Blog Tour: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham

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I’m so excited to be participating in my first ever blog tour! When I saw this advertised I just knew I had to participate, having loved the previous two books in this series.

Pepper Basham is an awsome author, and I’m pleased to share an interview with her as well as a review of her latest book.

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Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans. To Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of the treacherous internees.
August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing Jessica Ross a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August’s tender pursuit bring Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a “true” enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

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Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

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1-I really love the faith journeys in your books, can you tell me something about your own faith journey? Thank you for saying that, by the way.  I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home in a rural community where my family all lived within a few miles of each other. It was an amazing experience of closeness and love, but as many times happens, circumstances happened as I grew older that sent me into a storm of questioning my faith. Through that heart-searching, Word-seeking, journey, I discovered a deeper understanding of God’s love for me in Christ that really became a stronger foundation. I’ve also had the beautiful experience of having a heritage of strong Christian women in my life who have been examples of God’s strength in the storms of life – I think those examples paired with the beauty of God’s grace, are at the heart of the spiritual elements of my novels. 
2-What would you say to someone who is skeptical of reading Christian books?
I would say, “I understand. I can be skeptical of reading them too sometimes.  But a good story is usually worth your time.” IMO, a good story is ALWAYS worth the read.
 
3-What made you want to write Christian fiction? Has doing this impacted your faith?
I’ve always loved writing – ever since I was a little girl. I still have one of my first ‘long’ stories I wrote (and poorly illustrated) from when I was 10 years old. As I grew up, my faith impacted every part of my life (as it should) and naturally came out in my stories. It wasn’t until I read Siri Mitchell and Mary Connealy that I realized I was actually writing in a market called CBA, but my hope and prayer is that I can write beyond one market and reach lots of readers – just by writing good stories.
 
4-I love historical fiction, particularly the world wars, what made you choose this era?
Hmm….I think they kind of chose me I’d never known much about them until I stumbled upon a book about the Lusitania at a yard sale and once I began researching the time period I was a lost cause. It hit me in the heart and I’ve been in love with it ever since. The clothing, the era, the British/American culture shifts. Absolutely love it!
 
5-What’s the best book you have ever read? Wow, super tough question. I suppose you mean besides the Bible J And in fiction? I’m not sure I have a ‘best book’. I love many for different reasons. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Little Women, and Emma are some of my top favorite classics. 
In more modern fiction I adore Redeeming Love, Courting Morrow Little, She Walks in Beauty, The Cautious Maiden, The Convenient Groom, and A Noble Groom, to name a few.
Sorry, I couldn’t get it down to one. TOOOOOO hard 😉

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As I previously mentioned I loved the first two books in this series. They are Christian fiction books that aren’t afraid to tackle hard topics, real emotions, and the complications they can create.

This book was no different. Jessica has spent the previous years serving as a nurse in the war, and has seen more pain and suffering than anyone woman should ever endure. This has, understandably, left her feeling bitter, and enormous resentment towards the Germans she encounters upon returning home. Especially one in particular.

Although I know most of us will never have to face such an extreme situation, I’m sure we can relate to these emotions, whether in our own personal lives, or in relation to the current political climate of distrust of foriegners.

I know fans of historical romance will love this book, but as it deals with such timeless issues as love and jealousy, I’m sure that other readers will enjoy it too. Just make sure to read the previous two books in the series first! Although this book does stand alone, you would be missing out on a huge treat in avoiding the first and second instalments!

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December 5–Bookworm Mama | cherylbbookblog
December 6–Bibliophile Reviews
December 7–Faithfully Bookish | Singing Librarian Books
December 8–Flowers of Quiet Happiness
December 9–Smiling Book Reviews
December 10–Reading Is My SuperPower
December 11–Red Headed Book Lady | Christian Bookaholic
December 12–Cherry Drop Princess
December 13–Toni Shiloh Soulfully Romantic | Robin’s Nest 212
December 14–Book by Book
December 15–Cordially Barbara
December 16–The Green Mockingbird

 

 

New Christian Fiction Autumn 2016

Just dropping some reviews of awesome Christian fiction, that has been released in the last couple of months.

Avid reader of Cherry Drop Princess will know that I was initially quite sceptical of Christian fiction, until I read some that is! Yes, sure, some of them are cheesey, and badly written, but plenty aren’t. And they’re not all romance either. It’s also refreshing to read something that’s not going to be too icky, in either a gruesome or sexual way.

All these books are highly reccomended, but if I was forced to choose one favourite it would have to be Child of the River by Irma Joubert.

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A Portait of Emily Price By Katherine Reay

A lovely love story, Italy, art true love and redemption.
A portrait of Emily price tells the story of Emily, fixer extraordinaire! She can fix anything, from art to children’s toys to coffee machines, but can she fix her own relationships.
Just when u thought this story was going to be cliche chick lit it took some unexpected turns and explored ideas often overlooked. (Sorry if I’m being a bit vague I don’t want to give too much away!)
Anyway, I highly reccomend thus book, a great one to sit back relax and read, preferably with a bit of chocolate close to hand!

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Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

A moving and emotional tale, based loosely on the parable of the prodigal son.
You know there’s good storie and then there’s great stories. This is a great story and one that I know will stay with me for a very long time to come.
I highly reccomend this story, especially to anyone who is atall musical, as there are many many musical references in this book, a lot of which went right over my head. At times I found these a little distracting, but not enough to ruin a beautiful tale, and I’m sure someone more musically inclined would love them!

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Child of the River by Irma Joubert

I really enjoyed this book of one girls life set against the South African backdrop of political unrest during the Second World War and the apartheid,
The characters were great, especially strong willed Persomi, who took her life into her hands and overcame the hardships facing her, but my favourite thing about this book was the setting. The on,y other book I have read set in South Africa is the girl from the train, by the same author, so it was unique and interesting to me. It was a great reminder of how global the Second World War was, I normally tend to think of Europe, and forget that people all over the globe joined the fight, it was also interesting to read about how the apartheid affected Asians.
I highly recommend this book, not only for the unforgettable story, but for the interesting setting as well.

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Unblemished by Sara Ella

I am so conflicted about how to rate this book; parts were really good, but then some of it was just plain confusing.
I’ll start with the good: I really liked the play between light and darkness: (the verity and void) in this book. The way that darkness can take hold, but then light can overcome it was a powerful image. I’m intigued to see how the author builds on this in future books. (I’m sure there will be future books, after that cliff hanger!)
I thought the characters were well don, I liked Eliyana, but she wasn’t too perfect, got annoyed at times, and had some irritating habbits herself.
There were also a lot of plot twists, many of which I did see coming. This leads me into what I didn’t like.
The book was just plain confusing, at times I was completely lost. There were so so many characters, I don’t think that it helped that some of them had similar names.
I also found the writers style quite hard at times. She seemed to have a thing for One. Word. Sentences. At times there could be several on one page. she also loved sound effects (crunch, slam, sigh, etc etc) long words, and italics. While all these things can be good, they were over used, to the point of distracting the reader from the plot.
All in all it was a decent enough.book, I would be interested in reading more by the author.
Many thanks to net galley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

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A Tapestry of Secrets By Sarah Loudin Thomas

 One of those stories which is like a warm mug of hot chocolate-sweet and satisfying.
It’s a fairly slow paced read, but interesting enough to keep you turning the pages.
Ella, an artist, has returned to her home town to look after her nan, who is recovering from a stroke. Perla, her nan is desperate to share a secret that has plagued her for years, but now finds herself unable to do so.
This book is worth the read, although not as enjoyable as earlier books in the series, it good conclusion to the saga.
I recommend this book to people who don’t mind their stories set at a slower pace, or a love triangle/square.

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Fatal Frost By Nancy Mehl

As a child I loved famous five and secret seven books. As I’ve got older, I’ve avoided them, mostly because of the violence and gore. I feel this is where this book comes into its own, you know there’s going to be nothing inappropriate in it (well apart from one word which I sincerely hope means something different in America to England, (You’ll have to read it for yourself because I’m not going to write it, it’s so embarrassing!)
Okay enough with the preamble, this story was an exciting page turner. Nancy is police officer who’s had to go into hiding from a massive gang who is after her. As more secrets become revealed the plot gets thicker until you know your not going to bed until you’ve finished. Highly reccomended for fans of an exciting yet safe read.

Thanks for reading to the end. I’ll be back next week, talking about how following is more important than leading, a devotional based around a child hood favourite, The Secret Garden, and starting a new series on spending ethically this Christmas.

What Not to Say to Your Single Christian Friend

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Back in the days before I met my husband, and was wondering if any one would ever want to marry  me, I remember being told: “God will give you the desires of your heart,” and “if God gave you the desire he will fulfil it.”

After I heard that, I spent ages trying to work out if the desire for a husband was one that was from God, or not. After all, if it was actually from God then I would get it. Wouldn’t I? I guess in my mind it was almost like having a crystal ball, work out if the desire is from God or not, and you have figured out your future.

I guess the people who were saying these things were trying to be helpful. But they really weren’t that helpful to me.

Now I know that God can and will fulfil our deepest desires, (it says so in the bible, after all) but was the desire for a husband really my deepest desire, or the desire or was it the desire to be loved?

Many Christian counsellors agree that God does put in our hearts the desire to be loved, and the desire to be significant. The thing is, ultimately the only one who can fulfil those desires is him. He does give us thiste desires of our hearts, but just not always in the way we want him to.

Another well intentioned thing I was told, whilst I was single, was to seek God and then a husband would come along. What a load of poo! If this was true then how come there are holy people who never get married and awful people who manage to find a husband.

I don’t think the people who say these things realise the damage they are doing with these words. It made me question my own spirituality, as if the reason I hadn’t met someone yet was because I wasn’t holy enough yet, making me doubly insecure. I don’t think the popular quote “a woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man has to seek God to find her.” Please be really careful about saying this one, because I know it’s one of those things that sounds really spiritual, after all, we all need to get closer to God. But please never make anyone feel like the reason they are single is because they aren’t holy enough.

Finally, this is one I had never personally heard (thankfully) but that seems to have become popular recently, I have seen it floating around the internet. And that is……….. Just Wait For Your Boaz. This is eisegesis (reading into the text something that was never there, (yes, I went to bible college and know long words!)) in the worst possible form! It makes absolutely no sense in the context of the story, to the point where I pull out my hair just wondering where this phrase could have possibly come from!

It’s taken from the book of Ruth. She is a widow, who moves with her mother in law, Naomi (also widowed) to her home country, a land Ruth has never been to before. These two women are destitute to the point where the only way they can feed themselves is by picking up grains that have been dropped by the farm workers. (Something which is outlined in books of the law.) Fortunately Naomi has a single, rich, relative named Boaz.

Now, after hearing that you might think that Boaz swept in and swept Ruth of her feet.

He didn’t. He was kind to her, but in no way did he sweep her off her feet.

Naomi had to tell her to get tarted up, put on some perfume, and then literally climb into his bed and lay at his feet, before he made the offer of marriage.

I can’t see how climbing into someones bed to seduce them could ever be described as waiting for them! How can anyone claim the phrase wait for your Boaz, like it’s a beautiful thing, when Ruth never waited for her Boaz!

She was married previous, to man we’ve no reason to believe she didn’t love, and then lived in tough conditions with her mother in law and then finally had to climb into bed with a man in order to seduce him!

This phrase is so nonsensical, but the strange thing is women even bizzarly believe it, and then take is so out of context that they seem to think it means they should just sit around waiting for a husband! Ruth didn’t sit around waiting. She was proactive.*

The truth of the matter is that not every will get married. I know that’s a really sad thing to say and hear, and one that I had to wrestle with when I was single. But unfortunately, it’s the truth.

God never promised us a spouse. But he did demonstrate his love for us in dying for us. And that is the greatest love you can ever know.

I know when everyone around you is getting married, it can seem so like a lame consolation prize. But it’s not, its the best love you can ever experience, its a love that will never let you down and a love that will last forever. Please, try and grasp hold of this whether you are single or not, and please never make someone who is single feel as if they are somehow worth less, whether intentionally or not. That just is not true.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this, or any weird things you have been told.

*Please don’t think I’m telling you to do what Ruth did, it prabably wont end well!

It’s Okay to Let Go

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Whenever I move house I’m amazed by all the stuff that I have collected, rubbish, that I never even needed in the first place. Bin-bags and bin-bags full of the stuff.

But I get the impression that this isn’t though only rubbish we carry through life. We carry unseen baggage as well. The secrets sins we have burred and hidden, the unkind words we have believed, the fears and worries and doubts. Without ever realising it we are dragging our own bin-bags full of baggage through life.

Maybe you are reading this, carrying unnecessary burdens. Burdens that you were never meant to carry.

Maybe you have been carrying them for so long it doesn’t even feel like they are there any more. It feels like they have become part of you.

Maybe it has become so familiar that it is like a strange kind of security blanked.  You don’t know how to live without it.

Maybe you believed the lie that because Christian life is hard, it should be miserable, you don’t realise that you can let these things go. That it’s okay to let them go.

You do not need to carry the burden of unforgiveness or guilt.

You do not need to carry the burden of regret or fear

You do not need to carry the burden of other people’s expectations.

You can let these things go. You do not need to hold onto them. They are not part of you, even if it feels like they are.

Like an infection, polluting the body, when you get rid of these things, you can be whole a healthy and complete.

Like a heavy weight pressing on you, making you bend over, these burdens can shape and damage you. When you let go of them, you can stand up straight and walk tall again.

You do not need them. You can be free. You are allowed to be free. You are allowed to be happy. You are allowed to be complete. You can let go.

Cast [a]your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to [b]be shaken Psalm 55:22 NASB

 

 

 

6 Reasons to Share Your Story (even if it seems boring!)

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I love hearing testimonies in church. Stories of how God has completely changed a person’s life around.

These stories are such an encouragement, and they really do strengthen my faith. But sometimes it seems churches only want to share the most dramatic stories.Stories of the people who once were drug dealers or suicidal criminals who God dragged from the pits of hell, and wrapped into his arms.From darkness to light; from broken to complete.

While these stories are great sometimes it can make people like me, and I imagine many people reading this, feel as though our stories are not worth sharing.

This is not truth, it’s a lie many have come to believe, and even an excuse many have used.

But we do not need to believe this lie, our stories are worth sharing for so many reasons.

Sharing your testimony acknowledges God as Lord over your life. I would not be where I am today without Jesus. I don’t know where I would be, but I know my weaknesses, the sins I am most often drawn too, so I can sort of begin to imagine. If I do not share my testimony it would be like me saying I could have got to this point on my own. Continue reading

How to Stay Positive, Even When You Don’t Feel Like it

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What do you find it easier to do: Count your blessings; or count your failures? Count the things that you have done, or count the things you haven’t?

I know which one is easier for me.

I guess I’m good at complaining. My husband tells me, in his American accent, that it’s a British thing.

Maybe it is, I’m not sure though.

All I know, is that I find it easy to complain. Whether it’s about the weather, work, or where I’m living: I find it much easier to notice what has gone wrong than what has gone right. Continue reading