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Book Review: The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch

Posted by Julie on December 8, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. 

Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig. 

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?

The Coronation is Book #1 in The Tales of Tarsurella Trilogy.

The Coronation is a unique take on royal life by looking at a large family of siblings as the oldest, Prince Addison, is about to have his coronation for the Kingdom of Tarsurella. As the family prepares, each sibling has a different personality and way of dealing with royal life. There are traditions to behold, interviews, magazine shoots, and other celebrities.

This was a fun read, especially with the royal buzz concerning Prince Harry and his engagement. I really liked the way the author used Prince Addison’s coronation to present the other siblings and their activities. I especially liked how the author created a guide of each sibling and what they were like, that helped me keep better track of who was who.

 

There were times I thought there was a bit of telling, where showing would have made the scene stronger, but I believe the author has great potential and overall, it does not take away with the enchantment of The Coronation.

If you need a fun escape or like to read about royal living, I believe you will really enjoy The Coronation.

Purchase THE CORONATION HERE

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Posted by Julie on December 4, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Riveting New Series Offers Legal Suspense with a Romantic Twist

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

In a book that’s been compared to John Grisham’s work, Deadly Proof is definitely full of suspense as Kate Sullivan takes on a pharmaceutical company that knew their drug wasn’t safe. The person who knew the truth is dead, and Kate hired Landon James to learn more about the allegations.

Although the plot is one I’ve read before, Deadly Proof belongs in the club of books and authors for those that love legal suspense. There is growing tension, danger, greed, and secrets the more Kate and Landon proceed. There is a romantic thread, but it doesn’t take over the story, but enhances it. What I love most is the Christian faith. It’s not cheesy or groan-worthy, but sincere and inspiring.

If you love top-notch legal suspense, I definitely think you should read Deadly Proof a read. It’s book one in the Atlanta Justice series, so start reading today!

Purchase DEADLY PROOF HERE

I received a copy of Deadly Proof from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Your Own Beautiful by Chelsea Crockett

Posted by Julie on December 3, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

IYOUR OWN BEAUTIFUL: ADVICE AND INSPIRATION FROM CHELSEA CROCKETT

Inspired by Chelsea Crockett’s popular YouTube channel, Your Own Beautiful is a life, faith, and beauty guide, filled with her trademark tips on makeup and style alongside full-color photos, how-tos, and more to help young women with all the big issues they face—from self-confidence and friendship to following your dreams. With her signature grace and wit, Chelsea tackles tough questions through uplifting messages influenced by her faith and life experiences in Your Own Beautiful.

“Funny, helpful, and inspirational! This book reveals the secrets to finding inner beauty and happiness.” CHARISMA STAR, Beauty vlogger

Chelsea Crockett started her own YouTube channel when she was thirteen, happy to share make up tutorials. Her channel found quick favor and soon she was given opportunities most teens would dream of. Now out of high school, Chelsea has written a book to share with girls about the topics important to them.

I am late reviewing this book because I savored every word. I facilitate a ministry for junior high girls and YouTube is HUGE for this age group. I have a daughter this age and it is difficult to find a YouTube personality that will share fun videos with fashion, make-up and more who also shares the faith that is important to our family.

Chelsea shares her story along with advice on make up, fashion, friends, boys, and more. She’s very honest in doing so, and makes it very clear what her priorities are. She’s transparent in telling that not everything has worked how she thought it would. That her life and choices have not been perfect.

This is written right at their level and is completely engaging. As a mom, I loved her story, but I know girls will love her advice and pictures. I kind of wished her pictures from her own “scrapbook” had captions of some kind, there isn’t any explanation, but it doesn’t take away from the wonderful content in this book.

I highly recommend this for tweens, teens, and even for moms to read. Chelsea captures everything about this stage and what’s important to these girls.

Purchase YOUR OWN BEAUTY HERE

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Essence of Joy by Lynn U. Watson

Posted by Julie on December 1, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A Must Read! In The Essence of Joy, Lynn Watson intertwines Scripture with
the uses of oils and spices mentioned in the Bible. I was left with a feeling of wonder,
a new way of looking at God’s word. The book is educational, entertaining, and
uplifting. There’s history, fun-facts, even recipes. The author brings devotionals to a
new level, giving biblical insight to the problems modern women encounter today.
The Essence of Joy is perfect for both bible study groups and those who are just
starting out on their spiritual journey.
—Jeri McBryde, Eight-Time Contributing Author to Chicken Soup for the Soul

Book Review: The Essence of Joy by Lynn Watson

About The Book:
The scents of Christmas invite our imaginations into the holiday season. What
emotions flood your heart when the holiday aromas waft your way?
Did you know:
• Many favorite holiday scents like cinnamon, citrus, and cinnamon are found in the
Bible?
• There is a rich heart connection attached to many of the plant essences found in
Scripture?
• Myrrh is such an important essence, we can follow its trail from Genesis to
Revelation with many significant stops along the way?
• Women of the Bible have personal encounters with God bringing aromas of His
love and joy into their lives?
• Palm branches are an important part of Biblical celebrations beginning in Genesis
and ending in the ultimate beach party around the Crystal Sea? (Christmas at the
beach, anyone?)
In The Essence of Joy you’ll meet women of the Bible and contemporary women
like you and me who will encourage you to discover the refreshing essence of a life
lived in the presence of Jesus. Let JOY fill your heart with the aromas of His nativity.

Julie’s Review:

This is a fresh take on celebrating the Christmas season by digging deeper into the smells of the nativity season. There are several aspects to each scent, from a fictional story, to suggestions on what to diffuse, bake, listen to. There are also history facts and craft suggestions, too.

I really enjoyed the Essence of Joy because this was a part of Christmas I never thought about before. Beyond the original three gifts, there is also cedar, cinnamon, fig, and more. My favorite part was the “droplets,” learning the history behind each scent. The fictional aspect was a bit confusing to me, because I did not realize it continued the stories first set up in The Essence of Courage. At the end of this book was a summary of characters, it might have helped to have that in the beginning. I also found some minor editing errors, but it did not detract from the wonderful message of this book.

If you’re looking for something new to discover this Christmas, I highly recommend The Essence of Joy.

About The Author:
Lynn Watson combines many years’ experience in women’s ministry, love of
essential oils, and her passion for God’s word to bring her readers freshly inspired
encouragement for their walk with Jesus. Her devotional, The Essence of Courage,
was recognized as a ‘must read’ by regional publishing industry leaders. Married
since 1973, Lynn and Steve have filled their Bartlett, Tennessee home with
handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of
course) grandchildren. Aromas of freshly baked bread often fill Lynn’s kitchen.
Jasmine, her tuxedo kitty, enjoys sleeping in Lynn’s lap while she writes.

Check out this beautiful Book Trailer! https://youtu.be/ZT5_uGmptZM
Lynn’s Official Website: http://lynnuwatson.com/

Amazon & Social Media Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Essence-Joy-Cinnamah-Brosias-InspirationalCollection/dp/069296391X
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com//lynnuwatsonwriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynnuwatson
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lynnuwatson/

I received a .pdf of this book in exchance for an honest review.

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Movie Review: The Star Movie by Deanna Evans

Posted by Julie on November 20, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

THE STAR MOVIE REVIEW: A FILM FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

Julie’s note: This review from Deanna Evans can be found here.

I was asked recently if I’d like to review THE STAR movie, based off of the very first Christmas, from the animal’s perspective surrounding Christ’s birth. This was something I had never done before but was excited about doing.

Wow and Wow! This film has it all from start to finish you will be mesmerized by its characters, colors and the story surrounding the Nativity. When I finished screening the movie, I was loving it! The story of Bo the Donkey along with Mary and Joseph flooded my heart with all kinds of emotion. I watched the film three times with the same reaction after each viewing! Bring in the amazing music and singing of Mariah Carey’s title track song for The Star, you have a new playlist and movie for Christmas!

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations.

Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

The voices of the beloved characters are like no other. Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriquez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

If you’re like me try and figure out who is who in the film. Some may be easy to figure out but others you may have to think about or look up.

One of the goals of director Timothy Reckart was to make these animated characters feel life-like, so that we, the audience, would be drawn into the story and be able to relate to the way they thought and acted. During the interview with director Reckart, he stressed this importance when he said, “the goal was to create characters that were based on clues we have in the Bible that also gives each character an opportunity to have an arc.” I was thankful the director took this approach and was cognitive of the actual biblical story. Animated films need to take some creative liberties when retelling a biblical story, which often includes adding humorous (and fictitious) elements. But I felt director Reckart stayed within the bounds of reasonable storytelling. There are many examples throughout the movie but one example is when the donkey named Bo interacts with a sheep by the name of Ruth. These characters take our minds back to the Old Testament narrative of the story and book of the Bible Ruth.

A MOVIE FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

The take away from this movie will leave you feeling ready to enjoy the Christmas season ahead. Reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. This will be a welcomed addition to the Christmas Classics seen year after year. I know it will be in our home!

 

THE STAR OPENS IN THEATERS NOVEMBER 17, 2017

Check out some of the online interactive activities:

Interactive Animated Coloring Book

Activities

Meet the Characters

 

 


By DEANNA EVANS
Deanna Evans is a freelance writer for Flyby Promotions, a Blogging Network and contributing writer for Telling Ministries.  She is a busy Pastor’s wife and mother to a young son, who keeps her days filled with adventure.
Image credit © 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Fiction Finder: October 2017 New Releases

Posted by Julie on October 8, 2017 in ACFW, Book Review, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

October 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner — Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain — Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys’ estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies…and with Erica’s wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica’s secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Texas Holiday Reunion by Shannon Taylor Vannatter — With her foreman out of commission, Resa McCall needs horse trainer Colson Kincaid to run her family ranch through the holidays. But having the handsome single dad back in Bandera, Texas, is unsettling. Colson broke Resa’s heart years ago, and she can’t risk getting close again. Still, working with him and bonding with his sweet little girl is making the ranch feel merry and bright. Being at Resa’s side stirs up emotions Colson thought were long gone. But he has a powerful secret that could keep them apart forever. Can Colson give Resa the one Christmas present that might finally bring them back together—the truth? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall — Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all? (Contemporary Romance from Woodsmall Press)


General Contemporary (includes Women’s Fiction):


Piper’s Passion by Lee Carver — Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon — Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


Historical:

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano — When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney — In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)


Historical Romance:

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander — In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn — Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller — Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger — Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy–to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])

Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino — Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia’s mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)


Historical Western:

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy — A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])


Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss — Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)

Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson — On his cousin’s Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he’s plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn’t forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan’s skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Speculative:

Transfusion by Victoria Buck — The world’s first transhuman must save the world, or save the woman he loves. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Suspense:

Kill Zone by Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Braxton DeGarmo, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, and Jan Thompson — Espionage, hacking, police procedural, international crime and intrigue, covert action, spy, secret police, revenge, snipers…and so much more! Ten brand-new, never-before published novellas of suspense, intrigue, and thrills from ten bestselling Christian thriller authors, all packed into this one anthology. (Suspense from Georgia Press LLC)



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