Warrior ~ Linda K. Rodante

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~ James Bryce

Linda Rodante WarriorFor three years, Kati Walsh has hunkered down at a new place of worship to dab at church-inflicted wounds. Her one outreach is to her kickboxing friends at the gym, but she’s been praying for God to stir her heart again. But she’s not sure that the new assistant pastor and his friend Reece Jernigan are what she asked for—because Assistant Pastor Josh Corbin plans to win the hearts of the north-side neighborhood, mostly described as “the hood.”

When Josh plans a prayer walk in the neighborhood, both the congregation and the police are wary, but Josh insists that prayer works. He believes in spiritual warfare—prayer, praise, and the Word of God. Reece, on the other hand, has been on the streets before, and his weapon of choice is a 9mm Glock. Two close friends with differing perspectives and both with an eye on Kati. But they’re not the only ones—the gang leader from the north side has taken an unexpected interest in Kati, too.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. The characters were believable. The plot was plausible, ripped from today’s headlines. And the spiritual warfare was perfect. Not overdone or underdone for this story.

The setting is a local congregation. There are two heroes, one heroine, and several supporting characters. My favorite scenes were the church services. During the preaching, I wanted to stand and shout, “Yes! Praise the Lord!” The call to service, I cried, “Lord, help us.” And during the prayers, I whispered, “Yes, Lord.”

One of my favorite quotes came from Pedro.

 

“Are those in our neighborhood not worthy of your love and concern? Where is this Christianity you talk about? Is it only for you? Your family and no one else? Or is it for everyone, as Jesus has said?”

Although the suspense and the spiritual threads were more than satisfying, I wasn’t crazy about the romance thread. However, I am incredibly picky when it comes to this subject. As a reader, I know what I like and don’t like. As a writer, I struggle in this area. I suggest reading the book for yourself.

This review is based on the suspense and the spiritual threads alone. And for those two threads, I give the book 5 stars because it made me question my love for others and my willingness to share the gospel. Am I doing enough?

We’ve all lived so long with Satan’s attacks that we no longer see them as such. We possess weapons of divine power that can demolish strongholds, and yet we don’t use them. Prayer, praise, God’s word. The name of Jesus. Weapons. He’s calling us out of our comfort zones, out of our safe zones, and asking if we are willing to take up the fight for our families, our neighbors, and for Him.~ Josh Corbin, assistant pastor at New Life Church

See what I mean?

In Warrior, Linda shares the truth of the Word and explains how to wield the weapons of the Spirit. Through her characters, she teaches us how to love the lost in our communities. I seldom find a book that challenges my heart and mind as much as this story did. It’s been two weeks, and I can still hear several quotes.

To you, dear reader, I apologize. I know I have to be the weirdest reviewer ever. I tend to judge a book by what I take from it, not on what I like or dislike about it. If it touches me emotionally and spiritually, well then, the writer has done her job. And in the case of Warrior, Linda did a great job.

Now . . . if you’d like to read an awesome review of this book by someone who knows what she’s doing, then please visit readingismysuperpower.

Warrior is free! That’s right! From today 10-26 until Monday 10-29. Check it out.

Linda’s Christian romantic suspense novels can be found on sale at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2rcrWHK Author website and blog: http://lindarodante.com/ Personal Blog: Writing for God; Fighting Human trafficking: https://lindarodante.wordpress.com/

Lady of a Thousand Treasures ~ Sandra Byrd

I was done striving and trying to earn the approval of others. I, too, must be on the outside who I was on the inside. ~ Eleanor Sheffield, Lady of a Thousand Treasures

Sandra Byrd's Book ImageMiss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

 

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My Thoughts

In her latest series, Sandra Byrd unveils a veritable feast and bids her reader come and dine Layered with nuggets of truth, intrigue, history, and romance, Lady of a Thousand Treasures is a full-course meal meant to be savored until the last delectable bite.

As an unmarried woman, Eleanor Sheffield knows her place in society but not her worth. She is smart, resilient, and daring. As an evaluator of antiquities, she knows “It is only by testing, or being tested, that we understand whether the substance or the person is as it appears to be or is merely masquerading.”

Sandra Byrd QuoteWhen Eleanor faces her season of tests, she questions her resolve—and her ability to make the right decision. Does she have what it takes? Can she trust her heart or must she listen to her head? As she works through her problems to untangle the web of deceit surrounding Lord Lydney’s treasures, we see her character shine forth as gold.

I loved Eleanor’s resilience, stories, and willingness to help others. Her outlook on life is seen through her response to losing. “Sometimes starting anew is the best way to move forward. Even if it seems like you’ve lost.” See what I mean? She is a heroine I could cheer for as she eliminated the fake to find the treasure. She passed this reader’s test, and she will forever be one of my favorite characters—along with Harry, of course!

“You have your Maker’s design all over you. His mark is stamped in your loyalty. Your kindness. The way you put others before yourself.” Lady of a Thousand Treasures ~ Sandra Byrd

Rich with folklore and mystery, Sandra Byrd did an outstanding job bringing Victorian England to life. Anyone who loves Dickens, Austen, and Brontë will find Lady of a Thousand Treasures a delightful read. I give it 5 stars!

I want to thank Tyndale House Publishers and Sandra Byrd for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to post a positive review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Click to Tweet: “I was done striving and trying to earn the approval of others. I, too, must be on the outside who I was on the inside.” ~ Eleanor Sheffield, Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd  @GailJohnson87 #newrelease


headshot-2018Bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published more than fifty books over her editing and writing career. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House. She’s also an independent author.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, published in 2017 and was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a nonfiction author with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions. The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional was named by Called Magazine, the #1 magazine for Christian Women, as among their favorite, must-read books for Fall, 2017.

Sandra is passionate about helping writers develop their talents and their work through content coaching and line editing, and has mentored hundreds of writers. For testimonials about her editing and coaching, please visit novelcoaching.com.

Connect with Sandra through any of these social media platforms:

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Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Carole Brown

Good morning, dear reader! Welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction Tuesday. Today, we’re talking with Carole Brown. Carole’s latest release is A Flute in the Willows, Book Two of The Spies of WWII. Let’s begin…

Good morning, Carole. Please, tell us about yourself.

Personal

Carole BrownHere’s my official bio:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

What a fantastic life, Carole. Congratulations on the ten books! Let’s talk about the professional side of your life. Where did you get the idea for your latest WIP or your current release? And what inspired you to choose the setting of your story?

Professional

a-flute-in-the-willowTwo things gave me the idea of writing A Flute in the Willows, Book Two of The Spies of WWII.

First, my mother’s pictures and tales of living through WWII. These piqued my interest and steered me in the direction of writing a novel set during this time.

Second, we had an older gentleman friend who’d written a book about a civilian spy. It was always rumored that he was that spy, but he never confirmed it. That thought encouraged me to write my own take on spies.

I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for a brief time, working there, before I was married. I liked that city, and when deciding on the setting, I knew it would fit perfectly. And, of course, Germany was a major player during WWII. How could I not bring touches of it into the books?

The story sounds intriguing. Readers, don’t forget to check out A Flute in the Willows to find out what happens to the hero. Carole, what is your favorite thing to do when not writing?

I shared my official bio above, but here are a lot more personal items that would fit in this bracket:

  • I love being with my family. Whether on vacations to the beach or mountains, whether just a brief stop-by visit or a dinner at home or out somewhere, we so enjoy it all.
  • I love sharing laughter and quiet fun times with my hubby. He’s not only my hero, my best friend and lover, he’s also a wonderful Christian man with a big heart.
  • I adore living in the country with my own hot tub, our animals, my water garden, fireplace, the view, and I like the quiet. Most times. 🙂
  • I love traveling with hubby and family. Though we’ve visited so many states and a few countries, there’s much more to see and do!
  • I love being a child of God. He’s our best source of strength and encouragement and the greatest leader of life I could ever ask for.

 
I enjoy living in the country too! Here’s a fun question. Please share a writing quirk—a ‘must have’ or a ‘must do’ to get words down on paper.

Quiet. I like quiet when I write. Sometimes I will have soft music in the background, but not often.

Amen. Some days you just need peace and quiet. Next question… This year’s theme is First Things First. Setting our priorities is a must if we’re to be about our Father’s business. What advice would you offer someone struggling to spend time with Him? And, how has spending time with Him changed your life?

Inspirational

  • Be serious about this decision. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s the one thing that will help you make the decision and to keep at it.
  • Study your daily activities. Is there an allotted time when you’re more liable to be free? Can you get up fifteen minutes or a half hour earlier? Being faithful, I think, is more important than the length of time. God knows us, the intent of our hearts. Tell him about your difficulty in doing this and listen to what he has to say.
  • Remember, a verse a day, a five-minute sincere prayer, a few moments of contemplation or listening to what God wants to say to you: these are a start in the right direction. We’re not all made alike, but in God’s likeness, so our times of devotion may all be different to fulfill our spiritual needs. Be diligent, and God will reward you with His sweet presence.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve found through the years that to stay close to God is a great advantage to me. When others are gone or don’t understand, or whatever, God knows. He is so whatever-I-need, yet he’s also faithful and true to rein me in or correct me when needed.

Working in ministry along with my hubby has taught me too that hard times come. Discouraging. Depressing. Tough I’m-not-going-to-make-it times. Somehow God pulls me through, and I feel stronger and more confident that He is, oh, so sufficient!

Well said, Carole. Thank you so much for joining us today. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better!

Readers, Carole is giving away a digital copy of A Flute in the Willows to one commenter. Leave a comment to have your name entered in the drawing.

Click to Tweet: It was always rumored that he was that spy, but he never confirmed it. That thought encouraged me to write my own take on spies. #Women of Faith and Fiction #interview

Bio

Carole BrownBesides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with Carole: