17 November 2017

Review of Jan Karon's Audiobook "To Be Where You Are"

Another Winner!

To Be Where You Are (Penguin Random House Audio. 2017)
by Jan Karon

John McDonough does the narration on this new novel from Jan Karon. I was so delighted to go back to beloved Mitford. This time we get more of Dooley's story. With scenes from the "point of view" of almost every Mitford character, diehard enthusiasts like me will be in seventh heaven.  John McDonough "is" Father Tim. I couldn't associate any other narrator with this wonderful character.

Bibliotherapy aspects: Adoption, infertility, aging, family, faith.

Do yourself a huge favor and purchase the audiobook now! I purchased mine through audible.com as a download. This book is also available in multiple formats.

12 November 2017

The Fuzzy Socks Ministry -- 3 Reasons to Craft Gifts

Fuzzy Pink Socks -- Image from Easy

I had the joy of speaking with a beloved family member recently who shared with me how much she enjoyed a special pair of fuzzy socks she had. You see, my mother, Ruby Evelyn Skidmore Fancett, who passed away seven years ago, had knit them for this special lady. My mom was always making lovely things, particularly quilts, and gifting them. She had a special knack for knowing who needed what. Granted, she may have asked! This family member shared that she could no longer wear any of her shoes, but the fuzzy hand-knit socks are now keeping her feet warm. And we both shared a good cry remembering how my mom loved people and shared her talents with them.

If you're thinking of making some heartfelt hand-made gifts this season, here are three reasons you really should:

1) You're creating the gift of self. The giving of your time.

2) Hand-crafted items can be the gift of love. They represent that you care enough to make something unique for the recipient.

3) Well-made hand-crafted gifts can last even longer than the maker and be a beautiful reminder of #1 and #2 above -- someone took the time to send you a gift of love.

In a way, books are a hand-crafted gift by the author to the readers. That's something I realize now.

Question: Have you ever crafted something special for a loved one? How was it received? I'm giving away a commenter's choice of several pairs of my hand-made earrings (here's an example above) OR one of any of my books this week.

09 November 2017

Giveaway - My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leana's Choice by Angie Dicken

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate Utah by Angie Dicken

Book blurb:
Journey now to Castle Gate, Utah of 1910 where...
Forbidden Love Tries to Survive Old World Expectations

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart...and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Guest Post by Andrea Stephens
Andrea's Thoughts

This book fits the theme of Overcoming With God so well.
     Leanna must overcome the guilt and anger she has for herself and her late husband. “How many times had she prayed forgiveness since Jack's death? Yet how many times had she thought ill of the man since he's been laid to rest?”
     Alex must overcome the prejudice between Greek immigrants and the Americans.  More importantly, he must overcome the feeling that God left him when his wife died.
     Leanna and Alex acknowledge their love. During a discussion,  Leanna says “But we have a whole country against a match like ours.”  Leanna decides it is best for everyone if she leaves and accepts a new job in Salt Lake. Before she leaves, a wealthy family friend finds her in Castle Gate from a letter she had written to her cousin. He offers to marry her, restoring her to her family and former life. She does not love him, but he does offer security. What will she do?
    Leanna leaves Castle Gate after tragedy strikes the Pappas family. Will they be able to overcome the hate crime?
     Months pass, both Alex and Leanna have moved on with their lives but are not happy. It is only after surrendering everything to God that they see the truth. Will it be together or apart? 
This is a good book! It is so much more than a romance. It made me want to look up some of the historical points for more information. I was not taught any of this in school.   I enjoyed the bits of Greek culture and tradition I learned from the book too.

     Angie Dicken did a wonderful job of writing the message of hope in truth and forgiveness throughout the story of Leanna and Alex.
     I will leave you with another quote from the book.
“Plan? We are all foolish to think we have the best plans for ourselves, aren't we? There's something greater nudging us out of the darkness.”

Giveaway: A paperback copy of Angie Dicken's new release My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leana's Choice from Barbour Publishing!

05 November 2017

Interview & Giveaway With Angie Dicken -- Overcoming Marital Struggles

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

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
About three years ago, my husband and I went through a very low point in our marriage. For about a year, we even questioned whether we should stay married or not. It was a very difficult time, and I still feel the residual from emotional wounds inflicted by both of us.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
Isaiah 61:3- and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

 Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 1Peter 4:8- Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty? 
The people around me helped me cope with this difficulty. I have dear friends—some who are writers and know my heart—and I also have some Godly men and women who would speak to me when I couldn’t hear from God myself. They all said the same thing, and God confirmed it in His word. I know now, that above all else, God was calling me to love my husband. And as soon as I recognized that, I had an overwhelming sense of love for him again. It was amazing!

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?  
Yes, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah is available in Large Print.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
In my story, the hero and heroine deal with prejudice from both their families and those around them. I hope that my book offers encouragement and understanding for those who find themselves discriminated against, or questioning God’s acceptance of those different than themselves. Ultimately, my book points to the same conclusion I discovered in my marriage, that Love truly does cover a multitude of sins, it breaks through the toughest barriers, and it’s the driving force for everything God does in this world.

BIOAngie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in Cambridgeshire, England. Now living in the U.S., she's an ACFW member, a blog contributor to the Writer's Alley, a baseball mom, and a self-proclaimed foodie. Two of her historical romance novels comprise her Fall 2017 debut: The Outlaw’s Second Chance, in September, and My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah, in November. She also writes historical and contemporary fiction. Sign up for her newsletter at www.angiedicken.com

Angie’s Links:
website www.angiedicken.com
Author Page on Amazon

Giveaway: A copy of My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate Utah: Leanna's Choice. Answer Angie's question: What situation have you found yourself in that has ultimately ended in you stepping out in love first, regardless of receiving love in return?

02 November 2017

Giveaway & Review of The Captive Brides Collection by Regina Fujitani

Guest Post by Regina Fujitani
The Captive Brides collection tells nine stories of different women caught in one form of slavery or another. These stories will take you captive, holding you still until the very end. The nine authors who penned these stories did a superb job!

Love’s Labours Found by Jennifer AlLee
Temperance is brought to colonies under false assumptions. She's forced to be an indentured servant, she's sold to a cruel owner. Temperance has strength and endurance that gets her through the worst times of her life. When the time comes, she makes a decision that will save her life and impact her greatly. Edward is a plantation owner who treats his servants with kindness and gentleness. He is a widower with a baby. When Temperance comes to him for help he cannot turn her aside. What they both don't realize is what the future holds for them both. Will they embrace it? Will Edward see the treasure in front of him? This story was wonderful. I truly loved how Jennifer wove these two characters together.

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach
This is an exciting story fraught with anxiety, hope, and love. Marie and her fiancé are separated when he leaves Scotland but he as promised he sends for her a year later. When Marie arrives in America she's plagued with a greedy man that's taken with her beauty. Due to a devious plot Marie is indentured to him. With Marie and her fiancé ever make it to the altar or will she be forced to marry her owner?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis
Verity is a cook and waitress in Oregon. She's falsely accused of a crime she didn't commit. Jack has always been drawn to Verity. When Verity is arrested, he steps in as her attorney. Jack and Verity's love story is delightful and sweet! These two are truly meant to be together!

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin
Goldie is a sweet soul with a strong spirit in God. Where she lives is astonishing and the Madame double-crosses her when it comes time for her birthday. Joshua is a minister wanting to help those in the lower district. He ministers with his sister and her husband. While he's out walking the streets, he meets Goldie. What Joshua and Goldie experience is sweet and wonderful. He truly is her rescuing prince.

Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall
Charlotte is a gently bred woman who lives with her Aunt Mary in London. Charlotte is arrested and sentenced to the colonies for her father’s crimes. Captain John is a man who transports the indentures and slaves to the colonies. After the death of his sister he found his way back to God. He redeemed himself and sought God's forgiveness. Charlotte and John find a lot in common. They both are strong in character and faith. Love finds them in the middle of an ocean.

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey
Moira finds herself being sold by the one person who was her guardian and uncle. She has endured years of mistreatment from him. She lost both of her parents in an accident. Moira is a strong and stubborn woman. She's determined to have it her way. She's definitely Irish! Officer purchases Moira and marries her. He's just as stubborn as she. Both of them work together to bring down her uncle and his partner to stop their criminal acts. After a rocky beginning, these two find love and happiness.

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Lettie is a mulatto slave on her family's plantation farm. Nathan and his father, along with his friend David, help slaves escape. Nathan and Lettie love each other and Nathan will do anything to set her free. Especially now that her mama was murdered. I loved how Nathan was her rescuer and protector. I also love how strong Lettie is, she is quite the overcomer! Both of them escape Virginia in order to keep Lettie safe. This story is full of love and adventure! It was quite interesting reading about the underground railroad to help those living life a life as a slave leaving that of slavery. An excellent story! As always, Carrie pulls another winning story together!

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson
Matilda along with her baby, is a convict in Australia. She decides to flee. During her flight, she meets up with Nathan. Nathan is a shepherd. Matilda is uncertain of her future as a runaway. Nathan is unsure of his feelings for her. But when Matilda is captured and carried back to Sydney, he realizes his true feelings. He will do anything to free her. This was an exceptional story. I loved reading Matilda and Nathan's story.

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn
JoJo is a woman caught in snake oil salesman’s snare. She longs to get out, to become free from being enslaved. She's got gumption and heart. Cyrus is an unsuspecting victim in JoJo's scheme when she kisses him. This was a wonderful story between JoJo and Cyrus. JoJo had to really trust and let go in order to see love. Cyrus is a gentle man that saw JoJo's heart immediately. A delightful read!

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Bio: Guest contributor Regina Fujitani is a reader, reviewer, and Virtual Assistant. She's grandma to the sweetest little boy in the world. 

GIVEAWAY: A copy of The Captive Brides Collection. Leave a comment to enter.

29 October 2017

Character Interview of "Goldie Hatfield" & Giveaway

Welcome to the Overcoming with God blog, Goldie Hatfield and your creator, Darlene Franklin. Goldie is the heroine in Darlene’s novella “His Golden Treasure” in The Captive Brides Collection from Barbour (October, 2017).

CFP: Thank you for the interview, Goldie Hatfield (and Darlene). First of all can you tell us a little about yourself?  
DF: I’m in SanFrancisco and born of the gold fields.

CFP: When was that, Goldie? SanFran gold fields
DF: I was born in the 1850s after the rush. SanFrancisco was a booming town. My mom was a prostitute.

CFP: I’m sorry to hear that, Goldie. What can you tell me about your earliest memories? 
DF: My mother singing to me, the Chinese cook at the house where born being with me.

CFP: What a difficult situation, though. 
DF: I was fortunate we weren’t in the “cribs” by the docks. We were in a high-end house on what was later known as Maiden Lane--Miss Amelia’s House of Pleasure

CFP: What was it like growing up there?
DF: I had a loving mother who tried to protect me and teach me a little about God. I had a supportive friend in our Chinese cook. I learned to read and write. I had about as normal a childhood as I could have in that setting. I had some awareness of what was going on but I didn’t participate. People at Amelia’s said I have a beautiful voice. I was always singing and my mother encouraged me. This became my livelihood. I would sing as part of the entertainment.

CFP:What happened that caused you to become captive?
DF: After my mom died, when I was sixteen, the house kept me there but didn’t ask for anything except for me to sing in evenings. I stayed at Miss Amelia’s and I could also obtain necessary items in a nearby store. At eighteen I was told it was  time to “pay the piper.” I  was ready to leave but I was told I couldn’t until I’d pay off my keep.
 CFP: That’s awful!
DF: It was even worse than that. They were going to hold an auction for someone to have me for the first time.

CFP: What was your emotional reaction to that horrific situation. 
DF: I thought, absolutely not, I can’t do that. But if I tried to get away they’d drag me back. The cook offered me support and covered for me a few times for me to attend church. I ran into a preacher in the street who had invited me.  I asked the minister to help me and he talked with my boss at the store but. . . I think my boss was in on this scheme, too.

CFP: Did the minister help you? And what was his background?
DF: The preacher’s father had been one of the worst original people in SanFrancisco with  gambling, prostitution, and he made a fortune in gold. His father went home to the East coast and gave his family his fortune. But his son and daughter came back to SanFrancisco determined to help undo the harm their father had done.

CFP:Having been betrayed how does Goldie get her trust back?
DF: I realized that kind of woman Madame Amelie was and I’d never entirely trusted her.  It wasn’t a total surprise. But I wanted to deny what might happen.  I could see the bad coming but wanted to close my mind to it.

CFP:What has been your biggest thing to overcome? 
DF: Being able to trust a man and to trust God. To trust God can work this out when the bidding was about to start. How do you act with grace in that type of situation? I didn’t know how. And in the 1870s the law wasn’t reliable as far as helping me.

Best-selling hybrid author, Darlene Franklin's greatest claim to fame is that she write full-time from a nursing home. She published her fiftieth book in July 2017. You can find out more about her at her website and on her Facebook author page

 Darlene is graciously giving away a copy of The Captive Brides. Ask Goldie a question or leave a comment to enter.

26 October 2017

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander -- Audiobook Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Blurb: Captain Jake Winston is a Confederate sharpshooter who suffers a head injury that may cause blindness. While he waits for his diagnosis, and still has his sight, he sketches and journals events of the war. As he heals, Jake receives orders to help with the local Women’s Relief Society Christmas auction. A society which supports Confederate and Federal soldiers, makes a difference in soldiers lives. Aletta Prescott is a widow with a six-year-old son and a child on the way. She applies for a job at the auction, only to find the position is no longer available. She meets Jake and as she gets to know him she must try to let go of the fear begins to grow inside her.

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander --
Audiobook Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

A Southern Christmas Tale by a Master Storyteller
My Review
I listened to Christmas at Carnton as an Audible.com download via my membership. As usual, master storyteller, Tamera Alexander delivers a powerful read (listen) in her newest release, the first book in a series set at Carnton Plantation in Tennessee. I thought Aletta's name was Arletta, as I was listening. I've not heard the name Aletta but had heard Arletta before. Regardless, Aletta is a very sympathetic heroine. As indicated in the blurb, Jake is an injured sharp shooter. I confess that gave me great pause. I felt that was a risky thing for Tamera to have a hero doing, especially a Confederate. Having been raised in the North, this gave me great pause. I don't know if I'd have continued listening had it not been Tamera Alexander who had written the story. I really had to deliberately force myself to overlook this Confederate sharpshooter soldier's misbegotten loyalties to keep listening. He's a lovely hero. If only he'd been a Union soldier! My father was a sharpshooter in WWII and I know that that means, but it isn't something I have tried to dwell on. So I think this story also stirred up in me some conflicted thoughts of my nerdy dad having been a sharpshooter. And the Southern ladies raising money for "The Cause" -- I confess I cringed. When I discovered a Confederate ancestor a few years back in my genealogy I had a meltdown. My husband's reaction was -- "You're family was from the South, what did you expect?" Since as far as I knew they were all in Kentucky at that time I wasn't sure what I'd find. And there was another George Washington Danner I'd found from Kentucky who'd been a Union deserter (apparently not my ancestor by the same name who was enlisted in Staunton, Virginia.) Sorry, but I digress.

Tamera Alexander's story is a truly Southern tale and and a reflection of history. I learned something I'd never heard before -- that many slave-owners had sent their slaves deeper into the South. What a tragedy. I've seen pictures of post-Civil War freed slaves gathering at various places trying to find as many of their kin as they could. Very sad. And imagine being freed in Mississippi and having loved ones back in Tennessee to find. How did they make those journeys? So I found myself having a number of tangential thoughts while listening to this story.

The story carries on at a brisk pace with well-developed characters and a plot line with plenty of layers. Even despite my reservations, I found myself rooting for Aletta and Jake who are a great heroine/hero combo. Aletta has such a difficult situation but carries herself as a lady. And caring for a son while pregnant and a widow, that makes her very sympathetic. Jake, too, is a very likable sympathetic character struggling with his own losses.

The novel is available in multiple formats including ebook, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover large print, which makes this lovely story accessible to many people. Looking for a little different kind of Christmas story this year -- check out this new audiobook! You can't go wrong with Tamera Alexander!

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