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Monday, August 26, 2013

A Book Review -- Blog Tour: {Bleeding Heart} by Amber Stokes + A GIVEAWAY

About the Book: 

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey. 

Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.
But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken.
Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.
All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

About the Author:  

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word – from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

You can buy Bleeding Heart here
Visit the Bleeding Heart website here
Visit Amber's Blog here.

My Star Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

My Review:

When Amber approached me last year to read what she had written so far on her Bleeding Heart manuscript, I jumped at the chance!  It was with great pleasure that I read the beginning of this wonderful story, and it was with great pleasure that I agreed to read and review the final copy of Bleeding Heart for Amber's blog tour!  I count it an honor and a privilege to have been a part of Amber's writing journey.

The much anticipated debut of Bleeding Heart did not leave me disappointed!  From the opening pages, to the very end, I was captivated and intrigued by the characters and the individual journey's they were on.  I love how Amber tied the theme of broken hearts throughout the novel, and I enjoyed seeing how things unfolded for each of the characters.

With a detailed setting, well-drawn characters, and elements to pull on your heartstrings, Amber has penned a fine debut!  Two of the things I loved about the writing, was that in one moment I could feel the fear and tension happening on the page, and in another moment I could feel the bittersweet tenderness playing out for the characters.  The fact that I was brought to tears at one point is a very good thing -- it's a sign of VERY good writing, in my book!

I look forward to all that Amber has in store for us in the future, and I recommend Bleeding Heart without hesitation.

And now for the GIVEAWAY! a Rafflecopter giveaway

**With much thanks to Amber Stokes for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in the blog tour.**

Monday, August 19, 2013

Music Monday: {Don't Forget His Love} by Ellie Holcomb

Good morning, friends!  Today I'm slowing things down a bit with this beautiful song of praise by Ellie Holcomb.  I first heard this song over at Boo Mama's blog.  If you're not familiar with Boo Mama, her name is Sophie Hudson, and she has a huge heart for God and people.  Plus, she is SO funny!  She has a brand-new book out titled, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, that I recently shared here on August 6th.

Okay, now back to the song!  This song's lyrics get their inspiration from Psalm 103, and it's just beautiful!  Ellie's voice is amazing, and so unique.  I've been listening to her first EP, Magnolia, for a couple weeks now, and LOVE it!  I'm really looking forward to getting her newly released EP, With You Now . . . like today!! You can listen to it here, as well as find out how to get a FREE download of the Magnolia album.  It's that great!?  I thought so, too!

Her husband also has a band called, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and she sings with them as well.  And I just found out last week that she's featured on Christa Wells' new album, Feed Your Soul (track 2, Have Your Eyes Open).  She's one busy and talented lady!

I pray that this song blesses you today.  Enjoy!


Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Music Monday: {One Drop} by Plumb

I heard this catchy little tune on KLOVE last week, and loved it instantly!  It's a feel good, dance and sing, put the top down kind of song.  A perfect song to get you going on a Monday morning.  In describing this song, Plumb says, "It takes a little bit of good, to do a whole lot of great."

"You know what, whatever was happening before you listened to this, take a break from it, and just have hope for a minute.  It just takes one drop." ~Plumb

Plumb is a fairly new artist for me, so I've been listening to some of the other samples from her new album, Need You Now, and they're very good!  There seems to be a wide array of sounds and themes covered on the album, and I look forward to taking a more in depth listen.  I also read a bit about her background on her Facebook page, which can be found here, and it appears that she is quite an accomplished artist.  I look forward to discovering more about her music ministry, and I hope you do too!  Enjoy and be blessed!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Book Review: {A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet} by Sophie Hudson

About the Book:
There's nothing quite like family--and some people would say that there's nothing better. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do about the people sleeping right down the hall, it's easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There's even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time's-a-wastin', we need to be careful that we don't take our people--and their stories--for granted. 

Whether it's a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie's BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie's very Southern family. It's a look into the real lives of real people--and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all. 
My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts and Review:
What a wonderful book, filled to the brim with amazing family stories! I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed and cried some more. Sophie Hudson's writing style is real and down to earth, and as you read you get the feeling that you're right there with her at the kitchen table; just chatting away and sipping lemonade. Did I mention that she's funny!? I wish I could be Sophie's real-life friend. She. Is. A. Hoot. And the best part is, she loves Jesus, and she shares her faith beautifully in this book.

As a bonus, there are Southern, family recipes at the back of the book that I can't wait to try. They all sound so good!

So, if you're a Southerner, or a Southerner at heart, like me, you'll want to read this one as soon as possible! Well go on, whaddya y'all waitin' for?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday: {Coming to the Light} by More Than Rubies

More Than Rubies is made up of singer-songwriters Christa Wells and Nicole Witt.  The music is beautifully spiritual, anointed, and such a blessing to the soul.  I previously posted a song by Christa Wells that you can find here as a Music Monday selection.  I love her music, and now she's joined forces with the talented Nicole Witt, and the result is an album that is Christ centered, and glorifies God, as well as being a feast for the ears.  I highly recommend the album!  The duo gets their name from Proverbs 3:15 . . .

For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.  

You can listen to a few of their songs here, as well as watch videos, and find show dates. 

Today, I'm posting two videos . . . in the first one, Nicole and Christa share how they met, and how they came to collaborate together.  The second is their brand-new music video for Coming to the Light.  It's AWESOME, and I'll let the song speak for itself.  I really think you're going to love it!  Let me know what you think, and sweet blessings to you as you begin a new week.  Hugs, Michelle