When you deal with chronic illness, it isn’t easy to always stay upbeat or hopeful.
You feel as if God can not use you because you struggle to even leave your house, let alone go out into the world and preach the gospel.
Bettie Gilbert and her husband Barry learned over the years that not even chronic illness, various attacks on their joy, and heartache could stop God from using them to further his kingdom.
That’s the story that is written in Bettie and Barry’s new book Abiding in Him: A Life Together in Ministry.
This beautiful book which can also be used as a devotional was written in the past year by Bettie and Barry and is published by Chronic Joy, a wonderful organization that Bettie is a part of. The organization helps support those who struggle with chronic illnesses.
The book is full of inspiring stories, poems, Bible verses, and reflective questions to help bring you through your own trials, questions, and journey, whether you are in ministry or not. Each chapter ends with a beautiful prayer and three questions to help you focus on your own life.
This is a book for those of you in ministry, yes, but for any of us who face trials no matter what we do in life.
This is a book full of hope in a hurting world, a reminder though how God worked through Bettie and Barry’s life that he can and will do the same for us — maybe not in the way we want or expect but in a way that we need and will, many times, blow us away.
Just a closing, thought, Bettie Gilbert’s writing changed the way I think about chronic illness, especially the one I deal with. Her writing reminded me that we are called to worship God in all things, even the hard things. She made me think about how for those of us with a chronic illness will rejoice that much more in heaven because we will know what it is to not have full health on earth and then realize it in our heavenly bodies.
Thank you, Bettie, for your inspiration, your words, and your faithfulness.
Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening.
If you are looking for a cozy mystery with entertaining characters, then Dog Days of Summer is a good choice.
The book starts off pulling you into the story with characters who are downhome, even though one is a famous country singer.
This is the second book in the series, but you don’t have to read the first one to know what is happening in this one.
Y’Barbo writes characters who are very relatable.
A few sections dragged a little bit for me, but that’s merely my opinion. Other readers may not mind a little meandering. I felt that there could have been a bit more information about the main character’s singing career but that’s because I was interested, not because there was anything wrong with how it was written. I wasn’t a huge fan of how the love story was tossed in there as a plot point. It didn’t feel flushed out to me. The love story and the ending felt rushed to me but other readers may feel the pacing was just fine. Overall, this was a clean, cozy story that left me with a happy feeling at the end.
About the Author
Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.
When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.
Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.
More from Kathleen
Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.
Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange-striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.
Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our backyard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his backyard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.
While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the backyard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.
In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas backyard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!
I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
“Look, you’re a nice girl but I don’t think we should see each other anymore.” The voicemail ends and I freeze in the dentist’s chair as I realize… I’ve just been dumped on live radio.
It took the most humiliating break-up for me to see that my life is in serious need of a do-over. Cue my anti New Year’s resolutions that even I can’t fail at:
Stop dating. (Men are the worst.)
Stop trying to lose weight. (I’m never giving up chocolate.)
Stop working so hard. (Selling mortgages is not my dream career.)
Stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. (Start living my best life.)
Stop trying to please my mother. (It’s not possible.)
But it turns out number five is harder than I thought, as she begins her campaign to get me back with my ex. So, what’s the perfect solution to keep her out of my love life? An imaginary boyfriend—at least he was supposed to be imaginary until I blurted out my neighbor’s name…
Nate, the bad boy next door with gorgeous hazel eyes, a razor-sharp jawline and a mysterious scar, might be hot, but he’s definitely not my boyfriend. Now all I need to do is stick to my resolutions while also keeping my interfering family away from my non-existent lover who has no idea that we’re fake dating. What could possibly go wrong?
The Do Over by Sharon Peterson is the second romantic-comedy book I’ve read this year with this title but this particular version was a lot more fun, with a much more likable main character and love interest. Not only that but the icing on the cake was a sassy, Southern grandma who kept the humor level all the way to the top.
This book was a fun read, and I needed a fun read with all the stress in the world these days. It kept me hooked from the beginning and even though a couple of parts were a little predictable, they were predictable in an entertaining way. The main character’s full name was definitely not predictable but I’ll let you read the book to find out the story behind that.
Peterson promised a fun ride from page one and delivered on that promise all the way through. If a writer can make a dentist appointment a hook to pull this reader right into their book, then they have some talent. I hate dentist appointments, but I carried on through that first chapter because I just had to know what happened.
Every character Peterson introduced was likable or interesting in their own way, from the main to the minor supporting characters.
I’m not always a fan of the “fake boyfriend” trope in romance novels but Peterson handled it in a realistic way that didn’t leave me rolling my eyes.
She also managed to weave in social issues without making them preachy or letting them weigh the book down with unnecessary heaviness for a romantic comedy.
If you are looking for a fun, fast read that will leave you with a smile and make you forget your problems for a little bit, then this is a book I encourage you to pick up and immerse yourself in.
Chicago, 1871. Sixteen-year-old Whimsy Greathart would rather fight against Chicago’s child labor practices than attend her privileged family’s high society events. And a very public social blunder only strengthens her resolve to use her influence for good.
On the night of the Great Chicago Fire, her tenderhearted choice leads her into danger and results in life-changing consequences.
With her world turned to ash, she must rely on the mercy of poor relations to rebuild her future and is forced into the very labor system she wished to fight against. As Whimsy staggers under the weight of street gang violence and hazardous working conditions, a chance at deliverance persuades her to make a promise. One she intends to keep. But now she must determine whether it’s God’s heart she’s following or her own.
A Top Faved Christian story on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. Now available in paperback and e-book.
The Uncertainty of Fire is a book full of excitement and intrigue wrapped around a well written and researched story based on events that happened during and after the great Chicago fire of 1871. The book follows Whimsy, a young woman with a compassionate heart who faces unthinkable trials.
The characters are rich and well developed and easy to love – or hate when necessary .
Once you start, be prepared to be unable to put the book down without blazing your way through to the end to find out what happens. Whimsy’s life takes so many twists and turns you’re never quite sure what might happen next.
While there is heartbreak in the pages of Whimsy’s life, there is also hope, healing, and joy.
Daniels does an amazing job pulling you into the story and never letting you go. I’m looking forward to her next book, which I’m sure will be just as enthralling as this first one.
Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?
To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.
Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.
Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?
If you are a fiction of historical fiction and historical romance, then Pepper Basham is the author for you, and her latest, The Heart of the Mountains, will have you hooked from the beginning.
I connected with the two main characters early on and felt like I needed their lives to turn out okay after all they had been through before the book even started and then went through during the book.
There was non-stop action and a variety of interesting characters which transformed what could have been a simple run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter inspirational romance book into a novel with depth, complexity, and heartfelt tenderness.
There were quite a few side characters in this two-person point of view book. Crisis after crisis popped up involving each of the side characters, which could have been a bit confusing at times but wasn’t because it kept the booking moving along at a speed just fast enough to hold my interest but not too fast to make my head spin in confusion. Basham kept the characters straight for the readers like a true professional, balancing subplots like a well-trained literary juggler.
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.
It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.
The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.
The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.
I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.
Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).
I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.
Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.
Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.
What I/we’ve Been Reading
So I finished The Do Over by Bethany Turner this week and I’m going to offer a little review here instead of breaking it out in a separate post.
I like Bethany as a person. She’s fun to watch and listen to and as someone who writes Christian Fiction and actually mentions God and is still told my books aren’t Christian enough, I do feel bad writing that this book isn’t Christian fiction, but, well . . . it isn’t.
It’s a clean book. It’s a funny book and I did enjoy it for the most part. It’s full of pop culture references – so many you can barely get a few pages, sometimes a few paragraphs, before another movie or celebrity is referenced, but there is not one reference to God in the book. Not even anyone going to church.
It’s a simple, clean romantic comedy written by someone who once wrote Christian fiction and that is not a bad thing. I am, however, a little bewildered why the book is listed under Christian fiction. It definitely didn’t hold my attention as well as some of her other books and the reveal of the person who committed a crime in the book wasn’t a surprise at all.
The book was also yet another romantic comedy love letter to New York City, which is getting a little tiresome actually. It’s like yet another love letter to Jane Austen books or London. All the name drops of locations in New York City did very little for someone who isn’t as excited by the city as Turner is, unfortunately. But if you love NYC and squealing about specific locations like they are a big deal, you’ll love this book. (We’ll all just pretend crime isn’t a daily occurrence and instead believe that the characters aren’t praying they don’t get mugged while walking by the homeless on the streets.)
The saving grace of this book was Henry Blumenthal, even though he could have been a little more well-rounded in my opinion. He seemed very stoic and awkward, but he was supposed to be so I guess that worked. What I do love is how Turner writes a kiss scene. It’s not overdone or over explained, but you feel the emotion and I like that.
I think after reading The Do Over, though, I might have to finally admit something. I don’t like a lot of traditional romance books. I don’t like when the entire book is built around swoons and misunderstandings, break-ups and then resumed swoons (shhh…I know mine are similar but I try to throw in a little bit more plot to even it out and hopefully I’ll get better at it.) Oh, and then epilogues with weddings or future scenes of happy marriages with children now born. (Yep. Totally did this in my second book. Never did it again.)
Almost every single romance or romantic comedy I’ve read in CF has ended this way and Turner’s books are no exception, but I wish they were.
So what’s next for me?
I don’t know yet. I can’t decide what I am in the mood for, but The Husband has suggested a couple of books for me, including What’s the Worst That Can Happen by Donald Westlake and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
I’m also considering reading the second book in the Pop Larkin series because those books are fairly quick reads.
I hope to finish Anne of the Island this week as I have enjoyed reading it leisurely at a couple chapters a day for the last couple of months.
The Husband is reading Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cantour (which he is almost done with).
The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Welles.
Little Miss and I are re-reading Romona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary but she also let me read from Anne of Green Gables last night.
What’s Been Occurring
My husband had a small part in the local theater group’s production of Anything Goes and this week was showtime. He had dress rehearsals the first part of the week and then the show Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He was on stage for the speaking part for about five minutes but then he was in the background as a sailor.
Little Miss, The Boy, and I went for the dress rehearsal Monday but it got late and we slipped out after the first act. Little Miss wanted to go back to watch the whole show but we didn’t make it for various reasons (partially because I wasn’t sure she’d stay seated for a three-hour show) so I looked up a production of it we could watch at home and found one performed in the West End Theater in London earlier this year and showcased on PBS. Someone had put it up illegally on YouTube (yeah for pirating! 😉). I thought Little Miss would like to see the second half of it but it turns out she only wanted to see the version our local performers did. Boy did I feel like a jerk that I didn’t get her over there after that. I enjoyed it at least and will include a link to it under the What I’m Watching header.
I took some photographs of the dress rehearsal along with The Husband for the paper since The Husband was in the first act and couldn’t take photos of himself. He took photos of the second act and a collection of both our photos were used for a photo page in the paper, which is a weekly paper.
The Husband doesn’t want me to post any photos of him, but I thought I’d share a few others I took that night.
This one is my favorite and it is close to the one on the front page of the newspaper he works at:
We took a break on Tuesday and then Wednesday we went to my parents to swim but were dive bombed by some wasps and had to head out earlier than we wanted to. We hope to be able to spray them before we go in the next time. It’s been very hot here for the last two weeks. You know it’s been hot when you see it’s going to be 81 later in the week and you’re excited about the cooler temperatures. I know that 90 to 92 is not as hot as down South or in Arizona, but it’s hot for Pennsylvania and it’s hot for me since I’ve never done well in the heat.
Friday it was grocery shopping day again. Blah. I hate grocery shopping.
Yesterday it was time to relax for me and today The Husband finally gets to relax after several 14 or more hour days in a row (between work and rehearsals).
What We watched/are Watching
I continued watching Paul Newman movies this past week with Sweet Bird of Youth. I’d never heard of this movie and was blown away by the acting and the viscousness of the characters. This was another movie based on a Tennessee Williams play.
This one startled me a little to be honest. It was put out in 1962 and dealt with some more steamy topics than I expected. Newman was a gigolo and at one point he was rolling blunts for his current client, a washed-up actress who he’d taken with him back to Talahasee to see the girl he wanted to marry as soon as he hit it big as an actor. His character seriously drove me nuts – he was so fixated on becoming famous and hitting it big so he could provide for the girl he loved that he literally would do anything to get to the top. And I mean just about anything.
The plus side of this movie, besides the fact the acting really was very good, was that Paul had his shirt off more than he had it on. This, of course, annoyed The Boy who told me at one point, “Just go back and watch your movie with shirtless Paul Newman.” He then rolled his eyes. I, of course, obliged. *wink* (Please know that I am just joking around. I am a married woman and Paul is, well, dead.)
As I mentioned above, I then watched Anything Goes, essentially by myself since my children abandoned me. This version was with Sutton Fuller who won a Tony for her performance.
I also watched The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant, Myrna Lloyd, and Shirley Temple, which I have watched before and really enjoyed. It’s very funny.
The plot is that Temple falls for Cary Grant, who is probably 25 years older than her, when he speaks at her school, and tries to chase after him. Her older sister, Loy, is a judge who has had Grant before her in court for another matter. Long story short, Temple goes to Grant’s apartment and is caught there and Grant is framed for tying to get involved with a minor. In an effort to try to deter Temple, Loy’s uncle, the city District Attorney, suggests that Grant carry on the charade (no pun to the other movie Grant was in) and try to frighten Temple off. This completely backfires and hilarity ensues.
One recent Saturday I spent almost the entire day under a warm blanket with chocolate chip cookies dipped in Nutella and read Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. It was very enjoyable, not only because it was the most relaxed I had been in a long time and I had chocolate, but because the book was such a good one.
My husband recommended the book so I was a bit leery at first. We don’t always like the same books, but lately, he’s been suggesting ones I have enjoyed, including the Walt Longmire Series by Craig Johnson. I’m also reading my first Donald Westlake book, Call Me A Cab, at his suggestion.
First, a little bit about Moriarty. For those familiar with Sherlock Holmes books and movies, you will recognize that name. The book opens, though, with Professor James Moriarty having died at Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, which leaves the reader wondering about the title of the book.
The main characters of the book are Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase and Inspector Athelney Jones.
The description of the book:Sherlock Holmes is dead.
Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind. Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction, Chase must hunt down this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.
The game is afoot . . .
My view: The book is written like an old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes book so don’t expect there to be modern overdone descriptions of characters of scenes. For the most part the book is a fast paced, dialogue heavy and straight forward presentation. The focus is on the story, not the characters necessarily.
Horowitz takes the reader down into a dark world of crime, twisting around and around until there is a point you’re not sure who is who. Even though I tried to guess the ending and was right on one theory, the way Horowitz brought the story to its finality was still satisfying and fascinating. I honestly couldn’t put the book down once I got myself snuggled in that Saturday afternoon under the covers, and placed other books I was reading aside so I could finish it. I also stopped feeding my children and taking a shower, but that’s an entirely different issue. I’m kidding, of course. I took a shower. I’m not a monster.
Reading the book has encouraged me to move on to Horowitz’s other Sherlock Holmes book The House of Silk which was actually his first Sherlock Holmes-related book.
The House of Silk was the first book authorized as a new Sherlock Holmes novel by the Arthur Conan Doyle in 125-years.
Confession time: I have not actually read any original Sherlock Holmes books. My husband is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, however, and we have watched many shows based on the books together.
How about you? Are you a big Sherlock Holmes fan? Have you read all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books?
A veteran in need of a fresh start will get more than he bargained for…
Veteran Micah Holland’s scars go deeper than anyone knows. An inheritance from his mentor could be a new beginning—if he shares the inherited goat farm with fiercely independent Paige Watson. Now the only way they can keep the farm is to work together. But first Micah must prove he’s a changed man to keep his dream and the woman he’s falling for.
My review: When you read a lot of romance books, they can sometimes become stale and predictable (though Love Inspired books are not usually this way) so when I picked up His Road to Redemption, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised at the way this story was laid out and the unique characters Lisa created. I absolutely loved Micah and his complexity. I loved his tenderness, hidden sometimes under a tough veneer, and I loved how he worked through the challenges of his life without being overly dramatic about it all.
When a character with a physical challenge is written about in some books, too much attention is focused on that challenge. In this book, Micah’s physical challenge was mentioned once or twice but didn’t need to be reiterated several times. This made his injury seem normal and part of his every day, which it was. Yes, he was injured at war, but he moved forward through his life and didn’t let it stop him from reaching his goals. Very often, an author tries too hard to push the idea of inclusivity instead of simply making the challenge part of who the person is.
After reading this book I will definitely be looking for more Love Inspired books, but especially more by Lisa Jordan. As someone who has met Lisa (but who was not asked to read or give a review of this book), I can tell you that her kind, caring and faith-filled personality comes across in this book. When I put it down, I not only felt good inside but satisfied and for a reader, a satisfying read is everything.
Goodreads Description: JADE PEPPERDINE HAS A PROBLEM
Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start.Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair … a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination.Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself.
Excerpt from the author (Thank you, Kim!):
Abaddon’s eyes darkened black like coal. “My idea is simple. You’ve got a gal coming in soon that I think will be perfect for this experiment.” He clucked his tongue. “Thirtyish, a bit, chubby, works in a library. Same tired scenario as the others. Past issues affecting her present. Fear and insecurities. Blah, blah, blah.”
“Watch it. She’s one of mine.”
Abaddon’s mouth tightened. “Aren’t they all? Just send her off to gather her journey relics like always, but if I can get them away from her, she stays with me, and I get the Avnet, too.”
Mayor grunted in distaste. No wonder his nemesis’ name meant destruction in Hebrew. He opened his mouth to put the rogue in his place then hesitated. Maybe he could use Abaddon’s plan against him and teach him a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget. A deterrent against future complications.
But at what price? Did he really want to potentially position one of his own in harm’s way? No, but assigning his top emissaries to the case would keep her safe. The unsuspecting woman would be fine, and Abaddon would get what he so richly deserved. And it wouldn’t be the Avnet.
Mayor pushed to his feet. “Fine. Do what you have to.” He whirled and threw a scowl over his shoulder, “But you cannot hurt her. I’m warning you.”
“Oh, I won’t.” Abaddon shot him an evil leer. “Not much, anyway.”
My Review: 5 starts out of 5
Some who read the title of the book will be perplexed and think, “I don’t think this is the book for me,” but they would be wrong. This is a book for everyone.
The book is “fantasy”, I suppose you might say, but it is also deeply allegorical to our journey through life and especially our journey with God and Christ.
This book will transport you to a world of restoration, healing, redemption, and personal revision. It will remind you that we do not merely war against flesh and blood, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The book takes the reader on a fantastical journey with Jade Pepperdine, a 30-something woman who has faced her fair share of heartache, rejection, and flattened self-worth.
Hook yourself in, readers. This is a work of fiction but for many it will be a hard dose of reality wrapped up in a gentle embrace.
After an accident tosses Jade, quite literally, upside down, she finds herself in a mystical land, which she at first believes is part of a dream. She soon learns that ChiYah is very real indeed. A group of five eccentric helpers come alongside her to help her battle her way through the various dangers of ChiYah to reach her personal healing.
But reaching restoration won’t come easy for Jade. She’s agreed to the quest Mayor Dudley has offered to her, albeit grudgingly, so she can go back to her reality in “the real world” working at a library and fending off her overly critical mother. Now she has to sidestep the traps along the way, including unassuming attacks from a mysterious stranger who hopes to cause her to stumble and come work for him instead.
Journey to ChiYah is a book that will have you looking inside yourself, maybe not liking what you see, and then considering taking your own quest to make peace with every part of you — the happy parts, the grumpy parts, the sometimes unreasonable parts, the parts that have been hurt, the parts that have been rejected, the parts that still have hope left in them.
Russell is a talented writer who uses well-written, engaging fiction laced with humor, well thought out dialogue, and entertaining characters to drive her point home. She uses fiction and prose to touch on so many issues we frail humans deal with, including anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, self-deprecating behavior, distrust, insecurity, a critical spirit.
Most of all, though, she uses her talent to point us to the only one who can heal us of the issues that threaten our joy — a Heavenly Father who wants to take us on a journey that might seem difficult but in the end will lead us into a meadow of peace, even with the chaos of life swirls around us.