary) that goes along with being emotionally abused or having depression hinders women from seeking help. These two books help address the healing process and, I hope, will assist my readers to recognize the signs, whether in their own lives or in someone else’s. 

CFP: I was a psychologist for 25 years. The first intervention we were taught was the use of books, or bibliotherapy, to help clients cope with issues! Thank you for tackling these tough topics and I'm sure they will help many people out there!

Question you’d like to ask readers:
I’m going to address my question to readers of Amish fiction. For over twenty-five years, I have had the privilege to stay on Amish farms and in their homes. Through my writing, I share my first-hand experiences with my readers. My first question to my readers is whether they are more curious in the culture or the religion of the Amish (and why)? My second question is, if given to chance to meet an Amish person, what are two questions they would ask them? 

Bio and links:
Sarah Price, Best-Selling Author of Amish Christian Romances
ECPA Christian Fiction Bestselling Author & Amazon Top 100 Author
Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter: @SarahPriceAuthr
YouTube: SarahPriceAuthor

Giveaway: OWG has a trio of pretty pink nail polishes, a decorative umbrella, pink containers, and a pink floral quilted car strap cover as part of our PINK giveaway celebrating breast cancer recovery this week! (USA only) We're also giving away a copy of any of Sarah's ebooks on Amazon - winner's choice of one for this interview.

23 October 2014

Diana Reviews The Daughter Of Highland Hall By Carrie Turansky

The Daughter of Highland Hall
Multnomah Books, Oct. 7, 2014

 Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****

No Spoilers!
Edwardian Fiction At Its Finest!

With pen in hand, er keys rather, author Carrie Turansky once again sweeps the reader away on a wonderful Edwardian adventure -- from the glamorous balls, social functions, and opulent mansions of the very elite -- to the poverty stricken streets of London's East End.

The beautiful and spunky, Katherine Ramsey, is determined to take the social season by storm and secure her future by finding a wealthy husband. Under the strict tutelage of her aunt, Lady Louisa, Kate attempts to learn all the social graces needed to attract eligible suitors and win the approval of their parents as well. She catches the eye of the aristocratic, charming, Edward Wellington, but a scandal in her family threatens to rob her of the very future she has so carefully planned out. She refuses to give up, however, for surely Edward can give her everything she needs and desires out of life...or can he? As Kate is introduced to the poor and needy in London's East End by handsome medical student, Jon Foster, will she find that a life of service to others in dire need is so much more satisfying than a self-indulgent one? 

I fell in love with this amazing book from the very first chapter! Not just simply a novel of fluff, frippery, and finery, Ms. Turansky compassionately delves into the plight of the poor on the opposite end of the spectrum. Realism unfolds as the heroine, hero, and a secondary character become involved trying to rescue an unwed pregnant woman from her abusive boyfriend, and much danger ensues as a result! I especially love how the heroine evolves considerably from the first book in the series, The Governess of Highland Hall. This novel may be read easily as a stand-alone, as the author does a fine job of recapping the characters we so grew to love in the first book. If you enjoy a book with a realistic plot and characters, plenty of romantic tension, excitement, and a spiritual thread throughout, then be sure to order your copy of The Daughter of Highland Hall today!

I was given an advanced reader's copy by Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion. 
 This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstore. 

GIVEAWAY! Carrie Turansky has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of The Daughter of Highland Hall to one blessed commenter!! International winner -- ebook only!

21 October 2014

Patty Smith Hall Christmas Traditions Series Novella - Guest Reviews by Tina St.Clair Rice and Regina Fujitani

Christmas Lessons (Christmas Traditions Series Book 5) 

Blurb: Love isn't always enough. 

If it were, history teacher Claire Davenport would have married her childhood sweetheart Billy Warner in a heartbeat. But Billy has big dreams of coaching college football, a plan that could be sidetracked by Claire's disability. Fearing he'll resent her, Claire breaks their engagement and sets out to build a life around the children at her school. 

But Christmas is the Season of Miracles! 

Two years later, Billy Warner is back in Marietta, the new head coach at the school where Claire teaches, and determined to find out why she broke his heart. Working together to give Christmas to needy families in their community, they can't deny the love they've always shared, but will it be enough to last a lifetime? 

Review by Tina St.Clair Rice

Five Stars *****

As a child, Claire Davenport learned she had Polo which left one of her legs weakened and her walking with a cane. Because of her disability, she broke off her engagement two years ago to the love of her life, Billy Warner.

After the broken engagement Billy leaves Marietta to pursue his dream of coaching football. Now back in Marietta, he accepts the head coach position at the school where Claire teaches. Claire learns he is back and will be working at the school at a staff meeting. Added to that, he will be helping Claire as she works to give Christmas to the needy families in the community.

Can Billy learn why Claire really broke their engagement? As they work together will they find that they still love each other? I enjoyed reading about Claire and Billy's story in this sweet novella.

A touching and lovely Christmas novella that will warm your heart 
Review by Regina Fujitani
Five Stars *****

A must read Christmas story! A disability that hindered her forever love, a coach broken hearted. Claire has polio, she chose not to get married because of her disability. Billy left home broken hearted, but now he is home to be the new coach. What will bring these two back together?

I understand being disabled and not thinking you can measure up. But, God healed me of thinking! He says in Philippines, I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. No matter if you have a disability or not, you can do it on God's strength! Including love! God has a purpose for everyone! As Claire discovers, she too discovered that she can love and be loved in return, despite her disability.

Thank you Tina and Regina for sharing your reviews with the OWG blog!

Giveaway: We're giving away THREE copies of Patty's new ebook this week plus a set of volumes 1-5 in Christmas Traditions Series (novellas by Cynthia Hickey, Niki Turner, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Darlene Franklin, and Patty Smith Hall). Leave a comment to enter.

20 October 2014

Patty Smith Hall Interview - Coping with Pain

Author Patty Smith Hall

Patty, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome in my life is my battle with chronic pain. At twenty-three, I was attacked by a psychotic patient and told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was forty, that having children would be an impossibility, that the career I had worked toward for years was over before it had even begun. That’s a lot to handle in your twenties, especially when you feel that God had led you down that path. At first, I fought the experts—I continued to work in nursing and even managed to have two daughters, though both were born extremely early. As I grew older and my back condition grew worse, my anger at God grew. How could He allow this to happen to me when I had always tried to follow His will? I couldn’t see it then that though He hated seeing me hurt, God had a bigger, more wonderful plan for me.

CFP: Patty, I'm so sorry you've had to cope with chronic pain. All of us on the OWG do the same and we'll lift you up in prayer.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
The verse that I recite to myself when the pain gets tough is Romans 8:28—And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to the will of God. Whether life is good or bad, God works things together for GOOD. So my pain, as hard as it is, refines me and is working toward good according to the will of God.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
My last two books with Love Inspired Historical, Hearts in Hiding and Hearts Rekindled were both released in large print. 
Christmas Lessons Book 5 in Christmas Traditions Series 

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
The hero and heroine in Christmas Lessons, my latest release, deal with physical disabilities, mainly the effects of polio. My last LIH, Hearts Rekindled, is set in a home for physically and mentally disabled children in 1945 Georgia. 

Question you’d like to ask readers:
What kind of Christmas traditions do you have in your family? In Christmas Lessons, Claire is in charge of the school’s annual Christmas project, supplying food and Christmas presents for families in need—something my mother and I did for many years when my girls were young. 

Author bio: Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now she’s thrilled to share her love of history and storytelling with everyone, including her husband of thirty one years, Danny; her beautiful and talented daughters, Jennifer and Carly, and her future son-in-law, Dan.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away 3 copies of Patty's new Christmas Traditions ebook novella this week and a set of Books 1-5 by Cynthia Hickey, Niki Turner, CarrieFancett Pagels, and Darlene Franklin. Leave a comment on this interview and on reviews to enter.

18 October 2014

"Christmas Bounty" by MaryLu Tyndall - Review

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

Five out of Five Stars! *****

Christmas Bounty
by MaryLu Tyndall

Set in Santa Barbara, California, in 1855, this is an engaging story that is pure MaryLu! Of course we had to have a handsome pirate with a heart of gold.  Widowed Caroline Moreau is attempting to fulfill her late husband's wish of producing wine that will rival that made in Europe. With her two young children, Phillippe and Abilene, she faces danger in this task. Someone is trying to sabotage her efforts.  When captured pirate, Dante, is about to hang from the gallows, Caroline rescues him. He in turn, in the story, saves her and her children. But the relationship is fraught with difficulties. Neither one wants to accept their relationship as more than a business arrangement--but their hearts say otherwise.

This story is unique and you won't want to put it down until you are through reading it.  MaryLu Tyndall fans know that she creates swoon-worthy heroes and she doesn't disappoint in this novella. The ending has a bit of "Gift of the Magi" feel to it, with the sacrifices made. I loved that story by O. Henry, another great Christmas read and a classic.

Giveaway: OWG is giving away a paperback or ebook copy of this book this week. Susan Page Davis, who has a new novel out set in Maine, is also giving away a copy of The Westward Christmas Brides plus a copy of her new novel Mainely Mysteries!

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